He comes back from the closet a changed man, with a musky leather jacket and black boots. Practical clothing, not something he’s dabbled in for a long time now. Celery, scarves, polka dots- he’d been a more flamboyant sort of person before.
He isn’t now. He is, however, surprised.
Surprised because he’s pretty sure that he was alone before, and now there’s a small Japanese man holding a sword and poking amicably at the TARDIS controls.
“What the bloody hell?” he asks. His first words, he notes with a detached air.
Huh. He’d been hoping for something a little more impressive, but what with the double genocide and all, he hadn’t exactly had the time or inclination for anything other than incoherent screaming at the general horror of the universe.
The small man jumps. And then grins, surprised delight playing over his round face. “Doctor!”
“Do I know you?” he demands.
“Yes. We met in feudal Japan? With Kensei? And the snake women?”
“Doesn’t ring a bell, sorry,” he apologizes. “Must not have happened to me yet.”
“Ah,” Hiro says wisely. “I understand, I’ll say no more.”
“Right. You do that,” the Doctor says. “And while you’re at it, tell me: who are you and what are you doing here?”
“My name, “ he says, drawing himself up proudly. “Is Hiro Nakamura. I bend space and time!”
There is a profound silence as the Doctor ponders that sentence. Hiro gives him a beat to react, and when he says nothing, continues, in a more sheepish manner.
“Although sometimes I get it wrong. I’m supposed to be in New York, and instead, I’m in your ship.” Hiro shrugs, in a ‘what can you do’ sort of manner.
“Fantastic,” the Doctor mutters under his breath.
Hiro ignores him. “Where are we? Are we on another planet?” he asks excitedly.
“’Fraid not,” he replies. “We’re in orbit above the Earth. I’m trying to get a lock on an alien incursion that shouldn’t be happening.”
Hiro nods, trying to hide the way his eyes lit up at the mention of aliens. “Do you want any help?”
“No, thank you,” he bites out. Stupid ape, he thinks viciously. Aliens aren’t fun and games. He isn’t fun and games. “I work alone.”
Hiro opens his mouth, and then, thinking better of it, closes it. The Doctor can feel the new skin between his eyebrows crinkle as he frowns. “Don’t tell me I’ve got a companion when we meet up!”
“Yes. Companions,” he answers, a special emphasis on the plural.
The Doctor rolls his eyes to the ceiling. “Fantastic.”
“And you use that word a lot,” he adds.
“Well, then that’s fantastic too, isn’t it?” he grounds out. Hiro pushes his glasses higher up on his face. The TARDIS bleeps, a small, pointed request for acknowledgement.
“Ah, here we are,” he cries triumphantly. “London, 2005. Hmm, I haven’t been to that year in ages. What do you know about it?”
“That’s when I was going!” Hiro says excitedly. “Do you think you could drop me off in New York?”
“What, you can’t get there by yourself?” he asks.
Hiro blushes. “I’ve already tried. And it didn’t work, and I find that when I can’t get where I’m going to on the first try, that normally means I should take it easy on the teleportation.”
The Doctor sighs, and changes course slightly. “You should really get that thing looked at. You don’t want to be caught out of your own time.”
Hiro shrugs. “I did see this Doctor about it…”
“Didn’t I tell you to shut it about my future?” the Doctor growls. Hiro promptly shuts his mouth.
They land in Central Park, where the Doctor proceeds to unceremoniously haul Hiro out of the TARDIS, ignoring his enthusiastic thanks and offers for help.
“It’s no trouble, no trouble at all, now kindly stay out of my way!” he says cheerfully, slamming the door so hard that it rattles in its hinges. A few quick motions over the controls and he emerges in an alleyway in London. He’s having an unusually hard time tracking the source of signals, but there’s a relay station on the roof of a department store not too far from here. He picks up the bomb with an almost gleeful air.
“Time to get to work!"