Of Hormones and Scouring Powder
Normally, Kara was friendly. Normally, Kara was flexible. Normally, Kara was all smiles and teasing. The only conclusion the Doctor could come to was that this girl was not Kara. This scowling redhead looked like Kara, down to the hazel eyes that varied in color. However, there was no cheerful grin, no skipping about and asking questions, no jokes about the state of his hair. There wasn't even the thoughtful silence or playful nagging that she sometimes partook in. It was really quite peculiar and the Doctor was confused.
It had been a fairly normal day, though they hadn't been running for their lives yet. Kara picked up groceries, the Doctor added a box of lollipops to the cart, Kara laughed, they went back to the Tardis. But sometime during the walk, Kara had gotten upset and grouchy. She had stormed into the Tardis and given him a death stare when he followed to help with putting away groceries. He had wisely retreated.
Several hours later, the Doctor found Kara on her hands and knees, scrubbing the kitchen floor with a scrub brush and a large bucket of soapy water. The entire kitchen sparkled and smelled strongly of soap and lemon-scented cleaner.
"Kara, what're you doing?"
Her head snapped up so her dark hazel eyes met his brown ones, "What does it look like I'm doing?" Her tone was hostile and she turned her attention back to her cleaning.
"Well it looks like you're scrubbing the floor, but why?" The Doctor replied, using the same cheerful tone he used on armed soldiers and malevolent dictators. Kara's glare showed that she didn't appreciate it.
"Go boil your head or something," she told him crossly, "Before I decide to get really annoyed with you." He again, wisely retreated.
As Kara scrubbed the kitchen, then moved on to work on the bathrooms, the Doctor puzzled over why she was acting so strangely opposite of the way she normally acted. His companions had been mostly female, he knew that women acted odd on hormones that came monthly. Kara, however, didn't act this way during her monthly cycle. She got quieter, did a bit more reading, and was a little grouchy. He had observed this behavior during the two months they had traveled together. (The Tardis had clued him in the first month…and the beginning of the second.) But this behavior was abnormal.
It took two more hours for the Doctor to decide to go find Kara. It then took another hour for him to locate her. He had actually given up and had gone back to his room when he found her, putting sheets onto his enormous bed. Cleaning had been odd, but this was going too far. This was his room, that was his bed, and she had no business being in here. His eyes darkened and he stormed into the room as Kara lay the top sheet on, then the blanket, then began tucking in hospital corners.
"Kara, what are you doing?" His voice was low and angry.
"Again, what does it look like I'm doing?" Her eyes were as dark as his, a frightening mix of green, gold, and brown that swirled in a spiral down to her black pupils.
"It looks like you're in my bedroom, Kara. You have no right to be in here."
She placed a heavy blanket on top of the sheet and blanket, then put the pillows in the places she had found them. "Then start changing your sheets more often. And learn what a duster looks like."
"What?" The Doctor wasn't sure whether to be angry and insulted or amused. He chose a mixture of all three.
Kara picked up her bucket of cleaning supplies and dragged a shiny vacuum cleaner after her, not answering him. The Doctor followed, still furious with her for being in his room.
"Kara, what the do you think you're doing? You've never acted this way before, so what the hell is wrong with you?"
She whirled around, her plastic bucket banging against her hip as she turned.
"Nothing is wrong Doctor, just leave me alone. You should be happy I'm cleaning your Tardis because It doesn't look like you've cleaned it in about eight-hundred years!"
"Now you listen here, Kara Angel. I will not leave you alone until you tell me exactly what's wrong."
"Nothing. Is. Wrong. Do you understand?" She shouted, before she stomped off, dropping the bucket and leaving the vacuum where it sat. The Doctor was dumbfounded for a good few minutes, but he shook himself our of his confusion and called upon the Tardis for help.
Library. The first message came in images. Be gentle. The second came in feelings. Nodding thanks, the Doctor made his way to the library, where he found Kara. She wasn't crying, just sitting, staring into space in silence.
The Doctor sat down next to her on the couch. She didn't acknowledge his existence, continuing to stare out into space.
"You know, the Tardis is worried about you."
She could read his thoughts, I'm worried about you.
"You could just say what you mean instead of beating around the bush," she told him, her voice steady and emotionless.
"I don't know what to make of you right now and I'm worried. Clear enough?"
"Almost to the point of blunt, yes I understand."
"So why are you being so hostile?"
"I saw someone on the walk back to the Tardis, someone who reminds me of something I might have become."
"What do you mean?"
"I wasn't the only person, the only human like this, you know. When I was in primary school, there was this little blonde girl called Karen, and a little dark-haired boy called Roger. We all had…talents. Karen was like me, only not nearly as strong. She could do the thing I do with emotions, and she could only read people's minds if their thoughts were really strong. Roger was telekinetic. We knew we were different, but we kept pretty quiet about it; we didn't want to get in trouble. But there were these men that came one day, we all had to take tests and things. They were odd tests, and I heard what it was for, one of the men was thinking about it. They were testing us for psychic abilities. I tried to warn Roger and Karen, but they wanted to go with the men. They thought it would be fun, that they would be able to come back."
Kara paused, biting her lip and breathing slowly, regaining control. She could feel the Doctor growing upset. Gently, he put one hand on her arm and squeezed in support.
"I didn't see them any more after that. They promised not to say anything about me, though. So all through grade school, I tried not to read minds, I tried to block it out. That's where I built my control. It wasn't too strong, but it kept me from going mad-literally going mad. Once I was in secondary school, I thought I was safe. I practiced reading minds, I practiced blocking things out. But they did testing again, and this man came with, one of the men that had come earlier. He brought a teenage girl with him, a blonde girl named Karen. But she wasn't Karen anymore. Her head was…wrong. She had one hand on each of us as we answered questions. They caught seven kids because she could tell they were lying about having powers. But when she got to me, I looked at her, and she looked at me. I sat, I answered the questions, I lied. She told them I was telling the truth. I guess there was something that reminded her of her promise, but that doesn't excuse the fact that I never saw any of the kids they took again. Their parents got these letters, said they were assisting national security…" she trailed off and stopped talking.
"That's wrong, what they were doing." The Doctor's voice was as dark as Kara's expression.
"You think I don't know that?" she snapped.
"No, I just," he began, but she nodded,
"I know. I'm sorry."
It was silent for a while, but eventually, Kara leaned over and the Doctor hugged her. They sat like that for a long time, neither one speaking, just hugging. When they let go, the Doctor turned to Kara,
"Have you ever seen a six-sun sunset with a three-moon moonrise at the same time?"
Kara looked at him, smiling incredulously, "Is this you, cheering me up?"
"That was the plan," the Doctor replied cheerfully.
"Never seen one, no," she replied.
"Brilliant! It's beautiful, especially by this one beach I know…" His voice got fainter as he dashed towards the console room. Kara smiled, went and picked up her dropped cleaning supplies from the hall, put them away, then joined the Doctor in the console room. As the Tardis flew through time and space to a large planet far from Earth, the Doctor turned to Kara,
"Does it really look like I haven't cleaned in eight hundred years? Because I've been meaning to get to it but-what? Stop it!"
Kara was laughing too hard to respond. As the Doctor sputtered, and she leaned against the wall and laughed until she couldn't breathe properly, the Tardis hummed to itself happily. Things would be okay.