|Sure As Eggs is Eggs
Author: Doyle-sb4 PM
After Boomtown, the last of the Slitheen family goes home.Rated: Fiction K - English - Humor - Words: 1,456 - Reviews: 15 - Favs: 7 - Published: 06-09-05 - id: 2430299
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The Raxacoricofallopatorian behind the front desk looked askance at the three of them as they entered the reception - at least, the Doctor assumed that was what that tilt of its massive head meant. Still, he was perfectly used to funny looks, especially when he was carrying around a large egg with a bobble hat on top.
"Hello," he said. "I'm the Doctor. This is Rose Tyler, Jack Harkness, and this," he put the egg on the desk, balancing it against the computer screen, "is an egg."
The receptionist looked at it. Then he - or she - looked at the Doctor. Then he or she - possibly it - gave a very slow sideways blink.
"The hat's to stop her tentacles from getting cold," he said helpfully.
Jack sidled to the edge of the desk, running his finger along the ID plate. "It's Gildith, right? That's a great name"
Ah. A he, then.
"It's pronounced Gilith," Gilith said. His voice was quite musical; sounded a bit Welsh, actually, unless that was the TARDIS amusing herself with the translation again. "The qwa is silent. Who are you… people?"
"We found an egg," Rose said. "And we want to leave it back in the Hatchery before somebody stands on it."
"We're terrible for standing on things. We've got a very small spaceship. Look, that's it, down the corridor, the blue thing the cleaning droids are... excuse me a second, Gilith."
When he got back from scaring off a pack of nosy robots, Rose was adjusting the egg's hat, Jack was practically sitting on the desk and there was no mistaking Gilith's sheer, bewildered terror. "So if you could point us to the incubator wing," Jack was saying, in that voice that had got them out of more tight spots than the sonic screwdriver (the Doctor patted his pocket, feeling disloyal), "you'd be doing us a huge favour."
Gilith made a noise like the death of a miniature steam engine. His neck had turned a darker green. "You're aliens," he said, pointing at them in turn with an unsteady claw. "The computer says you're human, and you're human, and you're… misc. You're not supposed to be here! This building is a Raxacoricofallopatorian-only zone!"
Taking the optimistic view that misc, while not ideal, was more flattering than human, the Doctor said, "Whoops, sorry about that. We'll be out of your way in no time. So, about that Hatchery?"
Gilith craned his neck around the corner. He'd been doing that a lot. "Please, leave her and be gone," he said. "The next shift will be here soon and you have no idea the trouble I'll be in if you're found."
"What happens to her now?" Jack asked.
The Doctor carefully took her from Rose's arms. Wouldn't do to let her get scrambled now, so close to home. "Now a family comes in looking for a new addition, picks her, and she grows up again. Better, we hope."
Gilith moved. It looked like he was trying to shuffle his feet, but he was large, even for a Raxacoricofallopatorian, and the three of them had to duck out of his way.
Something was up. "What's wrong, Gilith?"
"That's not quite right," he said. "First they'll run her DNA through the analyzer and match it to the known families. If she's got relatives, they'll have first refusal."
"Ah." The Doctor was seeing a slight flaw in the plan. "And say her relatives were, just for instance, a gang of convicted murderers and con artists - no offence, Jack - who'd all been given the death sentence years ago?"
His head dropped until it was almost touching his chest. "Then she'd be destroyed."
"I see." He felt little not-Margaret stir inside her shell. He'd been ready to send her to her death back in Cardiff, but she'd been grown, then; she'd made her own choices. "Could you hold her a minute while I talk to my associates?"
"I say we change the computer records, make her part of a different family. Maybe something in their peace corps." Jack, always looking for the right angle, the best con.
Both of them were looking at him to make it right.
"What does Gilith say?" he wondered aloud.
The three of them turned to look at him. He hadn't budged an inch. The egg's hat had slipped to the floor and the little tentacles were outstretched, brushing Gilith's face. His huge eyes just stared and stared, unblinking.
The Doctor said, "Do you have kids? Children, I mean. Baby Giliths."
"Me? No. I applied for a license, but…"
"Only so many given out per year, aren't there. And you don't make enough money, or maybe you don't have a mate yet, or there's some other petty little reason that lets them keep turning you down."
"I'd love to take her, but I wouldn't be a very good parent." He didn't sound sure of that at all.
"Quick test," the Doctor said. "Sure-fire way of telling if somebody's the kind of dad we're looking for. Would you prefer that when your child grows up she decides to, a, take over backwards worlds and reduce them to spaceship fuel, killing their populations in the process or b, follow her dad into the civil service?"
"Oh, b," he said. "Space travel makes me queasy. And the pension plan here's very good."
The Doctor clapped him on the shoulder, or as near to it as he could reach. "Congratulations, you're a dad." He winked at Jack and Rose, got a grin from Jack in return; Rose was smiling but she had her hand pressed to her mouth, looked set to cry. Probably sobbed her little heart out at the sad bits on Hollyoaks as well, bless her.
"I have the paperwork downstairs," Gilith said. "I could lose her in the system, fake the DNA records. No-one would ever find her. I'll have to smuggle her home… there's so much to think about. I don't even know what to call her."
"There's Margaret," the Doctor suggested. "Margaret's a good name."
He brushed one of his huge claws over his new daughter's shell. "Maw-gred."
"She's a bit quieter than most babies I've minded," Rose said. "What's the going rate for egg-sitting, anyway?"
Jack nudged the Doctor's side. "Fess up, you'll miss her."
"You both think she's sweet and cuddly now, but let her grow up a bit. They mature slower than your species. Fifteen, twenty years time, we'd have a stroppy Raxacoricofallopatorian toddler on our hands."
"You will," Rose said. "You'll so miss her."
He tapped the side of the tank. "Good luck, Maw-gred Tlylor Lowgatellinon."
"I won't even try and say that, but good luck." Rose placed her hand by his. "Don't go killing people to wear their skins. And do as your dad tells you."
"Do anything you want, but not if it'll mean somebody else getting hurt," Jack added. "Don't cheat at cards unless you know you can talk the mark down if you get caught. Don't mix your drinks."
The Doctor didn't say anything for a long time, not until he'd sent the others back to the TARDIS and it was just him and Maw-gred, her tentacles happily waving in the water.
"You've been given a second chance," he said. "All the things you've done, the lives you destroyed, that's behind you now. Clean slate, or as close to it as anyone gets. Don't ruin it. Whatever you do, just don't ruin it. You won't get another one."
And he left her to her new family, and he went back to his.