“Oh good, you’re awake!” the voice that exclaimed happily to her left, as Bill slowly came to, had drawn her attention first. Her eyes blinked open wearily, still drowsy from whatever had sent her under in the first place and a blurry figure standing over her came slowly came into focus. The man was smiling, friendly looking with dark hair flopping over his face, in a bowtie and tweed jacket, “I was hoping I wasn’t gonna have to break out of here on my own, always more fun with company.” He held out a hand for her to take and when she hesitantly sat her palm in his he hauled her to her feet.
“Where am I?” she asked him, coughing when her voice came out hoarse sounding, as though it hadn’t been used in a while, and she looked around at the room they were both inside. It was relatively small. Prison cell were the first words to come to mind. It was white. Very white. Almost blindingly light and she frowned as she looked around, eyes landing warily once again on the man across from her.
“No idea.” He told her, looking entirely too happy about the prospect of not knowing that information, “just woke up here, just like you.” He whirled back around and headed towards one of the walls where, now that she was looking, he’d managed to pry open a panel in the wall and had returned to fiddling with the wires inside and she left him to it as she took in a few deep breaths to try and rid herself of the nausea she was still feeling. She’d started to wonder where the Doctor was when he spoke again making her jump, “What’s your name?”
“Bill. Bill Potts.” He whirled around to her, wonder on his face as he grinned.
“Bill Potts? That’s an amazing name, Bill Potts. You know, I have a friend called Amelia. Amelia Pond and Bill Potts.” He spread his hands out in a rainbow shape, like he was painting a picture of something in the air and Bill managed to smirk in amusement with a small huff of laughter.
“Sounds like some kind of kids book characters.”
“Yes, it does.” He beamed at her then quirked an eyebrow at her, “so where did you come from then?”
“I was in the TARDIS, with the Doctor and… oh god, how am I even here?” he was suddenly blinking at her owlishly, eyebrows drawing together in confusion as he looked her over.
“In the TARDIS?”
“Yeah?” She quirked her head, a confused smile on her face at his confusion.
“With the Doctor?” he prompted like something should have been obvious and she gave an exaggerated nod of her own back.
“Yeah.” She paused, “wait, do you know the Doctor?” he gaped at her, looking somewhat offended at her question and she frowned.
“Do I know the Doctor?” he scoffed in disbelieve, “how do you not know then? You’re travelling with the Doctor and you don’t know?” His question was said like a prompt, a prompt for her to understand something that she just wasn’t grasping.
“The Doctor, Time Lord, travels in the TARDIS around the universe, Doctor?”
“But…” he trailed off, gaze running over her, his face slowly expressing mild horror as something seemed to dawn on him and she was quick to continue speaking, thoroughly confused now.
“What? It’s the Doctor. Time Lord. Old guy who’s grumpy and Scottish with the, you know, eyebrows.” The horrified expression dropped from his face and was quickly replaced by blankness. His hand raised to his own near non-existent eyebrows for a moment and it was like his brain had blue screened over the information she’d given him. “You alright?” she tried, and he only nodded dumbly, still staring off into nothing as he tried to work something out. “So… who are you? Do you have a name? Or, can I just make one up?” she tried a smile along with her joke, but he just blinked at her.
“Well… I’m the Doctor and… I’m very confused, because as far as I knew I was the last possible incarnation of the Doctor. And I’ve never been anything like what you just described.” The two gaped at one another, visibly puzzled by each other and eventually Bill shook her head with a disbelieving scoff.
“No, you’re not the Doctor. You can’t be. You’re English, and you’ve genuinely smiled more in the past five minutes that the Doctor has in the entire time I’ve known him!”
“Oh, well that sounds worrying. Where did you meet him? Me, Same person, I just apparently haven’t met you yet.”
“That doesn’t make sense.”
“Yeah, ignore that it doesn’t make sense, answer the question.” He stepped away from the panel on the wall, reaching into his pocket and pulling out something that Bill would assume might be a sonic screwdriver but it was green tipped, longer than the one the Doctor she knew had and she jerked back as he began to move it over her as he scanned her.
“What’re you doing?”
“Scanning you, checking- well, doesn’t matter.” He huffed as he looked back over the data he recorded and found nothing irregular about her, just a normal human girl. “So, where do you meet me?”
“Not you. The Doctor.”
“And I’m the Doctor. Time Lords, we change when we die. But we’re meant to have a capped limit on the amount of regenerations we have and I’m the last one so… who have you been travelling with?” Bill gaped at him, brain racing at the question for a second over the identity of the Doctor but only for a second before her resolve solidified and she frowned at the man in the bowtie.
“He’s a lecturer at the university I work at. A girl I liked became a puddle and he helped me cause she followed me to the end of the universe. He took me there, to prove it. Helped me get rid of her.”
“A lecturer? He has a job? Well then now I know that it’s not me. I don’t do jobs.”
“He’s there to guard the vault. I think he just does the lecturer thing as something to pass the time. He’s not really supposed to be taking me places, says he had a job to do looking after the vault, but he cheats off sometimes, leaves Nardole to watch things.”
“Nardole? Who’s Nardole?”
“The Doctor’s assistant? I dunno, Nardole said the Doctor made him.”
“My assistant? Made him?” he scoffed once more before shaking his head with a heavy sigh, hands waving about next to his head for a moment, “no, hang on. This isn’t all that important right now. We should get out of here first, then deal with all this while on the way.” He whirled back to the wall, hands working double time and then he stopped again, face scrunched up in annoyance, “why would I be working at a university?!”
“I dunno!” Bill tossed her own hands up in reply, “there’s a vault underneath it that he said he was guarding.”
“A vault? What’s inside of it?” he leaned towards her and she shrugged.
“Missy? Who’s Missy?”
“Old enemy slash friend of the Doctor’s.”
“I dunno, he said they grew up together. Really old friends.” She watched once more as his brain tried to come up with the answer to his questions and something seemed to click but he said nothing about it and let out a quiet hum then turned back to the panel in the wall, this time actually ripping out a few of the wires and a therebefore unseen door at the end of the cell slid open and he turned back to her.
“Bill Potts, I say that we escape and find this future version of me and my friends.”
“You suddenly believe me?”
“If who I think is in that vault is actually the person in the vault then it makes total sense for me to be a university lecturer. Passes the time, like you said. I’ve always enjoyed teaching people things. I wanna meet him, come on.”
“Hold on, can you even meet a future version of yourself? If you are him. Isn’t there, like, rules against it?”
“Yeah, probably. Come on. Let’s find out where we are.” He jogged towards the door with a skip in his step and Bill watched after him for a moment in total bemusement then hurried after him before he left her behind, hoping that they would indeed find the Doctor once they were out.