Echoes Long Forgotten, Part Seven: It's All In The Phrasing

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(September 19th, 2008)

“Good morning, and welcome to – oh, hello, Lucky.” Irene's neutral expression thawed as she looked up from her monitor to the approaching heroes. “The Doctor is expecting you. Go right up.”

“Don't suppose we could get a hint about what's going on, could we?” Smiling widely, Lucky leaned on the counter as he asked. Behind him, Timebender rolled her eyes.

“Your guess is as good as mine.” Irene shrugged. “It's not often that he actually wants you here, though.” She paused. “Oh, it might have something to do with that big security alert earlier.”

Timebender stopped midway through stepping to the elevator. Turning, she stared at Irene. “Sorry. What security alert?”

“Oh, someone tried to break into the building. Got all the way to the top floor.” Irene shrugged easily, already looking back to her work. “It was about three hours ago, now. Maybe four.” She glanced at the computer. “Four. I remember, because it was right before lunch.”

“Uh-huh. And this didn't seem odd?” Lucky frowned.

Irene turned to give him a flat look. “I work at Malefico, Lucky.”

“Right. Security breaches pretty common, then.” Nodding, Lucky took a step back, before joining the others at the elevator. Handyman had already pressed the button, and the doors slid open. “Sorry.”

“Eh, don't worry about it. Just go on up.” Waving the group away, Irene returned to her work.

In the elevator, the four stood quietly as the numbers of the floors ticked upwards. After a few moments, Mayfly tentatively said, “Maybe it is a trap.”

Timebender nodded thoughtfully, then spoke. “Reason to think so?”

“If someone broke in, they could be trying to force the Doctor to call us. He could be expecting us to bust in fighting.” She paused thoughtfully. “Or he could not care that much. I mean, we mess up his plans pretty often.”

“Still not his style… but it can't hurt to be careful.” Timebender looked around before continuing. “Everyone suited up? Weapons ready?”

“All good.” Handyman smiled, spinning his laser in his hand. “Let's do this.”

The elevator fell into silence, then Timebender spoke up. “Um. That's my line.”

“I know. But I don't have a real catchphrase. I thought I would try that one out.”

“Right, but…” Timebender trailed off. “Okay. Just… I always say that line.”

Handyman sighed. “If you want to say it now, I can pretend I didn't.”

“No, no, it's fine.” Timebender waved her hand. “I just… it's fine.”

Mayfly spoke up carefully. “Can I say…”

“No.” Timebender looked back at her, and then stepped through the opening elevator doors. “Can't you guys develop catchphrases of your own?”

“It's hard to do. Also, we don't want too many on the team at once.” Handyman shrugged, falling into step as they approached the desk where Josh was sitting.

“You could do some of that banter about where Jim comes from.” Lucky raised the suggestion from the rear, sweeping the room.

“Oh, I know where Jim comes from.” Timebender and Lucky stopped dead, and Mayfly managed four steps before turning to raise an eyebrow at them. “What? I live with him. It came up in passing.”

“So… it's not a secret?”

“Not at all. I grew up in Lower Manhattan.” Handyman shrugged easily.

“Really?” Timebender blinked.

“Nope.” Mayfly smiled impishly, turning back to the desk. “Hi, Josh. We're here to see the Doctor.”

Josh grinned. “Go ahead.”

“Um…” Timebender trailed off, and sighed. “Right. Let's do this.”

Ignoring a suppressed chortle from Handyman, she pushed open the doors.

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