This is Part Four! To start from the beginning, click here.
Disclaimer: If I had any say in Doctor Who Yaz would be the only companion in series 13. I’m very sorry John Bishop, you seem like a great guy but I was really looking forward to not having a white guy on the Tardis for once. I also don’t own Harry Potter, the actual rights holder is a TERF who could never write something so queer.
Author’s Note: So I really went almost two years without updating this huh? *hides* Lots of love to the readers who have still stuck around and found me in the interim, I hope you like this update!
SCOTLAND 1015 (PART III)
“I know you said you aren’t a proper wizard Doctor, but the space expansion wards you’ve put on your craft are fantastic,” Salazar remarked breathlessly as the two of them ran into the TARDIS. The Doctor quickly dashed to the underside of the console.
“Thanks Sal. Normally I would appreciate a chance for a good show-off but —” there was an explosion in the distance “we are in a bit of a hurry.” He was digging around in the floor panels, clearly looking for something. “I just need to find — aha! Got ya.” The Doctor ran back up the stairs and grabbed Sal’s hand, the two of them running together out of the TARDIS, the Doctor holding onto what looked like a metal rat.
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Harry, Hermione, and Luna were in a scenario that had haunted their dreams for over a year, as they found themselves once more defending Hogwarts from deadly attack, though not quite how they expected. These metal men were near impervious to all spells, with the only thing able to affect them being area affect blasting hexes, and those weren’t viable in close quarters when a third of the school was being held hostage, possibly already converted. Their lasers had already taken out the assistant herbology teacher, who was a quarter giant, and two house elves, the ‘Cybermen’ as the Doctor called them not interested in taking captive any non-humans. Luna, for reasons they didn’t understand, also scanned as incompatible. She managed not to suffer the same fate, however as Harry and Hermione were able to get her safely out of the grasp of the Cyberman about to ‘delete’ her by returning her wand in time for Luna to get in close enough that a severing charm actually succeeded in removing the arm, and then the head of the Cyberman in question.
Soon, however, they found themselves standing in bewilderment as the many cybermen around them simply… imploded on themselves, each of them grabbing their heads before bursting apart. Soon, a breathless Doctor and Sal caught them up, and Hermione stared at them incredulously.
“What was that?” she asked.
“Nothing really,” the Doctor swept his hair out of his face. “Just me defeating the cyberleader and instilling a protocol to destroy all the cybermen in the vicinity.”
“Isn’t that… genocide?” Harry asked hesitantly.
“Well, it’s complicated. There’s lots of cybermen out there. Many more in the universe than just this lot. Who were destroying this castle and attempting to take over the world and forcibly convert everyone on this planet, I’ll remind you —”
“You could have stopped at ‘It’s complicated.’” Hermione sighed wearily. “I do not have the energy for this conversation. Can we go home yet?”
“Er, probably. At the very least we can leave the 1100s, if that’s what you’re after.”
“Wonderful. I’d be delighted.”
It was quiet on the Tardis. Not quite night; there was never such a thing as day or night on a time machine, but everyone seemed to be resting. The console was quiet as the ship hung in space. The Doctor had given Sal her own room, but she couldn’t sleep. Not in this wild expansive, shining space, which hummed with power. She had wanted to be taken away from her life, away from the pain of the people who had rejected her, but was now wondering if that was the right thing to do. Was this mad world a place where she could truly belong? Too many thoughts were spinning in her head.
She didn’t want to voice any of these feelings, she knew the Doctor had only taken her on because the others had insisted, she didn’t want to be a burden on any of them… she missed her family. She was also sick of hiding who she was. The walls of the room, which was of a decent enough size, started to feel like they were closing in on her. She reached to open the window, temporarily forgetting where and when she was, but when she pulled back the shades her view was a vibrant nebula, a beautiful cascade of stars and she wondered how anyone so privileged to witness such a thing could have regrets, and could only weep.
There was a knock at the door, and she did her best to compose herself before bidding them to enter. It was Harry.
“Hello, I wasn’t sure how well you might be settling in. I know that this space is really weird, it’s really, really weird for us, ‘mione only just fell asleep after having her own little panic, and I thought of you all on your own, so I said to Luna, I said “I’m going to see if Sal wants a cup of tea,” so,” Harry gestured to where he was levitating two mugs “tea.”
“What is this ‘tea’ you’re talking about?” Sal asked.
“Oh, well, you see we didn’t have it very much when we were at the castle, wibbly wobbly, messing with the time stream whatever,” Harry explained as they both sat together on the large bed and Sal stared suspiciously at the dark liquid. “Tea didn’t come to Britain until the 1600s, the Doctor says. Hermione was most upset, it’s part of why she was such a fright, but she believes in preserving the time stream more than anyone, I expect. If you don’t, there’s lots of other kinds and flavors we could make, the Doctor has a wild assortment here. Careful though, it’s hot.”
Harry watched her as she took a cautious sip. She was pleasantly surprised by the flavor, and how warm it made her feel. “I quite like this.”
“It’s good, ain’t it?” Harry asked, and she nodded. “Nothing like a good cup of tea and a meal to make you feel better. We’ve got in the kitchen, if you’d like to come eat with us? Hermione panicked herself to sleep and the Doctor is who knows where, but Luna and I were going to eat, I got the food machine to produce pizza.”
“Sal, you are going to love the future.”
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The Doctor was not moping.
Moping was not something cool people did. Moping wasn’t cool. The Doctor was cool. So. The Doctor was not moping.
OK, so maybe the Doctor was moping just a little bit.
If there was one thing the Doctor didn’t like, it was being held accountable.
Except, the Doctor really liked his companions, he needed them, and the number one thing they did, aside from acting as extra pairs of hands in his saving the world adventures… was hold him accountable.
Why did Harry have to ask if killing the cybermen was genocide? The Doctor knew he had done it, so, so many times. It was why it felt like “nothing really” to kill that many cybermen at once, to kill so many daleks at once, it was always nothing to him to kill them all because no matter what the monsters always came back, like an endless game of genocidal wackamole. He had become impervious to it. Which was why Harry’s question brought him back. It centered him and broke him apart at the same time, which was honestly part of the companion job description, if there was such a thing.
And then there was Sal. She hadn’t even stepped foot onto the Tardis yet and was already putting him in his place. He could have blamed it on the fact that he was frazzled, that he had cybermen on the brain, but in truth he wasn’t sure why he had been so hesitant to have her on board the Tardis. She was a perfect candidate, an accomplished witch, skilled at her craft, and like many a companion before her, desperately trying to escape her life.
The human view on gender had always distressed the Doctor. Binaries are just… wrong. Not how the universe works. Putting limits on expression didn’t make sense and was dangerous. Of course the Doctor would take her with him. But they got off on such a bad foot that now he wasn’t sure how to realign.
He continued his not-moping, which currently looked like pacing the length of the pool while spinning a yo-yo.
He was disturbed by someone entering the library, at which point he put on one of his classic “smiling gently and a little bit sadly but I’m putting the most energy into this as I can” smiles and greeted the entrant.
“Hello Doctor,” Hermione said hesitantly. “I think that we have maybe got off on the wrong foot these past few months.”
“Perhaps we have, I get the feeling that you don’t like me very much,” the Doctor nodded.
“That’s not true,” Hermione corrected. “I like you a great deal. You’re mad, and brilliant, and I respect you….”
“Why do you think there is a but?” Hermione asked with a raised eyebrow.
“You had a panic attack as soon as we got back in the Tardis, Hermione, not until we were safe did you let your guard down enough to completely lose control; that tells me a lot about you. I happen to know a lot about you, actually. And I know that there is always a but.” The Doctor was a fast talker, he enunciated every word he spoke, and chaos reigned in his voice, Hermione, however, remained steadfastly unimpressed.
“I don’t trust you, Doctor. You play games with people’s lives. You’re controlling, possessive, absolutely mad.”
“Do you want to go home?”
“I didn’t say that.”
“There’s something you’re not telling us. You knew us before we knew you. And I’m going to find out how, I’m going to find out why. And mark my words Doctor, if any harm comes to Harry or Luna you will wish you were dead.”
Hermione spun on her heel and exited the library, and the Doctor wondered how in the universe a twenty year old could manage to be that scary. That said, she was unwittingly playing the card of him having experience with her future self and all that he had witnessed her as being capable of, which was really what made the threat have weight.
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A/N: In the time it took me to write this chapter I started a Doctor Who podcast and a fanfiction podcast. You can check out The Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Podcast at https://wibblywobblytimeywimey.net and Into the Archives: A Fanfiction Podcast at https://intothearchivespod.com.