"Pancakes and syrup, that's your plan," River said sarcastically, her hands planted on her hips.
The Doctor all but jiggered and bounced his excitement, his eyes sparkling as he wrung his hands together, waiting for her approval.
"It will work." His arms started gesturing wide. "We've got that rolled up thermal floor in the Tardis storerooms, we can whip up gallons of pancake batter and throw it on there to cook, and top it all off with maple syrup. I'm sure I must have been to a Maple Syrup Gathering at some point. I'll even whip up a pump to spray it on with." He looked at her hopefully, his eyes glittering.
She squeezed the bridge of her nose. "Sweetie, we are already in enough trouble with the locals without putting on that kind of a carnival for them."
"Come on, River," he wheedled. "It'll be fun. I'll talk them into it!"
"NO! No." She held up both hands to stop him. "I'll talk them into it," she said with a sigh. "You just go see if we have enough flour." She turned him around and scooted him into the Tardis.
"You'll see," he turned his head and beamed at her. "It'll work great."
River pulled the door shut behind him and squared her shoulders to go convince the local elders that the Doctor wasn't mad, and that if they'd just give him time, and stay out of his way, he'd fix everything. She loosened her gun in her holster. "Doctor, why do I let you out?"
Three hours later they had the portable thermal floor laid outside and cranked up as hot as a griddle. There was a huge pancake bubbling in the middle of it, the result of a short trip for River to hijack a new cement mixer truck, a short nighttime raid on a flour mill, four straight hours cracking eggs until River wanted to kill the Easter Bunny, and several gallons of milk that they actually had on hand in the Tardis. The Doctor liked his chocolate milk.
The entire cannibal tribe was standing around the portable floor, several meters back, forming a ring around the Tardis, watching the proceedings with various levels of incredulity. Feathers and fronds were the preferred modes of dress, and each one was armed with a tall, vicious, back-barbed spear.
River watched as bubbles formed on the edges of the pancake, the batter firming up.
"How exactly are we going to flip this?" she asked. The Doctor was standing beside her, rubbing his hands, watching everything with glee. He was enjoying this entirely too much.
He waved that off. "No need, we'll just let it cook through." He picked up a fire-hose that was laying beside him. He grabbed the handle and looked prepared. River seriously considered hiding in the Tardis.
The floury sweet smell rising from the pancake was starting to smell delicious. The tribesmen were murmuring among themselves, taking deep breaths. The soft wind at the top of the cliff where they'd landed wafted the scent down over the jungle and the village nestled beyond it.
River bent down to turn off the thermal controls to the floor. The edges of the pancake nearest them were nicely brown and crispy, and River admitted she wouldn't mind a bite or two herself. "Now Sweetie?" she asked, looking up at him.
He grinned above his bowtie and sent her such a warm look that she almost blushed. "Now!"
He pulled open the fire-hose nozzle and heavy golden-brown syrup burst from the end. He sprayed it in a high arch, aiming for the center 20 feet away. It landed and splattered everywhere. River eeped and jumped back. The Doctor sprayed the hose side to side, coating the still warm pancake, drenching it in a syrupy sweetness that clogged the air and sent a variety of humming yumming noises going up from the tribesmen around them.
The individual sounds rose and joined to become a background thrum. The thrum quickly was overtaken by another humm. A louder, harder, almost military noise.
The Doctor turned off the hose and tilted his face up, listening. The tribesmen all fell quiet and stepped back.
River ran forward onto the hot floorplate, dancing in her boots against the heat, swiped off a cut of the edge of the pancake with her boot knife and danced back, wrapping it in the towel she'd yanked off the Doctor's shoulder. "Souvenir," she said, licking syrup off her thumb as she danced back.
The thrum was louder now, and everyone looked up at the sky.
A squadron of giant flies buzzed down over the clifftop. Six feet long from end to end, wings buzzing like sawblades. The giant insects circled, then dropped down onto the syrupy pancake.
Each of the six insects wore a saddle.
The Doctor waved his arms at the Chief. He cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled over the buzzing. "There you go, Chief! Safe and sound! Sorry about letting the horses out!"
River tugged him backward by the sleeve as the tribe converged on their escaped mounts.
She dragged him into the Tardis. "Enjoy breakfast!" The Doctor yelled out one last time, then slammed the Tardis door shut.
He leaned back against it. "See," he grinned at her, hair still sticking up with flour, "I told you it would work."
"Yes, yes, sweetie, I never doubted you." Her stomach rumbled. She unwrapped the still piping hot cake in her towel. "Breakfast?" she offered.
"Ooh, wonderful. Just needs a dab of this."
"What, Sweetie, no!"
He opened the nozzle just a little bit. And blasted her head to toe in Maple Syrup...
For more stories by this author click on "betawho" at the top of the page.
Please take a moment to leave a review. Thank you.