Author's note: This fic was written by myself (Immy) and my friend Jess. We are working together closely on it but taking it in turns to write chapters - I will indicate who wrote which chapter as we go along.
Chapter Six, Part Two by: Jess
In Which Everything Happens At Once
"What do you mean a 'Gilbert Mackenzie Trench' thingy?" Olive asked, glaring at the lanky man who had asked the question, "There's nothing on our rooftop!"
"Oh really?" the man continued, sneering as best as he could, although for a very nerdy individual a convincing sneer was quite impossible.
"Yes really!" the pie-waitress asserted, "Now did you want pie, or am I gonna have to kick you out?"
"But I can see it!" the stranger whined, clearly trying a different approach. Nods and murmurs came from the group of similarly dressed people who flanked their leader, and he smiled slightly at the support.
"Look, matey, I don't know what kind of glue you and your friends've been sniffing, but there is no police box on that roof!" Donna interrupted, fearful that the TARDIS would be discovered and investigated. However, this contradiction caused outrage in the nerd party, and they all began to speak over one another at once.
"But I –"
"It's all I've ever dreamed of –"
"Episode 15! –"
"It's not like I was gonna –"
"I don't know what you're talking about –"
"Series 4? Attack –"
"I swear –"
"Please can we –"
"Will you all just shut up so I can hear myself think?!" Donna shouted, standing on the counter to get everyone's attention.
"Go back to your pie," Olive said bitter-sweetly to the rest of The Pie Hole's patrons, who had stopped to gawk at the commotion happening at the counter.
"Donna, get down!" she hissed, but the taller woman ignored her.
"Right, now you nerds are going to listen to me," Donna began, speaking very clearly, very pointedly and very menacingly to the group staring up at her in awe and shock, "You're upsetting everyone in here. Look at those little kids! So, you're going to sit down, order some pie, and then and ONLY then will we talk calmly and patiently about this supposed police box on the roof. Or, you can all get out RIGHT NOW. So, what's it to be?"
Reluctantly, the nerds seemed to obey her at once. Pouring themselves into several booths at one end of The Pie Hole, they whispered among themselves conspiratorially. In their minds, Donna seemed exactly like the kind of person who wanted to recall the 'Gilbert Mackenzie Trench' police box models, although her accent was very British and very cute. To be honest, the fire-headed woman flustered them a little...
"Well, that went well," the woman in question muttered to Olive.
"I'll get them their pie," Olive replied. Several minutes and much deliberation later, the nerds were nibbling on pie, and Donna and Olive were prepared to answer any and all questions with as much knowledge as they felt able to give.
"Now, what's up?" Donna asked the man who seemed to be 'lead nerd', and whose underpants had just professed him to be Bernard X Wilkins.
"Well," Bernard puffed his chest out in an attempt to make himself look more impressive. This might have worked, had he had anything to puff out, "We wanted to know if The Pie Hole had a license to display recalled British police boxes in public,"
"That was seriously all you wanted?" Olive asked, stunned slightly by how pointless that request seemed to her.
"And we were wondering...," an underling began, "if we could... you know... see it...?"
"There is no police box on our roof!" Olive asserted again, getting more and more agitated, "Look, I'll show you,"
The petite waitress got up and stormed out of the crowded Pie Hole, followed by Donna and flanked by the conglomeration of police box fanatics. Once outside, the assembled group looked up to the roof as one, with the exception of Donna, staring at the ground, who braced herself for the imminent discovery of the TARDIS.
"See? What did I tell you? There is NO police box on our rooftop," Olive said, sounding exasperated. Donna looked up in shock. That was news to her. Was Olive blind all of a sudden? It was there, right there, couldn't she see it?!
Donna knew she was freaking out, but how could she not when her one method of transport had, probably quite literally, vanished off the face of the Earth? And not to mention it's owner, the man who was supposed to be in it, with a girl they had just met, examining blood samples for a murder they were supposed to be investigating, where was he? What was he doing, just disappearing into the abyss that was the whole of time and space without at least telling her?
"Here we go again," the stressed time-traveller muttered to herself, "Leaping off into the vortex with a pretty girl, and forgetting everyone else!"
"Huh?" Olive said, turning to her friend.
"Oh, nothing," Donna replied, a false smile lighting her face. Wherever he was, the Doctor was going to be in so much trouble when he got back.
"Doctor Jones, what do you make of this?" Emerson said, holding up a few pieces of what appeared to be bird food, all stained the exact same colour as...
"Tobias..." the medical student replied, "He was that colour. Maybe the Doctor was right, you know, with his Seku-Seku bird theory,"
Emerson snorted, disbelieving. There was no way he was going to admit defeat, especially not to that lunatic in the pinstriped suit.
"Or maybe," he said, "Maybe the killer's clever, and wanted us to think that, and made sure that all the evidence pointed in that direction so we'd be thrown off the trail,"
Martha raised her eyebrows. Even she could see that that seemed ridiculous. The truth was right there in front of them, dancing a jig in glorious Technicolor, but the private investigator just didn't want to believe it.
"If that is true..." Martha mused, attempting to appease Emerson even though she knew he was wrong, "How would the killer know about the Seku-Sekus? Someone knows something they shouldn't. I'm taking it that aliens aren't commonplace here..."
"Aliens?" Now it was Emerson's turn to do some eyebrow-raising, "Nobody ever said anything about aliens,"
Martha blushed, knowing she'd said too much. The Doctor wouldn't be too happy with her for giving away their secret. Or maybe he would, he was weird like that.
"Where exactly did you say you were from, Miss Jones?" Emerson asked, scrutinising her. Suddenly, his eyes lit up and a frown crossed his face. The private investigator walked past the young doctor, who breathed a sigh of relief. While Emerson was distracted, she was safe. Although she knew that a mind like Emerson's wouldn't remain distracted for too long.
She smiled inwardly, a small sign of a private victory, as Emerson turned to her, frowning still, holding a large ruby-coloured feather.
"That might be all the proof we need," Martha grinned, "Believe me about aliens now?"
"Oh hell no!" Emerson replied, praying that the Pie-maker would find some good solid evidence that could prove Martha and her weirdy cohorts wrong.
"Oh no oh no oh no!" the Doctor exclaimed, running a hand through his hair and rushing about the console room wildly, pressing buttons wherever he went, "This is not good. What did you do?"
"What did I do?" Chuck asked, affronted, "I didn't do anything! This is your spaceship!"
"She is not a spaceship," the Doctor countered, "She's a sentient time and space machine, and she's very sensitive. So you did something to upset her, but I don't know what yet,"
In a burst of energy, the Doctor darted off through the smoking and whirring console room, back to the Analysis Room, where his sneaky analysis on Chuck's hair was almost complete. Making sure that the confused brunette could not see what he was doing, he leaned over the machine, calling up Chuck's data as he did so. Tobias could wait, this was important. Something about Chuck and her hair had seriously messed with the TARDIS's systems.
"Doctor...?" Chuck called.
"What?" he asked, flustered, having returned like a thunderbolt to the console room, "What's wrong?"
"Why are we in space?" the beekeeper replied, pointing out of the open TARDIS doors and looking out onto an expanse of black, punctured by bright stars the size of apples. The Doctor was momentarily taken aback.
"Yes, yes, I told you I could travel in time and space, but that's not the point right now," he rambled, "You have put your finger right on the problem. Why? The TARDIS was quite happily parked, with the handbrake on, on that rooftop, with your bees, and now...."
The Doctor left Chuck to gape at the stars, while he went back to the Analysis Room. He returned a few minutes later with a print-out in his hands and a grim expression on his face.
"I may have found the problem," he said, looking at Chuck severely as she closed the TARDIS doors and turned to face him.
"Well," the Doctor said, running a hand through his hair, "There's the slight chance that it was an isolated random incident, or, more probably, it has to do with the fact that you're dead,"
Chuck looked stunned. The Doctor pressed on.
"See, this has happened before. Sort of. Basically, it's the pencil in the mug scenario all over again,"
"Pencil in a mug?" the dead girl who was not dead questioned.
"Donna, the original pencil, was attracted to the TARDIS, played by the mug in my little action replay, because she was covered in these particle things, and even if I tried to explain it to you, you wouldn't understand. But now you are the pencil! There's something about you that the TARDIS was attracted to, you being dead, and being a sensitive being, she couldn't handle the intrusion of a SECOND something Not Meant To Be and so whisked us off into space," the Doctor grinned sheepishly at the end of his explanation, "So, in theory, we're lucky not to be at the end of time right now. Although I'm not entirely sure where exactly we are. Looks like it could be the Epsilon quadrant parallel to the Suvara system, that's just a guess mind you..."
"Right," Chuck nodded, then paused, "So I'm a pencil,"
The Doctor just smiled.
"Hi, I'm Maria," a pretty brunette smiled at the Captain and the Pie-maker, as she welcomed them into her home. They could tell that she'd been crying, but she seemed to be holding herself together so that she could be as cooperative as possible, "I assume you're here to talk about Tobias...?"
The Pie-maker nodded, then held out the square pie box he was holding.
"It's kiwi," he said, "It's a healing pie."
"That's sweet." Maria sniffed, "Thank you," Her eyes twinkled at the Pie-maker, who smiled back, and Jack could feel something remarkably like jealousy growing inside him. That was new. But before he could help himself, his eyes narrowed, and he almost growled, but settled instead for a barked,
"Did you do it?"
Both Maria and the Pie-maker seemed shocked by this outburst. The Pie-maker looked at Jack disbelievingly, and Maria's eyes threatened to fill with tears again. The Captain coughed, awkward in the situation he'd just created, and tried a different tact.
"Err... were you close to Tobias?" he asked awkwardly.
"Yes," Maria replied, as if it was obvious, "We were working on the wingspan project together,"
"Weren't you also his girlfriend?" the Pie-maker asked innocently. The look she shot him terrified the two; if those daggers had been real, even Jack may have had trouble coming back to life.
"I was, but he dumped me for that... that..." the brunette took a deep breath in, smiled widely, and continued, "Tobias and I hadn't been a couple for three weeks. He left me for Selena Sampson. She's the one you should be talking to."
"Really? Why's that?" Jack asked, "Because from where I'm standing, it looks like you had a very good reason to kill him."
"Me?!" Maria was shocked, "I... I loved him!"
"Exactly," Jack pressed, "We all know 'hell hath no fury like a woman scorned'. And you seem pretty scorned."
"Look, just because I hated being replaced by Selena, doesn't make me a murderer! Or even a potential murderer!" Maria exclaimed, "Besides, I needed Tobias, and still cared about him. There's no way I can finish this project without him now."
The Captain and the Pie-maker shared a look. (No, not that kind of look.) As far as they could tell, Miss Maria Moore seemed innocent. There was no more they could get out of her. Between them, they silently decided it was time to cut their losses and question the next suspect on their list – the beautiful, boyfriend-stealing Selena Sampson.
"Well, thanks for your time, Miss," Jack sparkled.
"That's all you wanted?" Maria asked, slightly surprised.
"Yep, time to go," the Pie-maker replied.
"Oh," was the only response Maria could form.
"Unless there's anything else you'd like to tell us...?" Jack began, hinting that she might know more.
"Talk to Selena. She might know what happened, and if she did, she's probably to blame. But be warned – she might still hate me," Maria advised after a pause to collect her thoughts.
"Hate you? Why would she hate you?" the Pie-maker questioned, puzzled.
"Tobias was fickle. He wanted both of us. When he dumped me as his girlfriend in favour of Selena, he ditched her as a project partner for me," Maria explained, "Oh! And you should probably talk to her ex-boyfriend. He hated Tobias, and often came in when we were working to threaten him and beg for Selena back."
Jack looked at the Pie-maker, as if to say 'This information would have been useful before', before turning to Maria and saying,
"Thank you. We'll definitely talk to him,"
"We'll be in touch when we find out what happened to him," the Pie-maker promised, which earned him a pretty smile from Maria and a possessive death-glare from Jack. However, he did not notice either, as he was too busy thinking about his beloved Chuck and how much he was missing her.
The trip to Selena Sampson's apartment took just about 14 minutes and 17 seconds, during which the pair of investigators discussed, for some reason, the merits of driving on the right side of the road compared with driving on the left, which Jack had been finding torturous while living in Cardiff.
"And Ianto's always yelling at me, but it's not like I'm going to kill any–" the Captain trailed off as a beautiful red-head holding a kitchen knife roughly yanked the door open in front of them. Almost instinctively, the Pie-maker put his hands, one holding the box of pie, in the air and looked innocent.
"Don't be scared, sweetie, I'm not gonna hurt ya!" the woman laughed, "I'm Selena. Who are you two cuties?"
"Captain Jack Harkness," Jack introduced himself, taking her unarmed hand and pressing her fingers to his lips.
"I'm kiwi, and I made you a Ned pie," The Pie-maker rambled, clearly flustered by her appearance. After a moment, conscious thought kicked back in, and he corrected what he'd just said, "That's a lie. I'm Ned, and I made you a kiwi pie... Here."
He handed over the pie to Selena, who ushered the two men into her kitchen, where she cleaned off the knife she was holding and got to work on the pie.
"Sweet of you to bring me pie. What's the occasion?" she said, offering slices to Jack and Ned, the latter of whom quickly refused.
"We wanted to talk to you about Tobias. And apparently kiwi pie's a healing pie, so we thought we'd bring you one," Jack explained.
"Oh. That," Selena said sadly, "Look, I loved Tobias, and I'd be so grateful if you could find out what happened to him."
"So you don't know who killed him?" Ned asked.
"Of course not! Why would you ever think that?" Selena exclaimed around a mouthful of pie, "This pie's really good, by the way,"
The Pie-maker smiled.
"We got the impression from Maria Moore that you might know something about Tobias' death," Jack explained, causing an explosion in Selena's general direction.
"Maria?! She sent you after me? Well I had nothing to do with it! I don't know what happened to Tobias, I didn't kill him and I betcha she blamed me to cover up her own guilt!" Selena shrieked.
"Do you know anyone who might have wanted Tobias dead?" the Pie-maker asked quietly, attempting to appease the upset woman.
"Aside from you and the ex," Jack said under his breath.
"Well, my ex-boyfriend, Timothy-Roy, he had it in for Tobias for stealin' me away. What he could never understand was that maybe I wanted to be stolen." Selena said, once she had calmed down.
"Could you tell us where we could find him?" Jack pressed, looking at the Pie-maker in an attempt to communicate his desire to leave.
"Sure, he lives a few blocks away. I'll go write it down," Selena smiled, getting up and leaving the room.
"Wow, she's hot but a little bit possessive-psycho. Not my type at all," Jack muttered to the Pie-maker, "If she gets mad about one ex-girlfriend, she'd be furious about my back-catalogue!"
Ned looked slightly disgusted by this.
"Do you think she did it?" he asked.
"I don't know," Jack mused, "She seems capable, but I'm not sure."
"Here we go!" Selena trilled, handing Jack a small piece of paper.
"Thanks," Jack smiled back, "We'd better go check him out then."
"Thanks for the pie," Selena smiled at Ned, who shuffled uncomfortably under her gaze, before following Jack out of her apartment.
"Look what she's written," Jack said, as soon as he was sure that the unstable Selena was out of earshot, "'Timothy-Roy Ford - 68 Maple Road, three streets down from here. If he's innocent, tell him he can have me back. If he's not, call me, X Selena'. That is not normal."
The two men found themselves discussing the two women they'd just met, and pondering the type of character Tobias had had, as they walked the 7 minutes and 38 seconds to the house of potential murderer number 3 – Timothy-Roy Ford.
"HI CAN I HELP YOU?" a rather short man bellowed at the pair from the open doorway.
"We're looking for a Timothy-Roy Ford. Is that you, by any chance?" Jack asked.
"YES, THAT'S ME. CALL ME TIM, WOULD YOU?" Tim smiled.
"Oh-kay," Jack agreed, shooting a confused look at the man beside him, "We're investigating the death of Tobias Skywalker , and were wondering if we could ask you some questions."
"NO PROBLEM. NOW, I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE THINKING. BUT LET ME ASSURE YOU, I AM INNOCENT. AS MUCH AS I DESPISED THE MAN, I COULD NEVER KILL ANYONE. I AM A STRICT VEGAN." Tim explained.
"Right..." Jack began, "I'm sorry for bothering you,"
"CALL AGAIN." Tim smiled as he closed the door.
"That was weird," the Pie-maker assessed.
"Yeah." the Captain agreed.
"Back to The Pie Hole?"
"Definitely. We didn't find anything useful, so let's hope that someone else did,"
End of chapter 6.