Homemade from Hell
Donna Noble was getting just a little bit exasperated.
She tried her luck again, this time shaking his shoulder for emphasis.
"Doctor, dammit! Wake up!"
The Last of the Time Lords, currently slumped into the seat in front of the TARDIS console, arms crossed over his crinkled brown suit jacket and feet propped up where they probably shouldn't be, merely gave a sort of irritated snore and flopped his head the other way.
No use, of course. The alien, skinny bloke that she currently travelled the universe with didn't sleep often, but when he did, a bloody comet could have collided with the TARDIS without waking him up.
"I swear, I'm gonna get a tazer or something if you don't snap out of it soon…"
The worst part were the half-conversations she frequently had to overhear, nearly all of them with this Rose-person. When that happened, the Doctor usually awoke only to start sulking instead, clutching at some sort of cotton jacket and rocking slightly. Bloody bonkers, in Donna's opinion, and she wasn't having any of it today.
"Oh Doctor, the…err, Sontaran-things…are back and we're all about to die," she tried a new tactic this time, bending down to murmur straight into his ear.
"Huh…whazzat…?" The spiky-haired man mumbled as a reaction, dark brown eyes opening to blink at her sleepily.
"Finally!" Donna huffed, her hands on her hips, their noses nearly touching. "Now, look-"
"Ginger…that's pretty…" a half-grin spread across his face as the Time Lord still seemed to be more asleep than awake. Donna didn't even have time to squeak as the next thing she knew he had tilted his face to hers and planted the softest of kisses on her lips.
The following slap rang through the entire control room.
"What…what did I do?!" The Doctor, now apparently fully awake, held his cheek in astonishment as he stared at a furious Donna. Then he looked around, as if seeing his surroundings for the first time…
"Oh, yeah…this isn't Venice, is it?" he frowned.
"It bloody well isn't! What on Earth did you think you were doing?!"
"Oh, sorry! Donna, I'm so, so sorry. I didn't mean to," he had jumped up now, holding up his hands in a peace-offering, his wide eyes apologetic. "I only dreamed I was-"
"A pervert, maybe?" The red-head glared daggers and the Time Lord managed a sheepish grin.
"No, never!" He cocked his head. "Well, close. I was Giacomo Casanova!"
"You're not serious."
"Oh yes! It was brilliant. Historical Italy, the fine silk, the thrill of improvisation, the conversation, the…dancing…" he waggled his eyebrows as he said the last word and for some reason Donna suddenly felt as if she should slap him again for being rude.
"Mind you, lots of running again, though." The Doctor rubbed his chin, staring at the ceiling as if in contemplation. "Being chased by angry human husbands a lot, never seems to change, really – then again, today it's mostly the mothers, though." He gave her a sort of What Can-You Do –look that immediately withered under the We Are Not Amused -glare of his companion. "Why were you trying to wake me, again?" he quickly asked, attempting to change the topic.
"I'm starving," Donna stated. "Can't we…I dunno, go to a space Subway or something?"
"Space Subway!" the Doctor repeated the phrase as if insulted. "Donna, Donna, Donna, you should know I treat my friends to better than that."
"Don't mind if you do," the red-head grinned, feathers already smoothed. "So what's it to be then, Martian boy? Opening night of the Ritz?"
"Better!" he replied cheerily, striding over to his coat hanging over the console and grabbing it, reaching into one if the pockets. "We'll go to the Starlight Express – their food is made from actual starlight and if you eat it you'll literally glow with…oh." He frowned. "Wait a moment."
Next thing Donna saw was the Doctor staring into the pocket he had been rummaging around in curiously, before suddenly plunging his entire arm in there, the limb disappearing into the clothing item without apparent effort. "This is bad," the Time Lord commented (in Donna's opinion very unnecessarily).
"What, that you've lost your arm?" She raised an eye brow. "Big deal, you can do your…freaky alien thing and grow a new one, right?" She gestured at the hand of the Doctor's that was still underneath the console and occasionally made her twitch when it waved at her.
"Of course I haven't lost my arm," the Doctor scowled, yanking his limb back out. "But it's almost as bad. There's a hole in my transdimensional pocket and I've lost my wallet inside. And credit card."
"Oh." Donna could tell that probably wasn't the wittiest of answers, but you try coming up with something when you're currently watching somebody unrolling a firehose and feeding it into their coat.
"Does that mean dinner's cancelled?" She finally asked for lack of a better reaction. He nodded grimly.
"Yup. I'd have needed the psychic paper to get us into the Starlight Express and it's lost if I can't get it out again. Luckily, I happen to have a matter extractor handy."
"A fire hose."
"To you, maybe. To the discerning connoisseur it's a state-of-the-art matter extractor. I'd step back if I were you."
"Wha-?" The warning was almost too late. From the other end of the fire hose suddenly shot something over Donna's head and the woman ducked with a cry. It turned out to be a half-opened bag of jelly babies.
"Are you trying to kill me?!"
"Nope. But the matter extractor will now be extracting matter – more specifically, everything I once had in my pockets. Could take a while."
As he spoke, a pen whizzed past. Then a bunch of flowers. Then a rubber possum. Then a china 24 pieces tea service which promptly became 240 pieces as it crashed. The Doctor pulled a face.
"Pity. I liked that one. And I had always wondered where it went."
"You are completely mad," Donna said, but with the tone of someone who was talking about the weather and was already resigned to the fact that it was raining sardines. Her stomach growled and she sighed. "So, what about dinner, then?"
"Well…" he looked rather unhappy and Donna felt compelled to a bit of pity.
"Listen, it's fine if we can't go out tonight. I felt more like something home-made anyway," she said and was surprised that she actually meant it. Must be something about the season. Something shaped a bit like a trombone soared past her ear and she took a step to his side. "Let's cook together, okay?" she smiled. For some reason, the Doctor suddenly looked worried.
"Cook together?" he asked.
"Yeah. Is that a problem?" She replied, tugging at his wrist. "I mean, with the bargain sale of a joke shop flying around in here, we'd better leave and go to some other room anyway. Kitchen's as good as any. You do have a kitchen, right? In this thing." She looked at him again as she realized that she didn't actually know that much about the Time Lord's spaceship. It was bigger on the inside, of course, but that also meant it had a lot more rooms than she knew of. So far, they'd always had takeaways (or rather, had to eat while running, to be exact...) so she had never had cause to look for an actual place to cook.
"Of course I have a kitchen," he replied, sounding almost insulted. "I just hardly use it, s'all." He led the way down the corridor as something sounding suspiciously like a surfboard collided with the now closed door to the TARDIS control room. Donna shrugged and followed.
"There you go. A kitchen, all geared up and proper."
The room they were in now did indeed look like a kitchen, spacious and homey. Donna saw a couple of appliances she couldn't recognize immediately, something that seemed a crisscross of juicer and medieval torture stock while another one gave the impression of being a fax machine but had wilted carrots sticking in it. Other than that, though, the place had an oven, a microwave, lots of cooking places, a wall consisting of cupboards where supplies could be stored and lots of room to move in. Donna strode toward the door she supposed would be the pantry.
"Well, that's something. Now, let's see what there is we could make ourselves…" she pulled the door open and was a bit surprised to find the shelves contained nothing but tea. Frowning, she tried the drawer next to the pantry, which also was full of tea.
The drawer beneath it. Tea.
The drawer beside it. Tea.
The fridge. Tea.
By now she had found green tea, chai tea, lemon tea, black tea, camomile tea (although not much of it), even something labelled 'celery tea' and Earl Grey, but nothing else. Astonished, she turned around to the Doctor who was still leaning a bit awkwardly in the door.
"Don't you have anything but tea?"
"I do have bananas-" the Doctor replied hopefully, but was cut off.
"Oh, come on! Even you can't live off nothing but tea and bananas!"
"It's not healthy," Donna stated, before throwing her hands in the air. "Men!"
The Doctor coughed.
"Males, then!" She amended. "Cheer up, cooking something else for a change will be good for you." She smiled at him and he found himself smiling back, his usual enthusiasm for the venture finally kicking in. Dislodging himself from the wall, he strode over, rubbing his hands.
"Right! If you say so, Donna Noble. We'll have ourselves a four-star dinner!" He grinned. "Let's give this a bit of atmosphere: We're two reknowned chefs of the Starlight Express. I'll be Mario Rigatoni and you can be Maria Alonzo, and I'll be able to say Allons-y, Allo-"
Oh." The Doctor deflated a little. "Okay. No chefs, then. Just boring old Donna and Doctor."
"Oy! You're the one nine hundred years old, spaceman, I'm still young. Let's get started! What have you even got here that we can cook?"
"Well, there should be something in the freezer in the storeroom, I believe I had a few Raxacoricofallapatorian shellfish in there…" he stepped through a small door at the back of the kitchen and Donna could hear him heaving something like a coolbox open. This was very soon followed by shrill screeching, however, and a few shouts of the Time Lord himself.
"Doctor? What is-"
"Let go! Down! Bad shellfish! DONNA!"
Before the red-head had time to sprint over, however, the epic battle was already over. There were a couple of bangs as if the lid of the cooling box had been slammed down very frantically and repeatedly and then the lanky man already came stumbling out of the storeroom, suit torn a little and hair askew.
"My bad. They might have been a slightly over their best before date. Best if you don't go in there. Ever."
"…I'll take your word for it."
"Yeah. Now, what else, is there? Oh, I know!" He had already dashed over to another cupboard, now on the tips of his toes as he groped for something on top of it that Donna could barely see. "There we go," he continued, turning toward her, now holding an assortment of cans in his arms. "Great stuff, this. We only need to warm it up."
"What is it?" she asked, curious, as the Doctor pulled the lids off the cans and spooned their brownish-reddish mixture into a bowl.
"You'll see," he replied mysteriously, putting the bowl filled with the…paté of some sort?...into what appeared to be a microwave. "Uhm. You might want to leave the kitchen now, actually."
"Why?" Donna frowned. "It's just a microwave. You haven't done anything weird to it, have you?"
"Well…it's not exactly a microwave. Fact is, if I use it, humans in proximity tend to go 'pop'."
"Sorry, just kidding." The Time Lord grinned at her and Donna had the serious urge to slap him. "But seriously, it's really not a microwave. It works with x-rays, so...yeah, not the healthiest thing for you. Don't worry, though, kitchen door's got a lead core."
"Insane. I'm living with an insane man," Donna muttered, but left the room nonetheless. Through the tiny window she could see how the Doctor worked the buttons on the x-raywave and the thing hummed. She thought she could briefly see his bones flickering through and wondered whether there hadn't been more ribs than there should be, but then he was already waving her inside again.
"Come on! It's ready!"
"Is it, now? And it's not…radioactive or something?" she asked, stalking toward the happy Time Lord holding out a spoon with a bit of the food for her. She took it and sniffed it suspiciously.
"This smells like…hold on, let me see the can."
"No, wait-" he tried to be faster than her, but Donna had already snatched one of the containers from the counter. It showed some sort of four-legged alien. Her eyes narrowed as she tried to decipher the words written above it.
"Doctor, what is a…'Krron'?"
"A very pretty creature," the Time Lord replied innocently, still attempting to take the can away from her, but she twisted out of his reach.
"There is a picture of it on the can. It looks funny. Furry."
"And the logo of the company producing this looks a lot like 'Whiskas'."
"Err…technically, it's future Whiskas, BUT-!" he tried to finish his sentence but by then the can had already bounced off his head.
"You were trying to feed me CAT FOOD!"
"No, no, never!" The Doctor had backed away from his angry companion, eyes wide as he looked for an escape from this situation. He had not meant to insult her, of course, but he simply wasn't sure whether there was anything else left to eat on board.
"What am I, your pet?"
"Of course you're not!" The Doctor sighed. He was well aware how the power was distributed in the little domestic life they had - he called it a 'Donnacracy'.
Never out loud, of course.
"Look, I just wanted to get you something to eat – and that stuff is good! Well. Not bad. Well. You can eat it. If you're starving and happen to be locked in a cell, which I was. Once. Twice. Couple of times, actually. I mean, it's really okay," he finished cautiously, trying to judge the mood of his companion.
Donna glared not daggers, but broadswords at him and the bowl.
"Not eating it."
"Don't you have…I dunno, anything normal?" she asked, her voice already slightly hopeless. He was the Doctor. You could ask him to save you, your planet, your universe, or all the universes there were, but demanding a bit of sanity (or even just a pop tart) seemed to be pushing it.
"Well…I think I might still have some pizza, actually."
"Pizza?" Donna perked up. "You made us go through all of this chaos and now you tell me you have pizza?"
"Yes!" He replied happily, once again full of manic energy. "In fact, I do have not any old pizza, but pizza straight from the heart of 19th century Italy!" He frowned. "Which, I suppose, you could say makes it old pizza. But don't worry," he continued, his eyes sparkling as always when he got to show his friends something extraordinary. "You see, in this cupboard " – he pointed – "I have a standing time-portal to Naples 1895, right inside the kitchen of a little restaurant. You can just open it, reach through and take one of the pizzas sitting on the counter."
"Stealing from the restaurant," Donna pointed out.
The Doctor shrugged. "Never liked the owner much. But their cooking is great. So, you want one or not?"
"I suppose I do," the human woman sighed, no longer caring. "Try to get one with pineapple."
"Alright!" The Doctor grinned, grabbing the handle of the cupboard and opening it, both companion and Time Lord looking for an instant into another kitchen, as if it was window to another world.
"Hey, where is everyone…?" The Doctor frowned as the kitchen seemed utterly deserted. Then they heard a sort of ominous high-pitched whining noise. The Doctor all at once looked alarmed.
"DUCK!" he screamed and at the same time grabbed Donna and threw her to the floor, not a second before suddenly an ear-deafening explosion emanated from within the cupboard, debris and dust flying through the small opening, before the Doctor could slam it shut.
"What…what the hell was that?" panted Donna, not quite sure whether she was still intact.
"Ermm…World War II," he admitted a bit sheepishly. "I think I got the time calibration on this thing a bit wrong."
"You got World War II in your pantry."
"That almost blew us to bits right now."
"Well, we dodged."
The red-head sunk back against the counter with a sigh. She still couldn't believe how the Oncoming Storm, the Lonely God, the last one of the once mightiest race of the universe almost managed to get himself killed in his own kitchen.
"Right. This is getting ridiculous." She pulled herself up and grabbed his arm. "Come on. I know a time and a place where we can get good food for free."
He looked up, surprised.
"Where are you going?"
"To the control room. We need to fly there." With a heave, she shoved the door open, pushing aside the jumble that so far had been pumped out of the coat. She picked her way through the mess toward the console, the Doctor on his long legs stalking behind her.
"Where do you want to go?"
"Some place on Earth. In my time."
"Okay." He raised his eye brows for a moment, then popped on his spectacles and started pushing a couple of levers and wheels. "Where to, exactly?"
This time, she couldn't suppress a smile.
"Actually, I'd like to surprise you. Can I enter the coordinates and you promise not to look?"
The request blindsided him a bit, she could see it, but after a second, he smiled.
"Well…if that's what you want. Is it London where you want to go?"
"Yes." She nodded. "We can do that, right?"
"Sure. I've set the frame coordinates." He pulled out something reminiscent of a computer keyboard toward her. "Just enter the date and address you want to go to and it should be fine."
"Right…." She started to type and the column, as always, began to glow and move, the cranking and shuddering of the ship signalling that they were materializing somewhere out of thin air, as usual. Once it had stopped, she smiled and strode over to the door.
"Come on, space man! It's time for something we should have done ages ago!" She grinned at him and opened the door leading outside. His eyes widened a bit as the cold bite of night air assaulted his face.
"Isn't that your house?" he asked, a bit confused.
"That's right. Good old Chiswick."
"And, uhm, your mother's inside there, isn't she?" Somehow the Doctor looked just a little bit more hesitant now.
"Oh, don't be such a wuss. She doesn't know you yet, anyway," the resolute red-head stated, now pulling the Time Lord forwards to the door.
"Doesn't know me ye-?" the Doctor started, stumbling after the female steam-train that qualified as his companion, and for the first time getting a hint on what it must really be like for his human friends to constantly be without a single clue to where or when they were. Donna as the Time Lord and he as the companion…now there was a scary thought. He tried to straighten up as Donna rang the door bell, the human woman thankfully not seeing just how pale her alien friend could become if prompted enough.
"What date did you get us here, again?" he asked, but then the door was already whisked open and a very surprised Sylvia Noble stared them into the face.
"Donna? What are you doing here?"
The red-head rolled her eyes. "I've come for Christmas dinner mum, what else?" she asked, hoping to sound normal enough so that her mum wouldn't start asking questions. No such luck, of course.
"Aren't you supposed to be Scuba-diving right now?" Her mother narrowed her eyes. "You hate Christmas."
"Well, er, the trip was cancelled," Donna lied, knowing that in reality a past version of her did indeed enjoy the coral reefs in Egypt right now. "The travel agent gave me a full refund, though. In fact, I brought him along for Christmas dinner!" She smiled, at the same time pulling the Doctor into view, who gave a slightly wary smile. Donna had gone back on her own timeline. Universe imminent to collapse at any moment if either of them set a foot wrong.
On the other hand, if he stopped this now he would get yelled at, so maybe he could just leave it be for the moment.
"I think I saw you at the wedding last year already. So you're a…travel agent," Sylvia said at this point, giving the Doctor a critical look. The Time Lord's lips twitched.
"I guess you could say that."
"That's right," Donna nodded. "Doctor Tours."
"Well, please feel free to come in," the older woman said, sniffing once in thinly veiled disapproval. "Of course you realize, Donna, that I didn't prepare much for this year's dinner. You should really call when you're coming and even inviting someone."
"Well, we did bring a bowl of…paté. Ow!" The Doctor suggested and immediately yelped when Donna's elbow found its way into his ribs.
"We're not bringing that!" she hissed. "Mom will kill me if she ever finds out what it is!"
"You do realize that bringing us into Christmas 2007 is already incredibly dangerous, don't you?" the Time Lord raised an eye brow.
"Well, come on, one evening can't hurt, can it?" Donna asked, equally quietly. "And mum always makes enough food to feed a herd of elephants. We're getting our dinner here and this time you're not dodging some family time. What have you been up to during Christmas in 2007, anyway?"
"Oh, nothing much," the Doctor shrugged, at the same time standing conveniently in a position that allowed him to block her view of the television that showed the Titanic about to hit Buckingham Palace. Thankfully, Silvia called again at this point from the kitchen, distracting Donna.
"Your grandfather should be home soon, too. I told him to quit waiting for aliens in central and I think he's for once listening. It's probably your visit that convinced him to come , so this is at least good for something," the other woman stated, still looking at the pair in the living room as if they'd just soiled the floor, but with a bit more warmth in her voice. "But I meant what I said. We do need more food if there's four of us and the shops are closed."
The Doctor and Donna exchanged a look.
"Well…there's the paté-" the Time Lord tried again, but it was a futile attempt.
The three adults stood once more in awkward silence. Both Donna and the Doctor racked their brains what else had been on board that they could contribute to Christmas Dinner, but somehow, neither the props for the next Boston Tea party nor the homicidal shell fish seemed such a good suggestion. Hadn't there been anything else…?
Sylvia cocked her head. "Even something for desert would help. We don't even have fruit."
And the Doctor grinned.
"Oh, but I always take a banana to a party!"
Hope you're looking forward to Christmas, everybody! :D Just a little bit to add to the festive mood. If you liked, please review? ;)