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 This was written immediately after watching 'Doctor Who: The Ginger Chronicles: A Dame To Kill' which is a bit of a mouthful. Anyway, I immediately fell in love with Lilly Nelson's ginger Doctor. Liz's character intrigued me (with Jim coming a close second) and I felt the need to expand a bit on her characterization. So this emerged. Bit by bit. And then Mel slipped in, somehow, and since I ship her and Ace together madly, Ace had to go in too. And so, now you see this. I'm proud of it.

Fandom: Doctor Who: The Ginger Chronicles
Pairing: Jim/Liz, minor Mel/Ace
Rating: PG-13
Timeline: Ginger Chronicles timeline, obviously. Not sure what you'd count part 5 as, but I suppose you can work it out yourself.
Disclaimer: Doctor Who belongs to the BBC.  Steven Hancock and Lilly Nelson own the Ginger Chronicles.
 
Summary: The wardrobe is filled with clothes of every shape, size and fourth-dimensional impossibility and it half-looks like it's arranged by color, but if you tilt your head ever so slightly to the left, it's sorted by size, from XXXXXXL to something that a cat might wear, if said cat was the size of a pinhead. 

JIM: You're not from around here, are you?

DOCTOR: Jim, I am from quite a ways away indeed.

JIM: ...you mean, like, Canada?

DOCTOR: Uh, quite a bit further than Canada.

~Doctor Who: A Dame to Kill


I. Arrival

[It takes less than five minutes for Liz Baker to find the wardrobe after arriving in the TARDIS.]

She gets past the 'bigger-on-the-inside' bit quite easily- probably all the sci-fi films that Jim forced her to watch when he was going through a Star Trek phase- and the idea that it can travel through time as well as space is quite an interesting idea-

-but is it really such a good idea to go running off with a possibly insane alien when there's actual work to do?

{Probably not.}

Will she have fun?

{Almost definitely.}

Well, that's all right then.

The wardrobe is filled with clothes of every shape, size and fourth-dimensional impossibility [that dress over there looks like it would be very interesting to wear] and it half-looks like it's arranged by color, but if you tilt your head ever so slightly to the left, it's sorted by size, from XXXXXXL to something that a cat might wear, if said cat was the size of a pinhead. There's a coat over there that would make Joseph's Amazing Technicolor one jealous and- is that an umbrella with a question mark for a handle? What possible use could it have?

Keeping the rain off your head?

{This is the Doctor, try again.}

Hanging off cliffs for no apparent reason, internally laughing with glee?

{Much better, good job.}

And that scarf hanging over there probably has some use that Liz can't think of right now besides wearing it- ["Liz, the Doctor says that she's going to show us around the gardens," says Jim. "I'll be right there," she replies.] –she can only imagine what she'll find if she digs deeper.

But not right now.


II. Scribble

Liz finds that saving the universe is indeed as easy as the proverbial guidebook says. A well placed rubber band, a marble rolled into just the right room, and a few witty quips, and there you are.

[She's lost count of how many times she's almost died. But that doesn't matter, really, because she's always going to survive in the end.]

The Doctor always has a mad, childlike expression of glee on her face, and delights in licking things as they come just to prove that she was right in her estimates. Sometimes Jim and Liz have to tug her away bodily from that plate of solidified cyanide just over there in order to prevent her from killing herself.

{Again.}

Oh, that's right, again, because she's not at all human and sometimes Liz is rather jarringly reminded of that fact when the Time Lady can tell them the exact date and place that they've landed without even checking the scanners. It's really rather odd, because sometimes she's their bouncy, over-hyperactive best friend with a penchant for extravagant clothes, and then she's the alien's worst enemy.

{Sometimes she's both. Sometimes she can balance it.}

Because the Doctor is kind and cruel and there's a room in the TARDIS with scribbling all over the walls from past occupants of the space-time ship in different styles of writing, some perfectly neat, some scrawled carelessly, and something that looks a bit like a pawprint.

He's like fire, burning through time, says one. But don't let him near the jelly babies or you will so regret it.

[She remembers that the Doctor had once mentioned that she wasn't female for a while, and supposes that this counts for the pronoun uses all over the walls.]

She reads everything that everyone has ever written about the Doctor, including some lovely labelled diagrams of every one of his/her incarnations, and a carefully annotated criticism of all of his/her fashion choices.

Sometime it's like we're the caretakers, muses one anonymous scribbler. And he's the child in his universal playpen. Don't be fooled, though, he can be a force of pure destruction if he wants to.

On the west wall, there's a large To-Do list scrawled across the white surface, only half of them being ticked off. 'Figure out just where the library ends' is one, with a note to the effect that you'd better bring a whole fully-geared expedition to help you if you wanted to try. 'Finally get to the Eye of Orion' is another.

Liz smiles in silent wonder at the whole room.

{The Doctor doesn't know about this room.}

If she did, she'd probably stand in shock at the doorway until someone dragged her out.

Liz adds a few notes of her own before quietly shutting the door behind her and leaving the room for the next person to find.


III. Starfire

The Doctor calls Liz and Jim into the console room, and throws open the doors cheerfully, waving out at the universe. Because there's no planet surface, no firm ground outside, just big, black emptiness. And stars, planets, moons, asteroids, filling the holes in between.

{Welcome to outer space, Elizabeth Baker.}

It's so amazingly stunning, and Liz can feel her face splitting into the most enormous grin she's had since she got the bicycle she wanted for her twelfth birthday. She hugs her husband to her tightly as a comet flies by, its tail streaming out in front of it like they really do.

The Doctor has a pleased expression on her face, and ties back her hair into a ponytail in a modest sort-of-way. Liz stretches out her other arm and drags their alien friend into the hug as well. She splutters a bit and looks surprised, but soon the three of them are watching the silent stars go by because-

-{there's no sound in space}-

-and the Doctor says, 'pick a star, any star' and Jim points out that one over there, just past the planet that's so very green and the Doctor sends them whizzing off, and then they're right next to that same star.

It suddenly hits her that they can go anywhere in the universe. At all.

{It's almost terrifying, isn't it?}

Probably, but all she cares about right now is the starfire on her face and her black hair dancing in the light of seven moons, all conjoined improbably.


IV. Checkmate

She and Jim find a massive games room in the TARDIS- filled with every game they had ever played or heard of, and more besides. After a short and messy debate, they decide on playing checkers (Liz is no good at chess, but really likes the bit where you bounce over your opponent's pieces) and Jim seems to be winning, which is slightly annoying, but that's life.

[As a matter of interest, Liz had been snooping around the massive timeship to see what other hidden secrets were in it. She had come across a room that had most definitely not been there before- opposite the shutter labelled 'Beware of the mutant cheetah-hippo' that she had decided not to investigate into. The grand wood-panelled door that looked like it had been torn out of the Titanic, and it probably was, creaked open.

Liz had taken that as an invitation, and stepped inside.]

Jim jumps two of her pieces in quick succession and she mock-scowls at him, reviewing her pieces, looking for an acceptable next move.

[Inside was the Doctor, sitting at a rather small table, an ordinary chessboard with frosted glass pieces in front of her. She looked up when Liz entered, smiling with a bit of a mystery, and invited her to look at the board, where a game was in progress. The black player appeared to be winning, with all of the white pieces still on the board backed into a corner.

Who would win in the end, asked the Doctor, half to Liz, half to no one in particular. Liz didn't know anything much about chess, and said so.]

Liz smiles triumphantly as she sees a way out, and takes all of Jim's remaining pieces. "Good game," she says, shaking her husband's hand.

[Liz moved to leave (this place somehow looked sacred, or somewhere that she wasn't meant to be) but a thought occurred to her.

"Which side are you playing?" she wondered aloud, turning to the Doctor.

The Doctor smiled, and half-shrugged. "Ah, well. That's the question, isn't it?"

The clock in the corner went tick-tock.]


V. Companion

The woman in front of them is cheerful, bubbly, has red curly hair, and is (apparently) a space pirate.

Well.

Par for the course, Liz thinks blankly.

The Doctor appears to know the woman, and is babbling frantically at her with lots of hand gestures and seems to be trying to convince her that she is who she says she is. She mimes someone flipping someone else over their shoulder, and the space-pirate-girl claps her hands in delight and laughs, and they both hug.

{Meet Melanie Bush, computer programmer and space pirate!}

"Jim, Liz, meet Mel, one of my best friends ever!" squeals the Doctor, flinging out her arms some rabid Time Lord fangirl. "Mel, meet Jim and Liz, two of my best ever friends! Wait, am I quoting myself again?"

Mel nod, and tells her that that's probable, and offers to show Jim and Liz around her pirate spaceship. She notes that her partner in crime is out, but probably will be back soon, so the Doctor had better keep out of his way.

[It's odd to think that the Doctor already knows so many people as well as she knows Liz- some of the people better that she knows Liz. She's seen the scribble-room in the TARDIS already, though.]

"You have been looking after her, though?" hissed Mel at Liz. "Heaven knows she doesn't eat the right things- if we let her, she'd survive on jelly babies and toffee apples-"

{She's a bit like a fussing mother, isn't she?}

Well, the Doctor does need someone to take care of her.

Later on, when they're drinking some strangely sweet brown sludge on the ship's deck, discussing adventures, and the Doctor's describing exactly how they escaped from that sentient silence just a few weeks ago, Liz is poking at a computer terminal. A picture comes up of Mel and another girl with chestnut brown hair, wearing a black jacket and grinning cheekily at the camera. 'Doughnut' says a pin on Mel's shirt.

{Her name's Ace.}

"Mel, who's Ace?" Liz calls. The Doctor's head jerks up, and she mouths something incomprehensible, before jumping to her feet to greet the person who's just walked in-

-[and there's a lot of questions to be asked and answered, including how the new girl's Professor is suddenly female and why Ace is still carrying Nitro-Nine- whatever that is- and what will happen next-]

-But there's still time.

There always is.


VI. Glow

She and Jim are alone on some beautiful ice planet where no one is around, and it's always dark, and the moon glistens off the hard diamond surfaces. They're bundled up in a blanket at the tallest peak, and the TARDIS is casting a dim, comforting light from behind them. The Doctor is at work on the console- {she'll be busy for hours}- so they have time to themselves.

"Do you regret doing this?" Liz asks.

Jim shakes his head immediately. "Never."

"Good." Liz kisses Jim's neck, and snuggles into him. "Neither do I."

They stare out in a comfortable silence. Somewhere above them, planets shift along in their orbits around their mother sun, and new matter is born, but just for this moment, it's the two of them. Together, on another world. Liz Baker, explorer of the universe. Who would have thought it? Certainly not her primary school science teacher.

{Do you ever feel that the universe is just... perfect?}

Frequently.

{That's because sometimes it is.}

That's a good thing.

"It's beautiful," says Liz, smiling out at the frozen peaks of water, eternally captured in their last wave of glory. Jim wraps his arms around her.

"No," he says. "You are."

They kiss, under the stars.


Finis.

 

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