Chapter 1: The Manuscript
Anthony had always known his parents were different. They weren't his birth parents but that wasn't what made them different. A young mother had left baby Tony in the hospital after his birth without any trace of where she'd gone. Lucky for Tony, a nurse named Rory Williams had made quite an impression on the woman. She'd left a note insisting Rory take care of her son.
Amelia and Rory Williams landed in New York in 1938. At a time when the threat of a complete Nazi takeover was slowly tightening around Europe like a noose. They were British immigrants but there was something more about them. Tony noticed the way they spoke sometimes, as if the future was somehow past-tense for them.
Tony was a big fan of science fiction flicks and lucky for him, his mother was filled with excellent stories. Anthony loved the stories his mother wrote but sometimes he wondered where the stories came from. They had to be fiction but Amelia told them like there was an element of truth behind them. It was something in her eyes when she spoke about them. She didn't look like she was making it up, she looked like she was remembering.
Tony was 5 when he asked why his parents never had kids before him. He was just wondering as kids often do. He wasn't thinking about what a loaded question it really was. He just wanted to know why but the question took his parents by surprise, and few things ever did.
"Umm... I... Rory?" Amy insisted her husband take over.
Rory knelt down to his son's eye level to speak. "We had a baby once before we had you. We were 20 years younger then... give or take. It's hard to keep track." Rory did his best to keep his timelines straight. "We had a little girl named Melody. But we lost her and we could never have a baby again after that. A medical complication..." Rory looked up at his wife as she nervously poured her tea. "It was hard for us so we didn't know when we'd be ready for a child again. But then we found you." Mr. Williams ruffled his son's hair and smiled.
Anthony wanted so badly to ask how they lost his would-be older sister. But after seeing how his first question rattled his mother, he decided it was best to drop the subject. Growing up with a father who worked long hours at the hospital had taught Tony from an early age that life and death were always fighting one another for dominance. Not just for the old but for the young too. He figured his sister must have lost that battle.
Tony was 12 when the mysterious woman came to visit. He'd only recently been deemed old enough to stay home alone while his mother ran her errands. He heard a knock on the door and there she was, a statuesque and strong woman with wild blonde curls. She seemed confused at the sight of Anthony answering the door.
"Is this the Williams' residence?" She asked.
"Yes, but my mom's not home right now." Tony figured the woman was looking for his mother. She had what looked like a manuscript in hand, she was most likely from publishing.
"Is your mother Amelia Pond?" The woman asked as she looked over his head at the living room, like she was searching for clues.
Anthony raised an eyebrow inquisitively. "You're from Leadworth, aren't you?" His parents rarely spoke about their lives before arriving in New York. All he knew was where they were from. He was excited to meet someone who might be able to shed some light on their past.
"Yes, I am. I'm an old friend." She answered.
"I knew it! Because you know my mom by her maiden name and you talk like my dad!" Tony sounded so proud of himself as if he'd solved some big mystery.
"You're absolutely right. You're a regular Dick Tracy." The woman smiled but there was something bittersweet about the look in her eyes. "I didn't know they had a son." She whispered. After a quick moment, she regained her composure. "And where's your father?"
"Working at the hospital. He won't be home till really late but mom only went down the road to the grocery store so I'm sure she'll be home in a few minutes if you want to wait." Anthony opened the door wider to invite her in.
"No, thank you. I really shouldn't stay long." She looked at the strange watch on her wrist. "If I stay another minute all of New York might implode on itself. Just take this and make sure Amy gets it. It's incredibly important." She handed Tony the manuscript and walked away quickly.
He put the manuscript on the kitchen table and read the cover. "Melody Malone". He was tempted to untie the brown strings holding the papers closed but figured it best to leave it alone. His mother always told him about what stories she was writing, so why had he never heard of this one?
"Tony?" His mother's voice came ringing down the hall. "You left the door open. I thought you said you could be alone now. I thought you were a big boy now!"
"I am a big boy." Anthony ran down the hall to meet his mother in the living room. "I'm sorry I forgot. There was a lady who dropped off a manuscript for you."
"What? I'm not expecting anything." Amy threw her coat on the couch and walked to the kitchen. There was a pause of silence followed by panic. "Rory!" Amy screamed. "I need Rory!"
Anthony quickly ran into the kitchen. "He's working, remember? Are you ok?" He asked.
"I'm fine just... go watch TV or read one of your comics or something... there's cereal if you want anything to eat... I have to go.." Amy walked back into her study in a daze.
Chapter 2: The Truth
"Anthony Williams!" His father whispered as he walked in form a long night at work. "It's past midnight. What are you doing up?"
"Mom's in one of her moods." Tony whispered back and turned off the TV. It was then that they could hear the quiet whimpering coming from Amy's study.
Rory ran into the study and shut the door behind him. Tony stood as close as he could by the door and peeked through the tiny crack his father had left open. He knew it was rude to eavesdrop but he just had to know what was going on. He didn't want to be treated like a kid anymore. He was a whole 12 and a half years old and he was tired of his parents shielding him from whatever secrets they were hiding. He just knew there were things they weren't telling him.
Tony's mind raced with ideas about why their past was so mysterious. Perhaps his parents had seen too much during the war. They might be refugees with new identities or maybe secret spies. He loved to imagine they were a covert counterintelligence team for the allied forces during the war and they had so many valuable pieces of information that could take the government down, they just had to go into hiding.
He'd recently caught his mother dancing to The Atomic Mr. Basie record in a surprisingly provocative fashion while she did the dishes. Amy laughed when she noticed her son had been watching. "You know I wasn't always your old boring, dishwashing housewife." She sighed. "I used to be a bit of a performer in my day, a big hit at all the swingingest parties in town."
"A performer? Like Ann Miller?" Anthony asked surprised by the revelation.
Amy chuckled. "I wasn't nearly as talented but I did have some great costumes." She went back to her dishes, looking longingly out the window, as she often did.
Anthony pictured his mother in her younger days in sequin bodysuits and racy pin-up costumes and shivered a little at the thought with embarrassment. But it made him smile a bit to think that everyone was young once. He could tell how much she missed it sometimes, she'd just hit 50. A mid-life crisis loomed over her, a shadow of her former glory coming back to haunt her. That's how she saw herself but Tony always thought she was one of the toughest and strongest women he'd ever met. He was quite proud of his momma.
"Amy, what is it?" Rory whispered as he tried to make sense of his wife's tears.
"It was her. She was here, Rory." Amy stifled the urge to cry again. "River was here and I missed her."
"This is the book." Rory looked over the manuscript. "You're the one who had it published so he could read it."
"She wrote a note." Amy handed the paper to Rory. "It says we should write him a message, an afterwords. Something to show that we're ok."
"That's a good idea." Rory nodded. "I was thinking maybe I ought to do something similar for dad. Just have it sent to him soon after we last saw him so he knows we're safe in the past." Rory sighed in frustration. "Our life is such a damn mess, isn't it?"
"I miss it sometimes but I hope you know that I don't regret following you." Amy put her arms around her husband. "I get so lost in my own head sometimes I forget to tell you that I love you."
"I know" Rory smiled and gave his wife a soft kiss on her forehead. "You said The Doctor told you traveling in the Tardis back to New York would rip a hole in the universe after all the paradoxes we pulled. So River must have used the vortex manipulator."
Tony's head reeled as he tried to make sense of what he was hearing. It was all starting to click, his mother's stories really did have truth in them. Holes in the universe? Votex manipulators? Were his parents really from England? Were they even humans?
Suddenly afraid his parents might have alien supersonic hearing, he ran back to his room and hid under the covers. River seemed to be the name of the woman at the door. Was she also alien? If they were alien, how did they look so human? Were they wearing a disguise? Tony began to scare himself as he thought the worst of what might be happening.
"Anthony?" Rory called out to his son sounding a bit worried. He found Tony in his bedroom wrapped in blankets. "May I come in?" Rory smiled and sat beside him on the bed. "The woman you met today, she didn't say who she was?"
"Only that she was your friend from Leadworth." Tony peeked his head out from the mountain of covers. "Was she telling the truth?"
"Yeah, she was." Rory sighed. "It's all a very long story best left for another time. Just know Amy's going to be alright, you get some sleep."
"Dad, I want to know the truth. You're lying about something because you think I can't take it. But I can." Anthony slowly found the courage to let go of his blankets. "I'm going to be 13 in a few months, you know. I'm not a little kid anymore."
"You're right but this is something even most adults couldn't begin to understand. I hardly understand and I'm living it." Rory rolled his eyes.
"I heard you and mom talking about ripping the universe apart like you're from some other world on the other side of a black hole." Tony stood up from the bed to confront his father. "Just tell me the truth, I already know you're aliens so explain who Melody Malone is and why her manuscript is so important."
"I was worried about the day I'd have to explain all this, I was hoping I'd never have to." Rory bit his lip worried. "You are right, I've travel through outer space but I'm 100 percent human. Same goes for your mom. We're just time travelers, we're from Earth's future but we got stuck in the past." Rory looked at his son's stupefied expression. "I told you this would be hard to explain."
Chapter 3: Better Than Superman
"You two are characters in the story and so is this Melody Malone and a doctor. Are they also real people?" Tony asked as he read the manuscript. The three of them sat around the kitchen table for what was their wildest family meeting yet.
"Yes, they're all real." Rory answered. "You met Melody. She's the woman who delivered the manuscript."
Amy sat on the other end of the kitchen table with a glass of water lightly trembling in her hands. It was past midnight now as they all tried to clarify what was happening.
"Mom said she was River and according to this Melody was a detective in the 1930's but if you said she's one of your friends from the future then... she got stuck in the past too?" Anthony was still trying to put the pieces together.
"She a time traveler too but unlike us, she isn't exactly human." Rory explained. "She's half human, half time lord." He searched his wife's face for a clue as to what he ought to say next but just got a blank stare, so he continued. "She was conceived in a time vortex by humans so she's from human parents but she herself is something not so human, human plus, I guess."
"We never told you how we lost Melody, did we?" Amy finally chimed in in an uncharacteristically soft voice. "She was kidnapped because she was special, the only one of her kind. They knew she was stronger than any of us so they wanted to use her as a weapon. But she was better than them, she wouldn't let them use her."
"Wait, River is ... Melody... She's the daughter you lost?!" Anthony nearly fell out of his seat. "Are you telling me that my long lost big sister is a half alien from outer space and she was just here talking to me this afternoon and I didn't even know it?" Anthony's head was spinning with a mixture of confusion and elation at the idea that his sister was some kind of space warrior. "In space... raised by aliens. A human born with super human powers?! I mean, this is better than Superman."
"Oh, she's way cooler than Superman" Amelia smiled but her joy quickly faded. "I still wish sometimes... that we could have kept her. She wouldn't be River though, she'd just be a girl like any other girl. Well, with the ability to regenerate but... anyway." She tried to smile again. "No use thinking about the past or.. the future... whatever."
"She's probably going to have to come back sometime to pick up the finished book so maybe we'll see her again." Rory took his wife's hand in his from across the table. "Maybe this time she can stick around a little longer." Rory tried to stay hopeful.
He knew it was quite possible that River could just go into a library in the future beyond their time and find an old copy of the book somewhere without ever seeing them again. As strange and out of order as their relationship was, River was his daughter and he couldn't help but want to see her. Simply to know that she's safe. Simply to embrace her and be the father to her that he could have been had he been able to save her. But it was true what Amy said, she wouldn't have been River had they raised her. Melody Williams is a geography teacher, River Song is a super hero.
Anthony spent weeks musing over the tales of his heroic sister, taking down a whole gang of aliens all on her own with nothing but an ion blaster and a mean left hook. He just couldn't picture his parents at her side even though he knew they'd fought alongside her. They were just the old parental units now, crazy to think they used to save the world every other weekend just for kicks.
"So... dad.." Tony sat down beside his father while he read his newspaper. "Can I ask you about your adventures? I'm just curious... we don't have to talk about it if it bothers you." Anthony understood that sometimes heroic tales are only fun for the people who didn't have to feel the pain associated with battle. Anthony had seem Rory try to work with a lot of the veterans from the war and not all their ailments were physical. Tony could only imagine the weight of fighting a war against the whole galaxy.
"I guess so... I don't know where to start.." Rory put down the paper and his reading glasses on the coffee table. "You know my consciousness was trapped inside a plastic duplicate for 2,000 years. I have centuries and centuries of stories." Rory did his best to remember everything he could. It was strange, half his thoughts felt like they might have been dreams. He wasn't sure which version of himself had lived it. "It's getting pretty late. How about I tuck you in with a story before bed?"
"Dad! I'm 12 and three quarter years old. I don't need bedtime stories anymore." Anthony rolled his eyes.
"Then I guess you'll never know about the time I helped the Jadoon stop an alien invasion on Spaceport One." Rory put his glasses back on and picked up his paper.
"Ugh! This is so unfair!" Tony dragged his feet off to the bathroom to brush his teeth and down the hall to his bedroom to get into his pajamas.
"Ready?" Rory stood at the doorway with a big grin on his face. "This is great, I found a new way to get you to do as I say." He chuckled as he walked in and sat at the edge of his bed.
"Come on, Dad. Quit teasing me." Tony elbowed his dad jokingly. "So tell me the story!"
"What was it I was talking about?" Rory asked, honestly not sure which random memory he'd landed on before.
"The Judoon on Spaceport One!" Anthony reminded him. "There was an alien invasion!"
"Oh yeah!" Rory chuckled. "Almost... there was almost an alien invasion. I warned them about it before it got out of hand. Now, the Judoon aren't bad people... well, they are too good actually... or, I mean... they follow all rules strictly to a tee. They cannot under any circumstance break any laws. But because of that, they lack empathy and can sometimes hurt people in their attempts to uphold the law."
"Ok ok... so how did you learn about the invasion?" Anthony grew impatient. His father wasn't as gifted a storyteller as his mother.
"Alright, don't rush me... I have to lay down the exposition first." Rory went on explaining the Spaceport's layout and all the different little odd shops and different space gadgets he saw at those shops for what seemed to Tony like ages before he finally got to the part where he ran into the Reptilidons and overheard their plot to invade the city. Tony decided he'd ask his mom for the next story.
Chapter 4: P.R.'s Go Home
Weeks passed since Anthony first discovered the truth about his parents. His 13th birthday came and went with no more unusual occurrences and his hopes of ever seeing his big sister again started to fade as things slowly went back to normal, as normal as they could be anyway. Anthony was having a hard time in 8th grade. Knowing there was a whole universe out there that he might never see was really distracting him from his schoolwork. It didn't help that he had to squeeze past pesky protesters standing outside the school. It also didn't help that a pretty new girl had taken the empty seat next to him in class.
"Hi, I'm Tony." Anthony quietly introduced himself. She only smiled and nodded in reply. Tony found her so pretty, he wasn't sure what to do with himself. He'd never felt a crush on someone before, now he knew why they called it a crush. It felt like his chest was about to collapse in on itself at the thought of interacting with her. Even so, he caught her in the hallway at the end of the school day to attempt to speak to her again. "Hi.. um.. It's Tony again.. just, I thought... you're 8 weeks late so... I mean, you might fall behind so... here.." He handed her some notes he'd taken out of his notebook. "Just so you can get caught up with the semester and everything. I'm not exactly an A student but ... that is... if you need anything... like... for studying maybe... I could help.." He'd never found speaking so difficult before then.
She smiled and nodded as she took the papers. "I'm Maria. Sorry, I didn't introduce me before. I didn't want to be in trouble for talking in class." She looked down at the ground for a moment shyly. "Can you walk me to the bus?" She asked in a soft whisper.
"Really? Ok..." Anthony was surprised she'd asked for him to walk with her. She stayed close to him as she walked out the doors. She tensed up and took hold of his sleeve as they walked past the small group of protesters. It was then that it hit him, she was using him as a shield.
"P.R.s go back home!" One woman yelled. He'd been so ignorant to it before. Of course Maria wanted someone to walk with her, she was Puerto Rican and afraid of being harassed. He'd seen the same thing a few years back when the school started to integrate blacks into the schools. Integration was the way of the future and he knew that, his parents told him so. For Tony, racism was just a strange phenomenon he saw on the news. His parents alway had a large and colorful circle of friends from all races and orientations, he'd grown up in that environment not realizing it wasn't the norm for most people until he got to school.
Maria sat next to Tony once they got on the bus, which he hoped was a good sign. He wasn't holding it against her or anything, but he feared she was only getting close to him for the benefit of having a human shield and someone to do her homework. Even if Tony did find out that he was just being used, he probably wouldn't mind it. As long as she kept holding his hand the way she was on the bus, he'd do anything she wanted.
"Mom?" Tony walked through his front door anxiously. Chuck Berry was blasting on the record player and dishes could be heard clinking in the sink. Amelia Williams was more than likely the only woman over 50 who rock and rolled harder than her teenage son did. Tony walked into the kitchen to find with mother dancing by herself as she stacked the china in the cupboards. "Mom!" He tried yelling over the music. "Mom!"
"Oh, hey!" She yelled back as she finally noticed her son. "What's up!?" She danced towards him. "How was school?!"
"I have to tell you something!" Tony tried to explain.
"What did you say!?" Amy dried her hands with an old dish towel as she yelled over the music.
"For God's sake, turn that racket down!" Anthony yelled while Little Queenie competed for his mother's attention.
"Booo!" Amy walked over to the record player in the living room and stopped the music. "Don't be such a square." She stuck her tounge out at her son.
"I wanted to ask you something and it's kind of important." Tony sat on the couch. "Um... I met this new girl at school today and I think I like her. I mean, like a girlfriend. What should I do? What should I say to her? I only just met her so when should I tell her that I like her? Should I ask her out? What if she says no?"
"Uh..." Amy looked around worried. "I knew this day would come but now that it's here I'm not sure what to say." Although she'd discussed the birds and the bees to him before this was different. This was her young son asking for personal relationship advice. "Can you go back to asking me time travel questions? That might actually be easier to answer."
"Come on, I'm serious." Tony rolled his eyes. "I mean, you're a girl. How did dad ask you out?"
"Well, he didn't actually. I asked him." Amy chuckled. "Rory was too shy to ask me even after he knew that I'd found out he liked me. So I told him to stop wasting time and take me out to dinner already."
"Why am I not surprised?" Tony sighed.
"Why don't you ask Rory for advice?" Amy sat down on the couch beside her son. "You got that painfully shy attitude from him not from me."
"How did I get it from him if I'm adopted?" Tony chuckled.
"Oh yeah... I guess you're right." Amy laughed. "Blood or not, you're a William's through and through, you know." She ruffled her boy's hair and walked back to the kitchen. "Tony, I need my tunes!" She yelled.
"On it." Tony walked over to the record player and gave Amy her tunes. "But I'm turning the volume down, I have homework to do." He heard his mother booing him loudly and shook his head wondering who was parenting who.
Chapter 5: No Me Di Cuenta De La Hora
The next day at school, Maria noticed the colorful comic book peeking out of Tony's back pack. "Is that Weird Science Magazine?" She asked.
Anthony's eyes widened with delight. "No, it's Space Detective but I have a bunch of Weird Science comics at home. You like science fiction?" He asked excitedly.
"Yes, but I have to hide my comics from my mom. She doesn't like them." Maria whispered as if her mom might hear.
"My mom's a science fiction writer. She's actually coming out with a new book next month. It's called Melody Malone, it's like a time traveling detective story." Tony wished he could tell her everything, all about his mom and dad's amazing adventures. But he figured she'd think he was crazy.
"Guau, That's amazing! Can I see her books?!" She explained.
"There's some in the city library actually. If you want I can show you where it is and you can check out the books." Tony beamed with pride at seeing Maria's excitement.
"Tomorrow is Saturday, yes? So we can go to the library together." She suggested.
"Yeah I'll meet you at the bus stop, no problem." Anthony tried to play it cool and not show himself to be too overly excited at the prospect of spending time with her alone outside school.
"Perfect." Maria smiled. "It's a date then." She took his hand and gave him a kiss on the cheek before running off down the hall to the girl's locker room for P.E.
The realization that he had just been kissed had him feeling light headed. She'd said 'date' but he wondered if it was an actual date or if she'd learned a new English figure of speech to casually drop into conversation.
Saturday started out dark and rainy so Tony worried she might cancel on him, but he caught a bright orange umbrella at the bus stop cutting through the grey backdrop of the rainy city and he knew it was her.
Anthony had a raincoat on but no umbrella so his dark brown hair was dripping wet and sticking up in all different directions as he reached her. Maria chuckled at the sight and tried her best to cover the two of them under her umbrella as they walked to the library. It was a cold-looking stone building on the outside, but one inside it was a warm and comforting place filled with bookshelves and comfy sofas for reading.
They looked at books all afternoon and lost track of time. "Oh, no! I missed the bus." Maria gasped as her arms nearly overflowed with books she'd checked out. "Home is not far but I fear walking in the dark."
"I'll walk with you." Tony replied. "I'll carry some of those books for you." He was feeling like a real gentleman. They walked for about 30 minutes before they reached Maria's little apartment. Her mother opened the door and immediately began yelling.
"Donde diablo te estabas metida, nena?! Que por poco me das un ataque de ansiedad!" Maria's mother smacked her over the head.
"No me di cuenta de la hora, mami!" Maria yelled back.
Suddenly, her mother noticed Anthony standing there. She whispered something that sounded angry. Tony didn't speak Spanish but he could make out some words. He did know enough to understand the word 'gringo' was a less than friendly term and it was being directed at him.
"Umm.. sorry.. I..." Tony tried to cut in. "She was afraid to walk home in the dark so I accompanied her home. And it's my own fault she lost track of the time. I'm sorry..." He attempted to take some of the blame.
It seemed that Maria was translating. Her mother glared at Anthony as her daughter spoke. "Thank you byebye!" Her mother slammed the door in Tony's face. It didn't sound like she was actually thanking him at all.
Having never been to Maria's side of town before, Tony became disoriented and lost before ending up back at the library. At least from there we finally found his way home. He arrived at a quarter past eleven and feared his mother would be waiting on the other end with a smack for his own head, but Amy was fast asleep in her bed and Tony's dad was still working at the hospital. He threw the books he'd checked out as well as some sci-fi serials on the nightstand by his bed and got ready for bed. Unable to sleep, he read his books instead until dad came home around midnight.
"A bit late, isn't it?" Rory stood at his son's bedroom door.
"It's Saturday night, why would I need to sleep early?" Tony replied.
"You're right, it is Saturday night. What are you doing lying in bed reading a book for? You should be out with all your teenage friends drinking chocolate malts and sneaking into the drive-in with your girlfriend." Rory joked. "That's what kids do in the 50's, right? Or did our history books get it all wrong?" Unlike most father's, his confusion about teen culture had more to do with it being before his time rather than him being too old for it. He sat down at the foot of his son's bed. "What did you pick up at the library today?"
"It's called Lord of the Rings, it's a trilogy." Anthony showed his father the cover. "I heard some of the guys at school talking about this new series of books that came out recently and it sounding cool so..."
"That's awesome. When I was your age they'd just made the motion picture version of the first book. I loved it, your mom thought the movie was a bit too long though. So she got a little bored, nearly fell asleep in the theater actually." Rory smiled.
Even though Tony had known about his parents being time travelers for almost a year now, it still made his mind race. His parents were 52 years old in 1959 but they're going to be 13 years old in 2001. Going to be, as in, it hasn't happened yet. Anthony would be about 55 in 2001. If he really wanted to, he could visit his parents as children. It was interesting to hear how alike they actually were. A 13 year old boy in 1959 wasn't too different from a 13 year old boy in 2001, not really. People never change, they just adapt as their surroundings change.
Chapter 6: Maria Hates Me
Anthony woke up on Sunday to a tapping at his bedroom window. "Hey, Tony!" His friend, Frank was throwing rocks at his window. "Get out of bed! It's way past noon already, sleeping beauty!"
Tony groaned and walked over to open his window. "Well, if it isn't my beloved Romeo throwing pebbles at my bedchamber window!" Tony yelled back sarcastically.
"Shall I compare thee to a giant spaz!?" Frank joked back. "Get dressed, we're going to the soda fountain" Frank was standing outside with his bike. Anthony quickly got dressed and ran downstairs with his bike. There were some older kids standing outside the soda shop with leather jackets and cigarettes. They looked intimidating but one of their girlfriends gave the boys a little smile as they walked past. "You see that, Tony?" Frank asked as they took a seat at the counter. "That chick was smiling at me."
"I'm your dreams, you big dork." Anthony laughed. "Wanna hit to comic shop after this? I heard Dark Mysteries has a new volume out." He took out his change to pay for his chocolate malt.
"We'll go if you spill the beans about your little date yesterday." Frank took a sip from his root beer float and smiled mischievously. "A little birdie told me you were seen at the library with the new Spanish girl in our class. What was that like? Did you make out in that little secluded corner behind the reference section? You know the way they roll their R's when they talk. Did she do that in your mouth?"
"You're being really inappropriate!" Tony whispered.
"Ok, got it. You don't kiss and tell, you're a real gentleman." Frank winked.
"We didn't do anything, you idiot." Tony nudged Frank. "We just read a bunch of books together and then I walked her home."
"Did you at least casually put your arm around her shoulder while you read a book together?" Frank asked.
"I did do that once, yeah." Tony chuckled.
"What did she do about it, did she brush you off?" Frank sipped his float and listened excitedly for the gossip.
"No she didn't, she actually scooted in a little closer." Tony blushed. "But that's it, ok. I'm done talking to you about it."
"How did you land an exotic latin girlfriend and I've got nothing to keep me company but an old picture of Betty Page that I stole from my dad's secret stash?"
"How do you know I'm not the exotic one in the relationship?" Tony joked. "With my pale ivory skin and these big baby blues..." Anthony winked. "I'll bet she's never seen a boy like me back home." They laughed til their drinks nearly shot up their noses.
"Yeah, you're a real catch, Tony." Frank rolled his eyes.
Back at school on Monday, Maria avoided Tony most of the day until he finally got a chance to talk to her in the hall. "Hey, are you ok? I'm getting the feeling that you might be upset... Is it because you got in trouble Saturday?" Tony was worried.
"I shouldn't spend time with you anymore." Maria looked down at the ground. "My mother said it's not safe for me. She said, I'm lucky that we're light skinned so we pass until we speak and our accents give us away. She said, boys like you only want one thing from girls like me."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Tony asked sounding a little offended by the vaguely negative connotations of her statement.
"Mother said, you would only ever be interested in me because I'm like a curious novelty to you." Maria's eyes were beginning to water.
"And you honestly believe that?" Tony scoffed.
"I think maybe I do..." Maria bit her lip and tried to avoid eye contact.
"If you really feel that way, fine." Tony was angered by Maria's lack of faith in his intentions and lashed out. "Because you were the only one being used, right? Let's not pretend like the only reason you ever held my hand was just because you wanted to pass for white in front of those protesters."
Maria's lip trembled and tears came down her face. "How dare you!" She slapped Tony across the face. "I hate you and I never want to see you again!" She ran down the hall to the girl's bathroom, leaving Tony with his mouth half open in shock as some kids by the lockers nearby started whispering gossip while pretending not to stare.
Anthony came home after school and quickly stomped off to his room, tossing his backpack on the floor and slamming his bedroom door shut. "Tony?!" He heard his father's voice calling to him. "What's with all this passive-aggression I feel you throwing around?" Rory opened up the door to Anthony's room.
"Maria hates me." Tony fell face first onto his bed and stifled a angry groan.
"Oh, no. That's the little girl you liked that Amy told me about the other day, right?" Rory walked into Tony's room and closed the door behind him. "I wanted to ask you about it but I didn't want to invade your privacy."
"So I guess walking into my room after I shut the door doesn't count as an invasion of my pr-ee-vacy?" Tony mocked his father's accent.
"Drop the attitude, now!" Rory very seldom raise his voice at his son.
"Yes, sir." Anthony looked down at the ground as he sat up by the edge of his bed. "I'm sorry, I'm just angry..."
"Take a deep breath." Rory crossed his arms and watched his son inhale and exhale deeply. "Ok, now calmly explain your situation." Rory was accustomed to dealing with the slightly hysterical after long shifts at the hospital.
Tony explained the fight and what they'd said, how she'd accused him of using her and he accused her us the same. "So now we're both angry at each other and she didn't even take the bus home, she never wants to talk to me again."
Rory sat down on the bed next to his son. "Sounds to me like you owe her an apology."
"Me?" Tony scoffed. "I'm nothing but nice to her and she wrongfully accuses me of being racist."
"And you proved her wrong by retaliating with a racist remark. Great going, Tony." Rory rolled his eyes.
"I messed up so bad." Anthony fell on his back onto the bed. "I'm going to write the most amazing apology-slash-love letter she's ever seen in her life and then she'll have to talk to me again." He whispered.
Rory chuckled. "Alright then, I'll leave you to it." He stood up and walked towards the door. "Good luck.."
Chapter 7: A Group Of Beatniks
Tony snuck a letter into Maria's locker with an apology but Maria didn't speak to him for days afterward. On friday, no longer able to contain himself, he stopped her in the hallway to ask. "Did you get my letter or not?"
Maria looked at him and rolled her eyes. "Yes I received your apology."
"Just tell me you accept it." Anthony sighed. "We don't ever have to be friends again if you don't want to but at least tell me you accept it."
"Why do you care so much that I accept your apology?" Maria turned up her nose at him.
"I care because if you don't accept my apology, it means you hate me. And if you hate me then I hate me and I don't know what to do with myself." Tony was on the verge of breaking down. "Please... just.." His voice fell to a whisper. "I'm sorry."
Maria softened at the sight of Anthony almost groveling for an answer. "You're mother's newest book. The one about the time detective you spoke of, it's just come out, yes?" She asked.
"Yeah, my mom's throwing a big party tomorrow. She always throws a big party when a new book gets released." Anthony chuckled. "Really she throws a big party for anything as long as there's a good enough excuse."
"I will accept your apology if I'm allowed to attend your mother's party." Maria decided. "And I'm not going as a date. I'm going because I want to get her autograph."
"Yes! Perfect!" Tony took a step back. "I mean, that's cool... Should be fun." He cleared his throat to hide his excitement. Again he felt like he was being used for the chance at an autograph but he'd learned not to let his insecurities ruin a good thing.
When the night finally arrived, Anthony had spent almost as much time in front of the mirror as his mother usually did. He'd never cared much about how he looked until then. Suddenly he was incredibly self aware about everything, meticulously critiquing every little detail. "Tony!" Amy knocked on the door. "What are you doing in there? I gotta go, NOW!"
Anthony slowly opened the door. "Mom..." He started. "I think I'm growing up ugly."
"Don't be ridiculous." Amy replied. "Everyone looks bad at 13. You'll grow into those ears eventually." She quickly shut the bathroom door behind her as she ran into the bathroom.
Tony was left in the hallway to stew over his mother's failed attempt at comforting him. His father was so much better at that sort of thing. "Dad!" Tony walked down the hall into the kitchen, where Rory was preparing some dishes for the party. "How do I look?" Anthony asked.
"You look fine." Rory replied nonchalantly as he walked into the living room and set some plates out.
"My ears are enormous! I think they're abnormally huge. Something's wrong with me." Tony covered his ears with his hands.
"Tony, have you seen my nose." Rory chuckled. He sat down on the couch and signaled for Anthony to sit beside him. "Everyone has something their self conscious about, at your age especially." Rory smiled at his son. "This is because of that girl, isn't it?"
"I really like her, I feel terrible." Tony fell back into the cushions of the couch. "Just leave me here, let this couch eat me." He grumbled under the pillows.
Rory laughed and got up to finish preparing the party platters. "Just make some room for the guests when they arrive, ok?" He yelled from the kitchen.
Tony let out a sarcastic "haha" but he really did feel better after talking to him. Guests started to arrive after sunset, an odd assortment of interesting friends his parents had collected over the years.
"Anthony, darling!" The statuesque Christina Blackwood, sometimes known as Christopher, kissed Tony on the cheek. "You're practically a man now! Ugh! You precious child." Ms. Blackwood ruffled his hair.
A group of beatniks smoked out on the balcony while others jived to Brubeck and Coltrane over cocktails. Maria peaked in through the front door. She caught Tony's attention and he motioned her to come in. "This is your house?" Maria gasped.
"Yeah, I know..." Tony rolled his eyes. "My parents are a little weird."
"No, I think it's totally cool." Maria looked around. "Oooh, cheese." She ran over to a party platter. "Whoa what is this?" She looked at another platter.
"Pigs in a blanket." Rory replied as he put some fresh ones on the plate. "I'm the culinary genius behind this feast, by the way."
Anthony sighed with embarrassment. "This is my dad."
"Hi! I'm Maria" She extended her hand.
"Yes I've heard a lot about you." Rory smiled as he shook her hand.
"Really?" Maria replied. "What things have you heard?"
Rory looked at Anthony's worried face and stuttered. "Oh... nothing... um... just... Tony told me he invited a friend."
"Yeah, I'm a huge fan of your wife." Maria smiled.
"Oh, yeah. I'm a huge fan of my wife too." Rory laughed. "Sorry, bad joke. You want a drink, Maria?" Rory saw Maria's eyes widen in surprise. "Oh, God! No, not like this one." Rory put down his Martini. "I mean there's a few cokes in the ice box if you want."
"Wow! Thank you, Mr. Williams." Maria ran to the kitchen and Tony followed behind her. "I've never been allowed to have a soda so late at night before." Maria smiled as she opened her bottle excitedly. Amy walked into the kitchen followed by some hip cats discussing her latest book.
"Alright, so you aren't willing to explain the cryptic farewell at the end of your story but what about the thin man with no name, the one with a familiar face? Melody calls him father but they appear to be the same age." One asked.
"I thought it was 'father' like a priest." Another gave their interpretation. "That would explain the angels attacking them."
"I thought the thin man was the ghost of her late father and the angels were taking him into the afterlife." A beatnik woman was about to light a cigarette.
"I think the thin man is your husband." Maria joined in. "I just met him and thought to myself, he reminds me of Melody's thin man."
Amy smiled. "You're a very perceptive young lady." She bent down to give the girl a handshake. "Nice to finally meet Tony's girlfriend."
"Sort of girlfriend." Anthony quickly interrupted.
"Right, sorry" Amy chuckled.
Chapter 8: Everyone's Got A Weird Family Secret
As the party guests began to disperse after midnight, Maria overheard Rory whispering to Amy with a worried look. "In the study... It's River." Amy gasped at the news and the two quickly walked into Amy's study.
Maria wondered, how right was she about Rory being the thin man in Amelia's story? He called Melody Malone by the name "River" several times. But the story couldn't be true, could it? She ran to Anthony, who was sitting in the balcony. He was cleaning up the ashes left by the smokers. "My dad hates smoking." Tony sighed. "Says it's really unhealthy but modern medicine hasn't caught up with it yet." He stopped himself from saying more to not give his parents away.
But it seemed Maria was already putting ideas together in her mind. "Tony, I heard your dad saying River was in the study. Is that the same character in your mom's book?" She asked.
Tony dropped his broom. "What?!" He whispered in shock and ran back inside towards the study. Maria quickly ran behind him. They both stopped at the door to the study, which was closed. Tony ran across the hall to his parents room and took his father's stethoscope up to the door to listen in. "This isn't working as well as I intended." Tony strained to listen but all he could hear was muffled voices. "I can hear them but I can't make out the words." He whispered to Maria.
"Explain what is this secrecy." She crossed her arms in frustration.
Tony chuckled nervously. "You wouldn't believe it if I told you."
"Don't talk to me like I can't handle it." Maria replied.
He took Maria's hand and they ran to his bedroom. He shut the door behind him. "Ok let me think of where I should even begin." He sat down on his bed. "My parents are... different."
"They're aliens, aren't they?" Maria replied.
"I thought that too at first but no, they're human." Tony chuckled, relieved that he had finally found someone to talk to about it. "River is my sister, my half sister or... It's hard to explain. Well first of all, I'm adopted."
"Ok. You are adopted but they have a secret birth daughter too?" Maria puzzled.
"She was stolen away by aliens and raised by them to be an assassin because even though our parents are human, she isn't. She's a Time Lord." He looked at Maria standing with a confused look on her face. Anthony tried to explain further. "So she's a Time Lord because my parents are time travelers, not aliens. They're humans from the future, they haven't even been born yet!"
"So, you're saying that because of their time travel, it has affected their offspring?" Maria put it together as she sat down beside Tony.
"Wow, you're really good at this." Anthony marveled at his not-girlfriend.
"You act as if surprised that I am intelligent?" Maria rolled her eyes. "I will try not to take insult." She couldn't help but let out a little smile at the way Tony looked at her, like she was something so extraordinary. But she wasn't about to show she had forgiven him yet.
Just them they were interrupted by River opening the door to Tony's room with Amy and Rory right behind her. The two kids jumped up. River chuckled "Oops.. I interrupted a moment, didn't I." Melody smiled. "Oh to be a teenager again, I was a teenager twice actually." She extended her hand. "We weren't properly introduced last time I saw you. You were also much shorter last time I was here!" She took her other hand and ruffled his hair.
Anthony shyly shook River's hand. "That was almost two years ago."
"Oh, right." River laughed.
"It's hard to keep track of time when you're traveling through it, yes?" Maria chimed in.
"Sorry.. I had to tell someone.." Tony blushed.
Rory smiled. "Well, I guess you're trustworthy, right?" He kneeled down a bit to see her eye to eye. "And you're obviously really smart to understand all this without completely freaking out. I'm living it and I don't understand it most of the time."
"Everyone's got a weird family secret." River shrugged. "Ours is just a little timey wimey."
"Are you staying?!" Anthony was excited to speak with his lost sister.
"I'm sorry, sweetie. I have to go. Remember what I said would happened if I stayed too long?" River replied.
"Something about New York imploding on itself and destroying everything." Tony gulped. "I've had nightmares about it since the day you told me, thanks."
"You were having nightmares? Why didn't you tell me?" Rory grew concerned.
"Dad, I'm fine..." Tony blushed at being babied by his father in front of Maria.
"Oh, ok..." Rory straightened up, getting the picture.
River gave her mother and father one last big hug goodbye and disappeared with the pressing of a few buttons on her strange watch. Rory said it was a vortex manipulator, whatever that meant.
"So your book, it's filled with clues, isn't it." Maria asked after River left. "I do not understand them all but the story takes place in 1938, that's when you arrived to this time from the future."
"She's too good." Rory's eyes widened. "Are you sure you're not a Time Lord?" He asked with a smile.
"I wish!" Maria beamed. "Next year is 1960! What will that be like?"
"Well..." Rory looked at Amy to see what he ought to say next. When he saw her shake her head no, he continued. "We can't really say anything about the future, spoilers. But... it's going to be a very interesting decade for you two." Rory took a step back for a minute. Anthony was about to be a teenager in the 60's. He was about to hit the counterculture explosion at the perfect age to experience it all. He felt his excitement turn to fear as he thought about the dangers ahead. The drugs, the riots, the war.
Chapter 9: As Embarrassing As Possible
It was September of 1960 and Tony was walking home from school with his buddy, Frank. "Still down for that movie tomorrow? I heard it was wild."
"Actually, Frank, about that..." Anthony replied. "Maria said she really wanted to go and since we're sort of dating I thought maybe you'd feel like a third wheel."
"I'll give you your space." Frank rolled his eyes.
Anthony took a deep breath. "To be honest, Frank, I have no problem with you going but Maria really doesn't like you." Tony looked down at the ground worried.
"Doesn't like me?" Frank replied. "I am a delight."
"She thinks you're a troublemaker." Tony chuckled. "You were selling playboy pin ups out of your locker."
"I'm a young entrepreneur and some near-sighted people fail to see my potential." Frank sat down on the stoop to Tony's apartment and lit a cigarette. They were 14 now, so Frank had decided it was about time he started smoking. Anthony respectfully declined as Frank offered. "Beside, Tony.." Frank continued. "You graciously accepted a photograph of Tina Louise without complaint. And I gave you a best friend discount."
"Yeah, you gave it to me for free." Tony scoffed. "I wouldn't have paid for it or anything."
"So you admit you're a hypocrite and that you're also cheap. What does Maria see in you?" Frank puffed out smoke as he spoke. "You looked through my whole collection and specifically picked that photo out. It's not like I shoved the picture down your throat or nothing."
"Oi!" Amy stuck her head out of the window upstairs. "What's that smell?!"
"Sorry, Mrs. Williams." Frank dropped the cigarette and snuffed it out with his foot.
"You get that filthy thing off my front steps or I'll tell your mum you're selling playboy pin ups out of your locker!" Amy yelled and Frank quickly picked up his cigarette and threw it in the trash nearby. Tony laughed at his friend until Amy yelled again. "And I found your dirty pictures too, Mister!"
"Can you yell that louder, Mom!? I don't think the whole neighborhood heard you!" Tony yelled back. Amy disappeared from the window and in a flash was downstairs and grabbing Tony off the front steps by his collar. "I'm sorry." Tony closed his eyes waiting for the smack upside his head.
"That's right, you're sorry." Amy dragged her son back inside and slammed the door behind her. "Rory will be so disappointed in you."
Tony sighed. There was nothing more guilt inducing than an 'I'm not mad, just disappointed' talk with Rory Williams.
"Go to your room." Amy pointed down the hall.
"Am I officially grounded?" Anthony asked worried. "I told Maria I'd take her to the movies tomorrow."
"I'll make my decision when your father gets home. Now get out of my sight, I can't even look at you." Amy shooed him away to his room and he shuffled his feet down the hall, slowly shutting the door behind him. Amy stifled her urge to laugh, she really wasn't that angry. She just needed to teach him a little lesson was all. When it came to discipline, she was usually the bad cop to Rory's good cop.
Tony plopped down on his bed and looked over to see his comics were still on his nightstand. At least Amy hadn't taken those away. It was a good 5 hours hiding in his bedroom with Superman comics before his father finally came home. Anthony could hear muffled talking through the closed door, it sounded calm enough. Perhaps he wasn't in so much trouble after all. Rory knocked on the bedroom door. Tony told him to come in, bracing himself for the worst.
Rory had a stern look on his face but his eyes were still kind somehow. "Now, I'm not angry..." Rory closed the door behind him. "I'm just... disappointed."
Tony looked up at his dad. "I'm so sorry."
Rory half smiled, he could see how truly sorry Anthony was. "So, we've decided not to ground you but this is a warning, ok?"
"Yes, sir." Tony looked down at the ground in embarrassment.
"I get it, I was 14 once... or will be." Rory chuckled. "I know you're not a bad kid."
"Do 14 year olds in the future steal playboys too?" Anthony asked, curios for the answer but still too guilt stricken to look his father in the eye.
Rory laughed and sat down next to his son on the bed. "Playboy is kid's stuff compared to the things a 14 year old boy could get his hands on in the future." Rory paused for a moment looking at his blushing son. "Ok, so it's a little odd talking to you about this sort of thing so... change of subject." Rory smiled. "Amy says you plan on seeing a movie tomorrow. What are you watching?"
Tony finally felt comfortable enough to look at his dad. "It's called Psycho."
"Oh, that's great!" Rory replied. "It's going to be a classic, one of the most popular horror movies ever actually. And you're taking Maria? She might get scared."
Tony smiled shyly. "I'm sort of hoping she does. Not too scared, just... maybe something will make her jump and she'll take my hand or hide her face on my shoulder."
"Where did you learn that trick?" Rory laughed.
Tony shrugged. "Just ... around." He blushed.
"Alright well have fun but be safe." Rory patted his son's knee as he got up and walked to the door. He turned out the bedroom light as he walked out back to the kitchen.
Amy was sitting at the table with a cup of tea. "So did you do the disappointed face?" She asked.
Rory shook his head yes. "He's such a sweet kid, he was so crushed by my disappointed face." He chuckled and sat down beside his wife. "I almost wanted to walk in and say 'Tina Louise is a fine choice but I'm more of an Yvette Vickers kind of guy.' Just to make things as embarrassing as possible."
Amy laughed. "No the most embarrassing thing possible would have been something like, 'I remember the photoshoots your mother used to do' "
They both shared a good laugh until Tony walked in half asleep. "Sorry... I never got dinner... What's so funny?"
Amy and Rory replied in unison. "Nothing..."
Chapter 10: House Of Horrors
Rory and Anthony walked to a pond in Central Park. They used to come nearly every Sunday to feed the ducks when Tony was younger. But at Anthony got older, it'd gone from every Sunday to maybe twice a month. Rory didn't take it personally, he understood. It was a strange mix of sadness and pride to see how his son was growing up.
"You came home pretty late last night." Rory started.
"Oh, um.. yeah." Tony replied, picking at the loaf of bread in his hand.
"How was the movie?" Rory noticed Anthony was avoiding looking at him.
"Good." Tony replied shortly.
"And how did Maria like it?" Rory fished for more answers.
"She liked it a lot actually." Anthony finally cracked a smile. "She held my hand during the movie." Tony blushed. "And on the walk home she kissed me." Tony was going to leave out the details of how she had him up against the wall when she kissed him. It started as a surprise peck on the lips and escalated to a pouce, a frantic make out session in a dark alleyway outside the theater. It was just shy of second base. His face felt a bit hot just thinking about it.
Rory threw a piece of bread into the pond. Ducks splashed to reach it. "So you two are official then?"
"I don't know." Tony sighed. "I asked if I was officially her boyfriend now and she said 'sort of'. What's a 'sort of' boyfriend?"
Rory couldn't help but laugh. "That sounds incredibly familiar. But on the bright side, I didn't get labeled the 'sort of boyfriend' until I was 20. So at 14, I'd say you're ahead of the game."
"You didn't get your first kiss until you were 20?" Tony sounded surprised.
"I'm not appreciating that judgemental tone in your voice." Rory joked. "And I was 19 and a half ok. I was a late bloomer."
"I have to impress her, give her a reason to make me her real boyfriend." Anthony looked up at his dad. "Right? I mean, what do you think?"
"The new school year's just about to start. High school is very important and I don't want your 'sort of' boyfriend status to get in the way of your schoolwork." Rory smiled. "How about we all head to Coney Island this weekend, the 4 of us. Promise we'll give you your space."
That weekend they rode The Cyclone and hit up Nathan's Hotdogs for lunch. "Let's go to The House of Horrors!" Maria jumped excitedly. "Wait, the wax museum first!" She took Tony's hand and started running in the directing of the spooky attractions. Amy and Rory let them go on ahead so long as they meet up at the arcade by sundown.
The wax museum was terrifying. It was filled with recreations of horror and murder scenes with wax figures. They stared at the scene of Hickman The Fox, a man famous for kidnapping a young girl and dismembering her in the bathtub. The wax replicas of the murderer in the middle of his gruesome act were all too realistic for them. "This place is disgusting." Tony shuddered.
"But it's weird isn't it? You almost want to look." Maria whispered.
"I do not." Tony scoffed. But he was half lying. There was something creepishly satisfying about it. Perhaps because they knew no harm would truly come to them. They could catch that thrilling sense of adrenaline without worry.
"Oh, the House of Horrors now." Maria smiled. The House of Horrors was a dark ride in a little cart that drove you through hallways filled with plastic skeletons and fluorescent lights. "Weird how some of the skeletons were in giant fish tanks." Maria wondered as they exited the ride. "I don't remember them from when I rode before."
The ride suddenly stopped and people were taken off of the ride. Water was beginning to leak out of the building. Suddenly, the sound of breaking glass and people screaming. "Let's see what it is!" Maria took Anthony's hand and hid behind the back of the building.
"Have you got a death wish or what?" Tony whispered as they hid and watched people running out of the building. Maria and Anthony tried to sneak back into the haunted attraction but police caught them.
"There is a malfunction in the ride that is very dangerous. House of Horrors is closed until further notice." A man in a black suit informed them.
"They didn't seem like regular police, don't you think?" Maria asked as they began walking back to the arcade. "There was something different about them."
"I don't know." Tony shrugged. "It's just those weird tanks with the skeletons in them. They must have burst."
Just as Amy and Rory caught sight of the kids in the distance; screaming and eruptions broke out behind them. They turned around to see Cybermen marching down the pier. Amy looked back at her son to find more cybermen marching towards him.
"I can't believe this is happening!" Amy laughed.
"You're far too happy about this." Rory replied. He saw Anthony grab Maria's hand and make a run for it towards him. Rory started running up to his son. He took his hand and the four of them ran back to the car. An explosion shook the car as they put on their seatbelts. Behind them, the pier was engulfed in flames.
"The Doctor will come." Amy whispered.
Rory scoffed. "He hasn't come in 22 years."
"Cybermen don't destroy Coney Island in 1960. They just don't." Amy replied as they began to drive away. "We have to do something."
"What do you suppose we do, Amy?!" Rory drove as best he could through the screaming crowds and his own increasing rage.
"But The Doctor has to help..." Amy was cut off.
"What if he did come back? Would you want him to take us back to 2020 where we left off and try to explain to everyone how we're suddenly in our 50's when my 31st birthday was 3 weeks ago?" Rory took a sharp turn towards home and parked the car by the front steps. He covered his face in his hands in frustration. "We're too damn old for this."
Chapter 11: I'm Your Doctor
Rory made Amy promise she'd stay home with the kids while he went to the hospital to see if anyone needed help. The ER was in a panicked state as Dr. Williams rushed in to help what patients he could. In all the commission, he ran into a woman in a lab coat he'd never seen before. "Sorry, you're new here, aren't you?" He asked.
"Yes, Dr. Martha Jones." She shook Rory's hand.
"Dr. Rory Williams. Nice to meet a fellow Brit." Rory smiled.
"Likewise." Martha replied. "Prepare yourself for a shock, Doctor." She handed Rory a manila envelope with the information of a patient. It said mechanical parts had been implanted into the body of a young man.
They arrived to find the man on an examination table breathing heavily with metal legs and metallic wiring in the left side of his head. "Who's this?" The man looked in confusion at Martha Jones.
"I'm your Doctor." Martha replied as she began to examine the metal plating wired to his head.
The man looked up at Rory. "Why don't you let him do it?"
"I know more about this than he does. Now hold still." Martha took out a scalpel and the man quickly sat up.
"You're letting her perform surgery on me?" He looked at Rory again. "If you let those hands anywhere near me, I swear..."
"What, may I ask, is the matter with my hands?" Martha Jones shot him a look. The man couldn't answer before Martha cut in. "I'm a woman? I'm black? Which one is it that offends you more?" Martha sighed.
Rory stepped forward. "I almost thought you lucky for having escaped the Cybermen before they deleted you mind. But perhaps they've already done so." Rory's retort make Martha chuckle. Rory smiled shyly. "I'll.. I'll fetch the sedative."
"Don't leave me alone with her." The patient replied.
"Sit still and shut up." Rory walked out to get the man's drugs.
Rory went into nurse mode just like the old days and assisted Dr. Jones in her work. Once the patient was sedated, the removal of the Cybermen material attached to his body was a success.
"So where are you from?" Martha asked as she took off her gloves.
"Leadworth." Rory replied as he washed his hands in the sink, avoiding eye contact.
Martha chuckled. "Ok, when are you from then?"
Rory stopped and stared at the water spinning into the drain. "What do you mean?"
"You can cut the act, Dr. Williams." Martha crossed her arms. "You mentioned the Cybermen by name before I did. You knew what they were. You're from the future, aren't you?"
Rory turned around slowly. "I'm... I was born the 7th of July 1989. Or I will be." He smiled sheepishly. "I was 31 when I were transported back to 1938 by weeping angels. I don't know if you've heard of them."
"Yes, I've dealt with the angels once before." Martha replied. "So, doing the math, you were in the year 2020 when they took you."
"Well, not exactly." Rory smiled. "My wife and I, we had this friend. He wasn't quite human and he had a time machine. The three of us decided to visit New York 2012. Picnic in Central Park, usual family outing stuff. One minute I'm getting coffee and the next..."
"I'm so sorry." Martha placed a hand on Rory's shoulder. "I knew The Doctor too. I'm also from the future, 2010 to be exact. I'm here with UNIT." Martha showed Rory a device on her wrist. "Vortex manipulator. I could go back and find you in 1938, bring you back home."
"No, I've been here 22 years now. I have a life here." Rory smiled. "If I never got sent back in time, who'd be there to adopt him if I'm not there?"
Martha shook her head, understanding his predicament. "Well, I'm glad you're happy here. I'll look you up when I get back to 2010. Don't worry, I won't interfere with your timeline or anything."
"I get married that year." Rory smiled. "She's here with me, by the way, my wife. We were touched by the same angel."
"Well, isn't that lucky." Martha laughed. She thanked Rory for all his help and went on her way. Rory raced home to tell Amy the news about having found a fellow time traveler.
"UNIT's here?" Amy gasped excitedly. "Do they have a branch in New York? Maybe we can help them." Amy also hoped that she'd see The Doctor again, but she wouldn't say it aloud. She feared Rory wouldn't like the idea of running into danger simply for a chance to see The Doctor again.
Tony and Maria were trying to quietly eavesdrop on their conversation from Tony's room. "A UNIT branch in New York. What does that mean?"
"I'm writing this down." Maria whispered as she took a notebook and pen from Tony's desk.
"Good thinking." Tony stuck his head out again and attempted to relay what he could to Maria. At the end of the conversation they looked over their notes. "Alright, we've got UNIT branch in New York, Martha Jones, Cybermen, The Doctor. The Doctor is my parent's time traveling alien friend. Cybermen were those robots, UNIT branch... I think it means like a corporation or something. Maybe a secret organisation for time travelers."
"Or an agency that gives aliens asylum on Earth. Like a foreign embassy for space people." Maria added.
"Yes, this is excellent stuff. You're brilliant." Tony paced back and forth with his notebook in hand. "Who's Martha Jones? That's all we're missing."
"Kids!" They heard Rory yell and knock on the door.
"Yeah?" Tony quickly hid the notebook under the covers of the bed as his father walked in. Tony and Maria sat down on top of it.
"I'll take you home, Maria. Your parents must be worried sick." Rory knelt down by the bed to be at eye level with the kids. "I know today got a little scary but everything's been sorted out. If anyone asks, it was a fire at Coney Island and nothing more, understand?" He waited for the children to shake their heads yes. "Alright, let's go. It's been a long night."
Chapter 12: Some UFO Nutter
It was nearly two in the morning as rain beat down on the hood of the car. Rory strained to see through the rain and the windshield wipers. "Could you go into the glove box for me and fetch my glasses?" Rory asked.
Maria took a glasses case out of the glove compartment and opened it. She handed Rory his thick, square shaped glasses.
"I really should be wearing these more often." He pushed his glasses up the bridge of his pointed nose and sighed. "They make me looks so old."
"They suit you, I think." Maria smiled. "And you're not old if you haven't been born yet."
"That's true." Rory laughed. "Oh, but please don't mention that to anyone, ok?"
Maria shook her head yes. "I understand." She stared out the rainy window as she thought aloud. "It must be strange having been surrounded by ghosts for so long. Everyone you know now, most were dead when you were children."
"I try not to look at it through such a morbid lens, but you're not wrong. I guess I was desensitised to that sensation centuries ago. I've seen so much in my life. I lived over two thousand years by the time I hit thirty." Rory stopped himself from opening up further. "I'm sorry, I'm sure this is a lot to take in."
"It's fine." Maria turned to look at Rory. "Have you thought about meeting up with your ancestors of the past?"
"I have but I'm afraid it would be too painful." Rory replied.
Maria noticed the melancholy look on Rory's face. "I'm talking too many questions, yes?"
"There's no need to apologize" Rory half-smiled.
"May I ask one more?" Maria asked as they pulled up to her apartment building.
Rory gave her a look. "Maybe.." He braced himself.
Maria bit her lip, looking a little nervous. "How did you know when you were in love with Mrs. Williams?"
Rory was taken aback, he'd been expecting a question about space or time travel. "I've loved her since I was 8 years old. I don't know... I loved her stories and her strangeness and how brave she was. She wasn't afraid of anything and I was afraid of everything." Rory laughed. "We're two halves of one whole, I guess. I just couldn't envision a life without her by my side."
"I think you're a lot like Tony." Maria smiled.
"And you're not unlike Mrs. Williams." Rory replied. He walked Maria back up to her apartment.
Maria's mother screamed excitedly and hugged her daughter. "Pense que habias muerto!"
"I'm fine." Maria scoffed. "This is Dr. Williams."
"I'm so sorry for coming back so late Mrs...?" Rory looked to Maria for an answer.
"Rodriguez." Maria's mother replied as she took Rory's hand and shook it excitedly. She looked at Maria and whispered. "No me dijiste que era un doctor."
"Pardon?" Rory asked.
"She likes that you're a doctor." Maria rolled her eyes.
"Oh.." Rory chuckled. He really did wish they'd kept the Tardis' ability to translate things for them. He drove back home to find Amy had fallen asleep. The light was still on in Anthony's room. Rory knocked on the half open door. "Hey.." He whispered. "It's almost 3."
"Right." Tony closed his notebook. "I'll go to bed in a minute."
Weeks passed since the Cyberman attacks and everyone had forgotten about it or reverted back to the story of it simply being a terrible fire. Even many eyewitnesses recanted their original robot army stories. People were either too afraid to believe the truth or too afraid to be labeled some UFO nutter. Tony's first week of high school kept him busy with schoolwork. He was in the middle of his studies in the library when Maria stomped a book onto the table.
"I'm kind of in the middle of something, Maria." Tony sighed.
Maria didn't seem to care. She sat down beside him and opened her book. "I couldn't find anything about UNIT. Probably they haven't been invented yet. But I found this." She points to an article in her strange book.
"Torchwood Institute?" Tony skimmed through a couple of pages. "Says there's supposedly an office in London one in Cardiff."
"You should ask your parents about it." Maria smiled excitedly.
"I don't know if they want me to. My dad especially." Tony replied. "He doesn't like how mom's been acting. She's been secretly looking for sightings of their old friend, The Doctor. I heard them talking. Well, it was more like fighting."
"The Doctor, The Doctor..." Maria went into her backpack and pulled out more books. She reached for one entitled, Myths and Legends of Stonehenge. "You know some people think Stonehenge was made by aliens? Well, I don't know about that. But according to this, some Roman soldiers saw a man known as The Doctor speaking with creatures that came down from the sky."
"Yeah, I think my dad was there." Tony went back to his homework.
"Come on! Don't you want to know more?" Maria replied.
"Not if it makes my parents fight." Tony raised his voice and got stares from others in the library.
"I'm sorry." Maria looked down.
"It's ok... I... shouldn't have gotten angry at you." Tony replied. "I do want to know stuff but I can't tell my parents about it."
"Here." Maria gave Tony some books. "Just read these."
Anthony Williams read all the books behind his parent's backs. He understood why his father wanted to forget and his mother wanted to remember. There's two kinds of soldiers; those who are traumatized by their battles and those who become obsessed with the adrenaline of battle. Rory just wanted to rest but Amelia Williams was a woman of action. She felt the years creeping up on her and she feared her adventures were over.
The tension died down between Mr. and Mrs. Williams as the new year approached. Anthony had overheard his father saying the 1960's are a time of huge changes. He knew that whenever his parents became excited about an event; it meant something big for the future. His father had mentioned how terrible it was living before the eve of the second world war. The impending doom he knew would come was so difficult to keep to himself.
Anthony wasn't alive during the war but he had a feeling that the strange tension with which his parents watched John F. Kennedy's State of the Union speech was the same eerie foreboding feeling with which they watched the events of the war unfold.