Zepheera clung to the tweed of the Doctor’s jacket as he fell down a stranger’s chimney. As if to distract herself from the utter terror of free-falling inside a giant man’s pocket, a stray thought floated through the back of the borrower’s mind – At least it’s warm…
And seconds before the Doctor landed, it got very warm indeed. His intrusive body knocked a load of soot loose from the chimney’s shaft, and it all came down on top of the quaint fire burning in the fireplace, quenching it just as the Doctor rolled out and jumped to his feet, coughing and patting away at the black soot that covered him from head to toe.
Somewhere in the landing, Zepheera got dislodged from the Doctor’s coat, and with the security of his hand against her suddenly lost, she flew right out of his pocket onto the newly-blackened floor. She lay there dazed as the Doctor addressed the small crowd of humans – or at least, human-like people. If there was one thing traveling through time and space with an alien taught Zepheera, it was to never make assumptions.
“Ah. Yes! Blimey.” The Doctor’s hand went instantly to his pocket to check on his companion. When there was a distinct lack of a borrower there, he scoured the floor until he found her a few feet to his right. She was just recovering, pulling herself to stand. Satisfied that she was alright, he turned back to the other people in the room. “Sorry. Christmas Eve on a rooftop, saw a chimney, my whole brain just went ‘What the hell’!”
While the Doctor carried on rambling about Father Christmas and Frank Sinatra, Zepheera shook the soot out of her clothes and short, dark hair and assessed the room. There was an old, grouchy-looking man with two men standing behind him; Zepheera guessed they were guards, servants, or both. Then there stood a poor family consisting of what looked like a grandmother, a father, and two children. At least some of them were human, this she knew thanks to the slight ache in the joints of her elbows and ankles that always flared up around when humans were around. In any case, she was much too greatly outnumbered by people who were more than a dozen times her own height.
Tearing her deep violet gaze away from the gathering of giants, Zepheera’s attention was drawn to a large, almost organ-like machine in the corner. She made straight for it, digging her hook and line out of her trusty rucksack. With practiced motion, she tossed it high up and it caught on one of the many flashing buttons. She made short work of climbing up the homemade rope, risking a look over her shoulder halfway up.
The Doctor was doing what he did best, distracting and confounding the humans in the room. Only the children seemed unfazed by his antics, even amused by them. And it didn’t take them long to notice the four and a half inch tall woman dashing across the floor and climbing onto the console. But they kept quiet about her, and Zepheera had to commend them for that.
She hauled herself up and made straight for the center of the console. Some of the buttons and switches were labelled, but nothing directly indicated which one would either shut the whole thing down or coax the skies into saving the ship that Amy and Rory were crashing in. She made an educated guess and pushed down on one of the buttons.
It gave a non-committal buzz, but nothing happened otherwise. She tried again, to no avail.
“Doctor!” she called, hoping he could make sense of this baffling machine.
The Time Lord whirled around and gravitated toward the controls immediately. “Ooh! Now, what’s this then? I love this! Big flashy lighty thing, that’s what brought me here!” He ran his fingers along the buttons around and above Zepheera, teeming with excitement. “Big flashy lighty things have got me written all over them! Not actually. Give me time and a crayon.”
“Do not give him a crayon!” Zepheerea emphasized as the Doctor sat down in the nearby chair and spun it around until his back was facing her. She took the opportunity to jump back onto his shoulder, feeling slightly more confident now that she was in her usual place. Here, the Doctor would make sure that no harm came to her.
As it turned out, the controls reacted to the Doctor in the exact same way. No amount of sonicing the interface would change the fact that Zepheera and the Doctor’s only hope of saving the Ponds was for a very bad man, the only person who could manipulate the controls and the clouds, to suddenly turn nice just in time for Christmas day.
This was all sounding a little…familiar to Zepheera.