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Curiouser and Curiouser (4/7)

Title: Curiouser and Curiouser
Characters: Seven, Ace, Romana, Original
Word Count: 2547
Rating: PG
Summary: The Doctor and Ace arrive in Victorian London and cross paths with a
former companion and an old enemy
Notes: OK, this is yet another story version of a sim done by "Dr Who & Co". This
time I have names! These are the ones whose creativity you are about to enjoy. John,
Romana, Heather, Lynn, JenK, Cody, FifthDrFan, Flameress, Doctor6master. (If I skipped
anyone, I apologize). This was first posted on FFN on 3/20/02

Part One
Part Two
Part Three



IV

The Doctor calmly opened the TARDIS doors, and stepped out to meet Holmes who waited
by the main entrance to the house that had seen better days.

"Professor, you sure?" asked Ace.

"It's quite all right, Ace. I thought Mr. Holmes would be putting in an appearance."

"Holmes? As in Sherlock?" questioned Paul. "But he's just a fictional character."

"Perhaps he should be fictional, Paul. But he isn't anymore."

"Sometimes I think Doyle had this man in mind when he created the look for Holmes," put in
Jenna.

"Yes indeed, Jenna...the chicken or the egg?" said the Doctor as he looked back and saw
Romana step out of the TARDIS and close the door behind her.

"I hope I won't have to choose sides. Don't know what I'd do."

"There are never 'sides', Jenna, nor a choice. Just right...and wrong. I trust you."

"Thank you, Doctor. It means a lot," she replied softly.

They all approached the house and Holmes except for Ace who stayed at the back, looking
at the house warily. Romana gave Holmes a considering up and down look, frowning slightly.
Jenna waved at him, greeting an old friend.

"My God...I can't believe this," said Paul, stunned.

"I was wondering when you would show up," greeted Holmes with a nod in their direction.
"Hello again, Jenna."

"Yes...how lovely to see you again, Mr. Holmes," said the Doctor as he doffed his hat.

"Yes, quite." Romana gave Holmes a small nod of acknowledgment. She then looked behind
him at the house and noted the beech trees.

"Hello, Holmes. I was wondering if you'd come visit," said Jenna by way of greeting.

"You seem to have adjusted well to your new life."

"Thanks to what you taught me about observation."

The Doctor moved over to Romana and asked quietly, "Are you getting anything from the
tracker? Is more of the TARDIS here?"

Romana reached for the tracker in her pocket and felt it vibrate slightly. "A piece of it
certainly is near here."

"So who followed whom here?" said Ace more to herself than to anyone in particular.

"That is indeed the question, Ace." He turned to Romana. "Outside? Or in the house
somewhere?"

Romana took a step nearer to the house and the vibrating increased. "Can't tell quite that
much from it. It's just near the house. It could be in the house, in the garden, in the backyard, on the porch...no way of knowing except by checking."

Holmes looked at the Doctor and Romana. "Shall we go inside?"

"Yes, of course, Mr. Holmes," agreed the Doctor.

"Oh do we have to?" moaned Ace.

"Certainly, Come along, Ace. Although. . ." He whispered to Romana. "Follow me. And
keep your eye on the tracker."

"But it doesn't look very safe. The roof might fall in or something."

Holmes took an old key from his pocket and inserted it in the lock. It opened after a short
struggle.

"Oh, that's the least of our worries, Ace," the Doctor said with a grin. "Wait just one moment, Mr. Holmes. There's something not quite right here..."

"You noticed that as well? The lock is well oiled compared to the rest of the house. The key
was situated above the windowsill."

"So someone is using this as a cover," said Jenna.

The Doctor didn't seem to hear as he wandered over to one of the beech trees, took a tin
nightingale from his pocket, and place it on a branch of one of the copper beeches. "There!
Much better!" He smiled.

Romana took the tracker out of her pocket and looks at the compass-like instrument on it.
"Directly ahead of us." She ignored the Doctor and approached the house.

"I still don't think we should go in there," said Ace.

Romana looked back at Ace. "I have to if I want to find my Doctor in one piece." Ace
remained silent. She stepped up onto the porch and heard some of the planks beneath her
creak.

Holmes looked at Romana. "And now they know we're here."

Romana glowered at Holmes. "It's not my they couldn't install newer wood flooring into this
place."

"That would defeat the purpose of the subterfuge, now, wouldn't it?"

"Well, since most of it is still standing in my time, I think we'll be fine," put in Paul.

The Doctor walked back to Ace. "Yes...perhaps someone should keep an eye on our
TARDIS," he said as he put a hand on her shoulder.

"No way. You're not leaving me out here alone. I'm all right. I'm just...worried about
everyone else that's all."

The Doctor smiled proudly at Ace. "Well, that's what you and I do, Ace...keep everyone else
out of trouble." Ace gave him a half-smile. She looked slightly nervous, but attempted to
over it up by looking brave. "Come on." He led her back to the group.

Jenna looked at Ace. "You OK?"

"Yeah, fine. I just want us to all get back out okay y'know?"

The Doctor looked at Jenna with a grin. "I believe it's merely the dress making her uneasy."

"Took me sometime to get used to dressing like this, too."

Holmes turned to the Doctor. "May I?" He reached out his hand for the umbrella.

The Doctor held it out for him. "Please."

Holmes took the brolly and used it to push door open while standing well back from the
threshold. Romana stood behind him and looked tentatively into the house. The Doctor
watched appreciatively. It creaked but no traps were sprung.

The Doctor held out hand, asking for his brolly back Holmes returned it. "Thank you."

"My pleasure."

Romana frowned at the cobweb-covered interior. "Doesn't look like anyone has lived here
for years, much less set traps for us."

"Appearances can be deceiving. We must look past what they want us to see."

"Perhaps...but I've always favored the direct approach." He strode confidently into the house.

Romana reached for the tracker in her pocket and felt the vibrating was slowly increasing.
"Doctor, Wait!" She picked up her skirts and went in after him.

"It's quite all right, Romana. The entranceway is quite empty." He pointed with his brolly up
once grand and now splintered stairs. "There does some to be someone upstairs, however.
Or at least someone was quite recently." He noticed what could only be candlelight glowing
through an open door upstairs.

"Yes, but you did hear what Holmes said. There could be a back entrance. That would
explain why the dust in here hasn't been disturbed."

"I heard, Romana. But I'm told old to change my ways now."

Outside and exasperated Ace cried out, "Professor!" She tried to catch up, forgetting about
her long skirt. "Stupid dress."

Jenna followed with a laugh at Ace's expense.

Holmes looked about the large main hall, trying to find proof of traffic through the house.

"Perhaps the light is there to lure us upstairs," said Jenna. "We should split up.
Some wait here to cover those who go upstairs."

"Romana...what is the tracker telling you? Upstairs or down?" asked the Doctor.

Romana wandered toward the staircase, feeling the tracker's vibrations increase. "It's up
there."

"Just as I thought." He started up the stairs with Romana right behind him. "I'll stay here with Holmes. Call us if you find anything!" yelled Jenna after them. The Doctor gave her a nod, but his mind was firmly on the mystery at hand.

Ace turned to Paul. "Come on you." She practically dragged him up the stairs.

The Doctor made his way up the stairs, carefully probing ahead with the end of his brolly, to
make certain they are sound.

"I wonder why Holmes is volunteering to stay behind. If this were a mystery, he would be
going first if he were indeed like Doyle's creation.

"Unless he already knows what's up there," said Ace. "I mean it wouldn't be a mystery then,
right, if he knew."

Romana touched the Doctor on the arm. "He's letting us walk into this trap on our own, you
know."

The Doctor stopped suddenly. "Yes...I think you're both right. Wait one moment." Ace
waited, looking proud of herself, and Romana stopped on an unsteady stair just behind the
Doctor. The Doctor then took a step to the side and slid down the banister, grinning like a
child. Ace laughed then turned back down the steps, pulling Paul with her. . Romana,
however, frowned and walked down the stairs holding her head up with disdain

The Doctor landed a little less than gracefully and walked over to where Jenna was waiting.

As the others were planning their excursion upstairs, Holmes explored what was once the
drawing room and stopped near the fireplace. "They wouldn't be that obvious." He felt along
the wall beside the fireplace and his sensitive fingers picked up something.

Jenna was standing within sight of the stairs to wait for some type of signal from the others. "Holmes! What is it?"

"Jenna, are you carrying? Come along. I think I've found something here."

"Always, Holmes." She reached under her dress and pulled out a revolver. When she looked
up, she noticed the Doctor had returned. "Doctor?"

"On second thought, Mr. Holmes...splitting up is rarely a good idea in these circumstances."

Romana stopped at the foot of the staircase and pulled out the tracker, adjusting some of the
knobs. She looked worriedly at the revolver."

"What's happening?" Jenna asked.

"I'm not sure," the Doctor said with a smile, "but I do know part of my ship is upstairs. And
I'd feel better if we all remained together."

"Holmes said he found something interesting." She checked the revolver. "I was just going to
follow."

"You won't be needing that."

"Hm? Holmes always likes me to have it when the situation seems dangerous."

"Perhaps. But it should always be a last resort."

Holmes heard the arrival of the others but ignored it as of little importance. There was
something about the fireplace that was . . . wrong.

The Doctor looked over at Holmes. "What was that?"

"There is something behind this fireplace. The wall has a strange feel to it."

The Doctor joined him, tested the wall, and then frowned. "Yes...yes, I think you're right."

Romana wandered over to the fireplace, holding the tracker out in front of her. She shook her
head. "The reading was stronger over by the staircase." She replaced the tracker in her
pocket.

"Could the tracker be picking up more than one source? More than one room?"

Ace sat down on the bottom step and watched the proceedings. She saw Holmes reach into
one of the pockets of his greatcoat and pull out a small device that looked like a pen. He
fiddled with the settings before pointing it at wall above the section in question. She realized it was a small laser. She wandered back over to the fireplace, since whatever they were doing now looked interesting.

Holmes made a small incision along the mortar. "A little longer. . ." Jenna looked on proudly
while Romana hovered in the background waiting to see if they uncover a hidden staircase.
Holmes dislodged a brick that was slightly discolored. "Catch!" he called as it dropped.

The Doctor caught the brick and grinned as he recognized a soft hum from the brick.

"Undamaged?" asked Holmes.

"Yes, its perfect! Good work, Holmes!"

Jenna saw the grin on the Doctor's face. "Is that part of your TARDIS?"

"It is indeed, Jenna!"

"It can't be considering the Tracker wasn't registering anything near the fireplace," declared Romana. "I did just check."

The Doctor bounced the brick lightly in his hand. "I've got to get this back to my TARDIS, so
I can reconvert. Ace, come along. You can help."

"A brick?" Paul couldn't believe what he had just witnessed. "You came all this way for a
brick?"

The Doctor ignored him and dashed out the front door and back to his TARDIS with Ace
following, Paul in tow.

Holmes looked after the Doctor's retreating figure. "Is he like this all the time?"

"From the short time I've been with him, he always seems to be on the move," answered
Jenna. "If not physically, definitely mentally."

Romana rushed out of the house and tried to catch the Doctor. She reached the TARDIS
doors. "But, Doctor, it's not!"

Holmes and Jenna followed slowly out of the house and saw Romana enter the TARDIS.

Jenna made to go inside as well, but Holmes held her back. "Just wait. I think I know what
he's doing and it could be very dangerous."

Romana went inside to see the Doctor hooking the brick up to the console. "Doctor, don't!"
she huffed.

"Nonsense, Romana. It'll be fine. Ace?" She hurried over. "Ace, watch that meter over
there."

"Okay, what am I watching for?"

"If it was yours, it would have registered on the Tracker.... and it didn't!" Romana argued.

The Doctor ignored Romana and pressed a few buttons as he answered Ace. "Oh, just tell
me if the needle goes into the orange there."

Ace nodded. The console made a grumbling noise, like an upset stomach. "Doctor!" Romana
warned.

"Quiet, Romana. I'm working."

Romana backed up a couple of paces and stumbled out the door.

Jenna saw Romana stumble out. "What's he doing in there?"

"He's insane. He's not listening to me. That brick.... that wasn't his...."

"Many have questioned the Doctor's sanity and have been proved wrong," said Holmes.

"Professor. . ." said Ace in a warning tone, "almost orange."

"What?" frowned the Doctor.

"It's turning orange." She pointed to the meter. "It's right at the edge there."

The Doctor spoke to the air. "Old girl...this isn't the time." He thumped the console and the
reading dropped to normal. "You see? Nothing to worry about." The brick disappeared.

"Now...let's see what we've got."

Romana backed up until she was standing next to Jenna. "You might want to get down.
When his TARDIS systems reject that piece..."

"This time I wonder," said Holmes softly.

Jenna retreated towards the house. "Holmes, c'mon. . . ." Holmes stood his ground.

I could have been trapped in that room. In addition, if it's the console room, then I can recall all the others automatically," said the Doctor to Ace as he strode confidently into the back of the ship. He soon came to a very odd door, one that was out of place even in the TARDIS.

"Wait a moment...this doesn't look right..." He paused, hand halfway to the door, but
curiosity soon got the better of him. Ace looked on, concerned. He pulled the door open
wide then stepped inside.

At that same instant, there was a mighty BOOM, and the room vanished. "Professor!" She
banged her fists on the wall. "Professor!" she screamed.

Outside the others heard the TARDIS groan as if it were in its death throes. They watched in
horrified silence as a blinding explosion of light engulfed the countryside. Jenna had to cover her eyes to keep from going blind. "Doctor!" cried out Romana.

They look back as the light subsided and saw something drip from the roof of the TARDIS
and cascade down the walls until the ship turned completely black. Holmes turned to
Romana. "He's gone."

Romana faced the TARDIS. "Doctor."

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