The wind along the street increased, and the blue box landed opposite the house of Katie Parker. The door to the box opened, and a man in a brown suit stepped out, followed by a pretty blonde girl. The girl pulled a key from her pocket, and walked up to the house. Unlocking the door, she stepped inside.
“Anybody home?” Katie called.
“It’s all quiet,” the Doctor concluded.
“Mum will be back soon,” Katie said, looking at a clock. “I can introduce you!”
“What’re you gonna say?” the Doctor asked sceptically.
“Oh I’ll think of something,” Katie said, brushing off the Doctor’s words.
She clasped his hand and pulled him up the stairs. The Doctor politely oohed and ahhed in all the right places, but only really took an interest in a dark wardrobe in the corner of Katie’s room. He walked over to it, pulling out the sonic screwdriver.
“What is that?” he asked.
“A wardrobe,” Katie said, sitting down on her bed.
“No, that sort of buzzing from inside it,” the Doctor replied. “Ssh!”
“I can’t here it,” Katie said. “I think I would have noticed if something was in my wardrobe.”
“Obviously not,” the Doctor said.
And he pulled open the door.
“Derek?” a voice called.
Katie’s mum stepped inside the house. She could here voices upstairs.
“Is that you honey?” Sandra called.
She began to walk upstairs, when she heard a door open. There were footsteps, and Katie appeared at the top of the stairs, looking a little dishevelled. Her eyes widened when she saw her mum.
“Mum!” she cried, running down the stairs to hug her.
“Katie!” Sandra cried, hugging her back. “What are you doing here sweetie?”
“I just thought I’d pop back for a visit,” Katie said, desperately whishing she’d thought of a story earlier.
“You’ve been gone six weeks!” Sandra said.
“I know, I know,” Katie said.
“Let’s go into the kitchen, I expect you’ve got lots to tell me,” Sandra said.
“Err yeah, something like that,” Katie said, giving one last look upstairs.
As soon as the Doctor had opened the wardrobe, a dark furry creature leapt out, landing on top of him. Katie ran at it and dived onto the bed. The creature wrestled with her. The three all looked up in shock as they heard a voice. It was coming from downstairs. The creature took the momentary distraction to leap on top of the Doctor.
“I’ll go see who it is,” Katie said, leaping off the bed and ducking out of the room.
The Doctor rolled over, knocking the desk beside Katie’s bed onto the floor. The creature was fast, and incredibly strong. It yanked the Doctor’s arms, and held them at his side.
“What are you?” the Doctor asked, struggling.
“A marmot,” the creature said helpfully, before flying in and hugging the Doctor.
“Woah little fella!” the Doctor said. “I didn’t know you just wanted a hug!”
“You don’t know how long I’ve been trapped in that flipping wardrobe!” it cried. “Humans are so stupid!”
“Tell me about it!” the Doctor laughed.
“I’m Norman,” the creature said.
“So, what’s been happening with you?” Sandra asked.
“You go first,” Katie said, hoping it would bide her more time to think of something.
“Well,” Sandra began, and Katie could tell she would be here for a while. “Steve at work told Jane she looked like a hag, and it was all a joke, you know? Well Jane got really upset, and she said she wanted to resign! Well of course I wouldn’t let her, but then last Tuesday she went up on the roof!”
“The roof?” Katie asked quizzically.
“I know!” Sandra cried. “The roof! Well we all followed her up. I told her not to jump, I said it was mental! Then she got all defensive, thinking we all thought she was mental! But the cops came in a helicopter. We were on the telly! She nearly jumped, I tell you my sweet! Well Dave, you know, Dave Dave, Quiet Dave, Dad’s Dead Dave? Well he tackled her and saved her! Then Jane kissed him! Of course he didn’t like her like that, cos it’s Dave! But he didn’t have the heart to tell her she was a mental hag. Anyway, they took her to the Health Centre last Thursday, did you get her in?”
“I wasn’t working then,” Katie said. “But we must’ve, yeah.”
“So, what’s been happening with you?” Sandra asked. “It’s weird; I thought I heard voices upstairs.”
“That?” Katie said. “I’d like you to meet my… friend. No, my boyfriend! Yeah, that’s it. He’s upstairs, I’ll just get him.”
Sandra looked puzzled, but let Katie hurry off without a word. Katie burst into her bedroom, and saw the Doctor embracing the creature.
“What the - ?” Katie asked.
“This is Norman,” the Doctor said. “Say hello!”
“Hi!” Norman smiled. “I’ve been trapped in your wardrobe!”
“Great,” Katie said. “Doctor – my mum wants to meet you. I kind of told her you’re my boyfriend…”
Katie frowned as the Doctor let out a snorting noise. As soon as he saw her face he gulped and held in his laughter.
“Right,” he managed to say. “Let’s go meet the parents!”
“He’s not coming,” Katie said.
“But he’s so cute!” the Doctor protested.
Katie growled and the Doctor leapt up, dropping Norman on the floor. Staying out of hitting distance, he followed Katie out of the room.
“Mum,” Katie said. “I’d like you to meet John.”
“John Smith,” the Doctor said, shaking Sandra’s hand.
“Oh my God he’s English!” Sandra said, barely able to contain her excitement. “And he’s gorgeous! Where did you meet him?”
“At the Health Centre,” Katie said truthfully. “He works at the branch in England. We met at the water cooler.”
“How old are you?” Sandra asked, as Katie and the Doctor sat down.
“Over 900,” the Doctor said.
Sandra looked surprised for a minute, before laughing. Katie reached forward and took the Doctor’s hand. She squeezed it menacingly.
“I’d forgotten the English were so funny!” Sandra laughed.
“I’m 33,” the Doctor said.
“It’s a little too old for my Katie,” Sandra said.
“Mum, I’m 24 now!” Katie frowned.
“I know sweetie, but –” Sandra began.
The Doctor decided it was time to take action. He didn’t want Katie’s dad to come home and kick him out of their house, not when Norman was upstairs and a danger to them. Plus Sandra might stop Katie from travelling with him. He fished in his pockets, and eventually found what he had been looking for.
“Katie,” the Doctor said, bending down on one knee. “Will you marry me?”
Immediately Sandra screamed with pleasure. It seemed her doubt about his age was soon forgotten. Katie had gone slightly red, but looked extremely pleased.
“Yes!” she cried.
The Doctor stood up, and hugged her with such force she was lifted off the ground. Forgetting it was an act, Katie kissed the Doctor full on the lips. He returned the kiss, breathing in her strawberry scent. She smelt wonderful. As the broke apart, Sandra held a phone in her hand.
“Derek!” Sandra shouted. “Get home at once! Katie’s back!”
She immediately began calling every other member of Katie’s family. The Doctor slipped a beautiful ring on Katie’s wedding finger.
“It’s perfect!” Katie sighed.
She stood up and went to the notice board in the kitchen. She admired the ring on herself in the mirror next to it. Then something flashy caught her eye. It was a notice. She pulled it off the board, and brought it into the next room.
“What’s this?” she asked. “If something says we’ve won something it’s usually a con. I told you about these before mum.”
“No, this one’s genuine!” Sandra said. “The whole street got one! We won that competition. We entered and everything!”
“What is it?” the Doctor asked.
Picking it up off the table, he read:
“27th May, it says,” the Doctor muttered. “We’ve got four tickets! We had to apply the other week, and I was planning to take Jane as a get well present, but John can come too!”
“Sounds lovely,” the Doctor said.
“You’re definitely coming,” Katie said. “Don’t think about swanning off.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it,” the Doctor said, cursing on the inside.
“Well, I think we’d probably better be off,” Katie said.
“Are you living at his house?” Sandra asked.
“Yeah,” Katie said. “John, can you come upstairs for a minute?”
“Of course Katie,” the Doctor said.
Taking his hand, Katie pulled the Doctor upstairs. Norman looked up as they entered the room.
“Right,” Katie said. “We need to get rid of this thing.”
“He has a name you know,” the Doctor grumbled. “But yes, you’re right.”
“Come on Norman,” Katie said. “I’ll distract mum, and you get him out.”
The Doctor nodded, and picked up Norman. He hugged him like an orangutan.
“Mum, can I talk to you?” Katie said.
“Sure sweetie,” Sandra said. “Is something wrong?”
“Not wrong no,” Katie said. “It’s about John. He hasn’t got any family, so the wedding might be a bit empty. We’re gonna invite his friends, but still.”
“Oh that’s alright,” Sandra said. “That’ll mean we can invite more!”
“Oh and we might hold the wedding in England,” Katie said quickly.
The Doctor walked down the stairs clutching Norman. He crept to the front door, when it opened before him. Derek Parker stepped through as the Doctor chucked Norman behind a pile of coats.
“Who are you?” Derek asked.
“John Smith sir,” the Doctor said. “I’m going to be marrying your daughter.”
“Oh you are, are you?” Derek asked.
For one minute the Doctor thought Derek was going to punch him.
“Well bloody good of you,” Derek continued. “No one else has managed to shift her.”
“Thank you,” the Doctor said.
Derek walked further inside the house, allowing the Doctor to take Norman out. He popped Norman inside the TARDIS, and just as he stepped outside Katie appeared.
“Let’s go,” she said. “My dad started talking about how you’re the son he always wanted. I think he’s gonna marry you if I don’t.”
“Right,” the Doctor said.
“Where are we going now?” Katie asked excitedly.
“Well we’re gonna take Norman back home,” the Doctor said. “Then we’ll have to start planning this wedding.”
“I told her it was gonna be in England,” Katie said. “Are we actually going through with it?”
“We have to. What are your parents gonna say if we don’t?”
“My dad would hunt you down,” Katie laughed.
“And kill me?” the Doctor asked.
“No you idiot,” Katie laughed. “Propose!”
The Doctor took Katie’s hand and led her back to the TARDIS.
“This is gonna be so weird,” Katie said.
“You could have come up with a better plan than saying I was your boyfriend,” the Doctor added.
“You didn’t have to propose!” Katie laughed.
“Here we are, arguing like an old married couple!”
“Ooh,” Katie suddenly thought. “Can we have the reception on Mars?”
“Not a chance,” the Doctor said. “The food’s awful.”
“Venus?” Katie suggested.
“Deal,” the Doctor grinned. “Wait till I invite Sarah Jane! She’s gonna scream.”
“The bitch,” Katie laughed.
In a dark room, a white gloved hand picked up an invitation. It was telling of an event on the 27th of May. An event that the Doctor would be attending. An event where revenge was long overdue… The person the gloved hand belonged to smiled. And laughed.