Chapter 15: Midnight – Momentary Lapses
"I swear if you don't stop hovering, I'm going to punch you!"
"If you would just—"
Ari growled at him. "Yes, I was confused. Yes, I momentarily," she stressed the word for even more emphasis than just her choice in grammar, "forgot who I was. But if you had ten dreams in a row where you were constantly someone else, then So Would YOU!"
The Incident—as she was mentally dubbing the horrible nightmare-riddled dream-sequence-from-hell—was over a week done. The Corsair and the Doctor had been constantly with her ever since and it was driving her crazy. Never a single moment alone in over a week. Nine days of perpetual companionship of at least one Time Lord. Ridiculous! Yes, it had scared her. (Okay, terrified her.) But it hadn't happened since. Nice normal dreams ever since. Of which she was extremely grateful.
"It happened. It's fixed. I'm better. Get. Over. It. And Stop Hovering. Or I Will PUNCH YOU!" Arianna continued, yelling full volume at the Corsair.
And if she was completely honest with herself, she was still a bit scared to sleep again, just on the off chance it did happen again. So many dreams, none of which could be deemed as 'normal', all back to back, where she was the people and it being watching them, sometimes through their eyes, was it any wonder that it took a bit to remember who she was? Was it so odd that she had looked in the mirror and hadn't recognized herself? Really, it was a perfectly rational, logical response to such an incident.
Trying to calm down, she lowered her tone and continued, "I know that you are both worried, and I appreciate it. But seriously, I'm starting to go crazy around here from all your hyper-hovering and being cooped up in the ship all this time. Can't we go somewhere? Anywhere? Please?"
The Corsair exchanged a look with the Doctor, then a little nod. They both looked back at her. "Okay. Where would you like to go?"
"Yes!" She punched the air in excitement. "Don't know, don't care. Just not here!" After all, she wasn't the only one who had been go stark-raving nuts being cooped up in the Tardis for over a week. The Doctor was really not a good one to keep in one location for long. He'd been splitting his time between watching her, 'fixing' the console, and off in either the library (researching her 'condition' probably) and the infirmary.
The first couple days after The Incident, the two Time Lords had given her medication so that she wouldn't dream. She hadn't protested. Then the Doctor's research and the Corsair's chemical engineering had rendered a compound she could take that would decrease her time sensitivity, thus decreasing the dreams. Again she hadn't protested. She had been scared by The Incident as much as they had.
Now, seven days later without a single thing even remotely close to the Incident occurring again, Arianna put her foot down. It was safe. She wasn't going to forget herself again. They could go out. And the two Time Lords could stop their hovering!
"Forwards? Or backwards?"
"Don't care." She was practically bouncing on her feet. "Pick one."
"Event? Meet someone famous?" The Doctor wiggled his eyebrows at her.
"Don't caa-are!" she half-sang.
The Corsair cleared his throat. "How about somewhere nice and easy? Nothing too complicated?" He cocked his head to the side. "Not an actual adventure. Just…" Something that wasn't too strenuous.
Arianna rolled her eyes at him, but didn't protest. Anything to get out of the ship!
The Doctor pondered for several moments, then brightened. "Got it! Know just where to go." He ran around the console to hex 3, 1, then 6, while the Corsair monitored the rest. Pulling levers, switching switches, and one bang on hex 5 later, they landed. "Here we go! Best spa in the universe!"
Ari blinked, tilting her head. "Spa? You took us to a spa?"
"Yes, I did!" He gestured her out of the ship.
"Of everything, out of all space and time, you took us to a spa?"
"Yes!" He practically pouted at her in protest.
The Corsair, however, was smiling widely. It was perfect. Not too strenuous, and what could possibly happen at a resort? He nodded with enthusiasm and went to sign them up for some things.
Ari shook her head in mock sadness. "So instead of not doing anything in the Tardis, we're going to be not doing anything in a spa. How original. And doesn't the Tardis have a spa?" It was all in fun though, her mouth quirking upwards as she gazed around. Her eyes caught on a huge glass wall that became a ceiling (almost reminding her of Platform One in that way with their large galary area). She gasped at the scene.
All in shades of sparkling blue. From navy to a bright blue-white. Shining off what looked like towers of jewels. Or were they single jewels that were as big as towers? They might have been hexagonal cylinders, but maybe not. It didn't detract from their splendor.
"Beautiful," she breathed in awe.
The Doctor preened. "Welcome to Midnight."
"Pretty bright for midnight," she smirked at her.
"Oi! Have you know that there are more midnights than you can imagine!" He joked back at her, then corrected, "But meant this place. Planet's called Midnight."
Ari blinked, but shrugged it off. What they called their planet was their choice. Earth had basically been named 'dirt'. Who was she to judge?
"Ooh!" The Doctor exclaimed, reading over a display of features and tours. " 'S a sapphire waterfall! 'Like all of Midnight's beautiful natural features, this jeweled waterfall, reaches the Cliffs of Oblivion, and then shatters into sapphires at the edge, where they then fall a hundred thousand feet into a crystal ravine.'" He read off the description. He smiled widely at her. "Doesn't that sound fantastic?! Let's go!"
Ari blinked at him, unused to this much enthusiasm from the man who had been moping around the Tardis for ages, and turned to read the sign herself. Her eyebrows went up and she pointed to the fine text under the description. "It's a four-hour long trip one way!"
He bounced on the balls of his feet. "Oh, come on," he whined. " 'S about to board and 's no fun to see alone!"
"Then take the Corsair," she countered, crossing her arms. "I'd rather go sunbathing. Read a book."
The Corsair came over, grinning. "They have an anti-gravity restaurant!"
The Doctor puffed out a sharp breath of annoyed air. "Fine! 'Ll Be back for dinner."
"It's a date!" Ari chirped, then froze with a look of horror. "No, not a date! A scheduled time to eat with friends. It's Not a date!"
The two Time Lords laughed. "Knew what you meant. No worries. Though have you know that 'm quite a catch." He gently puffed out his chest, hands in his jacket pockets, and posed.
Ari couldn't help it. She giggled.
Which, based on the immediate smiles from both men, had been the entire point.
"Oh, get off," she griped good-naturedly. "Be careful."
"Takin' a big space truck with a bunch of strangers across a diamond planet. What could possibly go wrong?"
Ari slapped a hand on her face. "Don't you know better by now to never say that?! Now anything and everything could go wrong!"
The Doctor laughed brightly, a large part of him ecstatic that she wasn't nearly as angry with him as usual, as he began to walk away, " 'S an old wives tale!"
The Corsair had noted his ward's difference in attitude as well. She was less tense, happier, and just in general in a better mood. He smiled wide at that, delighting in the emotions coming over the bond. This was a perfect destination for them. He didn't think he'd felt her this relaxed in…he couldn't think of when.
A small niggle of disquiet entered his mind at the idea that maybe such a large difference in her demeanor wasn't as good as he thought…but he dismissed it. She was enjoying herself for the first time in quite some time. That was a good thing. A great thing! Let them all enjoy it while it lasted!
Ari was still shaking her head (half good-naturedly and half in genuine concern, because with their luck it could easily go either way) at the Doctor's attitude, watching him walk to the boarding platform. She saw several others go onboard, including one obviously-bored teenage boy. She frowned at him. He looked familiar. Did she know him?
The Corsair felt her emotions shift to unease and looked over. "Everything alright?"
Ari kept staring, trying to remember, then sighed. "I think so. Just got a bad feeling all of a sudden." She shrugged. "I'm sure it's nothing." She walked off to see what else the resort had to offer.
The Corsair frowned. If it had been anyone else saying it, he would have agreed and gone to find a good sunning spot. However, a time sensitive had said it. A Type III time sensitive that was currently taking medication that decreased her awareness by a rather wide margin.
He spun in a single circle, trying to see anything that might be out of place, but didn't spot anything. He did it again. Nothing. Again. Nothing. But that didn't mean there couldn't be something else, somewhere else, that he couldn't see. He grabbed his psychic paper and sent the Doctor a message, "Be alert. Possible situation."
It didn't take long for the Doctor to reply, "Understood. Stay with her."
Hopefully it was just a false alarm. But just in case…they were better prepared.
Ari was having a ball!
She'd sunbathed for all of 12 minutes before giving up. It wasn't her thing. Too much thinking with nothing else to do. So instead, she went exploring…and found an indoor waterpark! (It advertised as being the 3rd largest in this sector of the galaxy, with over 32 different water rides. Fun for the whole family, no matter the species!)
She'd been giggling like a little kid ever since. Trying every ride she could (reasonably run to with a stick-in-the-mud Time Lord watching her every move). Twice.
Now she was catching her breath with the Corsair after riding down a tube-swirley with 4 different loop-di-loops. "That was awesome!" she laughed. "Don't you want to go on any?"
The Corsair gave her a gentle smile and shook his head. "No, I'm fine. Don't let me stop you though. Go ahead. Know you want to do it again."
"You bet I do!" and off she went again.
He shook his head, grinning fondly. She finally seemed to be acting her age. Which was just what this trip was supposed to be. Relaxing. Fun.
However, he kept an eye out for anything that could go wrong. So far, so good, but still… He was more than tense waiting for the shoe to fall.
He felt a heat spread through his chest and grabbed the psychic paper. "Threat here."
The Corsair frowned. "Do you want help?"
"Stay with her."
He frowned harder, but sighed. "Stay safe." What else could he say?
The Corsair stayed tense for another hour, watching his ward carefully—ready to jump in and drag her to the Tardis if need be—waiting for any word. Finally, he got it. "All clear." He let out a sharp breath of relief. His entire form slumping as the tension left in a rush.
The next time that Ari came over to make sure he was okay, he went with her down the waterslide.
Ari listened in horror to the Doctor's tale of the trip. As he spoke, she got flashes in her mind of the episode, but it was all in retrospect. She hadn't remembered before he'd left, or she'd have told him not to go! Or gone with him! Or…something! "I'm sorry," she breathed.
The two Time Lords tensed and looked at her. "No, don't be sorry. 'S alright. 'M fine."
"But I could've—"
"No!" the Corsair said sharply. At her hurt expression, he continued, "You gave us warning. That's enough."
"Warning?" She shook her head. "When did I do that?"
"When you said you had a bad feeling," he clarified. "I told the Doctor and we were both on alert after that."
"Wait…" she glanced between them. "That's why you were so tense all afternoon? Because you took an offhand comment seriously?"
The Doctor sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "You're a time sensitive, Ari. Your offhand comments can be nothing…or they could be something much bigger."
"That warning was enough. It's a good thing," the Corsair assured her.
Finally, she nodded. "Okay."
The two males breathed a soft mental sigh of relief.
"So much for taking a break though."
"No worries, we can go somewhere else," the Doctor smiled.
"Where would you like to go?" the Corsair prompted gently.
Neither mentioned the medication she now took daily. It was keeping her stable and sane. No matter how decreased her memories became of the 'episodes', nor how generalized her feelings, it was worth it.
No one wanted an insane Type III time sensitive on the loose.
Written: 04.19.2021 Word Count: 2225
No beta right now, all mistakes are mine.
Yes, I know it's short. Sorry. Trying to get back in the writing-groove…
Constructive criticism please. I know it's not perfect.
Any ideas where you'd like them to go next? Want to do at least one more episode before bringing in Jack. What would you like to see?