I could tell from the expletive’s Jack was shouting that something was wrong.
Lily had left.
We caught up with her outside where she was blasting holes in the ground and seemed intent on terrifying a kid. Any doubt I had that Lily was no longer in her own body evaporated.
Jack ran towards max and I saw him drag him to the ground. I watched max punch Jack down and leap towards Lily.
Then there was a stutter. I don’t know what else to call it, like a skipped track on a CD. And suddenly I was running from the TARDIS again, Jack well ahead of me. He and Max were engaged in a full-blown fistfight.
I saw Lily laughing, heard her cry out as she swooped on the child in front of her and watched max leap into their path. Then they were gone, both of them.
My own head swam whatever that stutter had been it tore at me, like a wound inside my head.
I started forward to where the Doctor, my doctor that is, and Xan were staring at the burnt ground. And it all started again.
It was as different this time as it had been before. When I looked down I found myself translucent. I could see the ground through my own limbs. I saw jack running across to max shouting out to him ‘slow down there, I Don’t know what this is but there’s gotta be a better way then this!’
‘This?’ Max replied with a sneer ‘This ace is the host’ except it wasn’t. The girl who spun in the air was dark haired, not Lily at all. I’d seen her before, in photos in Max’s room. Her name was Faro, and as far I knew she should have been dead.
That’s when it hit me, what it was that must have been going on. I wasn’t dropping back in time, I was dropping sideways. Whatever vortex that creature used to travel with it had dragged me along in its wake. These were parallel realities!
But how was I going to find my way home?
I decided to hide in the new Doctor’s TARDIS, perhaps it could shield me from the affect. I would have gone to either of them, but I knew his door was already open.
I stood on the threshold for a moment before the idea came to me to become a layer of paint on the door. That way I could watch events but remain protected.
Things ran much as before, except this time Max was far more ruthless, driven even. I heard something crack as he struck Jack down and Rose screamed.
I looked for my Doctor and saw him stood alone. Of Course, if Faro was the HOSTs body here then there was no Xan. And without Xan, what state would Max be in.
I tried not to shudder at the thought, after all, who sees shuddering doors, right?
Events unfolded just the same, except that this time, when Far and Max disappeared in to the earth I could feel the world changing around, was able to concentrate on the pull and when my mind stopped reeling a watched The ninth Doctor and his companions walking towards me. I’d broken the cycle, and I had some idea of the reality I was now in.
As a bruised jack slipped past me into the TARDIS rose pointed behind them ‘Doctor!’
As I did they watched his eighth self approach. He was solemn, his unruly curls bowed ‘don’t I ever get tired of hurting my friends?’ the Doctor said quietly.
Suddenly a voice piped up behind him and Rose was startled to see Xan hanging onto his jacket. Frankly so was I, she hadn’t been part of this reality mere moments before/
‘Shouldn’t we be finding out where they all are? Lily, Ichigo and max?” Someone remembered me at least. I tried to jump free of the police box, to bound into her arms and tell her I was fine. But I found myself unable to move at all.
As my Doctor stormed back to his ship, Xan swished her tail ‘thank you. Your friend who got hurt too’
‘We’ll do all we can’ Rose started, but her Doctor shook his head
‘We cant, Rose’ Xan nodded sorrowfully
‘I understand. Thank you anyway’ she darted off. Rose looked confused.
“Because it would be interfering in your past right?”
“Yeah. I have to solve this myself. Believe me, if I could do anything I would. At least I was able to alter the time co-ordinates for the trip. Come on, its time to go. You have a sore captain to look after.”
I rather hoped I was going to get the chance if I was honest but I still found myself trapped against the humming time ship. Moments later I understood why. The TARDIS dematerialised I was dragged into the Vortex along with her. But I was now free to move again, in the vortex everything and nothing are equally possible.
I let go and fell into the swirling maelstrom, forging away to the nearest point where I could feel safe. At that point, it was all I had.
I arrived in a dark room, in mid air. I know that bit ‘cos reaching the ground involved bouncing off a table and it hurt like hell.
I heard running feet and a door opened flooding the room with light. A tall figure shadowed its way towards me.
“Ichigo?” that was Captain Jack. Quite why my subconscious thought I’d be safe with him I dunno. He was in uniform I noticed but that meant nothing, other than that id not interrupted him being out of uniform.
“Er yeah. Jack?”
“Hey you alright, what are you doing here?”
“Actually I’d really like to know that myself. Could we start with where here is?”
“Let’s get you to the kitchen, you look in need of sugar.”
Of course, fuel. Energy. That would make me safe, being ready for whatever was to come. That must be why I’d come to Jack, one way or another I was gonna get powered up with him!
After I’d emptied the sugar caddy and liked my lips gently around his I started trying to workout what was going on. I was in Cardiff. But I could overlook that. It was 2014 and the Doctor hadn’t been around for a while.
I was in the flat Jack spent the week in while he was at work. But today was Saturday as his family was here to meet the family of a friend of his. Well he said a friend of mine, but I didn’t recall meeting a Gwen Cooper before. Maybe I had, but I hadn’t yet. Time travel can make socialising really difficult you know?
So it was that I had to try and reign in my surprise that Jack and Rose Tyler were a couple, with two children and a best friend who was also pregnant. Just in case I was already supposed to know any of it.
But then I remembered the passage through realities – how could I be certain I knew any of these people, they could all be parallel versions of them. At least the place didn’t seem to be run by Nazis and jack wasn’t wearing an eye patch.
I tried not to panic too much, even when the boy, Tristan, hugged me and called me auntie Ichi. Now that was a scary moment. I didn’t mind the attention of Rose and the dark haired Gwen though. Especially not Gwen. Like most pregnant Women she seemed to glow slightly in the evening light and the radiance made me all fidgety. Hell, I was here to get fuelled ok?
The daughter, Ella, was unsettling. Nothing she did or said more a sort of déjà vu that has yet to come. Thankfully she spent most of the time asleep. Once her brother joined her I wasted no time in fuelling up for my trip. *insert porn here* Now if only I knew where I had to go.
Many things in the realities I had so far passed through had remained constant. So I figured that whatever changes the new Doctor had made to the co-ordinates must be important. But I couldn’t really risk going back to that park in case I didn’t escape again. So I did the next best thing, I asked Jack if he knew.
My luck was in, now all I had to do was find Chicago43, and hope I arrived at the same time.
My luck didn’t hold. I arrived in time to witness a pitched battle, the TARDIS dematerialising as she was hit with a blast of weird energy and the thing that had been lily drag Max off into space.
Once again I had no idea where the TARDIS may have gone. I jumped blindly into the vortex after her.
And despite al I had seen so far, I truly was not expecting to find myself where I ended up.