The doors to the TARDIS flew open, and a young woman with short auburn hair, decked in her bathers and a towel, whipped out in a huff. “Hell’s teeth! I don’t care what they say, I’m going swimming. This day is way too hot to be couped up inside a faulty rust-bucket of a machine.”
Tegan muttered underneath her breath as she stormed off down to the lagoon nearby. “I heard that Tegan,” the Doctor called from inside the TARDIS, “the old girl’s not that rusty. In fact I’d say she’s rather fine looking.”
“Yeah, well I meant it Doctor!” Tegan shouted. "That old girl is quite unreliable!” A loud sigh sounded, and Tegan continued down to the large shimmering body of water. The heels of her shoes buried themselves into the lush grass and every few steps she had to stop and pull them out again. After much frustration, Tegan decided that it would be easier to take them off and walk the rest of the way barefoot.
“You must get more practical footwear, Tegan,” she muttered, trying to imitate the Doctor’s voice, “I can’t understand why you humans wear those monstrosities.” The Doctor, if he were there and not calibrating the dimensional stabilizers with the help of Turlough, would be saying exactly that. After a longish walk, Tegan finally reached the lagoon. She striped off her towel, lying in down by the sandy shore. Tegan also chucked down her grassy heels next to her towel.
The lagoon looked fairly shallow. Tegan could see the sandy bottom glimmering from underneath the calm blue waters. Step by step, she walked into the icy cold water. Although it was freezing, the lagoon was strangely refreshing. Tegan waded in further, the sandy bottom suddenly slipping away from her feet. She couldn’t even see the bottom now; the water was dark and murky. Swiftly it occurred to Tegan, she didn’t want to go swimming anymore. She tried to swim back in the direction she had come to the shore, but where was the shore? Tegan could only just see the thin strip of beach outlining the coast. “Rabbits!” she swore under her breath, “How did I get out this far?”
Before she even had time to work it out, something wrapped around her ankle and pulled her under the murky waters of the lagoon.
“Ow,” the Doctor muttered as he rubbed his head. He had make to the control panel higher. It was really impractical when one had to crawl underneath to fix the dimensional stabilizers or the vector tracker, both of which were inconveniently placed right out of anyone’s reach.
“Everything alright, Doctor?” Turlough asked as he walked into the console room. In his hands he held to steaming cups of what appeared to be tea. The blonde man rubbed his head once more, before taking a cup of tea, and sipping it. “Hmmm? Oh yes, I’ve managed to fix the dimensional stabilizers, but I afraid there’s nothing I can do about the defective helmic regulator.”
“Is that a bad thing?” Turlough questioned, worried.
“Yes, very much so…” The Doctor answered, contemplating the consequences of him not being able to repair the damage. He would have to fix it before Tegan got back from her swim. That reminded him. “Has Tegan come back from her swim yet, Turlough?” the tall Gallifreyan said, his voice saturated with worry, “She’s been almost an hour now.”
“No,” Vislor Turlough shook his head, “I haven’t seen her since she left. Do you want me to go check on her?” The Doctor nodded and moved towards the door to the TARDIS. “I think we should both go,” he said, swiftly throwing on his coat and hat and placing down his half-full tea cup on the console panel, “she may have landed herself in a spot of trouble.” After flicking the switch for the door release, Turlough and the Doctor quickly jogged out of the TARDIS and on to soft, green grass.
The sky had turned a dark gray and dark, angry clouds were rolling in from the west. The lagoon was a dark and murky. Turlough squinted his eyes, searching the water for the troublesome Australian flight attendant. But Tegan was nowhere to be seen. "Doctor, something's happened to her. She's gotten herself into trouble again." Turlough muttered loudly to his friend, "I can't see Tegan anywhere..."
The Doctor's midnight blue eyes scanned the lagoon, his face a mask of worry. Turlough was correct, Tegan had disapeared completely. "Something's wrong, Turlough. Tegan is in grave danger," he whispered softly, "I can feel it."
Tegan clawed at the thing that had grabbed her leg, fingernails digging into slimy flesh. Her lungs were screaming for air. She looked up at the surface only a metre above her. "Hell's teeth!" She thought angrily, "LET ME GO!"
Suddenly she shot up, head breaking through the surface. Tegan gasped for air wildly, arms scrabbling to keep her afloat. The thing had not let go of her ankle, but insted, had released her enough that she could reach the surface and breathe. "You're playing with me, aren't you," she rasped at the thing that held her captive.
Tegan screamed for help, as the thing pulled her slowly under again. "DOCTOR! DOCTOR! HELP ME!"
The Doctor spun around as he heard the pleas for help. They sounded distant, but were definitely coming from the lagoon. "DOCTOR! DOCTOR! HELP ME!" Tegan's cries echoed in his ears, crashing around his head. He had to find her before it was too late. With a flash he began to sprint towards the distant shore. "Turlough!" He shouted behind him, "Come on, we have to help her!"
"Not again," Turlough sighed, as he broke into a quick trot, trying to keep up with the Doctor, who had almost reached the sandy beach.
"DOCTOR! DOCTOR! HELP ME!" Tegan's screams got louder, as the Doctor reached her towel and high heels. And there, in the middle of the murky lagoon, was Tegan, flapping her arms around wildly. The Doctor stripped off his coat, hat and cricket jumper and ran quickly into the lagoon. Turlough could only watch as the Doctor swam swiftly out to a drowning Tegan. He looked at her towel and the heels placed on it. Then he looked at the beige coat laying crumpled next to Tegan's items.
"At least they didn't wear those horrible fashion statements swimming," Turlough muttered to himself, looking at Tegan's high heels and the Doctor's beige coat with the sprig of celery attached to the lapel.
Tegan screamed louder, as she saw the two familiar figures running down the hill towards her. The Doctor was the first to reach the shore, stopping briefly to strip off his coat, hat and jumper. She screamed at him, "DOCTOR! DOCTOR! HELP ME!" He looked at her, and then ran into the lagoon. She was dragged underneath the surface again, more viciously this time. After a brief struggle, she shot up again, struggling for air.
The Doctor was getting closer her, his powerful strokes carrying him quickly through the water. But not fast enough, Tegan plunged under again. She expected it to let her back up to the surface again, but the thing was done playing with her, it held her tight and wasn't going to let her go.
The Doctor was about half way between the shore and Tegan, when he saw her disappear beneath the murky depths. He swam faster, exerting himself to the limit. He wasn't going to let Tegan drown, like he had let Adric die. No, the Doctor wouldn't have that happen. Not again, not ever again. "Hold on Tegan," he thought, as he closed the distance between them, "I'm going to save you."
By the time he reached the place that he had last seen Tegan, the Doctor was exhausted. His arms and legs ached, and he was sure that his hearts were leaping out his chest. Kicking his legs to stay afloat, he scanned the water like an eagle. "TEGAN!" The Doctor shouted loudly, trying to locate her. But Tegan had completely disappeared.
He was so very close to her, only a few metres away from where she was being held underneath the water. Tegan could hear him shout for her, his baritone voice echoing around her. She needed air, her lungs screamed, but the thing that held her under meant business. He called her name again. She felt at peace, everything was silent, besides the his voice that called for her. Her consciousness was slowly fading as the air trickled out in small bubbles, to rise to the surface.
The Doctor’s face suddenly appeared next to her own, panic and worry distorting his features. She smiled weakly at him before closing her eyes to oblivion.
He scanned the water for any sign of his companion. He didn’t have much time left. She hadn’t resurfaced yet, and if he didn’t find her soon, she would drown. And there, a few metres away from him, little bubbles rose to the surface. Without a moment’s hesitation, he dived underneath the surface. And there she was, tangled in a forest of thick seaweed, the air slowly escaping from her mouth. He swam swiftly up to her, thinking quickly of what he had to do. If only he had a knife or something equally sharp, he could cut her free.
He cursed, and swam closer to his drowning friend. Tegan saw him and smiled briefly. And then, her eyes fluttered close and her chest stopped heaving. He had no time to lose. The Doctor wrapped his arm around her, lifting her towards the surface. But the seaweed held her fast, long slimy green fingers wrapped around Tegan’s leg. The Doctor pulled and pulled at the seaweed, and finally it torn, releasing its prize. Grabbing an unconscious Tegan, he kicked his legs hard, lifting them both to the surface.
Turlough had been sitting on the shore, watching for quite some time now. Tegan had dissapeared only a few minutes ago, and now as he looked out unto the water, Turlough could see that the Doctor was now also no where to be seen. "Where has that sentimental Time Lord got to now?" he thought, as he scanned the dark water. The heavens opened up, and a soft rain started to fall upon the lagoon. Turlough sat on the beach, not happy that he was now getting wet.
A loud splash caught his attention. In the distance, the Doctor rose to the surface, gasping for air, dragging something behind him. "Tegan!" Turlough cried joyously as the Doctor brought Tegan up from underneath the water. He stopped his cries immediately, when he saw that Tegan was unconscious and very pale. Deathly pale.
The Doctor swam in to shore at an alarming speed, pulling the dead weight of Tegan behind him. Once he had reached the shallows of the lagoon, he scooped Tegan up and ran the rest of the way in. He knew that he needed to resuscitate her immediately. Turlough met him half way, and helped to carry Tegan to the shore. Half-placing, half-throwing Tegan down on to the white sand of the beach, the Doctor laid his cheek on her chest. He listened for the shallow sound of breathing.
There was none. He checked her pulse. Underneath his fingers placed on his companion’s neck, he could feel the slow fading beat of Tegan's heart. "Turlough," he spoke quickly, with urgency, "I've found her pulse, but she's not breathing. I need you to run back up to the TARDIS and grab the first medical kit you see. Hurry!"
Turlough didn't waste time arguing, he just sprinted up the hill, through the now heavy rain, and back to the TARDIS.
The Doctor couldn't waste time either. He knew what he had to do, and he was going to do it. Still puffing from his swim, he took a deep breath and placed his lips firmly into Tegan's and breathed oxygen into her lungs.
Tegan felt like she was floating on air. Her mind wandered, and she dreamed of happy places. Tegan's life flashed before her eyes, her childhood, her teenage years, and finally her time with the Doctor. She was happy, seeing the Doctor in her dreams. She saw him wearing that ridiculous scarf, and then her dream changed.
He was now wearing the cricket outfit that she had become some familiar with over the past months. And there, on the lapel of his coat, that ever so familiar stick of celery. Tegan had always wondered why he wore celery. She promised herself that she would ask the Doctor next time she saw him. If she saw him again, that was. As Tegan floated, now even the dreams were fading into the darkest darkness. "Death," she thought as the comfortable dreams faded away into nothing.
He saw her chest rise and fall with every breath, but Tegan had still not begun breathing for herself. He persisted for minutes, but still nothing. Her face was very pale. Her lips, so very blue, contrasted her skin. She looked almost peaceful, the Doctor decided, as he repeated the process. He couldn't bear to think of what life in the TARDIS would be like without Tegan. She was so full of life and fire, she brought light into his life.
It was at that moment that the Doctor realized something important. He didn't just consider Tegan as a companion; he loved her with his entire existence. He looked at her pale lifeless body, as a new determination filled him. "Breathe Tegan," he whispered, “Breathe!" He took one last breath, and filled it with the newfound emotions that raged in him. He placed his lips on her one last time, and with all his might, pushed that breath into her lungs.
Tegan heard the angel voice again, calling to her. "Breathe Tegan," it spoke, “Breathe!" And then, a brilliant light burst through her body, pulling her out of the darkness.
Her eyes fluttered open and she groaned. Tegan coughed up the vile water, and then gasped for air. The Doctor removed his lips from hers and flung himself back in a mixture of fright and joy. She gasped some more, trying to sit up. "It's better if you don't," said the Doctor gently placing a hand on her shoulder, trying to contain some wild emotion, "just get some rest if you like, I'll carry you back to the TARDIS."
Tegan contemplated this, while she lay back in the sand, letting the rain drops fall on her. She had never felt so alive. She watched the Doctor carefully. His eyes were burning with joy, and he was smiling like a crazy idiot. The Doctor was soaked, his blonde hair slicked to his face.
After a while, she broke the silence. "Rabbits! Were you kissing me?" She demanded, curiosity filling her voice. Tegan watched as a small blush rose on the Doctor's cheeks. "No...," The Doctor said quickly in defence, "I was...trying to resuscitate you."
"Sure, sure," teased Tegan with a newfound boldness, "You were 'resuscitating' me. It felt like kissing to me." Tegan watched as the blush became more prominent. She smiled in satisfaction.
"You almost drowned, Tegan." he voice sounded morose again, "If I was a few seconds later, then you would have...." The Doctor paused as his voice broke, and he briefly looked at the calm waters of the lagoon. Tegan let him wallow for a while, and then spoke again. "Thank you." She whispered to him, "Thank you, Doctor." She closed her eyes and drifted off into a peacefully sleep.
He stared at her for awhile, and then picked up his coat, jumper and hat. Draping both the jumper and coat over Tegan to keep her warm, he lifted her up, cradling her sleeping form in his arms. Picking up Tegan's towel and shoes, the Doctor began the slow walk up the hill and back to the TARDIS.
Turlough rushed down the hill, only to find that the Doctor was already half way up the hill. He ran up to his friend, medic kit in hand. "Doctor!," he cried, "I've got the med-kit. Where is Tegan? Is she.... The young man trailed off, seeing who the Doctor held in his arms. Turlough thought the worst. "Is she, well you know....?"
The Doctor looked up at Turlough, he face filled with undeniable joy. "No, Turlough," he spoke, "She isn't dead. She's very much alive!"
Turlough looked a Tegan's sleeping form. "Well, I guess I won't need this then." He held up the medical kit and shrugged his shoulders.
"Not today," the Doctor, "And hopefully not ever."
"Come on then," Turlough said, "I'm getting soaked." And with that, he walked back up the grassy hill, med-kit in hand.
The Doctor didn't move. He watched as the Triton walked back up to the waiting TARDIS. He looked once more at Tegan, who was smiling in her sleep. "I wonder what you're dreaming about, my young friend.”
Turning around to face the treacherous lagoon, the Doctor smiled. "Come on then, Tegan," he said, gently shaking off the raindrops, " I think you need a nice steaming hot cup of tea and a warm bed."
The Doctor trudged up the hill back to his TARDIS, a broad smile on his face. "I very much hope you're dreaming of me, Tegan."