Aurelia's Drabbles by lurking_latinist

Summary: Drabbles, double-drabbles, and drabble sequences. Many characters, all eras, ratings All Ages-Teen, no warning. Mostly gen and Doctor/Romana; ships indicated in notes.
Rating: Teen
Categories: Multi-Era
Characters: None
Genres: Drabble
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Published: 2022.04.23
Updated: 2022.08.18


Chapter 1: Hindsight is...
Chapter 2: Found in Translation
Chapter 3: Crowning Glory
Chapter 4: Brainstorming
Chapter 5: Excuses, Excuses
Chapter 6: True Love and Time (go on forever)
Chapter 7: Blazon
Chapter 8: Powers
Chapter 9: Dernier
Chapter 10: Death, the Lady
Chapter 11: Nitro-Nine
Chapter 12: Happy Medium
Chapter 13: Vicarious
Chapter 14: Narcissus
Chapter 15: 'Heiress Elopes with Disgraced Nobleman'
Chapter 16: Sixes and Sevens
Chapter 17: Spanner for Broken Hearts
Chapter 18: Lost in Spacetime
Chapter 19: Reverberations
Chapter 20: Ephemera
Chapter 21: In the Dock
Chapter 22: Antanaclasis
Chapter 23: Anything Once
Chapter 24: Overlooked
Chapter 25: Nociception
Chapter 26: Making History
Chapter 27: Never
Chapter 28: Listener
Chapter 29: Emo Phase
Chapter 30: Dog Park
Chapter 31: Kinetics
Chapter 32: In Cambridge
Chapter 33: Getaway
Chapter 34: Tea Break
Chapter 35: Subconscious
Chapter 36: See Through My Eyes
Chapter 37: Goodbye, Hello
Chapter 38: ...I Can Do Better
Chapter 39: Ocean Life
Chapter 40: Stolen Moments
Chapter 41: XOXO
Chapter 42: Sauce for the Goose
Chapter 43: Stopped Clock
Chapter 44: From 'A Complete Guide to Scottish Music'
Chapter 45: Apricate
Chapter 46: A Sensible Solution
Chapter 47: No Ordinary Miss!
Chapter 48: Odd Couple
Chapter 49: His Secret Wish
Chapter 50: Historical Artifact
Chapter 51: and will not let me sleep
Chapter 52: Surprise!
Chapter 53: A Direction in Life

Chapter 1: Hindsight is...

Author's Notes: Seven, Ace and Hex. Originally posted to AO3. Warning for mention of COVID-19.

"Why d'you do that?" said Ace curiously. "Sort of... call your coughs and sneezes."

“Try it,” chirped the Doctor, mock-innocent. “It’s this planet’s equivalent of tea.”

Hex drank obediently, then spat out the “tea,” coughing, as Ace laughed remorselessly.

“Just chokin’ on your horrible tea!” he gasped. (The Doctor sipped his own, silently.)

“Why d’you do that?” said Ace curiously. “Sort of... call your coughs and sneezes.”

“Habit, really,” said Hex. “Don’t want everyone to think I’ve got the virus, do I.”

“The virus?”

“Right, 1980s, I keep forgetting. I mean COVID.”

Ace still looked blank.

“Oh my god”—Hex turned to the Doctor—“you sent her to 2021 and you didn’t tell her?”

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Chapter 2: Found in Translation

Author's Notes: One and Barbara. Originally posted to AO3.

"Barbara" is a Latin word....

The translation circuits had been prone to act up, from time to time, in those early days; in fact he thought it was fiddling with them that had finally fritzed the chameleon circuit for good. They tended to over-translate, giving him more dimensions of information than the humans had ever intended. And they didn't quite understand what Latin was, or names; which was why, when she said "I'm Barbara Wright," a part of his mind had heard I am the outsider who will shape you.

He knew it was a glitch. Only later did he realize it was a prophecy.

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Chapter 3: Crowning Glory

Author's Notes: Commander Maxil/Ermintrude the hat. Very cracky. Originally posted to AO3.

Commander Maxil meets the love of his lives.

Her graceful form swayed ever so slightly from side to side; he could look at nothing else.

Here she was. For so many decades he had desired her, worked for her, striven to deserve her—and now she was his, finally his.

He held her tenderly in his arms, then lifted her up. She ruffled his curly hair as she moved, and he could almost imagine that he heard her whisper lovingly beside his ear.

"Congratulations on your promotion, Commander," said his new superior officer, watching him caress his helmet... wondering just how exactly Maxil had made it this far.

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Chapter 4: Brainstorming

Author's Notes: Peri, splinter Clara, mentioned Six. Originally posted to AO3.

She's only just met the Doctor, but Clare Oswin is certain she knows what he needs.

"Here's an idea," said Clare. "Make your friend some cue cards."

"Huh?" said Peri. She'd nearly frozen in vacuum before the other girl had picked up her and the Doctor in her space yacht, so she felt entitled not to be at her most articulate.

"Y'know, like for speeches. Except for manners." Clare mimed consulting an index card: "'Thank you so much, Miss Oswin, for your timely intervention.' It'd save you doing all that."

"I don't think he'd use them," Peri said with a yawn.

"Well, I think it's a good idea," said Clare to herself. "I shall remember it."

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Chapter 5: Excuses, Excuses

Author's Notes: Sarah Jane. Warning for sexism and unwelcome flirting by random creeper. Originally posted to AO3. Podficced by the wonderful KDheart: Excuses, Excuses

Some women turn down dates by saying they have to wash their hair. Sarah Jane is more original.

“Let me guess—you’re the girl that writes up the fashions, eh?” said the man in the Fox and Hounds.

“No,” said Sarah Jane, “actually I mainly work on stories with a science angle.” And I haven’t been a “girl” for fifteen years.

“Oh, a clever one! I like the brainy type.”

Sarah looked, not too surreptitiously, to see if the friends she was meeting had arrived.

“Want to get a drink with me tonight?” he said.

“I can’t,” she replied. “I have to charge my dog,” and walked away.

“The lies some people do tell,” he said aloud. Incorrectly.

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Chapter 6: True Love and Time (go on forever)

Author's Notes: Four/Romana. Originally posted to AO3. Title from the song of the same name.

Never promise what you can't be sure of.

“It can’t last forever, can it? You and me,” said Romana.

“Of course it can,” said the Doctor, recklessly.

“Nothing lasts forever. Didn’t they teach that in your day?” She was sleepy and melancholy, a dangerous combination.

“I don’t know,” he said, holding her closer. “I didn’t pay attention.”

“Think about it,” she pursued. “The universe itself will end, so each part is contingent. Including love.”

“How’s this,” said the Doctor. “If we ever get separated, we’ll meet up at the heat death of the universe. Then we’ll go back and start all over again.”

“It’s a date,” said Romana.

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Chapter 7: Blazon

Author's Notes: Seven/Romana. Drabble sequence. Originally posted to AO3.

It’s hard to say, strangely, which of them has changed more.

Blazon: French for "coat-of-arms" or "shield." A literary blazon (or blason) catalogues the physical attributes of a subject, usually female. (Poetry Foundation, Glossary of Poetic Terms)

He sees her eyes now, more than he ever did before, although he misses the top of her head.

Soft eyes, now. Soft with tiny lines around them, and prone to focus on empty air while she talks. Weren’t they bright with mischief once? Didn’t they use to cut through his layers of pretense?

Or maybe it’s him that has changed. Maybe he’s folded himself within a harder shell, and won’t let her see anymore.

She closes her eyes, and it is as if the lights went out. There is only one consolation: he kisses each of them, softly, softly.

She’s cut her hair. Soon after her return, they tell him; it brushes her shoulders now, a pragmatic length, easy for a busy President to care for. But he’s read too many Earth stories, because it makes him think of Rapunzel in exile.

He imagines the silky mass falling under her shears, and the story changes; Rumpelstiltskin and his treasure of spun gold. He runs his fingers through her hair, as fair and fine as ever. Who ever heard of a story, he thinks, where the funny little man with the secret name won the queen’s heart in the end?

He doesn’t pull her along by her hand anymore. His hands are smaller than they were, talented rather than beautiful. Hers are graceful, delicate. They always were, in her first body too.

Her hand lies loosely between both of his; he cups it, gently, as if cradling a small bird. He’s not sure she realizes that he’s holding it, engrossed as she is in her book. He imagines kissing her palm, winning her attention.

He wonders if it’s true, or just self-delusion, that the reason he doesn’t pull her by the hand anymore is that they’re going the same way.

When he first saw her she wore white, a long gown of Presidential white as if she foresaw her destiny. He was slightly, absurdly shocked when she changed into trousers. Nobody has legs on Gallifrey; or if they do, you’d never know. He found himself suspecting, then, that she’d someday understand him.

She’s wearing robes now, but she’s sitting far closer than necessary. He feels the pressure of her thigh and the outline of her kneecap through the heavy fabric. He treasures the idea that he might be the only person on Gallifrey who’s thought about the President’s legs today.

He can hear the thudding of her hearts, echoed in his own chest as they press against each other. Hers are speeding up, beginning to pound. With all that’s passed, she still remembers the rhythms of their old dance.

He’s oddly sad, because he’s sure he’s lost that passion. Reckoning by regenerations he’s middle-aged, and granting that he’s lost those lives frighteningly young, he still feels old and tired. He’s just visiting her for sentimental reasons; what he’s taking in his arms is a memory.

Then the blood rushes in his ears as his hearts race into time with Romana’s.

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Chapter 8: Powers

Author's Notes: Thirteen and Dhawan!Master. Not shippy but not not shippy. First person. Quite unlike my usual style probably because I wrote it mostly in a dream. So, you know, warning for that.

He wants to defeat her, but it's got to feel right.

It was not the first time I'd pursued her over rooftops.

I thought I was about to catch her—grab her by her stupid lapels, see the fear spark in her eyes again—but she took one more step backwards, and then she was dangling by her fingertips over a sheer drop.

I, the Master, exercised the power of my will over time and space, and a narrow ledge existed just below my enemy's feet. She dropped onto it, breathed deeply, and ran away again.

Simple transmigration of an object. A schoolchild's trick. It probably appears impressive to you. Humans!

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Chapter 9: Dernier

Author's Notes: Ninth Doctor, mentioned Romana. Warning for offscreen major character death. Originally posted to AO3.

The Doctor sees an old enemy differently now.

They had made fun of Scaroth, the two of them, at the time. His pathetic disguise and his objets d’art and his human wife and his desperation. They’d defeated his planet-killing scheme and counted it a holiday.

“What a sad way to go,” he’d said afterwards. “Last of a species.” She’d taken his arm and smiled. She’d been with him then.

She had been the flower of Gallifrey: she’d embodied everything they could have been, should have been, and mostly weren’t. And that had killed her in the end.

It had stopped being funny, somehow, now that he was alone.

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Chapter 10: Death, the Lady

Author's Notes: Seven/Death, Eight/Grace, some bizarre combination of those. I don't even know. Warning for canonical death and regeneration.

How could Death ever just let the Doctor go?

He's always been her sister's man. But she still wants him, more than ever, after so many years. He's given her such sweet gifts—and stolen what's rightfully hers, too, the little thief.

He's coming to her again. She knows she can never keep him, but she clings as long as she can. She's waiting in a hail of bullets, an anaesthetic gas, a woman's hands. A woman with skill and talent and the best intentions, and the Lady lets herself become her.

He's forgotten her with everything else, forgotten their old bargain. Innocently he kisses Death under the stars.

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Chapter 11: Nitro-Nine

Author's Notes: Thirteen and Ace. Inspired by That Line from The Halloween Apocalypse and probably soon to be jossed via THAT LINE! from the Centenary Special trailer.

Originally posted to AO3.

"That stuff's dangerous, Professor," says Ms McShane, known to her friends as Ace.

"I was in a pinch!" protests the Doctor.

Ace hms sternly. "How many times have I told you it's unstable?"

"I know what I'm doing! Ace, you know—"

"And the timers are unreliable," she continues inexorably.

"I know how to be careful."

"That's not what that friend of yours tells me," she replies. "Don't let me hear about you taking stupid risks again."

"Ace..." the Doctor grumbles.

"No more nitro-nine," says Ace firmly. "I've developed a much better formula now. Let me get you stocked up."

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Chapter 12: Happy Medium

Author's Notes: Eeyore!Eight/Charley, during Caerdroia. Internal monologue. Originally posted to AO3.

There's a lot he doesn't tell her.

“I don’t know why the other two tolerate you as a traveling companion.”

I know why I do. Because I’m in love with you. I can’t remember how the other two think—I know what they know but I can’t be what they are—but one’s too much of a fool to realize what you are to us, the other’s too clever by half to tell you. You’d never have thought I was Little Bear’s porridge, the happy medium, would you? Whenever I’ve half-admitted it—that’s been this me. The nasty one.

Do you want one-third of two hearts, Charley?

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Chapter 13: Vicarious

Author's Notes: Six and Martha. Originally posted to AO3. Inspired by astrivikia's manips. Podficced by KDheart: Vicarious.

Martha vents to a stranger... she thinks.

"It just feels like shouting into a void sometimes," said Martha. "It's like, unless he needs me I'm invisible. Maybe I should try your strategy." She gestured at his outfit.

"I'm sure he appreciates you, really," he said.

She laughed. "He wouldn't notice if I exchanged myself for a Martha-bot." She hastily touched wood—better superstitious than sorry.

"As someone who's been accused of emotional cluelessness in the past... and who's had friends replaced by robots, come to think of it... let me apologize, vicariously as it were."

"Oh, no," said Martha. "I mean, it's not like it's your fault."

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Chapter 14: Narcissus

Author's Notes: Six and Peri, heavy angst. Inspired by a plot point in Village of the Angels (but alternate continuity from that), by way of dyonisia96's art. Originally posted to AO3.

“Peri,” he gasped before his mouth changed. “Don’t come any closer. Don’t touch me.”

She reached out to him, horrified but brave. Believing, poor girl, that her love and fidelity would be enough to save him, stop him becoming a monster.

“I won’t be in control. You must get away. The TARDIS—”

Just too late, as his voice froze into stone, he remembered Peri’s pocket mirror. That would trap him, Narcissus-like, under his own gaze. It wouldn’t save him—nothing could save him now—but Peri could get away.

Perhaps she’d think of the mirror trick herself. She had before.

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Chapter 15: 'Heiress Elopes with Disgraced Nobleman'

Author's Notes: Four/Romana, pure fluff. Originally posted to AO3.

It's important to define the relationship.

“‘Heiress Elopes with Disgraced Nobleman,’” Romana read from the morning paper which the hotel had sent up with their breakfast.

“An exciting story, but not a terribly original one,” the Doctor commented with a wink.

She buttered a scone. “Please don’t wink, it’s terrifying. And I was told at the time it was a government job. That’s the exact inverse of an elopement.”

“And yet we’ve finished with the Key to Time and here you are.”

“Here I am,” she agreed.

“Can one have a retroactive elopement?”

She looked thoughtful. “Yes. That’s one of the privileges of the Time Lords.”

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Chapter 16: Sixes and Sevens

Author's Notes: Six and Peri. Warning for suicide mention. Originally posted to AO3.

Peri's concerned about the Doctor. He's not as reassuring as he thinks he is.

“I worry about you sometimes,” said Peri, in that combative way she had when she was really frightened. “D-did you really think it was a suicide mission?”

“I don’t want to die, if that’s what you mean. Pulled it off, didn’t I?”

She nodded, still nervous. “It’s just, sometimes when you get so upset…”

The Doctor spoke as sincerely as he knew how. “Quite the reverse. I’m determined to live as long as possible.” His face grew grim. “You see, Peri, I’ve met the next chap. He’d only say ‘I told you so.’ I’ve got to spite the little schemer!”

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Chapter 17: Spanner for Broken Hearts

Author's Notes: Doctor/TARDIS and Ray Defwydd. Originally posted to AO3.

The Doctor and Ray might be a little too similar, in some ways.

He could ask Ray to come with him. She might even say yes, and both he and Mel would appreciate some more company.

But, he realized, it was a recipe for disaster. However much she thought she loved that little motorcycle of hers, she’d inevitably fall for his TARDIS. She’d want to wire up buttons and tinker with circuits. And the old girl would be flattered—probably welcome the opportunity to make him jealous (and of a human!), after the way he’d carried on with dear Bessie, all those centuries ago.

Goodbye, Ray, he decided. Enough broken hearts here already.

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Chapter 18: Lost in Spacetime

Author's Notes: This one takes a bit of explaining. I watched the 2020 movie Lost at Christmas, in which Sylvester McCoy and Frazer Hines appear as a pair of side characters who are old friends, while Caitlin Blackwood (best known to Who fans as little Amelia) briefly appears as a young woman called Clara. (Clara! Honest!) McCoy's character gives some much-needed advice on the leads' rather baffling romance, but let's be honest, I wasn't there for the leads, I was there for Seven and Jamie. So here they are.

Double drabble, originally posted to AO3.

Jamie isn’t sure why this new Doctor is so keen on interfering in the love lives of a couple of strangers.

“It’s all very well, Doctor,” said Jamie, on the walk back to the concealed TARDIS, “and I’m glad you saved that Christmas woman from freezing to death in the snow, but did it have to be us?”

“Eh?” said the Doctor vaguely. Jamie had learned that this new Doctor liked to seem mysterious and evasive, and was rather better at it than the Doctor he tried to avoid thinking of as “his own one,” but he still liked to talk, too. So he asked again.

“Was there nobody else in Glencoe that would talk a bit of sense into her and her young man?”

“Oh, no, Jamie, that wasn’t why we were there, that was just our good deed for the day. Quite spontaneous,” explained the Doctor.

“Then why exactly were we spending Christmas pretending to be snowed in at a wretched hotel?”

“Ah.” The Doctor hit at a pebble with the tip of his recovered umbrella, not quite looking at Jamie. “You remember that red-headed girl, Miss Clara?”

“Aye,” said Jamie, taken aback.

“Well, she poses something of a mystery in the Web of Time, and I’m very much afraid that she has something to do with my future…”

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Chapter 19: Reverberations

Author's Notes: Earl Sigma (The Happiness Patrol). Originally posted to AO3.

Earl's a wise man and a musician, and he knows it sometimes takes a while for a chord to resolve.

Earl made it home eventually—later than planned, but then he did have the tale of the Terra Alphan revolution to tell.

He didn’t make himself the hero when he told the story, so he got lots of questions about the other two outsiders. Agents provocateurs? Believers in system-wide revolution? Had they been seen elsewhere?

No, just wanderers with a conscience.

“Must have been something wrong with them,” quipped a colleague, and Earl told the man off for armchair diagnosing.

Many years later, he saw a patient with an impossible story: time travel, shape-changers, vanishing boxes.

Earl believed her immediately.

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Chapter 20: Ephemera

Author's Notes: Written for the Ersatz Genremixer prompt "Doctor/Romana - pictures & damsel in distress & amnesia." Originally posted to AO3. Double drabble.

He found traces of them sometimes.

He knew, once he recovered the TARDIS, that other people had travelled with him before, in that life he did not remember. He found traces of them sometimes: an inscription in a book (“With love from Evelyn”), a handkerchief in a dusty drawer (“V. W.” picked out in neat embroidery), and once a photograph.

There was no name or date on it; it could have been anyone, anywhere. The frame was almost filled by two smiling faces, a fair-haired young woman and an older man with a mop of curls. He had his arm around her; she leaned on him affectionately. They seemed to regard the act of being photographed as the greatest joke imaginable.

Looking at them, the Doctor felt that twinge of familiarity that he had learned it was futile to pursue. Who had they been to him, he wondered? Friends, enemies, strangers he’d met once? Had he owed them a favor, had they been relying on him—were they even now wondering what had happened to him?

That night he dreamt of a pretty girl in a straw hat. “I waited,” she said, in her dream-tower. “Why didn’t you rescue me? I waited, and you didn’t come.”

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Chapter 21: In the Dock

Author's Notes: Six, mention of Peri. Warning for ambiguous character death.

"You—killed Peri?"

He wished he could believe it was another delusion.

When he'd been at his worst, after regenerating, he hadn't believed she was there. He'd thought there was an alien invader in his ship, and all the time it had been her, really her, full of life and care and concern. He'd come back to himself and found she'd survived him after all.

He didn't want to be ill again. But if he was, maybe she was really there, in the courtroom too. Maybe he'd recover his senses and find she'd been by his side all along.

(He tried to hope.)

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Chapter 22: Antanaclasis

Author's Notes: Seven/Romana. Originally posted on AO3.

Being a famous renegade isn’t all big speeches and blowing up Daleks, you know.

Antanaclasis: the repetition of a word ... in which the second occurrence utilizes a different and sometimes contrary meaning from the first (Merriam-Webster).

The Doctor, Romana knows, has sticky fingers. She’s seen him deftly lifting interesting widgets as he sweeps through someone’s lab; it’s only got worse with this incarnation’s penchant for conjuring. For all his virtues, he’s the sort of person after whom careful hostesses count the spoons.

There’s only one woman (she knows it’s her) who has the opposite problem. He’s been fixated on her hands tonight, holding and caressing them, so she’s not entirely surprised to see that a delicate filigree ring has somehow blossomed on her little finger.

She does wonder, sometimes, whether he hasn’t heard of gift wrap.

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Chapter 23: Anything Once

Author's Notes: Sabalom Glitz/Inquisitor Darkel. (Yes, really. Blame it on animate-mush, who told me this was the new crack ship when it came up during a conversation about Gilbert and Sullivan AUs.) Originally posted on AO3.

Sabalom Glitz is an unashamed opportunist. But is this an opportunity?

Glitz welcomed his rescue from the limbo of the Master's TARDIS. Still, the presence of the haughty Inquisitor herself was a not entirely pleasant surprise.

"Bring the human to my chambers," she ordered. "I want to... interrogate him."

Was Glitz going out of his mind, or had that been a seductive pause?

"I might have some... questions of my own, ma'am," he ventured, throwing a similar tone into the words. He didn't actually dare wink at her, but he came close.

She smiled, a thin, secret smile, but it was at him.

Well, his motto had always been "anything once."

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Chapter 24: Overlooked

Author's Notes: Jo Grant. Written for dw100's challenge 886: overlook. Originally posted on AO3.

An alien invader fails to reckon with Jo.

General Orion, of the Fifth Space Fleet, thought Earth would prove a laughably easy conquest. He descended in force on its defenders’ headquarters, took them by surprise, and even assured the resident Time Lord’s compliance through hostages.

Then a slight young woman turned up after her day off. She made the tea, she said demurely. His sentry let her through.

Later, she asked to speak to Orion. “What is it, darling?” was all he managed before a small golden blur karate-chopped him in the neck.

It’s always the little ones, he thought afterwards, as Benton escorted him to the cells.

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Chapter 25: Nociception

Author's Notes: Seven and Ace. Written for badficbilly as a treat in Space Swap 2022. Originally posted on AO3. Double drabble.

Ace has learned something about the Doctor—something she's not quite comfortable with.

Ace holds herself stiff and apart, jacket folded around her shoulders. "Don't touch my mind," she says.

"Please," says the Doctor. "You were close to that psychic blast. Let me check."

"No," she replies. "I'm allowed to have some secrets, whatever you say."

"It's not like that," he says. "Anything you don't want me to see, just—"

"Yeah, you said. 'Imagine a door.' How can I trust you? Have you been reading my mind every time you touch me?"

"No," he says.

"But how can I trust that?"

He reaches for her hand, gently.

She shrinks away. "Don't touch me!"

He finds her later, outside, staring into the night. Sweaty and dirty: she's been running.

"I'm sorry, Ace," he says, sitting down not too close.


He forces the words out. "I should have told you sooner."


"But—it's not just one-way. If I may, Ace—I can let you hear my mind."

She looks at him for the first time. "Really? You'd let me?"

"Not everything, any more than I want to see all of yours. But my intentions, my sincerity." And the things I can't ever quite say.

She thinks deeply. Then she reaches for his hand.

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Chapter 26: Making History

Author's Notes: Ian/Barbara. Written for sixbeforelunch as a treat in Space Swap 2022. Originally posted on AO3.

The travellers leave their mark.

One long Italian afternoon, Barbara found Ian with paint and an empty wine-jar. "What are you doing?" she said.

"Making history," he grinned. He showed her what he'd painted under the jar's broad rim: BARBARA ET IAN HIC ERANT.

"'Barbara and Ian were here,'" she translated. "Vandalizing ancient Roman artifacts?"

"They're not ancient," he pointed out. "You might as well call what we have at home ancient English artifacts—they are to Vicki!"

"Home," she sighed. "Think we'll make it back?"

"If we do," he said, "let's look for my artifact in the British Museum!"

"It's a date," she said.

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Chapter 27: Never

Author's Notes: One and Susan. Written for QuailFence as a treat in Space Swap 2022. Originally posted to AO3.

The Doctor makes Susan a promise.

They've been a few days away from the Homeworld when his little granddaughter seems to get quieter. At first she dragged him out onto each new planet, eager to explore; now she sticks to his side.

"Is something wrong?" he asks her. "Did something bad happen? Are you regretting that you came?"

She shakes her head, reluctant to speak. But then she admits: "They're coming for us, aren't they? They'll take us Home. I shall have to leave you."

"Never," he vows, and for all the ways he might fail to give her the perfect childhood, he keeps his promise.

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Chapter 28: Listener

Author's Notes: Twelve, Missy and Nardole. Written for dw100's challenge 887: lurk. Originally posted on AO3.

Nardole keeps his ears open.

Nardole stood outside the Vault. He didn't have a glass pressed to the door, as such, but he did have his bionic ear turned to the max. The Doctor had been inside for way too long.

Were they talking? Fighting? ... Did he want to know? He couldn't hear anything.

Finally a sound: she was playing scales, over and over, thumping the keys. (What was he doing?)

A guitar riff harmonized with the obsessive scales. She changed keys, clashing, but the Doctor followed. They chased each other around the circle of fifths until Nardole almost thought they were actually making music.

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Chapter 29: Emo Phase

Author's Notes: Four/Romana, mentioned Two. Written for the prompt "A finds photos of B's old emo phase. B is absolutely mortified about it, but A thinks it's pretty cute," from otpcompendium on Tumblr.

Romana finds some old pictures.

“Oh my goodness, your hair,” Romana gasped. “All floppy and in your eyes. How cute. Did you dye it?”

“No, it was just black,” said the Doctor, trying to get the picture back from her.

“Aww, and you were in a little band with your friends.”

“I was older than you are now,” he muttered. “Don’t be condescending.”

“I’m not, I think it’s sweet.”

“I can probably still play the recorder,” he mused.

He performed a series of gestures that she recognized as prelude to an exhaustive pocket search. She interrupted him, laughing: “I thought it was just a phase?”

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Chapter 30: Dog Park

Author's Notes: Four/Romana and K9. From the prompt "cocker spaniel" left by luvbarryfefe at the "Merry Month of Drabbles" meme. Originally posted to AO3.

"You do know K9 is a robot, right?"

"It's a dog park," explains the Doctor. "For dogs that live in cities to be able to run and play."

Romana looks skeptical. "You do know K9 is a robot, right?"

"Shh," says the Doctor, and points to K9 in the distance.

"Error. Error," his voice burbles faintly. "Play object now aquatically located." He circles his ears sadly towards a tennis ball bobbing in the dubious-smelling pond. "Request assistance."

An enthusiastic spaniel lollops into the water, grabs the ball in its mouth, play-bows to K9, then runs away. The little robot gives chase, beeping happily.

"See, he's made a friend!"

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Chapter 31: Kinetics

Author's Notes: Doctor/TARDIS. From a prompt at the "Merry Month of Drabbles" meme.

Kinetics: in physics, the study of motion and its causes; alternatively, in chemistry, the study of the rate at which a reaction proceeds.

Sometimes she runs on mercury—the quicksilver element of travellers and liars—and needs refilling. Sometimes she runs on the cosmic energies of the Eye of Harmony, or the leakage from the Cardiff Rift. Sometimes she's steered by typing in coordinates, like a computer; sometimes by playing chords on arrays of shiny buttons, like the pipe organ she once turned into as a joke; sometimes it's a dance, an argument, a song.

But always they bounce off each other, always they return; always, always, whatever forms she and her thief borrow, whatever interactions they mimic, they move as a pair.

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Chapter 32: In Cambridge

Author's Notes: Liz Shaw and Clare Keightley. Written for lomelinde's prompt "Unexpected visitor" at the Merry Month of Drabbles meme.

Clare meets with her advisor.

“Come in!” said Liz, at the knock on her office door. She looked up from her notes to see one of her favorite students.

“I’m sorry, Dr Shaw,” said Clare Keightley, “I know we didn’t have a meeting scheduled, and I hope I’m not interrupting, but I’ve had the strangest experience!”

“Tell me,” said Liz, concerned at her student’s uncharacteristic agitation.

“Only I’m afraid you’ll think I’m mad, you see. It’s about—well, aliens—and—and time travel.”

“Is it, now?” Liz replied. “Perhaps I’m not so easily shocked as you think. Was it the Doctor, then, or someone else?”

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Chapter 33: Getaway

Author's Notes: Seven & Ace. Written for human_nature/romanajo123's prompt "Absconding" at the Merry Month of Drabbles meme. Originally posted to AO3.

A truly formidable foe.

Ace wasn’t sure they’d ever faced anything quite as scary as this creature: purple-faced and snarling, it held her in one powerful hand, the Doctor in another, and a massive cleaver in a third. All their attempts at stealth had not overcome its watchfulness. She squirmed, trying to reach her weaponry.

“But you must see reason,” the Doctor said desperately. “We’ve just dealt with the Great Sand Beast that was on the point of destroying your entire city!”

“That’s right!” Ace contributed, still struggling.

“Galactic heroes or no galactic heroes,” rumbled the chef, “nobody eats at my restaurant without paying!”

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Chapter 34: Tea Break

Author's Notes: Seven and splinter!Clara. Written for human_nature/romanajo123's prompt "Tea break" at the Merry Month of Drabbles meme. Originally posted to AO3.

Clara's just a cocktail waitress. And the mysterious little man is just here for a drink. Yeah, right....

Clara spun from customer to customer, offering drinks and a bright smile. She must keep her cheerful facade up, even minutes before her break.

At last she ducked into the poky closet where the waitresses were allowed to sit and rest. Then she noticed the strange little man.

She recognized him—he'd been at the bar for hours, staring into brandy he never drank.

He smiled at her as if there was nothing odd in his presence. "Cup of tea?" he asked. Then he produced one, steaming, apparently from his pocket.

This man was a mystery she had to solve.

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Chapter 35: Subconscious

Author's Notes: Eight & Fitz. Written for the prompt "Bad horror movies" left by dragonofeternal at the Merry Month of Drabbles meme. Originally posted to AO3.

Think positive!

"Doctor," said Fitz tentatively.

"Hmm?" said the Doctor. They were inching slowly down the dark corridor, back to back, trying not to leave any corners unobserved where something could jump out at them.

"Er... you know how you said this creature transforms based on what's in your mind?"

"That's right," said the Doctor. "So think positive!"

"I... might have been trying to teach Compassion about B-movies," Fitz admitted. "And it's really damn hard not to remember that right now."

Well, thought the Doctor, at least that explained why they were now being pursued by a bikini-clad woman fifty feet high.

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Chapter 36: See Through My Eyes

Author's Notes: Eight and Fitz. Written for the prompt "The blind leading the blind" from lomelinde at the Merry Month of Drabbles meme. Originally posted to AO3.

Fitz doesn't know anything about this technology, and the Doctor is having other issues.

"Fitz," said the Doctor. "Has the light under the cell door gone?"

"No," said Fitz.

"Then the brainchip must have started to malfunction, like I predicted. Visual nerve connections have gone first." He took a deep, panicky breath, reaching out. "Just as long as I can walk..."

"We've got to hack into the lock first! How will you—"

"You'll have to do it."

Fitz looked helplessly at the Doctor. "But I don't know what any of these wires are!"

"Don't worry, I'll talk you through." His voice became curiously serene, even as Fitz was panicking. "First, find the green wire..."

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Chapter 37: Goodbye, Hello

Author's Notes: Six, Peri, and Grace Holloway. Written for the prompt "Reunion" from CeruleanTactician at the Merry Month of Drabbles meme. Originally posted to AO3.

Grace keeps wondering if she'll meet the Doctor again. And who he'll be, if she does...

"Doctor?" said Grace tentatively. Sure, he'd regenerated again, but that alien fashion sense was unique.

"I beg your pardon, madam?" replied the man in the patchwork coat. "Do I know you?" He turned to the pretty brunette at his side. "Peri, do we know this lady?"

"I don't know her," said Peri. "I've no idea what you know."

"I'm sorry," said Grace, "I—I must have mistaken you for one of my colleagues."

"Then we shall be off," he said.

"Don't be rude, Doctor," said Peri, and smiled at Grace. "He is the Doctor, and I'm Peri. Can we help?"

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Chapter 38: ...I Can Do Better

Author's Notes: Six, Constance, and Flip. Written for the prompt "Anything you can do" from romanajo123/human_nature at the Merry Month of Drabbles meme. Originally posted to AO3.

Constance, Flip, and the Doctor share the housework.

"I don't see why we have to have a rota," said Flip. "Doesn't the TARDIS clean herself up?"

"She's a very powerful space-time machine," replied the Doctor loftily, "not a housemaid."

"I'll put you down for dusting and hoovering, then," said Constance. "Philippa, do you prefer washing up or drying?"

"Drying," said Flip, "if you don't mind washing!"

"Hold on," said the Doctor. "I've seen how you dry dishes, Flip, you just stack them in the rack."

"So?" said Flip. "They dry!"

"Very well, Doctor," said Constance, "as you're such an expert, I'll put you down for drying as well!"

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Chapter 39: Ocean Life

Author's Notes: Five and Nyssa. Written for the prompt "Ocean life" from romanajo123/human_nature at the Merry Month of Drabbles meme. Originally posted to AO3.

Nyssa tries something new.

"It's called paddling," said the Doctor, "or wading perhaps. It's practically what the sea is for, Nyssa."

Nyssa looked doubtful. "I think perhaps the sea is for fishes to live in," she said. But she agreed to leave her shoes and socks next to Tegan (who was tanning), turn up the hems of her trousers, and give it a try.

She was just beginning to enjoy the coolness and rhythm of the water, when she felt a slight tickle on her toes. She stifled a shriek, but couldn't help jumping.

"Fish, like you said," explained the Doctor. "They're welcoming you!"

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Chapter 40: Stolen Moments

Author's Notes: Eight/Charley. Written for the prompt "Stolen moments" from lomelinde_laurea at the Merry Month of Drabbles meme. Originally posted to AO3. Double drabble.

Eight, alone in his TARDIS. // Charley, in Six's TARDIS.

He rounds the corner and stops, stunned. She left him—she left the letter—she can't be here. It must be her past self, a time ghost or an echo; these things happen when wires get crossed inside a rackety old TARDIS.

"Doctor," she says, voice choked. She sounds as bewildered as he is, but perhaps he's just projecting. She shouldn't be surprised, not if this is a version of her that's still travelling with him.

But if she's still with him—

He takes her suddenly in his arms, whispering nonsense; feels her head under his chin.

Then she's gone.

She turns at the sound, then freezes. It can't be him. He's dead—will be—will have been—anyway, it can't be him, not her Doctor.

Temporal something-or-other, she guesses he'd say if she asked. But she's seen enough of the universe to believe in ghosts.

She thinks she says something. She doesn't think it's a question.

But he's so present. She can hear his rustling velvet, feel his warmth, faintly smell that peculiar sweetness—and oh, she's in his arms. "Charley, my dear," he's repeating, "come back, don't go."

She's trying to answer, trying to promise, when he vanishes.

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Chapter 41: XOXO

Author's Notes: Six/River. Written for the prompt "What you call 'love' was invented by guys like me to sell Nylons" (Mad Men) from luvbarryfefe at the Merry Month of Drabbles meme. Originally posted on AO3.

River has a hard time trusting her feelings. (Or anyone's.) The Doctor is willing to wait.

River drops her lipstick. She's only half put it on and she'd look ridiculous, if he minded.

"I can't do this," she says to the wall. "You honestly believe in love, don't you?" He starts to answer, and she interrupts him. "You don't know anything about me. You don't know how I fell in love with you, you don't know what I'm planning to do. Love's just obsession; obsessed people are useful."

"Even if you were—brainwashed?—that doesn't mean I can't love you," he says.

"I'll leave you soon," she warns.

He smiles. "I'll be glad I knew you."

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Chapter 42: Sauce for the Goose

Author's Notes: Chivalry vs. Ace.

Seven & Ace, written for the dw100 community challenge 891: gander.

“What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander”: what’s appropriate to one person/situation is equally appropriate to another. A gander is a male goose.

Dashing Sir Henry helped Ace down from her horse without a second thought, swinging her gracefully to the ground. He didn’t notice what the Doctor did: a trace of frustration in her face. I could’ve done that myself.

So rather than hopping off his own horse, the Doctor waited pointedly for assistance.

Sir Henry looked back to see his second guest still perched on his mount. The Doctor extended a hand and let the startled baronet help him down.

“I’m unused to riding, you see,” he murmured.

Ace, who had watched the whole thing, smiled and gave him her arm.

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Chapter 43: Stopped Clock

Author's Notes: The Doctor remembers Romana, in the ways he can.

Eleven, with past Doctor/Romana.

He can’t remember faces; never could. He remembers voices, movements, the unique traces everyone leaves in space and time.

(He remembers hers so vividly sometimes that if he closed his eyes he’d swear she was there.)

He remembers details: the golden hair framing her face, the wide eyes, the smile—but the only image he has of her whole face is the broken clock, the drawing they’d glimpsed in Paris.

(Broken to pieces now; out of time.)

The crack in time. When Amy asks, he almost wonders—but no.

But when she’s weeping, not knowing why, he thinks, I understand.

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Chapter 44: From 'A Complete Guide to Scottish Music'

Author's Notes: Because sometimes music remembers when the mind cannot.

Excerpt from a fictional in-universe book.

Jamie & Zoe (neither of whom really appears).

"Miss Heriot's Reel" is not a piece for beginners—it requires precision, concentration, and a mastery of the instrument. Some musicians describe it as a mere technical exercise due to its quasi-mathematical complexity and difficulty, yet many well-known pipers have considered it an essential part of their repertoire. When performed well, it can have a beautiful undercurrent of melancholy longing, coupled with a sense of adventure.

The tune is associated with the Jacobite tradition. Although it has been traced to the mid-eighteenth century, as with many folk tunes, the Miss Heriot to which it is dedicated has never been identified.

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Chapter 45: Apricate

Author's Notes: Sunbathing with the most stylish TARDIS team.

Inspired by prompts 005 and 006 from vocab_drabbles on Dreamwidth: “imperious” (arrogant and domineering) and “apricate” (to bask in the sun).

The Doctor felt rather than saw the shadow coming between him and the sun. He cracked one eye open to see Peri, arms crossed, standing over him.

“Seriously, Doctor?” she asked. “Sunbathing in all your clothes?”

“Seriously, Peri?” he mimicked. “We have got a wardrobe on the TARDIS, if you want something with fewer bits missing.”

“Hey, I like this bikini,” she protested. “And I put on sunscreen.”

“Well, I like my clothes,” he said. “And you can’t tell me what to do. I shall wear what I like.”

“And so will I,” she said, stretching out on her towel.

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Chapter 46: A Sensible Solution

Author's Notes: Vicki's got everything under control.

A drabble riffing on this Unconventional Courtship Generator summary:


His personal bodyguard

the Sixth Doctor had teased her, insulted her, but still he seemed to be stuck with Vicki Pallister as his official chaperone! She'd been appointed to look after him during a crucial assignment in Russia, and she refused to leave his side - day or night... . Just because Six was handsome and willowy didn't mean he needed Vicki's protection!

And he simply refused to be seduced by her. At least, that was the idea. Until his twenty-four-hour bodyguard decided the safest place for him was in her bed!

(Well, I've seen some quite sturdy willows.)

In spite of the summary, this Six & Vicki, not shippy.

"Don't be silly, Doctor," said Vicki. "The sniper won't be looking in my room, will they? And if they shoot me, in yours, with the weapon tuned to your personal bioprint, it won't do me any more harm than ordinary infrared waves, you said before. So we should swap."

"It makes sense," the Doctor admitted reluctantly. "But what if the assassins attack at closer range? Even if they see you're not me, they might break in and attack."

"Oh, don't worry," she said cheerily. "The Doctor—I mean the other Doctor, the old gentleman—he's been teaching me to box!"

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Chapter 47: No Ordinary Miss!

Author's Notes: Some things change... and some things don't.

A drabble riffing on this Unconventional Courtship Generator summary:

250) His Counterfeit Condesa by Joanna Fulford

The Major and the wild English rose

Major the Seventh Doctor does not approve of Wellington sending a woman on a perilous mission across French-occupied Spain, but he can see that Miss Peri Brown is no ordinary miss! The marriage-shy major and the English rose must pose as the Conde and Condesa de Ordoñez, travelling to a high society ball, and soon Seven doesn't know what is more dangerous — the menacing shadow of French patrols, or the sensual torment of sharing a room with this tantalising beauty…

In spite of the summary, Seven & Peri, not explicitly shippy.

"You weren't always this shy," said Peri, struggling with her silk stocking. "Heck, you helped me put on my corset for Kew Gardens. Which you still owe me, mister. So what's with the sudden attack of modesty?"

"What will the innkeepers think?" said the Doctor, covering his eyes.

"They think we're married, remember?"

"That's just it," he admitted. "I don't want Ace to find out I've been pretending to be married. I'd never live it down."

"So no help getting dressed, then?" Peri sighed. "Typical. I am never going to Spain with you again. And I mean it this time!"

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Chapter 48: Odd Couple

Author's Notes: Things Polly is fed up with: aliens, men, alien men….

A drabble riffing on this Unconventional Courtship Generator summary:

333) Faking It to Making It - Ally Blake

A dilemma, a deal…a date!

Beauty Polly Wright is in the middle of a plus-one dilemma for her friend's wedding. Any of her recent dates would start dreaming of a solitaire for their own left hand. Worse, going stag will leave her at the mercy of a setup by her ever-hopeful sisters.

Discovering that Vislor Turlough is doing online-dating research for a website, she strikes a deal. He'll take the research rather than a relationship and she'll get a fake date. There might be no shortage of sexual attraction between them—but as complete opposites, will they be at all convincing as a 'happy couple'?

In spite of the summary, it's non-shippy Polly & Turlough; if there's a ship it's Ben/Polly.

"First of all, no funny business." Polly crossed her arms. "I want to make Ben a bit jealous, not replace him with you."

"Flattering," said Turlough drily. "Fortunately, the feeling is entirely mutual. I just need an article for my Emergency Survival Guide to Earth, dot co dot tri."

"Second thing, behave like a human being."

"What—make up pointless rules, be ludicrously wrong about technology, shout a lot?"

"Obviously not. I mean behave normally for a wedding."

"Get hopelessly drunk, kiss the wrong person, shout a lot?"

...Maybe she should just patch things up with Ben before Kitty's wedding.

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Chapter 49: His Secret Wish

Author's Notes: The Brigadier’s retirement has gotten exciting again.

A drabble riffing on this Unconventional Courtship Generator summary:

639) A Lady's Champion by Janice Bennett

Mr Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, art master of the Selwood Academy for Young Gentlemen, greeted the notion of ghosts haunting the academy with skepticism. However, to avoid rumors frightening off students, he found himself turning to Miss Leela, sent by his uncle to be his "protector" against the "ghosts." Although, Alistair would accept no interference in his life, he would accept aid in exposing any spectral spirits. What he never expected was for Leela to expose the secret wishes of his hidden heart...

In spite of the summary, this is non-shippy Brig & Leela. Although you never know, you know; he'd certainly be impressed with her and she does like a man in uniform.... But this is gen.

"You expect mysticism?" Leela pronounced the word slowly, but her contemptuous tone was clear. "I am not a magician. I am a hunter, I am trained to observe. And I have seen many things that were said to be ghosts, but in the end they were all something quite different."

"I don't believe in ghosts myself," said the Brigadier. "But, you know, a place like Brendon, rumors spread so quickly. What do you observe here?"

"I observe that you wish you were back in action." She smiled dangerously. "There will be fighting soon. You may assist me, if you like."

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Chapter 50: Historical Artifact

Author's Notes: It’s all in how you look at it.

Written for the vocab_drabbles community on Dreamwidth, prompts 011 ("emulate") and 012 ("anachronistic").

“We could get you a new coat,” says Sam.

“I like this one,” says the Doctor, threading his needle.

“I don’t get it,” says Sam. “It’s not even authentic—I’ve seen the label, you know it’s from a costume shop.”

The Doctor nods placidly.

“So why not get a real one, not a copy?”

“When last I visited the twenty-fifth century—remind me to take you sometime, Sam—they were tremendously impressed with my authentic turn-of-the-millennium fancy dress costume.” He wags a long finger at her. “It’s all about perspective.”

Right, because that’s not freaky, thought Sam, authentic twentieth-century schoolgirl.

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Chapter 51: and will not let me sleep

Author's Notes: In some ways, Peri isn’t gone at all.

Triple drabble, Six & Peri (who isn't there) & Mel (who is).

Title from the folk song "The Lover's Ghost."

Originally posted to AO3 as a treat for CeruleanTactician in the Seasons of Drabbles Summer 2022 exchange.

There’s one point, in the chaos that follows the trial, when you become convinced you’re looking for Peri in the wrong places entirely. You can’t get back to where you left her, and you can’t find her anywhere else. You don’t even know who was lying to you, anymore, the Valeyard or the Master.

So now you’re convinced that they both lied. She must have escaped Thoros Beta, because you refuse to live in a world where she didn’t. And how could she have escaped but on the TARDIS? So if you haven’t seen her, she must still be in here. And that’s why you’re constantly thinking about her, why you can’t get away from her.

It makes perfect sense when you explain it to Mel. There’s no reason she should look so worried, or tell you to sit down and drink your tea. Pacing helps you think. You ought to take Mel back to her proper timeline—after you find Peri, of course. She’s probably in the kitchen.

She’s not in the kitchen. Or the other kitchen.

She’s not in the hydroponic garden you tried to make her.

She’s not in the library, sitting on the arm of your chair and reading over your shoulder.

She’s not listening to music. The thumping bass doesn’t rattle your sensitive hearing.

She’s not in the wardrobe. She’s not getting ready for another adventure, and the clothes she’s not wearing hang like tropical birds, dead (don’t think it) in a museum.

Her absence is so present that you embrace it, hold it, tell it you miss her and you’re sorry everything went so wrong, and that’s how Mel finds you. She makes you sit down at last, takes your hand in her cold little one, and instructs you, “Tell me all about her.”

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Chapter 52: Surprise!

Author's Notes: The Doctor isn't the only one keeping secrets this time....

Seven & Ace & Hex, double drabble.

Originally posted to AO3 as a gift for human_nature (AllyHR, romanajo123) in the Seasons of Drabbles Summer 2022 exchange.

Ace and Hex have been whispering behind his back lately. He doesn't take steps to find out—he's not sure he wants them to know how easily he can find out—but he can't help but worry. Has he done something that crossed one of those inscrutable human lines, and lost their trust without even knowing it? Has someone got to them and demanded something, threatening them if they told him their predicament?

He lets them have their secrets, for now. But when it all comes out, he realizes there are still sides of human nature he's never accounted for.

It was Hex who started it, trying to work out when his own birthday was due. Ace claimed that since turning eighteen she'd stopped counting. But what about the Doctor?

Ace insisted the TARDIS was helping them keep their party planning a secret: the Doctor, who usually walked in when least wanted, never interrupted.

When they sprang the surprise on him, he checked his pocket watch, then asked how they knew the day.

"We don't," said Ace, "we assigned you one. Like a racehorse."

"Or the Queen," added Hex.

"Officious troublemakers," said the Doctor, starting his second piece of cake.

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Chapter 53: A Direction in Life

Author's Notes: Ange (Ace's friend from Survival) reflects on meeting Ace again.

Written for prompts 013 (impetus) and 014 (extrapolate) in the vocab_drabbles community on Dreamwidth.

Ace is going somewhere now, that’s the first thing Ange realizes when her old friend turns up so unexpectedly. Somehow, she’s got what preachy adults at school used to call “a direction in life.”

Which calls to mind Mr Harris the physics teacher, and Ange imagines their lives rendered into opaque formulas and graphs. Given one girl, acted upon by mothers and teachers and boys and life, solve for her future.

But Ace, who disappeared, who everybody had written off, has a direction now—not just a past, a future. And Ange can only guess at where she’s going next.

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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.

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