"Feeling better?" the Doctor eventually asked as my sobs faded.
"Mhmm..." I indistinctly made into his shirt and pulled away a bit.
Even though it was weird to be held by a complete stranger, it was still a form of comfort I hadn't experienced in... years, over a decade? I couldn't remember. He had held me. There, in the night, by the fire and the sea. Had only held me, letting me... No, in the end he hadn't accepted my wish. Had he simply changed his mind in the last moment? Or had it been a calculated action?
"Good, good." The Doctor beamed. "Well, crying is supposed to help, but still..."
"Don't... tell him," I mumbled, suddenly feeling embarrassed about my outburst.
"Whom? The Master? Ahhhh, don't worry about him. Actually, do worry about him. I have no idea what he's planning again. Better stay out of his way."
"Does that mean... you won't send me away?" Now look at that. I'm still able to feel hope. I sighed and wiped the remaining tears from my face. "Gosh, I really must seem so silly to you."
For once he was at a loss for words, probably struggling to find something to say that wasn't another well-intended insult. He gave up eventually and instead asked, "There's really no one I can bring you to?"
His words sent a nasty stinging through my heart, letting new tears well up. They reminded me of the past year (hell, my whole life actually), of how no one ever cared to ask about my whereabouts. And when I had been the one to reach out, there was only fake interest, if any answer at all. I shook my head.
"Sure... I don't think my big sister or my aunt would say no... but they'd only try to get rid of me... again. As fast as possible." Memories resurfaced of how I used to spend so much time with them, seeing their smiling faces, hearing their invitations, and still being nothing but an intruder into their lives. People let you know when you don't belong. And when they don't want you to. They had built up their own lives, and made it very evident that I wasn't invited. "Guess that would be even worse than being alone," I muttered and glanced away.
The Doctor looked down at me, rubbing his neck in thought. He then sighed and reached into his suit pocket to hand me something. "Well... I'd normally say it's too dangerous for you here, but..."
I took what he held out to me and found it to be my glasses. It was nice to see properly again, made me realize just how clueless the Doctor was looking right now. "I'd rather stay somewhere dangerous than... everything before, really."
"We'll see about that." The Doctor smiled and nodded to the door. "But first let's get you some fresh clothes."
I glanced down at me, the blood stained clothes, the bandages on my wrists. I even still wore my shoes. "A shower would be nice, too," I mumbled, sliding my thumb over one of the bandages.
"Oh, you can take those off. Should be healed enough already. But I'm afraid there will be some scars left behind."
"Healed?" I unwrapped the cloth carefully under the Doctor's watchful eyes. There still was a wound, but it looked as if it were weeks old. "How... long have I slept?" I muttered dumbfounded, my eyes glued to the sight.
"Just half an earthen day or so. I've got healing equipment from so many places, can't even remember where that salve came from I put on there... eh... anyway. Shower's a fine idea. We'll get the TARDIS to make you a nice little space for yourself afterwards. What do you think?"
I looked back up, right in time to see him beam from ear to ear. All I could muster was a week reflection of the smile, but I nodded.
While we trod through the corridors I wondered how it could be that I didn't feel excited. The first times I had been here, there would have been no better thing in the world (universe) to happen than to stay here. Now... it felt off, unreal. Was it really better to stay here than to go back home? Would I be treated as more than a mere, unwanted, intruder? Only accepted because they feared I'd harm myself again?
The way was short and soon the Doctor showed me a spacious bathroom with lots of fluffy towels.
"The wardrobe over there will have some clothes. Won't they?" he asked and stroked the door frame. A slight hum returned as an answer, making the Time Lord smile. He looked back at me and gestured inside the room. "Err... do you need help with that?"
I startled and scrunched up my nose, protesting, "Noooo, certainly not."
"Oi! You're still a little weak and might pass out. Or who knows what." He held up his hands in defence. "I know what humans look like. It's no big deal for me, really."
"Pfff... but it might be for me." I frowned at him and poked out my tongue. "Just wait outside. If anything happens I'll call you."
"Alright, then. Will do. Will stand here as a guard and not move a toe!" he promised with a bright smile.
Despite his claims I couldn't shake the feeling that he had no clue at all about humans and their customs. This would be fun. Not that I minded people seeing me naked, nothing to hide, really, but something about the Doctor just seemed a little too intrusive for me, especially right now.
He was right, though. I did feel slightly shaky and opted to take a shower instead of a bath. I'm not the bathing type anyway, and letting the Doctor wait for longer than necessary seemed mean.
Uncertain what to do with my old clothes, I simply folded and placed them on the toilet lid, only now realizing that they smelled of sand and blood, of smoke and... also wore a hint of his scent.
I scowled at the clothes and grudgingly stepped into the shower. There would be plenty of time to smack him in the face. For now I just wanted to... I didn't even know what, but the warm water felt soothing on my cold skin, made me sigh content. It felt relieving to wash of the past, to carefully glide the soft sponge over the cuts. It hurt a little, but not nearly as much as when they had been fresh.
"You're alright in there?" came the Doctor's voice after some time.
"Yeah!" I called back, realizing I must have stood there for like ten minutes or so. "I'm fine."
With a sigh I switched the water off and wrapped myself in one of the fluffy towels, taking a closer look at the wardrobe. Everything I took out to observe had my size, so I assumed the TARDIS had just produced those somehow. I picked some underwear, dark blue jeans and a red polo shirt. Maybe some colour would do me good, I decided.
"A zipper or so would have been nice," I mumbled, looking down at my bare arms. Part of me wanted to cover the cuts, and another was simply a little cold.
Right as I wanted to close the wardrobe I saw a single, lonely zipper lying on top of the other clothes. Black in colour, but the hood was inlayed with red plaid. "That wasn't here before. Did you just put it there?"
The TARDIS gave a short hum, confirming my suspicion. Somehow it made me smile, wondering what I had stumbled into. This was like actual magic to me, even though it probably could be explained by some science humans would not even begin to understand. Let alone the fact that I was inside a seemingly conscious and living space ship.
Less fascinating was my own reflection in the mirror. It looked as pale as a ghost, and incredibly tired. Dead. Yeah, I actually looked exactly as I felt.
Outside the Doctor greeted me with an impatient smile. He was fidgeting around with his weird, blue glowing wand thing, that he put away as the door opened. "Ah, see? You look a lot better already. Let's get some food into you."
I nodded and wordlessly followed. A weirdly disappointed feeling went through my guts when I found the kitchen to be empty. Somehow I had awaited to find the Master in here. Instead I enjoyed a small meal in almost silence. The Doctor didn't speak much, only commented on what food would be best to get me back on track.
"You basically need every last bit of nutrition you can get, see?"
"Why? I didn't sleep for long."
"Well, yes, but you lost so much blood we had to fill you up again somehow. Life force alone isn't really enough to keep a body alive, you know."
"You gave me a blood transfusion?" I wondered from whom it might have come.
"No. Not quite. It was a simple sodium chloride solution. Nothing fancy. I think they even use it on earth."
I blinked and looked down at my hands, the pale skin. "Wait. Does that mean I have no actual blood in my veins, right now?"
The Doctor chuckled and grinned. "Well, your body probably already produced some new, but yeah, you're mostly running on the substitute. Probably... eighty percent or so. That's why you should eat properly, give your system enough energy and nutrients to work with."
"Hm, yeah." I huffed. "Well, I always tell everyone, my heart belongs to the sea. Why not having salt water run through my veins, then, hey?"
The whole time I ate, my eyes kept darting towards the door, awaiting it to open at any time. Nothing happened, however, and so I listlessly munched on the ham-egg sandwich, not tasting much of it. Having something in my stomach still made me feel a little better and a lot less shaky than before. I would have murdered someone for coffee instead of juice in that moment, but the Doctor refused to let me have some.
"Okay, what now?" I wanted to know when I had finished. "What's it you do all day?"
The question made a bright smile appear on the Doctor's face. "Travelling!" he announced happily. "Well... not as much since the Master is on board. It's hard enough to keep him away from trouble without landing anywhere. And right now I have to do some maintenance on the console, so... Tell you what?" He stood and smiled warmly. "I'll show you the library, and in a few hours, when I'm done, we can have dinner on the thirty second moon of Keilopherax. What do you think?"
Perplex I blinked, finding his smile to be weirdly contagious. "That... sounds like a cool first day."