April 01, 2011

Enchanted Garden Chapter Eight

Hollerin’ Holly stared at the man with a bit of fright on her face.

We dare you to introduce a famous celebrity into your next scene and have your characters not react as expected.

“Who are you?” she asked, her voice a thin reedy whisper. “Have you been here all along? Where were you hiding while you were spying on us?” The word ‘spying’ came out with a great deal of vituperation.

“I told you,” the Doctor said, “I’m the Doctor. And this,” he gestured around him, “is my ship. And apparently this young man, Dusty is it?” he gestured toward Dusty, who nodded, still in shock, “knows more about my ship than you do. The TARDIS does travel in space, and time, but you’ve already figured that bit out. On the other hand, did you really think that you had actually learned to fly such a complicated machine all on your own?”

He moved into the room, with a sniff, looking over the laden table. “Ah, cheese stuffed celery, I love that!” He picked up a stalk and bit into it, chewing and swallowing every bit as fast as he had been talking.

“Let me see,” the Doctor said just as he cleared the last of the celery from his mouth, “I think your next question was where I had been hiding?”

Hollerin’ Holly nodded mutely.

“Well, you see, I had just been in the auxiliary control room, and it was really a mess in there, so I was doing a little bit of maintenance, because the old girl runs a lot better when you take care of her, and who else is she going to turn to for maintenance, after all? I’m all she has left, really, poor thing, so anyway, I was in there working on the systems, and all of a sudden you lot came bursting in and just made yourselves at home, and nicked my motor. So I thought I would have a bit of fun with you before I took got rid of you.”

“Got rid of us!” Hollerin’ Holly spluttered. “Just you wait, Mister-“

“Obviously you mean to kill us,” Darth Wolf said at the same time, “so just get on with it.”

And all the while Knit Solo was leaning against the counter with her arms folded across her chest, shaking her head in dismay and telling Hollerin’ Holly, “I told you not to push any of those buttons. I warned you, but you didn’t listen to me, and then it was too late and we’ve been trying to get home all this time.”

Newt and Harold just stood in the center of the chaos, trying to absorb everything that was happening.

Dusty began muttering to himself, very rapidly, and quietly. “It’s true. It’s real. Time Lords and TARDISes and who knows what else, and how did they get it so right, from the very beginning?”

“Verity Lambert was a Time Lord,” the Doctor said to Dusty. “Well, I say was, but actually he still is a Time Lord, he just isn’t Verity Lambert any more.” He turned his attention back to Holly. “And I wasn’t spying on you, but I was having just a bit of fun with you, and you’ve got to admit that I took you to places you wanted to go, did I not?” and then to Darth Wolf he said, “And I’m not going to kill you or abandon you on some planet a million light years from home, I’ll take you back to where and when I got you.” And then finally he turned to Newt and asked, “Now the three of you kids don’t seem to belong with the rest of these people. What’s your story, how did you end up involved in all of this.”

Newt started explaining all over again about their original plans for Halloween, and Dusty’s suggestion that took them into Old Mrs. M’s garden, and the rest of the events of their rather eventful day to this point.

While she talked, the Doctor reached out and grabbed another stalk of cheese stuffed celery and chewed it thoughtfully as he listened. Somehow, she knew he was paying attention to her alone, and somehow managing to totally ignore the loud talking that was going on in the rest of the room.

To her surprise, the Doctor was kind and sympathetic toward their situation, and promised that he would take them home after he had safely delivered the pseudo pirates home.

“I think maybe it would be kind to them if we let them go find this letterbox thing first,” Newt said.

“I think you’re absolutely right,” the Doctor said.

Newt and the Doctor shared a smile, and her stomach did another flip flop. He was just too good looking, and even though it was obvious he was way too old to be interested in her in that way. It was rather like having a crush on a teacher at school, she thought, even knowing that he would never see her that way, she could still have a mighty crush on him and feel all the delightful feelings every time he smiled at her. Which was apparently what her stomach had decided to do anyway.

The Doctor took a step away from her then, and offered his arm. “Might I escort you to dinner, Miss Newt?” he asked in a rather formal tone of voice, even as his eyes twinkled with amusement.

“Oh, yes, I would be delighted to go to dinner with you, sir,” she answered, and slipped her hand through the crook of his elbow. He escorted her the three or four steps across the room to the table that still waited patiently under its load of food, and then pulled her chair back and helped her sit down.

Newt hoped rather fervently that she wouldn’t dribble any food down her expensive costume and ruin it.

Harold, taking the Doctor’s cue, offered his arm to Captain Hollerin’ Holly, and Dusty, still somewhat in a daze, and still muttering under his breath, offered his to Knit Solo. The Doctor, having seated Newt, walked around the table and offered his arm to Darth Wolf, and was just taking her to a place at the table when RavenWolf came through the door.

Newt watched as her eyes fastened on the Doctor, as he bent over Darth Wolf’s chair, and Newt realized that she was probably the only person in the room who didn’t miss the appreciative gleam in RavenWolf’s eyes as she took in the view the Doctor presented to her.

As soon as Darth Wolf was seated, the Doctor returned to the doorway to also seat RavenWolf, and although Newt heard her soft voice asking the Doctor when he had finally decided to come out of hiding, she didn’t hear his quiet reply to her. With a jolt, though, she realized that RavenWolf had been aware of the Doctor’s presence in the ship for some amount of time, and had either accidentally or by design, neglected to inform her ship mates that they were not alone in the interior of the TARDIS.

They all finished eating dinner, and spent an enjoyable and companionable evening chatting, while the lady pirates knitted. Yes, Newt knew that they were not really pirates, but she still tended to think of them that way, because that was how they had first been introduced to her.

Mostly, she sat near the Doctor in the old fashioned—actually to be perfectly honest—it was an antique sitting room that looked as though it had not been redecorated since it was furnished during the reign of Queen Victoria.

Newt sat quietly and listened to Dusty as he pumped the Doctor for all manner of information, including words she had never heard before, such as ‘Dalek’ and ‘Cyberman’. They discussed the Vashta Nerada, and Newt was glad to find out that they were fictional and had just been made up for the television show, but apparently something called the Weeping Angels were not fiction, but, the Doctor said with a rather sorrowful look on his face, they had been neutralized, and he didn’t expect that there would be any more problems with them at any foreseeable time in the future.

“However,” added the Doctor with a gleam in his eye, “that’s the thing about the future, you never really know what it might hold.”

Harold spent most of his time sitting next to Newt, holding her hand and just listening to the conversations around them.

Finally, as it was getting late, The Doctor stood up and stretched. “Time for bed!” he announced. “Tomorrow morning we’ll go get this letterbox that you’re interested in, and then I’m going to be taking you all home and get on with my own business.”

“What business is that?” asked Hollerin’ Holly, who suddenly wore a stricken look, as though it was all her fault that something very important had been left undone.

“Oh, nothing much,” the Doctor said cheerfully, “My job isn’t too important. I just keep the universe running, that’s all.”