~ 1938 ~ Tallulah Valentine ~
"Oi!" someone with a thick Bronx accent shouted from somewhere behind them. Rory started to look around, but Amy shook her head.
"Probably another panhandler," she murmured. "You know we don't have anything to spare."
New York City during the Depression was, well... depressing. Amy and Rory had been discussing moving across the sea, back to the United Kingdom, as soon as they had the opportunity and the money.
There was nothing in New York but bad memories and pain for them, it seemed.
"Oi!" the voice repeated, closer this time, and this time Rory did turn around. Behind them was a woman, probably in her mind-thirties, with a blonde bob-cut and big eyes. "You two. Y'got a place to stay?"
Rory shook his head. They had had, for a while, one room in a tenement out of many, but, while what little money they'd had in their pockets when they went back had lasted them a good long time, it had started running low after a few months and they still needed to eat.
"Follow me," she said. "We got space for everyone in Hooverville. I know Frank who runs the place. Good kid. Me and my man Laszlo live there, and if they can deal with him they can make room for a couple of Brits."
"I'm Scottish," Amy said, but the woman just waved a dismissive hand.
"Same diff'rence. You coming?"
Rory clapped a hand over Amy's mouth when she started to open it with an offended expression, and nodded gratefully. "Of course. Thanks so much. I'm Rory, this is Amy."
"Tallulah. Good ta meetcha. Come on, this way," she beckoned, and Amy and Rory trailed after her down the side street she indicated.
"So, if you don't mind me asking, when you say they can 'deal with Laszlo...'" Rory started before trailing off uncomfortably.
"What's wrong with him?" Amy asked bluntly, pushing Rory's hand off of her mouth.
"Oh, he was spliced with pig DNA by alien robots called Daleks," Tallulah rattled off. "He's a real sweetheart, though. Interesting kisser. You two gonna stand there with your mouths hangin' open all day?"
~ 1940 ~ Timothy Latimer ~
Tim was fairly sure he'd lost his ability to be surprised by anything when he was fourteen years old and aliens bombed his school and his English teacher turned out to be an ageless god and he'd seen a thousand years worth of memories tucked inside a pocket watch. Then he'd gone off to war, and seen a bit more, and seen some things that he'd never wished to see.
Nonetheless, he did startle when two people dashed into his hotel room and slammed the door shut behind them. Not because of their sudden presence or the loud noise, but because something about them... glowed, in the faint golden way he knew no one else could see, in the way Miss Martha and Mr. Smith had glowed and the way the Doctor had blazed like a bonfire.
"We," the man started, gasping for breath, as his wife started dragging the dresser in front of the door, "are so, so sorry. We just kind of need to hide in here for a bit, from..."
"Mobsters," the woman broke in from where she was leaning back against the dresser. "Big, scary... mobsters who think that we... owe them money."
Tim didn't respond, cocking his head to listen outside the barricaded door. Heavy footsteps, too heavy to be human, and low, grunted speech that didn't resemble any language spoken on Earth.
"Judoon," he recognized mildly, noting the shocked looks the couple traded out of the corner of his eye. "What do they think you did?"
"They were after a kid," the redheaded woman recovered first, biting out the words with a ferocity that could only belong to a mother. "Cause someday her great great granddaughter will lead a revolution or something. We got her away and wiped her from their databanks, but now we're being charged with obstruction of justice."
"For which the sentence is death by disintegration," the man added, sounding like this was a mild annoyance. "And, how did you know..."
"Rory, is this really the time?" the woman hissed. Something pounded on the door almost hard enough to splinter the wood. "We need to get out of here. Ask questions later."
"Use the window," Tim said calmly, levering himself up off of the bed. "I can get them to leave."
"What? No!" the man- Rory, apparently- protested as the woman dragged him towards the window. "They'll kill you."
"I'll be fine," Tim reassured him with a wry half-smile. "You go on."
The woman managed to wrestle the window open and pulled her husband out, falling down onto the fire escape. He waited until he was sure they were out of sight before shoving the dresser out of the way and opening the door just as it began to buckle in its frame.
He smiled pleasantly at the alien standing in the doorway for a moment before he began to fluently lecture it on disturbing a Class IV Civilization before it had even accomplished space contact, against the Noninterference Article of the Shadow Proclamation.
By the time the Judoon left, he felt they looked as chastised as alien rhinos could possibly look. Tim figured the Doctor would have been proud.
~ 1947 ~ Nancy and Jamie Lewis ~
"He's going to be fine, ma'am," Rory reassured the distressed young woman. Her son was sitting on the chair in the waiting room, kicking his legs idly through the air. Rory would guess his age at around eleven or twelve.
"Oh, thank god," Nancy said, tension flooding out of her shoulders and spine. "I'm sorry, I know it was just a cough, and I shouldn't have taken him to the hospital and wasted your time-"
"It's no trouble at all, ma'am, really," Rory insisted.
"He just had a... a scare, around six years back, he was caught up in the bombing, you see, and he was... he was hurt. Badly. One of his lungs was wrecked, and his poor head..." she trailed off, seeming lost in thought.
"Oh. Um. Wow. I'm... sorry to hear that, but he's okay now, alright? Perfect physical health for a boy his age. I... I wouldn't have thought he ever got hurt at all, actually."
"Yeah," she said with a watery smile. "It was a miracle he got better, a miracle... my little miracle. But now every time he gets a headache or a cough, I think there might have been lasting damage, or... or something, and I already lost him once..."
"Oh. Wow. Um. Okay," Rory managed, rubbing her back awkwardly as she degenerated into shuddering breaths, wrapping her arms tightly around herself.
He almost didn't notice the boy sliding off of the chair and padding over to her until he was throwing his arms around his mother's waist and hugging her tight.
"I'm back now, mum. Remember?" he muttered into her shirt. "The Doctor made me all better."
"I'm a nurse, actually," Rory felt compelled to correct, and Jamie turned and fixed him with a stare as though he was the stupidest person on Earth.
"Not you, the Doctor," Jamie repeated, and suddenly Rory understood, as he watched the boy and his mother walk out of the hospital hand in hand.
~ 1955 ~ Cyril Arwell ~
One day, a young man in his early twenties at the absolute most came into Pond and River Publishing holding a transcript of a children's book. He had an unruly head of bright red hair that made Amy like him instantly, and a set of oversized glasses that sat crooked on his face.
"Um, hello. Are you Mrs. Williams?" he asked. "I love your books. The Melody Mysteries are some of my favorites."
She grinned. "Thanks, kid. What's your name?"
"Cyril," he said. "Cyril Arwell. Um, thanks for seeing me, most of the big offices laughed me out, I don't think they even read my story..."
"Cyril Arwell," she repeated, sounding the name out. "Good name, that. Well, here at Pond and River we're all about giving everyone a chance. Why don't you tell me about your book, Cyril?"
"Right. Right. Wow, sorry, I've never gotten this far before," he stumbled, setting the grubby transcript down on the table. It was clearly rattled out on a typewriter, notes and corrections scribbled in pencil in the margins.
"It's called The Magic Caretaker. Or, or maybe The Caretaker and the Magic Forest, I haven't quite decided yet. It's about this family, a mom and her two children, who have to leave the city during the bombings and go to a great big house outside the city. Their dad is a pilot, and he's promised to be home for Christmas. And when they get there, they meet the Caretaker, who lives in the attic with this big blue police box, and he's this mad man with floppy hair who's probably a bit magic, and he wears a-"
"A bow tie?" Amy interjected, and only then did she realize that she was leaning over her desk, knuckles white around the edge. "Cyril, did he wear a bow tie?"
"...yeah," the young man said after a moment. "Yeah, he... he told me I should wear one, because they were cool... how did you know?"
Amy settled back into her chair. "Cyril, there are two things you need to know. One- I am going to publish your book. And two- you should definitely wear a bow tie, because they are most certainly cool."
~ 1969 ~ Billy Shipton ~
Billy Shipton never stopped flinching at statues. It was the worst in the first couple months, though. He didn't go to church because of the statue of the Holy Mother outside, and even though the shortcut through the park would be much quicker, there was a magnificent bronze angel with wings spread in the center. He walked the long way around.
No one else ever went his way, because it took much longer- except one couple, walking hand in hand. He estimated they were probably in their fifties. There were laugh lines in the man's face and his hair was receding a bit, and there were lighter stripes running through the woman's fiery red mane.
Once day, she stopped abruptly, right in front of him, the man who must be her husband continuing on for a step or two before stumbling and being pulled back by her unyielding grip. Billy looked at her uncertainly, unsure what to say. She spoke for him.
"When are you from?" she asked, her words short and blunt, blurred together by a Scottish accent, one faded from the wear of years but still definitely recognizable.
"You mean where?" he wondered aloud, a little uncertainly, because that question was just too on the nose but how could she have possibly known to ask?
"No. When," she said impatiently, and her husband started to say something to her but was quickly hushed.
"Two thousand and seven," he answered after a moment, wondering if he was going to be hauled off to an asylum and not really being able to bring himself to care. It wasn't like he had anything to lose.
"Two thousand and twelve," the woman replied, not missing a beat, and he was sure his face was downright comical. "The angels got you too, then. I figured, cause you never cut through the middle like everyone else. It's hard to shake. I'm Amy Williams, this is my husband, Rory, and you're coming home to have tea with us."
Her tone brooked no argument, and she turned and started away without another word. Her husband- Rory- paused for a moment and patted Billy on the shoulder with a a wry smile.
"She's a force of nature, isn't she?" Rory mused. "You get used to it. Come on, then."