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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3. The Game Is Afoot

Three: The Game is Afoot

Running. I’ve never been good at it, never liked it. But I couldn’t exactly stop, not when this mental bloke in a leather jacket still had my hand in his iron grip. Still, this kind of running I wouldn’t complain about, since the alternative would be to stop running and let those things catch me up. I doubted I could outrun them on my own, without the Doctor’s motivation in tugging me along whenever I started to lag, or his concerned glances over his shoulder whenever I stumbled. Which, unsurprisingly, was quite often.

We finally stopped running when the sounds of the metal men had receded, and we could hear the screams as faint echoes of their former strength. The Doctor stopped and spun around; how he had done so that gracefully earned him a glare from me, as I ran forward three or four feet after him- yanking my hand free accidentally- and slowly staggered back to stand next to him, watching the way we’d come warily.

Slowly, my gaze moved to the buildings and street signs, none of which I could recognise. We were definitely still in Cardiff, though, thank God. I could hear running water and figured we must be near the river… church bells tolled a few streets away and across the road, directly behind me, was the Rookwood Hospital. Right. I still had no idea where I was, and I wasn’t about to ask either; the Doctor’s eyes were narrowed and he looked positively murderous,- not at me- but at the things chasing us. The screaming was closer still now, and each one darkened the anger on his face.

Besides, I’d probably get some kind of lecture on how I should explore my home city more.

“We need to find whoever’s creating them,” the Doctor said finally, his tone low and almost a growl. I looked at him in alarm, eyes wide and hands fluttering nervously by my throat.

“W-what do you mean, find them? Like… go into the heart of the storm?” I squeaked, abruptly terrified. The Doctor shot me a look of such intense irritation that I backed away, not wanting to leave him but at the same time… shouldn’t we find a way to get away from the danger, not seek to go directly into it?

“Yes,” he replied slowly, as if I were slow and he was quite sick of explaining himself to me. Or, a better description might have been, like he couldn’t imagine someone being afraid of finding the creator. I wasn’t afraid, perse, more like… I had a healthy value on my own survival and intended to ensure it at all costs. “You don’t have to come,” he continued suddenly, his voice tight and his eyes diverted from me, idly staring at the corner of a building and a car as it sped by. I twitched nervously and bounced on the balls of my feet. “In fact, it would be better if you didn’t. Things can get… dangerous… around me.”

“Really?” I said shrilly, breathless with adrenaline and a building sense of dread. He wasn’t going to leave me was he? “I hadn’t noticed.” His eyes cleared briefly and he smiled, but it was laced with anxiety and almost a compulsive desire to go throw himself in harm’s way. I couldn’t imagine living life the way he so obviously did, so used to danger and trouble at every turn that he couldn’t help but go investigate. Then again, as I thought of simply returning home and never seeing him again, my heart faltered and I was filled with an emotion I can only describe as terror. “Well then,” I said finally, calming myself down enough to think clearly. This could be the greatest adventure I ever had in my life, before I returned to work-study-sleep-mortgage. I couldn’t pass that up could I?

“Kia, I’m serious,” the Doctor rushed to say before I could finish what I was about to say. “You’d be safer away from me… like you said, you have a life to get back to.”

“Yeah,” I agreed lamely. “But what’s the use of a life if you’re not doing anything with it?” I was shamelessly ripping off what he’d said earlier, before the running, before the danger. I changed it up a little but the sentiment was the same; I wasn’t living, I was barely existing. I never realised just how much I resented that until I thought really deeply about my choices- stay with the Doctor, have an adventure. Go home… dream about adventures. My heart fluttered as the Doctor glanced between me and the metal men, before he drew me off to one side and we were running again, his hand in mine.

“We’ve got to circle around, find the signal! Someone’s controlling the Cybermen; they’d need a power source! If we find it-”

“We can blow it up!” I shouted, my voice so much more breathless and uncontrolled compared to his. How he kept his composure while we ran at top speed through a park and climbed over the playground was beyond me; although I noticed I was already better at this running-without-falling business. The Doctor’s grip wasn’t as tight on mine but I didn’t need it; now that I’d chosen him, this life, I was spurring myself on.

He gave a holler of exultation as he leapt off the end of a see-saw, releasing my hand to spin mid-air and land on his feet, still running. I shook my head and laughed at his childishness, my arm straightening almost by instinct until he took my hand again, neither of us batting an eye at the automatic reaction. “Blow it up! Stop the Cybermen!”

“Save the world!” I interrupted, leaping over a low-lying hedge with the Doctor mirroring me. Where we were running to, I had no idea, but he seemed to have some sort of inclination- a hunch, maybe- as he tugged me to the right and we were heading back towards the Cybermen, the danger.

“Atta girl!” the Doctor shouted, squeezing my hand. Strangely enough, I didn’t mind that we were possibly heading to our doom. I didn’t mind that the next few hours would perhaps be the last of my life. All that mattered was the excitement I felt, and the way the Doctor was guiding me to what I knew would be the rest of my life.

Running towards danger, death and defending the Earth.

Before I knew, the running stopped. Now that I’d gotten used to it, I almost wanted to keep going; but that wouldn’t have been healthy, seeing as we had to duck for cover every metre or so to avoid the Cybermen finding us. The Doctor lead the way and I followed him blindly- well, almost blindly. I didn’t have a clue where we were and forget where we’re going; all I knew was that each time we crossed a street, the presence of the metal men was thicker.

“Doctor?” I whispered suddenly, having had a chilling thought. He stopped and looked back at me irritably, silently telling me to be quick or shut up. Instinctively, I inched forward and squashed against him, making sure we were both in the shadows and out of sight behind a dumpster sitting behind Tesco’s. “Just a question- how are we gonna blow it up?”

Not that I knew what ‘it’ was, or even where it was, but still. Last time I checked, I couldn’t manufacture a bomb out of wishes and wants. I doubted the Doctor could too, and the look on his face confirmed my suspicions. He gave a rough sigh and turned to sit on the ground, me following a moment later. “I need to see which Cybers these are. If someone’s creating them, they’ll have the emotional inhibitor codes- enter those, and they should self-destruct. If they’re naturally-evolved, I’ll... think of something.”

“So we have a plan,” I nodded, and he nodded along with me. “Next question; how are we gonna find the source?”

The Doctor lunged at me suddenly, his hand covering my mouth. I gave a squeak and he shushed me harshly, the both of us falling silent to allow a single Cyberman to pass. In his metal arms, he carried what looked to be a microwave, and didn’t notice us. As soon as his footfalls faded, the Doctor’s blue eyes met mine again and widened as he noticed the position he’d put us in. Namely, me, trapped under him, his hand on my mouth and the other propping him up. Slightly compromising and very uncomfortable; he wasn’t exactly small.

He scrambled away and I took a breath, straightening myself out with a glare in his direction. Whatever snippy comments I may have had died away as he grabbed my hand and jerked me to my feet. “Follow the leader,” he nodded after the Cyberman, and quickly darted away, keeping close to the wall.

I mimicked his behaviour as we headed down the back streets, twisting and turning. My heart sank with each corner revealing a total lack of result, and soon the sinking heart turned into stomach-twisting dread. Something wasn’t right... surely we’d have run into someone else by now, another Cyberman at least. But there was nothing, nobody but the one we were following.

The Doctor must’ve picked up on my unease because he dropped back to walk beside me, instead of two feet ahead. He gently guided me off the road and into a wooden cubby house used by kids, abandoned now. We huddled there and he muttered under his breath, while I stared at the skyline and tried to get my bearings. Wherever we were, it certainly didn’t look like Cardiff anymore, though I knew it had to be. That brand-new satellite tower was one of four installed over the UK, in London, Glasgow, Dublin and Cardiff... hang on...

“Doctor,” I muttered, kicking myself for not seeing it before. How had I not seen it before? Brand-new satellite tower that apparently does nothing? No boosted phone signals, no extra channels on telly, no nothing? It was just there, a shining tower of metal, with no purpose for improving facilities for the general public. But of course!

The Doctor crawled over and followed my pointing finger, straight at the tower. I didn’t need to say another word for him to apparently read my mind, because he grabbed my hand and squeezed lightly. “Clever girl.” I beamed. No other explanation for it, but I beamed with pride and joy. So I’d been slow on the uptake, terrified out of my wits, but even in the half-hour of knowing the Doctor... hearing him call me clever made me beam.

He’ll be the best thing to ever happen to you... that’s what the Mysterious Girl had said, the one who lured me out of the library and into the street, and finally right to the very point the Doctor arrived. I still had no clue who she was, though to my credit I hadn’t been thinking about her all that much. “There’s three more in the UK,” I whispered, almost under my breath. “They’re going up all over the world.”

“Transmission towers... but that would need enormous amounts of power, to broadcast globally from a few fixed points... how are they boosting their signal?”

“Satellites,” I muttered, answering his question the same time as he reached the conclusion. “Every country has their own satellite... we were told it was for GPS systems in flight control...”

“It’s the Cybermen,” the Doctor finished quietly. His eyes glowed with barely controlled rage and in that moment, I thought I knew what the Mysterious Girl meant when she said lonely and broken. “If they’re up all over the world, we’d better get started. I might be able to route the destruction through them all, stop the invasion before it begins...” he trailed off, shaking his head. “We’ll go after dark. Easier to be invisible.”

“And now we wait,” I said, trying to smile. The Doctor nodded back at me, and though I desperately wanted to question him with every burning query in my head, I held my tongue and simply watched the sun slink towards the horizon. With every inch it dropped, my anxiety heightened; as soon as the world fell dark, we’d move, and we’d attack.

If all went accordingly to plan, the Cybermen satellites would fall like dominos.

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