"Penny in the air..." Gabriel trailed off as the Doctor ground to a halt outside a Hot Topic.

The Doctor picked up a plastic TARDIS from a sale cart and turned it over in his hand. The little box released a wheezing bray from the daisy of pinholes at the bottom, no doubt activated by the motion. The Doctor's eyebrows shot up. Gabriel tried not to feel smug.

To be fair, he didn't try very hard.

The Doctor scuffed a free hand through his thin hair. "In this reality, I'm on telly?" He asked, "You mean, documentaries?"

"Nope," Gabriel drawled, and nudged the Doctor gently around towards a wall of tee shirts. Over and over, logos of various shapes shouted 'DOCTOR WHO?' He read the line of growing tension in the Doctor's broad shoulders. "...Penny drops."

"I'm not real."

Gabriel chortled. "You shoulda seen the Winchesters. They-" The Doctor flashed a palm in front of his face, surprising him just enough to stop short. And that was just out of line. Nobody interrupted the Trickster. Not if they didn't want to find themselves ass-deep in angry, horny platypi.

"If I'm not real, the Daleks? They're not real either?"

Gabriel leaned sideways, picked up a wind-up Dalek, and shoved it wordlessly against the Doctor's mitt. Now he considered them both: TARDIS in one hand, Dalek in the other, which was pretty much the way it had always been. Just imagine the TARDIS filled with a handful of his oh-so-precious companions. Gabriel knew the guy's currency; he wasn't all that hard to figure out.

To his surprise, a smile opened up the Doctor's face. "In this galaxy the Daleks don't exist. They never did. They're just toys. Toys. These people don't know to be afraid."

Gabriel frowned. "Not of the Daleks, anyway. Not after they hit, like, ten."

The Doctor rounded on him. He tossed Gabriel the wind-up Dalek and whipped out his sonic screwdriver. Gabriel was waiting for this moment. The button on the side clicked. Nothing. There should be panic, but there wasn't. The Doctor's smile widened.

"This doesn't work! Do you know what that means?"

"Uh, that you're helpless? That if I leave you here, you're headed for a padded room?"

"No! Well, yes, don't do that, but no!" The Doctor bared his teeth through the word and Gabriel found himself leaning back. He'd encountered a lot of crazy, but he knew all about the last of the Time Lords, and yeah, that was a bit much even for him. "If my sonic won't work, it means the Daleks won't work either! No death rays, no extermination, no bloody floating up stairwells. There's one place in all of time and space at least, that the Daleks can never come. And that's FANTASTIC"

Across the store, heads popped up, eyes lancing to the Doctor like he wore a homing beacon. There might have been a squeal.

Gabriel rolled his eyes. If he hated one thing worse than being interrupted, it was being upstaged.