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Emily [userpic]
by Emily (malana)
at July 13th, 2010 (07:49 pm)

Title: The Long, Dreary Tunnels of Garaadu Nix
Author: wuhdemah
For: shadow243ali
Beta’d By: izilen (thank you!)
Word Count: 4675
Summary: Prompt: The Doctor and Amy fall down a giant hole.
Author’s Note/Warnings: Written for my pinch-hit and friend shadow243ali. No spoilers, really, but you should probably have watched through Cold Blood because a lot of the Doctor’s early behaviour in this is based on the end of that episode. This fic in itself takes place directly before “The Lodger”. I hope you enjoy it. :)



When she woke up, the first thing she noticed was that her head was pounding a dull, steady thrum of pain -- one, two, three... one, two, three... Like somebody was beating her head like a drum.

The second thing she realised was that it was dark. Even when her eyes had opened it was dark, and cold, and damp and dreary and any other word that fit (she blamed the pain in her head for the fact that she couldn’t think of anything else).

The last thing she noticed, amid the damp and dark, was that a man was shining a torch in her eyes.

“Are you alright?” he asked in a rushed voice, waving the green light from eye to eye. “You’ve been out for a while. That was quite a nasty tumble we took. You got the worst of it. I kind of... landed on you. Sorry.” He frowned at her, pulling the light back to take in her whole face. “You’re looking at me funny.”

“Do I know you?” she couldn’t help but ask, forehead scrunching up as she brought a hand up to press against it. “Oy, my head...”

He looked at her in surprise for a moment before rolling his eyes and tugging at the end of his bowtie. “Oh, haha, very good, Pond. Almost had me. Go on, say ‘gotcha.’ You know you want to.”

“I really...” she closed her eyes shut, squeezing them tightly and shaking her head. Pond? “I really don’t know what you’re talking about.”

When she opened her eyes again he was staring at her, his expression solemn and frightened and worried all at once, and as he reached out to grasp her shoulders his eyes bore desperately into hers.

“Tell me you’re kidding. Please, Amy, tell me this is a joke.”

Instead of answering, she shrugged his hands off her shoulders and looked around at where they were, trying desperately to ignore the bubbling discomfort threatening to expand in her stomach and repeating the name like a mantra in her mind: Amy Pond, Amy Pond, Amy Pond.

“Amy,” he spoke her name again with an edge to his voice that she felt should have been familiar. Should have been, but wasn’t. “Amy, I need you to tell me what’s going on inside that head of yours. Right now.”

“I--” Amy ran her hand through her hair frustratedly, clutching it in a fist. “I don’t know.”

What don’t you know?” he pressed, shining the torch again, and it whirred at her. His forehead creased more and more at each second, and the obvious look of dread in his eyes didn’t help her panicking heart in the slightest. “I need specifics.”

“I don’t... have specifics,” she seethed at him in a shaky voice, pushing the light out of the way. “Get that bloody thing out of my face.”

The light and its accompanying sound buzzed out instantly, but even in the dark she could still see the outline of his features, his eyes shining at her with the depth of a man who was much older than he appeared.

“What does that mean?” he asked, in a small, low voice, and she knew what that tone was -- it was what always accompanied the voice of somebody who already knew the answer, but needed to hear it anyway.

Resignation.

“I don’t know anything,” she whispered, her voice sounding meek to her own ears, and she couldn’t help but feel that wasn’t normal. “I can’t remember anything.”

--------

Her name was Amelia Pond. She was twenty-one years old and she lived in a town in England called Leadworth, even though her accent was Scottish. Apparently it had a duck pond without any ducks -- this, according to the man who’d only introduced himself as ‘the Doctor’, was a very important detail.

She was traveling with him, the Doctor, and had been doing so for around half a month. She’d known him since she was seven. They had fallen through a loose patch of earth that had given way under their weight and landed them in an intricate and natural underground tunnel, with no means of escape.

She had an aunt and she liked green tea and she went by the nickname Amy.

And that was all he would tell her.

(When she asked him if they were more than friends -- emphasis on the more -- he had dismissed her with such a callous ‘no’ that it instantly made her think it was a ‘yes.’)

--------

He led her through the tunnels in silence, with the exception of the whirring of the device he had called a sonic screwdriver as he pointed it at the walls and floor. It appeared as though he were looking for something in particular, and his studious avoidance of her in combination with his studious observation of everything else was annoying her to no end; she had amnesia, she wasn’t incapable.

“Don’t suppose we could find a genie’s lamp and wish our way out of here, eh?” Amy quipped, and for the first time since he had given her the barest details of who she was the Doctor looked back at her, a hint of amusement lined on his face. The humour disappeared quickly, but he kept looking at her -- and for Amy, that was enough.

“I don’t think there’d be a Genie Lamp in this galaxy,” he told her, in all seriousness, as he considered her words. “That technology was built in the Nissh III Quadrant less than a century ago. We’re not anywhere near there, and I doubt it would have reached this part of space. Still, I suppose it couldn’t hurt to keep an eye out.”

“I was being sarcastic,” Amy told him bluntly, with a roll of her eyes. “And... and... wait, this galaxy?” She blinked as his words caught up with her, and the Doctor opened his mouth quickly before slamming it shut.

“Right, well, I guess you ought to know. We’re not exactly... on Earth.”

Amy shook her head, fixing the Doctor with an incredulous look, “I’m sorry, but what?”

He appeared to be a little sheepish under her scrutiny, and he fidgeted with his bowtie in a sort of nervous excitement as he explained further, “We’re not on Earth. We’re not even in the same galaxy as Earth. Or... the same time period you’re from. We’re in the tunnels of Garaadu Nix, which is the seventh planet in the Blieu galaxy. It’s the year 7690, and I’m... we’re... time travelers. My time machine’s called the TARDIS.” He paused, adding as an afterthought, “And I’m not human.”

“Riiight,” Amy said slowly, letting all the Doctor had said process through her mind. She felt the urge to believe him coming to her surprisingly easily, and she rubbed the back of her hand across her forehead in exasperation as she frowned at him. “Did you abduct me?”

What?” It was the Doctor’s turn to look incredulous, and he shook his sonic screwdriver at her as he spoke, “Abduct you? What are you talking about? Don’t be ridiculous, Pond. This isn’t a Hollywood film we’re in. The aliens that would be interested in abducting humans are few and far between. Half of them want to kill you lot and the other half just ignore your existence completely.”

“What about you?”

“I’m in that very infinitesimal group that likes you strange apes and your planet,” the Doctor said, flashing her a smile before turning his attention to the watch on his wrist, shining the sonic’s light on it. “We’ve been down here for five hours now, and for three of those you were unconscious.” He let out a frustrated sigh, bunching his hair up in his free hand. “You picked a magnificent time to go all amnesia-y on me, Pond. It’s like you were born just to give me a hearts attack.”

“Hey, you fell on me, so don’t go giving me a talk-down,” Amy warned him. Then she looked at the tunnel they were in. It was huge, at least ten feet across and equally as high. It was almost perfectly round, but it was also a rugged kind of round, as though something had dug it out with giant hands or -- she shuddered to think -- claws.

“We’re not gonna run into any giant, man-eating moles down here, are we?” she asked the Doctor, and he smiled at her again -- wider this time, more sincere, and Amy could have sworn she saw his shoulders visibly relax.

“Not bad for your technical first trek,” he complimented her, buzzing his sonic at the walls of the cave, “and, well, no. Not exactly. These tunnels were made by mole-like creatures that were native to this planet, but they were docile. Wouldn’t attack unless they felt threatened. Besides, they’re... extinct now. Nobody’s seen any for nearly 2,000 years.”

With that, the Doctor twirled away from her to stare back at the length of the tunnel they had yet to walk through.

“Right, enough chit-chat. If we’re going to even have the possibility of getting out of here we have to keep going. Maybe the human settlers on this planet have built mine shafts or something and we can get out on those.” He started forward, motioning over his shoulder with the sonic screwdriver for Amy to follow.

“Come along, Pond! I have a feeling we’ll be walking for quite a while.”

-------

He had not been kidding, Amy quickly realised, and after the first three hours she was beginning to feel the frustration of hopelessness bubbling up in her stomach. They hadn’t found a thing so far. Just tunnel, tunnel, dirt, more dirt, the occasional rock, and more tunnel. It seemed to stretch on forever and the dreary darkness was doing nothing to help lift her spirits.

The Doctor had gone quiet again, too, and while Amy felt that this time it was more out of concentration and keeping an eye out for some sort of exit than consciously ignoring her, it still was not any less annoying than it had been before. When they had talked earlier he had been, well, not quite open but not closed up, either. She had the odd inkling that the Doctor wasn’t one to stay quiet for hours on end, and it unnerved her, for reasons she couldn’t quite fathom, to see him as silent as he was.

And if only to make things work, she was starving. And thirsty. And exhausted. And her head still had a dull throbbing that constantly reminded her of the fact that she couldn’t remember anything about her life.

So caught up in her thoughts, Amy hadn’t even noticed the Doctor had stopped until she bumped into his back. She blinked in surprise and took a quick step backwards as he turned around to stare past her, down the corridor they had just walked through.

“What’s wrong?” Amy asked, but the Doctor merely held up a finger in front of her mouth and narrowed his eyes further in concentration. It was a few seconds more until he lowered his hand.

“Oh, no, this is very, most definitely not a good thing in the slightest,” the Doctor rushed out, grabbing hold of her arm and taking them both a few steps backwards. “Amy, do you feel that?”

“Do I feel what?” Amy frowned, forehead creasing with a perplexed expression as he stuck his finger in his mouth to wet it, then waved it in the air in front of them. “Is this normal for you, acting so weird all the time?”

“Alien,” he countered, “and I think we should start running.”

“What’s happening?” Amy asked him, struggling in vain to see whatever it was he was supposedly feeling. “I can’t see anything. I don’t feel anything.”

“You will in a minute, and if we don’t start moving now it’ll run us over! Now come on!”

The Doctor grabbed Amy’s hand and pulled her forward suddenly. He started running in a heavy sprint that Amy found herself having trouble keeping up with, and after the first thirty seconds she could feel what the Doctor had felt minutes before. The tunnel was shaking, slowly and gradually, but it was getting stronger and heavier as they ran, as though something was chasing them.

“Doctor, what’s behind us!?” Amy practically screeched as she worked to build up her speed. The tunnel emitted a low rumble and that only made her feet move faster. “Bloody hell, it must be huge!”

“Stop talking, Pond! You’ll waste your breath!” The Doctor’s grip on her hand tightened as they ran. “Oh, have I ever mentioned how sometimes I can be so daft? My age is beginning to show! The gypphs -- those are the creatures that created these tunnels, by the way -- the gypphs didn’t die out. Not completely. The humans settled on this planet just over 2,000 years ago, and two hundred years later all talk of the gypphs just stopped. Not because they were extinct! Oh, no, they aren’t dead! One’s charging us down right now!”

“I thought you said... they were docile!” Amy took a ragged breath, not daring to glance behind her in the fear that doing so would cause both her and the Doctor to trip over their feet.

“Amy, I told you, don’t talk,” the Doctor reminded her sternly. “I have a respiratory bypass system, you don’t. Anyway, yes, the gypphs are docile by nature -- but you threaten their means of existence and they’re retaliate just like any scared creature. The humans that first settled here must have jeopardised their way of life and these poor creatures reverted to their animal instinct to eliminate the threat. The reason nobody’s seen the gypphs in two millennia is because they’ve probably killed anybody senseless enough to explore their tunnels! Aha!”

Amy could practically imagine the Doctor’s eyes shining, and she followed the angle of his head to see what he had. There was a concave in the wall up ahead that seemed to be deeper than any of the other indents in the walls.

“Can we both fit in there?” Amy doubted this idea. “And, besides, wouldn’t it realise that we disappeared?”

“Not if we confuse it,” the Doctor said, skidding to a halt near the hole and quickly shrugging his tweed jacket off. “Brilliant, this is the second one I’ll have lost now. Yours too, Amy, I need your coat.” He quickly pulled a few things out of his pockets and tossed them inside the hole.

Amy was beyond confused now, but she ripped her jacket off anyway and tried to ignore how the dampness of the tunnel now chilled her skin. The Doctor grabbed it from her just as soon as her arms were out of it, and he tied it together with his.

The tunnel was rumbling rather heavily now, Amy couldn’t help but notice, but the Doctor didn’t seem too concerned that this gypph creature was nearly upon them.

“Right, get in the hole, I’ll follow behind in a minute,” the Doctor said. Amy opened her mouth to respond, but the Doctor beat her to it: “Don’t you dare make a comment about that, Pond.”

Amy rolled her eyes but wasn’t about to wait for an alien creature with claws that could carve out tunnels through rock to catch up to her. She crawled backwards into the hole, watching as the Doctor poised himself just outside of it. He stared intensely down the length of the tunnel with the arm holding the jackets tensed. The shaking continued to grow, and the Doctor readjusted his footing in anticipation. A split second later it happened.

The Doctor moved so fast that Amy wasn’t quite sure what he did -- one moment he was throwing his arm out, in the next his back was pressed against her, and then the entrance to their mini-cave was blocked by something big, hairy, and dark purple. It disappeared after about thirty seconds, and the rumbling that had been chasing them began to gradually fade away instead.

“Whew!” The Doctor whooped, pushing himself off of Amy. “Sorry about that. Guess that’s the second time I’ve landed on you now. It didn’t happen to knock your memories back, did it?”

He looked hopeful for a moment, but when Amy shook her head ‘no’ the expression fell flat again.

“Sorry. I’m trying, I really am,” Amy told him. “Sometimes... I get inklings. When you told me you were an alien I believed you without any problem. Like I already knew it. That’s a good thing, yeah?” The Doctor smiled a sad smile at her, hunching his shoulders forward. He looked remarkably cramped in the small space.

“Yeah. Yeah, it’s a good thing. Anyway, the gypph should be on the run for a while now. I threw our jackets onto its nose. Their noses are extremely sensitive and extremely sticky; it’ll run blindly, following the scents on them and thinking it’s us.”

“Clever, spaceboy,” Amy commended him, reaching under her and pulling out the items he had excavated from his jacket from under her. She handed the Doctor his sonic screwdriver and studied the other objects curiously. “What’re these?”

“Energy cubes,” he told her, taking one of the two out of her hand and taking a bite out of it, chewing, and swallowing. “Been saving them for a situation like this for a while now.”

Amy sniffed her cube suspiciously before taking a bite out of it -- and promptly gagged.

“It’s awful.”

“Well, yes, Pond, it’s an energy cube. Not food.” The Doctor rotated his between his fingers. “It simply replenishes your energy -- vitamins, minerals, adrenaline, sleep. It’s even moisturised so you won’t get dehydrated. Intergalactic campers carry these with them all over the universe in case they get trapped somewhere.”

“Like we are,” Amy noted drily, and the Doctor grinned.

“Like we are. But not for long!”

“You have a plan?”

The Doctor’s grin widened. “You could call it that.”

------

“Don’t look at me in that tone of voice,” the Doctor said lightly as he helped pull her out of the hole they had hid in for the past two hours. Amy fixed her gaze on him in a way that said ‘you’re bloody insane, mate, and not in a good way’.

“It’s going to work,” he tried again, “trust me.”

“How many times have you said that to me?”

“Plenty of times.”

“And how many times has it worked?”

The Doctor smiled fondly at her, leaning towards her just a little. “You’re still alive, aren’t you?”

Amy opened her mouth to reiterate, but ended up deflating instead. “Point.”

The Doctor grinned triumphantly, twirling on the spot. “The gypph felt threatened before, so it lashed out. These creatures have lived in the underground for so long that they’ve forgotten what it’s like to trust other living creatures. Now that that one’s had time to calm down and relax it’ll probably be less likely to attack again.”

“Probably,” Amy repeated, and the Doctor shrugged a shoulder.

“Well.”

“If I die here because of you, I’m going to haunt you for the rest of your life.”

“That’ll be a long time,” the Doctor said in a soft voice, then, “Be quiet now. It’s nearly here.”

Sure enough, Amy saw the gleaming claws of the gypph in the darkness. It was snuffling quietly, tossing its head back and forth as it trudged slowly through the tunnel. It wasn’t in any rush this time, as the Doctor had suspected.

The gypph had four eyes -- small and beady compared to its large body. Its tongue flicked in and out of its mouth like a snake’s, and its back was covered with clumps of hardened hair that made it look more like a hedgehog than a mole. Despite its fierce behaviour earlier, it seemed more than approachable now, and the Doctor did just that.

He took a few steps forward, shining his sonic at the creature. The gypph stopped moving, tilting its head curiously to the side. The sonic hummed a soothing sound at it, and the gypph’s deep purple fur rustled in contentment.

“Hello, there,” the Doctor murmured compassionately. “You’re a beauty, aren’t you? It’s good to see your species isn’t extinct.” He kept shining the sonic screwdriver at it. “If I turn this off, will you promise not to attack me or my friend here? We’re not out to hurt you. We just want some help getting back to the surface.”

The gypph snorted at that, shaking its head sharply to one side.

“No, no, we weren’t trying to destroy or invade your tunnels,” the Doctor told it fervently. “That was an accident. Loose patch of earth gave way and we both fell down, down, down.” He paused, before adding in an earnest, almost desperate voice, “I landed on her and knocked her memory out. I need to get to my ship so I can fix that.”

“You can fix it?” Amy whispered loudly, poking him in the back. “Why didn’t you tell me? And, wait, you can understand it?”

“He can understand us,” the Doctor explained, “and understanding him is all a matter of reading his body-language. Gypphs are incredibly intelligent creatures. They communicate through their movements and the vibrations they make in the earth. It’s not something the TARDIS can translate for us, but it’s no less of a language. Somewhat similar to Earth sign language, I suppose.”

The gypph clawed the ground gently, and Amy glanced quizzically at the Doctor for an explanation.

“He wants us to come closer,” the Doctor translated for her, twirling his sonic screwdriver deftly between his fingers before sticking it into his trouser pocket. “He’s trying to figure us out, and the closer we are to him the easier he can do that.” He held out his hand, wiggling his fingers at her.

“Come on, Pond. We’ll do this together.”

Amy took a deep breath and blew it out slowly, glancing from his hand to his face, searching his eyes for some sign of hesitation or worry and finding none. “Do I trust you? When I’m myself, do I trust you?”

“You are yourself,” the Doctor murmured, holding her gaze meaningfully. “You tell me.”

Amy stared at him for a moment more, her expression conflicted, before a look of determination crossed over her face, and she reached out and grasped his hand in hers.

“Alright, Doctor. I trust you.” She nudged him with her shoulder playfully. “Just don’t make me regret it.”

“I won’t,” the Doctor insisted, and then he turned towards the gypph again. Together they walked towards him, and the creature’s claws dug at the ground contemplatively as his tongue flicked in and out.

It was only when the Doctor and Amy stopped a few feet away that he moved in a more prominent fashion, leaning forward and pressing his nose, their jackets still attached, against them. Amy didn’t need to understand the language of the gypphs to know that this was some sort of acceptance on their behalf.

“Oh, thank you!” The Doctor grinned, patting the side of the gypph’s nose gratefully before making a face. He pulled it back slowly, and the gluey substance followed his hand. “Oh, right, forgot about that detail. Um, Amy, extract yourself and your jacket carefully from our dear friend, would you? If he’s going to give us a ride back to the surface, it’d probably be polite to clear his nose of our stench.”

“Are you saying I smell?” Amy grumbled good-naturedly as she slowly pulled herself back, grabbing her jacket as she went. She wrinkled her nose at it. “I’m never going to get this out. No offense,” she told the gypph, and it rumbled lowly -- a laugh.

“Don’t you worry,” the Doctor said as he slipped his (very sticky) tweed jacket back on and straightened his (equally sticky) bowtie out to the best of his ability, “the TARDIS is marvelous at getting gypph slime out. Or, well, it’s good at getting a matlynar’s slime out, and I assume a gypph’s is pretty similar.”

“You assume,” Amy repeated with a teasing smile, and the Doctor rolled his eyes at her, obviously trying to fight off a smile of his own.

“Let’s get to the TARDIS first. Then we can worry about the sticky clothes.”

------

The next time Amy woke up her head was not pounding. There was no man hovering over her with a light pointed at her face. And, most importantly of all, this time there was the same feeling inside of her that made her think she was missing something big.

Amy pushed herself out from underneath the sheets, blinking drearily as she tried to recall what had just happened. She and the Doctor had landed on Garaadu Nix, and they’d been walking as he rambled off the history of the planet when they had -- oh. Oh.

Amy shoved the covers off of her, swinging her legs around and practically tumbling out of the bed. She charged out of her room and headed straight for the console. He’d be there. He was always there.

Sure enough, there he was -- legs sticking out from the inner workings of the TARDIS, one knee bent as he worked on his beloved machine.

“Oi, Doctor!” Amy called down, and the Doctor jerked in surprise, banging his head on a piece of metal with an obvious clang as he did. He pushed himself out from under the console, rubbing his head with one hand as he pushed his working goggles up with the other. He glared at her accusingly

“A little warning would be nice next time, Pond.”

“Oh, your head is hard enough to withstand a little trauma, I’d say,” Amy drawled lightly, watching as he climbed up from under the clear floorspace and joined her.

“How are you feeling?” the Doctor asked her, bending down to look into her eyes.

“Fine,” Amy answered breezily, twirling a strand of her hair around a finger. “Better. I remember stuff.”

“Amy, are you sure?” the Doctor pressed, eyeing her dubiously. “The technique I preformed is meant to be done on Time Lord brains, not human. The TARDIS helped me control it for your type of brain, so it should’ve been mostly harmless. No dizziness, no, I don’t know... feeling like your head could explode at any moment?”

“Nope,” Amy popped the ‘p’, knocking on her skull lightly with her knuckles. “A-ok brain here. Think I’d know if it was about to explode.”

The Doctor’s shoulders sagged, as though he had finally let out a breath he had been holding for far too long. He patted her on the shoulder, affection in his voice as he told her, “It’s good to have you back, Pond.”

Amy would have none of that. She grabbed him in a fierce hug instead, letting him rearrange his long arms around her before she whispered in return, “It’s good to be back.” Amy breathed him in -- he still smelled faintly of gypph slime and damp earth -- before pushing him away a split second later and slapping him hard on the shoulder. “But next time, Doctor, don’t ignore me for half the time! Got it?”

The Doctor appraised her with a mock pained expression, rubbing his shoulder. “Blimey, Pond, first my head, now my shoulder? You’re out to kill me, aren’t you?”

“In due time, Doctor,” Amy grinned, skipping around him and dusting her hands over the TARDIS’s controls. “Now, where are we off to?”

“Amelia Pond,” the Doctor scoffed even as his own grin spread across his face, “five minutes after you wake up and regain a lifetime of memories, and you’re already raring to go somewhere else. Brilliant.”

He bounded around the console then, flipping switches and levers as he went with an inhuman excitement to his step that was more than infectious.

“How about the moons of Sinda Callista? I’ve always heard the fifth one is lovely...”

Comments

Posted by: Chaka/Carrie (wuhdemah)
Posted at: July 14th, 2010 12:48 am (UTC)

I wanted to let you know that this was for shadow243ali, izilen was my beta! :)

Posted by: Emily (malana)
Posted at: July 14th, 2010 12:57 am (UTC)

ack. Copy and paste fail on my part. I'll fix that right now. Sorry.

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