Sam had pushed away from the wall, dropping his hands to his sides. He was startled to find that Fiona had taken one, and was holding it tightly. Without looking at her, he gently squeezed it in return. They watched the Doctor and the nurse in quiet conversation, able to hear nothing more than the murmur of their voices-there was every chance, Fiona realized, that the pair was no longer speaking in English. All they had to go on was the body language, and when the Doctor emphatically shook his head and made a sharp negating gesture, she began to worry. When he finally started back to them, she released Sam's hand and hurried to him. "What is it?" She asked.
"Complicated," the Doctor answered. "Michael's from the past, and they wanted- oh, you'll see."
"But he's all right?" Fiona insisted.
Sam gave her a dubious look. "He's been shot."
"Yes, and if we'd taken him to a hospital in Miami, he'd already be dead!" Fiona looked back at the Doctor. "He's all right?" she asked again.
The Doctor nodded. "He'll be fine."
Fiona made a relieved sound that was not quite a laugh, and hugged the Doctor tightly. His eyes widened for a moment, but then he smiled and returned it.
Sam gave the pair a sceptical look, shook his head, and left them to it.
"Doctor?" The nurse was standing in the doorway, looking at them inquiringly. "You may see him now; you and your friends, that is."
"Thank you," the Doctor said, and led the way into the room.
Michael was sitting on the room's sole bed, looking utterly untouched save for the blood on his clothing. He seemed about to speak when Fiona ran to him, grabbing onto him tightly as she buried her face in his shoulder. Without conscious thought he moved to hold her, stroking her hair.
"You feelin' all right?" Sam asked.
Michael nodded. "Fine; although," his eyes travelled over the Doctor's bloodied clothes, "I get the feeling I shouldn't be."
"Depends on what you mean by 'shouldn't'," the Doctor replied. "Did take a few liberties, but you'll note that there's still a planet beneath you. It's sorted."
"Where are we?"
"In this case, 'when' are we is probably the more appropriate question, but given your peculiar nature, it's probably best that I don't answer that. So, 'where' it is! That is to say, New New York, on New Earth. No time for the tour, though; have to get you lot back. Ready, then?"
Michael got up, still looking slightly surprised when he was able to do so.
"You're perfectly fine," the Doctor assured him. "Not a lingering side-effect to be found. They'd had some qualms about that, mind. Given their preference, they'd have saddled you with a recovery time and scars-they've this notion that being from the past, your mind might struggle without the transitional phase. I assured them you were more than strong enough to handle it, and that it was imperative there be no sign of what happened to you. Which, given you, is in fact the truth."
Fiona still held tightly to Michael's hand as they made their way down the hallway, back towards the TARDIS.
"Where do we go now?" Michael asked, then amended, "or when?"
"Back to Miami. Your loft ought to be safe enough; more still once I get the attention of UNIT and draw them off."
"What about you?" Fiona asked.
The Doctor shrugged. "What about me? I'll be fine, always am."
They'd reached the TARDIS by this time, and Fiona pulled away from Michael to explore the outside of it. "This… this is incredible," she said softly, running her hand across the ship's side. "It feels like wood, but it can't be."
"Another function of the chameleon circuit," the Doctor replied. He opened the door, and gestured for Fiona to step inside. She did, still looking around in wonder, and he smiled as he watched her.
Michael was slower to enter; carefully examining first the outside of the ship before entering. Inside, his attention was taken by the centre console, more than the incongruity of size. He kept his hands clasped behind his back, but closely examined the various instruments-paying as much attention to the clearly jury-rigged ones as the originals.
The Doctor followed closely, an indulgent expression on his face. He was aware of a sensation similar to déjà vu; realized that he would reflect on this moment in the future, and made a determined effort not to ruminate on it further.
Sam alone stood stiffly apart from the others, clearly uncomfortable with the surroundings. The Doctor passed close beside him, and said quietly enough that the others would not overhear; "Just shut your eyes and hold on-you'll be back in seconds." Speaking in a more normal tone, he addressed the others. "Right, then; back to Miami. Allons-y!"
The return journey was not much smoother than the one out, for all that the Doctor was less frantic in his actions. Sam and Fiona already knew to hold on; Michael nearly copied their actions, but soon gave it up to try his balance and watch the Doctor pilot the ship.
"And here we are," the Doctor said, as the light of the centre console dwindled away. "I've set the coordinates to materialize right behind your loft-'fraid I can't do anything for your car, that'll be wherever you left it. Just open the door," which he did as he was saying so, "and Bob's your uncle!" He exclaimed happily, stepping out.
The others followed, blinking around in the bright morning sunlight.
"Or not," the Doctor reflected a moment later. "Lost a few hours in there somewhere; sorry about that."
Michael's phone beeped; he frowned as he pulled it out and looked at it. "Voicemail," he explained, opening it. His frown deepened. "Seymour." He pressed another button, and listened to the message.
"What's the matter?" Fiona asked, watching a subtle range of emotions cross his face.
"The team from Torchwood-or UNIT-is dead," he related, shutting the phone.
"I shot one of them; I know I did," Fiona confirmed. "But not all of them; there wasn't time."
Sam looked at the Doctor. "Your doing?"
The Time Lord shook his head. "No. I'd not have done it like that. I meant to lure them away… get them back to Britain before going where they couldn't follow." He frowned, thinking. "Still have to do that; keep UNIT away from you. As is, if you get blamed for those deaths…."
Michael shook his head. "We took precautions-but even if we hadn't, the whole thing is being blamed on drug runners." The ex-spy considered. "I get the feeling there's something Seymour's not saying."
"You think he did it?" Sam asked.
"Not his style; too high profile," Michael replied. "But he might have an idea who did. Remember what he said; there's a way to pass word. Maybe someone else was even more afraid of Torchwood than he was."
"Or angrier about their being here," Fiona suggested.
"Right," the Doctor said slowly, "except that so far as we know, it wasn't Torchwood, but UNIT."
"Which lends credibility to the idea that there's a faction inside of UNIT working with Torchwood," Michael replied. He looked at the Doctor. "You'll be all right?"
The Doctor started to say something, hesitated, and then apparently decided to go ahead. "Give me your phone," he said.
Curious, Michael handed it over. "You know, I usually go through these things pretty fast."
"Not this one," the Doctor said, without looking up. An application of the sonic screwdriver and a few button presses later, he handed it back. "Keep this one safe. With it, you've got the means to contact me-anywhere, anywhen. If you need me, I'll be here."
Michael accepted his phone back. "Thank you," he said, deeming it polite to do so.
"Oh, and one other thing. I've asked the TARDIS to keep translating for you; I think you'll find it helpful. Just be mindful of the fact that she will, so you don't get yourself into trouble with an ability you ought not have."
"How long will that last?" Michael asked.
"So long as I'm alive, or until I regenerate. With any luck, that won't be happening any time soon." The Doctor took a step back, towards the TARDIS. "Right, then. This is me, going off."
"Will we see you again?" Fiona asked.
The Doctor nodded, but his eyes were on Michael as he spoke. "History changed the day Michael and I met. That created a whole new state of affairs, for both of us." He opened the door of the TARDIS, stepped inside, and then turned around to lean back out. "Oh, yes. You'll see me again."
The door shut. A moment later the strange groaning of the TARDIS' engines began, and as they watched, the ship faded from sight.
No matter how far the government is willing to go to watch you, no matter who's pulling the strings to try and control your life, chances are good that they're not using the last of the Time Lords to do it. So if the Doctor says that history has changed and he'll be back, you can count on one thing-he'll be back.