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Claustrophobia
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You tried to recall exactly what led you to be here in this moment. Your brain churned to remember where this all started and how the hell you ended up here. If you recall correctly… it began with a question.

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“What’s going on, Doctor?”

You weren’t quite sure what was happening. One moment he had been leaning on the console and you against the railing of the TARDIS, laughing about a joke about something that was barely important at all and the next you were sent almost to your feet from the sudden jolt. Your hands had gone to grip tight onto the edge of the railing you had been close to and the strain of white had begun to appear around your knuckles as the shaking continues. It had been worse than normal, the movements. You had long ago memorized the familiar rocking of the TARDIS but this had been different. The Doctor hadn’t been laughing out in vigor this time. He had seemed almost serious. Yes, between the shaking and the rumbles, you were quite sure his face had been serious.

The shaking had stopped a good three minutes later and your hands hurt from holding on that tight. If you were a betting person, you would have sworn the TARDIS had gone through hurricane, tornado, and earthquake all at once. Now, however, the rocking settled down and left you a bit unsteady on your feet.

You pride your hands from the railing and glanced at the man next to you who was staring much to intently at the TARDIS monitor. “Doctor?” You remembered saying. “What’s wrong?”

He hadn’t answered. Instead he had glanced at you and then moved towards the door, long brown trench coat blown slightly behind him from the breeze of his movements.

You watched him intently as he had opened the door and poked his head out only to shut it immediately after. There seemed to be a very confused expression on his face and his mouth was open in a puzzled expression. You could have sworn you heard him mutter something along the lines of “Where did you take us, old gal?”

Your hands stuffed into the pockets of the hoodie you were wearing and you jogged down the stairs of the TARDIS console, moving to stand next to him. Your head had tilted to the side and you lean against the side of the door, shoulder supporting your weight. “Come on Doc, what is it?”

He finally glances at you and the perplexed look on his face persists. “It’s nothing.”

“Nothing? Of course it’s something,” You answer with a frown. Was he attempting to hide whatever was out there?

“No, I mean… it’s actually nothing.” He pulled open the door to reveal the darkness ahead of them. It was absolutely dark out there. No light shining to illuminate whatever was out there. It was just… darkness. The Doctor had meant nothing very literally it seemed.

One hand had come out of your pockets to scratch the side of your face. “Are you sure it’s nothing though… You didn’t take us here right? I don’t think we would just be jolted through time to nothing.” You move forward quickly, pushing his arm away in order to pull open his trench coat, fiddle around for half a second as you look for something. You responded to his surprised “Hey!” by giving a quick “shush” as you pulled out his sonic screwdriver. It was the closest you had to a flashlight after all without going to go find one in this giant place.

You knew the vague concept of how this thing worked but it wasn’t any scanning technology that you needed. You just wanted the light that it provided. You remember lightly pushing the Doctor to the side and holding onto the edge of the TARDIS door as you point the sonic out into the darkness.

The light didn’t provide much but it was enough to see that there was a floor to this darkness and the outline of walls several feet to the left and right of you. The distance ahead could only be seen two or three feet in front of the TARDIS but it seemed like enough for you. Enough that you, still grasping the door firmly with one hand, were willing to touch the floor outside with the side of your sneaker.

The Doctor’s warning of “That’s not smart!” fell on inattentive ears but wasn’t necessary anyway. The floor was sturdy enough for you to stand on. “It’s dirt, Doctor, nothing dangerous.” You roll your eyes and step outside the police box completely.

“You couldn’t have known that,” He grumped quietly before following you out and swiping the sonic from your hands. “and don’t take my stuff. You could hurt someone with this.” He seemed very indignant about that little fact.

“Hurt someone? Really now? The worst I could do with that is poke you in the eye.” The man grimaces at your response, giving a grunted “that would still hurt” before attempting to change the subject.

“The TARDIS said air solution out here was regular. Care to go see where she took us?” He glances at you with a grin on his face and you were sure that you didn’t even need to respond for him to know your answer.

“How could I say no,”His smile brightened in the glow of the sonic and the light that still poured from the inside of the machine.

He fiddled with the sonic for a moment before the light of the device strengthened from a dull glow to a steady beam. “Allons-y then.”

Your hand found its way into his as he pulled you slightly into the tunnel. The timelord made constantly sure to keep the light fixed on the ground and walls of the cave and he tested the earth every few feet to make sure there wasn’t anything that was going to fall out from under you and himself. To be honest, you were a bit concerned over that idea as well.

Now, something can be said for you in the fact that you weren’t freaking out right now. You had faced monsters and aliens with the Doctor several times. You had seen stars collapse from mass destruction and you had watched as suns rose over oceans of mercury on galaxies unknown. None of that had bothered you and particularly, this wasn’t bothering you either. You were okay with following the Doctor into darkness. Darkness wasn’t the issue.

What was the issue was that as you walked for what felt like minutes turning into hours, the walls began to draw closer. The light of the sonic began to illuminate more of the path ahead due to this… but as stated, the darkness never bothered you. Walls inching closer, however, did. The passageway of what had eventually gone from an open tunnel had slowly began to encompass the feel of a small cave and you had never been one for tight spaces.

But that fear wasn’t something that usually mattered. You don’t remember many times when you were forced to be in spaces that were smaller than a normal hallway. In fact, even hiding someplace like under a bed didn’t scare you. Your claustrophobia had never been all that big of a defining factor for you. You don’t even remember mentioning this little fact to the Doctor, that’s how little you let it affect you. But now… now it was going on a good forty minutes of walking and you and the man had been forced to walk almost in single line formation rather than side by side …. And you were beginning to feel like you couldn’t breathe.

He seemed perfectly calm, however. The darkness didn’t seem to affect him nor the close quarters. The fact that the walls were so close that if you stretched your hands out to the left or right you’d be touching them didn’t seem to affect him in the slightest. So you tried not to let it get to you either.

You really really tried.

You kept yourself breathing evenly as he suddenly stopped in front of you with a “Wait, wait, stop.” You felt it would be a bit too sarcastic to point out that you had no choice but to stop since he was blocking your way.

“This part up here is going to take more maneuvering… is that okay with you? We’re going to have to be really careful… the rocks up ahead seem to be shifting and if we aren’t careful, they may move to block our path.” He seems to be fine with the idea and his voice was still pretty calm but you didn’t answer.

After a few seconds he glances back at you, probably wondering why you hadn’t responded, and you attempt to shield your emotions from your face as quickly as possible. After all, he was having fun. Who were you to ruin that for him? You were just… this was just… you would get over your stupid little fear. You were stronger than it.

“Alright, sure, you go first,” You said with a small laugh and while he did seem to frown a little at the wobble in your voice, he nodded all the same.

“Just go really slowly and follow after me. Try to walk where I walk.” He began to move very carefully through the passageway, one step at a time. There seemed to be certain rocks that he would step over but it was dark… and in the dark, what with the way you were feeling, you were bound to make a mistake.

And make a mistake you did.

You could blame it on several things. The fact that there seemed to be water now dripping from the cave ceiling onto your head or the fact that you were simply clumsy. However, whatever the case may have been, you were at fault when you felt something cold roll down the back of your t-shirt and you screeched. No, that’s an under exaggerating. You both screeched and tripped over the set of rocks you were trying to step over, falling heaving against the cave wall.

It was your fault you were in this mess.

The entire tunnel gave a rumble as your shoulder braced your impact against the cave wall. You could feel a layer of dirt fall onto your body as you glance upward. The entire passageway began to rock and your concentration was split four ways. It was between clawing at your back to get whatever that was off it, holding your shoulder because pain was shooting through it like an electrical shock, worrying that the entire cave seemed to be giving its best impersonation of a rumbling dragon, or the fact that the Doctor was giving what may have actually been a curse and had turned around to help you up.

“We have to move, now! Hurry,” He ordered, helping you to your feet as quickly as possible. You didn’t even have time to wonder what was happening as the dust falling down on you turned to pebbles and the pebbles to rocks. He was pulling you along now and the roof was collapsing and damn it all, you were going to die. That’s what was going to happen wasn’t it. You were going to die. This was most likely the worst way you could possibly die. This was the worst death you could imagine for yourself. Buried under tons of rocks in darkness forever…

The rocks turned to boulders and the walls began to crumble around you. You barely had time to let out a cry for help as the Doctor’s hand slipped from yours and you felt something hit you on the back of the head. Then darkness that was equal or greater to the caves washed over you.

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This was where you were now. Waking up to throbbing ache in your head and shoulder and the feeling of cramped muscles in every part of your body. The fact that you woke up at all surprised you. What you woke up to surprised you as well. Something or someone was holding you down. You could feel pressure on your shoulder, keeping you steady. There was also a voice…. One you recognize after a moment or two.

The Doctor was saying something to you in a fairly concerned manner. But whatever he was saying wasn’t as important as the fact that the pressure on your shoulder suddenly increased in one swift motion. You felt bone pop and muscle realign itself and the groan you let out was definitely not pleasant. In fact, if you had been more aware of what was happening to you, you were certain you would have screamed.

“It’s alright, it’s alright. You’re going to be fine.” You heard him say multiple times as his hands ran over your shoulder and up to your hair, brushing against your cheek and occasionally grazing up to the source of the ache on the back of your head.  

“You’re going to be fine…”

Your eyes finally flickered open after some time and peered up at him. However, there was little light to actually see the Doctor by. Whatever had happened before must have done something to the sonic because you could barely make out enough light to spot the Doctor’s features let alone anything else. But he noticed somehow when you opened your eyes and that smile… that smile was still bright even with the little to no light.

“Welcome back to the world of the living,” You hear him say as you try to sit up, succeeding with a bit of effort. Your eyes glance around to try to take in where you were. Still the cave, obviously.

“This was a bad idea.” You stated dryly as you use your good hand to reach up and touch the source of the pain.

“Maybe just a little. How are you feeling? I had to reset your shoulder…” He asks, brow furrowed as he seems to hover like a mother duck over you, hands close to the source of your injuries but not touching them as if he was afraid he would just hurt you more.

`“Could be worse.” You answer and you weren’t trying to be brave. After all, from what you could ascertain, it could definitely be worse. It seemed like a cave collapsed on the two of you.

“That it could be,” He laughed before sitting down next to you. “But we are in a bit of a jam now. The way back to the TARDIS has been blocked.”

You could feel your eyes widen as you glance around and this time, you can more clearly distinguish the fact that there was now a large pile of rocks that covered one side of the tunnel.

It was at that point that the fear began to slip into you even more. You were trapped. Not just to be buried alive but this… this was worse. Dear god above, this was worse. Your knees pulled tight in on you and you stare at that pile, eyes wide and not breathing.

You could almost feel the walls closing in on you now and just as quickly as you had stopped breathing, you are now breathing to fast. A small “Oh god,” slips from your lips as you glance around you. You have to get out of here. You have to get away from this place. Go somewhere where there is sun and open air. Was there even air in this place? You didn’t feel as if you could breathe.

You almost had forgotten about the Doctor until hands were on your good shoulder, pulling you to face him. “Hey! ________. Are you alright? Look at me! What’s wrong?”

You couldn’t answer. All you could think about, all you could feel, is the fact that the walls seemed to be inching slowly inward. They were going to crush the both of you, you were sure. It was too tight in here. Too hot. There was no air for your lungs to breathe anymore. It was too small, too tight. No, no no.

“_______, calm down. Breathe. Look at me and breathe.” The Doctor’s voice had turned into an order and the hands that were on your shoulders shook you slightly, forcing you to look at him.

       You try. You really do. You force your lungs to perform the task that is usually so easy for them but still, you couldn’t get over this.

It probably took the Doctor less than ten seconds or so to figure out what was wrong but those ten seconds felt like eons to you. Eons of slow creeping agony as you knew that you were going to die. This place was going to crush you or suffocate you one way or another.

You hear the whispered “Oh… OH” from him but it doesn’t register. He was coming around to the conclusion obviously as you could feel your hands digging into your knees, pulling you into a tighter ball to make yourself smaller. “You’re claustrophobic. Caves, tight spaces, ohhh. It all makes sense now.”

Suddenly he was there. His hands were wrapped around you and pulling you towards him. You tried to fight the hold because it was almost as bad as the closing walls and you needed to breathe… but he was far stronger than you in that moment. You were still curled up in a tight little ball as he held you to his chest.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. It’s going to be alright, okay? We’ll get out of here, I promise. Just breathe and relax.” You didn’t want to listen to his words. You wanted to shut everything around you out so that nothing could get to you but the feel of his warm body pressed against yours caused an almost involuntarily reaction. You could feel yourself relaxing without your own command and you found that you could almost breath again. Almost.

“That’s it, it’s alright.” He said again, lips pressing once against your hair before he tugged you closer and shifted so that he could stand up successfully with you held firmly in his arms. He stood there for a minute or so, holding you like a small child as you held onto the lapels of his coat, grasping for dear life as you buried your face into his chest. Finally, he began to walk, the light of the sonic dying away and you would make a guess that it had gotten buried under rubble back there. Now there was nothing to guide the Doctor as he moved.

But you more focused on the sound of two beating hearts you could hear in his chest and the stepping of his feet against the ground. You could feel your body relax minute by minute into him until you knew you were going to be okay, just as he said. You had faced down monsters and demons and aliens alike… a cave wouldn’t kill you. Not if he was there.

Suddenly, the timelord stopped and you raised your head from where it was buried in his jacket. Your eyes had been shut tight for so long, trying to block out the world around you, that you hadn’t even noticed the change in that world.

And what a change it was.

The tunnel had lit up to a near brilliant glowing blue. The lights of every color adorned the roof of the cave, leading a long trail of luminescence down farther into the cave. You hadn’t seen something like this before and by all examples, this was one of the most beautiful things you had ever seen. The glow seemed to come from some kind of rocks that adorned the ceiling or perhaps they weren’t rocks at all. Maybe they were something else. But whatever they were, they seemed to pulse with an energy that was for almost incomprehensible. What you saw caused your mouth to hang wide and your eyes to grow like orbs. It was beautiful.

“Bioluminescent Incongra,” You could hear the Doctor say, a laugh in his voice. “They only glow when there is no other light around. They must have been there for quite some time… but the sonic and the glow from the TARDIS had been preventing from showing to us.” The timelord shook his head. “All this time.”

You give a small smile and continue to stare. All this time he had said. It could have been there for hours and you wouldn’t have noticed it… if the walls hadn’t crumbled in on you.

“And look…. If that’s what I think it is then there would be the TARDIS.” The Doctor pointed out, shifting you in his arms to point down the tunnel. “The cave in must have opened up another tunnel to get back what with all the rock changes.” He breathed out a breathy laugh before glancing down at your face.

You were actually going to make it out of there. You were going to be fine. There was your way out of this place and you weren’t going to have to die in a cave forever. “Why did she send us here?” You finally find yourself questioning. There was no reason for coming here. None at all. There was no one to save, no one to battle. There was no victory to be had.

The Doctor didn’t answer for some time. Instead he began to walk again, making their way to the TARDIS once again. When he did speak, it was when he was setting you down in front of the familiar call box. “You know… these stones only glow when there is no other light to be had. This whole time we were walking following what we thought was a dark and lonely cave when really had we shut off the lights, we would have been guided all along.” His lips pinched together and he pressed another soft kiss to your head. “And I suppose, that fear of yours doesn’t seem so frightening now, does it. Take of that what you will.”

And with that, he opened the TARDIS doors and light poured into the tunnel again, making the rocks disappear immediately from your sight once more. He gave you one small wink before moving inside, making the doors swing behind him and shut once more. Slowly the glow returned one rock at a time like little creatures appearing again after being sent into hiding. He was right, of course. He always was. That fear didn’t seem like it was as pressing as it had been before. This place no longer made your skin crawl like it had. Instead it had a sense of beauty to it all. You smile at the TARDIS doors and shake your head slowly. He was right.

And you learned something else too, in all of this. Not only was this tunnel beautiful but in the dark, when you were panicking and terrified of everything around you, the Doctor glowed as well.
I wanted to right a story about a companion that had actual faults and fears. Someone more like a normal person. Not only that, but write the Doctor with the compassion you saw in 9 and 10. This was the half-decent result ;x;
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:iconkaterinashizuma:
KaterinaShizuma Featured By Owner May 2, 2017  Student Writer
This reminds me of Avatar....hmmmm
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:iconabbysquared:
abbysquared Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2015
...most perfect story EVAH!!!

(Not only cause I'm claustrophobic myself and you explained it very well but also cause I LOVE TENNANT!!!!! 😊😊😊😊😊)
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:iconmjfsuperstar92:
Mjfsuperstar92 Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2015  Student General Artist
I don't have claustrophobia, but that's exactly how anxiety attacks feel. I think we all need a glowing Doctor sometimes
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:icongingerbreadtardis99:
GingerbreadTARDIS99 Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Great story! I love it! :D (Big Grin) 
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:iconfloridadaawesome:
Floridadaawesome Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2015
"Why did the tardis bring us here?" 

Easy, she ships it. XD 
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:iconaphftwb-tches:
aphftwb-tches Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2015
Literally AND metaphorically! :D
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:iconfloridadaawesome:
Floridadaawesome Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2015
YES! YOU UNDERSTAND! 
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:iconaphftwb-tches:
aphftwb-tches Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2015
:iconoldschoolownedplz:
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:iconfloridadaawesome:
Floridadaawesome Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2015
hug APH Prussia tackle hug 
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:iconartlover626:
artlover626 Featured By Owner Edited Jun 24, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
SECRET TUNNEL----! SECRET TUNNEL---! THROUGH THE MOUNTAI------NS! SECRET, SECRET, SECRET TUNNEL---------------!!!
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:iconbadgersoul494:
BadgerSoul494 Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Yay! I'm not the only one who got that.
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:iconaphftwb-tches:
aphftwb-tches Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2015
AND DIIIIIIIIIE
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:iconartlover626:
artlover626 Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
.:Sokka on Cactus Juice:. 
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:iconaphftwb-tches:
aphftwb-tches Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2015
:iconfriendlymushroomplz:
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:iconshiroyukineko:
ShiroYukiNeko Featured By Owner May 3, 2015
Badger moles! Avatar moment there...Party Hard! 

Cute!
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:iconaphftwb-tches:
aphftwb-tches Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2015
SECRET TUNNELLLLLLLL   SECRET TUNNELLLLL THROUGH THE MOUNTAIIIIIIIIIN  SECRET SECRE SECRET TUNNELLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!
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:iconlakeore:
Lakeore Featured By Owner May 5, 2015  Student Filmographer
Yes indeed! <3
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:iconkolonialghostt:
kolonialghostt Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This is just so perfect. Except, not only am I claustrophobic, I'm also scared of the dark, so when I saw the darkness of the cave, I would've been like, "I'll just wait here in the TARDIS, have fun exploring, Doctor!"
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:icontiffanylovesfanfic:
Tiffanylovesfanfic Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2014
Awe. That was cute how the doctor was like being a mother hen to me.
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:iconnekodemon37:
NekoDemon37 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2014
Cave of two lovers!!! ATLA reference right?
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:iconlakeore:
Lakeore Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2014  Student Filmographer
You are the first to notice it!
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:iconnekodemon37:
NekoDemon37 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2014
Awesome! I'm so proud of myself. =^-^=
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:iconrinoaeris:
Rinoaeris Featured By Owner May 7, 2014
Oh my god this is just...asfgdgrdgu! *ahem*
I agree with TheEveling, it's so hard to find realistic 'x reader' stories that keeps The Doctor (or any fictional character for that matter) in character...and doesn't make the Reader/OC out to be a Mary Sue!

Please write more fics with the 10th Doctor in it :)
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:iconlakeore:
Lakeore Featured By Owner May 7, 2014  Student Filmographer
Everyone has their faults. I love making characters human and real... because it makes it feel more as if any person could in fact be the Doctor's companion then. Since it's supposed to be a reader fic and the people reading it are human, making them have fears and struggles is kind of required. At least, that's how I see it :D

I'm thinking about another one now. This idea was on a spur of the moment. The next one I hope will be more thought out. <3
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:iconelfen-lied-lover-357:
Elfen-Lied-Lover-357 Featured By Owner May 5, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
dis is WONDERFUL:happybounce:  =D my fears put into it AND The Doctor, it's once again, WONDERFUL Love  Thank you for they storyyyy Hug 
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:iconlakeore:
Lakeore Featured By Owner May 5, 2014  Student Filmographer
You're welcome! I appreciate that you appreciate it *X*
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:iconelfen-lied-lover-357:
Elfen-Lied-Lover-357 Featured By Owner May 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
lol np Edward Elric (I got this) [V1] don't ask, i just felt that Edward had to be there x3
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:iconlakeore:
Lakeore Featured By Owner May 8, 2014  Student Filmographer
oxo Alright then xD
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:iconelfen-lied-lover-357:
Elfen-Lied-Lover-357 Featured By Owner May 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
i have an obsession with random anime gifs in my comments XDEne (Smile) [V7] 
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:icontheeveling:
TheEveling Featured By Owner May 5, 2014
I love this. It's hard to find a good 'x reader' these days, let alone one that's realistic-and it's even harder to find one that highlights one of my worst traits.
Dear Block, tight spaces.

Props for actually having the grammars. I approve.
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:iconlakeore:
Lakeore Featured By Owner May 5, 2014  Student Filmographer
You make my day with a complement like this. ;3;
I'm not really sure where the idea as a whole came from but I wanted to highlight the fact that companions are certainly human to and have their fears just like everyone else. They aren't superhumans with no soul after all. Everyone's afraid of something. I don't think you see the companions own... humanity quite well in the shows. They aren't always comparable to average people.
Also, don't complement my grammar. It sucks. This was written in the span of three hours before I hit the bed and that's never a good moment when it comes to grammar.
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:icontheeveling:
TheEveling Featured By Owner May 5, 2014
ANYTIME(my iPad corrected that to anime) is a good time for grammar. Grammar is love, grammar is life.
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