Changing Me

DOCTOR WHO.

Rating may be at a precautionary high, but better safe than sorry.

"Doesn't it get lonely?" He paused for a moment, fingers ghosting over the controls. "From time to time," he replied evenly, his tone barely changing. My frown cleared as I joined him near the controls, leaning backwards against the cool metal console. He glanced over, blue eyes unreadable. "It always seems so much better through someone else's eyes." Eventual Doctor/OC.

Story is complete, and part of a never-ending series.

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13. Home Away From Home

Thirteen: Home Away From Home

Have you ever had a dream so real, so vivid, that stays with you long after you’ve woken up? Even if you can’t remember what happened or who was there, you can still feel whatever you felt in that dream and it hovers in your head all day, with snippets of images and sounds coming back to you every so often?

That was precisely the feeling I had as I woke in my bed back home. I could remember exactly what happened to me- well, parts of it. I recalled Charles Darwin, and I remembered dancing with Erasmus, then being lost in the snow while looking for the Doctor. I remember being taken by the ice-men, the Skith, and being in a cage with Louie next to me. After that... nothing. My mind buzzed and ached as I struggled to remember, lying in bed and staring at the ceiling.

My body was weak, as if I’d been asleep too long. I tried to clench my fist but my muscles wouldn’t work properly; I could curl my fingers, but not clench them. Shaking my hand to loosen the muscles, I tried again and succeeded, oddly triumphant at overcoming my own weakness. Slowly, feeling my head spin slightly with vertigo, I swung my legs over the side of the bed and looked down at myself in shock; I was wearing my jimjams- shorts and a halter top- which I most definitely had not been wearing before going to see Charles Darwin.

Therefore, someone had changed me while I was out.

“Doctor!” I shouted, stomping my foot. I doubted he would have heard me from there, but it was satisfying all the same. Storming to the door, I yanked it open to find myself in a white-washed hallway with a coral pattern; in other words, definitely not the hallway in my flat. Eyes wide, I turned around to stare at my bedroom- because it was mine. The bed still rumpled, the book lying face-down on the end table exactly where I’d left it, my dirty clothes from the Cybermen incident still crumpled in the corner. My room, but not my flat. “What the hell is going on?”

“You’re awake,” a gruff, familiar voice came from the doorway. A foot or so behind me, to be precise, and as I whirled around I found myself face-to-face with a slightly frowning Doctor. He didn’t look pleased and abruptly, my actions with Erasmus flitted through my mind as a reason. “Good. How’s your head?”

I paused to consider the question, reeling slightly as a headache reared up, snarling and growling. “Dizzy,” I replied at length. My vision blurred and I stepped back to steady myself, a hand flying to pinch the bridge of my nose. “What- where did you go? At the party, I mean, where...” I asked, aware of how pathetic I sounded.

“Caught a psychic signal, went to investigate,” the Doctor responded, waving the sonic screwdriver at me. He seemed a little happier now, and I returned to the bed, feeling safer as I was lower to the ground. “You looked like you were having a good time; didn’t want to disturb your fun.” I flushed and looked down at my hands, embarrassed. I still had little to no idea what had happened to me after I left the party, and by the curious look on the Doctor’s face, I was about to find out. “Kia, what happened with you and the Skith?” he asked, and my heart sank.

“I don’t know,” I replied quietly. “I was hoping you could tell me.” I fell backwards and stared at the ceiling- it was comforting, for the simple reason that from here, I could almost imagine myself back at home where all of this was just a dream. A marvellous, scary, deliciously tempting dream. The bed dipped as the Doctor sat beside me, neither of us saying a word. I didn’t want to break the silence, the tense silence that I’m sure would only lead to questions I had no answer for. What had happened to me? The Skith had done something, that was obvious. If the Doctor didn’t know, it was unlikely I ever would.

“Talk me through what you do remember,” the Doctor asked suddenly. I bit my lips so hard they hurt, unsure just why I was feeling so hesitant to find out what I’d done, or seen. Surely I hadn’t been that bad, had I? Whatever happened, it couldn’t be so bad to make me terrified at the thought of it.

Tentatively, unsure and quiet, I began. “We were at the party. I was... dancing... with Erasmus Darwin-“ the Doctor snorted and I shot him a glare, telling him in no uncertain terms to zip it- “-and you disappeared. I thought... I thought you might’ve gone to the TARDIS, so I decided to meet you there.” I didn’t mention that I’d thought he was jealous of my snogging a famous naturalists’ younger brother, since I figured that might be just a bit self-flattering. “I barely made it out the garden gate when the snow was too thick to see. Then these... hands... they grabbed me, dragged me away... we were in a warehouse. It was cold in there, so bloody cold. I remember praying it wasn’t a spaceship.” I had to stop there. After this point, things got a bit foggy and difficult to remember, almost like I was drunk from then on in or something. My memories were hazy at best, slowly descending into utter darkness until I woke up not ten minutes ago.

“That’s it?” the Doctor didn’t seem disappointed; more frank, than anything else.

As for me, I felt rather inadequate for not remembering more. “What happened with you and the Skith?” I asked, aware I was echoing his question but needing to know.

His expression hardened; I could see the muscles in his jaw tensing as I craned my neck up to watch him. I found I could read him easier if I could see his face, but reading the Doctor was a hard task anyway. “They were relocated,” he replied, voice hard and growly. The same tone he used when he wasn’t happy about something; I wanted to ask, but he cut me off by standing and heading for the door. “I couldn’t fix their ship, and their planet is lost. I took them to Scoria, an uninhabited ice planet with plenty of junk buried in its’ soil. They’ll be happy, and will never return to Earth.”

“I’m glad they’ll be okay,” I muttered. “I mean, they didn’t hurt me, though they must’ve had a chance to.”

His expression fell even further now and he left without a word. I remained sitting on the bed for a second later before the look on his face and the tone of his voice registered. He wasn’t happy, at all. There was something else I didn’t know about, and it set my teeth on edge. Instinctively, my hand rose to cup the watch around my neck, a comforting habit whenever I was scared or stressed. A moment, or two maybe, passed before I rolled to my feet and ran to the door, intent on finding the Doctor. Something else was up. I wanted to know what.

The whitewashed hallway stretched as far to the left as I could possibly see, and to the right was a corner. Turning left looked exhausting- I wasn’t up to hiking through the TARDIS no matter how interested I was in finding the secrets of this fantastic ship- so I turned right and set out for the corner. There, I found a hallway lathed in green, which ended in a blue door. I wondered if this was some sort of colour-coding, for even the Doctor was bound to get lost in here sometime, right?

The blue door lead to the console room, lucky for me. The Doctor was already there, leaning over the panel furthest from me and seemed a little perkier at the fact that I’d found my way. “I was waiting for you to start yelling again,” he teased, lifting his head and giving me a grin. I couldn’t help but grin back; he was infectious. I would very much like to meet someone who could look at him grinning and not feel happy.

I do not yell,” I retorted haughtily, putting on a posh accent and making myself at home in the jump-seat. “I summon.” The Doctor laughed, the sullen mood entirely gone, and I felt immensely pleased with myself. “So, how come my room’s on the TARDIS?” I asked, genuinely curious. I’d met people like the Doctor before- closed off and pretty walled in when it came to answering the hard stuff- so I figured if I wanted the truth, I’d start off with something he couldn’t help but brag about.

“The TARDIS made a copy of it, installed it in the matrix,” he replied quickly, one eyebrow cocked as he waited for my next inevitable question. And sure as smoke, I asked.

“Why would she do that?”

The Doctor’s grin returned and he bounced around the console to sit beside me, his long legs stretched out and his ankles on the console edge. He still looked plenty comfortable, whereas I was almost swinging my legs- sadly, this demonstrates how short I was. “Wanted to make you feel at home, I guess. Why’d you call her a she?”

I shrugged. “All ships are traditionally referred to as female.” A realisation stole over me then and I felt horrified at my demonstration of ignorance, panicking slightly as I stared at the Doctor. “Is that wrong? It’s not offensive, is it? I swear, I didn’t know-“ He was shaking his head, laughing under his breath. At me, I’m sure. It seemed that if he wasn’t saving my life or demanding answers, he was laughing at me.

“Fantastic, I’ve picked a politically correct ape.” I huffed under my breath, but getting the gist that it was a backhanded compliment. My elbow met his ribs and he barely moved, but his laughter kicked up a notch. Sulking slightly, I stood up and circled the console, wanting to make a dramatic exit but not certain I could find my room again. More than likely, he knew this, and therefore stayed put on the seat as he watched my curious wandering.

“Doctor,” I began, unable to see him and feeling suddenly a whole lot more confident. Funny that, isn’t it? I couldn’t fathom interrogating him to his face. “Is there something you’re not telling me?”

In an instant, he rounded the console and was facing me. I stood my ground; I might be useless at demanding answers when I was facing him, but I would stand by what I wanted. Even if the dark look he was giving me did unnerve me just a bit. “There are things you are not telling me, Kia,” he muttered loudly, nodding to himself when my brows furrowed in a frown. Sure there were things I’d kept to myself, simply because I didn’t know him well enough to speak of them. “Do you know why the Skith were collecting anachronistic beings?”

I had an idea, yeah. A whisper of an idea floating in the back of my head, brought about when he’d said anachronistic beings. I’d heard that before, had I not? Hang on, I think I said it... “They were collecting... information... on how we were displaced in time... they could sense I wasn’t from that period... they wanted to know how, because they wanted out.”

He nodded. “They wanted you.”

The Doctor took my wrist gently and raised it up, and for the first time I saw my fingers. They were pink, a fresh layer of skin growing over them. They looked like the new skin that formed over a burn, but the Skith were made of ice... ice can burn. “You are low-level psychic, they had an enhancement module. They wanted to freeze you and take the information right out of your head, whether you consented or not. Then, they discovered this,” he dropped my hand and plucked the chain around my neck. As if stung, a pulse of electricity jolted me to leap a foot away, protectively curling my fist around the watch. Eyes wide, I felt on edge, just waiting for the next attack.

“Right. So they almost froze me. You saved me, I’m guessing.” He nodded, and I let out a sigh. “God, this is confusing. Sometimes I can remember, and sometimes I think I can remember. I don’t know what’s real or not...” I felt my heart-rate increasing steadily into a hum as I struggled to breathe evenly, my mind reeling and quickly falling into hysteria. It was not a pleasant feeling to think something, then instantly doubt whether you’d thought it at all, or only remembered you’d thought it, or perhaps thought you remembered thinking it.

“That would be the Skith,” the Doctor replied, not moving towards me as I spun on the spot and tried to sort my thoughts out. “They impressed their knowledge into your mind, implanted the desire to obey. Did you hear them singing?”

The song. That beautiful song. I could remember hearing it, but it didn’t have half the effect I remember it having. I didn’t want to fall asleep and only hear that song forever; the melody twirling and curling inside me, capturing my heart and mind until all I could do was follow it. “Yes,” I whispered hoarsely. The Doctor nodded, his expression unreadable as always. He didn’t meet my gaze, which was a bit of a disadvantage when it came to me trying to guess what was on his mind. Not that I had any hope anyway, I figured. He was an alien. He could blindside me and be halfway across the galaxy before I realised.

“Hypnotism. Crude and unreliable form of mind-control; but with someone like you, already susceptible to that kind of thing, enhanced with their own technology, and that watch. It was a drug.” His explanation actually made sense. I had expected it to, but hearing him say it- especially the bit about being drugged- made me feel a whole lot better about the fuzzy nature of my memories. There was still a lingering feeling of forgetfulness, like there was something very important that I was skipping. Like having something on the tip of your tongue but never quite getting it.

“Right,” I muttered, feeling slightly better. Only slightly, mind; I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the fact that I’d gone back in time, been kidnapped by aliens stranded on Earth, drugged and whatever-else by said aliens, and could not remember anything at all about it. Shaking my head and fighting off the tears of shock and confusion and frustration and whatever else I was feeling, I shook my hair out of my face and looked at the Doctor expectantly, something he’d said earlier floating back through my tormented brain. “You said they wanted me.”

His eyes were locked on my chest, though I knew he wasn’t looking at me. The watch. It had to be; he had shown an unusual interest in it right from the beginning. I had no idea why it held such intrigue for him, but I knew it had to be what he wanted. “That is no ordinary watch, Kia. The Skith could sense its otherworldly properties and wanted to use it for their own gain. They would have killed you had I not found you in time.”

“Otherworldly?” I muttered, ignoring the last part. I already felt bad enough that I’d gotten myself in a stupid captive situation and had to be rescued by the Doctor; I really didn’t need to be any further in this man’s debt. I hated owing people, and owing him for my life three times already was quite enough. For the first time, I tugged the watch into the light in front of the Doctor, not missing his eyes locked on it hungrily. If it were from another planet, it may just be simple curiosity that had him so interested. But no... he looked upset at the fact that it was around my neck, had been irritated when I refused to give it to him before. This had to be more than just a trinket. “It’s a broken old watch that doesn’t open.”

“But it speaks to you, doesn’t it?” the Doctor murmured, as I nodded vaguely. He was right, of course. It didn’t speak to me in words, so much, more as in I felt compelled to do anything to protect that watch. If I took it off for more than an hour, I felt naked. If I took it off in front of the Doctor, or he attempted to touch it while I was wearing it, I would either have screams in my head or electric shocks on my skin. Those signs were subtle but obvious enough for me to read; do not lose the watch. Do not give it to the Doctor. Do not let him near it. I fully intended to keep those promises, feeling in some small way that perhaps doing that would bring me closer to my mother. I missed her with every fibre of my being; protecting the watch may have stemmed from family loyalty, but it ran much deeper than that. I hated to think of what would happen if I ever lost it.

“Tell me everything, Doctor. I want to know.”

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