Changing Me


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.


4. Into The Storm

Four: Into the Storm

“Time,” the Doctor murmured, breaking the silence that had fallen between us. We’d managed a few snippets of conversation, mainly me asking questions and him giving me short, concise answers that did nothing to ease my curiosity in the slightest. He even managed to ask me a few questions, simple ones that didn’t give me any great insight into him, nor him into me. It was just as well, I guess, because the last thing I wanted was to get into my life story with a bloke I may or may not die with soon.

“Brilliant,” I replied breathlessly, hardly able to hear over the rushing of blood in my ears. My heart pounded against my ribcage and knocked the breath out of my lungs hard and fast, my eyes almost spinning in their sockets. I followed the Doctor out of the cubby, on my hands and knees and shaking as I stood up. I found that he hadn’t moved more than a foot or two away, and smiled back at me.

We didn’t move for the longest time, allowing my heart to slow into something resembling a healthy BPM rate. The moment my breathing evened just a little, the Doctor tipped his head in the direction we were heading, and slunk away through the ever-darkening evening. The streetlights lit the roads like floodlights on a football field, so we kept well away from those. Not easy to do, really, since our target lie by the side of a main road, atop a bunch of office buildings for Cardiff’s branch of HC Clements; London’s Fancy Locksmiths.

“Try to stay on the dark side,” the Doctor whispered to me, nudging me to his right and into the darkest part of the shadows. I didn’t miss the fact that my safety meant he was halfway exposed. “If we’re caught, you run, hear me?”

“And leave you?” I whispered back, slightly harshly. “What chance do you think I have on my own?” He didn’t answer, but his silence was reply enough. It was obvious what I was without him; dead. A few steps later, his hand caught mine and held tightly, forcing me to walk a step closer to him. Trapped between the Doctor and the walls; his jacket smelled lightly of peppermint and something strangely familiar, but then again… not. Like something old and brand new at the same time; it was slightly intoxicating, truth be known.

“Alright,” he amended, and I almost caught the barest hint of a grin on his face. “We’ll go in the back way, up the service stairs to the top. I’ll rewire the satellite tower for the codes, then we’ll head down to the control centre to transmit them, which...” he held up that buzzing blue stick, waving it about like a magic wand before bringing it back, close to his face. “Is on the fourth floor. Hopefully they’ll have a big red button... I like big red buttons.”

I shot him a look and caught the smile full-on this time, grinning back at him and squeezing his hand; “You’re the boss,” I murmured, giggling insanely when he bounced our hands and crept forward. We inched around the building on tiptoe, me watching our backs and the Doctor leading the way. Oddly enough, I was itching to run rather than sneak around, and all this nervous energy waiting for something to happen was setting my teeth on edge. At the back of HC Clements, where the shadows lead to the building next door, we encountered our first obstacle in the form of a ten-foot-tall fence topped with three feet of razor wire. I gulped at the sight of the military-grade defence and almost wanted to back away, but the imposing tower didn’t seem to faze the Doctor as he tugged out that blue stick again, and the padlock keeping the gates shut burst open. “What is that?” I snapped, intrigued.

“Sonic screwdriver,” he muttered back, shoving the device in my free hand. I managed to examine it and keep walking at the same time, slipping it back in his pocket when I was done.

“What, no laser-gun?” I asked him quietly, snickering a little at the disgusted look he sent my way.

“I hate guns.”

“But laser-guns are cool,” I retorted. He looked fit to reply but, as we reached the service entry, a roller-door rattled open and the Doctor reacted instantly, almost throwing me against the wall and pressing against me, the darkness of his clothing blending in perfectly compared to my light green shirt. I didn’t breathe, eyes wide and terrified, as a legion of Cybermen emerged and clunked off towards main street, perfectly in sync.

As soon as they disappeared, the Doctor moved; grabbing my hand and pulling me along, under the roller-door as it started to descend. It hit the ground with an almighty crash and I squeaked, instantly regretting the noise as a floodlight illuminated the room. Cybermen surrounded us, unmoving but real as day, and I could’ve died right there of fright. The Doctor walked right up to one and tapped on its face; the hollow echo allowed me to relax minimally and gently approach the one nearest to me.

“Dead, just shells,” he confirmed, as I ran my hand cautiously over the cool metal. It felt smooth and almost electric, buzzing slightly under my touch. An inexplicable emotion coursed through me then; half fear and half excitement, with a good dose of bravery to boot.

“What are they, Doctor?” I asked, my voice quiet but still audible. I’d moved along now, walking before the line of ten like the Queen inspecting the troops.

“Humans,” he replied darkly. “Humans who removed from themselves the very essence of being human; their emotions.” I shuddered as he spoke, his voice terrifying and exciting at the same time. “They meshed themselves into a mechanical shell, calling it an upgrade. Often, they’re not willing patients... which is why, if we destroy the satellite signal powering the emotional inhibitor-“

“They’ll die of heartbreak,” I murmured, nodding. In the shiny reflection of a Cyberman’s face, I saw the Doctor watching me carefully, and felt my eyes well up when he nodded, his fists clenched around empty air. He seemed such a lonely figure standing there, surrounded by the fallen Cybermen... like an avenging angel stands over the bodies of his enemies. I wished suddenly that I had an artistic bone in my body, so I could paint that scene and keep it forever, as much as the sight of him broke my heart.

“C’mon,” the Doctor said finally. “The longer we hang about, the more chance of being caught.” I nodded and turned away, hurrying after him through the door and into a dimly lit and blessedly empty hallway. After a moments’ pause, he turned left and started to run; I followed a step behind, knowing we were only running for the sake of running.

The next door we came upon was a janitor’s cupboard- as proclaimed by the sign that neither of us had bothered to read. A few more steps down the hallway found another door, leading to another Cyber-storage unit, with another fifty odd dead shells. I felt the same chill returning as we gazed upon them for a moment, the Doctor counting under his breath; he slammed the door a moment later and stalked off, me the rat to his piper.

We didn’t say a word, not needing to as we finally found the stairs, and both took them two at a time. Six flights up we came to a blessed halt before a ladder, my feet and legs burning and my lungs feeling like they would burst. The Doctor seemed hardly ruffled by the exertion and nodded for me to go up first. I held up one finger and took a deep breath or two, trying to force my second wind to hurry up and arrive. God, I really needed to run a bit more, get into shape...

At the top of the ladder was, predictably, a door, which lead to the roof. Standing there with the wind blowing through my hair, I stared up at the tower and felt so incredibly small. And cold, actually. I moved towards the edge, dropping to my knees a few feet back to crawl over and look down to the front of the building, where I could watch the few streets around- Cybermen patrolled everywhere, the city was crawling with them. At the very least, this part of it was.

“Oh, my God,” I whispered, suddenly aware of how difficult this operation would be. Even though the Cybermen weren’t technically human, they had been once and I wasn’t so sure I could help the Doctor kill them, even if it would save the world. I felt him approach beside me and heard his quiet mathematics- up to six hundred now, including the shells downstairs. I felt sick at the thought. It didn’t sound like much, but the Cybermen didn’t look easy to kill, and I had no doubt that just six hundred could cause all sorts of havoc.

“Kia, I need you to guard the ladder,” the Doctor murmured suddenly, as we backed away from the edge and he headed to the fuse box clearly controlling the satellite tower. Flipping open the cover, we were presented with a control panel that definitely didn’t look earthly; I couldn’t even read half the symbols on the keyboard. “I’ll deal with this, keep watch,” he said again, a little impatiently this time. Scurrying off, I cracked open the door to the roof and looked down, baulking at the sight.

Cybermen looked back at me impassively, and at the sight of my face, the one closest to the ladder stepped onto the first rung, beginning to climb slowly. “Damn it!” I slammed the door shut and grabbed a piece of metal cord lying nearby, wrapping it around the door handle and tying it to a chimney nearby. It was flimsy and likely wouldn’t hold long, but it bought me time. “Cybermen coming up the ladder!” I shouted to the Doctor, who looked up in alarm.

“With me, then!” he shouted, and I joined him by the panel. He plugged his sonic screwdriver into a USB port- though the size and shape was totally different, it still somehow worked- and pressed the button. A moment later, I felt my ears pop before the Doctor and I were blown backwards, skidding across the roof and slamming into the slight rise that formed the edge. I bounced, unluckily, and nearly fell- if it weren’t for the Doctor grabbing the back of my shirt and hauling me away, I would’ve gone right over to the street six floors down.

“Th-thanks,” I breathed, shaking my head and trying to get my brain and body working in co-operation again.

He flashed me an apologetic smile. “Sorry- sonic wave, transmitted through the heads of all Cybermen. It’ll knock ‘em down for a few minutes, but that’s it.”

“We’d better get a move on, then,” I said, grinning with excitement as he helped me up and rushed back to the console. He tugged his screwdriver out and gave the mangled end a look of horror, almost descending into full-blown panic mode had I not swatted his arm and brought his attention back to the controls. “You work magic, I’ll tell you when they’re up!” I shouted, running to the staircase door and pressing my ear against it. I tried not to think about how we’d get out of here- either crawling over dead Cybermen or leaping across to the roof of HC Clements’; either way, a bloody terrifying solution.

I couldn’t hear anything through the wood and my courage peaked as I cracked it open and watched the bodies lying in a tumble at the bottom of the ladder. I could see them twitching with signs of life and gritted my teeth, clinging to the edge of the doorframe and casting quick glances back at the Doctor; he was hopping from one foot to the other as he worked frantically to destroy the satellites orbiting the earth and all the towers in the major cities around the world.

“Kia! I can’t get this to go- we’ll have to find the control centre!” the Doctor shouted, frustrated, as he slammed the cover of the console down. He motored towards me and leapt down the ladder, landing in a heap at the bottom, kicking the arm of a Cyberman away in disgust. I followed him slower, climbing down the ladder at a pace that wouldn’t break my ankles. The moment my feet touched the floor, he grabbed my hand and we were off, running down the stairwell and dodging the lifeless bodies of the Cybermen... which weren’t looking so lifeless anymore.

“Waking- up!” I managed to pant, through breathing deeply and keeping my rhythm steady. The Doctor glanced back worriedly and focussed ahead, pulling me faster and faster until I was sure I’d absolutely die of exhaustion before this was over. The Doctor released me to jump down an entire set of stairs, my feet pattering down after him, and he barrelled out the stairwell door with me a step behind. We skidded to a halt and stared, amazed at the sheer size of the computerised controls. “Someone has far too much time on their hands,” I muttered breathlessly, carefully walking forward and gazing around.

The Doctor pulled face and rolled his eyes, closing the stairwell door and blocking it from opening by way of a chair wedged under the handle. “It won’t hold them long. We’ve got to find the master terminal.”

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