The Doctor crept silently down the corridor, his converse trainers making no noise as he tiptoed over the rather ugly carpet.
He paused outside Rose's room and nudged the door open, peering inside to check on her.
He always got so bored when Rose was asleep. She seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time just dreaming and that was pointless when he could take her to places that outshone her dreams a hundredfold. But he wasn't going to wake her up, oh, no, been there, done that and still got the scars to prove it.
Rose Tyler was a mean shot with an alarm clock… and stilettos…and her fist and he had bruises to prove it.
He could see her curled up in bed deceptively sweet, the duvet scrunched up over her softly breathing form, her relaxed face free from troubles, anger, confusion and make-up.
He frowned a little.
Why did Rose have to wear so much of that gunk? She was prettier without it. No, in fact he would go as far as to say that she was beautiful.
Beautifully human with pretty pink human skin and human…bits.
Besides having that stuff plastered all over her face was bad for her skin, he was sure of it.
And he had promised Jackie that he would take care of Rose and keep her from harmful things. So, really, it was his duty to take care of her, including her skin, by removing the offending items.
With a mischievous grin he slipped into her room and headed for her dressing table.
His eyes widened as he took in the sheer amount of lotions and potions and bottles and vials and tubes that littered the tabletop.
Blimey! No wonder she often looked permanently surprised.
Foundation, concealer—what was she concealing?—eye liner, eye shadow, eye dust—dust?—blusher, lip liner, lipstick, lip salve, lipsyl—how many lips did she have?—kohl pencils, witch hazel, perfume, deodorant, moisturising cream, toner.
It went on and on and on and the Doctor was suddenly very grateful for his transdimensional pockets as he loaded every item into the pin-striped jacket.
Rose suddenly gave a muffled sound from behind him and he froze, catching sight of her in the dressing table mirror as she turned over.
If she woke up and saw him here, it would all be over. There would be screaming and shouting and recriminations and then, then¸ it would get really bad.
But Rose just frowned a little, muttered something under her breath and drifted back to sleep.
Not daring to exhale the Doctor slunk out of her room, closing the door behind him with a soft click.
Muffling a chuckle he punched the air in delight. He had done it. He had saved Rose—again! He had sabotaged the face concealing potions—he was indestructible. He was sneaky and mysterious.
Mysterious! That was even better than enigmatic. He was the intergalactic man of mystery.
He flipped his collar up and slid against the wall humming the James Bond theme as he slunk through the TARDIS like a spy, checking around each corner before jumping over to the opposite wall.
But, with no one else to play along, he grew bored after half an hour of spying and decided that he was going to go undercover in the very next room he came to. The sheer size of the TARDIS made the possibilities endless.
If he wound up in the library he could be an undercover researcher searching for a missing treasure map which would show the way to some secret location that no one had ever seen before. If he found the pool house he could be a lifeguard bringing down a corrupt coast guard—or drug runners. Yeah, if he found the greenhouses he could be an explorer. Or an archaeologist, although they were a bit naff. The possibilities were endless.
It was the kitchen.
"Aw," he sagged. "Boring!" He slumped in and leaned against the counter, his eyes flitting over the stainless steel counter and pristine surfaces.
It was very clean in here.
Maybe that was the mystery. His eyes lit up. Maybe he was an undercover secret agent pretending to be a chef to discover what had happened to their four previous cooks.
He reached for the nearest drawer and pulled out an apron. Grimacing a little at the pink frills on the edge he wrapped it around his waist.
"Aha!" he said with some satisfaction. "Now I need a hat. A chef's hat."
He searched through cupboards and opened drawers but the best he could come up with was a pink paper crown he'd saved from last Christmas.
It'd have to do; he couldn't be the best Chef in the galaxy without a hat.
Placing it on his head, he surveyed his invisible staff.
"Right," he said aloud. "I'm the new chef. Doctor…uh…Cook!" He giggled to himself. "And today's special is…uh,"
He grabbed the nearest cupboard and wrenched it open. He pulled out a package and read the label. "Freeze dried spaghetti. Urgh!" He threw the packet on the side and reached in again. "Dehydrated onions. No. Irradiated Haggis. No! Cabbage… expires 1372…no. Processed marshmallows. Tofu in lime sauce. Who buys this stuff? Ooh jelly babies!
He picked one up and began chewing as he stared thoughtfully at the ingredients strewn over the once pristine counter.
"Eggs, milk, flour—pancakes!" He clapped his hands. "Multo bene! Pancakes!"
The Doctor grabbed a bowl and pointed into thin air. "You—uh, Alonzo, crack me some eggs."
He cracked two eggs into a bowl and smiled broadly. "Well done, Alonzo, we'll make a cook of you yet. So, the last Chef, what was his speciality, hmm?" He pretended to listen, holding the eggs shells in mid-air, dripping yolk over the floor. "I see! Fond of his aubergines, ay?"
He rubbed his chin, noticed the shells and tossed them over his shoulder.
"Scales, I need scales!" he called loudly and held up the bag of flour. Dashing over to another cupboard he pulled out little blue scales and plonked them on the table top.
"Thank you Ernesto!" he nodded, "So, Chef Banana, why did he leave?"
He poured the flour into the scales absently, so intent on his imaginary conversation that he didn't see the little dial tilt right past 250g. "More salad on the menu, really?"
He suddenly noticed that he was trailing flour on the floor and stopped pouring. Tossing the open bag aside he poked one finger into the centre, making a round hole and poured the eggs in with a delighted yelp.
Then he stared around. "You Matthias, pour the milk and whisk, man. Whisk like your life depends on it!" He bounced on his feet as the blades whirred in the bowl. "Incidentally, what did Chef…Mickey like to cook? Vegetable lasagne. I see."
The milk sloshed over the bowl and spattered his apron, but the Doctor ignored this little detail. He was on to something, his spidey sense… no, his secret agent sense was tingling.
"Castro, more whisking!" he lowered his voice to a sneaky whisper. "And I'll interrogate you with my amazing spy skills of subterfuge!"
He picked up the bowl, whisking briskly as he wandered around the kitchen checking on his make believe staff.
"More garlic, Gustav," he complained, "Less salt, Alonzo. That needs jam. Sergio, chop finer. Miguel, table five. Solero…good-a sauce-a. Fernando—why did Chef Tyler leave? Lack of courgettes? No, really?" the Doctor faked astonishment. "A pan! Oil in a pan. Ronaldinio… you're a footballer get out of my kitchen! Delany, fetch me a pan!"
He slammed a frying pan onto the stove and, poured oil in the bottom and slid some of his murky mixture into it.
The pan hissed and crackled as the Doctor shook it enthusiastically.
"Hmm, so. No aubergines, no courgettes, not enough salad and…the crème de l'resistance vegetable lasagne. It all adds up." He pointed the frying pan at the undetectable staff. "You all did it! Carnivores the lot of you. You killed the Chefs because they were vegetarian and you used their flesh to make the pie d'zombie. The dish this restaurant is famous for. Well, Doctor Cook will stop you!" He pulled the pan out of the fire and waved it towards his assailant. "Hyah ha!" he fought valiantly but he was only one chef and there were too many of them.
All he could do now was explode the detonation device hidden in the pancake batter and go down with the ship. He'd die but he'd take these cannibals with him.
"It's all over." He said and whipped the pan into the air. The bomb/pancake soared in a high arch and slapped against the ceiling.
Where it stuck.
"Bugger," he said staring up at it.
"What's the matter?" Rose asked sleepily from the doorway, her eyes half closed and pyjama top sliding over one shoulder.
"Nothing!" he said hurriedly, whipping the pan behind his back and grinning sheepishly.
Rose looked at him, blinked and did a double take.
"Why are you wearing a pink paper crown?"
He looked up nonchalantly and noted that the edge of the pancake was peeling very slowly off the white ceiling. If it fell it would fall directly on Rose's head.
The result would not be pretty.
He gulped and grinned wider at Rose. "Am I?"
There was silence as he tried to come up a very convincing answer before offering weakly. "Isn't it Christmas?"
Rose gave him a level, if tired, look. "And the apron?"
He scratched the back of his head with one hand, one eye flicking up to where the offending savoury was slowing edging away from its position high above them.
"Breakfast!" he shouted. "I was making you breakfast. A surprise, Rose. I was going to surprise you."
Rose looked around him and took in the state of the kitchen. The packets and containers strewn all over the tabletops, the flour spilled in heaps all over the floor, the counter slimed with egg yolk and milk and she forced a smile.
"That's…sweet. Was demolishing the kitchen part of it?"
He tore his eyes away from the peeling pancake and nodded. "Yes…. Or quite possibly no. It's not done yet, Rose. You go get dressed and I'll… clean up."
"Go!" he insisted, pushing her out from under the collision zone. "I'll make it and bring it to your room. My treat."
Rose frowned suspiciously but she had seen the Doctor in enough weird moods to interpret this as just another one of those unexplainable ones. Like the time she caught him pretending to swing across the atrium in a loincloth.
She simply shook her head and walked away and the Doctor sighed in relief.
"Wow, he said to himself as her door closed down the corridor. "That was close. But you kept your cool, super sexy spy agent and you didn't blow your cover. She suspected nothing!"
He'd gotten away with it. He was truly invincible.
He tittered to himself in glee and half turned to start making her breakfast when there was a piercing scream.
"DOCTOR! What have you done with my make-up?!"
And that was when the pancake fell on his head.