The Doctor was just clumsy enough that it was inevitable he'd manage to knock himself out on something eventually. Unfortunately that something ends up being the edge of the TARDIS pool, while he's getting in, and he still manages to end up in the water, much to his companions' dismay.
The third and final piece of my Drowning series, one-shots following this theme.
Just to clear this up as far as the question of if the Doctor can swim to begin, a point which I have been wrestling with the series vagueness throughout writing all of these pieces: This is what I'm running with.
1. In the "Altered Vistas" comics the Fifth Doctor cannot swim and almost drowns... I'm going with that despite its questionable canonicity since I don't count the bit of flailing/sinking he does in Warriors of the Deep.
2. In the EDA's Eight can swim, so I'm going to assume he learned at some point, possibly due to the events of the previous story (Drowning – Five's Story).
3. Eleven still knows how, he has got a pool in the TARDIS apparently so it'd be a shame if he couldn't ... But well... You'll see.
Please review or message me and let me know what you think, I thrive on the feedback.
If you spot any grammatical errors feel free to point them out, I'm a nit-picking perfectionist, but there's always something missed, and I was using an outdated version of word, so the spell and grammar check was a bit rubbish... Not that it's that reliable on any version really though...
Extra big thanks again to Funtimevash and everyone on Death by Aspirin who've all been very helpful and supportive while I've been hashing this all out.
There was no tangible sign that anything was amiss, neither sight nor sound. Nonetheless they knew suddenly and surely that something was wrong. They knew in fact an instant before the TARDIS brushed their minds, just enough time to lock gazes and drop the clean laundry they'd been folding.
Amy and Rory had slipped on their shoes and headed out of their room, leaving the door open behind them. They'd been doing a little bit of housekeeping before bed and were still dressed in their pajamas and dressing gowns as they hurried down the corridor. The TARDIS flickered the lights to indicate the way they should go at intersections, steadily urging them on into a full on run as she guided them deeper into her twisting corridors.
They skidded to a halt just before a set of massive double doors that Amy recognized instantly as leading to the library. Without further hesitation the couple pushed past the doors and into the silent room beyond. The library was cavernous, stories of books rested on shelves complete with galleries of metal grating walkways and polished wooden railings winding around the shelves to access all the levels. It looked properly like something out of a Jules Verne novel, perfectly matched to the rest of the TARDIS' decor, if perhaps a bit more gothic than most of the ship's interior. However, here the designer seemed determined to push the limits farther past absurd than even the rest of the TARDIS in all its bigger-on-the-inside glory. The center of the room was dominated by an Olympic size swimming pool - at least they assumed it was. It looked big enough anyway and they didn't know what dimensions other races might favor. They simply hadn't gotten around to asking the Doctor yet.
Rory's brow wrinkled with concern and momentary confusion as he scanned the room. Neither he nor Amy immediately spotted any sign of either the Doctor or from whence the feeling of distress seemed to emanate. They'd almost been expecting to see smoke and fire, or at the very least find the bookshelves collapsing in a massive domino effect. There was none of that though, and everything looked to be completely in order in the library. It took a few more precious seconds before their eyes simultaneously locked on the only oddity in the room.
Thrown carelessly over the back of one of the plush armchairs scattered about, was a TARDIS blue bath towel. The Ponds scrambled over to the edge of the pool spotting with horror first the Doctor's still form, followed by the solitary bubble floating on the water's surface directly above him.
Rory and Amy both had their shoes off in a heartbeat and jumped in on either side of their clearly unconscious friend. Seizing him under the arms they pulled him to the surface in seconds. Rory realized with some chagrin that the water was barely chest deep at this end and both he and Amy simply stood on the bottom as they maneuvered the Doctor's unresponsive form over to the edge of the pool.
Once they had him out of the water Amy wisely backed off, giving Rory room to work. The nurse in him took over and he worked quickly and automatically, immediately checking pulse and respiration. He frowned and worried his bottom lip as he laid his palms on the Doctor's chest, confirming his suspicions. The Doctor had mentioned offhandedly that he had two hearts once or twice before. In a normal situation they were the sort of comments one might have taken for a joke, but after having traveled with the Doctor, Rory knew better than to assume, so he'd filed it away for later use. Now with a palm flat over each heart, he could clearly feel their separate beats. Rory chewed his lip for a moment more before deciding to leave well enough alone since he had no idea how to properly check a binary vascular system, turning instead to a more immediate concern. Though the Doctor's double pulse seemed strong and steady, his breathing certainly wasn't. In fact he didn't seem to be breathing at all. Rory began rescue breathing and did his best to force the Doctor to start breathing again.
Despite his best efforts to maintain clinical detachment he was beginning to wonder what Amy would say if her imaginary friend died on his watch. Luckily he didn't get too far down that line of reasoning before the Doctor finally responded. With an almighty gasp the Time Lord seemed to jerk back to life, hacking up pool water. Rory sat back in relief while Amy rushed forward to sooth the disoriented Doctor. Half focused green-blue eyes wandered around the vicinity of the two humans before finally settling of them each in turn.
"Amy, Rory… Ponds," he pronounced their names as if taking role to make sure everyone was present. "Oooohhh, my head…" He groaned, turning his head slightly and wincing. Rory carefully brushed back the Doctor's wet hair to search for the source of the blood he spotted running over the Doctor's ear and down his neck. His search uncovered a nasty looking gash beneath the dripping brown locks.
"Amy, go get me the first aid kit please." Rory instructed his wife, who for once did not argue.
"Doctor, can you tell me what happened?" He ended up having to ask twice more before he got the Doctor's attention. Noting worriedly the Doctor's still unfocused eyes and slow responses, he was somewhat unsurprised when the Doctor answered uncertainly "I fell… I think… I tripped, as I was getting in the p-" he broke off momentarily as he seemed to notice for the first time that he was still in the library/pool room. "….ooollll," the syllable dragged out absurdly as he refocused on speaking. "Ju- just the-re…" he tried to turn to point, but was somewhat hampered by the fact that he was laying down facing the opposite direction and Rory was also bent over him, blocking the way when he tried to turn himself around.
The Doctor gave up after a moment when Rory told him to relax and placed a firm, stilling hand on his shoulder. When he stopped trying to move, relaxed on the floor again, Rory turned to look himself and spotted something on the edge of the pool.
"I want you to stay still for a second Doctor. Don't move, I'll be right back, just a moment," he repeated until the Doctor nodded infinitesimally. When he felt reasonably certain that the Doctor wasn't about to do something stupid like try to jump up and follow him, he stood up and crossed quickly over to the spot he'd noticed at the edge of the pool. He knelt down and sure enough, there it was. There was a small patch of drying blood standing out on the white and blue tiled edge. Rory shook his head as he assessed the little patch of blood, estimating how much force it would take to leave it there and create the Doctor's wound. About as much as you'd get from falling on it head first, he thought somewhat morbidly before making his way back over to the Doctor before the alien decided to try and wander off.
Amy returned a minute later, puffing and bearing the requested first aid kit. With her help Rory cleaned and bandaged the Doctor's head wound, cracking open a self-activating cold pack to place over the bandages to help keep down any swelling. The Doctor's two companions tended to him, murmuring soft instructions between them that eventually lulled the Time Lord into a dreamless healing sleep.
When the Doctor woke again a few hours later, he found himself lying across one of the library's longest comfy couches, tucked in under a brightly colored afghan. Rory had pulled an armchair up across from the couch and was leafing through a bulky text on intergalactic treatments for concussions that he had come across conveniently placed at eyelevel on a nearby shelf. A discarded romance novel sitting open to a page halfway through was spread face down over the arm of another nearby chair indicated where Amy had been sitting. Silence reigned for several minutes, the Doctor content to sit quietly taking stock of his body's various complaints and Rory oblivious to his waking, engrossed in his book.
Amy returned with a freshly brewed pot of tea and plate of biscuits, noticing immediately that the Doctor was awake. She cleared her throat as she passed Rory to place the tray on the available seat of her chair. Rory looked up and noticed that his patient had awakened. The nurse put down his book and went back to fulfilling his role, beginning his thorough examination with "Do you know what day it is?" To which he received the answer, "We're in the Vortex, Rory, it isn't any day. However, as you Ponds insisted this morning, it's Thursday." The first answer more or less set the tone for the responses to the remainder of the required "post concussion" questions.
The Doctor spent the rest of the evening on the couch being doted on by his companions, an arrangement which both frustrated and comforted him in equal measures. At one point when the doctor got a bit snippy, reciting for Rory the exact elapsed time down to pico-seconds since he'd "commenced badgering" him with "surprisingly inane questions, even for a human." At that the TARDIS brushed against his mind, speaking without proper words, but instead with a flurry of sensations and rose tinted memory images, past/present/future. Somehow the whirl of sensation managed to convey her meaning perfectly through the equivalent of whispering "Behave. Remember, the Pretty One saved you." The Doctor sent back the mental equivalent of a raised eyebrow, and felt the reluctant addition, "The Orange One helped…"
"I'm sure she didn't let 'The Pretty One' do all the work," the Doctor scoffed back. It was a moment before he registered the unnatural stillness that had fallen over the room. Rory had frozen in the middle of rummaging through the first aid kit, eyes slightly bugged out. Suddenly the Doctor realized that he might just possibly have spoken that last bit out loud. Amy was looking at him from nearby as if he'd gone quite mad.
"Oh…Sorry, I was just having a chat with the TARDIS… In my head…" They continued to stare at him. "You do know that's what she calls you two right?" He looked both somewhat sheepish and genuinely perplexed at the same time.
"Wait, what's what she calls us?" Amy asked, screwing up her face a little in confusion.
"The 'Pretty One' and the 'Orange One'," the Doctor answered, attempting to make air quotes with his fingers but only succeeding in getting his hands tangled in the afghan, fingers sticking disorderedly through some of the crocheted loops.
"How would we know that? It's not like she-"
"Hey! The Orange One?!" Amy interrupted Rory. The Doctor and the Nurse both suppressed their grins ineffectively as the "Orange One" left, slamming the doors behind her in a girlish huff.
"Where's she going," the Doctor wondered.
"Off to the console Room to tell the TARDIS exactly what she thinks of her nickname, I expect."
"Oh… But the TARDIS would have heard her just as well in here, we are inside of her you know."
"I know," Rory answered, trying hard not to think about how odd the Doctor's previous statement sounded, or what the possible implications might be. "And Amy'll probably figure that out in a bit, but not before she's finished venting… I hope." Rory winked conspiratorially at his patient who smiled brightly back up from the comfy couch cushions he reclined against.