This is set some time after Fires of Pompeii. Or Planet of the Ood. Probably. 'Tis something written to shoo away any traces of Writer's Block and replace it with motivation, so I can update other 'fics.
Disclaimer: Nope, you guessed it, Doctor Who isn't mine!! Neither be the Bristol Balloon Fiesta - that belongs to… somebody. OR something. I don't own the crowd of people either. Or the security guard! I just… "borrowed" them all to play with! =P
"Remind me why we're traipsin' round Gloucester lookin' like total idiots, again?"
"Fine, Bristol, then."
"We, for a fact, have got a wormhole to close. Weeeell, when I say wormhole, it's more of a teeny-weeny, incy-wincy blip in the time-space continuem. A tiny but very, very dangerous puncture in the fabric of time and space…"
"In Bristol," the Time Lord echoed, stopping for a moment and raising a finger to the air. "And judging by the heat and the temporal condition of the current atmosphere it's the middle of August. Probably."
"--Well, duh! It is kinda sunny, if you hadn't noticed," Donna pointed out, drinking in the (thankfully) hot and gorgeous weather of their current location. "Beats every other place you've taken me to so far… Like that Ood planet. And Antarctica. Freezing. And Pompeii wasn't exactly a laugh, was it?" She arched an eyebrow, nudging him. "Go on, admit it, you're rubbish at driving the TARDIS."
"I'll pretend I didn't hear that, shall I. Anyway! As I was saying, early-mid of August… ooh… 2009, maybe?" He shrugged. "Hmm… Actually… Better make that early August. Too sunny to be mid-August; ah, I shouldn't have said that. Oh well, they'll be busy lynching the weather forecasters, any time now. Anyway. Let's say it's the 6th? No, no, that doesn't sound right… the 7th, perhaps? The 8th ? Ooh, I like the sound of that. The 8th of August. Yeah, I like that, the 8th. Saturday the 8th of August 2009! And also judging by the position of the sun, I'd say it's about-" he sucked in a breath- "half past six. Seven. Give or take a few minutes."
"Whatever," Donna sighed; having learnt to ignore most of the Doctor's everlasting babbling. She frowned suddenly, her eyebrows suddenly dipping down to meet the small space just above her nose. She precariously jabbed the wild, futuristic object held in the Doctor's hand, which was currently blinking a furious green and emitting a strange sort of… bleeping noise. A bit like the Clangers, but weirder. "What's that thing sayin' now?"
"What's what thing saying now?"
Ding!the said device bleeped.
"Aha! Gotcha!" the Doctor exclaimed, jumping up excitedly. He earned some dodgy looks from a group of teenagers walking by. "The signal's getting stronger," he told Donna.
"Meaning what exactly?"
"We've got to get closer to the Balloon Fiesta."
"But how are we s'posed get through this lot? The crowd's massive!" She gestured the huge throng of men, woman, children and dogs up ahead, in front. "The 2012 Olympics will have come and gone by the time we even get to the front."
"Speaking of the 2012 Olympics…" A piercing glare cut through his sentence and the 904-year-old knowledgeably left his sentence hanging. Actually, now he was thinking about it, it was probably a good thing Donna had chosen that moment to glare at him. The 2012 Olympics. It brought back some memories: not the fondest of memories either. Instead, he took in the vast, buzzing, colourful vista of people a couple of metres away from them.
His mind trekked through a whirlwind of words and smart replies before finally he settled for a simple: "We'll manage. Besides, the grounds can't be that far away."
"You've got a TARDIS! You could just land us there. Wherever 'there' is, anyway."
"Aww, but Donna, where's the fun in that?"
"Exactly." There was a brief pause and a smug suction of breath. "There isn't."
"Come on! We've wasted enough time already, yapping away; wormholes can't close themselves, you know."
Some time later…
"Oi! Watch where you're puttin' your hands, mate!"
"Could I just squeeze past here and…? Thanks."
"Sorry, I just need to get through here."
"Ooh, can I just say, you have very good taste in fruit! Good source of potassium that--"
And so, the heads of a strange man (blessed with one of the messiest, tallest, brown hair known to the universe – well, bar a young Michael Jackson) and an annoyed, red-haired woman hurriedly bobbed their way through the large (and rather irritatingly unhurried) throng of people. A throng of people who were quite conveniently filled with the knowledge that there was no point hurrying and the grounds to the Bristol Balloon Fiesta was quite a distance away yet.
1.7 kilometres away, in fact.
"Balloon inspectors," improvised the Doctor, flashing the perplexed security guard a view of the psychic paper.
The security guard shook his head, in slight bemusement, turning to the approaching couple as the tall, skinny, narrow-faced man and the clearly frustrated red-haired woman rushed off, as if their lives depended on it.
"D'you think they knew that this is a free event?"
"Oi! Doctor!" Donna yelled after the Doctor, stopping dead in her tracks, unable to keep going without a break. She rested her hands on her thighs, catching her breath back.
He ran back the few metres to join her again, hopping around impatiently from foot to foot. "What is it?"
His companion tossed her head back slightly and threw the Doctor a dirty look. She straightened up, her breathing slowing down and her cheeks gradually returning to its original, pale complexion.
"Earth girl, remember!" Donna pointed to herself, flicking the hair out of her eyes. "I don't know about you Martians or whatever, but humans actually need to take a breather every once in a while."
"But, we're wasting time!"
"I. Don't. Care!"
"Well, I'm never doing that again," Donna Noble said snippily, placing hands on hips. Donna spoke in a rough imitation of the Doctor, " 'It can't be that far away'. I'm never trusting you again, Spaceman. One sodding mile we had to run!"
"How was I supposed to know that, that big crowd of people had just randomly decided to bunch together in the middle of the city and were, ooh, say about 1.7 kilometres away from the grounds!?" the Doctor reasoned.
"I thought you were Time Lord?"
"I am. But, just because I'm a Time Lord, it doesn't mean I can't miscalculate distances, once in a while. Time Lords aren't that different to humans, y'know. "
Donna scoffed. "What happened to you being 'high and mighty Time Lord' then?"
"I told you we should've just taken the TARDIS! But no, don't listen to Donna – she's just a human." She contemplated something, shaking her head. "Knowing your reckless driving, you would've probably ended up landing us in World War 1 or something."
"I'll have you know, my driving is--"
Ding! went the absurd contraption in the Time Lord's hand.
"See! Never waste time having an argument!" he shouted, running off, metres ahead of her already. "C'mon!"
"Big, fat, outerspace CHEAT!" Donna growled, pelting after him.
Sighing, the Doctor sprinted back and grabbed Donna's arm, brusquely pulling her along with him.
"Hundreds of innocent Bristolians and hot-air balloons could've been sucked into another dimension by now, at the rate you're going anyway."
"Go on then, spill; where's all the Time Lord gibberish, this time round?" Donna snapped, doing her best to keep up with the Doctor's fast pace. "It was all 'fixed points' this and 'Time Lord' that in Pompeii."
A dark shadow passed the Doctor's face, but it disappeared as fast as it had appeared, soon replaced by a set of matter-of-factly raised eyebrows and a small tugging at the corner of his lips.
"Now, that," he stated, "was different. I had--"
The Doctor skidded to a halt, Donna crashing into his back.
"What's with the beeping?" he moaned at the device. "You're not supposed to do that! You're supposed to go 'ding', not 'beep'!"
"What difference does it make?"
Instead of replying her, he violently bashed the device against his head, before bringing it back down to earth, and rattling it about in a malevolent and carefree fashion. When the device continued to produce a string of BEEPS, the Doctor growled and resorted to brutally and continuously whacking it against a nearby van.
"You're gonna break it!" Donna observed. "I thought you needed that weird thing."
"Oh, and since when were you the expert?"
"Since you passed your outerspace driving test," Donna quipped.
The Doctor was about to respond, when the device gave in to his violent fashion and obligingly released some satisfactory 'dings' – much to the Doctor's approval.
"That's better!" the Doctor exclaimed cheerily, waving his bizarre piece of apparatus around in the air. He rapped the device on the side of his palm gently, twisting it this way and that before he let out a triumphant cheer. He used his free hand to point wildly to the left, just about missing a cluster of young children. "This way!"
And he was off again.
"What does that thing do, anyway?" Donna asked randomly.
Still running along side him, she gestured the crazy appliance in the Doctor's hand that looked like a cross between one of those old fashioned, open-reel tape recorders, a toaster and a remote control. Well, to be specific, it looked like a cross between an old fashioned, open-reel tape recorder, a toaster and a remote control with a load of big, brass buttons, LED lights, mini switches and fancy dials stuck onto it.
The Doctor was somewhat distracted, craning his neck and head up to peer around hot-air balloon passenger baskets and over the heads of random people. Only properly notified of Donna's question by a sharp slap on the arm, he jerked his head round to face her.
"Wha'," he said, his attention whizzing away from her again as he absentmindedly nodded at the high-tech gismo in his hand, "you mean this thing?"
Donna heaved an irritated sigh. "Noooo, that hot-air balloon. Of course, I mean that thing! Whatever it is. Now, what is it? What does it do?"
"This is my Timey-Wimey detector. Well. My Timey-Wimey detector mark two, to be precise. The old one's still cluttered up in a cupboard somewhere. I really must take it out to upgrade it sometime. Remind me."
"Why, what's so different about this detector thingamajig compared to the last one?"
Obviously, Donna had no idea what the last one had even looked like – probably something just as bizarre, she guessed – but decided a little asking wouldn't hurt.
"Weeeell, for starters, this one can't boil an egg at thirty paces away. That way I don't have to be on the lookout for hens, and have to dodge them, all the time. And, believe you me; it is not a pretty sight when they blow." Donna stared at him. "This one just toasts bread instead. Mind you, tastes a bit like led when it's done." He froze for a split second, before speaking a bit too quickly, "N- not that I've ever tasted led before. Of course."
"Right," Donna said, unsure whether to believe the Doctor or not. "I seriously do not know what to believe anymore, not with you, anyway. Just when I think I've got to grips the universe and got to know you: you go an' tell me summat like that." She looked at him, with a small sigh and a wistful glance. "You're bonkers, absolutely bonkers – that's what you are."
The Doctor grinned at her wickedly. "Glad to hear it."
Ding! Ding! Ding!
"Ooh, there it goes again!" he cried, breaking into a run again. "We're getting closer."
"I'm ecstatic," Donna remarked sarcastically.
Pausing only to give some useful advice to a hot-air balloon pilot, who was already situated in the basket – along with three passengers - and about to bring the first balloon into ascent, the Doctor swiftly followed the erratic dinging of the Timey-Wimey detector. He only ever paused in his running to look back and check that Donna wasn't too far behind him, slowing down and urging her to "go faster" when she was.
Precisely 5 minutes and 35.9 seconds later – not that he was counting, well, he wasn't counting intentionally anyhow – the dinging became almost too loud and too annoying to bear. He jerked to a stop, his trench coat billowing out behind him. Seconds later, Donna appeared at his side, red-faced and panting.
His eyes following to where the detector was pointing to, and dinging at the loudest, the Doctor's eyes met something big, bright blue and blaring out at them. A playbus. Well, that was what it was, according to the large, child-friendly, multi-coloured sign shouting out at them saying "PLAYBUS".
"Ah," was all the Doctor could come up with. Now, this, this was going to be a problem. A rather big one, judging by the amount of parents dropping coin's into the salesman's bag and vast quantity of small, giggly children pouring into the bus. The Doctor heavily suspected that the children's parents wouldn't be too happy to find no small, giggly children, an empty playbus and a doorway to another world. Nope, they would not very happy at all.
"A playbus," Donna said.
"There's a hole to another dimension in a bleeding big, bright blue, children's playbus."
"Well then, alien-boy, you're goin' to have to do somethin' about it."
"Really?" he replied, in a high-pitched voice full of feigned innocence.
The Doctor had fobbed he and Donna off as "children's attractions health 'n' safety inspectors" to the heavily Bristolian accented man, via the psychic paper, and they were now safely aboard the double-decker playbus. Which was teeming with giggly, bubbly, little children.
Giggly, bubbly, little children who were currently crowding round the Doctor, giggling as evilly as toddlers and five year olds could and mercilessly clinging onto the Doctor's legs. Like monkeys, as the Doctor had oh-so subtly pointed out. Donna had been fortunate enough to escape with only a blonde girl at her back, having leapt onto the stairs for refuge, and was now sniggering at the Doctor. Leaving the Doctor trapped. Trapped with a capital T, and enhanced by a word called helpless.
"Donna, a little help?"
"Wha's dat fing?" a stumpy, freckled girl said to the Doctor, poking the Timey-Wimey detector with a sticky finger.
"That, as a matter of fact, is--" The Doctor's eyes widened as he felt a hand rifle around in his bigger-on-the-inside pockets. "Who's going through my pockets?!" He looked down to see three tufty-haired boys digging around in his pockets. "I'd really appreciate it if you didn't--" The Doctor's eyes bulged out to the size of tennis balls. "N-n-n-no. D-Don't, just don't touch that. That is very dangerous contraption and--" The Doctor gasped. "That's my mouse!"
Immediately the children lost their interest in him and turned to the boy holding the mouse, all awing over the tiny, squeaky toy mouse. The Doctor, now free, shuffled over to them and tried to get it back – but was only responded by vehement hisses of "go away" and "we don't like you" and "you go play on slider". The Doctor was quite offended. But, more importantly, he wanted his mouse back.
"Leave the stupid mouse and get up 'ere!" Donna hissed at him, form the stairs. "There's something upstairs. Whatever it is, the kiddies are going ecstatic over it."
As if on cue, there was a loud exclamation of: "wooooooow".
"B-But--" the Doctor tried to protest.
"You can get your precious wind-up mouse later. Now, come on!"
Once Donna had managed to force a reluctant Doctor upstairs, and away from his precious wind-up mouse – which was currently in the dangerous hands of sticky-fingered toddlers and five-year-olds, they both finally arrived on the top deck.
The Doctor wandered over to the large, front window, where there was a small pool of plastic, multi-coloured balls, and began bleeping the area with the sonic screwdriver intently.
Rolling her eyes as the Doctor chugged off into a fast, under-his-breath mutter of technobabble; Donna casually turned her face to the left on the prompt of some excitable wowing from the children and bingo. Within the space of minute, she'd already and quite-nearly instantaneously found what they'd been looking for. Without the Doctor's help.
She marched over to the Time Lord and dragged him forcefully by the ear, much to his objection and disapproval, to the cause of the problem.
"Ow! That hurt! What did I do to deserve th--"
Donna looked on smugly. In front of them, in all its alien and colourful glory, was the wormhole. Or, as the Doctor had claimed it to be: a teeny-weeny, incy-wincy, little blip in the time-space continuem.
The wormhole in question was about two foot in height, four in length and positioned quite distinctly in mid-air, and it looked much like a TV screen -with a scenery a little too much similar to the Teletubbies. (There was the stretch of shiny green grass with the pretty flowers, a bright orange sun, the perfect blue sky dotted with fluffy, cotton-bud, white clouds and Donna even swore she could make out the familiar, little grass dome in the distance. In actual fact, she wouldn't have been too surprised if Dipsy or LaLa suddenly popped out from somewhere!)
But, in fact, the only way one would be able to tell that this was something out-of-the-ordinary, and distinguish it from a normal TV, was that the air around in rippled and gave out a little gurgling sound, ever so often. Yes, all that, and the fact that 'it' was floating in mid air, with no frame or border of the sort.
The kids were still oohing and aahing at the spectacle, but when one nosey, young boy reached out with an inquisitive finger, the Doctor yelled out in warning. But the boy's finger had already prodded at the wormhole, and the Doctor was all too fearfully expecting the boy to be electrocuted to death. However, he was quite shocked to find that the boy's finger quite serenely passed through and his finger could now be seen through the screen.
"Now, that is what you call brilliant," remarked the Doctor.
"Shouldn't we be doing somethin' about it? You know, tryin' to get the kiddies away from the worm'ole thing, instead of just watching. What if something happens to them?"
"Nah, this wormhole's virtually harmless. You can prod and poke at it, and nothing would happen. They're just children, what's the worst they can do?"
Indeed, it was only when the nosey, young boy was pushed into and through the wormhole that the Doctor reacted and rushed to the rescue.
About two minutes later, the Doctor and Donna emerged from the playbus, both quite flustered and worn out – believe it or not. You see, after the one boy had been pushed into and through the wormhole, it wasn't very long before all the other little children, happily giggling, shoving and chattering away to each other, clambered into and through the wormhole too. Having no choice but to follow them, the Doctor climbed in after the children too and was soon followed by Donna.
A whole ten to twenty minutes of constant chasing later, across many fields and dirt paths, the children were safe and sound back on the playbus – still as giggly and hyperactive as ever. The Doctor and Donna had managed to round the children up and they – well, more or less Donna - had somehow convinced them to go back into the real world. There'd come out only to find they'd been gone for about half a minute or so.
Whilst Donna had been promoted the job super nanny to the dozen or so children, the Doctor had did what he did best with a few buzzes and bleeps of the sonic screwdriver and had successfully sealed the wormhole closed. For good. Well, with the Doctor's luck, hopefully...
"But, what if they tell their parents about what happened back in there?" Donna had asked the Doctor afterwards. "What'll you tell 'em, it was a doorway into another dimension an' you managed to close it up with the sonic screwdriver, which isn't human, because you're a Spaceman?"
The Doctor had merely shrugged, raising an eyebrow at her, now more than happy that he had his wind-up mouse back in his pocket. "They're toddlers. D'you really think they'll be believed?"
"I s'pose not."
The Doctor swiftly turned the Timey-Wimey detector off, tossed it once up and down in the air and tucked it back into his pocket, turning to Donna.
"C'mon. TARDIS. Wormhole's closed and everything's back to normal. Time to go. Unless… you've got something better to do?"
The Doctor's eyebrows stitched together in bewilderment, staring at her with a wild look.
"While you were busy talking to Bob, or whatever his name is-" a new balloon pilot of a friend the Doctor had made- "I picked up a leaflet. We're staying to watch the Balloon Glow."
Come to think of it… the Doctor had an even better idea. "Even better, how'd you like a bird-eye's view of Bristol?" He beamed broadly at her. "With a bit of charm and persuasion, I reckon my friend Bill's just found himself two new passengers."
A/N:-Mind you, it was only sunny for those three days! Then it was, "Oh, I tell you what let's give 'em lots and lotsa rain for the rest of the holidays! The poor souls: suffering from all that sunshine… They won't have to be deprived of the rain anymore!" *continuously tips down with rain* *growls*
Aaaand, even though I'm Bristolian, can somebody please tell me what "gert lush" actually MEANS!? Me is confused!