Mary and The Doctor
Wheeroo, wheeroo, wheero.
The soft pulsing light of the TARDIS interrupts the darkness of a quiet room filled with lace, dolls, and stuffed bears. The door creaks open, basking the room with a warm yellow light.
First a finger, then a head, and then the foot and leg, and the rest of the man finally follows. The Doctor looks around muttering, “No, this isn’t right. This isn’t Xeros. Definitely not Xeros.” He picks up one, two bears before putting them back down and spinning around, taking in the room. “19th Century, England. Bandersnatch,” he cursed.
“London, in the Hargreaves Estate, to be a little more precise. And a bandersnatch is a creature made up by Lewis Carroll,” a little voice rings from the dark room. A girl, blond, blue eyed, and doll-like in appearance sat on the bed among the many toys, blending into them.
The Doctor spins again, seeming almost off-balance as he stops, looking at the young girl curiously, as if she had just popped out of thin air. There was something off about her. Something wrong.
The girl speaks again, her voice light, but strong, “Well, why are you in my room in the middle of the night?”
She wasn’t scared. But that wasn’t what was wrong. Interesting, but not wrong. “Well, I… I can’t rightfully say. This isn’t Xeros,” because it wasn’t, they had established that much. He was a long way off of where he had planned to be, and rather early, and much later in the night as well.
The girl slips out the bed, and lights an oil lamp next to the bed with a match. She took it and turned to face the strange man with the strange mannerisms with a calm expression that seemed to flow through her whole being. She smiles gently at him, “No, I would say it isn’t, mister. It is my bedroom, and I should probably be calling for my aunt right now, but I don’t think I will.”
The Doctor smiles at her, amused with her calmness and her announcement. “Well, you don’t need to call your aunt for a dream.” Mary laughs with that, not fooled for a moment. “You don’t believe me,” he said, face falling.
“Not for a moment. I have seen a lot of strange things, but a giant wooden blue box appearing from nowhere is completely new.” She smiles, a bit of redness still in her eyes, “I’m too curious to let you get away so quickly, mister!” She reaches out to the box with fingers covered in black gloves, gingerly touching it, almost as if she knew it was alive. She turned back to the strange man, the black ribbons in her hair fluttering, whose smile had already crept back to his face. “Where are you from?”
“Vary far away.”
“And yet you have the same accent.”
“You are very observant, aren’t you?”
She just smiled, proud, but not conceited. “I’m the Lady Mary Weather Hargreaves.” Her black dress seemed to bounce with all the lace and petticoats as she offers a small curtsey.
“The Doctor,” he said, smiling as he bows a bit in return, though at the lowest point of the bow, when the weak lamp light failed to illuminate his face, his smile fades. He realized just what had been off. Wrong. The black clothes, the red eyes- even streaks from tears down her cheeks. By the time he rises again he wears a bigger smile.
“Just ‘The Doctor’?” she says, none the wiser.
“Just ‘The Doctor’,” he says, still smiling warmly. “What are you doing up so late, Lady Mary Weather Hargreaves?”
Mary’s smile falls, reality striking her, and the Doctor’s smile fades with concern. “I’ve had a hard time sleeping lately, and I have had a lot to do.” She smiles again, lifting her chin despite tears in her eyes. “But I am glad I wasn’t sleeping, I would hate to have missed a strange man with a mysterious box appearing in my room with no explanation.” She turns back to the TARDIS, putting her hand on the handle, and in that moment he knew that there was a good reason he had landed here instead of on Xeros. He knew her next question, and he knew he wouldn’t stop her.
“Can I open it?”
He nodded, and smiled at the look of wonder on her face as the door opened to reveal the Blue Box’s secret. It was the same kind of wonder Alice must have had as she fell down the rabbit hole. It wasn’t fear on her face as she backed out of the TARDIS, but amazement. The Doctor stepped back to let her rush around behind it, confirming that it really was only so big, and then watching silently, proudly as she steps in with her hand out, grasping at the air where the far wall should be. “Meet the TARDIS, Time And Relative Dimensions In Space.”
Mary doesn’t hesitate to rush in, looking about the whole console room, taking it all in eagerly. “Time?” she calls out to the mysterious stranger, a sparkle in her eye showing a hint of suspicion.
“Time,” the Doctor confirmed, stepping into the TARDIS. “Pick any time, past, future, whenever, and we can go there. Ancient Greece, or the very end of Earth, or maybe Venice- no, not Venice, Venice was bad, very bad, but how about we meet your favourite author. A bright girl like you ought to have a favourite author, right?”
“But Lewis Carroll is alive, so that would ruin half the fun of something that can travel time! And by ‘space’, do you mean beyond Earth, among the stars?”
“And all the space between and beyond,” The Doctor said, beaming at the child.
Mary lit up, “Can we-” but reality interrupted again. She had responsibilities. She was now the head of her house, and that meant that she had a lot to learn about taking care of the family. But like the clever girl she is, she realized the other implications of ‘time’, smiling wryly. “If we do go, we can come back and no one will know that I have ever been gone. My aunt and uncle need never worry, and I won’t be deserting them, right?”
“We can come back to exactly whatever time you want, Lady Mary Weather.”
Mary grins, stepping out only long enough to put the lamp down, blowing it out, grabbing a white bear with a little gold bell on a red ribbon tied around it’s neck. She bounces back into the ship, grinning at the Doctor with a kind of cheerfulness that seemed to brighten up even her mourning clothes. “So, what are you waiting for? Down the rabbit hole we go!”