I wrote this for Emily, in honor of her birthday. :) Enjoy!
Emily rubbed her eyes, and looked from her textbook to the clock for about the third time in 5 minutes. It was midnight already, and after a stressful day filled with babysitting and soccer practice, she had been loaded with homework. She was determined not to let this evening get the better of her grades, though, so she started scrawling with renewed vigor on the worksheet in front of her, her handwriting still its small, neat self. Being a 14- year- old girl and a perfectionist, her handwriting seemed to always be perfect.
The house was very quiet, which was helpful for focusing. Her dad's snoring couldn't be heard from the other room, nor the music her sister always insisted on going to sleep to. Her sister was at a sleepover and her parents out for the night- they wouldn't be back for a while. So a soft, sort of gurgling noise that seemed to be slowly ascending the stairs just wasn't acceptable; Emily started to panic.
Burglars. That was Emily's first thought. A quick glance at her phone told her that neither her parents or her sister had run into any sort of trouble, so they couldn't be home yet. Yes, it had to be a robbery. Either a robbery, or- no, there was no "or". What else could it be? Aliens?
Adrenaline rushed through her veins, and the heart- stopping fear that surged through every limb threatened to make her breathing even louder, giving her away to whoever was out there.
The gurgling was getting louder.
Thinking quickly, she turned off her reading light with a click, and, not knowing what else to do, dove under her bed. Yes, maybe it was cliché, and probably the first place the criminal will look, but she didn't really know what else she could do. Unclenching her fist that was curled tightly around her mobile, she silently dialed 911, but didn't risk saying anything. She knew that they would still come if she just let it ring out.
By now, the door was slowly, almost comically slowly, opening. Emily clamped a hand over her mouth to quiet her breathing. Closing her eyes, she thought to herself, you can do this, Emily, just keep it cool. You're good under stress- her reassuring thoughts suddenly meant nothing. Two slimy, green legs crept- or more like slugged- over the doorframe. She resisted the urge to scream.
Crash! Something very heavy toppled over downstairs, followed by a scurried limping and a victorious, "Ah, HA!"
Quick as lightning, the slimy green... whatever raced out of her room towards the voice. Compared to its previously exceptionally slow pace, this inhumanly fast movement caused Emily to jump in fright, although a moment later it was followed by a sigh of relief. Then she realized the situation she was in.
A whole minute passed before she heard anything at all. Then, suddenly, coming out of seemingly nowhere, there was the sound of someone frantically climbing the stairs and then, before she could even react, a form hurled itself into her room, and slammed the door behind it. The form stayed there, leaning back against the closed door. Emily could hear him- or, at least, it sounded like a him- breathing hard. At least this one had relatively human looking feet.
There was a moment where all she could hear was an annoying, electronic buzzing, and could faintly see a green light emanating from above. Emily kept her hand over her mouth, careful not to make a sound.
Her eyes widened as the figure suddenly dropped to the ground, his head facing her, his hands pressed against the ground. He smiled and muttered to himself, "Gotcha."
The strange man extended his arm towards Emily. "Come on out of there, I'm not going to hurt you." He said in a soothing voice that had obviously been used countless times before.
Deciding she didn't really have much of a choice, Emily grasped the hand and wriggled out from under the bed. It was then she got a proper look at the man. Brown hair swooshed over his deep blue- green eyes, and he wore a bow tie around his neck. Emily shrugged. Bow ties were cool. Standing her up, the stranger brushed his hair off to the side and remarked, "Well, you're a clever one, aren't you?"
Not knowing how else to respond, and the adrenaline making her voice untrustworthy, Emily managed to sputter, "Er, thanks."
His smile grew wider. "Alright then, Emily; we've got an alien to catch!" He exclaimed, and after fussing with the buzzing green stick for a moment, he motioned for her to follow and he snuck out the very door he had just ran though only minutes before. How he knew her name, she wasn't sure she wanted to know.
Cautiously, Emily followed the stranger as he started to leap down the stairs. Then, as if remembering something, he turned around sharply, causing Emily to nearly fly into him.
"I'm The Doctor, by the way," He said with a smile, then, just as quickly as he had spun to face her, he turned and flew down the rest of the stairs.
"Yeah, okay- wait!" Emily called after The Doctor. "What exactly are we chasing after?" She was still kind of uneasy about this whole, 'alien in your house' business, but was trying to keep her head.
"A species called the Bolcuteober," He called to her over his shoulder, "from the planet Lya; they're not particularly hostile, but will go to great measures to-" His voice trailed off as he saw what was in the kitchen. "Oh, hello there!"
A gurgling noise interrupted the doctor. It didn't sound very happy.
Emily finally rounded the corner and saw what was in the kitchen. Fourof those green slimy... Bolcuteober were standing together, eyeing The Doctor with distaste, and sputtering incoherent gurgling noises at him.
"Oh, well that's not very nice!" The Doctor answered, his tone growing serious. "I'm only trying to help. I can take you to a planet where-" More gurgles.
A now- frantic Doctor pulled out his green buzzing stick, wielding it like a sword as he whispered to Emily, "Blue box. Front yard. Now!"
Emily, sensing that her instructions were important, ran immediately back the way she came and burst through the front door. She could hear The Doctor yelling, "You don't have the right; she has a life, too! I'm telling you, I can take you to a planet-" His voice is cut off as the front door slams with a bang behind her and she sees the 'blue box' The Doctor was referring to earlier.
The tall, majestic thing sat there proudly in her driveway, seeming to say, "Yep, I'm in your driveway. Now would be the time to stare in awe." And that's exactly what Emily did, for a moment.
The box was made of wood that was painted over with a shining, royal blue and the words Police public call Box could be seen clearly written on the top. It was beautiful. Emily stepped forward, letting her hand stroke the strong wood for a moment, then remembered her directions and hurriedly pulled the door open and stepped inside.
She had thought the outside was beautiful; the inside was perfection. A smooth, glass floor that was divided into seemingly haphazard triangles, large, shining arches and a huge, glass pole that ran down the center all captured her interest. It was all so... much bigger on the inside.She thought to herself as she ascended the few stairs that led to the center, in a state of complete and utter awe. For someone who had 'architect' as one of the possible choices in her long list of future career options, this was bliss.
She heard the door open and close behind her. "What's her name?" Emily asked. When she looked over her shoulder to see a sad looking Doctor walk in, she forgot what she had asked. Had her house been incinerated? Was the world doomed? "What is it?" She asked, pondering whether it was better to stay where she was, or go over to him to comfort him.
He glanced up at her, and in that moment she could see all the pain in his eyes; for one moment, she took a glimpse into what life was like for a 1011- year- old Timelord.
"They aren't listening to me. I have one last thing to try, but if that doesn't work," he shook his head, trying to clear his voice of all the sadness.
"TARDIS," He said with a smile, all traces of his previous mood gone. He was a master at that- no need to trouble others with your sad thoughts, simply build a brick wall to guard them from everyone else. "I call her my TARDIS." The Doctor knew it was best not to tell Emily the other name he called her- he didn't think the reaction would be as positive if he said, "Sexy." He danced up the steps to Emily's side. "What do you think?"
His smile grew wider, "Yes." He reached out a hand and briefly touched the console, wishing she could be part of the conversation, wishing that just one more time they would be able to talk. She could hear them, of course, but he couldn't hear her.
The Doctor took his hand away, returning to the more pressing matter of planet Earth. "Now, these Bolcuteober- do you know what they want?" He asked Emily. She shook her head in response, listening intently.
"The reason they're here is you." He said, "You have a good heart," He said, poking her in the chest with a smile, "An unusually good heart, and they're drawn to that. They want to eat you. Well, sort of." he said, his face turning into a grimace.
Emily winced. "Wonderful."
"Do you trust me?" The Doctor asked softly, stepping closer.
Emily thought about that. By normal standards, the answer would almost definitely be a no. He was a stranger; she met him literally less than 10 minutes ago, and yet, she still felt that familiar tug in her chest. Trust. Like it or not, she trusted this man.
When Emily nodded her yes, and The Doctor did something unexpected. He placed each of his hands on either side of her face. "This isn't going to be easy- believe me-" he said, pained nostalgia filling his voice for a moment, "But you have a strong mind. I'm pretty sure you can do it." The Doctor leaned in closer to Emily, so their foreheads were touching, and closed his eyes.
"Umm... do what, exactly?" Emily asked nervously.
Build you a brick wall. The Doctor's voice boomed from inside your head. Just do exactly what I tell you to.
She could feel him in her head, as funny as that sounds. It was like he had built a bridge from her mind to his. Okay, she thought, doing her best to mentally 'shout' it in his mind's direction.
Very good. Alright- now listen closely. I want you to think of a word. A neutral word, but something that means something to you. Something that defines you, but doesn't give away your good heart. Have you got it?
After a moment, she thought, Yes.
Okay. I want to show you... I want you to cross the bridge. Can you do that?
Emily tried her best to 'move' towards the bridge that connected their minds. From there, she could see what he was talking about. A massive brick wall surrounded his mind.
What- Emily started to shout.
I use mine for... other purposes, to hide my feelings. You're going to use yours like a mask, so the goodness inside of you can't be seen from the outside by aliens with that kind of power. A mask of mediocrity.He thought towards her, his voice turning sarcastic at the end.
Okay. He continued, now, I want you to take your word and concentrate it, make it into a 'brick' of sorts. It'll be a bit difficult at first.
Emily struggled with her word, 'concentrating' it, like The Doctor said, but it was hard when you're working all in your head. Nothing was really... solid.
When you're ready, lay it out in front of you. Then, do it again and again until your wall is complete. It won't take as long as you'd think.
Emily did as she was told, again. Like this?
A few minutes later, it was done. Emily was hidden.
"Great. That was great." The Doctor said as he withdrew his hands. "I've never... shown anyone that before."
Emily smiled. "Well, thank you for the honor."
"You're welcome." He said, smiling back. Then, he turned around quickly, heading for the TARDIS' front door. "Okay, we've just got to convince them that you're not as delicious now-" When he opened the door, whatever he saw made him immediately close it again. "Right. Yeah, check scanner first, then exit TARDIS." He scampered back up the steps towards the main console.
"What is it?" Emily asked.
"Somebody took care of our little friends." He said as he fidgeted with the controls. A second later, an image appeared on the screen. The TARDIS was surrounded by police cars.
"Oops." Emily said to herself.
The Doctor turned to look at her. "You called the police?" He asked.
"Yeah- before I even met you. I thought it was a robbery." She said, kind of embarrassed.
"Well, it's not like you'd expected aliens in your house, now did you?" The Doctor asked. "Okay," He said, turning back to the console. "It looks like your calling the police isn't so bad, after all. Yes, we're surrounded, but it's also scared the Bolcuteober off." He turned around and smiled at Emily. "Now, the only problem is, we're surrounded by police cars."
"Can you just talk to them?" Emily suggested.
"No, they won't listen. No. I think what I'll have to do is go back to when they weren't here. You see, the Bolcuteober are a race that are fixed in time. They'll be gone forever, now, in a sense. Unless, in the future or past, they come back… it's hard to wrap your head around."
Emily raised her eyebrow. "Wait- what do you mean, 'go back to when they weren't here'?"
"Oh, didn't I mention," The Doctor said, "the TARIDS is a time machine!"