Notes: the characters aren't mine, and the story is! This fic is a sequel to last year's Halloween fic, "Smith & McCrimmon Investigative Services, Ltd," and while I've done my best to keep it as independent as I can from that fic, there will be some references to it. Also, as with that fic, this will be written in Jamie's POV. Lastly, there will be Weeping Angels involved this time around, but I've worked it out so that the Doctor will have next-to-no contact with them, so as to preserve the timeline. As with the first fic, this one is Season 6B.
Ever since I was a lad, I'd heard stories of ghosts—will o' the wisps that haunted the moors of the Highlands, and spectral beasties and creatures that paced between this world and the next. I'd been told to live in fear of witches and magick or to beware of lycanthropes and vampyres. One thing I was never warned against, thankfully, was to fear creatures from the stars—because I met one when I was twenty-two. And it is because of this creature from the stars that I can stand here, on the streets of New York, at the age of twenty-seven; by all rights, I shouldn't be able to. Had it not been for this alien's intervention, I'd have been one of the slain on Culloden Moor.
My name is Jamie McCrimmon, and I know my life has been both blessed and cursed. I was blessed with a family, which I lost—first my mother, when I was a lad, and then my father and brothers during the battle. Each of them fell to the Redcoats, one by one. I was fleeing with the McLarens—Alexander and Kirsty, the oldest friends I'd ever known, and their father, the Laird.
And then I met him—this creature from the stars, who called himself the Doctor. Despite my initial aggression towards him, he offered to help. And he did; he saved Kirsty and the Laird. Alexander wasn't as lucky, alas. But I was lucky—luckier than even Kirsty and the Laird, because the Doctor took me with him to the stars, and to different places in time and space.
We've been traveling together for a long time; his people don't like me too much, and they tried to separate us, sending me back to Culloden Moor, but the Doctor found me again after, and we've been together ever since. Usually, we live in his TARDIS, which is how the Doctor travels though time and space. Every once in a while, though, we stay in a particular point in space-time for whatever reason. At one point, we decided to open up a private detective agency in New York City, and so we found ourselves visiting the office we'd rented in various points in time.
Our clients were mainly people asking us to keep track of their lovers, but we did have one case where we had to go into a cursed, haunted house in Brooklyn to look for a missing boy. We found him, but not before I'd found out that all the warnings and tales about ghosts I had heard in Scotland were all too true. These ghosts were somehow trapped in the house—some of them for centuries—and they were determined to trap every mortal who set foot into that house because they were desperate for their memories. They used trickery and painful mind-probing, but, somehow, we made it out of that.
And though the Doctor expressed concern that the house would still be a danger to anyone entering it, he wasn't quite sure what to do, as he didn't even know what was trapping the ghosts in the first place. It was always his fear that someone else would end up trapped in there, and, one evening while we were stopping by our office in 1980, a frantic phone call to our agency proved him right.
"Smith and McCrimmon Investigative Services, Limited," I said, in way of greeting, as the Doctor stood beside me to hear, as well. "This is McCrimmon speaking."
"My young son—he's gone missing!" a woman's voice exclaimed. "You need to get over here right away!"
"We'll be right over," I said; she agreed and gave us her address, which I scribbled down. "Ye'll tell us the details once we get there, aye?"
"Yes, yes, but please hurry!"
"Aye, we'll be there soon," I said.
I quickly said goodbye and hung up the phone; the Doctor was already getting our longcoats, and handed me mine.
"Flatbush—that's a neighborhood in Brooklyn," the Doctor mused. "Close enough so that we don't need to bother the Old Girl; we'll go via local transport."
"We're nae leaving without the Stattenheim remote control," I said, flatly. "Ye always forget it, and then we never have it when we need it most!"
"Oh, all right, all right; there's no need to be a fusspot about it!" the Doctor huffed, stepping inside the TARDIS to retrieve it. "I didn't take you on as my partner in this little private investigation endeavor for you to complain about every little thing!"
"Aye, ye did," I said. "Ye missed my complaining."
"Well… maybe a little."
I suppressed a chuckle as we headed out the door; the Doctor was able to hide what he was thinking from most people, but, somehow, never from me.
We took a taxi to Brooklyn, to the address the lady had given me. She ushered us inside at once, introducing herself as Lotte.
"Thank you for coming here on such short notice," she said, wringing her hands. "I am grateful. And scared. I… I don't know what to do—I've called the police, but they can't explain what happened, even though I told them."
"Told them?" I asked.
"My youngest son has vanished into thin air!" Lotte exclaimed.
"Oh dear…" the Doctor sighed. "And… you saw it happen?"
"No," she admitted. "But my older boy did. He's in his room now, shaken and upset; he won't even tell me what happened, and he hasn't spoken to the police about it, either. That's why I want you to talk to him."
"We'll do the best we can," I said. "But I donnae ken how we'd be able to get him to speak to us."
"He respects you," Lotte said, looking to the Doctor. "Especially you, Doctor Smith. His brother does, too."
"Oh, yes?" the Doctor asked, puzzled. "I am curious as to how your young sons know of us."
"Their babysitter; she's an elderly lady who lives in Manhattan… a Mrs. Williams… She always tells them stories about a man in a bow tie who traveled through time and space in a box that was bigger on the inside. After I called the police, I called her up and told her what had happened… And she said that you and all those stories she had told were real, and that you had once helped her find her son years ago when he had gone missing. And she said that if I called you for help, you would do the same for my son."
"And you believed her?" the Doctor said, ignoring me as I now started tugging at his sleeve.
"I knew she wouldn't lie about something like this," Lotte said. "And so I called the number she gave me. And here you are."
"Yes, so I am. What, Jamie?" he snapped at me, as I continued tugging on his sleeve.
"This is aboot that case we had, aye? The one in the demon house? The Home by the Sea?" I asked. "That couple who hired us the first time—they acted like they knew ye."
"Yes, they must be from some point in my timestream that I haven't reached yet—probably why they were so cryptic about their identities. I'm not supposed to know them yet," the Doctor sighed. "That's the trouble with being a time-traveler, you see… But, never mind that now. Your friend is quite right, Lotte; I am only too happy to help. And Jamie here is only too happy to assist."
"Aye," I said. "Where did ye last see yer wee lad?"
"Well, er… you already mentioned it," Lotte said. "We were outside the Adelo House—the Home by the Sea, as it's better known as. I never cared too much about that house, but the quickest way to get to the nearest taxi stand from where we had been before was to walk right past that place. I saw a taxi heading down the same street; I tried to flag it down, and the minute I turned my back, it happened. I heard my older boy cry out, and then he started yelling that his brother had disappeared, and that something had done it to him!"
"Something?" the Doctor asked.
"He kept saying, 'It took him! It made him disappear!' Like I said, he won't tell anyone what 'it' was."
"It was an evil statue," a new voice said.
The Doctor and I turned to see the older laddie standing just outside the room—looking no more than seven years old; he was staring at the Doctor in some amount of awe—no doubt finding it hard to believe that the chappie from the tales he had heard was right in front of his eyes.
Lotte quickly introduced us to her older son—and then explained that some nasty folk had attempted to kidnap her children before, when they were even younger. She feared the kidnappers' involvement in this current case—or that they would get wind of it and move in—and, so, she requested that I refrain from actually writing their names down in this official case record. I was a bit curious as to what had happened before, but a look from the Doctor told me not to pry; besides that, we had the current case to worry about, and this "evil statue" that the older boy had seen.
"It was a big, stone statue of a woman—with wings," the boy said. "My brother and I saw it through the window of the house. It had its hands over its face, like this…" He covered his face with his hands. "But then we looked again, and it was looking at us through the window."
I looked to the Doctor in confusion; he, too, wasn't sure what to think.
"And, er… you believe this… statue made your brother disappear?" the Doctor asked, kindly.
The boy nodded.
"I know it did," he said. "'Cause we saw it in the doorway next—the doors kept opening and closing in the wind."
"Now that is odd," the Doctor mused. "From what I remember, those doors always shut tight."
"They did after my brother disappeared," the boy insisted. "When we looked again, the statue was outside, on the lawn—that was when Mama was trying to flag the taxi. My brother and I looked away, but when I looked back at him… he disappeared, and the statue was right there, with its finger out! The statue touched him and made him disappear!"
"And by the time he got my attention, there was nothing there," Lotte added.
"It was back inside, looking at us from the window again!" the boy insisted.
I scratched my head. This was a new one for me, and, judging by the look on the Doctor's face, for him, as well.
"I've ne'er heard of anything like that," I admitted.
"Neither have I," the Doctor added, confirming my thoughts. "What I will say, though, is that we've already seen that there are ghosts in that old place—ghosts which thrive on illusions and trickery to get people to stay trapped in that house. I'll wager that the ghosts conjured up an image of a walking statue, and then made it appear that the younger fellow disappeared, when, in fact, he was just invisible."
"The statue didn't walk, though," the older boy said, quietly. "It moved only when no one was looking at it."
The Doctor gently patted him on the shoulder.
"I've seen a lot of things in my time, but a statue that can move of its own volition, regardless of the method, is not one of them," he said. "That being said, I'm certain that your brother is in that house."
"Can you get him out of there?" Lotte asked. "Like you did for Mrs. Williams's son?"
"I shall attempt to do just that, Madame. Isn't that right, Jamie?"
"Oh, aye," I said.
"Are you gonna get him back in your magic box?" the boy asked.
"Well… I was thinking I wouldn't need the TARDIS for this, but she will make things easier, won't she…?" the Doctor mused. "Very well, then. Jamie, you and I shall take the TARDIS to the Home by the Sea. I really think that might be the best way to enter without alerting the ghosts to our presence." He looked to Lotte as he took out the Stattenheim remote control. "We'll be back soon, Madame."
"Please hurry…" she began, but trailed off as the Doctor activated the Stattenheim, causing the TARDIS to materialize right in her living room.
The older boy stared at it in wonder, standing on his toes to get a good look at the inside as the Doctor opened the door. I gave Lotte and her older son a reassuring nod as I followed him inside.
However, I did drop my false air of confidence as the TARDIS's doors closed behind me—something that didn't go unnoticed by the Doctor.
"Are you alright, Jamie?"
"For the moment, aye," I said. "But I don' like the idea of having to go back to that demon house."
"I know, Jamie; I know. I despise the thought of it, as well. But, this time, we are taking proper precautions before we set foot outside of this TARDIS. For one thing, I am activating a cloak for the Old Girl; the ghosts won't even know when the TARDIS arrives. And I have developed a few tricks to deal with their mind-probing powers, as well."
"Good; let's go and find the laddie, and get oot as soon as we can."
The Doctor paused; I knew that look on his face—the look that stated that he wanted to tell me something I didn't want to hear, but had to tell me anyway.
"Jamie…" he said. "That's what we did last time—made the rescue and fled. And look what's happened; another innocent is trapped in that horrible place. Jamie, I don't think we can be satisfied with just rescuing the boy this time; we need to find the root cause of those ghosts' behavior—due to their own imprisonment, they are the ones forcing living people to stay there against their wills. We cannot allow anymore disappearances; we have to find out how to stop those ghosts! …Unless, of course, you would rather stay in the TARDIS—"
"Oh, nae!" I exclaimed, immediately. "Ye wouldnae last withoot me!"
"Well, that's highly debatable, though I appreciate your sentiments," the Doctor said, smiling. He then threw the switch on the console. "Off we go, then—to the Home by the Sea!"