At long last, I am beginning the sequel to "For Just One Cell" and "It Can Come Back". Thank you all for waiting so patiently, and for those of you who just stumbled across these stories, welcome! Once more, this story picks up not exactly after the last one left off. It's been a couple months for our favorite characters. Without further ado, I'll let you dive right in. Enjoy!
Dobby's Polka-Dotted Sock
Rory squinted his eyes as he looked up into the sunny sky in order to follow the arc of his father's golf ball. It sailed over the green, bounced once, and rolled just that little bit closer to the hole.
"Good shot, dad," he commented.
Brian gave him a tight smile and stepped back, gesturing to him to place his own ball and tee in the grass. They both knew of course the end result of this game; Brian Williams was a much better golfer than his son.
It was funny, really. Rory had faced down monsters, had ridden a motorcycle with no prior experience, and had learned every sport in the past two-thousand years. Yet he couldn't seem to get a silly little golf ball into a silly little hole.
It was with these thoughts that he paused after setting the ball on his tee and glanced back at his father. Rory had made a promise to himself that he would finally tell the older man the truth about his life. Or rather, his whole life. He hadn't done so yet, but he'd been hoping to use this time out together golfing to talk.
"Er, dad," he began somewhat shakily.
"Yes, Rory?" His father was looking at him so openly, so utterly unaware of the knowledge his son was about to shock his entire world with.
"Uh- never mind." Or not shock his entire world with. Could anyone honestly expect him to do it? Rory Williams, from Leadworth? His father didn't even think he could fix a light properly! That he couldn't wasn't the point, naturally. He couldn't help he was too busy running around fighting monsters half the time to do house maintenance. What could possibly convince normal Brian of such a crazy, fantastical story?
Rory shook his head and returned his gaze to the darkened ground. Readying his stance, he swung the club back in preparation to make the swing—
Hang on. Darkened ground?
"Rory, what's the matter?" His father asked, for he'd stood straight and placed the club down, turning his face to the sky. "What is that?" Apparently Brian had looked up, too.
A huge, dark—almost black—structure was passing overhead, blocking out the sun. It was shaped rather like a Frisbee, though not nearly as flat, and yet it might as well have been made of sharp angles and mounted cannons and spikes, it was so imposing.
Even as they watched, a strange sort of laser shot up and Rory had to both shield his eyes and cover his ears at the impact. A flash that registered behind his eyelids and an explosion that threatened to shatter his eardrums left him dazed and blinking. Dimly, he realized his father had stumbled forward to stand beside him and was gaping at the sight above them.
The smoke cleared, but what Rory saw only made his heart rate jump in speed. The object was completely intact, and it suddenly hit him—it was so huge in the sky because it was slowly losing altitude, falling closer and closer. Closer to them.
"Dad, we need to move," he stated as calmly as he could.
"But what is—"
"Dad, run!" He commanded, grabbing the older man's arm and yanking him away, fleeing the green as fast as possible. They soon weren't the only ones as every single golfer abandoned his clubs and carts and ran away.
Rory glanced back sharply and saw that the thing was about to collide with the ground, right in the sand trap.
"Get down!" He warned, throwing himself over his father protectively. There was a great boom and the earth trembled. Those who hadn't taken his advice were knocked down regardless, dropping to the ground with grunts and cries of alarm and fear.
It was some time before he pushed himself up, wary of potential shrapnel. But when he rolled onto his back and sat up, the only visible damage he could see to the mysterious object was a tear in the side, not very large. The ground around it, however, was torn up and resembled almost a crater.
"My word," Brian breathed, getting unsteadily to his feet. Rory scrambled to follow suit. "What is that? What is it?"
"If I had to guess, some kind of spaceship," he answered honestly before beginning to examine his father for injuries.
"A spaceship? Be serious, Rory."
"I am, dad," he sighed, starting to walk away.
"Wait, where are you going?" The other man looked and sounded almost fearful, unused to this sort of excitement.
"There must be people who were hurt. I'm training to be a doctor, I can help."
People were gathering together, officials for the golf course were running to the scene, and everyone was clearly beginning to panic.
"Alright!" He barked in his most authoritative voice, and most of them stopped talking and stared. "We need to set up a temporary med station for anyone injured."
"There's a closed-top pavilion that way," one worker offered, pointing in the direction of the building. "It's reserved for a birthday party in an hour—"
"I don't think they'll mind," he cut across impatiently. "I want whatever first-aid or medical equipment you have there in five minutes. Is that clear?"
"Er, yes, sir!"
"Everyone else, help anyone who has been hurt to the pavilion." He swallowed his nerves and swept the crowd with a look, making sure they understood. They all nodded, except his father, who was gaping at him baffled, as if he didn't even know him.
Well, he'd have time to deal with that later. For now, he had work to do. "Dad, help the others."
His father chose to follow him instead. "Rory, you said that was a spaceship."
"Yeah, I did."
"But that looks nothing like a spaceship!"
"Well, I'd be pretty worried if it was one of ours," he pointed out. The older man didn't seem to appreciate the humor.
"'One of ours'?" His father repeated incredulously.
"Listen, dad, I don't know what it is yet. No one does. But I'm sure some of my friends are on their way right now and they'll figure it out."
"What have your friends got to do with it?" Brian called after him, but Rory just waved over his shoulder and continued on.
He'd cleared the uphill part and the pavilion was in sight when a familiar, teasing voice got his attention.
"Well, someone looks busy."
He smiled in spite of himself as he turned around. "Hi, Jack. Oh, and Martha." The Captain and doctor appeared to be making their way down to the crash site.
"I didn't know you were a golfer, Rory," Martha remarked in mild surprise.
"I'm not, my dad is," he informed them, and she winced in sympathy. It seemed the dark-haired woman was well-acquainted with the headache of relatives-involved-in-the-crisis. "So do we know what that thing is?"
"Some type of spacecraft, but nothing on the specifics. Kate's having Mickey and his crew run some scans to see if we can't find out a little more," Jack summarized.
"Director Stewart, new head of UNIT," she explained, and Rory raised his eyebrows. He'd never met anyone from UNIT higher up than Colonel Mace. If the director of the intelligence organization was on-sight, this had to be serious.
"Well, I had them set up a med station in that pavilion," he told her, and Martha smiled gratefully.
"Great idea. Thanks, Rory. We should get over there, then." She turned and joined him, not before pointing a warning finger at their immortal friend. "Be careful, Jack."
Jack Harkness flashed her a wide, toothy grin. "When am I not, Martha Jones?"
She smiled and shook her head and the two of them walked on to the pavilion. Rory tried not to let thoughts about the mysterious spacecraft distract him, but he hoped they'd know what it was—and why it was here—soon.
She stopped to catch her breath, hands braced on her knees as she took great gulps of air that both soothed and burned her lungs. It was enough of a break, though, and all she could afford. She could handle the running; in this moment, she felt like all those years on the TARDIS had been training for this one run.
Amy had seen the golf course on the news. No names had been mentioned—but Rory and Brian were there. She had to know.
At last she made it, likely a red-faced, sweaty sight, and jumped the security tape.
"Miss, you can't—" a police officer started, but a protective hand landed on her shoulder.
"It's ok, she's with us."
"Mickey?" She gasped, looking up at the grinning man.
"Hey, Amy. Figures you'd be mixed up in all this."
She snorted. "Mixed up? I'm just here to find Rory and Brian."
"Who's Brian?" Mickey inquired.
"Rory's dad, he's—over there!" She pointed over the dark-skinned man's shoulder at a group of people being questioned by UNIT personnel. Brian Williams stood among them, looking lost and more than a bit confused
"Were they here when the ship crashed? Those are the people we're taking statements from." He followed her over, standing a few paces back respectfully as she ran to embrace her father in-law.
"Brian!" Relieved, Amy threw her arms about him and though the older man gave a start, he was soon hugging her back with equal fervor.
"Oh, Amy! How did you- did you run all the way here?"
"Yeah, but that's not important. Are you ok?" Once she was sure of that she could move on to worrying about Rory.
"Yes, I'm alright. But Amy, they're saying a spaceship—"
"I saw on the news," she informed him, nodding a couple of times before somewhat impatiently asking, "Brian, where's Rory?" She stood on her tiptoes, peering around the taller man and scanning the crowd with her eyes for her husband. But she didn't see the stupid face!
"If Rory was here, I would have seen him," Mickey offered.
"He's in the med station they've set up in that pavilion," Brian began, pointing up the sloping green.
Amy gasped. "Oh my God. Rory!" The adrenaline firing up once again, she shot off up the hill, hearing both men call after her but not truly registering it.
Dodging benches and tables that had been set up on the gray cement flooring, she hurried past people, looking for that familiar messy light brown hair, that calm unflappable voice, hoping that he wasn't—
"Ok, I think you just sprained it, but—"
"Rory!" She almost screamed, suddenly finding him before her, examining the ankle of a middle-aged man. Unable to contain the overwhelming relief she felt, Amy flung herself into his arms just as he turned around in shock.
"Amy? What- how—why are you shaking?" She was. Now that the fear and joy and everything had mixed together and began to dissipate, she felt almost lightheaded. She wasn't all that bothered by it, though.
"I'm so glad you're alright," she spoke into his shoulder. "Brian said you were at the med station and I just panicked."
"Why wouldn't I be at the med station? It's my job," he pointed out, sounding rather bemused by her words. She pulled away and did her best to scowl.
"Well when you see a spaceship crash into the exact golf course your husband and his father are playing at on the news you're not exactly thinking straight, are you?"
He winced slightly under her gaze, offering a muttered "Sorry," before saying more loudly, "So are they saying what it is yet? Aside from the obvious, I mean."
"I haven't heard anything," she told him. "I ran into Mickey on the way in, and he said they're just taking statements. They'll probably want yours soon."
"I'll go see him after Martha and I are done here," he nodded, gesturing for the next person, a woman with a long scrape on her arm, to come forward. "But, Amy, could you go get my dad? He's sort of, er, dazed by all this. I'm a little worried about him."
"Sure," she agreed, recognizing that he had work to do here. "Uh, how much have you said, exactly?"
"We might want to, then. Before, well…" she trailed off, knowing he understood her meaning. Nodding once, he turned back to his patient and she left the pavilion. Because as Amy stood looking down at the crash site, she knew this could only be the beginning of something they'd found themselves involved in once again. And that usually meant they could count on something—or rather, someone—being not far behind.
It was a wonder he wasn't here already. Then they'd really have some explaining to do to Brian.
Forward stroke, drift. Backward stroke, drift. It was a calm, steady rhythm, one he was trying his best to maintain. The Doctor had forgotten just how much physical effort was required for driving a gondola, but as he had suggested it he was keeping his mouth shut. The blue skies, warm sun, and refreshing breeze more than made up for it. He'd landed them in a truly beautiful day, a lazy afternoon in the city that on a regular basis would drive him absolutely out of his mind, but was perfect for a brief reprieve. And why go for a stroll when you could tour Venice the proper way by canal?
With this in mind, the Doctor had even dressed for the occasion, wearing all black as required by the laws at the time. The bowtie, of course, remained, accompanied by a bowler hat—admittedly a bit early, but he couldn't resist. And if it was going to be the fashion in another half a century, what was the harm? He nodded to a fellow passing team of gondoliers, as they were customarily driven before the tourists, smiling warmly at the sight of the young couple obviously enjoying the romantic setting.
"Ah, Venice," he sighed aloud.
"Practicing your Harrison Ford, darling?" Her voice, as it did in most cases, brought him back to his own present situation.
"Hm?" He glanced down to find River smiling fondly up at him from underneath the felze, the little cabin for passengers on the original gondola models. Not to be outdone, she'd found a dress in the wardrobe that fit quite nicely in the time period, and fit her more than nicely. He was pretty sure she'd hidden a gun somewhere under those skirts, though.
As her grin grew more and more amused, he realized that she had indeed asked him a question, which was the sort of thing that usually necessitated an answer. "No, no, dear, merely remarking upon the scenery. Funny you should mention that, though, because I did run into George and Steven that one time…I've often wondered if I provided some sort of inspiration."
"I'm sure you did," she replied before leaning back on the bench slightly and watching the city move by as he steered them onward. "You're quite right, of course. Venice is lovely this time of year. And this year in general."
"Yes, I thought I'd go a bit post sexy fish vampires," he commented, adding hastily when she arched a dangerous eyebrow, "Which, in hindsight, weren't really that sexy, since they were fish…vampire…things. They'd never come close to you, River." Having recovered by the end, he risked meeting her eyes again.
She was smirking and seemed to be enjoying his own self-induced floundering. "Thank you, Sweetie."
"Venice itself doesn't compare," he boasted. He'd meant to make it teasing, and yet there was an unmistakable sincerity to his tone. She laughed behind her hand softly, but he could tell by the hint of pink to her cheeks she was quite pleased to hear it.
His wife took a deep breath in, letting it out slowly, a contented smile on her face. "I'm glad we're taking this holiday, you know."
"I thought we already were on a holiday?" He pointed out and she rolled her eyes.
"Oh shut it, you know what I mean. A relaxing day is a nice break from the normal, is all. And—though I'm not complaining—it's been a while since we've had some time to ourselves, Doctor."
She was leaning forward toward him now, full red lips in an almost pout, and it wasn't until he'd cupped the side of her face with one hand and brushed a stray curl from her cheek with his thumb that he realized he'd stopped driving the gondola altogether. He felt justified, however, in allowing the boat to inch along on its own for just a moment longer in order to tilt his head down just a little more—
He hung his head in defeat with a groan as River withdrew her blaster from within some hiding place in her dress just as he had suspected. "Well, get us to land, Doctor! Jenny and Donna don't scream for nothing."
"I know!" He retorted, already putting his back into it, sending the boat in long strokes to the side of the canal. River was leaping out before he even began to tie the boat, her rapid movement causing it to rock violently back and forth. He dropped the oar with a splash in order to pinwheel both arms in a desperate attempt to stay balanced. But soon he was stumbling forward onto land as she yanked him along behind her by one of his braces. She didn't bother to save the bowler, which joined the oar in the canal.
They didn't have to search long to find the remaining two members of their group. His daughter and best friend were sprinting down a main street, footsteps echoing loudly on the cobblestones and, by the sounds of it, a mob not far behind.
He stretched his arms out in front, stopping the blonde girl and half-catching her as she ran headlong into him. Donna skidded to a halt and stood panting for breath. "Jenny, Donna—what is going on?"
"How should I know?" The temp returned. "One minute we're browsing through the shops and I mention to Jenny we should find you and River soon, then this fancy-looking bloke starts shouting his head off about a chicken and sets his men after us!"
The Doctor blanched. "Oh dear."
River shot him a look. "Doctor…is that—"
"Casanova," he finished for her. "Knew I picked 1580 for the Ponds for a reason. Well, seeing as I haven't got a chicken, I think it best we retreat."
"Retreat how? The TARDIS is on the other side of that canal!" His wife reminded him. "If he sees you trying to row us all over there, he'll likely have them shoot at you!"
"Oh, come on, Casanova's not heartless."
"Are you sure, dad? He seemed pretty angry," Jenny countered, an uncertain look to her face.
"He wasn't even a professional gambler," he reassured her with a pat on her shoulder.
"Doctor!" A very angry Venetian male voice shouted from just around the corner.
He gulped. "Right. Retreat it is." He grabbed his daughter's hand, leading her quickly back the way he and River had just come and knowing the other two women would follow suit.
"Yes, but how—" The curly-haired one started to protest again.
"We're just going to have to hope there's no more sexy fish vampires."
"Sexy what?" Donna demanded.
"Vampires?" Jenny exclaimed, rather excited at the prospect.
"Oh, it's a good one, Jenny, but—"
"No. Doctor, no!" River protested as they reached the edge of the canal. He could make out on the other side, just behind a vendor's stall, the blue of their safe haven.
"No," Donna joined in as realization dawned. "Seriously?"
"Seriously," he nodded once, releasing his daughter's hand in order to rub his own two together. "Right then, best to just take the plunge, yes?" Without further ado, he dived into the canal.
It really was much deeper than people normally gave the watery passageways of Venice credit for, and when he came up treading water, Jenny had jumped in as well, apparently pulling a reluctant Donna with her who broke the surface spluttering. With a long-suffering sigh, River gathered up her skirts and jumped as well.
The increasing volume of their pursuers' voices spurred them into further action, beginning to swim for the other side. It was hard going; they had to be careful to mind the other boats, gondolas among them, and people stared openly with shock and disgust at such an undignified display. The one good result was that they were likely safe from any sorts of bullets in these highly populated pathways.
The Doctor hurriedly pushed Donna up and over onto ground, boosted Jenny up as well, and then pushed himself up in order to sit on the canal's edge. Poor River, normally the more graceful between the two of them, was struggling with the weight of her dress and so he heaved her up into his arms, carrying the sopping mess of fabric with him.
"Oh, put me down," she fussed, clearly disgruntled as he ushered the other two along. Donna and Jenny had opted for their normal clothes after the redhead had taken one look at him and proclaimed he looked ridiculous, and so though they were soaking they were much less inconvenienced than his wife. "If you think carrying me is going to make up for all this, you're greatly mistaken."
"Yes, yes," he dismissed, dodging around the vendor's stall. "Snap, Jenny, snap!"
"Oh- right!" The girl remembered, raising her hand high and giving a single snap. The blue police box doors swung open, and they eagerly rushed inside.
"I'm driving," the archeologist announced as soon as her feet touched down on the glass floor, and he deemed it best to back off and allow her free reign. Joining Donna and Jenny by the railing, he did his best not to look to pathetic, yet the redhead human still smirked at him. He pouted in her direction, not expecting it to help much, but to his surprise the temp lost the teasing expression.
"Sorry about interrupting your date," his friend muttered.
"Our- what—it wasn't—it—" He wasn't sure what exactly he was protesting. He supposed that whenever they paired off on their travels as they had in Venice it could be classified as a date. But…the Doctor just didn't go on dates.
"Dad, how come Casanova wants a chicken—" Jenny started to inquire softly, but he shook his head quickly.
"Some other time, Jenny."
At last, River stepped back from the controls, having put them back in the Vortex, and leveled him with a long, disapproving stare, before sighing with a slight upward quirk to her lips. "I suppose I'm just used to these things," the blonde woman remarked. She turned away and gathered her skirts, walking up the stairs and into the corridor. "I'm getting out of these ruined clothes and into a nice, long shower. Call me when we land." Her voice echoed back into the control room, and he winced just slightly. Sure, he wife wasn't mad at him, but she certainly wasn't happy either.
Donna only looked more guilt-ridden, and Jenny was glancing away as well. Clearly both felt they were to blame for disrupting the calm afternoon. Well, that just wasn't allowed. It was his own stupid fault for not giving the womanizer his chicken. Injecting some false cheer into his tone, the Doctor addressed them. "Right then, I suppose it's off to the next adventure, eh? Perhaps a little closer to home."
It wasn't a half-bad idea, come to think of it. Stopping by the Ponds always lifted River's spirits up, as well as his own. And Donna hadn't been in to see Wilfred and Sylvia for a good while now.
"After that can we see a new planet?" Jenny asked hopefully. "I know Earth's your favorite, but I want to go somewhere exciting again."
"Exciting things can happen in the most unassuming places," he smiled indulgently as he bopped her on the nose. "Now, you two best follow River's example and get out of those wet things. I'll land us and we can be checking in with everyone within the hour."
"Don't forget to change yourself, Martian," Donna reminded him before she followed Jenny out of the control room. He waved a hand acknowledging her words before getting right to work, punching in the familiar coordinates and sending them spinning through the Vortex. Satisfied, the Doctor turned in order to leave the room himself, when suddenly the entire console shuddered.
Spinning back around on his heel in alarm, the Doctor quickly took hold of levers and buttons in an attempt to get the ship back under control, but the shaking stopped just as abruptly as it had begun, with no interference on his part. Perplexed, he pulled the monitor over and flipped it on, the screen displaying that they were still inside the Vortex.
"What?" He murmured aloud to himself. Switching it off and on again, it showed the same result. "What's the matter, Old Girl?" His ship remained silent.
Still, nothing was immediately of concern, and if something was faulty with the wiring it would be best not to fiddle with it in wet clothes. With a slight frown, the Doctor turned and marched up the stairs, taking one last puzzled glance back at the console, and resolved to look into the issue first thing after drying off and changing clothes.
It was likely a minor problem, but not being able to get to Earth was making him uneasy.
So that's the first chapter! It's super long, I was not expecting that. Also, sorry this has been so long in the making, I stopped several times to update other stories, watch Classic Who, have real life, and look up trivial facts about historical gondolas. The things I do for a modicum of accuracy…at any rate, I'm excited to hear what you all think! This story is going to be big. Thanks for reading, and please review!