John Smith Anonymous
ann no aku
Plot: In an alternate universe, all the doctors are human and are named John Smith. Together, they are JSA.
Note: I did not forget the first three Doctors in this story. The actors who portrayed them have died before the movie starring the 8th Doctor was made, so 8 has never met 1-3.
"We have another John Smith?" echoed John, catching his unusually long scarf in his dark curls. He just couldn't believe it. The other six Smiths were difficult to keep straight as it was, especially as he got on in years. He was the oldest member of JSA (the founder and other two before him have passed on), and it seemed like there was a new member every year or so. "Where is he?"
"Relax," ordered his friend as he handed him and Sarah Jane their usual drinks. "It's just what I've heard," said John Smith, the owner of Dr. Smythe's—an old timey pub that he ran with his longtime companion (and fellow Doctor) Grace Halloway.
It had always been a dream of his to serve drinks in period costumes, meeting others who shared his interests in the social sciences and 1800's. But he had ended up getting a lot more than he had bargained for. It turned out that there was a group of four Dr. John Smiths who not only knew each other, but met up regularly for dinks and talk. The location had always changed back then, yet after stumbling across Dr. Smythe's and finding it perfect, a tradition had been made. Every month on a Saturday, John Smith closed down his pub to the public and held JSA.
"Bloody Mary today, John?" asked the owner as the man plopped tiredly onto one of the many crushed velvet couches.
"Only if you have celery this time. I need something to stir my drink with."
"This is ridiculous," muttered John, looking over to Sarah Jane. "Too many of us!"
"You say that every time," she smiled, amused by her husband's discomfort. The man had no problem investigating the strange and paranormal, but throw him in a room with a bunch of other grown men who shared the same name and title as he, and it was enough to drive the journalist mad.
"I mean it. Something needs to be done. We need a-," he began before being interrupted.
"Numbering system?" suggested John Smith, graciously accepting his Bloody Mary and noting with a (not so) suppressed smugness, the perfect celery stalk poking straight out of his tumbler.
"Of course you'd say that," said John, rolling his eyes as he gave a friendly chuckle. He shook the snow from his pale curly hair, joining Mel on the couch. It wasn't always custom for the companions to join, but as word got out about their meetings, they just insisted on being invited. "You're all about numbers."
"So how would you like to identify us, then?" Computer programming codes?" shot back the doctor.
"Boys," teased Peri, feigning the stern tone in her voice. She glared at her John before continuing. "Actually, numbers do sound smart. There are eight of you now."
"Even Peri knows there's a new member!" exclaimed John incredulously. "How did I miss this?"
"Isn't Sarah Jane an investigative journalist?" laughed Dr. Smith, taking a sip of his tomato red drink.
"As I was saying," Peri proceeded with an air of authority. "You can just be Johns 1-8!"
"Sounds a bit scripture to me," Professor Smith commented. He, too, was a doctor and was often accompanied by his doctorate student who he called Ace. "Very bible. Pretty soon people will think us messengers of the Lord!"
"And besides," agreed John, "Who do we decide to be number one? By seniority?"
There were a few murmurs of agreement, yet they didn't make the speaker happy. Instead he continued with, "I'm not the founder of the group—that was grouchy Grandpa Smith! He should be One. And if he knew how many there are of us now-!"
"I like to think he'd be quite proud," came Jack's voice from the entranceway. He beamed at the excited whispers that sounded whenever he entered a room. "Good evening, my Doctors and lovely ladies." He gave a half sort of bow, still smiling widely at the crowd. "Converse John and Rose should be arriving soon."
"Well, that's one way to identify us, I suppose," Smith said, tugging on his large earlobe nervously. "What would I be, then? Bald John? Big eared John?"
"Dr. Bad Ass," answered the Royal Air Force Captain. "Because you wear a leather jacket," he added when all he got was a blank stare in return. "And you ride a motorcycle."
"No I don't!"
"Then you should," interjected John Smith, removing his trench coat and grinning wildly at the pair. "Right, Rose?" The four of them had walked to the pub together, John with his arm around Rose's shoulders and Dr. Bad Ass walking briskly ahead of them as if he didn't wish to be a part of the group.
"Yeah. I think it suits 'im," she smiled, her tongue poking between her teeth. They joined everyone at the front by the large window, sinking into the squashy couches.
"Is Donna coming?" asked the owner to Jack, unable to suppress a smirk as he recalled the countless times the fiery redhead had reduced Converse John to a wide-mouthed bass. His gaze met Rose's and her horrible ability to stifle her laughter had him nearly coughing on the tray of appetizers he was bringing out.
"Oh, I hope so. Ace gets on real well with her. Shame she couldn't make it," mumbled Professor Smith.
"Not sure. I think she had to stay late or something. She's really looking forward to meeting the newest member." John answered as he grabbed the nearest bit of food he could reach and began shoveling handfuls in his mouth. "Oh, Rose, these chips are gorgeous." He was oblivious to the stare he received from the only Dr. John Smith who hadn't been aware of the new addition to their group.
"Meeting others always reminds me of the old days," Sarah Jane said. "I just wish Susan still wanted to come."
"Yeah, she's too busy with her married life, is it?" her husband commented, sounding a bit bitter.
"You know who I miss?" inquired John, looking over to Mel. "The Brigadier. He told the best stories and always said that you couldn't tell anyone because they were all classified."
"And all this time we thought you just liked him because he got UNIT to contact you about being their program developer!" John exclaimed, waving his red-stained celery stalk around dangerously.
"You're just jealous there was no place for you as a card counter," he shot back, doing his best not to sound as annoyed as he felt.
"Come off it," ordered Mel. "You two act like this every time." She grabbed one of the chilled beers from a bucket of ice and cracked it open using her bare hands, much to everyone's amazement.
"Look who I found loitering out front as though he were afraid to meet you lot," announced Donna Noble, dragging a reluctant man in tow. He was lanky with a mop of wild brown hair, and sported a bow tie which he paired with skinny jeans, dress shoes, and a tweed sports coat.
"Hello," the man greeted, waving awkwardly at the many faces staring at him. "Is this John Smith Anonymous?"
"Only if you're also a doctor," Jack answered, sizing up the new John.
"Are you a doctor?" he inquired, trying to resist as Donna pulled him onto the last couch, squeezing between her and Grace (the owner sat on the other side of his companion).
"No, I'm a Captain."
"I was under the impression that all of us had to be doctors," he said nervously, loosening his blue polka dot tie.
"Are you a doctor, then?" the owner asked, supplying the man with the ceremonial stein for new members. It was a hideously tacky bright blue and in the exact design and shape of an old police public call box. Each of them had one, and it was required they drink their first drink as a part of JSA out of it.
Dr. Smith accepted the stein, eyeing it curiously. "Yes, I have a doctorate in art history," he replied as the barman carefully filled it to the brim with a strong smelling amber liquid.
Everyone, who didn't have a drink, grabbed one and raised their bottles or glasses to him. "To Dr. John Smith!" they cried in unison, clanking their drinks together.
"To all bloody eight of us," muttered the oldest member before taking a large gulp.
The group laughed and drank in response, clapping John on the back. It was a few loud and dangerous minutes later (dangerous as John tried not to spill his oddly-shaped stein, which seemed to get fuller every time he looked down at it) of greeting and hand-shaking that they all sat back down again and conversation resumed.
"So, er, why is this shaped like a police public call box?" he asked, pointing a finger to his stein.
"Care to share, Professor?" teased John as he dabbed at his leather coat. Jack had spilled some of his drink on it; he was on shots instead of beer ("Liquor before beer, you're in the clear!").
"Hm? Oh, yes. Ahem." He cleared his throat, turning to the group as he was the resident storyteller. Despite not being around when JSA was first founded, and having never met the original Doctor John Smith, Professor Smith had a way of retelling the tale as though he were there and always had everyone's ears.
The professor, who held a Doctorate in education, told about how the first ever meeting of JSA had happened when grouchy Grandpa Smith had met another Dr. John Smith. They had been in a bar when they had begun arguing about history. As both had continued drinking while discussing, their conversation had eventually turned into a brawl (which had been extremely impressive as both were no longer young). After having been forced to take their discussion outside, a policeman had found them in the streets bloody and shouting about what had made the universe. The cop, who had figured it'd be best to force the grown men to get their fighting out of their system, had thrown them into a police public call box and had left them in there overnight.
Ever since then, the two Doctor John Smiths had, for lack of a better word, been friends. They had met up twice a month for drinks and intellectual discussions with their 'equal'. Over time, they had found others with their name (as they had changed locations to keep things interesting and because, more often than not, their conversations had ended in some form of mild destruction) and had started a tradition of getting locked inside a police public call box until morning.
"Since those boxes haven't existed in quite a while, and we have steered away from getting arrested, a new tradition of these steins was introduced," Professor Smith finished, never tiring of telling that story (for he had retold it many times—to new members and the companions who often joined).
"Well, this is a much better tradition," the newcomer agreed, downing the rest of his drink. "I don't like getting arrested much."
"Can we please get back to the matter at hand?" exclaimed the journalist suddenly, wiping his brow with his scarf. Glassy eyes stared back at him. It seemed that the group was already a tad drunk, for the story had taken a while to tell, especially with horrible re-enactments and the occasional pause to accept another beer or poured beverage. It didn't help either, that some of the original members (that is, those who had been around to meet Grandpa Smith) kept yelling at the storyteller to do the voice properly and then gave eerily accurate impressions of him.
"How we are to distinguish ourselves!" he reminded with great exasperation. Sarah Jane put her hand on his arm, squeezing gently. "Really! With eight of us now!"
"Look who has become Grandpa Smith!" Peri snickered, much to the group's amusement.
"What about numbers?" suggested John, gesturing wildly with his stein. They had done a proper job getting him smashed. He seriously doubted he'd be able to get home by himself. Perhaps he'd have to call his friends Amy and Rory to come pick him up.
"That's what I said," agreed John, now sporting the celery stalk in his blazer pocket.
"Let's take a vote!" Sarah Jane said, raising her hand high. "If you think numbers is a good idea-!"
"But I thought we agreed it sounded scripture," argued the Professor. "John One, John Seven."
"What about just numbers, then? No name, just numbers," one of the Smiths clarified, propping his Converse clad feet on the coffee table.
"Manners!" teased Rose, slapping his legs. "Do you do that at home?"
"You know I do," he grinned, replacing his feet much to her dismay.
"That's actually not a bad idea," agreed the second oldest member, sounding surprised as he looked Converse John with wide eyes. "We could keep track of how many join."
"Better yet, we will be able to just each other by numbers. How we have managed so far is beyond me. This should have been settled ages ago," the original suggester said with great relief.
"Well, we must still vote!" Peri reminded, nodding towards Sarah Jane. Mel stared blankly at the other women, shocked to see Peri agreeing with Sarah Jane for once.
"Alright. All in favor of renaming each member of John Smith Anonymous with a number, raise your hand!" Sarah Jane looked at all the arms up high in the air.
It was unanimous.
With a large grin, the oldest original Smith announced, "I guess this makes me Four, then, does it?"
And they spent the rest of the evening figuring out their numbers and if anyone thought there could be another Doctor John Smith out there.