Dean Winchester, Stranger Danger and the Big Blue Box
“Dean, Dean Winchester… Look at you. Humans; right out to see what’s going on when they have something to protect. Amazing. Just beautiful.”
Dean spun and stumbled away in shock, looking up at the kindly smiling, skinny man.
“How do you know me?” Dean demanded, no pretense. He may only be twelve but he did know better than to just play nice and act friendly with some random dude who knew his name. He knew all about Stranger Danger. It was real. Dad said.
The skinny man grinned, hopped up on the railing out front of Dean’s motel room and curled his feet around the lower bar. He looked like a child in a grown-up body, eyes dancing.
“You and I have a mutual friend,” the man remarked. He had an accent, British.
“I don’t have friends, Buddy,” Dean snarled, backing away and wishing he had taken his shotgun out with him. God he could be an idiot sometimes, Dad would tan his hide if he knew Dean had run off to investigate a weird noise not even armed.
“You will,” the man said knowingly.
Dean narrowed his eyes, cursing the wall at his back and debating the best way to run: left or right? The railing was shorter to the left but he could probably shimmy under it if he had to, jump it even. He was pretty good at track and field in school when he bothered to go.
“What are you?” the boy asked.
The man grinned wider, if that was even possible, staring at Dean as if he was the most remarkable thing in the world. “Not who, straight to the what… Clever, clever boy.”
Dean snorted at that one. “Now I know you’re full of shit, Dude. I ain’t clever. You just said ‘humans’ earlier like you weren’t one of us and I’ve seen a lot of weird in my day, Man. So you ain’t gonna get one over on me!”
“See. Clever. Brave and clever. Better than brave and stupid. Infinitely better.”
“You didn’t answer my question,” Dean said, deciding to dart left but wanting to keep the man distracted with replying. If this was some strange people-shaped monster or worse some sort of freak, Dean had to get him away from Sammy and fast.
“Right. Sorry! I can be a bit rude sometimes, don’t mean to… Well, sometimes I mean to. Anyway!” the man hopped down from the rail, all exuberance once again. “I’m The Doctor! Pleased to meet you Dean Winchester. I’ve heard quite a lot about you.”
“The Doctor? What kind of name is ‘The Doctor?’” Dean wrinkled his nose.
“I always thought it was a rather good name. I like it. No one’s ever complained before,” the man looked briefly affronted, and peered at Dean quizzically.
“Well then they were on crack. Just get the hell away from me, Man, or I’ll scream… and loud too. Then I’ll get my gun and fill your ass with lead.”
“Got quite the mouth on you for a nine-year-old,” The Doctor observed, his eyebrows shooting to his hairline.
“I’m twelve,” Dean shot back.
The Doctor frowned, looking contemplative. “Are you sure?”
“No, I’m making it up,” Dean rolled his eyes. “Now get the fuck out of here. I mean it, Dude, you got like ten seconds before I scream. Ten… Ni—” Dean darted into a roll along the pavement, damp from the rain earlier that evening and shimmed under the lower rung of the railing a few feet away from the weirdo. Dean’s sneakers skidded on lose pieces of asphalt as he bolting across the sleeping parking lot and around the edge of the building, stealing a glance behind him.
When he turned back around, he made a small noise of shock as he almost collided with a huge blue box standing snug against the wall and completely out of place. He fell back on his bum with the extra momentum from his sudden, surprise stop.
Dean was still stuck on his ass as he gaped up at the weird box when he heard light footsteps behind him. He whipped his head around, seeing The Doctor had followed him and looked unfazed. Dean scrambled to his feet and backed away from the man.
The Doctor came over and laid a hand on the wooden wall of the box staring up at it as if trying to see what was inside, or read it’s mind or whatever… If freaky box things had minds.
“You’re sure you aren’t nine?”
“Jesus Christ,” Dean muttered. “Is that your kink, Man? Freaky shit, right there. Get away from me you perv.”
“No, no, you see, there was something I promised our mutual friend…” the man smirked after he said that, then continued, “something I promised him that I’d help you with when you were nine. But seems I’ve overshot. Strange. Are you all right? Anything odd going on? Scary shadows, unexplained noises… Creaking in the walls?”
“Dude, the motel room ain’t haunted. I whipped up this awesome EMF detector out of my old Walkman, I checked. And the oddest thing that’s happening right now is some freaky, skinny guy following me around and petting a big blue box like it’s his best friend or something. And even if there was something going on, which there isn’t I could so totally handle it myself… And no offence, but even if I couldn’t I really wouldn’t come to you, Man, you look like a spaghetti noodle with legs and hair.”
The Doctor laughed after that little pronouncement and reached out to ruffle Dean’s hair. Dean jolted away from the attempted touch and raised his hands protectively.
“Hands off,” Dean glared.
“Sorry, so sorry. You are fascinating, Dean Winchester. Truly. Well, if there really isn’t anything I can help you with. I suppose I better be off and let you get back to Sam. It was wonderful meeting you Dean Winchester,” The Doctor said.
Dean stared at him mutely, carefully backing further away.
Then, quite possibly the weirdest thing of Dean’s night happened. The Doctor, or whoever the hell he was, came around to the front of the box and pushed the door inward (even though the sign clearly said pull).
Dean, always a curious kid, couldn’t help himself and asked, “What are you doing?”
The Doctor paused and smiled pleasantly. “I’m leaving.”
“Okay, but like why are you going into a big blue box?”
“It’s my ship,” The Doctor replied simply.
“Yes. Goodbye Dean,” The Doctor was moving inward again.
“Hey! What kind of ship?”
The Doctor paused and rocked back again. “TARDIS – Time and Relative Dimension in Space.”
“That doesn’t make sense,” Dean huffed.
“It makes perfect sense,” The Doctor smiled. “More sense than a lot of what you see, I’m sure.”
Dean furrowed his brows tight together. “How do you… Who’s this friend we got in common, anyway?”
“You haven’t met him yet. Goodnight, Dean.”
“Yeah… Night,” Dean replied distractedly, his twelve-year-old mind working through the last several minutes.
Suddenly, before Dean could fully process everything, the door closed with a hollow thunk and the strange whirring, whining sound that had gotten him out of bed in the first place, started up again.
Dean whipped his head up from where he was carefully contemplating the gravel under his feet and he saw the big blue box slowly start to disappear.
Dean gaped for what had to be a solid sixty seconds and then with a jolt he realized he had known The Doctor all along and The Doctor had been that weird stranger who showed up in the middle of the night when he was nine and helped get the shadow away from Sammy.
“It’s a time machine!” Dean shouted excitedly, into the night.