Word Count: 1255
Warnings: Implications of rape and abuse, a character in a thoroughly nasty situation, and another character humiliated within an inch of his life
Characters: Rory, the Doctor (eleventh), OC
Summary: The Doctor says very disturbing things when he feels that he has to. An attempt to make an out-of-character idea in character.
Author's Note: Ohh, boy, where to start? All right, I read someone else's rant about a ludicrously out-of-character fanfic they read, in which the Doctor apparently tried to engage a prostitute on Rory's behalf. Most of the comments revolved around ways that the Doctor could end up in this situation while being entirely oblivious, which was funny, but my brain galloped off in a different direction. And I sort of—well—*scuffs foot* I kind of wrote over a thousand words of fanfic on someone else's comm it was late at night shut up don't judge me. This is cleaned up from the original version, thanks (as usual) to Persiflage.
Anyhow, the fic.
Rory waited until they'd turned a corner, blocking out the sight if not the sound of the Crimson Bazaar, before wheeling around with his teeth clenched. "Doctor," he growled, "what the hell are you doing?"
The Doctor was leading a girl on a golden chain, a very pretty girl with silver skin and huge, dark, terrified eyes. She was wearing a collar, an elaborate gagging device that looked like it belonged to the Spanish Inquisition (the real one, not Monty Python), and exactly three strategically places scraps of lace. She was also about sixteen, maybe younger.
The Doctor also looked—Rory always got a chill deep in his bones when the Doctor looked like that.
"Sonicking," he said calmly. And the voice was frightening, too, the sort of gently icy tones he might use to ask a hostile fleet if they knew how many species had died screaming because of him. Rory's stomach gave that unpleasant lurch it sometimes did when he remembered that not all of the Doctor's weaponized reputation was smoke and mirrors.
And, just right now, he didn't care. "You just implied," he said hotly, "that I would—I would—" The fact that the Doctor even knew what anal was—that was disorienting enough, and it was the mildest thing the Doctor had implied Rory was going to do to the girl. He'd managed to give the impression that Rory was some sort of—Rory didn't even know if there was a term for it, the closest he could come up with was submissive Renfield-esque proxy rapist, and his brain was still trying to scrub away the sheer concept. "You made it sound like we'd be bringing her back as a bleeding, battered—I don't even know—"
"Corpse," the Doctor filled in, "possibly." He flashed a quick, very sharp smile. The sonic changed pitch, and the gag-bridle-thing came loose with a snapping noise. The girl's hands twitched, but she didn't reach up to remove it, and that fact made Rory's heart twist. "That way, I got to pay an insurance deposit." Rory got a sudden image of the Doctor counting out thousand-royale bills, and then the Doctor wiping his hands carefully with a handkerchief right after, as if he was offended at the possibility of touching the pimp's fingers. "Here," the Doctor said, and handed the girl her own chain. "Let me help you with that."
"Doctor," Rory said, "just look at her, will you?" The Doctor paused. "Yeah, I'm sure there's a very important reason for you skeeving out everyone in earshot, but you basically told her that she'd either die tonight, or—"
"Or want to die tonight," the Doctor finished softly, taking the gag thing—god, it had a bit—off the girl's face. And the fury, thank goodness, was gone from his voice—although Rory suspected it was still there, folded neatly and tucked away in its own little compartment, ready to be taken out and used like a scalpel on the next slaver they came across. "What's your name?"
The girl tried to look down, which just made the Doctor crouch slightly so he could meet her eyes. "Lan, sir" she whispered.
"This is Rory. I'm the Doctor. There's one thing you should know about me, Lan, and that's that I'm a liar. I've lied tyrants off thrones, I've lied idealists onto them—I've lied to kings and killers and armies and heroes and friends. I lie because people are in danger, I lie because monsters aren't in danger enough, I lie because the truth takes explaining and I can't be bothered, and sometimes, just sometimes, I lie because I can. Don't trust me because of my words, Lan." He smiled, and it was one of his gentle smiles—with the tiniest edge of amused delight, like a man about to work magic for a child who was almost too battered to believe anymore. "Trust me because of this."
He raised the sonic screwdriver. There was a piercing note like a pennywhistle made by pixies, and the green light flared.
Nothing happened, for a moment. The Doctor held Lan's gaze.
Then the noise of the Crimson Bazaar changed. Scattered, incredulous laughter, then a swell of it.
There was an incredulous cry, one significantly higher than run-of-the-mill human voices, like an outraged chipmunk. "What?!" it squeaked. "How? This can't be—nonks! Tinkle, tinkle, little pot—" A roar of mirth drowned out the rest of the rhyme, which was probably (Rory thought) just as well.
"Our friend Fixer Treysel," the Doctor explained happily. "A few nanites dusting the money I gave him; a few harmless, temporary changes. Vocal alterations. A tendency to revert to early memorized language under pressure. A color alteration or six. Of course, the nanites need mass to multiply, but they won't break him down. Just his paper money. And clothes, and toupee, and every shred of reputation and respect he's ever scraped together."
The people on this planet—who were sometimes a bit more Romanesque than Rory was comfortable with—had a saying: "Death is quick. Dishonor is forever." Dignity was an essential commodity for any businessman. Treysel would, at the very least, have to leave the city. At worst—Rory didn't think the Doctor would knowingly drive a man to seppuku, or at least not small fry like Treysel, but—the man was, essentially, a sex slave dealer. Slave dealers made the Doctor cross.
Lan was staring at the Doctor, open-mouthed. She wore an expression Rory had come to know well: the look of a person attempting to reshuffle their universe to include hope.
"I'm a liar," the Doctor said. "But that never means you can't trust me. You are safe with us." Then—rather breaking the moment, Rory thought—he grimaced. "Safe-ish. A bit safe. Safe in principle. There's an uluthian steamghost fixated on you, and if it catches up you after sunsdown you could die hideously of dehydration in less than three minutes, but I have the universe's coolest screwdriver and Amy is stealing us a Melusan crystal, so everything's going to be—"
"Right," the Doctor said, "yes, sorry. The point is, you can trust us. Rory's married, I'm complicated, nobody's going to—" Flaily hands. Five minutes ago, he'd been insinuating things that made Rory's stomach turn, but the moment he dropped character, he was back to flapping like a penguin every time sex was hinted at. Sometimes, the Doctor was just brain-breaking. "Nobody's going to anything. No scold's bridles. No collars. Not even a hand on your shoulder, if you don't want it." He took off his coat—it was the longer, slightly greenish one, not his more usual tweed—and spun it over her shoulders. "Come along, Lan and Pond."
She stood still for a moment, looking stunned. The Doctor was already striding ahead, so Rory moved to her elbow, being as careful as he could not to crowd her. "We should go. He wasn't kidding about the steamghost." Rory glanced upward, but he couldn't gauge how long it was until sunsset from an alley, looking at an unfamiliar bronze sky.
Lan wet her lips, as if speaking was a horrific risk in her world. "Who . . ." It was still a whisper. "Who is he?"
Rory paused, dozens of inadequate answers doing their best to overcrowd his brain. "What he told you," he said finally. "A liar who saves people. Come on."
Lan followed him hesitantly, holding the Doctor's coat around her.