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Feeling a bit off

This happens to me every now and then (actually, more often than not.)

I love words.  I love the narrative flow of a well written story, the magic of a description that makes me see something from the author's point of view, a new idea made real  to me, a character whose life I can live--for a while.  I love nonfiction, especially the kind that lifts me into new and strange worlds and ideas, challenges and delights and scares me.  Good writing is the closest thing to real mindreading humanity has (source of my slightly goofy obsession with same, perhaps?)   I have the personality type that is seriously prone to addiction, and the (perhaps) good fortune to have discovered that propensity early enough, via lip balm and books at age 8, and so was able to studiously avoid the other traditional addictive substances.

Fortunately for me, I suppose, I process alcohol weirdly and go straight to hangover (not much chance for addiction there) and gambling is really really boring if you have a solid grasp of probability theory.  Either that, or I just haven't become addicted to anything else because there's just not enough narrative content.

For a few weeks, I will write like crazy, often neglecting other responsibilities, until suddenly I decide I shouldn't.  I must not write anymore.  Ever again.  Because I'm not any good at it.  Because what I am writing is not of sufficient value even if I were good at it.  Because I am addicted to the production and consumption of narrative to the point that I cannot be trusted.  Because if I cannot earn money by writing, then it is not valuable.   Because everything I write is a window into my presumably diseased soul and says something terrible about me.  (Yeah, my tame fluffy adventure stuff mea

And I decide I must stop writing, and reading, and watching TV, and using the internet, (except as required so that my family does not notice--because they must never ever notice self-denial) and doing anything that is not directly related to work or taking care of my family.

I am very close to that point right now.  The guilt fairy has touched me with her poisoned wand and I see Mary Sues everywhere, I cringe at every typo, I squirm at the slightest setback.  I am, at this very moment, actually physically nauseous.  I wonder if anyone else feels that way, ever.

I am the first to admit that I am a nutbar who needs therapy if I could afford it, but right now I am just going to vent.

So anyway, my apologies to those people who have friended me in hopes of seeing Who fanfic and were subjected to whining instead.


More Words

With the Completion and posting of Chapter 4 of The Planet on its Side and Chapter 2 of Shawn Spencer Saves the World I'm up to 38,588 words.  It's 1 a.m. and I just realized I've not yet posted The Planet on its side 3 and 4 to livejournal.  Tomorrow I promise.

That's not so many words before I have to write an own universe piece.


The First Million Words

I remember a quote from an author I admire (but whose name I have forgotten or confounded with several others, so a citation would be appreciated), that when one is learning to write well, the first million words are practice.  Now I'm actually guessing that I may well have written a million words already, but not seriously and not with the intention of polishing them enough for anyone to see.

So I'm starting over and keeping track.  Only stories that gets posted somewhere, preferably after a good beta, and finished essays (not little notes like this), will count.

The count at present, since I started letting myself write again, is 33,906 words, all Doctor Who fanfiction, but as I get better at writing stories that have a beginning, middle, and end, I'll start branching out a bit into my own universes, where I don't have the luxury of a whole suite of tropes laid out for me.

Will update, mostly for myself, as I write more stuff.


The Planet on its Side, Chapter 2

Title:  The Planet on its Side
Author:  Prairie Dawn
Characters:  Ten, Alex (OC) buncha guest OCs
Time Period:  For Ten, after Voyage of the Damned, for Alex, after The Elephant in the Room
Rating:  K+
Disclaimer:  Doctor Who and the universe he inhabits, not mine.  Alex and Tempest, mine.
Genre/Warnings:  After School Special, Person versus Nature, gratuitous pie, preteen angst.  National Weather Service recommends this story be read in a basement.

Previous chapter at a Teaspoon and an Open Mind:   http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=35891&chapter=1

Down the stairs unless you want to learn to fly...Collapse )

The Planet on its Side

Title: The Planet on its Side
Author: Prairie Dawn
Characters: Ten, Alex Caron, a buncha other people
Timeline: After Voyage of the Damned (DW), after The Elephant in the Room (Alex series)
Summary: Another installment of the Doctor Who as written by Judy Blume thing, in which Alex and the Doctor go on a field trip to a planet with an 80 degree axial tilt and extreme seasons.
Rating: K+
Disclaimers: Doctor Who belongs to the BBC, Alex is mine.
Warnings: Gratuitous scenery, gratuitous climate technobabble, homeschooling

"You owe me a weird planet."Collapse )

Catching Donna

Title: Catching Donna
Author: Prairie Dawn
Characters/Timeline: Donna, Martha, an unspecified future Doctor who might or might not be Eleven.
Rating: K+
Summary: At the end of her life, Donna needs her Doctor.
Disclaimer: Doctor Who isn't mine, and this has been posted on Teaspoon for a while...I realized I was forgetting to post stories here.

"Hello, Martha, it's been forever!" The Doctor turned around to lean against the Tardis console, legs casually crossed. "How have you been?"

There was an uncomfortably long silence on the other end of the line. "Donna needs you."

The Doctor leapt up to pace the control room. "I can't see Donna. You know that. It will kill her."

"Donna's dying. Lymphoma. She has...days at most." He froze, his nervous energy evaporating. His legs wanted to dump him to the floor. He fumbled for a seat. It shouldn't bother him so much, to know she was, at whatever point in time Martha was calling, about to die. He had visited times during the span of her life, times before she was born, times after she would surely have been gone. Routinely.

Martha pressed on in the face of his silence. "Doctor, she knows she's missing months of her life. She's been told that she had an extraordinary experience, but was injured, and lost her memory. She knows the memory can be restored, and she knows that the knowledge will kill her. She wants to go ahead."

"No, Martha, don't." He trailed off. He had no good reason, except his own desire not to open old wounds.

"Doctor, she had an amazing life. Extraordinary. You should know the person she became. And when she remembers, you should be here for her. You owe her that."

"I don't know."

Martha continued. "We'll wait as long as we can. We have some support for her, and I will be here with her for as long as she holds out. It's a done deal. August third, 2029. Braden Road hospice, outside London. It will happen whether you're here or not."

"I'll try."

"She said...all she wanted was to die someplace beautiful. With mountains, and snow."

"I said I'll try." His voice came out unintentionally harsh.

The connection broke. They shouldn't have said anything to her, but he supposed she had asked, and they'd had to come up with something. There had never really been any question as to whether he would come. The universe owed her its life. One visit surely wasn't too much to ask. He dialed in the coordinates, confident for once that the Tardis would take him exactly where and when he intended to go.

He arrived just outside the building, in the stifling heat of an August afternoon. He crunched across the sun burned grass to the door of an aging, but cared for building that utterly failed not to look like a nursing home. He didn't visit the mid twenty-first century often. It struck him as crowded and shabby, a century of making do and holding on for better times.

The woman at the front desk was wearing a bright, summery dress that aggressively denied being scrubs. "Hello, would you mind signing in? Your name and who you're here to see."

The Doctor signed a name, John Smith, into the register. Now was not the time to risk being tossed out for being coy. Donna Temple-Noble, he wrote on the register.

"A Doctor John Smith?" The woman who was pretending not to be a nurse said. "She's in the sunroom, with some friends. You're expected." At his pause, she pointed the way to the sunroom.

He couldn't help but feel that his steps measured the remaining minutes of her life, and the thought tempted him to dawdle. Martha met him in the hallway. "Doctor?"

"It's still me. New face, that's all." Not quite all, but now was not the time for lengthy explananations.

Martha gestured to him to follow her. "She was resetting several times a year, every time something reminded her of you. Fortunately, we've had help from the Herald Foundation to stabilize the block."

"Herald Foundation," he repeated, numbly. "Doctor Sullivan? Is she here?"

"Back in the States. She just had a baby girl. Scout Thea." Martha made a face he interpreted as disapproval, presumably of the baby's name. She had aged, but not in a bad way. The years had added character to her expression. Weight. She looked like someone accustomed to be taken seriously. "Do you know what Donna did with all that money she won? Went to grad school. Got an MBA. She spent her life traveling the world solving thorny problems for corporations and governments. Super Temp, she calls herself."

He followed Martha to where Donna reclined in a wheelchair. Her mane of red hair was gone, replaced by a few gray wisps and a coral colored headwrap. She had wasted, grown small and prematurely old. He knelt beside her. "Donna. I'm the Doctor."

"My meds are fine," she said, her voice small but lucid.

He pressed on. "I'd like to take you someplace. With mountains and snow, like you wanted."

She shook her head. "It's too late for that. I have something I need to remember, then I'll be going." She paused to breathe, her chest sucking inward with the effort.

He nodded to Martha. "I'm parked out front. It's not far."

Martha pushed Donna's chair down the hallway, past the front desk, not even waiting to be challenged by the gatekeeper in the pretty dress. The Doctor ran ahead to open the doors of the Tardis wide enough to accomodate the chair.

Martha bent down to whisper something in Donna's ear. She smiled and covered her eyes with her pale hands. An IV tube dangled from one wrist like a pale snake. "I love surprises," he heard her say as she wheeled her into the Tardis.

"Just one more moment," the Doctor told her, while he programmed in new coordinates and started the Tardis into motion. He didn't know for sure if she would survive two minutes or two hours, and he wanted the best chance possible to give her something beautiful to take with her.

"Where are we going?"

"To a world she saved," he answered. The metallic wheeze of the ship surrounded them.

"Oh!" Donna said, delighted. "The Tardis. Doctor! I remember...oh!" She bent double in the chair. He ran over to her to cradle her head in his hands, holding the full metacrisis at bay, while allowing the memories to return, sharing each fragment of her past with her as it reconnected with her present. Her breathing was labored, her temperature beginning to rise already. He kept an arm around her to steady the contact, looking for just the right set of connections to hold, to buy her the most time and allay her suffering. It helped that she had enough opiates in her to knock out a horse.

"I missed you," she said, unnecessarily. The Tardis stilled.

"Martha, open the door."

She threw open the door on an austere, snowy landscape. "Look, Donna! I brought you your mountains." He lifted her out of the chair and into the cold, clear sunlight. She weighed next to nothing in his arms.

"I know this place!" she breathed, almost beyond speech. "Oh, listen! Can you hear it?"

He held her, tears pouring down his face, bathed in the song of the Ood, in their welcome and love. They drew him into their song, and Donna with him. Their voices drew the fire out of her mind, gathered his own gift into their circle and amplified it, so that time stretched, granting the Doctor Donna precious extra minutes to delight in the crisp wind, the glittering snow, and the joy of many souls joined in harmony. Fleetingly, he wondered if he could have saved her, long ago, by bringing her here, but the Ood corrected him gently. They could hold her for a time, carrying the extra weight of Time Lord thought and memory distributed throughout their circle, but there was no way she could have survived intact. He felt another presence on the edge of the circle, one both solemn and delighted, adding her untrained voice to the song. He reached out for Martha, only to find that Donna had already drawn her fully into the circle.

Even stretched to its limit, time cannot stand still. Donna's breath stilled. The circle caught her soul, recorded her memories, both fantastic and mundane, wove her into a semblance of light and music. The circle loosened its hold on Martha and the Doctor, though the song still wove in and out of their minds.

The Ood arrived in person, a party of four, as he was laying Donna's body out on the snow. "Martha," he said, his voice cracking, "she should be here, with them. Will you smooth things over with her family?"

Martha nodded. The Ood knelt in a circle, surrounding Donna's shell. He stood in the song for he didn't know how long, until the sun was low in the sky and the wind grew bitter. At last, he returned to the Tardis. Martha was waiting for him inside, with a blanket and a cup of tea. She rubbed her forehead tiredly. "Sorry, I fell asleep for a bit."

He shook his head, denying her apology. "I would have been surprised if you hadn't."

"Home, I think, then," she said.

"Just one trip?" He suggested. "For old times' sake."

"No. Thanks for the offer, but no." She gave his shoulder a collegial squeeze. "But after you drop me off, you ought to visit the Sullivans. Holding a new baby would do you good."

He shrugged and turned away to set the coordinates. No matter how much he tried not to do families, they seemed to grow up around him like wildflowers. He wasn't saying he would stop off in America to pay respects to a newborn child. But he wasn't saying that he wouldn't.

The Elephant in the Room

Title:  The Elephant in the Room
Timeline:  After Voyage of the Damned, after Quagmire in the Alex sequence
Characters:  Ten, Alex
Rating:  K+
Category:  Angst, character development
Disclaimer:  The Doctor--not mine.  Alex Caron--mine
Summary:  Alex would just as soon the Doctor have continued to neglect her education, thank you very much.
Author's notes:  Obscure Nyssa reference, Quaker stuff, gratuitous iCarly reference, snarky Dr. Phil reference, explicit telepathy, questionable beverages.

"When you look at me, do you see a monster?"

The Elephant in the Room

Alex had gotten tired of wearing the two sets of clothing she had brought with her. Unfortunately, the Tardis wardrobe was not particularly well endowed with clothing for a girl her size. She found a pretty velvet and tulle outfit that might have fit, but when she tried it on was too big and made her look like a purple Tinkerbell. She finally found a pair of black leggings that would stay up if she pinned them, and paired them with a much too big blue t-shirt, made into a sort of dress with a bit of shiny silver fabric she tied around her waist like a belt. It was comfortable and not too silly looking, she hoped.

The Doctor found her at lunchtime, in the kitchen. She wondered if his alien ears could hear her heart jump in her chest with a banal terror that had been burrowing into her mind for days, much as she tried to pretend it wasn't there. She was sure that he knew anyway, he would have to know if he were paying the slightest bit of attention. They had been dancing around each other since they'd gotten back from the Carboniferous. Still, he smiled, and was kind, and made jokes, as if everything were okay. She spread hummus on a pita and piled cucumber salad on top. "Want some?" she asked.

"Looks good," he replied. She passed him a plate. "Have you always been a vegetarian, then?"

"You remembered! Yeah, a lot of us are," she said. "Not all."

"Us?" He scooped a little salad onto his plate.

"I'm a Friend. FGC." She tilted her head at his blank look, secretly pleased to have stumped him on some facet of human culture. "Friends General Conference?" Still no recognition. "I'm a Quaker."

"Are you really?" She wondered if he was actually interested, or was just trying to get her to talk.

She wobbled her head noncommittally. "On my dad's side. My mom's Catholic. Unfortunately, they're not mutually exclusive."

"Unfortunately?" He stood up to fiddle with a kitchen appliance she hadn't yet been able to identify.

"We went to Mass and meeting right after. Made for a long Sunday. I stopped going to Mass when I got sick. Too crowded." She took a bite of hummus and salad.

"But you didn't stop going to meeting?" He punched a couple of buttons. "Milk and eggs OK?"

"What? Yeah." She found herself watching him, as if he might ambush her.

He set a bowl of something that she assumed to be chocolate ice cream in front of her. "You need the calories. Might as well enjoy getting them."

Alex took a bite of ice cream. It tasted like the expensive kind, Ben and Jerry's or something. "Small meeting," she explained. "We met in a member's house. I'd just sit in the back, by the door. Quaker meetings aren't like other kinds of church. You just sit and listen, and if you're moved to speak, you speak. It's okay if nobody says anything---doesn't usually happen, though. There was a woman at our meeting who always had something to say."

"Something worth breaking the silence for?"

"Sometimes. There was an old man who fell asleep most of the time. He snored." She skipped involuntarily through a string of associations, from snoring, to sleep, to dreaming, to her most recent nightmare, an old one from when she was little that had been popping back up to haunt her lately.

When she was six, she had climbed up the ladder to the high diving board. She had liked heights since infancy, had loved feeling the wind and being able to see the world spread out below her like a playset. She had peered off the end of the board to tease herself by looking down at the rippling water below, then turned around to climb back down. She had never had any intention of going off the board, given that she couldn't swim, but while she was climbing a line had formed behind her.

She had stood, stunned, as an older boy's face appeared at the back end of the board. "Just go already," the boy had said, irritably, adding with a sneer, "baby."

Startled and mortified, she had jumped, unthinking, belly flopped into twelve feet of water, and had to be rescued by the lifeguard, who had yelled at her while she was still spluttering and gasping on the concrete. She hadn't even gone near a public pool for a couple of years, fearing that she might encounter that lifeguard again.

The Doctor pushed aside his own plate, still with that worried smile on his face. "Can I ask you a question?"

"No." She chewed her lip. Her hands were cold. She tucked them between her knees, waiting for him to ask anyway, but he didn't. Something inside her unknotted, just a little. "You can ask."

"Why are you looking at me like that?"

"Like what?" she stammered.

"Like a condemned prisoner looking at a hangman's noose."

There was nothing she could say that he would want to hear. "I need to go do my math now." She cleared her plate into the recycler and fled the room.

He didn't try to find her again for another couple of hours. She was hiding out in her room, looking at iCarly reruns without really watching them. He knocked three times. She considered pretending she was asleep. He would know, but she didn't think he would call her on it. "Come in," she said. He walked in the door, leaving it open. Adrenalin burned in her chest.

Her room was big enough to contain a little sitting area with two comfortable chairs and an endtable between them. Alex had been sitting in one of the chairs with the laptop she'd claimed from a storage room. The Doctor pulled up the other. "What harm to the timestream could possibly come from letting me watch a new iCarly once in a while?" she asked, mostly to see if she could distract him.

The Doctor made a noncommittal noise, then said, "The Tardis can be a bit stingy with information originating in your near future. Can I ask you a question?" Her insides twisted. He had that earnest look on his face again. She preferred him silly and evasive.

"Like I can stop you," she said.

"Well," he said, putting on his "charm the sun from behind a cloud" smile. She wasn't buying it. The smile vanished. He scrubbed his hair until it stuck straight up. "When you look at me, do you see a monster?"

"No." She pulled her knees to her chest and wrapped her hands around her bare toes. "I mean." She tried again. "It's not about you." He just sat there and waited, as if he had centuries. "This is ridiculous. I'm ridiculous." Her hands shook. She clamped them tighter over her own toes.

"You're not ridiculous."

She was not going to cry. If she kept looking at him, she would cry, she knew it. She got up to pace and ended up by the door, tore a sticky note off her desk, and started to shred it methodically. "I really don't want to do this...thing." Do it, she couldn't even make herself say it.

"I'm not going to make you do anything you're unwilling to do. It's your choice."

She shook her head, still with her back to him, hiding. "I don't really have a choice. What if I'm not smart enough to learn everything I need to know?" She started on her second slip of neon paper, adding to the pile of curls littering the desk, the chair, her bedspread. "You're not just some knight in shiny armor riding in out of nowhere anymore. It matters what you think of me now." She forced herself to turn and look at him. "I wasn't brave before. I was only pretending."

"That's all brave is. Pretending enough so that you can do what you have to do." He laughed, not quite happily. "I do it all the time."

"What are you scared of then?" she challenged.

He didn't answer for a long time. "Losing. Worlds, people, friends. You, a bit. It matters what you think of me, too."

"I don't suppose I could just read a book and figure out everything I need to know on my own?"

He shrugged. "Just as soon as you learn to play the piano by reading a book about pianos."

Alex forced herself to walk back over to her chair. She stood behind it, not yet ready to sit down. "Maybe I'll just ask questions until you get tired of me and leave."

"Suit yourself. I can answer questions all day. And I'm not leaving."

"Why do you look human?" It was one of those things that had been bothering her for a while. "Are you wearing a human suit or something?"

A look of horror, quickly stifled, crossed his face. "No, this is just how I look."

"Isn't that kind of unlikely?"

He shrugged. "Actually, it is. Very unlikely. Curious, that, isn't it?"

Ah, the patented answer that wasn't an answer at all. "Are there aliens out there that wear human suits?"

He winced. "Yes. I've met some. Not a pleasant bunch at all."

She swallowed. "How come," she said, testing her own courage, "How come you only run silent around me?"

"Because it's a lot more work. I usually only 'run silent' as you call it, when I've got to sneak past someone or something that can detect a psychic field. I have to build an inverse pattern, a sort of negative of my own field, to cancel it out. I'd rather not do that all the time."

"You do a lot of sneaking past things?"

"More than perhaps I should."

"You don't really have to touch people to, you know, see what they're thinking and stuff, do you." She didn't make it a question. "Because when you're not running silent, I have to fend you off when you're across the room."

"Yes and no," he said. "Inside the Tardis, not really. Outside the Tardis, there's a lot of interference. I can trace the, well, one human word for them is worldlines, the past, present, and likely futures of everyone around me for a few hundred meters, farther for key events or people I know well. The timesense is actually the dominant facet of a Time Lord's psychic field. Telepathy is just along for the ride."

Time Lord, is that what you call yourself? Kind of pretentious. Alex nodded encouragement. "And?"

"The need to touch is more about bringing someone else inside my shields, keeping everyone else out. I can never fully let my guard down on an inhabited planet. Or even in the Tardis, when I have a passenger."

"Oh." She couldn't think of another question. She was completely stuck, staring into the abyss of his eyes again. She made herself sit down. "You win. I'm done stalling. Go ahead." She noticed her fingers twisting the hem of her makeshift dress and forced them to smooth it back out and rest on her knees.

"Go ahead nothing. You're going to do the work." He leaned forward on his elbows. "You try to contact me."

"I can't do that." She shook out her hands, rubbed the sweat off them onto the hem of her shirt.

"Just open your mind," he said, as if that were helpful.

"Do you tell other people that?"

"Not a lot, well, sometimes."

"And how's that working out for you? Because I have no idea what you mean."

The Doctor blinked, apparently stunned into silence. "That explains a lot, actually." Then his expression brightened, and he pulled the screen on the endtable onto his lap and started punching keys. He flipped the screen toward her. "What do you see?"

Blue squiggles. "It's one of those silly Magic Eye picture hidden in a picture things. You have to make your eyes go funny to see them." She stared at the picture, then imagined staring through it...she had to wait, patiently, without letting her eyes move, until the first curve popped out of the plane of the picture, then hold her attention on that line until the rest of the picture emerged. It had been fun the first twenty times or so after she'd learned how, but the pictures were really not worth the effort. "It's a sailboat," she said. "What's your point?"

"Do that." He sat back in the chair, suffused with light, but not his usual featureless brilliance. Patterns swirled inside the light. "Whenever you're ready."

She couldn't figure out what to do with her hands, and worried that if she did touch him, she would fall too hard and fast to control. There was a moment in which she felt time telescope in front of her and was reminded of standing on the diving board, feeling half naked in her new two piece bathing suit, with a line of kids behind her and nowhere to go but off the end. She let her shield fade, then fought the sensation of falling, for a second. Fall on purpose, she thought, or maybe he did, it sounded like an instruction. She was surrounded by swirling light, color, and sound now. Wait, she told herself, shoving down panic, ignoring her lurching stomach, trusting that if she lost control of herself the Doctor would catch her.

There, it was like a line, or a melody, picked out just for a moment in the swirling chaos, but it made sense. She made herself be still, pay attention to the little piece of sense in the nonsense without trying too hard. After forever, just as with the picture, everything settled down. There was an up and a down, and a Doctor side and an Alex side, and she could see flashes of thought and memory around her, like snapshots. She felt that if she went to touch one, she would go inside it, but she might be wrong, and she didn't want to get lost.

"I would never let you get lost."

He'd closed off a lot, behind walls and doors...literally walls and doors, which kind of surprised her with their concreteness. She'd been too distracted the one other time to notice. Unlike the Doctor, she couldn't quite figure out how to speak. She wasn't sure exactly where she'd left her body. There was just too much to pay attention to at once.

"I hadn't thought of that being a problem," he said. "Time Lords have more capacity for paying attention to a lot of things at once."

Yes, we all know how terribly clever Time Lords are, she thought. Why do you bother speaking aloud?

"I think aloud all the time. Why stop now?"

Good question, she supposed. Must be hard for him to just sit there and do nothing while she got her bearings. She didn't remember there being any confused transition the last time and wondered why she had missed it.

"I shift faster than you, by a lot."

Because you're a super smart alien and I'm just a stupid human? she thought.

"Because I'm nine hundred years old and I've had a lot more practice. Can I see how you handled the situation in the flooded tunnel yesterday?" he asked, at the same time lightly touching what seemed to her to be a physical place in her mind. "I know it wasn't pleasant, but I might be able to give you some ideas in case something like that happens again." She assented, then tried to think back to the memory herself. She thought it through in slow motion, in more detail than she had been able to attend to at the time, this time with an impression of the Doctor watching over her shoulder. Trying to make her shield thicker, Emel grabbing her, the water pouring in around them and over them. "Layering your shield probably bought you an extra few seconds," he noted. "Try this." He placed a new pattern in her mind. "Takes less effort. Not now, later, you'll be able to find the image when you need it."

Am I doing okay? she thought.

"Brilliant. Listen to your heart. It's racing. This takes more out of you than you might think." She tried to find her own heartbeat, but had to be guided to it. "Now, keep your attention on your heartbeat. Find your way back." She tried to do what she was told, but had the impression she was being helped, like a little child learning to draw letters by having an adult guide her hand.

She opened her eyes, exhausted, as if she'd been running for hours. The Doctor produced a bottle of something pink and set it on the endtable. "Drink it all."

She obeyed. It was sweet, with a faint salty, bitter aftertaste. "What is it?"

"Sports drink. I think it's Gatorade, but the label fell off."

Alex wasn't sure she could stand, but she was too spun up to sleep. The Doctor headed for the door. "Are we good, then?"


He turned back around. "Don't let yourself get all worked into a panic. Talk to me. I don't bite. Promise."

"I promise."

"Are we good, then?"

"We're good, I guess," she said. He turned around to leave again. "Wait, don't leave." She didn't want to be alone.

"Really? You actually want me around?" She wasn't quite sure if that note in his voice was teasing.

"I'm a little short of parents right now." She clambered out of the chair. Her vision darkened for a moment, but she turned her near faint into a theatrical fling across her bed. "I want to do something normal, like watch TV or play a game. Stuff like I'd do at home."

"Do you know how to play chess?" At Alex's headshake, the Doctor bounced out of the room, returning a few moments later with a battered chess set. He pulled one of the chairs over to the edge of the bed and started placing pieces on the board. Alex rolled over onto her stomach, resting her chin on her hands.

Once the pieces were all in place, he started to point out each one. "All right, to start with, these little pieces out in front are the pawns. They only move one space at a time, just like this..."


Big Huge Giant Plot Bunny

I just got bitten by a michener.  (Michener...a story, often ridiculously long, in which the setting is as important, sometimes more important, than the characters.  I just wanted a nice little romp on a weird planet with an 80 degree axial tilt for the Doctor and Alex (Sue)...and I have just fallen in love with the place.   Just how much description of prairies and storms can I get away with, I wonder.

Is there such a thing as a Planet Sue?  (A planet you think is really really cool, way cooler than any of your readers do.)  I guess I'll find out.


Two Can Play That Game

Title:  Two Can Play That Game
Author:  prairiedawntoo
Rating:  T (for adult themes)
Disclaimers:  I don't own Doctor Who or any of its characters.  I am a very bad person.
Warnings:  Blasphemy, major blasphemy.  I am so going to hell for this one.
Spoilers:  Sort of for Journey's End
Characters:  Ten, Donna

"What are you reading?"  The Doctor asked.  He was such an easy mark.
"Bible."  Donna waved it at him.  "Was he a real person?"
"Who?"  He stopped to think.  "Oh, Yeshu.  Yeah, real person."
"You say that like you've met."
"Well, we traveled together for a while."
Trust him to find a way to wind her up.  "Was he human, then?"
"Yeah.  Partly."
"What about the other part?"
"Dunno, I never asked."
"What was he like?"
"Asked impertinent questions.  Needed rescuing a lot.  Pretty typical."
"I thought you didn't meddle in important historical events."
"I'm traveling with you, aren't I?"


Title:  Misstep
Author: Prairiedawntoo
Disclaimer:  BBC owns Doctor Who, I'm not making money and all that.
Genre:  gen, Fourth Doctor spackle
Characters:  Romana
Author's note:  You didn't really think she would regenerate just because she wanted to look different, did you?  I'm sure I'm not the first person to think of this.

Romana lay on her back at the bottom of a flight of stairs.
She couldn't feel anything below her chin.  Silently, she cursed Time Lord bureaucracy.  Hardcopy? Honestly.
She liked this body.  It had good hair.  There was a lot to be said for good hair.  Well, nothing to be done for it now but regenerate.  How annoying.
She collected the papers once it was all over, wishing that she could wave her hands over them and have them recollate themselves.
She certainly couldn't tell him she'd died in such a ridiculous accident.  Oh, well.  She'd think of something.