A/N: Okie dokie... I managed to whittle off my first chapter for Episode 8, and I have my storyline down. Warning though, this one is a lot darker than episode 7. Probably moreso than any of them to be honest... Will run for about twelve chapters as usual. Anyway, hope you enjoy! x

Chapter One

Off Course

The air was so cold. So cold that the smallest drop of liquid froze solid. White mist hung lazily in the air and poured from the smooth, icy walls. The beads of sweat that had formed on her forehead had turned into tiny crystals. A thin, glass spike hung from the edge of her nose. Her eyelashes glittered. The front of her vibrant hair stuck to her forehead. Her teeth chattered as she shivered.

He wasn't far from her, no more than ten meters or so, and he was moving quickly but at the same time he didn't seem to be moving at all. Everything seemed slow. So slow that she could see the bead of sweat rolling down his forehead stop in its place and glaze over. She saw the tear in the corner of his eye freeze before it had a chance to slip down his cheek.

Warmth was rising up her, starting from her feet. She was frightened. Terrified, but she couldn't move. She reached out a hand to him, willing him to hurry, to catch her before she fell, to save her from the blackness and beyond.

The ground crumbled and she began to fall. His fingers brushed hers, so close yet so far. It was the briefest of touches, but there was so much energy. No, so much grief. She stared up at his face as it grew smaller, her eyes pleading with him. She heard his voice as clear as day as the darkness engulfed her;

'I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.'

Ashley woke up with a jerk and looked around. Half of her hair covered her face and she pushed it back, for a moment completely unaware to where she was. Then she saw him by the controls. He didn't look at her. These days he didn't have to.

'You're a strange sleeper I'll give you that.' The Doctor told her. 'Did you know you talk in your sleep?'

Ashley pushed herself up in the seat by the controls and smoothed her hair down with her hands. 'I didn't even realise I'd fell asleep.' She said. She looked down to see his coat covering her. 'What was I saying?'

'Oh, something about Turkish Delight. Is food all you think about?'

When she looked up he was smiling at her in that cheeky way that meant he had planned something that she would either love, or that would quite possibly get them both killed. She narrowed one eye at him suspiciously.

'What are you up to?' she asked.

He grinned and reached into his pocket. 'You're going to love this.' He beamed. He pulled out the psychic paper and thrust it in her face. She had to move her head back and blink to focus.

'It doesn't say anything.' She pointed out.

'I know.' He beamed.

Ashley raised an eyebrow at him, wondering if he had banged his head or something. He only grinned back at her. 'So…?' she enquired. 'Are we going to a Pictionary party or something? Because that sounds crap.'

The Doctor sighed. 'I mean that we don't need an invitation because I've got this.' He wiggled the paper and sighed from her blank expression. 'Don't you want to know which party we're going to?'

Ashley shrugged. 'I guess so.'

The Doctor let out a strange, frustrated sound and slapped his knees. 'Act surprised! This is no fun if you don't act surprised!'

Ashley pushed his coat aside and stood up. 'I've just woke up,' she told him, stretching her arms above her head. 'I don't do surprised when I've just woke up.'

The Doctor scrunched up his nose. 'Tell you what you should do; showers.'

Ashley frowned and lowered her arms quickly.

'Come on!' he half whined. 'Act surprised!'

She rolled her eyes and clasped her hands under her chin. She put on her biggest, fakest grin and bounced from side to side. 'Oooh Doctor who's party is it? Please, please, pleeease tell me!'

The Doctor's smile dropped and he straightened up. He half frowned. 'You're being sarcastic.'

Ashley sighed and pinched the top of her nose with her thumb and forefinger. 'Just tell me already.'

The Doctor looked briefly disappointed that she wasn't genuinely excited, but his smile quickly returned. 'We're off to the biggest street party ever.'

Ashley looked curious for the first time. 'Street party?'

'Well… not so much a street party…' The Doctor thought for a moment. 'Anyway, we're going to Ancient Greece, and trust me, the Greeks know how to throw a good party.'

Ashley gave him a sly grin. 'Are we going to a toga party Doctor?'

He frowned briefly. 'A what? Well… I suppose you could wear a toga if you wanted to.' His grin returned. 'So what do you think?'

She mulled it over – well, pretended to mull it over. She loved the idea really. The Doctor was waiting for her reaction apprehensively. She shrugged. 'Meh.'

His eyebrows lowered dramatically. 'What? Meh? That's all you've got to say?'

Ashley laughed. 'You're daft sometimes you! Of course I want to go to a bloody Ancient Greek street party!'

The Doctor beamed and then dodged towards the control panel. The Tardis began to hum almost instantly. 'Oh this is going to be fantastic!' he cried. 'I love the Greeks!'

Ashley laughed at his excitement as the Tardis began to lurch from left to right. It was a sensation that she would never get used to, and in a way she never wanted to. She wanted to have this mixture of excitement and fear every time the Tardis started moving. There wasn't another feeling like it.

As there was a sudden loud bang and dark smoke billowed up from the control panel, Ashley thought that maybe she could do without the fear part.

'What the hell was that?' she cried, gripping onto the control panel as the Tardis lurched around violently.

The Doctor gripped onto it with one hand, and his legs and free arm seemed to be flailing around everywhere as he tried to control the ship. 'An asteroid!' he cried. 'It came out of nowhere! We're going off course!'

'Off course?' Ashley cried. 'What do you mean, off course?'

'Oh, only by a couple of million years!'

Ashley's mouth dropped open, but she didn't have long to look shocked. A shower of sparks flew out of the control panel and she fell back, releasing her grip on the control panel. She hit the floor hard, but the Tardis was moving so much she couldn't get herself back up.

Eventually, after a lot of yelling and cursing on the Doctor's part, the Tardis came to a stop. Ashley lay on her back, staring up at the ceiling, breathing heavily. The Doctor's face suddenly came into her eye line.

'We've stopped.' He reported.

Ashley wanted to tell him she that she saw that, but all that came out of her mouth was a squeak.

'You okay?' he nodded.

The same squeak. He held out a hand to her and she took it, allowing him to haul her to her feet. She rubbed her head and gave herself a moment to gather herself. The Doctor returned to the control panel.

'So… are we in Greece?' Ashley asked, staggering towards him.

'Not exactly…' the Doctor told her, frowning. 'It seems that we are about… um… five hundred fathoms below sea level.' He glanced to her worriedly.

Her eyes widened. 'You what?'

He pushed away from the control panel and strode towards the doors. Ashley watched him for a moment, but her trance was broken as he put his hand on the handle. She hopped towards him, waving her hands.

'Whoa, whoa!' she cried. 'Don't open the door!'

He looked around to her, confused. 'What? Why?'

'You just said we were underwater! It'll all flood in!'

The Doctor rolled his eyes. 'Yeah, just like when I open the door in space we all get sucked out. Now excuse me please.'

Ashley blinked at him, and then stepped aside. The Doctor cast her an amused look and then pulled open the door, poking his head out. Ashley did the same.

The room beyond the door seemed to be some kind of power room, with whirring machinery and small flashing lights. The air was hot and damp. The Doctor stepped out and pushed his hands in his pockets. Ashley remained where she was, gripping onto the side of the Tardis.

'Well,' the Doctor grinned. 'It's been a while since I've been on a submarine.'

Ashley frowned. 'I don't like deep water.' She admitted.

He turned and held his hand out. 'Come on, we'll have a quick gander around before we zoom off, eh? It's not everyday you find yourselves five hundred fathoms down.'

Ashley still looked uncertain, but she stepped out anyway, closing the door behind her. The Doctor took her hand.

'Cheer up,' he smiled. 'What's the worst that could happen?'

Ashley narrowed her eyes at him. 'Now I definitely want to go.'

He only grinned, and lead her towards the door.