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“Ask for Maureen, tell her I’m picking up an order for Isabelle.” Alec said, rolling his eyes. “I got it, Iz.”

Alec lowered his mobile as he pushed his way through the doors and into the department store, bringing it back to his ear just as Isabelle finished repeating her strict instructions for the third time. Before she could start again, Alec quickly bid her goodbye, hanging up the call without waiting for a response. He groaned as he glanced around the store, taking in just how busy the place really was. With a sigh of resignation, he made sure his sports bag was secure on his shoulder, and began to weave his way through the crowds, searching for the escalator.

He made it to the second floor with minimal injury, but quickly found himself lost amongst the haphazardly placed racks of clothing and accessories. Even his height didn’t seem to offer him much of an advantage, his view blocked in every direction by towers of shelving units and fabric. There wasn’t a member of staff to be seen, and after another fruitless ten minutes that had Alec passing the same rack of dresses at least three times, he was ready to give in. Izzy would kill him, but he was pretty sure whatever hell had cooked up for him, it couldn’t be worse than this.

Conceding defeat, Alec began to search for the way back down, only to halt in his tracks as a deafening scream rang out across the store. Instinctively, Alec made to grab his sports bag, thinking immediately of the bow carefully stashed inside. A second later he realised what a terrible idea that was, sheepishly lowering his hand as he sought out the source of the ruckus.

A few racks away, the woman screamed again, tripping over a collection of necklaces as she scrambled away. Alec glanced around for her assailant, noting with concern that she wasn’t the only customer screaming and trying to run, but the only things he could see were piles of clothing and groups of mannequins, neither of which seemed particularly dangerous.

That was, until one of the mannequins turned around.

Alec was moving before he could even believe what he was seeing, diving behind the nearest display table as the mannequin shot at him. A nearby pair of shoes exploded, and Alec stared at the burning leather scraps in disbelief. Cautiously, he peered over the edge of the table, only to quickly duck as the mannequin shot at him again, this time narrowly missing Alec’s head and hitting a pile of t-shirts, which consequently burst into flames. Cursing, Alec scrambled forward, only to find his escape route blocked as another mannequin appeared in front of his, its hand falling away to reveal the barrel of a gun pointed in his direction.

Alec darted to one side as the mannequin fired, and something exploded behind him he had an idea. Glancing backward, Alec carefully positioned himself, forcing himself not to move as the mannequin in front of him stared him down. Alec barely had time to consider just how insane this all was before there was a quiet click and he dropped, hitting the floor just as the mannequin behind him fired. Alec’s plan played out to perfection, and he quickly shielded his eyes as the shot hit his intended target, showering him with fragments of melted plastic and leaving the path in front clear. Alec was on the move before the burnt remains of the second mannequin had even hit the floor, darting around a rack of sequinned dresses and leaping over a pile of fallen handbags as he desperately tried to find an exit.

Spotting an open door, Alec quickly darted through, only to skid to a halt as he realised with horror that he’d run straight into the changing rooms, effectively trapping himself in a dead end. He immediately made to leave, only to stumble backwards as a trio of mannequins, oddly terrifying in their bright summer dresses, crashed through the doorway. Cornered, Alec quickly made the decision to roll with the madness, and swiftly pulled the bow and his quiver of arrows from his bag. For a moment he felt foolish, cowering in the women’s changing room brandishing a compound bow at plastic models, but then there was a loud shattering as one of the mannequins shot out a light bulb, and any reservations Alec had vanished.

The first arrow hit the middle mannequin in the neck, and it stumbled, causing a minor pile up as the other two crashed into it. Alec wasn’t entirely convinced that plastic could feel pain, but then again he hadn’t expected it to start walking around shooting things either, and so he didn’t pause. His second arrow took out an eye, or would have if there were eyes to take out, but this time the mannequin didn’t slow. Alec kept firing, distracting the mannequins enough to stop them shooting at him but barely slowing their approach. With no other choice, Alec backed up step by step, until there was nowhere else to go. The mannequins were now too close for him to shoot, and as Alec gripped an arrow tightly in his fist, he found himself cursing the fact he was about to die in a women’s changing room.

Izzy was never going to let him live this down.

A hand grabbed Alec’s arm, and Alec swung, burying the head of his arrow into his assailant’s arm. To his surprise, there was a yell of pain, and Alec whipped to stare at the mannequin that had grabbed him. Except it wasn’t a mannequin at all, but a man, who was staring at Alec with wide eyes and a pouted lip.

“So that’s what I get for trying to help a human.” He said, glancing down at the blood that was quickly leaking from his stab wound. “Typical.”

“Oh god.” Alec said, staring at the man in horror. “I’m so sorry-”

“No time!” The man interrupted, grabbing Alec by the hand and yanking him into the cubicle he’d just emerged from. Disorientated, Alec stumbled, landing hard on the small bench that was conveniently placed below him. He couldn’t stop staring at his saviour, and as he took in the perfectly spiked hair with its bright purple streak, dark silk shirt open almost to the navel, and the sparkle of glitter than lined his golden eyes, Alec couldn’t help thinking that if they weren’t currently fighting for their lives against an army of animated mannequins, he’d have quite like to have asked the guy on a date.

Awkward propositions would have to wait, however, as the mannequins hadn’t been at all fooled by their quick sidestep, and were currently crowding the doorway. Alec leapt to his feet, but his saviour simply waved him back down, turning to face their attackers with a confident grin.

“Nice try,” The man said, producing a long silver tube from goodness knows where, “But I’m afraid you’ve been less than model employees.”

There was a whirring noise, and a blue light suddenly burst from the end of the tube. The man pointed it at the mannequins, and immediately they began to convulse, reminding Alec strangely of a dance move Jace had tried to teach him the last time they went on a night out. The man grinned, closing the cubicle’s curtains with a dramatic flourish before turning proudly back towards Alec.

“Model employee?” Alec asked, in lieu of one of the many, many questions whirling around his head. “Really?”

“I was a little rushed for time.” The man replied, shrugging.

“What’s that?”

“Sonic screwdriver.” The man said, holding up the silver tube.

“A screwdriver?” Alec replied incredulously. The man just raised an eyebrow.

“Says the man with a bow and arrow.”

Alec glanced down at his hand, still gripping the compound bow, and found he couldn’t really argue.

“I was on my way back from training.” He said by way of explanation, looking back up to find the man watching him with a teasing smile.

“Should we, you know?” Alec said awkwardly, inclining his head towards the curtain. As much as he was enjoying the close quarters, he wasn’t sure how much longer he wanted to remain in the changing rooms.

“No need!” The man said, linking his arm through Alec’s as he turned him to face the back wall. Alec’s jaw dropped.

He wasn’t entirely sure how he’d missed it before, although he supposed the murderous mannequins had stolen most of his attention. Behind them stood a tall blue box, the words Police Public Call Box emblazoned across the top. Alec didn’t have time to stare however, as he was already being pulled through the suddenly open door, and for the second time that day he found he couldn’t believe his eyes. Forgetting all about the mannequins, Alec spun slowly, taking in the astonishing sight.

“It’s-” He stammered, still gaping, “It’s bigger on the inside.”

“Magnus Bane.” The man introduced with a smug smile. “Welcome to my TARDIS.”