Fandom: Doctor Who
Characters: The Tenth Doctor/Donna, the TARDIS
Length: 13,000 words, six chapters. Completed.
Warnings: Torture, attempted sexual assault, adult language
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the BBC, not to me.
She couldn’t run. All she could do was stand and fight. Fortunately, fighting was something she’d always been good at.
She wasn’t anywhere near as strong as he was, and she wasn’t sure that the Time Lord body shared the same weak points as the human body. But she did know one way to stop him.
As the Stranger moved toward her, she groped behind her on the desk, picked up the nearly empty whisky bottle, and slammed it against his head, so hard that it shattered.
He collapsed in a boneless heap–probably wouldn’t have fallen so hard if he wasn’t pissed as a newt, she thought–and she instantly dropped to her knees beside him, feeling for his heartbeats.
“Oh, Doctor,” she whispered, blinking at the tears–stupid, stupid tears–that burned in her eyes. She hadn’t wanted to hurt him, but she’d had no choice. “I’m sorry. So sorry.”
She blew out a relieved breath as she found that beneath her hand, his hearts beat strong and steady. He’d told her more than once that his head was harder than a human’s, and she’d seen him recover without problems from similar blows on three different planets, but she was nevertheless immensely relieved. She saw blood trickling from a cut on his temple, but it wasn’t a particularly bad wound. She was fairly certain he’d be all right, once he awakened.
In the meantime, she had a Stranger to tie up.
When his eyes flickered open, she was seated beside him on the carpet. He looked up into her eyes, blinking as if to clear his head, and then twitched his limbs, discovering that she’d tied his hands and legs tightly, with the thickest rope she could find. He offered her a hesitant smile.
“Donna? You all right?”
“Doctor,” she whispered, and more tears threatened. Stupid, she chided herself, stop crying. She patted his cheek with awkward affection, grateful that he sounded entirely like himself, and perfectly sober besides. Clearly his superior metabolism had taken care of the alcohol. “I’m fine,” she said gently. “You?”
He considered that for a moment. “Okay. Got a headache, though.”
She wondered if it was a hangover, or a concussion. Might be both. “Where’s the other bloke?”
“Hasn’t waked up yet. All that whisky. He hasn’t the head for it.” He smiled wryly, and then shifted a bit on the carpet, as if trying to free himself. “Donna, untie me. I need to get to the med bay.”
She moved her hands toward the ropes, but then hesitated. “I can’t, Doctor. If he wakes up while you’re untied–"
“Donna,” he said, impatience threading through his voice, “I have to get to the med bay. I’m sorry, but this isn’t something you can do for me. I have to synthesize something to get rid of him permanently, and I need to do it right now, before he wakes up. Let me go.”
She hesitated a moment longer, then reached toward him, and a glint of satisfaction flashed through his eyes, almost too quickly to be seen. But she spotted it, because she’d been watching for it.
Those eyes. The Doctor hadn’t ever been able to hide anything from her. And the other bloke couldn’t, either.
“I’m not stupid, y’know,” she said, very softly, moving back from him.
He gave her a wide-eyed look of innocence. “Never thought you were, Donna. Always said you were brilliant. Now let’s not waste any more time, yeah? Let me go.”
“I would,” she said, carefully not raising her voice, “if you were the Doctor. But you’re not.”
“Of course I am.” Anger flashed into his eyes. “Let me go, damn it.”
“The Doctor wouldn’t be angry that I was being cautious,” she pointed out. “He’d want me to be careful.”
“You stupid cow.” His lips drew back in a snarl, all pretense gone. “If you don’t let me go right now, you’ll regret it.”
“Don’t think so,” she said, settling back onto the carpet beside him. “I think I’d regret it a lot more if I were to let you go. Right now I’ve got you where you can’t harm anyone. That’s a step in the right direction, I figure. Now I just have to figure out how to get you out of the Doctor’s body.”
“You can’t. It’s my body now.” He uttered an ugly sound, a noise as feral and dangerous as a wolf’s growl. “And you’re wrong. I can harm someone. I can harm your precious Doctor, so much more than you can possibly imagine.”
She scowled down at him. “You can’t. You’re bluffing, Psycho-Boy.”
“You have no idea what I put the little fools on that wretched planet through,” he said, his voice dripping with contempt. “They worshipped me. They tried so, so hard to placate me. But every so often, I got bored, and then I would take one of them and rip its mind apart, piece by piece. You can’t imagine how they screamed.”
The dark, disturbing edge of lust in his voice creeped her out, making the little hairs on her neck stand on end. “You can’t do that to the Doctor,” she pointed out, trying to keep her voice from shaking. “His mind is your mind.”
“Well, not exactly. I’m in his brain, yes, but his mind–that’s been placed into its own compartment. Binned, you might say. I’m keeping it in a nice little wastebin at the back of my brain, so to speak, and I can take him apart if I want to. He's only so much rubbish, and I can do whatever I want with him. I simply haven’t bothered. Yet.”
Her heart started to pound heavily, but she forced herself not to show a reaction. “You can’t hurt him without hurting yourself,” she said, hoping against hope it was true.
He laughed, a short, cold sound that iced her blood.
“Want to bet?”
Stop it stop it stop it stop it oh please stop–
The little man was already howling in agony, and It had barely got started. Delightful, It thought as the man writhed and struggled and tried to get away from It. It had taken such joy in feeding the appetites of Its new body that It had almost forgotten that there were joys to be had in the noncorporeal state, too.
This had long been one of Its greatest pleasures, the only appetite It could satisfy in Its disembodied state. In Its new physical form, unfortunately, It could no longer reach out with Its mind and torment other living beings freely.
But the little man was trapped, caught like a fly in amber, and It could torment him for all eternity, if It wanted.
The Time Lord was trying desperately to run, to hide, but there was nowhere he could take refuge. All his pride, all his stubbornness, all his avowed determination to keep on fighting, had faded away in the face of Its vicious attack, and now he only wanted to escape. He fluttered like a pinned butterfly, frantic but helpless, as It ripped into his mind, unwinding his thoughts and twisting them into new configurations.
Oh please please please don’t please please stop–
It had hardly begun, and already he was begging for mercy. Wonderful. There was such a glorious complexity in the Time Lord’s mind, so many ways It could twist and turn and yank his thoughts, unravelling him thread by thread, causing the little man untold agony. It had practised for centuries on simpler minds, destroying them in countless ways, but this–this was so much more fun.
It twisted a strand of thought, and the Time Lord wailed in pain.
It laughed joyously, and did it again.
Donna could feel the TARDIS’ growing distress in the back of her mind. It couldn’t tell her the problem in words, but she was able to grasp that the ship was very, very upset. She had the awful, sinking feeling that the Stranger was telling the truth, and that the Doctor was in very real danger.
“I am not letting you go,” she told him, trying to sound as if she really meant it. She couldn’t let him go. She simply couldn’t. It wasn’t just her own fate to think of, but the fate of the whole universe. One temp from Chiswick didn’t matter, in the grand scheme of things, but what damage could this angry, evil creature do if he had control of a Time Lord's body and a time machine?
The Doctor wouldn’t want her to let him go. No matter what, he wouldn’t want that. She was certain of it.
“You don’t believe me,” he said, looking disappointed, as if she’d hurt his feelings. "You don't believe I can hurt him."
“I have no reason to believe you,” she lied. There was no need for him to know that the TARDIS was trying to communicate with her. The less he knew, the better.
He smiled a rather nasty smile.
“Maybe if you heard it from the Doctor himself…”
She swallowed, hardly daring to hope he was serious. If he put the Doctor back in control of his body, even for a moment–
Well, the Doctor was a fighter. All he needed was a chance.
“Fine,” she said, trying not to sound too hopeful. “Let me talk to him, then.”
He laughed softly, as if he knew exactly what she was thinking. “Don’t imagine he’ll be able to find a way out,” he warned her. “He’s already crushed. He has no willpower left.”
You don’t know the Doctor, she thought, except he probably did, considering that he was in the Doctor’s brain. But she hoped like hell he was wrong.
“Let me talk to him,” she repeated.
“Very well.” He looked away from her, and his eyes went unfocused.
And then he began to sob.
Horror slashed through her at the sound. She’d never heard the Doctor make a noise like that. She'd never imagined that he could make a noise like that. It sounded like the whimpering of a lost, frightened, and mortally wounded animal. She’d only heard a sound like that once in her life, from a dog hit by a car and crying its life out in a ditch.
The sobs rose in pitch and volume, to a wail of unbearable agony, and the tears she’d been fighting burned her eyes.
“Doctor,” she whispered, reaching out to stroke his forehead. She felt the tears run down her cheeks, and didn’t bother to brush them away.
At her touch, the wail cut off. His face twisted in pain, and his breath came in ragged bursts, as if he were forcing himself to speak despite the agony. “Don’t–“ he gasped. “Don’t–don’t–you can’t–”
“I won’t let him go,” she promised, resting her hand on his cheek. “I won’t. I swear.”
“Hurts.” He spoke through his teeth, as if the words were being dragged out of him against his will. “Hurts, Donna, hurts so much, so much, I can’t make it stop, oh please make it stop–”
“I’m sorry,” she whispered, hating her inability to protect him, and despising the Stranger more with every passing moment.
“I can’t stand it, I can’t, I just can’t–"
The words faded into a long keening sound that made more tears run down her cheeks, barely noticed. “Shhh,” she soothed, stroking his cheekbone. “Shhh, Doctor.”
“Help me, Donna,” he whispered, and then the terrible rasping of his breath faded, and there was someone different looking through the dark eyes at her. She yanked her hand away in a sudden surge of angry disgust.
“So,” the Stranger said, smiling a little. The smile made her stomach twist. He was hurting another man, hurting him so horribly, and he was smiling about it. She couldn’t imagine anything more evil. “Will you let me go?”
“I can’t.” She meant it to sound firm, but it came out as a shaky whisper. He smiled more broadly, as if the battle was already won.
“I can keep him in pain like that forever,” he said. “Neverending, terrible pain. The little savages on my planet died after a few hours of that, but he’s already disembodied. He can’t get away from me unless I unravel him entirely, and I don’t have to do that. I don’t ever have to let him go. Think of that, Donna. Years and years of pain, unremitting, unending...”
She’d never been much of a churchgoer, but it sounded like Hell to her. An awful image crossed her mind-- the Doctor, screaming in pain, burning in Hellfire for all eternity–
She remembered the Doctor's voice, begging her to help him, begging her to make the pain stop. Her throat closed up, and she barely held back a sob.
“You don’t want him to suffer like that,” he said. “You can’t let him suffer like that. I know you, Donna, just like he knows you. And I know you won’t let him be hurt so terribly.”
He offered her a dreadful parody of the Doctor’s bright, cheerful smile.
“Now let me go.”