"Merry Christmas," the Doctor said as he woke
Isabelle by stroking her cheek as he laid beside her in her bed. She hummed a
sigh and grinned. Then, opened her eyes. His blue gaze was the first thing she
"Merry Christmas," she uttered softly as she intertwined her legs with his under the covers. "What time is it?"
"There is no time on the TARDIS. But it's Christmas morning on Earth!" he expressed jubilantly propping himself up on his elbow.
"Okay, then, what time would it be on Earth," she rephrased rolling onto her back.
"Midnight," he answered.
"Midnight? So it literally just turned to Christmas Day. Have you been waiting all night to wake me and say that?" she questioned.
"Mmhmm," he hummed with a toothless grin. "I have a surprise for you," he added.
"Oh?" she said as she rubbed the sleep out of her eyes.
The Doctor leaned over her and said, "Yes. But you need to get up and get dressed."
"Bugger. I thought you were going to say I could lay in bed all day," she muttered resting her arms above her head on the pillow.
"I could but where is the fun in that for me?" he asked jovially. He pinned her arms and placed a deep kiss upon her lips. Then, he leaned back but not before giving her a peck on the forehead. "Come on. I have the whole day planned," he said and removed himself from the bed.
Isabelle pouted as she watched him walk over to the chair where his clothes lay. He was shirtless with green and blue plaid pajama bottoms on. She sighed heavily then sat up in the bed turning away from him facing the other direction. They were still modest in front of one another despite their closeness and sleeping arrangements. She wore a t-shirt nightgown, nothing intimate. Donning on her dressing gown, she moved towards her wardrobe and opened the door.
"What should I wear?" she asked.
"Doesn't matter. Not where we're going anyway," he replied. She chanced a glance around and saw him put on a maroon jumper catching a glimpse of his taut stomach.
Isabelle continued to gaze at him and was slightly sad to see him dressed. He sat in the chair lacing up his boots when she moved around the bed towards him. He had just finished tying his shoes when she stood beside him. He sat back in the chair and she lowered herself onto his lap.
"Do we really have to go anywhere today?" she griped as she wrapped her arms around his neck.
"Yes, because it's your Christmas present," he told her encircling her waist with his arms. Her face brightened at his statement.
"Well, now I'm intrigued," she said. "I don't remember asking to go anywhere as a Christmas present."
He pecked her lips then said, "No, you didn't. That's why it's a surprise. Up with you. Breakfast will be ready by the time you're finished getting dressed." He let go of her waist putting his hands on the arms of the chair.
"Please don't make anything odd today," she pleaded as she stood up from his lap. "I still think my insides haven't returned to normal after that concoction you made last week."
"That was an ancient Gallifreyan dish," he informed her resentfully as he stood from the chair.
"So you said. It was awful."
"So you said."
"Just cook something Earthly," she said and pecked him on his cheek. Then he took her into his arms.
"I promise, nothing strange," he said sweetly. She smiled and they kissed once more. "Go on, and don't be long." They relinquished their embrace. She went off to the bathroom and he went to the kitchen.
Approximately a half hour later, the aromas that emanated from the kitchen were all too familiar and comforting to Isabelle. The smell of cinnamon wafted through the air. When she walked into the kitchen, a small table was set up to the side that was not there before. He looked up from his cooking when he heard her enter. He brandished a huge smile then indicated for her to sit down.
Isabelle sat at the table and picked up the glass of orange juice to drink. The Doctor came over with two bowls of porridge and sat down across from her.
"See! Nothing strange," he said as he sprinkled a heaping tablespoon of sugar over his porridge.
"For this, when we get back, I'm making you dinner," she declared. "Anything you want! Maybe you can teach me how to make one of your favorite Gallifreyan dishes, especially if I'm going to be with you for the long term. I should know these things."
"Quite right," he said as he sliced half a banana on top of his porridge. He then took the other half and sliced it over hers. "Some dishes we won't be able to make since some of the ingredients can only be found on Gallifrey. Promise you'll keep making those sandwiched biscuits with the raspberry jam though?"
"Promise," she said with a grin.
"Fantastic!" he exclaimed.
After breakfast, they headed to the console room. The Doctor started typing in coordinates. Isabelle pressed buttons and turned knobs at the next station. They alternated stations until they both stood by the final lever. The Doctor placed his hand on it and Isabelle placed her hand on top of his. Together they pulled the lever down and sent the TARDIS into space.
"Now, I want you to stay in the TARDIS until I return. There are some dignitary protocols I must adhere to for this species of alien. If not, they can get pretty nasty," he said as he typed something into the system. "If I'm not back in a half hour, pull the lever. I've put in the coordinates for a safe location. An emergency beacon will omit that I need help from some neighboring friends. Do not attempt to get me. Am I clear?" he said sternly.
She took a step away from him. "If this is suppose to be my Christmas present, you can take it back. I won't have you put yourself in danger on my account. It's not worth it," she said with concern.
"It's only if things go horribly wrong, which has never happened when I have been here," he said optimistically.
"How many times have you been here?" she asked skeptically.
"Once," he said staring at the view screen.
"That's a confidence booster," she said sarcastically.
"Trust me," he said now gazing at her.
"I do," she said. "Most of the time it's them I don't trust."
"That's my girl!" he said as he walked over to the door. She followed.
They stood before the door. Eyes were locked on one another. Small smiles were exchanged. Gently, he placed his hand on the side of her face and thumbed her cheek.
Isabelle rested her hands on his sides gripping at his jumper under his black leather jacket. She tugged and pulled him closer. She tilted her head slowly to the side as he drew his head closer to hers. His nose gently touched her cheek before his lips did. The smell of cinnamon was still present around him. The sweet taste of banana lingered on his lips.
The Doctor sighed heavily as his mouth worked over hers. His fingertips glided across her cotton top as she felt his hand move to her side.
They were reluctant to part. Even when the kiss ended, they embraced one another. Their faces hidden from the other. Hers full of fear. His full of concern. Finally, she leaned back and gazed into his vivid blue eyes. Their previous expressions melted away.
A delicate smile graced his lips. She could see him concentrating on a thought.
"Isabelle, I love you, more than you think," he told her. It was the first time he had said he loved her. She face erupted into a huge grin.
"Doctor, I love you so very much," she replied.
They hugged one last time. Then, he took a step away from her, looking her deeply into her beautiful brown eyes, he said, "I'll be back before you know it. Half hour to be sure."
He then left the TARDIS.
Isabelle went over to the console. The time that shown on the screen was 01:58.
She paced around the console.
She chewed on her thumb nails.
Isabelle went to the door to listen, then came back to the monitor.
She fiddled with a glass orb, then put it back down.
The Doctor had yet to return. He said a half hour was all it would take.
Isabelle looked over at the lever. Her heart was pounding against her chest. She looked at the view screen. 02:30. She shook her head and went over to the door. Biting her bottom lip she grabbed onto the handle but only stood there. Her hand dropped from the handle. She rushed back to the lever and placed her hand on it. Again, she only stood there staring at the lever.
Finally, she ran to the door and thrust it open. When she stepped out, four grey long fingered hands grabbed her, something was pressed to her neck, and then everything went black. She didn't even have time to scream.
"Isabelle," the Doctor's voice said in the darkness. "Isabelle?"
Isabelle slowly opened her eyes. The brightness of the lights hanging over her were intense as she squinted against them. She tried to move but her body felt heavy. She moved her head but it felt like a boulder. The room slowly came into focus. It looked like a medical facility with its bare brushed metal walls and ceiling.
"Isabelle," she heard the Doctor's voice clearly from her right.
She glanced over to see the Doctor strapped down to a table with only minimal coverings. There was a wide strap across his chest and a slightly wider strap across his groin. Metal u-shaped rings held his wrists and ankles against the medical table he was on. The shock of what she saw made her look down at her own body seeing it in much the same fashion.
"Are you all right?" he asked with worry chiseled into his brow. She nodded.
"Are you okay?" she asked in return. He nodded as well. "Doctor, where are we?" she asked frantically. The fog in her head was lifting.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," he uttered with extreme trepidation. He indicated for her to look across the room.
Isabelle turned her head in the opposite direction. She gasped. There they stood, three of them. The beings she had longed to see. The Grays. Their long skinny bodies stood like stick figures. Their big black slanting eyes gazed out of large heads in their direction.
"They are awake," a low wispy voice uttered from one of them, although it did not move its mouth. The Grays walked out of the room.
Isabelle turned her head back towards the Doctor. "What do they want?" she asked him.
"I don't know. They didn't give me time to negotiate," he explained. "Isabelle, I'm sorry. Had I known, I never . . . ." His eyes glazed over and he looked up at the ceiling. His Adam's apple bobbed up and down as he swallowed hard.
"It's okay. It's not your fault. We'll figure a way to get out of this. We always do," she assured the Doctor.
"How?" he said angrily snapping his head back in her direction. "I don't have the faintest idea where the sonic is. I can't get out of these restraints. And who knows what they have done to us already."
"Our best line of defense right now is our negotiating tactics, yeah?" she suggested. "That's what we will do."
"What if they won't negotiate?" he asked heatedly.
"Did you try?" she asked in return rather than answer his question.
"I was grabbed as soon as I closed the door of the TARDIS," he said irritated. "Why didn't you leave? I told you to pull the lever to take you to safety."
Her face turned to stone. "I don't go anywhere without you," she whispered forcefully. Isabelle's bottom lip trembled. "I couldn't leave you behind." Tears shone in her eyes.
The door slid open and four Grays walked into the room. Two went over to the Doctor and two came to either side of Isabelle's table.
The Doctor watched them move about the room taking up instruments. Isabelle kept her eyes on the Doctor.
The Grays never said anything to them. One took an instrument and poked the Doctor's arm. He flinched. It looked over at the two with Isabelle, who did the same thing but she cried out in agony. Tears that had already formed in her eyes started to fall to the table but her gaze immediately returned to the Doctor as soon as they stopped prodding her.
"Stop it! You're hurting her!" the Doctor cried out. "What do you want with us? Can't we just talk about this first," he offered. Again, they poked his arm without saying anything to him. He had a similar reaction as before.
Again, they touched Isabelle's arm with the instrument. She screamed louder and tried to kick at her restraints trying to get away from it. Now, she was sobbing.
"Doctor," she managed to utter softly once the Grays had stopped using the instrument.
"Please, stop!" the Doctor pleaded. "She's not like me. She can't tolerate the pain."
The Grays looked at one another. One of them took a portable monitor and scanned the Doctor from head to toe. One of the Grays assigned to Isabelle took another scanner and did the same to her. They compared the findings. Then, they scanned them again. Slowly, the four Grays split up, two with Isabelle, two with the Doctor. A clear glass wall lowered in between the two of them.
"Doctor!" Isabelle shouted as she saw the wall coming down. "Doctor, what are they doing? Don't leave me!"
"Isabelle, I will get us out of this! Be strong!" the Doctor hollered back to her. "I love you!"
The wall then completely shut. He could see her mouth the words 'I love you too.' Then, the glass wall between them turned grey like all the other walls around them.
One of the Grays approached the Doctor. It tilted its head as if perplexed by him.
"What is this 'love' that you speak of? It does not translate into our language," it asked in its deep whispering voice.
"It's a feeling for another being. It comes from deep within you. It makes you be a better person because of them. It makes you want to do anything for them without being asked. It makes you put their needs above your own," the Doctor said solemnly.
"We do not have such feelings. We are only knowledge based beings. We only want information," it informed the Doctor.
"I know. I've been here before. I helped your lot once. I wasn't prodded then. Why do it now?" he said.
"We made a mistake last time. We failed to gain knowledge of your species. We will not fail this time," it answered the Doctor. "Your image is different this time."
"Yeah, well, yours will be different too if I ever get out of these restraints and I find you harmed her."
The other Gray was already at his side with another instrument touching his chest with it. This instrument did not cause him to wince or even be in any pain. It did send a radiating tingle through his nervous system.
Another set of tools was placed against the Time Lord's temples. His body undulated against the restraints. When the Gray took them away, the Doctor looked tired.
A strap came across his forehead holding his head down to the table. The one Gray that had been administering all the tests, pressed two needles on either side of the Doctor's head. A moment later the Doctor realized he couldn't blink nor move his eyes or any muscles in his face for that matter. Two metal supports were placed on either side of his head. Now the Doctor was perpetually looking at the ceiling which opened and a large mechanical arm descended. At the end of the arm was a series of needles. One was directly over the Doctor's left eye. All he could do was watch it descend. Then everything went black.
When he awoke, he was still in the examining chamber. The mechanical arm had been retracted back into the ceiling. The supports from his head were removed. The Doctor glanced around. One Gray remained in the room with him. He turned his head to see if the wall had been lifted but it still remained. He stared at it.
"What are you doing to her?" the Doctor asked groggily.
"The same," it said.
"She's not like me. She's human from Earth. I'm sure you know that by now with all the human information you have from previous visits to their planet," he said fiercely as he could in his stupefied state.
"We needed to know if you and she were similar," it replied in its deep breathy voice.
"Now you know what she is, leave her alone!" the Doctor cried.
"And what are you, Doctor?" the Gray asked.
"I am a Time Lord from Gallifrey," he answered tiredly. "From a planet which no longer exists so don't bother trying to find it to do more research. I'm the last of my kind."
"Then you shall live. We do not knowingly cause extinction," the Gray stated.
"Well, goodie for me," he said in a sneeringly breathy voice. "What about her? Are you going to let her go too?"
"We have discovered an abnormality," the Gray informed the Doctor.
"What's wrong with her?" he questioned with renewed dread.
"She is damaged. She will be destroyed," it said.
"She is of no use to Earth. She must be destroyed."
"Can't you fix her?"
The Gray looked up appearing to stare at the wall and did not answer right away. Then, after half a minute it looked back down at the Doctor.
"No," it answered.
"Let me guess, telepathic communication. You were asking your mates if it was possible for her to be repaired. I can do that too, you know," he acknowledged.
"We use a different telepathic wave length than you do," it answered. The Doctor chuckled.
"Of course, you do! My friend," he started to say but stopped. It seemed odd to call her just his friend when she meant so much more than that to him. "How long until you destroy her?"
Again, the Gray looked at the wall for a moment.
"One Earth hour," it answered.
"When are you going to release me?" the Doctor asked.
"Two Earth hours," it replied. The Gray turned from the Doctor and walked out the door.
On the other side of the wall between the two rooms Isabelle stood there. She was fully clothed. Her eyes stared at the wall in front of her. She could see within the Doctor's room.
"Doctor!" she shouted out and banged on the wall with her first. It did nothing. It was evident that he could not hear nor see her. "Doctor, don't believe them! It's a lie!"
Isabelle could hear the Doctor's grunts and groans as he strained to remove his restraints to get free.