Monk-in-the-Box

A/N: Set just after "TheTime Meddler." The meddling Monk, frustrated at the First Doctor's having stolen the trans-dimensional control from his ship (and thus keeping it tiny) rams himself into his chest-sized TARDIS and tries to steer it anyway, setting off in a very brief attempt to still influence various turning points in history.

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I.

Gathering his robes up about his knees, the Monk panted almost as loudly as the hunting hounds that surrounded him, kicking them away as he frantically forced himself back into his tiny TARDIS, now one of a row of doghouses in the royal kennels. Somewhere behind him, he could hear men yelling over the sound of excited barks. If only he'd been able to catch that pig! If only! Maybe if all this cramped traveling hadn't surely ruined his knees for the rest this life, then he could have. But he had failed.

The pig had still managed a very determined escape from him and, frantic to escape the grasping monk, had still run, loudly squealing, right in front of the charger ridden by Philip of France. The royal heir had tumbled him from his horse in his historic and fatal fall. Now his inept younger brother would have to leave the clergy and become a King after all.

The Monk just hated it when he inadvertently ended up causing the very event he'd come back to change. It was most annoying.

"Philip would have been so much better that that old Louis," he grumbled. "What a pair he and Queen Eleanor would have made! He might have kept that woman's interest, at least…"

With a sigh, he finally wiggled back in, his face scrunched to see what his cramped hands were manipulating on the tiny console. He'd lost his tweezers in the melee and would have to make due with a toothpick, and he had to keep his stomach sucked in the entire time. As his stuffy, cramped box wheezed and the little console began pumping up and down he could only hope he was going where and when he hoped to.

II.

How had it gone wrong? He grunted as he rammed his somewhat corpulent folds into what appeared to be a wooden ice-box. The small kitchen backed to the Vienna School of Art, but none of those overstuffed, overpaid masters had been willing to consider the art of that young, somewhat-promising student he had brought to them.

So what if he hadn't his certificate? So what if he seemed a bit eccentric? Weren't artists supposed to be eccentric? So what that he hadn't finished academic schooling, really, what did that have to do with art? The Monk had finally been exhausted with the arguments, and the boy hadn't been willing to join the clergy either. Well, it hadn't been for lack of trying. And Adolf had wanted to go to art school, to do so much more than just sketches….

The ice-box faded out, filled to the brim with unhappy, squished monkery poking at miniature controls with the end of a purloined camel-hair brush as the kitchen maid dropped the fish she'd been carrying and simply gaped.

III.

He stifled his grunts as he squeezed back into the too-narrow confessional, its dark wood matching perfectly with the other, comparatively spacious ones flanking it.

At least his TARDIS had shown up this time as something a Monk might be seen entering; with all of his extensive wardrobe rooms far too small for him to even think of reaching he'd been forced to maintain his monk-like appearance longer than he'd liked. Fishing an arm down one of the tiny corridors in hopes of snagging anything useful had only gotten him awkwardly stuck and he didn't try it again.

He tried to hold his breath. He dared not be heard, for he was fairly certain Catherine of Aragon's men were seeking him somewhere near the dim chapel.

Oh, why had it been the young Princess Mary's tutor instead of old Cardinal Wolsey who had come to the confession? Oh, why hadn't he been able to tell the difference between them until his persuasion about changing Pope Clement's opinions on Henry VIII's petition for divorce weren't already underway?

He'd only realized his error when the tutor had hurriedly excused himself from the other side of the confession booth, no doubt to run straight to Princess Mary…who would have gone straight to her mother, the current Queen Catherine. Catherine of Aragon did not care to be deposed, much less to Henry's newest mistress, and her retinue would make short work of him if they could catch him.

He should have just used hypnotism, he thought with a curse. True, the confessional screen had been thicker than he had wanted, maybe his attempts at hypnotism would have been to no avail, but….

Footsteps echoed in the corridor by the Nave, Queen's men calling to one another.

"Ow," he complained to himself as the console poked into his belly once again, his shoulders curled as tight as they could be into the uncomfortable little walls. His legs were a bit tricky to fold in.

He knew the penalties of this period of time and would rather keep his head attached, thank you very much… surely so much fuss and bother would have been saved if he could have only brought a few creative shortcuts to the Protestant Reformation…

The door finally shut on his thick, tightly-packed legs and he once more he set about trying to manipulate the tiny controls with the end of a pin.

IV.

He was sure every joint in his body was swollen from being crammed, and there was no doubt a console-shaped bruise permanently mashed into his midriff. Hoping he was finally back at his now-peaceful seeming abandoned monastery, he wiggled the hairpin until he managed to hit the door-control.

Feeling like a contortionist after a long day on the job, he achingly emerged from his TARDIS backside first. He planned this time to take a while to stretch, to recuperate. Maybe a good hot bath.

Or not.

If he'd realized that an entire line of ceremonially painted Picti were standing behind his wiggling brown backside he might have moved differently.

Pulling his head out he found his TARDIS was now one of a series of elaborate carven oaken heads from some religious ceremony of the distant past - all standing in a circle near a natural well. And the TARDIS doorway a gaping mouth. He wasted no time in stuffing himself right back in, aided with rocks and the butts of cudgels, causing an entirely new set of legends to come into being as he rammed it into gear, fading it away with a straining wail.

It just didn't do, this trying to set coordinates with a pin and a knuckle.

V.

Cautiously edging out one limb at a time, he gave a huge gasp of relief to find himself back where he'd begun, though almost no time at all had passed since he'd triumphantly made his way into it, with the help of a generous application of grease. The old tenth-century monastery sat dark and chill around him, just as before. He was exhausted, stiff, bruised, swollen and hungry, his neat habit stained, creased and torn.

Outside the gate he could hear the villagers ramming the door and shouting for him to come out and face justice. They hadn't taken kindly to his being apparently in cahoots with the Vikings, no they hadn't.

He sat with his head in his hands. "Oh my, oh no. The Doctor said he might come back for me.… but if he forgets, what am I to do?" he moaned. "And what if that fool loses my trans-dimensional stabilizer? Oh, what am I to do?"

VI.

"We're all ready," Vicki called to the Doctor as she and Steven came out in their new outfits. "Well, as ready as we can be considering we don't know anything about where we are."

"Doctor," put in Steven, "I still have this thing in my pocket, from back in old England."

"Eh? Old England? What do mean, a 'thing'?" The Doctor was busy twiddling knobs at the console and didn't even look up.

"Uh, a spare part for a TARDIS, I think." Steven regarded the box and cable in his hand. "You told me to hang onto it, but that was a while ago and it doesn't fit in my pockets now."

"A part?" The Doctor glanced up at it only briefly, distracted with what he was focusing on the viewer. "Oh, just, oh, place it over in that room, three or four doors down, my boy. On the right. Anyplace will do. I'll take a look at it later. Ah! Look Vicki! What do you think of that, hm, hmm?"

Steven shrugged and went to the indicated door, finding a cluttered room of electronic parts and wires, most of which he had no idea about. He put it into a box full of things that looked at least somewhat similar and wandered back out.

"Hoo hoo hoo…" chuckled the white-haired old man gleefully as he returned to the console room. "Come along now, come along.. . I want you to see this. Most educational. Where were you, my boy? Vicki is waiting. Off we go now, look lively!"

"We aren't forgetting anything, are we?" Steven asked as he stepped out into the fresh air.

"Forgetting? Oh no, no. Nonsense, I never forget anything," the Doctor assured him, patting his pockets, especially where his TARDIS key was safely stowed. "I remember things you wouldn't have even remembered in the first place and then you would have forgotten them, eh?" He nudged Steven with his cane. "Now stop mooning about and bring Vicki, this way, now. This way."

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