Title: Youth is Wasted on the Young (formerly called "Fountain")
Characters: 11th Doctor, Amy, and Rory
Note: This story takes place between Amy's Choice and Hungry Earth
What would happen if you didn't age? What would happen if 12 years old was as old as you'd ever get?
The 11th Doctor, Amy, and Rory visit a world where the Fountain of Youth isn't just a dream, but an everyday reality. The humans of this world have fought to adapt to some very strange conditions. But they aren't the only ones that have learned to adapt to ensure the survival of their race. Something has arrived, and it's growing, waiting its chance, and suddenly a world full of kids may seem very vulnerable indeed.
It spiraled down into the world, huge, and yet so tiny it was invisible. Banished, broken, yet not defeated. Its time would come.
The pearly, green and blue world hung innocently in space. Unaware of what had arrived.
“Where are we?” Amy asked, looking at the midnight street they were standing on. The Tardis had materialized in an alley, but while they appeared to be in a business district, it was pitch dark.
The Doctor looked up at the starry sky overhead, cocking his head as he studied them. “From those stars I’d say we’re in Andromeda.”
“The galaxy?” Rory asked with disbelief.
“Yup,” the Doctor said, checking his watch. “Four o’clock in the morning.”
Amy looked down the street, it was crowded with shops, sidewalks, and light poles. It looked like any other normal street. “You mean we landed downtown, in another galaxy?”
The Doctor grinned, then looked around the street with consternation, his brow furrowing. “Why aren’t there any lights on?” he asked. All the streetlights were unlit, all the shop windows black, not a light glimmered anywhere but from the stars.
“Maybe they’re conserving energy,” Rory said. “It is the middle of the night.”
“I don’t think so,” Amy said, pointing.
A utility truck stood at the crossroads down the block. An electrician in coveralls balanced near the top of the utility pole, his bootspikes rammed into the wood. He was matter of factly rerouting a power line at the top. He turned to sling something in his toolbelt and something flashed past at the top of the pole.
He jerked back, there was a snap and a yell, and he started to fall.
“Oh no,” the Doctor leaped forward like a stone out of a catapult. He dashed across the road faster than Amy had ever seen him move. He got there just in time to be flattened into the asphalt by the falling lineman.
Amy and Rory ran over, the Doctor groaned and gently pushed the small man off his chest. He took a deep breath, then scrambled to his knees.
“Don’t move him!” Rory warned as the Doctor reached out to roll his catch over.
“Yes, I know, Rory,” the Doctor said, breathlessly. He carefully cradled the little man’s head, keeping the spine straight, as he eased him onto his back. The lineman was cussing a bluestreak.
Amy grinned. “I think he’s okay.”
The man screamed as his leg dropped onto the concrete. Amy jumped. Rory immediately bent down to examine it. “Broken.” He held the heel carefully in one hand and pressed the little man back down when he tried to sit up.
His voice was high, but had a very pungent vocabulary, Amy noted with admiration. The Doctor reached over and slipped off the hard hat and night vision goggles the lineman was wearing.
Amy gaped. “It’s a girl!”
A blond, twelve year old girl looked up at her with tears in her eyes and a thoroughly peeved expression.
“What happened?!” a new voice yelled out. A twelve year old boy, also in lineman’s overalls ran up, clutching a steaming cup in each hand. “Janet! Are you all right?”
“Hell, no I’m not all right, Sean. I’ve busted my goddam leg.” She was propped on her elbows, the tail of her ponytail sliding out of the back of her collar.
“Sean, is it?” the Doctor asked, standing up as the boy set the coffee down on the bumper of the utility truck. “I think you’d better call an ambulance.”
“Right, yes.” The flustered boy ran his hand through his hair and jogged around the truck to the cab, he jumped in and put in a call to his dispatcher.
Rory looked from the girl to the boy and back and scowled, “What are you kids...?”
The Doctor cut him off with a harsh shake of his head. Rory stared at him puzzled, but swallowed the rest of the question.
Seven minutes later an ambulance zoomed up on an air cushion, a rim of LED emergency lights cycled just below the edge of the roof. It settled to the ground and a trio of paramedics jumped out.
In a matter of minutes they had Janet’s leg immobilized and shifted her onto a grav gurney with Rory’s help. They towed her efficiently into the ambulance, locked down the gurney and sped off.
Sean got his act together, disposed of the coffee cups, and stowed Janet’s gear. “They’ll be taking her to Landing Memorial, I’d better follow. Thank you for helping.” He solemnly shook Rory’s and the Doctor’s hands.
“No problem,” the Doctor said. “Can you give us a lift?” he nodded to the truck. “I’d like to make sure she’s okay.”
The boy looked at the three large strangers, then looked at his truck. “Sure. It’ll be a squeeze though.”
The Doctor squeezed in next to the twelve year old driver, and Amy sat on Rory’s lap. The boy drove quickly, but competently to the hospital. Parking in the visitor’s area outside emergency. He led them inside.
Amy and Rory jerked to a stop in the doorway.
The ambulance had arrived only minutes before them. Janet was still being prepped and examined, swarmed around by doctors and nurses. An intern was pulling a bulky machine over the top of her leg, examining the fracture in the viewscreen on its top.
Janet was arguing with a nurse who was inserting an IV tube into her hand.
They were all kids. Not one of the people in the room was over twelve years old.
“Doctor, what’s going on?” Amy said in a whispered aside as Sean went to talk to his co-worker.
“We’re on the planet Feyanora,” the Doctor said, his eyes avid as he watched the scene, a huge grin on his face. He bounced on his toes in delight. “I’ve always wanted to come here.”
“Feyanora?” Rory asked. His eyes scanned the emergency room. It was a slow night, Janet was the only patient, but his expert eyes recognized a well run facility when he saw it, despite not recognizing some of the high tech gear.
“One of the human colonies,” the Doctor explained. “During one of the...”
He was interrupted by a harsh voice, “Excuse me!” the husky voice said impatiently, a stocky blond twelve year old boy pushed past the Doctor who was standing in the doorway.
He was one of those stout boys who would grow up to be a big bear of a man. “Janet!” he yelled, and ran over to the blond girl.
Amy and Rory both speared startled glances at the Doctor.
The burly twelve year old boy gave the twelve year old girl a desperate hug. “Sugar bear, are you all right?” he pulled back to look her over, the doctors and nurses continuing to work around him. “I got a call saying there’d been an accident.”
The girl scoffed, she waved a disgusted hand down her body. “Broke a leg. A damned squirrel ran across the wire and startled me. The connector in one boot jerked free,” she nodded at the metal disk inset beside the spike on her discarded boot. “The other one held, but I didn’t. Snapped like a twig. My leg was broke before I even hit the ground.” She nodded over his shoulder at the Doctor. “It would have been a lot worse if he hadn’t caught me.”
“I’m sorry, sir,” the intern said, talking to the father, “We have to take her to set the leg now.” The man’s hand gripped convulsively on his daughter’s. Then let go.
“I’ll see you when they get you settled in your room,” he promised. She nodded and laid back as two male nurses wheeled her gurney down the hall and through a pair of swinging doors.
The boy’s shoulders slumped and he ran a hand over his short, buzz cut hair. He straightened to a military bearing and turned and approached the Doctor. He held out a hand. Amy was surprised to see a military looking tattoo on his forearm.
“Thank you for saving my little girl, mister.”
“Doctor,” the Doctor said absently, shaking the boy’s hand.
“Doctor,” the boy nodded. “Did you folks just get in from the spaceport?”
“You could say that,” the Doctor prevaricated. “We thought we’d take a look around, couldn’t sleep,” he added, to explain their presence in town in the middle of the night.
“Yeah, adapting to local planetary time is always a bitch. Anyway, I’m glad you were there to help my girl. You folk registered in with the hostelry yet? I’d offer you a bed at my house but I don’t think I have anything quite long enough,” he said, eyeing up the trio of six foot tall strangers.
“No, we decided to take a look around before signing in. Can you give us directions?” the Doctor said.
“Better yet, I’ll give you a lift.” He rubbed weary hands over his face. “They’re no doubt gonna have to knock her out to set that leg, it’ll be a while before she wakes up.” He looked worriedly over his shoulder, then straightened up and waved at the strangers to follow him.
It was only when his jacket flared open with the gesture that Amy saw the gun riding on his hip. And the star pinned to his uniform.