katherine_b: (DW - Hurt Doctor)
posted by [personal profile] katherine_b at 07:22am on 21/11/2013 under , ,
Title: Redemption 49/50
Author: [livejournal.com profile] katherine_b
Rating: PG
Summary: When you have lost everything, what do you do to get it back?
Characters: The non-Doctor first glimpsed at the end of Name of the Doctor and a lot of old friends.

Part XLIX

“You know,” Oswin remarks as they return to the tardis, “I just realised I never gave you a name.”

“What’s wrong with the one I’ve got?” demands the Vadlott, somewhat hurt as he recalls the process he went through to choose that title which has become so dear to him since he first decided on it.

“Nothing!” Oswin grins. “But I like giving people names. You know, nicknames. Names that only I use.”

“Oh, well that makes sense!” The Vadlott frowns a little, tempted not to ask the next question because of how little he likes thinking about that man, but curiosity wins out in the end. “What did you call the Doctor?”

“Chin boy.”

The Vadlott snorts with laughter, which he attempts to disguise as a cough. “Oswin Oswald, you didn’t!” he exclaims, trying to sound scandalised.

“Have you seen him?” she demands. “Anyway, it was that or ‘Mr Grumpy,’ and he didn’t seem to like that one.”

“I don’t blame him!” The Vadlott eyes her askance. “There he was surrounded by Daleks, about to be exterminated, quite apart from the challenge of trying to reunite his companions as well as rescue you, and I suppose you thought he should have been singing something cheerful from a Broadway musical and dancing a two-step?”

“You’re only talking so that you aren’t joining me in mocking him,” she points out, and he admits the truth of this to himself but refuses to show it on his face. “But really, that chin was ridiculous. Not as bad as the bow-tie, but still.”

“Yes, he seems to like those,” agrees the Vadlott, opening the tardis door and letting Oswin enter first.

“And things being ‘cool,’” Oswin adds.

The Vadlott allows himself an exaggerated shudder as he closes the door. “Charming,” he remarks. “The mentality of the eleventh would seem to be on parallel with a teenager.”

“What does that make the first ten Doctors then?” Oswin wants to know.

“Probably not worth thinking about,” he admits as he sends the tardis into space and then turns to his companion. “Now, a name for me. Does this mean I get to return the favour?”

“As long as it doesn’t include the word ‘Dalek,’ I can’t see why not.”

He studies her face for a moment, admitting to himself that, thanks to the tricks of his clever ship, he has actually begun to forget her true form. “You’re impossible, Oswin Oswald.”

“Gee, thanks!”

“No, I mean it.” He smiles. “An impossible girl. My impossible girl!”

The look of irritation fades from her face and she smiles back at him. “You’re pretty impossible, too, when you think about it. A not-Doctor flying his not-TARDIS around the universe. Maybe, if I’m your impossible girl, you can be my impossible man.”

“That,” he tells her, “sounds like a very fair exchange.”

He is about to enter a new destination for the tardis when he hears a scratching sound on the outside wall of the blue box.

“What’s that?” demands Oswin before he can speak.

“I don’t know.” The Vadlott runs a scan of the ship’s exterior. “Something small,” he says, “and insectoid. And hopefully harmless.”

“Hopefully,” echoes Oswin in doubtful tones.

Not paying attention to this, the Vadlott crosses to the doors again, easing one open so that he can peer out, slamming the door shut again instantly and patting the ammunition belt he has not taken off since the last time he had a run-in with the Cybermen.

“What is it?” asks Oswin anxiously.

“A Cybermite.” The Vadlott frowns as he finds the only silver tube remaining on his belt. “And I have one shot to get it. Otherwise it will get into the tardis, and...”

“...And that will be bad,” Oswin finishes for him. “I read about Cybermen.”

“Good, then you know to stay out of the way if anything – goes wrong,” he finishes lamely, trying not to think what will happen if he misses this shot.

“You couldn’t just leave the doors shut and let it freeze to death?”

“Check it,” the Vadlott tells her. “Look at its temperature. It’s a robot,” he reminds her, “and they don’t freeze to death. But what they do do is find their way into the most unlikely places – like the inside of a tardis. So no,” he finishes, “I can’t do that.”

He places his finger on the button of the cyber-stopper, inhales a deep breath and then hauls the door inwards, pressing his back against it, and aiming as closely as he can. The Cybermite skitters across the side of the tardis, darting away from the beam, but the Vadlott, closing one eye, follows it and manages to catch it in the final few micro-seconds before the unit’s energy runs out.

“Got it!” he exclaims in relief as the critter lets out a mechanical whine and curls into a ball, dropping into the hand he stretches out to catch it.

“And it’s not just stunned?” asks Oswin, who is at his elbow.

“No chance. This thing is too lethal to something on that scale.” The Vadlott flourishes the cyber-stopper as he moves back to the console. “Now, off to Earth so I can add this to Luke’s collection at the Rattigan Academy and see if he’s made any progress on the development of more weapons that will be effective against the Cybermen.”

“But what about this?” Oswin peers at the Cybermite, which the Vadlott has placed on the console. “What was it doing, floating loose in space?”

“Yes, I was hoping you wouldn’t ask me about that,” the Vadlott admits. “Too clever for your own good sometimes, Oswin.”

“Well?” she prompts him.

“Well,” he echoes, “it’s either the very last of its kind or the new wave of an advanced cyber-army heading this way.”

“And if the latter is true, why are we going to Earth?” she asks.

“Because, no matter what’s coming,” he tells her as he sets the co-ordinates, “even if it’s the former, I want to be prepared.”

* * *

“Good evening, sir,” Jenny Flint greets him. “I’m afraid madame isn’t at home.”

“Oh?” The Vadlott shrugs out of his coat, which Jenny takes and hangs on a nearby hook. “I thought she would have taken you with her.”

“She wouldn’t let me come, sir.” Jenny leads the way into the parlour. “She said it was too dangerous. Not even Strax was let go with her.”

“Yes, she was most definite in her refusal,” the Sontaran adds as he joins them. “I did try to insist though. I would have enjoyed protecting madame.”

“I’m sure you would have done,” the Vadlott agrees. “Perhaps I should go and make sure she’s all right?”

“Oh, no, sir, please don’t!” begs Jenny. “She said she would only get the answers to her questions if she went alone.”

“I... see,” the Vadlott says slowly, although he is actually at something of a loss, but he suspects Jenny, at least, knows more than she is letting on. “Is this something to do with the Doctor?” he asks.

“Ye-yes, sir,” she confesses almost reluctantly.

“And you’re sure you don’t need my help?” he persists.

“No, sir!” she replies at once.

“Actually, sir,” Strax interposes, “if it’s not too much trouble, might I beg a favour? You see, there’s somewhere I like to go on my weekend off, but it’s a long way to Glasgow, and it usually takes me two horses, if not three, by the time I get there...”

“I’ll gladly give you a lift,” the Vadlott agrees, cutting short what he suspects may be a rather bloodthirsty description of the fate of the horses, which he would rather avoid both Jenny and Oswin having to hear. “Are you ready to go now?” he adds, having already noticed that the Sontaran had carried a small bag into the room as if in preparation for a journey.

“If that’s possible, sir.”

“Of course it is.” The Vadlott rises to his feet at once, part of him glad to have the excuse to leave in case the Doctor should happen to arrive. “Jenny,” he adds, turning to the clearly anxious maid, “if I can do anything, you will call?”

“Of course, sir!”

“Good! Then, Strax, let’s be off.”

The Sontaran follows him to the blue box, and just as the Vadlott is about to open the door, Oswin speaks for the first time.

“May I mess with him a little, my impossible man?”

He risks a nod and a quick grin, unseen by Strax, before ushering that man inside.

“Thank you for this, sir,” the Sontaran says once the doors are closed. “The women tend to be a little sensitive about my trips away, you see.”

“I’m sure they are,” the Vadlott replies, setting the ship on its way.

“Not a fan of women, then, Strax?” Oswin asks, her voice echoing through the speakers so that both the Time Lord and the Sontaran can hear her, even if she is only visible to the Vadlott.

Strax starts visibly at the sound of the unexpected voice, his hand flying to his pocket, but the Vadlott is just as quick to grab the man’s fingers.

“No weapons in my tardis,” he snaps. “Strax, don’t you dare!”

“What new enemy is this?” demands the Sontaran, nevertheless relaxing his grip on the pocket where the Vadlott guesses he has a gun.

“She’s a – may I tell him, Oswin?” the Time Lord asks, remembering their deal just in time.

“I’m a Dalek, potato-head,” Oswin says cheerfully, and this time Strax produces his gun, stepping on front of the Vadlott and looking around suspiciously for his enemy.

“I shall defeat you, destroyer of all things good and Sontaran,” he declares. “Show yourself!”

“She can’t – and put that away!” the Vadlott insists, wrestling the gun out of Strax’s hand. “She’s locked in a room deep within the tardis. Even I can’t find it! And she’s a friend, Strax, so kindly remember that.”

“You have a Dalek for a friend?” demands Strax in disbelief. “How is that possible?”

“It’s not.” The Vadlott grins at Oswin, who is smirking as she leans against the console. “It’s very, very impossible. My impossible girl. And you aren’t to tell the Doctor about her. He thinks she died, and it’s best left that way.”

“Ah, she was the one he mentioned when that nurserymaid also died,” Strax says thoughtfully, relaxing from his previous stance. “So this ‘Oswin’ is her first death.”

“Exactly.” The Vadlott checks that they are about to arrive. “But I managed to save her at the last minute, so now she travels with me.”

“A fascinating choice of companion,” grumbles Strax.

“She certainly is that,” the Vadlott agrees with a smile.

Next Part

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