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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2. The Doctor Is In

Two: The Doctor Is In

Standing in the alley, I huffed indignantly at the abrupt end to my adventure. At least I hadn't ended up somewhere unrecognisable, somewhere I wouldn't be able to navigate my way back from. With a sigh and a laugh at my own ridiculous imaginationI turned to start the miserable walk back to the library. But that girl, her face, her words- they stuck in my mind and I had almost allowed myself to believe her for one glorious moment. For just one moment, I had let myself believe in the impossible, that I would soon escape the never-ending cycle of school, work, sleep and bills.

I paused at the mouth of the alley as a soft breeze struck up, coming from behind me. But how… I turned, curious, and watched with a wide-open mouth as out of thin air, a tall blue box began to appear. It emitted a strange whirring sound as it faded into and out of sight, a light flashing on top as if warning me away. I couldn't move, transfixed at the sight of it. In the few seconds of watching and listening to that sound, I had committed it to memory and sworn to never ever forget it.

I was still staring when the whirring stopped, and out of the doors facing me a man appeared. He was tall, a little muscular, with an angular face and a rather prominent nose. His hair was very, very short, perhaps to hide the fact that he was going bald, or perhaps because he knew that no amount of hair would hide those ears. He was wearing leather, too, the same kind of jacket the Mysterious Girl had worn, and in all he struck a very impressive figure. I wanted to flee, to run, but something kept me glued to the spot.

He seemed to notice me at the same time as he noticed everything else; his eyes widened in surprise and he stuck his hands in his pockets, rocking on his heels as he gave me a slow once-over. "Hello there. Who are you, then?" he asked, his accent definitely not local. Northern England. Fantastic. He was staring at me expectantly and I stammered and stuttered, trying to think of a proper answer that wouldn't sound childish and stupid.

But, instead, I settled on simply blurting out the first thing that crossed my mind; "I could ask you the same question! You just appeared out of nowhere!" I exclaimed, throwing my hands in the air. The urge to run was still present and accounted for, but it was more a suggestion now than a full-blown order.

"I did not. I came out of a blue police box," His indignant tone preceded a smug grin, and his eyes- blue, periwinkle blue of an early-morning dawn sky- twinkled with mischief. He stepped to one side as if to draw attention to the box, and I had to admit he was right.

"Which came out of nowhere," I retorted swiftly, desperate to win the argument. Or whatever it was. His grin grew to impossible brightness as he rocked on his heels again. His expression turned thoughtful but I knew better, his eyes hadn't left mine and he was almost challenging me.

"Wrong again!" he exclaimed, leaping back to pet the box doors fondly. I rolled my eyes at him- boys and their toys. "That's impossible, things coming out of nowhere. And believe me when I say that, because I've seen, done, been and travelled with impossible." I didn't doubt him for an instant, and it wasn't just the darkening of his tone and the fact that his eyes gleamed at me.

I shook my head, though I was smiling. "You're mad," I stated.

"No, just pleasantly unbalanced," he was swift to retort, grinning again. His energy was infectious and I let myself relax entirely. He might have been completely mental- a full box of frogs- but I didn't sense any threat from him. If he wanted to hurt me, he would've done it already, wouldn't he? Besides, something about him reminded me of that blue-eyed girl from the library, the one who had lead me here. Something in his eyes… the other-worldly knowledge, the age behind his smile.

"Who are you?" I asked softly, genuinely wanting to know. I liked him, I didn't know why, but I did.

His jaw tightened briefly and his eyes slid from mine as he replied; "I'm the Doc- John Smith. Doctor John Smith."

I gave a little gasp of shock and my hand fluttered up to grasp the chain of my necklace nervously; this must be the man the girl in the library told me about... The Doctor. My eyes had slipped and my head tilted down as the memory flashed across my mind; slowly, I looked up at him once again, eyes wide and knees feeling weak with anxiety. "Rule one," I said softly, "the Doctor lies."

"What did you say?" he fairly snapped, his eyes narrowed and trained on me suspiciously. His hand delved into his pocket and I took a nervous step back, hoping he wasn't reaching for a gun or anything like that. I wasn't sure I could outrun him even if I was running for my life.

I laughed a shaky, breathless little laugh as I repeated myself, trying to keep my stuttering to a minimum. "T-The Doctor lies." His expression softened as the tension around his eyes fled and his lips unfurled from their pursed arrangement. He tilted his head to the side very slightly, like a puppy spotting something intriguing, and he slowly stepped towards me.

His voice was soft and coaxing as he spoke next, his hands loose by his side- though I did notice he now held a little silver stick in his left. "Have we met before?" he asked, genuinely curious and trying to ease the information out of me gently. "What's your name?"

"Kia," I replied instantly, a little warily. He had just shown me how fast his moods could change- I wasn't sure what would be next to set him off and while I didn't get the danger-vibe from him, I definitely got a be-careful one.

"I've never travelled with a Kia before," he mused, raising the silver stick up and pressing a button. The end poking in my face lit up a brilliant blue as a shrill trilling sound emitted from it. He swept the light up and down me before settling on a point in the centre of my chest, where my necklace ended. His mouth tightened at something he found there and I batted his hand away irritably.

"Clearly, as I don't know who you are," I hissed slightly, abruptly defensive of my jewellery. It was as old as the hills, the silver pocket-watch that had never told the time. It was useless and broken, but it was all I owned that came from my history, and I couldn't even remember a time when I didn't wear it around my neck.

He slid his hand back in his pocket, stowing away the silver device. His eyes met mine again and they were burning with a thousand questions; he had somehow gotten within a foot of me, and I stepped back in alarm at the unexpected lack of distance. "But you do- you called me the Doctor," he murmured, just loud enough for me to hear. I had a feeling that he was puzzling me out in his head, and by the tightening around his eyes I knew he wasn't having much luck.

I hesitated before replying, not knowing how I'd known he was the Doctor- the Doctor- that the mysterious library girl had told me about. "No, I heard that from someone else," I said nervously, wringing my fingers. Bad habit, I know.

"Who?" he demanded, all fire and rage again. It was exhausting keeping up with him really, the whirlwind of emotions that he exhibited. Still, I couldn't blame him... if I were in his shoes, talking to someone like me, I'd probably be suspicious too.

Especially since I couldn't tell him exactly who, though I could try. I quivered under his blue-eyed glare, wringing my hands harder as I tried to formulate a proper, informative answer. "A girl," I blurted out, struggling to find the words to describe her. "In the library. She was so strange... so... mysterious. She had a jacket just like yours... I followed her in here, while we were running, she said... she said that rule one is that the Doctor lies. Then when you said..."

He held up a hand, cutting me off as he nodded and turned away, pacing the width of the alley which was only about three steps either way for him, his long-legged stride. I kept my eyes on his face as he digested this new information, desperately wanting his approval though I couldn't pinpoint just what made me crave it. "Okay. So, strange girl starts telling you about mysterious things and people you don't know, and you follow her into a back alley without knowing where it goes?"

"I knew-" I started, and he scoffed loudly to stop me.

"It's a dead end, Kia. Please tell me you didn't willingly walk into the perfect trap." He looked at me expectantly and I opened and closed my mouth as I fought to find a retort. I couldn't very well lie; I had just walked willingly into the perfect trap, even if it wasn't exactly a trap. If it had been one, I'd be caught. I was unarmed and definitely in no physical condition to fight off a flea; my muscle density hovered around zero on a good day.

I looked down at my scuffing feet, chastised, as I shrugged my shoulders and muttered a little resentfully; "No, I didn't. I don't... I live the other way..." I gestured vaguely in the direction of my flat, feeling suddenly quite stupid and very, very small as his eyes widened imperceptibly and his smile grew, though he wasn't amused- more incredulous.

"You've never explored the area?" he asked, shaking his head in disbelief.

I shrugged again and, with a streak of stubbornness I've never managed to conquer, still tried to argue. "I've seen the library... and the... bakery..." They had fantastic scones.

"What about all the little shops around the corner? I love little shops, don't you? Haven't you ever seen them?" he was gushing just a bit and I giggled at his wild arm gestures and big, brilliant smiles; my hand rose up of its own accord to brush my forehead smooth, hiding my eyes as if ashamed of the laughter, a habit I'd had right from a child. I'd never been more conscious of it in my life.

"I didn't know they were there," I said, the feeling of inadequacy returning full-force now as he fixed me with an earnest, intense stare. I wanted to look away but I didn't, feeling the need to at least win this one-sided staring contest if it as the last thing I'd ever do. I couldn't win an argument against him, but I could win this!

"Don't you ever want to explore?"

"Well, of course I do, but..." I trailed off weakly, shrugging and wondering just why I hadn't explored.

"But what?" he prompted me, and I was struggling now to string a full sentence together.

He had disarmed me, completely and utterly. As a literature and history nerd, words were my weapons, but my arms failed me now. "Well, this isn't exactly a safe area... and I usually go straight home from the library, when it's dark..."

"Oh, come on! Where's your sense of adventure?" he exclaimed, throwing his arms open wide as if to embrace the world and draw it in. His youthful energy made him lose about ten years in my eyes, though there was still an air of experience surrounding him that I found reassuring.

"It's perfectly intact, thank you, and satisfied by reading about near-death experiences rather than experiencing them first hand," I groused back at him, like a petulant child being told 'no'.

"Oh, but it's not," he said lightly, knowingly, and I rolled my eyes obviously before placing my hands on my hips.

"Excuse me?" I demanded.

"Satisfied. Your adventure-sense. It's not satisfied just by reading- you're just too careful to indulge in a bit of real-life run-and-hide."

What was with people and thinking they knew me? First that girl, and now him? "And how, exactly, do you know?"

"It's there, in your eyes, that fantastic little spark of wonder. The way you're still here talking to a man who stumbled out of a box, which came from nowhere." He was teasing me, I knew. He knew I knew, too, judging by the grin that was lazily sprawled across his face and the way he leaned against the police box, reminding me that just a few minutes before, he and the box had been nowhere in sight.

"Thought that was impossible?" I teased right back, mocking his haughty tone.

His voice deepened to a gruff rumble and filled me with excitement, the kind of anticipation you get while sitting blindfolded on a rollercoaster that's going upwards- you know you've got to fall, but you don't know when. "You haven't seen anything yet," he told me seriously, and I believed him. I wanted to see, too, I realised, and was on the verge of asking him when the sound of exploding and screaming sent me stumbling forward to hide behind him as he sprung towards the noise, his grin returning and his hands rubbing together with something akin to glee. "Now, what trouble have I stepped into this time? Shall we go see?"

I stared at him incredulously, unable to believe what he'd just suggested. For all his talk of adventures and exploration, I couldn't believe he'd want to go see just what was causing havoc. "It's probably safer moving away from loud noises and screaming," I suggested in vain, knowing even as I weakly protested that it was a lost cause.

"Probably. C'mon, Kia!" He took my hand and I was surprised at the rough texture of his skin against mine; despite that, they fit very well together, my paler skin standing out against his and making me feel a whole lot safer than I had two seconds before. Slowly, I stopped staring at our hands and met his eyes, his burning blue searing into my calm, leafy green. "You can't spend your entire life with your nose in a book- you'll end up reading everyone else's story and never living your own!"

"I have a life! I have a- a job and... school and friends and- and a mortgage to pay! I'm living my life!" I tried to twist my hand away but he wasn't having it; he just held on tighter and stepped forward as I stepped back, in some demented version of a ballroom dance.

"But you're not! You're stumbling through it blindly, eyes closed to anything different because you don't want to tempt yourself with something that might fall away. You're not living, you're barely existing!" he wasn't shouting, but was near enough to it. I flinched at his tone and he was apologetically watching my expression as he tugged on my limp hand.

The screaming came again, closer now and followed by a thudding clunk-hiss-clunk-hiss like dusters hitting a chalkboard. "What was that?" I asked nervously.

The Doctor's face had paled slightly as he shook his head imperceptibly, willingly releasing my hand as he rushed to peer out into the street. I followed him, terrified to be left behind. "Oh, no," he said softly.

"What is it?" I whispered, hovering by his arm as I leaned out to see too. "Oh my God." I breathed, the fear being replaced by adrenaline. The Doctor glanced over his shoulder at me and quickly turned away again; I caught sight of a grin on his face and would've rolled my eyes, had we not been in a bit of trouble.

"If I told you to run, would you trust me?" he asked, standing up and backing away from the alley's mouth, his arm held out from his body to propel me backwards and behind him.

He'll take your hand and tell you to run... trust him, and he'll save your life. The words crossed my mind unbidden, and while I still wasn't entirely convinced he was stable, I made up my mind with one simple, yet extremely effective, word; "Yes."

He gave me a fleeting look as his hand encased mine again; just that contact was enough to have my head clearing and my fear lessening. I didn't know who he was, but I knew I was safe with him. "Run," he said, tone devoid of emotion. He started forward first, pulling me along half a step behind. We dodged fleeing people as we crossed the street, and he moved us through the flying laser-beams with the ease of someone who had done it before. I couldn't help but feel incredibly grateful that he had chosen to help me...

Otherwise, those metal men shouting delete with every step would have taken me, too.

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