Long time coming, no? I'm a full time college student (all set to graduate next May) with a might-as-well-be fiancée to boot. Time, she is a fickle thing. But then, the doctor knows all about that huh? No promises on the next one, but this chapter have been sitting on my flash drive for months. Enjoy and see disclaimers from previous chapters ^-^
Not beta'd because of time and other commitments and my darling beta has been as incognito on the net has I have.
I humbly apologize for the utter crap this chapter probably is.
"Mum went to the lab," Mickey said without preamble the second Chris came through the door. The sight of his brother enough to break the stunned shock the 'quack left him in. He kicked off the blanket tangled around his feet and pulled off the heart monitor.
The machine made a feeble attempt to flat-line, it's cracked screen looking up at them from the floor. Chris bent and flipped it off.
"I tried to stop her, but you know Mum. She argued and made sense and next thing I know I'm hooking myself up to this and she's changing her clothes."
Chris just shook his head and grit his teeth. "Let's go. She's shouldn't be out of bed, and she's probably trying to help someone…"
"I know," Mickey snapped, guilty for letting her do what she wanted. He hopped out of bed and kicked the water pitcher and cups away, took a deep breath. "Bags? Don't think we'll be back here." He headed to the wardrobe, not waiting for an answer. He had to push a chair away, but at least the wardrobe itself stayed standing.
He wondered if it was bolted to the floor.
"Mum's bag's in the loo," he said over his shoulder. He frowned when he turned back and watched his brother heavily favor his right ankle. "Find crutches," he added quietly to himself.
He grabbed the two bags and stood, feeling only slightly dizzy. Even without a concussion, he still managed a pretty good bump to his head.
"Did your mobile make it?" Mickey asked. In the confusion and hustle of after the earthquake, the twins were hardly spared a glace as medical personnel scrambled double time to check on the more critical patients.
Mickey figured it would be a while until the LeNonè-Marceau party of three were found to be missing. His mum had been declared stable and healing almost to rapidly, and Chris was only suffering a minor concussion, a sprained ankle and exhaustion. There were far more worst-off patients to be seen to first. He gave them at least half an hour, forty-five minutes maybe, to find their errant mother, help her out of whatever jam she probably got herself into, and be shot of the place.
Chris let out a soft curse and Mickey tried not to laugh at the way his brother was hobbling up the stairs. Chris had insisted on carrying his own bag as well as their mum's even though Mickey had the two good ankles.
"Yeah, 's in my bag. Why?" Chris grit his teeth and Mickey finally had enough; it wasn't funny if his brother really was in pain. He dropped his bag and grabbed Chris's sleeve.
"Then give me your bag." He held up a hand to forestall the argument he knew was coming. "You have one bad ankle, carrying two bags makes it hard for you to hold the railing. If you fall, I'm going to have to repack the things that fell out of your bag with it's broken zipper. I might get a paper cut." He held out his hand.
"Good to know you have your priorities straight," Chris said dryly, though his lips twitched just slightly. Mickey continued to stare at him. "Oh all right, you can carry Mums." Mickey grinned victoriously.
"And give me your phone, I need to call Uncle Tony. Don't know why I didn't think to ask for it sooner…" he trailed off as he took the scarred red bag. Chris dug out his small silver phone and fought with the battered zipper.
Mickey tried not to laugh again as the phone searched for a signal.
"I don't think these shelves can hold your weight for much longer," Gary said, holding the shelves like one would hold a ladder for a friend. "Not that you're fat, or anything! I mean, just that they've already been through an earthquake and any more extra wei-not that you have extra-" He broke off with a sigh and Rose looked down at him, faint amusement mixed with annoyance.
"This could be a way out of here," she said in her most patient voice, reminding herself that Gary was a man, and foot-in-mouth for a man was like second gear on a car. Unavoidable when with them an extended amount of time.
She took a quick look at the figure laid out against the wall.
The caretaker was still unconscious, and if he stayed that way for much longer, Rose was going to have to wake him herself. Somehow.
She's had enough concussions to know you shouldn't sleep.
Rose resisted the impulse to touch the still covered bandage on her head. Oh yes, she knew all about head wounds; however she expected hers was a special case this time. Anesthesia canceled out the do-not-sleep-long rule.
Once she saw the steady rise and fall of the mans chest, she went back to examining the air vent
It was small alright, and she probably wouldn't fit through it- she had figured that much out while still sitting on the ground looking up at it. But she had to do something and examining a futile way out was all she could think of.
Chris and Mickey will find us soon she assured herself for the hundredth time. She was even starting to believe it.
"So the family you have here? Are they doctors too? Or patients?" Gary asked. He didn't sound prying, exactly. More like bored and making conversation, but still trying to figure her out.
She gave him points for subtlety, and told him the story Mickey concocted.
"My cousins. They're patients. A boarding accident, scrapes and bruises; sprained ankle."
"Boarding, in March? The streets are still icy…" Gary trailed off and nodded. "Hence the accident, eh?"
"Yeah," Rose said, turning back to the vent. It really was futile. No way of knowing where it went, and even if she could possibly squeeze through, her injuries wouldn't let her get more then a foot in. It took all her effort not to pant from the pain as it was, and she was only leaning over the slightest bit to reach the vent. She steadfastly refused to acknowledge the fact that she was also a bit hippy still after having two kids. Decades to work off the weight but the hips stayed.
That, Rose decided, was life. She felt sweat prick the back of her neck and tried to think cooling thoughts.
The room was becoming stuffy, in the way that only small rooms, even in winter, could. It wasn't helping her breathing any.
Rose gave up on the vent after a few more seconds of labored breathing and started to carefully make her way off the shelves. Two steps down, however, a voice stopped her. It wasn't one she recognized, and even as she was looking down to see if it was the caretaker finally awake, she realized the voice was coming through from the vent.
"I am sure they are here," the voice was gruff, more mechanical then human and Rose felt a shiver go down her spine.
"Did you say something?" Gary asked, frowning up at her. Rose shushed him and moved back up to press her ear to the vent, wincing when her ribs touched the top-most shelf.
"Three were brought in with injuries consistent with the trace's timeline. One is her." There was a pause and Rose could almost picture the being waiting for the response in it's head.
Beings that sounded like that one hardly ever used Earth technology to communicate.
The question now being what, exactly, was it. And why did she get the strong feeling it was her it wanted?
"Because it's always you, isn't it? Jeopardy friendly, Rose, remember?" She muttered to herself.
"Yes, sir. There was yet another trace of energy not long ago. I will have them soon." The voice started to grow fainter, moving away. Rose processed what she heard.
"Right," she said, climbing down. "We have to get out of here."
"Thought we already established that we're stuck," Gary asked, moving aside for her to step down.
"Oh, we are," she said with a small smile. She'd been stuck in more places then she'd like to count in her long life, although this one did pose a more serious problem. She was injured, had an unconscious man to look after, and she was pretty sure they were stuck cause that refrigerator had fallen in front of the door. But the fact that something she'd bet was alien was after her made it more normal. And normal situations always had a way of working themselves out. Somehow.
"And how do propose we get out then?"
Rose refused to look at her companion, knowing what she'd see: Arms crossed, eyebrow raised, leaning on the wall. Typical male disbelieving posture.
Instead she frowned at the door. How indeed? She didn't have anything sonic on her person- in her luggage either. The Doctors sonic screwdriver was still sitting in their nightstand, unused now for years. She never thought to have the Doctor make her one of her own. He always had his, and they were always together.
Never mind the fact that fifty-plus years and she still couldn't figure out half the settings on it. So resonating some concrete was out.
Her eyes tracked to one side of the door and she bit her lip. A screwdriver, a normal one, for leverage.
She turned to look at what had been on the shelves and concluded it was all either plastic or material. She kicked a specimen cup out of the way and herd the small muted of it hitting the caretaker.
Rose paused mid step, her body protesting. A smile appeared on her lips as she altered her course and headed to the fallen man.
She crouched down as best she could and examined his tool belt. An empty place where a hammer had fallen out, a measuring tape still clipped in it's pouch, and a longer, closed pouch in the front.
"What are you doing?" Gary asked. Rose opened the pouch and pulled out her query.
With a grin she turned her head and held the screwdriver aloft. "Getting us out of here." It wasn't until after Gary insisted he work on the hinges and she heard him swear in French when the screwdriver nicked him in the knuckles that she realized the voice had spoken English. But what that meant, she didn't know.
"Are you sure this is the right floor?" Mickey asked, holding the phone towards the ceiling and squinting in the emergency lighting.
"List said level two, this is level two," Chris gestured to the corridor in general as Mickey gave up on trying to get a good signal.
"Yeah, but how do we know this is where they keep the samples?" Mickey slipped the phone in his bag and tried opening a door. It was locked.
Chris rolled his eyes. "Mum would have checked here first off anyway, so she should still be here, even if the do keep the samples somewhere else." He checked the door opposite and found it also locked. Cupping his hand against the glass, he tried to peer through the small window.
"Excusez-moi? Docteur?" His brothers voice pulled his attention away from the darkened room and he turned to find Mickey strolling up to a doctor that was just rounding the corner. "J'ai été commandé vérifier les dommages dans les laboratoires, mais mes clefs semblent avoir été mal placées. Pourriez-vous être un cheri et prêtez-moi vôtre pour un instant?" He finished with a sweet smile and a sheepish shrug.
Not for the first time, Chris wished he had his brothers gift for languages. He caught maybe five words total of what was said, the rest sounding like gibberish. Something about a lab and damages and Chris decided to work on his language skills after all this was over.
He tuned out the rapid-fire French of the doctors response and concentrated on the voice instead.
There was something off about it. Something making it sound like the rumble of machinery almost, just under the pleasant French lilt.
"Didn't have his keys on him," Mickey said, striding back down the hall. Chris furrowed his brow at the retreating figure. Mickey glanced back. "You notice it too?"
Chris turned his gaze to his brother. "The voice?"
"No, his outfit. Orange shirt with green suede shoes and a checkered tie? Looked like a skinny pumpkin. What about his voice?"
"You didn't notice the way it sounded? Like a-"
An echoing bang cut Chris off. "Chris! Mickey!" The voice was more faint then the bang, but both twins heads snapped around to find where the familiar voice was coming from.
"Mum! Where are you?" Chris yelled, and shushed his brother before Mickey could open his mouth to ask again.
"Over here!" The shout was followed by another bang, and Mickey took off around the corner the doctor had come from, Chris following as fast as his ankle allowed.
"The vent, Mick! We're stuck."
Chris rounded the corner in time to see Mickey frowning up at an air vent high in the wall. "You're stuck in an air vent? What you doing in there? You know you shouldn't be in a place like that with your ribs!"
There was an indignant huff and some mumbling, like she was talking to someone else with her.
"The room behind it, Mickey. There's something blockin' the door."
"What did you mean, 'we'?" Chris asked, narrowing his eyes at the vent.
"Er, hello!" A second voice piped up. A very male voice. Chris's eyes narrowed more.
"And who are you?" Mickey asked, mirroring his brothers frown.
"I'm-" the voice cut off and was replaces by their mothers.
"Introductions can wait, don't you think? Until we're, I don't know, not trapped in a cupboard?"
"But we love talking to air vents during a natural disaster." Mickey said, frown giving way to an over the top innocent smile.
"Room behind you with a blocked door?" Chris asked.
A sigh, then, "yeah. And hurry, will you? There's an unconscious man in here, and he needs to be checked over."
"Another man in there? Mum!" Mickey put a hand over his chest in mock scandal.
"Shut it, Mick, and get us out!"
Mickey snickered and turned to follow the corner and wall to the right room, Chris limping behind.
"Mum?" Gary asked when Rose started her decent down the shelves again. She was beginning to think people spend to much money on exercise equipment when all you needed was a sturdy set of shelves.
She waved airily and shrugged. "Sons, cousins… What's the real difference?"
"Besides a few DNA points? The fact that you don't look old enough to have sons old enough to drive, let alone ones that sound like grown men?"
Rose kept silent, not knowing what to say. Gary didn't seem to notice as he continued.
"I've never seen you here before. And I know just about all the doctors in residency." He reached forward and unclipped the I.D. badge, turning it to see the photo. "Amelia Girard. Looks nothing like you, unless you've very recently undergone a change in skin pigmentation and bleached your black hair blonde." He handed the badge back and crossed his arms. "Who are you? Really?"
Do you know like we were saying, about the Earth revolving? Rose shook off the memory and although she wondered how he'd take it if she gave that speech, she tried to change the subject instead. She couldn't think of a plausible lie, and anyway the moment Gary got a look at Chris and Mickey he wouldn't believe anything she'd thought of anyway.
"I think that poor mans waking up."
"No he's not," Gary said, still staring at her.
Rose sighed, huffing a strand of fallen bangs out of her eyes. "Fine, I'm really an immortal human thanks to a very intelligent phone box. At least, that's what I think it is, haven't been able to prove it yet. So I keep on living, year by year. Just call me the Energizer Bunny." She kicked the screwdriver from where it'd fallen after having thrown it at the vent and watched as it spun and struck the wall next to the door. "Oh, and my sons are the same, only theirs is a hand-me-down genetics, not a straight dose. But we don't know how different that makes it. And to top it all off, I'm not even from this universe."
Gary frowned. "What's an Energizer Bunny?" He shook his head. "Alright, don't tell me who you are. But don't have me on either. If you really don't want to talk about-"
"Here's a refrigerator- yes I'm sure that's what it is! I hardly think a vending machine would have a blue cross on the side, Mickey."
Rose hurried to the door and put her hand on it, "Chris, argue later please."
"Yes mum," came the reply, followed by a loud scrapping and finally the door was pulled open.
Rose took a second to close her eyes in relief before they snapped open again and narrowed in on Chris.
"Christian George, you had better be using crutches."
Chris's guilty shifting told her that finding some would be their order of business, before they even thought of getting out of the hospital.