Author's Note: New fic, new fandom for this account. To all those who have followed me from the Bones fandom, don't worry I will get back to those unfinished stories some time this year. For all others, I hope you will enjoy my first foray into Classic Who fanfic.

This one features Second Doctor and is set immediately after The Evil of the Daleks but before The Tomb of the Cybermen. After watching these two stories in row, I've often wondered about what might have happened in between what with the Doctor and Jamie having some real tension between them and Victoria being thrown in with the two of them. This is my attempt to fill in that transition. I hope my readers enjoy it. :)

I do not own Doctor Who or any of its characters.

Thank you to everyone who reads/follows/favorites or reviews this. It is always appreciated. :)

Chapter One

There were few things on Earth, or anywhere else in time and space for that matter, which held less appeal to Jamie McCrimmon than long spells of brooding contemplation. But as he lay on his bed in his room within the TARDIS and stared up at the ceiling, he realized that he had little choice in the matter.

A couple of hours ago, Jamie, the Doctor and Victoria Waterfield had barely managed to escape Skaro as the empire of the Daleks was burning itself to the ground. After taking off, the Doctor had suggested that Victoria be taken to the wardrobe room so she could change out of her impractical and now grimy dress. Jamie had agreed and had led her down the corridor away from the console room to a large room packed with numerous multi-tiered racks of clothing and costumes.

"All these clothes…where did they all come from? I've never seen anything like it."

Jamie wasn't able to stop himself from grinning and making a couple of suggestions for her attire as she explored the plethora of outfits that surrounded them. A few minutes later, she put a hand to her face and asked if there was a place where she could refresh herself. Jamie immediately obliged and escorted her to one of the guest rooms, stopping once along the way to show her a place where she could get something to eat later if she wished. She thanked him and asked for some time alone before retreating into the room.

For a moment, Jamie stared at the closed door in front of him and wondered if he should stay and watch over her. Soon, however, he decided that she probably needed time to herself in order to take in everything that had happened.

'She's been running from those Dalek beasties, her father's gone, and now she's being whisked away by the strangest wee chap she'll ever meet. That's enough to drive anyone round the bend.'

Thoughts of the Doctor erased the smile from his features. Despite his relief that the Doctor had managed to escape the Daleks, Jamie couldn't deny that he still harbored some suspicions about the Doctor's motives along over some hurt feelings over being made to feel like a pawn in an elaborate game.

Jamie walked away from the guest room and headed toward his own room. He was tired, both physically and mentally, and figured that getting some sleep was a far more palatable activity than thinking too much about all of this. He flung the door shut behind him and kicked off his boots before plopping down on his bed and closing his eyes.

But sleep turned out to be elusive and Jamie tossed and turned for almost an hour before reopening his eyes and setting his gaze on the space above him.

Several minutes later, Jamie still had not moved from this position. He sighed and folded his arms up onto his pillow so he could rest his head on his hands.

The way he saw it, he had every right to be angry and mistrustful. Now that he had had time to think everything that had happened, he was able to form a vague impression of a carefully laid plan. He guessed that everything from his interest in Victoria and her plight to his attempts to rescue her were part of a plot conceived by Maxtible and the Daleks to get a hold of this "human factor" that they all kept talking about. None of them had cared about Victoria's well-being or if he would make it out of these "tests" alive. All that had mattered was the experiment and whatever useful results they could get from it.

And the Doctor had not only stood by and let them carry out their scheme; he ensured their success by manipulating him to do what they wanted.

Jamie scowled again and moved his hands back to his sides, clenching them into fists. He had long since accepted that traveling with the Doctor meant facing dangerous situations on a regular basis and this one he faced with the Daleks was not truly exceptional as far as that went. No, the problem was not so much that the Doctor had landed him in another treacherous predicament: it was the fact that he had maneuvered him into greater peril by playing on his feelings and his inherent drive to protect others and fight back against aggressors. To Jamie, it had been an unforgivable violation of trust.

'If he had jes told me the truth,' he thought bitterly. 'If he had jes told me his plan tae beat those Daleks and help the Waterfields, I would have gone along wit' it. Daleks or nae, a McCrimmon never runs away like that. I'm no coward and he knows it.'

'So why'd he do all that scheming to get me tae do what I would have in the first place?'

Jamie's frown deepened and his fingers bunched up even tighter. He could picture the Doctor plotting out his whole scam, confident and smug. Jamie felt no shame in admitting that the Doctor was far more intelligent and cunning than he would ever be partially because he had recently begun to believe that no one was as smart as the Doctor. But to think that the Doctor had used his cleverness to exploit him while counting on Jamie's inability to see through his mechanisms was more than he could take.

'And who's tae say that he has nae done this before?' Jamie wondered as his mood continued to darken. 'Mebbe this is how it's been all along. Mebbe he jes expects me tae always do what I'm told and ne'er ask questions.'

'Was that the reason why he let in the TARDIS? 'Cos he knew he could trick me into following his orders?'

His frustration boiling over, Jamie punched the mattress and sat up. It may have been Ben and Polly's suggestion to have him join them and leave Scotland to keep him safe, but it was clear that the Doctor had the final say in the matter. At the time, the only proviso the Doctor had placed on his coming along was that Jamie teach him what he knew about piping, but it hadn't escaped the Scot's notice that the Doctor had avoided any and all attempts to learn ever since then.

'So that was jes another little game for him then. Another way for him tae get a laugh at me while I follow along and keep my mouth shut.'

Jamie balled up his hands again and glared at the door to his room. He was sorely tempted to march over to the control room and demand that he be taken back to Culloden in 1746.

'Och, what am I thinking?' he mulled sourly. 'It's nae like he can actually control the TARDIS. If ask him to send me back tae Scotland, who knows where we'll end up.'

'Besides that, what aboot Victoria?'

Jamie let out a long sigh and let his hands relax. Even if he could get back to his own place and time, that was not a viable option for Victoria. With her family gone and no way to support herself, she would be in a precarious position if she were to go back to her own time. Besides that, while talking to her, Jamie got the distinct sense that she didn't really want to go back.

'Prolly too many sad memories and nae a lot for her tae look forward to. I cannae say I blame her for wanting tae go somewhere else. But where? It's nae like she can just pick a place and the Doctor could drop her oof.'

Jamie sighed again and propped an elbow onto his knee and rested his cheek and against his fist. There was no way he could abandon her until he was sure that she would be all right. This meant that he would have to continue to travel around with the Doctor for a while longer.

But doing that also meant that he would have to find some way to co-exist with the Doctor for the time being.

As he continued to ponder everything that would entail, he suddenly remembered Victoria talking to him as they made their way back to the wardrobe room.

"This Doctor…can he be trusted?" she had asked him. "He seems like a nice person. At least, that was the impression I got from him. And I could tell that my father thought a great deal of him. But you know him better than I do or my father could have."

"Aye, and you trust me then?" Jamie replied.

"Oh, of course," Victoria said with a smile. "Anyone can see that you're an honest, kind person with no ill will. I'm pretty sure that's why poor Kemel believed in you too. He wasn't the type of man who could be won over so easily. So…what do you say? Will things be all right with the Doctor?"

"Och, don't you worry about him," Jamie told her. "Mind you, he's an odd wee chap, but he's verra clever. His head might be a lil' out of place at times, but he's a good man."

"Before, when we were being held by those awful Daleks, he said something about his own world" Victoria said in a near whisper. "And now he says that he's 450 years old. Jamie, he's not…he's not human, is he?"

Jamie let out a long sigh and shook his head, and Victoria nodded her own thoughtfully.

"I see," she continued. "I suppose that's the only way he could know about and do all the things that he did. Not to mention the only way he could have a machine like this. And yet you still trust him?"

"Aye," Jamie said quietly. "I know it prolly does nae make much sense, but after traveling wit' him and seeing what he can do and hearing what he has to say…I cannae explain it with words. I jes know what I know."

"No, that's all right," Victoria responded. "I think I understand what you mean. All right, Jamie, if you're fine with going along with him, then I will be too."

Jamie frowned and let his hands fall into his lap. The main reason why he had said the things that he had was to reassure Victoria, who he felt had endured enough worry and fright. However, upon reflection, he realized that it had been easy for him tell her all of that because a large part of him still trusted and cared for the Doctor.

The Scot bowed his head and studied the floor. Now that his anger had had a chance to subside, he felt a little ashamed at how horrible he had made the Doctor out to be in his mind. He was still upset and hurt over what had happened, but Jamie couldn't bring himself to believe in the black things he had imagined about him.

'It's nae like that,' he told himself. 'The Doctor di'n bring me along jes to follow orders. He ne'er been that way wit' me before.'

Jamie stretched out his legs in front of him and scooted back so he could lie back down. By this point in his life, Jamie had seen enough of the world and of people to know that when a man wanted to keep others under his thumb, he'd do everything he can to keep the others fearful and naive. That way, everything that man said would become law and those people would be helpless.

Then he thought back to the time he had spent on the TARDIS. He considered how the Doctor had taught him to read and write and had even given him a wrist watch to commemorate the day when Jamie figured out how to tell time. He thought about how the Doctor continued to teach him the basics of math and science and how to understand and operate machinery, including being able to interpret the TARDIS controls. When he wasn't receiving more formal lessons in these areas, the Doctor gave him books to read or would tell him stories about things he had seen in other places and times.

The most significant thing of all though was how the Doctor encouraged him to think, to reason, to come to conclusions on his own. When he first started traveling, Jamie frequently found himself confused and more than a little frightened by the vast amount of unfamiliar and unknowable things around him. Over time, he learned to cope with the uncertainties of his new life with the Doctor's continued support and urging to question and seek out his own truth. None of this struck Jamie as the actions of a person who was determined to keep him subservient through ignorance.

But Jamie also knew that that was only part of the reason why he felt such a strong sense of loyalty for this diminutive, yet extraordinary man. Another part of it had to do with generous amounts of concern and affection that the Doctor exuded toward him. It not only showed itself in the way that the Doctor had taken the time to educate him in the first place, but also with patience he displayed as Jamie struggled to learn and in the joyfulness he seemed to get every time the Scot reached another milestone in his studies.

These softer feelings also showed up in many other ways as well: the way he made sure to listen and address Jamie's questions and thoughts, the tightly restrained worry he had whenever Jamie was involved in something dangerous, and even in the highly tactile way they interacted. He didn't know what it was about himself that resonated with the Doctor so much, but whatever it was, it had helped to forge a bond between them.

Right now, however, that bond was being tested as Jamie continued to try to understand why the Doctor had treated him the way he had. For Jamie, the motives of everyone else involved were no mystery. Waterfield was acting out of extreme duress due his daughter being held captive. Maxtible was greedy for wealth and power. The Daleks considered any life that was not their own to be irrelevant and disposable.

However, none of that could really be applied to the Doctor, and thus, Jamie was left wondering what was going through his mind as he made the decisions that he did.

'The Doctor's been in danger before, and I know he's nae a coward either. Was it jes 'cos he was worried about the TARDIS? Or did he think his plan was the only one that would work?'

'Or…mebbe he really was afraid of those Dalek beasties. Mebbe he really was tryin' tae save his own neck first after all.'

Jamie swallowed hard. His mind frantically searched his memories for any evidence to contradict this idea, and he spent several moments in despair when he couldn't find anything.

Then, suddenly, the Doctor's urgent, whispered commands to him as they confronted the Dalek Emperor came back to him.

"When I say 'run', run."

"Promise me, Jamie."

It was far from the first time that the Doctor had used the strategy of retreating to regain an advantage or avoid a potentially losing battle, but something in the way he had made him promise to run stuck out in Jamie's mind.

"I've beaten you and it doesn't matter what you do to me now."

At that moment, everything seemed to fall into place for Jamie, and his mouth fell open slightly as his epiphany sunk in. The reason why the Doctor was willing to put himself and all he held dear at risk was because he was desperate to rid the universe of the Daleks and was more than willing to forfeit his own life if it meant accomplishing that goal while possibly saving the people around him.

Jamie shivered; his mouth becoming chalky. Looking back on the Doctor's actions and demeanor with this slant made things a lot clearer to him even as it also made him sick with horror. He could still recall the moment when he thought that the Doctor had had been invested with the "Dalek Factor" with crystal clarity and it had been terrible enough. Eyes that normally shined with intelligence became dull and cold, a face that usually went between highly emotive and quiet thoughtfulness became a blank mask, and a voice that was a surprising mix of playful, authoritative and compassionate became cruel and empty. Those images were sure to haunt Jamie's nightmares for a long time.

But the idea that all of this could have ended with the Doctor dying on Skaro was even worse, and Jamie shuddered again.

'Why dinna he tell me what he was tryin' tae do?' he asked himself. 'I could've helped him. He knows he can trust me. Och, he's always doin' things like this. Why don' he do things the normal way for a change? It's like he's nae even….'


"Jamie…he's not human, is he?"

Jamie frowned again and sat back up. Despite all his quirks and eccentricities, it was always so easy for Jamie to forget that the Doctor was not from Earth. Even questions like the one Victoria had asked him earlier were not enough to shake him out of this mindset. Usually, he took any hint of the Doctor's alien nature, like what Ben and Polly had told him about the Doctor getting a new body and his occasionally unnatural strength and stamina, in stride and would soon cast them aside.

However, the more he thought about it, the more Jamie considered the possibility that perhaps he could no longer afford to take these differences for granted. Still, as much as he could see the necessity to take this course of action, Jamie found himself feeling increasingly uneasy and could not stop himself from wondering how he would be able to continue to relate to the Doctor as a companion if he also had to constantly acknowledge his otherworldly status.

Jamie got up to retrieve his boots, shoving them on before walking out into the corridor. He stopped by Victoria's room and listened carefully at the door. He could hear some slight movement and guessed that she was either asleep or at the very least trying to rest. Then he crept toward the control room. The door to it was slightly ajar and Jamie peered inside.

There he saw the Doctor standing a few feet away, looking down at control panel while muttering to himself. Jamie silently watched him for a few minutes as he moved around, occasionally tapping at some instrument on it or fiddling with a button or lever. He thought about walking in, but suddenly felt hesitant to interrupt whatever it was that the Doctor was doing.

Eventually, Jamie grew restless and was about to turn and go back to his room when something else caught his attention. He noticed the listless way that the Doctor mumbled and fidgeted which was a far cry from his generally lively manner. At first, Jamie chalked it up to fatigue due to getting very little sleep or nourishment over the past couple of days and the stress from recent events and started to think about suggesting to him that he get some rest.

But then the Doctor looked up, his gaze resting upon the glowing column at the center of the panels. Looking into his eyes, Jamie saw something else besides weariness. It took him a few seconds to figure out what it was, but soon he realized what it was: loneliness. Loneliness tinged with melancholy. A loneliness that was pervasive and deep-seated and a melancholy that was the natural byproduct of seeing and experiencing great sorrow far too many times over far too many years. It had created shadows in the Doctor's eyes and had sapped his energy.

Jamie edged back into the hallway, another lump forming in his throat. Having lost virtually all of his family and friends to various battles, he knew all too well what it was like to feel totally alone and disconnected from everything. Occasionally, there were times when the only way he could stave off his own feelings of isolation was by reminding himself of the friendships he had formed recently, most notably with the Doctor.

It was then that Jamie wondered if there were still some ways when he and the Doctor were not so different after all.

Jamie took a deep breath and closed his eyes for a moment before walking down the corridor. He wasn't entirely sure if he had all the answers he needed, but the time for thinking was over. It was time for action.

And now he finally knew exactly what he needed to do.