A/N: This one seemed to end quickly :( I enjoyed writing it though lol. However I'm still unable to think of an idea for Episode 8... I'm playing around with a kind of deep sea thing, but it's not moving along well... Anyways it shouldn't take long :D

Chapter Fourteen

Free Ride

Ashley wrapped her arms around the Doctor's neck and hugged him tight. He was still a little shocked from the sight he had witnessed upon opening the door, but he still hugged her back a little.

'Oh God it was awful, Doctor,' she whined. 'He made me breakfast in bed and took my bowling. As soon as he took me to the park and I saw that picnic I just knew it wasn't you. I'm so sorry I didn't realise earlier.' She let go of him and looked him up and down. 'Where have you been anyway? You're a mess!'

'He tied me up.' He replied. 'Hang on… he took you bowling?'

Ashley nodded, looking as though bowling could have been the worst possible punishment. The Doctor looked at her for a moment longer before passing her and making his way over to Gordon, who was still in the Doctor's form. He was trying to get to his feet, but was obviously still in a lot of pain from where Ashley had kneed him in the crotch. The Doctor helped him up.

'Are you okay?' he asked.

'I… I think I'm going to be sick…' Gordon wheezed.

The Doctor half smiled. 'You'll be okay. It'll wear off.'

'Why are you chatting with him!' Ashley demanded. 'Chuck him out already!'

'I'm not going to chuck him out, Ashley,' the Doctor frowned at her. 'Why would I chuck him back out there?'

Ashley put her finger to her chin and pretended to think hard. 'Um… well, maybe because he looks just like you and he tried to kidnap me!'

'I wasn't going to kidnap you,' Gordon told her, holding onto the Doctor's arm for support. 'If you didn't want to come I would have left you behind.'

'Oh so you were just going to nick the Tardis were you?' Ashley frowned. 'That makes it all better then doesn't it?'

'I'm sorry,' Gordon sulked, leaning against the control panel. 'I didn't mean to hurt anyone. I just really, really, really wanted to go home. I can't stand it here. I miss my family and my friends.'

The Doctor nodded sympathetically and patted him on his shoulder. 'It would have been easier all around if you had just asked.'

Gordon looked at the Doctor. 'But you wouldn't have said yes.'

'Why not?' the Doctor shrugged. 'Of course I would have given you a lift home. Granted I'd be slightly irritated as it's a bit out of the way, but I would have done it nonetheless. I know what it's like to be stuck on earth.' He brushed away some dust from his suit. 'Can be mind-numbing sometimes.'

'So… he just tried to steal the Tardis, and you're going to let him stay?' Ashley asked, completely confused by the Doctor's actions. 'Did you see what he was doing to me when you came in? What if you hadn't come back, eh? God knows what he could have done to me!'

The Doctor rolled his eyes at her. 'Ashley, you can make things burst into flames. I'm sure you would have been fine.'

Gordon's eyes widened. 'She can what?'

'Ah forget it,' the Doctor waved a hand dismissively. 'Lets just say she let you off lightly.'

Ashley crossed her arms and nodded. 'Damn right I did.'

Gordon looked between them warily. 'How do I know you're going to take me home? What if you're going to drop me on some desolate moon in the middle of some horrible system and leave me there all on my own as punishment.'

'Now that,' Ashley nodded and pointed her finger at the Doctor. 'That sounds like a good idea.'

'Don't be ridiculous.' The Doctor frowned, moving to the control panel. 'Now do me a favour, Gordon, and stop using my shape. It's getting a bit confusing in here.'

'Gordon?' Ashley repeated.

Gordon sighed and glanced to Ashley briefly. Then he sighed again and closed his eyes. When he opened them again Ashley's eyes were wide and unblinking.

'He… he just changed!' she cried, pointing an accusing finger at him. 'He just changed!'

'Yes, I know.' The Doctor replied. He glanced to Gordon and tilted his head disapprovingly. 'Your real shape please.'

Gordon rolled his eyes. 'But it's embarrassing around humans.' He whined. 'They stare and point. And some scream.'

'Trust me,' the Doctor assured him. 'There'll be none of that in here. Okay Ashley?'

She was just watching Gordon, waiting for the change. Gordon sighed heavily, and then closed his eyes again. Ashley's expression slowly turned from one of curiosity to disgust, as Gordon swelled in size and turned a pasty white colour. His face flattened and his eyes pushed apart until they were on the sides of his head. They tilted and grew, then turned black. A strange frill emerged on his head, and two fingers on each hand merged with the fingers on either side to form three thick fingers. There was a thump as a heavy tail hit the floor behind him.

Gordon blinked his big eyes at Ashley. She gaped back at him. The Doctor watched her reaction as he pulled the levers, amused.

'Oh my God…' she mumbled. 'You kissed me?'

The Doctor tilted his head at her. 'Now Ashley,' he said like a disappointed parent. 'That's rude. How do you think you look to him?'

'She looks fabulous.' Gordon said.

Ashley's nose scrunched up. Eyeing Gordon warily, she joined the Doctor's side and tugged his arm. 'Are you sure he's… safe? He's not going to attack us or anything is he?'

'Don't be silly. Shifters are harmless.' The Doctor told her. 'They wouldn't hurt a fly. Their shape shifting is more for defence than anything else.'

Ashley was still watching Gordon, but Gordon had shuffled away, huge white tail dragging behind him. When she looked back to the Doctor, he was eyeing her dubiously.

'What?' she asked.

'Nothing.' The Doctor shook his head and turned away, but he was frowning thoughtfully.

Ashley frowned. 'What?'

He looked at her and thought for a moment, then allowed his gaze to drift behind her to Gordon who was now sulking in the corner. 'Did you… Did you lead him on?'

Ashley's eyebrows shot up. 'Excuse me?'

'Well you must have done something for him to fall head over… trotters for you.'

'I thought he was you!'

The Doctor paused. 'Well I got that. But still if you-'

'Oh well look at Mr Full-Of-Himself.' Ashley fumed. 'No I wasn't trying to get in your skinny pants if that's what you're thinking.'

He looked around to her in surprise.

'For the record,' she went on. 'I didn't do anything.' She glanced at her fingernails. 'I must just be physically alluring to some people. Or species.'

The Doctor laughed once. 'Oh yeah, that must be it.'

She shot him a look. 'I found it peculiar that I only figured out it wasn't you because he was actually being nice.'

'Well if he's that nice then why don't you go home with him?'

'Maybe I will.'

'You do that.'

'I might do that.'

'Good for you.'

'Yeah, I know it is.'



They both fell into an annoyed silence. The Doctor flicked more switches and Ashley stood where she was, her arms crossed over her chest and looking away with a frown. Gordon remained where he was in the corner, saying nothing. Finally, the Doctor spoke again.

'You know, um… when I got back?' he asked quietly. 'You said for a minute you thought it was me?'

She looked at him. 'Yeah.'

'Well…' He paused, frowning in thought. 'Would you really knee me in the crotch?'

Ashley laughed and headed away. 'If I'd have been a hundred per cent convinced it was you, Doctor, I would have turned you to ashes.' She blew him a kiss. 'I'm off to brush my teeth.'

The Doctor watched her go, half frowning, and then returned his attention to the control panel. 'Alright then Gordon. Next stop, home.'