Doctor Who: Panic Moon Rising Ch. 05byKurokami©
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.
Hi again, readers! Here's the new Rising: you know the deal, I love all your feedback, votes etc, so please keep sending them! I won't ramble on, with that out of the way: enjoy!
'So...' Amy found herself leaning forward conspiratorially, eyes drifting furtively to her all-too-open door, as it gaped open, leaving her and her new... whatever Sander was, vulnerable to eavesdropping. And that wasn't something that the redhead would put past her aunt, especially in a situation like this, when Amy had just bluffed a complete stranger into the house.
'You're thinking we'll be spied on,' Sander, on the other hand, leaned back, supporting his weight on the palm of one hand, seemingly very at ease in her room. Amy remembered the last time he had been here, and what had happened; a blush crept up her cheeks, as she recalled just how uninhibited and vulnerable she had been then. It had been...
Well, Amy couldn't really decide what she thought of that. There were undeniably attractive aspects; even leaving aside the fact that it had led her to Sander- who had his own set of developing positive traits- that strange lust was freeing, in a way that Leadworth rarely allowed her to be. This place was deathly, powerfully normal, and letting go like she had been able to in the past few days was immensely satisfying, just on its own terms.
But Amy could be rational too, and she knew how dangerous freeing herself from the expectations of her home could be, even for as short a time as those furtive, dizzying bouts of sex. She could forgive herself for going against the limited imaginations of those in Leadworth for a second time- after all, she had well and truly burned that bridge upon first speaking of the Doctor- but the way she had betrayed her own safety...
The fact was, both times she had allowed herself to be overcome by her baser urges, it had been with total strangers; first the brunette woman in the field, and then with Sander in her own home. Of course, she had had no way of knowing what either of them wanted, whether they were sane, or even where their dalliances would go, before she had them. That alone was a bad enough lapse in judgment, but then she had been so desperate as to open the door and let Sander into her bedroom on only their second meeting...
She regarded the man opposite her, trying to find... something, anything that she might have missed earlier, in the fugue of arousal, that would reveal who he really was. Whether or not he was telling the truth was still the biggest question in her mind; it felt like he was at least mostly being truthful, but then, he could just turn out to be a very good liar. Hell, he didn't even have to be that good; Amy knew she had a weakness for anyone who would accept her account of the Doctor, and Sander had more than accepted it, he had expanded on it. For all Amy knew, she was just being credulous in the face of such acceptance.
'Would your aunt do that?' He spoke again, and Amy realized she had been silently staring for just a little too long. The man smiled, and with the sun shining on his face and familiar scenery surrounding him, Amy couldn't help but find herself more at ease. This was a far cry from having him pressed against her in some damp alley, all powerful and threatening; here, he seemed almost normal, though this idea was somewhat undermined as he continued, 'Eavesdrop, I mean. I don't know much about her, she was... somewhat out of my time period.'
'I dunno, maybe,' Amy replied, before adding thoughtfully, 'Probably.'
'We'll need to find a workaround for her,' Sander frowned. 'I mean, we'll need to work pretty closely together... Not easy with someone like Sharon breathing down our necks.'
'She does do that,' Amy nodded. 'When she's here. Honestly, you don't need to be that concerned, she works a lot. But I've noticed you assume you're staying, too.'
'I do think I'm staying,' Sander nodded. 'Because you let me follow you home. Twice. And because I saw the look in your eyes when I confronted you on that. You know what's going on in your head isn't natural, and you figure I'm the only one who can help.'
'See, I really don't know that,' Amy countered, shooting him a challenging glance. 'All I know about you is that you're good at... well, one thing.'
'Yeah, but I said some stuff about the Doctor too, so you're at least gonna give me a chance,' Sander grinned, catching the path the conversation was taking solidly enough to shoot a cautious glance out the door to catch any possible interlopers.
'Alright, fine,' Amy relented, acknowledging the truth that he was, in fact, sitting on her bed. The fact was, she had trusted him this far, there was little point in arguing that now, 'Start at the beginning. Alien brain parasite?'
This caused him to shift, rocking forward on his haunches, pulling in as if in acknowledgement that this had become a serious discussion, all of a sudden. But there was a level of uncomfortable awkwardness to his features, a silent admission that what he had to say was less than entirely impressive. The simple fact was... he still didn't really know what was going on there.
And a shrug of the shoulders was not a convincing beginning to this conversation.
'Yeah...' He began, mind shifting through a multitude of possibilities and memories. He might not have had concrete facts on Amy's case specifically, but if he strained his imagination he could remember those few lazy biology lessons, all those years ago, that had covered psychoreactive biochemistry and its possible applications. Sander had learned just enough of the stuff to know how to apply it to artificial neuro-controllers and nerve connections between living pilots and the robots he had once designed for a living, but if he concentrated he was sure he could pick out a few choice tidbits about the organisms that had used such techniques themselves. He remembered being stunned at the sheer, dazzling cosmic genius of evolution, that it had produced such creatures, and he hoped that his half-remembered retellings would have the same effect on Amy; it was important that he at least sounded credible.
'I won't know for sure what we're dealing with until I can scrounge together some more data,' He continued, launching into what he hoped was an explanation just detailed enough to seem smart without leaving Amy behind. 'But you're playing host to what we generally call a mind worm, in layman's terms. That's why your behavior is... changing. The alien is directing you to seek out its chosen source of food.'
'Fucking?' Amy asked, incredulous. She blinked immediately after, apparently aware that she had said that just a little too loud, 'It feeds off of sex?'
'Orgasm, rather,' Sander felt relatively confident of that fact, at least. 'Specifically, yours. Or the chemicals your brain generates when you... well, cum. Or possibly just your orgasmic energy, it's hard to measure without the proper equipment.'
'Oh, and I'm willing to bet money this isn't the kind of thing that shows up on a CAT scan, hmm?' The redhead couldn't help but sound a little disbelieving. This all sounded awfully convenient for Sander.
'Not a twentieth century one, anyway,' The man sighed. 'This is what I'm finding hardest to grasp about all this myself. If we were just a thousand years later and a couple short FTL hops away, I could get you to a xenobiological ward on New Earth, or Crux, or any other Terran world and get you fixed up. Here... I don't know. This is something I'm going to have to experiment with.'
'If you try to probe me, I'll scream,' Amy said flatly, tapping her fingers lightly against one knee.
'I might argue that I've already done that,' Sander said with a grin, and Amy found herself giggling a little at that, too. He nodded to himself, glad to see her relaxing a little. He needed her to trust him, 'But mostly I mean watching. I need to know what you experience when... that happens, just to figure out what species we're dealing with.'
'There's more than one?'
'It's a big universe,' He shrugged. 'Most of them are catalogued, and I have a working knowledge of the most common ones. As much as anyone can, I guess. It's all a matter of isolating symptoms, right now.'
'I don't run a fever, if that's what you're asking,' Amy said. 'Any more than I normally would, when... well, I know you're not asking about that, anyway.'
'How often do you do that, anyway? I know there must have been a rise lately, but when did it start?' Sander leaned forward, and Amy could feel his eyes roll over her body. As per usual in the last few days, she felt her insides heat up a little.
'And here I thought you knew me,' Amy said, resorting to challenging him in an attempt to nip that growing problem in the bud.
'Shockingly, that never came up,' He rolled his eyes, before continuing, under his breath, 'Besides, when you and I were in the same room your usual was way higher, anyway...'
Amy seemed to have heard that, but not completely put together what he meant. The sheets crumpled beneath her as she shifted her weight restlessly, bringing her knees up to her chest and rocking on the curve of her backside, throwing her gaze around the room to find something, anything, that might make this situation just a little bit clearer. Of course, nothing was forthcoming; this was Leadworth, after all, and no matter how strange and exotic the world Sander claimed to come from was, right now he was stuck in the middle of normal, and it clearly dragged upon him. Leadworth exuded a complacent gravity, dragging down everything around it, and now even this supposed man from the stars had been caught in the well. Amy couldn't help the niggling doubts in her mind, at that.
'I still don't know about all this,' She murmured, just loud enough for Sander to hear. 'It's still all too convenient.'
'Don't make me do this, Amy,' Sander said flatly, brow furrowing.
'Don't make me get all inconvenient in service of proving myself to you,' He persisted. 'Because I'll do it.'
'I don't know how you could possibly prove that,' Amy said. 'For all I know, you've just been drugging me these past few days.'
'Oh, I can prove it,' Sander sighed. He didn't really want to have to pull a stunt like this, but he had little choice; he needed a showstopper, something to lock up Amy's ability to question him at all. He simply required her trust here; granted he might not be entirely worthy of that trust, from her especially, but at least in this case he had her best interests at heart. After all, the kind of life-form that would burrow into an unaware psyche and feed on it generally wasn't healthy for the host.
'Easy as this,' He continued, allowing himself to lean forward that last little ways to bring his outstretched hand into contact with Amy's thigh, just at the join between her legs. His knuckles brushed her groin, and even he could feel the change, like a switch flipping between the two of them. Amy shuddered at even this light contact, her cheeks blushing in an instant, blood flushing warmly across her skin. Her expression became addled, eyes locked onto him with a hungry, desperate look.
Things were silent for a moment, before Amy whined in a subdued, almost sad manner.
'Why would you do that to me?' She whimpered, squeezing her legs together. Her hands clenched in the sheets, breathing deep and shuddering enough to make even her small bust heave in her shirt, something that attracted Sander's eyes; his body, as with hers, had become enslaved by the animal instinct that his touch had brought on.
'Because I'm bad at forward planning, and you needed to believe me,' Sander's voice had become hoarse very quickly. Of course, this was the moment that Sharon decided to remind them that she was still present in the house, heavy footfalls reaching the bottom of the stairs before she called up, offering the pair a cup of tea. The hospitality was a new concept to Sander, but he could only nod in addled approval as Amy controlled her voice enough to call back, politely refusing, then waiting until the landing was silent again.
'I... believe you,' Amy shivered, having to consciously restrain herself from leaping at Sander. 'Now what do we do about it?'
There had been an eagerness in her voice that made Sander sure that she was hoping that the eventual plan they developed would include sex. And there was a raging, animal voice in his head that very much agreed with her, on that score. In fact, that very same voice wanted nothing more than to just push her down where she sat and...
But no, that wouldn't be prudent. Not with Sharon just downstairs, no doubt watchful for anything untoward going on between her charge and the stranger in her home. But the throbbing fire would not be denied; they were both marching to the drum beat of evolution now, guided along the path of their organic desires by a third, their alien conductor. There was no escaping from this, not now. He wanted her, deep in his bones.
Sander Hackett. The man with the plan. He had a need for one now, but... this would require one hell of a mundane plan, when compared to the others.
'Yes, I did not think this one all the way through,' Sander tried to keep his voice steady, unwilling to cede completely to the lack of control just yet. His mind worked, trying to find an elegant way out of this petty, domestic little situation, before some self aware part of him found it a tad sad that he had used words like "petty" to describe his present; looking for a way to have sex with a young Scottish beauty at the behest of an alien parasite without being discovered was petty? What was wrong with his life?
He had only a limited knowledge of the layout of the Pond home, but...
'You've got a bathroom upstairs, right?' He asked, keeping his voice low. 'With a shower?'
'Yes, how did you-?' Amy caught herself. 'Time travel, right?'
'Time travel,' Sander nodded somberly. 'Wait for me to leave. Go there. Turn on the water, high as you can, and prepare to be quiet.'
'Y-you're leaving?' The girl sounded positively bereft. 'But I thought-'
'Not for long,' He shook his head. 'Open the window too. You still have that wood lattice against the wall there, Sharon hasn't had it torn down yet. Very handy for sneaking in after dark, if I recall.'
With that, he gave her a knowing little look, and made his way to the door. Even though he had said he was coming back, Amy couldn't help the desire to stop him leaving, and not just for the immediate, physical reasons; time travelers leaving her alone and promising to be back soon... that never worked out for her. She was struck with a deathly fear that she would be facing another decade-long five minute wait.
Could she trust him that much? Like she did the Doctor? Again?
Well... Let this be his test. Though she had a highly entertaining mental image of simply waiting here and making him come find her once he scaled the wall, she felt that he had volunteered enough information for her to trust him at least that far. She stood, feeling unstable on her feet as she went; perhaps this time, Leadworth's only oddity would return to her.
Sander had already mentally prepared himself for the idea that he would be facing Sharon before he left the house. She would be on him before he even got to the door; that was just the sort of person she was. It wasn't necessarily a bad thing; she was only looking after her niece, but he could definitely see her need to interrogate him cramping his style, especially if he needed to keep returning, day by day.
Amy needed daily observation if he was going to be able to formulate a list of symptoms to fight back against this thing that had infected her. How was he going to pull this off?
The problem was that he absolutely wasn't used to functioning in any society, let alone an old Earth one. Sixteen years of essentially working off the grid, able to simply take anything he wanted and hang the consequences, had given him a desire for immediacy and efficiency that he just couldn't bow to anymore. His very presence was an anomaly here, he couldn't even make enough of an impression on Leadworth to inspire the rumor mill for any extended period of time; by the time the Doctor came back, he needed to be gone from the public record.
Not to mention, there were actual police here. Maybe only one or two, but... An unregistered stranger with no paperwork attaching himself to an already at risk teenager? Bad look.
At the bottom of the stairs the door was so tantalizingly close, and the possibility of sneaking out before Sharon noticed he was present was hard to deny. But he did, scanning the rooms beyond for her as he stopped in the hall; it was best to present himself as polite and... well, normal. At the very least, better this than as sneaky. Perhaps, if he was very lucky, he might even seem normal in doing so.
'Uh, hi,' He said, making sure to smile. She was sitting across the kitchen table with a mug in her hand, very studiously not in a position to be eavesdropping on himself and Amy. In that moment, Sander realized that this was the first time he had had a real exchange with a person he didn't know intimately in years, 'Sorry for just coming in unannounced. I'll be getting out of your hair now.'
Was that right? Did that sound normal?
'Shall I be seeing you in town, Mr. Hackett?' She replied, and Sander could practically feel the unspoken question:"or are you skipping town?"
'Yes. I know I'm new and all, but I'll be staying for a while,' He said, possibly leaving more unspoken in that one sentence than he had at any other time in his entire life. It struck him then that if any fragment of his past came to light here, he would find himself in a highly precarious situation.
Sharon eyed him with not undue suspicion. Sander had no doubt that he would be in a world of trouble if she ever found out what he had done with her niece so far, let alone what he would probably be doing with her in future. His one advantage here was that he didn't look thirty-six; extensive genetic manipulation, not to mention the biomechanical repairs done to his arm, leg and eye, had left him with a body in its mid twenties. Sander had no doubt that looking his age while hanging out with the eighteen year old Amy would have been looked immensely suspicious. At least he didn't look too odd, doing that as he was.
The problem was, Sander had never been anything but odd before...
'Your niece is a nice one,' He offered, if just to break the silence. Part of him winced to mention Amy; even leaving aside his throbbing, enforced lust for the redhead, bringing the conversation back to her probably wasn't a good idea, 'She was very helpful. Anyway, I've taken up enough of your time. See you around.'
He excused himself with the politest nod he could produce, before Sharon picked up the thread of the conversation again. Avoiding her just seemed natural; Sander could hardly muster the energy to care about her, even in the slightest. Leadworth was such an impermanent thing to him, condemned to erode and crumble in the winds of history, making Amy, Rory and Mels simply ghosts in time, images, potentials of the people he would come to know. What would be the point of becoming invested?
He was as much a phantom to them as they were to him. Twenty-first century history had no place in it for the name Sander Hackett.