Notes: For the record, "Riu Chiu" is, as far as I know, in the public domain. Thanks to everyone who followed this fic!
For the next several minutes, Davy sat in one of the benches in the terminal, his chin propped on his hand as he watched Micky pacing back and forth, trying to find a solution to their problem.
"I've got it!" the brunet exclaimed, at last, causing the crowd of holiday travelers to stare at him as they jumped in fright.
Davy looked up.
"You have a plan?"
"Yeah, I think I do!" Micky said. "Okay. So, here's our problem: you and I are stranded here, right?"
"And Peter is stranded somewhere, right?"
"And we don't know where he is, and he doesn't know where we are, right?"
"So there's only one thing to do," Micky declared, pulling a deerstalker out of his luggage and putting it on. "A little bit of detective work!"
"And wearing a hat with ears will help you deduce where Peter is?" he asked, incredulously.
"What's good enough for Sherlock Holmes is good enough for me," Micky declared, pressing his fingertips together in the style of the Great Detective. "Come on, Davy! The game's afoot!"
"Just stay away from waterfalls," Davy mused, as he followed him back to the pay phones.
Micky was soon on the phone again, calling LAX and using up all of the change in his pockets as he instructed whoever was on the line to inform him of the flight schedules. The brunet's brow furrowed for a moment, and then his eyes widened. He thanked the person on the line and hung up.
"I know where Peter is! …Well, not exactly, but I know where he will be in a few hours!"
"There's only one flight that left since the announcement that the flight to Hartford was canceled—a flight to Dallas, Texas!"
"Why would Peter go to Dallas, though?" Davy asked baffled.
"I'm not entirely sure, but knowing him, he probably figured that he'd get to Orlando step by step—and this was the first step," Micky said. "But, now we've got another problem to deal with."
"How to let Peter know where to find us, you mean?" Davy asked. "We don't even know where we're going."
"Oh, yes we do," Micky said. "We're going to Dallas."
"What!?" Davy exclaimed. "Wait a minute—we can't go to Dallas!"
"Oh, really? Give me one good reason why we can't!"
Davy pointed to the flight schedule.
"There aren't any flights from Oklahoma City to Dallas this late," he said.
Micky's face fell, but only for a moment.
"It's a long shot," he said. "But if we take a bus from here and grab another bus at the depot, we just might be able to make it to Dallas around the time Peter makes it there—we just have to hope that there's a holding pattern that keeps him up in the air long enough for us to get there—and if that doesn't work, then we have to hope for more delays to keep him at the airport." He hesitated. "And I guess we also have to hope that Peter really is on that flight, and that he didn't just give up and go home." He looked to Davy. "Hey, listen… I'd hate to be dragging you out on a wild goose chase; if you'd rather stay here and see if you could find a way to England—"
But Davy cut him off with a smile.
"Forget it, Micky; let's go find Peter."
Micky's face split into a grin.
"Come on; we're going to be cutting it really close as it is," he said, searching his pockets for more money for the bus fare. His face fell slightly as he found his pockets to be empty, having used up all of his change on the phone calls.
But Davy now reached into his pocket and pulled out a wad of cash.
"Grandfather gave me a travel allowance," he said. "He told me to use it if I needed it. And I'd say this situation definitely qualifies."
"You said it!" Micky grinned, as he and Davy grabbed their bags and dashed through the terminal. The brunet adjusted the deerstalker on his head, ignoring the stares that his odd choice of headgear was receiving.
They were in a race against time, and that was all that mattered.
Peter hadn't been too surprised when his flight to Hartford ended up cancelled, though it didn't stop him from being disappointed when it happened.
What he had been surprised by—an unpleasant surprise, at that—was the fact that the next flight out to Orlando had been cancelled, as well. He was given the same reason of the southward-moving storm and the subsequent shrinking storm-free airspace, which only made a shred of sense.
It was then that the blond weighed his options. Staying in Los Angeles, alone, was one of them, and it was not one he wanted to go with. There could have been the possibility of coordinating something with Micky, but he was who-knows-where at the moment—he couldn't have reached Orlando already…
Well, if he didn't want to spend Christmas here, alone, then there was only one thing to do, then—find the next flight out that would take him as far east as possible. From there, it was a matter of finding a way to either Orlando or Hartford—whichever path presented itself.
He let out a sigh as he picked up his luggage again, heading back to the ticket counter. At this point, he was willing to take whatever he could get.
He had managed to get a ticket, and had, of course, left only minutes before Micky had tried to have him paged from Oklahoma City. Blissfully unaware of his friend's attempts to contact him, he sunk back into his seat, hoping he would make it to either Hartford or Orlando before Christmas.
But sleep was not to come easy for the blond. The man in the seat next to him proceeded to gripe and complain about his earlier flight being cancelled and being forced to take such a late one. And Peter, too polite to ignore him or tell him to stop, patiently nodded along as the man ranted, wishing he could close his eyes for just a few minutes.
When the man had finally finished his rant, he proceeded to fall asleep immediately, snoring like a buzz saw. Peter just stared at him with a nonplussed expression, wondering what on earth he had done to deserve such a seatmate.
"Whatever it is, I'm sorry," he murmured, blinking with heavy eyelids.
Predictably, he did not get so much as a wink of sleep on the flight, leading him to wander off of the plane in a daze when they finally had landed.
In hindsight, as he wandered the terminal at DFW, Peter was beginning to think he had made the wrong choice. At least, if he had stayed in Los Angeles, he'd have been able to sleep in his own comfortable bed, as opposed to spending a sleepless night trying to make a seemingly impossible journey to the east coast.
There were no eastbound flights leaving DFW for the rest of the night—not to Orlando, not to Hartford, and not anywhere in that general direction.
He certainly didn't have enough money for a hotel; he hadn't been expecting such an aggravating turn of events. And as the hours ticked by, Peter was just about ready to pass out on one of the terminal benches and use his luggage as a pillow. Knowing that wasn't the wisest option around, however, Peter managed to drag himself and his luggage to the pay phone, digging out the slip of paper Micky had given him.
Unsteady on his weary feet, Peter held on to the wall after he dialed the number, waiting for Micky to pick up—by now, surely, Micky had reached his hotel. Peter knew there wouldn't be anything Micky could do for him, but, at this point, all Peter wanted was to hear a familiar, friendly voice.
He forced himself not to lean against the wall in disappointment as no one seemed to pick up the phone. Had he been so tired that he had dialed the number wrong? Or was Micky out somewhere, enjoying Florida's nice weather? Or was he sound asleep? Peter knew from experience that Micky was quite a heavy sleeper; the brunet could probably sleep through an alien invasion.
At last, Peter perked up, finally hearing Micky's voice.
"Hey, Mick…!" he said. "You have no idea how great it is to hear from you! I'm stuck here in Dallas!"
"Sorry it happened to you," Micky said. "This whole vacation thing just isn't working out for us…"
"You can say that again…" Peter said, shaking his head. "How's Orlando?"
"I wouldn't know. I never made it there."
"Oh." Sleep-deprived as he was, Peter had to process this thought for several moments before it sunk in. "But… if you're not there… how am I talking to you?"
Another voice—one with an English accent—answered in between chuckles.
"Just turn around, Peter."
Peter did so, and grinned to see Davy and Micky standing there.
"Ha! This is…! How did…?!"
"Just a little bit of detective work," Micky boasted. "Well, that… and managing to catch a quick-moving bus."
"We're glad we found you," Davy said. "We hated the thought of you wandering around somewhere, all alone."
"I wasn't too crazy about it myself," Peter said, smiling. "So, it looks like the three of us will be waiting here together for flights to open up, huh?"
"Yeah, guess so," Micky said, sighing. "I caught a look at the weather report in the newspaper, though; it doesn't seem like that blizzard in the Midwest is going to calm down anytime soon."
"Uh-oh…" Peter said, his face falling. "I don't like the sound of that. What do we do, then? Wait around here indefinitely until we can finally head east?"
Davy's eyes suddenly widened.
"No," he said, snapping his fingers. "I've got a better idea!"
Mike was not happy. Being booted from his cozy berth had been the first of his problems. A talk with the station master revealed that the direct line that would've taken him from Los Angeles to Grapevine only had one train that night—the one he had just been thrown off.
This meant that Mike had to frequently change trains every hour to make sure that he was going in the right direction—which meant that he couldn't afford to fall asleep, lest he miss his stop and end up somewhere where he did not want to be. And, more than once, he had nodded off out of exhaustion, jerking awake in a panic as he thought he had missed his stop.
Fortunately, his miniature naps were not long enough to cause him to miss his stops, but it was more than tedious to lug his bags from one train to the next, breaking Olympic records as he tried to dash from one station platform to another to catch a connecting train that would leave within five minutes of his arrival. His most frightening moment was at two in the morning in Santa Fe, when he only just managed to catch his connecting train—while it was moving, ready to depart the station. Mike had pretty much thrown his luggage in before running parallel to the train for a moment and then leaping in after his bags, landing flat on his face on top of them.
"Wow," the conductor commented, as Mike faceplanted into his luggage. "That's like something right out of a movie. Well, except for you falling over like that; I bet James Bond could've landed on his feet."
Mike looked up at the man with a grimace that was, thankfully, hidden in the low lighting.
"Well, I ain't James Bond," he drawled.
Thankfully, that was the only crazy stunt that Mike had to pull that night; unfortunately, it was enough to make him sore for the remainder of the night, too. When he finally made it to Grapevine, he limped out onto the platform, reminding himself that his long and weary journey was still not yet over—he still had a bus to catch to New Gallifrey before he could crawl into bed and sleep.
Grumbling under his breath, he managed to catch a glimpse of the sky, blinking slightly as he saw the starry night—just like that night in Phoenix.
To his surprise, the corners of his mouth did twitch into a smile as his thoughts turned to his friends. Hopefully, they were reunited with their families, or were close to such a reunion. He would be very much looking forward to seeing them all again in a week. But first, a nice long rest in his old room at Aunt Kate's ranch was in order.
He sighed, calming down, and, unbidden, a familiar, seasonally-appropriate song came to his lips.
"Riu riu chiu, la guarda rivera…"
And then, as if by magic, three more voices joined him, harmonizing.
"…Dios guardo el lobo de neustra cordera… Dios guardo el lobo de neustra cordera…"
Mike whirled around, still singing as he beheld the sight of his three bandmates, all smiling broadly as they sang.
All questions and explanations waited until the song had finished (causing those around them to take a moment to applaud).
"Okay, this is a highly pleasant surprise and all," Mike said, folding his arms. "But what the heck are you guys doing here?"
"Big blizzard in the Midwest," Peter explained. "We all got stranded."
"Davy and I met by chance in Oklahoma City," Micky explained. "And we raced down to Dallas to find Peter before he got any more lost than he already was—helped by my brilliant skills of deduction, I might add…"
"And then I figured that since the storm is only going to get worse, that we'd have no way of getting east at all, and the fact that we were already in Texas, well…" Davy shrugged. "Here we are."
"You don't mind, I hope?" Peter asked.
"Not at all, Shotgun. Not at all. Ever since I dropped you three off at the airport, all I could think about was being able to see you guys again. And Aunt Kate always has extra seats open at the dinner table. Sorry your plans didn't quite work out, but I can't say that I'm not a little glad that it worked out this way."
"I know exactly what you mean," Davy said, as Micky and Peter nodded in agreement. Okay, England was out of the question this year. But there'd always be another time. And, really, if he couldn't spend the holidays with his family, this was more than acceptable as an alternative.
…Then again, in a way, this was just as much his family, too.
"Well," Mike said, his smile back on his lips for good. "We've got a bus to catch in order to head down to the ranch."
"Ah, buses and trains," Micky sighed. "Now those are reliable, stress-free ways to travel!"
Mike stopped in his tracks for a moment before picking up his pace again.
"Mick, we've gotta talk about that…"
And all through the bus ride to New Gallifrey, they swapped travel horror stories. It was Peter, though, who made the astute observation that, despite however horrible their journeys had been, in the end, they weren't all bad—after all, they had allowed them to find each other once again.
And that, they all agreed, made it all worthwhile.