More Common Than You'd Think

by nostalgia [Reviews - 2]

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  • All Ages
  • None
  • Action/Adventure, Standalone, Vignette


He's only gone and twisted his bloody ankle.

It's embarrassing, he'd quite like the ground under this forest to open up and swallow him, dyspraxia and all. Little girls twist their ankles doing gymnastics, not grown men running away from monsters on alien planets.

Speaking of which, something's roaring in the distance. Not good.

The Doctor sends Graham and Yaz back to the TARDIS for some special bandages, and for all that she seems calm Ryan thinks the Doctor must be worried if she's sending them and staying her herself — the Doctor's always in the most dangerous place in any situation.

“I'm sorry,” he says, for what must be the fifteenth time in ten minutes.

“Don't fret,” says the Doctor, taking off her coat and crouching down by his legs. “It's more common than you'd think.”

“Yeah, but -”

“No 'but' about it,” says the Doctor, interrupting. “Had this all the time with Susan. Very clever girl, very intuitive, but those ankles...” She shakes her head, sighing.

“Who's Susan?” asks Ryan, who knows the Doctor well enough by now to realise that he might not get an answer.

In lieu of a verbal response the Doctor reaches out and turns Ryan's leg a bit, which makes him scream.

“Yeah,” says the Doctor, “that's not good.”

Ryan gasps for breath and tries to convince himself that the Doctor would never hurt someone just to avoid an uncomfortable question. He's about ninety-nine percent sure that she wouldn't, but that remaining one percent isn't a pleasant thing to contemplate.

The noise has attracted attention — the roaring in the distance isn't in the distance any more.

The Doctor goes still and cocks her head every-so-slightly to one side, listening. She picks up her coat and slips it on. “Ryan,” she says, with the cheery tone that so often means trouble, “we're going to have to run.”

“How?” he demands, quite reasonably.

“You can lean on me,” she says, helping him to his feet and catching him when he starts to fall to one side. “Don't think of the pain,” he tells him as he stumbles along with her supporting him, “think of getting back to the TARDIS and having a nice cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit.”

The Doctor's stronger than she looks, and they manage a surprising pace with her pulling Ryan along beside her. She talks quietly as they move — “We'll be fine. Not far now. It probably isn't moving that fast anyway. No need to worry.” It would be more comforting if Ryan thought she was actually talking to him.

Something very loud happens not far behind them. “Just a tree,” says the Doctor, “trees fall over in forests all the time, even if there's nobody around to hear them.”

Ryan thinks that he's far too young to die in a forest being eaten by an unseen Thing with claws his imagination is only too happy to furnish. He grits his teeth against the pain and tries to move faster. The Doctor's half-carrying him now, despite the height difference, and there's something blue behind the trees about ten metres ahead.

When they reach the TARDIS the Doctor shoves the door open and almost throws Ryan into it, hurrying in at his back.

“I thought you were going to wait for us,” says Graham, bandages in hand.

“Change of plan,” says the Doctor as something heavy bangs against the outer doors of the ship.



- - -


The Doctor fixes his ankle with a gizmo (it had a name, but he was too stoned on painkillers at the time to remember what that name was) and leaves him with his leg propped up in the library reading as-yet-unpublished Batman comics. Yaz brings him a cup of tea and checks that he can reach it without having to get up.

“Sometimes,” he says, before Yaz can leave, “not all the time, but sometimes... sometimes I think I fancy the Doctor. Just a bit.”

Yaz shrugs. “Yeah, same.” She doesn't seem fussed. Maybe it's normal, maybe it's just to be expected.

“If you tell her I'll put spiders in your bed,” he adds, just in case.

“Ditto.”

He nods, satisfied, and picks up Batman again.