Doctor Who: Panic Moon Rising Ch. 03byKurokami©
Author's Note: This series builds off of elements of the previous Panic Moon series. To get the full experience, it is recommended, though not necessary, to read that one first.
Greetings, fellows! Here's the latest chapter of Rising, complete with a certain newcomer. Many thanks to my beta readers LogicalDreamer and Allyourbase, and if you like what you see, please comment or vote. I live for your feedback, fellows.
'What're you doing, stranger?'
Sander had grown up rich, and in doing so had been taught certain skills at a young age. One of those was controlling and suppressing his emotional reactions to the things that happened around him. Another was acting haughty and disdainful to the hired help, but that was hardly germane in his current situation.
He was, however, fully capable of employing the former skill when he realized that Mels had snuck up on him.
His jaw clenched tight as she leaned into the corner of his vision, her expression quizzical. It took some concentration, but Sander managed to maintain his poker face, nary a ripple of negative emotion creasing his expression. Nevertheless, inside he was cursing terribly. It seemed he couldn't walk three feet without running into a potential complex ontological paradox, all set to twist his personal timeline in a knot.
At least he had an opportunity to come out of this one without embarrassing himself, quite unlike his ridiculous slip ups with Amy.
'I'm trying to determine how one uses this machine,' He said, tapping it with two fingers.
'What, the ATM?'
'Ah, that's what it's called,' Sander nodded, as smoothly as he could. He added, defensively, 'It might seem completely impossible, but there are smaller towns than Leadworth, Miss.'
He was proud of himself for even getting as far as he had without slipping up; this was Melody Pond, no matter what form or name she chose to take. And Melody Pond was just a River Song in training, which was frightening on its own. He had seen plenty of the little Time Lady assassin's exploits, enough to know just how bad it would be- even at this stage of her development- to cross her or somehow let slip his own time traveling nature. Back home on Trismestigius he was powerful, but here...
Well, here he was useless. There was a reason time travelers used ships most of the time; it allowed one to pack. The common perception of the all powerful man from the future capable of doing practically anything was largely dependent on the tools and technology he could bring with him. Sander had arrived practically empty handed, and he had already traded his one technological advantage to prisoner Zero in order to stick close to Amy.
And that didn't just level the playing field and reduce Sander to the same capabilities as everyone else, either; technology advanced at such a rapid rate that the machinery that ran the day to day operations of the past was almost completely unrecognizable to him.
Hence, the- what was it?- ATM...
'Ah, don't worry about it,' Mels waved a hand ostentatiously, withdrawing a wallet from her back pocket and selecting a card before slotting it into the machine. 'Let's see, now...'
She paused for a moment, deep in thought as though the numbers wouldn't immediately come to her, before she tapped at the keypad. Sander almost laughed; numeric passwords had gone the way of the dinosaurs to make way for biometric scans before he had even been born. Everything in the immediate surroundings became tinged with a sense of nostalgia.
As ancient as the machine seemed, money came out of it all the same, in copious amounts, and Mels made a show of counting and dividing it, before handing off a small stack of bills to Sander. He blinked in surprise, though that surprise didn't extend to hesitating in taking the advantage being offered to him.
'That's... unusually charitable,' He said, stuffing the cash into his pocket. He was too used to having however much money he needed in any given situation, so being broke had set him off kilter in a major way. Just having the ability to buy things again was a boost to his confidence.
'Well, it didn't look like you were going to get anywhere without it,' Mels shrugged, winking. 'No card of your own, I'm willing to bet. Now tell me: who am I talking to?'
'I'd really better be going...' Sander pointed vaguely out in a random direction, not knowing where it would take him but not really caring, at the same time. His sole objective now was to be going away from Mels before she got too curious.
'What a coincidence, me too!' In response, the young woman clapped her hands together before giving Sander a light shove in the direction he had indicated, before stepping up beside him. 'I still want to know your name, though. Not a fan of strangers, me.'
Well, so long as he stuck to first names, he should be alright...
'I'm Sander,' He said, knowing that there couldn't be many of those hanging around quaint English villages, though he could hardly bring himself to care. The longer he stuck around Mels, the more time he had to think and rationalize, turning the situation over in his head.
Things were different with Amy; his timeline was so entangled with hers that any interactions in their subjective pasts would go beyond acceptable deviation limits very easily. Their histories would destabilize and they would both be flung off into distinct new timelines; Sander and Amy as they were now would be no more, replaced with versions of themselves that would be, for all intents and purposes, entirely different people. It would be... like death.
But Mels... She and Sander had never met before, their personal histories weren't dependent on one another. Mels had a number of regenerations and memory losses to go through before she became River and would go on to meet Sander for the first time... Here, all she represented was a challenge.
Here was the Doctor's wife, before she had even met him. Temptation rose in Sander's mind at the mere thought; she was right in front of him, he could reach out and touch her if he wanted to, and there was nothing the Time Lord could do about it. It would be so, so easy...
Not to kill her, or hurt her. No, that would change history in too dramatic a fashion. But there were plenty of other things he could do, and he knew enough about Mels' personality to predict what she'd try with a newcomer.
If there was one thing Mels- any form of Melody, really- liked, it was surprises...
'Oh hey,' Sander jerked a thumb over his shoulder. 'You left your, uh, card thingy in the machine.'
Without looking back, Mels shot Sander a quizzical look, and just laughed. They kept walking.
'So what brings you to Leadworth?' She asked. 'Especially without a place to stay.'
'Let's just say circumstances beyond my control and leave it at that, shall we?' Sander replied drily, dropping his hands into the pockets of his pilfered hoody. 'And why are you hanging out with the homeless stranger? Little English village like this, there's almost no way I'm not a serial killer.'
'Are you a serial killer?' She arched an eyebrow. The two of them had begun attracting stares from the few Leadworth folks who could muster the energy to go outside, though Sander got the feeling that Mels was as much a draw as he himself. Every pair of eyes stuck to him, but they always hitched when they reached Mels; he got the sense they weren't incredibly surprised that she would befriend the outsider. If Amy was considered to be off kilter and strange, Mels was the logical conclusion of that; a young woman truly enjoying being the pariah. It was not surprising at all that she and Amy would gravitate toward each other, really. All part of Mels' plan, Sander supposed.
'Not according to the voices in my head,' He shrugged, eyeing the expanse of Leadworth fields before him. He wondered what Mels saw in this place; was it any freer than her life with her Silence guardians? Or did she feel the same sense of cloying smallness that he himself did? Was it frustrating for her, having to live here, cloaked in her false identity for year upon year, acting out the way she did for... whatever reason. Perhaps just to feel anything at all...
Even next to him, she was the perennial alien.
For a moment, a singular, mad moment as they walked, Sander was seized with the desire to grab Mels by the shoulders and shake her. He wanted to tell her who he was and more importantly, what he knew. He wanted her to know that she wasn't alone in her mission to end the Doctor, and that she might in fact have an ally to speed that task along. She would appreciate that...
But of course, it was only a passing fancy.
He couldn't actually do it. No. Of course not. So instead he contented himself with walking beside the woman who would become the Doctor's wife, close enough to reach out and take away yet another of his companions, if he so desired. He was glad that he wasn't a Dalek or some other of the Doctor's enemies, part of some vast horde of faceless combatants; the Time Lord would come to fight something that visible that decided to walk upon the Earth. But Sander was one man; an enemy, but one that flew under the radar in most respects. He could walk beside the future River Song unharmed and out of the Doctor's sight...
... All by dint of being a lower stakes class of foe. The Doctor was near unbeatable against world ending plots of apocalyptic significance, but against one guy with a sharp mind and a knack for time active machines, what could he really do? Here he was on Earth.
Come and get me, Time Lord...
'Do you have somewhere to be?' Mels asked, breaking him from his thoughts. 'Or are you really just wandering around? Presumably for victims?'
'No, I'm pretty much just getting the lay of the land,' Sander said. 'Why? Are you volunteering?'
'Maybe,' She shrugged. 'Anyway, you're coming with me, then.'
'Where? And what for?'
She skipped ahead, turning lightly on her feet to face him, just a little too close for comfort. The suddenness of the movement made Sander's head fill with memories of learning about Time Lord biology, all those little factoids about ridiculous strength that connected nervously with his knowledge of how jumpy and unpredictable this regeneration of River's was. He was frankly relieved when all she did was give him a suggestive look, combined with the kind of incredulity that implied she thought he was somewhat dim for not immediately divining her meaning.
'Ooh, penny in the air...' Mels rolled her eyes and gestured for him to follow her, setting off down the path.
'No... No, don't do that,' Back on comfortable ground, he followed.
'Don't do what?'
'The in joke. I've never liked that one...'
'You freaking people, I swear...' Sander shook his head, laughing slyly moments before he was slammed up against the wall, hard enough to knock a picture from its hook.
'What do you mean? Young people?' Mels cooed, pressing her lips to his. As she broke away, she continued in a low voice, 'Done this before, cradle robber?'
'Yeah,' Sander grinned into her mouth, allowing her tongue entry for the moment. 'Let's go with that.'
At that, he experienced a pulse of guilt; after all, here he was letting Mels seduce him while out there in Leadworth Amy was still possessed by some kind of parasitic alien... thing. He didn't even know what it was, but he was wasting time like a pro. But...
His mind screamed. This was River, this was the Doctor's wife, here she was, he could reach out and...
No. No, this was better. As much as he might enjoy it, River Song couldn't die in this regeneration, she still had things to do. But what he could do was get to her before the Doctor... spoil her for him. That would be fun.
The great irony of all this was that both of them were essentially using the other; neither of them was really doing this for the pleasure of the act. For Mels, trying to get into Sander's pants was more of a test than anything else; for all she knew, the mysterious stranger who had come rolling into town could very well be an agent of the Silence. Retrieval units weren't uncommon, among the ranks of the cult, and given that Mels herself was essentially a free agent out of their control, she lived in constant fear of being caught and wrestled back under control. Hell, Sander had watched her observing the town with extreme, almost neurotic care.
In many ways, Leadworth was ideal for someone like Mels; the entire town was essentially a closed circle. It was small and relatively stable, and if one took care it was relatively easy to memorize the faces of the regular inhabitants. The youth of her latest regeneration had allowed Mels to blend in and insinuate herself into the fabric of Leadworth society, and once involved to the degree she had become it would have been no great difficulty for her to identify every new person to enter the limits of the town.
And as she had gotten older, this had been the test she had chosen to employ. After all, an agent of the Silence would never go so far as to defile their prized weapon...
Lucky for Sander, he had no such issues.
'D'you often get the young girls, Sander?' Mels pressed in, pinning him to the wall with both hands as she spoke between long, deep kisses. She was really laying it on thick... 'Is this your usual?'
Every word she said only enforced the throbbing desire for violence in his head, the desire to take control. To make it hurt...
'No, actually, this isn't the way I'd usually do things,' He said, vaguely short of breath. 'But this is.'
Mels had led Sander to her home, lied to him about her- nonexistent, he knew- parents being out, and dragged him up to her room to conduct her little test of allegiances. He had been content to let her pin him to the wall and do her thing, safe in the knowledge that after today River Song would never be able to look him in the eye, if they ever met properly. But her brashness in all this had made him realize that her rules were really the last ones he should be wanting to play by; it wasn't every day one was afforded such a unique opportunity, after all. He really could show her how Sander Hackett conducts his affairs, after all...
Which was why he pushed her away, her surprise at the sudden movement putting her off balance enough for him to keep shoving until she hit the opposite wall, to be held there in a reverse of their previous position. They had only just avoided clipping the bed as they moved.
Mels' eyes widened, and for a moment she stood stunned. Sander got the feeling that she wasn't used to encountering any kind of fight from her suitors; she was the kind of girl who knew what she wanted, and how to take it while leaving a grin on a young person's face. That was all fine and dandy... but it wasn't what Sander really wanted to see the Doctor's wife doing.
She regained her senses quickly, as one might expect from a lifetime soldier and assassin, and attempted to throw him off. Sander's grip held tight, making the young woman frown. Although she was definitely playing all of this off as a game, like she was trying to dislodge him solely so she herself could get back on top in a classic bedroom tussle scenario, Sander could tell her frustration was real. The girl had Time Lord strength; if she really wanted to, she could probably drop kick him through the wall... but she had to hold off here. To her, he was just a normal, contemporary guy, and the alien strength she could employ would draw far too much attention. If her human strength couldn't accomplish it, then it was impossible to her, so long as she was in his presence.
She was trapped...
'Yeah...' He growled, kissing her for the first time. It was a fiery thing, damn near to venomous in the clashing feelings Sander put into it; anger and hate and lust and sympathy blurring together into an aimless mass in his head. He couldn't single out any one emotion as his primary feeling, nor did he particularly want to; he was here, this was what he was doing, and... 'This is definitely more my style...'
'S-somebody's confident...' Mels seemed more shaken now, and this was clearly out of her comfort zone. Nonetheless, she moaned as Sander practically attacked her, fingers digging into her hips as his teeth sunk into her neck, trailing a series of nips and bites down the curving neckline of her shirt, 'I'm not sure how I feel about that.'
'Just you try and stop me,' He said quietly, never removing his mouth from her skin. 'Now, are you going to take these things off, or am I going to have to ruin your clothes doing that with my teeth?'
Keep it looking normal, that was the important part. She couldn't know that he had a personal agenda in this, because there was only one connection she could draw from any kind of familiarity or implication of a history. If he had to play the passionate, dominant man... then fine, that's what it took. At least this was a role he knew how to play.
'Oh, I'll take it off, thanks. Bit too nice a top to get it covered in teeth marks, Sander,' She seemed short of breath, but hearing her say his name was just surreal enough to spur him onward. He drew himself up to his full height, slamming his palms down flat onto the wall at either side of Mels' head. He looked down at her, eyes sparkling with a conflicted mix of desire and madness.
'Then do it,' He said shortly. She tried to move, to gesture him aside to gain a little more space to do what needed to be done, but Sander simply wouldn't move. He was rooted to the spot by something far more powerful than anything else; not Mels' enhanced strength, not the need to avoid paradoxes... nothing. It was wound around his past like piano wire, choking off his cogent thoughts and leaving just one desire: make her submit.
With nowhere to go, Mels settled for looking Sander full in the eye, eyebrow raised in a vague returning challenge. She lifted her shirt over her head, arms squeezing in at an uncomfortable angle to avoid touching Sander's arms on the way up. Though he wasn't surprised, Sander found it pleasant that she hadn't been wearing a bra.
Resolutely, Sander kept his gaze on her eyes, not venturing down to see the bared flesh below him, enticing as it was. Only the lack of straps on her shoulders tipped him off to her nudity. But he wouldn't give her the satisfaction of getting to him, not yet. This was maintaining control, and he kept it up even as she stepped forward, and the warm, soft pressure of her breasts brushed against his chest.
'Pants too,' He lilted, craning her neck away from her as she tried to kiss him again. 'I want you naked.'
Mels blinked, and Sander gave her hair- hanging loose around her shoulders- a light tug, to prompt her to move. Flying in the face of everything he knew about her, Mels blushed and stepped away from him, as far as she could go trapped between his body and the wall. His eyes never left hers, as she wriggled out of her jeans without another word. It wasn't like her, but then again, when had any iteration of Melody Pond been in a position of anything less than complete sexual power?
Perhaps this was uncharted ground for her, too...
'Don't tell me you're still wearing underwear...' He said softly, feeling that old power begin to return to him. For the past few days, ever since being dropped here, his life had been nearly entirely out of his control, put on hold while he started to figure out this new world. He had found some modicum of his old self with Amy, but even then he had been... influenced from outside. But this, right here and right now, was all his own doing, and the feeling was just as intoxicating as he remembered.