OK, It has taken me several months to write this fic and I think I am almost finished with it. (That is, assuming no more rabid plot bunnies jump out from nowhere and start attacking, then this could be a very long story indeed. This is the first chapter, and was inspired by a friend's (Firebound) deviation of the Doctor having been tied up by River Song. The story of course goes much further (Not in that way, for those of you with painfully teenage minds.), has an antagonist, and, depending on how far you read into it, a point. It contains some whump, especially towards the end, but whump is not the main focus of the story.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything Doctor Who (except a tee-shirt with "The Angels Have the Phone Box" on it.)
Reviews are love!
The passage was cold and damp and very prison-y. That being said, it was all artificial. It had been built to seem unkempt, built to strike hopelessness in the minds of its prisoners. The walls were grey-green metal sheets which curved out of sight, meant to look unending and labyrinthine. But it had all been coldly calculated to play tricks with weaker minds. Stormcage was an inescapable prison. That didn't mean that it didn't gleam at least a little pleasure from the slight squirming of its inhabitants.
The Doctor noticed all this grimly. He looked from side to side, scoping the walls of the passage, the sleeping prisoners in their cells. He counted the lights, fitted at intervals, as he passed them. The number was nearing a hundred. He and his guard could have walked in an endless circle, though he knew that this too was an illusion meant to confuse. Stormcage was built in the shape of a caterpillar's chrysalis, and there were no stairs. The walkways slanted gently upwards, and had he not been a Time Lord, he wouldn't have been able to feel it at all.
He tested his restraints and was rewarded with the cold feeling of the metal as it cut into his wrists. They were not comfortable. His guard shoved him to move faster, her face obscured by a black ski mask. "Do you have to push so hard?" He asked of the woman responsible for the shoving. "I'm very nearly going as fast as I can with these things on; you know as a Time Lord I have a very specific center of gravity that involves occasionally swinging my arms wildly for no apparent reason—"
"We're on camera" She hissed. "At least act like you're a prisoner facing your next hundred, possibly thousand years in this godforsaken place." She paused. A smile cut across the Doctor's face. He recognized that voice, and he was glad as anything it was hers. "Though, knowing you as well as I do, if you were facing your next thousand years here, you'd have already escaped. The handcuffs aren't even deadlocked and I conveniently forgot to check your right pants pocket for the sonic."
"You, me, handcuffs, must it always start this way?" The Doctor complained. They were tight, old fashioned twentieth-century earth-typed ones that River cleverly carried wherever she went. For once they had come in handy for a purpose other than— wait, no, he was still in them. River's glare was obscured by the mask, but the Doctor could feel it burning into the back of his neck.
"That's my line, and I said it differently." She said, and then her voice took on a much sweeter tone. "Besides, even you've agreed that this was the best, if not only option." The Doctor looked at her, his brow furrowed half in confusion, half in distrust.
"I'd hoped that line was still in your future." He said slowly. "And I think I'd have remembered if I'd agreed to letting you put me in jail." He paused. "Do you have to grip my arm so tightly? I think I'm losing circulation in my hand." River rolled her eyes.
"Sorry sweetie, I have to make this look good. And no, you haven't agreed to it yet, but I assure you I have the Twelfth Doctor's permission, and it works out well for him."
"You can tell the Twelfth Doctor that anything that works out well for him is probably not going to be doing me any favors. I like this body and I'm planning on keeping it for a very long time and if he has something to say about if then he can tell it to our face and we've stopped walking." He looked over at River and then at the open door in front of them. From his limited vantage point he could only see another hall, but this one was straight and there was a sharp turn at the end, unnerving after all the gently curving ones outside. There were two guards standing at either side of the door. Their faces were not masked and there was a decided lack of familiarity.
"Sweetie, we're here!" River stated loudly, and the Doctor felt that it was mostly for his benefit. She shoved him inside and the guards closed the door behind them but did not follow them in.
River removed the mask and stuffed it in a pocket. They entered a small, bare room no more than five meters by five meters. There was a chair and table facing away from the door, but otherwise no furnishings. "Sit." She commanded. The Doctor was about to protest, but held his tongue and sat awkwardly. "Put your arms behind the chair back." The Doctor glared but did as he was told.
"I'll have you know I'm taking a lot of this on faith. If it were anyone else who had kidnapped me from the surface of a planet in the middle of the night and dragged me to Stormcage of all places I would—"
"Have gone along with anything they'd told you to do until you had enough information to escape. Basically, nothing different." River finished for him. She pulled a length of rope from a backpack and began to loop it around his torso.
"What are you doing?" He asked.
"Preparing you for interrogation, sweetie. I'm making the ropes loose enough for you to escape but I need you to only use that if it's an emergency. You need to be in here at least two weeks, I'll tell you when it's safe to escape again." She said all of this so matter-of-factly that it was a bit unnerving. The Doctor took a breath, centering himself and trying to make sense of his current situation. It was very confusing and he only remembered part of it. According to River bits of it, particularly the permission bits, were still in his future. For all he had been able to grasp in the long walk between the room he had thawed in (River had used some sort of cryogenics instead of lipsticking him, of that he was at least thankful) he was in Stormcage for some nefarious purpose of River's; though why River would want to return here was beyond him. Also he felt sort of used the way he usually did when River was around.
He'd been enjoying something for once that hadn't involved things getting bad, worse, or otherwise unsafe, and he was beginning to think that humans had a point when it came to those sorts of vacations. But now Rory and Amy were trapped on a planet for however long (The Doctor had a feeling it might be longer than the two weeks River had promised) he was here, and things were getting bad. And not in a good way.
"Did you say interrogation?" He asked calmly, wondering how long his calm would be able to last before the glares he was sending her became something more substantial. He wasn't a violent person by nature but this was testing that philosophy.
"Yes. But don't worry; it's strictly interrogation in this place. Being Shadow-Proclamation run is really ultra-safe and they don't do torture. I was here for several years before the Pandorica incident and they didn't lay a finger on me. Besides, you've lived through at least ten things that would kill your average humanoid. Two weeks in a maximum-security cell isn't going to kill you." River finished tying him to the chair and unclasped the handcuffs. She dangled them over his shoulder. He glared in as annoyed a manner he could manage and she simply smiled.
"It may not kill me, but no one's ever done a study on the effects of boredom on my mind. You could be dooming the Universe with this simple, careless—"
"I'll jump off that bridge when I come to it, sweetie." Now her voice turned more serious. "You have two weeks. Do whatever you like but for God's sake don't try to escape. This whole building is double deadlocked, has three levels of matterlines and a five-point timefield. Plus the location is…unfavorable. You're in the Time Vortex so it's not like you can run away from here on foot. I'll break you out in two weeks, so sit tight, be a good boy and don't get your security upped. I only planned for level five." With that River slinked out of the room.
"Why do I do these things for you, River?" He called after her.
"Spoilers." Came the muffled reply. Then there was silence. The Doctor sat for a couple of seconds, then busied himself testing his restraints. They weren't as loose as he had expected, but seeing as it had been River who had tied them he felt he shouldn't have found that fact surprising. An hour or so of work and they would be loose enough to wriggle out of if necessary, he reasoned. Not comfortably, but he would deal with the rope burns later. At least River had taken the handcuffs off.
The sound of footsteps clacked against the metal floor. The Doctor turned his head around as far as it would go, straining against the ropes to see an albino woman stalk in. She was tall and thin, stark white hair and skin with pinkish-red eyes that could be at the same time kind as well as threatening. Call him pessimistic, but to him it seemed that she was leaning towards the latter. She carried a stack of filescreens in her hand, and the Doctor fought back the urge to beam with pride at the fact that they were all labeled "THE DOCTOR" in all capitals along the sides. A camera, like a small metal eye hovered near her right shoulder. She was the Shadow Architect, and the Doctor had always been a pet project of hers. To have him here, now, and tied up must have been a real treat for her.
She took her time coming to the table; savoring the moment, the Doctor guessed. It must have been a big day for her. She set the files down, splitting the pile into two stacks so as to just see his face over them.
"Doctor." She stated, her eyes piercing him coldly. "I finally have the Doctor." Her eyes flashed again, she chuckled lightly. It seemed odd of her. The Doctor had not put her down as the chuckling type. Maybe it was just on special occasions. "You have no idea of how long it took us to turn Miss. Song."
"Well, don't take it personally, she's like that." The Doctor said conversationally. "You could say she has a way with people." To be honest, though, the simple fact thay they had 'turned' River only told him she had them all in her pocket. Needless to say the Doctor was unsure how to take this revelation.
The Shadow Architect chuckled again. "It was well worth it. Would you like to start chronologically or Alphabetically?"
"Start on what?" The Doctor asked.
"Your charges." She said smugly.
"Then I think I have a distinct preference for alphabetically; by planet of origin please." The Doctor said without skipping a beat. The Shadow Architect's face remained impassive as she ran her finger down one of the stacks, pulling out a file seemingly at random. They were not labeled apart from his name.
"I see the destruction charges on Abloria alone would be enough to fill a long afternoon." She said. The Doctor watched her eyes skim the page in front of her. She looked up after a few seconds.
"I think I'll be able to find the time." The Doctor said grimly.
Six hours later the Shadow Architect closed her latest filescreen and gathered the rest in her arms. He was bored, holy mackerel, (or whatever the appropriate term was these days) he was bored. His head lolled down in show, but the restraints had prevented him from fully losing consciousness. "I will see you tomorrow, Doctor, and I recommend rest, it will not be nearly as fun." He looked up at her, wondering what responding wittily would do to his chances of surviving tomorrow. Today had not only sapped his strength, but he found that he had lowered even his substantially low survival instinct. And he was seriously regretting his decision of flying the Pandorica into the TARDIS. He had ideas for when River returned.
The two guards cuffed him again and frog-marched him up three levels to a medical bay. It was sterile and reminded him sickeningly of a certain zombie attack he had barely managed to weather in a former life. One of the guards, only discernable from the other by slightly longer hair (This observation again was only made by virtue of the fact that he was Time Lord) told him to lie on a table. The Doctor had only paused a moment, opening his mouth to protest when Long Hair drew a weapon and pointed it at his head. "Lie down." He repeated maliciously. The Doctor tried to raise his hands in surrender but they were still cuffed. Short Hair uncuffed him while Long kept him covered with his weapon. The Doctor did as he was told. Short strapped him to the table. This was more than a bit overkill, the Doctor thought. But then, these people were used to dealing with dangerous criminals who had probably killed for far less than he had ever dreamed.
"What are you going to do?" The Doctor asked cautiously. This was neither a comfortable nor a natural position for him. He felt uncomfortably vulnerable. The straps had absolutely no give to them. He fidgeted. There was a long white box attached to the ceiling above him with a groove cut down the center. He recognized it immediately. A laser scanner. Of course! They were scanning his physical basics and DNA into the system. If it hadn't been for the fact that he was the one on the table, he would have marveled at the process.
A red light turned on above him, momentarily blinding as the rest of the lights in the room seemed to dim. This scanner was similar to but not nearly as painful as the one Van Statton had used back on earth. It only elicited the feeling of sunburn on the surface of his skin. Once the flat beam had cleared his feet he looked up. Long still held his weapon trained at his head, but Short was unstrapping him from the table.
"Strip." He said. The Doctor waited a few moments until it became clear that they were not going to let him undress in private. Short pulled a pair of baggy white pajama bottoms out of a cupboard and handed them to the Doctor, who stripped and quickly put them on. His bare top half felt prickly and cold in the artificially lit and air conditioned room. Long and Short lead him to another, smaller room off the first one. This too had a metal table with restraints, though there was no scanner above it.
"Lie face-down on the table; do not look up until told to do so." It sounded like Long was reading off a piece of paper, but the Doctor again complied. He was doing this for River, he hoped she knew, but it was not out of his loyalty to her. He just felt that his future escape success lay in compliance and he was doing his best not to talk. Short bound his arms and legs to the table. It was freezing and the Doctor squirmed in discomfort.
A couple of moments later someone else came in the room. Something cold was pressed against his back, just between his shoulder blades. There was a short hissing sound and a burning pain as something roughly the size of a grain of rice was deposited under his skin. The Doctor barely kept from crying out as whatever it was that had been pressed against his back was reloaded and this time positioned between his third and fourth ribs on the right side. He heard the hiss again, and this time another rice-shaped object was pushed deeper inside. He whimpered. He hoped it was over.
Later in a cell he sat awkwardly on the bed. He didn't know exactly when morning came here, there were no windows and they had taken his watch (Along with the Screwdriver he had not even gotten a chance to use) and his clothing. But he felt like he didn't want to sleep. He didn't usually sleep, as a general rule, unless he was particularly tired or injured. His back still hurt when he moved from what had been injected into it (from what he could tell one was a positional sensor and the other probably served some sort of medical purpose). His time sense said he had been in the cell for three hours, but how long they were giving him to rest was debatable. River hadn't made contact.
He paced a couple times across the cell and debated putting himself into a healing coma. It would stop the pain, of course, but he didn't think he would be able to sustain it with such minor injuries. It would only provide a couple of minutes' relief at most from the boredom. He wasn't used to sitting still. He wasn't used to even being bored.
He wanted a problem to solve, something to do or save or experience. He had found to his horror that he couldn't even connect with the TARDIS. She was parked on Paiala with Rory and Amy. He was in the Time Vortex without her. It felt empty and wrong to be without even sharing their psychic connection. He needed someone to talk to. He could almost feel himself starting to go insane.
Then he realized that only three hours and some odd minutes had gone by. He sighed quietly. He would actually have to try sleeping to keep sane. He hadn't done it in a while, but it was something that he knew he was capable of.
The dream state came in flashes, almost as if he couldn't find a dream to hold onto. He couldn't control them and they came randomly out of the darkness in which he found the self of his mind. He would dream about something, an old friend maybe, or other planets he had been to, but they whisked themselves away in seconds leaving him feeling cold and bored again.
He woke some time later when a guard's key card clicked in the lock, having found his rest less than substantial. It was Short again, come to drag him to another exciting day of "And what'd you do on this planet?" hosted by the Shadow Architect. He changed into an ill-fitting prisoner uniform he found on an otherwise bare shelf above his bed. He hadn't earned rights to anything else yet and he had a feeling, being brilliant and all, that he never would.
The small holes in his back and side had healed while he'd slept, but it was still uncomfortable for a Time Lord to willingly have foreign and inorganic objects in his body. The one between his ribs had attached itself firmly into the bone and the Doctor could feel it there, sending out tiny ionic signals through him. He shivered, wondering if that was what had made it so difficult to dream.
The room was the same as the day before, though the greenish metal of the walls seemed even less friendly if that were possible. The Doctor sat in the chair with his arms behind his back. He waited calmly for the albino woman and her stack of filescreens.