Helping Hands — Part 2/3

Prompt from @neonthebright: The Doctor drops/misplaces his sonic somewhere he can’t reach and Zepheera goes on a mini-adventure to retrieve it for him.

BTaS Canon: No – DonnaAU

Timeline: Post-Midnight, Pre-Turn Left

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

If anyone had told Zepheera decades ago that one day she’d be able to sit comfortably in a human hand, she’d have told them to bugger off. And yet there she was, leaning tiredly against a human look-alike’s fingers as he sauntered off toward the console room. Completely at his mercy, yet with complete trust in him.

She straightened when he entered the dome-shaped room, peering over the edge of the Doctor’s hand curiously. Indeed, one of the floor panels was pulled up and set aside, leaving a gaping hole in the floor. Those compartments were still a bit of a mystery to Zepheera, even after all this time. She’d observed that a few of them were used for storage, filled with old trunks and boxes and the like, but most seemed to be dark mazes of machinery that Zepheera would rather not get lost in.

And now she was about to crawl willingly into one. Spectacular.

The Doctor climbed slowly into the hole, careful to jostle the borrower as little as possible. Crouching, he took up less than half of the space inside, but once Zepheera found herself lowered below the floor level, she saw that there was more room than the size of the panel would suggest.

“Where did it fall through?” she asked, stifling a yawn.

“Down here.” The Doctor leaned down and reached in to lay his hand next to a slight slope. Just big enough for the sonic screwdriver, and too small to fit his hand through. Zepheera slid off the Doctor’s palm at the top of the slope to carefully examine her surroundings.

Nothing in this place was smooth or flat, not even the slope. It all seemed to be made of wire or hose or angular mechanisms and couplings that Zepheera could never begin to understand. She didn’t need to, though. All she needed was a secure place to attach her hook.

The ground shook the moment she reached for the grapple hanging from her shoulder; in her fatigued state, she hadn’t thought to expect movement from the Doctor, so she stumbled a bit before she felt steady enough to shoot a glare over her shoulder. Her silent scolding had no effect, the Doctor was shifting to lay on his back and wasn’t even looking her way.

“As you can see, I was working like  this, on that stuff up there,” he explained, pointing out a few wires and plugs dangling from the underside of the console. “It’s all kinda technical, and actually quite volatile without the right tools–”

“Then I guess I’d better not delay,” Zepheera snipped, securing her hook around a black cord near the top of the slope and disappeared through the gap. “Really don’t need the graphic details.”

The Doctor cocked an eyebrow at the gap. “Well, someone’s grumpy.”

Someone is owed a cup of tea after this.”

She slid slowly down her rope at first; even knowing how quickly it would heal, she’d rather not sprain anything by jumping in too fast and hitting the floor too hard. She couldn’t even see the bottom through the shadows, much less the Doctor’s precious probe.

“A torch would be much appreciated if you’ve got one!” she called up.

“Ah! Right, yes.” Zepheera halted her descent when she felt a few vibrations through her rope indicating the Doctor was moving. Then a pale yellow light washed over her and illuminated her destination perfectly. “Better?”

“Much, thanks.” Now that a floor was in plain sight, a little less than a foot away, Zepheera dropped easily down. She frowned when she didn’t see the sonic anywhere. The immediate area was cavernous and irregular, and a glance upward told her she was about a foot and a half down  from the Doctor’s level.

A massive tangle of wired machinery stood behind her, a few outlines of passageways before her.

While she took a moment to choose a direction, the Doctor’s voice echoed down to her. “See it yet?”

Zepheera rolled her eyes. “Not yet. Give me a minute.” She almost asked him to angle the torch to a better angle, but given how narrow the opening was, she doubted that would be easy. Instead, she started toward the passage right in front of her. It seemed to be wide enough to accommodate a falling screwdriver and was the only logical place for it to go. She proceeded cautiously, trailing her rope along in her hand so she wouldn’t get lost or fall down a hole with no way back. “How’d you even manage to drop it down here?”

“I dunno, it’s never really happened before. Guess I just…got lost in thought or something, and it slipped.”

“You? Lost in thought? Shock and surprise,” Zepheera murmured, a twinge of humor teasing at her lips.

“Oi! Heard that.”

This actually brought a chuckle out of Zepheera, who turned to call over her shoulder. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you’re starting to sound like DonNA-A-A!”

Her foot caught on something she couldn’t see even if she were watching where she was going, and she tumbled down a low slope of hard metal things until something cylindrical broke her fall. It buzzed briefly as she landed on it.

“Zepheera! What happened, are you alright?”

Slightly dazed from the impact, Zepheera shook her head and breathed deeply. “I’m okay!” she assured. As she got to her feet, she realized exactly what she was leaning on for support.

“I found it!”

“Brilliant!” the Doctor exulted. “Can you get it up?”

Zepheera regarded the probe at her feet. It was taller than she was, but she was stronger than she looked. “Hang on! I’ll see what I can do.”

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Helping Hands — Part 1/3

Prompt from @neonthebright: The Doctor drops/misplaces his sonic somewhere he can’t reach and Zepheera goes on a mini-adventure to retrieve it for him.

BTaS Canon: No – DonnaAU

Timeline: Post-Midnight, Pre-Turn Left

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Zepheera woke up feeling annoyed. She stirred under her light covers and gave a sleepy murmur as she blinked blearily, frowning at the ceiling in confusion. If the sluggish state of her mind was  anything to go by, she hadn’t gotten her full eight hours. What could have possibly–?

Knock knock knock knock!


The borrower in question heaved a sigh. “You’ve gotta be kidding me,” she groaned.

The Doctor continued to knock and call her name, so Zepheera gave in and kicked off the blanket with a grumble. Rolling out of bed, she stumbled toward the exit to her hidden home.

The Time Lord had happened upon four-and-a-half-inch-tall Zepheera in the possession of scientists, trapped in a tank and pumped full of drugs. He rescued her, revived her, gave her a place on his ship and offered her the chance of a lifetime: to see the universe.

After over a century and a half of more of the same, and sometimes worse, nothing could have made Zepheera happier.

In the year that followed, she grew close to the Doctor and his human companion, Donna. They traveled together, ran together, and fought to rescue alien civilizations together. Despite their size difference, the three of them actually made a brilliant team. For instance, the Doctor carried knowledge from across the universe, Donna’s cleverness cropped up in unexpected places, and Zepheera could always find her way into places they couldn’t reach. In their downtime, the larger of the travelers were perfectly comfortable with Zepheera carrying on the lifestyle of her people.

She borrowed from them, scavenging materials from the virtually infinite number of rooms in the TARDIS, and over time she’d put together a humble home hidden behind the wall panels.

She liked to believe that she’d come across the loose panel that was now the entrance to her house entirely on her own, but sometimes she suspected that the Doctor had loosened it for her to find when she wasn’t looking. Either way, he and Donna were both aware of her base’s location in case they needed to find her in an emergency.

Rude awakenings like the one Zepheera was recovering from made her regret that decision.

“Alright, alright, I’m coming!” she called. That silenced the Doctor’s knocks at least. Careful to avoid the few borrowings she left lying around, she squeezed through the gap that led to the corridor and squinted up at her giant friend.

“I. Was. Asleep,” she pronounced, shading her eyes as she tilted her head back to meet his gaze. Luckily, he was kneeling, so she didn’t have to look far. Zepheera’s annoyance softened when she noticed the Doctor wringing his hands and looking quite distressed. “What’s wrong?”

The Doctor blinked. “Ah. Yes, well, y’see, the thing is… Well, what happened was, I was, er, I guess you could say tuning up things in the console room; it’s a bit more complicated than that – okay, much more complicated than that – but anyway, I digress–”

“If you could get to the point, please,” Zepheera pressed, quickly losing patience.

“Right, of course,” the Doctor nodded with a steadying breath. “Long story short, I kinda, sort of…dropped my sonic.”

Zepheera shot him a flat look. “And you woke me up because…?”

“Well, I need your help to get it back.”

She scowled. “Why me? Can’t you bother Donna to–”

“I was working in the space underneath the console,” clarified the Doctor. “It slipped out of my grasp and fell into a nook I can’t reach into. I’m, heh, a bit too big.” He chuckled sheepishly, scratching the back of his head.

As irritated as she was, Zepheera could never stay mad at the Doctor for long. With an exaggerated eye roll, she sighed in defeat. “Fine. Just give me a minute.”

Without waiting for the Doctor’s response, she went back inside to change from her sleep clothes into an outfit more suitable for borrowing. She slipped on her boots and almost grabbed her bag before remembering she wouldn’t be needing it. Instead, she tossed her grappling hook and coiled rope over her shoulder, giving her dark, sleep-tousled bob a quick comb-through with her fingers before returning to the corridor. The Doctor’s upturned hand was waiting for her, along with his grateful smile.

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Prompt: Rainbow

((I’m back! Fell into a bit of a writer’s block earlier in the week, but I’m slowly getting back on track! Anyway, here’s another prompt from this list of one-word prompts. Feel free to send in one!))

Zepheera crept furtively up to the drawing room where she was sure to find her husband. They both kept supplies for their personal crafts in there – pinched fabric and old socks and small pins for Zepheera’s sewing and knitting, and paper scraps and pencil tips for Orrick’s drawing – but Orrick used it most often. There was a sizable crack in the floorboard that made up the ceiling in the small room, giving him ideal lighting (second only to sketching outside, which was risky for a five-inch-tall man).

He sat with his back to the door, granting Zepheera the perfect opportunity to sneak up on him and plant a quick kiss on his fair cheek.

“Happy anniversary,” she chirped, wrapping her arms around his shoulders from behind.

Orrick started, then sighed and took one of Zepheera’s hands in his left one (his right was used for drawing and therefore covered in graphite). “Ah yes, how festive. Celebrating five years of marriage with a heart attack. Love you too, Zeph.”

Sarcasm aside, he smiled and pecked the back of Zepheera’s hand. She chuckled and pulled away, pulling up an empty spool to sit alongside him.

“And I was still thoughtful enough to make you this.” She presented a coil of rope she’d made to replace the one that had snapped on him a month and a half prior. This one she’d twisted herself using three lengths of dark-colored sewing thread to allow for more stability and durability. “Couldn’t manage to swipe your hook, but now that it’s officially yours we can attach it later.”

Orrick’s mouth hung open as he hastily cleaned his hands on a damp cloth. He took the rope in a firm grip, testing its strength and observing the feel of it.

“So this is what you’ve been sneakin’ around to do,” he smirked.

She nudged him playfully. “Unlike some, I’ve been borrowing since I was ten. I’ve long since mastered the art of the sneak.”

He pulled Zepheera in close, her slim frame fitting right into the crook of his arm. “I love it. Thanks.”

Zepheera smiled and leaned into his chest.

“Alright, let’s see what you’ve drawn for me this time.”

Regardless of how long she’d known him, Orrick’s skill still managed to impress Zepheera. Not only was his talent for pencil sketches unmatched by anyone she’d had ever met, but he was able to remember moments and images with uncanny accuracy and then transfer them into a drawing without flaw.

He never got tired of drawing Zepheera. There didn’t even need to be an occasion, but Zepheera was sure to receive a drawing from her husband for her birthday or an anniversary. Usually of herself and always unprompted.

She recognized this year’s portrait as a scene from their trip to the garden two weeks before. It had been raining for four days straight, keeping the humans in the house at all times, which in turn all but trapped the borrowers in their own home under the floor. Orrick and Zepheera knew it was irrational to be afraid of a flood washing away their livelihood since the house was on elevated ground, but after days of being cooped up they started to worry. Finally a bright, sunny day came along and the humans went into town too resupply and socialize. This left Zepheera and Orrick ample time to meander about the less waterlogged parts of the garden.

In the picture, Zepheera was leaning back on her hands, basking in the sunlight with her eyes closed. She remembered the exact moment: the way the warm breeze had blown through her long, dark hair and blessedly filled her lungs with the fresh air they had been deprived of all week. She just hadn’t realized Orrick had been watching.

She gaped at the level of detail in the sketch, from the tiny four-petal flower Orrick had picked and tucked behind Zepheera’s ear, to the clouds in the sky and…

“What’s that?” She pointed to a gray streak that stretched across the sky, darker and more linear than the fluffy clouds.

“It’s a rainbow,” he explained.

Zepheera frowned at it for a moment. “C’mon, I pointed it out to you. Don’t you remember?”

Recognition lit up Zepheera’s deep violet eyes. “Oh yeah, I remember. But that was later on, I was half-asleep.”

“It was still there, even if I didn’t notice it at the moment. I was just…admiring a more beautiful view.”

Orrick shook his head at the cheesiness of his own line.

Zepheera smiled anyway, moving the drawing from his lap to her own. The rainbow didn’t really matter too much. At the end of the day, it was a background detail in a portrait that was focused entirely on Zepheera.

“Thanks, love. It’s wonderful.”

Orrick gave her shoulders a squeeze and kissed her hair, which had been pulled back into a messy, careless bun.

With a smirk, she added, “I do appreciate how you tried to distinguish the colors from each other.

“Well!” Orrick scoffed, a mirthful smile playing across his lips. “If you want a life-like rainbow, then you’re going to have to borrow your poor deprived husband some colored pencil tips.”

“In this house? With possibly the least artistic humans in existence?” Zepheera giggled.


Now it was Zepheera’s turn to shake her head.

“You’re a dunce,” she sighed.

“Yeah, but I’m your dunce.”

Zepheera smirked and lifted her chin to meet his bright blue gaze. “And don’t you forget it.”

She leaned up as he leaned down to press his lips against hers. In that moment, they couldn’t be more content.

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Midnight – Epilogue


Midnight | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Four hours there and four hours back. Like a school trip, Donna had called it. Such a duration was the main reason Donna had chosen to sunbathe in the Midnight Leisure Palace rather than accompany the Doctor and Zepheera on their little field trip to the Sapphire Waterfall.

Only two months since the borrower had joined their travels in the TARDIS, after the Doctor rescued her from a terrible circumstance, and Zepheera was already willing to spend the next eight hours locked in a box with several unknown humans. All for what would probably amount to fifteen minutes of a pretty view. Donna had to admit it was a rather brave decision for someone less than five inches tall.

Then again, she supposed Zepheera could have agreed to go because the Doctor would be there, and he was going because

Zepheera was gonna keep him company. Go figure.

Four hours later, the pool was still empty, apart from Donna in her robe and long chair. A few people had come and gone, but she paid them no mind. In fact, she didn’t think much of it when another set of footsteps echoed from the entrance hallway. Then she remembered that all the others who visited the pool had either been rowdy family groups or extra-friendly individuals chatting up the quiet staff. The silence of this person’s approach piqued Donna’s interest enough to open her eyes and turn to look.

She gasped and sat bolt upright at the sight of the Doctor rounding the corner, his long overcoat draped over one arm. It was much too early for their return. Something was wrong, she just knew it; everything about him threw up red flags in Donna’s mind, from his stony expression to his somber gait. Full of concern, she got up and approached him slowly.

When she got close enough, her breath caught at Zepheera’s notable absence from his shoulder. The Doctor shook his head when he saw the worry in Donna’s eyes, and he nodded toward his left shoulder. Now that she was closer, Donna could detect the slightest raise in the Doctor’s loosened collar on that side. Miniscule fingers curled around the edge of the fabric as the borrower underneath, partially illuminated by the potent x-tonic light, peeked warily out at Donna.

Donna’s heart sank. Zepheera hadn’t acted like this around her since before they’d gotten to know each other as close friends, and she’d never known the Doctor to be so quiet.

Something happened.

Finding out what would have to wait. For now, Donna’s friends were hurting and needed her comfort. Without a word, she pulled the Doctor into a tight hug, careful to avoid his left shoulder.

It took a moment, but the Doctor eventually hugged her back. A minute later, Donna felt the tiniest of weights dropping onto her own shoulder. A wave of relief swept over her as Zepheera nestled into the soft fabric of the robe near her neck. Whatever happened out there, it hadn’t affected any of the progress between the odd pair of women.

“Alright,” she mumbled into the Doctor’s shoulder, warning them both that she was about to pull away. Meeting his dark gaze only filled Donna with determination. “Tell me everything.”

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Prompt: Fragile

From this list of one-word prompts, which I’m still taking. Feel free to send me one!


The seven-year-old groaned as she was gently shaken awake by her uncle. She rolled onto her back and sleepily blinked up at him from his lap. He smiled and brushed her tousled hair back. “It’s time, sweets,” he whispered.

Zepheera grumbled unintelligibly, covering her head with the blanket Boston had wrapped around her earlier in the night.

He chuckled and scooped up his small niece into his arms.

“C’mon, sleepyhead,” he grunted as he stood and headed out. “You wanna meet the baby, don’t you?”

Zepheera pouted and buried her face in his shoulder. She really didn’t, but she knew that was wrong to say so she held her tongue. She wasn’t sure how she should feel about the new baby. It wasn’t like she was worried about the baby stealing her love; her stepfather had no idea how to talk to her, and the attention she got from her mother was all bad. Zepheera had never seen a baby, but her uncle described them as small and chubby.

Then he had to explain to her what ‘chubby’ meant.

All Zepheera knew was that she had been sent away to her uncle’s home for what felt like days (even though Boston insisted the day hadn’t passed) while her stepfather and his sister took her mother away while she was in labor. No one would tell her what labor was. Clearly, it was time-consuming.

Boston put Zepheera down when they were outside her house. She gripped the leg of his trousers, almost hiding behind them as they stood in the doorway of her parents’ bedroom. She’d never been in there, and she’d learned to be wary of any room her mother was in.

Her mother was asleep in bed, her bright red hair pasted to her forehead with sweat. Zepheera frowned, staring for a moment to determine if that was even the same person. She looked so…relaxed. Peaceful.

And she’d never put much thought to it, but her mother was quite beautiful in such a natural state.

“How’d she do?” Boston asked, cutting off Zepheera’s thoughts. She realized that her stepfather was sitting beside the bed.

Baycliff smiled wearily at Boston, his golden eyes bright even in the late-night darkness. “Sis says she did great. Hardly screamed. Boy, did she want to, though.” He tilted his head when he saw Zepheera peering curiously at the bundle of fabric he was holding.

“Come see your little brother.”

It took an encouraging nudge from her uncle for Zepheera to pad carefully across the room. She gasped softly when she got close enough to see an itty-bitty head and pudgy little arms poking out of the bundle. Uncle Boston had said small, but she didn’t think it’d be that small.

“Do you want to hold him?” her stepfather asked Zepheera, to her unfiltered surprise. She glanced at her passed out mother, who would never entrust Zepheera with anything nearly as delicate as this baby seemed to be. Still, as long as it was being offered… She nodded.

Baycliff carefully passed the bundle to Zepheera, showing her how to properly support the head in a sturdy yet gentle grip. Even so, she froze once she had the baby all to herself. She could feel his little feet shifting in his sleep against her arm. He hardly weighed a thing, even to Zepheera who was small for her age.

‘Small and chubby’, though accurate, were hardly the tip of the iceberg of adjectives that flooded into Zepheera’s mind as she took in every detail of her brother. He was light, soft, warm, innocent, and so pale; even Zepheera’s very light brown skin seemed dark against his.

Her uncle’s even darker hand reached down to smooth down the baby’s unruly strawberry-blond hair. It was an innocent enough gesture, but it made Zepheera stiffen a little. Seeing how big Boston’s hand was in comparison expanded her list of words for the baby: weak, helpless, fragile. Something protective awoke inside her, and she held the bundle closer despite the fact that Uncle Boston was one of the only people in the world Zepheera loved and trusted.

Boston sat cross-legged on the floor and carefully pulled his niece in to sit in his lap, to help her relax.

“What’s his name?”

“Kernel,” Baycliff replied.

Somehow, having a name to match the face added a new layer to what Zepheera thought about the whole affair. This was a brand-new person in her arms. He would be a man one day, but for now Zepheera could hold him without issue.

“Kernel…” Zepheera echoed, barely a whisper. On an impulse, she leaned down to gingerly kiss his forehead. His little brow scrunched in spite of how soft Zepheera had tried to be, and his buttery-yellow eyes blinked sleepily open.

“Hi, Kernel,” said Zepheera fondly, unable to hold back a smile. “I’m your big sister. You’re safe with me, I promise.”

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Prompt: Hollow

Part one of a three-part story which combines two prompts from @wingedkuriboh27, one of which is shown below. The second prompt will be revealed tomorrow in the third part, which is a Zepheera-Vision.


This is in reference to this list of one-word prompts. Feel free to send me one!

Earth, 2085 A.D.

No matter how adaptable borrowers could be to their environments, they couldn’t escape the rise of technology for long. They weren’t a worldwide phenomenon yet, but a few poor souls had fallen into the hands of human scientists. The lucky ones were studied humanely. Others were experimented on.

Zepheera supposed her luck would have had to run out eventually.

She didn’t regret it, not for a second. Her sacrifice distracted the searchers from a hidden colony she’d established long ago. Rather than lose all those lives and their hard work, Zepheera led the humans far away and allowed herself to be captured.

For the good of her people.

As a result, Zepheera ended up in the custody of scientists whose main role was to test new drugs. Until the recent discovery of borrowers, they’d had to resort to testing on rodents. In their minds, borrowers were close enough in physiology to humans that they made perfect test subjects. However, they’d only managed to scrounge up a handful of the tiny people along with Zepheera, so they kept the rodents around as a fallback.

This turned out to be a smart move as all of the other borrower test subjects died under the scientists’…care. Either they overdosed or starved themselves out or passed away from some other incidental circumstance. The humans did little to prevent their deaths, happy to perform autopsies and postmortems on the miniature cadavers.

Zepheera, on the other hand, they fought to keep her alive. She wasn’t like the others. They found out quickly that she could heal wounds momentarily; she’d been nicked by the pair of scissors they’d used to snip off the clothes she’d been wearing. They gave her a simple frock and decided she was their most valuable specimen, to be kept alive at any cost. They even force fed her when she participated in the hunger strike with the few friends she’d been able to make in that hell.

Now, she could barely remember any of their names, her brain was so addled with drugs.

They had her on a rotation. They’d give her one drug one day, give her two days to recover, and then start again with a different drug. She never learned the names of these drugs, but she recognized them from how they made her feel. One made her hyper and restless, another filled her with manic rage, and yet another made her unreasonably happy.

Today’s drug simply made her feel hollow.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 2.5 | Part 3

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Prompt: Wish

This one got loooong xD I just couldn’t stop, and of course I HAD to reference a certain song sung by a certain Cliff Edwards. (Seriously, the timeline is perfect)

Yet another insight to an unseen character from my main story, I am on a roll with these!

In reference to this list of one-word prompts. Feel free to send me one!

5. Wish

Zepheera wandered the dark passages inside the walls of the human flat. She couldn’t sleep. Walking by herself, especially at night, had proven to help Zepheera clear her mind on numerous occasions, and it had become a ritual of sorts.

She perked up as something caught her ear. It sounded like distant music, but it was difficult to make out through the dry wall and layers of dust surrounding her. Excitement filled her heart. The beans never played music this late. She picked up the pace, almost jogging across beams, zipping up ladders much faster than she had ever dared.

Finally, she came across a door, carefully cut to match the wallpaper outside. This led to a side-table in the humans’ sitting room. The door was safely hidden behind knick-knacks and the occasional stack of books, while still providing a decent view of the room beyond. From there, it was usually an easy hop onto the ever-present ottoman to the floor, and from there any good borrower had access to the entire room.

But Zepheera knew better than to enter right away. Instead she eased the door open just a crack and peeked out The lights were still on, as well as the radio on the far side of the room. She could make out a pair of knees on the armchair and a light snoring could be heard behind the radio’s soft violins. She let go of the tension in her shoulders once she knew the human was safely asleep.

Leaving the door cracked, she sat down next to it and closed her eyes as she listened. It was hard to imagine a human bean to match the singer she heard. Beans were massive, dangerously intelligent beasts that existed to provide people like her things to borrower. This voice was crooning, trembling with vibrato, and seemed to float right into her mind. He didn’t sound dangerous at all. This made Zepheera all the more curious as he began a new verse.

If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do

Zepheera frowned. Quite a few of those words eluded her, but from what little she could understand, it seemed to go against what she’d been taught. She inwardly remarked that humans must be very different from borrowers, but kept listening.

Fate is kind
She brings to those who love
The sweet fulfillment of
Their secret longing

“You’re up late.”

She gasped, startled by the sudden voice, and opened her eyes to see her uncle half illuminated by the tiny opening.

“Uncle Boston, you scared me!” Zepheera huffed, crossing her arms indignantly. “Anyway, you’re up, too,” she pointed out.

Boston shrugged. “They left the radio on.”

Zepheera’s expression softened. “Right. Sorry.” Her uncle lived behind the mantelpiece where the radio always sat. This usually didn’t bother him unless he was trying to sleep, like tonight.

He chuckled lightly, white teeth standing out against his brown skin in the dim lighting. He bent to sit next to his young niece. “And anyway, I’m a grown-up and you’re a child. You should be in bed, not out here by yourself.”

Zepheera scoffed. “I’m thirteen,” she reminded him. “Baycliff says I’m almost old enough to get married!”

Boston’s smile faltered in the slightest and he shook his head, his wild halo of black hair swaying in time with the simple motion. “Yeah, well your stepfather doesn’t know you like I do.”

Zepheera couldn’t argue with that. In any case, her uncle wasn’t exactly dragging her back home, so she pulled her knees in close and went back to listening to the radio. A chorus had been added, taking turns with the original singer. They were repeating the last phrase Zepheera had heard, so she hoped she hadn’t missed too much.

Like a bolt out of the blue
Suddenly it comes in view
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true

A chill ran up Zepheera’s spine, spreading through her scalp. The strange words combined with the sweet high note the singer ended on moved Zepheera deeply. For one thing, she was no expert on human singing, but it hardly seemed possible for someone to sing such a seemingly astronomical note. And for another…

“Uncle?” she asked quietly as another song began but went ignored. “What’s a star?”

Boston blinked at the sudden question. “Er, well… Do you remember me telling you about the sky?”

Zepheera nodded. She had yet to see it for herself; though her uncle was teaching her to borrow at such a young age, he still insisted there were certain things she wasn’t ready for. One of them being the outside world, and by extension, the sky.

“Well, at night, the sky becomes dark and all these little lights that the beans call stars appear in it.”

Zepheera pondered this, then followed up with another query. “Is it true, then? Can they make wishes come true?”

“Now, Zepheera.” Boston’s naturally kind tone took on a firm edge to it. “We’ve talked about this.”

Heaving a sigh, Zepheera hugged her knees into her chest. “I know, I know…” Her uncle had always emphasized how dangerous it was for borrowers to want for anything apart from basic needs and comforts. If one got too ambitious, they increased their risk of being caught by the beans. And everyone knew that could only end badly.

However, seeing his niece so despondent softened Boston’s heart. He took a deep breath and hopped to his feet. “Let’s go find out for ourselves,” he said, offering a hand to help
Zepheera up.

She looked at his hand quizzically for a moment before sucking in an elated breath. “You mean…?”

Boston nodded. “You’re ready.”

He led Zepheera all the way up to the attic where there was a small round window easily within reach. The two borrowers sat on the sill, the elder smiling as the child stared at the outside world with open wonder. Boston smiled fondly. His brother’s daughter was growing up so fast.

If only he could be here to see it.

“Which star am I supposed to wish on?” she asked.

Boston shrugged. “I suppose you can just pick one.”

Zepheera turned her gaze up to the twinkling specks of light that dazzled the night sky. She chose one at the tip of a bunch that seemed to take the shape of a fishhook in Zepheera’s mind, and she closed her eyes.

Please take me far away from here.

Prompt: Blood

EEEEVIIIIIL ;o; Why can’t you people just let my characters be happy??

Oh, who am I kidding, they were always meant to be like this ;w;

This is another insight to an otherwise unseen character in my main story. Not an excerpt, just a sneak peek into the tortured past of my OC.

In reference to this list of one-word prompts. Feel free to send me one!

16. Blood

“Come on, slowpoke!” Zepheera hissed over her shoulder. “You almost caught me that time!”

“Sissy-y-y!” whined Kernel as he ran after his big sister, whose name was too complex for the four-year-old to pronounce.

Zepheera simply giggled and carried on jogging through the underbelly of the house. She and her brother played this chasing game almost every time they snuck out of their little home in the walls. And every time Kernel would claim that Zepheera had the unfair
advantage, being much older than him at the age of eleven. But she knew that being able to run well was an important skill for a growing borrower to develop, so she insisted upon the game.

She did, however, try to make it easier for him until he got big enough to be able to contest with her. She ran slower so he could catch her, as well as to give him a fair chance at running away from her. She would dodge and weave around the piles of brick and sawdust left over from when the building was made to improve his motor skills and reflexes.

He’ll be a great borrower someday, she’d think at the end of their games. And I’ll have helped.

A cry of distress behind Zepheera made her skid to a stop and whirl around. Kernel had tripped and fallen hard on the dirty concrete, and his shoulders shook with stifled sobs. Even he, who had been babied by their mother, knew how important it was to keep as quiet as possible, no matter what.

Zepheera rushed to his side and helped him sit up. He had dust all in his strawberry-blond mop, and his buttery eyes shone with tears. His right forearm had been scraped from the elbow to halfway up, seemingly from a sharp rock. Crimson blood stood out starkly against the boy’s fair skin.

Kernel whimpered when Zepheera tried to wipe the blood away without so much as a blink. Her heart hurt when it heard his pain.

“It’s okay, Kern,” she whispered reassuringly, brushing his hair out of his eyes. “It’s only a scrape.”

“S-s-stings,” Kernel sniffled burying his face in his sister’s shirt.

Zepheera wrapped a comforting arm around Kernel’s shoulders, but it took her a minute to figure out why he was so upset. Could it really be that this was his first time getting hurt? Looking back, i wasn’t that impossible. Their mother had made certain that Kernel was safe inside their home. Zepheera supposed that now was as good a time as any to
teach her little brother how to handle pain.

“Well, it won’t for long,” she promised. “Know why?”

Kernel shook his head no.

Zepheera covered the scrape with her hand, eliciting a wince from the boy. “Because in a few seconds, it’ll be gone.”

The boy’s eyes grew large at his sister’s confident assertion. “R-really?”

“You bet,” Zepheera gave him her biggest smile. “Ready? One…two…three!”

The sight of the intact scrape wiped the smile from Zepheera’s face and the wonder from Kernel’s. His shoulders started shaking again, and Zepheera hugged him tighter.

“I-it’s okay,” she insisted. Why didn’t it work? “That’s…that’s normal. I promise.”

Is it just me?

All her life, Zepheera’s wounds would always disappear. Bruises faded within hours, if they ever formed at all, and cuts and scrapes like this were easy-peasy. No one had ever explained to her that that was out of the ordinary. She’d never seen her uncle get hurt, nor her mother, but her mother had certainly seen her heal.

Her mother had been the cause of all her pain in the past.

But for now, Zepheera had to push that aside and get help for her brother.

“C’mon, Kernel,” she cooed, lifting him into her arms as she stood. “Let’s go find Uncle Boston. He’ll know what to do.”

She felt his head shake no against her shoulder. “M-mummy… I want mummy,” he moaned pitifully.

Zepheera let out a long sigh. She’d hoped to delay confronting her mother and stepfather about this for as long as possible. But she couldn’t find it in her heart to say no to Kernel, so she started home.

For a moment, she thought about what she might say to her mother about what happened. ‘It was an accident’, ‘I should have been watching him’; but she quickly realized that it didn’t matter what she said. Nothing would alleviate whatever punishment their mother chose for her. Ever since Kernel had been born, Zepheera’s mother had never laid a hand on her in anger. But now Zepheera was responsible for her baby boy being hurt.

She wondered if, for the first time in three years, she would see blood tonight.

Prompt: Evanesce

Hope you were expecting angst! (though honestly, how could you not with a word like ‘evanesce’ xD)

This is actually a bit of a sneak peek into a future plot point for my main story. It’s not an excerpt, but it’s a little look into an otherwise unseen character whose story will be told soon.

In reference to this list of one-word prompts. Feel free to send me one!

It was the cold that drew Orrick Shelf from sleep. The bed he shared with his wife was always warm when he woke up. If she was awake before him, she waited for him so they could make, or in some cases find breakfast together.

So he was confused when he groggily reached a hand to her side of the bed to find it empty.

He sat up in bed, wrapping the blanket tightly around himself as his head cleared of the fog of sleep. Rubbing his bright blue eyes, he distantly wondered where his wife could be. A quick look around the room told him it was empty. Just like the bed.

With the blanket still draped over his shoulders, he got up and checked the storeroom just adjacent to the bedroom. Still there was no sign of his wife. None of the food had even been touched.

The kitchen and sitting rooms turned up empty as well. By then Orrick was fully awake and worried.

Then he remembered. His wife would sometimes go borrowing on her own. She’d never done it this early in the morning, but on many occasions Orrick would wake up from a nap to a note on her pillow explaining where she’d gone. Maybe she had done the same here. After all, if she was out in the humans’ territory of the house, she must be dead-set on getting something.

A wave of relief swept over Orrick when he returned to the bedroom and saw a slip of paper on the pillow. He sighed heavily, shaking his head at his own inattention. It was with a smile that he picked up and unfolded the note, a little excited to hear about what was so important as to warrant such an early borrowing.

His smile melted and ice shot through his gut as he read the mere two words scratched onto the scrap of paper.

I’m sorry

He frowned, rereading and turning the note over to ensure she’d left him nothing else. What the hell does that mean?

Orrick’s heart was racing, blood roaring in his ears. She couldn’t… She wouldn’t! He simply could not conceive a plausible reason for the love of his life to vanish into thin air!

He ran from room to room, this time calling her name almost nonstop. He got dressed and spent the entire day checking every safe square inch of the house, and all night he searched the humans’ rooms, hoping beyond hope.

In the end, he returned to the home that now only belonged to him. Exhausted, but he couldn’t bear to sleep. Hungry, but he couldn’t bring himself to eat. He dropped his gear off near the door and sat wearily in the nearest chair.

Running his hands through his sharp red hair, he willed himself to pull it together. He couldn’t afford to wallow in misery over his wife’s disappearance. He could almost hear her now, repeating the words she would always say when they went through rough times. It’s okay. We can survive this.

Surviving was a far cry from understanding. It just didn’t make sense. They were happy, always had been. He hadn’t been treating her any differently recently than he had in all the time he knew her – and even if he had without realizing it, she would let him know in no uncertain terms. In hindsight, his wife had seemed a bit distracted the last few days, but nothing she’d said or done even remotely hinted at her intentions to leave.

Orrick let out a long breath and hugged his knees close to his chest. None of that mattered. Looking into the past would do nothing to change the fact that his wife was gone. And she seemed to have done so willingly, leaving no hint as to a reason why or an intention to ever come back.

Zepheera may have disappeared, but his love for her would never evanesce.

Prompt: Shoulder Angel


As you can tell by the icon, this was prompted about a month ago ^^; Sorry for how late this is, but I finally got around to it! Hope you enjoy! (I assume you meant the episode with van Gogh, cuz I don’t remember an episode with da Vinci)

BTaS Canon: No
Episode: Vincent and the Doctor
Doctor(s): Eleventh Doctor
Companion(s): Zepheera, Amy Pond, Vincent Van Gogh

A shriek split the quiet of the night. 

“Amy!” The Doctor jumped up out of his chair and ran out back, Vincent following closely behind. 

Meeting Vincent van Gogh had been a bizarre experience, for Zepheera especially. Unlike the Doctor and Amy, she wasn’t allowed to interact with him. The Doctor had insisted on taking precaution when traveling back in time to meet the renowned painter, who had the potential to be unstable or volatile, a potential threat to the four and a half inch tall woman. 

She had already been wearing a perception filter attached to a TARDIS key on their visit to the Musée d’Orsay to avoid being seen by the humans there, so she kept it on for their journey back in time. The borrower kept to the Doctor’s shoulder, observing and occasionally whispering in the Doctor’s ear when she couldn’t keep a comment or suggestion to herself. While this allowed her to see the living legend of van Gogh up close and almost personal, it did mean she had to silently endure endless van Gogh puns and flirtatious conversations between the present humans that consisted primarily of remarks about their hair color. 

At first, Zepheera wondered if this precaution had been an overreaction. Vincent seemed quite level-headed, albeit eccentric. Once or twice during the initial conversation with her companions and Vincent, the borrower almost thought Vincent was looking right at her. But a second later he’d be looking elsewhere, and Zepheera reminded herself that that was impossible. He was nervous, meeting new people and used to people mocking him. His eyes shifted and jumped around whenever he wasn’t talking to Amy. 

On the other hand, after the painter had his evening coffee, he became nearly manic. Not violent necessarily, but he lost all sense of volume control and said whatever came to mind. He had been ranting about colors speaking to him when they all heard Amy scream. 

Zepheera flattened herself against the Doctor’s tweed jacket as he rushed into the garden out back, calling Amy’s name repeatedly. They found her in a heap on the ground, breathing hard and looking around frantically. 

“What happened?” asked the Doctor, following his human companion’s gaze. 

“I dunno, I didn’t see it,” Amy gasped. “I was just having a look at some of the paintings out here when something hit me from behind.” 

The Doctor nodded. “It’s okay, it’s gone now. We’re here.” 

Suddenly Vincent gave a shout that made Zepheera jump. The Doctor tried to calm him down, raising his own voice to be heard over Vincent’s continued cries. All the noise overwhelmed Zepheera, and she clapped her hands over her ears. This succeeded in dampening the volume a little, but also eliminated any coherency in the massive speech. So she scanned the area to try and figure out what was going on through observation. 

Vincent’s eyes were wide, utterly terrified, and he held a defensive hand between him and the Doctor. But he was looking past the Doctor, Zepheera realized. She whirled around, and the sight made her heart race. 

“Doctor!” she called desperately as the enormous, horrifying creature before her crept toward the Doctor and Amy. A warning about the monster caught in her throat as the Doctor moved sharply aside, and her hands flew from her ears to grip the jacket again. Her eyes widened even more when she saw that Vincent was charging the beast with some kind of pitchfork. 

“Doctor, what’s happening?” Amy demanded. 

“I don’t know,” said the Doctor, perplexed and concerned. 

Vincent swung the pitchfork toward the creature until it backed into a wall, then bounded off into a more shadowy area of the garden. “Run!” he urged, waving for Amy and the Doctor to get away. 

“Yeah, sounds like a good idea,” muttered the Doctor as he carefully approached Vincent. “Amy, get back! He’s having some kind of fit!” 

Zepheera, who had lost sight of the creature at the same time as Vincent, stopped searching for it to frown at the Doctor. Had he not seen the monstrous being? 

Unless he couldn’t. Borrowers like Zepheera had developed heightened senses of perception over the years; she had seen things that even the Doctor was unable to in the past. For whatever reason, Vincent had to be an exception because he definitely saw the creature. 

The Doctor tried to talk Vincent down when the painter held his weapon at the ready, awaiting the creature’s next move. A growl to the right caught Zepheera’s ear, and she turned to find a massive tail preparing to strike the Doctor from behind. 

“Doctor, duck left!” The Time Lord glanced to the right, confused when he saw nothing, but he followed Zepheera’s instructions and dodged to the left. He moved about a half second too late and got clipped on his right arm as the tail swung at him, and he was still knocked off-balance. But now he could no longer deny that there was something there. 

The Doctor brandished a stick of his own and, with Zepheera’s help, he and Vincent managed to drive the creature away. 

“It’s gone, Vincent confirmed. 

The Doctor nodded, tossing aside his stick. “Excellent. Good work, Vincent.”

With an eyebrow raised at the Doctor, Vincent said, “You couldn’t see it, could you Doctor?” 

“Yes! …Well, okay, no, but–” the Doctor sputtered. 

“It’s alright,” Vincent assured, setting down his pitchfork. They started toward Amy, intent on going back inside. “In any case, you’re a lucky man. You might have been hurt were it not for your shoulder angel protecting you.” 

The Doctor froze and Zepheera stiffened. “My what?” asked the Doctor. 

“Your shoulder angel,” Vincent repeated, smiling at Zepheera. “I’ve been watching her guide you all night.” 

Zepheera flushed. He could see me the entire time. 

Vincent continued as they walked. “To be honest, she was quite a shock to see. But since I’ve never seen anything like her on the shoulders of the people in this town, and you offered to help me, I chose to take it as a sign. Perhaps your visit will do me some good after all.”

Thanks for the prompt @elitefourstevonnie!

Asks and Prompts are open! | Submissions too!