And here we are! Blink is such a complex episode, which is why it took me a while to get this chapter finished. I'm breaking it up into two parts so that you guys can have this chapter earlier. I hope I did it justice. Enjoy! I love hearing what you guys have to say, so let me know what you think!
"I can't believe this!" Angel cries, her voice giddy with excitement as we pile into a taxi. Martha is the last one in, shoving two bows and a sheath of arrows into my face before climbing in herself. The Doctor relays directions to the driver, still tense. I place a hand on his shoulder, willing him to relax.
Angel is still babbling on.
"I mean, dragons! Actual, real, live, dragons! Did you see that baby dragon alien before? I mean, how adorable!"
"You're not getting a pet baby alien dragon," I say shortly, stopping that train before it leaves the station. Martha snorts.
"This is absolutely ridiculous," she mutters under her breath. "We were just trying to go shopping."
"You love it," I tease, elbowing her playfully. A wide smile crosses her face.
"You're right, I do."
"Here we are!" the Doctor says. "Everyone out! Let's go, we've got twenty-two minutes until red hatching!"
The Doctor hops out of the taxi before it has even stopped, running down the street. Angel and Martha rush out after him and I toss them their bows and arrows. The last one out, I toss a handful of cash to the cab driver.
"Buy yourself a nice dinner," I say quickly, handing over far too much money for the drive.
"Doctor!" calls a voice. I turn to the sound of it, then notice the empty space behind me. The Doctor, Angel, and Martha have already taken off. A blonde woman catches my attention, rushing toward me, and I take a step back instinctively.
"Rose! Rose Tyler!"
She's a tiny woman, with petite features, but she's very pretty. I can quickly determine that I've never met her before.
"Uh, hi," I say. "Who are you?"
"Sally?" she says. "Sally Sparrow?"
"Sorry, doesn't ring a bell – I really need to go, you see, there's this thing happening, a bunch of lizards trying to take over the Earth. I know it sounds absolutely insane…"
"No! No, I believe you," she says, almost laughing. "My god, it hasn't happened for you yet!"
"You're a time traveler, yeah? So you don't know who I am yet. But you will," she says, her voice radiating excitement. She shoves something in my face – a red folder.
"Listen," she says, her voice taking on a more serious tone despite the sparkle in her eyes. "One day, you're going to get stuck in the year 1969. Make sure you have this with you. It will explain everything."
I accept the folder from her outstretched hand, smiling at her even though I'm still a bit confused.
"Um, thanks," I say. "Thanks, Sally. Suppose I'll see you soon. Though, I'm not sure you'll ever see me again."
"Maybe one day," she says, grinning at me. A man comes to stand right behind her.
"I bought the milk, Sally," he says, but his voice trails off and his jaw goes slack when he sees me. "My god, that's – that's Rose!"
"That's me, hello," I say quickly. I hear a roar from around the corner, and I'm reminded of the whole reason I'm here.
"Right, that's my cue. Dragon aliens, you know, they can be quite problematic when they want to be," I say, smiling apologetically and taking off down the street. I tuck the folder into my bag as I run. The wind carries Sally's response and the following laughter.
When we get back to the TARDIS later that day, Martha immediately retires for the night – today involved more running than usual and she was exhausted. Angel sets herself up in the media room to watch a movie before bed. I head to my own room to change out of my sweaty clothes and into something more comfortable.
I drop my bag on the floor rather carelessly and all of my belongings tumble out. The folder slides across the floor like it's been picked up by a gust of wind.
Curious, I walk across the room to pick it up and flick through the contents. There's a few pages that look like a script from a play, but before I get the chance to read them, the Doctor pokes his head through my open door.
He opens his mouth to say something, but stops when he sees the papers.
"What's that?" he asks, stepping into the room, hands shoved in his pockets.
"I met this woman on the street today. She gave this to me," I explain, forking the papers over to him. "Her name was Sally. Sally Sparrow, I think."
"Sally Sparrow," the Doctor repeats. "Sally Sparrow…that's fun to say!"
"Yeah, well," I interrupt, "she said that we were going to need this one day. We're going to get stuck in 1969."
The Doctor scans over the first few pages of the folder, nodding thoughtfully and frowning.
"I should hang onto it then, shouldn't I?" he says, filing the papers into a neat pile and tucking them all in his coat pockets. I shake my head.
"You and your never-ending pockets," I mumble. "Why can't I have never-ending pockets?"
"You're quite needy, aren't you? I've already made you your own sonic, haven't I?" he teases. He grins at me and I can't help but smile back.
"Shut up," I say, playfully punching him in the shoulder. Then his expression gets more serious.
"What is it?" I ask immediately.
"I need to get you in the medbay. It's been more than three months since I last checked you over, with our…detour, in 1913. But our agreement still stands," he says, his voice stern. I remember what I promised him when we met Donna and we discovered the Huon particles.
"Right," I sigh. "Scans once a week."
I let the Doctor drag me to the medbay and hoist myself up on an examination table, letting him do his thing. It's gotten a lot easier for me to be in here over the last few years.
We're both silent as he takes the usual scans, giving me an extra once-over with the sonic screwdriver. Then he pulls up a chair in front of the nearest screen. He snaps on his glasses, his brow furrowed in concentration as he stares at it. I shift off of the table to peer over his shoulder.
"Everything is still normal – well, normal plus Huon particles," the Doctor says absentmindedly, more to himself than to me. "Normal for you."
"Nothing is normal for me, is it though?"
The Doctor smiles at that, glancing up at me.
"Doctor, is there any chance that – I mean, this doesn't really make much sense."
"How do you mean?"
"I've got Huon particles in my system and they aren't doing anything. What did your people use them for?"
"It's essentially a type of radiation," he explains.
"Like, melt-your-flesh radiation?"
"No, we used it as a power source. There are Huon particles in the central rotor on the TARDIS console – she draws on their power in order to travel."
"Do you think I could do that?"
"Draw on their power," I say pointedly. "Maybe I can just teleport, anywhere in time and space. Won't need you or the TARDIS anymore." I smirk, attempting to lighten the mood with my obvious sarcasm, but his entire demeanor darkens.
"Absolutely not. It's not even possible – and even if it was, it would kill you."
"Relax," I say, laying a hand on his shoulder. "I'm just curious. They aren't dangerous otherwise, so I'll be fine."
"That's not true, Rose," the Doctor sighs, exasperated. He rubs his hands over his face. "I don't even understand it. You should be dead, and I can't explain why you're not."
He falls silent, but I get the sense that he hasn't finished his thought yet, so I stay quiet. He looks down before he reaches out and takes my hand, lacing our fingers.
"I am absolutely terrified that you're just going to drop dead one day. No explanation," he finally admits. I bite my lip.
"I'm not going to promise that I won't," I say. He looks up at me sharply.
"Hey, you started this conversation, so let me finish it," I snap back. His eyes widen a bit and my gaze softens.
"Sorry," I continue. "But I just need to say this, alright? I know that we don't ever talk about this. We ignore it entirely. But one day I'm going to die, yeah? That's just a fact. A fact that I accepted a long time ago. It's a miracle I've even lived this long, I mean – when I was younger, I was certain I'd be dead before I even turned sixteen. But then, I was just afraid all the time. You gave me a chance to see the universe. And this…"
"What?" the Doctor asks quietly when I trail off.
"This. Us," I say. "This is more than I could have ever hoped for. And I worry sometimes that you're going to regret it when I'm gone. Because that day is coming, sooner or later."
The Doctor stands up and pulls me into a hug, wrapping his arms around my waist as mine lace around his neck.
"This has never happened to me before," he admits softly. "I've travelled with so many people for so many years, and then you come along and you just make me better and I don't know what I'm going to do when you're gone."
"You'll keep travelling. You'll find someone to travel with. And you won't sit around and mope about the fact that I'm not here anymore, because the universe needs you."
The Doctor pulls back to look at me, a sad sort of smile gracing his features.
"Rose Tyler," he says, his grin brightening. I can't help but smile back at him.
"Doctor," I respond teasingly. He ducks down and kisses me softly. His expression is soft when he pulls away.
"I love you," he says, suddenly but surely. My heart swells with emotion and I smile.
"I love you," I tell him, hoping he knows that I mean every word as I tug him down for another kiss.
"Well, here we are!" the Doctor says brightly, stepping out of the TARDIS. Then he frowns. "Or not."
"Don't tell me," Rose says, rolling her eyes. "We're in the wrong place. Again."
"I thought we were going to try another new planet?" I say pointedly. "After that shopping spree on Pilotus this morning."
"Well, I was trying to bring us to Venus IV," the Doctor says. He turns to the TARDIS, narrowing his eyes.
"And where are we?" I ask, prompting him.
Angel rolls her eyes and Rose snorts.
"Well, might as well check things out while we're here," she says, a bright grin crossing her face.
The Doctor reaches for Rose's hand instinctively, pulling her into his side, and I look away. Angel skips out ahead of us as we start to walk.
"It's a bit…dreary," I note. The sky is a dull gray color and it looks like it's going to rain any minute. We're in the middle of the woods, but the trees surrounding us are barren or dying. After a few minutes, the forest clears up into an open field. An iron gate extends in front of us, as long as I can see. A rusty sign hangs high in the air, reading "Keep Out". There's a single house in the distance.
"Looks abandoned," Angel says. She smiles. "Shall we?"
Rose only smiles at her daughter before grabbing a hold of the iron rail and hoisting herself up, climbing over the fence. The Doctor sputters for a moment, probably just stopping himself from telling her not to. I can hear him mutter under his breath as Angel follows her.
"I heard that!" Rose says from the other side of the fence. Angel squints into the distance at the abandoned building.
"This place looks creepy. It's definitely old. Think there are any ghosts in there?"
"Hope not," Rose mutters. "Things went badly last time we saw ghosts."
"Hang on, ghosts are real?" Angel sputters. The Doctor scratches his neck.
"When did you see ghosts?" I ask incredulously.
"Christmas, 1869," the Doctor says. "We met Charles Dickens!"
My jaw drops.
"Come on then, aren't you coming?" Angel says, raising an eyebrow at me and the Doctor.
"We should check out the house for anything suspicious," the Doctor says to me. "The TARDIS must have brought us here for a reason."
"Oh, sure, blame the TARDIS," Rose teases as she walks away, calling over her shoulder. "Might I remind you that you never even passed your driving test?"
The Doctor grumbles as we shift ourselves over the fence, dropping rather ungracefully to the ground before brushing ourselves off to continue walking.
"This place is a wreck," I note, looking ahead at the house.
As we get closer, I can see the vines growing along the walls of the house and the chipping paint. Peering into a shattered glass window, I can see peeling wallpaper and broken floorboards.
"Look at the garden, though!" Angel says excitedly. "It's so pretty!"
She looks at Rose, asking a silent question. Rose smiles and steps forward, the Doctor releasing his hold on her rather reluctantly.
"Angel and I are going to poke around the garden, then," Rose says.
Then, on a more serious note, he calls after them.
"Be careful! The both of you!"
"Always are!" Angel says, her voice a distant giggle. They vanish around a corner.
"Right then," the Doctor says, still looking after them with a fond expression on his face. He turns to me, holding out his hand. "Martha Jones, shall we do some investigating?"
The inside of the house is even worse off than the outside. Everything is in a state of disrepair. Even the air feels damp and moldy. The Doctor takes off up the nearest staircase and I head into an empty room. I notice the wallpaper peeling in the corner of the room – I can just make out the letter 'B' poking out from beneath it. I reach up to tear it away and read what's underneath, but I never get the chance to, because a chilling scream pierces the air. One that I recognize.
"Angel! Rose!" I cry, rushing out of the house and following the sound.
"Angel!" the Doctor shouts, his feet pounding as he tears down the stairs behind me.
Out in the garden, Angel is frozen and afraid. Her arm is caught in the grip of a statue, its face terrifying and furious as it stares at her. She breathes quickly, her chest rising and falling, unable to look away from the angel in front of her.
"Angel, calm down, sweetheart," I say, as calmly as possible.
"She disappeared, Martha," Angel gasps. "Mum, she just vanished into thin air."
The Doctor finally rushes out of the house, coming straight up to Angel.
"Don't stop looking at it, love," he says quickly, pulling out his sonic and buzzing it at the stone fingers wrapped around her wrist. "Don't even blink. It can't move if you're looking at it."
"Dad, I'm scared," Angel says.
"What is that thing?" I ask. "Is it alive?"
"It took Mum. It touched her and she just – she just disappeared."
Something shifts in my peripheral vision and my gaze snaps toward it. I freeze when I see another angel statue a few feet away from me, reaching out an arm. Slowly, I walk toward the Doctor and Angel, careful to keep my eyes on it.
"Doctor, there's another one," I say, my voice low. He glances up at it.
Suddenly, I feel a breeze, and the space next to me feels considerably emptier than it had the previous moment.
"Angel!" the Doctor cries.
"What happened?" I demand, still looking at the statue before me.
"She's gone." His voice is low and angry. "It took them both."
"What do we do?"
There's a moment of silence.
"Martha, do you trust me?"
"Walk toward the sound of my voice. Keep your eyes on the other one."
I do as he says, carefully stepping backwards and reaching out with my hand until I get a fistful of brown pinstripes.
"On the count of three, Martha, I want you to blink."
Everything is black for a moment, my entire surroundings changing before my eyes. My stomach churns and I feel like I'm going to be sick – a feeling that only intensifies when I look around and notice that I'm alone.
"Angel?" I call out, slightly panicky. I'm not at the abandoned house anymore – I'm in a dark alleyway. It's dirty and it smells terrible. The only light is filtering from the closest street lamp, everything looking slightly orange because of it.
"Right, don't panic," I tell myself quietly, taking a deep breath. "Just find out where you are."
I walk out toward the street, noting the fact that I'm in a small town, on what must be the main street – there's rows of shops on each side of the road, but the street is entirely empty. It must be late at night. I stop when I see a concert flyer pinned to a shop window.
"1969," I say to myself, my eyes widening.
"One day, you're going to get stuck in the year 1969."
My head snaps back at the sound of Angel's voice and I run towards it, back down the street and into the alley where I first found myself. She rushes up to me, giving me a quick hug. I can feel her shaking.
"Shh, it's alright sweetie," I murmur, clutching her to me. A moment later, the Doctor and Martha pop into existence a few feet in front of us.
The relief on the Doctor's face is evident immediately. He lets out a harsh breath as he steps toward us, pulling us both into his chest in a tight embrace. My face gets squished into his shoulder, but I don't care.
"Thank god, it was the same one," he mutters into my hair before he kisses the top of Angel's head.
"Where are we?" Martha asks, taking a look around. I meet her eyes.
"Don't know where, but I know when." I look up at the Doctor. "We're going to need that folder from Sally Sparrow."
"1969?" the Doctor asks, and I nod. Martha looks confused.
"Who is Sally Sparrow?"
"This woman I met," I tell her. "She stopped me on the street one day, gave me a folder. Said that one day we were going to be stuck in the year 1969. Didn't say how, but I guess we know now."
"We don't have the TARDIS," Martha sighs as the realization sinks in.
The Doctor has pulled the folder out and put on his glasses to read the papers. He frowns.
"And we're going to be here a while," he says.
"How long?" Angel asks.
"Long enough that we rent out a flat," the Doctor says. He looks up at us.
"At least you're not human this time," Martha mutters. I nod in agreement, meeting her eyes with a weary look.
"And how are we going to rent out a flat? We haven't got any money," I point out. The Doctor raises an eyebrow.
"Let's just say I know a few people that might be able to help," he says.
"Myself," he says. "Well, my previous self."
"What, like, another regeneration?"
"Yep," he nods. "My third. I was exiled to Earth for a bit, did a lot of work for the Unified Intelligence Task Force as a scientific advisor. Still do work for them, technically, I never actually resigned. But anyway – I'll just need to make a quick stop tomorrow. Talk to myself. Don't get to do that every day, do I? Probably a good thing, I don't tend to get along with myself."
"I don't understand," Martha says.
"The Doctor, he can change his face," Angel explains. I told her about regeneration a long time ago, just in case, but Martha hasn't gotten a debriefing.
"When he's fatally injured, he can repair himself by changing his entire cellular structure. Looks different, acts different, but he's essentially the same. When I met the Doctor, he didn't look like that," I tell her, pointing at him.
"That's mad," Martha says, eyeing the Doctor carefully. "But not the strangest thing that I've seen since I met you, I suppose…"
"I won't be able to contact UNIT until tomorrow," the Doctor muses. "It's about three in the morning, Earth time."
"So we find the nearest park," I decide, tugging Angel into my side as I watch her yawn. "Set up camp there, get some rest until morning."
"Sleep in the park?" Martha asks.
"We've slept in less comfortable places," Angel says with a shrug. She looks up at me. "There was that cave we lived in for a few months, that was probably the worst."
"God, I hated that place," I agree. "Anyways. Let's find a park, yeah?"
Martha sighs wearily and the Doctor frowns, but they both nod in agreement.
"Park it is."
By the next afternoon, the Doctor has us set up in a small flat. There's a kitchen, living room, and two bedrooms – one that Martha will use and another that Angel and I will share. The Doctor insists he won't need to sleep.
We're in London, we've realized, and it's September of 1969. Martha and I climb a few flights of stairs together, and she unlocks the door and kicks it open unceremoniously. I follow behind her tiredly and slam the door shut, shrugging off my jacket and tossing it onto the nearest piece of furniture. Martha has already collapsed onto the couch and put her feet up on the coffee table.
Upon entering the room, Angel surveys the both of us and crosses her arms, leaning up against the open doorway.
"I take it the job searching didn't go very well, then," she says.
"I've got nothing," Martha grumbles. "I'm going to be a doctor and I can't even get a job in a shop!"
"Oh, I got a job alright. And I'm gonna be miserable," I tell them both. "Waitressing."
"Have you ever been a waitress before?" Angel asks, her face scrunching up in confusion.
"No, and there's a reason for that," I mumble. "Where's the Doctor?"
"Dad's in the kitchen. Still going over those papers, trying to make a plan…" Angel trails off. "Actually, I have no idea what he's doing."
"I'll go find out, then," I sigh, leaving Angel and Martha to chat. I find the Doctor sitting at the kitchen counter, staring intensely at the folder that Sally Sparrow gave me – only a few days ago, but it seems like a lifetime.
"Doctor?" I ask, approaching and laying a hand on his shoulder. He jumps, startled. "Oh, sorry, didn't mean to scare you."
His face brightens as he looks up at me.
"How did it go?"
"I got a job waitressing at the diner down the street," I tell him, plopping down in the stool next to his. He frowns distastefully.
"I think that's the most domestic thing I've ever heard you say," he muses. "And I didn't like it very much."
"Sorry, would you prefer 'Honey, I'm home'?"
The corners of his mouth turn up slightly, making me smile. He bends over and kisses me lightly.
"What's that for?" I ask him as he pulls away. He smiles at me.
His response makes my own smile even wider.
"Right then. Have you figured this out?" I ask, knowing my question is vague as I gesture noncommittally.
"I think I've figured out the timeline here," the Doctor says. "Right now, back in our time, Sally Sparrow is doing a bit of investigating. The Weeping Angels sent her friend Kathy back to the 1920s."
"Guess we lucked out, then."
"Yeah, I would say the 1960s is a much better bet than the 1920s. Not much we can do for right now except wait around for Billy Shipton."
"He's a detective. He's going to be sent back here too, to this year. I'm going to try to build a machine that can help me track the shifts in energy, so we'll know when it happens and where it happens. Other than that it's a waiting game."
The Doctor frowns and I reach out to smooth the creases in his face.
"I don't know how long we're going to be stuck here," he admits.
"We're going to be fine," I try to assure him. "Just need a bit of patience, that's all."
"Patience," the Doctor repeats, grumbling. I bite my lip.
The one thing that neither of us have.