Boys Will Be Boys
The TARDIS was big. Some would say it was never-ending, but the Doctor knew better. His old girl just liked to lead people in circles. There were things that people didn't know were in that blue box, not even Amy. Sometimes, the Doctor would put things in there and forget about it. It's why he tried not to bring any simple-minded organisms on board. Though some of his companions were questionable at times (Amy glared when the Doctor added this in to the story). Five minutes after Amy and Sophie left to go shopping or whatever they were doing, because he honestly hadn't been listening, Stormageddon's long, loud wail pierced the Time Lord's ears. He stopped his work momentarily, trying to remember all that he could from when he'd been a father. He remembered vaguely that sometimes children just cried and you were supposed to give them a moment or two before you actually went to check on them. Despite the Doctor's first wife telling him this, he'd never listened. Ten bodies later, and he was the same way. His personality was always changing, but one thing remained. He never could handle the crying of a child. Something in him always made him rush to solve the problem.
"Stormy?" the Doctor called, climbing the stairs and tentatively opening the door. He grinned at the baby standing up inside the crib, chin dribbling with spit and tears falling down his eyes. "Hello, Alfie! Tell Doctor what's the matter."
"Mum? You're not Mum!" the child wailed, "Where's my mummy?"
The Doctor smiled, remembering a certain little boy by the name of Jamie, a gas mask fused to his face. "Believe it or not, that's not the first time I've been mistaken as someone's mummy." That adventure had been fun. It was when he'd first met Jack, who had saved Rose from hanging off a blimp during an air raid. At the time, he'd been a bit jealous with the attention being shown to the attractive man by his companion. Little did he know that he had nothing to worry about. Jack hit on every companion of his. Except maybe the eager Donna, much to her disappointment. "Don't worry, little Alfie. She'll be back soon. Now, how would you like to see a space ship?"
Craig was just getting off work, putting his things in the back seat when he got a call from an unknown number. He usually ignored numbers he didn't know. If they really needed to talk to him, they'd call twice. And they did. Right after the other call went to voicemail. Craig climbed into the car and shut the door, sighing, "Yeah, this is Craig Owens. Hello?"
"Craig?" The voice. He had nightmares about this voice. The Doctor. When he was worried about something, when something was wrong. "Now, I don't want you to be alarmed, but-"
"Doctor?" he interrupted, quickly turning the key in the ignition. His heart was thudding in his ears, adrenaline pumping. Of course something was wrong. Something always went wrong when the Doctor showed up. Luckily, he always managed to get them out of it. "What is it this time?"
"Well, uh," the man on the other side of the phone said, nervously, "I… Sort of lost Stormageddon… But stay calm, Cra-"
"You lost Alfie?"
"He's somewhere in the TARDIS!" the Doctor cried, and then his voice dropped to a low whisper, "Craig, it gets worse."
"How could this possibly get worse?"
"There's an alien in your house."
Craig put the pedal to the metal, forgetting all about speed limits as he raced to save his son. He tried to calm down, knowing that they could get the situation under control like they always had, but still the adrenaline in him made Craig wonder if this was the time that things wouldn't work out. Last time, he had very nearly turned into a robot man, or whatever the hell the Doctor had called it. Cyber Man. Right, he remembered, though he didn't really care much. The fact of the matter was that his son was in trouble. Where were Sophie and Amy? How could they leave the Doctor alone knowing the past experiences? The last time Craig left Alfie with the Doctor, he'd come home to be greeted by a cyber-mat, a seemingly cute, mouse-like robot with not seemingly cute, sharp teeth.
He got to the house twice as quickly as he would have had he been going at a normal speed. Craig thanked God that he hadn't been stopped, just honked at by angry drivers as he sped past them. The tires screeched as he swerved into the driveway, hitting the breaks. He went to run into the house but heard the Doctor from the backyard, who had come out of the TARDIS at the sound of Craig's car. "Craig!" he called, "Do not go in the house! We need to find Alfie first!"
"I can't believe you lost him!" Craig yelled, charging at the man in tweed.
The Doctor raised up his hands in defense. "It's not like I meant to, Craig! I was just letting him hang about the TARDIS while I finished up the repairs! Then, he was just gone."
"I'm going to kill you," he growled, pushing past the Doctor and going into the TARDIS.
"I would rather you not," the Time Lord returned, following the human in, "This face is actually starting to grow on me." The Doctor explained that Alfie could be anywhere in the TARDIS, and though she'd usually show them where the baby at, she was still upset about her usual driver letting the redhead take the wheel. She liked Amy and all, though still believed Rory to be much prettier in her opinion, but the time machine didn't even have to look forward in her time stream to see the disastrous outcome. "I think I know the general area he might be in."
"How?" Craig had already been smacked upside the head for saying that the time machine couldn't possibly have feelings, since it was only a box.
"That's where the alien in your house comes in... Stormy sort of let it out." It technically wasn't alive when the Doctor had it in his possession, but it was an egg that had been frozen cryogenically so that the Doctor could return it to its home to be born. It'd been there for a century or two, but he'd never really gotten around to it, always forgetting or never being able to find the room. But Alfie was at that age where babies were curious about everything, touching everything. He must have released it. "Now, we can deal with the alien later. We need to find Alfie first, got it, Craig?" the Doctor instructed, "I'd prefer it if he didn't get into anything else."
Craig nodded, already turning towards the stairs. "Alright, Doctor. Just make sure Sophie doesn't come home to a messy house and a missing baby." And with that, they set off in the hallways, both turning opposite directions and calling out Alfie's name, though the Doctor was sort of whistling and making kissing noises like he was calling a dog, not a human child. They searched high and low, the Doctor finding rooms even he'd forgotten about. He tried to remember them all so he could take Amy back and show her later. Especially that spa room. He was sure she'd like that. Craig was mostly confused by what he found. There were alien artifacts all around in the rooms he went in, in bottles and on papers. He saw paintings from artists he'd only heard of in history books, rooms with numbers and names on it, his experience from being in the Doctor's head being able to identify them vaguely as companions.
He'd never been inside the TARDIS before, and though he'd caught a little bit about it from the Doctor's mind, it still caused Craig to go wide-eyed. He hadn't had much chance to freak out at the door about the size of the thing, the beauty and intricate layout, mainly because he was too busy worrying about Alfie. "Oh God," the man gasped, not being about to help himself as he rounded another long hallway. "It really is bigger on the inside." Craig's voice alarmed himself, reminding him that he could do this later. There was probably a lot of dangerous "souvenirs" of the Doctor's lying about and he couldn't handle the thought of what might happen if Alfie touched the wrong thing.
Meanwhile, the Doctor sped down hallway after hallway, peeking his head in through each door and calling for the baby, but nothing seemed to be happening. He was nowhere to be found. He hated to think of the consequences if they found Stormaggedon too late. Not only would he have failed the Owens family, but he also would have failed Amy. The Doctor knew she had realized just how unrealistic it was for him to save everyone, unlike the early days of them travelling together, but that never stopped him from trying to prove to her that she shouldn't give up all hope in him, that he could be the hero with two golden hearts she had first thought him to be. And he also didn't want her thinking he was incapable of taking care of a child.
He knew that he couldn't have that life with her and it was silly to imagine, but like he always did when visiting Craig, the Doctor had pretended to be human. He watched how the girls talked to one another, how Sophie and Craig moved with such ease and comfort in their home. The TARDIS was his and Amy's home, but it was always moving, always changing and leaving something to be discovered. The pair liked that about the blue box, but the Doctor couldn't help but see how happy Amy was when Sophie had invited her. Even though she refused to accept or knowingly believe it in front of the Doctor, Amy needed a bit of human in her life and he knew it.
So he had fooled himself into thinking that this could be a sort of test, to show that he was capable, that he had that side to him as well, that he could be everything she ever needed. It was something selfish of him, something to boost his own ego and try to reclaim Amy's full attention and need. Or at least that's what the darker shadows in his heart were telling him. Though the Doctor put on a cheery front, the voices in his head of people he failed to save were growing with each passing day, reminding him that Amy would soon join them if he didn't find a way to stop it. It was all making the Doctor more harsh than he usually was on himself, and Amy had only just barely taken notice of it during their adventures, catching his eye and finding the usual spark in his eyes gone. But when he noticed, he'd give her a smile and there it'd be again, like a switch he could turn on and off.
And in the midst of these thoughts, the Doctor heard it. A long wail piercing the air. It was little Stormaggedon. He followed the cries carefully, unsure if the baby had released something that was responsible for the crying. When he got to the right door way, the Doctor lept out with his sonic screwdriver raised. But there was no one there, just Stormy sitting there with a confused, red face that was twisted in anguish as he cried for his mother and father. The Doctor grinned, rushing over to him. He'd made it in time. But there were tiny cuts on Alfie's knees, probably from broken vials that the Doctor had found all over the TARDIS, cursing Rassilon and making a note of each area to clean later. He knelt beside the sobbing child and ran the screwdriver over his wounds, flicking it back up in front of his face to read the medical readings.
"Hush now, Stormy," the Doctor murmured, kissing the top of his head, "Just a couple bandages should do the trick. Be lucky you didn't get into any of the toxins lying around here."
"I want my mummy," Alfie cried, being taken up into the Doctor's arms and carried down the hall. He didn't listen to the strange man in the bow tie and continued crying. Maybe his daddy would hear him just like last time the Doctor was there. He would hear him and come stop the dull pain in his legs, something that maybe adults could handle easily, but something that was also unbearable for an infant. "I want my mummy!"
"Your mummy's not here right now," the Time Lord replied, getting louder shrieks in return, "But your dad is somewhere around here. We were looking for you, y'know? Not a very wise thing sneaking away around here. You could have been lost for days."
"Alfie?" a voice called from down a hallway. The Doctor knew it instantly to be Craig. The TARDIS must be growing less cross with him if she led him back to her thief. That saved a good bit of time that would have otherwise been spent looking for him through the vast maze of the ship. Then, the heavy set man turned the corner, laying eyes on the pair. He sighed, a relieved smile on his face as he rushed over with arms out to take a hold of his son. "Oh, thank God. He found you, Alfie! Oh, I was so worried!"
"Craig?" the Doctor said, interjecting on the happy reunion.
"Amy and Sophie should be home in about 15 minutes… And there's still that alien I managed to trap in the house."
"So, we ended up getting it eventually-"
"After I used a clever, little trick-" the Doctor interrupted.
"Yeah, but it was my idea!" Craig argued. He rolled his eyes, the two women across from him exchanging glances with each other before looking back at him to finish his story. "What we did was the Doctor got on the kitchen table from behind it and threw a blanket o-"
"Please don't tell me it was the one that my mother knit for Alfie, Craig," Sophie pleaded, giving him a tired look. Already this story was exhausting her, making her want to go upstairs from where her son was playing and just hold him so that nothing else like this could happen to him. She watched as Craig averted her gaze, moaning and dropping her face into her open hands. "I loved that blanket."
Meanwhile, Amy was looking at the Doctor. "So, you mean to tell me we have live aliens inside the TARDIS other than yourself?" she asked, incredulously, "And you never mentioned any of this?"
"Oi! Do not yell at me!" he cried back, hands raised in the air, "It was safe in the cryogenic chamber I had it in! Blame Alfie!"
"You're really blaming this on the baby, Doctor? What are you going to do if we… " Amy stopped herself. No. You weren't about to say that because that is a ridiculous idea, Amy Pond! You know that. He knows that… So… Shut up! Amy told herself it was just hanging out with Sophie that had made her think like that, think that the Doctor and her could even… No. Completely impossible. Not in the TARDIS. Not living the sort of life they lived! It was a mad idea.
"If we what?" the Doctor asked, narrowing his eyes. Sophie peeked from in between her fingers to watch the two.
"I mean if I had gotten into something. On accident... Or... something. What then, Doctor?" she finished, not daring to say what she had really started to. No. She wasn't going to tell the Doctor that the sentence that she'd originally uttered from her mouth was going to be What are you going to do if we ever get a baby? Child lock the whole TARDIS? But even thinking that was stupid. So, Amy didn't say it, even though she could feel Sophie shaking her head and smiling to her left. The redhead just lectured on for another fifteen minutes, the Doctor sighing all the while, Sophie taking notes for the next time her boyfriend acted up, and Craig being glad he hadn't gone through as much as his friend.
Ridiculous idea, Pond, Amy thought to herself as the boys headed out to the TARDIS to clean up, the girls tackling what was left of the kitchen and starting dinner with Alfie playing with his cars and blocks in his high chair. Nope, that is absolutely ridiculous.