Jenny's eyes popped open. It was dark. She was in the dark.
And yet she wasn't on edge. She felt…safe.
Where was she?
She sat up. The mat beneath her gave, soft and warm to the touch. She could just lay back and fall asleep…but curiosity pulled her into a sitting position.
A dim glow suffused the room. Creamy plush carpeting. A small wooden set of drawers. And the high, thick mat she was lying on. It was perfectly still. And yet she could swear that something was humming.
The memory clicked.
Her father's ship. She was on her father's ship. She leapt to her feet. Slipping on her boots, she ran to the door of the room, pushing it open, and took off down the corridor. Her feet clattered against the smooth bronze floor. The corridor twisted, right, left-was she going the right way?-and then there was a door in front of her. Half excited, half apprehensive, she pushed it open.
The huge-control room?-was on the other side, half lit in amber and blue-green. The console hummed, drawing her closer. She caught sight of her father, working on one of the controls. For a moment, she froze, observing him. He stood tall and straight, dark eyes fixed on his work. His hands moved with a quick delicacy over the controls. His hands were long, thin and pale. Like hers.
His eyes suddenly shot up, meeting hers so fast that it startled her.
"Morning!" He exclaimed, "How'd
you sleep? Room all right?"
Jenny nodded, stepping onto the grating that surrounded the console."Fine. Perfect. Only I'm not sure if I'll be able to find it again."
"Oh," he drawled, checking another control, "No worries about that. The TARDIS won't let you get lost, 'least not at first for sure. You slept through the trip, by the way. We've landed in Crisprarax."
Jenny's blue-black eyes widened.
"Yup. But I thought you ought to get a bit of sleep. Too young to be skimping on your shuteye, you, and we can always spare three hours or so."
He stepped away from the console, and looked her up and down.
"You slept in those, didn't you?"
Jenny glanced down at her clothes. "I did."
"Don't you have a change of clothes?"
The Doctor gave her a look that was equal parts surprise, commiseration and scrutiny.
"Wardrobe. Definitely that first. Not having you walking into the City of The Lighthearted looking like a ragamuffin. So, first trip, after you change your clothes. What sort of stuff do you like?"
He stood, hands in pockets, his eyes on her. For a second, all Jenny could do was grin.
My father. I'm going to step on to this planet with my father. I really am.
"Everything all right?" He asked. Jenny nodded, her white-blonde hair swinging.
"Oh yes. Everything's…great."
Crisprarax was everything Jenny had ever heard about it; a legend come to life, a dream made real. They spent their first day together walking the streets, seeing the sights. They tried everything, ate things Jenny had never heard of. Usually she was watching her credits on planet hops. But her father seemed to come up with all the money they needed. He was so different now. The first two times she'd met him they'd been under fire. Now, without a threat to face, he strolled beside her, talking, talking constantly, a grin on his face as he told her a little about everything they saw.
As the sun set they swam in a phosphorescent sea that left their skin glowing lightly. Late in the evening, they clattered back into the TARDIS, laughing together. They parted at their doors, the Doctor telling her to get a pair of pajamas on. "We'll have tea in our jim-jam's b'fore bed, then! You'll love tea, Jenny! Lovely stuff! Get a move on!"
Even later, Jenny fell onto her mat grinning, pulling the covers up to her chin. In four years on her own, Jenny had kept her guard up. She had watched for danger wherever she traveled. She had been careful and frugal. She had been alone. Not anymore.
This had been the most perfect day in her life. And of her future, it was just the first.