This one's for you kind, wonderful, insane people who've asked for more LOL.
You may want to read Doors and Devourer of Souls first (or at least the last chapter of the latter—explains who's who and what's what). I guess this is for all the kind folks out there that asked for a sequel : ) Seriously… you guys have been really, really nice. And to those that didn't ask…Sorry for being "that guy" and doing a second story with an OC. I'll be good.
Standard Disclaimers apply. All hail the Beeb for their superior intellectual property. Thankyaverymuch to Krypto and Erica for betaing happiness.
Staring up at the brown and grey buttresses, Violet thunked her head repeatedly upon the grill walkway in the TARDIS control room, each rattle of her tiny head punctuating each word of her declaration. "I. Think. I'm. Going. To. Die. Of. Vitamin. D. Deficiency."
Perched precariously on a piece of equipment, the Doctor stopped trying to make the two broken pieces of hose become one happy and connected piece of hose and chanced a glance down at her. "That's not true."
Violet's head rolled back and forth on the metal grill listlessly. "You can die from no sunlight, you know."
The Doctor rolled his eyes and went back to his task. She'd keep for a little while longer. "Go eat a banana."
Two more thunks. It was a good thing seven-year-old skulls were still partially malleable, or her way of expressing boredom could do permanent harm. "Killing. Me."
There was something distinctly 'Jackie' about the girl's petulance sometimes. "I feed you vitamins, so don't start in with that." Turning back to the problem at hand, he grabbed the thick white hose, trying to inch it ever so gently towards the other piece of thick white hose, while still trying to hold onto the sonic screwdriver and keep his balance. It was turning out to be one of those days.
The girl sighed. "Shoot. Can we just go somewhere sunny?"
Concentrating on the hoses, it was a few minutes before he responded. "What? Ya didn't like the caves of Linduspu?"
Violet rolled onto her side, propping her head up onto her hand. "Let me think. Dark, cold, no people, no sunlight, no 'outside,' and creepy little baby muck monsters. Nope. Want ta go some place sunny. Before I die. Die of no sunlight."
Hopping off his perch, the Doctor made the whole catwalk shake when he landed. "You're cuter when you're sleeping."
Scrambling to her feet, the girl pushed her mane of hair away from her eyes. "At breakfast, you said I was cuter when I was quiet."
The Doctor grinned. "And you're only quiet when you're asleep."
Sonic screwdriver still in hand, he grabbed hold of the railing and jumped over the catwalk before she could take a swing at him. Sometimes, this whole being in charge of another person was both easy and fun.
Even with the welding mask, Violet had a hand in front of her face, blocking the three suns from her field of vision as best she could. "This isn't funny."
The Doctor folded his arms over his chest, incredibly pleased with himself. Completely easy, and entirely fun. "You wanted sun! I give you…sun!"
Violet's shoulders slumped. "I said THE sun. Which means only one sun. Please. Thank you." Oversized welding mask making her head shake around like a bobble doll, Violet flopped onto the scorched grass, arms crossed. She let out a tiny huff.
Pushing his own sunglasses up on his nose, the Doctor looked down at the girl. "We can go any time you want. I'll get ya something fun for dinner."
The girl looked up at him skeptically. "Not those chicken pieces with the smiley faces stamped in them. Those things gave me nightmares. And I'm stayin' right here. You're right—I said sun. I haveta get my fill of it, before you lock me back in the dungeon."
Sometimes, the Doctor was amazed she'd lived to her seventh year. He, himself, would have been boxed around the ears so bad his brains would have been stew. As it was, he decided that the best tactic would be to wait her out.
Leaning against the TARDIS, he left his arms folded across his chest, one foot resting flat against the door. Yeah, his brains would have been scrambled eggs by now. He figured this whole testing the limits phase would wear out soon. In the meantime—he liked a challenge. He LIVED for challenges, in fact. Even if they involved trying to convince someone who wasn't listening that it was, indeed, time for bed, despite the lack of sun rising and setting. He supposed he could just employ "tickle torture" every night for the next some-odd years. If it worked, it worked.
Despite the three suns and the baby slime monsters (which HE had thought were adorable, thank-you-very-much), he was getting domestic. The strange part was, that for now, he didn't even mind.
The suns could blind you, if you weren't careful. The planet itself was chilly, like a winter day, so he was wearing his coat and she was dressed from head to toe. She picked at the grass with gloved hands, shredding the crispy bits still further into dust.
He waited until he was certain he felt cancerous lesions forming on his hands before he grabbed her by the back of her black jumper and dragged her back into the TARDIS. So much for waiting her out. She was stubborn, this one.
Once the door was closed, Violet removed the welding mask and clamored to her feet. She brushed the squiggly bits of brown grass off of her jeans, and then stood up straight with her hands on her hips, maniacal grin spread across her mother's plump lips. "Too much for ya?"
Fighting the part of him that wanted—NEEDED to roll his eyes at her antics, he walked straight past, to the controls. "Yes, that's it entirely." Setting the time and location to some other place moderately interesting and mostly safe, he casually pressed a button and the ship started yawing in and out of time and space.
Violet shrugged out of her outer layer of clothing, leaving them on the floor next to the welding mask and her gloves. Entirely unimpressed and equally unamused, she sighed, and then left the control room without a fuss.
The Doctor opened his mouth to say something, but just let her go. "What? I thought it was funny," he muttered.
The barely-repaired hose wiggled above his head.
"You know, everybody's a critic." He watched the various working parts push up and down as the ship hurled through space and time. There were only so many times and places that were moderately interesting and mostly safe and she wasn't having any of them.
Which was obnoxious. The girl was seven! She was seven years old, from a planet that didn't even know the Martians were still there, yet. She was seven and stories about bunny rabbits mailing letters amused her! Three suns should have been spectacular! She was supposed to be impressed with baby slug monsters, purple skies and pink water.
He was really losing his touch, if he couldn't amuse a small child.
The Doctor didn't bother to knock. First of all it was his ship (he really was turning into his father, wasn't he? Overly possessive about his living space and falling for a human—next thing he'd be growing mold and making strange ferrety faces when he talked). Second of all, she knew he was there. She'd been radiating "leave me alone" since he'd entered the hallway.
Crouching down beside the bed, the Doctor placed the plate on the floor. "Anyhoo, gotcha some food. Nothing with a face, I'm afraid." He slid the plate under the bed then headed for the door. "I'm leaving, you can come out now."
Violet pulled the plate further under the bed. "You're not gone yet," she pointed out. "And this could have had a face."
The Doctor stood in the doorway, wondering what in the universe he'd done wrong now. Things would go brilliantly, they'd fight and argue and chase each other around. Then she'd be under the bed, reading a book about vampires or werewolves or zombies, and complaining about it the entire time. "Enlighten me, little one."
Pushing the plate out from under the bed, half-eaten egg salad sandwich in the center of the plate, she sighed. "Nothing."
Well, it was a start. "The thing about nothing is that it's actually secret code for 'something,' and it's usually 'something' that someone's mad about, but doesn't want to say anything because they think the other person should just magically know."
Violet stuck her head out from under the bed, looking up at him. "Yeah, ya kinda should."
His father always said not to look a woman in the eye, they'd see right through you—maybe women were psychic (or at least gave the impression they were on to you), but they should impose those same sorts of expectations on the males of the species. It'd make life a lot easier on everyone.
He leaned against the door. If only women weren't so… female. It would end all the communication problems in the universe right there. "I'm not a mind reader." Females really did need to just stop acting like males somehow just KNEW what the devil they were going on about. .
The girl began thunking her forehead off of the floor. Finally the Doctor had to reach down and grab her chin. He was sure she wasn't doing it hard enough to hurt herself, but he didn't want to have to explain the inevitable welt. "Ok." He grabbed her by the shirt, dragging her out from under the bed completely and sitting her on the mattress. "Explain it very slowly and use tiny words, my light bulb isn't well-lit."
The girl concentrated on his face for a moment before blurting out, "it's like your brain never SHUTS UP."
He really had no response to that, so he waited for her to continue…which she didn't.
The funny thing about humans, though—they hated silence. If you let it linger on long enough, they'd attempt to fill it. Violet walked right into the trap. "It's just ON, all the time. And it's SO LOUD. Even when you're sleeping. Your brain needs to SHUT IT. And if it's not gunna shut it, you need think out how to stop thinking about making sure I have absolutely no fun until I'm old enough to rent a car."
The last part was a surprise. He hadn't even been aware he'd been thinking about that consciously—or all that hard for that matter, especially the bit about being old enough to rent an automobile (being old enough to drive was still too young to turn her loose on the universe, as far as he was concerned), much less being aware that he was projecting it.
It really had been a long time since he'd been around another of his kind, hadn't it? He didn't bother shielding his thoughts unless he was around an obvious empath, and since the girl didn't look at him like she knew his every dirty little secret, he hadn't bothered.
Sitting back on the bed and resting against the mountain of pillows, the Doctor urged her to scoot up with him.
Once she was comfortable, he went so far as to put an arm around her. "First of all, we need to talk about low-level telepathy and how it's rude to project, but it's also rude to pry."
Tension left the girl's eyes, and he knew that this was, in part, some of what she needed to hear. "Sometimes…minds are like rice paper walls. You CAN hear things, but you have to train yourself not to listen. Otherwise you can spend all of your time angry or upset, or overwhelmed."
If she was picking out individual thoughts, she was more advanced than he was at her age (if he was even remembering correctly—it felt like eons ago—talk about out of touch), and he really did need to explain this now, and hopefully do it in a way that she could cognitively comprehend. He never had any idea if he was going too fast or too slow with her. She complained about the logical improbabilities of her monster novels, but refused to go to sleep without the story about the bunny mailing a letter.
Pressing her lips together, she seemed to be mulling it over. "But it's there. It's not like picking fruit off of trees. It's like getting pelted with chestnuts."
The Doctor nodded. "That's my fault. I'm going to work harder on that. It's also not all that polite to live on the other side of the rice paper wall and be shouting all my business at you."
Violet smiled encouragingly, like she believed that things would be different. She was still thoughtful, and he knew it was about his feelings towards what she thought to be 'fun.'
How exactly should he explain it? "The universe is a big place. There's fun that can be had that isn't dangerous."
Her eyes met his, and the seriousness he saw there was startling. Sometimes she seemed so much older than her years. "But I have to learn how to have plans and get out of trouble. Since it's coming for me anyway." The last was stated as if it were common knowledge. She'd told him how her dear mum had put down two invasions all on her own, and her family's propensity for going on dangerous/adventurous 'business trips.' She'd started out with a skewed view of what was normal from the beginning.
The Doctor let out a small laugh, trying to keep it casual. "What gives you that idea? Some day you're going to settle down in a house with a picket fence and a dog. You'll sit in your lawn chair and think about all your crazy times out here in the TARDIS and breathe a sigh of relief that you're finally living in a house with windows."
Hand twisting around the fringe on one of the pillows, Violet concentrated on the dark red and purple patterns. "That's not true, and you know it."
He wanted to tell her that normal people were the most important people in the world. They're who the universe was made for, not gardeners such as him. He potted and repotted and pruned and grafted, but it was for the view and pleasure of the normal folk.
She was too young to decide that a life such as he had was what she wanted for herself. He wanted to tell her that if she wanted to be normal, he'd help her become that, in any way possible to him.
He wanted to explain that he was nutty about this for a reason… but the Doctor never got the chance.
The TARDIS fell out of the Time Vortex, violently tossing both off the bed and toward the cold metal floor, sliding in one direction, then the other, bashing them on every side as it tumbled, whistling through some alien atmosphere.
It really was going to be one of those days.
To Be Continued…