Miranda walked rapidly by the pavement without thinking where she was going. All she wanted was just to get away from everyone. Her face turned red and her head hurt when she remembered what just happened on what supposed to be her birthday party. She walked faster and faster without a real destination. She only turned back when a long hand suddenly grabbed hers.
A tear left from Miranda's eyes as she faced The Doctor. The Doctor pulled her closer and wiped her tears away with his thumb. The then cupped her face with a hand.
"Are you alright?" he said while cleaning the icing she had on her elbows with his handkerchief. But Miranda didn't answer him. Instead she went to a soft sob.
"Oh, now, don't cry.. It's your birthday!" He then went got her and gave her a hug. "Come on. Let's get you something.
They sat by the glass window of the café. The whole place was filled with the strong, fantastic, delicious aroma of coffee beans mixed with the scent of different pastries they had. Classic jazz music was played by a live band wearing tuxedos in this old-Hollywood themed café with old photos hanging around the walls and baristas working around the coffee bar.
Miranda took her first sip of her tea, which came with a brownie, which The Doctor picked for her and he claimed as the best in the place.
"I always go to this place. I love it that it's not that too known to be crowded but can be filled with enough people I can talk to."
Miranda was still silent, staring on thin air.
"Miranda?" He tried to meet with her eyes but she was looking far outside, examining every people, every couple that passed by. She turned to The Doctor who immediately put the widest smile on his face.
"Miranda." He reached for her hand across the table and held it firmly, passionately. "Whatever happened on that restaurant, whatever Penny said or did, just brush it off. You'll be alright."
And by those words, Miranda's face brightened and her eyes smiled with her.
"Don't you just love this place? I just love old themes."
They proceed to taking their meals and sat comfortably with each other for few moments.
Minutes later, the television in the café was turned on and Morecambe and Wise were on the screen. Miranda laughed loudly to every comic sketches that her favorite duo is making on the stage. It was the very first laughter that The Doctor heard from her since she ran off from the restaurant.
"Fantastic guys! Really funny! I love them. Best days of Comedy on telly. Do you like them?"
"Oh very! They're my heroes! I don't know what might have happened to me without those guys. I really don't know if I survived those days without turning the telly to watch them. I was on my mid 20's –" Miranda enthusiasm rose up as she tells everything and how she value the famous comic duo while he was listening intently with a smile on his face and occasional chuckles. "—I just left boarding school I quite lost the ability to 'socialize' hence my fear of men. Ugh! My mother kept on planning dates, and she still does, and I always refuse. Every time I feel down, I just watch their DVDs. I really love it when they look at the camera and talks. It's like they were talking to me and –" Miranda stopped with a grin. She stared at The Doctor for a bit. "Ahm, why am I telling all of these to you, Doctor? I hardly even know you? And why am I so comfortable with you?"
"I have that effect to people." He smiled. "And I actually like you. And I love them!"
They both turned their attention to the show where the duo was doing the paper bag sketch.
"I love this part!" Miranda said.
A few laughs were thrown on the air. "Gosh, they're the best."
The Doctor took a paper bag from the pocket of his coat. "Watch." The Doctor threw something invisible in the air and pretended to catch it with the paper bag, just like what Morecambe did.
"Oh my God!" she said with full of amazement. "How'd- I can't even- You can do it? Oh my God!"
"Yeah! Morecambe taught me when I came to one of their shows."
"He taught you? You can't-" Of course, Miranda thought The Doctor was just bluffing so did not say anything more. And she likes that he tells these jokes.
Later, as they finish their tea, a strong gush of rain started pouring like mad hitting the glass window desperately begging for entrance.
"Oh no. It's raining again. It's been raining like this for days now. Tsk. You know, I've always thought those drops of rain look kind of a bit odd. Don't you think, Doctor?"
Miranda faced The Doctor who was already standing by the window and staring, examining every drops the hit the glass. "Doctor?"
"Yeah. They are quite odd. Too big for ordinary rain." He placed a palm to the glass. He wore his glasses and went closer for a better view of every drop. "Miranda."
"Do you have an umbrella?"
"Why would I have an umbrella?"
A loud long shriek was heard all over the place. It was too long, loud and excruciating that every people covered both of their ears. Miranda shouted for painful. All of the people in and outside were already on their knees and trying to tightly cover their ears.
"DOCTOR!" But The Doctor couldn't possibly hear her. Cracks were already forming on the glass window.
"MIRANDA!" He then quickly grabbed her to the corner, away from the window and the glass exploded and broke in to pieces. All breakable in the restaurant did.
"Doctor! What was that noise?"
"Miranda, for how many days has it been raining like this?"
"For a about a week, I guess. Why? Is there something wrong?"
Before he could answer, the building in front of the café was already trembling. There were black, big things, crawling up and down of it with its sharp mouth digging and what it looks like eating the building out.
"Doctor!" Both of them were looking by the broken window. "What- what on Earth are those!"
"Black termites." Miranda couldn't believe what she's seeing.
"Black termites!?" The building was shaking and more than half of it was already eaten by giant scary creatures. People were screaming hysterically by the sight of the wobbling, half eaten building. The electricity wires were sparkling and short circuiting. The rain poured even stronger and screams from the building were getting louder.
"We need to get out, now!" The Doctor slid his hands into Miranda's hand and pulled her towards the door. But before they could escape, they saw the building gave its last tremble and finally crashed down to the ground with its big debris blocking the front door of the café. They had no choice but to step back.
The Doctor searched for a hole of escape but the debris and blocks of rocks were too big for him to move them.
"Doctor! There's no way out!"
He grabbed Miranda and ran to the back door. Miranda tried to turn the doorknob but it was locked.
"Oh, great. We're trapped. My birthday has come to its worst." But of course, Miranda was with The Doctor. The Doctor took his sonic screwdriver out from his pocket, making funny sonic noises as he pointed it to the knob of the door until it clicked open.
"We need to get to the TARDIS."
The got out of the café and went to the site where the building fell. A lot of cement, rocks and broken glasses scattered on the ground.
"Come on!" They turned around to run but a black termite was shrieking and standing in front of their eyes. "Miranda, run!"
They run hurriedly away from the big termite, splashing waters in every step and get soaked under the gush of strong rain. They finally found a hidden corner of the street. The Doctor sneaked his head out to check the surrounding. "We've lost them." And went back to Miranda who was still catching her breathing from the run. Both of them didn't notice that they were holding each others hands while they run vigorously.
"Doctor.. " she said, still taking heavy breathings. "What are those? Black termites? What are they, really? How- what were they doing on the building?"
"That building, they were eating it."
"But they're termites! Termites don't eat glass!"
"Earth termites don't. But they're not from Earth."
"You mean, they're aliens?!"
"Glacalyx termites practically eat everything – from wood, cement, metal, plastic-"
"If they were real aliens, what are they doing here? Why can't they just go to Mars or something?"
"They're not Martian! They're Glacalyx termites. They might already be out of food and they're here scavenging. They eat anything they see or smell- including bones- fresh bones."
"Bo-bones? Those people on that building-"
"I'm sorry. I really am. Everyone on that building, they're all gone." But they didn't have enough to mourn when they heard that same shriek again.
They arrived to another dark corner of the busy streets ans saw the TARDIS.
What's an old police box doing here?
The Doctor quickly unlocked and opened the TARDIS and rushed inside. She hesitated for a bit but finally followed him inside. Like many other people who've been inside the TARDIS, she was out of words. She hurriedly went out from it, examining it from sides to sides and gasping. She couldn't believe it. She went inside once again.
"It's, it's bigger on the inside! Doctor!" She was already ready to faint out when at the Doctor took hold of her.
"Wear this." He gave Miranda a hideous raincoat. "That odd rain… It's because of those Black termites. They had a different process of respiration. Instead of taking oxygen from the atmosphere, they take it from water sources. Water has 2 molecules of Hydrogen and 1 molecule of Oxygen. They rearrange it and only take the Oxygen molecules. They force out the evaporation of the water and force the precipitation of the clouds, hence those very, big drops of heavy rain."
"So what's with this raincoat?"
"As what I've said, they take water from all sources, including the body. That raincoat will temporarily prevent the extraction. Without that one, you will be dehydrated until you dry out and die.
Miranda's knees weakened and her body was shaking.
"Listen, Miranda. I won't let anything bad happen to you, I promise." Miranda's eyes were already getting watery but managed to nod to him. "Now, I just need something to kill them. Arrgh!" He scratches his head and made different shapes out of his hair. "Think, think, think…." He hit himself with his palms of several times.
Miranda was standing still by the door, hand shaking and uttered softly, "Pe-pe-pesticide."
"PESTICIDE! Exactly! Oh, Miranda, you're brilliant!" He kneeled down and opened the screen of the TARDIS' floorings and took several canisters of pesticides and a pair of gas mask.
"Who are you?" Miranda asked nervously. "Who really are you? You know awfully a lot of things. Who are you?"
The Doctor gave her few canisters and a gas mask. "I'm The Doctor."
"Just The Doctor? And why should I trust you again?"
"Because you like me and I like you, too, and we'll have great fun." He beamed a wide smile and Miranda started to turn a smile with him, too.
"So come on!"
"Let's go kick some termite butts, yeah!?"
Ouh! I sounded like Lara Croft!
Both of them ran off to the streets.
Black termites were all around the streets- from the lamp lights, doors, stores -all have traces of their bites.
"Oi!" Miranda called out one. "SMILE!" and sprayed the pesticide to its face. It went shaking and spinning until it got poisoned and died. Miranda laughed and leaped like a child. "Boo, yeah! I got one! I got one!" She dances with victory. But more termites came chasing her. "Uhmm, Doctor? HELPPP!" She ran off scared. Luckily, The Doctor came in front to her and sprayed more pesticides to all the chasing termites.
They continued spraying all around the streets, wherever the termites are. Dead giant alien termites filled the whole pavements of the road.
"Heck, yeah! Except for the running. Can we just stop for a bit?"
"We're running out of pesticides. We need to gather them in one place, Miranda. You need to know that they can smell bones, fresh bones."
The sound of more termites is getting closer and closer to where they stand in the middle of the street. "Miranda, we need to gather them in on place to kill them all at once."
All at once (She starts singing) we're drifting on a lonely sea, wishing.. shh, Miranda! Not the best time now!
"Are you suggesting that we make ourselves as baits?"
"Oh, you're quick!"
"Doctor! They've smelled our bones?!"
The Doctor whistled and more of them came out. "How about some dinner, eyh!?"
"Doctor! Don't!" More shrieks, twitches and clamps came out from a soaring number of black termites. "Come on! Run!" The Doctor started running away but Miranda wasn't. Instead..
"Uh?" he turned to Miranda to see her. "Why are you galloping like a horse?"
"Sorry! I panicked!"
Ugh! Well, this HEDIOUS raincoat won't make me run any faster now.
They ran away, holding on to each other's hand, towards a very tall building. More termites coming from different corner of the town came and chased them. The Doctor and Miranda went up the floors of the building – 5th-8th, -14th – until they reached 16th floor.
Does this business always involve running? Ugh. I hope one day someone has invented a portable elevator!
"Miranda. We need to get to the rooftop now!"
They ran faster until they reached the topmost floor of the building.
"Uhmm. Doctor?" Both of then looked around and realized that they've been surrounded by a lot of giant termites.
"Wear your gas mask." She did , and the Doctor did the same.
"You better do something!" Miranda said behind her mask.
The Doctor took out the last canister and pointed the sonic screwdriver to it. "Move away." He said and Miranda took steps back away from him.
"What are you doing?"
The Doctor then placed the shaking canister to the ground. He took steps back as well, wore his gas mask and stand beside Miranda. More termites came closer to them.
"Come on, come on, come on…"
After seconds, the can shook faster and went rocketing above them before exploding strongly, spreading the pesticide that killed all the black termites. Miranda and The Doctor took of their gas masks and laughed victoriously and hugged each other.
"Doctor! That was what I call AMAZING! Ahhaha!"
"Just a little rearrangement with the molecules to make it boil and shoot itself up."
They were both smiling at each other until The Doctor dropped flatly on the floor.
"Doctor!" she knelt down to him.
"Told you. They extract water from different sources including the body. You were safe because of that raincoat I gave you. Well, as for me, I just—"
He passed out before he could explain. Miranda didn't know what to do. The rain hasn't stop and they were soaked in it in the middle of the floor.
She didn't know what to do anything else, and just gave him a mouth – to – mouth resuscitation. She breathes in and out for him in tack by the rhythm of the pouring rain. The Doctor sucked a breath and brought back to his consciousness.
Oh, wow. That was… phew… (She fans herself and blushed.)
He sat up and coughed. "Wow. Thanks!"
Finally, the heavy rain stopped.
"Oh no. I can't go back to the restaurant looking like this! Mum will be mortified!"
"Come on, now. Let's go back to the TARDIS."
It was getting darker and Miranda hasn't come back so Gary decided to just look for her. He'd grown worried about Miranda who was already missing for hour now. He searched to different corners just to find her. He had asked many people if they saw Miranda strolling or falling over something. Then, he came across a very dark corner of the street where a suspicious-looking police box was positioned. He went to get a closer look but back out when he heard a familiar laughter.
Gary hid at the other side of the road and saw Miranda, who was wearing a weird raincoat, and The Doctor, wet, laughing and running together with hands intertwined, toward the odd police box. He saw The Doctor opening the police box.
"Did you have fun?"
"Of course! But too much running, though. Galloping is more fun."
"It did look like that! I'll try that some time."
They both went inside the small police box and Gary went closer and stood outside of it.
"Just stand by that corner. Just wait." Miranda did what he said. Few moments later, the exhaust fan under the floor turned stronger and air strongly gushed out from the screens of the floorings hitting both and The Doctor and Miranda.
From outside, Gary could here laughs from that tiny blue box but it was odd that it seemed like it came from a far when what he is seeing is a very little compartment.
"This is the best birthday ever. Thank you, Doctor."
"Oh, I hope you like it."
"I love it! Thank you. But sadly, I need to go home."
"We're not done yet. I haven't given you a birthday present yet. And I know just what you would love."
He pulled a lot of handles, pushed more buttons and hammered more beaming lights and whole of the TARDIS started to shake.
Gary stepped back as the blue box in front of him was starting to disappear. When it was completely gone, he ran hurriedly back to his restaurant.
"And here we are!"
Miranda was totally confused on what was going on.
"Go on. Try to look at what's behind that door."
Miranda gently walked to the door and went slowly went outside. She arrived at what seemed like a backstage of a theatre. Not that farther, people's laughter can be heard. Bright show lights were beaming in every wall of the place. Miranda could see a dressing room from a far. She could hear familiar voices singing a familiar song. She followed the voices and was brought to the wing of the very wide theatre stage. Two men, standing in the middle of the front stage, were singing her favorite song.
"Bring me sunshine in your smile. Bring me laughter all the while.."
Miranda was astonished! Her heart was racing, eyes almost crying, hands were shaking with full of happiness. She jumped like a little kid.
"Thank you!" One of the guys on the stage said to his audience. Both of them took a bow and did their signature exit across the stage. For the last time, they said farewell and took a bow before the cheering audience.
The Doctor stood beside Miranda, with his hands on his pockets. "Happy birthday." He said genuinely to her.
The duo left the stage and met The Doctor on the wing.
"Ah! Eric and Ernie!" He took and shook their hands.
"Doctor! How lovely to see you again. Did you enjoy the show?" Eric said.
"Oh yes, of course! Always do. Ah.. Eric, Ernie, this is Miranda, an avid fan of yours."
The legendary comic duo then turned to her and smiled.
"Hello! Good to meet you. It's always lovely to meet fans, especially when they're friends with The Doctor." Ernie said and shook her hands. "Hello?" But no words came out from her.
"It's her birthday today!" The Doctor said.
"Really! Happy birthday!" Both of the guys gave her a tight hug.
"Ah- ai- I love you guys! Aint that right, though innit? You're like, whhooows, just fabuluso! Fantasticismo, marvalesimo! My Golly gondrops, greativious!
"I'm glad you enjoyed the show. Well, Doctor, it's always nice to see you once in a while. Goodbye now. Bye Miranda."
"BYE. AHAHA…." "Doctor. I can't, I can't believe I just met them! Oh my God! I actually talked to them!"
"Told you, I knew them."
They both returned to the blue box.
"This? This is a time machine?!"
"Ooh, more than a time machine. This is the TARDIS- Time and Relative Dimensions in Space. We can go to different time, dimension, across the world- across the universe, all the galaxies, meet more aliens –"
She went closer to him and placed both her palms to his chest. "Four beats. I heard four beats from your chest when you hugged me. Are you alien?"
"Yes, I'm the last of the Time Lords. I traveled alone for days now but I still have one more seat for someone. Miranda, you were fantastic back there. And I know we'll be a great time. We can travel in different century, see a lot of things together-"
"And reach the stars?"
"Yes, and reach the stars. Miranda, we'll have SUCH FUN together. Travel with me."
"And that would be what I call a YES!" She laughed, did a courtesy and hugged the smiling Doctor.
It was the very first time that Miranda ever felt alive. Now, she thought, things would be different for her, and all of it she knew it was for the better.
"But first, let's go back to your party"
Everyone on the restaurant was already getting very worried about Miranda, especially her mother. It's already night time and her daughter has not come back yet. Heavy tears were already forming from Penny's eyes.
"Hi, guys." Miranda showed up by the door.
Gary, hearing her voice, turned to her direction.
"Miranda!" Tilly and Stevie screamed.
"Where on Earth did you go?"
"I was, erm, traveling—with The Doctor." The Doctor moved beside Miranda, with their hands interlocking.
"Hello!" He gave a short wave to the crowd. Then suddenly, Penny gave him a very strong slap to the cheek. "Oww! Do mothers always have to do that to me?"
"Where did you bring her?! All day, Doctor!? It's her birthday today!"
"Mum, it's alright. I was fine. In fact, The Doctor gave me the best birthday present ever."
"Come on." She reached for his hand. "I'll introduce you to everyone."
Miranda and The Doctor talked and laughed with everyone. He became an instant favorite of the crowd- every woman wanted to talk to her and every child wanted to play with him.
"Hello, little one. Aren't you lovely?" He was so good with all Miranda's nephews and nieces. He talked to everyone but kept close to Miranda.
Gary actually attempted to talk to Miranda and ask about what happened in that blue box but he stopped when he saw The Doctor slid his hand to Miranda's waist, pulling her closer to him. Miranda didn't even seem to mind it at all. Gary shoulders drop at seeing Miranda so happy with The Doctor and decided to leave the restaurant at once.
"Where's Gary?" she asked.
"So this is my shop." Miranda showed the inside of her joke shop. "It's not bigger on the inside, though. AHAH. And my flat's upstairs."
"I'll just get some things."
"Sure, sure. I'll just set the TARDIS. I'll wait outside."
She rushed up to her stairs towards her flat. She pulled her keys out but the door was already open. Slowly, she led herself inside and saw Gary's back, working on her kitchen.
Gary turned to her, looking very sharp with her fitting-long sleeves.
"Hi. Do you always have to break in to my flat?" she chuckled.
"Stevie gave me the spare key."
Miranda noticed the finely set dining table, with long candles lighted and a layer of her birthday cake in the middle. The room smelled sweet and war dimmed romantically.
"I told you, I'll hid one layer." He smiled and pulled a seat for her. "Come on. I know, it's very simple but –"
"It's lovely, Gary. Thank you."
"Happy birthday, Miranda. Let's have some of that cake that I just stole." Both of them giggled but quickly turned into frown.
"Gary—I can't stay long. He's waiting for me outside."
Gary went by the window and saw The Doctor standing outside that odd blue box.
"That box. It can disappear, can't it?"
"I saw you two went inside it and it started disappearing right before my eyes. I was gonna call you out but you looked too happy with him. Miranda? Who is that guy?"
Gary struggled to control his tears and his awfully trembling voice.
"Gary, The Doctor's amazing! Y ou should have seen what he can do! I mean, he knows so many things,Gary! Oh you'll love him, surely! -"
Gary hated himself for hating that Miranda sounded so happy being with him.
"He showed me a lot of things and he can show me more of it when we'll travel together!"
But Gary was not listening. He was far beyond the depth of his thoughts and emotions. He saw Miranda move her mouth but could not hear anything. He bowed and looked up to her again and again. "You're going away, then."
"I'm sorry." She says sincerely. "But Gary, this is what I need- change in my life. And The Doctor gave it to me. I'm sorry. I really am."
"No, no. He seemed like a good bloke to me. I bet you had fun with him today."
"Yeah, I did. I really did! Gary, I really need to go."
"Oh right. That's fine." The tone of is voice fell devastatingly low. Gary cupped Miranda's face with his hands and kissed her on her forehead. "You take care, alright?"
"I will." She ran towards the door.
"And oi! Don't you go stepping some creature's feet or tentacles or something!" He gave a deceiving smile to Miranda.
"I'll try not to!" And off she go and was gone.
Gary stood by the dining table and examined every detail of the flat. No Miranda. Nothing. He stood to by the window again and saw Miranda running towards The Doctor.
"Sorry, but I saw this on the counter." He showed the banana that he took from the shop. "It has a face! You drew a face on a banana! Oohh, I'm liking you more and more, Miranda. Come on!" He took Miranda's hand and led her inside the TARDIS.
From the window, Gary saw The Doctor take Miranda inside the police box.
"Now, where or when do you wanna go?"
"Anywhere! To very planet!"
"OH, I know just the one you'll surely love." He pulled handles and pressed buttons in different sides of the console. And the TARDIS started to shake. He pulled the final handle and looked to Miranda.
I hope you had what I call a good time reading this fanfic. Sadly, this is the last chapter. So, yeah. Thank you very muchos!