I should have stayed in bed. Those six little words would become my mantra over the years, especially in particularly stressful times. Had I stayed in bed instead of rushing to Rose the minute she called me, babbling about some man disappearing after blowing up her shop, I never would have been dragged on these adventures. I never would have been threatened more times than I can count. I never would have lost my best friend – okay, maybe I would have but at least I wouldn't have been there to witness it; not that that made it any better. I never would have encountered aliens who wanted to destroy my planet. I never would have died.
Then again, had I stayed in bed like my body had demanded that I do, I never would have seen the stars as I had. I never would have gone on amazing adventures and visited beautiful planets. I never would have met the people who came into my life and ended up meaning the world to me. I never would have met him, and I could never regret meeting him. Not the Doctor. Not my Doctor.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. In order for you to know how my story ends, we must first see how it begins. And it all begins in my small London flat; more precisely, in my bed.
I couldn't even remember the last time I had gotten such a restful sleep. Wait, that's a lie; I can certainly remember it. I was still a kid, you know? Old enough to complain about having to go to bed so early because I was 'a big girl now', but young enough that I would be yawning as I said it and completely ruin the effect of said words. I think I was eight. Could have been nine.
Whatever, that doesn't really matter. What matters is the fact that I was rudely awoken from my blissful sleep by my Nokia's generic ringtone. In my scramble to get my phone, I leaned just a bit too far over the edge of my bed and hit the floor with a hard thump and a litany of curses that would make my poor grandmother want to wash my mouth out with soup.
"Whattayawant?" I grumbled after pressing the green call button, holding the black Nokia to my ear as I rested my cheek on the cold floorboard beneath me. My eyes fluttered closed, fighting to return to the realm of sleep no matter where my body was currently perched. My blankets had fallen with me and I was tempted to just curl into a ball and go back to sleep.
"Charlie!" Rose's voice screeched in my ear, making my eyes fly open, my body shoot up, and my hands scramble for the phone I was about to drop in my moment of surprise. I could still hear Rose yelling as my fingers managed to get a grip on the very edge of the phone and I hurriedly put it back to my ear, "…and they were alive, Charlie! He pulled its arm right off and then proceeded to blow the shop up!"
I blinked owlishly, what the hell was she on about? Who pulled who's arm off? What shop was blown up? "Rose, are you on drugs? Do I need to be worried?" I sighed, rubbing the bridge of my nose.
"What?" Rose questioned dumbly before she was shouting again, "this is serious, Charlie!"
"You said the same thing when you were sixteen and you told me you broke your finger but it was just your damn fingernail!" I growled, stomping into my tiny bathroom and stubbing my toe on the doorframe. "Bloody hell," I hissed, hobbling the rest of the way to the sink below the bathroom mirror. "You also said the same thing when you and Mickey-Mouse started dating, and I still think you two are pulling a fast one on me."
"We've been dating for two years!" Rose exclaimed and I could just picture her throwing her free hand in the air as she glared at her phone.
"Pranks don't have a time limit," I retorted snidely.
I hear Rose let out a scream of frustration before she's talking again. "Look," she begins, her voice thick and suddenly I'm more alert than I was a moment ago, "I'm scared, Charlie, something's happening and…" she took in a ragged breath, "…and I need you."
"I'll be there in ten minutes," I answered immediately, hanging up the phone before bolting out of my bathroom. I had planned on showering but that was going to have to wait, Rose needed me and I promised her when we were younger that I'd always be there.
I didn't even bother changing really, I simply threw a pair of sweat pants over my underwear and a black hoodie over my camisole. Socks and shoes were next before I scraped my hair into a messy bun, grabbed my keys, and bolted out the door.
My apartment wasn't far from Rose and Jackie's and the trip was cut in half by the fact I was sprinting as fast as I possibly could. Occasionally, I would jostle a few people here and there, but I simply kept moving, ignoring their comments in favour of reaching my best friend.
Using the spare key Jackie had given me when I was fifteen, I burst into their flat and rushed straight to Rose's room. I barely made it through the door before I was being tackled by a head of blonde hair. We fell to the ground in a pile of limbs but I could feel Rose's chest shaking and the wetness of tears against my neck so I ignored the pain shooting through my back from where I landed on the floor. "What happened?" I breathe, barely able to catch my breath after running a few blocks, "are you okay?" I pull her away from me and check her over with my hands and eyes, "are you hurt?"
"I-I-I…" The words just don't want to come out and I pull her closer to me in another hug.
"Sh," I whisper softly, trailing my fingers through her hair, "it's okay, we'll get through this together, yeah?" I feel her nod and pull back once more so that we can both stand. "Come on," I urge her, "I'll make you a cup of tea and you can tell me everything."
One hour and two cups of tea later and I'm ready to admit my friend just might have finally lost it. I mean, I thought she had two years ago when she began dating Mickey-Mouse, but now? Now she had reached a whole new level of crazy. Living dummies? A man clad in a leather jacket with a bomb in said jacket? Said man blowing up Rose's shop? Nope, she was bonkers.
Then she showed me the news report. The shop had really been blown up. Rose had almost died. I had almost lost one of the most important people in my life to some madman that went around pulling arms off of shop dummies and if I ever saw him I was gonna slap him good and proper.
Jackie had come in earlier, giving me a tight hug and a loving kiss on the forehead before she tried to convince Rose to get a job at Finches. I had snickered behind my cup of tea, smirking at my best friend when she turned to me with a glare.
When Jackie returned to her room a comfortable silence descends between me and Rose. Until we both heard scratching.
"I thought you guys were gonna nail that cat flap down," I commented, taking another mouthful of my tea as I eyed the door to the kitchen curiously.
"Mum said she was gonna do it," Rose huffed, getting up from the kitchen table and leaving to go down the hall.
There was silence, then Rose was chastising Jackie, then I heard her squeak and suddenly she was rushing back into the room. "It's him!" she exclaimed, grabbing my wrist and yanking me from my chair, my cup crashing to the ground and spilling the remainder of my tea.
"Rose!" I hissed, "do you know how much that tea costs?"
"Stop liking such expensive tea then!" she retorted, "he's here, Charlie!"
"The man who blew up the shop!"
I paused, only a metre from the door, something cold filling my chest as I forcibly restrain the shiver that threatens to take over me. There was a madman out front of my friend's apartment. A madman, that less than twenty-four hours ago, blew up said best friends work. "Don't open the door! We should call the police," I told Rose as she moved to open the door.
This made her pause. She turned to me, her eyebrows furrowed, "why?"
I rolled my eyes and looked at her with an expression that told her exactly how stupid I thought that question was. "Oh, I don't know," I begin smarmily, "maybe because the madman who blew up the shop you work at is currently standing out front of your apartment?" Rose's expression didn't change and I face-palmed before looking back at her with a glare. "What if he followed you?" I hissed, "what if he's here to kill you because you saw his face and he doesn't want any witnesses to what he did last night?"
"He's the one who got me out of the building before he blew it up," Rose answered.
"Oh," I gasp, in mock relief, "well then, that makes it all just peachy doesn't it?" Her eyes narrow at my sarcasm but I continue, undeterred. "You know what? Invite him in, I'll make him a cup of tea and we can all discuss the finer details of blowing up a shop! Do you think he takes sugar in his tea?" I sass, my hands planted firmly on my hips, "maybe he's a honey kinda guy?"
Even with my warning, Rose opens the door, grabs the man by his leather jacket, and hauls him into her apartment. My arms are crossed over my chest and my eyes are narrowed as I look at the man standing in front of me. He's older than I imagined, when Rose said leather jacket I was picturing someone around my age or a little older, maybe covered in tattoos and had a piercing or two. I didn't expect a man who looked like he was in his forties, had a buzz cut, and ears that made me instantly think of Dumbo. I squashed my lips into a thin line to suppress the giggle at the mental image of this man flying about the apartment, his ears flapping wildly around his head.
"Who are you then?" he asked when his eyes finally landed on me.
I huffed, turning on the balls of my feet as I grabbed Rose's wrist and practically stomped down the hall with my best friend in tow.
"Charlie!" Rose exclaims, trying to tug on my arm.
"Who's here then?" I hear Jackie call from the room.
"Dumbo decided to pay us a visit today while he's on break from the circus," I grunt as I walk past her room.
"What?" Rose and Jackie asked.
"Oi!" the man exclaimed from somewhere behind us, his footsteps following us into the living room as I finally dropped Rose's hand and continued on into the kitchen.
The man enters the kitchen, his arms folded over his jacket as he glares at me. "Who are you?" he asks again, not too nicely either, I'm just saying.
"None of your business," I retort, my own hands folded over my own jacket.
"This is Charlotte."
I roll my eyes and gesture wildly in the man's direction, "don't give the madman my name! It's bad enough he knew your name!"
"Charlotte? Nice name," the man mumbled.
"Call me Charlotte and I'll slap you," I growl, my eyes narrowing further. "Get rid of him," I tell Rose, "I'm gonna clean up this mess and hopefully when I'm done the world will have righted itself and everything will go back to normal. We will not have a madman standing in the apartment as if we had invited him over for tea and biscuits and you," I pointed at the man, who was watching me with highly amused eyes, "will not kill my best friend because she witnessed you blow up a shop!"
"Wait, what?" he asked, taking a step forward, his eyebrows furrowed.
"Stop!" I shout, making him and Rose jump. I waggle my finger at him, "not one step closer, mister! Not. One. More. Step!"
The man looked me up and down before he turned to Rose, "is she always like this?" he questioned, pointing in my direction and acting like I couldn't bloody hear him.
Rose shrugged, "usually she would have slapped you by now," she replied, "she's being really nice right now. Enough of that though," Rose continued when it looked like the man was gonna continue asking questions, "you. Me. Living room. You're gonna tell me exactly what's going on."
I mumble to myself as I kneel on the ground and pick up the small piece of the broken cup. This day couldn't get any weirder. Right?
Spoke too soon! I jump from my spot on the ground, quickly throw the cup pieces in the trash, and run into the living room where I see the man standing over Rose who is on the couch with a plastic arm covering her face. "Oi!" I yell at the man, picking up the umbrella Jackie always managed to trip over. I rush over to the two of them and begin hitting the man as hard and fast as I can with the umbrella. "Let go of her!" I yell, still whacking him wherever I can reach.
"Ow!" I hear him exclaim, "stop hitting me! I'm trying to help her!"
I whack him again, this time the umbrella connects with his head. A string of words that I can't even begin to decipher stream from his lips before he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a small silver device with a blue tip. He flashes it at the arm, the device makes a whirring sound, and suddenly he's stumbling back.
He knocks into me and we both fall to the ground in a heap.
"Get off me!" I wheeze, trying to crawl out from beneath his hulking body. Finally, the man gets off me and I turn over onto my stomach before making my way to my feet. "God, I thought the jacket just made you look bigger!" I huff as I gingerly rub my sore chest, still pointing the umbrella at the man with my free hand.
"Are you calling me fat?" he questions, obviously insulted.
I snort, "if the shoe fits," I mutter, earning myself another glare from the man.
"You're not a very nice person, you know that?"
"I know," I retort smugly, smirking at him.
"You're infuriating!" he exclaims, throwing his hands in the air.
"Thank you," I reply.
"It wasn't a compliment!"
"Sure, it wasn't."
"Can you two stop flirting and tell me what the hell just happened?!"
"Your friend attacked me!" the man began, obviously choosing to ignore the flirting comment.
I huffed, "you attacked Rose!"
"I was saving her!"
"Didn't look like it!"
"Well, not everything is how it looks, Charlotte!"
"What was that for?!" the man yelled as he rubbed at his head where I had just hit him with the umbrella.
I smirked, though my eyes were narrowed at him once more, "don't. Call. Me. Charlotte!"
"Then what should I call you?!"
We both turned to Rose with narrowed eyes, our hands rubbing our heads. The blonde was holding up the plastic arm she had just hit us with, her own eyes narrowed but something else shining in them as she gazed between the two of us.
Rose took a step back and almost fell back on the couch, "uh," she began, opening and closing her mouth as she tried to find something to say, "this is the Doctor!"
I rolled my eyes, Rose never was good at coming up with something on the spot. Then what she told me registered and I turned back to the man with an incredulous look. "The Doctor?" I ask.
"Hello," he smiles smugly, wiggling his fingers at me like a weirdo.
"The Doctor? The Doctor of what?"
"Just, The Doctor," he answers.
I huff, "right, sorry," I reply, rolling my eyes, again, "how silly of me? I mean, it's perfectly natural for someone to be called just The Doctor. I take back what I said earlier about calling the police, Rose."
"Really?" she questioned.
I nod, "yup, I think this one escaped from a loony bin and we should contact the hospital instead." I turned back to 'The Doctor' and smiled sweetly at him, "now, sweetie, do you remember the name of the actual Doctor treating you?"
He glared at me and I could hear Rose trying to stifle her laughs. My smile fell as I turned back to Rose and the plastic arm she was still holding. "He didn't hurt you, did he?" I question, my eyes scanning her as I had earlier.
Rose gives me a soft smile and shakes her head. "He really was just trying to help, Charlie," she assured me, "the arm attacked him and then attacked me when I tried to help."
My God, they were both completely bonkers. "The arm attacked you?" I asked slowly.
"Piece of an Auton," Dumbo, because there was no way I was calling this man 'The Doctor', said from where he stood beside me.
"Okay," I began, still clutching the umbrella, "let's say I believe you. What the hell is an Auton and why did it attack you?"
"No time for that," Dumbo replied as he pushed passed me and Rose, "I've got to go."
"Bye!" I yell, happy we were obviously done with the delusional man.
"Hold on a minute!" Rose yelled, running after Dumbo.
I groan loudly, hitting my forehead against the umbrella. "Don't follow," I mutter to myself, "don't follow. This has nothing to do with you. Don't follow. Don't follow. Don't follow… Damn it!"
Dropping the umbrella on the couch, I book it out of the apartment, chasing after Rose and Dumbo who were already on the first floor and out of the building by the time I reached the stairs. By the time I pushed open the doors of the apartment block, Dumbo and Rose were standing in the street, holding hands and looking intensely at one another.
"If this is some weird marriage proposal, she respectfully declines."
I pulled Rose away from Dumbo who looked down at me with annoyance and a very small trace of amusement.
"Can I come with you?" Rose asked out of nowhere and I turned to look at her incredulously.
"You're kidding, right?" I questioned, "I know Jackie gave you the talk about going anywhere with strangers, Rose, and Dumbo is by far the strangest person I've ever met."
"Oi! Are you just gonna keep insulting me whenever we're in the same vicinity as each other?" Dumbo asked, folding his arms over his chest and glaring at me.
"I don't plan on making this a regular occurrence so the answer would be no."
Dumbo and I looked at each other, both of us refusing to be the first person to look away. When Rose coughed, we both looked away and towards her as she glanced between us amusedly, that look back in her eyes.
Dumbo shook his head and looked back at Rose, his eyes turning stern as he gazed at her. "Remember what I said, Rose Tyler. Forget me," he told her before his eyes turned back to me, "you too."
"Don't tell me what to do," I huffed, folding my arms over my chest as I gave him a narrow-eyed glare, "who the hell do you think you are?"
"I'm The Doctor," he answered smugly, like that suddenly gave him the right to order me about.
"Well, I'm a Williams, and we don't take orders from anyone!"
"Charlie," Rose scolded softly.
"No, Rose," I interrupted as I looked at Dumbo, "please, just do us a favour and go away. Twice Rose has run into you and both times she's almost died or gotten hurt. I won't lose her, not for anything."
He looked at me like he'd never seen me before, his eyes studying every inch of my face and settling on my eyes. I had no doubt they reflected the fear I felt for my best friend and I watched his body sag as his eyes looked into mine. "Goodbye, Rose Tyler and Charlie Williams," he finally spoke and I felt my body relax.
"Doctor," Rose tried but I shook my head as I grabbed her arm and tugged her gently towards her apartment.
We had just turned the corner when there was a large whoosh of air and Rose suddenly turned and ran back towards the area we had just left. I followed her closely and stopped, my mouth gaping a little at what I saw. Well, more like what I didn't see.
"Wasn't there a blue police box there a moment ago?" I asked Rose, turning to see her shaking her head before she turned and began heading back to her apartment.
I went to follow her but paused for a moment to look over my shoulder where the police box had been. A woman stood where it once was, her abundant curls blowing wildly around her face. She didn't seem bothered by this, however, as she stood with her hands in her coat pockets. She was looking at me and when our eyes met, she grinned widely before placing a finger to her lips. Even from where I stood, I could see her wink before she turned and started walking away, meeting a man at the edge of the park.
His own hands were in a large trench coat and, when he noticed I was looking at him, he grinned and waved. I don't know what possessed me to do it but I waved back.
"Charlie, you coming?"
I looked to see Rose waiting impatiently for me and threw another look at the strange couple only to frown when they were gone. Shaking my head, I quickly turned around and ran towards my best friend, grabbing her hand as we ran back to her apartment.
Could this day get any stranger?
He entered the Tardis, frowning when the door seemed to stick, like she didn't want him to leave just yet. He threw a look over his shoulder and watched as Rose was dragged off by her infuriating friend. The woman had a mouth, that was for sure, and yet, she had made him feel something other than crippling guilt and sadness for the first time in a long time.
True, the emotion had been indignation but he had felt a bit of amusement too. It had been a while since someone had gone toe to toe with him in a battle of wits. She was interesting. Interesting and infuriating.
As he walked into the Tardis, she seemed to hum in displeasure as he walked to the console and prepared to leave. He frowned as one of the levers he needed stuck and he had to put more force behind it to get it to move.
"What's wrong with you today?" he asked her as the familiar sound of the Tardis dematerialising reached his ears.
Another displeased hum was all he got in reply as they vanished.
Rose was a tad obsessive; and by a tad, I mean completely obsessive. After Dumbo had disappeared, Rose had dragged me back to her apartment where I made us another cup of tea and resisted the urge to roll my eyes as she went on and on about Dumbo.
Now? Now we were entering Mickey-Mouse's apartment for a cuppa. Well, Rose was gonna have a cuppa, apparently, I wasn't allowed to have any considering it hypes me up and makes me a little crazy. Nan used to laugh about it all the time, telling me I reminded her of an old friend who was just as crazy without the coffee.
Mr Smith had been a big part of my childhood, Nan and Pop telling me all kinds of stories about him and their shenanigans when they were younger. I had aspired to live a life half as interesting as my grandparents and Mr Smith. Not that I had succeeded as of yet but I was still young.
"Hey, Mickey-Mouse," I grin as we enter Mickey's apartment and living room, "lazy day?"
"Don't you go judging me, Char," Mickey grumbled playfully, pointing a finger in my direction as he gave Rose a kiss.
I held my hands up in mock surrender, winking at him as he grinned and gave me a hug. "Coffee?" he asked Rose. I opened my mouth and he pointed at me again, "no coffee for you."
I pouted, folding my arms over my chest as I glared at him.
"Yeah," Rose chuckled, poking my bottom lip playfully, making me grin, "only if you wash the mug. And I don't mean rinse, I mean wash. Can I use your computer?"
Mickey scoffed, "yeah, any excuse to get in the bedroom," he teased.
"Get your mind out of the gutter," Rose laughed, "Charlie's coming in with me anyway so what could we possibly do?"
Mickey got a far-off look in his eyes and Rose and I rolled our own as I tossed a cushion I'd picked up off the sofa at his head. "Really, Mickey?" I groaned.
"What?" he asked innocently as Rose disappeared into the room, "don't read my emails!"
"Why? You hidin' something, Mickey-Mouse?" I asked as I leaned against the door frame, my eyebrow raised.
"Not like that, Char," Mickey sighed, knowing how protective I was of Rose.
"Good," I replied simply as I turned and entered the room. I walked over to Rose, who had already booted up the computer, and groaned as I saw what she was looking for. "This is a little stalkerish, don't you think?" I asked as she continued to research 'The Doctor', "just forget about him, Rose, that's what he told you to do."
"Since when do you listen to what someone tells you to do?" Rose asked incredulously.
"Since I didn't want to know him in the first place!" I exclaimed, "you can practically smell trouble on that guy and here you are, trying to find out more about him!"
"Wasn't it you that said you wanted a little more excitement in your life?" Rose questioned.
"Yeah, excitement not potentially life-threatening situations."
"What would Angel do?" Rose questioned and I felt myself deflate.
"Don't bring Angel into this, Rose," I growled.
Rose turned away from the search engine and looked at me, "your Nan used to tell us those stories about John Smith and his Angel, you loved her, said you wanted to grow up to be just like her. Would she do what she was told and forget a mysterious stranger who didn't seem to make any sense?"
I knew she had me there and by the smug grin on her face, Rose knew she had me there too. Sighing heavily, I ordered her to budge over on the small chair and squeezed on with her. "What are we looking at?" I questioned as Rose clicked on a link and a fuzzy picture of Dumbo popped up.
"We contact Clive," Rose answered, removing her phone to dial the number. She left the room to make the call and I found myself staring at the picture with a frown on my face. Something didn't seem right about it. Why was it in greyscale? Why was it so fuzzy? And why were the clothes so dated? The picture had been blown up to only feature Dumbo but a woman's hat was visible and I could tell it wasn't something recent.
I removed my own phone and quickly dialled a familiar number, cringing internally as I thought about my next phone bill.
I smiled as my Nan's Scottish accent filled my ears. I had picked up a slight accent from living with her my whole life but there were times where I was jealous of my Nan's accent and wished I sounded more like her.
"Hey, Nan," I replied, "did I wake you? What time is it in New York?"
"I was already up, Sweetie," my Nan replied, "still not used to sleeping on my own, I guess. You'd think after three years without your Pop, I'd be used to it by now."
My Nan and Pop had moved back to New York a few years ago and Jacky had allowed me to live with her and Rose when I had been unwilling to leave. Nan had signed the correct papers, knowing that, while we'd miss each other terribly, she and Pop were getting on in years and I really needed someone closer to my own age.
Growing up in American had been hard, I hadn't sounded like the other kids there and never really fit in. When we had moved to London for Pop to get the treatment he had needed at the time, I had met Rose and grown closer to her. It had been the first time in a very long time where I had felt like I truly belonged and I hadn't wanted it to end.
"I have a question," I continued, shaking my head to clear it of its previous thoughts, "you said you and Pop did a lot of travelling when you were younger, right?"
"Yup, we travelled the universe together."
I smiled at how dramatic my Nan could be sometimes but didn't correct her. "On your travels, did you ever hear of someone called 'The Doctor'?" I was hoping she'd tell me she had no idea who I was talking about and I could tell Rose the photo was likely fake. Those clothes weren't recent but the man in the photo couldn't possibly be the Doctor. could it?
I heard a plate smash and my heart jolted, "Nan? Nan, are you okay?!"
"I'm fine," my Nan huffed, "why are you asking about The Doctor?"
"So, you do know him?" I asked, excited to get some more information on him.
"Know him? I've met him," she stated proudly, "back in the day."
I frowned, "Nan," I began softly, "you couldn't have met him back in the day. He's barely forty-five years old. Have you been taking your medication?"
"Don't you take that tone with me, Charlotte Williams," my Nan scolded and I cringed at the use of my first and last name. It was a warning, had she used my full name it would mean I was in a lot of trouble.
"Sorry, Nan," I apologised softly.
"Now, why are you asking about The Doctor?"
I sighed heavily, feeling a headache coming on, "we sort of met him today."
"We? You and Rose?"
"Well, Rose met him the other night when he blew up her shop-"
"-typical," I heard my Nan laugh before she was telling me to continue.
"And then he came to her apartment today and there was this arm that they claimed attacked them. Which is silly, right? Plastic arms don't just go around attacking people. It's not possible."
"What did I tell you when you were younger, Lottie?"
I rolled my eyes, "everything is possible and if it isn't, it will be, you just have to be crazy enough to make it that way."
"Exactly, and do you know who told me that?"
"Angel," my Nan agreed, "one of the bravest, strongest, and craziest women I'd ever met. So, you better believe a plastic arm attacking someone is possible, because a lot of things are about to change."
"What are you talking about?" I questioned sceptically.
"I can't say any more than that," my Nan replied, "but, Lottie?"
"He can be trusted. The Doctor, I mean. He's a good man."
I didn't want to tell Nan that I doubted we were talking about the same man, because the man I had met didn't give me the warm and fuzzy's. Instead, he made me want to get as far from him as possible and keep Rose away from him too. I didn't say this, of course, because I had only ever heard my Nan sound so soft when she was speaking about Mr Smith and Angel.
"It doesn't matter," I told my Nan, "he left earlier today and told me and Rose to forget about him."
I heard my Nan snort on the other end of the phone, "well, that's gonna be a problem."
"Spoilers," Nan laughed and I rolled my eyes, "just trust your heart, Lottie, it's never led you wrong before."
"Okay, I love you, Nan."
"I love you, Sweetie, say hello to Rose for me. And don't worry, I'll be fine.'
My eyebrows furrowed, "what are you talking about?"
And then she hung up.
I stared at my phone for a moment, unbelieving that my Nan had just hung up on me after being as cryptic as she just was. She had spoken like we weren't going to be talking for a while and it concerned me a little bit. Did she think I was going somewhere? Was she going somewhere?
Rose walked in before I could go stir-crazy thinking about it.
"I rang that Clive guy and he said we could meet him today," she told me as I placed my phone back into my pocket.
"I'm not going, Rose," I stated simply.
"You heard me," I replied, "whoever that guy is, he's dangerous, I can feel it. I don't want to be anywhere near him and neither should you."
"Aren't you even a little bit curious?" Rose questioned.
I nodded my head, "I am. I have millions of questions for that man but that doesn't mean I'm going to put myself or you in danger to learn them."
"No, Rose, I'm not going. If you really have to go, take Mickey."
Rose huffed and glared at me before she stomped out of the room. I sat heavily on Mickey's bed, running my fingers through my hair before I gave the tangled strands a small tug. I didn't like making Rose upset with me. Nan had told me to follow my heart but it was telling me I could trust a man I'd never met before today. No. For once I wasn't going to let my heart or gut make these decisions for me. My brain was the only part of me being logical and it told me to stay as far away from that man as possible.
"You okay, Char?"
I looked up at the sound of Mickey's voice and saw him looking at me from where he was leaning against the frame of his door.
"She pissed?" I asked instead.
"Just a bit." I groaned. "Should I be worried about where she wants me to take her?" he asked me seriously, taking a step forward before he crouched in front of me.
"I don't know," I told him honestly, "something doesn't seem right about everything happening right now. Keep an eye on her, will you?"
"You don't even have to ask," he told me truthfully.
I stood up and gave him a tight hug. We made our way out of his apartment and down to the street where his car was parked. Rose was already in the car and turned her head away when she saw me. I frowned but shook it off as I gave Mickey another hug goodbye and watched him get in the car. When the car disappeared around the corner, I shoved my hands in my pocket and started walking back towards my apartment.
As I walked, I thought about maybe calling in sick to work but knew I couldn't. The staff was already spread thin at the hospital with Maureen having given birth the previous day and I needed the extra money anyway so I could finish getting the repairs on my motorcycle so I wouldn't have to keep walking everywhere.
I was a block from home when I heard the same noise I had heard this morning when Dumbo had vanished. It was coming from the alley up ahead and I groaned but kept walking, pointedly refusing to look down the alley.
Almost past it, I was suddenly knocked over by a hard body. I groaned as my butt hit the ground and pain shot up my back.
"Sorry," a voice breathed, without making a move to help me up. He stayed out of the way of the alley but I had fallen right into view of it and saw Dumbo's mouth drop when he saw me half laying on the ground a few feet from him.
I looked up to see who had knocked me over but no one was there. Great. Now I'm going crazy. Getting to my feet, I dusted myself off and grumbled as I saw the torn flesh of my palm. I was going to have to clean it but it wasn't anything major. I had just stepped in the direction to head home, still pointedly ignoring the man in the alley, when a callused hand grabbed my arm and dragged me into the alley.
"Hey!" I yelled as I tried to get out of his grasp, "let go of me!"
He roughly pulled me toward his blue police box and when I saw our destination, I planted my feet firmly and roughly tugged my arm out of his grip. He turned to look at me, his grey eyes storming before he hissed as my foot connected with his shin.
"What was that for?!" he yelled, his temper apparently getting the better of him.
"What the hell do you mean 'what was that for?'? That was for manhandling me!" I yelled back before I kicked him in the other shin, "and that's for my head start," I commented before I took off out of the alley, hearing him calling my name before the sound of him pursuing me reached my ears.
I picked up speed and sprinted to my apartment in the block over. I had lost Dumbo somewhere in the busy street but threw a quick look over my shoulder before I ran into my apartment, just to make sure he didn't know which building I had gone into.
My pace didn't slow down until I was up the stairs and safely locked inside my apartment. Only then did I stop, leaning against the locked door as I tried to gulp in air. Damn, I needed to start running again.
I shredded my jacket as I made my way into my room, planning to have a small nap before I had to get ready for work.
The moment my head hit my lumpy pillow, the exhaustion took over and I fell into a restless sleep.
River shook her head as Jack approached her. "Did you really need to be so rough on her?" she scolded him teasingly.
"You know I did," he replied with a small frown, "didn't mean I wanted to do it."
She shook her head and placed a small kiss on his cheek, "I know you didn't, but it was necessary. We both know how stubborn she is and she told us she needed a push in his direction. How's Ianto?"
Jack grinned at the mention of his husband, "he's good, wants to know if you're all coming around for dinner tonight?"
"I'm afraid I'm needed elsewhere," River replied with a wink, "Angel and I are going to talk The Doctor into Solar Wave Surfing."
Jack shook his head, knowing what River and Angel were like when they got together. It only seemed to get worse the longer they knew each other too. He actually felt sorry for The Doctor sometimes, especially whenever those two were anywhere near each other. And Solar Wave Surfing? They both had to be absolutely crazy. Which he knew they were. The Doctor was going to have an impossible time trying to tell them no and Jack imagined they'd do it even if he didn't cave in to their request. After all, there wasn't anything River Song and Angel couldn't get when they worked together.
And sometimes that was utterly terrifying.
The Tardis had been acting up all day and The Doctor couldn't figure out why for the life of him. She kept materialising in places he hadn't wanted to go and didn't seem to want to track the signal he was trying to track.
When she suddenly materialised somewhere else, The Doctor glared at the console. "What's so important about an alley?" he questioned her, only getting an impatient hum in return.
He huffed but turned and made his way to the door anyway. What he saw made him freeze, his mouth falling open. It was Charlotte, half laying on the ground with a frown on her face as she looked at some unseen person. This wasn't possible. He didn't run into the same person more than once. Those kinds of coincidences didn't exist with him.
She looked over and he saw her eyes widen as they met his before she muttered something under her breath and quickly stood up. He had already begun approaching her and grabbed her upper arm just as she was going to walk off. He wanted answers and he was going to get them.
"Hey!" she yelled as she tried to get out of his grasp, "let go of me!"
He pulled her towards the Tardis, a little more roughly than he had intended to, but was halted when her arm suddenly disappeared from his grasp. He turned to look at her, his temper rising as he glared down at her. He wanted answers. How did he find her again? Was she the reason the Tardis was acting up? Why did she seem like she hated him, ever since they'd met?
He hissed as her foot connected with his shin, pain shooting up his leg as his temper flared. He had noticed just how quick this regeneration was to anger but he didn't care at the moment.
"What was that for?!" he yelled, his temper getting the better of him.
"What the hell do you mean 'what was that for?'? That was for manhandling me!" she yelled back, her light Scottish accent deepening at her own anger. He saw her brown eyes narrow, ablaze with her own temper and found himself momentarily struck by the storm he saw brewing in them. The look was so familiar and he felt a pang in his hearts before he quelled the blossoming thoughts.
He hissed again as she kicked him in the other shin, "and that's for my head start," she commented before she took off out of the alley, her red hair flowing behind her and disappearing as she turned the corner. He called for her as he took chase, following her one block before he lost her in the crowd of people. He growled as he looked around and couldn't pinpoint where she could have gone. She could have run into any of the buildings but he didn't have the time to check them for her.
I won't be seeing her again anyway, he thought to himself. Twice was rare, three times was downright impossible.
That didn't stop him from stomping back to the Tardis, his mood soured by the events of earlier. When he stepped into the Tardis alone, she seemed to hum sadly and he glared at her. "Was this your doing?" he asked, referring to earlier. She didn't answer him and he grumbled as he made his way back over to the console, he had no problem getting the Tardis to take him where he wanted this time.
He just had no idea it was because he would be seeing Charlotte again.
She was disappointed that her plans to get her Thief to take on the feisty redhead had failed. She had made sure to be as difficult as possible, not taking him where he wanted to go but where she knew he needed to go. It was important that the flower and her friend travelled with them. She had seen it. The flower would be important to her Thief but nowhere near as important as her tempered friend. The Phoenix would rise again and help her Thief more than he or she could possibly fathom. She would fix her Thief, restore a part of him he had thought he'd lost in the war. She would make sure of it.
The child of the TARDIS needed her too. She would do what was needed to save her child.
Her plan had failed once again, the Phoenix had not joined them, she had attacked her Thief instead. She knew she shouldn't find amusement in it but she saw everything that could come and knew this was not the only time the Phoenix would lose her temper with her Thief, nor would it be the last time her Thief would lose his temper with the Phoenix. They were both stubborn and hotheaded, but in the end, they were one another's salvation.
And she would do everything she could to make sure the future she saw happened.