Sage, Thyme and Mistletoe
A.N: Christmas Special! Hope you enjoy this! And MERRY CHRISTMAS AND BEST WISHES FOR THE NEW YEAR!
A gust of freezing cold wind blasted through the front entryway as they arrived home, their cheeks red from the cold.
"Merry Christmas!" Jack called down from the top of the ladder he was precariously perched upon. Decorations dangled down to trail on the ground, their multicoloured strands in danger of becoming a hideously tangled knot.
"Merry Christmas!" Josie, Senka and Adrian chorused, grinning at the sight.
Rose came up behind them, securely fastening the latch behind them, "Now don't you fall again! There is no way I want to spend Christmas Eve in Triage again!"
Jack groused, "I don't see why we couldn't have gone and used the TARDIS's Med bay. That cast was bloody uncomfortable!"
"Served you right, you great show off! Now, I'm off to find Mum." She tutted.
The three grinned at him, "She's right, you know. Doing the Christmas Macarena whilst perched on a ladder wrapped in lights is definitely stupid…" Adrian commented.
Senka glanced at his best mate in confusion, "Macarena?"
Josie rolled her eyes, a grin coming over her features, "We'll teach you later."
"Thanks for your faith in me…" Jack grumbled.
Laughing slightly, they made their way into the kitchen, where their grandmother was running around like a turkey with her head cut off. Mordrid sat on the windowsill, a miniature Santa hat perched upon his head, bobbing back and forth as he followed the commotion.
"Adrian! I need you to flip that pudding now!" She shouted, as she sprinted to a bowl of bubbling chocolate and sherry.
Catching an apron off the hook, he dumped his duffel on the ground, plunging into the foray that was they Tyler kitchen at Christmas. Within seconds, he was juggling pots, pans, basters, pastry brushes, peelers and wooden spoons in an acrobatic foray that defied the laws of physics.
"Shall we leave them to it?" Senka asked, picking up the discarded luggage.
Josie nodded, as she turned around to head upstairs to unload her own extremely heavy bag….
Only to come face to face with a green monster.
She screamed as the thing came towards her, advancing upon her in a strange parody of a sixties horror film. An incoherent mumbling came from within the thing.
At this point Lucy entered from the other door, bursting into gales of guffaws at the sight of the girl.
"HELP!" Josie shrieked, terror in her eyes.
Through her laughter, Lucy managed to choke out, "You….Tempest
…Z'Keth?…'fraid of a…a….CHRISTMAS TREE?"
Something of that managed to get through to Josie, "It's a Christmas Tree?" She demanded.
The thing finally pushed through the door to reveal the Doctor standing there, a huge grin on his face through the branches, "Nice to see you too, miss! Don't suppose you could give me a hand?"
Josie simply screamed in frustration.
"So what happened to your hair? It's definitely shorter than last I saw it." Josie commented as she hanged the baubles on the lower branches of the tree.
Lucy grinned, "Dragon singed it off. Got my back as well, but the dermal regenerator fixed that right up. We were on Authorus II, and the locals were having a bit of trouble with the local dragons. Ironic, because supposedly they had all lived in harmony for generations. So we're standing on the walls, searching for one of these dragons. No sight of one anywhere. Then I heard something behind me, and began to turn around. Jack tries to pull me out of the way, but one of them swoops down, fire throwing from their mouths, and it blasted across my back, claws raking after it. Missed my head by inches. As it is, I ended up with three scars from the claws, but that's better than being dead. Once we returned to the TARDIS, and a shower had shown how badly I'd ruined my hair, Jack took to it with the scissors. At least it looks all right."
Jack smiled from where he was perched on the ladder once more, "It suits you! And we ended up restoring things to their normal happy-go-lucky status. Turned out a well was being used to hide a pitch pipe, which was tuned to the frequency which made them lose it. Sorted it out, arrested the bloke, and everyone was all happy again!"
"Enough gloating, you!" The Doctor intervened, "Pass me up that tinsel…"
"Yes Sir!" Jack mock-saluted, grabbing the sparkling mass, "Passing said paraphernalia, Sir!"
Lucy glanced across at him, mirth shining in her eyes, "Did anyone ever tell you that you're incorrigible?"
She rolled her eyes in exasperation, "Why do I even bother?"
He shrugged, "Beats me!"
Later that evening, the trio was splayed out on the floor of Senka's room, surrounded by mounds of wrapping paper.
"We never had to do this part of Christmas," Senka observed, "Nor the tree."
Josie glanced up from her wrapping, "Seriously?"
"Well, we did have a feast and an exchange of gifts, but never anything like Christmas here." Senka explained.
She grinned at him, "Enjoying it so far?"
He nodded, "It's wonderful. Although I do wish it would snow."
Adrian snorted, "It hasn't snowed here since 2006, the last great snowstorm. Now we just have biting cold."
"That is a shame. It just won't seem like Christmas without it." Senka sighed.
"Mum once chatted about it snowing in London, when she was really young." Josie reminisced, "Said that it was a nightmare to travel in for weeks after."
"Done!" Adrian exclaimed, "And now I'm off to bed!"
Stifling a yawn, Josie finished the package, "I'm done too. I feel completely knackered!"
"You might as well turn in, you two." Senka suggested, "I'll be fine finishing up here, and we'll most likely have a big day tomorrow."
The pair nodded, "G'night, Senka."
As they left, Senka pulled out the two gifts he had secreted away beneath his bed. As soon as they had been swathed in mounds of festive fare, he changed into his pyjamas, clambering beneath the heavy eiderdown. The tree outside his window swayed in the breeze, bathed in moonlight that danced across the delicate bowers. Clouds reared up into the heavens, starkly contrasted in the colourless environment. The silence echoed eerily, as the rest of the household departed for bed.
Abruptly the darkness was ripped by an object screaming across the sky in a trail of fire. His eyes widened as it careened over the horizon, leaving only darkness and silence in its wake. As the stars faded from his vision, he saw the world was locked in darkness once more.
His mind was racing as it tried to make sense of what he had seen. As the clock on his bedside ticked onwards in its endless march towards eternity, his mind eventually quietened, and he felt his eyes become heavy. Slowly he drifted off into slumber, his thoughts nearly a millennia ago, on great feasts and dances long into the night.
She tossed and turned in her sleep, locked in the memory of battling Tregornan. She felt herself drive out toward him, saw the flashes of the attackers of the Keep, heard their minds screaming out as she sent them to her deaths, the power coursing through her veins as she destroyed the door, it opening to reveal emptiness, the sound of the malicious cackling echoing all around her as the blank eyes of Mortimer glared from everywhere around her, bodiless and taunting, she tried to shatter them…
She bolted upright, her hearts beating heavily in her chest as her breath hitched in her chest. She blinked in the dim light, realising she wasn't in her dorm at school. Reaching for the water pitcher to soothe her parched throat, she winced as her hand came in contact with the shards of broken glass that lay in place of the glass.
That hasn't happened before…She thought absent-mindedly, clambering out of bed and padding down the hall to the bathroom. Blearily she flicked the light switch, stumbling blindly to the sink. The faucet blasted out the freezing cold water, and she splashed her clammy skin, letting the icy liquid wash away the vestiges of the nightmare. Glancing at her reflection in the mirror, the pallid façade that stared back at her showed the evidence of numerous restless nights, with the beginnings of dark circles adorning her eyes. Sighing, she purposefully turned away from the mirror. If Anita was here, she'd tell her to get back to bed, or at the very least offer her an ear. As it was, she needed her beauty rest. There was no point in giving those bags a chance to grow larger.
Settling back down, she glanced at the clock: 11:59.
A smile broke across her features, as she stared that the digital display, not blinking as
the seconds stretched out endlessly…
It flickered slightly: 12:00.
It was a firmly established rule in the Tyler household that no one was allowed up before half past eight on Christmas Day.
It was also firmly established that this rule was to be ignored.
Thus, at half past five, Senka found himself disturbed from his slumber, to find two madly grinning faces hovering over him. Yelping in fright, he scrambled backwards, unsprung his bed sheets in the process.
"Shh!" Josie whispered, placing a restraining hand over his mouth, only removing it once she was certain that he wouldn't scream out.
"Why are you up so early?" He demanded in a hissed whisper, "It is far too early to be considered decent!"
Adrian shrugged, "It's Christmas."
"And that means we have things to do…" Josie concluded, grinning like a Cheshire cat.
Senka blinked at them in confusion, "We wrapped all our presents last night… What else have we missed?"
"It not so much what we've missed, as what they'll miss…"
They crept on silent footfalls past the kitchen, where Mordrid slumbered, his head hidden beneath a leaf, peacefully munching on the pompom of his hat.
"You did get it, didn't you?" Josie hissed, glancing around.
Adrian rolled his eyes, "Of course! It's out by the back door!"
On they continued, skirting the precariously placed furniture of the dining room to reach their destination.
Adrian put a finger to his lips, before pushing open the door, wincing as the hinges shrieked. The door opened to reveal the frostbitten lawn, surrounded by the bare beds awaiting the touch of spring. The trees were locked in ice, their branches testimony to the bitter night. Above them the sky stretched, an endless field of grey clouds tinged by the stains of first light.
"Around here!" he indicated, slipping around the side.
As her head poked around the corner, Josie's eyes lit up, "Fantastic!"
"Am I brilliant or what?" Adrian said smugly.
"What is it?" Senka demanded.
Josie carefully picked some of the branch, "Mistletoe."
Senka's eyes shot up, "Mistletoe?"
"Mistletoe." Adrian nodded, "If you stand under it with a member of the opposite sex, then-"
"-You are obliged to pucker!" Senka concluded, ignoring their looks at his language,
"So what's the point?"
"Every year we try and pull something-"Josie began
"-Never anything too over the top, though." Adrian added.
Josie nodded in agreement, "Last year it was non-permanent hair dye-"
"In Christmas colours!"
"And then the year before it was switching the turkey for a plastic chicken, and putting Brussels sprouts in the pudding bowl for dessert…"
Adrian laughed, "Although it was rather funny when Dad began to carve it…"
"So why mistletoe this year?" Senka questioned.
"Why, to try and get Lucy and Jack together of course!" Josie stated.
"And why would you do that?"
Adrian rolled his eyes in exasperation, "Because they're…"
"Perfect for each other?" Josie suggested.
"Always looking out for each other to the point it's obsessive?"
"So completely head over heels in love with each other that everyone else can see it but them?"
"Good point." Senka concluded, "And frankly, I couldn't ask for a better father…"
They twins stared at each other in surprise, "Oh…"
"You forgot about that, didn't you?"
Josie glanced at him sheepishly, "Well…"
"Honestly!" Adrian tutted, "You already are in quite a few ways…"
"Last name, which you did agree to-"
"-Sense of humour-"
"-Love of life-"
"-Basic job and trade-"
"-Same as back in the 1300s, where sons would take their father's trade-"Josie reminded,
"-And you're both (In slightly different ways) in love with your mum!" they both finished.
The heavenly smell of hot chocolate wafted through the house, strong, rich, and potent enough to wake the living dead.
Or at least five adults on Christmas morning.
"I take it before eight thirty went out the window again, my dear children?" Rose questioned as she padded barefoot across the cold floor, "What time is it anyway?"
"Six thirty seven." The Doctor groused as he collapsed into his chair, "Merry Christmas!"
"Hopefully this will make up for it." Adrian soothed, placing mugs at each of the adult's spots.
The Doctor's head perked up at this, "Chocolate?"
"You're worse than me, dad." Josie jested across her third cup.
"No-once could be worse than you, Josie." Jackie retorted as she stumbled over to Mordrid's pot, "And this dear deserves to be part of the conversation as well."
Said flora perked up, enthusiastic at the prospect of food as he was toted over to the table. Within seconds, a plate of ham was placed before him, and just as quickly devoured, causing Josie to giggle with delight.
"There are worse pets." Jackie commented to her granddaughter, accompanying the statement with a wink.
"Well, good morning you two!" The Doctor commented as Jack and Lucy walked into the room. Instantly their cheeks turned a flaming red.
The three conspirators gave each other surprised glances: Were our plans too late?
"What's up with you two?" The Doctor asked bluntly.
Jack shrugged, trying to keep the heat from his cheeks, "We…Fell asleep last night
chatting, and didn't realise…"
"Good that TARDIS habits die hard…"Rose commented airily.
"Hot chocolate?" Adrian asked cheerfully, ignoring the moment of before.
Jack's eyes instantly brightened, "Are there hotcakes to go with that?"
Subsequently, cinnamon pancakes were made and consumed, before Jackie and Adrian once more reclaimed their domain. Soon the scents of their culinary pursuits wafted through the house once more.
Having been outcast from the kitchen, Senka and Josie wandered into the family room, soon discovering a pack of cards. Quickly Senka picked up on the rules of spit, and the pair began their Battle Royal.
Their game was interrupted by a knock at the door, "We'll get it!" Josie called out, bounding along the hallway, Senka hot on her heels.
"Anita?" he demanded.
She stood before them, wrapped in her coat, her duffel over her shoulder, "Hey. Looks like I just made it."
Josie scrutinised her in confusion, "Right…"
"Come inside!" Senka ordered, snapping back to reality.
Anita gave him a smile, "Thanks Senka."
"Who is it?" Rose called out from the kitchen.
"Anita!" Josie answered back.
Within seconds, Rose came into the entryway, apprising her appearance, "Oh…"
"I couldn't stay at…There. It was worse than being in the grip of that thing on Ramansia V! Then of course there was Porthos…"
"Ah. Entire family against you?" Rose summarised.
She nodded, "Basically."
Rose sighed, clamping firmly down on the desire to jump in the air and whoop like at the football at having the girl back, "Go and dump your stuff, and get back down here, We're about to start."
With a nod, Anita and Josie dashed up the stairs, quickly followed by Senka. Rose was left standing in the entryway, shaking her head. Before leaving she glanced out the window. Storm clouds were swirling maliciously on the horizon, the winds coming off the front blasting through the skeletal trees out the front.
Once again, the dining table had been heaped with foods to make the Chefs of France green with envy. The turkey stood in the centre, surrounded by mounds of roast vegetables, boats of gravy and salads of all descriptions.
"Yum!" Anita exclaimed as she sat down, her mouth watering at the sight.
The Doctor grinned, "Better than what you were having at home?"
"Anything's better than bread and water." She replied nonchalantly.
Rose looked at her in surprise, "Bread and water?"
She nodded, "Yeah. The Church underwent a change whilst I've been away. The new minister is a fanatical extremist who believes that we should focus on the morbid aspects of Christmas, and has threatened anyone who doesn't fast for the entire
holiday…Not that my lot need any persuasion…"
Lucy nodded, "Christmas should be about joy. In both times I've lived, it has been, so I suppose I am fortunate."
"Even in 1941, Christmas was still pretty joyful. But then everyone needed something to give them hope, so I guess Christmas was it." Jack agreed.
"What about in the 51st century?" Adrian asked in curiosity.
Jack grinned, "Ah, by the time I was born, Christmas was one the two days given off a year. For Time agents it was the only one. Mainly it meant hearing the legends, then getting smashed on hypervodkas. Some people gave out presents, but not too many. That was usually saved for New Year's…Though Santa was a crotchety old woman dressed in fluro orange…"
"Enough gabbing!" Jackie scolded, "The Turkey will go cold!"
"Yes Ma'am!" they chorused, resuming their places. Plates were quickly piled high in traditional Tyler fashion, and each morsel was devoured in between talk of school.
"So you said you've been on the Cricket team?" Jackie asked Senka
He grinned wolfishly, "Definitely. It is truly the game of kings, even when it is indoors…"
"…and then the entire lab…erupted!" Adrian enthusiastically recounted to his father.
The Doctor paused thoughtfully, "I'll have to introduce you to Ace at some point. You two would get along like a house on fire…"
"We were really lucky in history…" Anita told Lucy, "Our main area of study's Medieval Britain. It's so easy once you've been there."
Lucy laughed, "And even more so when you've lived there."
She grinned wickedly, "That's why Senka and I tied equal first in the mid-terms."
Lucy's eyes widened, as she brimmed with pride at her son, "Well he didn't tell me this…"
Anita simply shrugged, "The school year ain't over until the fat lady sings…"
"True enough." Lucy acquiesced.
"Then again, the only two who have come within a mile of us are the twins."
Meanwhile Josie and her mother were locked deep in conversation down the other end of the table.
"So I somehow ended up sleepwalking one night, and woke up down in the main hall…" Josie began.
"After hours?" Rose scolded, "I probably wouldn't have had the sleepwalking excuse."
"Anyway, the Rottweiler comes marching down the stair on patrol, and there I am, standing in my nightshirt, clearly out of bounds, and utterly disorientated-Seriously, you try waking up in the dark miles away from your dorm- And she marches in. I think she might have caught a glimpse of something, so her mouth was opened like cod fish. There was a trophy on the landing above, don't know how I managed to notice it, but I was lucky enough to. Still, gave it a jab. Maybe a bit more than I meant to…" she added innocently, "But it went careening down the stairs to crash into her shoulder! She goes storming off up the stairs, mad as a bat out of hell, and I split the other way. I barely made it back to bed in time for midnight rounds."
Her mother mock-frowned at her, "I'm not too fond of the idea of clobbering teachers…"
"But?" Josie prompted.
"It was still a brilliant escape!"
"Right, Living room everyone!" The Doctor rallied after they had stuffed themselves to
"Presents?" Josie asked, eyes lighting up.
He nodded, "Presents."
Chairs scraped along the ground as their occupants sprinted into the next room, leaving the adults to leisurely wander after in their wake.
The fire crackled merrily in the grate as they crowded around the glittering Christmas tree, upon which hang adornments from hundreds of different times and planets, as well as the traditional earth fare.
"Right, who's going to play Santa?" Jackie asked, collapsing in her favourite chair, smiling as Mordrid curled up in his pot at her feet.
"How about Senka?" Josie suggested, "After all, it is his first Modern Christmas."
"All in favour of Senka, say 'I'!" The Doctor said.
"I!" They all cheerfully chorused.
Senka looked at Josie in confusion, "Santa?"
"Basically you put on a silly hat and give everyone their presents."
"Ah…" he said with a nod, accepting the absurdly fluffy hat that Rose handed to him.
Kneeling, he waddled over to the tree, "And the first present of Christmas 2017 goes to…"
"Drum roll!" Jack joked, pounding the side of his chair.
"Anita!" Senka proclaimed, handing her the gift.
She glanced at him in confusion, "But…"
"We all had a funny feeling you'd be here." Josie said, "And that one's from me, by the way.
The paper was torn away, to reveal twenty feet of multicoloured wool, "A scarf? Totally cool! Thanks, Josie!" She said, standing up and hugging her.
During the next hour, the piles of presents accumulated around each person. Notably the Doctor found himself in possession of a toy pistol, which Jack had commented,
"Thought you might make it a bit more sonic."
Rose had been given a set of lock picks, "Thanks, honey, my old ones were getting worn out!"
"You're too beautiful to be left behind!" The Doctor had replied, squeezing her hand, "but there's something else in there as well…"
She glanced in, looking up and beaming at him, "Knew there was a reason I love you!"
"What, not for my ruggedly handsome good looks or uncompromising wit and charm?" He said in mock offence.
She pretended to mull it over, "I'll have them any day. Thank you, my dearest!"
Josie and Adrian had simultaneously ripped open their packages to reveal…
"A Sonic screwdriver?" Adrian exclaimed incredulously.
"You're kidding!" Josie added.
Rose, Jack and The Doctor smiled, "We've been working on them for months, so you'd better take care of them!"
"These are so totally cool!" they said, instantly setting to work on the doors…
Finally, Anita and Senka sat down to open their last presents. The layers of paper were ripped aside to reveal a mobile phone.
Anita's eyes widened, "You seriously didn't have to! Thank you so much!"
"I agree!" Senka said.
"We can't have you two getting left behind with no way of talking to us…" Jack said with a smile, "Now those are from Lucy and I. If you look inside the envelopes-"
Curiously, they peered into the envelopes, pulling out the cards. As they opened them, out fell two keys.
"They're…"Senka said in shock
"TARDIS Keys?" Anita finished, just as surprised.
The Doctor nodded, "You two earned it. You're both a part of this family, and that entitles you to it."
Impulsively, Anita jumped up, grabbing him in a firm embrace, "Thank you!"
He smiled fondly at her, "It's all right. Now, who's up for some eggnog?"
Calls of assent deafened him from each side, as they all stood once more. Together Lucy and Jack went through the door.
"Stop!" The three commanded. The two spun to face them, "Look up."
They were under the mistletoe. Instantly their faces reddened.
"It's tradition!" Josie teased.
"Come on Captain!" The Doctor provoked.
Cheeks as red as beets, the pair inched towards each other, Jack's hand automatically going around her waist just as hers linked around behind his head. Slowly his lips descended down upon hers, uncertainly touching. She nervously returned it, slightly muddled at first, but still sweeter than even the most sugary sweets.
Cheers erupted from around them.
"Finally!" Rose exclaimed, slapping her head.
Their foreheads touched together, and they grinned at each other.
"Took you two long enough!" The Doctor commented, "And we've got eggnog waiting!"
As Jack and Lucy walked into the kitchen, Rose took the Doctor's hand, her eyes gleaming as they walked through the door.
The Doctor grabbed her suddenly, pulling her to a stop
"What-" She began, only to be cut off as the Doctor dipped her back, making her squeal in delight, as his lips claimed hers in their eternal duel.
"Get a room!" Adrian moaned.
Later that afternoon, Senka happened to glance outside the window.
"Josie…"He said, his eyes brimming with excitement.
"Wha…."She trailed off, staring at the miraculous sight outside, "Wow…"
The storm of earlier had passed, leaving blue skies behind it, and..
"Snow!" Anita exclaimed, coming up beside them.
Adrian smiled, "Looks like you got your Christmas wish after all." The smile was replaced with a wicked grin, "Anyone up for a snow fight? There's got to be at least
two feet out there!"
"As long as it's adults against children, I'm all in!" Jack said behind him, Lucy nodding in agreement from his side.
In less than ten minutes all members were rugged up in snow gear. Trooping outside, the two parties instantly split, taking to opposite ends of the garden in order to begin fortifications.
"You stand no chance!" Anita called to the opposition.
"Says you!" The Doctor retorted, head poking above the meter high bulwark. Instantly he was hit in the face by a frozen projectile. Shaking the snow off, he turned towards his comrades, a malicious twinkle dancing merrily in his eyes, "No mercy?"
Rose smiled, and shoved a snowball down his shirt, "Absolutely!"
From then on it was a free for all.
Well after dusk, they trooped inside, sopping wet and cheeks red from the cold.
"This," Senka declared, "Has to have been the best Christmas!"
Jack glanced at Lucy, who smirked back at him, but said nothing.
Anita shook her head, "Well, I agree with you!"
"You know what would make this more perfect?" Josie commented airily.
"What?" The Doctor said with a feeling of dread.
"More hot chocolate."
At that her brother came up behind her and shoved a fistful of snow down her neck.
"Argh!" She screamed, turning around on the steps, grabbing another handful and chasing him around the yard pelting him for all she was worth, the sound of her family's laughter echoing through the air.
That night, they had all gathered once more beneath the tree. The Doctor was giving his two children lessons in proper screwdriver(wo)manship. So far they had scorched quite a few pieces of paper, melted a glass, fortunately one Jackie had never liked anyway, locked each other up in handcuffs before escaping, and replaced the rickety shelves in the study.
Seeing the yawns crossing the faces, Rose announced, "Time for bed!"
Despite their objective protests, she began to hustle everyone to their feet.
"Night all!" Lucy and Jack said, as they headed down the corridor towards their rooms, soon followed by Senka.
Heading upstairs after Josie, Rose and The Doctor turned around just in time to see Anita and Adrian come out the door.
"You two!" the Doctor called out. Instantly they halted.
Rose smiled, realising the same thing her husband had, "Look up!"
Simultaneously they glanced up above their heads. There, innocently pinned was a sprig of mistletoe.
Blushing profusely, they turned to each other. Taking a deep breath, Anita grabbed Adrian's face in her hand and smooched him firmly on the lips.
"Merry Christmas!" She whispered, dropping her hands, and dashing up the stairs, leaving Adrian standing there in shock.
"Merry Christmas, Son!" The Doctor said, chuckling as he and Rose headed arm in arm upstairs to bed.
A.N: So What Do You Think? I love hearing what you have to say!
Now, to announce the next story in the series!
The title is…1(3) In a Million, and the URL is . Hope you enjoy it! Merry Christmas!