Brian Williams walked along Leadworth Green Road on his way home from the post office. “Some of us,” he had told his son Rory, “still send letters.” And he’d needed to put a hold on any post coming in while he was away on the big trip that started tomorrow. Now he had a little time before Tabitha Pond’s birthday dinner.
He caught sight of Frank Louis and Henry Turner ahead, the two deep in idle conversation, an oxymoron if there ever was one. “Afternoon, Brian!” Frank called out and Henry turned to wave a hand in greeting.
“Afternoon,” Brian returned and stopped to exchange pleasantries. He should have known better; he should have recognized the signs that Frank was rambling on about his son. He always went too long and over the top, as if Frank’s family was the only one capable of doing something notable.
“I was just telling Henry,” Frank said to Brian, running blunt fingers through his snow white hair, “that I heard from my son. He’s got his boy in the firm now. He can already tell that Junior is going to be a blinding success. End up taking the business around the country! Imagine that.”
Henry shared a glance with Brian, laughter shining out of his brown eyes under the brim of his old hat. Yeeup, that’s Frank for you, he seemed to say. Because, of course, Brian could brag about Rory, his son who saved lives as a nurse and who had defended the universe. But Frank was one of those folks in Leadworth who thought stories of the Doctor, Amy, and Rory’s travels were lies. Not that they could explain how so many had seen the Time Lord; facts didn’t seem to matter to such people.
“That’s excellent, Frank,” Brian began, planning his getaway. “It’s good to hear the boys are doing well. Now if you’ll--”
“Course they’re doing well!” The other man ignored the attempt to leave. “Junior is a genius. Nothing short of it--”
Brian sighed and snuck a glance at his watch. He’d like to get home and at least change his shirt before dinner at the Ponds. His packing was done for the trip at least, except for a final few items.
“That’s if ‘well’ is even the word for it.” Frank had never stopped. “Seems too small a word when we’re talking about doing something that could be national.”
A boom roared over their heads and its wave struck them. Car alarms went off and mixed with the growing noise of babies crying, raised voices, and doors slamming as people ran from their homes out into the street.
A hole opened in the sky like the end of a tunnel pushing aside the clouds. A small ship zipped out of it and flung itself towards the ground. Before anyone could finish any exclamation at the sight, a form leapt out of the ship as it swung its nose back towards the sky.
Sunlight shone along curls as the figure who had jumped now tucked and smoothly rolled on the ground right back on to her feet. She glanced for a second from the ship above to what was around her and saw Brian. She lifted a hand above her head in a wave. “Grandad!”
Different hair, different skin colour, same Melody.
She grabbed her bag off the ground and slung it over her shoulder as she quickly crossed the space between them. She kissed his cheek and beamed a bright smile. “I thought I’d see you at home.”
“I was on my way there,” he answered. “Did you bring your kit?”
She patted her bag. “Right next to Gran’s present. So you can put your trowel and what other tools you want in with mine. It won’t be a bother in customs. I have my archeological credentials to explain them.”
He gauged the spark in the eye, the way her body moved about, and the grin. Younger version, which he already knew of course. She’s the one he had planned this trip with, after all, but he still took pride at being able to know without asking.
His mobile rang and Rory’s name showed on the display. “Dad,” his son didn’t wait for any greeting, “That boom-- I looked out the window and saw a ship.”
“Yes, I know. I saw it too.” The whole town probably looked up and saw it, but Brian was standing on the other side of Upper Leadworth Fields from Rory’s new house. Of course he saw it. “It’s your daughter.”
“Hello, Dad,” River brightly called into the mobile. She got a long suffering paternal sigh in return.
“Younger versions,” Rory mumbled.
“I know that too,” Brian replied. “We’ll see you in about an hour.” He shut the phone on Rory’s “Wait!” and Amy in the background saying, “Who else would it be, you numpty?”
“Honestly,” River said. “Have you heard his list of things we shouldn’t do on the trip? Makes me want to do every one of them."
Definitely same Melody.
“Grand-dey asked that we bring him something back,” she was saying, settling her bag across her body.
He smiled with true affection at her, but it didn’t blind him. “Don’t think I didn’t notice how you’re winding your other grandfather around your little finger with that Grand-dey, poppet.” It being the word for grandfather in Scotland’s Fife, where Augustus’ own father’s father had lived.
Her nose scrunched. “I’m hardly a poppet.”
“Yes, you are. You’re my poppet,” and he kissed the crown of golden curls. “Now, shall we?”
The same ship roared back overhead as Brian turned once again towards home. Then tomorrow, the two of them left for a trip where his own personal guide would show him the best historical spots in Europe, followed by a real archeological dig. She had promised he’d get his hands dirty right alongside her. She hadn’t made fun of him for bringing along his trowel. She even had one of her own in her kit.
He suddenly became aware of Frank and Henry staring in stunned disbelief as well as a few others lining the fields. He misunderstood the looks and turned back to see what his granddaughter was up to now. She waved her hand over her head at the leaving ship and did a little dance on the spot. He could see why people were staring.
He shrugged calmly at Henry and Frank. “That’s grandkids for you. Come on, poppet.”
She landed at his side with all the presence of the Doctor’s ship. (There was something to that, but Rory said he didn’t want to talk about it. Not in any detail.) She slipped her hands around his arm as he said, “So this is a real archaeologist dig? You promised. Are we going to one happening now or are you taking me somewhere with that arm band of yours?”
“Would you like a bit of time travel, Granddad? I've been thinking of investigating Stonehenge. Mum and Dad are always telling I shouldn't do it. Want to go?”