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Ripping Time (3/?)

Title: Ripping Time
Fandom: Doctor Who
Characters: All original as explained in the notes
Word Count: 3194
Notes: This was dreamt up years ago when there was still talk of a theatrical release and before the new series. A friend and I got to talk of casting and came up with Ioan Gruffudd as the Doctor and Natalie Portman as his American companion Nora. Since we were writing this between the two of us, we had to wait for a reponse from the other before we continued. Anyway, once done it sat in my computer waiting for a bit of polish. Ray (my co-author) had also done a pic of Nora and the Doctor that I wanted to find before posting but it's lost somewhere. If I do eventually find it, I'll edit the post to include it. I will be posting in parts as it is rather long. If you find anything wrong, please let me know!


*****************************************************************

Two days later, the ringing of the phone wakened Monahan. He knew it was bad news as the only calls he got were from the precinct. "Monahan," he answered drowsily.

"There's another one," was all the voice said on the other end.

"Where?"

"Sea Gate. A hack is on the way."

Monahan replaced the phone and swore. "This is just what I need." He quickly shaved and dressed, grabbing his coat on the way out the door.

He was just stepping onto the front stoop when the hack pulled up. The driver saluted then smiled. "Mornin', detective. Any leads yet?"

"Nothing concrete," Monahan answered as he took his seat.

"You'll get 'im, sir. You're the best."

Monahan thanked him and thought on the case as Brooklyn passed by outside. Too bad it wasn't men like the driver who were responsible for his position. Now that the murderer had struck in exclusive Sea Gate, he would be under even more scrutiny by the press, the public, and his superiors. He let out an exasperated sigh. Something had to happen. He was due.

The driver pulled over to where a uniformed officer was waiting. "Do you want me to wait, sir?"

"No, thanks. I'll hitch a ride with someone else." The driver saluted and drove off.

"Right this way, sir," said the uniform as he led Monahan to a path between the houses to the shore.

Monahan could see the cluster of police already gathered. "Any identification?"

"Yes, sir. Victor Cahill. Lived right down on Atlantic."

Monahan was about to ask what position he held there but the sight of the body made it unnecessary. From what he could see of the man's clothing, he was definitely family, not a servant. This was the first victim from "Society" which widened the motive. He walked over to MacLaren. "Same as the others?"

"I don't think you need my confirmation. You can see that for yourself."

"Yeah, but hearing someone else say that makes it more real."

Out of the corner of his eye, Bram saw a flash of purple. When he turned around, he saw the man--The Doctor--from Coney Island examining the body with an odd sense of familiarity. As if sensing he had become the center of attention, the man looked up. "Quite a nasty sight, isn't it?" He stood and brushed off his clothes. "This is something I've seen too often. Violence without reason."

The young girl he had been with earlier was also there and stared down at the body. "I think I'm going to be sick."

"Don't, you'll contaminate the crime scene." The girl slapped his arm and covered her mouth and nose with her handkerchief.

"What are you two doing here?"

"Everybody must be somewhere--Detective?"

"Monahan. I saw you stop that mugging at Coney the other day."

"Your robbery division needs to be more attentive," said the Doctor.

"If I still have my job after this, I'll tell them. But that still doesn't explain what you're doing here at this crime scene."

"The nerve! We were the first to take action!" declared the girl.

"Just what action was that?"

"Well, the Doctor treated the woman who called you for shock."

"That's one way of putting it," the Doctor muttered.

Monahan stared at the body as MacLaren had it covered with a tarp. "Did the officer take your statement?"

"Yes, sir. Three pages of it," answered one of the officers, hearing Bram's question.

"You got an address for them?"

"Yes, sir. They're staying at the St. George Hotel."

"Detective, this hasn't been the first murder has it?" questioned the man calling himself the Doctor.

"No, this is the 6th in about 10 days. You said you've seen this before? When?"

"London. Eighteen--Well, a long time ago."

"You look too young to know what a long time ago is."

"Looks can be deceiving."

"Maybe it's the same killer?" asked the girl.

"Oh, Nora, that's a leap. Besides, it couldn't be the same man. He's dead."

"You sure?"

"Positive." His eyes in the glint of sunlight seemed flecked with gold.

"So, you've been involved in cases like this before?" asked Monahan as he ushered them away from the body and other police.

"I merely dabble, Detective."

"Oh, brother."

"Why don't you contact Professor Litefoot, recently retired from Scotland Yard?"

"Litefoot the pathologist?"

"That's the chap."

"Doctor, could you be any more British?"

"Well I could, but my father wasn't you see."

"Fine. I'll do that. You'll be in New York for awhile?"

"Oh, definitely. Taking in the sights. Educating my young niece."

"You have your niece call you 'Doctor'?"

"It's her joke. I tend to call her tomcat."

"Meow."

**************************************************************

Monahan took his leave of the Doctor and his "niece," but not before informing them that any change of address had to be reported should they be needed. He then made his way to the house on Atlantic where Victor Cahill had lived. The interview itself went well. The victim's father, a stern-looking man near 60, told him that his son had been out that night with friends possibly gaming, drinking, and whoring. As to what he was doing by the water, he had no idea. He gave Monahan some names and Monahan left his card should the man remember anything else.

Back at headquarters, Bram composed a telegram for Professor Litefoot in London asking about the Doctor. Not having the man's address, he had it sent to Scotland Yard. Hopefully by tomorrow, he'd have a reply.
He had just finished his report on the Cahill murder when word came that the Captain wanted to see him. With a groan, he climbed the flight of stairs to his superior's office. He could probably hold the conversation himself, as the Cossack's words would be easy to predict.

He knocked on the door. "Come in." Bram did so and closed the door behind him. Nicolas "The Cossack" Wallachai was taller than he and practically everybody in New York City. He nearly commanded as much attention as the Doctor. His hair short and combed back without pomade, his mustache perfectly trimmed and darted with silver made him a striking figure. His eyes black as tar were not dull but deep with experience.
"Monahan. I had word from the Commissioner this morning regarding the Cahill death. Now that this murderer has struck someone of Society, the Commission is demanding results. What progress have you made?"

"I have yet to determine a connection between the victims, sir, or even the reason for the dissection."

"That is not the report I was hoping for, Monahan."

"There is something else, sir."

"Yes?"

"I have found a consultant, a man who helped solve a case like this a few years ago in London. I sent a telegram to Scotland Yard for verification."

"You believe this man to be telling the truth?"

"I want to believe that for some reason he arrived just when we needed help."

"And you don't find that suspicious?"

"Normally, I would, but there's something about him that inspires confidence."

"You are aware your career is riding on this?" Bram nodded. "When you get the telegram from Scotland Yard, bring this man to me. I want to meet him."

"Yes, sir."

*****************************************************

The following afternoon, the reply came from Litefoot. The Doctor was a private inquiry agent who solved a series of disappearances in the Limehouse district. He should be granted every available courtesy.

Telegram in hand, Bram phoned the St. George Hotel and left an urgent message for the Doctor to report to police headquarters. He then had to inform the clerk that that his guest was only acting as a consultant for the police and that he was not wanted for anything.

He returned to his desk only to see a young woman sitting in his chair reading his files. She looked up and he recognized the Doctor's niece. She smiled. "Good morning, Detective."

"What are you doing here already? I only just 'phoned the hotel."

"Knowing how long it would take for the reply to arrive, I anticipated your summons," said the Doctor from behind him.

"Litefoot had nothing but glowing remarks about you. He also said that we should 'extend every courtesy'. Before we start, however, my superior wants to meet you."

"Of course. They always do." The young woman made to go with them. "Nora, why don't you stay here, go through the files, and see what you can make of them."

"Is that wise? There are some photos in there unfit for a young woman."

Nora grinned. "They'll be nothing after what I've seen. I'll be fine."

The Doctor followed Monahan up the stairs and hummed a bar from Ode to Joy. A rather scrawny individual below squawked about a giant "roughing up his mates!" The Doctor felt the poor man probably had a hard life and too much ale this day.

Monahan knocked upon the frosted glass.

"Come!"

"Sir-"

The tall man with silver and black hair barked at the telephone. "What do you mean you don't know anything about a police box?"

Oh, dear. That can't be good.

"Police box, Sir? What's a-"

"I'm trying to find out, Monahan." He looked up. "It seems somebody cut a swathe through the Penny Dreadful Gang."

"I heard the Eel's furor on his way to the cells, Sir. Are they dead?"

"No. They were battered though and nearly every bone in their bodies were broken."

"Is it related to Detective Monahan's case?"

"You must be the Doctor. You're rather young."

"My hearts are old."

"I don't care for your humor either. Cretins." He slammed down the phone on the receiver.
The Doctor smiled. Humans tended to invent things that exasperated them ever so. "Why do you call them the Penny Dreadfuls?"

"Because they're worthless, but very imaginative. So imaginative they've yet to be convicted, until now." He sighed. "I'm so happy that the Bulldog in robbery has another feather to put in his cap."

"Not killers then?"

"Sadly, no. It would make things so much easier if they were. However, we have a group of men that have been pounded to pulp. Perhaps, they knew something, and our unknown--"

The Doctor pursed his lips and shook his head. "No, Captain. No."

"Why not?"

"Because the men are alive."

"Perhaps, he was startled."

"No. The body I examined at the beach indicated no previous violence. The bones were cut by a sharp scalpel not broken."

"A scalpel? Are you mad."

"You would be surprised how many times I've been asked that question."

"No, I wouldn't, Doctor. A scalpel can cut bone, but not to such extremes."

"It helps when the bones have been electrified. Weakened, made brittle."

"Electrified? Are you saying the victims were struck by a form of freak lightning?"

"No, he's not." Monahan turned toward the Doctor. "A device like a gun that fires lightning."

"I knew you were sharp, Bram."

"A lightning gun! You are mad!"

"He's not mad, Sir. Who found the body? Rockefeller's maid. Rockefeller has recently been seen in the company of several well-respected scientists."

Ah-hah!

The Captain sat down. For the first time in a week, he smiled.

"I'll go and question Mr. Rockefeller immediately, Sir."

"You'll do no such thing. One does not question a man of Mr. Rockefeller's stature without being invited first."

"I don't think Mr. Rockefeller is one who would invite police into his home, Sir."

"This is a murder investigation. Like it or not, no matter how much wealth he has accumulated, he has no choice." He picked up the phone once more. "I should have the proper paperwork for you in an hour."

The Doctor and Bram made their way back downstairs to Bram's desk. Down the hall, they heard feminine laughter. Bram recognized one and guessed the other to be that of Nora.

"Uh-oh."

"There's nothing quite so chilling as two women of your acquaintance laughing together."

"Doctor, you're a wise man. Especially when one is telling childhood stories you'd rather be kept quiet."

"It's even worse when they pull out their snaps."

"Snaps?"

"Photographs."

"That would be my mother."

"You're mother's an extraordinarily attractive young woman, Bram."

"No, not her. That's my sister."

"I know. Just teasing."

"Please don't. I get enough of that when I visit my family."

"Nora, I see you've made a new friend," said the Doctor as they entered the room.

"Oh, Doctor." Nora looked over her shoulder. "This is Maeve Monahan. Bram's sister."

"Charmed to meet you, Maeve," said the Doctor with a smile.

Her face turned a shade less red than her hair. "A pleasure Doctor." She spoke with a light Irish brogue that her brother did not share.

The Doctor stared at Nora. What has she been saying?

"Maeve, what are you doing here?" Bram questioned his sister.

"I just came to remind you about dinner tonight. You had better not disappoint Ma again."

"It all depends on the case. Crime doesn't stop so I can have dinner."

"Crime is such a killjoy," the Doctor grinned. "It can be murder on a social life."

"I can't believe you said that, Doctor."

"Why not? Perfectly in character." He grinned.

"I know, but even for you--that was just horrible."

"I do try, Nora. I do try."

Maeve turned to Nora. "If you don't have any plans, perhaps you would care to join us tonight?"

"I'd love a home-cooked meal. Doctor?"

"Hmmn?"

"Would you like to join us all for dinner?" Maeve asked of him.

"Of course, wouldn't miss it."

******************************************************************

Later that afternoon, the Doctor and Nora found themselves in the neighborhood of Bushwick. The directions Bram had given them were perfect and they soon arrived his family's address. The street was clean and the buildings in good shape. Nora found it hard to reconcile what she was seeing with what she knew of Brooklyn and New York from the news.

"They won't fall apart until the 1960s and 70s when the industries move out," said the Doctor as if reading her mind. "The area will undergo a spate of renewal in the 1990s."

"What kind of industries?"

"Breweries mostly. At one point there were eleven in this neighborhood alone." He stopped in front of one of the buildings. "I think this is it. Shall we?"

They climbed the stoop and entered the large double doors. The entry hall was almost as cold as outside. Thank goodness they only had to go to the third floor where they would enter the warmth of the Monahans' apartment. The steps and halls were clean and free of clutter, something that would become a staple in the late 20th century.

"What did Rockefeller say, Doctor?"

"Well, according to Bram, he knew nothing about the murder. As for the lightning gun, he mentioned Tesla, but nobody in his little think tank is working on such a weapon."

"It's not very likely that somebody local might be working on such a thing."

"No, not very. So where does that leave us?"

"A visitor who needs lessons in etiquette."

"Yes, and since we're in the vicinity, we're elected to teach."

The Doctor's knock hadn't even faded when Maeve answered the door. "You made it. Please, come in." She opened the door wider and the Doctor motioned for Nora to enter first.

"I forgot some of humanity is slightly telepathic."

"Or, she simply could have been desperately looking for you out from the window," Nora said under her breath.

The room was more spacious than she had expected and it was cheerful and warm. The aroma of baking bread teased her nostrils. She looked to the left and saw the rest of the family rising to greet them.

"Let me take your wrap, Nora, then I'll make introductions."

"Thank you." Maeve placed the wrap on a coat rack by the door. She was aware of four pairs of eyes regarding her.

Maeve smiled. "This is my father, Declan Monahan. Da, this is the Doctor and Nora. They're helping Bram with his case."

"How do you do?" said the Doctor, shaking the man's large work-roughened hand.

"Are you with the police, Doctor?"

"A consultant only." He paused. "Galway?"

"Born and bred," Declan smiled. "Not many can pick out a county just by accent. Now yours is a tricky one. I'd almost say English. Almost."

"My mother was English. I consider myself a citizen of the universe."

"World," Nora corrected.

"World."

"How fascinating," said one of the other women.

Maeve quickly introduced her sisters. "This is Alanna, Tara, and Deirdre."

"A pleasure," the Doctor greeted warmly.

Nora could see that they had already fallen for the Doctor. It was amusing that he was so blind to the affect he had on women. It only showed how little appearances meant to him. Although Grace was a looker, but she'd bet her eyeteeth the Doctor simply felt a spark he couldn't ignore.

A slightly older woman with red hair accented by brushstrokes of silver came out of the kitchen. She wiped her hands on an apron. "I thought I heard guests," she said with a smile. "I was in the midst of basting and could only now get away. You must be the Doctor and Nora. Maeve told us all about you the moment she came home."

"Thank you for having us, Mrs. Monahan," said Nora.

"Think nothing of it, dear. And it's Siobhan." She turned to Deirdre. "Would you bring the tea out?"

"Yes, Ma."

The group moved into the living room and Tara sat on the couch. "Doctor, why don't you sit here," she said, patting the cushion beside her invitingly.

"Why, thank you." The Doctor sat. "What a lovely flat you have," he told Declan as he made himself comfortable.

"It's a far cry from what we had in Manhattan. Once Bram was transferred here, we decided to move here ourselves."

"What do you do for a living?" Nora asked.

"Da works at the Schaefer Brewery and the rest of us do domestic work for the family." She leaned over and whispered, "Of course Alanna will have to stop come spring."

"Really? Why?"

"She's going to have a baby."

"That's wonderful!"

"Your employer is a very generous man to let you all have the day off," commented the Doctor.

"We are luckier than most, but the family is away in Europe at the moment so we need only go in a few days a week," Siobhan informed him.

Deirdre returned with the tea and the Doctor rose to help her. Nora knew that this action made him even more desirable in the women's eyes-even the married Alanna. Don't travel down that road, ladies. It's one way.

"Shall I be mother?" he asked as he lifted the teapot.

Nora accepted her tea and noted that the tea service was of good quality china, though somewhat chipped and worn. Perhaps it was a castoff from their employer.

Once everyone had his or her tea, the conversation went into safer generalities. By the time Bram arrived looking weary, it was as if they had known each other for years, not an hour.

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