jedi_of_urth: (dw happy)
[personal profile] jedi_of_urth
Title: Though Memory Imperfect
Author: [personal profile] jedi_of_urth
Fandom: Doctor Who
Characters/Pairings: The Doctor (John Smith), Rose Tyler (Anne Young), Martha Jones. Doctor/Rose (John/Anne)
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: ~39,000
Summary: HN/FoB AU, when Martha and John Smith arrive in 1913 they encounter the mysterious Anne Young, whose forgotten past is more important than any of them know.
Disclaimer: Doctor Who isn’t mine. And the basic idea of HN/FB isn’t either.
Author's Notes/Warnings: This story as bee a long LONG time coming, but I think I can finally call it finished. I’ll include more on that at the end of the story but I hope it came out alright after all that. Includes fictionalized amnesia, and obviously plot points borrowed” from the show. Thanks to [personal profile] got_swagger for betaing

Past Chapters: Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3



Rose sat on the jump seat staring at the dimmed TARDIS consol, her mind blazing with a new batch of thoughts. There were still a few gaps in her memory that were trying to sort themselves out, but she remembered almost everything. Even if remembering still left her with plenty of questions she was going to have to find the answers too.

She was Rose Tyler, daughter of Jackie and Pete Tyler. When she was nineteen she met the Doctor and they traveled time and space together. They had faced the impossible and walked through fire, and run a lot across any number of worlds. And then she got lost, trapped in another universe without him. Her mum and dad and little bother were still there, along with Mickey and the rest of Torchwood.

Something had happened in that church that had sent her back in time and across the Void, but erased who she was. All she had had since then was vague feelings and impressions to the point where she had begun to resign herself to a life without a past. And then the Doctor had come, only he wasn’t the Doctor and even though neither of them knew they were looking for the other, they had found each other.

All of her sudden feelings for John Smith made sense now, but she wasn’t sure she could face him now that she knew who they both really were. As Anne she had loved John Smith, but now that she knew the truth could she look at John and not see the Doctor? Did it make a difference? It should, at least she thought so, but she didn’t really know how much John and the Doctor were the same person.

There were so many questions that needed answers, such as: why had he become human in the first place? The idea that he was faking his identity was dismissed quickly as it began occur to her. John wasn’t the Doctor pretending, he was John. The Doctor was part of him clearly, but how big a part?

Right now the Doctor couldn’t answer why he had changed, which meant Rose would have to talk to Martha about what was happening. That was bound to be awkward, even if Martha’s attempts to keep Rose, as Anne, away from John now made a lot more sense.

“He’s not the man you think he is.”

“He’s different from everyone else you know.”

“There’s someone else.”


Rose smiled a little recalling the last. She was the very person Martha had been referring to when she had used that to try and stop Rose’s – Anne’s – relationship with John. Martha had had every reason to assume that whatever John’s feeling for Anne it would vanish when he became the Doctor again, but now when he remembered he would know her as Rose. That wouldn’t be easy on the other woman. Martha loved the Doctor, Rose had figured that much out even when she assumed it was John they were talking about.

Spending her time thinking about it in the TARDIS wasn’t going to make it any easier to deal with what she needed to do, but she was hesitating anyway. She didn’t want to face John or Martha, and it was going to be really hard to explain what had happened to Richard. But of course she would have to do all of those things eventually so she’d better face the music.

As she headed for the door she patted one of the TARDIS columns and smiled a bit more. She might make fun of the Doctor for stroking the TARDIS, but sometimes when she was alone she would do the same thing. Not as much as he did certainly, but sometimes. She really had come home, as strange a reality as it was to be faced with, being here made her feel like she could navigate it until it was set right.

It was still midday when she finally stepped outside; she hadn’t been in the TARDIS as long as she had thought. For a moment she debated the option of continuing the search for old man Turner that had brought her here and decided it would be the best idea. It would give her more time to think, and while she still needed her manufactured place in this world she shouldn’t return empty handed. But instead of continuing around the field she headed back towards the road, by now he might have returned to the main part of the farm and if he hadn’t she would just continue into town and claim she hadn’t been able to find him.

Turner wasn’t to be found so Rose made her way back to the road. It couldn’t be called a main road, but it was road like enough to not qualify as a path. But something was off, she knew that, so she moved slowly and kept looking around her at the trees and fields and scarecrows. She stopped. That was it, there were too many scarecrows now – they practically lined a nearby ridge where there had been perhaps two before.

She debated her options for a moment; her main choices for directions were to continue on into the village, go back to the TARDIS, or back to the school. Could Martha know the answer to why there were suddenly so many scarecrows around? She looked back down the road toward the school, but now there was a young girl with a floating red balloon tied to her wrist standing in the middle of it. Rose remembered Lucy Cartwright from one of the other nearby farms, but didn’t know her very well. She mostly remembered because the girl was about Lucy Steinhold’s age, making their shared first name stand out from the other villagers. Right now Rose found the girl’s intense stare and the awkward tilt of her head more than a bit unnerving.

Little Lucy and Rose stared at each other across several yards of road for a long moment before Rose heard a movement to her left. She quickly turned to face it but not quickly enough to avoid being grabbed by strong straw arms that quickly rendered her unconscious.

~~~~~~~~~~

Anne hadn’t returned with the apples in time for lunch so Cook was in a foul mood. Never mind that it had been quite possible when the girl was sent out that she wouldn’t be back in time for the apples to be properly prepared for the mid-day meal anyway. In any case Jenny had been sent to make sure the forgetful girl hadn’t gotten distracted in town

Jenny had plenty of experience riding her bicycle into the village, most of the trip she could do as quickly as she wanted, but she still had to be careful with some of the more rutted areas of the road. In one of those areas her focus was on her slightly precarious path and not expecting to be confronted with the walking scarecrow that suddenly blocked her path and she had to quickly swerve avoid hitting whoever was in the costume.

She fell off her bicycle as she tried to regain control and was grateful for her long shirts the kept her from hitting her knee as sharply as she might. When she looked up again there were more scarecrow men surrounding her, staring at her with painted-on eyes. She screamed as they pressed in around her and then she passed out.

When she woke up she was in a dark metal room, the only light a dim green glow that seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere, and she was chained to one of the walls. Mr. Clark, one of the most prominent men in the village, dominated her view, but across the room she could see Anne was chained to another wall; she was still passed out by the look of it, and Jenny almost envied her, considering their surroundings.

“What’s going on?” Jenny asked with a trembling voice. She couldn’t keep her fear and confusion from showing, the best she could do was try not to cry and she doubted she could keep that up for long. “What are you doing to us?”

“You’re going to help us,” Mr. Clark said in a too measured voice. “You see this girl won’t tell us why she smells so nice and we so need to know.”

“Anne’s always been a strange one,” Jenny said quickly, maybe if she kept talking they wouldn’t do anything else to her. “But nobody really knows anything about her. I hear she just appeared one day, no memory or anything.”

“Stop it,” said another voice, and Baines calmly walked out to stand next to Mr. Clark. The boy carried himself with the same strangeness that the old man had, but his tone was much rougher. “We don’t need to explain to her, and Mother of Mine will soon be able to tell us what we need to know.”

“What have I done to you?” Jenny pleaded.

“Mother of Mine is going to enjoy your shape,” Baines continued as if Jenny hadn’t spoken. “You’re so very useful.” He pulled a glowing green orb from behind his back and opened it to release the gas inside, which instantly flowed toward Jenny. “So very useful.”

~~~~~~~~~~

Rose jolted awake as she felt a slap to her face. She quickly sat up to stop any future smacks and then tried to think about her situation. Her mind felt incredibly clouded but at least she knew who she was now. She clung to that knowledge now that it had returned to her, she didn’t want to go back to the way she had been.

One of the other servants from the school – Jenny, she quickly placed – was the obvious provider of the slap that had woken Rose up. But though the slapping stopped now that Rose was awake, the other woman kept hovering a bit too close for comfort. “What happened?” Rose asked, trying to recall as much as she could about how she had ended up lying by the side of the road. She didn’t need any more gaps in her memory.

There had been scarecrows involved, and a young girl. After that...though she had not previously woken up there had been several times she had almost surfaced but she couldn’t grasp at the shreds of memory. It was frustrating and all too familiar at the moment.

“I found you lying here,” Jenny said. “So I woke you up.”

Rose nodded slowly as she took in the information. “Oh. Well, thank you.” It didn’t really explain what had happened but it seemed Jenny wasn’t going to be any help. The fading sunlight indicated that it was hours later and obviously she wasn’t outside Turner’s Fields where she’d been when she was attacked. She must have been moved while she was unconscious so there wasn’t much Jenny could know about what had happened.

“What do you want to do now?” Jenny asked. The other woman was talking far slower than she usually did, but Rose decided not to say anything. She needed to get back to the school and see what answers she could find with the only people who were likely to be able to help. No matter how awkward it was, she had to find out what parts of the story she was still missing.

“We have to get back,” Rose said as she pulled herself and Jenny to their feet. And then she started running, Jenny quickly following.

~~~~~~~~~~

The sun was just lingering in the sky as Martha took off running down the road. If she hurried and didn’t run into trouble she might just be able to check on the TARDIS before she was missed First there had been the meteor last night that she had wanted to check on all day and since then Anne and Jenny had gone missing during the day so she needed to make sure nothing was ringing bells in the TARDIS. Anne might have amnesia and Jenny might be a bit scattered most of the time but it wasn’t like either of them to stay out so long.

Any last rays of light there were didn’t do anything to break up the darkness under the trees by the time she reached the back area of Turner’s Fields where the ship was parked, so she had to slow down considerably until she found her way to the shed where the TARDIS waited. The ship’s own lights glowed slightly which gave Martha pause. She’d never been here when it was so dark so she couldn’t be sure the lights had always been on.

The lighting inside was still minimal. The fact that it seemed a touch brighter could just be that it was darker outside than it had been previously, or it could mean something important, Martha couldn’t be sure. Nothing seemed out of place and certainly the ship had still been where she left it the day before, but Martha still felt sure something was wrong so she went back into the cold ship and found the Doctor’s great brown coat and dug out the sonic screwdriver and psychic paper. She couldn’t prove that something was wrong now, but if it did suddenly turn bad they would be armed.

If something was wrong and Anne was caught up in it, what would that mean? For all Martha had worried that Smith’s liaison with the girl would leave them vulnerable, she hadn’t imagined it in this sense before. Rumor and attention she had feared, but actually putting the other woman in danger only occurred to her now.

A small part of her mind wondered if being put in danger would make her happy to see the Doctor gone, but Martha tried not to listen to that voice. Though it did seem fair to assume Anne wouldn’t want any more trouble in her life than she had, and that actually comforted Martha a little. She may love him, but the Doctor was trouble that not everyone could handle.

Even though she knew there wouldn’t be anything of use there, she couldn’t resist calling up the Doctor’s message again to reassure herself that he would trust her instincts if things got any worse and she had to open the watch. She wanted to open the watch and get far away from here, but she knew she couldn’t just make a mess of things because she was tired of dealing with the situation.

She set as fast a pace on her return trip. Once she was outside the trees it became easier, as the moonlight was able to provide some light on her path. Soon enough she knew she was getting close to the school again and nothing unusual had happened on her outing, which made her feel slightly embarrassed that she might just be paranoid. Maybe, just maybe, she had been hoping for an excuse.

As if to punish her for letting her guard down, it was then that a voice burst through the darkness. “Stop there,” the young man’s voice commended.

Probably just one of the students, she told herself to calm her pounding heart and sure enough soon she was able to make out Baines’ familiar face. “What are you doing Jones?” he asked in a voice that made the hairs on the back of Martha’s neck stand up. Baines was always an egotistical bully, but now his tone carried a threat different from that of a schoolyard thug.

And then he sniffed the air; deeply and loudly. Smell, the Family’s primary sense that she was to watch for in case they had been found. She wanted to run, but made herself get some control of her fear. “What do you want sir?” she asked, as if she didn’t know what he really was now.

“Turn out your pockets,” Baines – or the creature who now looked like Baines – commanded.

Somehow he knew. He knew she was carrying alien technology. How he knew didn’t matter now, she had to get away, she had to open the watch and bring the Doctor back, because the Family had found them.

~~~~~~~~~~

Rose slowed down a little as she made her way through the side door into the school, Jenny still close behind. She scanned the servants gathered in the room looking for Martha and ignored the questions of the rest. Martha was pretty easy to spot in this crowd but she wasn’t to be found now

“I need to find Martha,” she asked the room at large but no one could do more than glance around and shrug.

“Took you long enough and you still don’t have my apples,” Cook declared angrily but Rose shrugged it off as she turned to leave the room. If no one knew where Martha was she was probably in their shared room, which was convenient anyway. Now that they were safely back inside the school she expected Jenny to stop tailing her, but the other woman kept it up as Rose raced up the servants’ stairs.

When she burst into the small room though, Martha was nowhere in sight. Rose sat down on her bed and thought hard, she’d been so sure she would find her roommate here and they could work out what was going on with Lucy Cartwright and the scarecrows, that was a more pressing concern than the rest of Rose’s questions. And Martha would know how they could bring the Doctor back.

“Martha is very important to you,” Jenny interrupted Rose’s thoughts.

“Right now, yes,” Rose said without thinking. Only then did she look up at Jenny standing in the doorway and wonder again why the usually bubbly servant was now talking so slowly and deliberately. And now she had her eyes closed for some reason. “Jenny what’s wrong?” she couldn’t help but ask.

“Nothing,” Jenny said, the lightness in her voice obviously faked, as she opened her eyes again. “I am worried about Martha too.”

“Okay,” Rose said slowly, not really believing it. “I suppose I should go make sure Mr. Steinhold got his dinner alright.”

“Yes, of course.” They were both faking politeness and they both knew it. The problem was that Rose was at a loss as to what was really going on while she suspected Jenny did know. She was hesitant to turn her back on Jenny as she started down the stairs, and relieved that she wasn’t followed.

She wasn’t going to Richard though, she would have to face John Smith. Maybe she could get him to the TARDIS and he would remember the way she had. If Martha wasn’t able to explain everything that was going on here, she would have to find a way to make the Doctor do it. She needed to get him back to his old self, too long trying to juggle thoughts of John and the Doctor would drive her nuts.

Again John wasn’t in his room when she got there and she paced frantically as she thought of what to do next. ‘Anne’ couldn’t just go barging around the school looking for him, but she wasn’t sure waiting was a very good idea at this point. The bad guys had gotten to Jenny and done something; they had the scarecrows that could be doing who knows what now.

The book, she thought. The book he was writing about his “dreams”, his memories of being the Doctor, she could use that. Only he hadn’t left it out and she wasn’t sure where he would have hidden it. His desk seemed the mostly likely place to start so she sat down and began searching the drawers until she found it. It didn’t take long, he obviously hadn’t been hiding it, only putting it away. Or maybe it had been Martha, she’d be more aware what the book really meant than John was.

She flipped the journal open, the title still read The Journal of Impossible Things and she smiled to herself. ‘Impossible’ maybe, but true nonetheless. It was probably all true if she had to guess.

And then there was the page of faces. Eight of them must have been the faces he’d worn before she met him, old men and ones with curly hair were parts of him she had never known. And then there was the ninth image, the worn features of the Doctor she remembered meeting in the shop basement and who had taken her away to show her the universe. Followed by the drawing of who he was now, the face as familiar to her as her own.

“Anne?” the most welcome voice in the universe – any universe – interrupted her reflection. She made no effort to stop the smile that spread across her face as she looked up to see the real face of the man she had been studying in the drawing. Sure, in some ways she had seen him every day for weeks now, but it also was the first time she had seen him and known who he was and who she was, so she quickly raced to throw her arms around him.

Time seemed to slow down as she held him. The threats she had been so worried about didn’t seem nearly so pressing as they had a few minutes earlier because she was back in the arms of the man she loved. She had missed him so much; she should be allowed a few moments to just be with him.

But pressed against him she could feel the beat of his one human heart; it was racing a bit as he held her close, but it reminded her that he was John Smith, not really the Doctor. Whatever he had done had changed more than his memory. It meant she hadn’t really found the Doctor yet, but at the same time it amazed her, that even when they weren’t themselves they had found each other and fallen in love all over again.

“I overheard that you went missing this afternoon,” John continued, unaware of her thoughts. “But you’re here now, so it must be alright.”

She really didn’t want to answer him, she would much rather stay suspended in the moment when everything felt right. Where no matter how she looked at it they were safe and together. Even if it wasn’t because he wasn’t quite the Doctor yet, it was better than she, as Rose, had felt in ages. But she took a deep breath and pulled away enough to look at him. “No actually, everything isn’t alright.”

“What?” he asked, fear and confusion mingling in his tone and his arms gripped her even more tightly.

“John,” she started, and realized how strange it felt to call him that now that she knew who he really was. “Actually something has gone very wrong out there, and you’re going to have to trust me while I work out how to fix it.”

He shook his head in confusion and released her slightly. “What are you talking about? What’s going on?”

“I don’t really know what’s going on,” she confessed. “But you do. The real you anyway.”

“Anne?”

She looked squarely into his eyes, trying to make him understand. “Doctor.”

He stared at her for a long moment with a dumbfounded look on his face, but then worry overtook it as he felt at her forehead. “Are you ill? Perhaps you need to see a doctor.”

“Not a doctor, the Doctor,” she said, stressing the last words so there could be no doubt of her meaning. “It’s all real, all those stories you thought were just dreams, they’re our stories. Well, mostly yours I guess, but it’s real.”

“It’s just a story.” She could detect a fraction of pleading in his voice, hoping she would tell him she was just having him on.

But she couldn’t tell him that, she needed him to see that she was telling him the truth no matter how impossible it seemed. “Look, Doctor...John...whatever,” she had known this would be hard, but she really wished she could keep the names straight, it was going to get worse when pronouns entered, she just knew it. Oh why couldn’t she have had more time to sort out her thoughts and feelings on this matter before adding more problems to their lives? “You have to trust me, because something’s happened, and unfortunately I missed the part of the story that explains what it is.”

For the first time he actually stepped away from her. “Something’s wrong with you Anne.”

“No,” she insisted. “Something’s wrong with you, something’s wrong with the world, but I know who I am now, and who you are, and...I want us both to be us again.”

“I wish I could believe that you had remembered everything,” he said slowly. “But you’re confused. Reality and fantasy have started confusing you, you have to try and remember things that are real.”

“This isn’t about my memory problems, it’s about yours.” She made a few disgusted noises as she went back to his desk and picked up the journal she had left there. She turned and held it up to him. “You started writing it because it felt like something inside you was fighting to get out. The dreams were just too real and too big to be just dreams. I wish I had, Richard wanted me to after all. We might have realized they were the same dreams earlier if we had compared notes.”

She flipped the book open as she advanced back towards him. Flipping past the faces and pages of notes she found the drawing of the TARDIS and held it up to him. “You see this, it’s the TARDIS. It’s parked out in one of old man Turner’s old sheds; it’s how I remembered everything. And this,” she said turning the page, “this is exactly what the inside looks like, because you remember it that clearly; you can draw it without even knowing how.

“And this,” she said once she’d turned a few more pages, “this is me, Rose. Doctor, out everything, you do remember me so you must know you have to believe me.”

He caught he hand then and kept her still while he searched her face. “You’re mad,” he finally said, “maybe I went mad first, but this isn’t real.”

She threw up her hands as she pulled away from him again. “God damn it Doctor,” she sighed as she collapsed on the couch. How many times had she and John sat here, neither of them knowing that against all impossible odds they had found each other again? They had just known that being close to each other felt right, never asking why it would be that way.

Rose didn’t look up as he crossed the short space between them in a few long strides and then one of his hands stroked the side of her head before he bent to slowly kiss the top of her head. “I’m not going anywhere,” he said quietly into her hair. “I will do whatever I have to do to help you work through this.”

She looked up at him then. His face was just inches from hers and it would be so easy to kiss him now, and it was pretty tempting, but she couldn’t distract them both from the question at hand. “Just believe me,” she pleaded.

He broke their eye contact as he reached for the journal and opened it a few pages before gravely handing it to her. “Read the last part.”

It was the page with her own face on it so she scanned to lower part of the page. “’Rose equals Anne,’” she spotted near the bottom of the page and smiled up at him. “You’re more right than you knew.”

“After that,” he said – a little exasperated, but mostly deadly serious.

She looked back to the page a few lines lower and separate from the note she’d read first. “‘She disappeared. She’s gone. I lost her and she will never know’.” It trailed off then, and she bit her lip staring at the words.

“In the story, the Doctor lost her. It was obviously my own mind telling me not to let you go, nothing more. I don’t ever want to let you go, not for anything, so don’t make me lose you to this. You’re here, so you couldn’t be her.”

Rose let the silence stretch between them after that announcement, trying to find the words to combat the heartache she could hear in his voice. This man who was and wasn’t the Doctor, he was afraid to lose her, and somewhere inside him he remembered what it felt like when he did. But ultimately the she smiled a bit as she finally said, “That’s so like you, saying it’s impossible when obviously it’s not. I came back, the fact that we’re here arguing about whether or not I came back seems to prove that I did.”

“Then how?” he said as he sat down next to her.

“I don’t really know,” she admitted with a small shrug. “Maybe I was just meant to be here.”

But he shook his head sadly. “You’re just assimilating my fantasies, don’t you see?”

She felt another rush of anger and was tempted to walk away from him again but made herself stay in her seat. “You don’t remember the truth so how can I prove that I’m telling you the truth?” She slammed the journal closed and set it on the coffee table. As she moved her hand away her fingers brushed against something warm and metallic.

A rush went through her, partly from the touch of the watch but also because she had a better understanding of what was going on than she had the last time she picked it up. She hadn’t even noticed it was still sitting on the table until she touched it, but now she remembered everything that had so mysteriously fascinated her the night before. The watch was covered in writing or artwork that matched the Doctor’s writing. It was warm with no human reason why it would be. And something inside had reached out to her as she held it.

It happened again as picked it up this time, and it was just as overwhelming. It was him, she could feel it like he had reached out of it and taken her hand again. She would know his touch anywhere, even if was only brushing against her mind. “Rose,” he seemed to say in her mind, it was like he had breathed the word into her ear; every sensation but logic told her he was there with her, when it all came from the Time Lord’s watch.

“Doctor,” she whispered to the warm watch the rested in her hand, for a moment having almost forgotten about the man next to her.

Slowly John reached towards her and tried to take her hand in his own, but because she was holding the watch for a moment they both touched the alien artifact and he went still. “You feel it don’t you?” she asked as she turned to face him.

“Rose,” he said softly.

A smile grew across her face as she responded, “Doctor.” It wasn’t just that he had called her Rose, it was the way he said it, she knew he was remembering.

But he pulled his hand away sharply. “No,” and he was back to being John.

It didn’t stop Rose’s smile though. “You know I’m right,” she pointed out.

He obviously didn’t want to respond to that yet so she let him have a minute. Before either of them would say anything else though, the door burst open and Jenny stood there with a large and obviously alien gun trained on them.

~~~~~~~~~~

Two scarecrows walked out from behind Baines under their own power. Martha had seen far stranger things in her travels with the Doctor but it still surprised her, the Doctor hadn’t said anything about the Family having that kind of power. It seemed to her that he should have included that sort of warning in his long list of instructions, way more important than what he ate while he was human.

“Take her Father and Sister of Mine,” Baines commanded the scarecrows. They didn’t say anything or do anything to indicate that they would carry out his order except lumber towards Martha.

Martha made a break for the entrance of the school but before she had made it a third of the way an impossibly strong straw arm grabbed her shoulder and forced her down, holding her there. “HELP!” she tried to shout, but the creature smothered her cry to deaden the sound. No one was going to hear her or come to her rescue, and the Doctor would be stuck as the useless human John Smith until the Family figured it out and killed them all. Or maybe it would be in the other order; unfortunately, that might actually be the better option.

The scarecrow lifted Martha easily and draped her over its back in a fireman’s carry. They may look like straw men but they were obviously much more than that as they were quite strong and mobile. The one carrying Martha did so quickly and quietly through the trees and deserted fields and gardens, never keeping to the roads and paths while the identical other creature followed behind.

Even though they moved quickly it seemed to take a long time to reach wherever they were going and Martha couldn’t have said where that was as she could only catch glimpses of the areas they were passing and feel the brush of various plants that they ran through. Finally they slowed and walked the last paces through a field she couldn’t place and the next thing Martha knew they were inside what could only be the Family’s spaceship and she was dumped unceremoniously on the hard metal floor. As she fell, her head clanged against a ridge in the wall and her head rang as someone with even lighter footsteps than the scarecrows approached her.

“Brother of Mine has sent us a present,” a little girl’s voice said, but with otherworldly menace behind it. “But Mother of Mine was wrong, she doesn’t smell like the Doctor.” Martha couldn’t get her wits about her to protest as the child rummaged through Martha’s pockets and came up with the psychic paper folder. The sonic screwdriver had worked itself so deeply into her pockets that apparently it went undiscovered for now. The girl waved the psychic paper in front of Martha’s face as she said, “You shouldn’t have this little maid.” And then she skipped away, a red balloon tied to her wrist bopped along with her.

Martha closed her eyes and focused on trying to clear her head. She could just hear the little girl and an older masculine voice talking but it was out of range for her to hear clearly. After a moment she could feel herself growing sleepy and she forced her eyes open; she probably had a concussion, and she had to stay awake if she was going to have any chance of finding a way to escape or help the Doctor. She looked up at the scarecrows, who were still guarding her but now stood perfectly still. “What’s your part in all of this?” she asked. The scarecrows stayed silent and unmoving; aside from the lack of supports they could have been ordinary scarecrows.

The two sets of human footsteps eventually walked back into Martha’s area of the ship. She met their harsh looks as they studied her and tried to stay strong even though she was crumpled into a heap on the floor. Then they both closed their eyes for some reason and then the man said, “Of course Wife of Mine,” as both of them smiled. Something about the aliens wearing human bodies and now smiling unnerved Martha as much as anything about the situation.

“Mother of Mine has found everything we need to know,” the girl proudly informed Martha. “Mother of Mine is going to bring us the Doctor.”

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