Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who... sadly.
AN: Reviews are very much appreciated! Let me know if 11's in character, I've never written dialogue for him. :]
A Living Nightmare
Chapter One: One Small Step for Woman
Problems arose all the time, usually unexpectedly, especially if you were the Doctor, but catastrophes were something that could be predicted, even if sudden, especially if you were the Doctor. However, as the Doctor stood by the TARDIS console, reminiscing on the departure of his latest companions, a catastrophe was brewing in the depths of his trusted ship that even he didn't notice.
"You should be used to this by now," he told himself. "Besides, it's not like she fell into a black hole or a parallel universe… She just got married."
The Doctor pushed himself from the console and forced his approaching ill mood away. He wasn't going to mourn someone who was alive and well- and she was. She was alive and well and happily married. They both were. He saw it coming a mile away. Who wouldn't? The two of them needed alone time, a lot of alone time as married couples do and he was always there. A constant third wheel- something that he normally never could call himself until then. He was usually the first wheel or at least the second, never the third.
He sighed despite himself and looked around the spacious TARDIS interior. It seemed so much emptier now with him standing there, the whole of it to himself whether he liked it or not. The silence was deafening. His companions were such a huge part of his life and it hurt to see them go. It never got easier for him; in fact, it was more painful each time.
"Maybe I should just get a pet!" he said suddenly, breaking the silence that was beginning to weigh on him.
"Eh? They won't get tired of being here… or get married. A new K-9 model? Nah, probably not. A cat? I doubt we'd get along…" The Doctor thought for a moment, humoring himself. "Maybe a fish. One of those flying sky swimming fishy fish… I'd probably need some air filtration devices though…"
Before he had a chance to continue his one sided conversation, the TARDIS let out a shrill grinding noise and lurched sideways. The Doctor was flung into the railing, having been caught off guard. The TARDIS rocked in the other direction, sending its lone occupant towards the main console.
"Whoooa! Steady girl!" he cried as he latched onto a dangling hand grip.
The Doctor was pleased to be near the controls as he began typing on what appeared to be an old fashioned typewriter. He hit a few buttons beside it and staggered to the other side of the console, just barely keeping his balance. After flipping a large lever, the large central pillar began moving up and down. The sporadic lurching of the TARDIS slowed until it was still and he could stand without hanging on to anything.
The Doctor raised his brows questioningly, "What was that all about?"
The TARDIS let out a low hum, as if she were groaning. He walked about to a large hanging monitor and tapped the screen. "Are you sick, girl? Can we get a diagnostic?"
He pulled out his screwdriver and sonicked the screen until a few readings came up. His eyes widened, "Ah, no! No! Are you kidding?" he exclaimed, genuinely surprised. "We've got an infestation!"
The Doctor ran down to the lower level below the console and opened a panel. He changed the frequency on the screwdriver and sonicked the wires. Sure enough, a horde of small bug like creatures became visible. They had rounded blue bodies made of electricity and tiny flickering yellow eyes. He could see they were everywhere in the wiring and mucking up the system operations.
He threw his hands up in defeat. "Electromites? How'd we get electromites?" he asked himself. "Haven't been in any ion storms recently, I don't get it. I just don't get it! It's not like they're overwrought in this time or even on Earth for the matter. How'd they pop up all of a sudden? "
The TARDIS groaned again, snapping the Doctor from his momentary conundrum. He went back up and strode over to the console.
"Alright, no matter how they got here, we've got to get rid of them. They feed on electrical energy, take that away, no more food, no more electromites, no more problems," he told the TARDIS as if she didn't already know. "Okay! Let's shut down most of the power. Drain the circuits of electrical energy and the electromite food supply."
He flipped a number of switches and pulled three levers down simultaneously. The lights dimmed then went out until all that was left was the dull glow on the central pillar. The Doctor looked up at it briefly then around him as tiny blue flashes and sparks sprang up from the panels. The electromites were acting up, sensing the immediate lack of energy.
"This isn't going to be fun," he told the TARDIS, "Just hang tight, ole girl. Wait it out. I'll be back in a few hours. They should be gone by then."
He gave the control panel a good pat and headed out the doors into an alleyway. He hadn't even broken the atmosphere when the TARDIS acted up, so the emergency landing ended up being quite close to Leadworth. It wasn't close enough to ensure a run in with Mr. and Mrs. Pond, although; he doubted they'd be outdoors so soon, or at this time of morning. He shook his head and began walking the length of the alley.
Suddenly, the Doctor stopped dead in his tracks, a horrible feeling of dread overtaking him. Something wasn't right. He could feel it. Something was terribly wrong. His hearts beat a little faster as a sudden realization over came him. He furrowed his brows in a worried manner and whispered quietly to himself.
"It's a Sunday…"
The fact that he had landed on a Sunday was distressing to him. Silently, he told himself to never ever EVER land on a Sunday again, emergency or not. Sundays were the absolute worst day of the week. Horribly boring and uneventful. He seriously considered going straight back into the TARDIS and waiting out the debugging. Despite himself, the Doctor pushed forward into the dark city, determined to get his mind off of his troubles.
The cool crisp air rushed past him as he walked down the street, a certain bounce missing from his step. The sun hadn't risen yet and the streets were completely silent aside from his quiet footsteps. The shops were lit up and he glanced into the windows as he passed. They seemed mostly deserted for it was very late, or very early depending on how you thought of three in the morning. Nothing caught his eye so he continued on, wondering how much time had passed. Seven minutes. This was going to be a long wait. He was in mid sigh when an object fell out of nowhere, inches from his face.
The Doctor yelped and jumped back, caught off guard. He looked down at the pavement at the random fallen object. It was a slipper. He picked it up. A white bunny slipper to be precise. The Doctor raised a brow. Since when did it rain footwear? He looked around, checking the area to be sure he was still in the 21st century.
"It's much too early for the Great Shoe Revolution…" he said to himself, "And I'm not in Nepal."
He looked up at the building he was standing in front of, looking for anything abnormal. Six stories, dull paint, few scattered lights on and black lettering that read 'Ellsworth Flats'. An apartment, he thought. He didn't see any windows open and he couldn't think of a reason why anyone would throw a slipper at him. If it had been both, maybe, but one? It didn't make sense.
The Doctor backed up into the empty street, still looking at the building. From his new vantage point, he could see the whole building and more importantly, the roof. And most importantly on the roof, the girl standing on the ledge with her arms spread wide, one bare foot suspended over the edge.
"Whoa! Oh! You!" he shouted up to her, surprised.
The girl didn't move or give any indication that she had heard him. The Doctor ran a hand through his floppy hair, unsure of what to do. He pointed at her with the slipper, "You, hold on! Just wait a moment!"
He ran off towards the front doors of the building, paused, and then ran back to the street, looking at her again. "Really! I mean it, you stay right there!"
The Doctor took the stairs two at a time, having been too impatient to wait for the elevator. He burst through the door that led to the roof. He breathed a sigh of relief, seeing her still there. He approached her cautiously so as not to startle her. He could see she was shaking, most likely due to the wind. She was in a thin nightgown that he doubted did anything to relieve the cold.
She didn't turn around as he came up beside her, still a respectable arm's distance between them. Her face was turned up to the sky, her eyes closed. He gave her a once over before speaking.
"I think you dropped this," he said softly, holding up her bunny slipper.
Her reaction to his voice was immediate. She whipped around to see him, a look of alarm on her face. If he didn't know better, she appeared too alarmed at his presence, even if he was a stranger interrupting her supposed suicide. He put the thought aside for the moment.
The Doctor held up his hands in a defensive manner. "It's alright," he said, giving her a small smile, "I just want to help."
She opened her mouth but only a choking sound came out. The Doctor could see her panic building. Her breathing became very ragged as if she were hyperventilating. She put a hand to her mouth and she shook her head in disbelief. The look in her eyes was a mix of fear and desperation.
The Doctor knew what that look meant and what she was going to do. She took a step away from him, her heel coming inches from the ledge.
"Wait! Stop!" he shouted as she spun around.
Everything happened in a matter of a few seconds although it seemed much longer. The girl half jumped, half fell off the roof of the building. The Doctor sprinted over to the ledge just as she was almost out of sight. He nearly flung himself over as well in an effort to catch her. It was sheer luck that his hand met hers. He was actually surprised when he felt her weight suddenly pull him forward.
She looked up at him wide-eyed; apparently, she was even more surprised that he stopped her fall. "NO!" she screeched, clawing at his hand.
"Gah, stop that!" the Doctor strained, maintaining a good hold on her.
He reached down and grabbed her other hand, despite her protests. His hearts were beating madly with adrenaline. With some effort, he summoned all of his strength and managed to heave her up and onto the roof, kicking and screaming. The momentum sent him onto his back, the girl falling onto him.
She began yelling and thrashing around but the Doctor didn't let her go. The last thing he needed was her to dive off the roof again. He sat up and moved his grip from her hands to her torso. Almost immediately, she shoved him backwards, using her legs as a driving force.
"Let me go!" she cried, still struggling against him. "Let go!"
"Will you stop already!" he asked, exasperated.
The girl continued to thrash and scream incoherently. The Doctor was barely able to keep a hold of her without getting hurt in her fit. She had come within inches of breaking his nose when she threw her head back. Finally, after what felt like forever, she seemed to have exhausted herself and resigned to sobbing miserably.
The Doctor just lay there, trying to recover from the shock of it all, but not daring to relax his grasp on the hysterical girl. It wasn't every day that he had to wrestle a suicide jumper, something he was quite thankful for.
"I just… want to help you," he said between breaths.
She let out a sob that sounded more like a hiccup. "P-please," she whimpered softly, "Not again."
The Doctor furrowed his brows. "Not what again?" he asked.
He waited, still breathing heavily but there was no answer from her. After a moment, he shifted the girl in his arms so that he could see her face. She had feinted, he realized. The Doctor stared down at her, confused and highly distressed.
"So much for a boring Sunday…" he said quietly to himself.