Hey! Hey! Betcha forgot I was writing this, didn't ya? Well, I am. And here's a new chapter!
Also, I should warn you, after this chapter, things are going to get...goofy. But I'll explain that when the time comes.
They weren’t going to get involved.
That’s what the Doctor said. But Rory knew the day that the Doctor didn’t get involved was the day that he sprouted wings and flew. The Doctor got involved. It was in his nature.
Although he really did look like he was going to stay out of trouble this time. In fact, he seemed more concerned with feeding the ducks in Central Park than getting into any trouble. “See that, Amy?” he said, gesturing towards the small lake the ducks were swimming in. “That is a duck pond. I know it’s a duck pond because it actually has ducks in it.”
“You’re never going to let that go, are you?” laughed Amy as she tossed some pretzel crumbs to a nearby group of ducks.
“Why should I? It was a duck pond with no ducks. That doesn’t make any sense. Does that make any sense, Rory?”
“Not really,” admitted Rory. “But I’m not sure why it matters.”
“Because…” The Doctor cut himself off mid-sentence. “Hello, what do we have here?” He approached the edge of the lake, pulling out his sonic screwdriver as he did so. “Amy, Rory, come look at this…”
As Rory approached the lake, he thought he saw…well, he wasn’t sure what it was. Something metal, caked in whatever mud and muck was at the bottom of the lake. It could have been anything, really. “What do you think it is?” asked Amy.
“I’m not sure…” The sonic screwdriver whined and buzzed, the sound changing as the Doctor pointed it at the object. “Whatever it is, it’s not from Earth, I can tell you that.”
“Oh, of course it’s not,” said Rory. The Doctor started pulling off his shoes. “What are you doing?”
“Going after it.”
“Are you sure that’s a good idea?”
“Relax, I’ve waded through worse.” He pushed his pants up to his knees. “At least this is just freshwater. No digestive juices. That’s never a pleasant sensation.”
Rory considered asking, but then decided against it.
The Doctor waded out to the object, fishing it out of the water. It was some sort of a metallic cylinder, smudged with mud and dripping wet. “Well, well,” said the Doctor. He was smiling as he climbed out of the pond, and Rory found himself feeling nervous for no reason whatsoever. “I do believe that planet earth has a few guests.”
Rory groaned. Of course it does…
“So it’s just…an alien wireless hot spot?”
“Basically.” The Doctor held up the object, tapping the outer shell lightly. “Gives the signals an extra boost.”
“Signals to what?”
“I don’t know. Spaceship? Another planet? Something like that.” I’ve seen this kind of technology before, but where… “Point is, it’s not going to explode or anything.”
Rory didn’t look any less bothered by the object’s existence. “Well, what if it’s transmitting signals calling for an attack?” he asked. “What then?”
“I think I would have noticed that, Rory. Still, I’ve already started scanning for any unusual transmissions. If anyone sends another signal through this fine piece of machinery, we’ll know.”
Rory didn’t seem convinced. “So, you don’t think it’s dangerous?”
“Oddly enough, no. Not this time, anyway. Still…” He shrugged. “It would be rude not to say hello, wouldn’t it?”
Spencer had been staring at the crime scene photos for so long that he wouldn’t be able to forget them even if he didn’t have eidetic memory. Looking for…something. He still wasn’t sure what yet.
Aside from the removal of the internal organs, there is no…passion in these kills. No sign that he’s enjoying this. He’s killed so many people that he should be enjoying it, but it doesn’t feel like he is.
It was almost as if…
Reid pulled out his phone and pushed one of the speed-dial numbers. He finally stood up for the first time in what felt like hours as he waited for an answer, feeling his back ache in complaint. “Hello, this is the Oracle of the BAU, Penelope Garcia,” said Garcia cheerily.
“Garcia, it’s Reid. Could you do something for me?”
“I need you to check for any connections between all of the victims. Similar jobs, similar circles…anything.”
“All of the victims? As in the various victims scattered all throughout the country?”
“I know it’s a big job, but I have this theory…”
“Say no more, Doctor Reid. I’ll let you know when I’m done.”
As he shut his phone, he noticed Seaver out of the corner of his eye. He still wasn’t sure what to think of her. In fact, he barely knew anything about her. He didn’t even know if she liked him or not. “So, what’s the theory?” she asked.
“It’s a long shot, but a while back we had this case involving a hit man. He was willing to mutilate his victims for extra money.”
“And you were thinking this might be similar.”
“It’s one explanation. Aside from the organ removal, the kills seem…impersonal. Almost businesslike. So what if it is just business?”
“But that’s only if all the victims have something in common.”
“Yeah. I know it’s a long shot, but…” Reid shrugged. “It’s the only one we’ve got.”
Night was falling, which meant it was time to find somewhere to sleep. They could have just stayed on the TARDIS, but where was the fun in that? “The nice thing about big cities like this,” said the Doctor as he consulted a map, “is that there is always a place to stay. You would not believe how hard it is to find a hotel on some planets…” Neither Amy nor Rory responded to the statement, but they both looked tired. He sometimes forgot that humans wore out so easily. The Doctor felt like he could keep going for another five hours, approximately, depending on if he had anything to eat or not. But that obviously wasn’t going to happen.
Although, maybe I could wander off by myself…after all, they might want some “alone time”…
The Doctor’s gaze drifted away from the map as he considered the idea, just in time to see someone running down the street, ducking into a nearby alley. The person had looked human, but… “Did you see that?” he asked aloud.
“See what?” yawned Amy.
He began to walk briskly towards the alleyway, Amy and Rory’s questions as to where he was going slipping in one ear and out the other. Who are you, strange person, and why don’t you feel human? Because you look human. You should feel human. Unless…
The revelation hit him as he stood at the mouth of the alleyway. His face lit up and he grinned from ear to ear. Of course! That’s where I’ve seen it!
“Brilliant!” he said aloud. “Fantastic!”
“What’s fantastic?” asked Amy.
“Should we be here?” asked Rory. “This doesn’t look like the safest…” The Doctor ignored him and strode into the alley. “Doctor!”
“Hello?” called the Doctor. The alley way was a dead end, so there couldn’t be that many places for the being to hide. “It’s all right. I’m not going to hurt you.” He thought he heard movement coming from a nearby trash bin. There were slight whispers of emotion—fear, confusion. It wasn’t often he could pick those up without trying, accept… “You’re not from around here, are you?” The emotions suddenly spiked, turning to terror in an instant. “That’s okay. Neither am I.”
“Doctor, what’s going on?”
The Doctor held up a finger. “Shh. Don’t want to scare him.”
But the being didn’t seem scared, only curious. The Doctor felt some otherness touch his mind, pulling back almost instantly. It didn’t take a lot of probing to see that the Doctor wasn’t human. “It’s all right,” repeated the Doctor. “I’m the Doctor. I can help you.”
There was a few second’s pause, then the top of the trash bin was carefully pushed open. A male humanoid with black hair and green eyes peered out from the bin. “The Doctor, you say?” he said, still sounding wary.
“That’s me,” replied the Doctor. “And this is Amy and Rory. Don’t worry, they’re harmless.”
The humanoid hesitated before climbing out of the bin. “I’m…well, you can call me Jeff,” he said. “How’d you know?”
“I’ve encountered a few of your kind before,” said the Doctor cheerily. “Different planet, different time.”
“What do you mean, ‘your kind’?” asked Rory.
“He’s not human.”
“I know, right? Shape shifting race. Can assume almost any bipedal form. Isn’t it brilliant?” The Doctor turned back to “Jeff”, smiling. “Let me guess, curiosity? Tourism?”
“Just…just visiting for a few months. I don’t mean any harm.”
“Of course you don’t. Now, what were you doing hiding in a trash bin?”
“I…” Jeff glanced over the Doctor’s shoulder. “I, I thought I lost him, but I wasn’t sure…”
“Who? Lost who?”
“The man, the man with the knife…” Jeff seemed genuinely frightened by whoever this man was. “He…he already got Tara and Kevin…”
“Wait, does this have anything to do with those murders?” asked Rory.
Jeff started to answer, then froze. “No,” he whispered. “No, no, no…”
“What? What is it?” the Doctor asked.
“We have to go.”
“Why? What’s going on?”
Jeff didn’t answer; he just started running. The Doctor followed. “Jeff, what’s going on?!” he asked.
“He’s coming after me, he’s going to kill me…”
The Doctor glanced over his shoulder, just in time to see a man standing behind them. A malicious-looking, armed-with-a-knife man.
“Run!” shouted the Doctor. “Jeff, come on! This way!”
They had to get back to the TARDIS. If they got to the TARDIS, they would be safe. That was the way it worked. The Doctor ran, constantly checking over his shoulder to see if Amy and Rory were keeping up. Knife Man was fast! “Come on, hurry!” he shouted.
They managed to run out into the main streets, suddenly surrounded by the random passersby of New York. “Stay close,” said the Doctor, taking Amy’s free hand in one hand and one of Jeff’s in the other. “We just have to get to the TARDIS…”
“The what?” whispered Jeff. Poor bloke was terrified.
“TARDIS. We’ll be safe there, trust me. Just keep walking, act casual…”
And they did, though it was hard to act casual when you were potentially being pursued by a man with a knife who didn’t seem to like you very much. The Doctor’s mind was racing as he strode forward. Rory’s right, it must have something to do with those murders, but the question is what and why. Why kill shape-shifters. Some sort of lunatic trying to keep the earth safe from a non-existent invasion? How did he know they were alien to begin with? And that was the question that really bugged him. The only way you could tell is if you did an autopsy, or happened to have vaguely psychic powers, but unless this person was…
No. No, it can’t be. Why would he do that if he was…
The crowd was growing thicker. The Doctor tightened his grip on Amy and Jeff’s hands. “Don’t let go,” he said past gritted teeth. “Whatever you do, don’t let go.”
Famous last words, those.
Next thing he knew, Jeff’s hand was being tugged out of his, but when he turned to look, Jeff had been yanked away, his hand was gone, and there was nothing but the crowd. What…how… “Jeff?” he called. “Jeff?”
“I think I saw him go…” started Amy, but she was cut off by a distant cry: “Doctor!”
The Doctor ran in the direction of the noise, pushing his way past the crowd, finally breaking free with Amy and Rory at his heels. “Jeff!” he shouted, running down the street. He thought he saw…yes, that was Jeff, being shoved into a car by the man with the knife. “Oi! You! Stop!”
But Knife Man was in the car and driving off before the Doctor could do anything else. “Where is he?” gasped Amy as the trio halted.
“He was in that car!” said the Doctor.
“What do you mean ‘what car’, it was right…” The Doctor stopped. “Oh no, no you did not!”
“Doctor, what’s going on?”
“Perception filter!!” shouted the Doctor, causing a few pedestrians to stare blankly as they walked past. “Oh, you’re good, but I’m better! Come on, we’ve got to get back to the TARDIS. I don’t know who that was, but I’m not letting him hurt Jeff!”
He tried. He really did.
He’d run as fast as he could back to the TARDIS, had the search parameters input before the door had closed, even tried to guess where Knife Man was going and get there first. But when the TARDIS materialized and the Doctor stepped outside, they weren’t where the Knife Man was, and he knew, somehow he knew…
But that didn’t stop him. He got out of the TARDIS and he ran, not even caring that he left Rory and Amy behind. He had been off by a good block, they were in the next alley over.
The first thing he smelled was blood, intermingled with trash and sweat and then he was too angry to care what he smelled.
And when Knife Man looked up, he must have seen that anger in the Doctor’s eyes, and he must have known that, one way or another, this was not going to end well for him.
“Hello. I’m the Doctor,” he said, feeling one hand clench into a fist. “You’d better start running.”
The first thing Rory noticed when he rounded the corner was the smell.
Then he saw the body.
Amy looked away the instant he saw it, but Rory couldn’t. For some reason, he couldn’t take his eyes off of it. And the blood, so much blood…
“Oh my g…” Amy’s sentence was cut short by a gag.
“It’s okay, it’s okay,” said Rory, instinctively holding her close, as if that could shield her from the sight. Amy buried her head in his shoulder. “It’s…it’s all right…” Lies, all lies.
“I think so.” There was no way he could be alive. Rory tried to remember what the emergency number was for America. The Doctor had told them, it was nine-something-something. With shaking hands he pulled out the phone and tried the number, hoping and praying it was the right one.
“Hello, nine-one-one. What is your emergency?”
He nearly sobbed with relief. “Hello?” he said. “I’m…I don’t know where I am but, there’s a body, and…” Rory glanced at the body one last time before looking away. “Someone’s been killed.”