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Fifth Doctor Drabbles

Chapter Text

The Doctor walked toward the white figure. “Look here, why are you following us?

The Watcher’s thoughts seeped into the Doctor’s mind like radio static. “Logopolis.”

“It’s just with the cloister bell, the Master, and the effects of entropy, I’m a bit busy. Did you say something?”

“Go to Logopolis.”

“But the Master! I couldn’t possibly risk…”

“The time of your regeneration nears.”

The Doctor blinked in surprise. “It does?”

“It is being prepared for. Go to Logopolis. The universe is in danger.”

“Again? Well, we can’t have that.” The Doctor touched his scarf contemplatively. “What can you tell me?”

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“I just want to know who you are and where I am!”

“You’re on Logopolis,” Adric said slowly, “it’s another planet.”

“What?” Tegan’s voice was pitched high with dismayed disbelief.

“The blue box, the TARDIS, is a time and space machine. The Doctor and I travel in it.”

“Why?”

“To see and learn new things. To help people in trouble, when we can.”

“I’m in trouble. I’m supposed to be at Heathrow Airport - it’s my first day, I can’t be late! Besides, my Auntie Vanessa…”

“I’m sure the Doctor will take you home soon. You won’t be late. Trust us.”

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Adric saw the thread and followed it - at the end, he found the Doctor unraveling his scarf. It felt like a sad, final reminder that his Doctor was truly gone. This new Doctor was confused, babbling names Adric didn’t recognize as he stumbled deeper into the TARDIS. Adric followed, but noticed a distracting hum in the back of his mind, a sense that he was both here and someplace else.

The hum resolved into a familiar voice: “I am the Master and you will obey me!”

In horror, Adric remembered the coordinates he’d entered. Event One. He’d killed them all!

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It was dark in Castrovalva when Nyssa woke, but a distant glow hinted that dawn was close. She rolled on her side to look at Tegan, still asleep in the nightgown the Castrovalvans had given her. Nyssa wondered how she could sleep so soundly given their situation. The losses of Nyssa’s family and planet were so new she hadn’t had time to grieve them yet, and the man responsible had almost destroyed the only people she had left.

Nyssa had been raised to pity evil. She wasn’t sure she could pity the Master, but she could try to stop him.

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“He’s not your Doctor anymore. Your Doctor died, remember?”

Tegan felt a twinge of satisfaction as Adric’s face blanched. Whatever special status Adric had previously, it ended when the Doctor died. Now the four of them were on equal footing - strangers together. Perhaps she shouldn’t have said it, but he’d made it clear he considered her lacking in every sense. Sure, Tegan wasn’t a maths prodigy, scientist, or Time Lord, but she was a person! She had value! She wasn’t about to let anyone forget that.

Besides, Adric almost killed them all…twice! He had no room to judge anyone.

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He closed the door and hoped she’d be okay. The death of a child was difficult enough, but an Anima infestation as well…

The Doctor walked down the front steps and spotted his TARDIS at the end of the lane. He wondered if his own children were awake yet. Well, they weren’t really his - not by birth or choice. He’d inherited them, as it were. Still, what would he do if one of them died? He shook off the thought and, giving the house one last glance, he hurried onward.

He’d lost companions that way before, long ago. Never again.

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Adric was confused. Why did the Doctor take Tegan with him? She didn’t understand alien cultures or technologies; she wasn’t clever at anything. All she did was yell and complain. She couldn’t help him like Adric could - the two of them were a team.

Nyssa, on the other hand, was a bit too competent. The Doctor had ordered him to stay with her in the laboratory, but she didn’t need his help. Adric watched as she repaired some scientific equipment, but soon grew bored. He needed to prove his value to the Doctor and he couldn’t do that stuck here!

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The Doctor chatted enthusiastically with Adric, but inside he seethed. They were being monitored and too many lives depended on him stopping Monarch for the Doctor to risk saying what he really thought, so he acted flippantly instead.

He was disappointed in Adric. How could someone so intelligent support such an evil plan? How could he think the Doctor would supported it? Hadn’t he learned anything from their travels?

Finally free of audio surveillance, he put an arm around Adric’s shoulders and smiled. It was time to end this foolishness. “Now listen to me you young idiot,” he began quietly…

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Tegan was the first one out of the TARDIS once they landed. She looked around in disgust at the rolling hills and the shining river. “Still not Heathrow. You sure you’re licensed to drive this crate?”

“My TARDIS is not a crate,” the Doctor replied, avoiding her question.

“It’s a lovely place at least,” Nyssa began, trying to be the peacemaker as usual. “Where are we Doctor?”

“And why are we here?” Adric asked, sounding annoyed. He always sounded annoyed these days.

“No idea.” The Doctor grinned happily and pointed at a nearby village. “Let’s go find out, shall we?”

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“Hurry! Back to the TARDIS,” the Doctor yelled.

Nyssa followed, coughing on the smoke swirling around them. “What was that thing?”

“A dragon,” Tegan replied. “A real life, fire-breathing dragon.”

“It looked like one, didn’t it?” The Doctor fumbled with the key. “Although dragons don’t actually exist.”

“You can tell it that to its face, Doc, it’s heading right for us!”

The door opened and the Doctor ushered his charges inside. Almost immediately the ship began rocking violently.

“What’s happening?” Nyssa asked, struggling to keep upright.

“I think it picked up the TARDIS.” The Doctor looked around. “Wait, where’s Adric?”

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“Are you sure you’re alright, Tegan?”

“Don’t fuss, Nyssa. A few hours sleep and I’ll be right as rain. If we can just get off this planet…”

Some distance away, the Doctor stood talking with Todd. “Doctor!” Nyssa called loudly. Then she turned to Tegan. “They look very comfortable together. Do you think she’ll join us?”

“That’s all we need. I mean, she seems nice enough…”

“No,” Adric interrupted. “She’s clever but conventional. I doubt life in the TARDIS would suit her.”

“You’re full of charm and kindness today, aren’t you Adric?” Tegan glared at him.

“Doctor!” Nyssa called again.

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The Doctor walked with Todd toward the TARDIS. The conversation was quiet, comfortable, the kind shared by two people who had survived something difficult together. Part of the Doctor’s mind was on the conversation, but part was on Todd herself. She was clever, capable in a crisis, and all around good company. Maybe he should ask…

“Doctor!” called Nyssa from where she, Tegan, and Adric stood huddled together near the TARDIS.

After all, Tegan would be leaving them soon. Maybe Todd…

“Doctor!”

The Doctor glanced back at his waiting companions. Perhaps not. He had plenty of company at the moment.

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The Doctor fumed quietly. He’d had two arguments with his companions and the day had barely started. Perhaps he was strict with Adric, but the boy’s recklessness worried him. And then there was Tegan - if only she’d listen instead of yelling! Even Nyssa seemed to question his every move lately.

Had his previous companions been this difficult? Certainly they’d all had bad days, but on the whole they’d just said, “Yes Doctor,” and got on with saving the universe. Too many teenagers in this group perhaps?

“I’m too old for this,” he muttered to himself. “I’m a grandfather, after all.”

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The Doctor frowned at his companions. “Earthlings!” he grumbled and stormed out of the TARDIS after Tegan.

Nyssa and Adric shared a look. Neither of them were from Earth, a fact the Doctor seemed to forget whenever it was convenient.

“Does he seem different?” asked Adric. “Moodier?”

“You’re just saying that because he reprimanded you earlier.”

“He’s impatient with everyone these days. Me and Tegan, even you sometimes. Maybe his regeneration went wrong?”

“Or perhaps the Doctor is struggling to adjust just like the rest of us?” Nyssa patted Adric’s arm gently. “Be patient, I’m sure everything will be fine.”

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Tegan was done.

She was tired of running down corridors being chased by monsters and maniacs, tired of being constantly afraid for her life. She wanted off the TARDIS and back to the real world. If the Doctor couldn’t or wouldn’t take her home, what other options were there? No one else could pilot the ship…except Adric.

Could she talk him into it though? They didn’t get along, even at the best of times. Perhaps she could appeal to his ego? Adric certainly had plenty of that! Or maybe getting rid of her would be enough motivation by itself?

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That hadn’t gone as planned.

Tegan ran, bumping into walls every few steps. The incessant beeping of the timer was getting on her nerves, but that was probably the point.

“Ohhhhh,” cooed Clarimonde as Tegan tripped and fell hard, “that looked painful. Do be careful, Tegan.”

Swallowing a curse, Tegan stood up and kept running. Adric had been right, his piloting the TARDIS had been a bad idea. All it had managed to do was land her here, alone in the dark, being hunted by space vampires.

If she survived this, she’d never call Dracula “just a story” ever again.

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The marionettes were gorgeously crafted and intricately detailed, from Nyssa’s red velvet pant-suit to the perfect lilac of Tegan’s uniform. Adric reached out to touch them, but the Doctor grabbed his arm.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, confused. “They’re just toys.”

“They aren’t. They’re actually Tegan and Nyssa.” The Doctor looked around them. “Celestial Toymaker? I know you’re here, I recognize your work. Let my friends go and we’ll talk.”

“Let them go, Doctor?” The Toymaker stepped out from the shadows. “Why? I’ve looked into their futures and, should they leave here, they’ll have far worse than me pulling their strings.”

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Hours later he found her sitting alone in the cloister room. “Nyssa? Is everything okay?”

“I was just thinking.” She looked at him curiously. “Doctor? What happened to Susan?”

“Ah.” He sat beside her and was quiet for a moment. “We traveled together. One day she…stayed behind, moved on with her life.”

“Do you miss her?”

“Yes, but it was time. Perpetual travel isn’t for everyone.”

“What about you? Don’t you miss your home? It looked lovely.”

“Gallifrey? Too much petty politics for me.”

“But aren’t you…lonely?”

“With you, Tegan, and Adric here?” He grinned. “Not a chance.”

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Nyssa perched on the edge of an overstuffed armchair. Tegan sat beside her while Adric, the Doctor, and his friend Harry Houdini sat on any flat surface they could find. They were all eating something Tegan called “fish and chips,” which Houdini had purchased from a nearby shop. Although it was different from the food Nyssa was used to, she liked it.

Harry and the Doctor laughed together, telling stories of their past adventures while Adric pestered them with questions. It was good to see the Doctor enjoying himself, but Nyssa couldn’t shake the feeling that something was terribly wrong.

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“Are you alright, Tegan?”

“I’m fine.” She glanced up. “It was just a shock…finding those bodies.”

“I dare say it was.” The Doctor kept searching the Johannes Kepler’s computers for data as he spoke. “You can head back to the science hubs if you’d like. I’m sure Nyssa and Adric would appreciate the company.”

“Yeah right,” Tegan chuckled. “Besides, I know how you get when people start messing with history. Someone needs to make sure you don’t do anything stupidly heroic.”

He grinned. “I’m touched…I think.”

“In the head. But I’ve been telling you that for a while.”

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Adric lay on his bed, staring at the ceiling. One minute Autumn had been beside him - being brilliant and brave - and the next she’d been mortally wounded. He couldn’t help feeling it was his fault. If she hadn’t been flirting with him maybe she would’ve seen the danger and avoided it?

It was so unfair! Autumn had so much to offer, not only as a science prodigy but as a person. Adric briefly weighed his odds of piloting the TARDIS back to save her without the Doctor noticing, but he knew it was impossible even before he did the math.

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“You mustn’t die, Doctor.”

Nyssa’s voice came from far away and Adric felt compelled to agree. “You know that, Doctor,” he said into the darkness. The air was biting cold and he could see trees moving in the wind.

Adric woke in his bed on the TARDIS. He lay still, getting his bearings while listening to the familiar sounds of the ship. It must have been a dream but, just to be sure, he left his bedroom and headed toward the console room. There he found the Doctor tinkering and talking to himself. Adric smiled and went back to bed.

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“I can get you there sooner.”

“You could?” Sir Robert grinned. “Alright! You do that.”

“Certainly!” Closing the TARDIS door, the Doctor began setting coordinates.

“Is this a good idea, Doc? You’ve not had much luck getting where you want to go in this thing.”

“Piloting a time-space vessel is complicated, Tegan. But a small hop in space, without moving in time, is relatively simple.”

The three companions shared a skeptical look. Moments later, the TARDIS landed at the railway station.

“You were saying?” Tegan asked.

“Ah.” He moved a lever and they took off again. “Next stop, Cranleigh Hall.”

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Once his wound had healed Adric tried to explore the spaceship, but found the doors locked. Trapped, he turned to the only other thing in the room: Damson Hyde’s survival pod. He’d begun making sense of the systems when he heard a familiar sound behind him. A transit portal appeared and Damison and the Dar Trader stepped through.

“Where are my friends?” Adric demanded angrily. “Bring them back now!”

Damison smiled smugly and fingered a dark object. “Relax, boy. No doubt your friends will join us shortly.”

Before Adric could answer, he felt the Dar Trader’s spear against his throat.

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They were tied together and surrounded with dynamite, like something out of The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.

“So where have you been?” Tegan asked, highly unamused.

“Wandering the tunnels below the club, mostly,” Nyssa strained at the ropes, “with Adric and Marjorie.”

“Marjorie?”

“She took us to where they’re making the Edwards.”

“Making them?”

“They’re clones.”

“Clones! Working in a 1860s London gentlemen’s club? Why?”

“Who knows? But we must warn the Doctor and the others that the basement is rigged to explode!”

“I’ve got a better plan.”

“You do?”

“Don’t sound so surprised, Nyssa. Help me with this knot!”

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“Nyssa,” Adric said casually, “I’d like to test a theory.”

“What theory?” Nyssa moved a figure on the chess board. Across from her Tegan scowled in concentration.

“You’re good with technology and I’m excellent at maths. Between the two of us we could pilot the TARDIS.”

Tegan looked horrified. “Have you lost your mind?”

“It could work,” Nyssa interjected, “and think of the benefits. What if the Doctor is incapacitated again?”

“Exactly,” Adric agreed. “If he won’t finish teaching us, we’ll teach ourselves!”

“I've got a bad feeling about this,” Tegan muttered as she followed them to the console room.

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“You are the celebrated assassin, the Scorpion?”

Nyssa knew what the Doctor would say to that. While he relied on mistaken identity frequently, pretending to be an assassin was contrary to his nature. Still, they needed to escape this cell and to find Adric and Tegan.

“No,” the Doctor began, “I’m really not-“

“Yes, he really is,” Nysssa interjected. Remembering a movie she’d watched with Tegan called Flash Gordon, she attempted to mimic the characters’ tone and dialog. “He is the Scorpion and I am his apprentice, Nyssa…the Destroyer! He kills for money, I murder because I like it!”

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Adric watched Tegan disentangle herself from the parachute he’d accidentally triggered. “Need any help?”

“What I need,” she glared at him, “is for you to not touch anything else until I’m out of harm’s way.”

Within minutes she joined him in the cockpit. “Don’t know how we’re supposed to protect the duchess from this Scorpion person if we’re both here.”

“Let’s focus on one thing at a time,” Adric admonished. “She wants this flying platform destroyed, so help me find some way to do that.”

“Have you tried hitting the controls with something?” she asked. “That usually works for me.”

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The TARDIS was dead.

The Doctor ran his fingers over the familiar controls, pushing his anger and grief aside for the moment. He needed to be logical and think of some way to fix this. Tegan, Nyssa, and Adric were his first priority. The thing that had killed his ship would soon come for them all, it was only a matter of time.

Time. What if…

The Doctor worked quickly. If there was enough power, perhaps he could displace them in time. They’d be angry, of course, but then they always were.

At least they’d be safe. That’s what mattered.

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“I want you safe because you’re children!”

“Children!” Tegan replied indignantly. Nearby, Nyssa and Adric were also loudly complaining about the Doctor’s choice of words. But it wasn’t just that, he was sending them to some unknown time without protection or a means of escape. What were they supposed to do then? Sit around waiting to be rescued?

Well Tegan wasn’t a child and she wasn’t helpless. And, despite what the Doctor thought, he couldn’t always fix everything himself. While the others argued, she quickly stepped outside the stone circle.

Seconds later, a light flared. Nyssa and Adric were gone.

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“Oh Tegan,” the Doctor cried out in anguish. She’d been so brave, despite her exhaustion. She deserved better than dying here. Clutching her hand in his, he felt a slow pulse in her wrist and struggled to keep the relief off his face.

“Where are you taking…that,” Sabaoth’s disembodied voice asked as the Doctor pulled Tegan into his arms.

“Most cultures have rituals for handling the dead. I can’t bury her, so I’m taking her to a stasis capsule.” And, with any luck, he thought as he carried her into the TARDIS, you won’t realize she’s not dead yet.

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The Doctor walked toward the hotel with a spring in his step.

“I don’t know your friend well,” Joe said slowly, as they watched from the medical center, “but he seems to be enjoying himself.”

Tegan winced. “It’s not personal. The Doctor just can’t resist a mystery.”

“And usually the stakes are much higher than this,” Adric remarked. “He must be quite relieved to be dealing with only two murders.”

“Adric!” Tegan hissed, appalled. “They’re Joe’s family, remember?”

“Do you think he’ll be okay with Maria Mazzini?” Nyssa asked, changing the subject.

“I think,” Tegan smirked, “she’ll eat him alive.”

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“Wait up! ” Tegan ran after the others with Joe following closely behind. “We’ve got a plan.”

“I thought we already had one,” Adric turned and glared at them. “Explore the villa for secret passages.”

“That’s your plan and no one’s stopping you. Nyssa, Joe is going to request to see his aunt’s body at the morgue. You go with him and see if you can figure out how she was killed.”

“Why would they let me in?”

“Just say you’re his girlfriend or something.” Joe and Nyssa eyed each other awkwardly as Tegan continued. “Meanwhile, I’ll check on the Doctor.”

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“I didn’t pick them, I inherited them from my previous incarnation.” The robot bleeped and the Doctor frowned at him. “It’s not like that. I do like them, it just took us a while to get used to each other. They’ve grown so much over our travels. Now each one, in their own way, has become quite capable.” The robot beeped. “Proud? I suppose I am. Take this situation: while I’m here, falsely accused and imprisoned, Tegan, Nyssa, and Adric are out there trying to solve the murders and exonerate me.” He sighed resignedly. “Makes one feel rather redundant, really.”

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Nyssa found her friend in the cloister room. “Tegan? Are you alright?”

She didn’t look up. “Sure. It’s just…Joe asked me to stay with him.”

“He did?” Nyssa looked taken aback. “I know you two got along, but that’s rather forward.“

“No, it was sweet…and I was tempted.”

“You were?”

“It’s not often I meet someone who’s nice, funny, and attractive. Plus, he’ll inherit his family’s money and time machine. He could’ve taken me home or we could’ve traveled-“

“You’re already doing that…with us.”

“Exactly.” Tegan hugged Nyssa. “And you lot need me more than he does.”

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“No, Adric.”

“But I want to find Romana and K9! They’re the only people who take me seriously, I’d be better off with them.”

“Do you want to destroy the TARDIS, hmmm? Put Tegan, Nyssa, all of our lives at risk just because you feel you’re not getting enough attention?”

“That’s not fair! The TARDIS survived the trip to E-Space before.”

“With difficulty and a great deal of luck.”

“Well you won’t need luck this time. I’m here.” Adric smiled smugly up at the Doctor who frowned and stormed toward the control room.

“No Adric, I will not do it!”

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“Ridiculous! After everything we’ve been through he’s ready jump ship and why?” As the Doctor ranted, he paced the TARDIS corridor. “A temper tantrum! Because he thinks I pay more attention to you and Nyssa.”

“Did Adric actually say that?” Tegan stood nearby watching.

“Yes, of course! I’m not in the habit of making things up, Tegan.”

“I didn’t mean…”

“Well, let him try his calculations.” The Doctor stopped suddenly. “Do you know what I’m going to do?”

“No Doctor?”

“I’m taking us to Earth. I’m always welcome on Earth and a warm, sunny walk will cheer us all up.”

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“How is he?” Nyssa gestured toward where the Doctor stood shivering at the far end of the cavern.

“Trying to pretend he didn’t land in the wrong place again.” Tegan answered quietly. “How did it go in there?” She nodded toward the TARDIS.

“Adric’s regretful. He didn’t intend to take it that far. He just got carried away.”

“They both did. Honestly, boys and their egos. They may be geniuses, but they haven’t a clue how to talk to each other.”

“They’re too much alike.”

“Too right. Guess it’s up to we mere mortals to fix this mess. Come on.”

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Adric was dead.

The Doctor felt gutted, but there wasn’t time to mourn. He had to rescue the surviving soldiers and crew and return them to their time zone. Why hadn’t the boy left on the escape pod? But the answer was obvious and the Doctor knew it instantly: because he was Adric - heroic, stubborn, and determined to prove his computations were correct. The Doctor glanced across the console at Nyssa and Tegan. Both were exhausted and devastated. The Doctor couldn’t save Adric, but he could take care of them. He needed to make them feel better. A holiday, perhaps?

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“He wouldn’t want us to mourn unnecessarily.”

Tegan looked at the Doctor in disbelief. What did that even mean? Adric had just died, why shouldn’t they mourn him?

She and Adric hadn’t been close but, over time, they’d developed a grudging friendship and respect. The Doctor and Nyssa, on the other hand, had known Adric longer and were the nearest thing to family he had. So Tegan was stunned that they were avoiding discussing his death by acting as if nothing had happened. Sure, grief took many forms, but she hoped they’d be more emotional if they ever lost her.

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The Doctor hurried back into the TARDIS and quickly set new coordinates.

“Where’s Tegan?” asked Nyssa, worried.

“She left and took her flight bag with her. I have to assume she decided to remain behind.”

“She seemed a little homesick, but she wouldn't leave without saying goodbye!”

“Perhaps Tegan thought it’d be better that way? I don’t know. What I do know is that if we don’t leave now we’ll have a lot of unfortunate questions to answer.” The Doctor thumped the console with his fist and the time rotor began moving.

“But, where are we going?”

“Let’s find out!”

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Snagging the energy tracker from the toolbox, Nyssa followed the Doctor onto Alaska’s frozen tundra. In some ways nothing had changed: the Doctor strode ahead, cheerfully expounding on places and people for whom she had no context. But where before she’d ask Tegan for a quick explanation or share an exasperated look with Adric, now it was just she and the Doctor. Nyssa missed her friends and wondered if she’d ever get used to life in the TARDIS without them.

Startled by a noise, she paused. She saw only snow and some birds, but still felt they were being followed.

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Nyssa watched the Doctor work underneath the TARDIS console. “Can you get them home?”

“Of course, why do you ask?”

“Because we rarely end up when or where we’re supposed to.”

“That’s unfair!”

“What about all those times you tried to take Tegan home?”

“Yes…well…”

“And it probably isn’t wise to have a ghost onboard for an extended period, even if he is very nice.”

“Hmmm…”

“Not to mention several psychically gifted individuals.”

“I don’t know why that would be an issue, after all you and I manage just fine.” The Doctor grinned at her and continued the repairs.

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The Doctor writhed on the floor of the chamber. “I’m sorry, Doctor,” Kwundaar’s voice seemed to come from everywhere, “if your mental defenses were weaker this wouldn’t take as long.” He chuckled. “It wouldn’t be less painful, of course.”

“Lucky me.” The Doctor tried to sit up but collapsed backward. The being’s vice-like grip on his mind flexed and for a moment the pain eased. “I’ve no time for this - Nyssa is dying!”

“Yes, but if you give me what I want she will live.”

“So tell me what you want!”

“All in good time.” Then the pain began again.

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It was odd being on Traken again. If Nyssa felt better she might revel in this homecoming, but her illness sapped her strength.

“Clear your mind,” Sabian said as he helped her into the warm, soothing water of the healing pool. “If that’s too difficult, focus on a happy memory.”

At first Nyssa pictured her parents, but those memories brought with them thoughts of the Master and Traken’s destruction. Instead she focused on Cranleigh Hall. She remembered watching the Doctor play cricket, learning to dance the Charleston from Tegan, and teasing Adric about the buffet.

Finally, Nyssa smiled and relaxed.

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With a ding the time rotor stopped. It was as smooth a landing as you could wish for, but something felt off. The Doctor checked the readings. This was supposed to be Earth and the coordinates were nearly right. In the back of his mind a suspicion began to stir - he knew of one planet that was almost, but not quite Earth.

The Doctor was debating dematerializing when Nyssa walked into the console room.

“Where are we now?” she asked, a bright, trusting smile on her face.

“I’m…not completely certain. Might as well explore a bit to find out!”

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“Don’t cry. We’re all back together now, like a proper family.”

Mr. Hartley comforted his daughter through the cybernetic shell. Nearby Nyssa watched sadly. A few hours before they had been laughing while decorating the Hartley’s holiday tree, now Yvonne had been changed into one of the creatures who had killed Adric.

Nyssa believed you could always make things better - the power of “if,” as Tegan had said once. She wanted to do that here, as had the Doctor despite his protestations. But the longer they stayed on Mondas the more inevitable everything seemed, almost as if it were fated.

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“Weren’t you tempted?”

Nyssa yawned over her breakfast. “Hmmm?”

“Hollis is a good man and the two of you clearly got on.” The Doctor spoke with what Nyssa suspected was false nonchalance. “The people of Cray will have a very hard time of it for a while, now that Naxy has ended. You could have found a place there…done some good.”

“That’s true.” She studied him closely before continuing. “And Hollis is a good man, but I didn’t love him. And besides, I can do more good with you.”

The Doctor smiled shyly. “On to the next adventure then?”

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Nyssa sat on the floor of the console room, sipping a cup of tea. Soon the Doctor emerged from a trapdoor in the floor and began running diagnostics.

“All fixed?” she asked, somewhat guiltily.

“I’ve removed your 'repairs,'” the Doctor replied. “The chameleon circuit is still broken so she’s back to being a police box, which we can both agree is better than being a whale.”

Nyssa nodded silently.

The Doctor handed her a large book. “The TARDIS manual. Promise me you’ll read it before you decide to tinker again?”

She smiled up at him. “I will if you will.”

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Nyssa crept out of bed, careful not to wake Andrew. She kissed him gently one last time before gathering her clothes to leave. She cared for him, but she needed more - a purpose of her own, something bigger than herself. She couldn’t remain his fairy tale princess forever. And besides, she wasn’t quite done seeing all of time and space yet.

She placed her manuscript on the table downstairs and asked Anton to make sure it got to Andrew. Then she went to find the Doctor. She was sure that by now he was eager to start a new adventure.

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“Christmas!”

Nyssa didn’t take her eyes off her book. “Christmas?”

The Doctor frowned at her lack of attention. “What better time for a relaxing holiday than Christmas?”

“That would mean Earth...again?”

“Christmas is celebrated other places as well,” he replied defensively.

“But you’re taking us to Earth,” she smiled knowingly, “aren’t you?”

“As a matter of fact, I thought we could revisit Stockbridge-”

“NO!” Nyssa’s eyes widened in horror. “At least,” she continued, recovering her composure, “please not the 21st century.”

“Why not?”

“It…would be awkward. Andrew might still be there.”

“Oh,” he nodded, not really understanding. “Right.”

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“Absorb her!

Nyssa backed away from the two creatures. “If you do that, you’ll never escape this planet!”

The Rutan drone leader paused. “Explain yourself. Quickly!”

“Your spaceship crashed here, didn’t it?”

“We will grow a new one.”

“That will take time, perhaps hundreds of years. What would you need to make repairs to the original ship?”

“An energy lattice.”

“How fortunate that I have one on my ship.”

“Your ship?”

“Indeed.” Nyssa drew herself up to her full height. “For I, Nyssa of Traken, am a drone leader too. The man you met earlier, the Doctor, is my…underling.”

Chapter Text

Nyssa sat bolt upright in bed.

“Where am I?” Smoothing her hands over the sheets, she looked around the room. “I don’t remember going to sleep. Wasn’t I somewhere else? With the Doctor?”

She heard knocking downstairs. Unable to find her own clothes, she put on a blouse and skirt that lay nearby.

“I’m coming,” she yelled, running to open the door. “Yes?”

“Sorry to wake you, Miss Nyssa.” The man on the doorstep doffed his cap. “Would you open up the post office? I need a book of stamps-”

“Post office?”

“Well yeah. You are the postmistress, after all.”

Chapter Text

Nyssa didn’t share the Doctor’s nostalgia about Stockbridge, but she’d spent enough time there that walking down the empty streets felt odd. “Isn’t it lonely here?” she asked Lysette.

“Sometimes,” the tour guide admitted, “but it’s also lovely. Much more peaceful than living on one of the satellites.”

“Have you and your father lived here long?”

“Quite a while. I’m afraid you’re not seeing it at its best. There was a time-”

“And the clones?”

“We’ve always had some, but since the cutbacks we’ve needed more to give the place a lived-in look.”

Nyssa eyed the vacant buildings dubiously. “Right.”

Chapter Text

The Doctor hopped in place as he pulled on the environment suit. “You’d better move the postmistress into another room before I go, Isaac.”

Isaac glanced at the woman tied to a chair. Her black eyes stared back as she hissed and bit at the air. “By myself?”

“I’m otherwise occupied and time is short, to judge by the sounds of the other villagers banging at the door.”

“Oh. Alright.” He stepped gingerly around the chair and began dragging her away.

“I’ve done riskier things, I suppose,” the Doctor muttered, “but I can’t think of any examples at the moment.”

Chapter Text

With the mechanical crows blotting out the shuttle’s observation dome, the Doctor couldn’t see the vehicle hit the trees but he certainly felt it. Clinging to the pilot’s chair, he watched the gloves he’d worn as protection from the chemical rain slide onto the floor.

“Maybe this wasn’t the best idea,” he said to no one in particular.

“Doctor!” Isaac yelled through the communicator. “Are you okay?”

“The jury’s still out on that.”

Moments later the shuttle crashed into the ground. As the Doctor lost consciousness, a large crack spread across the dome and rain began to slowly seep inside.

Chapter Text

The Doctor stepped out of the TARDIS and spread his arms wide. “Palomar Ballroom, Los Angeles, 1935. Benny Goodman’s band is giving a concert that will begin the Age of Swing!”

Nyssa heard the music as she joined him. “Did you mean to arrive after the performance was underway, Doctor?”

“It’s not until they’re about to lose the crowd that they really kick it in gear,” he answered, holding out his hand. “Shall we?”

An hour later they were standing outside, slightly singed.

“1939, the year the Palomar burns.” The Doctor looked chagrined. “It’s a mistake anyone could make, really.”

Chapter Text

The Doctor began the morning as he had for three years: by reminding himself who he was. Although his mind was healing, he still had gaps in his memory and the repetition helped. Then he moved quietly through the Gantha spaceship and out into the spice market. He greeted his favorite merchant and sat near the last place he’d seen Nyssa and his TARDIS.

He was confident the Chanarchy would grow tired of playing a Time Lord, and that both Nyssa and the imposter would return here. He was prepared to wait however long it took - 1001 nights and beyond.

Chapter Text

“The planet Mojox,” the Doctor announced as he and Nyssa left the TARDIS, “which sounds terribly familiar.”

“To me too, but I can’t quite place it…”

A passerby interrupted her. “It’s you,” the woman exclaimed.

“You…know us?”

“You saved the Mojoxalli from the Daleks!” The woman smiled. “Everyone knows Nyssa and her assistant.”

“Ah…” the Doctor began.

“Don’t listen to her,” interjected another woman, “she’s telling the story all wrong. You didn’t save us.”

“No?”

“Your Dalek duplicates did, see?” She pointed toward the city square where several statues of Nyssa holding test tubes towered over the market stalls.

Chapter Text

Traveling with the Doctor was important to Nyssa, but having her best friend back made everything perfect. Tegan seemed to feel the same. At a cafe near the TARDIS the two women chatted happily about all they’d experienced since they’d last been together. The Doctor, however, was uncharacteristically quiet. When Tegan stepped away for a moment, Nyssa placed a hand on his arm.

“What’s wrong, Doctor? Aren’t you glad that Tegan is back?”

He paused. “I’m happy to see you both so happy,” he said at last. That wasn’t what she’d asked, but in her joy Nyssa let it pass.

Chapter Text

He’d been trying to get back to Amsterdam. Instead the TARDIS had landed on a Drashani spacecraft and in barely twenty minutes time he’d been arrested, interrogated, attacked by something called an Igris, and forced to abandoned ship. With the TARDIS lost in an explosion, he and the few Drashani survivors were crashing a damaged shuttle into a marsh and, if the crash didn’t kill them, he’d have to come up with a new plan so they wouldn’t all drown.

The Doctor sighed wearily. All in all, he’d had better days. He grabbed the safety restraints and braced for impact.

Chapter Text

The Doctor strode into the TARDIS and tapped a series of controls. A young man appeared on the scanner.

“Damon,” the Doctor began pacing, “I’ve searched Amsterdam but I’ve not found anything.”

“Doctor!”

“Which is odd, because we definitely saw Omega die here.”

“Doctor!”

“Rather we saw the physical bioimprint of me Omega was inhabiting die…”

“Please, Doctor! We’ve had a message!”

“Who from?

“You! Sending spacial-temporal coordinates now. You’re asking for help stopping Omega!”

“Am I indeed?” The Doctor looked at the data. “Same location as the original time experiments. Interesting. Well, must dash! Can’t disappoint myself, can I?”

Chapter Text

“Right! Back to Amsterdam to pick up Nyssa and Tegan. No more,” the Doctor paused as a light began blinking, “side trips.” He flipped some switches. “We’ve picked up a distress signal. No one else appears to be answering it.” Entering coordinates, he set off. “Perhaps one more trip.”

Minutes later, the TARDIS landed in a dark space. “Hello?” the Doctor called, stepping outside. “Anyone here?”

“Yes?” A young girl emerged from the shadows. “We’re prisoners. Can you help us?”

“I’ll try. I'm the Doctor and you are?”

“Brooke.” The girl limped slightly as she approached. “My name’s Brooke.”

Chapter Text

“Vienna!” The Doctor stretched out his arms as if to embrace the scene in front of him. “The 18th century. The time of Mozart-“

“We’re in the past?” Brooke wrinkled her nose. “History is just so…dull.”

Stepping out of the TARDIS, River gave her a sidelong glance. “History is anything but dull, trust me.”

“Yeah well, you would say that,” Brooke rolled her eyes, “you’re an archeologist.”

Ignoring her, River approached the Doctor. “Are you still getting readings of an alien substance."

He checked his device. “Yes, but it's diffused. Come on, let’s see if we can track it down.”

Chapter Text

“We’ve walked all around Vienna,” Brooke flopped onto a bench, “and we’re no closer to knowing what’s going on.”

“We’ve found traces of that unidentified alien substance everywhere,” River replied. “That’s something.”

“But not much.” The Doctor frowned. “And no evidence that it’s related to Mozart’s death or his Requiem.”

“The Requiem he didn’t finish and yet, apparently, he did.” River bit her lip. “We could try gaining access to his home-“

“I have a better idea.” He pointed at a house across the street. “Let’s try there.”

Brooke groaned as she stood up. “Why there?”

“Call it a hunch.”

Chapter Text

Tegan shifted impatiently as she stood in line for their coffees. She’d expected space travel after rejoining the TARDIS crew, not hiding from her ex-boyfriend in a cafe at the Rijkmuseum. But Kyle was so annoyingly persistent. It was part of why she’d dumped him.

She looked across the room where Nyssa sat waiting. How was she going to explain all this to her? Nyssa could fix complex computer systems or cure previously unknown diseases, but she was hardly experienced in this area.

Still it could be worse, Tegan conceded, she could be trying to explain it to the Doctor.

Chapter Text

Nyssa knelt on the floor of the cave. She felt the Dark, the thing that had invaded her mind since her nightmare on the TARDIS, lurching sluggishly through her veins. Nearby, the Doctor and Cadwell fought at the edge of the pit, the Time Lord clearly losing to the better trained Consortium official.

“Help him,” the Dark whispered. “Help the Doctor. It’s time.”

Nyssa stood. Grabbing Cadwell, she pulled him off balance and he fell at her feet. The thing in her mind stirred again, growing larger until it forced out every other thought.

“Soon,” it whispered, “I will live!”

Chapter Text

They were dead. Tegan. Nyssa. Everyone was dead.

The Doctor stared at the Dark as it writhed around he and Stoker. The lighter’s flame was dimming and, when it failed, the Dark would consume them both too.

“How much longer do you think we’ve got?” she asked.

Not long, he thought. He racked his brain for any way to fight or escape, but found nothing.

From the shadows, the Dark whispered into the Doctor’s subconscious. He looked at Stoker and was suddenly certain of the only action left to them. He handed her the lighter and searched for Cadwell’s gun.

Chapter Text

Tegan followed Ella inside the bombed-out shop where dozens of refugees and resistance fighters had taken temporary shelter. They had so little compared to the Elite but they were generous with what they did have, offering food and medical care to the survivors of the raid.

As she gratefully accepted a cup of hot soup, Tegan considered their options. The resistance’s raid on the train had freed her and the others, but it had also gotten a lot of people killed. There had to be a way to defeat the Elite without killing everyone on both sides in the process.

Chapter Text

“For the glory of the Elite!” Nyssa repeated as Thane’s priests manacled the Doctor.

The Doctor was stunned. She’d walked him into a trap under the pretext of finding Tegan! They’d only been separated a few hours, so how was this possible? Nyssa would never have given in to threats. Had she been drugged or brainwashed?

Brainwashing - that would explain a lot, the Doctor thought as he was manhandled into a waiting truck. No wonder the Elite had such a stranglehold on this society. But if it was manufactured obedience then perhaps he could find a way to end it.

Chapter Text

Nyssa smiled as Lord Zellenger complimented her, but she sensed he had ulterior motives. So when he hinted that he wanted her to replace Queen Zafira as both his wife and the ruler of Luparis, she was disgusted but not surprised. As they rode across the snow-covered fields, she kept her feelings from showing and avoided giving him any definite answers. She was a stranger to this world and keenly aware that a wrong word could be dangerous for her and her companions. Besides, Tegan’s friend Mike was still missing. Perhaps if she played along, she could find out why.

Chapter Text

The Doctor looked around his pre-marital apartment in a daze. He’d been trying to learn about Luparis, not get engaged to the queen! He searched his memory for any misleading signals he might have given but found none. The situation was completely mystifying.

He could attempt to find the others and leave, but if they got caught the consequences would be dire. Plus, he sensed that something was wrong here. He needed to know more.

The Doctor held up the hose to his Elizabethan wedding suit and made a disgruntled face. “Well, if I must, I must,” he muttered resignedly.

Chapter Text

“You want me to do what?”

“Quiet!” Anahita whispered to Tegan as they walked. “Pretend to be the Doctor’s wife, that might get you in to see him. If the guard won’t release the prisoners, you’ll need to get close enough to drug him.”

“How do you suggest I do that?” Tegan asked.

“I don’t know! Ask him questions, flirt if you have to, just make sure you’re within a hand’s breath before you spray the guard with this.” Anahita handed Tegan a small bottle. “It’s a short-lasting paralyzing agent.”

“Great,” Tegan sighed. “Doctor, you’re gonna owe me for this.”

Chapter Text

“This is paradise.” Tegan walked barefoot on the sand, admiring the double sunset in the distance.

Nyssa smiled and nudged her friend. “You almost sound happy.”

“If everywhere he brought us was like this, I’d never complain.” Tegan caught Nyssa’s skeptical look. “Really.”

“It does seem,” Nyssa hesitated as they saw a crowd running toward them, “…peaceful?”

The Doctor was at the front of the group. “No time to explain,” he said hurriedly as he passed. “Run!”

“Doctor!" Tegan yelled as she and Nyssa ran after him. “We only left you alone for five minutes! What have you done now?”

Chapter Text

“Pass me the temporal matrix inducer, please,” the Doctor asked from underneath the TARDIS console.

Nyssa located a cylindrical device, which she placed in The Doctor’s waiting hand, and returned to rewiring the ship’s malfunctioning sensors. They worked in companionable silence for a while.

Finally the Doctor stood and dusted himself off. “Ready?”

“Yes, let’s go get Tegan. She should have cleared quarantine by now.”

The Doctor paused. “Or we could take a short trip to test our repairs. Give her time…”

“Doctor,” Nyssa said sternly, “no.”

The Doctor sighed as he programed the coordinates. “It was just a thought.”

Chapter Text

Tegan watched the Doctor pace around the table on top of Nelson’s Column. He seemed agitated as he strode between the two men at either end. She was sure he was saying something but was too far away to hear.

She felt a tug on her sleeve. “Look!” Nyssa said urgently. She pointed at the stone lions near the base of the column - the lions that weren’t supposed to be there yet. The statues turned to growl at the friends before stalking toward them.

“Here we go again,” Tegan muttered under her breath as she and Nyssa began backing away.

Chapter Text

As the crew of the HMS Aquitaine left the TARDIS, Tegan pulled the Doctor and Nyssa aside. “Shouldn’t we warn somebody?” she whispered. “He’s dangerous!”

“He isn’t,” the Doctor corrected, “because that timeline no longer exists and there’s no evidence he’ll ever become a threat to anyone since he’s been removed from the situation.”

“But how can we be sure?” asked Nyssa.

“We can’t.” The Doctor looked sternly at them. “But we also can’t blame people for things they haven’t done yet.”

“Maybe you can’t,” Tegan said warily, “but I wouldn’t want to be stuck on a ship with him.”

Chapter Text

The demonstration was meant to be peaceful, but everyone was beginning to panic. All the exits were blocked and the protestors had nowhere to go - the press of bodies was claustrophobic.

Then the militia began riding through the crowd. People were being trampled. Nyssa saw a horse and rider heading directly for her. She reached out for Cathy and Peter, to pull them aside, but they were gone. She looked up in time to see the soldier’s sword slashing downward.

She screamed.

“Nyssa!” said Tegan, shaking her awake. “It’s just a dream.”

“No, it wasn’t,” Nyssa gasped, “that’s the problem!”

Chapter Text

The Doctor answered as many of Sophia’s questions as possible. Clearly the Monk had planned this trap for some time and, as usual, he’d given no thought for people like her who’d be hurt in the process.

But why switch him with his first self? Sophia said the Monk always intended the attack on the Doctor’s fifth incarnation as his primary one. And what had Vicki said? That he was more fretful than her Doctor?

Evidently the Monk had taken advantage of his uneasiness and uncertainty to steal his life. Now the Doctor had six days to win it back.

Chapter Text

Tegan placed the tea set on the tray and added the scones they bought while in 1982. She picked the whole thing up and headed toward the bedroom she shared with Nyssa. In the hallway outside she saw the Doctor pacing.

“Stop hovering,” Tegan said bluntly. “Nyssa is fine. All she needs is some tea, something to eat, and a good night’s rest.”

“I’m not hovering. But the situation at the theatre dredged up memories…about her father…”

“Which she used to save us and about 700 other people,” Tegan reminded him. “Stop worrying Doc, join us for tea instead.”

Chapter Text

The Mara was impatient to be free. The woman Tegan was an adequate shell to inhabit, but her friends threatened its plans. While Nyssa and the Doctor searched the city for her, the Mara concealed itself in the ceremonial caves.

Lon and the curator were temporary distractions until they left to do its bidding. Then it toyed with Dugdale, creating visions of his darkest desires or deepest fears to make him scream or beg on command. But even these games soon lost their appeal.

Still, the Mara had waited ages for its revenge - it could wait a few hours longer.

Chapter Text

The situation was awkward. They’d defeated the Mara, but they’d also made its return possible in the first place. So the travelers said their goodbyes quickly, the Doctor lingering only to give Chela instructions about the Great Mind’s Eye.

Once they returned to the TARDIS, Tegan turned wearily to the Doctor. “The Mara’s really gone?”

“Yes,” he replied, glancing at Nyssa who took Tegan’s arm. “Perhaps you should get some rest?”

“I doubt I’ll ever sleep again,” Tegan grumbled, but she went with her anyway. Suddenly Tegan stopped. “Nyssa, what on Earth are you wearing?”

Nyssa sighed. “Finally someone noticed!”

Chapter Text

The Black Guardian weighed his options. The Doctor would spot a trained assassin immediately. Perhaps his companions could be tricked into killing him? The Guardian quickly discarded that possibility, both women were far too loyal.

Who could get close to the Doctor without raising suspicions? A child? A boy, like the one the Doctor lost recently. Someone clever but devious and desperate. He scanned through time and space until he found the perfect candidate: a Trion stranded on the Doctor’s favorite planet and longing to leave. All that remained was to make Vislor Turlough an offer he dared not refuse.

Chapter Text

The Doctor stepped into the transmat capsule and looked down at Turlough. The boy clearly hadn’t noticed he was no longer alone.

“What’s your story?” the Doctor thought. “You aren’t from Earth or even this time zone. You have some rudimentary knowledge of temporal mechanics, which is interesting, and you’re desperate to leave Earth. But why? To go where? And how did you get here? My instincts say you’re in danger but I suspect you won’t be very forthcoming about that. I’ll just have to keep an eye on you, Turlough, for everyone’s sake, until I learn what’s going on.”

Chapter Text

“Let’s go crazy, let’s get nuts…”

The music was coming from Tegan and Nyssa’s room. Turlough was torn between curiosity and the need to sabotage the TARDIS - anything to get the Black Guardian out of his mind. At that thought, he moved quickly to open the door lest thinking about the immortal should conjure him screaming into his head.

Inside the music was much louder. Tegan was twirling around and laughing while Nyssa seemed to be doing…the Charleston.

“What…?” he began.

“Come on, ya drongo,” Tegan yelled, as she grabbed his hand and pulled him into a spin. “Dance!”

Chapter Text

“This is your mess, don’t know why I’m stuck cleaning it up.”

Turlough glared at Tegan as he scrubbed a muddy mark off the TARDIS wall. “Quit then. I don’t need your help.”

“And leave you alone? I don’t trust you.”

“So you’ve said. Repeatedly.”

“Can I help?” Nyssa asked quietly.

“After that knock you took?” Tegan looked between Nyssa and Turlough. “Why were you running anyway, Nyssa?”

“Dunno,” Turlough lied. “She kept saying the Doctor was dead. I was afraid those things would attack her so I followed her.”

“If you say so,” Nyssa replied. “I don’t remember anything.”

Chapter Text

“Tegan, I have to tell you something.”

“I’ve got stuff to tell you too. I’ve been stuck with Turlough for hours…”

“I’m staying on Terminus.”

“What? Nyssa, you must be joking.”

“These people need someone to teach them proper medical procedures, create more hydromel, test the Lazars cure - I can be that person.”

“They’re dangerous!”

“They need me, Tegan.”

“What about the Doctor and me?”

“I’ll miss you both, but I’ll do more good here. Please understand…”

“Understand what? That you’re throwing your life away? No, Nyssa! If you won’t listen to me, maybe you’ll listen to the Doctor. Doctor!”

Chapter Text

“What are you doing?” asked the Doctor.

“Tegan said I should move out anything I didn’t need,” Turlough replied. “So I’m…” He stopped when he noticed the Doctor’s disapproving look.

“This is Adric’s room.” The Doctor took a book out of Turlough’s hand and placed it gently back on the desk.

“And now it’s mine,” Turlough said. “Or isn’t it?”

“No, it isn’t. Put everything back where you found it and we’ll find a room for you.”

Once Turlough finished, the Doctor hurried him out and locked the door behind him. The next day, Turlough noticed Adric’s room was gone.

Chapter Text

“Doctor, can’t we go back to check on Nyssa?”

“Tegan, we must respect…” Suddenly the lights in the TARDIS dimmed. The Doctor looked at Tegan and then they both took off running. But when they reached the console room they found it empty. “Must be a fault of some sort.”

“In the TARDIS? I’m shocked.”

“Now Tegan. Ah Turlough…”

“It wasn’t me!” Turlough began defensively as he entered the room.

“Yes, I know. Be a good chap and get the chess set from the library.”

“What for?”

“To keep you and Tegan occupied while I figure out what’s going on.”

Chapter Text

“You sure you’re alright?” Tegan touched Turlough’s arm hesitantly as she walked beside him. She looked up at his neck. “Those marks look like someone meant business.”

“I’m fine, I just…”

“Fell. So you said. But you didn’t get those marks from a fall, someone tried to strangle you. Who was it? One of the crew? The officers?”

“Tegan.” The Doctor’s voice held a hint of warning.

“Aren’t you concerned at all, Doctor?”

“Yes of course I am.” The Doctor stopped walking and turned to look at his companions. “But I’m sure Turlough will tell us more when he’s ready.”

Chapter Text

“Throw him overboard!” Captain Wrack ordered.

Her first mate grabbed the Doctor and dragged him toward the hole in the floor. The Doctor locked eyes with Turlough. He could see the boy’s emotions flicker across his face. Confusion and fear were followed by hesitation, then angry resolve. Turlough pushed Wrack into the void. She hardly had time to scream before fading into nothing.

The Doctor struggled near the edge. Reaching out, Turlough grabbed his hand, pulling him to safety. The first mate attempted to follow but stepped too close to the opening. He was sucked into the vacuum of space.

Chapter Text

Nyssa worked furiously alongside the robot nurses to triage the influx of wounded. The Time War had come to this planet, as it had to many others, bringing misery and destruction in its wake.

“Controller Nyssa?” A man was pushing his way through the crowd. Middle-aged and attractive, he had short brown hair and compelling blue eyes.

“Yes?”

“I’m…Doctor Foster.” He offered his hand.

She declined, but smiled in greeting. “Are you a medical doctor?”

He nodded. “Graduated from Gloucester with top marks. You look like you could use some help.”

“Yes,” Nyssa replied, gratefully. “We’re a bit overwhelmed.”

Chapter Text

It was early the next morning before they had a chance to rest.

“Dr. Foster,” Nyssa began, sitting down wearily, “your arrival couldn’t have been more timely.”

“Happy to help. How long will you stay?”

“A few days. Then we’ll move on wherever we’re needed.”

He nodded. “Mind if I join you?”

“Are you sure?” Nyssa studied him. “It’s a nomadic existence-“

“But a worthwhile one. Besides, I’ve always enjoyed traveling.”

“Then, yes.” She smiled and shook his hand. “Welcome aboard the Traken, Dr. Foster.”

“Thank you, Controller Nyssa.” The Eighth Doctor grinned back at her. “You won’t regret it.”

Chapter Text

Turlough turned restlessly in the bed that Jed had given him. He couldn’t stop thinking about those last moments in the TARDIS: Tegan’s angry taunts; the Doctor’s frowning silence. Turlough sighed. He’d stormed out into the desert without a plan or a thought of the trouble he would cause them. Tegan was right, he’d been sulking.

Something else was bothering him too - the aliens caged in Winklemeyer’s traveling show. Turlough knew what it was like to be trapped. Sitting up, he made a decision. He’d make amends for his past and present mistakes by helping the Doctor rescue them all.

Chapter Text

“Another dead hero,” Turlough said sadly as he sat beside Berman. The Doctor put a comforting hand on the boy’s shoulder and nodded, before leaving to find a way to free Winklemeyer’s other prisoners.

Tegan stood beside Turlough, struggling with conflicting emotions. She hadn’t forgiven him for trying to kill the Doctor or sabotaging the TARDIS, and she still didn’t trust him. But he’d also put himself between her and the giant snake-thing that had tried to kill them. Looking down at Turlough’s grief-stricken face, Tegan forgot all that and acted on instinct. She knelt beside Turlough and hugged him.

Chapter Text

The Doctor grimaced. “Please stop yelling.”

“Tegan started it!” Turlough complained.

“No I didn’t!” she replied angrily. “And since I haven’t tried to kill anyone…”

“Recently,” the Doctor muttered under his breath.

Tegan glared at him, but continued, “I’m not the untrustworthy one here!”

“I’ve said I was sorry! How many times…”

“Enough!” The Doctor turned to look over his glasses at them. “Plotting a course to evade the Black Guardian requires concentration, which is difficult with you two bickering like siblings!”

Tegan and Turlough exchanged a look. “If we’re like siblings, what does that make you?” Turlough asked finally.

Chapter Text

Tegan welcomed her back to their old room so enthusiastically Nyssa couldn’t say no. The Doctor and even Turlough seemed happy to see her, but everything felt odd. Decades had passed for her, but only days for them. She had family and responsibilities now, she should get back to her life.

But the thrill of traveling with the Doctor was tempting. If she walked away now, would this chance ever come again? Plus the TARDIS had equipment to verify the Richter’s Syndrome cure…

Maybe she could spare a few days. The Doctor could return her soon after she’d left, right?

Chapter Text

The door to the TARDIS library closed quickly and the Doctor slumped against it.

Nyssa looked up from the array of books spread out in front of her. “What’s wrong?” she asked.

“I just needed a few moments peace.”

“Ah, Tegan and Turlough.” Nyssa chuckled and returned to her research. “You could always try banning them from the control room.”

“Why do they have to argue all the time - with me, with each other? Why can’t they get along?”

“It’s their nature, Doctor. Besides, it’s healthy to question things.”

“Yes, but would it kill them to be nice about it?”

Chapter Text

One moment Turlough was swimming beside her and the next he’d gone limp, hit on the head by a stone thrown by the angry mob on the riverbank. Nyssa swam with the current, hoping to catch up with him before they reached the rapids. His head surfaced briefly, red hair shining brightly in the moonlight, and then Turlough disappeared under the water again. Nyssa reached out and grabbed the sleeve of his suit jacket. She pulled him to her and tried to lift his head out of the water, but the current was strong and it pulled them both under.

Chapter Text

Nyssa considered her options before selecting the blood red dress. Not being able to use a mirror was annoying, but joining with the Mara brought other benefits. It felt so glorious to be free of all that boring, self-righteous goodness. As she changed, she could hear Turlough and Tegan speaking quietly in the TARDIS console room. They’d join her of course, whether they wanted to or not, and then the three of them would deal with the Doctor.

Nyssa pondered the best way to kill him. Something painful - after everything he’d put her through, that was the least he deserved.

Chapter Text

“This is your fault!” Tegan tugged on the chains that bound her to Turlough.

Annoyed, he looked over his shoulder at her. “How?”

“If you hadn’t fiddled with their computers, they wouldn’t have arrested us!”

“I suspected they were up to something and clearly I was right.”

“But you got caught!” Tegan yelled. “You can’t even do sneaky well!”

“Quiet!” Turlough hissed. “We need a plan.”

“I’ve got one. Next time, I’m letting Nyssa go with you. As chummy as you two are these days…”

“Wait, are you…jealous?”

“Of you? Of course not.”

“You are!” Turlough laughed. “That’s marvelous.”

Chapter Text

“You want us to do what?!”

“Tegan, there are people there.” Nyssa, as usual, tried to calm the situation. “We have to rescue them.”

“We don’t have to,” Turlough noted, “but even if we rescue these humans, we don’t have to take their places as zoo exhibits.”

“Exactly!” Tegan glared at the Doctor indignantly. “It’s ridiculous, even for you!”

“It’s just for a few hours,” the Doctor sighed. “Trust me, please. The futures of two worlds depend on me making this right and I need your help!”

Tegan rolled her eyes. “Fine.”

“That’s the spirit!” The Doctor grinned at her.

Chapter Text

“This is a terrible idea!”

Tegan was searching the flight-deck of the crashed Sontaran spaceship for a relatively secure place for the three of them to take cover. “If you’ve got a better plan, Turlough, spill it! Nyssa needs this nutrient stuff and we’ve been gone too long already.”

“But using plasma canons as propulsion is beyond insane! We can’t help Nyssa if we’re scattered across the planet in a million pieces!”

“You’d rather be killed by the swordsmen outside?” She didn’t wait for an answer, pulling Turlough beside her as she sheltered behind some upside-down chairs. “Vend! We’re ready!”

Chapter Text

“You should tell him.”

“I can’t, Tegan,” Nyssa looked nervously at the door to their bedroom. It was closed, but she still worried about being overheard. “The Doctor doesn’t learn about my children or husband until…further on in his timeline. Telling him now would be dangerous!”

Tegan sat beside her friend. “I don’t understand.”

“I know. Just trust me, please? And keep my secret?”

“I will - you know I will.” Tegan took Nyssa’s hand to reassure her.

“Thank you.” Nyssa relaxed slightly. “I wish you could meet them...my family.”

“Maybe I will someday,” Tegan said with a smile.

Chapter Text

When Tegan realized Turlough wasn’t on the bridge, she searched and found him sitting alone at the back of Rennol's ship.

“You alright?” she asked.

“You worried?” he replied waspishly, but when she sat beside him he looked slightly apologetic.

“You always worry me, Turlough,” Tegan said sarcastically, bumping shoulders with him to show she was teasing. “What’re you gonna do now?”

“Same as always. Travel with the Doctor, try to forget about all this.”

“And how’s that working for you?”

“I’m alive. We’re alive. That’s what matters.” Turlough pointedly didn’t mention Deela.

“If it helps, keep telling yourself that.”

Chapter Text

“Hello Professor…?”

“Doctor,” the Doctor said cheerfully. “And this is Nyssa, Turlough, and Tegan.”

“Doctor who? I must check you off the attendees list,” replied the receptionist.

“We’re late additions. Tell me, have you noticed anything odd happening?”

“Odd? It’s a time travelers’ conference - odd is the norm.” She added their names to the list and looked through the extra room keys. “Two rooms? One for you and your wife,” she nodded at Nyssa, “and one for your…children?” she asked, indicating Tegan and Turlough.

His companions reacted indignantly, but the Doctor chuckled. “Yes, it does feel like that occasionally.”

Chapter Text

Tegan looked up from the chess board. Across from her, Turlough absentmindedly hummed a song she recognized.

“What’re you doing?” she asked suspiciously.

Turlough looked up, surprised. “Sorry. I was thinking about you, me, and Nyssa dancing to that song…”

Tegan snorted. “I danced to it. You just stood there staring at us, which made Nyssa so self-conscious that she stopped dancing.”

“I’m not much of a dancer,” he admitted.

“I’m shocked.”

“But it was nice.” Turlough ignored her sarcasm. “It was the first time I felt…welcome.”

“And then you tried to kill us,” Tegan reminded him. “Your move.”

Chapter Text

Nyssa was furious. She was lost in time and space, far from her family, and the cure to Richter’s Syndrome still eluded her. And what was the Doctor doing? Taking them on a “field trip” to cheer her up like she was a teenager having a mood. Ordering her to remain in the TARDIS while he took all the risks. Ridiculous!

She couldn’t decide who she was angrier with for slipping back into old, familiar habits: the Doctor or herself. She was an adult, not a child - a scientist with decades of experience. It was time to act like it.

Chapter Text

Something about Sally Lucas bothered Turlough from the moment he met her. Maybe it was how hostile she was - it seemed disproportionate to the situation, even to someone who’d been traveling with Tegan for months. But the Doctor believed in trusting people, so Turlough ignored his instincts and followed the Doctor's example instead.

And here’s where it had landed him: being threatened with electrocution by a turncoat who he himself had armed. Turlough held his breath as Sally aimed the sparkwire at him, and sighed with relief when it backfired on her.

Trust was nice, but temporal grace was better.

Chapter Text

The Doctor found his companions by following the smell of popcorn. They were sitting in Nyssa and Tegan’s bedroom, watching a movie.

“What are they doing?” Nyssa asked.

“Treasure hunting,” Tegan mumbled around a mouthful of popcorn.

“Like tomb raiders?” Nyssa frowned. “The Doctor and I ran into tomb raiders once. It didn’t end well.”

“It’s about to end badly for this group.” Turlough reached into the bowl from his position on the floor. Tegan made a face and threw popcorn at him. “What?”

“Don’t spoil it!” she hissed.

The Doctor smiled and knocked. “Is there room for one more?”

Chapter Text

Tegan grinned as Major Haggard fell from the train. At least he couldn’t hurt anyone else now.

Then she saw how close the engine was to the edge of the cliff. She didn’t need the Doctor’s math skills to know they were going too fast to stop now. In the distance she heard someone calling her name, but there was no time to look. She ran to the TARDIS, fumbling in her pocket for the key as the train broke through the barrier. She slipped the key into the lock and turned it, but nothing happened. The lock was stuck!

Chapter Text

Turlough sighed and resignedly followed the Doctor, Lady Adela, and Dawon further into the Karabya Caves. He was tired of the Doctor yelling at him. He wasn’t the only who cared about Nyssa, Turlough was worried too! If pressed, he’d even admit to being upset about Tegan, although he had a hard time believing she was actually dead.

He just wanted to be careful. Meanwhile, the Doctor was more reckless than ever. He seemed almost panicked, despite Turlough pointing out that they couldn’t help Nyssa if they were all killed.

If only the Doctor would listen to him for once.

Chapter Text

Nyssa couldn’t sleep. Finally she gave up trying, slipped quietly out of bed, and padded barefoot to the TARDIS library. She had so much energy since her experiences in India and, while she should be using that to research Richter’s, just now she wanted an escape. Nyssa laughed at herself, after all what was traveling in the TARDIS other than an escape? Still, as she walked past the bookshelves she felt drawn to the fiction section.

Howl’s Moving Castle,” Nyssa pulled the book off the shelf, “now that sounds intriguing.” She curled up in a chair and began to read.

Chapter Text

The sudden arrest, rushed trial, and falsified security footage were worrying evidence of a plot against them. Turlough had to act quickly.

He couldn’t risk sharing his plan. Just as well really - if the Doctor believed Turlough was betraying him, his reactions would be more convincing. Turlough found it grimly amusing that his past mistakes, his real betrayals and everything he’d struggled to overcome, might finally be useful. He just hoped that in saving the Doctor he didn’t destroy what trust he’d managed to build. Although if the Doctor believed he’d betray him, how much trust was really at risk?

Chapter Text

“We’ll come for you. When all this is over we’ll follow the comet and get you back.”

The comm went silent. “You once said much the same thing to somebody else,” Nyssa said sadly, knowing the Doctor couldn’t hear her. She was sure he believed it, but he couldn’t control everything. Just like when Adric died…

Nyssa tried again to free herself from the handcuffs, but she lacked the Doctor’s lock picking skills. Resigned, she called the Jovians to let them know there were 15 minutes until detonation. Barring a miracle, she’d have a front row seat to the explosion.

Chapter Text

Nyssa found Turlough standing on his hotel room balcony overlooking Reykjavik.

“Are you sure about this?” he asked once she’d joined him. “What if the Doctor can’t find us?”

“If Magnus Greel is as terrible as they say, we have to help stop him. And you know the Doctor - he’ll be drawn to wherever there’s trouble, so we’ll be well placed for him to find us.”

“I suppose,” Turlough conceded reluctantly. “But we’ll be in danger…”

“That’s never stopped either of us from traveling with the Doctor, so why should it stop us now?” Nyssa held out her hand. “Agreed?”

Chapter Text

“Deela, I came to find you…I’ve got your data!”

Tegan sighed at being called the wrong name and pulled Turlough into the stolen car. He would pick now to mention Deela, after weeks of pretending she’d never existed. But he was ill, so Tegan made allowances.

In the rearview mirror she spotted Gibbs running towards them. That slimeball - he made Turlough look trustworthy by comparison.

Tegan floored the gas pedal. Turlough was an annoying fool, but he was also her crewmate and…friend. That made him her responsibility. No way was she letting Gibbs have him without a fight.

Chapter Text

Turlough marveled at the Doctor’s easy charm, the way he won people over with a smile and a few words. He’d never had that skill. People always mistrusted him even when he wasn’t up to anything.

When they returned to 1983, Turlough stayed with Dr. Stone. She soon threw over Barry - no real loss - but she seemed unnervingly interested in Turlough. Whether it was his knowledge of time travel Philippa wanted or if she meant him to replace Barry, Turlough knew it meant trouble. Hopefully the TARDIS would arrive soon.

Until then, he’d try to be less charming than usual.

Chapter Text

Twenty-five years! It’d been twenty-five years since she’d left Helheim. It was only supposed to be a short trip in the TARDIS, but now she’d been declared dead, her husband was gone, her daughter had Richter’s, and her son blamed her for everything. Nyssa agreed with him. All that time lost, all those plague deaths, and it was all her fault.

She shouldn’t have listened to the Doctor. She should have trusted her instincts and left. But there was no point berating herself now. If she and Adric could finally cure Richter’s perhaps some good could come from her mistakes.

Chapter Text

Turlough felt guilty, but how could he know “Galen” was Nyssa’s son? If only the Doctor and Tegan had told him the truth! Well, the secret was out now and the damage done. Turlough wondered if the Doctor was the only person Nyssa would blame for this mess.

Unfortunately that was the least of his worries now. He and Tegan were about to be sentenced to life in prison thanks to that blasted Chronoscope! Being railroaded for crimes he hadn’t committed was becoming a habit lately. Perhaps it was the universe’s revenge for all his attempts to kill the Doctor?

Chapter Text

She’d thought she had it sorted. Prevent the Doctor from knowing Nyssa had a family, get Nyssa off the planet, and keep Turlough from messing anything up. Then they could’ve gotten Nyssa home to her own time and everything would have been fine.

Tegan glanced around the prison cell and chuckled mirthlessly. Yeah, that’d worked fantastically. She looked at Turlough who lay curled into a ball on one of the beds. He was pale, sweating, and mumbling in pain as he slept. He wouldn’t be any help in mounting an escape at this point. She was on her own…again.

Chapter Text

The Doctor smiled sadly as he entered the coordinates into the TARDIS console.

Apparently he would contact Nyssa during his next regeneration. It was information he shouldn’t know but it didn’t surprise him. Nyssa had telepathic tendencies and, while he tried not to have favorites, she’d always been special to him. That was one of the reasons he’d been reluctant to say goodbye to her. But she had a life of her own, children who missed her, and, after making such a mess of things, the Doctor wasn’t about to disappoint her now. It was time to take Nyssa home.

Chapter Text

When the Doctor located the program that had forced them into E-Space, the login signature revealed its creator: Adric!

The realization triggered several emotions simultaneously: pride at Adric’s brilliant mathematical skills; annoyance that the boy had recklessly left such a program running in the TARDIS; and sorrow when the Doctor realized why he hadn’t removed it. Adric had died not long after its creation.

They were lucky the TARDIS had survived the trip, but now they were trapped on Alzarius. When Nyssa mentioned mistfall, she and the Doctor exchanged a look. How long would they have before the Marshmen awoke?

Chapter Text

Drell ran out of the TARDIS clutching the interface stabilizer and Nyssa hurried after him. Turlough yelled for them to stop - it was dangerous outside - but they ignored him. Turlough sighed in resignation as he and Fara followed the pair. The Doctor always complained that he’d spent half his life chasing after Tegan; Turlough felt like he’d done the same for Nyssa.

Within minutes Fara was dead and Nyssa and Turlough were being bundled into a transport by people threatening to kill them. Even in another universe, Turlough observed, their luck was unimproved.

And then everything got a lot worse.

Chapter Text

Every warning alarm in the TARDIS was going off. The Doctor was sure the Cloister Bell was ringing, but he couldn’t hear it over the din in the console room. Tegan’s confusion was exacerbating Turlough’s fears and they were both yelling questions. Only Nyssa stayed relatively calm as she tried to help him save the ship from crashing.

So many companions but so few crew, he mused distractedly between rushed calculations. He wasn’t sure what he’d do once Nyssa left. Of course that was a moot point until they got the interface stabilizer back, assuming they even survived the landing.

Chapter Text

Nyssa dazzled the Isenfel royal court as if born to it, while the Doctor sat nearby impressing the Queen.

“Such a prawn,” Tegan laughed as Turlough swanned about at the huntsmen’s table, “and so out of his depth. That princess is way more than he can handle."

Tegan’s laughter stopped abruptly. This place was wrong, why couldn’t the others see it? In her experience royalty usually came at someone’s expense, so there was a catch somewhere. Tegan wanted no part of it.

Besides, the Doctor kept pestering her to smile and “be nice!” It was getting on her last nerve.

Chapter Text

Nyssa smiled fondly as she deadlocked the spaceship’s airlock. In some ways, Tegan and Turlough were still so young. They might argue with the Doctor, but they would eventually defer to him. And the Doctor…he would forever see them all as children to be scolded, praised, or protected as needed.

But she had always been capable of deciding her own fate. As Nyssa ran to the induction chamber, she knew she could help the people of Apollyon and ensure her friends escaped E-Space safely. The Doctor wasn’t the only one allowed to protect the greater good at any cost.

Chapter Text

“Stop fussing,” the Doctor replied as Tegan asked after Turlough again. A few months ago his companions argued constantly, now they were overly protective of each other. Perhaps it was understandable after Apollyon, but here it wasn’t helpful. They couldn’t risk searching for Turlough yet.

Something about Sir Gilles seemed familiar, so the Doctor watched him closely. Suddenly it clicked: he was the Master in disguise! But how to reveal the deception to King John? It’d been a lifetime, literally, since he’d fought with a sword, but to save Magna Carta and expose the Master the Doctor would risk it.

Chapter Text

Maybe it was the high bombardment of positive ions at the Eye of Orion or the prospect of a few days holiday. Or perhaps enough time had passed since Nyssa…

Whatever the reason, they were all actually happy and getting along - no bickering or complaining. Turlough wandered outside with a sketchpad to capture the scenery, Tegan disappeared into her room for a long, relaxing bath, and the Doctor redesigned the control room. He felt particularly proud of how the console turned out.

The Doctor smiled contentedly. They need this: a fresh start, a chance to put past mistakes behind them.

Chapter Text

The Doctor watched them go: Sara and Steven to trick the Sontarians and Ian and Nyssa to corral the dinosaurs. He regretted suggesting this plan - so many things could go wrong - but it was too late now. “Come on, Polly. Surely I can make something useful from this debris.”

“Doubt I’ll be much help,” Polly sighed, “but I’ll do my best.”

“I don’t doubt it.” He noticed her bare feet and looked quizzically at her.

Polly grinned and held up her shoes. “Stiletto heels aren’t ideal footwear for your adventures, Doctor.”

“Exactly what I always tell Tegan,” he grumbled quietly.

Chapter Text

“What did you think of them?” Turlough asked as he helped Tegan move the extra furniture out of the console room.

“I only got a chance to know the First Doctor.”

“And?”

“He was short-tempered, condescending, and arrogant. Our Doctor’s practically a dream by comparison,” Tegan grinned, “but don’t tell him I said that. How was Susan?”

“Surprisingly normal, whatever that means for a Time Lord. Odd to think of the Doctor having a granddaughter, isn’t it?”

“No more odd than three of his former selves not being able to stand each other.”

“Brings new meaning to ‘self-loathing,’ doesn’t it?”

Chapter Text

“I saw Nyssa.”

“In the Death Zone? Where is she?”

“She’s returned to her own time and place.” When Tegan looked confused, the Doctor added, “This was Nyssa before we met her on Helheim.”

“Oh.” Tegan sat beside him on the cloister bench. “Which means what?”

“I couldn’t warn her or apologize. And there were others - Ian Chesterton, Steven Taylor, Sara Kingdom, Polly Wright - all people I’ve lost in my travels.”

“You didn’t lose Nyssa! She made a choice. I bet the others did too.”

“Yes, but…”

“Don’t beat yourself up, Doc,” Tegan leaned against him lightly, “that’s my job.”

Chapter Text

“Come on out you two!” the Doctor yelled. “Let’s stretch your sea legs…while I use my tracker to see whether this is where that time distortion, or whatever it was, is coming from…” Then he strode out onto the sailing ship without a backwards glance.

“Coming!” Tegan paused beside the TARDIS console. “Hurry up, Turlough. We’re getting left behind!”

“And that would be such a pity-”

“You know the Doctor, he can find trouble quicker than you can say ‘Merry Christmas.’ So shift it already.”

Unnoticed by the two companions, the TARDIS door quietly swung closed and locked itself.

Chapter Text

On the scanner they could see the Doctor knocking on the TARDIS. “Tegan! Turlough! Can you hear me? Open the door.”

Turlough flipped the control without result. “I don’t know…maybe it’s jammed?”

“Well don’t stand there being useless,” Tegan replied, pulling on the doors, “help me!”

“That won’t work, Tegan. A hundred people pulling wouldn’t be able to budge it.”

“So think of something else! We need to help-“ They heard an explosion over the scanner and then the TARDIS’s floor flexed beneath them, knocking them both off their feet.

“What now?” Tegan cried.

“I think we’re being bombed!”

Chapter Text

When Tegan woke, she was lying on the floor of the TARDIS. “What happened?”

Nearby, Turlough rolled over and rubbed the back of his head. “There was an explosion, wasn’t there?”

“I don’t know, it’s all a bit fuzzy.”

“I’m not surprised,” said a cheerful voice.

“Doctor?”

Smiling, the Doctor leaned down and took Tegan’s hand. “Up you get. You too, Turlough.”

“But what happened?” Turlough struggled to his feet. “Were you…locked out of the TARDIS?”

“I was and I wasn’t.” He chuckled at their confusion. “Oh don’t worry, in this instance a Time Paradox is a good thing.”

Chapter Text

“That’s wrong!” The Doctor looked up from his book. “According to this, several Renaissance artists disappeared mysteriously!”

Nearby Turlough lay on a lounger with his eyes closed. He made a sleepy, non-committal noise.

“Their most famous artworks were never completed. But history didn’t happen like that!”

“Hmmmm?”

“Michelangelo disappeared first, in…1511. We should investigate.” The Doctor paused. He’d promised Tegan and Turlough a vacation. He hated to drag them away again.

“Tell Tegan I’ll be right back,” the Doctor said as he ran toward the TARDIS.

“Right Doctor,” Turlough mumbled. Then he rolled over and went back to sleep.

Chapter Text

Tegan walked out of their rented villa. The alien sea sparkled turquoise and the sky was a pale pink. On her left Turlough was asleep on a lounger, but something was missing.

“Hey!” Tegan kicked Turlough’s chair. He bolted upright, blinking in confusion. “Where’s the Doctor?”

“He was just here, babbling about art or something…”

“Well, the TARDIS is gone!”

“So? It’s not like he’d abandon us.”

“Like the time he left me at Heathrow?”

“…Point taken.”

Tegan sat beside him, biting her lip. “He’s in trouble, I know it.”

“The Doctor’s always in trouble.”

“But usually he’s not alone.”

Chapter Text

“Well,” the Doctor grinned at Alayna, “what’s next?”

“Right now I’d like to get cleaned up.” She headed toward the control room door. “Your TT capsule has habitation units, right?”

“If you’re asking if it has bedrooms, then yes.” His smile faded as she approached Tegan’s room. “Wait!”

“Why?” Alayna opened the door and stared at the room’s lived-in chaos. “Oh. You’re…not alone?”

“My companions are on holiday. Wonderful thing about owning a time-space machine is I can return before they realize I’m gone.” The Doctor shrugged awkwardly and closed the door. “Let’s find you a room, shall we?”

Chapter Text

The Doctor watched the novelizers’ shuttle pull away. “There they go at last.”

“Doctor?” Turlough asked hesitantly. “Hippo…I mean, Huxley said the novelizers charge for their…’services.’”

“What?” Tegan yelled. “Bad enough they’ve followed us about saying out loud everything we think, but we’re going to get a bill for it?”

“I doubt we’ll have to worry about that,” the Doctor chuckled. “It’s taken hundreds of years for them to find the TARDIS. Any bills they send probably won’t reach us…well…in your lifetimes.”

“At this rate that won’t be very long!” Tegan glared angrily at them both.

Chapter Text

“Tegan, you’re being unreasonable,” the Doctor began.

“Me?” She spun to face them. “First he,” she pointed at Turlough, “steals a shuttle and nearly gets executed for trying to break out of a pocket dimension. Then you,” she pointed at the Doctor, “let the dangerous aliens do the thing you stopped Turlough from doing! And that’s after you got us trapped there in the first place! And now the pocket universe is emptying into this universe!”

“Which is a result…in a way,” the Doctor said sheepishly. “I’m sure it’ll be fine.”

“Fine! How can it be fine?” she yelled.

Chapter Text

Turlough heard Tegan’s door slam.

Moments later the Doctor walked into the console room looking chagrined. “She’ll be alright once she’s had a bit of a rest,” he said as he joined Turlough.

“What about you? You were pretty angry with me for disobeying you.”

“It was dangerous, as you saw.” The Doctor looked his companion over. “I’m sorry if they hurt you. But sometimes…”

“I should just listen to you,” Turlough interrupted sardonically. “Yes, I know.” Then he became serious. “I’m...sorry for all the things I said. I didn’t mean…”

“You never do. Go get cleaned up, Turlough.”

Chapter Text

“Come on, the Doctor says we’re nearly there.”

“What’s wrong?” Tegan crossed her arms and stared at Turlough. “You were in a good mood when you walked past a few minutes ago and now you’re cranky.” Her eyes narrowed. “What exactly did the Doctor say?”

Turlough sighed. “He intimated that I’d change my mind…about staying.”

“So? Maybe you will, that’s your right.”

“He thinks I’m unreliable. But I’m telling the truth! I really do want to learn from him.”

“Turlough,” Tegan said as gently as she could manage, “trust me, he’s happy you’re staying. Now, please…get over yourself.”

Chapter Text

Bulic signaled that someone was coming and Turlough threw himself into a chair. Soon Tegan and Preston were manhandled into the room. When the four of them were alone, Tegan rushed to Turlough.

“You’re alive!” She smiled in surprised relief.

Turlough put a hand on her shoulder. “Alive, well, and trying to escape.”

Once Preston had taken up watch on the hallway, Turlough returned to his work unscrewing a panel near the ceiling.

“What’s that?” Tegan asked suspiciously.

Turlough chuckled. “Ventilation shaft.”

“Again?” She rolled her eyes. “I’ve spent more than enough time crawling through those things with you already.”

Chapter Text

Sea Base 4 was eerily quiet after the battle. Still, Bulic decided to wait for the supply ship, despite the Doctor’s offer to take him home.

“Better him than me,” Turlough muttered as they said their goodbyes. “Even one day alone with all these bodies is too long.”

Tegan and Turlough helped the Doctor into the TARDIS and supported him while he programmed a destination. Then his knees buckled and he collapsed, dragging them down too.

Tegan stood to retrieve the medical supplies. “He’ll need something for those burns.”

“So senseless,” the Doctor mumbled. “There should have been another way.”

Chapter Text

“Brigadier Tocio,” the Doctor interrupted, “would you please explain why I’m here?”

“Don’t you mean, why we’re here?” Turlough interjected. He and Tegan shared a look as they followed the two men through the UNIT base.

“We received word from Italy. An earthquake at Pompeii unearthed something unusual: a police box, apparently buried for 2000 years.”

The Doctor stopped so suddenly that Tegan and Turlough nearly ran into him. “What?”

“Exactly! We want you to examine it-”

“I’m afraid I can’t do that.” Grabbing his companions’ arms, the Doctor headed toward the building’s exit. “The less I know, the better.”

Chapter Text

“What was that about?” Tegan asked once they returned to the TARDIS.

“Foreknowledge.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“He means,” Turlough began, “that the TARDIS they found is one from the future.”

“My personal future,” the Doctor added.

“So what?”

“So Tegan, how did it get trapped under the lava of a volcanic eruption that happened 2000 years ago?”

“You must have been there during the eruption.”

“Will be there,” he corrected. “And then what?”

“Either you’re stuck on Earth for all that time, or-“ Turlough broke off and glanced at the Doctor.

“Or I die there.” He sighed. “Exactly.”

Chapter Text

At 7AM there was a knock on Jane Hampden's door.

“It’s unlocked, Doctor,” she called from the kitchen. “Tea?”

“Please,” he said, stepping quickly into view. “I trust Turlough wasn’t any trouble?”

“He’s fine - still asleep, I think. Tegan is at her grandfather’s. Did you return Will to his time?”

“Yes, although the TARDIS is being a bit sluggish. Would you mind if I worked on some repairs out back?”

“Help yourself. Verney and I thought we’d go to the quarry.”

“Planning to rebuild the church?” The Doctor grinned. “Take Tegan and Turlough. I’m sure they’ll find it…very educational.”

Chapter Text

“Report.”

“Sighting of an alien spaceship, ma’am. Three witnesses. They appear to be teenagers but they say they’re in their forties.”

“Lucky them. And the Doctor?”

“Was here but he’s gone, so they say.”

“Shame that. Which one?”

“They described blonde hair, cricketing outfit…”

The woman nodded. “I haven’t met that version yet. Dad said he was charming, especially compared to some of the others.”

“There’s more, ma’am,” the soldier interjected. “The witnesses say the Master was here.”

She looked at him shrewdly. “The Master. Not Missy?”

“The Master.”

“Interesting.” Kate Stewart paused. “Get Jones and Smith there to investigate.”

Chapter Text

“Whose brilliant plan was this?”

“Don’t start,” Tegan grumbled. “Looking at rocks all day isn’t my idea of a good time either.”

Turlough pulled Tegan aside. “Let’s slip away then! We’ve handled all sorts of monsters and galactic criminals. Surely we can fool two old people.”

“That’s my grandfather you’re talking about!”

“Exactly, how hard could it be?”

“Children! Come and see," Jane Hampden called. "Such lovely patterns…”

“In a minute!” Tegan yelled. “Turlough, we’re supposed to be spending time with my grandfather!”

“Fine, let’s talk them into lunch at least.”

“Agreed. I’ve seen enough sandstone to last a lifetime.”

Chapter Text

Turlough knelt by the ladder into the tunnels. Tegan and the Doctor were down there, along with Range and the others. They had no idea what they were facing, but Turlough did. His memories were making sense at last - he knew what the Tractators wanted.

But he also remembered the debilitating fear he’d felt the last time he’d entered the tunnels. Fear was always his problem, wasn’t it? Fear made him run away instead of fighting, or freeze rather then helping. Everyone expected it of him.

Turlough fingered the two Corpiera pieces. Maybe it was time to change that now?

Chapter Text

“Sending Plantagent makes sense, but why Turlough?” Tegan asked.

“Turlough has goodbyes to say,” the Doctor answered without taking his eyes off the TARDIS readouts. “Besides, this has been difficult for him.”

“It’s been difficult for everyone. Speaking of which…” Tegan punched him hard in the arm.

The Doctor gave a surprised yelp. “What was that for?” he asked, rubbing the spot.

“Calling me an android! Funny walk and accent indeed!”

“I was trying to save your life!” He sounded aggrieved but Tegan wasn’t fooled.

“And having a laugh at my expense while you were at it! One day, Doctor…”

Chapter Text

Castellan Lowri ushered the Doctor through the hallways leading to the Panopticon. “I know this is sudden, but we’ve prepared some notes-“

The Doctor tuned her out. Although he looked calm and jovial, inside he fumed. If the Time Lords insisted on pulling him out of the vortex and forcing him to becoming Lord High President, then he’d let them know what they were in for.

“Are you ready?” Lowri asked worriedly as they paused at the main entrance.

“Oh yes.” He smiled at her. “Trust me, this inaugural address will be something no one on Gallifrey will ever forget.”

Chapter Text

“We need another solution,” the Doctor whispered.

Leela frowned. “I am not afraid to fight.”

“I know, but he’s not going to accept your challenge.” The Doctor eyed the Chancellery Guard who stood some distance away, talking among themselves. He grabbed Leela’s hand. “Now’s our chance. Run!”

And so they ran, skirting the edges of the Peace Garden.

“You would not run away,” Leela hissed, “if you were still MY Doctor.”

“I would,” he replied indignantly. “I did a lot of running in those days. Although how I managed to avoid tripping over my scarf is something of a mystery.”

Chapter Text

“Scandrius was useless,” Tegan continued, taking a teacup. “Not only couldn’t he drive the TARDIS, he had no common sense and loved the sound of his own voice. He was like a fifth-rate version of the Doctor.”

The Doctor looked offended. “Hey!”

“It was a compliment!”

“A backhanded one.”

“You should have come with us,” Leela said. “We saw the Doctor’s room at the Academy, then he fixed a student’s device and it flooded the whole area!”

“It was a simple repair,” the Doctor replied modestly. Then he grinned. “You know, it’s quite hearts-warming to meet such enterprising young people.”

Chapter Text

“Where are you going?” Tegan asked, dismayed. “Turlough’s waiting for us back on Frontios.”

The Doctor put on his hat as he stepped outside. “The TARDIS needs to cool off for a while. It’s no mean feat, traveling from the end of the universe and back again. Meanwhile, I thought I’d take a look around.”

“At what? There’s nothing here!”

“So it won’t take long. Go back inside the TARDIS, have a cup of tea - I’ll be back before you know it.”

“You better!” Tegan called as he walked away. “Because if you get lost, I’m not coming after you!”

Chapter Text

Tegan stepped gingerly in the dark. “Doctor? Doctor! Oh rabbits!”

“Tegan?”

She turned to see Turlough following her through the woods. “How?” She looked again. “Kamelion! Stop impersonating people, it’s creepy!”

“I thought a familiar face would be comforting,” Kamelion replied, catching up.

“And you picked Turlough?” Tegan shook her head. “Doesn’t matter. Why’re you here?”

"The TARDIS sensors located the Doctor, but he is currently unreachable. However, if you continue you will encounter this planet’s humanoid population, who appear quite…hostile.

“Great.”

“The sensors also indicate the Doctor is in another TARDIS, so he should be perfectly safe.”

“What?”

Chapter Text

Iris watched the Doctor work on her bus’s dematerialization circuit. He was easy on the eyes in this incarnation, but so terribly earnest. It made him downright tiring to be around. Still, she felt bad needling him about his belief in “simplistic moral absolutes.” Not that it wasn’t true, mind, but clearly there were extenuating circumstances. He’d mentioned losing Adric, but Iris would bet all the contents of the drinks cabinet that there was more to it.

The Doctor yelped and wiggled singed fingers. Iris smiled fondly at him. Poor lamb, she really should help him. Maybe after a nap…

Chapter Text

“Doors! Tegan, doors!” the Doctor shouted as he ran toward the TARDIS, a mob of angry villagers close behind. When the doors opened, he sprinted inside and quickly shut them again. Then he saw Tegan’s expression and wondered if he wasn’t safer outside.

“Just looking around, huh? You’ve been gone for days, Doctor!” Tegan said accusingly.

“I’m…sorry.” He tried to retreat around the console but she followed him. “I was…unavoidably detained…”

Tegan narrowed her eyes. “How?”

“On a quest for a holy relic.” He couldn’t meet her gaze. “Which we lost when it…fell down a mountain…”

“WHAT!”

Chapter Text

With a handshake, Tegan was gone. The Doctor didn’t understand, was the battle with the Daleks any worse than that with the Silurians or the Gravis? Worse than the Master? Worse than losing Adric or Nyssa? Why did she have to leave now?

The way she left also bothered him. He’d never seen Tegan so upset that she could barely speak. Unable to look at him, she acted like he was a stranger…or a monster.

Not long ago Nyssa had asked if he was glad Tegan was back. He hadn’t been sure then, but now he missed her keenly.

Chapter Text

The TARDIS was so quiet now that Tegan had left.

Turlough walked through the corridors to the room she’d shared with Nyssa. There was always so much life here - music, dancing, yelling (from Tegan mostly), but good conversations too. Now it had an eerie stillness.

He wished he’d thought of a better goodbye than an awkward handshake, but Tegan leaving was completely unexpected! She loved traveling with the Doctor, even when she complained. Yet she’d run away without even a backwards glance. Turlough didn’t think she’d be coming back this time. He wasn’t sure how he felt about that yet.

Chapter Text

Long after the TARDIS disappeared, Tegan stared at where it’d been.

She’d been desperate to get away. Everywhere they went people died and the Doctor…she’d always seen him as an overgrown boy scout. But he’d changed. Disappearing on his own, shooting guns, planning to murder Davros? That wasn’t the Doctor she knew.

Now she felt numb. She’d left with only the clothes she wore, without a plan. She hadn’t even told Turlough and the Doctor a proper goodbye. Tegan hoped they’d look after each other.

“Brave heart, Tegan,” she whispered again before finally leaving to find a way home.

Chapter Text

“Be a good chap and reset the stabilizers,” the Doctor asked. His companion quickly did as he was told. “Good. Now we let the diagnostics do their work.”

“And in the meantime?”

“You could play some chess while I oversee this.”

Turlough gave him an exasperated look. “Against who?”

“Ah yes,” the Doctor shifted uncomfortably, “good point. Well, there’s Kamelion…”

“No,” Turlough replied emphatically. “Tegan was right, he’s creepy.” Then he noticed a discarded book on the floor and picked it up. “What’s this? Wisden Cricketers' Almanack?”

That made the Doctor grin. “Turlough, have I ever taught you about cricket?”

Chapter Text

The Doctor couldn’t shake the image of Turlough falling from the train, eyes wide with fear. He wasn’t sure what the pack had done to him, but he could guess. Others had exploited Turlough’s psychic vulnerabilities in the past, although few had the wolf-people’s skills. He should never have left Turlough alone. He could practically hear Tegan yelling in his mind: “You’ve done it again, Doctor! Lost him, like Nyssa, like Adric…”

No, he thought, Turlough could still be alive. He needed to find him. The Doctor made sure Ileana and the others were distracted and began planning his escape.

Chapter Text

The brambles that had broken Turlough’s fall from the train left behind cuts that stung as he ran, but he ignored them. He had to escape the shadow in the mirror. It reminded him of the wolf he’d met during the carnival parade - powerful, feral, hungry - but this shadow wore Turlough’s face. It pulled at his mind and chased him as he ran heedlessly through the desert. He knew what it was: an invitation to embrace all his darkest impulses, shed his skin, and join the werewolf pack. He longed for it and he feared it, so he kept running.

Chapter Text

“There’s the wardrobe, bathrooms, library, and a kitchen, although I don’t think we have cola or roasted armadillo,” Turlough teased as he showed Rosa around.

“It’s huge! You could fit a forest in here.”

“Oh, the TARDIS has a forest.”

“With purple leaves and red trunks? Sure it does, Eurpy-boy…”

The Doctor grinned as he listened to them banter. They’d certainly bonded quickly. His smile faded as he remembered Ileana. She couldn’t travel with him and the Doctor couldn’t stay. He dreaded that conversation, but they had to defeat Stubbe and save the city first.

One problem at a time.

Chapter Text

“Hey Gramps, I got a boyfriend,” Rosa said on the computer recording. “Okay so he’s a Eurp and he ain’t seen TV, but he knows about forests and the Loups-Garoux.”

“Do you tell all your secrets to your wristwatch?” Turlough heard himself ask. He turned off the recording and listened to the hum of the TARDIS. He’d felt more at ease with Rosa than he had in a long time. Maybe that’s why she'd left her wrist computer behind, because she felt the same?

Turlough smiled, remembering. Rosa the Jaguar Girl, now that was a TV show even he’d watch.

Chapter Text

“I’m getting sick of being your passenger all the time!”

Turlough knew how it sounded. When they first met, he’d been sent to kill the Doctor. He’d hidden his species, his planet of origin, his past, even his full name from everyone and from the Doctor most of all. Turlough was no stranger to deception.

But the Doctor keeping him in the dark now rankled. How could he help if he didn’t know what was going on? Maybe that was the point? After all this time, the Doctor still didn’t trust him. So why did the Doctor let him stay?

Chapter Text

“Time doesn’t care about us, doesn’t care about the lives of the little people. Big events, all that huge history rolls down like an avalanche and we get crushed underneath. You push Time, Time pushes back.”

Turlough saw Lena shrink into herself as he talked. He hated doing it, but there were consequences for changing history. Turlough remembered Nyssa telling him about her visit to Mondas, how everything she and the Doctor had done to save the planet only furthered the events that led to Adric’s death. Through compassion they’d helped create monsters - Turlough didn’t want that fate for Lena.

Chapter Text

“You can’t hold onto them forever. You can’t protect them from the universe. I’ve learned that lesson too many times.”

The Doctor spoke sadly. He’d listened as Lena described her brother and heard her underlying meaning. In her attempts to keep from losing him she’d inadvertently stifled his need to grow, which had made him vulnerable to Somnus.

He understood the impulse only too well. But change was the essence of life. People left you, sometimes of their own free will, sometimes not. Adric, Nyssa, Tegan, and one day Turlough, like so many others before - all gone in an instant.

Chapter Text

Turlough remembered looking down on the Winter Planet. He’d always hated living there, but seeing everything on fire made his heart ache.

By the time he landed, the melting ice was extinguishing the flames. He stepped tentatively inside his family home, dreading finding them all dead. But the house was empty. His family had evacuated long before the bombing started.

The civilians Turlough had been ordered to evacuate hadn’t been so lucky. They’d died. And why? Because he’d tried to rescue people who’d already saved themselves.

If he’d known…but it was too late now. And Turlough could never forget…

Chapter Text

When the Doctor delivered the Jariden scientists to safety they found a message from Kalinda waiting for them. The Vault of Stellar Curios was secure again and she’d just said goodbye to a young man with curly brown hair who also called himself the Doctor. Her story confirmed what Colonel Ulrik had said about meeting future versions of him.

The Doctor frowned. Why was it always Daleks? He’d hoped the death of Davros would diminish their threat, but now he had confirmation that they’d be present throughout his lives. What would it take to finally see the last of them?

Chapter Text

“Absolutely not!”

“St. Neot’s Refuge is a safe haven. The perfect place for us to relax and recuperate from our travels-“

“And a perfect replica of an English boarding school.”

“Right! What are the chances?”

“Clearly not low enough. Doctor, look at me. Do I look young enough to pass as a school boy anymore?”

The Doctor gave his companion a perfunctory once over. “I have complete faith in your abilities, Turlough. Trust me, we need to be here right now.”

“Why?” Turlough gestured in exasperation. “Give me one good reason.”

“Because something very dangerous is coming to St. Neot’s.”

Chapter Text

“If it’s an intergalactic school, why is everyone so-”

“Human?” The Doctor was painting lines on the cricket pitch. He seemed to enjoy being a groundsman and spending his days outdoors in St. Neot’s artificially generated sunlight. “That is odd, now that you mention it. See if you can find out why.”

Turlough kicked the grass lazily. “I could be a better spy if I knew what I was looking for.”

“You’ll know it when you see it,” the Doctor grinned, “given your previous experiences in these areas.”

“What areas exactly?”

“Dark, otherworldly forces invading a public school, of course.”

Chapter Text

“Right,” the Doctor rubbed his hands together, “how can I be of assistance, Colonel?”

Price gritted his teeth. “We need to find out what’s been going on and I can’t risk putting these people in the same room. They might fabricate a cover story-“

“Very wise.”

“Glad you approve. I’ll take the Morden woman, you interrogate Dr. Harrison.”

“Interrogate? Couldn’t we just talk to them?”

“Whatever you want to call it, just record it with this.” He handed the Doctor a cassette recorder. “I assume you know how to use one of these?”

“I’m sure I can figure it out.”

Chapter Text

Daniel Hopkins worked quickly despite the battle raging around him.

“Sgt. Travers! Can you hear me?” While listening to the mumbled response, he spotted the Doctor near the edge of the fight. Predictably, he was having an argument with the Lieutenant-Colonel. Hopkins could guess how that would turn out.

Daniel helped Travers to the relative safety of the clinic before continuing his search for UNIT casualties. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the Doctor and Annabel Morden run towards a car.

“Thought so,” he muttered as the two drove off in search of Adam and the Helliax.

Chapter Text

The Doctor jogged into the TARDIS and shut the door. “Right! That’s the caretaker and groundskeeper safely deposited on an Earth Alliance planet. They’ll wake with hangovers, but at least they’ve not been atomized like St. Neot’s.” When there was no reply, he called again, “Turlough? Are you sulking?“

“No.” Turlough strolled in wearing a striped button-up shirt and a pair of shorts. “I was exploring the wardrobe and decided I’d had enough of school uniforms. Time to grow up and move on…at last.”

The Doctor smiled approvingly. “Good for you. I’ve always found change to be quite liberating.”

Chapter Text

After Tegan left, the Doctor knew Turlough would do the same. They all left in the end, didn’t they? So he studied his companion carefully, searching for warning signs and distancing himself to prepare for the inevitable.

When the time finally came, he smiled sadly as Turlough struggled with the decision. How the boy had grown since they’d first met. The Doctor was proud of him. He wouldn’t beg Turlough to stay, however, he’d made that mistake with Tegan. Even so, as Turlough turned for one last look, the Doctor realized no amount of preparation would make these losses easier.

Chapter Text

Returning to Trion would be difficult on Malkon. Turlough needed to be with his brother, but that meant leaving the TARDIS. Part of him hoped the Doctor would ask him to stay, but before Turlough could say anything the Doctor was telling him goodbye as if he were ready to be rid of him. Perhaps it was for the best, but it stung.

Regardless, he thanked the Doctor and asked Peri to look after him, an impossible task as Turlough knew very well. He glanced back at them one last time, trying to memorize every detail, then walked quickly away.

Chapter Text

Okay so he needed some convincing. The Doctor, that is. Yeah it would have been great if he’d said ‘Peri, join me and we’ll explore the universe together!’ But between the Master, Turlough, and the exploding volcano, he’d had a hard day.

Frankly, I don’t get why he’s so upset about the Master. Obviously they had history, but he tried to kill us! I wish Turlough had stayed though. The Doctor’s really bummed about that too, not that he’ll admit it.

Anyway, now it’s just us. The Doctor needs looking after and I want a vacation to remember. Everybody wins.

Chapter Text

Through the comms Peri listened to the conversation out on the planet, her fear and frustration growing. The Doctor had brought her to an alien world in search of new plant species, only to end up as a hostage. As Paul pushed the gun against the Doctor’s head, Peri held her breath. They were just getting started! He couldn’t die here!

A moment later, Paul lowered the weapon and motioned the Doctor and Tanya inside the armored vehicle. Peri sighed in relief and said a silent prayer in hopes that the Doctor could find a way to escape after all.

Chapter Text

“Ugh! It’s slimy!” She complained, wiping the liquid from her face.

The Doctor chuckled. “You should be careful what you touch, Peri.”

“How could I know the flower spit slime?” Peri sat on the TARDIS floor, dejected. “I’m awful at this. You’d be better off traveling with someone else.”

“Nonsense. You’re just…finding your sea legs. Besides, we complement each other nicely.”

“Really? How?”

“Well,” he shifted uncomfortably, “you’re inquisitive, brave-“ He touched a button and a warning alarm sounded. “Oh dear. Why don’t you…go get cleaned up while I fix this?”

“Uh-huh,” she said, not fooled at all.

Chapter Text

Peri stared sadly at the cup of lukewarm liquid. She wasn’t sure what the Ellani called the drink but it was bland, like the rest of their world.

“At least they let us move out of Temporary Accommodations,” the Doctor said, trying to sound cheerful. “This is much nicer.” When she didn’t react, he tried again. “I really am sorry, Peri. If I’d known we’d be trapped here…”

“You would have helped anyway.” She sighed. “Just tell me you’ve a plan to get the TARDIS back. Please?”

“As it happens, I think your idea might work, with a few…adjustments.”

Chapter Text

“You’re very quiet. Is everything all right?”

Peri frowned. “I’d never thought about growing old before. It’s really awful, isn’t it?”

The Doctor smiled sympathetically. “Aging decades in a few minutes is unpleasant, but what Maxwell’s machine did to us isn’t how normal aging works. In my experience, the physical limitations sneak up on you. Otherwise, you feel much as you always have before.”

“How would you know?” Peri scoffed.

“Trust me, I was much older when I was younger.”

Peri gave him an odd look, but the Doctor just smiled at her and set new coordinates on the console.

Chapter Text

The Doctor slipped into the Exotron. He’d be trapped forever in the telepathic network, but the lives of everyone in the colony were at stake. “I’m sorry Peri,” he said out loud, even though she wasn’t there, “the TARDIS will look after you.” “I shall miss you,” he added as the Exotron shell closed around him, its needles sinking into his skin.

Suddenly the Doctor saw Adric working frantically to unlock a freighter’s navigation systems. The vision shifted to Nyssa strapping herself into the induction chamber on Apollyon. His mind formed questions, but then the pain hit.

The Doctor screamed.

Chapter Text

It’d been a long day at work and all Turlough wanted was to relax. But from the moment he closed his front door, he sensed something was wrong.

“Vislor Turlough?” a female voice asked from the darkness behind him.

Turlough froze briefly then flicked on the lights. If he needed to run, he wanted to see his options. A strange woman lounged on one of his chairs. He noticed her big hair and high-heeled boots before his eyes were drawn to the gun strapped to her thigh.

“Who’s asking?”

“My name’s River,” the woman smiled, “and I need your help.”

Chapter Text

“You’re the Black Guardian?” Turlough looked the man up and down. He was stout, balding, and looked more like a middle aged accountant than the personification of chaos. “Where’s your booming voice, the black clothes, and that ridiculous raven hat-thing?”

“The Guardians can change their form, so I slip into a new one whenever I feel like it.”

“And you picked that one? Not likely,” Turlough scoffed. “I’ve met the Black Guardian. I don’t know who you are, but you’re not him.”

The Black Guardian grinned wickedly at him. “Oh, allow me prove it to you Turlough, my old…friend.”

Chapter Text

The Doctor came back to himself slowly. At first he was confused but then memories resurfaced: rescuing Erimen; traveling to Thebes; the banquet and the assassination attempt. He was unsure what poison the assassin had used, but felt his body fighting it. The resulting sleep allowed him time to explore with other senses.

His mind’s eye swept over the town and into the desert where an army camped. There he sensed a telepathic presence - clever, malevolent - that was somehow controlling events in the palace. It felt alien to this world. He needed to learn more, but that meant waking up.

Chapter Text

When Fayum grabbed her, Peri felt an electric shock travel up her arm. He quickly dragged her from the council chamber and, in her rush to free herself, she soon forgot about the feeling. Once she’d escaped and the retreat from Thebes had begun, a buzzing sensation in her head began making her feel dizzy. She considered telling the Doctor, but he was far ahead of her in Erimem’s chariot.

“Don’t bother him,” whispered a familiar voice.

“Nothing is wrong,” a different voice sighed soothingly.

After a few minutes, Peri agreed. Besides, the Doctor had a lot on his mind.

Chapter Text

“Doctor?”

“Yes, Peri?”

“Why do we always find ourselves walking through smelly tunnels like these?”

“Because soldiers rarely remember to guard the tunnels, luckily for us.”

“That’s a matter of opinion. Doctor?”

“Yes?”

“You’re sure you’re alright? You know, after what the Duke of Buckingham did to you?”

“Sad to say, I’ve been tortured before and by far better men than Buckingham.”

“That’s not an answer.”

“I’ll be fine, Peri.”

“Doctor?”

The Doctor sighed. “What now?”

“Shouldn’t we be helping Erimen?”

“Erimen was raised to be a warrior queen. If anyone can whip a resistance force into shape, it’s her.”

Chapter Text

“A large mouse had taken over the TARDIS! Oh, and Peri, it talked!” Erimem bounced excitedly.

“Seems you had an adventure while I had a nap. Typical.”

“Next time we run into megalomaniacal rodents, I’ll be sure to call you,” the Doctor said as he checked the ship’s controls.

“Do you think that likely?” Erimem asked. “You said this was the first time you had seen such a thing.”

“Second actually. I’d forgotten that time in the Cadogan Tunnels. Fancy that! Must be getting old.” He looked sternly over the top of his glasses at his giggling companions. “Yes…well.”

Chapter Text

Inside the unfamiliar TARDIS, the Doctor set the controls for Gaurdis. He dreaded this visit but The Axis needed a new Overseer. There’d been too much death and destruction there thanks to Jarra To’s ambitions.

Peri and Erimem had done well, despite disobeying his orders to remain in the TARDIS. They got along too. It was a nice change, if a bit odd given their very different backgrounds. But they were so young, his youngest companions since…the Doctor paused to think. Since Nyssa perhaps? He just hoped their youthful, reckless bravery, and good-natured rivalry wouldn’t get them into trouble.

Chapter Text

Darzil grinned. “Another war ended, Doctor. What’s next? Any hints?”

“That would be cheating.” Pausing near the TARDIS, the Doctor looked him over. “You are my best friend, Darzil.”

“Stop being so melodramatic.”

With a sad smile, the Doctor stepped inside the TARDIS.

“Nice guy,” Peri observed. “You’ve been friends a while?”

“Yes.”

“Doctor,” Erimem began cautiously, “what’s wrong?”

“With time travel, sometimes you meet people in the wrong order, meaning you see how their story ends before you really get to know them.”

“And?”

The Doctor’s expression was somber. “Darzil is about to die and I can’t stop it.”

Chapter Text

“Should we do this?”

“You’ve never been ice skating,” Peri grabbed the bottles of liquid nitrogen off the shelf, “and no one’s using the pool right now, so yes. All we need are skates.”

“I will go to the wardrobe. What do skates look like?”

“Like shoes with sharp metal blades attached to the bottom.”

Erimem blinked. Admittedly it wasn’t the strangest thing she’d heard of lately. “What should I tell the Doctor if he asks why I need them?”

Peri shrugged. “Ask what he’s doing and, once he launches into a lecture, slip out the back. Works every time.”

Chapter Text

They ran away from the space station’s engine room. Behind them the alien eggs kept hatching, the young crawling to feast on the corpse of their mother.

“We have to find the Doctor!” Erimem yelled. “He needs to know about this.”

“But how do we do that?” Vidler demanded.

“Look, another of those pads! Can we summon him back here?”

Vidler studied the teleport computer. “I can search the pads on the habitat, see if I can find any unidentified personnel. But what if we accidentally bring the aliens back instead?”

“We have to take that risk. Do it, Vidler!”

Chapter Text

“I don’t know what to say.”

“Nothing to say,” Tegan replied, her voice as upbeat as she could manage. “I’m dying…of something I got on the TARDIS.”

“Can’t the Doctor help?” Turlough glanced up, worry clear on his face.

Tegan couldn’t help smiling. “He offered, but I don’t want to spend my last days lost in the universe. Better to die in my own bed on my own terms.”

“I…understand. That’s very you.” Turlough briefly returned her grin. Then he shifted nervously. “You…don’t think it’s catching?”

“Turlough!” Tegan yelled. “Twenty years later and you’re still a drongo!”

Chapter Text

Tegan stretched as she woke and noticed Turlough asleep in the hospital room’s lone chair. She wasn’t sure why he was still here - he’d never liked Earth.

“Napping again?” Tegan teased, as he jolted awake. “You really are old. Haven’t you got someplace to be?”

“Someone’s got to keep you out of trouble,” he replied grumpily.

“First time for everything.”

“And I’m still younger than you.”

“So listen to your elders: go home Turlough.”

“Now I’m definitely staying.”

“I don’t need babysitting, ya…dill!”

“Yes, this is a pickle.” Turlough grinned and dodged as Tegan threw a pillow at him.

Chapter Text

As Peri slept, Erimem considered their options. The Doctor was missing and escape was impossible. Tomorrow they would continue this charade and again the Web of Time would be endangered. Only one practical solution remained.

Erimem pulled out Buckingham’s vial of poison. Death wasn’t frightening to her, it was just another step in a larger journey, but Peri was so squeamish. Erimem briefly considered making the decision for her as a kindness, but in the end she put away the vial. They would talk about it tomorrow. Her friend deserved the chance to sacrifice herself willingly for the greater good.

Chapter Text

The Doctor abhorred violence, but Vlad the Impaler’s troops wouldn’t believe he was a neutral party and he couldn’t help Peri or Erimem if he was dead. So he took the sword Radu offered him and fought by his side.

By the morning it was over. Exhausted, the Doctor stumbled through the battlefield, past the dead and the dying, but he found no sign of his friends. Perhaps Erimem had done as he’d asked and fled to safety, for once? Maybe Peri was with her? He tried to remain hopeful, but his conscience told him otherwise.

He’d failed them. Again.

Chapter Text

They walked through the city discussing Vlad and Erimem’s futures. Peri was loudly indignant, as usual, but even the Doctor spoke freely. Perhaps being trapped in one place and time was wearing on him? Still, he should have been more wary. He should have seen it coming.

A man bumped hard against him. The Doctor stepped back and apologized but the stranger disappeared into the crowd.

Peri kept talking as the Doctor lagged behind, a realization slowly dawning on him. He put his hand to his chest and looked down to see his fingers covered in blood. He’d been stabbed!

Chapter Text

Peri slumped against the door to her room. She’d seen too many deaths in the last two hours. Yes, Erimem had said that Hayton had tried to experiment on them and Ukarme’s tactics had been extreme, but that didn’t mean they deserved to die. And what about Mike and Kyle? The love of her life and her son were dead!

No, not dead…because they’d never existed. Maybe they weren’t real, but they felt real to her. The Doctor had made her choose a reality, now Mike and Kyle were gone and it felt as if she had killed them.

Chapter Text

The waiting made him nervous, so Turlough kept busy sketching.

When Tegan moved restlessly in the hospital bed, he stopped to watch her until she settled. The Doctor should be here but he wasn’t - Tegan said she didn’t mind but it made Turlough surprisingly angry. Nyssa was lost in E-Space. Adric was dead. That left Mike, Tegan’s mother, and Turlough, the least qualified caregiver ever.

He glanced down at his drawing - the four people around the TARDIS console were beginning to take shape. Turlough quickly made a correction to the sketch and wished the past could be changed as easily.

Chapter Text

“Why are you here…really?”

Turlough looked at Tegan across the chess board. He considered a convenient lie, but decided on the truth. “Because one of us should be and there’s nobody else left…except…him. If he won’t then…” Turlough shrugged.

“The Doctor and I said our goodbyes,” Tegan said earnestly, “and you don’t owe me anything.”

“Don’t I?” Turlough leaned forward. “If I were dying, would you leave me?”

Tegan scrunched up her face. “Oh…rabbits.”

“Exactly.” Turlough grinned, but it faded quickly. “Do you mind me being here?”

“You’re still annoying…but no.” Tegan sighed. “Your move.”

Chapter Text

Erimem dismissed her maids and looked into the mirror. Again she wished that the Doctor and Peri were here. But while they respected her decision, she doubted they understood it, which was why their departure hadn’t surprised her.

She touched the mirror and said a prayer in memory of another absent friend - Princess Pandora. Erimem hadn’t known her long, but had liked her. Peladon was meant to be her kingdom and she’d deserved a better fate.

Trumpets sounded, signaling the attendees to take their seats. Erimem took a deep breath, opened the door, and stepped out into her wedding day.

Chapter Text

Peri tried to sleep. The sound of the rain outside was calming but the house itself was oppressively creepy. She burrowed further under the heavy blankets and thought about anything other than the night phantoms only Lady Catherine could see: the wet walls and the children.

She lay with her eyes closed for what seemed like hours before finally giving up. At last, Peri decided to get a book from her bag, but when she lowered her foot to the carpet it sunk into oozing wetness. She looked around the room and saw that every wall was dripping.

Peri screamed.

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The Doctor looked up from Zarl’s device. Nearby Peri - his Peri - was focused on disabling the alien technology. She looked miserable. In the distance, he caught sight of the future version of Peri. When the older woman noticed him studying her, she turned away guiltily. Hardly surprising, since they’d just seen her murder two people.

How had this happened? How had the inherently decent girl he traveled with turned into such a cold, ruthless killer? The Doctor sighed. Perhaps he shouldn’t be surprised. After all, he knew better than most that life could change you into someone you hardly recognized.

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Peri loved an alien planet as much as anyone, but she couldn’t understand why they were staying on Androzani Minor. There was nothing but sand, machinery tracks, and caves. Of course anything could capture the Doctor’s curiosity. Currently he was babbling about the phosphorescent qualities of the cave rocks. She turned to again ask why they'd come here and slipped, somersaulting into something sticky.

Pain hit instantly, prickling up her bare legs like the bites of a million fire ants. She’d worn her bathing suit and shorts in the hopes of a swim, but now she was regretting that decision.

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Sharaz Jek’s interest in Peri was disturbing, but the Doctor was most surprised by her reaction. They’d faced many threats in their travels and normally Peri was defiant when faced with bullying megalomaniacs. But now she was cowering behind the Doctor, silent and passive. It was more evidence that perhaps the webs they’d touched earlier were less harmless than he’d originally hypothesized. If he had access to the TARDIS he’d run tests, but trapped as they were he could only do one thing: irritate their captor into making a mistake. He only hoped it wouldn’t also get them both killed.

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Tegan suspected it was a dream. She was standing in a forest and could hear a voice in her mind.

“Doctor?”

Something was wrong, the Doctor was dying. Really dying, without a regeneration.

“What do you need? You can have my life…what’s left of it anyway.”

There were others there too: Turlough, Adric, Nyssa, Kamelion, and the Master.

“What was it you always told me, Doctor? Brave heart?” Tegan felt her mind join with the others to free the Doctor from the Master’s trap. In a sudden flash of light, it all disappeared.

Tegan awoke in her hospital bed.

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“Are you ready to go?”

“Yes,” Turlough said, although he didn’t move. “You know when I knew Tegan was really dying? When she stopped yelling at me. Even up to the end, we still argued…bickered. What kind of friendship is that?”

“Maybe it wasn’t friendship, but it sounds like family to me.”

“Some family.” Turlough grumbled, staring down at the new grave. “He should have been here.”

“Yes, he should. But you know the Doctor - he doesn’t like endings.” River punched coordinates into her vortex manipulator and held out her hand. “Come on, time for you to go home.”

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“It’s just not very practical gear, is it Professor?”

“What do you mean, Ace?”

“The cricketing outfit, the mini skirt and heels, and the old school suit and tie. Mind the red shoes look killer, but none of it’s any good for running or fighting. Did you deal with nicer classes of villains back when you were him?”

“Hardly. But I was so much younger then. I thought most problems could be solved with enthusiasm and a smile. I was wrong.”

“That’s…sad actually.”

“Perhaps. But then again, getting blood out of all those whites and creams was murder.”

“Professor!”

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He watched the two people standing at the grave. One, the woman, was unknown to him but the other he recognized even from behind and from a distance. Turlough.

They disappeared in a flash of light before he could reach them. Vortex manipulator perhaps? Interesting.

He stopped where they’d been standing and looked down at the new grave. “I am sorry, Tegan,” the Sixth Doctor sighed. When he’d last seen her, he’d been traveling with Peri and Erimen. Now all three were gone. “I wish things had ended differently, but then I seem to be saying that a lot lately.”

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Turlough blinked. He was standing in a snow-covered forest with no memory of how he’d gotten there. Suddenly he heard voices in his head - Tegan, Nyssa, Kamelion, the Master, and the Doctor. Turlough remembered Tegan describing a similar experience and knew what he had to do.

“You must survive. Too many of your enemies would delight in your death, Doctor,” he said, trusting he’d be heard. Then he focused on freeing the Doctor from the Master’s trap. He felt the explosion of energy as his Doctor regenerated.

When Turlough awoke, he was laying on the floor of an unfamiliar TARDIS.

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The Eighth Doctor searched the assorted bric-a-brac from past adventures. Spotting a small Grecian urn, he smiled. Vicki had purchased it in Constantinople during that missing medusa head mystery. As his fingers brushed it, he had a sense of deja-vu. A different memory emerged of Vicki breaking the same urn.

Then it all came back: his fifth and first selves swapping places; Vicki, Steven, and the Monk. Realization dawned. Unable to cope with his role in Tamsin’s death, the Monk had blamed the Doctor, stolen his life, and damaged Earth’s future in the process.

Suddenly the Doctor was very angry.

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“Stay here.” River opened the TARDIS doors. “I’ll only be a minute.” Once outside she heard a familiar voice.

“River?”

“Sweetie! What a surprise.”

“Isn’t it? What are you doing with my TARDIS?”

“Oh, I just…left a few things inside, nothing to worry about.” River tried to steer him in the opposite direction, but the Doctor wouldn’t be diverted.

“I’ll help you find them.” He stepped inside and saw white walls, lots of roundels, and a familiar face.

“You?” The Twelfth Doctor looked accusingly at River. “What is he doing here?”

“Do I know you?” Turlough asked, completely confused.