Stuck in the Middle

BTaS Canon: No
Episode: Day of the Doctor
Doctor(s): Tenth, Eleventh, and War Doctors
Companions: Zepheera

Previously


Zepheera had resigned herself to keep quiet while the two most recent incarnations of the Doctor rode out the novelty of being together with their four and a half inch tall companion. Ten, who hadn’t met Zepheera yet in his timeline, kept trying to surreptitiously learn about what was in store for him and the borrower. She or Eleven, depending on who spoke first, would always answer these types of questions with the word “Spoilers,” and Ten would moan about how the timelines were “too wibbly and I won’t remember anyway!” This only earned him a shrug and elicited a short-lived pout.

Zepheera hadn’t realized how much she had missed that pout.

Eventually the youngest incarnation of the Doctor insisted that they should be making some progress with the whole Zygon-invasion-and-painting-of-Gallifrey problem. The other two conceded and stood in unison. Zepheera got to her feet as well, throwing her single-strapped rucksack over her shoulder.

She turned to find two upturned hands in front of her, both acting as platform for her to climb on. When she looked up, the Doctors were staring each other down.

“Back off, Sandshoes!” hissed the Eleventh Doctor, nudging his counterpart away. “She’s not your companion yet!”

“Exactly! You can spend all the time you like with her, and I wanna know what I have to look forward to! I’m dying for a sneak peek.” Ten exclaimed.

Zepheera bit back a cringe at his phrasing.

Eleven shot back, “You haven’t met her yet. She hasn’t had time to properly train you up.”

“Oh, come on, you know she’s not the first life form her size I’ve encountered!”

“Well it’s different when you live with one, and take it from me who took it from her, you are a shrugger!”

This took the Tenth Doctor aback. He glanced between his future self and his future companion. “I am?” he asked, sounding subdued.

Eleven nodded emphatically. “And a fidgeter.”

“Oh, for God’s sake!” sighed the War Doctor, waiting semi-patiently as the other two squabbled. “You fools are arguing over the lady as though she isn’t here! If anyone’s going to decide who she goes along with, it should be her.”

Ten and Eleven shared a sheepish look and nodded, mumbling apologies to Zepheera. They stood quietly, waiting for the borrower to make her choice.

Zepheera smiled gratefully at the War Doctor, who nodded once in return. He was an enigmatic one, that much was certain, but he seemed just as sweet and caring as the Doctors she knew and loved. She made a mental note to find some time alone with him later, sit down and get to know the Doctor before she knew him.

But for now, she had a decision to make. After a short moment of deliberation, she took a deep breath and approached Eleven. He clapped his hands triumphantly before offering her one to climb onto. Ten sighed but accepted Zepheera’s choice. As Eleven lifted her to his shoulder, she shot Ten an apologetic look.

“You are fidgety. And a shrugger,” she admitted. Ten nodded, barely suppressing a pout at Eleven’s smug look.

A small smirk tugged at Zepheera’s lip. “To your credit, though, you did train up faster than this one.”

Ten snorted and Eleven’s jaw dropped in indignation. “Oh, thanks a lot there, pipsqueak! Let’s just go already.”

“Finally,” muttered the War Doctor.

As they were leaving, Ten crept up behind Eleven and softly asked Zepheera, “How on Earth do you even stay up there with, y’know…” He rubbed his chin, raising a questioning eyebrow at the small woman.

“He slouches,” hissed Zepheera in reply, twisting around to wink conspiratorially at Ten.

“Oh, leave off, you two!” grumbled Eleven.

Ten smirked. “I have a feeling I like you, Zepheera.”

“I should hope so,” she said, facing front again before he could catch the hint of sadness that made it into her smile and eyes.

I’ve missed you.


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