Adelyn Green, the librarian at Farringham School for Boys, had agreed to go to the dance with John Smith as friends. She wore a dark brown sweater and a lighter brown skirt that reached her ankles. She was playing with her waist length ginger hair while her ice blue eyes wandered around the room.
John was getting drinks when Martha sat down at the table with Adelyn. “Martha, please, not again.”
“He's different from any other man you've ever met, right?”
“In more ways than one,” Adelyn agreed.
“And sometimes he says these strange things, like people and places you've never heard of, yeah?” Martha continued. “But it's deeper than that. Sometimes when you look in his eyes you know, you just know that there's something else in there. Something hidden. Right behind the eyes, something hidden away in the dark.”
The librarian shifted uncomfortably. “I don’t fancy John, Martha. Besides, I don't know what you mean.”
“Yes, you do. I don't mean to be rude, but the awful thing is it doesn't even matter what you think. But you're nice. And I just wanted to say sorry for what I'm about to do.”
John returned to the table. “Oh, now really, Martha. This is getting out of hand. I must insist that you leave.”
Martha held up the sonic screwdriver. “Do you know what this is? Name it. Go on, name it.”
Adelyn’s eyes widened. “Where… where did you get that?” she demanded.
Martha looked at her, confused. “You recognize it?” John hesitantly took the screwdriver. She turned her attention back to him. “You're not John Smith. You're called the Doctor. The man in your journal, he's real. He's you.”
At that moment, three people came marching in. The man in the lead, Mr. Clark, knocked over. “There. Will. Be. Silence! All of you!” he bellowed. Scarecrow creatures lumbered through the doors. Everyone backed away in fear. “I said, silence!”
No one noticed Adelyn’s hand drift toward her bag.
“Mister Clarke, what's going on?” a man demanded.
Mr. Clarke aimed a ray gun at the man and shot. He got vaporized.
“Mister Smith? Everything I told you, just forget it!” Martha told the teacher. “Don't say anything.”
“We asked for silence!” a boy announced loudly. Baines. “Now then, we have a few questions for Mister Smith.”
“No, better than that,” a little girl, Lucy, said. “The teacher. He's the Doctor. I heard them talking.”
Baines studied John. “You took human form.”
“Of course I'm human. I was born human, as were you, Baines. And Jenny, and you, Mister Clarke. What is going on? This is madness.” John cried. Martha shot Adelyn another look when she winced at John’s words.
“Ooh, and a human brain, too. Simple, thick and dull,” Baines taunted.
“But he's no good like this,” Jenny said.
“We need a Time Lord.”
“Easily done.” Baines stepped forward and raised his ray gun. “Change back.”
“I don't know what you're talking about!” John insisted.
“I literally do not know!”
Jenny grabbed Martha, and put a gun to her head. Martha screeched, “Get off me!”
“She's your friend, isn't she?” Jenny sneered. “Doesn't this scare you enough to change back?”
“I don't know what you mean!” John shouted.
“Let go of the maid.”
All of the possessed humans and John turned to look at Adelyn, who stood straight, unbelievably calm.
“Or what?” Baines spat.
In a flash, Adelyn whipped something out of her bag and aimed it at Jenny. There was a burst of blue light and the former maid collapsed to the floor.
“What was that?” Martha panted.
“Sonic blaster,” Adelyn said with a newly American accent. “Alright. Who’s next, amigos?” The Family lowered their guns. “John, get everyone out. There's a door at the side. It's over there. Go on. Do it, Mister Smith. Now.”
John snapped into motion. “Do what she said. Everybody out, now. Don't argue, Mister Jackson. They're mad. That's all we need to know. Susan, Miss Cooper, outside, all of you.”
“And you, too, Smith. Get out of here.”
“What about you?” he protested.
“Mister Smith, I think you should escort your friend to safety, don't you?” Adelyn cocked her head towards Martha.
Martha sniffed. “I can take care of myself.”
“I’m know. But Rassilon knows he barely can.”
Reluctantly, the Doctor’s companion took John Smith by the arm and led him out of the hall. Adelyn turned to face the Family again. “Now, where were we?”
When Adelyn made it out of the hall, Martha and John were standing outside. The young lady rolled her eyes. “Don't just stand there, move! I always knew you'd be useless as a human. Come on!” She grabbed John and Martha’s hands and ran.
“Adelyn, what on Earth is going on?” John asked as they ran.
“You’re smack dab in the middle of an alien invasion, Johnny,” Adelyn quipped.
“And what was that thing you used to shoot Jenny?”
She smiled fondly. “51st century sonic blaster. It was a gift.”
“But it’s 1913,” Martha said.
“I thought you were the Doctor’s companion. I stood up to those bastards, randomly changed accents, and then shot one of the aliens with a freaking blaster and you still think I’m from this time period?” Adelyn shot John a ‘can you believe it?’ look, but he just stared back at her incomprehensibly. She rolled her eyes. “Utterly useless,” she said again.
“You killed Jenny,” Martha said, as if it just hit her.
“I’ve dealt with something like the family before. Jenny was already dead. She was the minute she was possessed by the Mother. We need to hurry up; we’re almost back at the school.
Once there, Martha started to get in an argument with John about making the boys fight, but Adelyn dragged her away. “We need to find that watch.” Martha huffed and stormed towards John’s rooms.
To Adelyn’s dismay, the Matron, who had developed a crush on John, tagged along. Martha and Adelyn tore apart the room while Joan just watched.
“I know it sounds mad, but when the Doctor became human, he took the alien part of himself and he stored it inside the watch,” Martha explained to the unmoving woman. “It's not really a watch; it just looks like a watch.”
“And alien means not from abroad, I take it,” Joan said.
“John Smith, or at least the man we call John, was actually born on another planet,” Adelyn told her.
“A different species.”
“Yeah.” Adelyn’s voice dripped with impatience.
“Then tell me. In this fairy tale, who are you two?”
“I’m just a friend,” Martha said. “I'm not… I mean, you haven't got a rival—”
Adelyn snorted. “As far as you know.”
“And human, I take it?” Joan questioned.
“Human. Don't worry,” Martha confirmed. “And more than that, I just don't follow him around. I'm training to be a doctor. Not an alien doctor, a proper doctor. A doctor of medicine.”
“Well that certainly is nonsense. Women might train to be doctors, but hardly a skivvy and hardly one of your color,” Joan sniffed.
“Watch the racism or I’ll blow your head off,” Adelyn warned the elder woman.
Martha raised an eyebrow. “Oh, do you think? Bones of the hand: carpal bones, proximal row. Scaphoid, lunate, triquetal, pisiform. Distal row: trapezium, trapezoid, capitate, hamate. Then the metacarpal bones extending in three distinct phalanges: proximal, middle, distal.”
“You read that in a book.”
“Yes, to pass my exams. Can't you see this is true?”
Joan shifted uncomfortably. “I must go.”
“If we find that watch, then we can stop them,” Martha insisted.
“Those boys are going to fight,” Joan said. “ I might not be a doctor, but I'm still their nurse. They need me.”
Mr. Clarke was standing outside the TARDIS, shouting, as John, Adelyn, Martha, and— despite Adelyn’s protests— Joan hid in the bushes. “Doctor! Doctor!” Mr. Clarke yelled. “Come back, Doctor! Come home! Come and claim your prize!”
“Out you come, Doctor. There's a good boy! Come to the Family!” Baines shouted. “Time to end it now!”
“You recognize it, don't you?” Martha asked quietly.
“Come out, Doctor! Come to us!”
John shook his head, but didn’t take his eyes off the TARDIS. “I've never seen it in my life.”
“Do you remember its name?” Adelyn whispered.
“I'm sorry, John, but you wrote about it,” Joan said. “The blue box. You dreamt of a blue box.”
“I'm not… I'm John Smith. That's all I want to be,” John whimpered. “John Smith, with his life, and his job, and his love." (Everyone ignored the choking sound Adelyn made.) “Why can't I be John Smith? Isn't he a good man?”
“Yes. Yes, he is.”
“Why can't I stay?”
Martha put her hand on John’s shoulder. “But we need the Doctor.”
“What am I, then? Nothing. I'm just a story.” John sprinted away. Martha and Joan followed. Adelyn shot a wistful look at the TARDIS and raced after the two.
“This way,” Joan said when they caught up with John. “I think I know somewhere we can hide.”
“We've got to keep going,” John said darkly.
Adelyn rolled her eyes. “Oh, shut up and listen to someone else for once.”
Joan led them to an apparently abandoned cottage. “Oh, here we are. It should be empty. Oh, it's a long time since I've run that far.”
“Who lives here?” Martha asked.
“If I'm right, no one.” They all went inside. It was dark, and the table was set for tea. “Hello? No one home. We should be safe here.”
“Whose house is it, though?” Martha repeated.
“Er, the Cartwrights,” Joan replied. “That little girl at the school, she's Lucy Cartwright, or she's taken Lucy Cartwright's form. If she came home this afternoon and if the parents tried to stop their little girl, then they were vanished. How easily I accept these ideas.”
“I must go to them, before anyone else dies,” John decided.
“Perfectly typical.” Adelyn snorted.
“You can't.” Joan turned to Martha. “Martha, there must be something we can do.”
Martha shook her head. “Not without the watch.”
“You're this Doctor's companion. Can't you help?” John spat. “What exactly do you do for him? Why does he need you?”
“Watch it, dipwad!” Adelyn snapped.
“Because he's lonely,” Martha said.
“And that's what you want me to become?” John’s voice was shaky.
“No,” Adelyn hissed. “He’s never alone. Not while I have a say in things.”
John turned to face her. “And who exactly are you, Adelyn Green? I’ve never seen you in any of my dreams.”
“Technically you have. You just don’t realize it yet.”
“But who are you?” he demanded.
“Why does it matter to you?” Adelyn demanded, suddenly hostile. “You may really be the Doctor, but right now, you’re John Smith. Not the man I’d trust my life with. You know why? Because you’re human. I mean, look at you! Pathetic, sniveling, weak, useless. Where’s the Oncoming Strom, huh? Nowhere to be found! Because you’re just a worthless human! You’re nothing but a stupid ape!”
“I am the Doctor!” John roared. Then he blinked. “What…?”
There was a knock at the door. “What if it's them?” Joan worried.
“I'm not an expert, but I don't think scarecrows knock.” Martha opened the door.
On the other side was Timothy Latimer. “I brought you this.” He held out the watch.
Martha took the fob watch and offered it to John. “Hold it.”
He shook his head. “I won't.”
“Please, just hold it.”
“He’s not going to listen, Martha,” Adelyn said with her arms crossed.
“It told me to find you,” Timothy said. “It wants to be held.”
“You've had this watch all this time? Why didn't you return it?” Joan asked.
“Because it was waiting.”
Adelyn huffed. “He’s not going to even touch the damn watch. He’s too scared.”
Suddenly, there was a big bang. The cottage shook. “What the hell?” Martha gasped. Out the window, they could see fireballs are falling to earth a little ways away.
“They're destroying the village!” Joan realized.
John was staring at the watch. He grabbed it and held it in his cupped hands. Timothy noticed. “Can you hear it?”
“I think he's asleep,” John said. “Waiting to awaken.”
“Why did he speak to me?” Timothy wondered.
John didn’t look up. “Oh, low level telepathic field. You were born with it. Just an extra synaptic engram causing—” He inhaled sharply. “Is that how he talks?”
“Typical,” Adelyn snorted.
“That's him.” Martha nodded vigorously. “All you have to do is open it and he's back.”
John looked at her darkly. “You knew this all along and yet you watched while Nurse Redfern and I—”
“Please stay away from that topic. Sickening,” Adelyn grumbled.
“I didn't know how to stop you. He gave me a list of things to watch out, for but that wasn't included.”
“Falling in love? That didn't even occur to him?”
“Then what sort of man is that?” John’s eyes were watering.
“The kind of man who was already in love with someone else,” Adelyn said quietly.
John looked at her strangely. “And now you expect me to die?”
“It was always going to end, though!” Martha protested. “The Doctor said the Family's got a limited lifespan, and that's why they need to consume a Time Lord. Otherwise, three months and they die. Like mayflies, he said.”
“So, your job was to execute me,” he said flatly.
“People are dying out there. They need him and I need him. Because you've got no idea of what he's like. I've only just met him. It wasn't even that long ago. But he is everything. He's just everything to me and he doesn't even look at me, but I don't care, because I love him to bits. And I hope to God he won't remember me saying this.”
Another explosion shook the cottage. “This is pointless!” Adelyn fumed.
“He’s too stubborn, Martha! You know it and I know it. It’s time I take matters into my own hands.” She rolled up the sleeve of her sweater to reveal a techy looking watch.
“What do you mean?” Joan asked.
Adelyn gripped her blaster. “Those bastards want a Time Lord? They’ll get one.” She pressed a button on her watch and disappeared in a flash.
Adelyn stood in the Family’s ship, blaster pointed at Baines.
“We'll blast them into dust, then fuse the dust into glass, then shatter them all over again.” The Brother hissed. The spaceship door opened and John Smith stumbled in.
“John!” Adelyn growled.
“Just—” A boom rocked the ship, and he lurched against a column of switches. “Just stop the bombardment. That's all I'm asking. I'll do anything you want, just, just stop.”
Adelyn whipped her head around to glare at him. “Get out of here, John Smith.”
“Wait a minute,” Mr. Clarke said and sniffed. “Still human.”
“Now I can't, I can't pretend to understand, not for a second, but I want you to know I'm innocent in all this. He made me John Smith. It's not like I had any control over it.” He backed away, accidentally running his hands over more switches.
Adelyn stared at him. What the hell was he doing?
“He didn't just make himself human. He made himself an idiot.” Lucy laughed.
“Same thing, isn't it?” Baines said.
“I don't care about this Doctor and your family. I just want you to go. So I've made my choice. You can have him. Just take it, please! Take him away.” John held out the watch.
“No!” Adelyn cried. She almost swung the blaster to point at John, but a tickle in the back of her mind made her hesitate. Something was off.
“At last.” Baines took the watch with one hand, and the John’s lapels with the other. “Don't think that saved your life.” He pushed John away. More switches got activated as he fell against the wall. “Family of mine, now we shall have the lives of a Time Lord."
Baines opened the watch and the Family all sniffed deeply. “It's empty!”
Adelyn whipped her head around to look at John. Baines threw the watch to him, and he caught it without looking and stood up. A smile started to spread across her face.
“Oh, I think the explanation might be you've been fooled by a simple olfactory misdirection. Little bit like ventriloquism of the nose. It's an elementary trick in certain parts of the galaxy. But it has got to be said,” he pulled out a pair of specs and put them on, “I don't like the looks of that hydroconometer. It seems to be indicating you've got energy feedback all the way through the retrostabilisers feeding back into the primary heat converters. Oh. Because if there's one thing you shouldn't have done, you shouldn't have let me press all those buttons. But, in fairness, I will give you one word of advice.” The Doctor grinned. “Run.”
The Doctor grabbed Adelyn’s hand and they ran out of the ship as alarms started to sound.
When all was said and done, the Doctor, Martha, and Adelyn all went back to the TARDIS and the Doctor sent them into the vortex. “All that has been taken care of and there’s only one thing left.” He turned to Adelyn who was lounging on the jump seat. “Who are you?”
“Now, that’s the real question, isn’t it? Who is this stranger with the brilliant ginger hair, that you are thoroughly jealous of, that knows so much about you?” Adelyn said jovially. “I could be anyone. An old companion that you’ve forgotten about, someone you had to wipe from your memory, a child of an old companion,” she listed, and then paused.
“Or maybe,” she continued slowly, “maybe I’m a companion you do remember. One who left you with a promise.” She approached the Doctor. “I told you it wasn’t the end and I keep my promises.”
The Doctor stared at her. “You said you were a Time Lord. Lilith?” he asked hoarsely.
The ginger’s face lit up. “Hey,” she said and threw herself into the Doctor’s open arms.
Martha cleared her throat. “Um, Doctor? Who is she?”
“Ah, right. Martha, may I introduce you to Lilithanadir Lungbarrow.” The Doctor beamed. “My daughter.”