Twilight in New York City
The telephone rang on the Tardis’ control panel. The Doctor was mid-way through space back from another galaxy. He slowed the Tardis’ engine before picking up the phone.
“Allo?” He asked.
“Check the TV channel where the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is broadcast. Go to two hours and fifteen minutes in” a voice ordered.
It was Piper.
“Why?” He inquired.
“It’s important! Please look!”
The Doctor didn’t question further why she was asking that kind of question so bluntly. She had a sound of worry in her voice. The Doctor put the phone to his chest and switched on the computer to the American broadcast channels where he found the parade at 11:15am. Sure enough, he saw him and Piper running up beside the monster infested float.
“What?” He asked aloud in disbelief.
“Uncle Doctor? Do you see it?”
The Doctor put the phone back up to his ear and paused the video.
“Get your coat on. Meet me at the street corner in the next thirty seconds!”
Piper ran as fast as she could to the street corner. The cold was nipping at her legs as they slowly started to freeze. Roughly thirty seconds later, Piper heard the screeching of grinding gears as the blue police box materialized into view. She quickly hopped in, closing the wooden door behind her.
“Have you figured out what those things are?” Piper asked, eagerly.
“They’re trolls” The Doctor replied.
Piper snorted. “What?”
“It’s not the right species either. Those trolls aren’t supposed to be on Earth.”
“Trolls are real!?”
The Doctor turned to her with a puzzled look.
“Of course they’re real! They’re all over the universe! Some different than others, some more endangered than others.”
“So is it true that they steal people’s socks?”
The Doctor paused, raised an eyebrow and gave her a funny look.
Piper shook her head.
“Nothing. It’s stupid. Continue.”
“They’re not Trolleri, Earth’s original trolls. We need to figure out where there from so we can take them out, and relocate them to the planet they belong” The Doctor explained, “Considering we just saw ourselves on that television, there’s no way of getting out of this.”
“So, to the parade then?” Piper asked, grinning mischievously.
The Doctor started up the Tardis’ engine.
“Back seven hours ago!”
The Tardis began to rumble and Piper braced herself as it took off.
It was twilight on November 23rd, 2008. The Tardis door creaked as Piper stepped out, cautiously, with the Doctor following. Their breath turned into clouds as they huddled deep into their coats. They were standing on the corner of 79th Street in New York City, where dozens of balloons hovered next to the peaks of the buildings in limbo. Volunteers had just began to arrive in their costumes to set up. Piper and the Doctor walked over, then stopped at the metal rails, who discouraged onlookers to enter. The Doctor then pulled out an odd device, which was a huge, square metal box with wires and antennas sticking out.
“Is that supposed to track the trolls?” Piper whispered.
The Doctor raised an eyebrow, still finagling with it, trying to turn it on.
“Yep” The Doctor said slowly, popping the ‘p’, “Never had many opportunities to use this really. Just gotta remember how to…” he started to shake and smack it, “…Turn it on.”
Piper noticed citizens of New York, who were setting up camp to watch the parade, staring at them, confused.
“Uncle Doctor, people are staring at us” she stated, nervously.
The Doctor turned to look and saw them. He looked back down again at his device.
“I don’t like it” Piper replied, bluntly.
“Well, if you don’t like it, then get on my other side. They won’t bite” The Doctor said, bluntly, but gently.
Piper slowly walked behind him, then to his left. She still didn’t like being in a public place with lots of people, that much didn’t change, least of all, staring at her like she had something on her face. The Doctor didn’t seem to care, as he kept working, ignoring the voices of the strangers. He must’ve been used to getting weird looks. Piper put her hand on the cold metal rails, shivered, then promptly changed her mind and stuffed her hands in her pockets.
“You really think we needed to be here so early? They didn’t start reeking havoc until 10:15. We have a long time to wait.”
“Well, doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Plus, we have the perfect opportunity to get a good spot to watch it live.”
“I guess you have a point” she replied, smiling positively, “So what’s the plan?”
“I’m going to set up a sensor where the parade starts, and where we saw them appear, which was…” The Doctor paused for a moment and pulled out a map of New York City out of his pocket and scrambled to unfold it, “Broadway! Seventh Avenue!”
The Doctor shoveled the map into Piper’s hands. When no one else was looking, the Doctor crawled over the fence, pulled two sensors out of his pocket and placed one inside the Candyland float (which was currently unoccupied), and then to the balloon in the very back of the lineup, and placed the other inside. Piper folded back the map as she anxiously watched the Doctor from the other side of the metal fence.
Piper jumped when she saw a couple volunteers wearing Ace cards and painted red cheeks walking up to the Doctor.
“Who are you?”
The Doctor confidently threw up his psychic paper. “John Smith. Macy’s Security” he announced, glancing over at Piper for a moment, “Just a routine security check. Don’t mind me.”
“We weren’t aware of any security check; why do you sound so…British?” Asked one.
“Oh, it was…very last minute security check. Everything’s good, everything’s great! The floats look lovely! Not one hole in a balloon! Carry on!”
The Doctor casually walked away and back over the fence. He took Piper’s hand.
“It’s okay, just walk away calmly, and don’t look behind you” he ordered.
Piper nodded, nervously, and the two Timelords departed. They rounded a corner, waited a few moments for the employees to continue on with their business, and slipped back into the Tardis.
79th street was filling up with people right after the Tardis arrived. The Doctor continued to place sensors down the street, where Piper set up a picnic blanket on the front of the street, two thermos of hot chocolate, and a large bag full of snacks, and emergency troll repellent. Who knew that existed? Piper bundled up in an extra jacket, a wool, pinkish-red hat, and brown wool gloves, and waited patiently for her uncle to return. The cold nipped at her nose as she began to lose the heat in her legs. She recalled New York being less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit that year. No wonder she was so freezing. It felt more like January than November. About twenty minutes later, the Doctor returned, still holding the weird detector in his hand. He looked a bit pale an beat from running up and down 7th Avenue while avoiding onlookers. Piper couldn’t help but chuckle a little as he sat down.
“Blimey, it’s freezing!” He exclaimed.
Piper tossed a blanket to him.
“Here you go!” She exclaimed.
The Doctor gladly took it and wrapped it over his legs.
“So, what now?” Piper asked.
The Doctor checked a watch he magically had on his wrist.
“It’s 6:30 now. We’ll have to just wait and enjoy the show” he replied.
“Just wait?” Piper echoed.
The Doctor shrugged.
“Afraid so. Need to be here when the detector goes off. Can’t leave or we’ll miss something.”
Piper wasn’t too fond of sitting in the bitter cold for the next three and a half hours waiting for the parade to start. But the Doctor was right: if they left on a “quick trip” until it started, they could miss something crucial.
“Well, we could always get in the Tardis for a few seconds to warm up, right?” She asked.
“Oh absolutely! Your mother would kill me if you caught a cold out here!”
Piper giggled. That made her feel a lot better.
“What do you think of my family?”
The Broadway dancers were preparing their performance. The crowd were now murmuring loudly among each other as the parade was nearly about to begin. They had came out of the Tardis five minutes prior to warm up.
“I mean, I know you didn’t get a chance to really know them but…What what was your first impression?” Piper added.
The Doctor turned away. He shifted, uneasily. Piper frowned. She knew it made him uncomfortable, but she had to know.
“They’re…wonderful” he replied, hesitantly.
Piper was quiet for a moment, turning away from his eye line. She wasn’t convinced.
“Do you mean it?” she asked.
“Yeah, yeah. Absolutely.”
Then, it dawned on her. She was the only family the Doctor really had! Of course he would hate being at family reunions! Because it was too painful! Piper took his hand.
“They can be your family too, you know” she stated.
The Doctor looked back at her, with drooping, sad eyes. She was right. Piper took a deep breath, and continued.
“You don’t have to be alone, Uncle Doctor. You’re my family, and if you’re my family, then they can be too. If you’d just open up a little, I’m sure they’d welcome you. Can you at least try? For me?”
The Doctor sighed, looking down at the ground, then back at her, smiling.
“Okay. I’ll try…For you.”
Piper beamed. “Thank you.”
With that, she leaned on him, snuggling into his arm, satisfied, and happy.