Doctor Who: Panic Moon Ch. 18byKurokami©
Author's Note: This is a sequel series to Amy, Captured. To get the full experience, please read through that one first.
Hey everyone, I'm back again. Special thanks go to Isabel, D, LogicalDreamer and Allyourbase, my amazing beta readers for their thoughts and encouragement. Enjoy!
'You're pacing. Stop it.'
'I am not!'
Oh, for Christ's sake... Rory! Look down!'
He did. He stopped. He frowned, 'Oh.'
That had been happening more and more lately, his body going off on a jaunt all its own while his mind was occupied elsewhere. Which, of course, meant Amy. Amy, his wife, gone again and filling his mind every waking moment. Amy Pond, who was gone. Who he would get back.
Because it wasn't just the Leadworth memories that filled his mind now; not merely his pleasant dreams, but his nightmares, too. Images of swords, and combat. Blood and warm steel. Battle cries and fire, loneliness, and that valuable, precious... His box. His Pandorica. Two thousand years of waiting, and he would not lose her now.
The Last Centurion had awoken.
'It's him, isn't it?' He growled. 'It has to be. He's come back, and he's got Amy again.'
'Maybe,' The Doctor shrugged, pointedly not looking up from his work. Rory glared, 'Probably.' The Time Lord conceded. 'Look, I don't know. Would you stop pacing?'
With a sound of irritation, Rory halted himself again, pounding his hand down on the TARDIS' railing, 'Of course it's him! What do you mean probably? It's exactly the same method!'
'Oh, you think?' The alien snapped, rounding on Rory with fire burning in his eyes. 'Yeah, that seems about right. Stupid old Doctor, immediately forgetting that Sander Hackett has a time displacement device! Yes! There's simply no way that I would have upgraded the TARDIS' Artron shielding to make another intrusion like that impossible! In fact, you didn't see me literally do that, because you insisted I make things "safe," again. No! Never bloody happened, Rory!'
'Then how is she gone?!' He yelled back, facing the Time Lord down, step for step. He remembered the first time he had seen the endless rage in those old eyes, and how unsettling it had been to know, in that instant, that the Doctor was something far larger, and far more dangerous, than he or Amy had imagined. That beneath the running, and the bowtie and all the endless talking, lay a heart of cold fire, burning and consuming for centuries.
Well, now Rory Pond stared back into the abyss, and it couldn't even touch him. What was nine hundred years of running, when set against two thousand years of devotion? What was the Last Child of Gallifrey, when set against the Last Centurion?
What was a Time Lord, next to a Roman? Merely an old man with a young face and a new body.
'She's gone,' It had actually been a struggle to say the words in English. Ancient words kept prodding at his mind, dead languages and the call of war. Memories shouldn't hurt, right?
'I know that,' The Doctor said carefully, straightening his bowtie. 'But I don't know how. I mean, I know how, or at least, I think I do. I think he's cutting into her timeline itself, but I can't say for sure. Well, it's impossible, why should I be sure?'
'Impossible?' Rory said. 'Like, "breaking into the TARDIS from the outside," impossible, or actually impossible?'
'No idea,' The Doctor shrugged, frown deepening. He stopped, wracked his mind, 'Thing is, Rory... The thing is, the actual thing is that... I'm missing things. I know I am. My life doesn't make sense.'
'That's not new,' Rory said flatly, running a hand through his hair. This was going around in the same old circles.
'I mean, more than usual. There's... gaps. How did I get the cup?' He dashed back to the control column, running his hands over a series of possibly completely random buttons and levers.
'Desert planet,' He said. 'This would have been a couple years ago, now. Old face, old body. Tenth regeneration. I took a bus from London to a desert planet, and when it came time to leave, you know, to avoid the stingrays? When we needed to leave, I had this gold cup that I used to make the bus fly. What was a bloody gold cup doing on a bus, Rory?'
'This has what, exactly, to do with Amy, Doctor?'
'I think I'm losing things, Rory,' He said, voice threaded with a kind of ghostly apprehension that Rory had never heard there before. 'Events, places... Even people. Just... gone.'
'Is it the cracks again? The Silence?' The small town man with the soul of a Roman leaned in, taking care to place his hand on a conspicuously empty portion of the TARDIS' console. He'd learned his lesson about absentmindedly hitting buttons here, 'Do they have Amy? It's not Sander?'
'No, if it were the cracks I wouldn't remember anything at all,' The Doctor shook his head, exhaling heavily. 'I wouldn't be able to tell that anything is wrong, because there wouldn't be. But this... I don't know what this is. It's not affecting my memories specifically, because if it was it'd be affecting yours too, but you don't have strange incongruities in your past, or you would have told me. You're very vocal lately, Rory.'
'You know why,' He snapped back. 'Well? You're the man with the plan: What do we do?'
'We go after Sander,' The Doctor shrugged, returning his attention wholly to his time machine. Despite the conversation apparently being over, he kept talking, 'Because it looks like Sander, it sounds like Sander, probably smells like... well, you get the idea. Far too similar to be a coincidence. I don't know what he's done this time, but you can be damn sure I'm going to find out.'
It still surprised him that she could enter a room so quietly. He had been the only occupant of a mostly silent alcove set away from the main thoroughfares of the base, and he had still missed her. She had still managed to make him jump when she spoke up.
Sander made a mental note to stop sitting with his back to the door in future.
'How are things?' Dulcimer sent, stepping up into the alcove beside him, placing herself gently into the opposite corner. Behind them was a window, large and looking out over a vast field of blue-green grass, stalks oddly immobile in the lack of a breeze. The barest edge of the planet they orbited, Sigma Majora, could be seen in the upper left corner, light shining down on the peaceful, almost static landscape.
'You know how things are,' Sander sighed, shifting his back to find a more comfortable position. He stared out the window, the Dullahan's lack of a face obviating the need to look her in the eye, 'You were there. You saw it happen.'
'I saw it, yes,' Her voice unfolded in his mind like a fond memory, and her fingers tapped silently against her knee. 'But I was in no real danger. The Dullahan rarely are, if you'll forgive the ego inherent in saying so. But you were, Sander, and so was everyone else. So I think your impression of recent events will be rather different from my own.'
Sander grunted, took another swig from the slowly dwindling bottle that dangled from his fingers. He didn't drink often, but when he did he was eternally grateful that the cool room was always stocked with whatever had been deemed necessary. Jericho was in charge of the grocery shopping, though the actual delivery was achieved through supply pods dropped from high orbit. It wouldn't do for a dead man like him to be discovered wandering the aisles of a supermarket.
'Yeah, I suppose so,' He nodded, leaning his forehead against the cool glass momentarily, as if the chill could calm his thoughts. Thinking had always been his strong suit, but the flipside of that were moments like these, where he found himself unable to quell the disquieting thoughts that wandered through his brain and refused to lie still long enough for him to properly dissect them. All emotional response, no logical analysis.
He had turned to alcohol to blunt the response. It hadn't worked yet.
'You seem really calm, actually,' He continued, eyeing the space where the alien's face would have been. He didn't know why he kept doing that, possibly a socially conditioned reaction to conversation, but he had caught the rest of his crew, and even Amy, doing exactly the same thing.
'That's because I am calm, Sander. Distress does no one any good.'
'Tell that to the rest of the guys,' Sander tried to smile, but it was a weak thing, thin lipped and unenthusiastic. 'Especially after what happened to Kanaria, and with her sisters around, and Sally and Lorna...'
'They are unhappy because they are frightened, my friend,' Dulsie laid a hand on his shoulder to silence him. It was light, and oddly cool through his shirt, 'And they are frightened because this place is no longer a place of safety for them. Three years, we've spent turning this place into something worthwhile, and in the course of one day, it suddenly isn't, anymore. The memories are still fresh, Jericho hasn't even finished clearing away the bodies yet. It's no wonder you're on edge.'
'It could have been a whole lot worse,' He said softly, though it was hardly a counter argument. 'At least, for me. I could have been killed. Why can't I stop thinking about it?'
'Because you almost got killed, Sander.'
'Sally couldn't take my mind off it, I threw Lorna to Mara, and before that Ren, for god's sake,' He frowned, covered his eyes with one hand and exhaled heavily. 'I went a little nuts with Amy. I got angry, tried to punish her... I shouldn't have done that.'
'We are all responsible for the choices we make, Sander Hackett,' The words echoed his own, in that cell with the redheaded woman. When he'd almost gone too far... If he'd done anything permanent to Amy and the Doctor found out...
There would have been hell to pay, and not just for him.
'I need to do something about this,' He said finally, more to himself than Dulcimer. The notion prompted him to take an especially large swig from his bottle, and swear violently, under his breath.
'Yes, you do,' Dulsie's psychic voice bubbled up through his mind; a very soothing sensation. 'Whether you meant for it to happen or not, you are the leader of this crew. What was it you said once? You were the team dad? I think that's as accurate as we're going to get. You gathered the crew, you're providing the entertainment, you're writing the cheques... What happens to us is for you to deal with.'
'Yeah, I know...' He sighed. A gust of wind blew across the grass outside, making it lurch to one side in a wave. The breezes here were strange; they stopped and started seemingly at random, as though whatever was controlling them was tapping the accelerator pedal. The wind was uncoordinated here, but it was better than nothing. The thought prompted a memory from his youth, and he smiled; he remembered the first time he had felt the wind on his face, on the side of a cliff overlooking a calm ocean. He had been eight years old.
'Maybe we should just leave,' He mused, tilting his head back. 'Just get the hell out of dodge, at least for a little while.
Dulcimer folded her long legs underneath herself, rocking on her haunches, 'I know you'll make the right decision, Sander. Or at least, a very interesting one.'
She laughed. At least, she transmitted a telepathic imprint that Sander had come to identify as the laughter of the Dullahan. It was a sensation that everyone on his crew were familiar with, but none were able to outwardly describe, in the same way it was impossible to codify an emotion. The only thing they had been able to agree on was that it left them with a lightheaded feeling.
Still, he was lost in thought, the sensation barely grazing his awareness; perhaps it was the liquor thinking for him, but he felt like he was onto a great idea, 'Yeah...' He said softly.
'Hey Hackett!' Mara's voice blasted out from the nearest speaker, making Sander jump in fright. Beside him, Dulcimer merely leaned back, unperturbed.
'Yes, Mara?' Sander replied to the air, safely assuming that Jericho would reroute the sound through to wherever she was.
'You're needed in the bedroom!' He could hear the familiar note of lustful urgency in her voice, which in turn filled him with a kind of happy apprehension; whatever happened next, it would either be really fun, or really scary.
... Which could also be really fun.
'Well, I've been summoned,' He shrugged, getting to his feet. He grinned back at Dulsie, 'And we all know I can't ignore that.'
'Well, that took you long enough,' Mara arched an eyebrow from the bed as he opened the door. She leaned back on her hands, crossing one leg over the other. She was also wearing her little black dress. Sander grinned.
'Oh, that is just...' He paused, struggling between "great," and "scary." 'Something.'
The dress evoked many, heated memories, and it was with considerable eagerness that Sander strode into the room and took Mara in his arms, kissing her deeply. She went with it for a while, pressing back against him with a giggling little moan. When she pulled away, she held him at arm's length, shaking her head.
'Oh, you think it's me I called you in for!' She laughed. 'Oh, that's kind of cute, but no. No, I got a new toy recently, remember? I'm the kind of girl who shares her toys, Hackett...'
Her eyes darted away, she pointed to their walk-in closet, and clicked her fingers. Sander could practically feel what was coming in the back of his mind, but her dazzling smile sealed it. The door slid soundlessly open, and from within the little chamber, out walked Lorna. Her hands were clasped in front of her, fingers locked and fidgeting. Sander blinked.
He had no idea how long Mara had lingered here with Lorna, nor how much of her- large, varied- wardrobe had been tested in the process, but the end result was certainly impressive. Gone were the simple military clothes she had worn when she had arrived, and with it her utilitarian look. She wore a simple red dress, lacking any kind of decoration; still, it showed off her generous curves far better than the Church's uniform. The dress terminated high on her thighs, giving Sander an excellent view of her well-muscled legs as she stood tall, eyeing him defiantly. Eventually, once he had treated himself to a look at what Lorna's new clothes had done to her cleavage, he allowed himself to meet her gaze.
Now, her hair fell loose, and it was amazing what such a simple thing had done to her; Lorna now practically oozed the femininity that the military had aimed to strip away from her, something aided in no small part by her newly red lips and smoky eyes. However, she looked uncomfortable with her appearance, ironically far more uncomfortable with this than with her earlier nudity. Gamma girls were weird.
Mara pushed him off to one side, abandoning him on the bed as she sauntered over to Lorna as she stood there, very pointedly showing no fear. Soldiers were made of sterner stuff, they had to be; even backed into a corner like this she stared Mara down, every step of the way. She barely even flinched when the blonde draped herself over her shoulders.
She turned Lorna to face the mirror set into the wall, 'Look at you now, hmm? Tell me you don't like what you see.'
It looked to Sander like she was seeing herself for the first time; her eyes went wide as she saw the person in the mirror. There stood a woman, not a soldier, not a citizen of the Gamma forests, but a decidedly adult female in her prime. He watched as her eyes slid over her own body with a look of odd, strained credulity, like she could hardly believe she was looking at her reflection and not some other, more decadent and sinful person.
Again Mara turned her, pushing her back around to face Sander, 'Now him. You can tell he likes what he sees, Lorna. Look in his eyes, he wants you. Well, Sander? Do you want her?'
She shot him a look that, for a moment, iced his blood. Her deep blue eyes looked right through him, amusement and... something else glittering at their core. It was a look that communicated a lot; mostly a deep, dark longing. The kind that ended with rope burn on his wrists and pain in places that ought not be in pain. It was a worrisome look, but undeniably... fun.
'Yeah, I do,' He answered quickly. He knew the mood that Mara was getting in, and after so many years he understood what she wanted from him. Long answers or second guessing her logic wouldn't be tolerated. He'd spent more than a little time pondering over this submissive side of him, that he could apparently slip on and off and fitted him like a glove, but had long ago realized that it didn't really hurt to just go with it. At least, not in an entirely bad way.
The woman smiled, pushing Lorna closer. She kept in step with the Gamma native, as if she didn't want to be terribly far from the action as it occurred, 'Well, that's good news. Because you've been enlisted, Hackett... It struck me that Lorna still needs a little lovin', but I figure a real man would be more fun than if I just pretended to be one for her. Besides, this way I get to watch,' She winked, and leaned in to run a finger down Sander's chest.
The soldier stiffened at that, but remained silent. Her pride wouldn't allow her to be visibly daunted by the prospect, but her heart was beating, pounding in her chest. She felt ill at ease, like her own skin was alien to her; Mara had wrapped her up in the kind of clothes she would never have dreamt of wearing in the outside world, and they had... changed her, in a way.
Lorna had seen men staring at her before, of course she had, but she had never invited the male gaze like she was now. Sander's stare was different, with a more appreciative edge and an intensity that she had never been subjected to before. She found herself shifting her weight uncomfortably, without meaning to; she could practically feel his eyes on the gentle, graceful curve of her hips, and beneath the tight fabric of the dress, her skin crawled.
It was a feeling she had never really felt before, being completely powerless to stop something bad from happening. The moment she had come of age she had left the Gamma Forests specifically to avoid feeling like she wasn't in control of her own life; the Church had given her refuge and experience in the outside world, as well as the very important choice of where she would be stationed. The first time she had looked at that map, brimming with stars and worlds and space stations, just waiting for her to pick... She believed the term was "paralysis of choice."
'Hey, Hackett...' Mara giggled a little, her fingers gripping a little tighter on Lorna's shoulders, pushing her closer to the man. 'I know you've already seen her naked from a distance, but... I want to see you unwrap her. She's my gift to you, tonight... Take your time with her.'
With that, she moved away, sidling up behind her boyfriend and laying her hands, gently but firmly, onto his shoulders instead. He felt a chill go down his spine, like Mara had just yanked his chain particularly hard. His fingers twitched as he reached up, eyes lingering on the softly lit, pale skin of Lorna's collarbone as he waited- and sensed that Mara was too- for the Gamma girl to flinch or pull away. To his surprise, she didn't, standing before him with her head held high, as his palms gently slid onto her breasts, just below the neckline of the dress.
His fingers hooked into the fabric there, and he felt Mara's fingers dance across his shirt, as slowly, just as slowly as she wanted, he pulled down Lorna's top, exposing inch upon inch of creamy, luscious cleavage to their sight, topped with the kind of perky, pink nipples that just begged to feel lips around them. Lorna's eyes burned defiantly into Sander, but he didn't even bother keeping her gaze for a single second; his attention was being guided by the blonde behind him, and there was no way he would escape the vortex of her direction, even for a second. Eventually, the fabric crested the bulge of Lorna's chest and lost all tautness, slipping quickly down to rest beneath her bust, just begging to be pulled down further.