For the first ten years of my life, I lived in Narnia, in Archenland. Spring and summer were beautiful there. My brothers and I would run all over the palace, where Mother and Dad reigned. The lands of Archenland, Calormine and Narnia were bountiful and blessed.
But then Jadis took over, and I got transferred to Earth, by S.H.I.E.L.D. My two brothers went to Asgard.
Of course, I, as the youngest, got stuck going to Earth. But it wasn’t too bad. I went to Hogwarts for seven years. During the summers, instead of staying at the orphanage, Chiron made an exception for me and let me stay at Camp Half-Blood.
When I became a full-fledged wizard at the early age of sixteen, Nick Fury and Headmistress McGonagall introduced me to two brothers, Dean and Sam Winchester. They lived in America, as demon hunters. Sam had been reaped into the 54th Hunger Games, but Dean, being the older brother, thought that he would have a better chance of winning, and volunteered for Sam. Dean made it, along with the female victor of their district, Elizabeth Bennet, who was a master at disguises.
I was supposed to volunteer as our district’s female tribute, and Sam and Dean were going to train me on how to kill people. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to look someone in the eye and slit their throat. But Sam told me that anything was allowed, as long as I was able to get it into the arena. I would have to keep my eight-inch wand inside my clothes. For instance, I couldn’t Apparate in and out of the arena, but I could Apparate to different areas.
“You can’t win by magic, though. You win by being smarter than the other tributes,” Dean would say authoritatively. “For instance, one of my tricks was to wait until Sammy sent me something in the parachutes, save them, and then put poisonous berries in.”
“What did that do?” I would ask, not because I wanted to know, but because I knew he wanted me to.
“I would take the parachutes and climb to a tree, and drop the parachutes on the other tributes. They thought that they were getting a nice fruit salad. Think again. Poison.”
Sam and Dean and I trained for a year in New York. Dean and Fury didn’t get along very well, and acted like spoiled twelve-year-olds whenever they annoyed each other. Sam and Maria Hill, Fury’s second in command, mostly did the actual communicating.
I also took classes at the community college in New York City. I took dance, theatre, chemistry and calculus, along with a Geo-Cache club. I thought that the club was some crazy idea to get college students to get to know each other better. But hey, I can’t complain now. I was Geo-Caching when I met him. The Doctor.
I was walking on the cramped sidewalks of New York, with my headphones in, but my eyes open. New York is full of bad superheroes. I glanced down to change my music to “Seize the Day”, and when I looked back up, I saw him walking towards me. When he passed me, he grabbed my upper arm, turning me so that I was walking alongside him.
“Hello. Just keep walking, don’t look alarmed. I’m the Doctor and I need your help.”
I kept my eyes on the sidewalk. “I know who you are.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Oh, really? Great, we can skip over introductions, then!”
“Um, I’m Shield’s chosen tribute for this year’s Hunger Games. I’m training with Sam and Dean Winchester at the moment.”
“Ah, the Winchester boys! Very fun and lovable, even though they’re American. And this makes you think that you can’t help me as well?”
We turned off of Broadway and into a tiny side street, where he stopped and faced me. I got my first good look at the Doctor. He had spikey dark brown hair, brown eyes, and a sharp nose. He wore rectangle-shaped glasses, a blue suit and red converse. I had to resist the temptation to brush my hand against the famous light brown trench coat. I had heard so much about the Doctor. Fury hated him, and always made a point of telling the new recruits that the Doctor was bad. The Doctor was a vagabond and didn’t have any respect for the professionals. He was a space hobo, a philanderer who hung out all over space in that stupid police box. This was the image of the Doctor that I had grown up with. But, like all forbidden things, the idea of him was tantalizing. I mean, was he really as bad as Fury thought?
“I can’t help you. I’d be pulled in too many different directions at once. Besides, Fury told me to stay away from you. He said you suck people into the adventuresome life, and then you go about finding trouble and fixing it and the professionals get paid less because you’re doing their job for free.”
He threw back his head and laughed. “Oh ho, ho! Really? Is that what ol’ Fury is saying up there, in his spaceship?”
“It’s not exactly a spaceship,” I corrected. “It’s more like a-a giant hovercraft thing.”
“Oh, a giant hovercraft thing,” he said, very amused. “And that’s so much better than a spaceship? Which, incidentally,” he started patting his pockets, “I do have a spaceship, somewhere around here…”
The Doctor pulled out an old, tarnished key hanging from a string. He inserted it mid-air, and turned. An invisible door opened into the legendary inside of the Tardis. The inside of the Tardis was amazing. The console sat at the center of the large room, with a circular control panel around it. The console stood on top of a round metal floor. Underneath the floor were even more controls. The walls were golden, and there were round holes of a lighter golden hue on the walls. There was a doorway on the other side of the console, and I knew that it went to the rest of the Tardis. It truly was bigger on the inside. I walked up the ramp in a trance, drinking in the sights that I’d only seen in pictures. “Oh my gosh…”
I turned back to the doorway and found the Doctor leaning on the doorframe, with his arms crossed. “Well?” he said eagerly. “What d’you think? Most people have something to say about the size of it all…but you already know that.” He grinned and shut the door.
I pushed my glasses up on my face, and said skeptically, “What are the round thingies for?”
His grin turned into a look of bewilderment. “Ah…I don’t actually know if they do anything, but I love ‘em.”
“I think it looks like your ship’s trying to cosplay as a Dalek.”
The Doctor threw back his head and laughed. “Haha, really? Now that’s something I’ve never heard before! A Dalek.”
He turned to the console and began pressing buttons and pulling levers. The Tardis’s engines began. I grabbed the railing. “Where are you taking me? Stop!! I have to go back! I have training in less than half an hour! Sam and Dean will be waiting.”
The Doctor halted, and closed his eyes. “Come see something.” He took my hand and we walked into the doorway that led to the rest of the Tardis. He strode the twisting halls, finally coming to stop before a single door. “Come meet the rest of your team.”
He opened the door, and motioned for me to follow. “Don’t worry, they’re all asleep.”
I walked into a kind of dormitory. The walls were painted a light green, and beds lined the room. They were all different, and I spotted a couple of four-poster canopy beds. I mentally claimed a blue one, and then berated myself for letting my guard down. But then, I noticed that there were two figures, bundled up in quilts, asleep in the beds.
“Who are these people?” I asked.
“They’re your team members,” the Doctor said, smiling.
“Wait, what? Team members? What team?” I demanded. “Doctor, why do you need my help?”
The Doctor scratched his head and fidgeted nervously. “I accidentally erased the whole sixteenth century.”
I gaped in horror. “You did what??”
“I erased the sixteenth century! There, I’ve said it twice now! You satisfied?”
The Doctor beckoned me over to a bed. It was a rough-hewn bed stand, and when I ran my hand across the end of it, I got a splinter. In the bed was a dark, devilishly handsome Mediterranean-looking boy. He had dark, spiky hair that was not unlike the Doctor’s, and he was grinning in his sleep. He had freckles dancing across his face, and I saw a small golden hoop earring. He was extremely attractive, and I wondered momentarily whether or not he was single.
“So,” I said, trying to sound casual, “Who’s he?”
“This,” the Doctor said, “is Mercutio Montague.”
I held up my hand. “Wait, the Mercutio? From Shakespeare? The Romeo and Juliet Mercutio? Who else do you have snoring away in here? King Arthur?”
The Doctor grinned. “Unfortunately, I’ve only got his servant, Merlin. He’s out, at the moment, probably in the library. But Mercutio, like his majesty over there, also been the victim of a sad incident. You do know the story of Romeo and Juliet?”
I rolled my eyes. “Of course. Who doesn’t know that story? Besides, it’s Shakespeare.” Then a thought struck me. “Wait, in Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio gets stabbed by Tybalt and dies. Why is he here?”
“His story was deleted,” the Doctor said sadly. “When I told the authorities about what happened with the sixteenth century, they only told a few select Time Lords who would be able to help me reverse what happened.
“A couple weeks after that, however, someone realized that Romeo and Juliet had been erased from the timeline as well, and I was called in. They asked if I had had anything to do with it, and although I denied everything, they now think that I deliberately erased Romeo and Juliet. Mercutio was the only survivor of the story.
“So I took Mercutio from the cell where they were keeping him, and brought him to the Tardis. He also knows what’s happened to the story.”
The Doctor looked me straight in the face, and said, “If Romeo and Juliet isn’t replaced on the timeline, Mercutio will fade away. He will have never existed. We have to put it back. We have to go back and convince Shakespeare to write it.”
“But Mercutio dies!” I said. “Can’t we just fix it so that he doesn’t die?”
“No!” he said emphatically. “They have to go back. People’s lives have been impacted by these stories, fictional and historical! What if Shakespeare had never existed? He lived in the sixteenth century! What if he had never written Romeo and Juliet? Then Arthur Laurents never would have written West Side Story! Then Lenard Bernstein’s father would have thought that he was a failure for the rest of his life! Mark Twain might have never read about the young King Edward the Sixth, and he might not have written The Prince and the Pauper! Thousands of lives would be changed!”
I stared at him during this tirade. Maybe Fury was right. Maybe the Doctor was mad. I took a step back from Mercutio’s bed. “Are you…” I started, but unsure how to continue, “Are you alright?”
He looked at me, and seemed to realize that I was still standing there. “Yes…” he said distractedly. “I’m fine. Let me show you the last team member.
“Jack’s story is probably the saddest,” the Doctor said, moving to the last bed. A white-haired youth of about eighteen was sleeping there, snoring up a storm. Am tall stick with a crooked end was clutched in his hand. My hand brushed against the edge of the bed and I gasped. It was ice-cold. The Doctor spoke.
“Jack was the second to youngest child of a merchant, with a vast fortune. He hated the formalities of his life and wished for freedom, and eventually found it. He grew up with four siblings, Elizabeth, Humphrey, Will and Amy.
“His oldest sister, Elizabeth, was twenty-four and married. Humphrey was twenty-two and was the heir to the family fortune.
“Will was twenty-one. He ran away from home. Jack was fourteen when Will expressed a desire to travel to Boston and study music there. His father and mother were dismayed, but Will waited patiently. Once he was twenty-one, Will called his family into the parlor, bid them goodbye, and raced to Boston on the next available ship.”
The Doctor sighed, and placed a gentle hand on Jack’s white hair. “Jack was eighteen when he died.”
I gasped. “What?”
“He’s a spirit,” the Doctor explained. “The Man in the Moon decided that Jack would be the bringer of winter, the rider of wind. So he saved Jack’s life, when he should have drowned. Jack saved his younger sister’s life. She was only six. Her name was Amy.
“They were skating on the family lake, when Amy got stuck on a patch of black ice. She couldn’t move. So Jack managed to skid into Amy’s place and slide her out of danger, but the ice couldn’t hold his weight. He seemingly drowned, but in reality, he was resurrected and became a guardian.”
The Doctor sighed again. I could tell that he still wasn’t telling me something. “Doctor, what is it? What are you not telling me about Jack?”
He faced me. “The Man in the Moon wasn’t able to resurrect Jack completely. Jack remembers nothing of his family or his former life.”
I was reeling from this onslaught of information. “So let me get this straight,” I said. “You accidentally erased the sixteenth century. You kidnapped Mercutio from a Time Lord Containment center because Romeo and Juliet got deleted. The Time Lords think that you deleted the play on accident as well. And Jack Frost is here—why is he here again?”
The Doctor explained hastily. “He’s here because I think he’d be able to help me with this. Besides, the Guardians still feel like Mercutio is like a child, mainly because he’s out of his story, and wanted to send a representative to watch over him.”
I sniggered. “So Jack’s being a babysitter?”
The Doctor smiled. “Huh, I didn’t really think about it like that, but yes, yes, in a way, Jack’s here babysitting.”
Suddenly a lazy voice spoke. “A babysitter. Really? Doc, you underestimate me.”
I jumped. Jack was awake, and sitting up in bed. He stretched, keeping his staff in his hand. He seemed to be sizing me up, and I scowled. “What are you looking at?”
“You,” he said frankly. Then to the Doctor, “Don’t you think she’s a little small?”
“Hey!” I said, annoyed that he’d brought up my height of 5’2. “You’re not too tall yourself, and he still asked you to help.”
“So you will help?” the Doctor said eagerly. “I was hoping you would, and since it is a time machine, I can bring you back to five minutes before we met. I could even erase your mem—“
“NO!!” Both Jack and I yelled. Jack winked at me and said to the Doctor, “Doc, remember what happened last time you tried to erase someone’s memory? The entire sixtee—“
“Yes, yes, I know!” the Doctor said, walking to the door and opening it. “Come; let’s introduce you to your last team member. He should be done in the library by now.”
We walked down the hallways again. I remarked, “How do you keep the directions straight in your mind? This place is huge!”
The Doctor didn’t answer, but pointed to a map tacked haphazardly on the wall. A great red dot stated proudly, “YOU ARE HERE” and a red line crawled to what was, basically, the entryway of the Tardis.
We finally made it back, and as I walked up the ramp to the control panel, I saw a black-haired, angular boy sitting on a platform between the supports, with a stack of books next to him. He was intently studying and didn’t hear us come in. Jack flew behind the boy and tapped his head with the staff. The black hair of the boy suddenly became encrusted with frost. Without looking up, the boy said, irritated, “Jack, there comes a time when that’s not funny anymore.”
“Aw, c’mon, Merlin,” Jack said enticingly, snatching the book in Merlin’s lap. “We’ve got a new recruit! Time for fun! Wakey-wakey!”
“I’m not asleep.” Merlin said. He grabbed for the book, but Jack held it out of his reach. “Now give me my book back, I’m studying dragons. If we’re facing one, I want to be able to fight it.”
“What?” I said. “Did you say a dragon?” I turned to the Doctor, who had been messing with the controls and buttons once again. “You didn’t say anything about a dragon. In fact, you haven’t told me what this—this mission is at all!! It’s a freakin’ dragon? And you said nothing!”
“Hey, hey,” the Doctor said, trying to quiet me. “There are people sleeping. Besides, I’ve faced a dragon before! We can do this.”
“You and Merlin fought Kilgharrah!” I shouted. “What’s so frightening about this one that you have to assemble a whole army to fight it??” I took a deep breath.
“Maybe Fury was right.” I looked at the Doctor. His glasses had slipped down on his nose, and he had taken nearly all the spike out of his hair. “Maybe you are insane.”
I headed towards the door of the Tardis, snatching my satchel up and pulling it on. “Wait!” the Doctor yelled. “You can’t leave!”
He dashed down the ramp, and grabbed my shoulders pleadingly. I glared at him. “Get your hands off of me.”
“We need you to fight this dragon!” he said. “He’s a special kind, sort of a Jekyll/Hyde dragon. He’s good when he’s not a dragon.”
“He’s right, you know.” A voice spoke calmly from the doorway. I whirled around and found myself face to face with a short, blond-haired man in a sweater. I frowned. “Who are you?”
The Doctor pushed past me and said cheerily, “May I introduce you to Dr. John Ham—“
The man interrupted him and shook my hand. “I’m Dr. John Watson, but please, call me John. I’m very pleased to meet you. You will be helping us, right?”
I scowled. “I might consider it if the Doctor will condescend to tell me who and what we’re fighting!”
John raised one eyebrow. “You haven’t told her?”
“I was about to when you came in, John.” The Doctor said. He led the two of us up to the console again, where Jack and Merlin were still waiting. Jack balanced on his staff and said cheekily, “We meet again, Mr. Mysterious H!”
He leaped from his staff to edge of the railing and began walking it. “What is it? Harold?”
“Shut up.” John said stiffly.
“Oh, please.” John scoffed. “Stop trying to be Sherlock, it doesn’t suit you.”
“Me?” Jack said, stopping and taking the time to look offended. “Me? Trying to be Sherlock? I am just being genuinely curious. You insult me.”
Jack bounded from the railing and landed on Merlin’s head. “Hey!” Merlin shouted. “That’s my head! I need it!”
“Um, no y’don’t!” Jack grinned smugly. Merlin began shaking his head blindly and danced around the console, narrowly missing the stairs several times. But soon enough, his luck ran out, and both Merlin and Jack toppled over the railings and fell several floors down to the pool with a resounding splash. I gasped and ran to the edge, peering over.
“Are you guys ok?” I yelled, trying to see them.
After a moment, a faint yell came back up to me. “We’re fine! But Merlinglugl—“
I laughed, and the Doctor and John joined in. John was the first one to speak. “Well, I’m going to go put my things in the bedroom. Doctor, you’ll want a moment to tell her about the mission.”
John grabbed an overnight bag from the door, and walked into the rest of the Tardis. The Doctor sobered up and led me over to a bench that looked like a theater seat. I sat down Indian-style and faced him. He spoke.
“John Watson is a very good man,” he said, tapping his fingers against his Converse. “He’s one of the best. But he fell into company with someone who maybe wasn’t as good as John thought he was. This man was Sherlock Holmes.”
“I’ve heard of him,” I said. “He’s one of the other people that Fury warns us about.”
The Doctor smirked and raised his eyebrow. “Another one? Goodness, how many are there?”
“Sadly, there’s quite a few.” I smiled at him. “So John met Sherlock? What happened then?”
The Doctor sighed. “Well, since they were both looking for a flatmate and as they had a mutual friend, they decided that they would do quite well for each other. But Sherlock’s job was, as you probably know, was to catch criminals. He was a consulting detective. He eventually sucked John into that sort of lifestyle, and they became famous all over London. But Sherlock also had cases that he kept secret from John. It was on one of these cases where he met the legendary Witch of the West.”
“Seriously?” I said in disbelief. “He met Elphaba Thropp?”
The Doctor grinned at my eagerness. “Seriously.”
“What happened?” I said, impatiently.
“Sherlock had been investigating the disappearances of seemingly unconnected people. Sweeney Todd, the Mad Hatter, Jo March, T.S. Eliot, and a girl from China named Olivia Li.
“Who’s Olivia Li?” I interrupted. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard of her.”
“She was the daughter of Mulan and Shang Li,” the Doctor said with a sigh. “But that’s not got anything to do with the case at hand. Anyway, Sherlock’s inquiries had led him to believe that the connection between these five people was the fact that they had each visited or contacted Elphaba Thropp about a week or so before they disappeared. Sherlock was going to figure out why, exactly, they had talked to her.
“It took Sherlock nearly two months to figure out how to get to the land of the West, which, as you know,” he wagged his finger in my direction, “is not actually to the west. Sherlock had a friend, a librarian friend from Iowa, named Marian, who was able to find him an old map. This map said that the Witch lived in—“
“Wait, let me guess!” I said. “She lives in the east, right?”
“Correct!” he said, laughing. “Score one! The Witch of the West lives in the east!”
“Why, though?” I asked.
He scratched his head. “I’ve no idea. It might be because that’s where her sister used to live before she died.”
“Right again,” he said. “The Witch lives on the West Side, New York.”
“The West Side?” I giggled. “Why the West Side?”
“She can recruit all the gang members who live there for her missions,” the Doctor explained. “Then she can wipe their memories, and reuse the boys again.”
“Oh, ok.” I thought for a moment. “How does she wipe their memories?”
“Like many other witches and wizards, the eleven-year-old Elphaba Thropp began her magical career at Hogwarts,” he said. “She was in Slytherin. She had classmates like the Wizard of Oz, Galinda Upton, or Glinda, as she’s called now, hmm, let me think—oh, Gandalf went there, and Radagast. And Saruman, although he had graduated long before either of them, Merlin—you just met him, he went there. He was in Ravenclaw, very silent type.”
“I never knew him, and I graduated last year.” I frowned. “How did I not know him? He looks about my age.”
The Doctor hastily explained. “Merlin lives backwards. I’m not completely clear on how that works, but he was born at the age of 1794, and is losing a year of his age each birthday.”
“But he looks so young!” I said. “Does that mean that he’ll die soon?”
“I’ve no idea,” the Doctor sighed sadly. “But anyway, he’s with us and if we can, we’ll help him. He’s another victim of the infamous Elphaba Thropp. She cursed him to live backwards because she fell in love with Merlin’s father, and he didn’t like her back.”
“Another?” I said curiously.
“Ah, right!” he said briskly. “Back to Sherlock’s story, sorry, I get caught on tangents easily. So where were we? Sherlock was searching for a connection between the disappearances of five people, and the Witch was what connected them. The librarian, Marian, gave him a map, which said that the Witch lived on the East Coast, but in the West Side of New York. Sherlock traveled there, and disguised himself as one of the Jets in order to gain entry to the Witch’s stronghold.”
“Where was she staying?” I asked.
“I think in a warehouse,” he shrugged. “But on the inside, it was enchanted. Once you went inside, you never wanted to leave. But if you were one of the gang members that she had recruited, you were allowed to leave, but only in order to do the mission.”
“So Sherlock disguised himself?” I prodded eagerly.
The Doctor sighed. “Yes, Sherlock concealed himself among the gang members, but unlike them, the Witch had not placed him under hypnosis. The Witch found him out, and he was captured. She interrogated him for many weeks, probably torturing him, but, finally, when she realized that she wouldn’t get any information out of him, the Witch cursed him.”
“What did she curse him with?” I asked, morbidly fascinated by the story. My chin was cupped in my hands, and I was sitting on my feet, enthusiastically drinking in his every word.
“Now, as you probably know,” he continued, scratching his head, “The Witch’s source of power comes from her magic book, the Grimmerie. Not many people have ever read the Grimmerie and survived. Most go insane after reading it. But not Elphaba Thropp. She’s special, and she uses it.”
“Yes, yes I know!” I said impatiently. “What did she curse him with?”
“She cursed Sherlock with a spell that caused him to turn into a dragon.”
I gasped. “What? No way!”
The Doctor nodded grimly. “And there’s more. He only turns into a dragon when he’s angry. He’s a Jekyll/Hyde dragon. We can’t hurt him. We have to figure out how to lift the spell, and this,” he stood up and stretched, “is where you come in.”
The Doctor walked over to the console, and I followed him. He pressed a couple buttons and pulled a screen towards us. A series of blurry pictures came up, and I leaned in closer. There was a picture of three figures, one very tall, one very short and another one lying on the ground. The very short one—who looked like a girl—was high-fiving the tall one, and they were both grinning madly.
“Hey!” I said accusingly, pointing at the screen. “That’s me and Sam! And Dean’s on the floor! This is from last week’s training! Dean had charged at me and I flipped him and landed him on the mat.”
The Doctor stood aside as I peered at the other pictures. There was one of me reading in my room, one of me walking in the park, one of me at a café. Then I flipped to the next one and gasped. It was a picture of a fourteen-year-old me in my Hogwarts robes. The Doctor spoke. “This one’s a video, and afterwards, you’ll see why we need you for this.”
He pressed play. I was dashing down a deserted hall, obviously late for a class. I passed a group of sixth years, who were relishing their free period. One of them stuck their foot in my way, and I, going too fast to stop, tripped over it. Books spilled out of my satchel, and I crawled around on the floor, collecting them. The sixth year, a skinny, dark-haired Ravenclaw, squatted down beside me.
“Look where you’re going, Squib,” he said scornfully. He stood up, laughing with his friends. I left my books on the floor and stood up. I was shaking in anger.
“I am not a Squib!” I shouted. The group fell silent, and a cocky-looking Gryffindor girl stuck out her chin and said, “Oh, yeah? Says who?”
My hands unclenched and a seemingly uncontrolled burst of green light was released in the sixth years’ direction. They yelled, running down the corridor. One spiral of light separated itself from the others, and wrapped itself around the ankle of the dark-haired Ravenclaw boy. He screamed, and tried to get away from it, but the tangent of light flipped the boy upside down and dangled him in front of me. My face was glowing green, and I looked terrified. The boy started bawling. “What the hell are you doing?!”
I looked him square in the face and cried in horror, “I don’t know!! It’s just hap—“
The video suddenly shut off. The Doctor looked up in confusion. I turned to him. “Um, it just turned off, I didn’t do anything.”
The Doctor ignored me, and pushed his glasses up on his nose, walking over to a spectrum that was hanging down from the ceiling. He tapped its glass cover a couple times. The Tardis began to shake. I grabbed the rail and hung on for dear life. “Doctor!” I yelled. “What’s happening?”
“I don’t know,” he shouted back, “But hold onto something and whatever happens, don’t let go!”
He snatched a microphone and shouted, “John, Jack, Merlin! Do you hear me? Stop whatever you’re doing and hold onto something solid! If you are in a corridor, do not hold onto the pipes! I repeat, do not hold onto the pipes!”
The Doctor began to do a bizarre dance around the console, pressing buttons and pulling levers, using all of his limbs to reach different pedals. A loud CRASH resounded in the hallway, and I looked up to see Jack stumble in, with an unconscious Merlin on his back. “Doc!” he shouted.
The Doctor glanced over at Jack, who was sagging under Merlin’s weight. He then looked over at me. “Please?” he said, pleadingly.
I sighed and let go of the rail, nearly falling over the side. Together, Jack and I tied Merlin to a pole, and I stayed with him, just in case he woke up. Then Jack flew to the door. “I’m going after John and Mercutio!” he shouted to the Doctor. Then he soared out the door, disappearing into the pulsating mechanical mess.
I was scared. I didn’t know if we were flying, or if we had been attacked by something. What was the Tardis doing? Was Merlin alright? And that hottie Mercutio? What about John? Was he okay? I clutched at the limp shoulders and prayed that the Doctor would sort everything out. If I ever get out of this alive, I thought, I’ll go straight back to S.H.I.E.L.D, get down on my knees and beg Fury for forgiveness.
But was I really going to go along on this mission? I knew sooner or later I would have to make that decision. I watched as the Doctor leapt up onto the console and press a control down with his knee. He grunted in pain, but swung his body over to the opposite side of the console and pulled on a blue handle. The shaking of the Tardis began to fade, and Jack and John, carrying Mercutio, entered the control room. “Doctor!” John yelled. “What the hell was that?”
The Doctor fell to the floor against the console, limbs splayed. “That, my dear John, was a crack in the wall, one that I was not supposed to see for quite some time.”
“Come again?” I said, as Jack set down Mercutio next to me and started untying Merlin. The Doctor pushed his glasses up again. “It was a rip in reality. We’ve landed somewhere, a long time ago, and I don’t know where. Once I knew it was a time crack, I tried to program the Tardis to land in 1599, the year that Shakespeare was nineteen.”
“But I don’t understand.” I said. “I thought you had erased the sixteenth century. How are you able to get there?”
The Doctor seemed to have run out of energy. John explained. “If the Tardis enters a crack in reality, she’s in a parallel universe.”
“So this is a parallel universe where the sixteenth century hasn’t been erased?” I asked. “So we could go to Shakespeare and get him to write Romeo and Juliet and then it would be written in our world? And the Doctor could reverse whatever he did to erase the sixteenth century!”
“Almost correct,” the Doctor spoke up. He grabbed the edge of the console to hoist himself up, and Jack and I dashed to his side. We pulled him to the theater seat, and sat on either side of him. “It might be restored in our universe. It’s more like a gamble. I don’t know if we’ll be able to fix my mistake.”
The Doctor hung his head in his hands. He looked so sad and dejected, so unlike the Doctor I had heard of, that I felt sorry for him. I laid my hand on his shoulder. “Hey,” I said softly. “We’ll figure it out, and restore Mercutio, and rescue Sherlock, and defeat the Witch, and be home before tea time, ok?”
“So does that mean you’ll help?” he said eagerly, popping back up again. Jack and John looked expectantly at me. I glanced around at the prone forms of Mercutio and Merlin. I sighed. “Fine! I’ll help.”
The Doctor jumped up and started running around the console, pressing knobs and muttering excitedly under his breath. John clapped me on the back and said, “You’ve made the right decision!” Jack took both of my hands in his, spun me around the room and into the air. I laughed as Jack twirled and whirled me around, causing it to snow on those down below. As we got higher and higher, I noticed that there were four erect figures standing around the console. I shouted to Jack, “I think Merlin and Mercutio are awake!”
“Oh, really?” he said softly into my ear. “I think we could let them chill for a while.”
“Skive off, you great snowflake!” I said, pushing him away from me. But this proved to be an ill-thought plan. He moved away accordingly, and I started falling down towards the floor of the Tardis. I shouted, “Jack!! You prat, why’d you let me go?? Oh, this is gre—OOF!!”
I’d been caught by a spiky-haired Italian hot fictional character. Dang it, why did I have to fall for this one? His eyes were a light blue, and stood out against his tanned skin. He had dimples in his cheeks, and his hair was dark. The golden light from the room lingered on his dark hair and I wanted so desperately to reach out and touch it. He grinned seductively.
“Why, hello, mia bellezza…” he said softly. Mercutio’s arms were strong, I noticed with a shiver of delight. Then I realised that he was waiting for me to say something. “Oh! Um, hello?”
Mercutio chuckled, and lowered me to the floor. I stayed pressed against him until the very last second, then pulled away reluctantly. “I’m Mercutio Montague,” he said grandly. “And you are?”
“Hey!” I whirled around to see an angry Jack behind me. “What the hell was that? You just dropped like a stone! You’re lucky that lover-boy was here to catch you!”
Jack then held out his hand to Mercutio, who took it and pulled Jack into a bro-hug. “’Sup, Mercutio?” Jack said, his anger dissipating. “Haven’t seen you since winter.”
“Jack, my old friend!” Mercutio said easily. “The grey sky you inhabit has long been dreary indeed, now that you are gone.”
I was beginning to like this guy even more.
“Mercutio, please, please don’t talk like that,” Jack groaned loudly. “We won’t be able to understand half the stuff you say!”
“Aw, fine,” Mercutio said. “Dream crusher.”
I giggled. “He’s a dream crusher?”
Jack was about to speak up, but Mercutio interrupted him. “Yep. Let me tell you about one time when he visited the lovely town of Verona. There was this girl, you see, and I wanted to take her out on a lake near my house.”
I frowned. I didn’t like the idea of my mentally-claimed hottie Italian going out on a lake with another girl.
“But the next day, the lake is frozen over! And who is to blame but the bringer of ice himself, Jack Frost.”
Jack muttered something obscene under his breath. Mercutio put his hand to his ear and said innocently, “What’s that, Jack? I didn’t quite catch it?”
“I said, you sonofa—“
“Tut-tut, Jack. Language!” Mercutio said merrily. “There is a lady present!”
I raised my eyebrows. “I can swear just as well as you two. I’m not a delicate flower or anything.”
“Ah, but looks can be deceiving, mia bellezza. When did you get here?”
“Oh, just this afternoon,” I said.
“Afternoon?” the Doctor called from the theater seat, where he sat with John, “Why, it hasn’t been afternoon for a couple of hours.”
“What do you mean, Doc?” Jack said curiously.
“It’s about, ooh,” the Doctor checked his watch, “about half past seven in the evening? Give or take a couple of minutes.”
We must have looked confused, because then, the Doctor leapt up from the seat and threw open the door of the Tardis. I crowded around the door, jostling for a position against Jack, and looked out into the night.
The Tardis had landed in a field, deserted except for a few cows munching on the grass. The sun had almost completely gone down, and only a few rays remained to light the hill from which trees sprouted. Jack moved his arm, and I stumbled out onto the dewy grass. “Hey!” I said, annoyed. Jack coolly stepped out from behind me and began exploring. The Doctor and Mercutio followed us. “You all can wander around and explore,” the Doctor called, “Just don’t get lost and remember where the Tardis is!”
I followed Mercutio and Jack around to the other side of the Tardis. Behind it, the faint lights of a village shone in the distance. “Doc!” Jack yelled, “We’re going to the village!” We heard a faint “Alright! Stay together and don’t get lost!” and that was all.
When we reached the village, there seemed to be a festival of some sort going on. There were lights everywhere, girls had flowers in her hair, and huge bonfires had been lit. Gigantic barrels of some sort of alcohol were tapped and something that I knew wasn’t Sprite was flowing freely. Flags hung from the windows of the houses, and people were dancing and singing in the courtyard.
“Robin fair, and Robin free
Ho hey, the broom blooms bonnie o
Where was you born in what country?’
Robin’s bow is bent for me, o.
‘My love gave me a fair gold ring
Ho hey, the broom blooms bonnie, oh!
And bade me prize it above all things’
Robin’s bow is bent for me, oh!
‘For seven years I’ve loved my love
Seven years she has loved me oh!
But another weds my love today
So for woe I’m like to die, oh!
‘You’ll give to me your begging weed
Ho hey, the broom blooms bonnie oh!
And I’ll give you my riding steed’
Robin’s bow is bent for me, oh!
But be it right, or be it wrong
Ho hey, the broom blooms bonnie oh!
The begging weed he has put on
Robin’s bow is bent for me, oh!”
In one corner of the large court, I spied an old man telling a story to a group of delighted children. As we passed, I heard him say, “…and so King John gave the Bishop three days to think over his questions. If, at the end of that time, the Bishop could not answer, King John would behead him and take his lands for himself!”
A horrified gasp came from a little girl in the front row. She began to cry. A mother, who had been laughing and talking with other women, came bustling over. She picked up her bawling daughter, and started scolding the old man. “Leonard Cox, what stories ‘ave you been stuffin’ in my daughter’s head?”
“It was nothing, I assure you, marm!” the old man said hastily. “It was just the story of King John and the Bishop, and how the King said he would kill the Bishop if—“
“Yes, I know the story, master Coxe! You have told it so many times,” the lady snapped. She turned her back on the old man and rushed back to the celebration. The old man, Cox, was undaunted, however, and continued telling the story to the remaining children.
“Alright then, where was I?” he enquired.
A little boy in the back shouted eagerly, “He was gonna chop off ‘is head!!”
“Ah, yes!” Cox said, settling back in his seat. “Thank you, master Richard.”
I glanced over at Jack and Mercutio. “So what do you want to do?”
Mercutio swiped a beer from a passing peasant man and took a drink. “Well, I don’t know about you two, but I am going to eat, drink and be merry.”
Jack laughed. “You big oaf, you don’t even know what they’re celebrating!”
“Well, we’re not going to find out by standing around here,” I said. I strode across the courtyard to a man who was sitting by himself, Jack and Mercutio following me. As I approached, the man “Excuse me,” I asked, “What is everyone celebrating?”
He laughed. “What is everyone celebrating? Maiden fair, from what country have you journeyed that you do not know of the politics of England?”
“Um, New York?” I faltered. “My friends and I have, um, been hermits for the last five years.”
“Hermits?” Jack whispered in my ear. “Really?”
“Best I could come up with, under the circumstances!” I hissed back.
The man stood up. “My name’s Will Shakespeare, and this is the lovely town of Stratford-on-Avon.”
Jack and I spoke at the same time. The man raised an eyebrow. “You’ve heard of me?”
“Duh,” I said. “Who hasn’t heard of Shakespeare? You’re a genius!”
“Hey, um, can I talk to you for a moment?” Jack pulled me away from Shakespeare and whispered, “He’s only thirty-five. He’s not really all that famous yet! He probably thinks you’re some sort of a creeper.”
“No way,” I disagreed. “He’s had several of his plays performed for Queen Elizabeth so far. She loves him. She thinks he’s great and they flirt a lot.”
“So what are we whispering about?” Mercutio’s head popped up next to Jack’s and he winked at me. I rolled my eyes, but couldn’t help the blush that rose to my cheeks.
“That guy behind us is William Shakespeare!” I said.
“Who’s that?” Mercutio inquired.
“Mercutio,” Jack interjected, “Go introduce yourself to that guy and figure out what the heck they’re celebrating, ok?”
“As you wish,” Mercutio said, and he strolled over to Shakespeare. Jack turned to me, fuming. “Didn’t the Doctor tell you that Mercutio doesn’t realize that he’s a story character?”
“Mercutio thinks that he’s just a normal guy who got displaced on his timeline. He doesn’t realize that he’s a story character, thought up by someone!”
I glanced over at Mercutio and Shakespeare, who were having an animated conversation, complete with head bops and arm waving. Jack pulled me back. “We’ve got to get back to the Tardis.”
“Mercutio!” I shouted. “Come on, we’ve got to go!”
Mercutio waved me off with a flick of his hand. “Not yet, can’t you see that I’m having a conversation?”
He gestured at Shakespeare, who grinned. “Your friend is quite entertaining!” he yelled. “I think he might be one of the sauciest lads in all of England, though I am envious of his swarthy tan. Did you not roll in the red dirt o’er the glen?”
Shakespeare roared with laughter. Jack and I snickered.
“It is a gift from the Sun, for she loves to bless me with her passion!” Mercutio spread his hands and looked up into the pitch black sky. He lowered his head and looked confused. “My lover is not there…”
“Ha!” Shakespeare shouted. “Clotpole!”
Jack looked at me and winced. We dashed over to the pair, who were dueling rapidly.
“Thou cream-faced loon!”
“What, thou egg!”
“You are not worth another word, else I’d call you villain!”
A muddle of people began to crowd around the pair, whose gestures became more and more extravagant.
“I do desire we may be better strangers.” A shove.
“More of your conversation would infect my brain!” Mercutio jumped into the air.
Shakespeare lifted his head disdainfully. “You are not worth another word, else I’d call you knave!”
“Away! Thou are poison to my blood!” Mercutio pushed Shakespeare to the ground and placed a foot on his chest.
“Villain, what hast thou done?”
“That which thou canst not undo,” Mercutio said darkly.
“Thou hast undone my wife!” Shakespeare moaned.
Mercutio raised an eyebrow. “Villain, I have done thy wife.”
A roar of laughter and Mercutio pulled Shakespeare up. He dusted himself off, and said jovially, “I shall have to use that one in a play!”
And this is where it ends! Comments and Critiques, please? :) You can post them to my "First Person Shooter" Doll :D