Worth the Wake

5. Sunrise – Zepheera enjoys something beautiful for once

AU: Donna AU of BTaS (the Doctor rescues Zepheera while Donna is traveling with him)


Warm, gentle pressure at Zepheera’s back brought her to the waking world. She nearly batted at the finger prodding at her when the Doctor whispered, “C’mon, wake up. It’s happening.”

That was enough encouragement for Zepheera. They’d spent the night out here, under an alien sky, because it was one of the simple pleasures that had never been available to the borrower. She was either too busy worrying about her survival or that of her people, or was stuck in a cage in a windowless room. Here she had friends who were concerned for her recovery, invested in her interests, and more than willing to be her safe place to fall.

Sitting up, Zepheera rubbed her eyes and looked around. Donna was still fast asleep in her own spot, and the sky above was becoming lighter by the second.

The Doctor’s hand shifted to form a platform near Zepheera, who sat on his chest while he lay on his back. She accepted the silent offer without hesitation, and the Doctor was able to sit up without sending Zepheera tumbling. Then she could take her usual perch on his shoulder.

“Any moment now…”

All of the tension from the effort of waking up melted as soon as Zepheera saw the first sliver of sunlight peeking over the horizon.

The Doctor plucked out a pair of sunglasses out of his pocket and balanced it on his shoulder so Zepheera could balance one lens on her lap to protect her eyes from the intensity of the sun without missing out on any of the beauty. Together, they watched the arrival of the sun change the colors of the sky and the clouds, a breathtaking canvas constantly in motion.

Zepheera, careful to not shift the sunglasses enough to cause them to fall, scooted herself closer to the Doctor’s neck. Part of her was grateful that he couldn’t see her tears when they were this close. It was still tough for her to be emotionally vulnerable around someone his size, and she didn’t want him to worry needlessly when he’d made her so happy.

“Thank you for this,” she said, unable to avoid the slight crack of emotion in her voice.

She could hear the smile in his voice as he whispered back, “Anytime.”

A First Borrowing

2. Curiosity – Nate’s first excursion into the human world

AU: ??? (Nathan Sullivan is a borrower in a world in which borrowers are common knowledge)


Twelve years old was rather young for Nathan to learn to borrow, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer.

He was far from rebellious or daring by nature. Quiet and respectful of the rules, of which there were many. With borrowers being known to humans, it was sort of necessary.

Nate understood that, even though the humans had mostly agreed to leave borrowers alone, that it was still dangerous out in the world. Even so, he argued that it would do no harm for him to get a head start on learning to survive. Evidently that was hard enough to argue with that he got his way in the end.

Truth be told, Nate was dying for a glimpse of the human world. It was all so much bigger than the community he grew up in, in more ways than one. Humans had far more at their fingertips than Nate could ever hope to underground. The most exciting learning experience he had to look forward to was studying a trade. He had a deep hunger in his mind that longed for more to learn.

So one could imagine Nathan’s excitement when the first place his father took him to borrow was full of homework. Spanning several grades, the dining room table was full of the stuff to the point that Nate’s father repeatedly chided him to focus on filling his bag with materials.

Compared to that, the rest of the flat was fairly standard. It was a decent distance from the community so it couldn’t easily be traced if worst came to worst. There wasn’t much to learn about the humans that lived here, but it seemed to Nate that it was mostly kids.

In their last room before they returned, Nate noticed something that his father, knowingly or not, overlooked. It looked like a scrap of loose leaf paper folded two or three times, tucked in the space behind a small bookshelf, with a colorful “Hello!” scrawled on the front in pencil crayon.

Intrigue got the best of him and, checking to see if his father was looking, Nate unfolded the paper. It read, in carefully printed block letters:

My name is Stan. I am ten years old. I don’t know any borowers, I promise I’m nice! Will you be my friend?

“Leave it.”

Nate’s father’s voice melted the endeared smile he didn’t notice was forming. He hurried to fold the note back as it was. His dad gave a gesture for Nate to follow, and he knew they were about to leave.

Before he obeyed, Nathan hesitated. He wasn’t usually impulsive, especially when it came to safety. This kid seemed sweet, though. Perhaps he really was nice.

Nathan wasn’t sure if he’d ever find out, but for now, he surreptitiously took a pencil tip from his bag and scrawled a quick and small “Hi” next to the larger, more colorful greeting.

April Fools!

1. Pranks – Zepheera is bored. Shenanigans ensue.

Slowly working my way through these. Let’s see if I actually finish the list this time

Btas: Non-Canon


“Lose something?”

The Doctor paused in his frantic search around the console room, lifting his chin to find the source of the tiny owner of the tiny voice.

“You didn’t,” he growled as he squinted toward the shadowy tops of the coral supports surrounding the room.

A small shadow shifted overhead. “Who, me?”

“Zepheera. Where. Is. My. Sonic?”

As a little figure swung out under a branch of coral on a thin line, the Doctor turned to square off with it, crossing his arms and tapping his toe. The woman who lowered herself unto the dim blue-green light tossed her short brown bob oh so innocently.

“I’ve absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.” With her line attached to her belt, she allowed one hand to reach into her vest pocket and pulled out an absolutely miniscule device. She pressed the button and the tip lit up blue.

The Doctor’s eyes widened. “You SHRANK IT?!”

Zepheera smirked, letting herself hang upside down from her harness, waving the sonic and letting the light glint off the gold ring on her upper arm. The culprit for the shrinkage of the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver. “Sure did!”

“Well, un-shrink it!” the Doctor demanded, holding his hands out under the dangling borrower and his miniaturized tool. It distressed him to no end to see it no bigger than a grain of rice. “Why would you even take it, anyway??”

“Because,” Zepheera shrugged. She then let the sonic slip through her fingers, and quickly reached out the arm with the ring to point at it.

“April Fools!” she cried, flipping herself upright the second before the sonic landed safely in the Doctor’s hand, its proper size once again.

After a tender moment of holding his sonic close to his chest, the Doctor shot a flat look up at Zepheera and pointedly returned the device to his inside jacket pocket. “You do realize we’re floating in space, there’s no way to keep track of dates out here.”

Zepheera rolled her eyes and released the latch on her harness to allow herself to lower to the Doctor’s eye level. “It’s been days and I’m bored!”

“We’ve talked about this, we are social distancing!”


Asks and Prompts are open! | Main Story

Prompt: Doing What You Love

nightmares06 asked:

“At least you’ll die doing what you love; Walking into danger.”

Finally getting around to this lol

From this list of dialogue prompts. Feel free to send in more!


What just happened?

That thought swirled on repeat in Stan Baker’s head as he returned to his flat, a place small enough for the 21 year old to afford on his own humble salary. He leaned against the door after it shut, stunned.

“Rough day?”

Deep green eyes widened and darted to the side. Sitting idly on the hooks on the wall meant to hold keys or coats, hooks Stan rarely used for such things, was a tiny woman no taller than a finger.

After a moment of staring, Stan let out a huff of a sigh that ruffled the woman’s short hair. He recognized her. Hard not to, she hadn’t changed a bit since the last time he saw her.

“Don’t people normally outgrow their imaginary friends?” he asked dryly.

She shrugged. “Suppose so. I always did think we had a special something, though.”

He shot her a flat look. “Well, thanks for dropping by, Tinkerbell, but I’ve grown up.”

“Zepheera,” she corrected, pushing herself up to stand balanced on the metal hook, hands on her hops. “Bit childish to resort to name-calling, don’t ya think?”

Again Stan huffed. “I don’t need to listen to this. You’re not even real.”

A moment passed between them.

“Well?” Zepheera prodded. “You’ve got long legs. Go ahead and leave if you don’t want me around.”

Stan’s brow furrowed, but he couldn’t look Zepheera in the eye. When he still didn’t make a move to leave, he sighed.

“Not a rough day,” he admitted, answering her initial question. “Just…kind of a weird one.”

At last he met her much smaller gaze, tiny pinpricks of violet that once had Stan convinced she was a faerie of some kind. With those eyes as kind as ever, Zepheera offered a small smile. “I’m up for tea if you wanna chat about it.”

Stan couldn’t refuse.


As always, Zepheera was a good listener. She sipped her tea evenly (from a cup Stan could swear she materialized out of thin air, unless she simply carried it around all the time in her tiny rucksack) and waited patiently for the end of Stan’s story.

“Sounds like you’ve got a new job lined up,” she commented.

“I haven’t accepted the offer yet,” Stan reminded her.

“And why not?”

Stan ran a hand through his hair.“Because… It’s a big decision. Punching out the occasional creep on the street is one thing, but this… If I make good here, I’ll be dealing with serious criminals. Terrorists, too. I could die.

The words hung heavy in the air for a few breaths, a solemn silence broken after Zepheera finished off the last dregs of her tea and got to her feet.

“Well,” she sighed, making her way slowly closer to Stan as she stowed her cup away, “the Stan Baker I know never could sit back while bullies were running rampant.”

Stan chuckled and found his chin lowering onto his folded arms the closer Zepheera came.

With a smile, she gave a small shrug. “And, not saying you will, but if things do get hairy out there, at least you’ll die doing what you love. Walking into danger.”

Stan blinked at Zepheera’s phrasing, feeling hope creep up on him. Then he heaved a world-weary breath, slumping his shoulders and burying his face in his arms.

A feather-light touch patted against one of his knuckles, and from that same direction Zepheera said, “See ya ‘round, Baker. Do what you think is right.”

The next time Stan looked up, Zepheera had vanished. Just like she always did.

“Don’t think I won’t,” he grinned.

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Prompt: Children are the Future

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BTaS Canon – ???

Based on the prompts Glance from this list of 100 one-word prompts, and Dollhouse from this similar list of G/t themed prompts from @nightmares06 and @bee-wrecker respectively. Finally getting around to these!


It had been going so well for Zepheera.

There were only two humans in the small flat, one of them a child. For six months, Zepheera had been living comfortably in their walls, and for nearly seventy years of fighting to survive, she trusted herself to keep hidden and make this home last for once.

And all it had taken was a glance from the child to ruin it all.

Desperate for any kind of barrier between herself and the human, she ducked into the child’s dollhouse. Any human was bad news for a borrower like Zepheera, but children were frightfully unpredictable and prone to grabbing and playing. At 68 years old, even with the body of a young adult, Zepheera was not in the mood for any of that nonsense.

The ground trembled beneath Zepheera as the child approached. Even a little girl, nine years old and much smaller than any adult human, greatly outsized the four and a half inch tall woman cornered in the dollhouse. As the child drew closer, Zepheera could clearly hear each and every breath rushing in and out of lungs larger than the room the borrower had made her prison.

“Hello?”

The little girl’s voice was mercifully light, a quiet rumble that washed over Zepheera through the plastic wall her back was pressed against. A wide blue eye peered in through one window, causing the borrower to jump and dart into the next room. Her eyes flashed frantically around for an exit, regretting her choice of hiding place, especially as the girl shifted outside.

With a loud click and a rush of air, half the dollhouse swung open. Zepheera was left exposed, blinking through the sudden light up at a gigantic child.

The human’s head tilted, brow pinched as she sat back on her heels. “Did I scare ya?” she inquired.

Zepheera frowned, realizing that it wasn’t curiosity that made the girl pursue her anymore, but concern. Those blue eyes, each the size of Zepheera’s head, were filled with it.

Bemused, Zepheera shook her head no.

The blonde girl’s shoulders slumped in relief. “Good. Why’dja run away, then, if you weren’t scared? How come you’re so small? What’s your name? I’m Rose!”

Zepheera’s brow lifted at the bombardment of curious questions. Maybe, if she played her cards right, she wouldn’t have to move out just yet.

“I ran because I was nervous,” said Zepheera, peeling herself from the wall sheepishly. “It’s my first day, you see, being an imaginary friend. I’m Zepheera.”

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Helping Hands — Part 3/3

((aka Happy Belated Hug A Tiny Day!))

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


The Doctor couldn’t keep still as he waited for Zepheera. She was so close to retrieving his sonic screwdriver from the underbelly of his TARDIS, something he would never have been able to do without either an unthinkable amount of effort or a four-and-a-half inch tall companion.

“How’s it coming?” he called down  the gap, excited and impatient in equal measure. He hadn’t heard her voice in a little over two minutes, and he was eager to know the current state of his beloved screwdriver. He wished he could see into the hole he’d dropped the device into in the first place.

A small grunt echoed down from the shadows, a little closer than the last time Zepheera had filled him in. “Had to dislodge it from between two…I don’t even know. Things. Then I had to push it up a slope – this thing is harder to roll than it looks!”

“Do you think you can manage it?” asked  the Doctor, a little worry leaking through his voice. He hadn’t thought about how the borrower would be able to retrieve his sonic, a device almost longer than she was tall.

After a pause, she replied, “Don’t worry, I’ve got an idea. Give me a moment, and keep an ear out.”

The Doctor sat back and placed his chin on his folded arms, drumming his fingers restlessly. He hummed quietly to stop himself from actually counting the seconds until he heard Zepheera’s voice again. “Okay, I’ve got it attached to my rope! I’m gonna need you to ease us up!”

“Right! Gotcha!” The Doctor shot up, nearly bumping his head on the underside of the floor. He pinched the tiny rope, the size of a thread to him, in two fingers and tugged. Hearing

Zepheera’s surprised cry, he halted.

“I said ease, not wrench!” she chastised.

“Sorry,” mumbled the Doctor, this time drawing the rope back slowly. He was extra careful when Zepheera and the screwdriver were almost out; she needed to align the probe so it would come out cleanly without crashing into the sides of the long, narrow gap. Once that was achieved, it emerged easily and the Doctor slipped his free hand underneath it.

After his companion dismounted the device, he scooped it up into his right hand, ignoring the rope still attached to it. He adjusted his grip and gave it a buzz. It was music to his ears.

“At last! My arm is complete again!” he exulted.

Zepheera’s fatigued mind had only begun to wonder if that was a reference to something when she found herself being lifted quickly to the Doctor’s face. To her chagrin, he planted an overjoyed kiss to the top of her head.

“You’re the best!” he proclaimed, beaming gratefully even as Zepheera ran her fingers through her dark bob to brush off the feeling his lips left behind.

“Don’t ever do that again,” she emphasized, scowling halfheartedly up at his stupid face. Little did she know the Doctor had only begun to display his gratitude toward his companion, and he drew her close once again.

At first, she worried that he was disregarding her wishes, so she threw her arms up to fend off another peck.

Instead, he pressed her to his cheek and thanked her over and over. Once the shock had worn off, she realized that what she’d done meant a lot more to the Doctor than she realized. She smiled and patted his cheek fondly.

“You’re welcome, big fella,” she murmured.

They stayed like this for a good while, until Zepheera broke the contented silence between them: “Now, I believe you owe me a cuppa.”

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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!

“Zepheera!”

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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Zepheera-Vision Epilogue — Abandoned

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This is part 2 of a Zepheera-Vision based on numbers 4 and 14 from this list of one-word prompts. Feel free to send in one!

Part 1


Then came the sensory overload.

Suddenly there was light, nearly blinding
Zepheera. Then she became aware of the warmth surrounding her. Highly confused
about where she was and what was happening, she shot to her feet and
immediately fell back down. She was still sobbing and hyperventilating, and her
head was spinning and her lips and fingers tingled from lack of oxygen. But as
she fumbled around desperately, feeling the boundaries of the warm, soft,
leathery space she found herself in, the small part of Zepheera’s brain that
remained functional puzzled out another reason for her loss of balance.

Hands. She was in a human’s cupped hands. And
the human was moving very fast.

Then they stopped. Voices rumbled above her,
their clarity lost in Zepheera’s dizziness and the blood roaring in her ears.
She squeezed her eyes shut and covered her head with her arms, fearful of what
these two giants were going to do to her. After a moment, the hands opened up
beneath her. Zepheera gave a startled yelp as she fell a short distance,
landing splayed onto another pair of hands.

These new hands were bigger and decidedly
more dangerous than the first pair, but rather than trapping around her, they
drew her close to the person they were attached to. And as they gently pressed
her against a familiar pinstriped suit, her situation became clear.

She was waking up from a nightmare, which had
induced a panic attack. Donna must have heard her distress and brought her
straight to the Doctor, to whom Zepheera was more responsive in this state. The
position he moved her into now was woefully familiar to Zepheera. Remembering
his instructions, she concentrated on the Doctor’s slow breaths and did her
best to copy them. It made her chest hurt at first, but with each repetition
her nervous system calmed down another hair.

As her heart rate slowed down to a healthy
level and her head cleared, the Doctor and Donna’s hushed voices came into
focus as well.

“She’s getting worse,” Donna
pointed out.

“I know,” murmured the Doctor.
Despite how quiet he was trying to be, his voice reverberated through his
chest. Zepheera couldn’t ignore it if she tried.

“I mean, first the nightmares, then the
panic attacks, and now full-on night terrors? We can’t let her shrug this off
anymore. What good is hopping around time and space saving planets when we
can’t even help our own friend?”

“Donna, I know,” the Doctor all but
growled, sending a chill up Zepheera’s spine along with the vibrations. After
another deep breath for the borrower to mimic, he went on in a whisper.
“Trust me, I haven’t been ignoring her. It’s just… She’s been through a
lot with so-called doctors poking and prodding her and worse, and I
didn’t want to make her relive that by forcing help on her. I was waiting for
her to come to me.”

A moment of silence passed between the human
and the Time Lord, and Zepheera let out a shaky sigh. She hadn’t meant to cause
her larger friends so much trouble. Nothing she did stopped the nightmares, or
quashed this completely irrational fear of abandonment deep inside her. She
wanted to deal with it herself so the Doctor and Donna wouldn’t have to worry
about it. Clearly, that was beyond her power.

“I’ll talk to her when she wakes
up,” said the Doctor, interrupting Zepheera’s thoughts. “I’ll help
her, Donna, that’s a promise. For now, get some sleep. You need it more than I
do.”

After a second of hesitation, Donna replied,
“You better make good on that, Spaceman.” Her voice teemed with
concern, and with that her footsteps retreated further into the TARDIS.

Now that the conversation overhead was done,
Zepheera allowed herself to relax a little more. She had some deeply-rooted
apprehensions about what kind of help she was going to receive, but stronger
than them was the trust she had in the Doctor. If anybody could make her
better, it was him. No matter how long it took.

The Doctor leaned back, probably in the seat
in the console room if the dim lighting was anything to go by. With his chest
slightly more horizontal, Zepheera adjusted herself more comfortably. The
Doctor lifted his hand about a centimeter to give her more room, but didn’t
otherwise react to her shifting. She finally settled down laying on her side,
nestled in the space between his tie and the lapel of his suit.

The hand came back down to rest gently over
her lower half like a blanket, while his thumb absently stroked her arm and
part of her back. It was a small but comforting gesture that brought a faint
smile to Zepheera’s lips. The sound of his breathing paired with the muffled
thuds of his hearts in their strange one-two-three-four rhythm easily lulled
Zepheera to sleep.

If she dreamt at all, she didn’t recall it in
the morning.


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Zepheera-Vision –Abandoned

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“Go on.”

Zepheera frowned in confusion. The TARDIS had
landed and the doors were open, but she couldn’t see anything beyond them. Only
darkness. She looked up at the Doctor; being four and a half inches tall, she
had to tilt her head back quite a bit just to meet his gaze from her spot on
the floor. A sudden pang of insignificance shot through her gut like a cold
hand.

“Where…” Her throat had gone dry
and her voice came out quieter than usual, so she swallowed her fear and tried
again. “Where are we?”

The Doctor nodded toward the door. “Only
one way to find out.

Hesitant, Zepheera turned the other way to
lock eyes with Donna. The human offered a faint smile of encouragement. Even
so, something felt off to Zepheera. But her friends were waiting on her, so she
carefully approached the wide-open doors.

The space outside was pitch-black, the dim
light of the console room didn’t seem to touch it. Even after she’d taken a few
steps into this dark place, Zepheera could hardly believe she was walking on
something solid. She blinked hard and looked around with wide eyes, wandering
about a foot further away from the doors. The absence of light, the absolute
nothingness was beginning to hurt her eyes.

A sudden wave of dread hit her as she noticed
the absence of something else. Vibrations in the floor that indicated her
relatively giant friends following her.

She whirled around, squinting through the
light in the TARDIS that seemed blaring to her dark-accustomed eyes.

"What’s going on?” she called,
holding a hand up as a visor as her vision adjusted. Her pulse quickened when
two immense blurs came into focus.

The Doctor and Donna were exactly where she
left them. They stared down at Zepheera with stone faces. Her anxiety mounted.
She had a feeling about what exactly those expressions meant. She had frequent
nightmares about them. And as the Doctor lifted a hand, fingers pressed close
together in preparation to click, Zepheera’s fears were all at once realized.

Zepheera was being left behind.

“I don’t understand!” She stumbled
forward, still partially disoriented, in the hope that she could make them
second-guess this decision long enough for her to make it back inside.
“Did I do something wrong? Please tell me, I’ll never do whatever it is
again!”

Click.

Zepheera’s blood ran cold at the sound of the
Doctor snapping his fingers, freezing her in place. In reaction to the Doctor,
the TARDIS doors closed on their own. The sound of the blue box taking off
broke Zepheera out of her shocked state.

“No! Please!” she shouted over the
growing noise and rising winds as the TARDIS began to dematerialize.

Vwoorp

She broke into a run, desperately throwing
herself against the wooden doors. “Don’t do this! Doctor! Donna!”

VWOORP

“Come back!!”

Tears flowed freely down Zepheera’s cheeks as
she beat her tiny fists futilely on the door. As the ship that had not only
been the vehicle for the best few weeks of traveling that Zepheera had ever
experienced but her home disappeared completely, she crumbled into a
heap on the ground. Her entire body shook, her sobs the only sound.

She felt the darkness close in on her, all
but suffocating her as she started hyperventilating. All alone. Abandoned by
her only friends in the world. Trapped once again with no way out. For a
moment, she convinced herself that the surface on which she lay felt just like
the acrylic kennel she’d spent six months in before she met the Doctor.

Once that thought invaded her head, her
screaming began in earnest.

Then came the sensory overload.


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Dark or Trapped? Oh golly gosh gee, I thought you said and!

Continued in an Epilogue.


Asks and Prompts are open! | Submissions too!