This was a bit of fluff/humor I did for my own edification, partly just to make sure I can still write Five and partly because I was watching one of his episodes the other day and he said something that made me cringe about how he should have traded the TARDIS in while he had the chance... Also, someone shared a brilliant link with me one day, and it was inspiring.
The Urgent Appointment
The Doctor raced around the console, pounding buttons, toggling levers, tugging frantically at everything and his hair. Tegan stood just out of range of all this chaos, watching in bemused fascination, and occasionally attempting to butt in with a question.
After the third time he'd stopped to stare deeply into something, with one hand pushing his normally tidy blond hair into a rather surprising disarray, she'd had enough, and stepped into his path. He lifted her as lightly as if she weighed absolutely nothing and set her back out of his way like it was all part of the procedure. Then, he kept right on his mystery tour of the console as if sanity had not even been by to visit.
"Doctor!" she shouted, in a final attempt to get through to him.
"Not now, Tegan!" the Doctor snapped, for the sixth time, Tegan was sure. She was also sure that this would all go much better if he just stopped for a minute and asked for help.
"You're the reasonable one," she complained to Nyssa. "Can't you talk to him?" Tegan expected, genuinely and beyond any shadow of a doubt believed, that Nyssa would give her a gentle look, and then explain why everything the Doctor was doing made absolutely perfect sense and Tegan was fretting for nothing. That was Nyssa's job, after all, just as it was Tegan's to argue with him.
Nyssa gave Tegan a look, but it wasn't a gentle one, not this time. It was concerned, not worried yet, but definitely not her usual scientific self-assurance. "I'm really not sure," Nyssa apologized. "He said something about an urgent appointment he was missing, and then this happened." She gestured vaguely at the still-frantic Doctor at the console.
Tegan smiled thinly and patted the younger girl's hand. Sometimes it was all too easy to forget that Nyssa was really just a kid in there with all that cleverness, and a completely innocent one at that. An appointment wasn't really anything to worry about, especially if the console wasn't smoking and nothing was blowing up. "It'll all be fine, I'm sure," she promised, because that was another of her jobs - looking after the kids when they needed it.
Since she was on the mental subject of kids: "Where's Adric?" He could explain. Tegan was never sure if the boy spoke Time Machine or what, but he always seemed to know what was happening in here, even if no one else did.
"I thought he was..." Nyssa began, only to be interrupted.
"I don't understand," said Adric, appearing in the doorway of the console room.
Tegan rolled her eyes where she was sure no one could notice, and tried very hard not to sigh audibly. This had sort of become the way of things with Adric lately. He either knew absolutely everything about any given situation, or he was completely thick. Never had there been an in between. Tegan supposed it might be a bit of an improvement on the old "knows everything, every time," but she wasn't sure exactly how.
It was probably some teenage boy thing. "What don't you understand?" Tegan managed, and quite gently, too, obviously, since Nyssa offered a look of pride for her as the kids gathered close.
Adric still looked completely puzzled. "If the TARDIS keeps the Doctor's appointment calendar, why do we never get where we're supposed to be going?"
The fire flared. Heathrow airport might as well have disappeared off the face of the Earth for all the luck the Doctor ever had finding it, but if Heathrow was the bullseye, they could certainly hit everywhere else very precisely. "Yes, Doctor!" Tegan snapped, "I'd quite like to know as well."
He just ignored her and danced out of her way. When this was over, and the kids were safely tucked away somewhere, she was going to brain him with that hundred-year old scotch bottle he sometimes gave her a sip from of an evening. "He's just in one of his moods," she lied breezily to the kids. "Nothing to worry about at all."
"But the Doctor said the TARDIS was telling him he had an urgent appointment," Adric said. "He claimed she was completely frantic about it, then came running out here."
Must not roll my eyes, Tegan thought sternly. "And you just stayed in the kitchen?"
"I had to finish my breakfast," Adric defended. "Romana said it was the most important meal of the day..."
Tegan cut him off with a gesture, not particularly eager (as usual) to hear about the opinions of the woman before her. Even if she happened to agree with them under most circumstances, they almost always seemed to manage to inconvenience her somehow.
Nyssa jumped in almost like clockwork, and Tegan was reminded of her own family, arguing with her sister and brother, and taking the sides of the parents completely at random... they really were a sort of family, here, though admittedly not a very safe or complete one. She sometimes felt more like the stepmother than the mother, and sometimes more like one of the kids. Occasionally, she even felt like she and the Doctor were the kids and Nyssa and Adric the parents, but they usually tried to keep those times to a bare minimum. All the same, none of it mattered at the moment - what mattered was getting answers.
"You didn't have to finish that much!" Nyssa argued. "A bowl of cereal, a glass of juice, that's plenty. But you're always eating..."
"I'm an adolescent..."
"It's no excuse..."
"I've got to eat, or I'll never..."
"Quiet!" Tegan snapped. Tedious, typical argument, this one, the part where Nyssa and Adric bickered like an old married couple. "Now," she added, quite calmly into the sudden silence of their little corner, "Adric, why don't you tell us what you know?"
"The Doctor says the TARDIS said he had an urgent appointment. He said she was rather serious about it, and she must be, since she took his plate before he'd finished..."
Sometimes living with the TARDIS seemed a bit like living with your mother, especially for the Doctor. For Tegan, it was more like living in a puzzle box, and when she managed not to get aggravated from all the getting lost, she usually found something beautiful. Tegan nodded to Adric and squared her shoulders. It was time someone did something around here.
"Doctor!" she shouted, walking up to him and ready to arm wrestle him into submission if necessary.
The TARDIS started making that vast grinding, groaning sound. The Doctor looked up from the console, right into Tegan's eyes, and grinned at her. She was a sucker, a completely lost cause, had to be, because she grinned right back. It only lasted a second though, and then she stopped herself, but for just a second, she was willing to let him get away with anything. As usual.
The materialization finished and the Doctor toggled the door. "Now, I want you all to stay here," he ordered, "at least until I can find out what was so urgent the TARDIS had to drop everything to bring us here."
"It's probably still mad at you about that trading it in crack," Tegan cautioned. "I'd be, and you said it's alive."
"Don't be silly, Tegan," the Doctor brushed her off with his usual devil-may-care attitude and Tegan decided she'd be going with him because it was very, very important that she be there to say 'I told you so'.
"As I was saying," the Doctor continued, "I'd like you all to stay right here..."
The TARDIS rumbled and the Doctor shot the console a look. A shower of sparks sprayed right toward him. Tegan grinned and he glared at her, so she stopped grinning until he looked away. Nyssa rolled her eyes at the pair of them, but Tegan chose to ignore that.
"Very well," the Doctor said, with that wholly faked smile that Tegan had come to know as him agreeing with something even if it annoyed him, "why don't you all come along?"
"It's 1987," Nyssa said, reading a newspaper that sat near the cupboard where the TARDIS had materialized.
"Yes, well, I'm sure that's wonderful," Tegan said, "but why are we here? What if someone sees us?"
"Act like you own the place," the Doctor suggested.
Despite the fact that he was wearing a salad accessory on his coat, he proceeded to do just that. Sometimes, Tegan wondered why she put up with him. "There are voices," Adric suggested, pointing a little further into the drab building. "That way."
The Doctor nodded and led the way through a series of doors.
They entered, at last, what appeared to be a studio of some sort. "Oh, no," the Doctor breathed. Tegan looked at him in concern, but he was just staring at the center of the room.
A young man, slender and rather small, but quite well dressed, stood before a microphone. Music played, the opening chords of a song Tegan was sure she'd never heard before, and then the young man began to sing. She was beyond shocked. She'd expected something small, a pop-star sound to go with the pop-music. The voice that came out of that man, however, was easily three times his size. She was so shocked, she just kept listening, even as the Doctor stormed away in what was, quite probably, the most titanic rage she'd ever seen on him.
Nyssa caught her hand. "C'mon," she insisted, and Tegan was surprised to see that the other girl was about a second from laughing.
"Never gonna give you up," sang that huge voice from that slender man, "never gonna let you down. Never gonna run around and desert you..."
Tegan shook her head, confused.
"What just happened?" asked Adric.
"It was a prank," Nyssa tried to explain.
The Doctor snapped, "Yes, thank you!" as he stormed through the console room.
Tegan and Adric just shook their heads. "I'm confused," Adric admitted.
Tegan thought, "You're always confused," but she didn't say it. "Did you hear that voice?" she demanded, instead.
"I'd have thought you'd know this trick," Nyssa said. "It's from your planet."
"1987 is after my time, so far," Tegan reminded her.
Nyssa nodded. "It first started on Earth," she explained. "The custom was to send a person something that appeared to be something else, but turned out to be this man, singing this song."
"Weird," Tegan said. "How do they do that?"
"Computers," Adric decided. Nyssa nodded.
The Doctor appeared in the console room doorway, and he looked livid and was carrying, for some unfathomable reason, a mallet. "Now," he said, forcing a smile, "that was fun, let's never speak of it again."
"But Doctor," interrupted Nyssa.
"Yes?" he said, though warily.
"Did we just get..."
"By a time machine?"
The Doctor gave them all very grave stares. "We will never speak of this again," he insisted. Then, he set the mallet on the console and smiled maliciously at it.
The TARDIS took off without a hitch. The Doctor nodded and put the mallet into a cupboard.
The monitor whirred open, the speakers crackling to life. The Doctor opened the cupboard and searched frantically for the mallet, but it had disappeared. The little man with the giant voice appeared on the monitor.
Tegan laughed. It was rarely anywhere near this nice to see someone outsmart the Doctor.
"We've know each other for so long..."