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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8. Impossible Blue Box

Eight: Impossible Blue Box

The Doctor watched me, bouncing lightly on his heels as I stepped back outside, measuring the box’s perimeter mentally, before pushing through the doors once more and feeling my jaw drop again. His smile grew as my wonder increased, taking baby steps further into the room and gazing around. The walls rose in gentle slopes, creating a cavernous dome decorated with a coral-like pattern. Beams resembling tree trunks supported this dome in four specific places, no one like the other. Right in front of me was a set of four stairs leading to an expanse of metal grating covering the majority of the ground, while in the very centre stood a masterpiece of absolute beauty and wonder. It resembled the clapper of a bell, though I was sure it was fixed to the spot, and the broadest bit held a myriad of colours and shapes, all of them apparently doing something. The column rising from the centre was translucent and glowing a pale blue, contrasting beautifully with the yellowish hue on the walls.

“It’s...” I trailed off, and he looked at me expectantly, eyes glowing with anticipation. “Beautiful,” I finished, and his expression fell. Giggling slightly at the disappointment etched in the furrow between his brows, I cautiously stepped ever closer and gingerly ran my hand over the tree-trunk beams; to my surprise, they were neither wood nor metal, but a sort of mix between them... like... sandpaper, but smoother... like touching new sand, or putting your hand in a bowl of fine sugar.

“Is that all you’ve got to say?” he asked me huffily, arms folded and one eyebrow raised to the roof. His smile was halfway formed though, so whatever annoyance was in his tone I knocked aside with a wave of my hand; which only served to make his grin grow wider. “You didn’t notice, say, that it’s-“

“Bigger on the inside?” I finished dryly, and his entire expression changed. I was gifted with a broad grin and- Lord, was that a giggle? “Yeah, but that’s the obvious bit, isn’t it?” Nodding, he turned to the console and petted it fondly, moving around and pressing various buttons. I felt the ground beneath me tilt and lurched to grab a railing, my feet slipping out from under me. The doors snapped shut and the Doctor gave me a grin, while I regained my balance and glared at him. “What did you do?” I demanded.

“Shut the door,” he replied innocently. “There was a draft.” There wasn’t, because if there had been, it would have been me who felt it. Not him. I raised both my eyebrows- somewhat impressed that my face didn’t tic as I did so- and headed up the gangway to join him near the blue, glowing column; which had me more mesmerised than anything else, if I was totally honest.

“You’d better not be whisking me off, you,” I muttered, still transfixed on the totally still device; on closer inspection, I could see pistons inside it, though what they powered I had no idea.

“Who, me?” he scoffed indignantly, all schoolboy cheekiness and innocent, toothy grins. “I’m not whisking you anywhere. Just a cup of tea,” he gestured behind him to a small table I hadn’t even noticed before. There sat the source of the tea, the pot still steaming and the two mugs set out on either side. The Doctor filled them both and beckoned for me to join him at the table- it was a little plastic fold-out one, and I wondered again how he’d had time to do all this, when he’d only left me for a few minutes.

“It travels in time, doesn’t it?” I asked, feeling immensely guilty for asking just as he sipped his tea, as his resulting gasp caused him to inhale the liquid and start coughing on it. Stunned, I moved on autopilot to tap his back, until he regained control and whirled around to look at me. I must have been becoming used to his rapidly changing emotions, as I didn’t even flinch at the demanding glint in his eyes.

“How on Earth could you possibly know that?”

I shrugged, returning to my seat. I yawned widely and tried not to blink too much, sure that I’d fall asleep if I closed my eyes for even a second. I was just as convinced that all of this- the impossible blue box, the Doctor himself, was a dream... though a dream had never made me feel quite so alive before. My dreams had always been vivid, but never like this. “It took us twenty minutes to walk here from the... Tad...Tar...Tar-?”

“TARDIS,” he corrected quietly, smiling to himself. “Time And Relative Dimenson In Space.” I snickered to myself, and he glared at me in mock anger, his chest puffing out even as he struggled not to smile. “Don’t laugh! If you make the TARDIS angry, she’ll make me kick you off.”

I rolled my eyes. “Sorry,” I apologised, feeling like a loon as I addressed the wall. “I’m not laughing at the… T-A-R-D-I-S. I’m laughing at the fact that acronyms generally don’t capitalise or include the conjunctions.”

“Maybe not on Earth,” he retorted, haughtily staring down his nose at me like I’d offended him in some major, life-altering way. Still, I caught the twitch of his lips and knew he was having me on... testing me, almost, daring me to challenge him because he had an answer for everything. Right then, I decided to make it my mission to render him speechless, even if it took until the end of time to accomplish. “But out there,” he pointed up, “there are things beyond your wildest dreams. Whatever your government might tell you, Earth are not the biggest fish in the pond. There are others out there, waiting, watching- walking among you, sometimes. And just sometimes, they try something-“

“Like today,” I murmured, knowing that while the Cybermen were technically human... they were still alien to us, to what technology out there was today. Nothing in even the most advanced laboratories could take a human brain and encase it in a working, fully-functional metal shell.

The Doctor made a face and shrugged. “And more. Half of them you probably wouldn’t remember... it’s only recently that Earth’s truly come under fire. For such a little planet, you’re so loud...”

“Doctor,” I shook my head, “You keep saying ‘you’re’… like you’re...”

He held up a hand and placed it against his heart, drawing my attention to that and my memory to what I’d heard in the Cyber-Building. That double set, the echo... “You heard it,” he whispered, and I nodded, swallowing thickly. If I could handle Cybermen, I could handle the Doctor. He looked human enough, anyway, so I could simply ignore that extra- wait, what? Internally kicking myself for even thinking of pretending he was human, I was abruptly aware of the Doctor giving me a concerned, slightly hurt, stare, and realised that some of my self-horror must have shown on my face.

“Well,” I cleared my throat, and pointed at the centre of the TARDIS. Conjunctions capitalised. “That would explain the time travel, and the box-from-nowhere.”

His grin lit up his entire face, and he instantly started rambling on about this planet and that, sounding glad to have someone to talk to. I tried to be attentive, I really did, but the tea was working wonders on my frazzled synapses and soon, his animated voice turned into a soft hum in the back of my mind. My eyes closed, I nodded and hummed where I thought necessary, pretending to listen even when my thoughts were... well, pretty much utterly blank. Strangely enough, I didn’t want to leave, as much as I wanted to sleep. I wanted to stay and listen to the Doctor talk forever, if he’d let me. I wanted to see the planet that had a blue moon every night, the planet in constant sunlight with the sapphire waterfalls, the inverted planet where the sky was the land and the land was the sky, and the mountains that swayed in the breeze...

I pictured myself standing under the blue moon, holding out my hand to watch my skin glow. I was alone in a field of grass, though I couldn’t tell what colour that was. The breeze rustled against my legs and I smiled as it brushed my hair off my neck, cool and slightly chilly, but smelling of frangipanis and vanilla… I turned around and everything was bright, as I stepped through a glass-domed room and peered up at the sky. It would burn me in seconds if the glass was gone, and the thought scared me momentarily, but I knew I was safe… and then I was in a bus, a little metal tube with the Doctor next to me- still prattling on- as we headed out to see the sapphire waterfalls… I turned to look out the window, and found myself standing at the edge of a cliff, though when I looked up all I could see was grass and trees, and below me was sky and clouds… in the far distance, mountains swayed and I wondered how hard it would be to climb them. I tried walking on the sky and found it miraculously solid, my confidence rising with each step I took. I glanced up again and the scene changed once more, to burnt-orange skies and red grass, with silver-topped mountains and the Doctor, smiling at me as he stepped aside to reveal the city in a bubble, golden and glowing under the twin suns, and my mother, holding out her hand…

“Kia?” I hummed and jerked awake, my head suddenly shooting up from drooling on my shoulder to staring around in shock. Still in the TARDIS, I noticed, and after just ten minutes of sleep I was feeling... more alert. Still tired, but alert. Almost. The Doctor smiled sadly at me and I wondered how long he’d known I wasn’t quite listening; guiltily, I glanced at the door and shrugged slightly.

“I should...” I trailed off to clear my throat, the volume and hoarseness showing through. I hadn’t been out that long, had I? “Sleep.”

“Yeah.” He nodded, and I stood to head towards the door, almost tripping as a yawn narrowed my eyes and blurred my vision. Lucky for me, the Doctor steadied me and escorted me to my bedroom door, which was all of six steps away. As he stood there and I faced him, a chilling thought crossed my mind and I glanced at the open doors of the TARDIS, my chest tightening at the possibility of losing what I’d just found. “I’ll be here when you wake up,” the Doctor murmured, rolling his eyes at me and gently shoving me towards the bed.

“Good... ‘cause I’ve got questions for you, Martian,” I said wryly, shaking my finger at him. He bit his lip in annoyance.

“Not from Mars, for Gods’ sake... Right, sleep tight, Kia!” And with that, he was gone and I fell onto my bed. Honestly, the hordes of Ghengis Khan could’ve marched through my hallway and I wouldn’t have noticed; a testament to how tiring running for your life could be. All I could recall that day was the sound of the Doctor’s voice, his stories worming their way into my head, my mother’s voice whispering in my ear that maybe, just maybe...

It could all be true.

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