Over the Rainbow Chapter 3
They were not where Sookie expected them to be by any stretch of the imagination. They seemed to be in a bustling city. As she looked around, Sookie recognized some of the landmarks from her history books. “Are…are we in Washington, DC?” she asked, sounding more than a little awed by the prospect.
The Doctor took out that weird glowing thingy and waved it around, almost haphazardly, “That appears to be the case, Sookie, and judging by the clothing I would say some time in the 1860’s.”
Sookie looked around a little more carefully and noticed that nobody was dressed like she was used to. The women all wore long dresses which nearly dragged the ground, not the short skirts, sundresses and pants she was used to, and the men all seemed to be wearing fitted pants, coats and top hats if they weren’t wearing some sort of military uniform and carrying some sort of gun or sabre.
She started to feel self-conscious when she realized she wasn’t dressed anywhere near how the women of the time were dressed and tried to hide behind the Doctor in the hopes that nobody would notice her and wonder about her. She extended her telepathy, having not paid attention to it while she worked to figure out where and when they were. What she heard surprised her. So pretty, so dapper, look good together. I wonder if they are worth knowing, if they can get me into the White House. She also heard plenty of staticy brains, and she even managed to find more than a few vampire brains among all the mental chaos; one of those vampire brains felt quite familiar.
Sookie turned until she was facing the direction of that familiar void and found one William Thomas Compton with a very pretty brunette vampire. She tried to let go of The Doctor’s hand to go to Bill but he held tight and explained, “He doesn’t know you in this place and time. Remember, what I said about spoilers?” Sookie nodded absent mindedly as she watched Bill talking and smiling at the vampire he was with. Even his touch seemed quite familiar with the woman, almost lover- like. The Doctor turned Sookie to face him, bringing her attention from William Compton and back to himself. “You can’t interfere in history, Sookie. It could change the future. You can’t interact with anyone you may know or historical figures. The risks are just too great.”
“What are we doing here then, if we can’t talk to anybody?” She was bitterly disappointed. She had played that game where you imagined what you would say to a historical figure if you could invite them to dinner: she had always dreamed of having dinner with Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Harriet Tubman so she could find out how it really was back during the Civil War era. She wanted to know how anyone could think slavery was a good thing. She wanted to know what Mr. Lincoln would have done differently if he knew a war could have been avoided. She wanted to know about the Underground Railroad and how Ms. Tubman managed to help so many slaves escape. There was much Sookie wanted to know and here she was, in the time when those people actually lived, and she couldn’t do a damn thing about it!
The Doctor shrugged, “The old girl takes me where I am needed and where my companions wish to be although your guess is as good as mine as to why we’re here in this time and place.”
Sookie huffed, “That is soooooooooooooo not an answer! I thought you knew Bill -”
“I do , but not from here.”
The Doctor shrugged and grinned a little as he put her hand in the crook of his elbow and led her slowly along the street, allowing her to gawk and sight see as he led them slowly towards Bill Compton. Fortunately, there was a milliners right by where Bill was standing.
“Pretend you’re looking at hats,” the Doctor whispered to her. Sookie nodded, her bottom lip poking out.
The pretty brunette vampire slipped a note into Bill’s pocket, pretending to smile and simper before curtseying in his direction and heading down the street. Sookie craned her neck slightly to the side, trying to catch a glimpse of the note that Bill instantly took out of his pocket, ripped open, and began to read. Sookie leaned out a little further, on her tippy-toes, trying to see what was on that damned paper – but it made no sense – some kind of code? Bill stuffed the note back into his pocket, turning sharply and causing Sookie to tumble in his direction.
“Slattern!” Bill hissed. “Watch where you are going -”
Sookie looked directly in his eyes, her mouth popping open as Bill deliberately inhaled her scent, mouth open, nostrils wide –
“Forgive my friend,” the Doctor intervened. “We’ve just had terrible news from the front. Her husband is dead -”
“Oh, uh, my apologies. Best keep your women-folk under control, sir, especially one so inclined to emotional outbursts.”
“Oh I try, but this one sorely tests my patience, I am afraid.”
“You have my commiserations. My own wife is with child and it has addled her brain completely -”
Sookie’s mouth dropped open. Caroline? But Bill was –
Bill was vampire. So who the hell knocked Caroline up if Bill didn’t? Or – her mind started searching around for answers – maybe she got pregnant before he was turned. Maybe this was just after he was turned –
Nothing added up. What the hell was going on?
She had to be sure – she reached out her hand to touch Bill on the arm, to try and get a reading of him –
Void. Big fat fucking void.
“Sir!” Bill demanded, speaking not to Sookie but again to the Doctor. “Get this woman under control or I shall have to call the Constabulary -”
“Oh that won’t be necessary -” the Doctor began.
“Hey!” shouted Sookie, unable to contain her rage any more. “I’m here – hello!” She waved her hand in front of Bill’s face. The Doctor caught her hand neatly and shook his head at her.
“Just who do you think you are?” Bill demanded. “You should horse-whip her to keep her in line, or else have that shrewish tongue cut out!”
The Doctor waved a piece of paper in front of Bill’s face, a paper Sookie could see perfectly well was blank. Bill, however, looked impressed. His indignation and rage were replaced by smarmy ass-licking as his bloated, purple lips turned up in the semblance of a smile. Sookie shuddered, noting that his sideburns were much thicker and longer in this era, flared at the bottom and extending all the way down to his chin in a style she believed was called a ‘mutton chop’.
“God save the Queen,” Bill said to the Doctor.
“Long may she reign,” the Doctor replied automatically.
“So, Lord High Admiral – I must say I am surprised you are here yourself – shouldn’t you send in one of your troops? But of course – you wish to see with your own eyes the wonderful work we are doing here to ensure the British Empire is triumphant -”
What? What the fuck?
All trace of Bill’s southern drawl had vanished, replaced by a British accent similar to the Doctor’s own. Why the hell did an alien from Gallifrey sound like a Brit anyway?
“Oh yes indeed,” the Doctor continued, following Bill’s lead. “What exactly am I inspecting again?”
“Our plans to sabotage the war effort in the north, of course,” Bill supplied. “Cotton is king – we need the South and its slaves to continue producing it for our mills, and of course we need the industrial complex of the north to be destroyed -”
“We?” the Doctor questioned. Bill shot him a quizzical look.
“Why, Torchwood of course.”
“Oh yes, of course. Long may the British Empire reign supreme.”
“Would you accompany me to supper for a bite to eat?” Bill suggested. “You could bring your lovely -” Bill stared at Sookie’s boobs, leaving no doubt as to what he thought was ‘lovely’ about her.
“Uh, niece,” the Doctor supplied. “But no – thank you. We have already eaten. Must hurry along now – keep up the good work. I’m sure our paths will cross again.”
Bill nodded, tipping his hat towards the Doctor. “As you wish.”
The Doctor grabbed Sookie by the elbow, hurriedly propelling her towards the TARDIS.
“Ouch!” Sookie said, rubbing her arm.
“You nearly blew our cover -”
“What is Torchwood? And why did Bill think that blank paper you showed him said something about it -”
“Psychic paper. Tells you whatever you want to see. Your vampire Bill works for Torchwood, an institute set up by Queen Victoria to expand and protect the British Empire -”
“You’re saying Bill is a British spy?” Sookie gasped. “I don’t believe it – this is all wrong! There’s been some kind of a mix up – he wouldn’t – he couldn’t – he is a Southerner just like me! And why is he a vampire already? It doesn’t make sense – this isn’t the story he told me -”
“And there you have it – the story he told you, because it was just that – a story. Stop being so naive – and look, I think it’s worse than just being a British spy. The TARDIS sent us here for a reason, and I am determined to find out what it is!”
Still protesting Bill’s innocence loudly and at the top of her voice, the Doctor stuck his fingers in his ears and started wondering if this small but very loud blonde was in fact necessary to his mission and whether or not he could take her back to that path in the woods and just leave her there – Maybe even bring the maenad back…
Pushing open the TARDIS doors with relief, he enjoyed the millisecond of silence before Sookie slammed the doors open, walked up to Bill in his prison of light and slapped him hard across the face.
“That’s for lying to me!” she shrieked.
The Doctor ignored them both, pressing as many buttons and levers as he could to get his beloved TARDIS wheezing and groaning again to drown out the sound of the shouting.