CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN

BACK TO NORMAL

ARGO Flight Deck
Hangar Bay 287
Moscow, Russia
November 2620

Jason sat staring at the computer screen without really seeing it, his mind elsewhere. Well, several elsewheres, actually. First was the North Downs of England and Castle Gloria. Saying goodbye to Dorian—again. He was sure that Dorian must've thought he'd lost his mind when he returned the Earl's enthusiastic hug. He had even agreed—sort of—to remember him when he became King Jason, whenever that might be.

The next thing he knew, he was standing outside NATO Headquarters in Bonn, saying goodbye to the Major. He was astonished when the officer actually accepted his handshake. Right to the end, the man was as inscrutable as ever.

Then the worse goodbye of them all. The Doctor. Even a handshake would be too much for the Time Lord. Jason knew the Doctor would forgive him any emotional display he might put on, but he had refrained from doing more than simply saying goodbye and exiting the TARDIS. He would either see the Doctor again, or he wouldn't. He prayed that they would cross paths again, but wasn't going to hold his breath.

Jason had gone on to make a quick check into Earth's past and the year 1987. Like the Doctor, he could not shake the feeling that Time was still out of joint somewhere. The only anomaly he could find was the inexplicable events surrounding the Stock Market Crash on the nineteenth of October when markets fell worldwide. Even the experts could not explain the suddenness of the event that appeared out of nowhere, and played out in a single day. Someone later called it the Big Bad Wolf. Jason knew the Doctor would call it a residual time ripple.

Sully had been watching the Prince for a long time. It wasn't like him to be so quiet for so long. He had been working at the computer for nearly three straight hours without speaking. Not a single word. Then he suddenly asked to see the new design for the ARGO. Just like that. It was...eerie.

"Jason, are you sure you're alright?" Sully said finally.

Jason looked up in surprise. "What? Why?"

"Because you haven't said more than two sentences since the Doctor dropped you off," Sully pointed out. "You're not mad that I let Muriel leave without saying goodbye, are you?"

"No, of course not." Jason sat back, a wistful expression on his face. "I always get like this when..." He closed his eyes. When the Doctor leaves me behind yet again. "One day, it'll be the last time. And, well, Dorian and the Major..." He sighed, his eyes focused in the distance. "That was over six hundred years ago. They've been dead a very long time now. I...don't really like thinking about that."

Sully's eyes grew wide. "Sorry, I never thought of it that way."

"It's okay. I'll..." Jason gave a smile of irony. "I'll live."

Sully gave his friend and employer a searching look. "I was afraid something bad might've happened," he said at last.

Jason's looked up sharply, his bright blue eyes lighting up. He started to chuckle. Then he started to laugh.

If he only knew!


Little Hodcomb, England
July 1984

The Doctor was closing down the console when he heard a thudding on the exterior doors. He looked up and scowled, exchanging a bewildered look with Turlough. His companion pulled the door lever and turned, his eyebrows going up as Tegan came marching into the console room.

"Tegan?" the Doctor said in a surprised tone. "What on earth...?"

"I just realized that you two are up to," Tegan said accusingly, looking from one to the other.

"Up to?"

"Yes. You think I'm stupid or something?"

Turlough gave a theatrical sigh. "No comment," he replied as he went to sit down.

"Brat!"

"Tegan," the Doctor said quickly, coming to stand in front of her. "What are you talking about?"

"If you think I'm going to stay behind while you two go off on some adventure you've got another thing coming!" Tegan shot back, folding her arms. "So...let's go then."

"Go?"

"Yes," Tegan sighed impatiently. "To straighten out that science project gone wrong."

The Time Lord blinked and stood staring down at her in mute astonishment. Then he looked up, seeing an amused expression spread across Turlough's face a few seconds before he started to laugh. A moment later, the Doctor joined him.

Yes, the universe was very definitely back to normal.


Castle Gloria
North Downs, England
August 26, 1987

"Oh, my poor, poor, James," Eroica cooed as his accountant told his tale of woe. Of course, this was the third or fourth telling of how the group had been whisked out of the Soviet Union, so more embellishments were being added with each telling.

Eroica had heard a slightly less emotional version from Bonham, who told him that everything had gone amazingly smoothly. James had sold all the electronics they had stolen from the hotel for a sum that paid nearly all the expenses. It was the "nearly all" part that had the accountant so wound up.

"Jamesie, darling," Eroica drawled, interrupting the man in mid-complaint. "I have a present for you, if you'll be quiet long enough for me to give it to you."

This instantly gained James' attention. He looked up sharply, his eyes wide. "Present, m'lord? For me?"

"Yes, all for you." Eroica pulled out the pocket dimension and reached in, pulling out a jeweled necklace. "Isn't it lovely?" he asked. He thought James' eyes would pop out of his head as he laid the object on the table in front of him. And then another. And another.

"My lord!" James squealed, pulling out his Casio mini and punching in numbers. "I can put the money in the bank," he muttered. "At the current interest rate..."

"You do whatever you like," the Earl said happily, as he leaned back and put his feet up. There's more where that came from, he thought, playing with the pocket dimension as the little man chattered on delightedly.

Eroica did not even hear what James was saying. He was thinking of all that had happened. He was sure he should probably be traumatized by the horrors he had witnessed, but for some reason, his dreams weren't plagued with nightmares. In fact, ever since his return he had been having the most delightfully erotic dreams about the Major. Dreams of that lovely body—naked, and with a very sexy scar on one hip.

Someone turned on the television and Eroica turned to watch as a News story came on about some announcement from West Germany. There was his lovely Major in the background, looking deliciously uncomfortable, as always.

This was a very important announcement. Somehow, the Earl knew that it had been pivotal in the events he had just lived through. Events that had been erased from his memory. Yet, he had a feeling it would all be resolved by year's end, and found himself wondering where he might be come December...


Schloss Eberbach
Bonn, West Germany
August 26, 1987

The Major sat in his study, the smoke from the ever present cigarette rising above his head. He had his nose buried in the newspaper. In fact, he'd had his nose buried in one newspaper after another almost from the moment he arrived home. He had scarcely taken the time to change into his pajamas before he was back in his study going through the pile that had accumulated in his absence.

"Master," the butler said from the door. "The evening papers you requested."

Klaus did not even lower the paper in his hands. He gave an unintelligible grunt as he went on with his reading.

"There's an excellent picture of you in the paper today, sir," the butler said as he entered the room.

This was enough to gain the Major's full attention. He lowered the paper to his lap and gave his butler a piercing look. "What are you jabbering about?" he asked sharply.

The butler was unfazed by the outburst. He merely smiled thinly and held out the paper in question. It had a photograph of the Chancellor giving a speech. Behind him, in a group of various individuals, stood the Major.

Klaus took the paper and studied the photograph. He had tried his utmost to avoid being photographed, but the damned reporters were everywhere. His eyes took in the article and a small, knowing smile came to his face as he read, "Chancellor Announces Plans To Dismantle Short-Range INF Missiles." Then he remembered the Doctor telling him the future and wondered abstractly where he would be come December...

- END -


DISCLAIMERS:
Doctor Who original series broadcast on the BBC. Format © BBC 1963
Doctor Who and Tardis are trademarks of the BBC.
Eroica Yori Ai O Komete © Yasuko Aoike and Princess Comics.
The story and all other original characters are © Margaret Price.
No copyright infringement is intended.