Hear the beeps as I enter the code I got from Tommy. After months and months and months in a stolen TARDIS stuck on Earth. Hear me praying, under my breath.
"Please, please, please…"
Eight, five, zero, zero one, six.
See me clasp my hands, like I'm in church, still praying. See me screw my eyes shut.
Hear the whirr of the keypad coming to life. Hear my heart thumping, as I don't dare to open my eyes but strain with my ears to tell if my plan worked.
"Oh, my head…"
My eyes fly open, and there he was. Standing there, in the perspex box, clutching his head with unfocused eyes. Moving, breathing, wonderfully alive!
"My head…" he mumbles again. "Oh, I feel like I've just had a night on the town…"
The smile that was spreading over my face froze.
"Uh…not exactly," I say, shifting nervously from foot-to-foot. "Try…"
"A few months stuckk in a cage, I know." he says, cutting across me. His eyes are starting to focus, and that cheers me up quite a bit. Probably no physical damage. "Figure of speech. Yeah…" He looks at me, and suddenly he's stone cold clear. No more disorientation. He's conscious, and he knows exactly why he hasn't been conscious for…
"Six months," I say helpfully, and then figuratively kick myself for being so helpful. Like he needs to know!
No physical damage. Probably a hell of a lot of mental damage. The Doctor just spent six months in hell.
I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.
He takes a couple of steps, and I can see he's not quite clear yet. Not quite steady.
Maybe I wasn't quite right about the physical damage. Tryin' to move after so, so long…
"Here we go!" I say, stepping in and taking his arm. "Come on, Doctor. You've got a date with the food court."
"Where's the TARDIS?" he mumbles.
"Earth section," I say, as we limp off together again. "Just where you left it."
"For six months?!"
"Ah…no. I, ah…took it home with me. Look, can we talk at the food court? You haven't eaten for six months, and as a doctor in training I'd say you need some carbs. Now."
Lucky us, there are no cages at the food court. It's possible to ignore the fact that it's a zoo.
See him eating.
Hear me talking.
"…and I tried. I did, Doctor, I did. But Eve called the cops on me. There…" I twist my fingers in my lap, six months of guilt coming back to bite. "…was nothing I could do; it was accept my ban or get locked up…luckily we'd stopped over at Earth before coming here, so I managed to figure out enough of the controls to go back...I told Mum it was an art project from a friend, we kept it in the garage, and I just waited until they'd let me back and I could do something...I had to wait, I didn't have a choice...I'm sorry, Doctor, I'm so sorry..."
"What about the Earth?" he asked, swallowing some of the ice cream enough to speak. "Is it still…y'know…there?"
"Yeah. Still Earth."
See him smile. Oh, god, I'd forgotten how much I'd missed that smile! "Well. Good. No problem."
I smile back. "…yeah. Finish up."
See him finish. See us stand.
See him take my hand.
"You've been taking care of the TARDIS?" he asks as we walk off.
"Yeah. It's all nice and tidy, just waitin' for you."
We're back in the zoo. See him scowl.
"Doctor…" I say, gripping his arm a little tighter. "Not today. Please? I…I don't wanna see you back in a cage all over again. Not again."
He…smiles at me. A tired smile…but still a smile. Today, I'll take what I can get."
"Okay," he says softly. "We'll…leave it. For now."
See him grip my hand even tighter. See me grip it back.
See us walking, towards the TARDIS.
I'm not too sure about this chapter. Thoughts? This was originally gonna be a oneshot. I just was starting to feel a bit bad about leaving the Doctor in the lurch. And I'm developing a fondness for Alterate Universe.