Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who
First of all, I want to apologise for this being so late. If anyone was waiting for this, I am sorry. I meant to finish it ages ago, but then I got caught up with university stuff and so did the friend who was helping me write bits of it. We both forgot about it and put it off; I got caught up with other stories etc. But I've decided enough is enough, one more chapter and then it's over.
Chapter Twenty Eight
It was strange, sitting in her dad's van. A rush of nostalgia threatened to overtake Cerise and make her eyes water, but she didn't want to spend her first day back in her own universe sobbing her eyes out. Her mum was sitting next to her; she squeezed Cerise's hand just to reassure herself she was still there. "Are you alright?" she asked. Cerise smiled and nodded. "I'll be fine. I'm just…" she trailed off and shrugged.
Her mum nodded understandingly anyway. They were on their way to see Marina's parents, Alan and Jenna. Marina was bursting with excitement, so much so that she couldn't even speak. She just gazed out of the window as the familiar scenery rolled by; there was Peasholm Park, and the Hollywood Plaza, and…her house. She hadn't realised how much she missed it until now.
Susanne had called ahead, and her parents were waiting for her at the door. "Mum! Dad!" she cried, jumping from the van with her bag and running into their arms. "Marina! Oh, my little girl" cried Jenna, hugging her tightly. "We were so worried about you! Where have you been?" asked Alan. Marina pulled back a little and beamed happily. "You…you wouldn't believe us" she giggled.
As Jenna bestowed an embrace on Cerise, her dad looked Marina over and commented, "You look different".
Marina smiled. "Yeah, I lost some weight" she nodded, patting her stomach, "and my hair is longer. I like it this length". They went inside, squeezed into the small living room, where Cerise and Marina pulled out their phones and began showing their parents all the photographs of them on their adventures. "Hang on, that's…isn't that what's-his-name from the show you like?" asked Alan. Marina rolled her eyes fondly at her dad and replied "His name is the Doctor, dad, and yes. That's where we were, in the Doctor Who universe" she explained.
There was a pause, and then Alan said bluntly, "You're right, I don't believe you". They all burst out laughing. "You don't look much different, Cerise" said Jenna, and Cerise smiled knowingly. Brushing a strand of hair from her eyes, she said nonchalantly "I am a bit different. You know how I said we fought Cybermen? One of them turned all the atoms in my left foot from the ankle down into a super light, super strong metal alloy which doesn't really do anything other than make it look like I've dipped my foot in silver paint".
The silence that followed could have been pricked with a pin. "Cerise…?" asked Susanne. Her daughter sighed and said "Okay, I guess I better just show you"; she pulled off her left trainer. She hadn't bothered wearing a sock on that foot for ages, and she only wore the trainer so that people didn't constantly ask "why is your foot silver?"
Jenna, Alan, Kevin and Susanne all stared. "It's not that interesting" Cerise quipped, getting rather uncomfortable. Yes, it was odd and unexpected, but it was just a metal foot. "Oh, darling" Susanne said pityingly, and Cerise rolled her eyes out of pure force of habit. She should have known this would happen. "Mum, my foot's fine. I mean yeah, it's weird, but I've gotten used to it" she reassured her worried parent.
Marina bit her lip and mumbled something. "What's that dear?" asked Jenna. "I said...mum, dad, I – I met Joey" Marina admitted. Another sepulchral silence followed. "Joey?" Jenna gasped at last, "as in…as in your little brother, Joey?"
Marina nodded, eyes brimming with happy tears. "In our favourite café, with Cerise's big brother Ian…except they were our ages…oh mum, he was wonderful!" she beamed as Jenna hugged her tightly. "Here, I've got an idea" said Alan after Marina had hugged him again as well, "why don't we have a big meal at the Carousel to celebrate? We can get your sister and brother up here, and your gran…"
His youngest daughter's eyes lit up. "Yeah, and you can invite your brother and grandma" she said eagerly to Cerise, who nodded enthusiastically, "oh, and we have to invite Steve and Matt" she finished. Everyone was in agreement – a celebratory meal at the girls' favourite pub restaurant would be perfect. Kevin, Susanne and Cerise went home, to let Marina get settled at home again with a promise to see Cerise again at their Saturday club.
Back at her own house, Cerise went into her bedroom and felt a pleasant nostalgic shiver of excitement at being home at last. The TARDIS might have designed her bedroom to look identical to this one, but there was always something missing. As awesome and cool as the TARDIS was, it just wasn't home.
Cerise unpacked her bag, putting away some old tchotchkes and knick-knacks…only to replace them with her new spacey-wacey souvenirs. A piece of Bazoolium, a photograph of her, Cerise, the Doctor and Clara on Apulapucia, and a glow in the dark cherry tree ornament from the markets of Shan Shen. She stood back and smiled at them all in satisfaction, just as her door was banged open. Cerise jumped.
Her little sister Lucy ran in and hugged her, almost knocking Cerise over. "Yikes! Hi, I missed you too!" she laughed, hugging Lucy. "Oh my God! Mum said you were back, but I didn't believe her, but you are! What happened?" her sister asked breathlessly when they'd both let go. "Hi Ian, hi Alexa" Cerise smiled at her brother and his girlfriend. "It's nice to see you two are still together" she smiled.
Ian smirked. "Yep" he grinned, waggling his fingers. A gold ring was set on one of them. Cerise's eyes widened. "Did you…?" she asked. Alexa smiled and showed off her own band. "We've been engaged for a couple of months now" she explained, and Cerise squealed with delight and hugged them both. "Oh, congratulations!" she beamed.
"Cerise, why is your foot silver?" asked Lucy. Cerise put her metallic appendage on a nearby chair and tapped it with a pencil. "It's metal, see? It got transformed by a Cyberman" she explained. This naturally led to further explanations, and Cerise showing them the photos on her phone. "Let's see…that's us on Woman Wept, we're sitting on a frozen wave there...that's us on Calderon Beta… Russian submarine…. Caliburn House….Victorian Yorkshire – you know there used to be a shoemakers here? The Doctor let me have a look. Would have bought a pair too but we didn't have any money".
Lucy, Ian and Alexa stared over her shoulders in awe. "That's amazing. I can't believe you were actually in the Doctor Who world. How come we didn't see you on telly?" asked Alexa.
"Not sure. I guess us being there made an alternate timeline or something, that's the only logical explanation I can think of" Cerise mused. It was funny how her definition of 'logical' had changed so much these past months. "Doesn't your foot hurt?" asked Lucy, staring at the metal in fascination. "No, it just feels…like my foot is constantly asleep. It was kind of annoying at first but I've got used to it. It's going to be so irritating going through airport security now though. I'll be setting alarms off left, right and centre" Cerise sighed. They all shared a chuckle.
Marina and Cerise thought it would take a few days at least to organise this meal at the Carousel - it turned out that a phone call and a message of "they're back, the girls are back" was all it took to get Marina and Cerise's family together for a big meal. They ordered for a party of fifteen five days in advance, and were seated at a large table arranged in the corner of the restaurant. A lot of people looked over at them, wondering what they were doing with so many people, and didn't those two young women look familiar somehow?
They talked all through the dinner about Cerise and Marina's adventures; of course, the biggest adventure, their futures, was yet to come. There was so much to be taken care of - visits to other family members, reunions with friends; they had to come up with a plausible explanation for their whereabouts the past months for the police, and possibly the media as well. They had to get jobs and flats, all the boring domestic stuff they'd been escaping from all this time.
They couldn't escape anymore though, but neither of them wanted to. Cerise and Marina had seen another universe, and now, it was time for them to take their own by storm.