After well over a year of traveling together, defeating monsters and rescuing alien civilizations, the Doctor and Zepheera decided to take it easy for a day. Nothing fancy, just a few hours spent in 21st century London, eating chips and seeing the sights.
Then a kid on a skateboard came speeding past the Doctor while he wasn’t paying attention and clipped him, knocking the Time Lord flat on is back in the middle of the sidewalk.
Zepheera flew off the Doctor’s shoulder. Ordinarily she would be hanging out near the edge of one of his pockets with this many people around, or at the very least under his collar, but she wanted a proper view of the city she’d spent so many years hiding underneath. So she sat tucked against his neck with a small perception filter attached to a TARDIS key in her lap. But after the fall, two things became apparent once she’d come out of her daze. One: The key was nowhere in sight, making her perfectly visible to anybody who bothered to look down. More importantly, two: she’d been thrown several feet away from the Doctor.
She tried to hurry back to him, but a few kind souls in the vicinity flocked to his side to offer help. That meant dozens of feet crashing down around her, some coming within inches and centimeters of crushing her. Instinct kicked in and she ran; logic inserted itself to insist that she’d need to get to safety first, then she could reunite with the Doctor.
Meanwhile, pedestrian feet were corralling Zepheera further away from her giant friend.
By the time she reached relative safety against the wall of a building, she’d lost track of her Time Lord. She could hear him calling, but it was muffled in the layers upon layers of people between them and the incessant rumble of footsteps. Zepheera was forced to climb rough brick wall behind her in search of higher ground. She was all too aware of the enormous risk she was taking, but at the moment she didn’t care about being seen as long as she could find the Doctor.
But when she reached a windowsill to look out from and she immediately met a humongous someone’s icy-blue gaze, she suddenly cared a lot.
Contrary to the Doctor’s worries, she wasn’t
remotely interested in Captain Jack Harkness in any romantic sense
or…otherwise. She’d only just met the man. The only thing she was curious about
was his apparent inability to die. For as long as she could remember, Zepheera
couldn’t seem to age. So in a way she and Jack were quite similar.
As fate would have it, an opportunity arose
for Jack to make use of his ability. There was a room filled with incendiary
radiation that sat underneath a rocketship which was prepared to ferry the last
of the human race to a paradise at the end of the universe that they called
Utopia. The radiation had already killed one technician who was connecting the
couplings that would get the ship off the ground. Now it was up to Jack, the
only man who could enter that room without dying.
Zepheera had tagged along at the last second,
eager to watch this bizarre ability firsthand. But the next thing she knew,
Jack was undressing. She was most definitely not attracted to him, she was
adamant about that. But watching someone sixteen times her height move so
quickly, even doing something as simple as removing his shirt, was undenyably
fascinating to the four and a half inch tall borrower.
She jumped when the Doctor popped into her
view, checking over the radiation levels and the other readings on the control
panel. He hadn’t yet noticed Jack. It occurred to her that the radiation he
would be subjected to wouldn’t affect the clothing he was stripping off, so she
regained her composure and cleared her throat.
“Er, Jack?” she piped up, still a
little timid around this new giant.
The Doctor glanced Jack’s way, only to
double-take once it sank in.
“What are you doing?” he demanded.
“I’m going in,” Jack reminded him.
“But–from what I can tell, the
radiation doesn’t affect clothing, only flesh,” said the Doctor.
“I look good, though.”
With a smirk at the Doctor and a wink at
Zepheera, Jack pulled his braces back on and strode purposefully into the
radiation-ridden room. Thankfully, only his wool coat and button-down had been
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.
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.”
Both the borrower and the Time Lord turned to look at the human standing in the entrance to the TARDIS console room. The red-haired woman was shrugging on a jacket as she stepped in. “Who are you talking to?”
“I’m in the middle of something, Donna,” said the Doctor pointedly
Donna rolled her eyes and approached with purpose in her steps. “No use keeping secrets from me, Spaceman, I live here too.”
Her gaze quickly fell on Zepheera, whose heartbeat quickened at the contact with a completely new human – Donna, the Doctor had called her.
“Blimey, get a load of that!” the human exclaimed. Zepheera flinched at the volume and backed up into the screen behind her, pulling her knees close again. She squeezed her eyes shut, overwhelmed by the sight of two giants looming over her.
The Doctor looked appalled by his companion’s behavior. “Donna, lower your voice,” he rebuked. “She’s been through a lot, no need to frighten her all over again by gawking!”
Without waiting for a response, he turned back to the four and a half inch tall woman huddled on the sill of his monitor. “Zepheera… C’mon, look at me,” he coaxed.
Considering she was outnumbered, Zepheera had no choice but to obey. She lifted her head to look up at the Doctor and Donna, who had come around to stand behind the Doctor’s right shoulder. The Doctor smiled encouragingly.
“That’s it. See? No harm done. This is just my friend, Donna. She travels with me.”
“She’s so teeny,” Donna cooed, leaning over the Doctor to stretch a finger toward Zepheera, as if touching her would somehow prove her existence further. Zepheera backed away from the sudden approach before the Doctor stopped the human.
“No no, don’t do that,” he warned firmly. “Really. Don’t.”
Looking a bit sheepish, Donna withdrew her hand. “Was she always this small?”
Now it was the Doctor’s turn to roll his eyes. “Yes, now would you back off for a minute and let me get on with this?”
Much to Zepheera’s surprise, the human stepped away with a muttered apology. Once she was out of sight, the Doctor addressed Zepheera again. “Sorry about that. She’s harmless, I promise.” He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “Anyway, what I meant to say was, I’d like you to stay. At least for a while, just so I can make sure all those drugs didn’t leave you with any permanent damage. If you could bear with me for a few days, I’ll take you wherever you want to go. Does that sound alright to you?”
Zepheera supposed that was fair. At least it didn’t sound like she’d be locked in a cage anymore. She nodded her approval.
The Doctor smiled. “Brilliant. Welcome aboard, then. Er, is there anything you want to do now?”
It took some digging, but Zepheera realized there was a lot she wanted to do. She wanted to sleep in a bed, she wanted to eat a meal that consisted of more than old cheese and bread, she wanted to drink an entire thimbleful of some kind of alcoholic drink. She looked down at herself; she wanted to wear clothes that made her feel like a person again. Then she touched a lock of her dark hair. It had already been getting long at the time of her capture, and it had grown past her shoulders over the months.
“I want to cut my hair,” she told him. She was certain she wouldn’t feel anything like her old self until she did. And she had a feeling she could ask for the rest at any time.
Zepheera moaned softly as she sluggishly came to. The events of the last few hours replayed choppily in her mind. The man…he had picked her up and held her close to his chest as he fought his way through all of the metal men in his path. She remembered gripping the brown pinstriped fabric of his suit just to keep steady. He took her somewhere and tried to get her to talk, but her drug-addled mind refused to let her respond. Then he made her drink something, and everything after that was fuzzy.
The more conscious she became, the more she noticed about her surroundings. The surface on which she lay was strangely leathery and warm…and if she listened closely, she could hear a muted thrum coming from deep within, pressing up against her body in a one-two-three-four.
It was alive. It was a hand!
She shot up with a startled exclamation, falling back on her hands and knees as the uneven ground twitched in surprise. As the hand flattened beneath her, she huddled into a frightened ball, awaiting the inevitable harm to befall her.
“It’s okay!” the man from before whispered, though it was still more than loud enough to make the borrower flinch. “You’re safe. I’m so sorry, I didn’t think you’d be awake for another few hours.”
Zepheera turned her head in the slightest to peek through the gap in the arm covering her head. He was so remarkably large, a small part of her wondered if he could even detect such a small movement.
“Look, er… I don’t mean to scare you. Would it help if I set you down?”
Zepheera frowned in confusion. She knew better than to trust this behemoth of a man after everything she’d been through. Still, he did rescue her from that lab, and he hadn’t made a move to hurt her yet. Hell, he’d had her in his hands while she was asleep! He could have easily done her in then. But he didn’t, and something about those enormous brown orbs insisted that he could be trustworthy.
Slowly lowering her arms from her head, she clutched them close to her chest as she mustered up all of her courage and nodded.
The man smiled, pleased by her response. “Alright. Here we go.”
His fingers curled back up, stretching over Zepheera’s head as he slowly leaned forward and reached out toward a flat but narrow silver surface. She practically scrambled out of his hand, grateful for the solid ground.
Without the giant man filling her vision, Zepheera took in the rest of her surroundings. He sat back in a faded yellow seat, full of holes and duct-tape patches. The room was enormous and dome-like, covered in dim, round lights. Nothing else made sense beyond that; whatever she was standing on hovered above an endless sea of strange-looking levers and dials and cranks.
“What’s your name?” The question made Zepheera’s attention snap up to the man. She pressed her back against the wall behind her and eyed him warily. He sighed, an action that ruffled Zepheera’s shoulder-length hair even at a distance. “I’m trying to help you. I need to know that you’re alright.”
She bit her lip, then swallowed thickly past the lump in her throat. It had been a while since she’d spoken to anyone.
“Zepheera,” she answered, her voice hoarse from disuse.
The man smiled again. “Beautiful name,” he remarked. “I’m the Doctor.” Her eyes flared up with terror again, and he quickly added, “No no no no, not that kind of doctor. Please listen, whatever they did to you, I’m not like them, I promise. Trust me, I only want to help.”
Unsure if she believed him or not, Zepheera forced herself to relax a little and nodded to show she understood.
“I’m going to ask you a few more questions, Zepheera,” the Doctor informed her. “Just to make sure you’re okay now that that nasty drug’s out of your system.”
Zepheera slid her back against the wall until she sat with her knees hugged to her chest. “Okay,” she murmured. She resigned herself to his care as long as he simply seemed concerned for her. That wasn’t a feeling she’d ever expected from someone his size.
As her fear slowly dissipated, curiosity began to take its place. Zepheera began to ask the Doctor questions of her own, and before long they had a back and forth going. Zepheera told the Doctor how she ended up in that lab (leaving out the details about her hidden village) and what exactly they had done to her and the few others like her. She explained that she was the only one left in that place. In return, she learned where exactly she was: inside the Doctor’s TARDIS, which apparently could travel through time and space with ease.
It was the Doctor’s turn to ask a question. “How old are you?”
Zepheera frowned, realizing that she wasn’t sure. “What day is it?” She had been captured a couple months before her birthday, but she wasn’t entirely sure how much time she’d spent in that lab.
The Doctor leaned forward and pressed a button on the console, causing the wall behind Zepheera to light up. She jumped and whirl around to stare at the massive screen behind her as it displayed a series of concentric circles. “May seventh, year twenty eighty-five,” he recited.
Six months, she thought despondently.
“I, erm. I guess that makes me a hundred and fifty-eight.” Happy birthday to me.
The Doctor’s brow rose as he sat back. “Wow. Older than you look,” he mused. “Do you all age so slowly?”
A sad smile tugged at her lips. “Nah, it’s…just me, I think.” She took a steadying breath before asking, “How old are you?”
“Nine hundred and five,” he replied without hesitation.
Now it was Zepheera’s turn to be surprised. “So, way older than you look.”
The Doctor smirked, then adopted a more thoughtful expression. “Zepheera… Is there anything for you to go back to? A home, family, friends?”
Her heart stuttered at the question. As surprisingly pleasant as this man seemed, she was definitely not comfortable leading him to her people. She still had a duty to protect them until she had a full grasp of this new situation. “No,” she answered evenly. “Nothing.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” said the Doctor earnestly. He rubbed the back of his neck as he seemed to carefully consider his next words. “Well, if you’d like, you could – I mean, it would be entirely up to you, of course, but… I was wondering if you wanted to–”
Zepheera leaned wearily against the clear acrylic that made up the opening of her kennel. She, the other borrowers, and the rats had all been kept in this large structure made up of dozens of small cubby-like containers, each about the size of a shoebox.
Though, Zepheera supposed now it was just her and the rats.
Each had a secure lock system, and the front hatches thankfully had a few air holes drilled into them. The rest of the walls were opaque, isolating each specimen thoroughly. She couldn’t see the rats she heard scratching futilely at their own walls. Even clean of drugs, Zepheera had given up on escape long ago.
The room was empty, so Zepheera had nothing to look at other than her own hand as it traced the tiny air hole nearby. It was too small for her to reach through, though she’d tried. She’d nearly broken her hand in the process, she recalled distantly. Even the memory of pain couldn’t evoke any emotion in her.
With a loud smash of the door, several human scientists burst into the room. Zepheera blinked slowly as she lifted her head to look at them. They were frantic, screaming and yelling things that couldn’t quite make it into her prison at such a distance.
They were followed by what Zepheera could only describe as metal men. Five entered, one for each scientist, stomping in time. Their soulless black eyes completely disregarded the unit that held Zepheera and the rats.
The metal men spoke in deep, cold voices, but she couldn’t process what they were saying. In short order, they cornered the scientists and touched them with outstretched silver hands. The humans’ bodies succumbed to the electricity shooting through them, and they fell dead the instant they were let go.
Zepheera didn’t even have the capacity to react.
The silver intruders spoke among themselves, but Zepheera couldn’t hear what they were saying. She numbly crawled closer to the air holes, some deep part of her aware that it was important to know what exactly was going on.
“Oi, metalheads!” roared a new voice from the direction of the door. Zepheera calmly turned her head to look, finding a strange-looking man filling the doorway. He wore a brown pinstriped suit with red converse, a style of shoe Zepheera had thought to be long out of style. He was thin as a matchstick and had hair so unruly it could almost be dubbed rebellious. His eyes were wild with adrenaline, aimed solidly at the intruders. “Have you had your shots? Seems to me like you’re due for a booster!”
He hurled a small cylindrical device at the metal men, and it stuck fast right dab in the middle of one’s chest. They all screamed as a massive field of energy surrounded them, and just like the humans before them, they collapsed one by one.
Without missing a beat, the man crossed the room quickly, examining the bodies of the scientists. He sighed when they all turned up dead. Then he stepped over to one of the metal creatures, prying his device off of its chest. He raised a small tool – a probe, it looked like – and activated the charge once again.
His eyes scanned the room as he pocketed the device, passing right over Zepheera before returning in a double take.
“What?” he frowned and walked carefully over.
The most Zepheera was able to react was a slight raise of her eyebrows. By all accounts, she should be scared out of her wits. She’d just watched this man presumably kill a bunch of silver nightmares who had murdered humans moments before. She couldn’t even begin to think what this man could have in store for someone like her, even if she were in a right state of mind.
To her nonexistent surprise, he simply leaned down and peered in at the borrower, concern etched in his features.
“Oh, you poor soul, what have they done to you?”
Zepheera blinked slowly at him.
He clenched his jaw in determination and attempted to open the hatch by hand. She knew he couldn’t do it that way, there were higher levels of security for the test subjects to eliminate chance of escape. Even so, his proximity to her awoke the instincts that had been drilled into her since childhood, and she backed away from him at a sluggish pace.
Abandoning that strategy, the stranger whipped out his probe, buzzing it at the lock. It released and the door swung open. She froze when he reached a hand in, laying it palm-up next to Zepheera.
“Come with me,” he urged, pleading with those big brown eyes.
She stared at his hand for a second, but made no move toward or away from it. The man blinked in confusion at her non-reaction and tried again. “Don’t be afraid, I’m not gonna hurt–”
Before he could finish, more ominous stomping could be heard in the hallway outside. The man glanced between the borrower and the door, conflicted for a moment. Finally, he turned an apologetic look to Zepheera.
“I’m so sorry, there’s no time.” That said, the hand shifted to scoop up the four and a half inch tall woman into its cupped palm.
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!
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
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.
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!
“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.
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.
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.
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.”