“Doctor, are we actually going somewhere or are we just wandering around hoping we run into trouble?” Rory asked, trailing behind the Doctor. He looked left and right through the murky darkness, half convinced someone was following them. Lily was walking alongside the Doctor, fascinated at her surroundings, even though they were terribly dull. “Little bit of both, mostly the latter. I picked up her DNA trace, but it’s faint and heading away from us. If I can calibrate the polarity and reverse the magnetisms of the electromagnetic current…” The Doctor rambled on, talking gibberish. The more he said, the faster he talked, Lily noticed. She found the Doctor quite amusing, a bit odd but a very fun person to be around. Rory would have disagreed with his daughter’s opinion of him knowing that trouble followed the Doctor like a cat follows a mouse. It would follow him until it didn’t want to play with him any more and ended up killing him. Shuddering involuntarily, Rory hurried to catch up with the Doctor and Lily.
The Doctor paused suddenly and Rory ran straight into his back. Amazingly, the Doctor wasn’t knocked down. He raised his sonic screwdriver in the air, listening intently to its hum with his eyes closed. The light from it cast strange shadows over Lily’s face, illuminating her red hair with green so she resembled a Christmas tree.
“I’ve locked on to her but the signal isn’t very strong,” The Doctor’s eyes sprang open. He grinned and took off like a rocket, his sonic screwdriver pointed in front of him.
“Come along Ponds!” He hollered, his voice echoing down the dark empty street.
Lily and Rory exchanged looks and took off after him. Lily smiled in spite of herself, enjoying the feeling of running for the sheer heck of it. “Running,” Rory panted beside her, “Always with the running!”
In response, she laughed, picked up the pace, and followed the bouncing, gangly figure of the Doctor.
Sere paused in the middle of the street. Rick stopped as well, observing his girlfriend’s behavior. She tilted her head to one side, closing her eyes as though she were listening to something. “What is it?” Rick mimicked her and listened for himself. He could sense a powerful presence moving ever closer to them and heard the all too familiar whirr of a sonic device. Sere opened her eyes, grabbed her lover’s hand and whispered, “Run,”
They took off down the dimly lit road, their feet drumming out a rhythm on the pavement. The Doctor shouted behind them, “Stop right there!” The two children of time ignored him and continued their flight; their hands were clasped tightly together, palms sweating as their four hearts beat erratically in their chests.
The red haired woman from the bar jumped out in front of them, “Stop!” The two skidded to a halt, exchanged worried glances and embraced each other awkwardly. Amy raised an eyebrow, an unspoken question on her lips. Sere tapped a device on her wrist, “It’s not working!” Sere shrieked, banging on the wristwatch. Rick sighed, “Great. Just great,”
The Doctor, Rory and Lily caught up to them. The Doctor’s sonic screwdriver increased in pitch, screaming at them. The green light flickered in the darkness as the Doctor scanned Sere.
“According to this, you’re Sere – but you’ve regenerated. And you’re obviously not kidnapped,” “Obviously,” Mimicked Sere. She rolled her eyes and continued to bang on the device around her wrist. “Time vortex manipulator. Dangerous stuff, can cause quite a good number of paradoxes. I trust you’ve been keeping track of everywhere you’ve been?” The Doctor asked her. Rick snorted, answering his question without speaking a word. Sere quit fiddling with her manipulator and broke away from Rick, glaring at the Doctor.
“You never came for me,”
“Déjà vu,” Amy muttered, thinking of the time the Doctor had left her on Appalappachia in the Red Waterfall where she had become an old woman and they’d never come back for her. Eventually they managed to rescue a young Amy and erased the old one in the process. She still had nightmares about that. After old Amy had been erased, young Amy had assimilated some of her memories and they were quite terrifying.
“Yes I will, I will do everything in my power to fix this,” The Doctor moved as though to hug Sere but she backed away from him, “I don’t want to fix this,”
There was a dark look in her eyes that the Doctor had never seen before. They glittered with hatred, those sharp blue eyes that looked so much like her past regeneration’s eyes.
“Sorry, but who are you?” Lily interrupted, pointing at Rick. He frowned and pointed to himself. She nodded.
“Um, I’m Rick,” He turned to the Doctor, “If you’re going to save her, then I can’t tell you who I am. Paradoxes and all that,” The Doctor nodded, understanding perfectly. Sere turned on Rick, “You’re on his side? How could you?” She was on the verge of tears, but her face bore the expression of total anger.
“There are no sides in this, Sere. All I want is for you to be happy. You’ve never been happy since we escaped. Never,” Sere pushed him away, disgusted at his response. “I don’t want to be rescued. I’ll be erased,”
The Doctor shook his head, “Only if you’re in the same place as the other Sere when we rescue you – her - whatever. You’re a Time Lady and a time traveler. You’ll be protected if you’re in the vortex when we save her. You. You are her, essentially,”
“I am nothing like her,” Sere snapped, stepping forward to face the Doctor. She was almost as tall as him, but not quite. It was kind of funny, seeing her stare up at him with malice and evil intentions, so much hatred stuffed in the smallish teenager. Lily and Amy both had to stifle their laughter.
Sere turned away from the Doctor, took one last look at Rick and sneered, “Good riddance,” With a tap of her wristwatch, she was engulfed in a blinding white light. A loud roar filled the air. Debris was stirred up from the street, Amy’s hair whipping about in the sudden gust of wind. The light died and Serenata was gone.
Rick gaped at the spot where his now ex-girlfriend had been only moments before.
“Rick, I’m sorry but I’m afraid we can’t take you with us. You’d cause a major paradox,” The Doctor said to Rick. He nodded, looking a little glum, “That’s alright. I’ll stay here,”
The mysterious boy turned and walked away, melting into the shadows. Years later he would take on the persona of Richard Miles and lead a revolution to free the enslaved Taltooth. He would become a great hero and a protector of the planet that would one day be known as Zenith, Z7-58D3 no longer.
“I wonder who he was,” Lily murmured. She thought he was sort of cute and hoped to see him again wherever they were going to save Sere.
The Doctor had left the group and was heading back to the TARDIS. Rory nodded in the direction of the departing Time Lord, “I think we’re about to find out,”
The cat-o-nine-tails cut into her flesh again and again. Her screams echoed off the brick walls, unheard by all except the massive wolf that hovered over her, laughing. A hooded figure in the darkness, seated on a throne of iron, called out to her, “Tell me what I want to know, Sere, and your pain will cease,” Sere gritted her teeth and called the woman a very nasty name in Gallifreyan. The wolf raised the whip above his head and brought it down upon her bare back once more. Sere cried out in anguish, tears rolling down her face. The two smaller wolves that had been holding her let her naked body fall to the stone floor.
“Strike her chest,” The woman ordered.
“No,” Sere moaned as the large wolf kicked her until she rolled over. The two smaller wolves back away into the darkness, barking and growling to each other excitedly. They loved to lap up the blood after the torturing was over. Already, crimson rivulets were filling the cracks on the floor, as red as a cardinal’s wings.
The large wolf’s robotic eyepiece shined like a ruby gemstone in the darkness, the metal sparkling in the dim candlelight. Sere braced herself as the creature brought the barbed whip down onto her chest, flaying the flesh from her breasts. Sere’s screams were heard by none but the woman, the wolves, and the boy in the cell far below them in the prison. He curled into the fetal position on the filthy floor and wept for his beloved. He was powerless to help her, he could only whisper comforting words to her mind and pray that her pain ceased, even if it meant death.
“Please,” He cried, his tears forming puddles in the dust and dirt upon the stone floor, “Doctor. We need you,”
The TARDIS materialized once more on the desert planet of Alcatta. This time however, it was not in the dusty alley but in the corner of the room where Sere had been kidnapped. Veetle was in his home at the time of the Doctor’s arrival, and watched fearfully as the blue box appeared out of the ether. The doors burst open and the Doctor walked out, all the rage and fury of a Time Lord burning in his soul.
“Hello Veetle, wonderful to see you again, but there’s someone else I’d rather see instead of you. It be even more wonderful, wonderful-er, if I could see Serenata.” The Alcattan had backed into the corner of the room, his tail tucked between his legs, knees knocking together. The Time Lord literally cornered him there and stood nose to nose with the anteater-like creature, “Now I’m only going to ask this once, and I’m going to ask you very nicely. Where did they take my daughter?”
Amy, Rory and Lily watched from inside the TARDIS, standing in the doorway. Veetle’s beady black eyes flicked back and forth, panicked.
“I speak the truth Doctor when I say that I don’t know where they’ve taken her. I was only told to lure you here. After I knocked you out, Malik, a wolf, took the girl and they disappeared in a flash of white light,” Veetle told him. The Doctor backed away from the Alcattan vendor, “Time vortex manipulator,” He murmured, “That explains where the other one got hers,”
“What are you going to do with me?” Veetle ventured, his voice quivering with terror.
The Doctor looked back at the vendor, “I’m not going to do anything with you, Veetle. You are going to help us find Sere. You serve the order of the Wolf; surely you know where their headquarters is…?” He asked, wringing his hands together, betraying the fact that he was extremely worried about his adopted daughter.
“I’m sorry Doctor. I’ve never been there. Only wolves are allowed there,”
The Doctor’s expression turned very dark, “That doesn’t answer my question,”
Veetle sighed, “Coordinates 259-654 time period Delta,”
The Doctor spun on his heel and entered the TARDIS.
“But Doctor, when they find out I’ve given you information, they’ll kill me!” The terrified Alcattan called after him. The Doctor paused before shutting the TARDIS door completely and locked eyes with Veetle. “There won’t be any of them left to kill you when I’m through with them,”
The door slammed shut and the TARDIS vanished from the Alcattan’s home.
“Bless you Time Lord,” He murmured with his eyes closed, making the sign of a cross over his furry chest. He decided then and there that he would no longer worship the Wolf. It was the Doctor he would serve now, that madman in a box. Veetle knew that the Doctor was no god, yet he was just as good as one.
The Doctor raced around the console, hands flying and dancing over the controls. “How are we supposed to rescue her when we get there? I don’t like the sound of these wolves,” Rory asked, a tremor of fear in his voice.
“Well if they are the werewolves I’m thinking of, they’ll be sensitive to really loud high pitched noises easily created by my sonic and possibly mistletoe.” The TARDIS lurched, Lily colliding with Amy in the process. They clung to the railing, giggling like maniacs. The Doctor held on to the console, frowning, “Unfortunately I don’t have any mistletoe so turning my sonic screwdriver into a dog whistle will have to do for now,”
The TARDIS pitched and spun through the time vortex, howling like a banshee. There were so many barriers set up around the time and place Veetle had given him, the Doctor was having a hard time steering the old girl through the obstacles.
Suddenly, everything stopped moving and all four occupants were thrown to the floor. The lights in the TARDIS flickered and sputtered, sparks flying from beneath the glass floor the console rested on.
“For lack of a better word – Ow,” Rory moaned, stumbling to his feet.
“What the hell happened?” Amy muttered, stumbling to her feet. Lily helped her mother up, peering around the suddenly dim TARDIS control room. The Doctor leapt to his feet, a wild grin on his face, “I’ll tell you what happened - We made it!” He hopped down the stairs taking them two at a time and flung the TARDIS doors open. The rancid stench of something rotting drifted inside.
“Why do you keep taking us places where it smells?” Lily complained, following the Time Lord out of the TARDIS. Amy and Rory followed them both into the dark beyond.
The police box had materialized in what appeared to be an ancient prison. The cells bars were so rusty they were no longer grey but a reddish brown color that looked eerily like blood in the dark prison. The cells were empty except for the occasional rat or spiderweb.
“Spider!” Lily shrieked, stumbling in circles, swiping at her face. She’d walked straight into a spiderweb that stretched from one side of the aisle to the other. The three adults ignored her and peered around their surroundings. The hallway of cells seemed to go on forever.
“How are we supposed to find her in this place?” Rory asked. The Doctor held up a hand for silence, “Listening, no talking,” He commanded, closing his eyes.
Lily rejoined her mum and dad, watching the Time Lord curiously, “What’s he doing?” Amy shushed her, her eyes fixed on her Doctor.
The Doctor could hear and sense the faint sounds of Time Lord minds, both of which were extremely frightened.
“It’s alright, I’m here now,” The Doctor murmured. The closest of the two minds cried out to him with joy, pulsating in wild colors. The Doctor opened his eyes. He could visibly see the pulse of the lights farther down the aisle. He held his sonic screwdriver up like a torch to light the way for his human companions, who could not see the lights, and set off down the aisle.
Amy and Lily exchanged looks. “Here we go again,” Rory sighed, following the Doctor. Amy shrugged and marched after her husband, her red haired doppelganger daughter in tow.
Rounding the corner, they found the Doctor crouched in front of a cell, shining his sonic inside. “Oh dear. I’m so terribly sorry. I’ll fix all of this, I promise,”
Amy stopped in her tracks, half afraid to see what the Doctor was looking at. Rory crouched beside the Doctor, looking inside. “Oh my god.” He gasped, clutching the bars of the cell.
Lily crept forward cautiously, looking inside. Curled up in the fetal position on the floor of the cell was what had been a healthy teenage boy. Now he was little more than skin and bones, blood staining his clothes from old wounds. Lily suddenly realized that he was the same boy they had seen on Z7-58D3. The difference between that version of him and this version was huge. The boy was so thin, his cheekbones stuck out sharply, his cheeks sunken hollows in his face. Lily could see every individual bone of his hand; it was as though he were nothing more than a skeleton.
“If I’d known you were alive when I first found you…. I’m terribly sorry,” The Doctor repeated shaking his head, “I’ll help you, I swear,” The boy struggled to get up, failed miserably and whimpered like a beaten dog. Rory stood, his hands shaking, “I’m a nurse,” He murmured, looking a little lost. He turned to Amy who embraced him. Lily knelt where her father had and reached her hand through the bars. The Doctor began to speak, “Don’t-” But when he saw the expression on the boy’s face when Lily took his hand, he paused. The fragile teenager looked down at her hand embracing his.
“It’s going to be alright,” Lily told him, moving her thumb in circles across his palm. He sighed contentedly, closing his eyes and smiling.
“You’re probably the first person other than Sere to have touched him and not hurt him,” The Doctor said quietly. Lily nodded numbly, smiling through the sad tears that pricked the corners of her vision. A sudden low growl echoed throughout the dark, damp prison. It reverberated off the walls, the bars of every cell vibrating. Amy and Rory broke apart to see a huge wolfish humanoid creature staring at them malevolently. One of its eyes was incased in a robotic eyepiece with a glowing red center. It bared its teeth at them, showing off its blood stained fangs.
“Oh. My. God,” Rory gasped for the second time today. Amy was frozen with fright, her eyes open wide. The creature roared at them, charging forward, its claws slashing at the Doctor, who was closest to him. The Doctor, who was now standing, yelped and backed away, examining his bleeding forearm.
“You ruined my favorite coat!” He exclaimed, half shocked, half angry.
The wolf replied with another guttural roar, lunging for the Time Lord once more. He danced nimbly out of the way. The creature hurtled past them, skidding to a stop a little ways away. Its hind legs dug huge gouges in the stone floor, scraping it with a sound like nails on a chalk board. Fur bristled along its neck as it hunched itself to spring towards them once more.
“Shouldn’t we, oh I don’t know, start running for our bloody lives?!” Lily demanded, her voice rising to an unnatural pitch as she panicked. The Doctor grinned, “Yes, lets!” Rory and Amy held hands and ran after the Doctor, Lily close at their heels, screaming like it was the end of the world. It could be, Amy supposed, the end of their personal world if they all died in the dark underground prison. Was it underground? She had only supposed it was, but she didn’t actually have any idea. The Doctor paused at an intersection in front of them for a moment, looking this way and that, spinning on the spot. He noticed how close the wolf was and darted off down the left passageway.
“Come along Ponds!” He yelled over his shoulder, climbing up a series of steps that led to a wooden door. “Williams,” Rory argued, glancing back to see the wolf barreling towards them snarling mangled words of hatred at them.
The Doctor opened the door which was thankfully unlocked and they all pushed past each other in a clamor to get out. Amy’s suspicion that the prison had been underground proved to be correct. They found themselves coming out of the side of a hill into blinding daylight. They all tripped and fell in a heap on top of one another, gasping for breath.
The Doctor untangled himself from the group and ran to the door in the hillside, slamming it shut and locking it with his sonic screwdriver.
“I thought it didn’t do wood,” Rory said as he stood up. The Doctor grinned, “I have an app for that now,” The nurse rolled his eyes. The Doctor pocketed his sonic screwdriver, listening with satisfaction to the angry growls of the wolf on the other side of the door.
“I suggest we get moving, that door isn’t going to hold him for long,” He told them, offering his hand to Amy who still lay sprawled on the grass next to her daughter.
“Are we on Earth?” Lily asked, sitting up. The Doctor shook his head, “No, look at the sky. Last time I checked Earth’s sky wasn’t violet colored.” Lily marveled at the sight of the purple sky, an eternal twilight that fell upon the surrounding woods. “It’s beautiful,”
Behind them, the wolf’s claws pierced the door, poking out from the wood.
“Yeah, real beautiful, can we get moving Doctor?” Rory shifted his weight nervously from one foot to the other, glancing warily at the trembling wooden door.
The Doctor looked from the door to the woods and cried, “Geronimo!” He barreled into the woods, arms pin wheeling. His giddy laughter bounced off the trees and startled flocks of multicolored birds. They took flight into the air, brilliant rainbow clouds of feathers.
“Are you sure he’s always like this?” Lily asked her mum. Amy shook her head, “No, this is worse than usual,” She admitted.