by TardisGhost [Reviews - 79]Chapter or Story
The soft sound of distant waves mixed with the noises of a busy mediterranean town. Children were playing around a fountain on the cobble stoned placa, here and there disrupted by the sound of a bicycle bell. The sun hung low already, dowsing the place in pleasantly orange light. There was a couple sauntering along the sidewalk, pointing at various items in the shop windows. There was a group of teenagers sitting on a low wall, doing their best to appear dangerous, but ending up just being children still. An elderly lady sat at the fountain, smiling at the sun with closed eyes, her hands resting on the grip of her cane.
I absorbed the whole tranquil atmosphere of this place with every breath I took, unable to remember when it had been that I had last felt so calm. And there definitely had never been a place where they had served ice cream as delicious as they did here.
And still, I knew this wouldn't last. I cast a glance at the Doctor, who was faintly smiling and watching the scenery with as much interest as I had before.
"You wanted to talk," I concluded. He wouldn't bring me to a nice place like that right after such a heated moment, if not to talk.
His head turned to me and there was a moment where it felt as if he wasn't so sure himself if talking was a good idea.
"It's… none of my business," he said slowly, obviously bursting with questions.
"I know about the risks," I informed him. He always told me how dangerous it was, so I thought it might help to let him know.
"'Cause you do…" The Doctor nodded to himself. "Would be too dangerous to not let you know."
He played with the plastic spoon on his ice cream bowl, suddenly extremely busy with balancing it on the rim.
"Doctor," I pleaded, "just ask. I don't want any tension between us. And there is too much about the whole thing I don't quite understand yet, so if this means something I'm not aware of…"
"It's extremely intimate," he said, not averting his attention from the spoon.
"I… yes, I noticed."
"Time Lords have rules against connecting with other species. And even more against doing it with other Time Lords."
I only nodded, not certain if I had heard this so bluntly before. But it wasn't surprising. "That's why you hesitated to have a look, right?"
"It feels… different with you," I quietly told. "A bit uncomfortable."
The spoon finally stayed put on the rim, forcing the Doctor to stop playing with it. He pouted at the small thing and finally looked up. "Different? It always feels uncomfortable with humans." There was a pause during which he eyed me carefully. He let out a sigh, rubbing his neck. "This seems to surprise you."
"It doesn't… feel bad with him," I mumbled, deciding not to mention that it actually felt quite amazing. He probably could guess it anyway. "And I asked him to. I wanted to learn how to defend myself if there is some psychic threat out there."
The Doctor nodded, but I wasn't sure if this was enough explanation for him. "Weeell, you are quite empathic. Could make you a target. I just wonder why he…" He shook his head, never ending the sentence. "None of my business. None. Not a tiny little bitsy."
"No, no. I won't ask anything more. It's… you do you."
"That's not…" I sighed, glancing at the Doctor. Was he jealous maybe? But he always kept the other Time Lord far away from himself. And I also was rather sure that their species, considering their long lives, weren't the monogamous type anyway. "I actually wanted to ask what exactly you found in my head."
"Oh! Oh, yes, right. Almost forgot with all the… Errr… yes. I found something. I'm just not sure what it is. And since you so adamantly pushed me away from your life force… was that on purpose?"
Now it was me who felt uncomfortable, but I nodded.
"Did… he do something to you?" The question came with hesitance and still like a habit. "Listen, I'm not sure what he's gaining from…" He uncomfortably waved his hand at me. "Well… He's got to gain something. Maybe you don't even know… maybe… maybe you do. I just… be careful anyway, okay? I'm sure he's not harming himself, but…"
"What did you find?" I distracted his thoughts. It seemed he definitely wanted this to be his business, but it wasn't. And I wasn't going to spill the juicy details. "He didn't do anything to me. Quite the opposite." Without him I wouldn't even be alive right now, but that too was my knowledge to keep.
The Doctor nodded, pouting when his plastic spoon clattered down from the bowl's edge. A light wind started to blow through the peaceful streets, the sun fading behind the horizon.
"Let's take a walk along the beach," the Doctor suddenly suggested and shot up from his seat. "It's such a nice evening."
He didn't wait for an answer and left a few pea-shaped things on the table, just wandering off. I had no choice but to follow, hoping the peas would be payment enough. It was a bit funny how he seemed to have a few bits of some currencies lying in his pockets, but never ever any human money. Despite all the time he liked to spend on their planet.
We walked along a cobbled street, the sea glittering in the light of the setting sun. If it weren't for the two moons that slowly faded into view I could almost be fooled into thinking we were on earth. I hadn't remembered the name of the species, but knew they were hybrids that had mingled with humans at some point in their history.
"I'm trying to find a way to explain it," said the Doctor eventually. "There definitely is something, but it exists on a purely psychic level. I'm… not even sure it's directly connected to the void and I have not the slightest idea how that might even be possible. But I also didn't have that thorough of a look." He glanced at me and quickly proceeded to examine the rocky beach instead. " It's like… a cluster of psychic void stuff. And yes, it makes no sense… but it's the best I can give. "
I nudged the Doctor with my elbow and smiled up at him." Thanks for trying. It's at least something. Guess I have trust that the Master will tell me if anything gets… weird."
The Doctor gave me a short, tight-lipped smile. His hands were buried deep inside his pockets. On a whim I slipped my arm through the crook of his elbow and playfully tugged at him.
"You should ask him out," I blurted, deciding to act on my sudden Impulse.
The Doctor winced and glared at me with confusion. "What?" He shook his head, looking much like a deer in the headlights. "No no no. Bad idea. Bad bad idea, Lucy."
I giggled at his reaction. "Why not?"
He threw his hands up, raising my arm too, and let them fall with a helpless noise. "He would… would never. This wouldn't… he'd try to corrupt me. This wouldn't be real. 'S just flirting what he does. Wants control over my TARDIS and get away."
"I'm not so sure about that," I mumbled.
"He hates me. You know only a fraction of what he tried to murder me."
"Well… that's a point. But I'm sure he could have long since killed you if he really wanted to." I nudged him. "I'm sorry. It was a stupid thought. Just ignore it."
The Doctor let out a sigh, but tugged me closer to his side, mumbling something that sounded like, "Too empathic indeed."
I had a nice self-cooked dinner with Donna, during which she didn't mention the morning's event with a single word. Instead, we both had fun feeding the tiny dragon with small pieces of meat that it caught in the air, doing proud little jumps afterwards.
"It's a dragon. You can't just call it Henry!" I laughed after Donna had tried to come up with a name. "Besides… I'm not sure if it's male, or if it has a gender in the usual sense."
"Yes, yes, but it would be a bit funny, don't ya think?" She giggled and rubbed the little one's head. Her face turned soft. "It can't be evil. I don't believe it. Dangerous maybe, when it's grown big and has teeth and everything."
"And can spit fireballs."
"Yup." I nodded. "Its mom could, so I guess it'll learn it too someday."
I picked up another small meat piece and held it out, watching. The little one tilted its head, trying to snap the meat with its snout, but then decided otherwise mid movement. Instead it sat on the hind legs and took the meat with its tiny fingers, nibbling on its snack happily.
"It definitely is careful not to hurt me," I said, smiling.
"Say… Lucy, can I ask something?" Donna was unusually hesitant all of a sudden and only continued when I nodded. "'S just… this void thing in your head. When we were in the meteor… Could it be possible… Because of it." She waved at the dragon. "It came through that darkness. Could it be… it was you who summoned that void? Don't get mad. I'm not sayin' you did it on purpose. 'S not what I'm implying,' s just…"
"It's okay," I mumbled. "I'm not entirely sure myself, honestly."
"An' what happened to that poor fellow Darwil? He can't be in there. The Doctor's refusing to tell me more."
Yeah, what had happened to him there? We would probably never learn. "It was his own decision," I mumbled. "He… had nothing to go back to. So forward was the only plausible direction."
"Even when it kills him?"
We fell silent for several minutes. The dragon licked its fingers clean, then began doing the same with its tail. Much like a cat. At last it fluttered on my shoulder and curled itself together there.
I decided to break the silence with something more funny.
"I told the Doctor he should ask the Master out on a date," I said and wriggled my eyebrows at Donna.
She immediately started laughing, her bright voice filling the room with a bit more light. "And what did he say? I bet he got all flustered, that idiot."
I giggled. "Yeah, he did. And started to blurt out all sorts of excuses not to. I don't think it's going to happen."
"Well, good for you, then." She gave me a wink and I immediately felt uncomfortable.
"W… what? Why would that be any good?"
"Oh, don't play dumb." Donna laughed. "You like the Master. And it sounds as if this mind melt thing isn't something you'd just do with anyone."
"It's… not like that," I mumbled. "I told you. It's just… I help him, he trains me. That's it."
"Yea, yeah, whatever." She chuckled. "You still don't mind."
A sheepish grin stole itself in my lips, much against my will and I glared at the empty plate in front of me, unable to look the other woman in the eye.
"Can't blame you, he's a handsome chap."
"Donna!" My head snapped up and I had to laugh at her childish wink. It also made me squirm a little. "I… thought you'd hate me for this, honestly."
"Oh, don't be silly, Lucy. Yeah, I don't get what you - and the Doctor - see in him, but it's not my place to judge." There was another chuckle, then she got serious and leaned slightly over the table. "Just, do me a favour and don't let him hurt you again. And I don't care in what way. Or, by God, I'm going to slap the hell out of this idiot!"
"I'd love to see that." I smiled at her and nodded. "He's learned his lesson, I think. Or… at least I hope so."