Chapter Seven

The first thing John saw after the bright light was darkness. Impenetrable darkness with no source of light that he could see. He looked around and heard Jackie calling to him. He called back and reached out his hand, grasping at the air while he tried to find her hand. Thirty seconds later, her hand found his and he led her to his side.

"Where are we?" Jackie said. "I can't see a bloody thing."

"Neither can I," John said. "And I have a feeling that doesn't bode well for us."

"Rose? Rose! Are you here?"

"I don't think she came with us," John said. "She didn't reach the room in time. I think it's just you and me."

"Great. The last thing I want is to be trapped in a room with you."

John wanted to say "likewise" but he bit back the retort while he tried to keep calm and think of a way out. The air was cool but tolerable and there was a musty smell and the faint hint of the energy exchange from the transmat but other than that, there was nothing to hint at where they were. He cursed silently. His clothes were new, pulled from the TARDIS wardrobe on the spur of the moment so the pockets weren't loaded with useful things like the Doctor's pockets were. He had no torch so he had no way of determining if there was a door or not. For the moment, there was nothing to do except wait to see if someone was going to come and get them.

"Might as well sit down, Jackie," he said. "We're probably in for a long wait."


(Meanwhile in the original universe…)

Clara was worried about the Doctor. Ever since the Tenth and War Doctor left them, he'd been a man on a mission. He didn't tell her what happened after she left him in the gallery but something did happen because when he came back inside, he seemed infused with a new energy and a new purpose in life. Since then, he'd been running scan after scan after scan trying to find out where Gallifrey went. She was happy that Gallifrey hadn't been burned and it could be out there somewhere but it'd been a week now and the search seemed to be consuming his whole life. He hadn't slept, he barely ate and they hadn't gone anywhere, except for a couple of bland places that Clara suspected the Doctor took her to because she whined to the point of getting on his nerves and he wanted to shut her up. Even when they went out of the TARDIS, he still seemed to be occupied with figuring out a way to reach Gallifrey and she finally gave up and left him to his own devices.

Except now he hadn't eaten in three days and Clara decided to finally put her foot down. So she headed to the console room, determined to get her friend to stop and get a good, long rest before tackling the problem again.

She found him in the middle of running another scan and he was so consumed with watching the monitor that he jumped when Clara slammed her hand down on the console.

"Alright! Enough!" she said to him.

"What?" the Doctor said.

"Take…a…break," Clara said.

She sighed when the Doctor gave her a blank look.

"Doctor, you need a rest. Quit running the scans and back away from the console. You need to eat at least."

The Doctor sighed.

"I'm sorry, it's just that…I want to know if my people really did survive," he said, stepping back from the console. "I need to know if Gallifrey is safe."

"I understand that but you can't keep doing this, you'll drop dead of exhaustion. Just…put it aside for the moment and get some rest."

The Doctor stared at his console and Clara knew he was debating whether to follow her advice or keep on going.

"Isn't there a way to find it?" Clara said, stepping in front of him. "Some sort of clue?"

"I've spent the last three days trying to figure that out, Clara," he said.

"It hasn't been three days, Doctor, it's been a week."

She sighed when the Doctor registered shock at that. She figured he'd been so focused on doing this that he lost track of time.

"A week? It's been a whole week?" he said in disbelief.

"Now you see why I want you to have a rest?" Clara said.

The Doctor nodded and Clara breathed a sigh of relief when he stepped completely away from the console and sat down.

"Sorry, I had no idea that much time had passed," he said to her while Clara stood beside him. "I wasn't neglecting you, honestly."

"Doctor, I understand," Clara said, squeezing his shoulder tenderly. "I know you're excited about Gallifrey still being out there but you need to pace yourself or you'll go bonkers. Or…more bonkers than you are now."

She smiled when the Doctor grinned at that.

"You mean I might become an even madder madman in a box?" he said.

"Yeah and I don't know if I could handle any more madness coming from you," Clara teased, pleased that the Doctor seemed to be returning to his old self once more.

"Look, I'll help you find Gallifrey any way that I can but can we at least stop and take a breath now and again?" she said.

"That rhymes," the Doctor said.

He chuckled and stood up when Clara rolled her eyes and grinned.

"Yes. We can take a breather, especially since it has been a week since I really did anything else. Blimey, time goes by fast when you're focusing on something, eh? Okay, where do you want to go then?"

Clara opened her mouth to answer but just like the first time she was at a loss for words. She'd spent so much time just trying to get him to stop fussing over the scans that she hadn't considered where to go if she succeeded. She shrugged.

"Pick something. Something awesome again," she said.

"Ah! I have quite a backlog of awesomeness stored in my noddle," he said, tapping at his temple. "I shall have to access the old database and find something that will wow you like never before."

"Look forward to it," Clara said. "And…well, while I'm being wowed…can't the TARDIS scan for you? I mean, she is alive, yeah? Can't she look for Gallifrey while you're out?"

"I suppose so. Can you do that for me, Old Girl?" he said, walking over and patting the console. "Just try and let me know if you do find it…um…"

He reached into his trouser pockets and pulled out Martha's mobile.

"Here," he said, holding it out to the console. "Scan this and ring it if, by a slim chance, you really do find something, yeah?"

His ship grunted and Clara heard a soft humming that she assumed was the TARDIS scan of the mobile. Then the hum stopped and the Doctor thanked the TARDIS as he put his mobile back in his pocket.

"Right!" the Doctor said, slapping his hands and turning his attention to Clara. "Time to access my Doctor Database and find a bit of awesome for you to enjoy!"

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