The Dread of Tomorrow and Yesterday– Chapter 1
Disclaimer: Doctor Who definitely does not belong to me. I sincerely wish it did but I suppose it will only be in my dreams.
A/N: OK, so this isn't a completely original idea, but I thought I'd do my own spin on this, please be nice, this is my first Doctor Who fanfic!
Knocking. At 3 in the morning. Only lunatics knocked on someone's door at this sort of time in the morning. Rhea mused as she tied the belt of her robe around her waist and walked over to the front door.
She opened the latch on the door in order to peak at who was on the other side. A tall man stood outside, barely able to keep his feet on the ground, he was fidgeting so much. She observed him through the peep-hole, her eyes grazing over his body. His hands were empty, but he could pull a weapon out of those pockets of his. She eyed the table placed conveniently next to the door, her gun sitting comfortably in the topmost drawer. She was safe in her confidence in being able to draw it if the man made a move. She gazed at him again. He didn't look like some of the men that came to her door. Unstable patients, angry ex-boyfriends and ex-husbands blaming her for their relationship breaking down. This man's flecked grey eyes were soft but sad and old, his chin was slightly prominent but Rhea thought it looked adorable on him. His hands flapped about at his side, seeking something to touch or to hold. All in all, he looked like a hyperactive six-year old trapped in a twenty-something year old's body.
She took her chances and unlocked the deadbolt and opened the door.
The man smiled as soon as he saw her. "Ah, there you are! Come on, let's go!"
Rhea frowned. "Excuse me?"
"What would you like to see today? Ooh, you like coffee, why don't we go to the Planet of the Coffee Shops. You can have as many of those venti salted caramel brulée mochas with toffee nut syrup and extra whip that you like so much. Or we can-" He started rambling.
Rhea held out a hand in front in order to stop him from babbling any further. "God, you talk a lot! Who are you?"
The man frowned. "It's me, Rhea. The Doctor."
A smile threatened to break out on his face. She could see it. "Is this a bedroom thing? Is this a joke? I love jokes. I just heard one about-" She grabbed him by the sleeve of his tweed jacket and pulled him inside her apartment, shutting the door behind her. She shoved him into the couch and leaned back against the door, considering him with hesitancy and curiosity. She knew this was probably insanity, inviting a man she had never met into her apartment, who was clearly insane, seeing as he was talking about a planet full of coffee shops, and most likely dangerous, seeing as he had known her name.
She crossed her arms over her chest and glared at the man who had righted himself after toppling over the couch.
"You didn't have to shove me!" He whined.
"I'm going to ignore the first thing you said. Who are you? How do you know my name?" She demanded.
Something changed in his eyes. He seemed to realise that she wasn't joking around. He straightened and walked determinedly over to her until he was standing barely three feet away from her. "Rhea, Sunehri, please tell me that you know who I am."
She grimaced when she heard her full name fall out of the strange man's mouth. No one called her by that outlandish Sanskrit name that her father had given her except for her mother, and that was only when she was furious at her. And in her anger, she said it with a really strong Italian accent, so it sounded nothing like what it was suppose to. Whenever people tried to pronounce her complicated first name, she quickly cut them short and insisted that they call her 'Rhea', the only nickname she was able to form from 'Sunehri'.
"How do you know my name?" She repeated the question.
His hands reached up to his face and rubbed his eyes wearily. "Please tell me you know who I am." He searched her face for any possible hint of recognition.
She stared at him. "Who are you?" She asked, blankly.
He flinched and shrunk away from her. His hands reached out to hold something. Maybe her, she couldn't figure it out. Why would he want to grab onto her?
"I was dreading this day. The first time you met me." The man said.
Rhea was beyond confused and was silently creeping into the territory of agitation. The man in front of her knew her name, how she preferred to be called, her address and her coffee order and seemed entirely too upset that she didn't know who he was. Suddenly she was worried whether she was facing a stalker. She looked him over for the third time, lingering over that floppy hair that she just wanted to sink her hands into and drag him closer…and now was not the time for her hormones to get the better of her.
"You still haven't told me who you are." She made a motion for him to speak. She felt a little exposed in the midst of a total stranger who may or may not be a serial killer who knew her and things about her, clad in only a thin purple robe, white tank top and purple shorts.
He ran his hands through his hair. "I told you, I'm the Doctor."
"Yeah, well so am I, sweetheart. Doctor who?"
"Just the Doctor."
"Seriously, you're just called the Doctor?" She had to ask.
"Well yes, that's what people call me." The Doctor said.
Rhea smacked her lips. Well, that was one question at least half-answered. "How do you know my name?"
He smiled wryly at me. "I've known you for a very long time."
Rhea shook her head. "That's impossible. I've never met you before, and I would remember a man like you."
The man preened. "Why? Because I'm so amazing?"
Rhea smirked. "No. Because I'd remember a guy wearing a bow-tie and suspenders who thinks it normal to knock on a girl's door at three in the morning."
"Hey, don't knock the bow-tie! Bow-ties are cool."
"I'm sure you think so." Rhea grinned then sobered. Now was not the time to be teasing the man who might try to kill her any second now, even if he did look all manners of hot, in a hot college student kind of way. Even though she was confident that she'd be able to dodge any attack and make it to her gun before anything really serious happened, she didn't exactly relish the thought being evicted out of her apartment because of a shoot-out. She was starting to realise why she had been such a loner back in high school if a hot guy was in her apartment in the middle of the night and her mind went to the gun sitting in her hall table.
Suddenly, she flinched and drew back, her back hitting the door behind her. Her eyes and temple seared with pain and she lifted a hand to clutch her head. She could vaguely see the Doctor rushing over to her and wrapping an arm around her waist to pull her slowly over to the sofa and force her to sit down.
She shoved him away to no avail. "Hands off the goods, mystery man." Her voice slurred.
She had headaches before. She had them frequently. In fact, when she was sixteen, she had two surgeries in the span of six months in order to arrest severe sinusitis that had given her headaches which forced her to curl under her covers like a spooning armadillo. She got mild migraines now and then as a result of stress and guilt and ongoing insomnia due to nightmares. There had been a time in her life where her life had existed in a state of perpetual uncertainty between fear and pain that had resulted in a broken woman who relived the worst times of her life in the form of dreams.
"Headache, huh?" The Doctor asked with all the sympathy of a kindred spirit as well as someone who knew more than he was letting on.
"No kidding, Captain Obvious. Surprised?" Rhea asked through the pain, still determined to figure out who this man was.
"No, this was expected and in a good way too!" He said, cheerfully.
"Why?" She ground out. What sort of man was he if he was happy when a woman was in blinding pain right next to him?
"Because if this is the first time you've met me and you're getting headaches, that means it's starting."
"What's starting?" She demanded and then doubled over, clutching her head. She saw black spots in her vision and knew nothing after that.
When Rhea woke up, she was lying on her bed, placed neatly inside her covers. She looked over to her bedside table, her clock showing that almost six hours had passed since she had woken up to answer the door. The empty vase that had been situated on her bedside table actually had flowers in them, flowers she didn't recognise of the top of her head, but flowers nonetheless. There was a tall glass of water placed on the table which she drunk gratefully, and then pressed the bottom of the glass against her sore eyes. She guessed her mystery man had been the one to tuck her in and leave her water which made her wonder whether he was still here and what he was doing in her apartment. The thought made her rise up from her pillow quickly, but her legs became tangled in the voluminous sheets that the Doctor had piled on top of her and she fell to her bedroom floor with a shriek.
The door slammed open and the Doctor was by her side in a flash.
"Rhea, are you alright? I heard a scream." The Doctor asked urgently.
She waved his hands away. "I'm fine. I was in bed and I don't remember going."
The Doctor waved his hands about. "You had a headache. Then you collapsed. Then I put you in bed. Are you alright?"
She reached up and rubbed her head. "My head's a little sore but mostly I'm confused."
"That's natural. I get confused sometimes as well."
She held out her arms and motioned for him to pull her. "Come on, help me up."
He gripped her arms tightly and pulled her up. Her legs wobbled and gave in and she crumpled and the Doctor hurried to wrap an arm around her waist to steady her. When she bothered to look up she noticed that she was standing incredibly close to him. Her hand reached up and clutched his bicep to steady her legs and pushed herself away from his body just slightly.
"So tell me, did I miss anything?" Rhea asked.
"Well, your mother called, lovely woman she is, she wanted to know how you were doing and to remind you that she's coming over tonight."
Rhea raised an eyebrow. "She didn't wonder why a strange man was answering my phone?"
The Doctor looked sheepish. "Well, I might have told her that I was a new friend."
Rhea groaned. Knowing her mother, she could take 'friend' any way. Literal sense or biblical sense. The last thing she wanted was for her mother too think she had gone off the edge and started inviting strange men into her apartment.
"Lovely woman?" Rhea questioned.
"She seemed very lovely on the phone." The Doctor said.
Rhea smiled. Lovely. That was her mother. But Seraphina Adwani was a total Mama Bear. Territorial and bitchy when provoked, especially when people messed with her only daughter. After the death of her husband, Rhea's father, when her daughter had been seventeen, she had started living only for her daughter. She called her every day and, on the days when Rhea worked late, brought delicious hot food right to her office. Rhea maintained her mother was maintaining her likeness to Marie Barone.
"I am curious though. You haven't thrown me out yet?" The Doctor wondered.
They walked together back into the lounge and Rhea parked herself on the sofa.
"My current reasoning is that a man who wanted to kill me would not have put me in bed after I blacked out," She paused. "Which is a very short-sighted reasoning. Well, I suppose you could still be a stalker. You could have spent the last six hours rifling through my underwear drawer."
The Doctor looked scandalised. Rhea looked amused. "Rhea, please!"
Rhea laughed. It was a low and throaty sound. The blush that spread down the Doctor's cheeks to his neck was both adorable and attractive and she resolved to make him look like that more often.
"So, stalker or friend? That's the question, isn't it? Come on, mystery man, tell me who you are." Rhea asked, leaning back and placing her hands behind her head.
"I told you, I'm the Doctor."
"Doctor of what, exactly?" Rhea asked.
He shrugged. It was like looking at an old man in teenager's body. "All sorts of things, I suppose."
"How do you know my name?"
A smile played on his lips. "I told you, I've known you for a very long time."
"But, before six hours ago, I have never seen you before in my life."
"Last night was the first time you met me, but not the first time I met you."
Rhea glared at him. "God, are you always this infuriating?"
He grinned. "Yes."
"How old are you?" He asked suddenly.
"OK, so that means I'm right on time. This must be just before…"
"Just before what? Am I just going to keep asking you questions and you keep ignoring them?" Rhea asked.
"I'm an alien." He said.
"Well, to you, I'm an alien, but really-"
"Is this a joke?" She asked, standing up abruptly.
"What? No!" He insisted.
"Let me guess. Someone put you up to this." She said, pacing around her living room.
"No one put me up to this. Please, Rhea, just listen to me." He moved around so that he was standing in front of her, and he prevented her from moving around him.
"Look, all you have to tell me is the truth." Rhea said, practically begging him with her eyes. She had to know who he was, whether he was dangerous, whether he was trying to hurt her.
"My name is the Doctor and I'm an alien. I'm a Time Lord."
Rhea rubbed her temples. "A Time Lord?" She asked.
"So, a bit full of yourself then. I suppose it practically comes with the title, if you go around calling yourself a Lord."
"Oi!" Then, he cracked a smile. "Just a bit. So, you believe me then?"
Rhea laughed. "Oh god no. I think you're insane."
His smile faltered and then his face turned serious and determined. He grabbed her hand, ignoring her protests, and pulled it up until it pressed against the left side of his chest. Rhea had just started to feel the rhythmic beating of his heart when he moved her hand to the opposite side of his chest. She froze when she heard the exact same beat coming from the right side of his chest.
"Oh." This was all she could manage to say.
"I have two hearts." He added, trying to be helpful.
She moved back and turned around so that her back was facing him. She ran her hands through her hair.
"That isn't possible." She said, referring to his two heartbeats. "It's a genetic quirk or something."
"No, it's a Time Lord thing."
"Then, it's a prank. You've got something underneath those clothes of yours that's making that noise." She growled and strode over to him until she was standing only a few inches away, and dragged her hands across his chest, feeling for a cassette or mp3 player or some similar device. After a minute she realised she was essentially groping him and hastily drew back her hands after she could find nothing that could logically explain why he had two heartbeats. She turned around and walked a few steps forward.
She let out a hoarse laugh. She turned back to face him. "So, alien, huh? And an English alien as well. But you look human." She said, gesturing to his body with her hand.
"Well, actually, you look Time Lord. My race is older than yours." He said, matter-of-factly, as if it were commonplace to be discussing the existence of aliens in someone's living room.
She sank back down onto the sofa. She felt as if she had just spent the last half-an-hour wandering in the short expanse of her living room.
This is real. This is actually happening
She isn't dreaming. Or hallucinating.
"Doctor." She said, for the first time in six hours addressing him by the name he had given her. "How do you know me?"
"I'm a time-traveller, Rhea. And so are you." He said, softly, coming to kneel in front of her, so that they were the same height.
She raised her head incredulously from where it had been buried in her knees. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
He gave a sad smile. "Not yet, you won't."
A burst of confidence and anger spread through her exhausted body. She looked at him, so close to her, a mystery man who had just turned her entire world upside down. "Why are you looking at me like that? Just because you think you're someone I trust doesn't mean I automatically will. Why should I believe you?" She demanded.
He swallowed hard and leaned in.
He whispered something in her ear.
He moved back until he was kneeling in the same position again.
When she started talking, she couldn't deal with anything more than a whisper. "How do you know that?"
"I am someone you trust. Implicitly."
She shook her head. "Trust has nothing to do with it. I trust a lot of people. I've never told anyone that. Not even my mother. How do you know?"
"You told me." She opened her mouth to argue. "You will tell me."
She let out a wrecked sob. "Oh dear. This is getting scary now."
He stood up. He took one of her hands and folded it in one of his larger ones.
"I want to show you something." He pulled her and dragged her behind him.
When they reached the door, she pulled her hand back sharply.
"Hey, wait a second, alien boy, I'm not going outside in a robe and shorts." She said, wrapping the tie of the robe around her waist even tighter.
He looked her over, as if he was just noticing what she was wearing for the first time.
"I'm gonna go change." She grabbed his hand and pulled him back to the sofa. She placed her hands on his shoulders and pushed him down so that he was seated on the leather, and she smiled. "You, stay there." She pointed. "When I come back out of my bedroom, you better not have moved an inch."
She rushed back into her bedroom and grabbed a pain of black skinny jeans and a black spaghetti-strap sequined top with her black chunky ankle boots. She shoved the door of the adjoining bathroom closed behind her and made sure to lock it. She threw herself into the large shower and made sure she didn't take longer than five minutes. It wouldn't do to keep the man waiting.
When she strode back into the living room, it didn't surprise her to see the Doctor away from the couch and standing near her fireplace, staring at the photos on the mantle. The five that were sitting on the mantle were mostly ones with her and her parents. Two with her dad, the rest with her mom. A dance recital when she was seven, some New Years Eve party with friends, her high school graduation and her college graduation and one of her and her parents outside her mother's flower shop.
He turned back to look at Rhea. "You certainly took your time." He accused.
She glared at him. "I was gone max fifteen minutes!"
He wagged his finger. "Still too long."
"Well, I was thinking that if you are planning on kidnapping me, I might as well be dressed in something that makes me look sexy." She said, sarcastically.
A blush rose up his cheeks when he looked her up and down.
He walked back over to her and grabbed her hand again and pulled her out the door. They walked down the two flights of stairs and out the door of her apartment block, the doorman looking at them disapprovingly.
"Oh great." She sighed. "Now HE thinks we're sleeping together. I am never going to live this down."
He looked at her shocked. "Why would he think that?"
"Oh, I don't know. Maybe it's the fact that a strange man comes into my apartment at three in the morning and I'm seen walking out of my apartment with said man the next morning!"
He pulled her down a side road until she saw a large blue box standing in the middle of the sidewalk. She watched his face light up when he caught sight of it as well and his strides got larger as he practically raced over to it.
When they stopped right outside it, she said: "Seriously, you dragged me from my apartment to come and see a big blue box?"
He looked insulted. "Oi! It is not just a big blue box." He opened the double doors by pushing them open and gestured with his hand inside. "Take a look."
From her angle, she couldn't quite see inside, so she laughed. "Tell you what, buy me dinner first and then I'll get in your blue box with you."
The infamous blush came running again. "Rhea, please!" He looked even more insulted than before, when she had insulted his box.
She laughed again. "What do you want me to say? You want me to go into a blue box with you that can barely hold one person. Honey, I don't put out that easily."
He sighed, exasperated. He grabbed her by the hand and pulled her in. She was still laughing as he pulled her into the blue box until she realised what she was in.
Her lips parted but no words came out. Her eyes were wide and her hands were shaking. With terror or shock, she wasn't sure yet. This was impossible. The best word to explain the sight before her eyes. Impossible. But so was everything since a mystery man had knocked on her door seven hours ago.
"Well?" He asked, standing in front of what seemed to be a console in the middle of the gigantic room that defied every logical explanation that her mind was coming up with. "What do you think?"
She had the urge to rub her eyes or pinch her arm, just to make sure she wasn't hallucinating or dreaming. She walked forwards, down the stairs, slowly, uncertain of her movements. She spun around, her back to the Doctor, staring out of the doors she had just walked through. She had just walked through them. Double doors of a 1950s Police Box that had a console room that was bigger than her bedroom and her living room combined. She looked around; she could see ramps and staircases that led out of the console room, so she guessed that this box was a lot bigger than just the console room.
"I'm going to need alcohol. And lots of it." She managed to get out.
He looked shocked and delighted.
"How does that work?" She asked, swallowing hard. "How does a wooden box-"
"It's called the TARDIS. Time and Relative Dimension in Space." He interrupted.
She sighed. "OK, how do you fit all of this-" She gestured to what was around her. "in a wooden box?"
He shoved his hands in his pockets and stepped closer to her. "Well….if I had to give the simplest explanation, it would be that, this room and anything else in the TARDIS is another dimension." He pouted. "You're not going to say that it's bigger on the inside."
She gave him a patronising look. "Honey, that's a bit obvious, isn't it?"
"Everyone says that it's bigger on the inside." He argued.
"Everyone?" She smirked. "Are all of them women? Do you make a habit of this, then?"
"Make a habit out of what?"
"Inviting women into your bigger-on-the-inside box." She said, smirking at the stunned look on the Doctor's face.
He rubbed the back of his neck. If he thought about it the way she was saying, then he supposed he did have quite a few companions that he invited along into his TARDIS. Quite a few of them were women too.
A young woman, pretty and probably around her early twenties, came up one of the ramps, dressed in a tank top and long pants and messy hair. Clearly she had been asleep and had just woken up.
"I rest my case." She said, gesturing to the woman and ignoring the pang inside her chest which suggested that she wasn't unique in that aspect.
The girl's eyes widened when she caught sight of Rhea. "Rhea!" She exclaimed, running around the council and up to her, throwing herself into Rhea's arms.
Rhea froze, unsure of what to do. She wasn't exactly used to random people enveloping her in hugs. She wrapped her arms around the girl, awkwardly, patting her on the back.
When she pulled back, Rhea sighed. "Oh great, another person who knows me but I don't know them."
The girl looked upset. "You don't know me?" She looked at the Doctor for confirmation.
The Doctor nodded. "This is the first time she's met me as well."
"So this is when she starts-" The girl began, but the Doctor shushed her.
"You can't tell her." The Doctor warned. "Spoilers."
"Spoilers?" Rhea asked, looking between the two. "Spoilers for what?"
The Doctor had a wry smile on his face. "Can't be told, Rhea. Has to be lived."
Rhea chewed on her lip. "Great, more secrets." She turned to the young girl. "So, what's your name?"
"Clara. Clara Oswald." Clara said, rocking back on her feet as she stared into Rhea's eyes, hoping for some recognition at least.
Rhea smiled sadly, understanding what Clara was looking for and sad that she was unable to give her that. "Clara. I like that name. Clara. It means clear, bright and famous in Latin."
Clara smiled slowly. Rhea thought she was pretty in a petite, doll-like way. Dark brown wavy hair that went just past her shoulders, soft brown eyes, round face.
"So, has he kidnapped you as well?" Rhea asked her, her hands coming to rest on the railing behind her.
"Kidnapped?" Clara asked, confused, looking at the Doctor.
Rhea nodded. "He knocked on my door at three in the morning. Half an hour later I got a massive headache and blacked out. I woke up to find myself in bed six hours later. Then he dragged me from my apartment, saying that he wanted to show me something." Rhea looked around, just one more time, just to make sure she wasn't dreaming. "I'm guessing he meant this gorgeous girl."
The Doctor and Clara smiled and looked at each other, as if sharing a private joke.
"Why would you call her 'girl'?" The Doctor asked, his hands moving about in the air.
Rhea frowned. "Isn't that what machines are referred to? My cousin calls his car 'Baby' and the Titanic was a 'she'…" She frowned again. "Why are you both grinning like idiots?"
"Nothing." The two said simultaneously.
Rhea noticed that the Doctor's hands were flapping about again. "Do you have an anxiety disorder? Constant fidgeting, especially with hands, is a symptom of anxiety problems."
The Doctor forced his hands back to his sides. "Are you psychoanalysing me?" Amusement played on his lips.
Rhea smirked. "Yeah, got a problem with that? It's kinda in the job title."
Clara smiled. "You're a psychologist."
"I'm a counselling psychologist." Rhea corrected. She frowned. She could tell that there was something else in that statement. She hated it when people kept secrets from her, especially when it was about her in the first place.
"Alright, is one of you going to spit it out?" She asked, glaring at the two and crossing her arms over her chest.
Clara and the Doctor looked confused. "What are you talking about, Rhea?" The Doctor asked, hesitatingly, stepping cautiously towards her.
"The two of you are keeping something from me." Rhea said, angrily, the stress and impossibility of the past seven hours coming and attacking her all at once in the form of annoyance. "It was bad enough with bow-tie boy," Rhea ignored the Doctor's sound of objection to the nickname. "Who was able to rattle off a gazillion facts about my life, but now Barbie doll," Rhea again ignored Clara's insulted "Oi!". "Also looks like she's sharing some private joke with you about me. Start talking, or I'll-"
She had no later begun the sentence when the intense pain that had forced her to black out a while ago returned. She clutched her head as a cry of pain escaped her lips and she grabbed the railing to help her stay on her feet. She could barely make out the Doctor and Clara rush over to her, each grabbing her by a hand to help steady her. The pain drew a sob out of her as it increasingly became unmanageable. She raised her head and opened her eyes to look at the Doctor's expressionless grey eyes.
"What's going on?" She managed to get out. She looked down at her hands and let out a shocked scream when she saw that they were glowing white.
"What's happening to me?" She asked, desperately looking at him, hoping that he could offer some sort of explanation.
The Doctor's lips parted. "Sorry. I'm so sorry, Rhea. I wish I had time to explain. You have to go now, Rhea."
"Go where?" She demanded.
"To me. A different me. He'll look different, but ask him to tell you everything I told you today. Everything about you that I know." He smiled. "Ask him what your favourite song is. It's a tie, right, between Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven and Bonnie Tyler's Holding Out For a Hero. Ask him that, Rhea. He'll be a little older, and he'll be wearing a blue suit. He'll know who you are. Don't worry. You can trust him."
"What's happening to me?" Rhea sobbed.
The Doctor smiled slowly. "Nothing bad. You're just going to travel a bit."
Rhea shut her eyes tightly and gripped her head. The throbbing started to fade after a little while and she started to open her eyes. Someone wrapped an arm around her waist and led her to a chair, which she sat down on thankfully. She looked up into incredibly gorgeous brown eyes.
A/N: So there was the first chapter! I hope you all liked it! So review, but please don't be too harsh. This is my first Doctor Who fanfiction, and I am aware it may not be that good.