Title: The Alien in the Attic
Spoilers: Invasion of the Bane
Summary: Maria goes snooping again.
"There's a large blue box in the garden. I don't remember that being there before. What did Sarah tell you again, Luke?" Maria crept to the back door, motioning Luke to follow her.
"That I was to go over to your place for dinner, because that's what kids do. And that she'd see me after eight. It isn't after eight." He used the key Sarah had given him and opened the door.
"But my dad had that thing. And I'm sure Sarah didn't mean for us to be home without a responsible adult," Maria said conspiratorially. "I'm sure she'll understand." She looked around the lounge. "She's not down here. I bet she's doing something in the attic. Come on."
Luke followed her up the stairs to the attic. "She's talking to someone. It doesn't sound like Mr. Smith, either."
"Or K-9." Maria pressed a finger to her lips and her ear to the door.
She didn't need to go to quite that extreme. Neither Sarah nor her visitor were making any effort to keep their conversation quiet.
"You what!" A man's voice, and not particularly happy by the sound of it.
"I adopted him. Sort of. Mr. Smith did the paperwork, but it should be valid and more importantly shouldn't raise too many questions." Sarah sounded bemused by the man's reaction.
"It's just awful timing. With the High Council gone, we finally reached the point where we no longer needed to hide our relationship from them. After they threatened to wipe your memory if I continued sleeping with you, I wasn't about to give them cause. Hiding our relationship was the only way. And I deliberately arranged for Rose to be caught on the other side of the void, so she wouldn't be poking her nose in and now you've thrown a spanner in the works." He was really upset now.
Maria reached out a hand and squeezed Luke's.
"What would you have had me do. Dump him into the system? Let UNIT or worse, Torchwood, get their hands on him. This was the best solution." Now Sarah's voice was starting to get heated.
Maria tensed. It didn't sound as bad as when her parents fought, but still....
"No, I'm not saying that," the man said softly. "Sarah, it's the twenty-first century. Just explain that I'm your boyfriend and I occasionally stay over. Surely they'll understand."
"Didn't she say that she didn't have a boyfriend?" Luke asked softly.
"Oh yes, that's going to be lovely to explain," Sarah sounded wonderfully sarcastic. "Are you going to suddenly start visiting in a linear fashion after all these years, or do I just let the whole town think I'm a slut on top of being mad?"
"What are you getting at, Sarah?" The man asked, obviously bewildered.
"If you're planning to start making your frequent booty calls more openly, it could become an issue. Does my boyfriend have brown hair, or blond or white? Blue eyes or brown? Is he tall or short? Old or young?" Sarah asked in return.
"Is he prone to cricket outfits or long scarves or velvet?" He asked whimsically, and they both burst into laughter at some joke that neither Maria or Luke understood.
Maria decided that this was as good a time as any and knocked on the attic door.
Sarah opened it, arching an eyebrow at them and saying, "I thought you were having dinner across the street." She looked somewhat mussed, as Maria's mum did after she'd been snogging her boyfriend.
"My dad had to go out. I didn't think you wanted us unsupervised." Maria was surprised at how smooth the excuse sounded. She scanned the attic for the man whose voice they had heard. "Did you know there's a big blue box in your back garden?"
"Oh, yes, you'll see that occasionally. Belongs to a friend of mine." Sarah gestured at the floor where there was a man rummaging through a box of odds and ends.
He looked up. "You must be Maria and Luke. I'm the Doctor."
Maria just stared. He was much younger than Sarah. Early thirties maybe. Wearing a blue suit and red trainers. Kelsey would call him a muffin. He was Sarah's boyfriend?
"Doctor what?" Luke asked.
Sarah snickered for some reason. "He's always being asked that. Just the Doctor. He came round to borrow Mr. Smith. And yes, he's an alien."
"I came round for a space modulator, and why you have one in your attic...have you been nicking bits off the TARDIS, Sarah?"
"Is that its real name or have you been watching Bugs Bunny cartoons again? Come to think of it, that explains so much. A wrong turn at Albuquerque, indeed."
He contrived to look insulted.
Maria couldn't resist. "From what we heard in the hallway, it sounded like he'd come round for a snog."
The Doctor and Sarah looked at each other and, for a moment, Maria was afraid she had gone too far.
Then the Doctor said, "No, that's just a fringe benefit. Expect to be tripping over me occasionally." He gave them both a big grin. "So, you're Sarah's new helpers. Shall we get to work? There are some aliens plotting an invasion of the Earth, even as we speak, and I could use a hand."
Sarah stared at him for a second, then laughed. "I forgot you were a father once. You're probably better at this than I am."
"You're not that bad." Luke said earnestly. "Compared to other parents, I mean."
Sarah looked dubious.
"So what do you need us to do?" asked Maria.
"Help me save the world," answered the Doctor. And they did of course. Before bedtime even.