Characters: Ten, Donna, Martha, TenIII(I'll reveal his name later)
Warning: this contains swearing; quite a bit considering... or maybe not.
Summary: What if there was more than one duplicate, and what if "Blink" occurred after the events of Journeys End? Using a bit of timey wimey faffing about, the Doctor has a problem to solve that his future self created.
Disclaimer: I once owned an old fashioned tape recorder, but that's about it where ownership is concerned.
A/N: I tried to write another fic entirely but this one was extremely insistent!
Blink And You'll Miss Him
The words of the name Wester Drumlins stood tall and ominously amid the railings around the dilapidated house. It was strange to see such a once impressive house stand so empty and forgotten; especially in this part of London. It was as if it had a perception filter on it.
The Doctor and his companion, trainee doctor Martha Jones, had been sent there to investigate the disappearance of a woman who seemed to have reappeared in the past, according to documents that had been delivered. It was most puzzling.
Despite it being a reasonably sunny day the atmosphere around the house was chilly, giving it an unwelcome feel.
Martha spotted a man slumped by the fence near the gates, almost hidden by the undergrowth. He wore black clothes and had almost black hair. Everything about his demeanour cried out his sadness. Without consulting the Doctor, she strode over with the intention of speaking to this man and seeing if he needed assistance.
"Excuse me, but are you okay?" she gently asked.
"No I'm fucking not," the man answered brokenly; and then lifted his head. He had haunted dark brown eyes that stared at her from a familiar pinched pale face.
She gasped in shock. "Doctor! I think you need to see this!" she called out, and then returned her attention to the man before her. "Are you… Do you know me?"
He gazed at her intently. "Can't say I do. Why? Am I supposed to know who you are? I haven't been in this country for quite some time so it's possible that I missed you becoming famous."
"What, Martha? What do you want?" the Doctor demanded to know as he made his way over to join them. "Oh, hello! I'm the Doctor," he began to introduce himself to the sitting man. "And this is…" The words stuttered to a halt as he contemplated his doppelgänger. "…not what I expected at all. Do I know you?"
Anger flitted across the man's face. "Not another fucking guessing game! Look, thanks for the concern but I came here looking for my mother, not to sort out your memory."
"Ooh, a little bit angry, aren't we?" the Doctor chided him. "So you're looking for your mother. What's her name?"
"Not that it is any of your business, but her name is Donna. Donna Vincent," the man replied.
"Sorry; never heard of her," the Doctor answered after thinking on the name for some moments. "Why are you looking for her in this specific location?"
To his surprise the man considered his watch and then said, "She will turn up at this place in about twenty minutes and I want to be here."
Now this was too much of a coincidence considering they were there investigating this place and were willing to stop anyone else from showing up there. "And that would be bad because…? I'm getting the impression you don't want her to turn up."
The man chuckled wryly. "Too fucking right I don't! I'm trying to stop her making the biggest mistake of her life thanks to those bloody angels," he said bitterly as he vaguely pointed at the garden.
"Angels?" the Doctor queried as his eyes darted about the garden in front of them through the railings. "What did they do to her?"
The man sighed in exasperation. "What didn't they do to her? They sucked the life out of her when they threw her back in time. It's okay, I know you don't believe me; nobody ever does. But I saw what they did, ruining our lives; the bastards!" When he noticed Martha glaring at him for his language, he added, "Please excuse my French, but they are the lowest of the low. Outer space scum."
"How did they ruin your life?" Martha encouraged him to talk. This could help them solve this case quickly and get her away from this creepy place.
"Where do I start?" the man demanded. "They caused me to exist, like the immaculate conception, in a time when I could have stayed hidden and saved her from…" He then tried to surreptitiously wipe at his eyes. "She didn't deserve that. So it's been nice to sit here and chat with you both but I have a job to do. If you'll excuse me."
He gracefully stood then and went to walk away, but the Doctor stopped him by grabbing his arm. "Before you go, you didn't tell us your name or how we can help you."
The man glared at the Doctor's hand resting possessively on him, and relented slightly. "I'm Peter Vincent, for what it's worth. And… oh shit! There she is!" Peter then ran as the figure of a woman could be seen to walk around the corner of the house, staying only momentarily in view.
"It can't be," the Doctor whispered as Peter reached the gates, cried out in anguish and sank to his knees onto the floor.
"NO! Oh God, no!" Peter yelled.
Martha raced up to him. "What happened?"
"I was too late," he sobbed. "She's gone! They've sent her to about 1970 again."
"Doctor, what does this mean? And why are you in shock?" Martha called out in wonder when the Doctor didn't move from his spot.
"I've just seen Donna Noble; and if Peter is her son that means… I might be his father," he reasoned out.
"What?!" Peter sat stunned on the ground. "How can you be…? Fucking hell! Oh fucking hell! This cannot be happening to me," he groaned, holding his head in his hands. "Mum! I'm so sorry, Mum!"
"Pardon?!" the Doctor responded without thinking. "Peter, I can help you fix whatever it is that needs fixing, but you're going to have to trust me and tell me everything that happened."
"How are you going to do that? Got a fancy time machine or something," Peter scathingly commented. "Going to take us back and snatch her? Yeah, I'd like to see that happen."
Like mother like son, the Doctor couldn't help noticing. "Actually, the answer is 'yes' to all that. Come with us and we can talk." He knew that there were a lot of questions to be answered.
It wasn't too bad a day as Donna walked along with her pile of envelopes. As she went she placed an envelope addressed to the occupier through each letter box, leaving it for them to fill in and return to the Register of Electors at a later date. As she stood in front of a large house with dilapidated wrought iron gates she knew someone would be along later to find out why no one had returned the form. The place looked entirely abandoned. Hopefully that person wouldn't be her as the place gave her the creeps.
As she made her way down the path movement in the garden briefly caught her attention (probably a bird she told herself), and when she looked back towards the house a statue of an angel was suddenly there. Funny; she didn't remember it sitting there when she opened the gate.
As she looked down at the papers in her hands to extract one single envelope something touched her, causing her to cry out in shock; and then for a few seconds there was nothing… Absolutely nothing.
Her next impression of her surroundings was cold, wet and very dark. She was standing next to a high brick wall in a Victorian residential street. Had she passed out? And where the hell was she?! Panic set in as her surroundings seem to impinge on her senses. Was this drug related? Had her morning orange juice been spiked?
"Donna!" someone shouted out to her; causing her to swing round violently and touch the wall for comfort. Running towards her was a man, closely followed by a young woman. He sounded rather desperate as he called out her name.
He stopped running when he was only a few paces away, breathing as though running had taken no toll on him at all. It wasn't the same case for the woman. He was holding a weird old fashioned tape recorder, like the one her dad had once owned. There was something oddly familiar about this bloke, as if she had seen him before.
"Did you want me?" she asked him, and then began to look around for the cameras. This had to be a television prank, didn't it? Any moment now Ant and Dec will step out and tell her one of her friends had written in, asking them to stage a joke.
"Thank goodness I found you," he said. "I'm…"
"You're John Smith. Yes, I know who you are," Donna interrupted him, to his surprise. "We met the night I got home after my accident."
"Accident?" he queried.
"The one where I ended up losing stuff," she said, waving vaguely at her head. "Years of it. Or didn't Gramps explain all that to you? I suppose you wouldn't even think to discuss that when you meet up at your club."
"My club," he repeated in confusion. She clearly had met him and not Martha, but he hadn't lived through that particular encounter yet. "Yes, that would be it. I hardly get told anything about you. Anyway, Mar- my friend Ann here and I were concerned about you."
"Who?" Martha wondered, until she realised he was referring to her. This was turning into something that was going over her head again.
The Doctor ignored her question and kept his attention on Donna. "Do you know how you got here?"
"What, this place?" Donna asked, sweeping her gaze over her surroundings once again. "No, no idea. I was delivering Register of Elector forms when something happened, I dunno what, I blacked out and I came to here. Where is here exactly?"
Something flashed on his tape recorder. "Ann is a doctor. She'll check you over to see if you are okay and then you can come back with us for a while," he told her as he waved a device close to her head. "I don't know how to tell you this but you've been thrown back in time by a creature that looks like a stone angel. Welcome to late August 1969."
Martha was at this point testing Donna's reflexes, so she couldn't protest as much as she normally would have. She still felt a little dazed. "You what?! You have got to be kidding me!"
"It's true," Martha confirmed with deep sigh of exasperation. "You would not believe the dreadful time I have been having working in a shop."
Donna winced in sympathy. "That's never an easy one," she agreed. "So where are we? This doesn't look like Richmond."
"No, this is another part of London. We're just off Brick Lane," Martha supplied.
"Where?! Oh, that's real classy," Donna groaned sarcastically.
"It's a place we can be accepted," the Doctor said. "Let's get you into the warm and supply you with a nice cup of tea."
"Tea sounds nice," Donna agreed, and tried out a smile on him. He seemed to be trying really hard to calm her down for some reason.
"She's still a bit groggy, D- John," Martha cautioned him, just as Donna tripped up on a paving slab.
He leapt forward and took hold of her arm. "You'll soon be as right as rain," he told her comfortingly, and wrapped her arm around his to guide her footsteps.