“Give us a cuddle,” rasped the Dalek.
“Ian, get out of that thing! That’s disgusting!” the proper and rather matronly Barbara put her hands on her hips, frowning as she waited for her colleague to get out of the grey Dalek shell. “NOW, Ian. This isn’t the time for…”
She stopped dead, her jaw hanging open and her eyes blinking listlessly as a man in a white shirt and grey cardigan stopped in the doorway behind the Dalek.
“Give us a cuddle. Give us a cuddle. Give us a cuddle…”
The tall, dark and handsome teacher slid out of his cardigan as he approached the Dalek on light feet. Barbara backed away just as he literally pulled the wool over the space creature’s eye stock. “Hurry,” he whispered, holding out a hand to her.
She dodged around the now-thrashing and squealing giant pepper pot, grabbing hold of Ian’s hand and running through the cement tunnels, back for the TARDIS. The Doctor and Susan would never believe this one.
“Give us a cuddle…”
Peri shrieked, clenching her eyes shut. This was it. She was about to be extermin…
Opening one eye, she looked down and shuttered in revulsion. It took her a moment to recover, but as soon as she got her wits about her again, she began tugging furiously at the manacles chaining her to the bare white wall, trying to wiggle her chest away from the eye stock lodged firmly between her breasts.
The Doctor would never believe this.
“Give us a cuddle…”
In the middle of the deserted street, an aluminum baseball bat came crashing into the eyestock of a grey and black Dalek. As Ace pulled back to hit it again, she paused. “What did you say?”
“Cuddle?” It rasped, almost in uncertainty. “Give us?”
The girl in the badge-covered black coat sniffed before swinging again. “Right.”
“Cuddle…” it moaned as Ace hit it again and again.
Behind her, she heard movement, and knew what was coming even before it announced itself. “Exterminate…”
She dove over the brick wall and into some unsuspecting resident’s rose bushes without thinking, and without finishing off the strange Dalek with the obvious malfunction in its’ vocal interpretation system.
Granted she got out of this alive… the Professor would never believe this.
“’Give us a cuddle.’ That’s what it said. That’s exactly what it said, I’m certain of it.”
The Torchwood first-aid station smelled of antiseptic and buzzed from the harsh blue-tinged overhead lights. Still, those four words hung in the air, despite the distracting atmosphere. ‘Give us a cuddle.’
Rose looked at the nasty scrape to the lower arm that Mickey was sporting. “You must have been hearing things. What happened after that? Did it say anything else?”
Mickey laughed bitterly as Rose flushed the wound. “I didn’t exactly stick around to find out, did I? One unarmed guy against the great Exterminator? No. I dove off the edge of the roof, landed in a dumpster, called for backup and got the hell outta there.”
And there’d been nothing on the building when Torchwood had gotten there. No signs of Dalek activity, or an opening of a breach, either. Concentrating on the scrape, Rose frowned, trying to think of some nice way to say it. “You know…not even the Doctor would believe that.”
“Give us a cuddle…” The sound echoed off of the heaps of metal in the junkyard, almost obscuring the words.
Jack had put his hand on Gwen’s arm slowly, preparing to pull her behind him; he’d survived a Dalek death ray once, and was certain he could do it again. Then he’d heard that, and he paused. “What?”
The grey Dalek’s eye stock bobbed up and down. “A cuddle? Give us?”
“Right.” He yanked Gwen behind him. “Ok, Dustbin, what’s the deal?”
“Give us a cuddle,” it repeated, lurching forward and back on the uneven terrain of the junkyard.
“What’s it doing, Jack?” Gwen whispered, her hands wrapped around his bicep as she tried to pull him back to safety. “I thought you said these things only lived to kill?”
Trying to wrap his mind around it, Jack held up a finger. “Just a second,” he told the Dalek. “We’re going to discuss it.” And it actually backed up a few feet and waited. Craziness.
Turning from the overgrown dustbin, he grabbed his teammate’s shoulder. “I have no idea. Rose–a friend. She said they encountered a broken one, and it was feeling emotion. Maybe it’s like that. But Gwen…I need you to get out of here, incase things go wrong.” She was about to protest, but he shook his head. “Start clearing out the area of civilians. It won’t stop this thing, but it will buy us some time.”
When she moved to leave, he turned back to his little ‘friend.’ Taking a tentative step toward the creature, he wondered what the odds would be if he could survive another blast from a Dalek. “Alright. This ‘cuddle,’ thing. There’re going to be some terms and conditions attached to it.”
It’s eye stock drooped in disappointment. “Why won’t anyone love me?”
Something dropped in Jack’s stomach. Revulsion at his own immediate reaction made him a bit sick after that. “Wait--”
It looked up at Jack, the lens swiveling to focus, and Jack instantly thought of wet eyes about to let loose with a stream of tears. “Temporal shift of infinite sadness…”
Before Jack could say another word, the air around them opened up and the Dalek disappeared into a wound in time and space bleeding light and energy.
Everything seemed to pause for a moment but then it snapped closed, and Jack let out a breath he wasn’t aware he’d been holding. “No one’s going to believe this.” Not even the Doctor. Granted he ever saw the man again.
“No one’s ever going to believe this.”
Hell, the Doctor didn’t even believe it. In all his twelve hundred years and eleven regenerations, he’d never encountered anything like this.
‘Give us a cuddle,’ the Dalek had said.
And what had he done? Like the damned idiot that he was…he’d embraced the killer pepper pot with open arms.
And the thing wasn’t letting go. It was using its prehensile plunger-like thingy to suction itself to his chest, tugging on his plaid shirt so hard the collar was cutting into the back of his neck just below where his navy baseball cap ended.
He was standing in a corridor on what he thought to be an abandoned Dalek saucer, hugging a Dalek that refused to be parted from him. “There we go, big guy. How’s about letting up a little?” He let out a strangled laugh as he tried to sound casual about this, but failed.
“Cuddle, cuddle. Cuddle,” it repeated menacingly.
The Doctor stopped trying to pull away. Great. He was stuck between a Dalek and a hard place. Sighing, he gave the metal menace a pat on the shell. “There, there. We’re all friends now, aren’t we? If you let go now, we can have another cuddle later. How does that sound?”
The suction on the plunger let up a bit and the Doctor sighed in relief. He almost felt bad for the malfunctioning thing. It had obviously been alone so long on this ship, it had gone mad.
The pull tightened again when Jack called from down the corridor. “You were right Doc, completely abandoned!”
Groaning the Doctor sagged a bit. Three hundred years of acquaintanceship and Jack was still a loudmouth that waltzed right into trouble. “Jack…” why had that sounded like a whiny request for him to shut the hell up? Well, maybe it HAD been more of a whine than a request. It was hard to tell.
“What he hell?” Jack asked loudly as he approached, and the Dalek tightened its grip.
Somewhere behind him, Rose gasped.
He tried to turn around to reassure her, but he couldn’t even move his head. Like she needed reassurance. She was nearly as old as Jack and had seen quite a bit of what two universes had to offer. Still… “It’s alright, Rose. The Dalek and are just having…a cuddle,” he managed calmly.
His two companions groaned. “Not this one again,” they moaned in unison.
“Group cuddle?” the grey and black Dalek rasped hopefully. “Give us a cuddle!”
“Give us a cuddle!”
Rose looked down over the railing in the control room. “Murray!” she scolded good-naturedly. “Kitty doesn’t like cuddles,” she reminded him as her slow-moving tabby scuttled away. The Dalek’s eye stock drooped.
Looking around the console, she found the large stuffed bear they kept on hand for just such an occasion.
A head appeared from beneath one of the grill floors. His face was smeared with dirt and dust, but he looked just as happy as could be. “What can I do for ya, Princess?”
“I was wondering if you knew where Mister Hugglesworth got off to?”
The Doctor’s running shoes disappeared beneath another section of flooring. A second later, his baseball cap emerged, then the rest of him. “Down in the wash. Murray got him all dirty on that swamp planet.”
Rose looked over the railing again, and could see that the Dalek had already forgotten what she’d said about the cat not being fond of cuddles. “Well, I better find him something else to hug before he throws another temper tantrum and starts exterminating inanimate objects again.”
Sighing, she went off into the bowels of the ship, hoping to find something furry or fluffy for the deranged Dalek to cuddle with.
Her cat hissed. “Murray!” Rose called back behind her. “Kitty doesn’t like cuddles!”
Two hundred and some-odd years, two realities, god knew how many planets and times and places… and that wasn’t the part that no one would believe.
“Give us a cuddle…”