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The Ice Warriors and Mrs. Pond: Part 3

So yeah.  Today is Wednesday.  Sorry 'bout that.  I did mention Tuesdays were awkward?  I was exhausted and a little under the weather yesterday, so I decided to just post today.  Sorry again for being late.  Also, happy 4th to all my fellow Americans!

The Ice Warriors and Mrs. Pond
By: Memory Dragon
Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who, nor do I make any claim to.
Characters:  Amy Pond, Third Doctor, Brigadier, Sergeant Benton, Ice Warriors.
Warnings: Amy's wrath at being captured yet again.  Nothing else too major this time though, unless you count awkward cliffhangers.
Rating: PG-13
Summary:  Amy is so through being captured.  It's the Doctor's turn this time, and the Brigadier is going to have to keep up if he's going to help her clear their names!
Notes: Good Lord, I hate Ice Warrior names.  I really, really do.  So awkward to type.  Also, this chapter is a bit longer than the others and the last one will be short.  Nar suggested a more conventional cliff-hanger that would give the chapters some semblance of similar length, but I ended up liking the chapter end better here.  More dramatic, I think.  Hopefully you'll forgive the lack of equality in the length and enjoy it anyway.
Thanks: Many thanks to narwhale_callin for betaing and putting up with my whining over how long it took to write.  <3 

For the other fics in Amy-verse, click the Amy-verse tag.

Chapter 1  Chapter 2 



~

"Hey, let go!" she said, wheeling around to give whoever it was a piece of her mind. Hey, wait. That armor looked familiar. She was surprised to find Ixkyr was the one holding her arm, even more surprised to see the Brigadier already leveling a gun at him.

"I suggest you release Mrs. Pond," he said, gaze never leaving the Ice Warrior.

"You have good reflexes," Ixkyr said, still not letting go of her arm. It wasn't a painful grip, just firm. He didn't let go when Amy tried to pull free. "I suggest you come with me."

The mutual suspicion in the air was so heavy that Amy felt like she was being crushed. "Oi," she said, interrupting their glaring session. "Look, we figured out who did it and we have proof. Now are we going to work together on this or are you just going to threaten us?"

The Brigadier gave her a silent warning and didn't lower the gun, but the Ice Warriors in the area were surrounding them. Really, she wasn't the one making trouble here! "Do you want the proof or not?" she asked, putting her free hand on her hip.

Finally, Ixkyr let go of her. The Brigadier lowered his gun and re-holstered it after a pointed look from Amy. "We need to go somewhere we can talk," the Ice Warrior said, waving to the others to go back to their duties. Ixkyr led them to another meeting room furnished much the same way as the first had been - comfy benches without tables and beautiful patterns along the wall. Seriously, what did the Ice Warriors have against chairs with backs?

Amy took one of the middle benches, letting the boys sort themselves out around her as she pulled out her mobile. "Okay, look. We don't have a lot of time-"

"I am aware of the situation," Ixkyr said, surprising both of them as he held up a small crystal. "I have been monitoring your progress."

"You've been spying on us?" Amy asked furiously.

"I did not trust you. However, it appears I was suspicious of the wrong people." He gave a small bow of apology, and yeah, alright. She could see his point. Still - spying! Just because they had been planning to do it to him didn't mean she had to like it.

"Then you believe us now?" she asked.

"No," he said, frustrating Amy further. "You are still not all that you appear to be. I hard the two of you speaking."

"If we were to explain the situation, would you believe us?" the Brigadier asked thoughtfully.

"I would consider it," Ixkyr said.

"Then we can explain as we go get the Doctor," Amy said, tugging on the Brigadier's arm towards the door. "They're going to send the alarm out any second now!"

"Then you would find this passage more convenient than the corridors." Ixkyr walked over to the wall and touched the red center of one of the white flowers. A door opened with a quiet swish on the wall where Amy hadn't even seen evidence of a door.

The Brigadier raised his eyebrows, but Amy was too busy celebrating to herself. A secret passage! Now those were exciting. Useful too. Why couldn't they find those more often? "Only the officers know of these routes," Ixkyr explained just as the alarm went off.

"Intruder alert! The alienss are impostorss! Capture them alive at all costss. Intruder alert. I repeat-"

"If you would follow me?" Ixkyr asked, glancing up at the intercom on the wall.

Amy nodded, stepping into the narrow corridor. The Brigadier followed after her, gun drawn, and Ixkyr sealed the door behind them. The alarm thankfully cut short once it was closed.

If Ice Warriors' helmets could look expectant, Ixkyr's appeared to be that way right now. Oh, yeah. Explaining. "Okay, so you know how we arrived in the blue box, right?" Amy said, letting Ixkyr squeeze by to lead the way. It was slightly awkward, what with his armor and all. She didn't want to imagine it with the bulkier armor of the regular warriors. No wonder these passageways weren't widely known. "Well, it's a space ship and time machine, all in one," she finished before she could get too sidetracked thinking about the armor.

"A time machine?" Ixkyr asked skeptically, turning to the Brigadier for confirmation.

"When it's working," the Brigadier replied. "I never quite believed it myself, but it appears there was some stock to his claims after all."

Well, thanks for believing him and not me, Amy thought as Ixkyr seemed to take the Brigadier's word. "Apparently, him coming here and giving you that relic hasn't happened for him yet," she continued to explain. "Hazard of time travel."

"So you are saying that what happened in the past for us is the future for you?"

"Yeah, that about sums it up," Amy said. "Explains why he was able to predict what would happen when he 'came back' to see the relic again with that prophesy. He had already done it."

Ixkyr was silent for a few moments as he led them through the halls. He paused at a door, nearly causing Amy to run into him. "The Doctor is in this room," Ixkyr said.

"Great! Then let's get him out!" Amy said. Except Ixkyr was blocking the door and not moving aside. "Aren't we?"

Again, Ixkyr fell silent. Sure the story was a bit far-fetched, but it was the truth! They weren't the ones who had been proven as trying to kill him!

"We are running out of time, Sub-Commander," the Brigadier said, putting on his best military tone. "Whether or not you believe our circumstances, we have been proven innocent of the theft and your commanding officers guilty. Surely that is enough to let us clear our names and arrest the real culprit."

He was doing the eyebrow thing again, and it was apparently just as effective against aliens who never took off their helmets as it was with humans. Was it some sort of warrior thing, that Ixkyr wouldn't take her word, but he'd believe the Brigadier? Or did they have some sort of prejudice against red hair? Really she was tired of being ignored. "Can we get moving?" she asked with her hands on her hips.

They were all surprised when the door clicked open on its own to reveal the Doctor and his sonic screwdriver. "You're all making quite a ruckus in here," he said, peering into the corridor. "Good heavens. If I had known this existed, I wouldn't have stayed cooped up in this room."

"Doctor!" Amy felt something loosen in her chest as she pushed past Ixkyr and hugged him. The worry she had been trying not to think about since the announcement dissolved neatly.

He returned the tight hug before patting her on the head, like the grandfather in one half of her memories. "Hello, Amy. It's good to see you're alright. I was worried after I heard the announcement," he said, with a special fondness he reserved only for her in this regeneration. She always liked that feeling. The combination of motor oil and lavender that never left this regeneration of the Doctor was also soothing.

"Sub-Commander, Brigadier," he said as she pulled away, nodding to each of them. "Would someone mind explaining what this impostor nonsense is about?"

Amy moved aside to let the Doctor into the small corridor, speaking quietly as she wondered how thin the walls were. "It's rubbish. Nyrytzl's set us up so he can get a promotion. He wants Ixkyr dead too!"

"Not very cordial of him," the Doctor said, closing the trick door behind him.

"Apparently, the relic is still broken as well," the Brigadier added.

"That makes things more difficult. And I take it we have no proof?" the Doctor asked dryly.

Amy held up her mobile smugly. "Camera phone. If you can plug it in, we can broadcast the whole conversation where Nyrytzl confesses."

"I suppose even mobiles come in handy on occasion," the Doctor said in a huff.

The Brigadier looked patiently clueless as the talk of technology went over his head, pressing on when he thought they were done. "Can you do it, Doctor?" he asked.

"Can I do it? Of all the preposterous questions... My dear fellow, of course I can hack into their systems. It will be quite simple really, once we get to the control center." The Doctor tried placing his hands on his hips like Amy had earlier, but forgot how crowded it was. He ended up knocking his elbow against Ixkyr's armor and rubbed the sore spot with a wince. "Sorry, old chap. But the relic is more of a concern right now. You said it was broken?"

"According to what Commander Nyrytzl said, he couldn't find any scientists that could fix it," Ixkyr said solemnly. "And if the others were to find out it was still broken, there would be widespread panic. We have relied on this relic for too long, Doctor."

The Doctor hummed, looking thoughtful. "Yes, I'd rather avoid that as well. I did pick up something that might be useful when I stopped your people from taking over the Earth. It was a sort of... er, I suppose a seed would be the closest word. I couldn't leave it on Earth where some fool might accidentally set it off. It should still be somewhere on the TARDIS."

"So we just substitute the new one for the broken one?" Amy asked, wondering if it could really be that easy.

"Yes, that would do nicely, if the Sub-Commander has no objections," the Doctor said with a small grin. "We don't even have to let the others know it was fake, and then the Commander would have no panic to take advantage of."

"It is a..." Ixkyr paused, long enough for Amy to wonder if he was fidgeting under all that armor, "...convenient solution, I admit. Though it is not honorable to lie."

"When lives are at stake, honor can only serve you so far," the Brigadier said. "And many lives are lost in riots, Sub-Commander, which is what you said would happen if this information was released."

She could see Ixkyr was wavering, and Amy racked her brain for the right thing to say to convince him. They'd never be able to find their way back to the TARDIS without his help. "Faith is important, yeah?" she said finally. "And your people have believed for 500 years that the relic would save them. And it's going to, just not in the way everyone thinks. The lie won't hurt anyone, not since we're trying to help, but like the Brigadier said, the truth would cause more trouble. I think that sometimes, you've got to do something that's not a good thing, and it can be honorable, if it's for the greater good. Not that it's an excuse or anything, but..."

"You speak wisely, fiery one," Ixkyr said finally. "It is no excuse, but it is a fact that this is the only way to save lives. I will help you back to your craft, if that is the best way to serve my people."

"You are an honorable man, Sub-Commander," the Doctor said gravely, with a comforting pat on Ixkyr's back. "Lead the way."

* * *

Getting outside of the complex was easy. The secret corridors had outside exits, and patrols of the perimeter were few and far between due to the planet's atmosphere. "It's the trees, you know," the Doctor explained while they were hiding behind one of them. "They give off more oxygen than all the rainforests of Earth combined, and the Ice Warriors are more susceptible to oxygen poisoning. Humans will feel it too, if you stay out here long enough."

"No thanks," Amy replied. They both looked sheepish as the Brigadier shushed them.

As they stood a few meters away from the TARDIS, a problem arose. Three guards stood in front of the blue police box. "So how are we going to deal with them?" she asked. She didn't think feminine wiles would help, though she was tempted to suggest it just to scandalize the Doctor and the Brigadier.

"Would they have heard the alarm, do you think?" the Doctor asked Ixkyr.

"They have radios," Ixkyr replied. "And Commander Nyrytzl would have sent someone at the first alarm. He was always efficient."

"Then could you just get them to look the other way?" Amy asked. "You're their commanding officer, right?"

Ixkyr nodded slowly. "Which would require more lying."

Okay, this whole honor thing was really starting to get on her nerves. "There are only three of them," the Brigadier said before she could go off on him. "We can take care of the guards. You need a strong position when we take on Nyrytzl, and we don't have time to explain the truth to them."

"No," the Ice Warrior said, his voice filled with sadness. "If we can send them away without hurting them, it would be better. It appears we cannot do things in halves."

"In for a penny?" the Doctor asked with kind eyes. Then he motioned for the Brigadier to move forward. She watched as her boys took positions on either side of the TARDIS and found herself a sturdy stick she could use off the forest ground. Not that a stick would be much good against armor, but it was better than nothing.

Ixkyr backtracked enough to come down the pathway openly. "Sub-Commander Ixkyr!" the first Ice Warrior said, turning uncertainly to one of the other guards.

"There has been an emergency with the captives. Everyone is needed back at the base," Ixkyr said with a gruff tone.

"I'm sorry, Sub-Commander, but we have received word that you are in league with the impostors," one of the other guards said, stepping forward. All three of them raised their guns. "Please surrender your weapon and come peacefully."

Amy was fairly certain that Ixkyr's helmet couldn't express emotion, but when he looked down at the snow, she could have sworn it looked sorrowful. "Then I am truly sorry for this, but we don't have time to explain the truth."

The Brigadier and the Doctor sprang from their hiding places as Ixkyr spoke. The Doctor did his space kung-fu to chop the guard's gun hand before attempting to reach for his neck. The Brigadier was much less elegant as he grappled with his guard, but no less effective. He tackled the Ice Warrior into the snow and was trying to make him drop the gun.

It left the last guard to Ixkyr, who took even less time than the Doctor to disarm him. He shot his own gun at the guard's hand and moved in to knock him out with a swift blow to the head with the gun's butt.

Amy put down her stick and leaned against the tree. Her boys obviously had it sorted, so she had no problem with simply admiring the view. No problem at all. She caught the Doctor's exasperated expression as she whistled and winked at him after he tossed the guard over his shoulder.

The fight was over in a matter of seconds, and Amy spared a thought for the Doctor's very shapely behind as he helped the Brigadier up. Oh, how long she'd spent staring at her Doctor, before Rory had come with them. There was nothing wrong with looking, after all, and when she was constantly surrounded by military men, Amy could hardly be expected not to enjoy herself. Even Rory... Well, Rory wasn't here right now, was he? If he wanted her to look at him more, he'd have to get his butt over here.

"What are we going to do with them, Doctor?" the Brigadier asked, frowning as he brushed off little bits of snow that had gotten in his hair.

"Let's bring them inside the TARDIS for now, shall we?" the Doctor replied. He turned to Ixkyr with a gentle expression. "I promise no harm will come to them, old chap. We'll let them go as soon as this confusion is cleared up."

"Thank you, Doctor," Ixkyr said with a polite bow. He sounded breathier than usual as he leaned down to check over one of the fallen guards. Amy realized with a start that he was breathing much heavier than a short fight would have warranted. Even the Brigadier looked a little winded, but he was holding up better.

"Amy, why don't you take Ixkyr inside the TARDIS whilst the Brigadier and I take care of these fellows?" the Doctor asked, noticing the same thing.

"Yeah, sure," she said, offering a hand to Ixkyr. He stood up without her help, but swayed slightly. "Hey, were you hurt?"

"It's the atmosphere, Amy," the Doctor explained. "I don't believe the Sub-Commander was able to take any protection against it on the way out, since we had to sneak through the checkpoints. Between the walk here and the fight..."

"I am... fine, Doctor. You need not... concern yourself with me," Ixkyr said, the need to breathe forcing him to pause mid-sentence.

"No, you're not," Amy said, giving him a very light push towards the TARDIS. "Come on. Pushing yourself here won't help your people."

Ixkyr wavered for a moment, but nodded finally, letting her take his arm and lead him through the doors after the Doctor fished out the key. Now that she was aware of it, it really was a bit easier to breathe once they were in the TARDIS. Amy had never thought that too much oxygen would have that much effect.

"This place..." Ixkyr said breathlessly. Amy didn't think it was only because of the atmosphere outside.

"It's bigger on the inside," she finished for him, hiding her own amusement.

"You..." he said, a bit of wonder entering his voice. "You really are the companions of the Doctor."

"Yup, that's us." Because as unbelievable as all of this was, it was her life. And... Well, she would have it another way, if she could have Rory with her, but Amy didn't regret traveling with the Doctor. She couldn't.

That revelation hit her, and she felt just as breathless as Ixkyr. No matter how much she missed Rory, she wouldn't trade this life for the world. She just wanted Rory here to share it with her, was all. "Can I get you anything," she asked abruptly to cover the sharp pains in her chest that had nothing to do with the atmosphere. "Water, or a chair?"

"I am fine, thank you," Ixkyr said, leaning against the wall. Amy really did miss the orange chair in her Doctor's console room. A hat rack really didn't offer much support when one wanted to sit down. She led him to one of the corridors, finding a nice couch for them both to sit on.

Outside, she could hear the Doctor and the Brigadier taking care of the guards, and though it was hard to tell in the armor, Amy thought Ixkyr stiffened. "You're doing the right thing," she said. "We've got a saying, back on Earth, that the ends justify the means. And that's not always true, but I think in this case it does."

"And where does honor lie in these means?" Ixkyr asked, his voice betraying his confliction where his body was unreadable. "How does one return to the honorable way once that line is crossed?"

"You're doing the right thing," she repeated, unsure of what else to say. "There's gotta be honor in that, right? Even if we're lying and hurting people, the bad guys who are really dishonorable would get away with it if we didn't. Especially now that they've gotten everyone else pegged against us. It's all we can do, but we're going to set things right."

"Perhaps," Ixkyr said cryptically, his mental armor going back up.

Had she said the wrong thing? She was about to try again when the Doctor came in. "Ah, there you are. The guards have been taken care of."

"Then all we need is the seed-thingy?" Amy asked, dreading how long it would take the Doctor to find it.

He tossed a small, pale ball at her, which she caught automatically. "What's this?"

"My dear Amy, that is a highly advanced bio-engineered terraformer. It is not a 'seed-thingy' as you termed it," he replied.

She looked down at the plain ball in her hands. This little ball was supposed to be able to change the atmosphere and habitat of the planet? She looked up at the Doctor, suspicious. "And you had this just lying around?"

"Er, yes?" the Doctor said, rubbing the back of his neck. "It's stabilized, but it would have been dangerous to leave on Earth, you know. So I took it with me. I told you that before."

"It was on top, wasn't it?"

"I fail to catch your meaning."

"Doctor, I've sat around and waited while you looked for something," Amy said, placing one hand on her hip. "Or when you've found something new you wanted to keep. There are piles. It just happened to be on top, didn't it?"

"Of all the cheek," he huffed, not denying it.

Amy smirked, turning to face Ixkyr as the Doctor fumed. She held out the ball for him to take. "This will save your world," she said, as he took it gingerly. "You're not going to use it to advance yourself like Nyrytzl and claim you found it?"

"You seek to insult my honor," Ixkyr hissed, his free hand reaching for his weapon.

"I'll take that as a no then," Amy said, smiling. "In that case, I think your honor is still intact, even with everything we're doing right now."

Ixkyr didn't quite know what to make of that, but the Doctor smiled and tweaked her nose. "Then come along, you two. The longer we leave Nyrytzl in power, the more damage he'll do."

They followed him back into the console room, Ixkyr cradling the seed against his chest as if it were a precious thing. The Brigadier was there waiting for them, turning something small and metal over in his hands. "Is this what you were looking for, Doctor?" he asked as he caught sight of them.

"Yes, that's it," the Doctor said, passing it to Ixkyr. "That should help you breathe easier for the walk back. Just place it over your mouth."

"Couldn't you just cut down a certain percentage of the trees?" Amy asked, the thought occurring to her. "If it's just too much oxygen, wouldn't that help sort things out?"

"The dragonwood trees are sacred," Ixkyr explained. "That was part of the terms when the Federation let us settle here, that we were not allowed to cut them down. They are holy trees, to be shown respect."

"It's a bit more than just the oxygen, I'd say," the Doctor added, glancing down at the scanners. "Nothing too harmful to humans, but your people can't go outside much, can they Sub-Commander?"

"No, we can't. This is why we've been searching for a new place to live."

So much for that idea. She'd thought it had been a rather good one, too. Amy pulled her coat closer around her as they set out for the trek back.

* * *

Amy was getting really, really sick of these corridors. They were borderline claustrophobic when one person was going through them, but with four people (one of which wore armor), it gave a whole new meaning to the word cramped. She couldn't believe she was going to say this, but...

The Brigadier beat her to it. "Are we ever going to arrive at this blasted place?"

"There are only a few more corridors left until we arrive at the sacred grounds," Ixkyr answered quietly.

"Not far now, Brigadier, unless the Ice Warriors get there first! Though I suspect they won't have guessed we have a new one." the Doctor said cheerfully, getting a glare from both the Brigadier and Ixkyr.

Oh, right. The walls were thin. Amy spoke her question softly so as not to be on the receiving end of the glares as well. "What exactly are we going to do when we get there?"

"Replace the relic and broadcast the conversation," the Doctor said. "If we show them that the relic is still safe and exactly where it's supposed to be, then we can hopefully make Nyrytzl's plan backfire on him."

A reasonable plan. It was nice to have a plan, every once in a while. It didn't happen often, but she found this Doctor had one more frequently than hers did. She suspected this was the Brigadier's influence more than having any hope for the Doctor.

She was about to comment on that when she caught the Brigadier's eyebrow, obviously intending to shush her. The Doctor never had to be quiet! Then again, this Doctor didn't babble to fill the silence like hers did. Hers was almost afraid of the quiet, when he was left alone with his thoughts. Perhaps she was overcompensating for that lack?

Finally, Ixkyr motioned for them to stop. He cracked open the wall and looked around, then went through. They followed him after he motioned it was clear.

Amy breathed a sigh of relief when they got out into a proper hallway. It was blissfully empty too. She stretched as wide as she could before she even got out of the doorway, just for the joy of not being cramped.

Looking around, Amy recognized the broken door from the relic chamber right in front of them. "Ah, there we are," the Doctor said.

"So it seems, 'Honorable' Doctor."

Amy jumped at the voice, too surprised to realize that the Doctor had stepped in front of her, effectively cutting her off from view. Nyrytzl! What was he doing here?

"If you would place your weapons on the ground and kick them over here, please," Nyrytzl said.

"Commander Nyrytzl, is this what you call honor?" Ixkyr asked. There was scorn in his voice, and no small bit of betrayal. Amy nearly stepped forward, to comfort him or what she didn't know, but the Doctor was there, hiding her. Realizing what he wanted, Amy stepped back into the secret passage. "Everyone spoke highly of you and said I would be privileged to serve under your command. Why choose this?" Ixkyr continued.

"Because this is how you advance," Nyrytzl said, gesturing to the ruined door. "It is only naive fools who believe in honor when the world is this crowded. Our world is doomed to riots and disease, but I don't plan to be on it when it all falls. Your weapons, if you please."

For once, Amy was glad of the thin walls, since she could still hear the conversation, though it was a bit muffled. "Is it really doomed? One would think the world is a bit more hardy than that," she heard the Doctor say conversationally. She didn't hear any weapons sliding across the floor, so she assumed the Brigadier and Ixkyr were still armed, probably watching the Doctor for a cue. "Though it's very Machiavellian of you," the Doctor continued. "But I think you are underestimating the value of honor, Commander. It is a very noble trait that one should strive for."

"Honor is made by those who write history. In this case, I'm afraid you are the traitors, Doctor. Now your guns, please. Don't make me ask again."

Amy looked at the nearest unopened door in the wall. It should come out right behind where she heard Nyrytzl speaking, if she was calculating it correctly, and Nyrytzl's voice was much louder from here. She cracked it open slightly and peeked out. Nyrytzl and another Ice Warrior stood with their backs to her. Perfect. "And before you die dishonorably, you can tell me where the red-haired female is," Nyrytzl said, causing her to freeze.

"We couldn't let anything happen to her," the Doctor replied. "She's not trained for military operations, so we left Amy in the TARDIS. If I'm not back within five hours, I've set Emergency Program One to take her home. She's out of your reach, Nyrytzl."

The best kind of lie, Amy found, was one with a bit of truth. Emergency Program One, that was what the Doctor had been talking with the Brigadier about before. While she knew for a fact the five hour thing was a lie, since she and Rory had waited longer than that for the Doctor to return before, shoving him out of the TARDIS and telling him not to come back for a full day while the two of them raided the wardrobe for some role playing. It had been just before they had made that fateful trip to Wales. But to have a program to have the TARDIS take them home if anything happened to him? That Amy could believe. It's just the sort of self-sacrificial thing that her idiot best friend would do.

And he'd been telling the Brigadier to use it to take her home if things got too hot? Oh, no. They were going to have words when all this was over.

She didn't wait for Nyrytzl to respond to that. Dashing out, she hit the Ice Warrior's wrist with as much force as she could muster. Nyrytzl let out a sharp cry as she wrestled the weapon down, then out of his hand.

She heard a gun go off - the Brigadier's Webley, had to be, since the alien weapons sounded completely different. She ignored it, focusing on Nyrytzl. He was a lot stronger than her, and once the shock wore off, Amy found she was in serious trouble. He knocked her against the wall, pain shooting through her back.

Her first instinct was to close her eyes, but the Brigadier's training kept her from blocking out her surroundings. Unfortunately, there wasn't much she could do to block Nyrytzl's blow. His cold grip on her shoulder refused to budge no matter how much she struggled.

Just as he was about to land a powerful blow to her unprotected stomach, the Doctor tapped him on the shoulder. "I apologize for interrupting," he said, yelling a very enthusiastic "HA!" as he struck at the Ice Warrior's neck. "But I do believe you had untoward intentions toward my assistant."

"Thanks," Amy said dryly, brushing herself off as Nyrytzl fell to the floor unconscious. She glanced over at the Brigadier and Ixkyr who were already tying up the other Ice Warrior.

"You weren't hurt?" the Doctor asked.

Hiding the wince of pain from her back, Amy smiled. "Yeah, I'm fine. Really, I'm fine," she added when he gave her a look.

"That was a very brave thing you did," the Doctor said. "Come on. Let's get the relic back in place."

The Doctor's praise and then the Brigadier's nod of approval were enough for her to forget how sore her back was going to be tomorrow. Yeah, it was still a little condescending, but they weren't yelling at her for doing something dangerous. And really, that was just how this Doctor was. She kind of liked it when he played doting grandfather.

"So what do we do with them now?" she asked, looking down at their captives.

"Keep them here until we release the video, I suppose," the Doctor said thoughtfully as Ixkyr and the Brigadier joined them.

She looked Ixkyr over, able to tell frustratingly little from the thin line of his green lips. "You holding up okay?" she asked, remembering the hurt in his voice earlier.

He gave a curt nod, which didn't answer her question. Or rather, it did, but not in the way she had hoped. She started to ask him again with the Brigadier caught her eyes and shook his head.

The Doctor squeezed her arm in silent reassurance, as Ixkyr assured them that he would be able to link up the video for broadcasting. The Brigadier went with him, and Amy followed the Doctor into the room that had held the old relic.

It was a brightly lit room with one of the most beautiful paintings she had ever seen. The colors were almost blinding in their vibrancy. She nearly forgot to breathe, frozen to her spot in the doorway. It was just as powerful as watching Vincent paint and all she could think of for a moment was how much he would have loved this room. "They've kept this hidden for 500 years?" she asked, her voice feeling small and her eyes just a little damp.

"Seems a bit unfair, doesn't it?" the Doctor responded. "You wouldn't suspect a race of warriors to paint such beautiful things. Izlyr had told me of such things when I was on Peladon, but I don't know if I ever believed it. It seems I've underestimated the Ice Warriors again."

He smiled at her for a brief moment, eyes unable to slide off the painting for long. Then he walked over and touched a deep red that was almost painful to look at - and yet Amy couldn't look away. She didn't want to. "Yes, it appears I've misunderstood a lot of things about them, over the years," the Doctor said, every bit as awed as she was. Amy slipped her hand into his, and they absorbed the painting in silence.

"We should come back here with Rory," she said finally, surprised that the words didn't sound as bitter as it would have an hour ago.

"We'll make a trip back when he finally finds you," the Doctor promised. "Though I don't fancy a trip with any of my other regenerations. I'm sure the Brigadier could find some use for my other self, so it would be just the three of us."

Amy laughed, appreciating the moment with her best friend. She didn't know if it was the painting that was making her feel better or what, but she felt better than she had in ages. They would come back with Rory, because Rory was going to find her, no matter how long it took. And it was something she could share with this Doctor, who maybe wasn't the one she first met, but still her very best friend.

"Come on," the Doctor said, pointing to the center of the room. The pedestal that Amy had completely missed because she was so taken with the paintings was knocked over, with wires spread everywhere. It was a bleak spot against the pure beauty of the painting, and it made her want to shake Nyrytzl for destroying it. The intricate carvings on the pedestal were ruined, just so that he could get the relic for himself. "Let's clean this mess up, shall we?" the Doctor said, breaking her out of her thoughts.

"Yeah," Amy said, returning the smile he gave her. "We should."

* * *

Amy jumped as they walked out into a room full of Ice Warriors. Heavily armed Ice Warriors. She was about to run back into the safe haven of the relic room when the Brigadier called out to them. "Ah, Doctor. Mrs. Pond," he said, striding up to them with confidence that he wouldn't have had if the Ice Warriors were hostile.

Then she noticed the Ice Warriors saluting him as he walked by. Well. That was a change, and a very welcome one. "We've been wondering if we would have to dig you both out of there. It's been five hours."

Five hours? Amy automatically went to check her mobile in surprise before she remembered that she had given it to Ixkyr. It hadn't felt like five hours at all when they were fixing the pedestal, though she was really hungry now that she thought about it. Time hadn't mattered as much when one was surrounded by the walls of the relic room. There had been a lot to fix, even if it didn't feel like five hours worth of work.

"It certainly looks like you've got things under control out here," the Doctor said, glancing around. "No problems with the broadcast?"

"There were a few Ice Warriors who were loyal to Nyrytzl," the Brigadier admitted. "But most of the soldiers respect Sub-Commander Ixkyr, and it was a fairly bloodless revolution. Their belief in the legends was quite strong."

The Doctor nodded, rubbing his neck thoughtfully. "While I don't normally encourage blind belief, it does appear to have worked in our favor for once."

"And how are things on your end?" the Brigadier asked.

"The relic is safe, and back in place," Amy said, wondering if they should really be talking about it in front of the other Ice Warriors. She stuck with the cover story. "It was a little rattled in the fight, but it should be repaired easily before the ceremony tomorrow. Nyrytzl didn't break it; he just didn't know how to get it to work."

There was a murmur of relieved hisses, quickly hushed by a glance from the Brigadier. The atmosphere lost the tension that had hung over the room ever since Amy and the Doctor had stepped out.

The Brigadier's mouth quirked as he attempted to hide a smile. Even the Doctor wasn't grumpy, and thinking of bringing Rory back here kept her own spirits up. Maybe the trip was a good idea after all.

Then the alarm started ringing.

Ixkyr rushed in, the Ice Warriors immediately jumping to attention. "What's wrong?" Amy asked, plugging the ear that was nearest to that horrible ringing.

"Commander Nyrytzl has escaped his bonds," Ixkyr explained, both to them and the other Ice Warriors. "Artuss's unit, stay here and guard the relic. Everyone else join the search."

As half of the Ice Warriors filed out, Ixkyr turned to them. "Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, could I ask you to guard the relic as well?"

"It would be my honor," the Brigadier replied after a quick, nonverbal, and worried conference with the Doctor.

"You worry about Nyrytzl, Sub-Commander," the Doctor said. "We'll keep the relic safe."

Ixkyr nodded curtly, following after the other Ice Warriors with a tense stride that made Amy want to follow him, but the Doctor kept a gentle hold on her arm. "He needs to show the other Ice Warriors that he can handle command," he said quietly, so that only she could hear.

Amy sighed, looking back over the remaining Ice Warriors. Guard duty, huh? At least they'd be ready for Nyrytzl if he tried to come back!

"So," the Doctor said as he settled against the wall. He pulled out a small box from his pocket, much to the Brigadier's disapproval. "Anyone for a game of Venusian poker?"

* * *

It turns out that guard duty is just as dull as being guarded. Sergeant Benton wasn't lying when he said it was a pretty boring job. The Doctor had wandered off an hour ago to 'help' with the search, unable to sit still for any length of time when he was on the same side as the guards. Except he did it while no one was looking, so Amy hadn't been able to insist on going with him.

Amy resolved to stop by and chat with Benton more often, if every day was this dull. Maybe even bring a round of cocoa or coffee to everyone on duty. This was boring. She was even starting to feel some pity for some of the guards that had stood outside her cells, but not too much.

"Mrs. Pond, why don't you see if you can find someone to bring some refreshments?" the Brigadier asked the umpteenth time she sighed. "I'm sure the Doctor could use some help with whatever he's doing as well."

Rolling her neck and trying not to look too grateful, Amy agreed. One of the Ice Warriors offered to show her the way to the kitchens, which Amy assumed was a veiled attempt to protect her on the Brigadier's part, but for once she didn't mind. After how Nyrytzl had easily over-powered her earlier, she was willing to admit that a little protection wasn't a bad idea. Besides, it gave her a chance to ask the guard about who had painted the interior of the base.

They were halfway to the kitchens, pushing through the sea of aliens that forever crowded the halls, when she saw Ixkyr walking in from the opposite direction. "Any luck?" she asked as she gave him a small wave.

Ixkyr shook his head wearily. "We haven't been able to find the Commander, not even in the officer's passages. But we will keep looking. He won't steal the relic again."

"We'll make sure of it," Amy replied. She was gratified to see a small smile on Ixkyr's face. Had she seen him smile before? He definitely needed to do it more often! Impulsively, she grabbed his arm and started dragging him along. "Come on. I bet you haven't eaten anything either, and we're headed to the kitchens. You can have lunch with us."

"But Mrs. Pond, my duties-"

"Oi. No arguing with the red-head. I'm not called the 'fiery one' for nothing." She gave him a small push, but he wasn't resisting. "I'm sure they can do without you long enough to - Hey! Watch it, buddy!"

She spun around as someone grabbed her arm, surprised to see Nyrytzl leaning out from the hidden corridor. The same corridors they'd used earlier, now being used against them. But Ixkyr had checked them and-

Amy screamed as he shot his weapon, but it wasn't aimed at her. The guard she had been discussing the paintings with dropped to the ground.

Her elbow hit hard armor as she tried to pull away, and she gasped in pain and heard two more shots. Before Amy could try again, she found herself yanked back against Nyrytzl with the muzzle of an alien gun at her temple.

A cold chill ran down her back as she fought down fear. "Is this the best idea you could come up with?" Amy asked, putting as much exasperation in her voice as she could to cover the terror. "Taking me hostage? Couldn't you take one of the others for once? Is it the red hair? It's the red hair, isn't it? I wouldn't be this much of a target if I were a brunette."

"Lower your weapons," Nyrytzl said, ignoring her completely. Ixkyr and as many Ice Warriors that could be gathered in the corridor all had their weapons pointed their way, but were hesitating. "Lower them!" Nyrytzl hissed again.

Ixkyr motioned for the Ice Warriors to follow the order as Amy cast about for some way out of this. If only they didn't wear so much damned armor! And it was so crowded that Amy was surprised Nyrytzl even managed to get to her. But now there was a clear circle around the two of them, a barrier of three bodies surrounding them. Her foot brushed against one of them as Nyrytzl pulled her closer, and Amy felt sick.

The hand that held her in place was cold and so was the breath by her ear. Okay, now that was creepy. She shivered, wondering if it was Nyrytzl's body temperature or her fear that prompted it.

"Watch where you're putting your hands, mister," she said when he shifted to get a better grip on her, proud her voice didn't break. "I'm married."

"Release Mrs. Pond," Ixkyr said, but it was phrased more as a plea than an order. "Even if you took the relic, it wouldn't do you any good now. The base already knows what you've done."

Think, Amy. What part of the Ice Warriors wasn't protected by their armor? Better question, which parts of them weren't made of armor? Even their hands were protected, and at this angle she doubted she could hit his arm with a strong enough impact to do any good. She knew it was safer just to stop struggling in hostage situations, but she couldn't stand there and do nothing!

"But I no longer require this base or this planet, once I have the relic," Nyrytzl said, his cold breath ghosting over her ear again. "I have a ship waiting to take me wherever I wish, and this planet will have to pay tribute to me if they want to survive the overcrowding!"

His breath. His chin. If she could just surprise him... Oh, this was gonna hurt. She looked up at Ixkyr, nodding her head just slightly to him in warning.

"If you surrender honorably, I will see what can be done to help your sentence," Ixkyr said with a hint of uneasiness in his voice. He shook his head at her, hand tightening around the weapon that was still aimed at the floor.

Nyrytzl scoffed, his grip on her becoming painful. She felt a ripple of excitement go through her as she took a deep breath, preparing to go through with her plan anyway. "Honor is an antiquated notion that has no-"

With a small jump, Amy pushed her head as hard as she could into Nyrytzl's chin. She heard him cry out as he stumbled backwards, letting go of her. Amy's hands went to her head, momentarily blinded by the pain from her action. Ice Warriors had sharp chins!

Blinking as she was being pulled forward, it took her a moment to realize it was Ixkyr, not Nyrytzl that had taken her arm. She stopped struggling as he pulled her behind him.

A heavy weight fell back against her as she tried to get her bearings. Ixkyr? He was so heavy that she stumbled to the floor with him on top of her, multiple gun shots ringing through her ears as her eyes adjusted from the pain.

It was over as quickly as it started. Why hadn't Ixkyr gotten off her yet? If the gun fight had stopped, it had to be safe, right? "Hey, I'm married, remember," she said, still half-dazed. She tried to push him off, but the armor weighed more than Amy could lift. "Ixkyr? Hey, Ixkyr!"

Amy managed to sit up with a bit of effort, her head pounding. Nyrytzl lay on the ground a short ways off, unmoving. Just like Ixkyr was on top of her.

Panic crept through her as she shook his shoulders. How could she even tell if his eyes were closed with that helmet on! "Ixkyr, come on. Wake up. That armor weighs a ton," she said, slapping away the hand of another Ice Warrior that was trying to help her. She wasn't the one who needed help, damn it! "Ixkyr, wake up! This isn't funny! Ixkyr!"

"He iss gone, fiery one," the Ice Warrior hissed, with a surprising amount of gentleness conveyed in that sibilant voice. "The Ssub-Commander iss dead."

She stared at him numbly, clutching at Ixkyr's armor and not looking at the giant hole from an energy weapon that had fired point blank at his chest. Ixkyr was dead. But he couldn't be. He was supposed to take over the base and worry about honor, not lie here on the floor like this. That's what all that armor was supposed to protect him from, right?

But Ixkyr was dead, all because he had protected her.

~TBC~

Memory: Well, another chapter end. The last bit is short, and should be up next Tuesday.  Till then, have the quote of the chapter.  And yes, it is half the reason for this fic's existence.  XD

"Not far now, Brigadier, unless the Ice Warriors get there first!"
-Fifth Doctor, Castrovalva