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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9. Pancakes and Tea

Nine: Pancakes and Tea

I’ve never been terribly coherent in the morning, not before the first coffee at least. That’s probably the reason that, at first, I didn’t notice my hallway being suspiciously empty of Police Box as I stumbled to the bathroom to plonk myself in the shower. It’s also probably why it took me ten minutes to work out why I was so sore all over, and why I’d even managed to sleep through seven phone calls and my alarm- twice, I noticed, with a jolt of shock. I’d somehow slept through an entire day. When it finally hit me, I was thankful that I was already sitting down under the water, letting my hair hang limply around my face as the hot liquid dripped off the end of my nose, and I tried to count the scratches on my foot from kicking in glass.

Exhaustion and adrenaline, I had now discovered, worked better than morphine. Though I could honestly fall in love with a bottle of Valium… through the hissing of the shower, and the I-swear-it’s-audible groan of my protesting body, I heard the phone start to ring and hurried to finish washing my hair, my body, and allowing the heat of the water to cut right through the fog in my brain. Not that it did much good, and when I emerged half an hour later wrapped in a fluffy towel, I wandered into the lounge and pressed play on the messages.

Kia! Ohmigosh, are you alright? We’ve just heard that the attacks were concentrated in the UK… I deleted it, Angie’s chipper and terrified voice too much for me to handle this early in the… afternoon. I’d call her back later, preferably after food and coffee. The next five messages were all the same, Angie ringing in varying degrees of panic, ranging from No news is good news to should I be planning a funeral? Laughing at my best-mate-slash-only-friend’s concern, quietly touched, I patiently waited for the final messages to play… school.  Telling me that, in light of recent events, my classes had been cancelled for the next week, and work, telling me that I no longer had a job as the building was gone.

“How thoughtful,” I murmured, smiling in barely concealed delight as I realised this now meant I had time to complete my essay and, I thought with more excitement, talk to the Doctor. His wonderful stories had given me the best night’s sleep ever, though I couldn’t remember the dreams exactly, I knew they had to be fantastic. I almost didn’t need the coffee, with the energy the thought of him burst through my veins. I headed for the kitchen anyway, out of pure habit and a rumbling stomach, and froze in the doorway as a cold realisation swept over me.

“Oh no,” I spoke aloud, turning on my heel and dashing back to the hallway to stare in unrestrained horror at the empty hallway. No police box, no TARDIS, no Doctor. “But…” I trailed off, recalling his seemingly-sincere-but-obviously-not promise that he’d stay. I’d believed him too, and the crushing blow from my hopes falling to the ground settled in my stomach and put me in a foul old mood. Should I have known better than to trust him, even if he had saved my life? Probably. Did I trust the churning in my stomach when I’d allowed myself to trust? No.

My own fault, then, I reasoned. Didn’t do much to alleviate the disappointment I felt, but hey… life goes on. Can’t spend it waiting for an alien in an impossible blue box, no matter how hard I wished I’d see him again. Forcibly shoving the Doctor and the TARDIS and even the Cybermen out of my head, I quickly dressed and headed for the kitchen and set about making the ultimate comfort food.

Delicious, golden, lemon-and-sugar covered pancakes.

The rhythmic adding of ingredients, stirring, pouring, whisking, frying, flipping and finally stacking kept my thoughts blessedly quiet as I concentrated on making the best damned pancakes I’ve ever made in my entire life. I probably made enough to feed an entire family of five, not that it bothered me. They’d probably taste just the same after twenty seconds in the microwave later on, for my next meal. Satisfied that I’d made enough- and was out of milk- I grabbed four of the best and padded through to the lounge, flopping on the couch to stare blankly at the telly.

Unbidden and certainly unwanted, my thoughts drifted to the Doctor. I wondered where he was, how he was, whether he was fighting someone else or lounging on a distant, sunbaked planet. The miserable weather outside only dampened my spirits more and I tried to think of something positive, which only lead to me reliving the last twenty-something hours in my head. The mysterious girl in the library, her promises that the Doctor would be the best thing to ever happen- he had, technically, but now he’d gone I was miserably bored- and the TARDIS appearing from nowhere.

“TARDIS,” I said aloud, feeling the word out on my tongue and liking the way it sounded. I felt a small jump on my chest and glanced down, unsurprised that Mum’s old fob watch that served as my necklace was warm against my skin. It always was, no matter how long it sat on the table alone. The Doctor had taken an interest in it too, I remembered, and set my empty plate beside me as I slipped the chain off from around my neck, feeling a sense of emptiness creep up my spine. “I met an alien,” I told it, feeling stupid but somewhat better, “named the Doctor. We beat the Cybermen. He said he’d stay, but-“

“Kia?”

I jumped and nearly dropped the watch, fumbling to shove the chain back over my head. Somebody was knocking on the door and I ran to answer it, recognising the voice simply by the way my heart leapt at the sound. Flinging it open, I came face-to-face with the Doctor, fighting off a grin at the sight of him. He smiled awkwardly and stepped aside so I could see the TARDIS, looking innocent and much more at home sitting next to an actual telephone booth.

“Have I been gone long?” he asked anxiously, and I folded my arms across my chest, hoping that my body language would pass for pissed when really, all I felt was relief.

“Dunno. I woke up just now and you’d gone. Didn’t even notice at first,” I admitted sheepishly, rubbing a hand against the back of my neck. The affronted look I received in return only made me grin as I stepped aside, nodding him in. “I made pancakes,” I offered, pointing to the kitchen as I shut the door and headed for my plate, intending to wash it up. The Doctor sat at the table and stared at the food, clearly not hearing the invitation in my tone until I nodded at the food and shoved the plate under his nose.

By time I’d finished washing my plate, he’d finished the rest of my feast-sized stack, and I rolled my eyes as I finished the washing up. “I wasn’t sure when you’d be awake,” he spoke finally, leaning back in his chair as I sat on the one next to him, shrugging to show it didn’t matter. He hadn’t gone far, I realised, only left to give me my flat back.

“It’s alright,” I replied, unable to fight the grin that rose now. “Bet you were pretty tired, huh?”

“Nah,” he scoffed offhandedly, waving away my concern with a lazy grin. “Don’t need much sleep, me.”

I nodded slowly, scuffing my feet as a question burned in my mind. I tried to fight it down, a blush creeping up at how rude it sounded, but my mouth worked in sneaky ways and managed to utter it out before my brain could leap into control. “What are you?” I blurted, instantly covering my mouth at the sheer shock of hearing the question voiced. “I- I mean, it’s not every day I meet an a-alien, and… yeah,” I trailed off weakly, trying to show how apologetic I was without saying it.

The Doctor, to my surprise, laughed and shook his head at me. “It’s alright- natural you’re curious. I am a Time Lord.” His tone turned slightly dark at that and just the look on his face- gathering storm clouds, anger and rage and grief and loss entwined so fragilely- I was afraid to question him any further, lest I break the dam he had on those warring emotions. A moment of tense silence passed before he shuddered and forced his expression to clear, smiling at me in a way that didn’t meet his eyes. “Kia, I was wondering. Since you saved my life last night- would you like to join me in the TARDIS?”

I froze, staring at him with a gaping mouth. And then, before I knew what I was doing, I launched out of my chair and hugged him around the neck, silently thanking him a million times for the offer. After a moment, he hugged me back and I thought I felt him smile against my shoulder.

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