A school bus pulled up to a seemingly random spot in the desert, Amy and Rory climbing off. They both had quite large backpacks, Amy taking a second to wave back at the driver. "Thanks!"
"You're welcome!" the man replied before driving off.
Amy turned back to Rory, shifting her bag. "This is it, yeah? The right place?"
"Nowhere, middle of?" Rory sighed, squinting in the light. "Yeah, this is it."
Neither of them noticed Adelaide slightly to the side, standing alone. Instead of the normal dress shirt favored by this regeneration, she'd gone with a light green shorter sleeved top for the weather, but the majority of everything else was the same - including a bracelet from a Christmas long ago - save for the cowboy hat she'd donned. "Howdy," she called to the humans, making them jump.
Amy rushed forward, hugging her tightly. "Adelaide!"
"Hello, Amy," Adelaide said with a laugh. "Good to see you too."
"The Doctor's been quite busy, hasn't he?"
Adelaide laughed again. "Quite a lot of work, keeping him from either completely ruining the timelines or insulting someone beyond repair." She turned to Rory. "Hello, Rory." He hugged her as well.
"Nice hat," Rory said, nodding to it.
"Don't insult people's hat choices," Adelaide scolded, wiggling her finger at him before the hat was shot off by a bullet.
They all turned to see River Song standing a bit away. "Hello, sweetie."
Adelaide brought the trio to a diner, leaving Amy and Rory to get something for them to eat while River read through her diary, attempting to place where on their respective timelines they were. Thankfully, River had made the assumption that if Adelaide was on her own she was a Time Lady, though she had asked where the Doctor was.
Amy and Rory had asked the same, but Adelaide had waved off all of their questions, reminding them that she and the Doctor were able to do things on their own, after all.
"Right then, where are we?" River asked Adelaide, flipping through her journal. "Have we done Easter Island yet?"
Adelaide, though she didn't have a journal, had a far better memory of various adventures than the Doctor did. "Yes, we've done Easter Island."
River smiled. "They worshiped the Doctor there. Have you seen the statues?"
Adelaide forced a smile. "Jim the Fish?"
River noticed the shift in Adelaide's expression, but she didn't say anything. "Jim the Fish! How is he?"
"Still building his dam." She moved to the side to let Amy and Rory slide into the booth as well.
"Sorry, what are you two doing?" Rory asked them, looking at River's journal and Adelaide's lack of one.
"They're all time travelers," Amy explained, "so they never meet in the right order. They're syncing their diaries, though Adelaide doesn't actually have one." Amy leaned forwards, looking at Adelaide. "What's happening? Because you're up to something."
"Never assume, Amy," Adelaide said, but then she sighed. "The Doctor and I, we've spent our entire lives running, but I…I need to stop." She looked at the group she'd gathered, swallowing hard. "I'm going to need all of you with me."
Amy nodded. "Okay. We're here. What's up?"
She smiled again. "A picnic. And then a trip."
Adelaide brought them all to a lakeside for the picnic which, honestly, did not seem like something Adelaide would normally have done, but here they were. Sitting on a picnic blanket with some glasses of wine, though Adelaide was just having water. She didn't speak that much, just letting the companions enjoy themselves for a little, which was something all three of them noticed.
She was always rather quiet - unless she was correcting someone's manners or keeping the Doctor out of trouble - but not like this, at least not that they'd seen yet.
"Is everything alright, Adelaide?" Rory asked her, frowning.
Adelaide just smiled. "Wonderful."
Amy narrowed her eyes slightly. "How long has it been for you?"
Adelaide shrugged. "Almost two hundred years? Not quite certain; time is a bit flexible when you're traveling in a TARDIS."
Amy's gaze flickered to the side, spotting something in the horizon. "Who's that?"
"Hmm?" Rory turned to follow her look. "Who's who?"
"Sorry, what?" Amy said. Adelaide, surprisingly, didn't bother looking.
"What did you see? You said you saw something."
Amy took a drink. "No, I didn't."
Adelaide looked up towards the sky. "The moon is wonderful, isn't it? I always did like moons. Just like you humans." She sighed. "Large, strange, new thing in the sky, you couldn't resist."
"The moon landing was in '69," Rory said, realizing something. "Is that where we're going?"
Adelaide shook her head. "Quite a bit happens in '69 that no one remembers." She looked back at the lake. "Human beings. The Doctor will never be done saving you."
Before anyone could comment, they looked over at the sound of a car driving up, though Adelaide stood and waved at the old man who stepped out. "Who's he?" Amy asked, not recognizing him.
But River was looking at the lake instead, following Adelaide's gaze. "Oh my God…"
The two other humans looked over as well, all of them standing as they saw an astronaut suit standing in the water.
Adelaide's expression gave away none of her true feelings, but she lifted her chin. "Whatever happens, I forbid you to interfere. Do you understand?" she didn't look back at them before walking up to the astronaut.
"That's an astronaut," Rory said to Amy. "That's an Apollo astronaut in a lake."
Amy nodded. "Yeah."
Adelaide stopped in front of the astronaut, clenching her jaw. "Hello. It's going to be okay, I promise." The astronaut lifted the visor. "Alright…"
The group watched as Adelaide spoke to the astronaut before the Time Lady closed her eyes. The astronaut raised its arm.
"What's she doing?" Amy asked.
It shot her, sending Adelaide stumbling back.
"No!" Amy called, trying to run forwards, but Rory and River kept her back.
"Amy, stay back!"
And again, making Adelaide fall to the ground.
"Adelaide said to stay back! You have to stay back!"
Adelaide looked back over to the humans as her body began to glow from regeneration energy. And she looked so terribly broken, so heartbroken, so tired, that it barely looked like her at all. Any walls she'd attempted to maintain had just fallen apart. "I'm sorry," she said to them and spread her arms out wide, letting the golden energy rush over her body…
And the astronaut shot her again.
"No!" that time, it was River who ran forwards and the humans weren't far behind.
They all fell to their knees around Adelaide's limp body, the astronaut walking back into the lake. "Adelaide!" Amy tried, shaking Adelaide's arm as River scanned her. "River?" but River was just looking at the device in shock. "No…"
River stood and began shooting at the astronaut, not doing any harm. Then her arm fell to the side as the astronaut just descended into the lake. "Of course not…"
"River, she can't be dead, this isn't possible," Amy said. Even if she'd never been particularly close to the Time Lady - the woman never seeming to really like her - she didn't hate her. She didn't want her to be dead. She didn't want her to leave the Doctor alone in the universe.
River just shook her head. "Whatever that was, it killed her in the middle of her regeneration cycle. Her body was already dead; she didn't make it to the next one."
"Maybe she's a clone or a duplicate or something," Rory tried, hopeful.
The old man who'd driven up in the car stepped up to them, removing his hat. "I believe I can save you some time," he said, making them all look at him. "That most certainly is Adelaide. And she is most certainly dead." He held out a can of gasoline. "She said you'd need this."
Rory frowned. "Gasoline?"
River nodded. "A Time Lord's body is a miracle, even a dead one. There are whole empires out there who'd rip this world apart for just one cell." She stood again. "We can't leave her here. Or anywhere."
Amy shook Adelaide's arm, not wanting to believe it, even if she could hear the woman scolding her for thinking so irrationally. "Wake up. Come on, wake up, what about the Doctor, he's not going to last on his own…" but Adelaide stayed dead. Amy looked up at Rory. "What do we do, Rory?"
The man took a deep breath. "We're her friends. We do what any of the Time Lord's friends always do; as we're told."
"There's a boat," River said, pointing towards one she'd seen. "If we're going to do this, let's go it properly."
As the sun set, the humans stood on the coast of the lake, watching Adelaide's body drift out into the lake. They kept looking around for the Doctor to appear, almost certain he'd be able to tell that he was the last Time Lord again.
Adelaide had said it had been almost two hundred years. Maybe…maybe the Doctor didn't care about Adelaide anymore. Maybe she'd stopped caring about him.
But they'd mentioned the Doctor to her and they hadn't been able to see any strange reaction. Of course, none of them had ever claimed to actually be able to read Adelaide's expression, so they couldn't be certain. But there'd been no indication that anything had happened to him.
The fact there was no sign of the Doctor worried all of them. It wasn't like the Doctor to stop caring about someone like that.
They didn't know what had happened to him. But they knew they'd be the ones he'd come running to once he realized Adelaide had died.
River turned to the older man she stood beside, Amy and Rory standing closer to the water. "Who are you? Why did you come?"
"The same reason as you," he said, pulling out his own blue envelope. Amy and Rory glanced back and watched as River did the same. "Dr. Song, Amy, Rory," he nodded at each of them when he said the name. "I'm Canton Everett Delaware III. I won't be seeing you again, but you'll be seeing me." He put back on his hat, turning and taking the empty gasoline can as he left.
River watched him for a moment before walking closer to Amy and Rory. "Four."
"Adelaide numbered the envelopes."
The trio decided to return to the diner in order to let River continue explaining what she'd realized where they wouldn't have to look back at Adelaide's burning body. "You got three," River explained, "I was two, Mr. Delaware was four."
"So, where's one?"
Rory's eyes widened. "What, you think she invited someone else?"
"Well, she must have. It's Adelaide, after all; she planned everything to the last detail."
"Will you two shut up?" Amy snapped quietly. "It doesn't matter."
"She was up to something."
River turned back to Rory. "Space, 1969. What did she mean?"
"You're still talking, but it doesn't matter."
"Hey, it mattered to her," Rory said to his wife, moving a bit closer.
River nodded. "So it matters to us."
"But she still needs us." River took Amy's hands. "Adelaide needs help, and I know, I know. But right now we have to focus."
"Look!" Rory said, pointing at something on another of the tables. It was another blue envelope, sitting next to an open bottle of soda. "Excuse me, who was sitting over there?"
The man at the counter shrugged. "Some guy."
River walked over and picked up the envelope. "Adelaide knew she was going to her death, so she sent out messages. When you know it's the end, who do you call?"
Rory shrugged. "Er, your friends. People you trust."
River nodded. "Number one. Adelaide doesn't have other friends, but who did Adelaide trust the most?"
As she spoke, the door behind them opened and out stepped Adelaide herself, though the Time Lady looked more like she was stalking away from whoever was behind the door. She paused when she saw all of them there, staring at her with mixtures of anger, relief, and confusion.
"This is cold," River told her sternly. "Even for you, this is cold."
"Or 'hello', as is polite to say when you greet someone," Adelaide just said.
"Adelaide?" Amy breathed, frowning.
"The Doctor dragged me off to find his special straw." She sighed. "Apparently, it adds 'more fizz'."
"Are you denying the power of the special straw?" the Doctor called and Adelaide stepped to the side so that the Doctor could come up next to her, straw in his mouth.
"Yes, I'm denying the power of the special straw." Adelaide pulled it out of the Doctor's mouth, making him pout.
"How can you be okay?" Amy asked, drawing the Time Lords' attention back to the humans.
The Doctor frowned. "Of course she's okay, she's always okay." His eyes widened as he thought of something, throwing his arm around Adelaide's shoulder. "She's the Queen of Okay!" Then he grimaced. "Oh, that's a rubbish title. Forget that title." He kissed Adelaide's cheek before stepping forward to Amy, hugging her before turning to Rory. "Rory the Roman! That's a good title!" He hugged Rory. "Hello, Rory. And Dr. River Song." The woman was glaring at both Time Lords. "Oh, you bad, bad girl. What trouble have you got for us this time?"
River just slapped the Doctor, hard. Adelaide immediately pulled the Doctor backward and away from River, frowning at the woman, but the human just glared at the Doctor.
"Okay," the Doctor said, rubbing his face. "I'm assuming that's for something I haven't done yet."
"Yes, it is."
The Doctor nodded. "Good. Looking forward to it."
"I don't understand," Rory said, looking towards Adelaide. "How can you be here?"
"We were invited." Adelaide nodded at the envelope River was holding. "Date and map reference. And I'm assuming it was the same for you, unless this is quite of a coincidence."
Amy shook her head. "River, what's going on?"
"Amy, ask her how long it's been for her."
Adelaide frowned. "Time is quite flexible in the TARDIS…"
"But you said…" Amy began, but River cut her off.
"So where does that leave us, huh? Jim the fish? Have we done Jim the fish yet?"
Adelaide just shrugged. "Nope."
"I don't understand."
Rory stepped up to his wife. "Yeah, you do."
The Doctor raised a hand. "We don't! What are we all doing here?"
River glanced at Amy and Rory, the three of them seeming to agree on something, before the woman began to speak. "We've been recruited. Something to do with space, 1969." The Doctor looked away, annoyed they were obviously keeping secrets, but Adelaide still watched River carefully, "and a man called Canton Everett Delaware III."
"Recruited by whom?" Adelaide asked.
"Someone who trusts both of you more than anybody else in the universe."
The Doctor looked back over. "And who's that?"
Adelaide, sighing, stuck the Doctor's straw back in his mouth since he'd also been spending that entire time attempting to steal it back from her.
The Doctor hurried around the TARDIS console, setting it into flight, while Adelaide was quite a bit calmer; still excited, as she generally was about whatever adventure they were about to have, but it tended to be slightly more subdued than the Doctor. One of them had to pretend to be responsible, after all.
"1969, that's an easy one!" the Doctor said, having begun rambling, though Adelaide didn't stop him that time. "Funny, how some years are easy, haven't you noticed that Adelaide? Now, 1482, full of glitches."
"Was that your fault?" Adelaide asked, trying to distract the Doctor from noticing how all three companions were looking at the pair of them, although it was mainly Adelaide.
The Doctor chuckled. "Only a bit." Adelaide watched as Amy turned and walked down to sit under the console. "Now then, Canton Everett Delaware III. That was his name, yeah?" he paused in front of River. "How many of those can there be?" River ignored him, just turning and walking down the stairs to join Amy, making Adelaide openly frown. "Well, three, I suppose."
Adelaide moved closer to Rory, who hadn't yet started to move. "Has something happened, Rory?"
Rory coughed. "I'll find out." He turned and walked under the console, leaving the two Time Lords to stare at each other oddly.
Rory walked up as Amy whispered to River, none of them wanting to risk the Time Lords with their 'super-human hearing', as the Doctor had once called it, being able to tell what they were discussing. "Explain it again."
"The Adelaide we saw on the beach is a future version, two hundred years older than the one up there."
"But that's all still going to happen. She's still going to die."
"We're all going to do that Amy."
"We're not all going to arrange our own wake and invite ourselves," Rory pointed out. "So, Adelaide, in the future, knowing she's going to die, recruits her younger self, the Doctor, and all of us to…to what, exactly? Avenge her?"
River shook her head. "Avenging is very much not her style."
"Save her?" Amy offered.
"Yeah, that's very much not her style either."
"We have to tell them."
River shook her head again. "We've told them all we can. We can't even tell them we've seen her future self. She's interacted with her own past; it could rip a hole in the universe if we meddle with anything."
Amy shrugged. "Yes, but the Doctor's done it before."
"And in fairness, the universe did blow up. I have a feeling Adelaide would be attempting to avoid that. She respects continuity far more than him."
"But she'd want to know."
"Would she? Would anyone?"
The Doctor popped his head down from the floor above to look at them, upside down. He had his pouty face on, something all three of them were fairly certain Adelaide was laughing about, which was why she was too busy to tell him, at least for the moment, that it wasn't nice to interrupt conversations. "Adelaide and I are being extremely clever up here, and there's no one to stand around looking impressed! What's the point in having you all?"
"Apologize!" they heard Adelaide call. The Doctor just gave them a look before pulling himself up which was not something Adelaide seemed to be happy about, as she began to scold him.
River just sighed. "Couldn't you just slap him sometimes?"
Amy grabbed River's arm, preventing her from walking back up the stairs. "River, we can't just let her die. We have to stop it. How can you be okay with this?"
"Adelaide or the Doctor's death doesn't frighten me. Nor does my own. There's a far worse day coming for me."
As the companions returned from their conversation below the console, Adelaide allowed the Doctor to continue being clever, in his words. "Time isn't a straight line. It's all bumpy wumpy," he pointed at Adelaide to keep her quiet before he continued. "There's loads of boring stuff like Sundays and Tuesdays and Thursday afternoons. But now and then there are Saturdays. Big temporal tipping points when anything's possible. The TARDIS can't resist them, like a moth to a flame. She loves a party, so we give her 1969 and NASA, because that's space in the sixties, and Canton Everett Delaware III, and this is where she's pointing."
He spun a screen around for the companions to read. "Washington D.C., April the 8th, 1969," Amy read off. "So why haven't we landed?"
"Because that's not where we're going," Adelaide said.
Rory turned to her. "Oh. Where are we going?"
"Home." She shrugged. "Well, the two of you are."
The Doctor nodded. "Off you pop and make babies." He dodged the wrench that Adelaide threw at his head for that remark. "And you, Dr. Song, back to prison. And us?" he spun to Adelaide, grabbing her hand and twirling her for a moment. "We're late for a biplane lesson in 1911 and Adelaide hates to be late. Or it could be knitting." He shrugged. "Knitting or biplanes. One or the other."
"Did you honestly think we were just going to follow a mysterious summons immediately?" Adelaide asked the humans. "Who sent those messages? Because you know, all of you, you know exactly who did it. Don't dare think you're capable of playing games with us."
"You're going to have to trust us this time."
The Doctor scoffed. "Trust you? Sure. But, first of all, Dr. Song, just one thing…who are you?" He stepped up to River, studying her face. "You're someone from our future, getting that. But who?" River was silent. "Okay. Why are you in prison? Who did you kill, hmm?" He stepped back. "Trust you? Seriously."
Amy stepped forward. "Trust me."
The Doctor spun to her, nodding all too quickly. "Okay."
"You have to do this, and neither of you can ask why."
Adelaide frowned at her. "Are you being threatened?"
Amy shook her head. "I'm not lying."
"Swear to us. Swear to us on something that matters."
Amy thought for a moment. "Fish fingers and custard."
The Doctor smiled. "Our lives in your hands, Amelia Pond."
River sighed, thankful. "Thank you."
"So!" the Doctor turned and began to run around the console again. "Canton Everett Delaware III. Who's he?"
Adelaide stepped forward and began to type into the TARDIS, bringing up relevant information. "Ex-FBI. Kicked out."
She smiled. "Problems with authority."
The Doctor laughed. "You and him would get along swimmingly."
Adelaide scoffed. "And you're saying you wouldn't?"
"You're the one who protested. And," he held up a finger, "we're both the ones who ran away, so that's not allowed to be an argument for either of us."
She just returned her attention to the screen, the Doctor grinning because he'd 'won'. "Six weeks after he left the Bureau, the President contacted him for a private meeting."
"Yeah, 1969. Who's President?"
Adelaide paused there, but not for long, and didn't even need to look at the screen to answer. "Richard Milhous Nixon." The Doctor stopped to look at her oddly. "I was a human for a while; I remember some of the history shoved inside my head." She thought for another moment. "Vietnam and Watergate, right?"
The Doctor grimaced. "There's some good stuff too," River reminded him.
The Doctor spun back to Adelaide, returning to their work piloting the TARDIS. "Okay, since we don't know what we're getting into this time, for once I'm being discreet. Are you proud of me, Adelaide?" She just raised an eyebrow at him. "I'm putting the engines on silent." He threw a lever, but instead of going silent the TARDIS actually went louder. It was only when River readjusted a lever, which the Doctor didn't see, that it actually worked. "Did you do something?" he asked the Time Lady and human.
"No, just watching."
Adelaide raised her hands. "Not me either."
He narrowed his eyes slightly but returned to the console. "Putting the outer shield on invisible." He rubbed his hands together. "I haven't done this in a while. Big drain on the power."
"You can turn the TARDIS invisible?" Rory asked, shocked.
The Doctor just flicked a switch which just made the windows blare quite a bright light, blinding all of them. Adelaide was one of the only ones not affected, being a Time Lady, and managed to get to the console to reverse what he'd done.
"Did you touch something?" the Doctor asked her, frowning.
"Just admiring your wonderful skills." She smiled, which did its job of distracting the Doctor.
"You're wonderful too," he smiled at her too, before spinning to face the rest of the companions. "Now, we can't check the scanner. It doesn't work when we're cloaked. Just give us a mo." He turned and walked towards the door, Adelaide following him without saying anything before they both turned to hold up a hand to the humans, who had started following. "Whoa, whoa, whoa! You lot, wait a moment."
"We're in the center of the most powerful city in the most powerful country on Earth," Adelaide said. "We're going to take it slow." And then, before she could stop the Doctor, he stepped out of the TARDIS, which meant Adelaide had to run out almost immediately after to stop him from ruining anything immediately.
A/N: A new season has started with a bang. Why was Adelaide the one on the beach? Where was the Doctor?
As a refresher, I picture Adelaide to look like Felicity Jones. She tends to favor white/green dress shirts, jeans, and boots.