A Chicken Called Arnold
Streamers lay scattered across the room, draped over as many surfaces as there were in the mansion. Balloons, both popped and still filled with helium, were fluttering around the room as if a gentle breeze was coming in the door. The stench of vodka and sweat hung in the air, and he was pretty sure he was lying on a shoe.
Those were his thoughts on coming to consciousness. It wasn't easy: his whole body was begging for him to stay unconscious, but his brain had other ideas.
He cracked open one eye and was almost blinded by the bright sunlight that came in through the window. He realised he either hadn't shut the curtains last night, his bed had broken, or he wasn't in his bedroom at all. He bravely opened both eyes and realised that the third one was right: he wasn't in his bedroom at all, he was in the living room, on the floor, with a blanket made out of streamers covering him, and there was a high heeled shoe poking him in the arse. There was someone playing the drums loudly in his head, and his mouth felt as dry as a desert, and it hurt to swallow.
He attempted to roll over slowly, but there was someone in the way of the floor: Rose. Ah. So that's who the sparkly shoe he had just thrown across the room belonged to, and that's who (he guessed) had made the streamer blanket, considering it was more on her than it was on him right now. She was in a similar state: thankfully fully clothed with her top and skirt still on, but missing both her shoes, her make-up was mostly on the cream carpet rather than on her face, and she looked as though she would probably sleep for the rest of her life.
He had half a mind to close his eyes and snuggle back in next to her, but she did stink of vodka - a quick look saw that the hand that wasn't over his stomach was holding an empty bottle of the stuff - and it was sort of making him gag, so he needed to move away from her, fast, before he decided to empty the contents of his stomach. Again.
He put on hand to his head and tried to remember. He had been sick. Somewhere. He couldn't quite remember where. Oh, Jackie was just going to love him for that. Jackie … this all had something to do with Jackie …
Thinking made him want to pass out, so he stopped. He gently eased himself into a sitting position, trying to control the nausea. Jackie's friends, Harriet and Paula, were sprawled out on the couch, while Pete's assistant, and also the Doctor's best friend, Archie, was propped up against the wall, silly string in his hair and Harry Potter glasses drawn on his face in marker (Oh, how glad the Doctor was when he realised Harry Potter was exactly the same here as it was in the other world. He does, however, maintain his innocence vis a vis the silly rumour that it had been him that had drawn the glasses on. He would never do such a thing. Honest. Swear on it. Maybe). His girlfriend, Daisy, was lying face down beside him.
Jackie's birthday. That's what this was. The aftermath. Oh, dear God.
Various flashbacks were forcing their way into his mind. He hadn't been one for drinking alcohol as a full Time Lord, but apparently as a half-human he was - he distinctly remembered arm-wrestling Archie for the last beer, and after losing, doing tequila slammers off Rose's stomach ….
The Doctor put a hand to his mouth as someone moaned next to him; clearly Rose was waking up now, rather than sleeping for the rest of her life.
"Oh, my head," she whimpered, picking at the streamers that lay across her.
"I feel like I've been hit by a train and then left to die in the Sahara desert," the Doctor replied, and Rose winced.
"Stop shouting," she said, both arms over her eyes.
"I'm not," he shot back, his voice barely more than a scratchy whisper. "What's wrong with me?" he asked, looking down at Rose, who was barely moving.
She peeled one arm away from her eye slowly, as if moving too fast would hurt her. He felt like that, too. "You've never had a hangover before?" she asked, her voice a touch incredulous.
"Certainly not," he said, running his tongue around his parched mouth, "Time Lords don't get such things."
"Pompous arse." He heard Rose whisper, before she smiled. "Human now. Hangover."
"This is hell," he said, propping himself up on the coffee table, not trusting his legs, even though he would cut off his left arm this very second for a glass of ice-cold water, or maybe even a coffee.
The door burst open, and the sound it made - while normally would have been ever-so-slightly loud - seemed as thought it was about to burst the Doctor's eardrums. In the doorway, stood Rose's Dad, Pete, still in his clothes from yesterday - shirt untucked, tie loosened, trousers with what looked like guacamole dip split down one leg - and with red eyes and mussed hair. The Doctor silently commended him for even being able to walk.
Pete looked around a bit, his eyes unfocused, before he caught sight of the two awake adults. He coughed. "Breakfast. Kitchen," he managed in a raspy voice, before he turned slowly towards the direction of the kitchen.
"I wonder how Jackie is faring this morning," the Doctor said, wondering how much it would hurt to stand up and walk.
Rose had gently eased herself into a reclining position similar to the Doctor's, but was still leaning heavily against his side. "The same as us, I guess. If not worse. She was hammered," Rose said, rubbing her stomach gently. She stopped, frowned, and looked down. "Why is my stomach sticky?"
The Doctor waited a minute before answering. "I think … we were doing tequila slammers off you last night."
Rose's eyes widened. "We?"
"I think it was just me. I think I remember Archie doing them off Daisy," the Doctor said, managing to ease himself into a standing position, but he was still leaning on the wall. "I think I also remember your Mum being so drunk she almost did one off you, but your Dad stopped her when he puked on her shoes. She was drinking straight out the bottle with Jack and Ianto."
Rose sighed. "Dear God. Thank God Tony was with his friends all night, I hate to think what might have happened if he'd been here."
"Probably would have wanted to taste it," the Doctor said, knowing four-year-old Tony's curious tendencies towards everything - including beer, as they had found out last week when cheeky Tony had tried to sneak a drink of his Dad's beer.
The Doctor looked around a bit, licked his lips, and braced two hands on the wall behind him. He looked down at Rose, who had both eyebrows raised. He managed to push himself - albiet slowly - into a standing position, which he held for all of two seconds before he clapped a hand to his head.
"Bloody hell, I've got vertigo," he rasped, nearly collapsing back down to the floor.
Rose scoffed slightly. He noticed she hadn't tried to stand up yet.
The smell of a fry-up was starting to waft throught from the kitchen. Rose started to gag; the Doctor didn't know if he wanted to retch or run straight towards it and gobble the whole thing up.
He turned to Rose. "The key to this, Rose," he said, putting on his 'Time Lord' voice, "is baby steps." And so baby steps he took, slowly and carefully putting one foot in front of the other, reminding Rose of Tony when they were teaching him to walk.
Ten minutes later he managed to reach the living room door, and he turned back to Rose with a proud look on his face. "Done."
"Took you ten minutes to walk ten feet. Actual triumph."
The Doctor raised an eyebrow. "I see you haven't attempted it yet."
The Doctor rolled his eyes, but even that hurt slightly. He winced and looked down, and saw he was standing next to Archie. Smiling, he pushed him over to Archie was half-lying on Daisy, but the man slept on, and the Doctor shook his head.
"Disgusting, the youth of today."
Rose snorted from her corner. "Fuck. Don't make me laugh. Feel like I'm about to throw up."
"Maybe food isn't the best thing for you, then," he said, and Rose shook her head.
The living room door swung open again, narrowly missing hitting the Doctor in the eye, and in the doorway this time stood Jackie, somewhat resembling a corpse. Her pallor was beyond white and edging nearly towards grey, her eyes were half open and puffy, and her hair looked as though she'd been dragged through several rows of bushes backwards. She was still in her sparkly silver dress from last night, although it was much more dishevelled that she'd been when she'd put it on, and she was barefoot with a fresh cut on the top of her foot.
"Why is there a chicken in my house?" she whispered, and sure enough, there was a clucking sound behind her and a fully grown, white and plump chicken wandered into the living room, closely followed by Pete, who still hadn't wiped the guacamole of his trousers.
All eyes (that were open, anyway) turned to the Doctor, who immediately recoiled. "Sorry?"
"Why this there a chicken in my house, Doctor?" Jackie asked again, struggling to focus on him, but clearly still mad. The Doctor sighed.
"Well, Archie, Ianto and I were out, remember, you sent us to the corner shop about 1am to get more vodka and Pringles?" Jackie nodded. It had been her idea to send the two men out for more stuff. "Well, we passed a farm on the way back, and ... well, Archie dared me to steal it him. We'll give him back."
"Bloody right too. Ain't having a chicken wandering around my house," Jackie said, before she managed to focus on the Doctor. "You're a dick, sometimes, you know that? Don't know how my daughter puts up with you. Chicken stealing," she said. "Bloody heard it all now."
"He once stole a horse from fifteenth-century France and named it Arthur, y'know," Rose piped up from her corner.
The Doctor glared at her. "Don't rush to my defence or anything, love."
Rose shrugged one shoulder, looking as though even this small action pained her.
"Oi!" the Doctor said, and Jackie winced, although the Doctor had just spoken at a normal tone. "Jackie. There is no need for such expletives at this time in the morning."
"It's half three in the afternoon, actually," Pete chimed in, and the Doctor's eyes widened slightly as he looked at the clock; Pete was right.
"Well, at three in the afternoon, then."
"There bloody well is a need. Who else am I gonna take this out on?"
"Anyone that isn't me, Jackie. I'm really not in the mood."
"I'll give you not in the mood, you cheeky bugger."
Pete coughed to interrupt the pair before things got nasty. "Food's ready ... if anyone wants it," he said, as Harriet and Paula were slowly awakening, woken up by the sounds of their conversation. Jackie wandered over to them as the Doctor - feeling slightly more confident about his walking abilites - meandered back over to Rose, who was still sitting hunched in a corner, head on her knees.
"C'mon," he said softly, holding out a hand for her, which she gratefully took; he gently eased her up into a standing position and they walked back over to Pete, Jackie, Harriet and Paula. Archie and Daisy showed no signs of getting up anytime soon.
Harriet and Paula didn't look as bad as the rest of them; they refused Jackie's offer of some food, and headed home, thanking her for a great night.
The Doctor and Rose followed Jackie and Pete into the kitchen, and found Jack - and Gwen, but she was unconcious, propped up against Jack's shoulder - Ianto and Lisa all sitting around the Tyler's antique kitchen table. Jack and Ianto were both wolfing down food, but Lisa was looking at Ianto's food with a disgusted and distinctly green face. She had a mug of coffee in front of her that she kept taking small sips out of.
Ianto started laughing the moment he saw the Doctor's face. "Did you remember we stole the chicken?" he asked, still laughing. "Ouch! Bloody hell!"
Lisa had whacked him in the arm. "Don't be so noisy," she said quietly, before she looked at Rose. "Knew I shouldn't have had that bottle of red wine to myself."
Rose winced as she accepted her Dad's offering of coffee. "Ouch. I woke up this morning cradling an empty bottle of vodka. I haven't drunk so much since my teenage days. Before I met him," she added, nodding slightly in the Doctor's direction.
Lisa nodded in agreement.
"Yeah. This was you every weekend back then," Jackie said. Rose noted she too had declined the offer of food in favour of coffee and two paracetamol.
"We're gonna need to keep an eye on your liver," the Doctor quipped, smiling at Rose as he sat down next to the boys and her Dad, a full plate of food in front of him.
Rose stuck her tongue out at him in reply.
Suddenly, there were footsteps, and Archie appeared at the door, head covered in streamers and Harry Potter glasses intact. He shook his head at food, but like Rose and the girls, accepted a strong coffee. He looked around the group, who were all struggling to contain their laughter. He frowned, before he caught sight of his face in the reflection of Pete and Jackie's stainless steel kettle. "Who the hell drew glasses on my face?" he said, and everyone burst out laughing as he ran to the nearest mirror. "Fuck! Who was it? Was it you?" He said, turning to the Doctor, who snorted into his food.
"It bloody well was, wasn't it? You jammy bastard," he said, his Scottish accent coming through thick. "Oh, you're dead, Doctor. Well and truly. You know what this means?"
"You've been accepted to Hogwarts and are away to fight a dark wizard who has wanted to kill you since you were a baby?"
Archie shook his head slowly. "I get payback. Oh, this is gonna be sweet!"
Rose smirked into her coffee cup. "I'll give you ten quid if you share with me what you're gonna do to him."
Archie turned to Rose. "You won't try and tell me I can't do this, that or the other, are you?"
Rose smiled. "Nope. He's all yours."
Archie smirked as he bumped shoulders with Rose, who was still smiling away, unable to not laugh at the sight of one of her close friends with big round glasses drawn on his face.
"I better go and see if I can wake up Daisy," he said, leaving them to it and walked back through to the living room. There was a yelp, a smash, and ten seconds later Archie was back, looking confused as he pointed out the door.
"Why the fuck is there a chicken in Jackie's hallway?"