The Doctor puts his hands on Canton’s shoulders, squeezing the good one and just barely touching the other. He says, “This is when it starts”, “This is what we know”, and some time later; “Can you do it?”
And Canton overlooks his headache and says, “Grandma always said I’d be an actor.”
They stop for gas and Amy Pond turns away from the pumps.
“What?” he says, looking up the road. “We have two minutes!”
“Forty-two years,” she says, and he’s not sure she knows she’s saying it.
Her husband glares at her, and Doctor Song looks at her shoes.
The Doctor ignores the photos of Amy Pond’s hand, so Canton does too. He modulates his voice and asks, “Comfortable?”
The Doctor makes the chains clink. “You?”
Canton moves as close to the yellow line as possible, and can immediately feel about a dozen pairs of eyes on his back. He tilts his head; he knows where the cameras are, after all, and an angle is the best he can do. Staring at the fabric of the straitjacket, he says, “Running on adrenaline.”
“Get some rest!” the Doctor shouts.
And Canton raises a brow. “Don’t worry about me.”
“Don’t go to New York,” the Doctor says.
Canton grins and goes to New York.
He’s sitting, jacketless and shoeless, in an armchair that’s seen better days. Going through his pockets; trying to pass the time. He’s given the tiny bed to Doctor Song, and turned down her offer to spoon him; twice. Can’t change his mind now, no matter how uncomfortable the chair is.
Among gum wrappers and matchbooks, there’s a note that says Amy Pond, Utah on one side, and bread & coffee filters on the other.
Three months, he’d said.
“You should keep your eyes open,” the Doctor says. He barely moves his lips, but there’s still an impressive amount of scorn in his voice.
“Fiftieth floor,” Canton repeats, and turns on his heel.
In a restroom in the middle of nowhere (not Canton’s words), with all the stall doors opened, he meets Rory Pond’s eyes in the mirror and says, “I’m waiting for you to run.”
And Mr. Pond nods and pushes at a rolled-up cuff. “Two days. Page.”
The cuff stays around his elbow; Canton can see a five-bar gate drawn on the sunburned skin just below it. Doesn’t mention it.
It’s been all smoke and mirrors and boxes within boxes, and Canton is more confused now than that day in the warehouse. Still, the Ponds wake up exactly when they’re supposed to, the Doctor can still move, and Song lands in the swimming pool. It’s been, he thinks, a complete success. As far as he knows, that is.
The Doctor rushes about the remarkable room, pushing things and prodding things and pulling on his jacket.
Canton leans on something that doesn’t look too delicate, and asks, “So, what now?”
And the Doctor brushes a handful of hair out of shining eyes, and says, “This, Canton III, this is when it really starts!”