A/N: I just want everyone to know how grateful I am to everyone who reviewed Dalek Geoff. I never thought my silly idea would get so much attention or so many favorites, follows, and reviews. This, the sequel, is the longest thing I've ever written and I wouldn't have dreamed of it if y'all hadn't been so supportive. There will not - repeat, will NOT - be another one after this. I really don't want to lose the sense of fun that Geoff brings, and another story would start to take itself too seriously.
The first person who can name every single song Geoff sings in this story (and include the show or artist) will win my undying awe and an honorable mention in whatever story I publish next! You could look up the lyrics online, but I'll be honest, the prize isn't really worth the effort.
As always, if you recognize it, I don't own it, and The White Leopard is an excellent beta without whom I would probably never have gotten this done. This story has major spoilers for seasons 5 and 6.
The Continued Adventures of the Doctor and Geoff
or: Growing Up Dalek
The golden fire of the regeneration died away. The Doctor swayed dizzily for a second until the swamp of energy settled into his cells. He gasped and frantically began to catalogue his new body.
"Legs – I've got legs – good, good legs! Arms – " he panted. He made sure his face was intact, checked his hair colour (disappointingly brown), and then spun on his heel to make sure that Geoff was alright. He hadn't been as careful with this regeneration as he had with the last few.
The little Dalek regarded him warily from a corner of the console room. The Doctor smiled and held out a hand to him, showing him that everything was alright. Geoff didn't even twitch his eyestalk. Slowly, the Doctor's smile faded.
"Geoff, it's me – " he said, taking a few quick steps forward. Geoff backed away. The Doctor stopped. "Regeneration, remember? It's okay. I'm still the Doctor. Please, don't run away from me." He took another step forward and the little green Dalek lifted his eyestalk suspiciously.
Before the Doctor could say any more, the cloister bell sounded. He spun back to the console, only glancing over his shoulder once before he had to focus on keeping his wonderful ship from crashing.
The cartwheeling TARDIS tossed both Time Lord and Dalek to the ground. With the next wild twist, the Doctor's back slammed into the railing. Geoff tumbled toward him. The Doctor seized him and clutched him close, ensuring his friend's safety in the turbulence. When Geoff wriggled, trying to escape, the Doctor held him more tightly. He hauled himself up by clinging to the railing and, on the next twist, made a dive for the console. One handed, the Doctor clung to it. The controls were much more difficult to operate without a free hand, but he managed… somehow.
The good old girl landed with one more massive jolt, tossing both of them to the very back of the console room. The Doctor impacted with a sharp thud! that knocked the breath from his lungs. Geoff pulled out of his arms and hovered for a moment at shoulder height. Then he levitated himself up to the door and sat on the thin ledge there, eyestalk turned down, waiting.
"Yeah," the Doctor coughed. "Yeah, you're right. Good thinking, Geoff, knew you were brilliant." He tried to ignore the sting that came with Geoff flying ahead. His best friend didn't trust him anymore. It might even have hurt worse than Rose's uncertainties last time. Rose hadn't known anything about regeneration and so her hesitance was understandable, even expected. Geoff knew everything and still he was on guard.
The Doctor looked up and grimaced. It was such a long way to the door. He grabbed onto the railing and hauled himself up onto the platform again. It was easier once he was there; he could use the rails until he reached the ramp. From there, it was trickier but he managed somehow.
Finally, the Time Lord hauled himself over the edge of the door and hooked his arms over it to keep himself from slipping. He looked around, quickly cataloguing his surroundings. A little ginger girl in a white nightie stood in the garden, staring at him. Her torch illuminated nothing but her own feet. He opened his mouth to ask who she was, where and when he had landed, and whether or not his wonderful ship was on fire. What he said was, "Can I have an apple? I love apples."
Startled, the little girl said, "Yeah, okay."
The Doctor clambered out of the TARDIS and dropped to the ground on unsteady feet. He picked up Geoff and turned to follow the Scottish girl inside. Geoff wriggled, blinking his speech indicators in patterns of two, wanting to be put down. He could have just asked if he'd wanted, but Geoff tried not to speak too much anymore. His speech interface, always something of a problem for him, had recently begun providing a startling array of accents and stock phrases. Whenever Geoff had spoken lately, his voice had been randomly selected from the assortment available. Since one of the more common settings comprised solely of inappropriately timed show-tunes, they had agreed that it was best all around if he just tried to keep quiet.
The Doctor looked at his friend mournfully, but set him down. Geoff followed at a distance.
The little girl led him into the kitchen and handed him an apple. He took one bite and spat it out. "That's rubbish. Apples are rubbish. I hate apples."
"You just said you love them," the little girl protested.
"No, no. I love yogurt. Give me yogurt! Have you got a knife?" She fished a knife out of a drawer and handed it to him. The Doctor cut a bit off of the apple and offered it to Geoff, who would eat anything. Geoff looked at it briefly and then turned away. He scooted around to the other side of the table. The little girl handed him a container of yogurt.
Yogurt was disgusting. It was just stuff, with bits in. Geoff didn't want that, either. The Doctor tried baked beans, bread and butter, and even bacon – and hated them all. Geoff wouldn't even try it, no matter how much the Doctor wheedled and reminded him that it was bacon, he loved bacon, didn't he? Eventually, the Doctor settled at the table with a plate of fish fingers and a bowl of custard. Amelia Pond sat across from him with half-melted ice cream dripping from her spoon. Sometimes she would scoop out a bit of chocolate mush with her finger and smear it onto Geoff's plunger for him. The Time Lord noticed sadly that Geoff would take whatever she gave him.
While they talked, an alarm bell sounded from the TARDIS. The Doctor immediately abandoned his food and ran out into the garden again. Amelia begged to go with him, but it was too dangerous. He told her to pack a bag and promised that he'd be back soon.
"Geoff?" he asked, almost pleading with the little Dalek. Geoff hesitated. For a terribly long moment, the Doctor thought he would refuse to come. Then, reluctantly, with his eyestalk turned aside, he scooted forward. The Doctor sighed heavily, relieved. He snatched his friend and ran, cuddling Geoff close as he went.
"You're my best friend," he told the Dalek. "My absolute best friend in the universe. Please don't do this to me. Please, Geoff. Please, I love you."
Geoff looked up at him and, dimly, blinked once. He turned away again. The Doctor knew it was the best he would get for a while.
"Don't let this come between us forever," he murmured. "But take your time. As much time as you need…" The Doctor watched Geoff slowly scoot his way into the depths of the TARDIS. He just hoped that Geoff wouldn't need too long; he missed the little Dalek already.
The alarm sounded again. He turned his attention away from Geoff and toward stabilizing his ship.
Prisoner Zero was within his line of sight. The Atraxi were closing in. They were scanning for psychic connections. They had to be; they knew Prisoner Zero's capabilities and he knew that they were capable of picking up on those. All he had to do was draw their attention to downtown Leadworth.
And what, exactly, were they trying to find? Alien tech. Well, now. That was beyond simple. He drew his sonic screwdriver and held it up like a torch. As he activated it, he laughed triumphantly. The Atraxi turned and that giant eye focused on the sleepy English village.
And then his trusty sonic fitzed out. The Doctor scowled and threw it to the ground. He spun around on his toes, looking for anything to keep their attention, anything at all…
His eyes lighted on something small and green behind Amy's legs. "Geoff," he called. "Please, Geoff! It's all down to you now!"
Geoff deliberately turned his eyestalk away and blinked twice. The Doctor darted forward and snatched him up. He turned the little Dalek around so that he could stare into the eyestalk, and kept turning whenever Geoff tried to look away.
"Geoff, if you don't help us, the Earth is going to die. I know you don't trust me. I know you don't. That's okay right now. I don't blame you. But please, don't make the Earth suffer for that. Think of all the people on this little planet. All depending on you. Think about them – Mickey! Remember Mister Mickey? Gives you good food, yeah? And Martha, Mickey and Martha, you love them. I know you do. Donna, Geoff! Just think about Donna and her husband! They're going to die if you don't. Please, Geoff. Not for me. For them!"
Geoff stopped trying to turn away. He lifted his eyestalk the tiniest bit and looked squarely at the Doctor. Dimly, he blinked once. The Doctor's breath left him in one massive rush of relief. He put the little Dalek on the grass again and took a few steps back. Geoff looked at him and then swung his eyestalk around to the retreating Atraxi. He twitched his gun, preparing the little-used weapon to fire off several rapid shots.
"Doctor, look out!" Amelia Pond shouted, but her warning came too late – the man and dog snatched the tiny green Dalek, the Rottweiler's fearsome jaws scraping against the metal shell keeping Geoff safe inside. The metal held, but it was creaking. Prisoner Zero was frighteningly strong and Geoff's armour was thin.
Geoff panicked. He fired shot after shot, wriggling desperately as best he was able, but the Dalek body wasn't built to struggle. Daleks weren't meant to be in situations where struggling might be helpful. His shots couldn't reach the alien holding him; the laser splashed fruitlessly against the grass.
"Doc-tor!" Geoff cried at last, his voice shrill and clearly terrified, though Dalek voices were not made to hold emotions. The Time Lord had never seen Geoff express so much before; he hated that it had to be fear. "Doc-tor, help me! Please!"
And the Doctor moved.
He was angry. He couldn't remember the last time he'd been truly, properly angry. He remembered brief flashes of wrath, but those vanished as quickly as they came. He remembered irritation but that, for all his harsh words and snapping demands, couldn't even remotely compare to the slow, hot fire of anger. He wanted to hurt Prisoner Zero. That wasn't something he could remember wanting before. He didn't want to give any more chances – he wanted to cause pain, in retribution for daring to harm Geoff.
"He's a child," the Doctor said, his voice low and shaking with rage. "He's hardly more than an infant. How dare you? How dare you hurt my best friend? How dare you harm a child?" His foot, the best weapon he currently had available, lashed out and caught the dog's muzzle. The Doctor wasn't sure he'd ever just kicked someone before. It was surprisingly satisfying. The man gave a yelp of pain; both faces jerked back and Geoff finally pulled free. He flung himself into the Doctor's arms, babbling nonsense in a lilting beTrobi accent. The Doctor clung to him and stared hard at Prisoner Zero, wondering what sort of retribution to inflict. Geoff's armour was dented from those fearsome jaws. In some places, the needle-sharp teeth had pierced the twisting metal, though none of the punctures had broken through to the real Geoff inside. Worse than the physical damage, though, was the way Geoff was speaking, high and fast, the words impossible to differentiate but nonetheless giving the impression of utter terror.
"Pro-mise," Geoff repeated, his voice very small now as he pressed closer to the Doctor's chest. "O-kay."
The Doctor smiled into his eyestalk and then turned his attention to the Atraxi for some good old-fashioned "shouting them down" time. When he finished, he snapped he phone shut and tossed it back to Rory, then flicked at his grimy blue shirt in disgust.
"Saving the Earth," he complained. "Last time, some other bloke's pyjamas. This time, an old, ripped-up shirt… covered in radiation stains. I have got to get some decent clothes."
"You're ne-ver ful-ly dressed with-out a smile!"
The Doctor turned and stared at Geoff, who had delivered the line in a near-perfect imitation of a little girl's singing voice. Geoff couldn't blush, of course; but in some indefinable way, he was certainly making a decent go of it.
"Look, I'll be back," the Doctor assured Amy Pond, the door of his TARDIS open behind him. "I need to see to Geoff and, well, gotta see what the old girl has for me this time." He couldn't help his silly grin; it was so hard not to get excited about his ship, even when Geoff was lying meekly in his arms and hadn't so much as twitched his eyestalk since the Atraxi left.
"You'd better," the ginger warned fiercely. "I am not going back to therapy over this, have you got that?"
"I've got it, I've got it," he assured her. "Give me an hour."
"If you end up gone for another twelve years, so help me I will kill you instead of knocking you out."
"Duly noted," the Doctor promised. He stepped into the TARDIS and shut the door.
When, an hour and two years later, the Doctor landed his TARDIS and stepped into Amy's yard with Geoff (his armour gleaming and his eyestalk swivelling curiously) just behind him, he wasn't surprised to see his ginger friend waiting for him. He was, however, shocked beyond words when she slapped him right across the cheek with a resounding smack!
"What was that for?!"
"Two years," she spat. "And I had to bite another therapist."
Then she breezed into the TARDIS as if she'd been doing it all her life.
Wide-eyed, the Doctor looked down at Geoff. The Dalek looked at him happily and started to squirm.
"What's wrong with him?" Amy asked, peering over the Doctor's shoulder at the sickly Geoff. Geoff turned his eyestalk miserably toward her. He seemed… droopy, and when he moved it was slowly, listlessly.
"He's got a stomach ache," the Doctor snapped. "And what, exactly, did you feed him?"
"What?" Amy frowned. "He can't have stomach aches, he's a robot."
"He's a Dalek," the Doctor corrected. "Picture a… squid, in armor."
Amy stared at him and then, slowly, said, "Okay…"
"Good. It's not like that at all. But he can most definitely get stomach aches, although usually it takes two helpings of Jackie Tyler's cooking to get him this bad. So, what did you give him?"
"I just gave him a bit of ice cream. He likes ice cream – ate the whole thing of it."
The Doctor gave Geoff another once-over with the sonic screwdriver. "Had it gone bad? Maybe, last year sometime?" he asked, bewildered by the results.
"I dunno. It's possible. Why?"
"Pond," the Doctor said, rolling his eyes, "Just because he will eat it doesn't mean he should. Go and open the door, would you? And then stand back; we're going to have company."
"What, that woman who was talking to you from the home box?"
"Well, who is she?" Amy pulled the door open, and just in time; a blonde woman in a sleek black dress was sucked through the door and the Doctor barely managed to catch her before she crashed into the glass floor.
"Hello, sweetie," she greeted.
"River," the Doctor replied, trying to indicate by tone of his voice that, while it was always wonderful to see her, just now he'd rather like if she removed her elbow from his xyphoid process. Whether or not she understood the specifics, she did shift and the Doctor let out a sigh of relief.
"Hello, Geoff." River sat up and reached out to tickle Geoff's head.
"Don't touch him, he's not feeling good. Might be sick on you," the Doctor warned.
"What, have you fed him something strange again? It's a wonder he's still alive, all the things you give him."
"Me? Why must you always make it my fault?"
Amy just grinned at him, and Geoff squirmed a bit. Then he stopped; the squirming probably made him queasy.
He really didn't have a choice about leaving her, as terrible as he felt. He knew she was felt alone and scared and couldn't even open her eyes, but he had to get to the primary flight deck; everything depended on that.
"Amy, listen to me. I'm leaving you here with the clerics, alright? They'll look after you and Geoff." On cue, Geoff scooted right up to Amy. She snatched him up and held him as if he were a lifeline to all things real. "Sometimes he bursts into song, you know how he is. Can't control it too well. Don't worry too much about it; the angels already know you're here, so singing isn't going to do much damage. And don't give me that look, Geoff, you don't like it any more than I do."
"What look? He only has one expression."
"He does nuances," the Doctor sniffed. "It takes a trained eye to catch them. You'll be fine, Amy. I promise. See you later."
It wasn't so bad, at first, with the clerics there to talk to. One by one, though, they went to check out the odd curtain of light… and then they vanished without a trace.
After a moment of silence, Geoff came out with "There's a some-bo-dy I'm long-ing to see. I hope that he turns out to be some-one who'll watch over me."
"Yeah, really not helping there, boy-o."
The song obligingly changed. "You look like an an-gel, walk like an an-gel, talk like an an-gel, but I got wise…"
Amy reflected that there was, perhaps, nothing in the universe more ridiculous than a Dalek with such a tiny, squeaky voice mimicking Elvis Presley's singing. She let him go on with it, though, because she was nearly certain that the next one would be even worse.
All of the sudden, Geoff cut himself off with a squeak, his eyestalk twisting around to look at the angels who had appeared. As soon as he looked away, though, they were gone and no amount of squirming brought them back into his line of sight.
Amy barely bit back a yelp as Geoff pushed hard against her arms. He hardly ever levitated, but now it seemed like the only thing on his mind. So determined, and so panicked, was he that the ginger human was forced to stumble along behind him. She clung on, wondering if he'd even noticed that she hadn't let go.
He decided never to tell her that she'd walked within inches of the angels on their way to the Doctor.
Namedropping was the least of the Doctor's sins, so he didn't really understand why Amy always found it so irritating. Why shouldn't he talk about the people he'd met? She told him all about her old mates! It wasn't his fault that his mates were more interesting and rather better known.
"It's true," he insisted again. "Absolutely one-hundred-per-cent true! Geoff was his favourite subject to paint."
"Rubbish," Amy insisted. "I don't believe for a second that Picasso loved painting your pet robot."
"I've got them all lined up in the TARDIS and let me tell you, a lot of the pictures he redid later are more interesting with Geoff in them."
"Don't believe it."
She still didn't believe it, even after he showed her, at which point he decided that she was being deliberately obstinate. How did you fake something like Three Musicians and a Small Metal Cyclops?
There were Daleks in Churchill's bunker and the Doctor lost his temper. Amy didn't mind them – she was used to Geoff and asked all sorts of questions about when and how Geoff would grow up, most of which he couldn't answer – and the locals all liked them. But the Doctor took the first opportunity to shout at them. He seized a heavy wrench and swung it as hard as he could; his arms jarred from the impact but he didn't stop, even though his strikes didn't even scratch that hard metal armour.
It was only the third time Geoff had ever seen a Dalek.
Back on the TARDIS, the Doctor paced – quick, sharp laps of the console, muttering nonsense to himself and beating the heels of his hands against his brow as if that would make it so the Daleks hadn't escaped. He was vaguely aware of Geoff watching him uncertainly from underneath the console.
In a gap in the Doctor's ranting, Geoff spoke. "I am… one of them," he said hesitantly, in an inappropriately jovial Tramalfadorian accent. "I will… be like them. When I am big."
"What? No," the Doctor protested, dropping to his knees and reaching for the Dalek. Geoff scooted back sharply. "No, Geoff. They're different from you."
Geoff was silent for a very long time. The tension remained as the moments passed, growing thicker and thicker until the Doctor felt he could have cut it with a knife. His knees were beginning to ache from pressing for so long against the unforgiving glass floor. He reached out and, slowly, lifted Geoff into his arms.
Another moment passed. Then, reluctantly, Geoff snuggled closer to him. He didn't ask how the Doctor could be so certain and the Doctor didn't volunteer the information. Honestly, he didn't know… just hoped.
Upon delivery to her bedroom in the middle of the night, Amelia Pond decided that the perfect way to thank the Doctor would be to kiss him soundly. The Doctor squeaked and squirmed, but she was clever and had him pinned. Geoff made loud, rude, and extremely appropriate gagging noises from the floor beside the bureau (which, because he'd spontaneously adopted an Agatean accent, the TARDIS obligingly translated to "excuse me but I think I've disinherited a water buffalo, do you have any ketchup?"). When Amy turned to glare at him, the Doctor made a dash for the TARDIS.
"Married! You're getting married!" he spluttered. "We're going to get that fiancé of yours, Pond, and the sooner the better! Honestly, have you any idea how old I am? Well old enough to be your father! In fact, way too old to be your seven-greats grandfather!"
"Oh, don't be such a spoilsport!" Amy huffed, storming after him.
"I'm get-in' marr-ied in the mor-nin'! Ding dong, the bells are gonn-a chime!"
Amy glared at Geoff again. The Doctor said, "We really need to get that fixed."
"Not that that storm wasn't bundles of fun and everything…"
"Wasn't it? I love a good storm!"
"Yeah, great storm. Doctor, why did you bother climbing the steeple and nearly not getting the storm machine to stop? Geoff can fly and has a gun – he could've just shot it."
The Doctor blinked several times and gaped at Rory. Then he shook a little and drew himself up to his full height. "Because, Rory," the Time Lord said with as much dignity as he could muster, "Geoff is a good Dalek and would never use his gun for selfish purposes."
And then he stalked away with Geoff tagging along at his heels.
Amy glanced at her fiancée. "That means, because he didn't think of it." She set off after the Doctor.
A few seconds later, Rory followed, calling, "And what's selfish about saving Venice from vampire fish from space, anyway?!"
The Doctor shifted in his hammock, looking away from his book and toward the little Dalek in his arms. Geoff had his eyestalk turned up to look him in the face.
"Something wrong, boy?"
"No. But there is some-thing I need to tell you."
"Go on, then."
"It is … not some-thing you want to hear," Geoff hedged.
The Doctor thought about this for a moment. "Have you ruined any of my shoes or shot my bow ties?"
The Dalek's speech indicators blinked twice.
"Eaten all the jam, become the focus of a planet-wide cult, or stolen Amy's lip gloss?"
Another two blinks.
"Gone out and gotten yourself married to a historical figure on Earth?"
"Shame, I was hoping to start a club. Fine, then, I promise I won't be mad. You know you can tell me anything."
"I am fe-male."
Amy watched from her hiding place as the Doctor's eyes went wide. The colour slowly drained out of his face, leaving his skin nearly pure white. He made a nonsensical noise, followed by a bit of gibbering, and then slumped over in a dead faint. The hammock rocked, tipping the Doctor's torso onto the floor and managing to tangle his legs at the same time. Geoff squirmed free and, somehow, managed to tip himself – herself? – upright. She twisted her eyestalk to look at Amy.
"He has faint-ed," she announced.
Amy jumped up and let out the cheer she'd been holding in.
"That was great! Well done Geoff! Here's the banana I promised." She picked up said fruit, peeled it, and held it out. Geoff extended her plunger happily and absorbed small bits at a time.
Rory chose that moment to stand up from his hiding place on the other side of the room. He glanced at the Doctor and then pulled out his camera phone.
"And I'll have that ten quid any time, mister," Amy told him.
"Of course," Rory agreed, rolling his eyes. He snapped a few pictures and then looked across the floor at Geoff. "I didn't think he was capable of actually passing out. Are you really a girl, Geoff?"
Geoff twisted her eyestalk around and blinked her speech indicators twice. Then he went back to his banana.
Really, Amy couldn't have hoped for a better result.
Alayah the Silurian was dead, killed by an angry woman wanting revenge for a wrong that had not, in fact, been committed. That day, the Doctor's faith in humanity wobbled dangerously. That was the day when he questioned why he was doing this – why he persistently saved an ungrateful planet and a people who would never really change. That was the day he seriously considered abandoning them all and leaving them to their stupid prejudices and their… their stupidity. He looked back over all of the years he'd spent with humans.
Oh, there were bright spots, of course there were. He remembered Ian and Barbara, Sarah Jane Smith, Donna Noble and many others: humans who achieved great things, often quietly and without seeking or receiving praise. People like them, those were the people he thought might keep him from turning against the whole species.
He remembered Harriet Jones, who had brought Britain into a golden age with her unyielding morals and strength. He remembered Harriet Jones, who had committed mass murder to prove a point that had already been made.
He remembered Rose Tyler, who had shown compassion and mercy to a heartless creature which would have destroyed her. He remembered Rose Tyler, who had turned a quarter of a million beings into dust in what was essentially a fit of pique.
He remembered Martha Jones, who had been a bright ray of hope in billions of lives, though none of them remembered her now. He remembered Martha Jones, who had threatened to obliterate the Earth she'd sworn to protect.
He remembered a planet called Midnight, where ordinary people had tried to kill him for no better reason than that they didn't understand what was going on. Instead of trying to make sense of the brand new life, they sought to destroy it and anyone who might have been sympathetic to it.
He remembered a dyslexic Welsh boy who had played tug-of-war with Geoff. Eliot had found a bit of rope and tied a loop on one end. He'd draped the loop around Geoff's armoured body and held onto the other end, and they'd both pulled just as hard as they could. Sometimes, Geoff would win, yanking the rope out of Eliot's hands and then squirming in delight as he scooted forward to give it back. Sometimes, Eliot won and pulled Geoff right into his arms, then spun around and hugged him and laughed.
The Doctor smiled. If a Dalek could cuddle a Time Lord and play games with a human boy, surely there was hope for the human race. They made mistakes, they did terrible things sometimes, but there was good in them yet. How could he give up on them?
And why did he feel like he was forgetting something?
The Doctor didn't understand why no one would ever allow him to dress Geoff up in something cute. Rose hadn't let him get a collar, Martha had vetoed the tuxedo, Donna hadn't said anything at all but just glared at him until he took the swim suit back off, and now Amy!
"It's not cute," the ginger insisted, glaring at him.
"It is," the Doctor scowled. "It's adorable. It is."
"Doctor, no. When I asked you to help me gather up sunflowers for Vincent, I didn't think I actually needed to tell you that you couldn't dress Geoff up and hide him in a bouquet."
"But he's so cute!" He stroked the petals stuck around Geoff's eyestalk while the little Dalek squirmed happily. "He is cute, isn't he?"
Amy pursed her lips stubbornly, her head on one side as she looked at Geoff. Her eyes narrowed, but the Doctor had seen the little signs and just kept waiting. After a moment, she caved. "Okay, yes, he's adorable. But you still can't sneak him into a bouquet!"
She didn't change her mind, no matter how much he pouted.
"Hello! I'm the Doctor and this is Geoff, he's my… dog. I'm your new lodger!" The Doctor looked down at the sack of money in his hands, shrugged, and handed it over to the confused man who'd opened the door. "Here, have some rent. Okay." He clapped his hands together and pushed his way into the flat, Geoff at his heels.
"Wha – uh – that's your dog?" Craig Owens spluttered. Geoff turned his eyestalk up to him.
"Wos-a matt-a, gov? En't ya nev-er seen a Che-rry 'ogg be-fore?" he demanded. "I mean, woof woof, an' all tha'."
It was an Alliance of all of his enemies. There were Daleks and Cybermen, the Judoon, the Sontarons, Silurians and Zygons, Atraxi, Draconis, and a thousand other races besides. The Nestene consciousness had representatives in the form of Romans and they had all teamed up for one reason: to save the universe from him, by locking him in the most fearsome prison ever imagined.
"Please!" the Doctor cried, straining against the bonds that held him down. His waist was strapped tightly to the back of the seat and his wrists and ankles fastened securely. There wasn't an inch of give anywhere that he could use. "Please, it's not me – it's the TARDIS! I'm not the one flying the TARDIS! You have to let me go, I'm the only one who can stop this! Every star will supernova at every point in all of history! You have to let me stop this! PLEASE!"
As the box closed around him, the Doctor looked around, hoping to see any sympathy on the faces of his enemies. But there was nothing… just triumph and malicious glee. Just before the box closed, sealing him inside for good, he saw Geoff. The tiny green Dalek, still so very small, had gone unnoticed in the chaos. He emerged from behind a Judoon's massive foot and turned his eyestalk to the Doctor. Terror and sorrow were written into every line of his metal body.
He turned and started forward, but it was too late. The darkness outside was shut out while the Doctor screamed. He was left with the soft white light and the realization that Geoff was alone. History might continue but things were being erased from time. If Geoff lived, nothing would budge him from the Doctor's side. He was going to live his life in a cave underneath Stonehenge. He was going to grow up, grow old, and die. All that would be left was a shell of his best friend, forever standing guard over this stupid box while the universe dissolved around them…
The Doctor stopped shouting. There was no point in words anymore. Instead, he began to cry.
And then the Pandorica opened for the second time.
The Doctor ducked his head awkwardly so that he could use his own lapels to dry his face. Then he stared unabashedly into the face of Rory the Roman Williams.
"Where's Geoff?" he demanded. Then, glancing around at the open box, he amended himself. "How did you open it? It's supposed to be impregnable."
"Uh… I haven't seen him. You gave me this?" Rory held up the Doctor's sonic screwdriver. The Doctor pulled his wrist out of the now-opened shackle and dug the screwdriver out of his pocket.
"No I haven't."
"Yes, you have. Future you. It's complicated, he said it was."
"Sounds like me." The Time Lord extricated himself from his prison and began scanning the room for Geoff. The floor was covered in dust. Here and there, stone representations of the Alliance stood, echoes of what had been life. And there… peering out from behind half of a stone Judoon…
His steps were heavy as he crossed the few yards between them. He crouched, reaching out with shaking hands to lift the little Dalek. Geoff's brilliant green armour was now dull stone. His eyestalk was dim, no hint that there had once been a living creature looking out on the world with joy and love.
"Oh, Geoff," he breathed, cuddling the little shape close. Time, or what was left of it anyway, stood still while the Doctor mourned. All the oxygen seemed to have gone out of the room and his respiratory bypass wasn't working. By far the worst part was the knowledge that it hadn't been a painless death; the Cybermen and Silurians, everything with body language enough to show it, had died in agony. The Daleks must have been the same… He must have died screaming.
"Doctor?" Rory asked, his voice tentative and trembling. "Doctor, there's something else… it's Amy."
The Doctor strapped River's vortex manipulator onto his wrist and gave the Pandorica a kick. He could seal Amy inside of it and keep her alive – that much was easy. Finding a way to save the universe and, just as importantly, save Geoff… that was much more difficult. He had the little Dalek cradled in the crook of his left arm, a much heavier weight than normal, and somehow colder too. Nothing left in the universe was going to make him let go.
"The Pandorica is a perfect prison. You can't even escape by dying. She'll be fine – she's not aware of time passing in there. So! Put your hand here, we'll skip ahead a bit, and then we can fix things."
"I'm not going," Rory said.
"Rory, Amy's fine. Well, no she's not, but she will be," the Doctor explained impatiently. "It's alright to leave her. She's not going to die any time soon."
"I killed the last guard," Rory said, laying a hand on the box. "I guess that'll be my job now."
"This is silly, Rory – "
The Roman cut him off with a bitter laugh. "How can you say that to me? How can you hold Geoff like that and tell me I'm being stupid? I'm not leaving her, Doctor, just like you're not leaving Geoff. Neither of them can feel anything… but that doesn't make it right to go."
The Doctor looked him over for a long moment. "I understand," he said at last. "Be careful, Rory. You can't sleep. You'll be aware of every second for the next two thousand years. That's enough to drive a man mad. And they won't invent plastic for a long time, so don't let yourself get damaged. You can't heal, you won't fix yourself – any damage you sustain is permanent."
"See you later, Doctor."
With a flash of white light and a sound like a tear in the fabric of time, the Doctor vanished.
He reappeared with a half-stone Dalek bearing down on him. As he turned, the restoration field of the Pandorica washed over him and he saw two red-headed girls by the box. The taller of the two was shielding the little one. Both of them were Amelia Pond – one as he'd first met her when she was seven years old, and the other as he'd last seen her a few minutes and nearly two thousand years ago.
"Ex-ter-mi-nate!" the Dalek growled from behind him. The last Time Lord thought quickly. The restoration field – that was important. It had saved Amy's life. It had resurrected the Dalek. If it could bring back one Dalek… He ducked the grown Dalek's shot, set Geoff on the ground where he could take maximum advantage of the restorative light, then grabbed at a Pond with each hand and ran as fast as he could. If he was quick, and very lucky, he could still save Geoff. He could save the entire universe! Probably.
On the bright side, if he couldn't, there wouldn't exactly be anyone to complain about it.
It wasn't a very bright side, come to think of it.
This was the only way. The only way to save the universe, and it meant writing himself out of existence. It meant he'd never been born. It meant relying on memories – fragile, changeable things like memories – to fix everything. But it was the only way.
Geoff lifted his eyestalk sluggishly, every click of the pneumatic whirr slow and deliberate. The restoration field couldn't even bring him all the way back, and he wasn't even two feet tall. His voice, though still much higher pitched than a grown Dalek's, was sluggish and low, as if his systems were struggling to get the words out. "I… want… to come… with you."
"You can't." The Doctor couldn't look at him. "I'm writing myself out of existence. I can't bear to do the same to you. I don't know what will happen to you, but at least you'll be alive. I need you to be brave, Geoff. Very, very brave. Please do that for me."
Geoff was quiet for a long time, so long that the Time Lord eventually risked looking down at him. That eyestalk, with its dim blue glow, was trained directly on him. "I… love… you," the baby Dalek croaked.
"I love you too. My gorgeous little boy."
"I… won't… leave you."
The last wire slotted into place, securing the vortex manipulator into the Pandorica. The Doctor slumped gratefully onto the seat. Even at half power – not even half, it had felt more like one third power – a Dalek's gun packed a nasty punch. If he didn't regenerate from this, it was going to take him a long time to heal.
"You won't remember me, Geoff," the Doctor assured him. "You'll be happy. You'll never need to be frightened again."
"I… don't want… to live… with-out… you. Please… Doc-tor."
The Doctor squeezed his eyes shut. He couldn't bear this. Geoff had nearly died because of him, so many times, and now he was begging to be erased from the universe so that they could stay together! He didn't deserve such a friend. "Alright," he said finally.
The levitation engines kicked in immediately, but it took long, agonizing seconds for Geoff to lift himself off the ground. He wobbled through the air and dropped unsteadily into the Doctor's lap. He was still as a stone, too exhausted even to turn his eyestalk toward the Doctor.
River chose that moment to come rushing in, trailed by Amy and Rory. River begged him, cajoled, bargained and even threatened, but the Doctor refused to be swayed. This was the only option he could see and, frankly, he didn't have the time or the energy to look for another way. Eventually, River stepped back and watched him with tight lips and wet eyes as he closed the box.
"Are you ready?" he asked Geoff, lifting a heavy hand to the manipulator's controls.
"When… you… walk…" whispered the little Dalek, "through… a storm… hold… your head… up high… and don't… be … a-fraid… of … the dark."
The Doctor smiled faintly. "Geronimo."
The universe exploded.
Rory and Amy's wedding reception was a blast. Geoff finally got to wear his tux, which was a bonus, and Amy couldn't even tell him off for it! The dancing was great, especially teaching all the kids how to dance properly, and watching Geoff take old Mrs Marsters for a turn.
Afterwards, with Amy and Rory ensconced in the first married quarters the TARDIS had ever provided, the Doctor grinned at his best friend. "Looks like everything worked out for the best," he said.
"Eve-ry-thing's com-in' up roses for me and for you!" trilled the little green robot.
The Time Lord wrinkled his nose. "We really need to get that fixed."
"You know, I'm beginning to think this is the universe's idea of a joke."
"What, that Geoff is perpetually ill? That's not a joke, sweetie. That just means Geoff doesn't have the iron stomach of a thousand year old bachelor."
The Doctor scowled at River, who smiled in return and resumed stroking Geoff's shell tenderly. "He's not perpetually ill. He only ever seems to get ill before I'm going to see you, and then you tut over him and make fun of me. Hence the joke."
"What did he eat this time?" River prodded with exaggerated patience. The Doctor muttered something sheepishly, refusing to meet her eyes. "What? Speak up, dear, not everyone has Time Lord hearing."
Her alien boyfriend sighed and raised his voice. "He had a Pudding of Happiness on Ayzarin."
River blinked. "What, the ones with the strange floating bits that you can't even find in a really mysterious kebab?"
"Yes, that's the one."
"The ones that are supposed to feed a whole family for the entire festival of Hardinark?"
"The very same."
"He ate a whole one?"
"Not quite. About half?"
"Bits and all?"
"He quite enjoyed the bits. I've known garbage disposals who spit out the bits."
"And you let him?"
"Well, no. I told him not to, but you know how he is. Kids, ey? And I did pull him away after the first half."
River peered into Geoff's eyestalk and then nodded and patted his head again. "You're right; it must be the universe's idea of a joke."
They were deeply engrossed in a chess battle on the floor by the console when the phone rang. The game could have gone either way. Geoff was smarter than the Doctor, and better at chess in theory, but he had real difficulty moving the pieces where he actually wanted them to go with only his plunger. Still, the Doctor eagerly hopped to his feet (being very careful not to disturb the board) and made a grab for the phone.
"Hello! Who is this? What?" The Doctor listened for a moment. A wide grin broke out over his face. "Yes, we can definitely take care of that for you! We'll pop right over, won't be a tic! Can we use your reindeer? Brilliant! See you in a mo'." He hung up and spun around to face Geoff, who was staring up at him curiously. "Well then, Geoff! Father Christmas has a bit of a tickle in his throat, so Christmas is down to us this year! We need to find you a beard."
"Me?" Geoff scooted around fully. "Not you?"
"Nope! I'm going to be an elf! Always wanted to be one of Santa's elves, but he said I was too tall."
Later, when an old man named Kazran Sardick scoffed that Father Christmas wasn't real, the Doctor was pleased to roll his eyes and produce photographic evidence to the contrary.
"Well… there is some good news," the Doctor whispered to the young Kazran as they huddled in his closet. "I still have half a screwdriver and I bet I'm going to get some fascinating readings from the other half when I get it back from the shark in your bedroom."
"There's a shark in my bedroom?!"
Honestly, why did everyone always want to focus on the negatives?
"Yes, there is, and her name's Nancy, and I'm fairly sure she thought the sonic was a lollipop. Which, I don't blame her, I find myself thinking the same sometimes… usually after a long night, you know, when your brain's gone a bit fuzzy."
Kazran just gaped at him. Geoff looked like he was about to say something, but the Doctor stopped him with a look. The young Dalek wriggled, completely unconcerned.
"Well… this is a fine mess you've made."
"I mean, Rose's lip gloss was one thing. Amy's lip gloss was one thing. But her nail polish?" The Doctor shook his head. He wasn't angry so much as he was bewildered. Geoff's fascination with liquid cosmetics was baffling and his talent at making enormous messes entirely by accident, absurd. And a little bit funny. Well, a lot funny, until someone reminded him of his long-ago promise to clean up the Dalek's messes.
Geoff turned his eyestalk to the ground. He kept darting quick glances at the Doctor, scanning him for anger. His body piece was mostly covered in the stuff, and this didn't wipe off like lip gloss would. The carpet had large, coloured patches that were hard to the touch and rather strange to walk on. It was amazing the mess Geoff could make from one little bottle of nail polish. Most of the room was covered, really. In fact…
The Doctor tilted his head back and raised his eyebrows. "How did you manage to get it on the ceiling? That's impressive. Mind you, purple isn't your best colour. Doesn't Amy have lots of colours you could've picked from?"
The speech indicators on top of the headpiece flashed on briefly, then went dark again. "Red and ye-llow and green and brown and scar-let and black and o-chre and peach and ru-by and o-live and vio-let and fawn and li-lac and gold and – "
"Yes, okay, thank you! Where's that bottle of acetone?"
It was a less than ordinary day when the Doctor landed on a pirate ship. It got even stranger when the crew reluctantly informed them that the ship was being targeted by a siren.
"The Doctor's good at solving things like that," Rory assured the captain, looking as though he didn't particularly want to be saying it.
"Yeah, no worries, we'll sort it," the Time Lord agreed.
"Arr! We'll make her walk the plank!" Geoff growled, although his voice was incapable of actually getting low enough for a proper growl. It was more like a trill, really.
The Doctor rolled his eyes as the pirates stared, bewildered. "Don't mind him. His voice interface is still faulty."
"Shi-ver me tim-bers."
"I'm going to fix it one day."
"Aye aye, Cap'n."
Geoff hadn't had an oopsie in years. The Doctor had always figured he'd grown out of it. Therefore, he was surprised and confused when the little Dalek had nearly thirty in the space of a single week. There was no cause for it, either, no stimulus which may have triggered it – that was the most puzzling part. It didn't seem right that his normal control would be absent under completely ordinary circumstances.
Geoff was, needless to say, horribly embarrassed by it all. The Doctor was quick to reassure him that it happened to everyone, well, every Dalek anyway. Probably.
Once or twice, the Doctor thought he saw something… just in the corner of his eye. It looked, almost, like a tall shape falling to the ground. But whenever he thought about it later, he realized that there couldn't have been anything there.
"What is it?" The young Dalek wriggled around in Rory's arms until he could see the bundle Amy was holding.
"It's a baby," said the new mother. "A human baby. Her name is Melody."
Geoff considered the infant. "She's ti-ny. All red and wrin-kled."
"Well yeah," Amy chuckled, cradling her new-born child tenderly. "They're all like that at first."
The little Dalek turned and looked at Rory. He was smiling, happy in a way Geoff had never seen before.
"Can I play with her?"
The humans exchanged anxious looks.
"Maybe when she's bigger," Rory promised.
Geoff continued to squirm, happy with that answer for now. He hoped she'd get bigger soon.
"Penny in the air," Mels chuckled, clutching the bullet wound in her stomach.
Geoff's speech indicators lit up suddenly – not briefly, like a simple affirmative, but in the manner of someone getting a bright idea. "You're big-ger! Can we play now?"
He didn't see the three pairs of eyes widening above him, but Mels did. She grinned. "And the penny drops."
Then she regenerated.
In the general chaos that followed, Geoff never did get his answer. He understood why, of course, but couldn't help feeling just a little put out all the same.
There was a door in this hellish hotel with a cat flap in the bottom. Clearly, it was meant for Geoff and, with the curiosity of a child, he kept gravitating toward it. Fortunately, a shoe in his way was enough to deter him. Unfortunately, the Doctor couldn't keep an eye on him and figure out a way to leave this place, and it wasn't too long before he managed to slip away. The Doctor didn't notice until he was already out of sight.
The Doctor ran fumed as he ran, taking the stairs three at a step and headed straight for the door with the cat flap. Geoff knew how dangerous it was! He had seen people die here just as the Doctor had. How could he take off like that? Amy and Rory shouted behind him, asked where he was going. They needed him, but only as a leader; Geoff needed him now as a matter of life and death. His respiratory bypass had kicked in by the time he reached the door, but he didn't even pause. He flung the door open and there was Geoff, sitting meekly inside the cat flap with his eyestalk turned up toward the crowd of fully-grown Daleks. They were moving busily and talking among themselves. Either they were ignoring Geoff, or they didn't see him.
"The a-bom-i-na-tion will be re-claimed," one declared.
"Re-claimed! Re-claimed! Re-claimed!"
When the clamour died away, another said, "We will turn him in-to a wea-pon a-gainst the Doc-tor!"
"He will be ours. We will use him to gain our vic-to-ry," growled a third.
The Time Lord didn't bother arguing or even announcing his presence; he just grabbed the frozen Geoff and slammed the door behind him.
"Praise him," the young Dalek whispered.
"No. No, don't say that, Geoff. Listen, the thing that brought us here doesn't feed on fear! It's faith, and trust, that it needs. It shows us things to remind us of what we have faith in." The Doctor's mind raced. He could already hear distant footsteps thudding heavily against the floor. The easiest way to stop this was to break Geoff's trust in him – but he couldn't do that. He couldn't. Telling Geoff that there was no guarantee he wouldn't turn out like a real Dalek might save them right now, but could also result in a self-fulfilling prophecy which doomed them both later.
"Doc-tor, help me," the little Dalek whimpered. He was shaking. The force of his terror was causing his body panels to resonate. His speech indicators blinked nonsensically as the circuits jarred and every movable part of him was twitching.
"Shut down, Geoff."
The little Dalek stilled abruptly and turned to look at him. "What?"
"You have to shut down," the Doctor repeated firmly. "Shut everything down. All systems off. Shut yourself down and you'll be safe."
"I can't," Geoff protested. "I don't know how to turn ev-er-y-thing on again."
"You don't have a choice," the Doctor told him fiercely. "Shut down!"
"Don't make me give you a full name. Shut down, Geoff! Shut down now!"
For a long second, Geoff only stared at him – and then the blue light in his eyestalk blinked out. Every panel went entirely still.
The footsteps stopped. The hotel dissolved around them.
It took the Doctor two hours to figure out how to reactivate Geoff's systems remotely.
It took another five hours, and two banana splits with extra sprinkles, to convince Geoff that everything was alright again.
"There you are, Geoff! Where have you been all this time?"
"With Ma-ri-lyn. I think I just got en-gaged."
"You what?" The Doctor's eyes went wide. He blinked owlishly. Geoff, by way of response, brandished his gun stalk. A ring with a small diamond – an engagement ring, of course – had been tied to it with a length of white ribbon. It was very like the ribbon Marilyn Monroe had been wearing in her hair…
"She said I'm cute." Geoff's tiny, squeaky, robotic voice contrived to sound bashful, proud, and a little indignant all at once, with moderate success.
The Doctor considered this carefully. He said, "I know I said I wanted to start a club, but you're a bit young to be getting married. And Marilyn's a firecracker!"
Geoff did nothing for a few seconds, his eyestalk turned toward the ring. Then he blinked his speech indicators once. "Run?"
"Yeah," the Doctor agreed.
Later, when Amy asked about the ribbon on Geoff's gun, the Doctor just shrugged and pretended that he couldn't see how the little Dalek was trying to shake it loose.
The first time the Doctor held Geoff after dropping off Amy and Rory, he noticed that something felt… different. Something was strange. The Dalek didn't fit in his arms quite the same way as he always had done. He was definitely a different shape. It wasn't a big change, really, but it was there.
"Are you getting fat?" he asked suspiciously. Geoff lifted his eyestalk to the Doctor's face and then pointedly looked away.
"I'm grow-ing," he replied, a little crossly. "I do that. One day I'll be big."
The Doctor stroked his armour thoughtfully. He hadn't considered that. One day, Geoff would be too big to hold like this, too big to cuddle with. One day. He'd be quite proud that day. And quite sad, as well.
This box was beginning to annoy him. The Doctor scowled blackly at the stubborn container in his palm. He spat the sonic screwdriver into his free hand, muttering to himself as he worked his way through the settings. Geoff sat nearby, watching with interest.
"Try set-ting 377g," he suggested after a while.
The Time Lord frowned at him. "377g isn't going to work. That's for – "
"De-mist-ing win-dows, yes," Geoff agreed. "Try it."
The Doctor obliged and, to his amazement, the stubborn box popped open. He lifted out the TARDIS part inside and shot a surprised look at the little Dalek.
"How did you know that?"
Geoff squirmed happily and, when he spoke, managed a near-perfect imitation of his last body's accent and intonation… except, of course, that it was more than an octave higher. "Did-n't you know? I'm brill-iant!"
The Doctor grinned at his boasting. "Alright, genius, let's see you get this in place."
Geoff's eyestalk twitched nervously between the Doctor's face and the contorted hunk of metal in his outstretched hand. He extended his plunger and carefully picked up the repair piece, then made for the console. Though his body turned, his gaze remained defiantly on the Doctor for a few extra seconds. Then he scooted right under the console and even had head room to spare. One of the advantages of being quite small.
The Doctor couldn't see him, but he could hear an odd assortment of drilling and ratchet noises. He couldn't imagine what was going on to make such noises, especially since Geoff couldn't hold a tool.
After a moment, he emerged triumphantly. "Ea-sy street," he sang smugly.
The Doctor opened his mouth to congratulate him, but was interrupted by the ringing clang of something metal dropping off the underside of the TARDIS. He shut his mouth quickly and focused on not laughing.
It didn't work.
"All I wanted was a relaxing visit with me old mate Paul," the Doctor complained as they ran for their lives. "You know, see how the work was going, have another go at teaching him to stay on a horse…"
"Can you hear the peo-ple sing? Sing-ing the songs of an-gry men," Geoff giggled, snuggling contentedly into his arms.
"Yeah, they aren't singing. More… shouting and firing off muskets."
"That's what you get when you play with guns."
"Not my fault it went off! I barely touched it!"
"And you land-ed in the wrong place!"
"Yeah, but not that far off. I mean, a hundred miles or so? A few years, maybe?"
The two of them quibbled all the way back to the TARDIS. Once the door was safely shut, though, they agreed that it had been great fun, and at least now they knew why no one ever found the man who fired the first shot of America's Revolution.
"Are you sure you're going to be alright, Geoff?" the Doctor fretted, tugging uncomfortably at his cravat. The Dalek's speech indicators blinked once, but he didn't bother with a verbal response. "You're really sure? You've never been on your own before – I mean, not as a plan, anyway."
"I'll be fine, Doc-tor."
"Well, there's movies in the media room if you get bored. The TARDIS can help you set them up if you can't get them."
"And you can eat whatever you can reach, but don't make yourself sick because I won't be here to take care of you."
Another, slightly more impatient blink.
"Make sure to get to bed by a decent hour."
Geoff's speech indicators lit up, stayed lit for a moment, and then slowly faded out as if in confusion. "I don't sleep, Doc-tor."
"What? Yeah, right, of course. I knew that. Just worried." He watched that little green body shift back and forth for a moment and relaxed. "Alright. Be good. I'll see you later."
"Bye!" Geoff chirped. As the Doctor turned and headed for the door, he could hear Geoff's faulty voice interface kick in with "Well I heard they got pinned. I was ho-ping they would! Now they're liv-ing at last; go-ing stea-dy for good!"
He rolled his eyes and checked the time. River would be monumentally cross if he was late for their date again.
"Hello, dear! I had a bit of spare time, thought I'd pop 'round. Been meaning to for a while but things were busy. You know how it is. You're looking…" The Doctor paused, searching for a word as he looked his old friend over. Eventually, he found, "Old…"
Brigadier Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart chuckled. "Ah, Doctor. So good to see you again. You've regenerated, I see, and knowing you this isn't the first time since last we met."
The Time Lord grinned and pointed to his face. "I'm on number eleven now. I do go through them, rather, don't I?" As he dropped his hand, he saw the Brigadier's eyes follow the loop of sturdy nylon around his wrist. "Oh! You haven't met Geoff yet." He spun around, being careful not to entangle himself in the leash, and tracked it out the door. The Doctor stepped back to see Geoff hiding behind the doorframe. He clicked his tongue. "Being shy? That's not like you. Come here, you gorgeous thing." He picked his small friend up and carried him back into the Brig's room. He was not oblivious to the way the Brigadier (although actually, he was a general now, or had been) tensed.
"I just want to be clear," the Brig said in his calm, careful way as Geoff's eyestalk swivelled to take in the room. "The 'Geoff' you're so excited for me to meet is an undersized green Dalek with a collar and a leash. Is that correct?"
"Well, normally he doesn't have the collar and leash, but yeah, that's it in a nutshell. Well spotted. It's alright; he's quite friendly when he's not feeling ill." The Doctor kicked the door closed and set Geoff down to roam the room. "I decided to try the leash because he's been getting lost an awful lot lately. Yesterday he found a nest of baby roc birds on Essinore. You know the ones? Eggs ten feet tall? Don't do that, Geoff, you'll just get stuck." The last was directed to the Dalek as he investigated the narrow end table.
"I can re-verse," he answered, his voice interface squeaking over the words.
"He's from Enceladus?" the Brigadier asked, eyeing Geoff as if unable to believe his existence.
"Him? Nah. Faulty speech interface. Been meaning to get that fixed."
"He won't." Geoff looked over at the Brig. "He thinks it's funn-y. Doc-tor? I'm stuck." He jiggled a bit but couldn't get himself out from under the table. The Doctor smiled indulgently at him and fished him out from under the table. When he straightened up, Geoff tucked into the crook of his elbow, the Brigadier was smiling.
They spent hours visiting. Though the Doctor generally made a point of moving forward, never looking back, he really did enjoy catching up with his old friend. They shared a brandy before the Doctor left, with a banana for Geoff because the Doctor insisted that he was too young to drink.
Later that night, when Geoff had an attack of hiccups and giggles and then fell off a tier, the Doctor realized that Lethbridge-Stewart had developed a mischievous streak in his old age.
Going to every single one of Jack's stag parties in one night had seemed like a terrific idea when he'd first suggested it, in an off-hand sort of way. Unlike all the other things he'd listed off that night, going to parties wouldn't interfere with the timelines or cause any sort of paradox.
After the seventh stag night, with Geoff drunk on – actually, the Doctor had no idea what he was drunk on because he'd been watching, carefully, and the little Dalek hadn't touched any form of alcohol so far – and dancing a rather impressive foxtrot with a young woman who wasn't wearing much more than a bikini, it seemed like a slightly less good idea.
It wasn't until much later that he found out how Jack had been sneaking him banana daiquiris every time the Doctor looked away. Looking back, that did explain why Jack always looked like he had an enormous and very funny secret.
It had been nearly half an hour since Geoff had disappeared into the bowels of the TARDIS. The Doctor had searched every room carefully and was dawning on him again how very many nooks and crannies a small Dalek could fit into.
Finally, the Doctor paused and stretched. "Marco!" he called and listened to his voice echo down the corridors.
A second later, Geoff's voice echoed back. "Po-lo – hey!"
"Ha!" The Doctor took off in the direction of his voice. It took a few minutes, but soon he found Geoff in a dusty store room and scooped him up triumphantly.
"You chea-ted!" Geoff protested.
"Well, you didn't have to answer!" the Doctor laughed. "Okay, your turn! And no infrared filters!"
As the little Dalek turned his eyestalk to the wall and began counting, the Doctor turned and took off running. He could already think of some good hiding spots.
Easter Island was beautiful this time of year… and at this time of history, it was also entirely populated by immigrants from Antauri, beings rather like walking codfish. They were amazing sculptors and not very good builders. The pride of the island was the brand new dam, which had taken them three generations to complete. It only blocked a rather small river, but they were immensely proud of it nonetheless.
They also thought the Doctor was a god, which River found absolutely hilarious. In a single afternoon, the mayor (his proper name was Gimminalsvandak, but he answered pretty well to Jim) organized and carved a number of quite impressive statues of the Doctor's head. It was such a shame that he couldn't convince the Antaurians to include a fez.
All in all, it was a perfect day. River was happy that the date hadn't ended in crisis or running for dear life; Geoff didn't eat a single dodgy thing all day; and Jim the Fish had quickly become a very good friend.
As the sun set and the three of them were returning to the TARDIS, Geoff hiccupped. A bright ray of energy shot out of his gunstalk.
"Oh dear," River murmured, watching the shot arc almost gracefully through the air. It splashed against the stone dam… and the rocks crumbled.
"Time to go," the Doctor decided, grabbing both of his companions and shoving them into the TARDIS.
The Doctor had done his best to keep Geoff in the dark about Lake Silencio. He didn't want to think about it, didn't want to face it. He'd distracted himself for two hundred years by doing silly things like wheedling his way into the orchestra for the opening night of Bizet's Carmen, or by going on adventures like taking Geoff to see the phosphorescent waterfalls of Pavicon Beta Two. He just couldn't bear the thought that he was going to die. What made it worse was the prospect that Geoff would have nowhere to go – he was going to be alone. He'd tried to pretend that, if he didn't talk about it, didn't think about it, then he could keep running and never have to face it. But now he was out of options and there was no other choice.
The Time Lord slumped into his hammock, feeling every single one of his eleven hundred and five years. "Geoff, there's something I need to tell you," he said wearily.
On the tier above him, the little Dalek turned his eyestalk down and blinked his speech indicators. He tipped himself into the elaborate pulley system which had appeared quite randomly about a hundred years ago. His weight tipped the balance, setting off a chain reaction which delivered him smoothly to the floor. The Doctor picked him up and held him close.
"I didn't want to tell you. Didn't want you to have to know. But I'm going… I'm going to – " He stuttered to a stop as Geoff's speech indicators lit up again.
"I know," he said solemnly. "You are go-ing to die. Ri-ver is go-ing to kill you at 5:02 pm on A-pril twen-ty third, 2011, at Lake Si-len-ci-o, U-tah." The Doctor's eyes were wide by the time he finished. Geoff turned his eyestalk away. "She is the a-gent of the Si-lence, the things we can't re-mem-ber. And you have a plan."
The Doctor shivered. "Yes. I have a plan."
"But it might not work."
"I might really die."
The Doctor closed his eyes briefly, his jaw set. "Me too. But we've run out of time. There's nowhere else to go. And I am as scared as I've ever been." He kissed Geoff's head between his speech indicators. Geoff couldn't feel it, but somehow, the gesture made them both feel better.
The Doctor lay dead on the ground. Amy was inconsolable, sobbing and begging him to get up while Rory stood to the side, shocked and numb. Geoff, too, was still and silent. River had disappeared with Canton to arrange his cremation.
Amy stared at the too-quiet Geoff, tears streaming down her face. His eyestalk twitched up until their gazes met. Somehow, though the robot had absolutely no expression and nothing about him gave any indication, Amy realized that she knew exactly what he was thinking. It was like a bucket of cold water had been thrown over her.
"Geoff, you can't – I mean, he's dead, but that's no reason for you to…"
"I can't go with you or Ri-ver," Geoff interrupted. His voice was very, very small, but otherwise unchanged. "My pre-sence would in-ter-fere with the time-lines. I want to go on the boat."
"But he's going to burn," Rory protested. "And metal… your armour will conduct heat! You'll be roasted alive!"
"I'll be o-kay," Geoff said. "I want to go with him."
When the Doctor had been placed into the little boat, River didn't even ask – just picked Geoff up and settled him in the Doctor's arms. She was solemn, grim, but dry-eyed. She, like Geoff, knew the Doctor's plan. She had known for years and years.
Then they were out in the middle of the lake and the boat was burning. The Doctor opened his eyes. "Have they gone?" he asked. He raised a hand and watched the flames dance over his fingers. "This Tessalecta thing is better than I imagined! I'm barely even warm in here."
"They have gone," Geoff assured him. He didn't sigh in relief, but there was a certain settling about his panels that suggested the same thing. "I am glad that you're al-right."
The Doctor's Tessalecta sat up. "Me too," he agreed cheerfully. "Wasn't nearly so bad as I thought it'd be."
"Ba-na-na splits?" Geoff asked hopefully, as he usually did after one or both of them had defied death yet again.
"Banana splits! Excellent! Love banana splits, me. But first thing's first – we've got to get out of this boat before it sinks – woah!"
Ten minutes later, two dripping robots and a slightly soggy crew of miniaturized people emerged onto the lake shore. They dried off a bit and then the Tesselecta crew went their own way. The Doctor held Geoff close all the way back to the TARDIS.
"So long! Fare-well!" Geoff sang (and that was a generous word) at the empty desert. "Auf wie-der-sehen, good-bye! The sun has gone to bed and so must I!"
The Doctor gave him a very strange look. "You don't sleep, Geoff. And the sun is still up."
"I hate to go and leave this pre-tty sight!"
"You're a very strange little Dalek. In the TARDIS with you, ey?"
The TARDIS faded out of sight and they were off again, a Time Lord and his Dalek living every day as an adventure.