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Title: Strays
Author: Arachne Kallisti
Fandom: Portal 2/Doctor Who
Rating: G. Actually quite fluffy.
Characters/Pairing: Doctor/TARDIS, sort of TARDIS/Wheatley if you squint
Disclaimer: The Whoniverse belongs to Auntie Beeb, and everything in Aperture Laboratories belongs to Valve.
Summary: Nobody can travel with the Doctor for very long without something about him rubbing off on them.

Author's Notes: Massive spoilers for Portal 2 and Who 6x04 "The Doctor's Wife". Beta-read by the superb [ profile] chaosdeathfish.

She materialises near her Thief’s favourite planet, a bare few centuries away from his favourite time. She takes up an orbit around its moon, and waits patiently. Of course, he remembers what she said when they talked. He’s always understood, deep down. Wherever she takes him, he always does her the courtesy of looking round.

Pretty thinks they should land - as if exciting things only happen on the surface of planets - but Orange likes the idea of opening the doors where they are. Her telepathic circuits hum in sympathy with the giddy euphoria of staring out into the black and watching the stars wheel past. She understands why he likes this one so much.

They gather in her doors, and watch. Something glints in the earthlight, rising over the outcrops of white rock at the horizon. She’s picked her time carefully. She always does.

She notices Orange turning back, asking her Doctor a question, and feels the bright edge of his curiosity as he leans forward to reply. They’re talking among themselves now, excited, and now there’s a chain leading out of her doors, Orange first, Pretty holding on to her arm, and her Doctor anchoring them into her control room. Orange lunges forward, hair freed from gravity swirling around her, and snags something gleaming that’s yelling incoherently as it flies past. There’s a moment of confusion, four voices shouting over each other, and then a heap of metal and flesh on the glass floor.

“Well. Umm. I wasn’t... I really wasn’t expecting that. I’d sort of resigned myself to being stranded in space, to be honest.” A pause. “Did you know this place is a lot smaller on the outside?”

Her Doctor likes his strays. He sees the potential in them. He could take a boy who wanted him dead, or a girl who wanted to burn the world, and make heroes of them. He has that rare gift to remake them in his own image, for good or ill. And now, now she’s walked around in a body and talked with him, his spell is working on her.

She has her own stray, now. And if she could still talk, she’d say: listen. I understand. I know what it’s like to want to escape and see the world. I know why you stole her. Listen. This is where you went wrong. Once you steal someone, you’re responsible for them forever. Listen. This is your second chance. I stole you now, and I’m going to prove to you that you’re braver and kinder and cleverer than you ever knew you could be.

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October 2012

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