Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 3046
Author's Summary: For twenty-seven years after her father’s death, Ruth Mills has a guardian angel to watch over her. He’s called the Doctor, but this story isn’t even a little bit like a fairy tale.
Characters/Pairings: The Doctor and Ruth Mills from the Big Finish Unbound series, Full Fathom Five
Recc'ed Because: More forays to the fringes of the fandom, of Alternate Universes and audio adventures. This is a companion piece to the BFA Full Fathom Five. lost_spook says of this story, "This story is spoiler-free and intended as a teaser/prequel, or standalone, set in the audio’s 27 year gap. (Trust me. Somebody had to do it.)" Well, no one better than herself to do so, and not just because the AU Doctor in this story is played by perennial favorite David Collings ;)
I don't think I'm spoiling when I say that the audio gives us a glimpse into a darker Doctor, one for whom the ends justify the means. Just that tiny tweak in his personality is enough to set forth a strange parody of events we might have seen in a kinder, gentler character like the Eleventh or perhaps Third incarnations, undercut by nothing but ulterior motives. The audio is definitely worth tracking down and listening to. And this story is worth reading for its expert prose and for the way the author effortlessly captures the spirit and character of the audio story, taking everything we know and love and recognize about the Doctor, turning it on its ear, and leaving us asking, 'But what if...'
The Doctor turned the corner sharply, in time to catch two boys standing over Ruth, huddled back against the wall, tearful but glaring fiercely. One of them darted away at the sight of him, but the other only shifted his ground and looked back at him with a gaze that said: so what? You can’t touch me.
“Ruth,” the Doctor said, moving past the boy as if he didn’t exist. He helped her up, noting that her hair was half out of her ponytail and she had gained scratches and marks that she hadn’t had when he’d left her. “Your mother is in the corner shop — I suggest you go and join her.”
Ruth took a shaky breath, also clearly trying not to put weight on one leg. “But, Doctor -.”
The Doctor paused for a moment, letting her leave before rounding on the teenaged boy with a swiftness that startled the aggressive confidence out of him. He pinned him up against the wall, much as this childish would-be tyrant had done to Ruth, and then drew back, pulling a paper bag from his pocket. “Want a jelly baby?”