“I got it,” Martha Jones said on a sigh when it became obvious that her husband, ten year old son, Jackson, her brother Leo and his teenage daughter Keisha were too engrossed in their virtual football match to answer the doorbell’s third ring.
“I’m the man!” Keisha squealed as she scored.
“Come on son; defend the Smith honor against these rampaging Jones!” Mickey encouraged.
Martha opened the door.
“Martha, you and Mickey have to help me!” the stranger panted. He spoke in a pleasant second tenor rumble. He was an attractive man; tall, with a deep, polished beige complexion, almond shaped hazel eyes, and a healthy crop of black tightly curled hair.
Martha’s head fell back.
The man nodded assent and walked past her into the house. A pretty apple- cheeked woman with long brown hair came in behind him.
“Hello, you must be Doctor Jones,” the woman said. “I’m Clara–the Doctor’s current assistant–and I apologize for the Doctor in advance.”
Martha shook Clara’s hand.
“Oh please, no worries: The Doctor is the Doctor,” Martha told her. “Happy to meet you; Doctor Kate Stewart has spoken highly of you.”
Martha peered warily into the yard and then out into the street. She returned Clara’s empathetic grin. Martha jerked her head at the Doctor.
“I was expecting someone older.”
Clara rolled her eyes.
“He looked at least twenty years older four hours ago. You know the Doctor; he went in where angels fear to tread and came out with a new face.”
Martha grinned and shut the door.
The Doctor perused the foyer, pausing to stare at the markings on an antique grandfather clock, and then went ahead of Martha and Clara into the Smith-Jones family room.
Mickey glanced up, and took in the newcomer with a nod of greeting.
“You must be Tish’s mate, Kwame; make yourself at home. Tish is out in the kitchen.”
Leo shook his head.
“He’s not Kwame. I’ve never seen this bloke before.”
“Mickey it’s me. I’m the Doctor.” The Doctor indicated his person. “And as you can see I have a problem. I didn’t know whom else to turn to with this, so I came straight here.”
Mickey’s son, Jackson, stared at their guest.
“That’s the Doctor, Dad?” the boy questioned. “But he looks alright; not like you said at all.”
The Doctor gaped at the boy and then confronted Mickey.
“What did you say about me?”
“That you were skinny with floppy hair and wore a bow tie.”
“Bowties are cool,” Jackson insisted.
Mickey dismissed the statement with a head shake and stood up.
“You said there’s a problem? What kind of problem, mate?” Mickey wondered. “I mean, it is obvious you must have regenerated. If I recall last time with Rose, we got chased by robot Santa Pilot fish and Jackie’s Christmas tree attacked us. What’s chasing you now? And thanks, by the way, for leading whatever’s chasing you to our home with my family here and all.”
“Nothing chasing us,” Clara reassured Mickey. She offered her hand. “I’m Clara Oswald, the Doctor’s assistant-slash-companion-slash—whatever. It’s nice to meet you and Doctor Jones properly Brigadier Smith.”
Mickey shook her hand and grinned.
“I still can’t get used to that title. It was the last thing I expected when Kate Stewart persuaded Martha and me to return to UNIT,” Mickey revealed.
Leticia Jones strolled into the room holding a butter knife and a slice of bread.
“Martha how do you work that silly sandwich thing–Oh, Hello.” She broke off, her voice warming with appreciation as she spotted the Doctor.
“I’m Leticia Asare- well, Jones again. And you are?”
“Hi Tish: It’s me, the Doctor,” the Doctor announced and finally smiled. “You look amazing.”
“The Doctor?” Tish’s lips formed a perfect O. “Martha said you can do that–change your appearance. You look amazing too,” she complimented him.
“Really?” the Doctor seemed uncertain.
“Really,” Clara and Tish agreed and laughed.
The Doctor bit his lip and shoved his hands into his pockets.
“Martha? Mickey? Can I talk with you a moment, in private?”
The Doctor refused the offered chair and explored Mickey’s office for a few moments. He caught his reflection in a mirror.
He stroked his face, his fingers lingering on the dark stubble on his square, clef chin.
“How am I supposed to cope with this?” he asked no one in particular.
“Sorry?” It was Martha who spoke.
Mickey regarded his wife with curiosity and slight alarm at her attitude.
“I’m all right here in twenty-first century London looking like this, but who wants to lurk about here all the time?” the Doctor debated.
“Looking like what?” Mickey wanted to know. “The dashiki is a bit nineteen-sixties, but retro is in now.”
“But what if--?” He studied the back of his hands and then smiled sheepishly up at the couple.
“I love roaming around this planet’s different time periods. Earth is my home now and I’ve made good friends across the ages. Horatio, I mean Admiral Nelson and I have a poker game pending but I don’t know how he’ll take to me now.”
Mickey barked a laughed as he realize what the Doctor considered a problem.
“Are you freaking serious?”
Martha stood up and walked to the office door. She opened it, indicating the Doctor needed to use it.
“You’re the bloody Doctor,” she announced. Her voice dripped ice. “Do what you always do; walk around like you own the place. Improvise.”