The Origins of a Brave Heart

by aces [Reviews - 1]

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She'd come to the cloister room to be alone. Funny, that--you'd think seeing this particular room again so soon after not being able to get away from it would drive her batty. But there was too much going on in her head for her to worry about where in particular she did her thinking.

Unfortunately she wasn't thinking right now. She was reacting again, dammit. The first real chance she'd had to consider, work through everything that had happened between accidentally joining the Doctor and leaving Castrovalva, and instead of being logical about it all, she was letting her emotions get to her again.

Her aunt was dead. She'd been pulled away from her life, her future career, her bloody planet, and thrown into an impossible-to-understand position. She was out of her league and couldn't even admit it to anyone.

And she was damned if the brat, the kid, or the all-mighty Time Lord were going to see her cry.

So at her first opportunity after getting back to the TARDIS she'd slipped away from the others in the console room and found herself here--hopefully far enough away and isolated enough that the others wouldn't find her. Or even think to look for her here. If they came looking at all, for that matter. She'd sat down on the bench in the center of the room, slipped her aching feet out of her heels, and now her knees were drawn up to her body and tears were sliding down and tickling the tip of her nose. Silence pervaded the room, a comforting silence that didn't ask to intrude on her problems.

The Doctor strode into the room, a pensive look on his youthful face. He stopped when he saw Tegan, his expression sliding into unreadable mode.

She sat up as soon as she heard footsteps, knowing who had entered the room even though her back was to him. She put her feet on the floor, next to where she'd dropped her shoes. "You can come in, you know," she said, trying her damndest not to sniffle.

"You don't mind?" His voice had a slightly breathless quality, almost unnoticeable, of nervousness and concern.

"It's your ship," she pointed out.

He walked around so he could face her. "Are you all right?" he asked.

"I'm fine," she said stubbornly, refusing to look up and meet his eye in case he saw the tears in her eyes. Rabbits, she thought in self-disgust.

He sighed and sat down on the bench next to her, staring at the pillar in front of him. She also stared straight ahead, furiously. There was a pause, awkward on the part of the Doctor's, angry and unhelpful on the part of Tegan's.

"I'm sorry," he said. "Events overtook you. Events overtook me, and you were rather caught up in things unexpectedly." He turned to give her a hopeful smile, but it faded when she again refused to look at him or soften her expression. He faced the pillar again in defeat. "I promise to get you home, Tegan," he said softly.

"I just don't understand," she said. "My life was normal until you showed up! And now all of a sudden there's spaceships and aliens and other planets, and my Auntie Vanessa's dead, and you're switching bodies like I would a pair of shoes--" Tears started streaming down her face again and she rubbed at them angrily.

The Doctor placed a hand on her shoulder sympathetically. "I'm so sorry, Tegan," he repeated. "But you must have a brave heart. You must be strong and accept things as they stand until they can be changed."

"It's not that easy," she said with a loud sniff. "You just--don't expect this sort of thing to happen. Not if you're human from the twentieth century you don't. I haven't had time to adjust to it; I've just been thrown in the deep end and have to keep making do. I'm not sure I want to adjust to it."

"I'm trying to get you home," the Doctor repeated softly.

"Thank you," she replied. She knew she shouldn't take her anger and frustration out on the others, not even on the Doctor. She'd gotten into this herself; she'd have to get out of it herself. He was right--she needed a brave heart. She had one, dammit.

She took a deep breath and glanced to her side at him, managing a tiny smile, sniffling a wry laugh. "And thanks for coming here to talk to me."

The Doctor smiled back, standing up and shoving his hands into his pants pockets as he looked down at her. "You'll be all right," he told her. "Come back to the console room when you're ready."

She picked up her shoes, sliding them on her feet and grabbing her bag. "I'm ready now," she said firmly.

"Good," he grinned and they left the room together.