A girl walked out of the TARDIS kitchen just as the Doctor was about to walk in. This came as rather a surprise to him, because as far as he was concerned he'd been alone with his ship.
"Hello," said the Doctor.
"Hello," said the girl.
"Um," said the Doctor.
"Sorry," said the girl, "I think I've got the wrong door." And with that she about turned and walked back into the kitchen. The Doctor waited a few moments to see if anything else unexpected was going to happen and then followed her in.
"I'm the Doctor," he said.
"I'm Annie. And I really do think I'm in the wrong place. I wasn't expecting a doctor."
"Who were you expecting?"
"It's usually men with sticks and rope."
"Well, I've got a sonic screwdriver, and a, hang on--" the Doctor rummaged through his pockets "-- and a ball of string." He looked hopefully at Annie. "That's not quite the same thing, is it?"
"No, but thanks for trying."
"Well. Cup of tea, then?"
Annie beamed at him. "I thought you'd never ask. Sit, sit, I'll make it."
"My TARDIS exploded recently," the Doctor explained. "Just for a bit. But the kitchen door must have ended up in, where did you say you'd come from?"
The Doctor patted the kitchen table affectionately. "Good to see the old girl broadening her horizons."
"I was expecting to be in purgatory," said Annie.
"You are off course, aren't you? That's on the other side of the galaxy," said the Doctor. "By the way, has anybody ever told you that you make a spectacular cup of tea."
Annie grinned, pleased. "Only once or twice."
"I don't believe in ghosts, you know," said the Doctor. He looked down through the console room floor at Annie, who was using the harness he sometimes used to repair the TARDIS as a swing.
"Well, I don't believe in aliens."
"As long as we're both clear on that. We don't believe in each other."
"Fine, neither us exist. Do you want a cup of tea?" asked Annie, hopping off her swing.
The Doctor led Annie out of the TARDIS by the hand.
"It's a box," she said.
"Exactly," said the Doctor. "It's a box."
"Oh, I see. It's smaller on the outside. Very, um, impressive."
"This is why I normally make people come in through the front door," the Doctor grumbled.
"I'm the Doctor and this is my friend Annie Sawyer," the Doctor told the assembled crowd. He was expecting to be congratulated on his rather magnificent saving of their planet; instead the people stared at the empty space next to him and awkwardly shuffled their feet.
"Um," said Annie. "I told you, normal people can't see me."
"Right," said the Doctor with as much dignity as he could muster. "I'll just take my imaginary friend and be off, then."
Annie handed the Doctor a mug of sweet tea.
"An imaginary friend? I'm the Doctor, I don't have imaginary friends. I am the imaginary friend."
Annie patted his arm consolingly. "You just cling to that, fella."
"Have you noticed, Annie, that you spend a lot of time in the wardrobe room for someone who can't change her clothes?"
"Hey, these are the clothes I died in." Annie looked the Doctor up and down. "What's your excuse, Mr. Substitute Geography Teacher?"
"Hey! Stop it!" Annie swatted the sonic screwdriver from the Doctor's hand.
"Stand still, I'm trying to stabilise your holographic matrix," said the Doctor, scooping up his screwdriver.
"I've told you," said Annie, hurrying to the opposite side of the console, "I'm a ghost, I don't have a holographic matrix."
"Hold still!" ordered the Doctor, scurrying round the console after Annie. "Don't you want people to see you?"
"Annie Sawyer, meet Mr. and Mrs. Pond. Amy, Rory, this is my new companion, Annie."
"Hi," said Rory.
"It's always the pretty ones with you, isn't it, Doctor?" said Amy.
"You can see her!" said a delighted Doctor. He turned to Annie. "They can see you!"
Rory nudged Amy. "Has he gone a bit peculiar without us?"
"What's this in aid of?" the Doctor asked as Annie balanced the plate and mug on the console.
"It's tea. I always make tea."
"And hot buttered toast. You want something, don't you?"
"It's just-- ever since we went to visit Amy and Rory, I've been thinking about my friends, George and Nina, and..."
"You want to see them again?"
Annie shook her head sadly. "I can't. I said goodbye to them, properly said goodbye, the last time I went through the door. But I would like to do something nice for them."
"Look at it," the Doctor all but cooed. "It's a puppy."
"It's a werewolf," said Annie.
"Yes, but it's a little baby one. Hello there, tiny cross werewolf."
Annie smacked the Doctor's wrist. "Don't pet the werewolf."
"So, this is your friend's son?"
"Yes. Can you--? Can you make it so that he's normal, so that he never changes again?"
"Yes, it's a pretty common alien virus, lycanthropy. Like the cold, only with more hair." The Doctor zapped the miniature werewolf with the sonic screwdriver. "Annie, you do know that I would have helped your friends if I could? But they were infected too long ago, the virus is buried too deep in their cells."
"I know, Doctor. This is good, thank you."
The Doctor and Annie looked down at what was now a perfectly normal human infant.
"I still think it looked better with fur," the Doctor said mournfully.
Annie and the Doctor sat with the baby until morning.
"Why did you do it?" the Doctor asked. "Say goodbye to your friends, walk through that door?"
"It's hard to explain. All I could see was this vast expanse of time in front of me. Seeing my friends living this life I could never properly be part of. Watching them grow old and-- it was..."
The Doctor squeezed Annie's hand. "I know exactly what you mean."
"I wish you wouldn't call me that. How would you feel if I went around calling you 'The'."
"Confused, mainly. Anyway, getting off topic. I've just thought of the perfect planet for a holiday. Exists in two dimensions - so the people, the architecture, even the animals are forever fluctuating in and out of existence. Imagine it, you can be sitting having lunch and the entire restaurant just vanishes into another dimension."
The cafe flickered in and out of existence around them as the Doctor drank tea.
"Do you ever wonder why that door appeared in my house?" Annie asked.
"The TARDIS is a crafty old devil, maybe she knew you weren't meant for the men with sticks and rope?"
"Yeah. And maybe-- maybe she knew how much I needed a good cup of tea. Which," the Doctor looked into his mug, "this is not. Come on, let's go back to the TARDIS."