Something in the air

by ilwin [Reviews - 0]

  • All Ages
  • None
  • General

Author's Notes:
Sligthly connected to my previous stories "About dance and trust" and "About unexpected things".

Thanks to Laurel for beta-read.

There were gentle sounds of working engines in the console room while the TARDIS was slowly floating in the open universe.

The Doctor was fluttering around the console, pressing the buttons or checking the data scanners from time to time, but it seemed rather like he was just trying to look busy rather than doing something that was actually needed for the flight.

Turlough was sitting in the corner, sketching something in his notebook, completely lost in his own thoughts.

After a time, the Doctor broke the silence. "Did you draw often back on Earth?“ he asked at once. He stopped the circling and looked at his companion.

Turlough lifted his head, and the Doctor noticed that, at the same time, he slowly turned a few pages back in the notebook like he didn’t want anyone to see his current drawing. "No,“ he answered slowly. "There weren’t too many occasions.“

The Doctor was already breathing in for another question when Turlough added, "I usually just draw things I like.“

"Like Tegan?“ wondered the Doctor but quickly realized he actually hadn’t seen the pictures and corrected himself. "I mean… You’d probably never draw Tegan then, would you?“

Turlough wasn’t fully paying attention to the Doctor’s speech so he hadn’t noticed anything incorrect. "Tegan was fine. In a way,“ he answered and leant back in the chair.

"She knew I was not trustful right from the beginning. She was just so easy to get mad,“ he spoke aloud after a moment. "It was fun to tease her.“

"Hmm,“ said the Doctor indefinitely. "May I see your pictures?" he asked later.

"It’s nothing special." Turlough hesitated. "Just doodles… silly sketches.“ I’d rather not show them to you… Especially not some of them…

"I‘d still like to see them,“ said the Doctor and took a step towards his companion.

Why? Turlough thought. "If you want to,“ he agreed and when the Doctor came closer, he showed him a few pages, turning back in the notebook. There were mainly parts of the TARDIS in the pictures.

When he reached about half of the used pages, he started to go forward again and stopped on the page with precisely drawn TARDIS console. There were obviously two or three pages still left until the drawing he was working on before the Doctor spoke, but Turlough flipped back through the previous pages.

The Doctor noticed he apparently didn’t want him to see some pages but didn’t comment it. "Very good job,“ he complimented. Turlough shrugged and closed the notebook to point out the showing time is over. "I don’t think it‘s just doodles and silly sketches…“

Turlough shrugged again. "It’s just… you know… the same stuff all the time. I guess I could draw the TARDIS console by heart with my eyes closed,“ he joked and laughed a bit, but the Doctor jumped up in a sudden impulse of energy.

"You want to go somewhere you could draw a bit? Why didn’t you tell me?“ He sprang to the console and started to pressing the buttons with a passion.

Turlough watched him with apprehensive surprise. What the hell was he doing…?

"Would you like rather cities or nature? Landscape? Trees?“ The Doctor looked at Turlough but didn’t actually wait for the answer and jumped in excitement again. "I know! “ he cried, raising his hand. "I‘ll take you to planet Otium. Wonderful landscapes, lovely weather, nice trees, no people. The biggest creature that lives there is small as a bird…“ he went ahead, while jumping around the console and setting coordinates, and Turlough just sat there and wondered.

Finally the Doctor got started and straightened up himself looking satisfied. When he caught Turlough’s blank look, he smiled. "We’ll be there in a moment. You’ll like it. Lots of stuff to draw,“ he added and gave Turlough wide smile of confidence.

Turlough didn’t answer, deciding to wait to see how things would develop. Since when did the Doctor worry so much about my silly doodling? I didn’t complain about drawing parts of the TARDIS that much, did I?

"Oh,“ said the Doctor at once. "There’s one thing…“

Turlough raised the eyebrows in a question and the Doctor went on. "It’s the air on the planet…“

"What? You can’t breathe there?“ sneered Turlough, determined to not go drawing anywhere in a spacesuit.

"No.“ The Doctor shook his head. "But there’s something in the air… It affects all arrivals and it can do… well, probably anything.“

"And what does it do to you?“ asked Turlough curiously and got up from the chair, stepping closer to the console.

"I usually act silly,“ answered the Doctor hesitantly, and Turlough grinned.

"You do indeed.“

The Doctor looked at him, confused. "Wha-? Oh, no, no… I meant I usually act silly there,“ he emphasized the last word and when Turlough just went on grinning, he shook his head. "Never mind. Anyway, I’ve been there four times, in three different incarnations, and it ended up just being a bit silly. I’ve never been there in this one, though.“

He looked at Turlough. "Of course I have no idea how it could react on you either… Do you want to go there?“

With its characteristic noise the TARDIS landed and for a moment there was silence.

Turlough turned on the scanner and looked at the monitor that showed a nice and calm-looking landscape with lots of trees. "Why not?“ he replied to the Doctor. "It could be nice adventure. For a change, not running away from something or someone who’s trying to kill you...“

The Doctor looked at him attentively. "Who knows. No one can guess how it will affect this incarnation and how it will affect you.“

He put his hand on the lever for opening the doors. "So?“

Turlough grimaced, drew the Doctor’s hand with the lever down and stepped towards the doors. "Let’s go.“

The weather outside was calm and pleasant with a refreshing breeze.

Turlough stopped a few steps in front of the TARDIS and looked around. "Nice place, really,“ he said and turned back to the Doctor. "You’ll be little bit bored here, won’t you? Always searching for trouble…“

"I’m not searching for trouble anywhere,“ the Doctor argued. "It seems troubles always search for me,“ he growled out and then realized the main question and looked at Turlough carefully. "And? How do you feel?“

"Relaxed,“ answered Turlough and he smiled. He looked indeed more relaxed than during last days. "And you?“

"Fine. It seems it’s quite ok with this incarnation,“ he answered and then yawned a bit. "Yeah, fine, fresh air,“ he added contentedly. "Ok.“ He turned to Turlough again. "You do your drawing, and I’ll go for a walk. We’ll see later.“

"Don’t get lost,“ Turlough teased him and made himself comfortable on the big stone nearby.

"I never get lost,“ shouted the Doctor over his shoulder and stepped out towards the nearby forest.

"Of course not.“ Turlough grinned to himself and lifted his head to look at the sky. It was bright and blue like on Earth without any sign of clouds at the moment. There were two suns, though, which reminded him of his home.

For a while he closed his eyes and just listened to soft sounds of wind in the tree branches. It appears it be good to Trion minds here, he thought. I even don’t feel too homesick despite the two suns… The Doctor was right, I like it here…

Unfortunately, it isn’t home after all, he ended up his contemplation, and took out his sketchbook to do some drawings that weren‘t parts of the TARDIS for a change.

He finished another picture, got up, and stretched himself a bit. Nice cup of tea would be great now, he thought and looked at the sky. Hmm, it must have been at least three hours since we arrived, where’s the Doctor?

Turlough looked around but there was no sign of him.

"Never get lost, yeah,“ Turlough mumbled to himself. "And how am I supposed to find him now, huh?“

He frowned and turned back to the TARDIS for a moment. Could he just have went back without telling me? And without me noticing him passing?

No, probably not. So he must be still… somewhere.

"Great,“ said Turlough aloud and rolled his eyes. "Now how do I find him? I’m not a hunting dog to scent him out!“

He looked around again and then noticed that there was a still slightly visible path in the grass in the direction the Doctor went. At least some good news, Turlough thought, and then stepped out in direction of the Doctor’s last walk.

"Doctor!“ shouted Turlough from time to time, but there was still no sign of the Doctor and he started to get more worried.

Maybe the path wasn’t from the Doctor’s feet after all, suddenly came to Turlough’s mind, and he stopped on the spot. So?

He sighed. Yeah, but I have no other choice than believe it is, because I couldn’t find him otherwise, could I?… Oh, dear… "Doooctoooor!“

Finally after about half an hour of walking through the forest, he spotted something light before him and hurried towards it. At the end of the path was the Doctor, lying in the forest grass without movement.

"Doctor!“ Turlough got frightened and quickly crouched next to him, but then he noticed the Doctor was breathing calmly and quite regularly.

"He’s sleeping!“ breathed Turlough, not sure if he should start laughing or get angry. "Just laying in the forest and sleeping…“ He shook his head. So much for the Doctor’s responsibility… He touched the Doctor‘s shoulder. "Wake up, Doctor!“

But the Doctor seemed to be fast asleep and didn’t even move.

"What the hell…?“ Turlough frowned and made another, stronger poke at the Doctor’s arm. "Doctor!“

But only after a proper shake did the Doctor finally move a bit and he blinked sleepily on Turlough. "Liz? What happened?“ he murmured absently, and Turlough’s eyes popped. "Doctor! I’m Turlough! Wake up!“ he shouted out and tried to wake the Doctor up by patting his cheeks.

At the same time he realized, he had never seen him sleeping or even resting. Not even talking about having some rest or sleep. Damn, it‘s probably the planet, he figured out. I must get him back to the TARDIS.

He gave the Doctor another proper shake because the Doctor’s eyes had closed again. "Doctor! Wake up, you must go back to the TARDIS! Come on…“ And what am I gonna do if he just won’t wake up?

The Doctor slowly opened his eyes and attempted to focus on Turlough. "What… what’s wrong? Where… are we, Jamie?“

Turlough rolled his eyes. Still not the right name, Doctor... "Come on, stand up, we must go back to the TARDIS,“ he said aloud, putting the Doctor’s hand over his shoulders. "Come on, lean on me. And stand up, try it!“ Just rise, for god’s sake, I can’t do it alone!

The Doctor blinked and it seemed like he was looking through Turlough. "I… feel so weak… Something’s wrong, Sarah…“ he whispered with difficulty but actually tried to stand up.

It took about three attempts before he finally stood on his legs, giving Turlough a hard time to balance while supporting him with one hand behind the Doctor’s back and the Doctor’s hand over his shoulder.

"Can you walk?“ asked Turlough and hoped the Doctor would answer "yes“, because he had absolutely no idea what to do if he couldn’t. I couldn’t do such short jump with the TARDIS… Stupid planet! Damn stupid planet! He swore inside his head.

The Doctor shook his head like he was trying to get rid of the sleepiness, leaning on Turlough almost with his full weight. "We must go… back… to the TARDIS… There’s something wrong, Tegan…“

Close enough this time, thought Turlough sarcastically. "Yes, we must back to the TARDIS, Doctor, can you walk?!“ he repeated the main problem, thinking to himself that the answer is apparently No as it shows.

"Just… hold me, Susan…“ said the Doctor slowly and stepped forward.

Turlough was fighting hard with the Doctor’s weight that rested almost completely on him, and keeping the balance at the same time as they walked through the forest.

Every now and then they had to stop for a while and the whole walk was very slow, but they were moving and that was everything Turlough needed at the time. He would rather not think of what could have happened if the Doctor didn’t awake or if he wasn’t able to walk. Or if he wasn’t able to walk anymore now.

And what if the air somehow affects me as well? He would just stay sleeping in the forest forever…? Well, we‘re still not by the TARDIS and the forest seems to be just endless…

The Doctor was muttering to himself all the time. Turlough caught some other names from time to time and guessed they were people that had travelled with the Doctor before. Or… with some of the other Doctors… It seems many people have already travelled with him… Where are they now? All of them…

He couldn't wonder about the Doctor’s previous companions too much, though, because all his concentration had to go on the drudging walk with the Doctor. Finally, when Turlough thought he wouldn’t stand much longer, they walked out of the forest and reached the TARDIS. Turlough almost cried in relief.

"Good, we’re here, see?“ he spoke to the Doctor and — not without difficulty — he opened the door and pushed the Doctor inside. He tried to make him sit on the floor as gently as possible but it was just too much on Turlough at the time and once he bent down, his knees just buckled and both of them fell down on the floor.

"Damn!“ Turlough vented and with another muttered swear, he released his hands from under the Doctor’s back and sat up. The Doctor seemed to be completely unconscious again.

"Now that was really worth drawing four miserable pictures!“ Turlough snorted and tiredly rubbed his face. Then he realized he left his sketchbook outside on the rock before he went searching for the Doctor and with even more swearing undertone he returned for it. It would be really stupid if I left those pictures on the planet once it caused so many problems, he thought to himself grumpily.

When he came back to the TARDIS, the Doctor was still lying on the floor without moving. Turlough frowned. It still works on him… Well, once we get out of here and the effect of the air will fade, he’ll be surely ok…

He sighed and stepped to the console. Now off this damn planet…

He set the coordinates and started.