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.

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Zepheera-Vision — I Don’t Wanna Go

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Zepheera waited patiently for the Doctor to return to the TARDIS. This was his last stop, his last chance to see Rose Tyler, so it was understandable that he would be taking his time. But as the minutes dragged on, she began to wander the console aimlessly, wondering if something had happened to him.

A voice came to her head, giving her pause. They were singing in Latin. She had no idea where the song was coming from, but somehow she knew every word as they came, and who it was all for.

She didn’t realize she’d been singing along until the doors of the TARDIS opened and closed heavily, and she held her tongue. The Doctor leaned wearily on the doors. After a breath or two, he made his way up the slight incline to the main platform of the room, relying on the short railing. This alone sent an icy pang of worry through Zepheera’s stomach. 

The way he moved, even in an action as simple as shedding his coat and tossing it onto its typical support, made it clear to her that everything hurt. He hesitated, lifting his right hand to eye level. Regeneration energy flowed from it as he turned his wrist, watching golden streaks dance around his fingers. After a moment he curled the hand into a loose fist and let it hang by his side, turning to the console to lock eyes with his four and a half inch tall companion.

It wouldn’t be long now, and they both knew it.

“So…What happens now?” The borrower knew well enough by now the technical details of regeneration, but she wasn’t sure if she should say something meaningful or sing that song that was still going in the back of her head. She didn’t know if a goodbye was in order since he’d still be the Doctor at the end of the day, just a little different.

The Doctor made his way laboriously around the console, passing Zepheera by entirely. “Now…I’m taking you home,” he said steadily.

Zepheera followed him, frowning in confusion. Disregarding the fact that she didn’t have a home outside the TARDIS, she went straight for the important question.

“Why? Did I do something wrong?”

This stopped him in his tracks and he sighed deeply, lowering his gaze to the floor. “No, Zepheera, it’s not like that.”

“Then why can’t I stay?” she demanded.

“Because it’s not safe!” he snapped. He paused to catch his breath from the short outburst, then lowered himself to a kneel with evident effort. Then his brown eyes met her small deep violets. “I can feel it, Zepheera. I dunno how, but this one’s gonna be violent, I just know it. For all I know, I could destroy everything, and…I don’t want to risk you.”

Zepheera considered his words, never breaking eye contact. After a deep breath, she crossed her arms and planted her feet on the uneven surface of the console.

“I’ll be careful then,” she asserted. “You shouldn’t be alone for this. I always told you I’d be here for you, no matter what. That I’d never be afraid of you. I don’t care if you change your face, Doctor, I’m keeping that bloody promise.”

Even so, the Doctor looked conflicted, and his gaze wandered indecisively.

In the silence between them, Zepheera noticed the song in her head gaining momentum. Deciding it couldn’t hurt, she joined in with the chorus once again.

“Vale decem…”

The Doctor’s attention snapped back to the borrower. “You hear it, too,” he realized.

In answer, Zepheera smiled sadly as she sang. The words, though foreign to her, were a perfect representation of her feelings. It was a farewell, but also a comfort. The Doctor returned the smile and pushed himself to his feet. Clearly her mind would not be changed. And honestly, she was right. He needed the company.

Nunquam singularis…

He pulled the lever to send the TARDIS flying into orbit above the Earth. That gorgeous noise filled the air alongside the sound of the universe singing the Doctor to his sleep.

Nunquam…

He glanced down to find tears streaming down his small friend’s face, reaching a gentle hand to wipe them away. Zepheera, still singing, trembled at this contact, and before he could pull his finger away she grabbed hold of it, pulling it into a tight embrace.

Dum spiro fido…

It was only when his hand began to glow again that he pulled it away from her grasp. He ruffled her hair with a finger like he always used to, but without the usual humor, and walked to the other side of the console to separate himself from her. Zepheera just barely refrained from following, heeding his earlier warning, but as the chorus in her mind repeated vale over and over, she circled the other way to see his face one last time before it disappeared.

His breaths were shallow and his eyes were shining. “I don’t wanna go,” he declared, a small tremble in his voice. Regeneration energy surrounded his face and flowed from his hands with ever-growing intensity.

The song was over.


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Zepheera-Vision — Midnight 4/4

[Spoilers for the climax of ‘Midnight’. Prepare for angst. You’ve been warned.]

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Shock hit every single passenger at once as the shielded doors slammed shut. Val Cane sat down heavily in a nearby chair, her grip on Zepheera suddenly loosened. The borrower fell three feet and hit the floor hard. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t do her much damage, but she was already bruised and sensitive from the human’s tight grip. Her entire right side felt on fire. Anytime she tried to move, her whole body would ache in protest.

Less than a second after she landed, a greater impact shook the floor just ahead of her. Ignoring how much it hurt, she lifted her head to look. The Doctor had been released and fell forward, barely catching himself. His eyes and mouth were still wide from the scream he’d been mimicking, and he gasped at the sudden return of control over his own actions.

“It’s gone,” he breathed. “It’s gone, it’s gone…” He repeated the words over and over as he rolled onto his back, panting all the while.

Zepheera pushed herself to her feet with her good arm and limped closer to the Doctor in spite of her pain. At best, she was badly bruised, but none of that mattered. Her injuries would amount to nothing in a minute thanks to her healing factor. Right now the Doctor needed a friend, and none of these humans could come even close to fitting the bill.

She leaned her good side against his upper cheek, the only part of his face she could reach the way his back was arched and his body tensed. The muscles beneath her flinched faintly at her touch and the Doctor gave a surprised hiss. 

“It’s okay. It’s just me,” she whispered into his nearby ear, laying a tender hand near his sideburn. “I’m here, you’re gonna be alright.”

“It’s gone, it’s gone, it’s gone…”

“You’re damn right, it’s gone,” she agreed, jaw clenched in emotion and slowly fading pain. “It can’t get you anymore. I won’t let it. As long as I have anything to say about it, no one will touch you. That’s a promise, Doctor.”

Haltingly, the Doctor turned his head toward Zepheera, who pulled back so his wide eye could find her. Not knowing what else to do, she pressed herself against his cheekbone just below his eye, good arm extended in the best hug she could give. With a shaky sigh, the eye closed and he leaned into her tiny embrace, curling his trembling hand behind her in return. His eyelashes mingled with her short hair, and if she noticed she didn’t react. Slowly but surely, his body relaxed and he began to control his heavy breathing, wary of Zepheera as always.

Eventually the Doctor sat up and leaned on the side of a seat with the borrower nestled against his neck. They were across the aisle from Val Cane who, like everybody else in the van, was staring at them. While the Doctor continued to catch his breath and regain his composure, Zepheera looked Val up and down. This was the woman who had grabbed Zepheera without her consent, treated her like a child at best and a pet at worst, and had seemed intent on keeping her after the company had disposed of the Doctor. Even so, the look on the woman’s face gave Zepheera pause. She seemed repentant, and for one naive second Zepheera thought she’d gotten through to these humans. They all knew now that they had been wrong about the Doctor, and now perhaps Zepheera had proved that they were wrong about her. The Time Lord took care of her, yes, but she took care of him, too.

And in five words, Val Cane tore down every mite of hope in Zepheera.

“I said it was her,” she insisted, in reference to Sky.

Zepheera shot to her feet angrily because she most certainly had not–in fact, she had been the most vocal about getting rid of the Doctor! But before she could tell the enormous woman off the Doctor angled his head so his chin partially blocked her view of the human. Zepheera almost turned her wrath to him, but after seeing his clenched jaw and the way Val seemed to wither under his gaze, she realized the Doctor had made her point for her, only more poignantly without words.

Deciding to follow suit, Zepheera strode purposefully across the Doctor’s clavicle, pulled up his loosened collar and ducked underneath, pulling it down pointedly over herself. She curled up in the comforting dimness, allowing herself to pretend that the humans weren’t out there. Their silence made it easy. She could forget about them until they were all rescued from this broken-down wreck.


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Epilogue

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Zepheera-Vision — Midnight 3/4

[Spoilers for the climax of ‘Midnight’. Prepare for angst. You’ve been warned.]

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For a moment, everything but the Doctor faded. Even the humans’ voices were dulled in Zepheera’s perception. But reality came crashing back in when flesh suddenly surrounded her, lifted her away, and she realized people were now calling with confidence and finality to throw the Doctor out.

“No, you can’t!” Zepheera struggled against the fingers of the human who held her.

The human–Jethro’s mother, Val–held the borrower firmly in a fist and shushed her like one would a small animal, stroking the back of Zepheera’s head and neck with the pad of her thumb. “Don’t worry, sweet thing, it’ll all be over soon.” This was the only thing she said softly; seconds later, she was barking at her husband to “get him out! I want him out! Throw him out!!”

Zepheera craned her neck to see what they were doing to the Doctor. The father had his arms crooked under the Doctor’s shoulders, and the only resistance he met with was the Doctor’s foot hooked around the bottom of a seat. A tiny bubble of hope rose in the borrower’s chest at the thought of the Time Lord fighting back. But one of the other humans, the professor, started to help the father, wrenching the foot from its hold. Zepheera struggled again, but the mother’s grip on her tightened.

Young Deedee was terribly overwhelmed, eyes darting from the mother to Zepheera and then the Doctor and back, covering her ears from all the shouting going on; with her arms pinned to her sides, Zepheera envied her that luxury. Jethro seemed emotionally conflicted at first, but eventually pitched in to carry the Doctor out after his parents had chastised him harshly. The hostess, who initially protested, was torn. And all the while, Sky cheered them on and the Doctor copied every word.

“Molto bene!” she cried triumphantly, catching both the hostess and Zepheera’s attention. The Doctor parroted his own catchphrase.

“You see!” Zepheera called in hopes she’d be heard in all the noise. “It’s not him, it’s her! That’s his voice she’s using!” This earned Zepheera a brief glance from the hostess, who turned her diligent attention to Sky.

“Allons-y!” “Allons-y!”

Now there was no mistaking it. The hostess understood the truth, and that was all Zepheera needed. 

“SHE’S TAKEN HIS VOICE!”

With determination, the woman tackled Sky against the emergency exit, smashing down the glass-shielded button without hesitation.

Six seconds of screaming and brilliant X-tonic light later, Sky and the hostess were sucked out of the vehicle, disappearing into Midnight forever.


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Epilogue

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Zepheera-Vision — Midnight 2/4

[Spoilers for the climax of ‘Midnight’. Prepare for angst. You’ve been warned.]

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All eyes turned to Zepheera. She had been relatively quiet the entire trip, taking all the Doctor’s warnings to heart. Unless she had something that needed saying she simply observed, and when she did speak it was either to or in defense of the Doctor. Now, with her cheeks streaked with angry tears, it was finally her turn to shout.

“No one is throwing anybody off this truck, especially not him! Can’t you see he’s the victim in all this? I guess not, since the last thing you want to do is help him when he needs it the most! The charity of the human race!”

“The little one…” Sky mused, cutting off Zepheera’s tirade.
The little one…” the Doctor repeated beyond his own control.

“She’s like his pet.” “She’s like his pet.” “So loyal…and foolish.” “So loyal…and foolish.” “Poor dear, thinks the Doctor is a good man…” “Poor dear, thinks the Doctor is a good man…” “And can’t understand what’s happened to him.” “And can’t understand what’s happened to him.

“That’s it, he’s brainwashed the little thing!” Biff Cane asserted.

“She’s not a thing!” cried Dee Dee, the student, in Zepheera’s defense.

“That’s enough, Dee Dee,” the professor barked at his assistant. “It’s only a logical assumption. With a brain mass such as hers, she’s bound to be, shall we say, impressionable,” he surmised, addressing the whole company.

“I reckon she’s working with him,” Cane intoned, pointing at Zepheera accusingly. “He’s probably trained her up to believe him, do whatever he says! They’ve been in cahoots the whole time!”

“Don’t be stupid, I am not brainwashed! I am four times your age and perfectly capable of thinking on my own! Unlike some!”

“You listen here, you little–!”

“Dad, leave her alone!” Jethro Cane interjected, the dark broody teenager staring down his father.

“That’s how he does it.” “That’s how he does it.” “He makes you fight…” “He makes you fight…” “Creeps into your head…” “Creeps into your head…” “And whispers…” “And whispers…” “Listen…” “Listen…” “Just listen…” “Just listen…

Zepheera was listening, and each word Sky made the Doctor say broke her heart a little more.

“That’s him.” “That’s him.

With each repetition, the Time Lord’s jaw clenched a little harder, the tremors that seized his body worsened and his eyes brimmed with tears. The Doctor was fighting it, but he was losing.

“Inside.” “Inside.

The hopelessness of the situation hit Zepheera like a train and she fell to her knees, tears welling up in her eyes. Why do I have to be so damn USELESS?? 

“I’m sorry,” she sobbed, praying the Doctor could still hear her. “I tried, they won’t listen, I’m sorry. Sorry, sorry…”


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Epilogue

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Zepheera-Vision — Midnight 1/4

[This is an alternate ‘Midnight’. Due to the intensity, I wanted to give this one closure. Spoilers for the climax of the episode. Prepare for angst. You’ve been warned.]


Taking a big space truck full of strangers across a diamond planet called Midnight? What could possibly go wrong?

Everything.

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“Doctor!” Zepheera cried, climbing along the bottom of an uprooted seat to look him in the eye. But he couldn’t look back. He sat on the floor trembling, unseeing eyes more full of fear than Zepheera had ever seen in them before. 

If there was one thing you learn when you sit on a man’s shoulder, it’s how much that man moves. The Doctor was always moving–always–and now he was terrifyingly still. If he could have budged, like his eyes told her he desperately wanted to, he would have. She clutched at her hair in frustration. She wanted to help, needed to, but what could she do? She couldn’t move him on her own or save him from physical harm, she was four and a half inches tall! 

For once, she wished Donna were around. The loud, boisterous human would make quick work of slapping sense into the other six, who were still arguing about what they were going to do to the Doctor. All they had done the entire time was bicker and yell, giving the borrower the worst headache. And the seventh, that Sky woman…As though she could read her mind, she stared coldly down at Zepheera with the faintest of smirks.

Now the yelling was so loud it blocked out Zepheera’s thoughts. At the very least, a couple of the humans were sticking up for the Doctor, but they were quickly shut down. One more look into the Doctor’s eyes–utterly petrified, begging for help the only way he could–and Zepheera’d had enough of these humans.

“Would you all just SHUT UP!!” she shrieked.


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Epilogue

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