One of the Little Doctor and Cece Ryder’s first adventures. A couple of things to note: the character David McDonald mentioned here is the same one referenced in The Doctor Slumber Party, which was originally published at a later time. This story is supposed to be David’s debut appearance in the Figgies in the TARDIS canon. (Forgive me, I’m posting these stories here out of order.) Also, it is unclear now whether the Skye character in this story is the same one as the major recurring character in other FITT stories.
Lastly, the Torchwood cast members, Gwen and Ianto, are present in this story, although technically, Ianto is probably dead at this point. Mind you, my only exposure to Torchwood was the episode of Doctor Who where the team joined up with the TARDIS crew to save Earth from the Daleks, so you’ll have to excuse my ignorance there.
But I digress. On with the story!
The Little Doctor Goes to School
(by Allison Rose)
1:The Truancy Officer
As always, our story began with a somebody ringing the doorbell. This time, however, the doorbell was actually on a house. Cece’s house.
The TARDIS had decided to have a power outage, which made living within its sprawling array of rooms nearly impossible. Too many dark spaces to get lost in, and too many unseen objects to stub toes on. Cece had found quite a few of these, and in the end offered to let the Doctor take up residence in her small flat until the TARDIS decided to behave itself again.
Cece hadn’t actually lived in her apartment for quite some time. Since becoming the Doctor’s companion — whereupon she saw how messy the TARDIS looked — she had moved in and cleaned the entire place up until it was sparkling both inside and out. This had to be done on a very frequent basis, so she had decided to stay.
Staying had involved quitting her overseas study program, about which nobody except for the Doctor, who now had a new companion, had been overly happy.
In her little London apartment, which had previously belonged to this lady and her daughter, Cece looked forward to some peace and quiet after a whole year of traveling through space and time with the Doctor. But she would be wrong.
“Alright, I’m coming!” she called as the doorbell rang impatiently for the third time. Diiiiiiiiing-dong!
“Who is it?” the Doctor asked from behind a large bowl of custard. Fish fingers and custard were all he ever ate, which made dinner plans extremely non-versatile. He hated apples, pears, and carrots too.
“I don’t know,” Cece replied, peering through the peephole. “It’s a dude in a suit. And he’s carrying a clipboard too.”
“Hm. Doesn’t sound dangerous to me.”
At that, Cece opened the door a crack. “May I help you?”
“Miss Ryder,” said the man, “my name is Joseph Windham, from the social services?” He said that last bit like it was a question. “I had a few questions about your … son.”
Cece raised an eyebrow, confused.
“Your son, John Smith.”
“My what?” Cece repeated, doing a double take. She didn’t have any kids — she wasn’t even married!
“Your son. You see, we know he’s here, and that you haven’t enrolled him in school.”
This probably had something to do with Mrs. Howard, this annoying old lady who lived in the apartment downstairs. They hadn’t hit it off well, because Mrs. Howard didn’t like hearing Beatles music blasting over her head while she was trying to watch the soaps. It wasn’t beneath her to make a bogus claim like that to the government.
“Well, um, er….” Cece stammered. She knew from personal experience that it was better to just play along. “I’ll get him enrolled as soon as–”
“–She checks with her husband,” an unnervingly familiar voice said from behind her.
Cece turned around slowly and blanched. “You’re not….” Her voice trailed off.
“Captain Jack … er, Smith,” the unwelcome guest said, extending a hand for Windham to shake. “I’m sorry for the confusion. The boy, you see, has been recovering from a dreadful case of … bursitis and we didn’t feel right enrolling him in school just yet.”
“But Captain,” Windham protested, “there are absolutely no records whatsoever of your son ever attending a school. He’s completely unknown.”
“Oh, well, we homeschooled him. Stealth homeschooling,” Jack added, winking conspiratorially. “And if you don’t mention that detail to your superiors, I’m sure I could put in a good word for you….”
Windham nodded eagerly. “Oh yes, sir! Just make sure your little boy’s enrolled in school and I won’t need to come back here anymore. Alright with you?”
Cece nodded silently. Captain Jack flashed a winning smile. “Of course, my good fellow. You have a nice day!” He shut the door quickly.
“Bursitis, my shoulder!” the Doctor grumbled, putting his empty custard bowl in the kitchen sink.
“Hey, I had to say something!” Jack pleaded. “You should be thanking me for getting that guy off your backs!”
That wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. “What the heck are you doing here?” Cece demanded.
“What am I doing…?” Jack repeated. “Well, I’m looking extremely handsome on this glorious day, and I’m also regretting scaling the wall of your apartment building because the two of you are being so horrendously ungrateful!”
“Handsome, my foot,” Cece snorted. “Why did you choose now to visit us?”
“I don’t know, I was bored.”
“Well, now that you’re here, you can make yourself useful and help me to enroll our little boy in a good school,” Cece retorted. “Unless, of course, you’d rather I push you out the window.”
“Hey, I’m not a little boy!” the Doctor piped up. “I’m nine hundred and–”
“Yeah, we know, Doctor!” Cece replied, rolling her eyes. “But you look only nine and that’s the problem.”
“I suppose you’re right,” the Doctor reasoned. “Well, just make sure I’m free to pack my own lunches, okay?”
“He knows nothing about school, does he?” Jack whispered to Cece.
“Don’t stand so close to me!” Cece screeched. “And yes,” she added in a lower voice. “He knows absolutely nothing.”
“Mr. and Mrs. Smith?” a middle-aged woman wearing a cardigan and granny glasses asked. “Headmaster Baker will see you now.”
“Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” also known as Captain Jack Harkness and Cece, sat in the waiting area of the school office. Cece had put on several layers of makeup in order to age herself ten years, and Jack had managed to find a suit and tie in the Doctor’s collection of old clothes. The suit didn’t quite fit him, but it beat wearing the Doctor’s old cricket uniform, vegetable included.
“Don’t make a fool of yourself,” Cece whispered threateningly to her “spouse.”
“I’ll do my best not to,” Captain Jack said with a smirk. He could practically see the gears in her head turning as she fantasized about how she’d throw him off a cliff someday of he pushed her enough.
The headmaster’s office was comfortably furnished, with upholstered chairs and tasteful Impressionist paintings like The Japanese Footbridge by Monet. A serene, framed picture of Her Majesty the Queen stared down at the “Smiths” from across the room.
Headmaster Baker sat behind a great desk in a leather chair. He was a portly, middle-aged man with graying hair and a bushy mustache. “Greetings, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and, on behalf of our entire faculty, welcome to Coal Hill School!”
“Thank you,” Cece stammered, taking a seat on the chair that Jack had pulled out for her on the other side of the desk. “And thank you for accepting John on such short notice.”
Baker nodded sympathetically. “Not to worry, it’s quite alright! It’s not every day that I accept students so late into the term, but I understand that things happen, and sometimes exceptions must be made.” He eyed them inquisitively. “May I ask what school he was attending until now?”
Cece and Jack exchanged nervous glances. “Uh, he was homeschooled,” Cece said nervously. “We didn’t make a big deal about it–”
“But we can assure you, sir,” Jack interrupted, “that John has received a very well-rounded education at home!”
Baker chuckled, almost like he didn’t believe them. “Well, I can determine that for myself when I see the results of his entrance exam.”
“Is that what he’s doing?” Jack asked. The Doctor had been escorted away by a pretty teacher when they first arrived.
“Yes, yes,” the headmaster replied quickly. “The test usually takes around forty-five minutes to complete.”
They looked up to see that the Doctor had burst into the office, a look of triumph on his face. It had been only ten minutes since they’d separated.
The teacher caught up to her young-looking charge, holding several sheets of paper. “The results are flawless, Mr. Baker,” she said breathlessly. “I think you should see for yourself!”
Baker took the sheets and scanned through them, muttering to himself. “By George, you are absolutely right! Mr. and Mrs Smith,” he continued, beaming at Jack and Cece, “It would be an honor to have your son in our school!”
Jack and Cece heaved massive sighs of relief. Under the table, they shook — not held — hands. Mission accomplished.
As soon as they were out of the earshot of the headmaster and his staff, the Doctor found himself in the hot seat.
“Doctor, I told you to act normal!” Cece exclaimed as they walked home. “Why did you take that test in five minutes?!”
The Doctor shrugged. “I couldn’t help it.”
Jack gave the Doctor a pat on the back. “It’s alright, son – I know you tried your best.”
“I didn’t just try,” the Doctor replied confidently, a slight skip in his step. “I succeeded. The questions were child’s play!”
“Of course,” retorted Cece, rolling her eyes. “The headmaster wants you to start as soon as possible. Your uniform is arriving tomorrow by post, and you’ll pick up your books when you get there.”
“Yeah, whatever,” the Doctor muttered. “Can I tell you someth–”
“Don’t ‘Yeah, whatever’ me, Doctor!” Cece interrupted sharply. “This is serious stuff, you know. If anything strange happens, the social services will come to bother me again, and I don’t want to have to deal with that anymore!”
“Hear me out,” Cece insisted. “We only have to put up with this until the TARDIS is fully powered, alright? Then you can go back to ‘homeschooling.’ Until then, I’m begging you, just try to act normal, okay?”
The Doctor nodded mutely.
“There’s no such thing as normal,” Jack countered. “I’m not normal.”
“Tell me something I don’t know, please,” snapped Cece impatiently.
“That families are supposed to be happy.” He put an arm around her shoulder and took the Doctor’s hand in his other one.
“Hiiiiii-yah!” Cece twisted Jack’s arm away and threw him clear over her shoulder, giving the Doctor just enough time to slip his own hand away. Other pedestrians on the sidewalk stared in shock.
Cece wiped imaginary off her hands as Jack stared up at her questioningly. “Don’t even think of it,” she hissed. She stomped away.
“Cece?” the Doctor called as he followed her.
“Don’t talk to me right now!” Cece shouted, her voice echoing off every hard surface and ringing back into Captain Jack’s ears.
“Fight with the missus?” a man selling newspapers asked.
“Uh, yeah,” Jack replied, standing up and flashing a smile. He considered introducing himself, but thought better of it.
“That man goes too far!” A carton of eggs hit the wall, sending pieces of eggshell and broken yolks flying everywhere.
“Cool it Cece,” the Doctor said in a placating voice. “He’s just like that, okay?”
“I can’t stand him,” Cece sobbed. She crouched on the kitchen floor in a puddle of broken eggs, crying her eyes out. “I absolutely can’t stand him.”
“Um, Cece,” the Doctor began awkwardly. “How should I put this? People who … well, like each other tend to act like they hate each other before they admit they really don’t hate each other but actually like each other. Is that how you feel?”
Cece’s swollen eyes widened in horror. (This was, in fact, a rather frightening sight.) “Are you insane?”
The Doctor shrugged. “I was just telling you what I’ve seen other people do, alright?”
“Well, I’m not like other people, John Smith,” Cece snapped, trying to get into a standing position but slipping in the egg goo. “And I most certainly detest Captain-Jack-Harkness-and-who-might-you-be, and I will never, ever change my mind. Got that?”
“Loud and clear, Cece,” he replied meekly. “Now, we can mop this up later, but right now, I think I should tell you something very, very important.”
“Oooh, I’ve got egg yolks on my skirt,” Cece groaned, sitting down heavily on a chair. “What is it?”
“It’s just that while I was taking the test, the teacher who supervised me had me wear this thing on my head. It looked kind of like a chameleon arch, although it didn’t do anything dangerous like wipe my mind or anything. I think it was reading my mind.”
Cece raised her eyebrows suspiciously. “Maybe it was just a lie detector so they’d know you weren’t cheating or something.”
“Maybe,” the Doctor said. “You could very well be right. I just wanted to let you that it seemed a bit strange. When Susan was in school, they never did anything like that that I’m aware of. But then again, I hardly ever set foot in her school….”
“Susan?” Cece repeated.
“My granddaughter,” the Doctor replied.
Cece facepalmed. “I always forget that you’re much older than you look. With every regeneration, it’s like you’re a whole new person. To think that you were once a grandfather….”
“He was a wha– WHOOAAAAHHH!!”
Cece and the Doctor looked up in time to see Captain Jack put one leg through the kitchen window, slip on the eggs, and fall back out the window. About five seconds later, they heard a sickening thud as his body hit the pavement.
“He’s going to be out of it for awhile,” the Doctor chuckled nervously.
“Good,” Cece muttered. “‘Cause he’s not invited to come in.” She inched around the slippery puddle to get to the broom closet. “I’m mopping this up before anyone mortal gets killed. Do you want an omelet or scrambled eggs?”
4:The First Day of School
The hallway was crowded with kids of all ages, shapes, and sizes. A teacher monitored the steady flow of students, making sure none of them hung around too long. Lateness was frowned upon; it was like a sin.
“Um, excuse me?” an American accented woman’s voice called from somewhere amid the sea of children.
“Yes?” the teacher looked up to see a petite, brown-haired woman in casual clothes approaching her. She was accompanied by a sweet little redheaded boy in a freshly laundered uniform. She was obviously his mother, although she looked a bit … young. “May I help you?”
“Yeah, can you tell me where the third grade classroom is?”
“Oh, you mean the Year Five students?”
“I guess,” the woman replied. “I honestly don’t know — I went to school in the States.”
“I’ll show you the way then. Come along.”
“Thanks so much,” Cece called after the hall monitor as she returned to her post.
“Can you let go of my hand now?” the Doctor pleaded. “Your palm is incredibly sweaty and you need to trim your nails!”
Indignantly, Cece let him go before she opened the classroom door. “Remember what I told you yesterday, John Smith. Please try to act normal!”
“I’ll do my best,” the Doctor replied. “Goodbye, Mum.” He swung his schoolbag dutifully over one shoulder, being careful not to jostle his packed lunch of (you guessed it!) fish fingers and custard.
Cece retraced her steps back to the now empty hallway and exited the school building. She tried to shrug off an uncanny feeling that she was being watched.
“It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?”
Cece practically jumped out of her skin. “Don’t sneak up on me like that!” she shouted at Captain Jack, who was leaning against a lamp post, trying to look nonchalant. He still wore the same clothes he’d had on when he’d fallen out her window.
As usual, he smirked. “Nice way to talk to someone who just spent the last eight hours in a morgue.”
“Oh, shut up! You brought it upon yourself! Ever hear of coming through the door?”
“Your neighbor, Mrs. Howard, was outside the building, having a smoke. I thought it safer to climb in through the window.”
“Class, we will be having a group discussion today about the first three chapters in your junior novelizations Moby Dick and whether or not it is morally and ethically proper to hunt whales, so take out your books and we’ll–” the teacher, a stiff-looking woman with thin gray hair piled atop her head in a tight bun, looked up from her notes to see a little redheaded boy standing in the doorway to her classroom. “Who’re you?”
“Uh, John Smith, ma’am,” replied the Doctor. He added simply, “I’m new.”
“Well, hurry up and sit down then, Master Smith! You can sit next to Master Thatch over there.”
In the back-most row, there were two lone desks. One of them was occupied by a lanky boy with messy black hair and a blank facial expression.
The Doctor, not wanting to be booted out of class on his first day, accepted a copy of Moby Dick and began to read. This edition, as noted, was abridged; the language was oversimplified and the story went by way too quickly. Within half a minute, he’d gone from cover to cover and shut the book.
“Master Smith,” Ms. Wormwood said, “why aren’t you reading?”
“I finished it,” he replied.
“All three chapters?” Wormwood asked in amused disbelief.
“The whole book, ma’am.”
Now the woman stood up and, planting her bony hands on her hips, marched over to that desk in the very back row. “John Smith,” she said sternly, “are you trying to tell me that you just finished this entire book?”
The Doctor nodded.
“Ah, so you’re one of those people, aren’t you?” Ms. Wormwood pursed her lips. “John Smith, you’d better come with me.”
The Doctor allowed himself to be escorted out of the classroom, all eyes on him. Who knew where he would find himself next?
5:David, Renee, and Skye
Ms. Wormwood led the Doctor down a dark, empty corridor that was lined with rusty, dusty lockers. Everything seemed to give off an aura of spookiness, although the Doctor figured that it was only his imagination. Being a child in the physical sense often had that effect on him.
At the very end of the hallway was a door. Ms. Wormwood opened it, and called, “Hodgson! I’ve got another brainy kid for you!”
“Come in, come in!” a man’s voice announced jovially from beyond the Doctor’s line of sight. “The more the merrier!”
Ms. Wormwood nudged the Doctor — perhaps a little forcefully — into the room. The man who had spoken sat behind the teacher’s desk. He was tall and skinny, had long, curly hair, and wore the most unusual-looking rainbow-striped tie. His class was just as motley as his style of dress too, consisting of students of varying ages.
“This is John Smith. Now that he’s in your charge, I’ll now take my leave,” Wormwood muttered before hurrying away very quickly, as though she was afraid of being in this room. That on its own made the Doctor feel pretty weird.
“Well hello there John,” Mr. Hodgson greeted him, smiling from behind a large pair of 1980s-style glasses. “It looks like you’ll be joining my class from now on. We’ve got a free space in between David and Renee for you to occupy as you please.”
The Doctor obediently took the seat.
“Hey there,” said the girl to his right with a friendly smile. “I’m Renee Hannaford.” She had blond hair held back neatly with a barrette.
“And I’m David, David McDonald,” said the boy to his left, who spoke with a distinctive Scottish brogue. He had extremely messy brown hair that stuck out in clumps and cowlicks every which way, and perhaps the bushiest eyebrows the Doctor had ever seen on another person (aside from Cece, who was extremely self-conscious about hers). “What’re you in here for?”
Before the Doctor could come up with an answer, someone behind him tapped his shoulder.
“Skye Falcone,” said a girl with a loosely tied ponytail. “What’s that in your pocket?”
The Doctor looked down at his shirt pocket, where he realized he still had his sonic screwdriver. “Oh, that? It’s just a … pen,” he lied.
“Wow, where did you get it?”
“Um…. I made it?”
“I’m going to make one too!” Skye whispered back excitedly.
The Doctor attempted what he hoped was a friendly smile in return. They seemed like such nice people, but he would never be able to tell them the truth about himself.
Cece came home from her afternoon grocery shopping to find her kitchen completely scorched. And that Captain Jack and Mrs. Howard were yelling at each other right in the center of it.
“What on earth are you two doing in here?!” she demanded.
“I was hungry,” Jack said in a whiny voice.
“And I wanted to know why a strange man was climbing into your house using a grappling hook!” Mrs. Howard exclaimed. “So I knocked on the door to notify you, only to be let in by the very same man, who subsequently set your kitchen on fire!”
“I didn’t set it on fire! I was trying to cook! Your stove is just … different than what I’m used to!”
“Different?!” Mrs. Howard screeched. “He nearly burnt down the whole building with his shenanigans!”
“Mrs. Howard,” Cece stammered nervously, “why don’t we all sit down and straighten this out over a nice cup of tea.”
“Make it hazelnut tea,” Jack quipped, getting an angry glare from Cece.
“Tea?! Tea?!” Mrs. Howard shrieked indignantly. “I will not drink tea with a strange man and a most unpleasant neighbor! You’ve just destroyed your house, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the landlord will kick you out when I tell him the news!”
Cece paled. “You wouldn’t!”
“Oh yes I would!” With surprising agility, Cece’s elderly downstairs neighbor stormed out of the apartment.
“Silly old lady,” Jack muttered when she was gone.
“Captain Jack Harkness,” Cece began threateningly, “this is all your fault!” She clobbered him over the head with a frying pan, knocking him out cold.
In the cafeteria, the Doctor found himself gravitating away from the hot, prepared food. He’d packed his own dinner (or lunch, as Cece insisted on calling it,) and he had every intention of enjoying it in peace.
“What’s that?” an accented voice asked. The Doctor looked up to see David McDonald, the boy he’d met earlier in the day.
“Fish fingers and custard,” he replied. “But wait, there’s something more….” The Doctor reached into the bottom of his bag to pull out an apple. “AN APPLE?!?!”
A little Post-It note was attached to the shiny peel: You need some nutrition in your diet. Love, “Dad.”
The Doctor facepalmed.
“Hey, at least he didn’t give you a pear,” David said, holding up the green, teardrop-shaped fruit between two fingers as though he were holding a dead rat. “I hate pears.”
“I love ’em. Are you open to swapping?”
“David,” the Doctor began, “you asked me this morning what I was ‘in here for.’ What did you mean by that?”
“Well….” David replied, pursing his lips thoughtfully, “you see, we’re the oddball class, the clever ones. Take me for example — I was at the top of my class and dead bored. But this year, that all changed. We got a new headmaster and a bunch of new teachers, and they voted to make a special class for the geniuses from all the different years. What I wanted to know was, what did you do to come into their radar?”
“Long story,” the Doctor said. “I finished Moby Dick in under a minute.”
“Wow,” David breathed. “I only know one bloke who can speed-read, and not even he can read that fast!”
“It was only the abridged version,” the Doctor said, blushing humbly. “Who is this … er, bloke, though?”
“Davie Peterson.” David’s face grew serious. “He was one of us.”
“‘Was?'” the Doctor repeated, confused.
“Yes,” David replied. “He disappeared without a trace last month.”
Sure enough, that evening, the landlord announced that he was evicting Cece from her apartment as of next week for irresponsible wear, tear, and explosion of appliances. And he absolutely refused to reconsider too, even when Captain Jack, who had come to with a large bump on his head, offered to take complete responsibility for what had happened.
And so, when the Doctor came home to a wrecked apartment, Cece set him to packing up his meager belongings while she and Jack fought over how to properly pack up her good china.
“Where are you going to go after this?” Jack asked, fumbling with a beautiful porcelain plate as he attempted to wrap it in newspaper.
“Who knows?” Cece muttered, not entirely sure why she bothered talking back to him. Perhaps it was out of care for her plates that she was trying to hard to keep her cool. “Maybe I’ll move out to the country.”
“They talk funny there,” Jack chuckled.
“You’re to talk! Everyone talks funny here,” Cece snorted.
“Cece?” the Doctor asked, unpacking his school books. “If we move, will I have to go to school anymore?”
“There’d be no point there in going if we lived out of the away,” Cece reasoned. “I’m looking forward to that aspect, I think. How about you?”
“Well….” the Doctor began uncertainly. “Something strange has come up. I’d like to check it out just in case.”
“Trouble follows you wherever you go!” Cece rolled her eyes.
“And it follows you too, otherwise I wouldn’t be here,” Captain Jack smirked.
That did it. Cece cracked a plate over his head.
“Say,” the Doctor said, eager to avoid another unpleasant situation. “Could we check on the TARDIS and see if it’s charged up yet?”
“Good idea,” replied Cece. “We could always move back in there, without him.” She gave Jack a dirty look.
The TARDIS occupied a small corner of the roof of the apartment building, hidden by a perception filter. Sunbathers never seemed to notice the tall shadow that was preventing them from getting the tan they were looking for.
“Don’t try anything funny,” Cece hissed threateningly as Captain Jack and the Doctor followed her up the seemingly infinite flights of stairs leading to the roof. She inwardly hoped no one would be up there, otherwise Captain Jack would probably spend another night in the Scotland Yard morgue after a terrible fall from somebody’s roof.
Much to Cece’s relief, no one else was there. That way, no one would ask them any questions, and Captain Jack wouldn’t slow them down quite as much.
“Hello old girl,” the Doctor whispered, placing a hand on the door. “How are you feeling?”
Jack and Cece exchanged amused looks. The Doctor’s relationship with his blue box could get rather mad sometimes.
“If you’re finished catching up, may we go inside?” Cece asked.
The Doctor just glared at them and led the way in.
The interior of the TARDIS was dark and gloomy. The sunlight that wafted in through the open door provided minimal light for them to see.
“What on earth happened to this place?” Jack asked, looking about in wonder.
“Long story,” the Doctor muttered, speaking wisdom beyond his seemingly young appearance. “Eventually, she does need a recharge. Nothing too serious this time. Nothing a short break can’t fix.” He flipped a few switches and pushed some buttons, and the TARDIS came whirring back to life, bursting with renewed energy. The power was back!
Cece clapped. “Good girl, TARDIS!” For once, she wasn’t even bothered that she was talking to a machine.
“Get your china plates, Cece!” the Doctor exclaimed. “We’re moving back in!”
“So, should I un-enroll you from school, or should we just go back in time and pretend it never even happened?”
“Neither,” replied the Doctor. “There’s a missing boy who used to be in my class, and from what I understand, that isn’t the only strange thing that’s going on. I tried to tell you before, but then Jack had to say something stupid–” Jack crossed his arms indignantly “–and then Cece cracked a plate over his head, so I never got the chance.”
“So fill me in now,” Cece said. “We can duct-tape Jack’s mouth shut in the meantime.”
Much to Jack’s relief, the Doctor declined the suggestion, and told them both what he had learned.
7:Ianto, Gwen and the Lisonlans
In the first class of the day, the Doctor found himself daydreaming of fish fingers and custard while Skye, that girl in front of him, put together a “sonic pen” made of marble sand tin foil, David McDonald drew caricatures of these funny old guys from this daft show called Doctor Who, and Renee read books behind her desk.
In the second class, the Doctor showed off his very advanced mathematical skills so that even Mr. Hodgson stared open-mouthed in amazement at him. He had jotted down his notes with Skye’s pen. David had fallen asleep at this point, snoring loudly with his tousled head resting on his open maths book. Renee asked him very engaging questions about the topic at hand.
When he returned from recess, the Doctor noticed that something seemed very wrong. Everyone was present except for Renee.
“Where’s Renee?” he asked Mr. Hodgson, who had chosen that moment to busy himself with a surprisingly good paper on cell theory by David McDonald.
“Renee?” Mr. Hodgson repeated incredulously. “Who’s that?”
“Renee!” the Doctor exclaimed. “Renee Hannaford! You know who that is, don’t you?!”
“Do not take that tone with me, young man,” Hodgson replied stiffly. “I’ll have you know that my class records show no mention of a Renee Hanna-whatever-you-said-it-was anywhere.”
David sidled up to them. “It was the same way with Peterson,” he whispered ominously.
The Doctor shivered. When he turned around, he saw that a portly boy with a tough-looking facial expression had taken a seat at Renee’s place. Everything about him said Don’t mess with me or you’ll regret it.
“David! David!” the Doctor called after his classmate during dinner. He caught up to him in the lunch line and found himself holding a tray with some very greasy-looking fish and chips on it. Well, at least it was only fish.
“John,” David said nervously, keeping his eyes low. “What is it?”
“I need to talk to you. It’s about Renee and Davie.”
The two boys found a quiet table by the window. Outside, some handymen were doing some minor repair work where a rowdy boy had nearly destroyed part of the brick facade.
“I’m so scared that if I say too much, they’ll get me too!” David whispered earnestly.
“Who are they?”
“I don’t know.”
“Did Davie Petersen just … disappear like Renee just did?” the Doctor asked.
“Uh-huh. There was no warning or anything. I mean, when you think about it,” David continued, “it’s pretty weird that all of us smart kids got put in a group of our own. I’m not particularly brainy or anything, but when Mrs. Wormwood found out back in October that I had developed, tested, and proven this whole crazy theory about the Big Bang, I was immediately swept away to Hodgson’s class, where it turned out, there were already other kids like me. Skye was already there, and … Renee showed up from Year Six not long after.”
“That’s … very strange,” the Doctor mused.
“That’s all you have to say?!” David exclaimed. “My best friend is missing and you say that’s very strange?!”
“It is,” the Doctor replied defensively. “And if I can find her, I will. You’ve got my promise. I’m going to investigate this.”
“Actually,” said a distinctly Welsh-accented voice from above their heads, “we’re already doing that.”
The Doctor looked up to see two somewhat familiar faces. “Um…. Ianto and Gwen?”
“Shhhh! Doctor! Don’t give us away!” That came from Ianto, who stood precariously on a metal ladder, quivering nervously. Gwen, his associate, had climbed up after him, giving no regard to the fact that now, no one was holding their ladder steady. They both had messy streaks of white plaster on their faces, hair, and coveralls.
“Why are you here?” the Doctor asked, confused.
“Hey, John, who are they, and why did that funny-looking man just call you ‘Doctor?'” That came from David, who was eyeing the two “handymen” curiously.
“Long story,” the Doctor muttered.
“No wonder they thought you were a brainy kid!”
“Where’s Jack?” Gwen asked.
The Doctor shrugged. “I have no idea. Probably back at the TARDIS, driving Cece crazy.”
“Retarded isn’t a nice word,” David said defensively.
“That wasn’t what I said,” the Doctor retorted.
“So what did you say?”
“TARDIS. Time and Relative Dimension in Space.”
“And what does that have to do with anything?” David countered.
“Listen, David,” the Doctor said in a whisper. “I need you to promise me that you’ll keep all of this a secret. Okay?”
“Sure,” David replied eagerly. “I’m all ears!”
Gwen tapped on the windowpane. “Actually, before you do, there’s something we need to tell the Doctor — er, John Smith.”
David sighed reluctantly. “Okay.”
Gwen smiled sweetly at him before looking very serious. “We came here ourselves to investigate the mysterious disappearances of the school children, and we’ve found out who’s responsible.”
“Who?” the Doctor asked.
“It’s the Lislonians,” Ianto said earnestly. “They’ve come to–”
His speech was cut off abruptly as two clawed hands wrapped around each Torchwood agent’s necks and yanked them away, muffling their screams.
“NO!” the Doctor cried, attracting stares from the other dining students.
“What was that thing?!” David demanded.
“I think that was a Lislonian,” the Doctor replied. “You’ve got to come with me, David. Now that they’ve seen us all together, they know that you know.”
8:Evil Plans and Good Plans to Combat Them
The Doctor and David McDonald tore through the deserted corridors as quickly as their legs would carry them.
“Where are we going?” David asked breathlessly.
“The TARDIS! We need to get Captain Jack!”
“Who is that? And didn’t I tell you? Stop calling me retarded!”
The boys ran until they got to the gate, which, naturally, was locked. The security guard was away from his post, making a routine check of the grounds.
“We’ll have to climb the fence, I’m afraid,” the Doctor muttered. “Can you give me a boost?”
David reluctantly allowed the Doctor to climb upon his shoulders.
“Wait! Wait for me!” somebody called. David turned around, leaving the Doctor to hang helplessly over a patch of scratchy-looking bushes. It was Skye, the girl from their class.
“You’ve gotta help me!” she exclaimed when she caught up to them. “They just tried to take me away!”
“Who just tried to take you away?” David demanded.
In any other situation, David McDonald would have said, “You’re barmy,” but what with all that he’d just seen, he believed her.
“They’ll have figured out where I am by now,” Skye said earnestly.
“David…?” the Doctor called from his precarious position.
Suddenly, they heard a roar from behind them as five huge, furry creatures with five pairs of eyes and super-sharp claws barreled towards them, growling menacingly.
The necessary adrenaline finally kicked in as David shoved the Doctor over to the other side of the fence, boosted Skye, and then scrambled up and over himself.
“Run!” the Doctor shouted, and the three “brainy kids,” as David called them, hurried down the street towards Cece’s apartment building.
The trio took a roundabout way home, just in case those creatures — evidently the Lisonlans — were following them.
“You live in a normal place?” David asked incredulously, scratching his head as he stared up at the apartment building.
“Of course he does, stupid!” Skye chided, elbowing him. “Why wouldn’t he?”
“Long story,” the Doctor replied.
“You’ve said that, like, three times already!” David muttered exasperatedly as he followed the Doctor into the building.
They took an elevator to the roof, whereupon Skye realized that, indeed, the Doctor didn’t live in a “normal place.”
“Why is there a police box on the roof?” asked Skye.
“This,” said the Doctor, waving his hand in its general direction, “is the TARDIS!” He opened the doors and ushered them inside.
Naturally, the two schoolchildren had never seen something quite as spectacular (well, except for Pirates of the Caribbean) in their whole lives, so they stood open-mouthed in the control room, staring in wonder.
Captain Jack emerged from one of the TARDIS’ many wings, shards of plaster sprinkled in his dark hair like dandruff. He looked extremely worn out, but he brightened when he saw the Doctor and company.
“Oh hi, son!” he said, smiling weakly. “Who’re your friends?”
“No need, Jack,” the Doctor replied. “They know already. And maybe you know more than you’ve been telling us too. Ianto and Gwen have been kidnapped by the Lisonlans.”
Jack paled momentarily. “How did you know they were there?”
“They were disguised as handymen. Did you come here with them, with the intent of enrolling me there so I could find out about the aliens for myself?”
“HE DID WHAT?!?!” Cece shouted from the kitchen. “He put you in danger?!?!”
“I’m sorry,” Jack stammered defensively. “It was the only way. I thought that if I ticked off the authorities and suggested which school you’d go to, you’d–”
“I could’ve gone to prison! And what’s worse, he could’ve been hurt!” Cece roared, storming into the control room armed with one of those environmentally friendly ceramic-coated frying pans. “This will teach you to never meddle in our lives AGAIN! And when I find the rest of your stupid organization, I will personally hit them over their heads too!”
“No! Don’t!” Jack begged fearfully. Those green frying pans, from what he’d heard, hurt tons more than the regular kind.
Cece crossed her arms defiantly, but she didn’t swing the pan. Yet.
“I’m having an information overload,” Skye said, causing enough of a distraction that Jack could breathe easily again. “What is up with all this?”
The Doctor proceeded to explain the purpose of the TARDIS, how it’s bigger on the inside than outside, who he was, and why they were here.
“But who are the Lisonlans, and what do they want with us?” Skye prodded.
“That’s what I’m trying to find out,” the Doctor replied solemnly.
“And that’s what you were using him to find out!” Cece growled, brandishing her frying pan in front of a quavering Captain Jack.
“I told you I was sorry!”
“Well, I don’t forgive you,” Cece retorted.
“You two don’t get along very well, do you?” David asked quizzically. He turned to Jack. “What did you do? Buy her a bouquet of thistles?”
“We were never like that,” said Cece tersely. “But,” she added with a smirk, “thanks to you, I think I know what to give him for his birthday….”
“You don’t know when my birthday is,” Jack said, putting his hands on his hips.
“I’ll find out,” Cece threatened.
“EVERYONE!” the Doctor shouted, his voice going all high and squeaky. “Fingers on lips!!!”
Obediently, everybody did so.
“That’s better,” Skye muttered, only to be shushed again.
“Thank you, that’s better,” the Doctor said, shushing Skye again before she could protest. “In my humble opinion, Captain Jack was definitely wrong to have put me in danger so he could sniff out what’s going on at our school, but he had good intentions all the same, those being to keep the world a safe place. Now, we’re all in the same boat.”
“Then we should either sink it or throw him overboard,” Cece muttered, only to be shushed by the Doctor.
“As I was saying,” the Doctor continued irritably, “Ianto Jones and Gwen Cooper, Jack’s fellow agents at this organization called Torchwood, have been taken away by those aliens, the Lisonlans, just like our classmates. Gwen and Ianto were trying to tell me something before they got taken away. I have reason to believe that they’d found a lead, something that could help us figure out why the Lisonlans are taking kids away. Now that I’ve said my piece, you are permitted to ask questions.”
“Um, John, if I can still call you that,” David began uncertainly, “how did these alien things get in anyhow? I mean, wouldn’t somebody notice if a giant, snarling monster showed up at school and snatched some random kid?”
“They must be in disguise,” the Doctor mused thoughtfully. “You mentioned that– Uh oh.” His eyes lit up in realization. “It’s the teachers.”
“The teachers?” David repeated. “I mean, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ms. Wormwood was one of them, but Mr. Hodgson? No way!”
“It may not be all of them, then. You said that a bunch of people were replaced this year, right?”
“Yup,” David nodded. “Even the headmaster.”
“He’s one of them too, then, isn’t he?” Jack asked, cautiously eyeing Cece’s frying pan, which had been carefully placed on the control board, out of her arm’s reach.
“So, how do we get back there to investigate more?” Cece asked. “The aliens have seen all three of you, and they’ve seen Jack and me as well.”
“We’ll have to think of something,” the Doctor muttered.
“I have an idea!” David exclaimed. “Why don’t we give those Lisonlan blokes a taste of their own medicine and use disguises as well!”
Skye did a double take. “David, you don’t mean we should dress up as aliens, do you?”
David shook his head vehemently.
“I think you’ve got a good idea,” said the Doctor, offering David an awkward high-five.
“I’m game,” Jack said.
“I don’t usually agree with you, but count me in too,” said Cece.
Skye jumped up and down excitedly. She seemed to have recovered from the shock of being nearly kidnapped by aliens. “Let’s do this thing!”
“You’re driving on the wrong side of the road!” Jack exclaimed in uncharacteristic horror. That was mostly because they were seconds away from crashing head-on with a lorry.
“I’m driving on the right side of the road, you idiot!” Cece retorted, aggressively maneuvering back onto the “correct” side.
“Please, Cece,” the Doctor begged from the back seat, where he sat crammed between David and Skye. “Bessie’s tires are really old, and I paid a lot for them.”
Over his head, his classmates exchanged befuddled glances. Naturally, they had no idea whatsoever of the Doctor’s actual age.
“Remind me again why we’re using your old car from the 1970s?” Jack moaned as Cece took them around a street corner at a probably illegal speed, throwing them all to one side of the car.
“Because old men who work as custodians don’t drive fancy cars,” Cece replied, screeching to a stop outside the Coal Hill school, causing Jack’s white wig to fly clean off and into David’s face.
“Hey!!” David exclaimed, his voice muffled by the artificial hair.
“They don’t drive recklessly either,” Jack retorted weakly, the wind having been knocked out of him from Cece’s wild ride. He took his wig back from David and put it on over his hair. Then, he got out of the car, dressed in raggedy blue coveralls and an old pair of black trainers.
“If he dares to introduce himself to any of the staff, I’m going to hit him over the head with a… a….” She searched the front seat for something with which she could hit the pesky Torchwood agent, but she had no such luck.
Jack stood in the empty hallway, taking in his surroundings. A large aquarium with a couple of goldfish stood in one corner. He approached it.
“Hey there,” he said quietly, tapping on the glass and smirking. “I’m Captain Jack Harkness. Who might you be?”
“May I help you, sir?” a voice behind him asked.
Jack turned around to see the headmaster, whose name he recalled was Baker, eyeing him suspiciously.
“Oh, yes, sir,” Jack stuttered in a raspy old Scotsman’s voice. “I was … er, looking for the headmaster. Could you find him?”
Headmaster Baker was visibly annoyed. “I am he. What do you want?”
“I was wondering if you were hiring custodians, because I’m, well, a custodian. I’ve been working at this since … oh, 1963. Those were the good old days, laddie!” Jack smiled sweetly from behind prosthetic wrinkly skin.
The aforementioned “laddie” stiffened. “Come to my office and we’ll work something out. And I hope you’ve brought your resume as well….”
One glance at a borrowed piece of psychic paper and Jack had secured the job.
10:Locked in a Broom Closet
The next day, David and Skye feigned colds and didn’t go to school. The Doctor also stayed back in the TARDIS, but he kept tabs on his friends periodically using an online video conference room. He didn’t want anything to happen to them while they were under his watch.
“French toast?” Cece slid a plate of piping-hot breakfast onto the kitchen table in front of him.
“Got any custard?” the Doctor muttered absently. He was incredibly lost in thought.
“Yes, we’ve got plenty,” Cece replied, pulling a container of it out of the refrigerator door. “Whatever happened to using maple syrup?”
Before the Doctor could come up with a good answer, Cece’s cellphone rang, playing a catchy ringtone that the Doctor claimed was a piece called “Music of the Spheres.”
“Hello?” Cece answered.
“Cece? It’s Jack.”
“How the heck did you get my number?!” she demanded.
“Hey, chill out! The Doctor gave it to me way back when as an emergency number in case I couldn’t reach him.”
Cece took a deep breath. “Alright, why are you calling?”
“Because I locked myself into the broom closet by accident.”
Cece burst into laughter. “So you want me to drive over there and rescue you?!” she hooted.
“No,” Jack retorted. “I think I can pick the lock. I just wanted to tell you what I found in this broom closet.”
“Brooms?” Cece guessed.
“That, plus a secret entrance. A secret, locked entrance, whose lock I picked first.”
“What’s in there?” Cece prodded, the suspense admittedly making her excited.
“The Lisonlans’ secret headquarters. It’s subterranean, and I can hear peoples’ voices down there — children’s voices.”
The Doctor, who had very good hearing, grabbed the phone out of Cece’s hand and put it on speaker. “They’re still alive!” he exclaimed. “Jack, you’re the best!”
“Slow down, sonny boy. I know I’m the best, but all I did was lock myself in the closet.”
“Try to stay low as long as you can,” the Doctor urged. “We’ll come for you as soon as we can!”
Cece crossed her arms defiantly. “What do you mean by ‘we?’”
“I heard that,” Jack muttered. “I know you can’t resist me.”
Cece just rolled her eyes. He was so, so wrong.
Suddenly, there was a burst of static and a loud, animal growl. “You’re coming with us,” an inhuman voice said haltingly.
The last thing they heard before the line cut out was Captain Jack’s terrified scream.
11:The Rescue: Attempt #1
“We’ll have to go back,” the Doctor said determinedly.
“What? Why?” Cece wailed.
“You heard what happened to him,” the Doctor retorted. “They might kill him.”
“That might not be too bad,” Cece quipped, smirking a smirk that would put even Jack’s smirkiness to shame.
The Doctor just ignored her. “If you want to stay here, I’m not stopping you, but I’m going back to school and that’s that.” With that, he strode out of the TARDIS. Naturally, Cece was in tow.
“I’ll start up Bessie,” Cece said, fishing through her pockets for her keys.
“No, wait!” the Doctor exclaimed. “Why don’t we just go there in the TARDIS? She can travel again, I’m sure.”
And that was how the Doctor managed to evade another bone-crushing, neck-throttling, and otherwise immensely unpleasant ride in Bessie.
* * * *
“I knew something was up when I hired you,” a dark, shaggy-haired beast with a gaping maw full of teeth growled malevolently as it paced the unfinished concrete floor in front of its captives. Those captives were, namely, Captain Jack Harkness, Renee Hannaford, Davie Peterson, Gwen Cooper, and Ianto Jones, the latter of whom was whimpering like a child while the actual children present gave him funny looks.
“Yeah, ‘Headmaster Baker,'” Jack retorted. “Gray hair never suited me.”
“What are they going to do to us?” Gwen whispered nervously.
“Do tests on you, I suppose,” Davie replied in an undertone. “They’ve had us hooked up to all sorts of dreadful machines that are supposed to tell them stuff about the way our heads work.”
“I hate it down here,” Renee moaned.
“Quit your complaining!” another creature replied from behind an alien technology console. Several of these had been arranged throughout the room, their screens casting off a reddish light. “Or we’ll feed on you next!”
“‘Next?'” Renee repeated in horror. “You mean, there were others before us?”
Davie shook his head sadly. “If there had been, it was before they got me.”
Everyone lapsed into an awkward silence as they contemplated the unfortunate fates of any previous captives.
Their thoughts were suddenly interrupted, however, by a whoop-whoop-whoop-ing sound. The TARDIS materialized at the bottom of the basement stairs, a blue beacon amidst the red lighting.
“Doctor!” Jack exclaimed as both his hero and nemesis burst out of the blue wooden doors. He hoped that the frying pan Cece held tightly with both hands was not intended for him.
“The Doctor,” Headmaster Baker, still in full Lisonlan form, growled menacingly. “Of all the more convenient — for us, that is — moments for you to arrive.”
“I’m here for my friends,” the Doctor said, looking the beast straight in the eye. “What have you done to them?”
“We’re right here,” Jack announced dryly.
David McDonald and Skye were about to run to their aid when another monster stepped in front of them. “McDonald the troublemaker,” it rumbled in an authoritative voice. “Always the troublemaker.”
“M-M-Mr. Hodgson?” David stammered.
“You know me as Ms. Wormwood.”
“Oh gosh!” Skye exclaimed. “I thought I’d never have to see you again!”
The beast let out a throaty noise that must have been a chuckle. “I haven’t got a yardstick this time,” she hissed menacingly, “but I’ve got claws!”
“Stay back,” the Doctor warned. “I don’t want anybody hurt.”
“Very well,” Wormwood hissed, drawing back her lips to reveal long, sharp teeth.
“That’s better,” said the Doctor. “Now we may begin negotiations.” When he was sure he’d piqued their attentions, he continued, “What do you want from us? More importantly, what do I have to offer in exchange for the others?”
“Your mind,” Baker hissed. “You are more than just a nine year old boy. More precious than the rest of these children and these three futuristic imbeciles.” He jabbed a claw at the Cardiff team members, who huffed indignantly. “We want to test you, Time Lord. When we have sufficiently exhausted your mental and cognitive resources, we will let your friends go.”
“‘Exhausted your … resources?'” Cece repeated nervously in an undertone. “What do they mean by that?”
“Don’t ask, Cece,” the Doctor replied. “Just get the others back to the TARDIS and get out of here.”
“No,” Cece replied, her voice shaking. “I can’t let you do this.”
“Yes you can,” the Doctor replied. “You’ve got to. Jack will take care of the TARDIS and he can buy you a nice house out in the country like you always wanted. Don’t worry about me.”
At this, Cece paled slightly. “I don’t want him to buy me a house! I want everything to be … as it always has been.”
“Cece,” the Doctor said forcefully. “It can’t. Just untie the others and get them out of here.”
With tears rolling down her cheeks, Cece hurried over to the others, and with David and Skye’s help, she untied them. Naturally, she untied Jack last.
Everyone hurried into the TARDIS, except for Cece.
“Goodbye, Doctor,” Cece whispered, taking one last look at her dear friend before she followed and closed the TARDIS door.
The Doctor nodded resolutely. If this was their goodbye, he wasn’t going to go down without trying.
“And now, Doctor,” Baker snarled, “we shall begin our tests.”
When Ms. Wormwood placed a clawed hand on his shoulder, the Doctor complied.
The TARDIS rematerialized in the school yard behind some thick bushes. Until a Lisonlan patrolled the grounds, its passengers were relatively safe.
Cece had been inconsolable. She’d barricaded herself up in the kitchen with her Beatles records (they had been fresh off a factory conveyor belt from the 1960s — a birthday present from the Doctor), a big bowl of Foulds macaroni and cheese, and a giant container of lemonade. The sound of her sobbing echoed throughout the mansion-like corridors of the TARDIS. She hadn’t cared that it had been Jack who’d piloted the TARDIS to wherever it was that he’d piloted it to.
Skye popped her head tentatively through the kitchen door. “Cece?”
“What?” Cece snapped, staring up with more defiance than the picture of John Lennon on her record slip.
“It’s just that…” Skye held up a large book. “I found this.”
Cece only sobbed harder. “That was the Doctor’s….”
“But I found something,” Skye persisted. “I found something that can help you.” She opened the book to a page depicting some very familiar-looking creatures with thick brown pelts and leering maws. The Lisonlans!
“Why are you showing this to me?” Cece demanded, choking. These were the creatures who had taken away her friend.
“Because it says right here,” Skye said calmly, pointing to one of the passages, “that they’ve got a weakness.”
Cece scanned the passage, her eyes widening in surprise and possibly hope. Lisonlans have very poor dermatological conditions; their greasy fur protects them from the harmful acid geysers on their homeworld, Lisonla. One drop will set any exposed skin on fire. Because of this, they distance themselves from acid of any kind.
“Skye, you’re a genius!” Cece exclaimed, wiping away her tears. She stood up quickly, faltering slightly. “I need to find the Doctor’s water pistols!”
“Why?” Skye asked, incredulous.
Cece grinned mischievously before she dropped behind the breakfast bar. “We’ve got the perfect weapon right under our noses!”
“And what might that be?” Jack asked as he flounced into the room. “I’m glad to see you’re feeling better. Women have always been drawn to the kitchen….”
“I found it!” Cece plunged an orange plastic water pistol into her pitcher of lemonade and took aim. “Look out, Jack!”
“Not again!” Jack moaned as not one, but two jets of sweet, yellow liquid hit him full in the face.
Cece and Skye cackled like maniacs as they holstered their “weapons.” They had a solution (no pun intended) to all of Cece’s troubles!
* * * *
The Doctor had been hooked up to yet another chameleon arch-like device. After confiscating his sonic screwdriver, he had been seated in an uncomfortable metal chair that seemed to be better-suited for an alien creature than a humanoid, flanked by two very savage-looking Lisonlans.
“At last!” Headmaster Baker snarled, rubbing his massive paws together. “We have found the perfect candidate! Someone with a mind we can copy and transfer among ourselves!”
The Doctor began to tense up. What would happen to him?
Several things happened at once. The Lisonlan at his right yanked down hard on a lever, which immediately sent shocking jolts up the Doctor’s head and into his brain. At the very same time, the Doctor was vaguely aware of a faint whoop-whoop-whoop sound, something sizzling, and an animal cry of pain.
“Quick, pull the plug!” Cece called to Jack as she downed another Lisonlan with a quick squirt of her lemonade-filled water pistol.
Jack, seeing the water pistol, knew not to stall for time with a cheeky remark and began tinkering with the control panel, looking for something to make the Doctor’s headpiece stop.
With the children safely inside the TARDIS, Gwen and Ianto stood back to back outside it, squirting lemonade at the oncoming packs of aggressive creatures. Gwen, in particular, was making quite a show of it, belting out a battle cry like an Amazon woman. They weren’t killing the Lisonlans; just immobilizing them enough that they wouldn’t try to fight back.
“H-h-h-h-h-he-e-e-e-e-e-e-l-l-l-l-p-p-p m-m-m-meeeeeeee!” the Doctor groaned in pain. He was shaking in his seat. Who knew how much long he would last?
“I’m trying to, Doctor,” Jack replied earnestly. Maybe the plug was at the bottom somewhere. He reached around the back panel. Finally, his hand rested on a large wire. He yanked on it, hard.
Almost immediately, the arch turned off and the Doctor stopped convulsing. It was over.
The last thing the Doctor heard before he blacked out were his own words: “Best rescue ever!”
13:Safe and Sound
The Doctor awoke on the top bunk of a bunk bed. Evidently, he was in one of the TARDIS’ many guest bedrooms, all of which he had furnished quite nicely with what he’d thought were comfortable bunk beds. This mattress was as hard as rock!
He sat up and glanced at his wristwatch, the Mickey Mouse one that Cece had given him not too long ago. It was 11:00 AM. Boy had he slept late!
“He’s awake, isn’t he?” he heard somebody say from behind the door.
“Come in,” the Doctor croaked, realizing only now that he had an incredibly sore throat.
Skye, David, Renee, and Cece filed into the room, looking worried.
“Don’t worry,” the Doctor continued, hopping off the bed. “I’m quite fine. Just a bit…” His voice faltered, as did his legs, as he struggled to stay upright. “…Wobbly. Wibbly-wobbly, to be exact.” He allowed himself to be supported by his friends and escorted into the kitchen, where Cece had prepared a huge, steaming platter full of….
“FISH FINGERS AND CUSTARD!!!” the Doctor exclaimed, tearing himself out of their grips and throwing himself at the kitchen table. Three helping later, he turned around guiltily. “Should I have saved some for you guys?”
“Nah,” Cece replied, shaking her head. “Too greasy.”
David, Renee, and Skye didn’t seem to agree with her, for they too helped themselves to the food. It turned out, they liked it. A lot.
“You guys are so weird!” exclaimed Cece, rolling her eyes.
“Great, now I’m not the only one,” Jack said as he burst through the TARDIS doors. He was carrying two full paper shopping bags, containing what Cece hoped were the weekly groceries, which he proceeded to unload on the kitchen counter.
Cece watched him, her arms crossed. Surprisingly, he’d bought the right things, right down to her favorite soy milk. Reluctantly, she told him this.
“Jack!” she heard a Welsh-accented voice say from back in the control room. “Jack, you got the soymilk, right?”
Cece groaned. It was Ianto’s favorite soymilk too, which meant she’d have to share with that guy. She shuddered as Jack poured his friend a generous glass of chocolate-flavored soymilk in her favorite Beatles mug.
“I bet if you drank regular milk, you’d fart,” she snapped.
“Watch it,” Jack said indignantly as Ianto blushed beet red from behind his drink.
“You’re to talk!”
The Doctor facepalmed. “Can’t you guys speak peaceably for once?”
Cece just sighed. “I’m going to make iced coffee. Just make sure Mr. Purple Tie over here doesn’t steal that too.”
“I’m not stealing!” Ianto squeaked. He now had a brown milk mustache and a large brown stain on his loud purple tie.
While the three adults continued to fight like little kids, the actual kids among them had a quiet conversation on their own.
“Now that Torchwood disposed of the Lisonlans, what’s to become of us?” David asked. “Is it safe to go back to school?”
“More importantly, are we going to be stuck in the smart kid class?” Renee asked, shuddering.
The Doctor stopped stuffing his face with fish fingers for a moment to consider this. “Well…. I don’t know. I suppose that’ll be up to the new headmaster to decide.”
“It’s going to be Hodgson,” Skye said. “We ran into him earlier today while you were still asleep. He was one of the good guys. They kept wiping his mind every time a kid disappeared, but I think he’ll be able to compensate for that now.”
“Good,” the Doctor said, pushing back his plate. Cece had just taken a large, rectangular griddle and bonked both Torchwood agents on their heads at once. “Let’s get out of here before this gets ugly.”
“Wait,” Skye exclaimed suddenly. She reached into her pocket and pulled out a familiar pen-like object. “We brought this back with us from the school basement.”
“My sonic!” the Doctor sighed, holding the screwdriver close. “I’m glad you retrieved it from the Lisonlans….”
Skye grinned mischievously. “I made a few modifications to it as well,” she added, holding out her hand. “May I?”
The Doctor handed the sonic screwdriver back over to Skye, who promptly flipped a small black switch on its side. As she took aim, a little jet of lemonade squirted out, conveniently hitting Captain Jack!
“Hey!” Jack shouted, turning around to see his assailant hooting with laughter. It didn’t help matters much when everyone else in the room, including Ianto, started to laugh with her.
“That’s brilliant” the Doctor chuckled. “Absolutely brilliant!”
Captain Jack glared reproachfully at all who had dared to mock him. “I hate lemonade,” he muttered, storming out of the kitchen in search of a clean shirt.