When Annie Hunt woke up that morning, she was excited. She couldn't pinpoint the reason, exactly, but as she wriggled into a pair of jeans that she'd had forever, Annie smiled at the mystery of the day ahead, an unknown energy rushing through her. Pulling her hair back into a rough pony-tail, she ran - or bounced, rather - down the stairs, and grabbed some toast before finally leaving her house and walking into the streets of London. She checked her watch as she jumped into a cab - 8:45. Great, she told herself, her second day and she was fifteen minutes late.
"Clapham library, please," she told the driver. And the driver smiled.
"Sure! I don't really know where that is, but I'm sure my GPS will get us there!" he said with a laugh. Annie looked at him, concerned.
"Right," she mumbled in return, busying herself by searching for her ID card in her bag to avoid futher conversation. It didn't work.
"Fabulous things, these GPS things," the man continued as they turned around a corner. "I might invest in one. Well, of course I don't need one, but sometimes I think she needs a bit of help. Always getting me lost, she is. I mean, look at me now. I'm a cab driver in the 21st Century when I should be at a Silurian/Human wedding in the Victorian Era. She's totally out of whack." He rambled on as he drove, and Annie found it difficult to keep up with his conversation so she simply nodded and smiled at what she hoped were appropriate moments. At any other time, she would have got out and caught another cab, but she was already late. And he did seem to be taking her the right way. Soon enough, they pulled up outside of the library and Annie turned to him.
"So how much will that be?" she asked, flashing a small smile. The driver looked back, dumbfounded, as if he didn't understand the question. He lowered an eyebrow in what could only be interpreted as deep thought and scratched his cheek. Annie stared. "How. Much. Money?" she repeated, more slowly this time. Suddenly his eyes lit up and his hair bobbed a bit when he moved his head.
"Oh, money!" he exclaimed, smiling. "I've never really bothered with money. I don't use money. You keep it." It was Annie's turn to look dumbstruck.
"What? No! That's not how this works, I -" she didn't know why she was arguing back. It just didn't seem right. That's not what happened - she caught the cab for work, the cab drove her to work and then she paid the cab driver for said journey to work. But as she protested, he simply shook his head.
"No, I'm not taking your money," he insisted. "And if you don't mind getting out of my car, I have a wedding to get to." Annie blushed a little.
"Oh. Fair enough then," she mumbled as she realised he really wasn't going to let her pay. "Thanks. Thanks a lot!" She smiled at him again, a wide smile of gratitude, and slipped out of the car.
She turned around before walking into the library, watching the strange man drive off. She couldn't understand. What had he meant 'he didn't use money'? He must use money! Look at the clothes he was wearing! All fashionable and stylish with his shirt and rolled up jeans, and his very obviously newly bought converse. And then there was the thing about the Victorian Era. That was just mental, she told herself. He must have been a bit of a madman. How odd, she thought as she checked in and sat down behind her desk. She looked at the clock that hung on the sparse wall of Clapham Library and sighed. 8:52. She was very late. She heard the doors of the library swing open and she cursed under her breath, expecting a grilling from a boss. She turned in her chair, a false smile on her face, but that was instantly swapped for a confused look when she realised who it was. The cab driver. Walking very quickly towards her.
"Sorry, I forgot to say. My name's The Doctor," she blinked and he continued, "and there's something wrong with your badge."
"Excuse me?" she asked, instinctively reaching for the ID badge that she currently had strapped around her neck. "My badge?"
"Yes, see, that's the problem. Your badge. It's not really a badge at all." Annie blinked at him, not understanding at all.
"Right," she replied, turning back to her work. "You're mental."
"Well, yeah," The Doctor said. Annie carried on typing, expecting the man to leave her alone, but when she realised he was still staring at her, she turned around.
"What?!" she exclaimed.
"I can't just leave you hear with that thing stuck on a string around your neck," he told her, pulling up a chair and sitting at the empty desk opposite Annie. She sighed.
"You can't stay here!"
"Sure I can. Look, empty desk. Not empty anymore. Brilliant. Fantastic. Nothing to worry about," he smiled and began tapping away at the computer. Annie just watched him, completely stunned by this man's inexplicable behavior.
"Really, Dr... What did you say your name was?"
"Just The Doctor," he answered, wondering how many more times in his life he'd repeat those words. Just how many more times were people not going to accept that he was just The Doctor and how many more people were going to ask him the same question?
"But Doctor Who?" she asked. The Doctor sighed. One more than the last count, evidently.
"Just The Doctor. Really." Annie scoffed.
"Nobody is called 'The Doctor'. That's not a name. That's a title. That's like calling me 'The Librarian'."
"Well I can call you that if you like," he said, his face deadly serious. Annie thinned her eyes and examined his face. He wasn't unattractive, but he wasn't attractive either. She shook her head.
"No, that's not the point I'm making. Don't call me The Librarian, that's weird. So you shouldn't expect me to call you The Doctor." He looked up from the computer screen.
"Well what else can I call you? And what else can I call me? I've always been The Doctor. Everyone calls me The Doctor. Not 100% sure why, but it's a name I've grown into. And it's a good name. What's wrong with it?" Annie laughed.
"What's right with it?! It's not like you can have a Facebook account with the name 'The Doctor'. That'd be ridiculous. And what do people say when you fill out forms? When you buy a house or... or a television or a dog?" The Doctor tilted his head sideways, ironically and coincidentally mimicking a confused puppy.
"Why would I want to by a dog? I have a dog." She shook her head again in disbelief.
"And what's your dog called then? 'The Pet'?"
"Don't be silly," he ran a hand through his somewhat messy hair, suddenly feeling slightly defensive. "He's called K-9."
"Even better," she muttered cynically. "Anyway, you can call me Annie. It does say so on my badge." The Doctor leaned forward, apparently straining to read.
"No, it doesn't. In fact, your badge doesn't actually say anything at all," he declared, sitting back in his chair. Annie lowered her eyebrows, confused.
"What? Of course it does. Right there, see. Annie Ba-" she turned her badge around so she could read it as she spoke, but found it to be empty when she did so. In further confusion and a little bit of worry, she pulled the badge off from around her neck and threw it down onto her desk. "Okay, what's going on here?"
"Well, the paper is slightly psychic," he began explaining. "You see what it wants you to see. And whoever gave you this badge wanted you to see it - and everyone else, for that matter - as your work ID badge. It's good stuff, too. Almost had me fooled for a moment back in the cab. Well, I say almost, I noticed it straight away but any other person wouldn't have realised. And then there's the case of the badge," he reached forward and picked it up, pulling out a futuristic looking device from his pocket as he examined it.
"What the hell is that thing?" Annie cried, staring at the metallic, pen-shaped object that had now started to emit a bluish-green light and a high pitched whirring sound. The Doctor looked up.
"Huh? Oh. Sonic screwdriver," he said. Annie opened her mouth to ask more questions, but The Doctor cut her off. "See! Just what I was expecting. I bombarded the case with electrical pulses, which would be perfectly pointless if this was just a normal, plastic, badge case. But it's not, I'm afraid. You hear that tiny little beeping sound? The sonic's picking up echoes. Somehow, the case of your ID badge is reflecting electrical pulses and amplifying them. And only something living can do that. So, final summation, your badge casing is made of -"
"- Living plastic? Are you completely barmy?!"
"Of course," he replied. "That doesn't mean I'm wrong." Annie pulled a face which told The Doctor she still didn't quite believe him.
"You really thing highly of yourself, don't you, Doctor?" she remarked. He smiled.
"You called me Doctor," he said, grinning.
"Never mind that! What are we doing about the plastic?"
"Right, yes! Well, luckily I've dealt with this before. Loads, actually. I just need to determine where the link is coming from that's keeping it alive, therefore discovering the location of the Nestene Consciousness and then I can -"
"Yeah, okay, enough of the technical jargon. Let me just go talk to my boss, and I'll come with you." The Doctor's eyes widened.
"Oh no you don't. Last thing I need is another life to be responsible for."
"Who said you're responsible for me? I can look after myself," she argued. He didn't reply, mainly because he knew she was right. Plus he quite liked the idea of Annie tagging along, he liked her. She asked questions and thought he was barmy.
"Fine," he replied, standing. She grabbed her jacket and smiled.
"This should be fun!" she squealed.
"Yeah," he replied as he watched her run off to talk to her boss. "I'm sure there's nothing to worry about.
The Doctor waited outside of Clapham Library as he waited for Annie, sighing as he caught a glimpse of his reflection in a car mirror and realised - with much disappointment - that he wasn't ginger. Once again his hair was boring and brown and untamed. He kicked the ground like an impatient child and thought deeply about what he was doing. He was taking yet another innocent girl and was probably going to ruin her life. He couldn't do this. He'd take her to defeat the Nestene, like he'd promised, but that was it. Oh, and maybe a quick look at the TARDIS - The old girl did like to be shown off. He smiled as he remembered all those other times, regretting his decision to travel alone for so long. It would be nice to have a friendly face with him. Maybe just one trip and then -
"Ready?" a voice said behind him, high pitched and excited. The Doctor turned on his heel, still grinning.
"If you are!" he replied. She jumped down from the stair and had to grab onto The Doctor to steady herself when she landed. "Woah, you okay?" he asked, supporting her. Annie laughed it off.
"Just a little unstable," she replied. She looked around, eyes searching. "Where's your cab?"
"My...? Oh! Cab! Right, yeah," he scratched his head. "Wasn't really my cab. I, uh, acquired it. I can't technically drive. Not by law, anyway. My licence ran out in about 1954." Annie stared at him, slack jawed and wide eyes.
"You drove me to work this morning, and you don't have a licence?!" The Doctor shook his head and began to walk down the street. Annie followed. "And did you just say 1954?" He stopped.
"Ah, yes, erm," he cursed himself in his head as he rapidly try to think of an excuse, but Annie had it covered.
"Exaggerating a bit there, were we, Doctor?" He laughed awkwardly.
"Er, yes," he replied, not convincing himself that he sounded genuine.
"So how are we getting to the plastic?" she asked as they began walking again.
"On foot. Good, old, classic walking. And it's the plastic we're going to. It's its leader." Annie snorted slightly.
"Leader? Oh God, you really are mental, aren't you? I just skived off work to run around London with a complete mad-head. What was I thinking..." The Doctor simply smiled.
"You were thinking that anything would be more interesting than being stuck inside a library all day," he replied. Annie stopped in her tracks, offended.
"Excuse me, I happen to like where I work. Books are my thing. And I'd appreciate it if you didn't insult them," she said, her face deadpan.
"No! No no no no no no, I wasn't insulting books! I love books! That's not what I was -" The Doctor stopped when he noticed from the look on Annie's face that he wasn't making things better. "I was just saying. This is a little more exciting than spending your day behind a desk." Annie stared at him, trying to come up with an argument, but she couldn't. Instead she rolled her eyes at him and walked forward, taking the lead. The Doctor hurried behind. "I don't know what you're storming off for, it's not like you know where we're headed," he mumbled, half to himself.
"Really? Because I just presumed we were headed over there," Annie returned, nodding towards a blue box that was on the corner of the street. The Doctor didn't reply. "I'm right, aren't I, Doctor?" she asked, not turning to look at him. But when he didn't reply again, she looked over her shoulder. "Doctor?" he was standing there, eyebrows furrowed, glancing from Annie to the box and back again, deep in concentration.
"Annie," he began, his voice slow and serious. "Can you see that?" He looked at her concerned, and she began to panic a little.
"What, the box? Yeah, 'course I can see it. It's big and blue and not normally there. Why? Isn't it there? Am I making it up? On that corner there! I assume that's where you were headed. A big, blue, Police box?" she spoke quickly, her voice a tone higher than usual.
"No, it's there," he told her, calming her a little. "But you should not be able to see it." Annie turned from him and looked at the box again.
"Well I can, it's standing there in all it's glory almost yelling 'notice me'!"
"But that's wrong. Nobody else seems to be noticing it, but you can see it. Clear as day..." he stated. Annie nodded.
"Yeah. And that's a good point, actually. Why is nobody else seeing it?" she turned back to him. "And why shouldn't I?" The Doctor scratched his head and began to walk towards the box.
"Perception filter. It shifts your perception slightly, so you know it's there, but it's like you don't want to know. Your brain just sort of ignores it. Apart from you," they reached the edge of the street where the box was sat and he turned to her. "You can see the box." Annie shook her head.
"You're talking crazy again," she remarked. She looked around and saw an elderly woman walking slowly, further up the street. Annie walked towards her and stopped her in her path. "Excuse me?" she said to her. The woman smiled.
"Yes, dear? How can I help?"
"I was just wondering," she began, "can you see a big, blue box - about eight foot tall - on that corner over there?" The elderly woman turned and glanced, and then laughed to herself.
"Why, yes, dear! I do! I'd never noticed that before you just pointed it out!" she laughed again, gently. "And I just walked by that way! I really am losing it. Old age, that's what it is." Annie smiled at in response before making her way back over to The Doctor.
"Okay, you're not crazy. Well, either that or that woman just really is," she muttered, but he wasn't listening. Instead he was running around the blue box, scanning it with the pen-shaped object he'd previously called his sonic screwdriver. Annie shook her head and looked at the time on her phone. 10:23. She'd barely been awake for an hour and already her day had been full of completely mental things - psychic paper, sonic screwdrivers, and now a big, blue, should-be-invisible box. "Maybe I'm the crazy one..."
"Nope, you're sane, don't worry," The Doctor said, popping his head around the side of the box. "Looks like she was just having a blip and let you in... Maybe because you're with me. I hope so anyway... Anyway," he said, walking back around. He placed a hand on the door of the Police box, stroking it slightly. Annie had to stop herself from laughing.
"You're stroking a box," she said. The Doctor stopped and turned to her.
"And what of it? I bet you stroke your cat."
"I don't have a cat."
"No, I didn't think you did. You don't come across as an animal person."
"No, I'm not."
"No, I noticed." They stood staring at each other for a while.
"So are you going to explain the box, then?" Annie asked, placing a hand on her hip.
"Ah, yes! Well, first thing's first," he turned around again and grabbed a handle. "It's not a box." Anne tilted her head.
"It's not a box. It's a ship." This time, Annie couldn't stop herself. She laughed out loud, causing The Doctor to frown. "Don't laugh at me, Annie Hunt. This is a ship. A real ship."
"Yes, right, mhmm, and how long have you been off your meds?" The Doctor exhaled and looked over his shoulder at her.
"Don't believe me?" he asked. Annie crinkled her nose and shook her head.
"I'll believe it when I see it," she replied, crossing her arms across her chest. He nodded understandingly and stood back, staring at the box with her. Suddenly, he clicked his fingers and the doors of the box swung open. Annie stepped back slightly and gasped before letting out a shaky giggle.
"Believe me now?"
"This... I..." Annie tried to form a sentence, but words completely failed her. She simply stared into this box of wonders that lay before her, wondering if this was how Alice felt before she fell through the looking glass or how Wendy felt when Peter taught her to fly. This feeling of sheer excitement and absolute terror mixed into one big incomprehensible amalgamation of emotion. She almost let out a small squeal, but decided to keep her dignity intact. The Doctor stood by her side, smiling. "Your box isn't a box..." she managed. The Doctor laughed and patted her on the back.
"I told you so," he replied, walking forward. "Care to join me?" he held out a hand to Annie without turning around. She laughed and took it.
"You... Are completely mental," she said, but followed him through the blue doors of the box all the same. And it was totally magnificent. Somehow, that tiny box that was sat on the edge of the street, held an entire room. An impossible room. Annie stared in wonder as The Doctor released her hand and ran excitedly over to the center of the room where a large column rose to the ceiling. That impossibly high ceiling. The walls seemed to be emitting a soft, orange light, and dark blue squares scattered the roof covered in constellations and circular patterns. It was as if someone had stolen the sky and broke it up before plastering it around this magnificent room. Annie turned around in disbelief to check that the real world was still there. "Doctor," she began. He looked up from the console at which he was currently tapping away at. "This... This is amazing. Your box... it's huge. It's impossible. It's -"
"Now, Annie, I should warn you now. If you call me mental one more time I honestly don't know what I'll do." She turned her head over her shoulder to look at him, a playful smile on her face.
"Your box is mental," she whispered before letting out a giggle. The Doctor stared at her, a pout on his face.
"There was a line, and you crossed it. That's it. Out of my ship," he said, completely serious. Annie frowned, causing The Doctor to laugh almost uncontrollably. Annie frowned further.
"That wasn't funny, Doctor!" she complained. He raised an eyebrow.
"Really? I thought it was hilarious. Maybe that's the type of person I am now. Hilarious," he smiled to himself. "Yeah, hilarious. I like that." She rolled her eyes.
"That's really not the word I'd use to describe you."
"No," he agreed. "Probably because they only adjectives you seem to know are all regarding my mental health." He smiled as she frowned once more and then continued typing away at the console. "So, living plastic. Living plastic under the instruction from the Nestene Consciousness. The Nestene Consciousness that, for some unknown reason, decided to target you."
"Why me?" she asked, taking a seat in one of the deck chairs that just happened to be dotted about one edge of the room. The Doctor shrugged.
"Dunno'. But we'll find out. I'm sure it's nothing to worry about," he told her.
"Why is it up to you to find out? And how do you know about all this stuff?" she asked. The Doctor inhaled deeply.
"You really want to know?" Annie nodded. "I'm an alien. I'm a Time Lord. I'm over 2000 years old. I have two hearts and a sonic screwdriver and I've traveled to places you've never heard of, seen things you'd never believe and done things I hope you'll never need to know. And now I'm going to find out exactly what the Nestene wants with you." She looked at him as she took in the information, not sure how to reply. She nodded to show she understood.
"Right. Alien. 2000 years. Two hearts. Okay. And now you're going to find out what this Consciousness wants with me... How exactly are you going to do that?" Annie watched him as he danced around the column in the center of the room, pressing various buttons and pulling various levers.
"How does anyone find out anything?" he hit one last button. "I'll ask." Annie nodded, and just as she was about to push the chair back into its reclining position, she was thrown off onto the floor as the room shook violently around her.
"Erm, Doctor?" she shouted above the roar. He laughed and looked over to her.
"Annie?" he yelled back.
"What they hell is happening?!" she was scared, but excited too. There was something oddly familiar about the rocking sensation of the room and the intrusively loud noise that should have been irritating felt rather calming to Annie, but she still wasn't sure what was going on.
"We're moving!" he replied, holding on tight to a metal bar that surrounded the console. "I used the plastic from your badge case to establish a link between where we are right now, and where the link that is sustaining the life in your badge ca-" the room stop shaking, causing The Doctor to stumble slightly and stop talking. Annie laughed and he shot her a glare. "Where the link that is sustaining the life in your badge case is coming from," he finished. "And that's where we are now. The Nestene Consciousness should be pretty much just outside those doors." Annie stood, straightened her jacket and tightened her pony tail.
"Great!" she smiled. "But next time give me a warning before you decide to tip me out of my chair with your moving box."
"Okay, I'm sorry about that. And will you please stop calling my spaceship a box? It's called the TARDIS. Well, she is."
"TARDIS?" Annie questioned.
"Yes. T.A.R.D.I.S. Time and Relative Dimensions in Space." He said each word slowly and clearly, with a proud smile on his face.
"Blimey. Well, I see the need for an acronym; that really is a mouthful." The Doctor looked at her, slightly hurt and disappointed that she hadn't been impressed. As he frowned, she walked over to the doors. "We leaving then?"
"In a second," he turned around and started pressing buttons again. Annie rolled her eyes.
"We're not moving again, are we?" she complained. The Doctor looked at her. That was new. Nobody had ever complained about the TARDIS before - they'd all been excited and raring to go. But not Annie. There was something different about her...
"No, I just need to get something," he said as a small vial of viscous blue liquid emerged from a gap in the console. He grabbed it and tucked it into the pocket of his jeans.
"And that is...?" Annie asked as he ran over to her. He grasped the handle and patted his pocket.
"Anti-plastic," and he pushed the doors open.
The Doctor walked out of the TARDIS, with Annie close behind. She gasped as she step foot outside onto different ground. They weren't on the street in Clapham anymore, Annie couldn't figure out where they were. It looked like a gym or a sports hall, completely abandoned and old, but the floor had been cut away in the center, and there was a large vat in the middle. A large vat containing a yellow-ish, apparently molten substance. A substance with a face. Annie grasped onto The Doctor's arm in fear.
"Ah, so we meet again," he yelled into the vat. It roared in return and shifted. Annie stepped back slightly, feeling uncomfortable. "Oh, don't give me that. I know you're just invading again. I'm surprised it took you this long to be honest." Another roar. "Not an invasion?! What do you call this, then? And why her? That's the main thing I want to know. Why an innocent library girl from Clapham?" He pushed Annie forward in an attempt to make the Nestene recognise her. It roared once more, angrier than before and she hastily stepped back again. "You're what? 'Following orders'? From who?! And since when does the Nestene take orders from anyone?!" There was one last roar, and The Doctor staggered back. Annie looked at him as he was about to shout something back, his face showing confusion. But as he opened his mouth to reply, everything went black.
The Doctor opened his eyes and closed them again instantly when the harsh light of the TARDIS flooded into sight. He sat up, squinting as he scanned the room. Definitely the TARDIS, he told himself as he stood. He blinked, his eyes quickly getting used to the light, and looked around for Annie. When he saw her, he smiled. She was lying in the same deck chair in which she'd been sat earlier, breathing lightly as she slept. He walked over to her, his mind unscrambling. He'd been talking to the Nestene, he remembered as he sat down. He accused it of invading - which it was doing - then listened to its excuses. Its excuses of... What had it said? Taking orders? Orders from who? He sighed and kicked his own chair into its reclining position and stared at the ceiling of the TARDIS. What had happened? How had he got from there, to being back in the TARDIS? He sighed again, causing Annie to stir. He sat up, still thinking about what had happened as he watched her wake up. She sat up slowly, pulling her hair out of its ponytail.
"Morning," she said, crossing her legs. Annie looked around, rubbing at an eye with a balled up fist. "What time is it?" The Doctor looked at his wrist, the place where a watch should be, before looking back up to her and shrugging.
"Don't know," he said, scratching his cheek. "Come to think of it, I don't even know where we are." Annie looked at him.
"What are you talking about? We haven't moved since we came in here," she told him. The Doctor lowered his eyebrows.
"We came in, you were tapping away at some rubbish on your console thing, and I sat down and had a sleep. You said it'd take a while to establish a link between the plastic and the Consciousness so I said I was going to have a nap," she explained. Annie looked at The Doctor who looked back, confused. "Why don't you remember this?" He stared at her and breathed in deeply. Something was wrong. Something - or someone - had not only managed to move both himself and Annie from that gym back to the TARDIS, but they'd also made her forget. He looked at her, at her equally confused face, and decided that he didn't want to worry her so he smiled.
"Ha, gotcha!" he lied, punching her playfully on the arm. She frowned.
"You have got to stop doing stuff like that," she told him. "I've only known you five minutes and I've already wanted to slap you twice." He smiled at her.
"I just have that kind of face," he joked, sticking his tongue out. She did the same as he stood and walked over to the console and picked up the badge case that was still wired into the ship.
"We leaving then?" she asked, excited. The Doctor tapped the case against his hand.
"'Fraid not," Anne's smile faded. "The link seems to have just... Died. The plastic is just plastic now. It's not living, not anything. Seems the Nestene just... Gave up. Sorry."
"It's okay," she replied. "I probably should get back to work anyway." She stood and walked over to the door, seemingly drained of her previous enthusiasm. The Doctor watched her go, intrigued at what had gone on. Why had her badge been made of psychic paper? Why had the Nestene focused on her? And what on Earth had happened back there - why couldn't Annie remember? She has just closed the door behind her when something occurred to him. He ran over to the doors and pulled them open.
"Annie!" he called after her down the street, causing a few people to stare. She turned on her heel.
"Doctor?" she yelled with a frown. He gestured for her to come back with a nod of his head and she rolled her eyes, walking over to him slowly. "What?" she asked, irritated. He smiled and reached one hand into his pocket whilst taking one of Annie's with his other. He turned her palm upwards and placed a small, metal object into her hand, closing her fingers around it. She looked at her hand confused. "What's this?" Annie uncurled her fingers to reveal a key. A TARDIS key. She smiled. "Is this what I think it is?" she squealed, examining it closely. The Doctor nodded as she hugged him. "So you want me to come?!" The Doctor shook his head.
"No," he told her bluntly with a straight face. Her smile faded and her eyebrows dropped. "I want you to stay." She smiled through her frown and hit him playfully on the chest.
"I thought I told you to stop doing that!" she exclaimed and The Doctor laughed.
"Come on, then," he said, stepping back into the TARDIS to allow her to follow. She ran in, all enthusiasm restored, and practically skipped around the console. The Doctor watched her from where he stood, smiling with her but knowing there was something wrong. Something not quite right with this girl. And that's why he'd asked her to stay. Not to show off, for once, no - he wasn't doing this for himself. Annie had to stay with him because he needed to protect her from - well, whatever was going on here. And whatever it was, it was definitely something to worry about.