AN: Huzzah, I've posted this! Big shout out to azurefalls who is an amazing writer and my beta for this story. That means that she has to put up with my ramblings and somehow help me turn them into a plot. Anywho, here's the first chapter! (duh...) Lots of old friends/foes/others turning up, but I won't say yet. *feels enigmatic*
Disclaimer: I DO NOT OWN DOCTOR WHO. There, I've said it. I do (vaguely) own Angela, Rob and Jake though. Does it count if I stole the names from somewhere?
Jake and Rob were out late again. They'd promised they'd be back at the tent by four, but it was gone four already and the beach was nearly half an hour's walk away. Angela started walking back, sighing. Already, the neighbours, in their five-room tent with a TV and ensuite, had started tutting and shaking their heads at "Those two ragamuffins from that tiny hiker's tent next door…why the mother (no father, of course, typical) lets them run wild like that I'd like to know…"
Well, she didn't actually know that that was what they were thinking, but she could guess. Everyone who saw her with the boys, muddling along as best as they could, immediately thought "Teenage mum, probably still on the dole" and dismissed the thought. She just didn't have the energy to fight back and bring up the car crash again, especially not in front of Jake and Rob. God knows they had enough on their plates at the moment, what with everyone from her mother-in-law to Social Services talking kindly to them and trying to tell her that she couldn't cope.
She'd better go see where they were.
"What?" Jake was lying in the rubber boat, tired out from snorkelling.
"You do know it must be gone four, right?"
"Oh. Yeah. So?"
"Well, Mum wanted us back at four…"
"Jake! Remember the last time we were out? Mum phoned the police!"
"Oh, honestly, Rob, she overreacted and she knows it. Anyway, that was just after Dad-"
"Shut UP! It has nothing to do with – with anything!"
Jake rolled his eyes. Ten year old brothers were hard work. They needed entertaining all the time, or they started worrying, remembering or crying.. He needed a diversion.
"Look! Down there!"
"What? Jake, what is it?
Jake had already jumped down into the deep green sea. Rob, after chewing his lip anxiously for a bit, tied the boat's rope round his ankle and dived after him..
When he felt the rope tighten, and there was still no sign of Jake, Rob started to get worried. He couldn't stay under for much longer, but what had Jake wanted to show him?
It was no good – he had to go up for some air.
But which way was up? The green was oppressive and all around him. Up? Down? Left? Right? The rope had stopped straining now, and distantly Rob felt the weight of the boat float downwards and onto his head. Then there was nothing, nothing but the green.
Angela walked up and down the deserted beach, calling. She'd taken up the boys' clothes already – it was warm enough for them to walk back to the campsite in their swimming trunks. The sea, as far as the eye could see, was completely still and silent. Empty. The rubber boat was no where to be seen, along with her , there was another route back to the campsite… she'd have to walk up it; they were likely to be dawdling along some blackberry bush while she stood here and worried.
But if she had been a bit worried before, by the time she reached the campsite, Angela was downright scared. She raced past the shop, a blue police box, the caravans and the tents until she reached their plot. Deserted. She turned and raced back up to the shop – she'd seen a phone box there, she was sure of it.
Five minutes later, she was stood in the shop, arguing with the owner.
"Look, my sons are missing. I need to phone the police – I saw a phone box, just outside, I swear!"
"Now, really. If there had ever been a phone box outside my shop, don't you think I'd know by now?"
"But it was there! It was – painted – blue…" Angela's voice trailed off. Suddenly, she wasn't so sure. It was like she knew what she was trying to say, but she didn't want to…
The shopkeeper stared at her.
"A blue… Phone box. You saw a phone box, painted blue, outside my shop." He was clearly fearing for her sanity by now. "Look, you can use my phone if you want, I'll just go get it…"
As he disappeared behind a beaded curtain, the shop door jangled – then stopped. A tall, skinny man in a pinstripe suit and a shock of brown hair had just been about to leave, hands in pockets and clearly deep in concentration. Instead, he paused and bounced up to Angela..
"Hello, I'm the Doctor. Sorry, but can I ask you some questions about your sons?"
"What? No! Who are you?"
"Oh! Sorry…" he rummaged in his suit pockets and pushed a blank sheet of paper in Angela's face "Scotland Yard!"
What? No, of course it wasn't blank, of course not… she saw a blurry picture, a string of ID numbers and the Scotland Yard logo.
"Oh. Um. OK. What do you need to know, sir?"
"Which beach did you leave them at? How old are they? Their names, your name, where are you staying?"
Angela blinked rapidly a few times, then launched into a description of Jake and Rob, and the beach they'd visited that day – St Rose's Bay, near Torquay. Something seemed to flicker across the Doctor's face when she said that, but he obviously pulled himself back together and ran out of the shop, just calling out a "Follow me, please!" before disappearing through the door. Angela threw an apologetic smile at the shop-keeper, who was standing there holding a mobile phone and looking quite dazed, and ran after him.
He was stood just around the corner, waiting impatiently. When he saw her, he gave her a sort of manic, childish grin and pelted off again at top speed, tugging her along by one hand.
They reached the bay in far less time than Angela's knees would have appreciated, and she showed the Doctor the spot where they'd spread out the towels and picnic earlier that day. He picked up a grain of sand between his thumb and forefinger, slipping on a pair of glasses as he did so and frowning.
"What's wrong? Doctor, what is it?"
He looked up, tugging at one ear.
"Nothing. Haven't a clue. But I look clever, don't I?" He did the manic grin again. Angela couldn't help it. Even though she was tired and worried, even though her sons were missing, even though they could have drowned for all she knew, she grinned too.
After pacing up and down the sands for a good twenty minutes, the Doctor fished a pair of swimming trunks out of his seemingly never-ending pocket, and disappeared behind a boulder. When he got back, Angela tried and failed to keep a straight face. The trunks were covered in Disney logos and pictures of lion cubs. When he saw her look, the Doctor grinned. Then he ran full pelt into the sea. Angela could only gape, shaking her head. The sun had been setting for a while, there were waves and undercurrents out there. Was this man completely insane?
Yes, she concluded. He probably was.
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