Disclaimer: Don't own anything you recognise.
A/N: I was inspired by Matt Smith's brilliant performance on Saturday and couldn't help but create some romance for our dear 11th Doctor!
The Doctor sat, still disorientated from his regeneration. He wasn't quite sure where he was. He was sat on a bench in the middle of a busy square. He looked around him and he slowly began to recognise the square. After five minutes, he realised he was in Hereford. He sat back on the bench, unable to pay too much attention to the humans bustling around him. Every so often, he'd wince; the feeling of his body rebuilding was not too pleasant. His mind was slowly clearing and he could now interpret what was around him rather than just see it. There were shops and there were a lot of people around; too many for a normal weekday. He reasoned that it must be either the weekend or a school holiday by the amount of children and teenagers around. He took another look around. Yep, definitely a school holiday. He could sense that feeling of freedom in the teenagers wandering past him and they all seemed too jolly to be going back to school in a day or two. Perhaps it would be a good idea to try and find out what time of the year it was. Or what year it was. That also may be of some use. He braced himself and pushed up from the bench.
Suddenly, the Doctor was stood. He beamed, pleased with his progress. So he took a step. And another. And another. Oh, this was easy! What had he been sat down for when walking was so much fun? He began striding and then stopped abruptly. He felt something slam into the back of his legs. Ouch! Behind him was a baby in some sort of vehicle. The Doctor frowned. How on earth could a baby human be driving that vehicle by itself? He looked again. Ahhh! Behind the baby vehicle was a woman who didn't look too pleased. The Doctor had no idea why. She was the one that had crashed into him.
'Do you mind?' she said, sternly. 'This is a brand new buggy!' she swerved around him and stalked off.
A buggy! Of course! That was the vehicle. Babies had to spend some of their time in buggies because they couldn't walk immediately. The Doctor grinned and thought about how he could walk. Ha! Near death one minute, walking quicker than a baby the next. He frowned, trying to recall why he had stopped striding. Striding had been so new and exciting so why had he stopped? Ah yes, he had nowhere to stride to. That was an issue, he reasoned. His stomach dropped. He had thought of another issue. Where was the T.A.R.D.I.S? He felt in his pocket for the key. He gazed at it, recalling why he had left it. He squinted, trying to push all of his recent memories forward. He had left the T.A.R.D.I.S because...because it was rebuilding! The Doctor felt so pleased with himself, he almost punched the air. Yes, yes. He would be back to his best soon. Well, soon-ish. He grinned swinging his brand new arms. Hmm, not as long as the last set; a little paler, too. Well, no point in standing around waiting for the T.A.R.D.I.S; he may as well explore Hereford while he was here. Why was he here, actually? He tried to recall his time in the T.A.R.D.I.S before he had fully regenerated. It was hard to keep your wits about you mid-regeneration. He vaguely remembered punching in some co-ordinates almost blindly. He winced again, trying to push his memories forward once more. Nope. That next thing he remembered was sitting on the bench. And the baby in the vehicle. And then now.
He turned sharply, spying a card shop to his right. He strode over to it. The display was of chicks and eggs. Chicks and eggs? What did that remind him of? He stared blankly for a moment before:
'Easter!' he cried aloud. 'It's Easter! Oh, I love Easter! Chocolate all around!'
A couple of people gave him worried or alarmed looks before rushing past but the Doctor remained oblivious. He was about to turn back around, triumphant with his new tit-bit of information when he spotted a man reflected in the glass. He squinted and leaned forward to get a better view. The man leaned forward too. The Doctor leaned back, scowling. So did the man. The Doctor huffed. Who was this man mocking him? How dare he mock him? He had stupid floppy hair, a big jaw, a bow tie and braces! Braces! In this day and age! The Doctor snorted and smirked. So did the man. He leaned forward again. Hang on! Was this man actually the Doctor himself?
With a spontaneous grin, the Doctor turned to the side, admiring his reflection. Hmm. A good strong jaw, attractive floppy hair which gave him a sort of cool-geek look, a preppy bow-tie and braces. Braces? Yeah, braces! The Doctor loved the braces! Practical and old school. Nice! He wiggled his feet. Comfy boots. He looked down. Ooh! Smaller feet. He raised his eyebrows and hoped that didn't mean anything else was lacking. He glanced around shiftily and wiggled his hips, trying to get an idea of his new body. He sighed in disappointment. A little smaller perhaps but it was difficult to tell in the middle of a shopping centre.
What on earth was he doing in a shopping centre? He whipped around. Where was he? He closed his eyes and squeezed his mind. T.A.R.D.I.S, Hereford, bench, striding, baby vehicle, Easter, reflection. His eyes flew open and his face broke into a grin. Gotcha! It was getting easier to remember. He strode back outside and stood by the bench he had previously been sat on. A clothes shop was directly in front of him and it was full of people. He shrugged and decided to go inside. He strode inside. Ah! Striding was just as fun as he remembered. As soon as he was inside, he felt a wave of cool, clean air wash over him; a pleasant break from the humid drizzle outside.
After a moment, he reasoned that downstairs must be women's' clothes as that was all there was; women frantically searching through long rails of clothes that all looked the same to the Doctor. He twirled amongst the rails, sending some of the clothes flying and walked down the central aisle backwards, grinning broadly.
'Ooh!' he said aloud. 'Sunglasses!'
The Doctor seized a pair of aviators, letting his fingers smudge the lenses, and pushed them haphazardly onto his face.
'Wow! Check me out!' He twirled again. Winking at himself in the mirror from behind the glasses. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see an elderly woman gaping at him. 'What about you?' he called to her. 'Do you think I look...' he posed. 'Good?'
'Are you on drugs, dear?'
The Doctor straightened. 'How dare you, madam? I am a noble man!'
The elderly woman merely chuckled and glanced behind her. 'Dear!'
A young woman in her early twenties came into the Doctor's line of vision. 'What is it, Gran?'
The Doctor whipped off the glasses and smoothed down his jacket and straightened his bow-tie. She was...nice. Not obviously pretty but enough for the Doctor to feel a little flustered. A problem not helped by the fact that he had not quite become accustom to his new body. As she spoke to her Gran, the Doctor studied her through his new eyes. He wondered if her dark brown curls were real or a time consuming activity every morning. Whichever way, he liked it. He smiled slightly as he admired her dress sense; a dusky pink dress over white lace tights teamed with a pair retro pale blue low heels. She was kind of preppy and kooky. Just like the new him! Yes, they could work very well.
'It's this man, dear. He's chatting to me.' Her Gran was saying before she lowered her voice. 'I think he's on drugs, you know.'
The woman turned her gaze to the Doctor who felt a little sheepish, still clutching the pair of sunglasses.
'Excuse me.' She called. 'What have you been saying to my Gran?'
'I just – er – I just wondered if she thought I...looked good in these sunglasses.' He waved them, feeling awkward.
'Oh.' She looked amused now and less suspicious. 'Go on, then.'
The Doctor blinked. 'I'm sorry?'
'Let's see you in the glasses!' she said, stepping forward away from her Gran and toward the Doctor.
'Oh! Er – OK then.' He pushed them onto his face and she laughed.
'Yes, very nice.' Her face hardened and the Doctor thought it didn't suit her. 'Now leave my Gran alone before I call the police.'
'Oh, well, I didn't mean to – ' The Doctor stopped. Hang on! He was the Doctor! He shouldn't be cowering away from this young woman! He was a Time Lord! He raised an eyebrow. 'Well, miss! I meant no offence. I merely wondered if she thought I looked good in these sunglasses.' He waved them again and stuck his nose in the air as though challenging her.
She blinked this time and her Gran called her. 'Don't worry, dear. He wasn't causing any trouble. He was just...jolly.'
'Jolly!' The Doctor grinned and widened his eyes at the young woman. 'Just...jolly. That's me the jolly Doctor.'
Her green eyes studied him before she smiled slightly and said, 'Well, goodbye jolly doctor.'
He watched as she and her Gran left the shop and headed off toward the right down towards cafes and small shops. The Doctor was frozen to the spot for a few minutes as people pushed passed him. He had the overwhelming urge to follow her. He knew he shouldn't – hang on! Why shouldn't he? He was lacking a companion, wasn't he? With a determined grin, he stalked out of the shop and into the street. In the distance, he heard a beeping and a voice shouting to him but he ignored it and continued his stride. Ha! He knew all of that practicing would be worth it. Striding was definitely his new thing.
He carried on until he realised that he didn't actually have a destination. He slowed down and took in the shops and cafes around him. Oh, he was feeling much better now. The Doctor loved having something to spur him on; a purpose. This mini-mission was helping to clear his head and awaken his body again. He was about to turn around and check the shops a little further up before he saw a mass of dark curly hair stood at front of the queue of a greasy cafe. He burst through the door and reached the queue. He peered around it at her before pushing past a flustered father, a screaming child and a burly builder.
'...with or without sugar?' The woman behind the till was asking her.
'One with, one without, please.'
'Two with, one without!' The Doctor called over the young woman's shoulder. She jumped and he grinned at the middle-aged woman behind the till, urging her to add it to the order.
The young woman gazed at him in shock for a moment before saying, 'You'd better be paying for that.'
The Doctor gave her a goofy grin. 'I haven't even got any money!'
She huffed but smiled nonetheless. She gestured to his right hand. 'So you stole those glasses?'
'What? Oh!' he looked down. 'So that's why all those alarms were going off! I did wonder.'
'So you expect me to pay for your tea and hide the fact that you've shoplifted.'
'Just give me enough time to drink my tea and talk to you and then I'll be off.'
She eyed, suspicious. 'Why should I?'
For the first time, he looked serious and answered without hesitation. 'Because I can change your life.'
It made her stop and stare at him with her tray of tea and cake before gesturing toward the table where her Gran sat. He sat down opposite her Gran who looked at little shocked but still greeted him with,
'Oh, hello again, dear.'
'Hello, ma'am.' He kissed her hand. 'A joy to meet you!'
'Ooh! What a lovely young man. Fred! Fred! Come over here!'
He glanced up at her through his floppy hair. 'Fred?'
The young woman glared. 'It's short for Winifred.'
He beamed in response to her glare. 'What a brilliant name! Now, about me changing your life – '
'What if I like my life? What if I don't want you to change it?' Fred questioned with a challenging glare. He gazed at her across the table and studied her face. She met his gaze without fear but he could see something else behind her eyes.
'You want change. You've never experienced it. You're afraid of it.'
Her steely expression fell a little and he could tell that he had hit the nail of the head. 'If I'm so afraid,' her voice wobbled a little. 'Why would I want change?'
He gazed at her again. 'Because something else scares you even more. You're terrified of this.' He waved a hand around at the cafe and the street outside. 'You're afraid that this is all there is.'
She stared at him, her eyes wide and her face unreadable before turning to her Gran, who was looking baffled. 'Gran, I think you should – '
'Oh, look!' she cut her granddaughter off. 'There's Alec and Joan! I'll go and have a quick catch up with them shall I?' With a kindly smile at the Doctor and then at Fred, she tottered off to an elderly couple over the other side of the cafe.
Fred gazed at the Doctor and took a sip of her tea. Her face was hard but he could see her hand shaking. That was the sign he needed to know that he was getting through to her. He leaned across the table.
'This isn't it.' She said nothing but he knew she wanted him to carry on. 'There's more. So much more! So much to see! So much to do!'
'Why are you telling me this? Why are trying to convince me that there's more?' She asked, she had given up on her blank expression and was inquisitive.
'Because I've seen these things and I know you want to as well. I'm lonely and I need a companion.'
'But why – ' She stopped and she gaped at his jacket pocket.
'What?' he asked, unsure of what had made her stop.
'Your jacket pocket is glowing.' She sounded scared. Scared and excited. Yes, she would be a good companion! The Doctor delved into his pocket and pulled out the T.A.R.D.I.S key.
'Yes!' he cried. 'She's ready!' He grabbed her shoulder and peered into her eyes, beaming with excitement. 'There are other things! And now...' he dangled the key in front of her. 'I can prove it!'
'What's that?' Fred asked, excitement shining in her eyes.
'This is the key to Other Things. The key to a world beyond yours.'
'Yours.' The Doctor said more firmly.
'Does that mean – '
'Are coming with me or not?'
He face broke into a grin. She didn't respond; instead she stood up abruptly and almost ran over to her Gran.
'Gran, are you alright to get home by yourself?'
'Of course, dear.' She paused. 'Are you off with that handsome young gentleman?'
The Doctor smiled a smug smile, winked at Fred and mouthed 'handsome' and jabbed a finger against his chest. He intervened before Fred could challenge the statement.
'She certainly is! Goodbye, Gran!' He kissed her hand again and she giggled.
'Have a good time!'
Outside, it took the doctor a moment to find his bearings. Once outside the cafe, he turned this way and that, making Fred doubt her decision a little. He squeezed his mind again. Backwards this time. Fred, Gran, sunglasses, reflection, Easter, baby vehicle, striding, bench, Hereford...T.A.R.D.I.S!
'This way!' He pointed dramatically to his left and hurried off before Fred could say a word. It took them twenty five minutes to find the T.A.R.D.I.S. All the while, the Doctor was muttering and Fred doubted both the Doctor's and her own sanity. Eventually, they came to a boarded up pub and the Doctor wafted his arm in the direction of the Police Box outside.
Fred squinted. Yep, she was insane for following this already insane man. She tried to be calm about it. 'What is it?'
The Doctor was immediately offended. 'It's a time machine! Well,' he sighed and tried to work a way best to describe his beloved T.A.R.D.I.S. 'It can also go anywhere in the universe as well as back in time.'
'Right. Sure.' Fred was feeling stupid for believing him and could feel herself blush in anger and embarrassment. The Doctor noticed her expression and his arm fell.
'You don't believe me, do you?' He was disappointed. She seemed so eager, so ready to believe him but she had fallen at the last hurdle. He thought she was different but – alas! – no. She, like all the others, still disbelieved even when a fully functioning T.A.R.D.I.S was in front of her. He pulled out the still glowing key and stretched out his hand. She looked at it warily.
'I'll prove it to you. I still have the key to Other Things. I still have that and you believed that. Think back to that. Think back thirty minutes when you did believe me. Remember all that excitement and curiosity coursing through you. Squeeze your mind. Remember that desire for change; for something new. Take my hand and I can show you all of that. I can show you all of those Other Things.'
Fred knew she probably shouldn't but she did. She took his hand. She couldn't help it. Damn, he was such a motivational speaker. Perhaps he had some sort of job in advertisement. He could probably persude her into anything.
Just before the door to the Police Box, Fred stopped.
'What now?' he said impatiently.
'I can't go yet.'
'Oh, for goodness...why? What is it now?'
'I don't know your name.'
The Doctor smiled, relief washing over his face. 'Oh, well that's easy! I'm the Doctor.'
Any good? Just in case anyone was wondering, I do like Amy Pond but I just felt like writing someone new. This isn't anti-Amy!
I was thinking about writing some more 11th/Fred adventures. Tell me if you like that idea or not.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to write a review or send me a message.