There were Daleks, rolling through the halls, her father screaming, falling, dying. Cybermen and cybermats, cold steel grips and deep, dark tombs. Huge, hulking yeti and Ice Warriors from Mars, chasing her through endless tunnels of snow and ice. There was Jamie, lying prone before her, unmoving and her own life hanging before her.
"Tell us or she dies," comes the hissing voice, hand (claws) hovering near her neck and then Victoria awakes with a start, scream frozen in her throat. Her heart pounds like a drum in her chest, beats against her ribs until they rattle and she can barely breathe, eyes stretched as wide as they can go. Her fingers tangle in her sheets, clutch her blankets in a vice grip and fear washes over her like ocean waves, drowns her in the dark.
Monsters hide in every corner of her room and she cannot go back to sleep, can't even fathom closing her eyes. She slides out of bed with legs made of pudding, pulls on her dressing gown with shaking hands. She pads softly from her room, tries to calm her shattered nerves and slow her frenzied breathing. She knots her fingers over and over, trembles all over and she hates nightmares worse than she hates the terrors that inspired them, because nightmares can't be fought off with some clever trick of the Doctor's, can't be knocked down by Jamie's fist, can't be beaten back no matter what she does or how brave she tries to be.
They linger in her veins, flood her lungs and she tries to tell herself it's okay, they're okay, they won and survived (except her father and Toberman and...), tries to recount just how they took out all those horrible, horrible creatures. But even as she whispers reassurances to herself, a voice rises in her mind, a question of what if? What if they can't win next time? What if the one who dies is the Doctor? Or Jamie? What if what if what if?
Be brave, she tells herself but sometimes being brave isn't enough, sometimes the brave fall too. She promises herself she'll keep Jamie and the Doctor safe, just as they do her, but sometimes she doesn't think she'll be able to, doesn't think she'll ever be strong enough.
(she's stood up to villains, to Daleks, to Ice Warriors, beat Cybermen with thermoses, shot Cybermats, stood her ground against arrogant space captains but still, she's afraid it'll never, ever be enough)
She's still shaking all over, still trembling with half remembered nightmares as she stumbles down the dimly lit halls, wishes she wasn't so alone. She thinks she might be imagining the cold, hopes she runs into someone soon, the Doctor or Jamie and-
"No, no Jamie, not there, there."
"That's not what ye said."
"It most certainly is."
Victoria turns the corner, curiosity pushing her fear back and away, and peeks through an open door, sees Jamie and the Doctor frowning comically at each other, bits and pieces of something or other spread out around them.
"I told you to connect this bit here to that bit there, not the bit over there," the Doctor insists, in what Victoria decides is possibly the most confusing instructions ever.
"No, ye didna," Jamie retorts, shaking a clump of wires at the Doctor, who crosses his arms.
Victoria smiles and leans against the door frame, feels fondness well up inside her as she watches them, her silly, silly boys.
"Of course I did, why would I tell you to put that there, when it really goes here?" the Doctor demands, eyebrows up and Jamie can't seem to answer (not that Victoria blames him, she's only been here a few minutes and is already entirely lost).
She bites her lip to fight a laugh and feels her fear evaporate because maybe there are monsters out there, horrors and terrors and real life nightmares, but there's also this, two brave, silly boys and her, a team, a family, stronger and braver together and they'll make it through this, she knows they will.
She knows they'll never let her down, never let her get hurt and she promises to do the same, will be their hero in the dark.
We'll be okay, she thinks, watches them continue to argue.
We'll be okay.