Here it is, finally. Enjoy :)
The cab finally stopped in front of a row of respectable looking houses. The one they were looking for was unmistakable; what with the swarm of police cordoning off the area.
Sherlock strode right through the mass of people, ignoring Donovan's protests. John followed after, shooting Donovan an apologetic look. She spotted him and her icy glare softened to one of... pity?
"Seriously, John. Get a job and find your own flat. Freak's gonna be the death of you one day." John smiled politely, quickly turning to walk into the house.
The first thing that struck John was the smell. It stunk of organic rot and sweat, a sickly combination that made his stomach churn. John caught up to Sherlock, silently grateful for not eating breakfast that day. Lestrade approached them, his usual annoyed look apparent on his face.
"Victim's Mary Carper. Aged 21, studied at the local university. No living relatives, save for her elder sister. Carol Carper. This is the family home; they've lived here all their lives," Lestrade flipped the pages of his notebook, scanning the lines quickly, "Carol Carper is 25 years old, working a full-time job at... Torchwood Institute. We received a call, presumably from her."
Sherlock nodded, his eyes on everything but Lestrade.
"And the body?"
"Upstairs. You've got 15 minutes."
Sherlock bounded up the stairs, John following closely behind. He had a slight frown on his face. Torchwood? The name was vaguely familiar, but no matter how hard John tried, he could not for the life of him place why.
"Different universe, huh. Why am I not surprised..." Rose sat in the console chair, watching the Doctor fly about the console room, pressing buttons and turning dials at a furious pace.
"Not to worry. I've learnt from my mistake last time and placed an automatic coordinate saver in the Tardis system, so when something like this happens again, the Tardis saves the coordinates of the last place we've landed, hence establishing a working connection between this universe and our own universe. So, if I work this fast enough, the temporary link should be strong enough for us to launch ourselves through the gap, and into the proper Vortex, where the Tardis can stabilise. Aren't I just brilliant?"
Rose laughed. She looked at the Doctor's beaming, proud face and felt so happy. She didn't actually mind if they were trapped in a different universe; so long as she had her Doctor, she'll be alright.
The Doctor looked up, arching his eyebrow quizzically at Rose.
"Well don't just sit there looking pretty! Help me press this button-Not now! Once I've established a stable pathway through to the Vortex, I'll need you to press that. It'll let the Tardis feed some of its energy to seal off this Rift. Don't want anything coming through, now do we?"
Rose nodded. She took special care not to get in the way of the Doctor as he prepped up. He turned a dial slowly, keeping both eyes fixed on a screen. Slowly, the Gallifreyan circles aligned themselves and the Tardis hummed.
"Brilliant!" The Doctor dashed off to close the Tardis doors. He slammed them shut- and froze. He sniffed the air suspiciously. Rose looked sharply at the Doctor's still figure. He stood behind the doors, silent in his thoughts. Rose called out softly to him.
"Doctor? Doctor, what's the probl-" The Doctor shushed her. His head was cocked to one side, as if listening intently for something. He turned slowly around to face Rose.
"Do you feel that? Something familiar, something wonderful... but wrong. So wrong..." His face was inscrutable. Rose was starting to feel a little frightened.
Suddenly, urgent beeping broke the tense silence. The Doctor snapped to focus and ran over, turning a nearby crystal ball and pushing down the lever.
"Gotta go, connection's fading! Rose, hit the button and hold on tight, we've got a bumpy ride in front of us!" Rose had barely pushed the button down, when she was launched against the railings as the Tardis seemed to plummet straight downwards, then sideways almost simultaneously. The ruckus created by the Tardis barely covered her and the Doctor's yells of fear and exhilaration. Well, just fear, for Rose. The Tardis jerked forwards, sending Rose flying towards the Tardis console. She twisted sideways, barely missing a rather painful collision, smack into the Doctor. They tumbled to the ground, earning a slight 'oof' from the Doctor. He pulled Rose to her feet and managed to plant her firmly in the console chair.
"Hold on!" He grabbed a hammer and slammed down unceremoniously on several pieces of equipment.
That didn't seem to work, as the Tardis suddenly bucked and rolled a full 360 degrees. Rose clung onto the chair for dear life. Her grip was weakening. The Doctor reached over and flung his hammer desperately at a switch. Multiple alarms went off at once. For once, the Doctor actually looked scared. Luckily, the Tardis finally stabilised, and the alarms quietened.
Rose looked at the Doctor. They were both breathing heavily. Rose was trembling, and she didn't trust her legs enough to stand up and hit the Doctor for good measure. The Doctor walked over to look at a screen. He turned to look at Rose, a smile breaking across his face.
"Well, that went well."
Rose punched him in the arm.
Despite being to countless crime scenes, John was still taken aback by the sight that greeted him. The dead woman's room was pretty decent; she had a table at a corner that was covered in books and paper, most of them covered with drawings and maps of coastlines. Plastered on the walls were diagrams and flowcharts. The room gave John the impression that Mary Carper was a hard-working student.
Propped up on the messy bed was what was once Mary Carper. The body was severely emaciated, with dried up blood leaking from its face. Its hair was a straggly mess, its eyes half open, staring lifelessly at a laptop lying on its lap.
Sherlock wasted no time getting to work. He examined her hands and felt her clothes. He then pried the computer off her stiff fingers and gestured to the body, his eyes fixed on the laptop.
"All yours, John. Tell me what you make of it."
John got to his knees and scrutinised the body.
"Okay... Dead for at least... 6 hours, eyes... bloodshot, traces of dried blood in nose and mouth, oh and in the ear cavities too... Yep, should be one of them..." John turned to see Sherlock fixated on the laptop screen, a puzzled look on his face.
"Hmm?" He looked up distractedly.
"What is it?" Sherlock handed the laptop to John wordlessly.
John's heart nearly stopped. There he was, the strange man he met today. The doctor. John looked up at Sherlock with a mixture of confusion and, well, confusion.
"This was pulled from a Torchwood file. Ms Carper was looking at it in her final moments. I can't seem to access any other files; the whole thing's jammed. Whoever this person is, he must be very important." Sherlock looked at John, thinking hard. He then strode out the room, heading back downstairs.
John stared at the picture. It was grainy, showing only the doctor's face. He obviously didn't know he was being observed. Without thinking, John closed the lid and went down, laptop still in his hand.
Rose peered over the Doctor's shoulder, watching him attach several wires to the alien transport device that they had picked up from the other universe.
"What are you doing?" she asked, not sure if she would even understand the answer. The Doctor stopped and gestured to the device.
"See this? I couldn't find the other piece, which means someone must've taken it. Now, pretend that this part of the device we now have is the lock, and the other is a um... what do you call it? A key! They fit together perfectly, and once the controller, that's the Salox, have contact with either piece, both emit a unique frequency that links them together. I know the Salox have not found the key yet, otherwise the Tardis would have been yanked straight back into the other universe, pulled by the sheer force between lock and key. So, what I'm doing is to link this piece, the lock, into the Tardis. Hopefully with that extra connection, the Tardis will be able to locate where the key's been taken too. Kind of like high-tech lock picking, really..." the Doctor was hovering one end of a wire over the lock.
Suddenly, it was yanked out of his hand, burying deep into the alien lock. The Doctor then took another end, which similarly launched itself into the lock. The Tardis trembled and the lights went off, the faint blue glow of the central column casting an eerie glow through the console room. Rose looked at the Doctor and saw his face barely illuminated, dark shadows sharply contorting his features. Rose could feel the Doctor's worry. Linking a totally new and alien device to your precious ship, not knowing what will happen probably has that kind of effect on people- in the Doctor's case, Time Lords.
The Doctor flipped a switch and stood with his hands on the console, fingers drumming impatiently. Finally, the light came back on and a faint buzzing sound started. It was from the lock.
They both breathed a sigh of relief. The Doctor walked round and started up the Tardis. He frowned at a screen.
"The Tardis has found a lock on the other universe. We're gonna launch ourselves back through a Rift the key created. I wonder how it did that? The Salox consciousness must've found resources. Ah well then. Rose, you got a hold on anything?"
Rose was clutching the railings firmly. She nodded, beaming at him.
"Always got you to grab too, just in case!"
The Doctor pouted at her. He shifted the lock and pushed down on the lever.
"Other universe, here we come!" the Doctor yelled, laughing along with Rose as the Tardis plummeted down again and shot off.
"So, what do you think?" Lestrade asked expectantly.
Sherlock was checking the answering machine. No missed calls, no messages. He shrugged.
"Check the sister."
Both John and Lestrade stared blankly.
"Ms Carper junior's severely emaciated. The extent of deterioration of her body must have taken significant time, yes?" John nodded. "In her condition, it would've been nearly impossible for her to move about unaided. She's a university student; her situation would imply that she's skipping a lot of lessons. So what's stopping anyone from asking about her? Nothing on the answering machine. They couldn't have been deleted; there was a significant layer of dust lying above it."
"She could've had a phone," Lestrade interrupted.
"Even if she had it, why the hell did she starve herself at home? Wouldn't the elder sister have done anything?" John said. Sherlock turned and flashed him a small smile. He continued.
"Precisely. Mary Carper was looking at Torchwood files when she died. Torchwood is where Carol Carper works. The victim was a geography student, if her books are to be trusted. Why the sudden interest in Torchwood, a government institute?" Sherlock glanced at John. He understood the double meaning.
"The victim was starved. Starved and looking at restricted files belonging to where her sibling worked at. And where is Carol Carper?"
Lestrade's frown deepened.
"You said you received a call informing you of the incident. If the sister had found the body, where is she now?"
A string of foul oaths followed out of Lestrade's mouth as he pulled a police officer over.
"Have you interviewed Carol Carper yet?" the officer shook his head.
"No sir, we're searching for her now."
"You'll have more luck at Torchwood itself. Though I doubt you'll even be able to find it." Sherlock said.
He turned and was about to send a text when he spotted a figure in the distance. He sighed dramatically.
"Look who's here, the village idiot."
John could literally smell the sour stench of annoyance emanating from Anderson and Sherlock as they neared.
"Finished wrecking my crime scene, Sherlock?" drawled Anderson.
"It's not your crime scene, Anderson. And I'd suggest you break it off with Mrs Finnemore. Her husband's a very possessive man."
John fought to keep a straight face while he watched, fascinated, as Anderson's face turned a shade of purple more commonly seen in asphyxiation victims. Suddenly, his eyes locked onto the laptop in John' hands.
"Where did you get that?"
John tightened his grip.
Anderson eyed him suspiciously.
"Your laptop's pink with a picture of a glowing sunset glued on its cover?"
Sherlock glanced sharply at the laptop, then at John.
"You-" A loud shout interrupted the potentially disastrous conversation. With a chill John realised it was Lestrade. He was shouting Sherlock's name.
"Is this some kind of joke?" Lestrade demanded, his expression a mixture of shock and anger. They were standing right outside the house.
"Who was it?"
"He-you- No, can't be. Sherlock you-" Lestrade started to splutter. He looked to John and to Sherlock again, getting more and more confused.
"He looked exactly like me, am I right?" Sherlock asked. For a while Lestrade couldn't say a thing. His mouth opened and closed, and when it finally dawned on him that Sherlock wasn't joking, Lestrade nodded his head.
"Where did he go? Focus, Lestrade! Where, did, he, go?"
Lestrade cleared his throat and pointed. Sherlock looked up, his eyes vacant for a moment. He then blinked.
"He took a taxi. If I'm not wrong, he's headed for Baker Street. Where you saw the blue box," Sherlock looked at John, a thin smile on his face, "Time lines, John!"
John gulped. Sherlock was already sprinting away. He prepared to follow when a hand stopped him. It was Lestrade. His face was white from the shock, but his expression showed he was back in business.
"John, that person, whoever it was, gave me a message. It was for you." John's eyes widened. For him? He turned to look at the fast disappearing figure of Sherlock. The message could wait. Sherlock might need him. He turned back.
"I-I'll call you. Tell me later!"
"John, wait-It might be important!" But it was already too late. John ran off, slowly catching up to the consulting detective.
Sherlock rounded another corner, racing past an alley and skidded to a stop. He wasn't exactly sure where John had seen the blue box, but it had to be somewhere here. Where was John? Sherlock spun about. No sign of John. He'll catch up. Sherlock scanned the roads. If that really was his future self, he should be here just about now.
But then again, if that was his future self, wouldn't he realise that and not come back to Baker Street immediately? Sherlock's doubts were cut short when he spotted a black taxi pull up further down the road. A chill ran down his spine as he saw who was inside. It was him. His face, his clothing, his mannerisms. But wait- Sherlock's eyes narrowed. Something was wrong. He'd spied his future self's hand as it handed the cabby his fare. It was shaking-badly.
As Sherlock watched, his future self stepped out and slammed the door shut. His face was deathly pale, and Sherlock could see that he was sweating profusely. Was he shot? Sherlock frowned. No visible tears in clothing, shoes were very worn, though. Must've been running a lot. From what? Sherlock watched the other man as he steadied himself and started to stride towards an alley further down from where he was crouching. Sherlock quickly stood up and started to follow stealthily behind.
Suddenly, the other man tensed up. He then started to run.
"No, no," murmured Sherlock, as he picked up his own pace, turning into the alley.
There he was. And there... it was. The mysterious blue box. Sherlock's mind started to race as he analysed it. Old fashioned 1950s police telephone box. Replica, obviously. Mechanical humming; machine. Illuminated from the inside; people operated from the inside. Sherlock quickly cut himself short as he saw his future self stumble for the door.
"Oh no you don't," Sherlock quickly reached for the other man's shoulder to spin him around and-
Sherlock was aware of a painful, dull, concussive blow to his head. His mind started to buzz loudly and his vision blurred. The last thing he consciously thought was that the weapon was metal, flat and heavy. He then collapsed to the ground, knocked out cold.
"Hmm, that's interesting."
"What is?" Rose asked, arms still curled around the railings. The Tardis had slowed down its flight a few minutes ago, but she didn't trust the Doctor's driving skills enough to let go of the railings quite yet.
She heard a beeping coming from the console. As the Doctor tended to it, she noticed him slowly breaking into a large grin.
"Good old ship, you! The Tardis has caught the scent of the Salox! Changing flight path... now." The Doctor spun a dial and pushed a lever all the way down. The Tardis jerked and flew off.
The Doctor turned to look at Rose.
"Rose, in a few moments we are going to land in the other universe. Now, I have absolutely no idea what we'll see, but please promise me you'll stick close and not wander off." The Doctor looked deep into Rose's eyes, his expression serious. Rose nodded and smiled.
"Yeah, sure!" The Doctor nodded and grinned back. He turned to adjust the controls. "Alright. From what I can see, we're landing smack in alternate-London. Funny how we're always landing in England..."
John huffed in annoyance. He had lost sight of Sherlock. No matter; he recognised the area and quickly ran into the alley where he'd last seen the blue box.
The box was back, same as always. But what was that-
"Sherlock!" John rushed forward and gently turned the unresponsive body. Still breathing, thank god. John looked about. Nobody. He stared at the box in front of him, anger rising within him.
"Whoever did this, you come out right now!" John bellowed. He was about to stand up when a strong gust of wind made him fall back. That strange noise again. The box started to fade away.
"No, no, no!" John ran forward, hand outstretched. He lunged forward, and grabbed thin air. It was gone.
Groaning loudly with frustration, John turned to Sherlock. He shook the unconscious detective. No response. John sighed. He bent to carry Sherlock when a familiar sound attracted his attention, annoyance and anger.
"Perfect landing! The Tardis found a Rift and we snuck right in. You're a brilliant ship, aren't you, you old girl?" The Doctor stroked the Tardis console lovingly. He waited for Rose to stand up before heading for the door excitedly.
"Who knows what we'll find in this new universe. Imagine the people we'll meet! Will they be smarter? Richer? Poorer? More cultured? Hopefully not too rude, like me sometimes-" The Doctor stepped out into the other universe, full of anticipation, where he was being rudely interrupted by an angry fist slamming quickly into contact with his face. The Doctor lost his balance and was knocked to the ground.
"Doctor! Are you okay? Oh my god..." Rose was slightly relieved to see the Doctor sit up, groaning. His hair was sticking up madly now.
"Whatever did I ever do to you?" he squeaked, rubbing a hand over his dazed face. He scrambled shakily to his feet and took a good look at his assailant. He was a blonde, furious man of average height. The Doctor leaned sideways to see an unconscious man on the floor. He was pale, a shock of unruly black hair framing his sharp features. The Doctor noted that the fallen man had on a thick woollen coat, which he thought looked fantastic. He took a step towards the unconscious man, to be blocked immediately by the blonde man. The Doctor put both hands in front of him, and nudged Rose to do the same.
"We're not here to hurt you. Your friend there, is he alright?"
The blonde man looked at him strangely.
"I-I don't know. He might have been drugged or something, I don't know."
"He might be injured. Let me try and help your friend." Slowly, the blonde man nodded. The Doctor knelt beside the black-haired man and took out his sonic screwdriver.
"I'm just gonna scan him. Will only take a moment."
As the Doctor scanned the unconscious man, he could smell a certain hint of something. Something intelligent, something buzzing in the air. The Salox. The Doctor shook his head. That could wait.
"Nothing serious, just a really hard knock on the head. We'll just bring him home, put some ice on that and wait for him to wake up," the Doctor stood up and held out his hand, "I'm the Doctor, by the way, and this is Rose. Nice to meet you... I think. Why did you punch me?"
The blonde man continued to glare at them both. And to their immense surprise, he spoke,
"Yeah, I know. You two travel in time and hit people on the head and pretend nothing happened. Sherlock's pretty much predicted that this would happen."
Rose made a sound. The Doctor gaped at him.
"What-You-You're-" The Doctor tried.
"Don't pretend you don't know me! Saw you this morning. You said-"
"No no I think you're mistaken," the Doctor pointed at Rose, then at himself, "we just got here! First time in our very long existence! Ever! To be punched by you!"
Rose sniggered. The Doctor leaned forward to study him.
"Unless... you're not so mistaken after all... What did I tell you?" the man opened his mouth to answer.
"No no, don't tell me. Sorry, don't want to spoil things for myself. Tell me your name." He winked at Rose.
"I'm-I'm John Watson-"
"Haha! Brilliant! Dr John H. Watson, associate of one Mister Sherlock Holmes! Nice to meet you!" the Doctor pumped John's hand furiously. Rose stood there, letting the Doctor's words sink in. Sherlock, Holmes?
"That's Sherlock Holmes?" Rose blurted, pointing at the prostrate figure on the ground. The blonde man- John Watson- nodded.
"You've read my blog too, then? Should have expected weirdos like you two to read my stuff too. But who am I to judge; living with a weirdo 24/7."
"Yeah, we've... read your blog. Nice blog." The Doctor bent to lift Sherlock off the alley ground. John joined in to help.
"So, um, 221B Baker Street, right?" Rose ventured. John nodded, much to Rose's delight. Rose fell back to the Doctor, her eyes shining with excitement.
"Sherlock Holmes and John Watson!" she whispered.
"I know!" the Doctor whispered back.
"But he's... unconscious! Not very... impressive, is it?" Rose murmured.
"Whoever hit him must've been really sneaky," the Doctor replied, grinning.
Reviews are always welcome.