Flight

by Astellya [Reviews - 7]

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  • All Ages
  • None
  • Character Study, Drama, General, Hurt/Comfort, Introspection, Series

Author's Notes:
Continuing my bird theme, here's Peri and the Doctor.

She sat on the side of the dock, feet dipped in the water, looking sad. He had taken her home for a visit (by home, he meant her planet, not the right country or time period even if he had tried to aim this time) in response to the disaster on Varos. She had been quite melancholy for weeks and he felt guilty about the whole capture and bird business so he had decided, on a whim, to return her to Earth for a few days of rest. He had managed to land in the early summer at a lake house somewhere in the United States (he was fairly certain it was a southern state like Tennessee or Georgia or something–really, he shouldn’t be expected to memorize all of the states. If they had done as he had asked in the 18th century, there would only be ten enormous states) in the early 21st century. She had been pleased but he saw the sadness in her eyes when he reminded her that she was thirty years in her future and that she couldn’t see anyone she knew.

She sat on the dock in her bright pink bikini, the TARDIS resting peacefully nearby, and watched the birds fly home as the sun set. He sighed and moved towards her, shedding his shoes and rolling up his trousers as he sat next to her, his feet joining hers in the lake. She kicked the water, sending ripples on the otherwise glassy lake, breathing in the terrestrial air with a hollow loneliness. He almost took her hand before stopping himself and looked out at the lake with her. His coat was in the TARDIS along with his waistcoat; it was much too hot to wear more than necessary. His shirt’s sleeves were rolled to his elbows and he hadn’t bothered with any neck decoration today but his cat pin was secured firmly to his shirt.

They sat in silence for a long time as the sun lowered and the birds swooped by, headed to their nests for the night and readying for an early morning. She broke the silence first, speaking softly and nervously. “Thank you for bringing me here,” she told him, staring at the birds. “I needed it.”

He smiled slightly, glad that he could do something to make her happy. “Not at all, Peri. I like it when you’re happy.”

She looked up at him, eyes wide, before looking back at the birds. “I wish I was a bird, some days,” she told him softly, so softly that he had thought he had imagined it. “They get to fly wherever they’d like… So much freedom. They’re never hurt by those who are supposed to take care of them.”

He felt guilt well up in his chest, worry clutching at his hearts. “Oh, Peri, I do apologize for trying to kill you. It’s just, regeneration messes with the brain cells–“

She cut him off with a gentle hand on his knee. “I’ve already forgiven you,” she told him gently, still watching the birds as their numbers thinned. “I know you’d never hurt me, Doctor.” They lapsed into silence once again, both in deep thought.

“Your step father,” he blurted suddenly, making her start a bit at his sudden outburst. She looked up at him and he knew immediately. She looked away, shame making her cheeks flame, and he felt unrestrained anger at a man he had met only briefly.

“I’m sorry,” she managed, making him gape with shock. “I don’t mean to bother you with things like that.”

“Peri, you’re never a bother, no matter what I say. I truly enjoy your company and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

She looked up at him again, nervous and scared, before a bird swooping across the lake caught her eye. “I think being a bird would be marvelous,” she told him, lost in memories. “Think of the freedom. The wind beneath your wings, the air in your lungs… Nothing would stop you. All you’d worry about was eating and sleeping. There would be flight, such a marvelous, thrilling thing. Swooping out of the sky, plummeting towards the Earth before changing direction at the last second only to soar again.”

“Let’s go,” he urged suddenly, leaping to his feet and pulling her up with him.

“What?”

“Let’s fly. Away from everything. It’s what I’ve always done. We can go anywhere, anywhen. Just name it, Peri.”

She grinned at him suddenly and threw her arms around him. On instinct, he returned her hug, twirling her around once before setting her back on the ground.

“I want to be right here, with you. Watching the sunset,” she told him, still holding him close.

“Right, then let’s watch this sunset,” he told her.

She pulled away and he was nearly knocked over by her smile. She sat back on the dock, tugging him down with her. The sun set in the distance as she rested her head on his shoulder.

The birds were gone and the full moon shone on the lake and the warmth of the day was beginning to fade and the stars were sparkling in the sky and Peri, for the first time in a long time, didn’t want to fly away just yet.