The Shadow Games

There is a world shrouded in mystery, heavy with the stench of fear and death. An ancient ritual so horrible that even the Doctor stays away from it. Until he is forced to confront his living nightmare...


3. 1.2

Another Doctor, in another TARDIS, in another time, ran energetically around his TARDIS's console, pressing a few buttons here and there, muttering under his breath.

"...just a few more turns...nearly there, old gal...come on...Aha!" he cried suddenly. "That should do it."

"Do what?" asked Rose from her perch opposite him. She was used to the Doctor's quirks and habits, but she did like to know what was going on sometimes. Too often he had left her in the dark. And that usually meant in danger. Not that she believed he did it on purpose. He was just a bit scatty when it came to details.

The Doctor looked up at her. He grinned, eyes glinting mischievously. "I've locked on to that distress call I mentioned earlier. Can't seem to get a fix on who sent it, but we should be able to find them."

He leant against the console, face thoughtful. "I hope it isn't some of those pesky Bartavarians. They're always causing trouble. Interesting creatures, although I wouldn't like to be in a prank war against them." He trailed off, lost in some memory wearing a different face.

Rose let him muse. He was trying hard to be okay, to heal the wounds inside his mind, but he still had quiet moments, when Rose could see his dark past in the stars of his eyes. Times like this, where he was animated, excited, he forgot to be sad. And that was good, she decided. So she let him.

He still had that glint in his eyes, the one that said 'this will be dangerous, let's go!'. The pull of a good mystery in the spirals of space and time was always irresistible for a timelord such as the Doctor.

"You're going to do something incredibly stupid, aren't you?" Rose said, recognising that look.

The Doctor attempted a hurt look. He looked more like a wounded puppy. "Who? Me? Never. Well, not right now, anyway...Well, not stupid, as such. More like risky."

Rose just sighed. She could never resist that look. "What now?"

"To align the TARDIS with whatever sent the distress call, I'll need to take down the shields, and switch off the navigational system. Only for a second, but it leaves us open to attack from any direction"

He held out his hand. "Shall we?"

Rose didn't hesitate. As she took the offered hand, the memory of the first time she had met the Doctor flashed through her mind. How he had changed - how they had both changed - since then, and not just in appearance.


The words had barely left his mouth when the TARDIS began to shake. Not full blown panic-attack shaking, but more like frightened shivering. It was enough to throw both the Doctor and Rose off balance, their hands slipping out of the other's grasp.

"What's happening?" gasped Rose, feeling slightly sick with the unfamiliar motion.

The Doctor, grasping the console with whitened knuckles, muttered feverishly. "Not good...not good at all. What's the matter, gal? Talk to me."

As if in response, the TARDIS gave out a huge belling-rumbling growl, from the depths of her core. A wailing sound added to the confusion, as Rose became aware of her vision becoming blurry. She could vaguely make out the shape of the Doctor, leaning rather heavily on the console, before he slumped to the floor.

"Doctor!" she tried to shout, but found she had no energy left. What was left of her vision was taken over by flashes of red before she, too, slumped unconscious.

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