"All right, STRIP!" barked the Doctor and Dr. Liz Shaw looked at him in disbelief. Being hit with a hundred barbs thrown by a giant octopoid creature had been horrible enough but this, too?
She had time for a "Here?" before he began to help her. She swatted his hands away, sudden anger cutting through the fog of her pain. "I can do it! I can do it."
She heard someone calling for a medic as she turned her back on the UNIT soldiers, the Doctor, the unconscious Creature, both lanes of stopped traffic and, dear god, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and began to unbutton her cuffs. The Doctor shucked out of his own blue velvet jacket and shirt with a grimace. Most of his barbs came with it. Liz stared at the rash of what looked like hornet stings in his chest and spared him a little sympathy. His pants came off and so did Liz's blouse. A blush began to creep across her face as she stepped out of her skirt, the embedded barbs stabbing runs in her hosiery.
A motorist honked his horn, another one whistled. "'Ullo! Look over here!" There was a flash of light from a camera and Liz flinched.
She began to conjugate Latin verbs in her mind in an effort to stay calm. "Doceō, docēre, docuī, doctus," she mumbled. The Doctor spared her a smile as he plucked poisonous stings from his flesh. She smiled back but the Latin wasn't working. She began to chant the periodic table of elements under her breath. That didn't work either. She hooked her thumbs into the elastic of her panties and hesitated. More catcalls. She concentrated on the Doctor to distract herself from the world.
Hmmm. Interesting. The alien wore Y-fronts. And now he doesn't...ah. Even more interesting. Liz had seen some strange anatomy while on duty at UNIT and she was relieved that the Doctor's, er, morphology seemed so normal. It might be a squinch xenophobic but it'd be hard to look a man in the eyes if you knew he was packing shark claspers in his pants. And the carpet matched the curtains!
She slapped her forehead.
"Miss! Miss! Look over here!"
"Do it, bayyybeeee!"
She was frozen. To her complete horror, Liz also realized that she was coming close to tears.
"HUP!" The ground vibrated with the sudden pounding of heavy boots and Liz was startled to see the soldiers rushing towards her, the Brigadier urging them on with a flick from his swagger stick. Before her foggy mind could begin to wonder what he was playing at his men lined up, shoulder to shoulder, between her and the stalled traffic. "Parade rest. Tight formation," the Brig ordered. They faced the motorists and, as one, gave the butts of their rifles a slap before resting them on the ground. "Good chaps," he said. The day-trippers took the hint. Their applause died away.
"Good chaps," the Doctor echoed. "The one in the jalopy took a snap."
"Oh, did he?" The Brig's eyes flickered towards Captain Mike Yates and Sergeant John Benton. The two men descended on the jalopy to 'negotiate' for the camera. Said talks didn't last long at all and Liz heard a very, very, very satisfying CRUNCH.
Deeply grateful, Liz looked at the Brig's...at Alistair's strong back. "Thank you," she said. He didn't turn his head but he seemed to stand just that much taller. Amō, amāre, amāvī, amātus, that's amore my dear Alistair. Liz drew a shaky breath behind her screen of soldiers and suddenly, desperately, in need of some release, she furiously tore off the ruins of her bra. Tiny beads of blood welled up over her breasts and she winced. Well, that didn't help.
Suddenly her hands stopped working. "Uh?" The Doctor, completely naked and perfectly unconcerned, strode up and took her hands in both of his own. He gave them a rub. "I can't feel that," Liz said and looked up at him with what she hoped was an expression of placid expectancy.
The Doctor shrugged, easing her mind. "It'll pass soon. The toxin isn't fatal to humans."
"Is it fatal to you?" Liz asked, blinking.
"Not a bit. I'll be good as new in an hour."
"You're the lucky one," she sighed.
"Doesn't anything faze you?"
"Not a thing." He bent and helped her off with her boots and knickers. Practically stapled to her flesh those were, ouch. She drew strength from his unconcern and became calm.
She found herself gazing on Alistair again. Yes, be calm. Don't think. Don't count the consequences. Don't consider his wife, but, oh, what sort of person would she be if she didn't? No, don't think. Don't think. Get bandaged up. Get pretty. Then take him.
No. She turned with a jerk. "Why did that thing attack us?" she asked and she couldn't keep the bitterness out of her voice. The Doctor's calm, blue eyes caught her own and she looked away. He knew. He knew and he was sorry.
"It wasn't attacking, per se," he finally answered. One of his eyebrows twitched. Liz didn't speak the language but she knew what that meant and her mouth turned down in disgust. He nodded, confirming her suspicion. He plucked a barb from her neck. "These are, well, I suppose you could call them spermatophores. Spermatozoa? Spermies?"
"Uuuuuuuuugh." Her horror made him grin. "Why shoot them at us?! We're not even within spitting distance of the same species!"
He rubbed his chin in a wise-old-man sort of way. "Some people are less than particular when mating season rolls around. It's...quite a strong drive."
"That's true," Liz muttered.
He shook his head and there passed a sad, but oddly peaceful, moment as they both rested. Then "Turn around," he suddenly ordered. Yes, boss, she thought and obeyed. She held her arms out and rotated slowly while he pinched the remaining sper...ugh, the remaining prickles from her skin. Soon he gave her back a few final swipes as if it were dusty, which felt rather cool and nice, and said "There. I'm finished."
Liz saw the medics stumbling around the slimy hulk of the downed creature to shove their way through the gawking crowd. She turned her head for one last look at Alis...at the Brigadier. She kneaded her numb fingers. Then she made her decision. She looked up into the Doctor's suddenly impassive face. "I'm finished, too."
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