Series 3 AU with Rose! This is a sequel to my stories, "The Girl in the Stalking Spaceship", "Age of Bronze", "Lantern Extinguished", "Gravity Schmavity", "Love and Monsters", "Show Her, Tell Her", "Ghost of a Chance", "Doomsday Averted", "Runaway Bride", "The Smiths and Miss Jones", "The Shakespeare Code", and "Gridlock".
This is not a complete rewrite, but is meant for those who want to re-watch the episode--with Rose.
Thanks much to GSRgirlforever for beta'ing!
Disclaimer: Surprise, surprise, I don't own Doctor Who. Nor do I get anything from writing these stories--except wonderful, constructive reviews! Wink, wink; nudge, nudge ;)
Chapter 1, Old New York
The Doctor let Rose and Martha exit the TARDIS ahead of him.
"So, where are we?" Martha asked.
"Don't forget 'when'," Rose told her with a smile.
The Doctor didn't answer directly. "Ah, smell that Atlantic breeze," he said, stepping out of the TARDIS to join them. "Nice and cold. Lovely. Oh, have you met my friend?" he asked the girls, turning himself to look up at the monument behind the ship.
He heard Rose gasp, then Martha exclaimed, "Is that--oh my God!"
"That's the Statue of Liberty!" they said in unison.
"Gateway to the New World," he told them. "'Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free'," he quoted.
He smiled at Rose as she took his arm.
"Not a bad make-up detour," Rose told him, as he led her to the edge of the island for a better look at the Manhattan skyline.
"That's so brilliant," Martha said. "I've always wanted to go to New York. I mean, the real New York, not the new, new, new, new, new . . . ."
"I've never been, either," Rose added, excitedly.
"Well, there's the genuine article," he said, indicating the city across the water. "So good, they named it twice. Mind you, it was New Amsterdam originally. Harder to say twice. No wonder it didn't catch on. New Amsterdam, New Amsterdam." To his delight, he'd gotten Rose to laugh.
Yup. He'd finally gotten it right. This was the place. New New York might not have worked out, but somehow, somewhere in Old New York, he knew he'd find the perfect spot for a proposal.
"I wonder what year it is," Martha asked, coming over to join them, "'cause look, the Empire State Buildin's not even finished yet."
The Doctor nodded. "Work in progress," he said. "Still got a couple floors to go. And if I know my history, that makes the date somewhere around—"
"November 1, 1930," Martha cut him off.
"You're getting good at this," he said, rather astonished, until he turned to see her holding a discarded newspaper.
Rose chuckled. "That's the way to do it," she said, approvingly.
"Eighty years ago," Martha said, handing the paper to the Doctor.
He looked it over, holding it up for Rose to read as well. His hearts sank just a bit as he read the lead story about mysterious disappearances. Maybe he should just give up, and take Rose someplace completely deserted to propose.
He sighed quietly when Martha asked, "Where do we go first?"
He showed Martha the headline. "I think our detour just got longer," he said.
"'Hooverville Mystery Deepens'," read Martha aloud.
"And what's Hooverville, exactly?" asked Rose.
The Doctor was seated next to Rose in Solomon's tent. The de facto leader of the Hooverville residents had just verified the strange nighttime disappearances that had been reported in the newspaper article.
"Have you been to the police?" Martha asked.
"Yeah, we tried that," said Solomon. "Another deadbeat goes missing, big deal."
"So, the question is," said the Doctor, "who's taking them and what for?"
At that moment, a young man stuck his head inside the tent, announcing, "Solomon, Mr. Diagoras is here."
They all followed Solomon outside to where a man--presumably Mr. Diagoras--was speaking to the small crowd.
"I need men. Volunteers. I got a little work for you and you sure look like you can use the money."
"Yeah. What is the money?" the young man who'd called them out, Frank, the Doctor had learned, asked.
"A dollar a day," was Mr. Diagoras' reply, to the disapproving grumbles of the Hovervillians.
"What's the work?" asked Solomon.
"A little trip down the sewers," answered Mr. Diagoras. "Got a tunnel that collapsed, needs clearing and fixing. Any takers?"
"A dollar a day?" repeated Solomon. "That's slave wage. Men don't always come back up, do they?"
"Accidents happen," Mr. Diagoras said.
"What do you mean?" asked the Doctor. "What sort of accidents?"
Mr. Diagoras ignored him. "You don't need the work? That's fine. Anybody else?"
The Doctor raised his hand.
"Enough with the questions," Mr. Diagoras told him, impatiently.
"Oh, n-n-no, I'm volunteering," clarified the Doctor.
"Sign me up, too," said Rose, cheerily raising her hand. The Doctor smiled at her, grasping her free hand in his own.
He saw Martha look carefully at them both, before raising her own hand. "I'll kill you for this," she murmured at the Doctor. Maybe he should give up promising peaceful "make-up" trips, too, the Doctor thought.
Solomon and Frank volunteered, as well.
Rose stepped carefully through the sewers, with the rest of the small group. She was grateful for the low-heeled boots she'd chosen to wear this time; the Doctor's Converses must be soaked through, she thought.
Mr. Diagoras had told them they'd find the collapse after half a mile. So far, Rose couldn't see any signs of any such thing.
"Whoa!" called the Doctor, bringing the group to a halt.
Rose shone her torch on the spot where the Doctor was staring. "What is it?" she asked. A greenish blob of something was lying on the ground, faintly glowing.
"Is it radioactive or somethin'?" asked Martha, as the Doctor crouched down beside it. Rose saw her cover her nose and mouth at the smell. "It's gone off, whatever it is," Martha said.
The Doctor pulled out his glasses, set down his torch, then reached out to pick up the blob.
"And you've got to pick it up," Rose said with a roll of her eyes, hoping against hope that he at least would refrain from licking it.
He sniffed it, instead. "Shine your torch through it," he asked Rose, and she did. "Composite organic matter," he said. "Martha? Medical opinion?"
"It's not human. I know that," she answered.
"No, it's not," the Doctor agreed. "And I'll tell you something else," he said, getting to his feet and looking around at the tunnel. "We must be at least half a mile in, and I don't see any sign of a collapse, do you?" he asked the group at large. "So why did Mr. Diagoras send us down here?"
"So where are we now?" asked Rose. "What's above us?"
"Well," said the Doctor, looking up as though he could see through the overhead tunnel, "we're right underneath Manhattan." He slid the blob into his coat pocket, removed his glasses, then bent to retrieve his torch. "Come on, then," he said, standing and leading the way further into the tunnel.
"We're way beyond half a mile," agreed Solomon after only a few more minutes of walking. "There's no collapse, nothing."
"That Diagoras bloke," said Martha, "was he lyin'?"
"Looks like it," Rose told her.
"So why did he want people to come down here?" asked Frank.
The Doctor looked around at the branching tunnels. "Solomon, I think it's time you took these two back," he said to Rose's surprise, urging Martha and Frank back the way they'd come. "We'll be much quicker on our own."
A squealing echo halted any retreat.
"What the hell was that?" asked Solomon.
"Hello?!" Frank called, loudly. They all tried to shush him.
"What if it's one of the folk gone missing?" he whispered, defiantly. "You'd be scared, half-mad down here on your own."
Rose thought he had a point. She couldn't count the number of turn-offs from this tunnel they'd passed on their way in.
"Do you think they're still alive?" the Doctor asked Frank.
"Heck, we ain't seen no bodies down here. Maybe they just got lost," Frank said.
More squealing from up ahead quelled the debate.
"I know I never heard nobody make a sound like that," said Solomon.
Rose refrained from taking the Doctor's blob-covered hand as they moved towards the sound, shining their torches ahead of them.
"Sounds like there's more than one of 'em," said Frank, quietly.
"This way," said the Doctor, shining his torch down a side tunnel.
"No, that way," said Solomon. He'd illuminated another tunnel, and Rose could just make out a huddled figure on the ground. "Who are you?" Solomon asked.
"Are you lost?" asked Frank. "Can you understand me? I've been thinkin' about folk lost--"
He started to walk towards the figure, but the Doctor moved quickly to stop him.
"It's all right, Frank," he told him. "Just stay back. Let me have a look."
Rose followed close behind the Doctor, despite his warning to Frank, as he himself moved towards the figure.
"He's got a point, though, my mate Frank," the Doctor said, soothingly. "I'd hate to be stuck down here on my own."
The figure squealed.
"We know the way out," offered Rose. "Daylight. If you wanna come with us."
The Doctor squatted down close to the figure, his torch illuminating a face that seemed a blend of a man's and a pig's. "Oh, but what are you?" breathed the Doctor.
"Is, uh, that some kind of carnival mask?" Solomon asked from the tunnel junction.
Rose wished it was.
"No, it's real," said the Doctor. "I'm sorry," he told the pig-man. "Now listen to me. I promise I can help. Now, who did this to you?"
Martha called to them. "Doctor, Rose, I think you'd better get back here."
Rose looked back at her, then further into the tunnel, where Martha was staring. More pig-men were moving their way. "Doctor," Rose said, with a hand on his shoulder.
He finally looked away from the huddled pig-man, and quickly got to his feet. "Actually . . . good point," he said, as he and Rose backed out of the tunnel towards the others.
"They're followin' us," observed Rose, as the pig-men continued to advance.
"Yeah, I noticed that, thanks," the Doctor said, as they reached the others. "Well then, Rose, Martha, Frank, Solomon . . . ."
"What?" asked Martha.
"Um, basically . . . run!" he told them.
Rose took his offered hand, despite the gooiness, and ran with him back through the tunnel.
To be continued.