She couldn’t sleep. She tried, tossed and turned for what turned out to be almost two hours, but it wouldn’t come. She blamed the constant hum of the TARDIS but knew she was lying, she’d slept there before, peacefully. It was quieter than her block of flats on a Friday night and she slept through that fine. Yaz couldn’t quite place it, why she couldn’t sleep. So, instead of lying there any longer, she got up. Maybe a cup of tea would help,she’d thought.
Yaz stretched out of bed, striding out of her room and down the long winding corridor ahead of her. The TARDIS made it a habit of moving their rooms when they were in them. The Doctor said it was just a little joke the TARDIS had with herself, move the rooms and make it almost impossible to find where you left something. ‘A bit of revenge for me stealing her all those years ago, I think’, the Doctor said once, as she shook her head and placed a hand on the control console. Yaz thought she’d heard a louder hum at that moment, as if the TARDIS was communicating. Later, she’d find that the TARDIS does do that. With all of them, apparently. Although none of the others could truly understand her.
As she walked, she glided her hand down the left wall. Across grooves and bumps, sharp edges and soft rounded corners. Drifting down the hallway, leading wherever the TARDIS decided to take Yaz. She could hear noise, loud whirring and a groaning like the TARDIS was in motion. Knowing she was nearing the control room, Yaz had sped up. Wondering if the Doctor was still around.
The Doctor had her back to Yaz, to the entire room. Her coat around her shoulders, hair flung in all directions like she’d be upside down before coming to a standstill at the open doors of the TARDIS. She hadn’t heard Yaz walk in, probably a product of both Yaz’s sock clad feet and the way she was so entirely focused on the view ahead of her. In a moment of bravery, one that shocked even Yaz herself, she walked towards the Doctor. Closing in behind her and when she was within reach, breathing heavily, she softly grasped the Doctor’s coat. Used it to leverage herself forward. The Doctor never even turned, didn’t flinch or even look Yaz’s way, so Yaz continued on and slid her arms around her waist. Hands into the pockets of the Doctor’s coat, her head coming to rest on the Doctor’s shoulder.
They stood there silently for a while, how long Yaz could not be sure but long enough for her to start to feel the tiredness she hadn’t felt before. She tightened her hold on the Doctor before she spoke, “I thought you hated empty pockets.”
“I do.” The first words that had passed the Doctor’s lips since Yaz had arrived.
“Then why are they empty?”
“They’re not.” Yaz felt her hands squeezed, the Doctor had pressed hers against Yaz’s through the coat. She pulled herself imperceptibly closer, with the minimal room left between them gone.
“What have you been thinking about?” Yaz had asked.
“Everything, nothing.” It was as cryptic an answer as the Doctor liked to give but she surprised Yaz and continued. “You know I regenerate, I assume?” A nod against her shoulder had encouraged her to continue.
“It takes time, after a regeneration, to get back to yourself. To find out who you are and to remember everything from your past lives, everyone. But it all came back to me, not slowly but all at once. Every person I lost, every planet I couldn’t save, every regeneration of myself. All of it, all at once. So, I stood here, watching. Hoping that I could find something, something I remember that I didn’t hurt or didn’t hurt me. But I couldn’t find it. Couldn’t see it, not until- “, she’d cut herself off. The entire time, Yaz had not spoken, not even moved. But she moved then, pressed her cheek against the Doctor’s shoulder blade. Trying to give comfort, however she could.
“Until?” Yaz said.
The Doctor was hesitating then, not sure if she should continue.
“Until you. Which, I know, is unfair. You’re amazing and brilliant but you don’t deserve that burden. I know better than to place that on anyone, human or otherwise.” The Doctor had sighed and Yaz knew that she’d try to pull away, to walk away from their conversation. But Yaz didn’t want that, didn’t want the Doctor to go, to retreat back into the shell she constructed around herself.
“Doctor, I’m sure about this. About you. I told you that I wanted more time with you and I meant it. I don’t ever lie, and I won’t ever lie to you, especially. You’re important to me and I am glad to know I’m important to you.” Yaz paused to breathe, to think of what to say next. “I care about you more than I had anticipated, more than I should. But we don’t have to be anything more than this. More than friends, and you can tell me anything. I’d love to know it all. I love all I know of you so far, I’m sure I’d love the rest.”
They’d fallen back into silence after that. Not much longer had passed before Yaz yawned against the Doctor’s shoulder and they both realised how long they’d been standing there.
“You should go to bed, Yaz. It’s late.” The Doctor had said.
“Okay, but you should come too.” Yaz had said, removing her hands from the Doctor’s coat pockets and taking a step backwards. The Doctor turned and faced Yaz, surprise on her features but a spark in her eye that suggested she was going to be okay. Going to be back to her regular, happy self in no time. She nodded and Yaz gently took her hand, pulling her away from the open doors, which shut behind them. The TARDIS’ hum quietened, and the hallway was shorter than it was when Yaz had come out of her room originally. Her bedroom door opened with little more than a tap and Yaz led the Doctor towards her bed, she’d climbed under the cover and turned to watch as the doctor took her boots off, laid her coat on the chair and her braces over them.
“You can borrow some pyjamas, if you’d like,” Yaz offered. Another nod, and she gestured towards the top drawer of the dresser. The Doctor pulled out one of Yaz’s pairs of sleep shorts and old Sheffield PC top to sleep in and Yaz had respectfully turned back away for the Doctor to change. The bed tipped slightly a few moments later, the mattress dipping and the covers moving before a warm body pressed against Yaz’s own.
They lay with the Doctor’s arms around Yaz, hands clasped much like before in the control room. Roles reversed, they’d both drifted off into a peaceful sleep, aware that the morning brought change. But change they both could only hope, would be good.