By the time they got the list and got out, it was dark, nearly nightfall. It had gotten even colder outside; Molly was in dark pants and the same black leather jacket she'd worn during the Year, and though it was good for cold nights, it wasn't thick enough to block out the wind. She shivered, hugging her arms in close to keep herself warm as she asked, "So, who're we visiting first?"
The Doctor looked at the list for a moment before deciding, "A Mr. Roger Davey, he's been taking the Adipose pills a good two weeks now, should be able to tell us how quickly this stuff works." He shoved his hands in his pockets, not seeming at all bothered by the cold. Molly had noticed this quirk of his before – she assumed it was a Time Lord thing. "Doesn't live too far from here, we should be fine to walk."
Molly nodded, though she wasn't looking forward to a walk in the cold. "Right, let's get started then." She and the Time Lord linked arms and started down the street.
As they walked, the Doctor asked, "So, how do you think Sherlock's doing?"
Molly chuckled. "Either fine or in trouble, knowing him. He's a bit like you in that. But he's too focused to get distracted by alien shenanigans like us."
The Doctor chuckled. "Oi, don't knock the alien shenanigans!" Molly laughed, feeling herself properly relax and enjoy herself for the first time in a long time. She grinned at the Time Lord, leaning against his shoulder for a moment as she laughed. She'd forgotten how comfortable she'd been with the Time Lord.
After a few moments, a new thought occurred to her. She wasn't even really sure where it came from, but something had reminded her of it, something of the ease of laughing with the Doctor. "I met Sarah Jane Smith during the Year," she told him quietly.
The Time Lord's expression sobered, something like fear or sadness, and a hint of nostalgia, glinting in his eyes. "Really? How'd that go?"
"She survived the first wave of Toclafane, and she was heading one of the slave headquarters, keeping everyone together and safe, and keeping people in line," she told him. "She helped us sneak in and spread the news about you, and she gave us a ton of supplies. She was very brave – is, I mean. I'm not sure what happened to her after that, but I guess since the Year never really happened it doesn't matter anyway." Molly looked curiously at her friend. "After meeting her, I've just been wondering, about who else you've traveled with."
The Doctor shrugged. "There's been a lot of them," was all he said.
Molly rolled her eyes at the dodge – so typical of any conversation even slightly personal. "That's helpful," she said sarcastically. She grew quiet, tone softer as she asked, "Do you ever go back?" The Doctor looked at her curiously. "After they've, I dunno, left, or moved on, or get left behind. Do you ever visit, or just try to find out where they went in life?"
Now there was definitely sadness in the Doctor's eyes, and a small amount of fear. He was quiet for a few moments, saying in a low tone. "No." Then he shook his head, grinning again, the expression seeming fake and empty. "Nah, where's the fun in going back? You gotta keep moving forward."
Molly looked at him thoughtfully for a moment. She remembered what he'd said about looking into the Time Vortex as a kid. "Oh, the ones that ran away! I never stopped." He was still running now, moving on because looking back was too painful. That had been something she'd been sympathetic of before, but now it was something she could understand. She had her own demons now, her own painful memories. She hadn't realized it before, but she was running too.
But she had someone to run with.
She grinned at the Time Lord, suddenly very glad to have him at her side. "Come on then. Roger Davey awaits!"
"Hold on," the Doctor told her. "There's something I need to grab from the TARDIS first. Something to track any signals the pills might be giving off."
Roger Davies was a stocky man, but by no means overweight. Molly wondered warily whether that was a testament to the power of Adipose or just how he'd started.
When the Doctor and Molly reached the house and knocked on the door, he opened it warily, staring at them with confusion. The Doctor grinned easily at him, Molly following suit. "Mister Roger Davey?" he questioned. Roger nodded cautiously, and the Doctor flashed the psychic paper. "I'm calling on behalf of Adipose Industries. Just need to ask you a few questions."
Still seeming a bit confused, Roger let them into the house. He led them into the living room, where he sat on one of the chairs. Molly sat on the couch, but the Doctor stayed standing, pacing thoughtfully. "I've been on the pills for two weeks now," he told them with a satisfied smile. "I've lost fourteen kilos."
"That's the same amount every day?" the Doctor asked.
Roger nodded. "One kilo exactly. You wake up, and it's disappeared overnight." He hesitated, brow furrowing. "Well, technically speaking, it's gone by ten past one in the morning."
Molly frowned. "That's pretty specific, Mr. Davey," she pointed out. "Where'd you get that time from?"
"That's when I get woken up." he answered, looking slightly irritated. "Might as well weigh myself at the same time. It is driving me mad. Ten minutes past one, every night, bang on the dot without fail, the burglar alarm goes off."
Molly and the Doctor shared a confused glance. That wasn't what they'd expected. "You're saying someone's breaking in every night?" the companion asked with concern.
Roger shook his head. "No, nothing's ever taken."
"Mr. Davey," the Doctor cut in, "can we see this alarm then?" His brow was furrowed thoughtfully, his pacing paused as he waited for an answer.
The man hesitated, then shrugged. "Sure, why not?" He stood, starting towards the door. "Come on, I'll show you."
Roger led them out the front door, pointing up to the red alarm control panel above the door. "I've had experts in, I've had it replaced, I've even phoned Watchdog. But no, ten past one in the morning, off it goes."
"But with no burglars?" the Doctor repeated.
He shook his head. "Nothing," he repeated irritably. "I've given up looking."
Molly stared at the alarm, dumbfounded. "Has it been tampered with or something?" she wondered aloud.
Roger shrugged. Looking thoughtful, the Doctor turned to him and asked, "Tell me, Roger. Have you got a cat flap?"
The man nodded, looking confused. "Yeah, er, around this way."
He went through the front door again, leaving the Doctor and Molly to follow him. As they did, Molly asked in a low voice, "Got any ideas?"
"Maybe," was all he'd say.
Roger showed them the back door, which had a cat flap. They all leaned down to get a look at it, the Doctor poking it open with his sonic screwdriver and peering curiously out. "It was here when I bought the house," Roger explained. "I've never bothered with it, really. I'm not a cat person."
"No, I've met cat people," the Doctor remarked distractedly. "You're nothing like them." Molly snorted at the reference to Nurse Hame on New Earth, but Roger looked at her oddly, so she held back further laughter, trying to keep a straight face.
"It's that what it is, though?" Roger asked. "Cats getting inside the house?"
The Doctor peered out the cat flap, eyes narrowed. "Well, thing about cat flaps is, they don't just let things in, they let things out as well."
Molly finally realized what the Doctor was getting at. "Wait, you don't mean...?"
The Time Lord looked at her with a raised eyebrow. "'The fat just walks away,'" he quoted.
As they said their goodbyes, the Doctor shook Roger's hand, saying with a grin, "Well, thanks for your help. Tell you what, maybe you could lay off the pills for a week or so."
"Yeah, it'll help with testing reactions and such," Molly added. "You've been very helpful, Mr. Davey."
"Thanks, I'm just glad I could help," Roger assured them.
Suddenly, the Doctor's device he'd picked up from the TARDIS began beeping rapidly. Molly still wasn't sure what it was, the Doctor's rambling explanation had kind of flown over her head, but she got that it meant something was happening with Adipose.
The Doctor looked at it for a moment, then started for the door. "Oh, got to go, sorry. Come on, Molly." She followed him as he pushed past the door, breaking into a run as he followed the signal on the beeping device.
They ran through the streets of London in the dark, occasionally having to halt and figure out which alley to take, or to smack the device to get it working. As they turned down one street, they nearly got run over by a black van with tinted windows and flashing lights. As it passed, the beeping on the device grew more rapid. The Doctor's eyes widened. "Come on, we've got to catch that van!"
They bolted after it, but it turned a corner down an alley. As they followed it, the beeping slowed, and the van was nowhere in sight. The Doctor halted, glaring at the device with a frustrated growl. "It's gone."
Molly wasn't out of breath or too tired from the run, which didn't really surprise her at this point. She'd learned to keep up with the Doctor not long after being brought on board. She looked at the device he was holding curiously. "What is that? What exactly were we chasing?"
"Biochemical signal," the Doctor answered. "One of those pills must've sent it out. That van must've been there for a pick-up job."
"A pick-up job... of fat?" Molly asked dubiously. "The fat literally walked away, and they've got secret teams going 'round and picking them up off the streets? Why? What's the point?"
"Dunno," the Doctor answered, "but it's definitely alien. There's no way human technology's at this stage yet. Nice call, Molly."
The companion frowned. "It seems to work as a diet plan, though. Do you think it's malevolent?"
The Time Lord shrugged. "Only one way to find out," he answered. "We gotta get back into Adipose Industries."
That, however, was a quest for another day. The Doctor insisted on them getting back to the TARDIS and getting some sleep, clearly for Molly's benefit. She wondered a little irritably when he was going to stop coddling her because of her concussion,but she had to admit it'd been a long day, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to rest up before sneaking into Adipose again.
She woke up several hours later, room still blissfully dark. Molly was one of those people who woke easily when it got light in a room, so the lack of windows or outer light slipping into her room in her TARDIS room was a serious bonus. She got changed, the same black leather jacket from before and a lighter green shirt under it, then headed out into the hall.
When she reached the console room, the Doctor was already up, as always. He was leaning over the console, looking at the pill capsule with a magnifying glass. His eyes widened at what he saw, and he grinned widely. "Oh, fascinating. Seems to be a bio-flip digital stitch, specifically for converting human tissue, well fat, into different organic material." He looked up at Molly with an eager grin. "It sends out a signal whenever the conversion is made."
Molly chuckled at his childish excitement. "So that's what we were chasing. But what's the fat being converted into?"
The Doctor shrugged. "Dunno. Bet that Foster woman could tell us though."
"Probably. So, back to Adipose Industries then?" the companion questioned.
"Right!" The Doctor put the capsule back in his pocket, then started up the flight sequence, darting around the console. Molly helped, flipping up the few switches and levers she knew, and sending the TARDIS into the usual shudders. They'd been in the Time Vortex all night, but now the Doctor was sending them back to London modern day, the day after their chase after the truck. As the TARDIS stilled, Molly saw on the monitor that they had landed just outside Adipose Industries, around the back door they'd snuck in before.
They got in the same way again, the Doctor sonicing the door open in a flash of sparks and a bang. The travelers slipped quickly into the building, thankfully managing to avoid any employees walking down the halls. As they made their way down the hall, the Doctor slipped to the side, beckoning for Molly to follow him. After glancing furtively around the hall, he soniced open the door to a storage closet, slipping quickly inside. Once both he and Molly were inside, he re-locked the door.
Molly looked around at the closet with a wrinkled nose. "Bit cramped in here." There was barely enough room for the two of them to move around. Molly compromised by sitting on a bucket in the corner. "What're we in here for?"
The Doctor headed to the wall, pulling aside a panel to reveal a large, green machine, almost looking like the back of an old-fashioned computer. The Time Lord grinned appreciatively, pulling out his sonic screwdriver. "Back-up system. I should be able to hack into the main computers from here, see what our friend Ms. Foster's been up to." He scanned the machine quickly, frowning at what he found. "Hmm. Deadlocked." He tried again, brow furrowing further. "Er, make that double, no, triple deadlocked. Well." He leaned back, running a hand through his disheveled hair. "That's, er... that's gonna take a while."
"But you can break in, right?" Molly asked.
He gave a little shrug. "Yes? Maybe? No? Well, I can try anyway. At least 'til the place closes and we can try to access the actual computers. Maybe check out her office, see if there's anything we can use to get into her files."
Molly's eyebrows flew up. "So, we're stuck here 'til the place closes? That's not for another nine hours."
"Yep," was all the Doctor said.
Molly leaned back against the wall, letting out a low whistle. Nine hours, a task she couldn't help with, and only a phone on hand, though luckily it had internet. Oh yeah. This was going to go great.
Luckily, the Doctor liked to talk as he worked, and any silences were filled by flipping through her phone. The two joked and talked, and the nine hours passed fairly quickly. Still, Molly was sitting the entire time, and was very grateful when 6:15 rolled around any they were able to get out of the closet. As the Doctor looked around furtively for anyone walking nearby, she stretched out her exceedingly stiff limbs. "Urgh, remind me to never sit in a closet for nine hours ever again," she grumbled.
The Time Lord looked around one last time, then started off down a hallway. "Come on, let's get moving." Molly finished stretching out her leg and followed him, wondering where he was leading her.
The answer turned out to be, onto the roof. As he pushed past the final door, she felt a burst of cool air, and she saw the gravel of the roof and the starry sky. "What're we doing out here?" she asked. "I thought we were going to Foster's office."
"We are," the Doctor confirmed. "There's a mechanic lift out here that can drop us down to the window leading into her office, I saw it on our way in."
Molly wasn't surprised he'd managed to figure out which of the hundreds of windows was Foster's office, what with his Time Lord brain and all. "We couldn't have just reached her office from inside?" she asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Nah, could've been spotted by someone still inside," the Doctor reasoned. "Besides," he asked with a grin, "where's the fun in that?"
The companion chuckled. "You're right," she admitted. Grinning, he offered his hand, which she took, and led her to the ladder leading to the lift.
The Time Lord used the sonic screwdriver to move the lift down, until it was level with Foster's window. They peered in eagerly, the Doctor ready to try to sonic it open, but both travelers ducked down out of view as Foster, the reporter Penny, and two other men walked into the office. They waited, ducked down, uncertain of whether they'd be seen or not if they popped up. The Doctor pulled a stethoscope and put it against the wall, listening for voices inside. He offered one earbud to Molly, which she took, forcing them to keep their heads together with the earbuds stretched around both their heads.
Molly was able to make out Penny's outraged voice. "What sort of a country do you think this is?" she demanded. From the way the two men had dragged her inside and her status as a reporter, Molly guessed she'd been investigating Adipose and Foster had caught her and dragged her in here to confront her about it.
"Oh, it's a beautifully fat country," Foster replied in a remarkably calm, collected tone. "And believe me, I've traveled a long way to find obesity on this scale."
"So, come on then, Miss Foster," Penny pressed, "those pills. What are they?"
"Well, you might just as well have a scoop, since you'll never see it printed." Molly shuddered at the implications of that. "This is the spark of life." Molly assumed she was referring to one of the pills.
"And what's that supposed to mean?" Penny asked, unimpressed.
In a clipped, formal tone, Foster explained, "Officially, the capsule attracts all the fat cells and flushes them away. Well, it certainly attracts them. That part's true. But it binds the fat together and galvanises it to form a body." Molly froze. They had been write. The fat had literally walked away.
Penny, however, had no such foreknowledge. "What do you mean, a body?" she asked dubiously.
Foster's voice grew more smug. "I am surprised you never asked about my name. I chose it well. Foster. As in foster mother. And these are my children."
Molly couldn't stay back anymore. Putting a hand on the Doctor's shoulder to let him know to stay down, she lifted her head cautiously and peeked through the window. Foster had Penny tied to a chair, with two guards standing behind her, and on her desk was a small, oddly cute creature that appeared to made of fat.
Penny stared at it with evident disgust. "You're kidding me. What the hell is that?"
Foster smiled, the expression looking dangerous and predatory. "An Adipose," she said almost fondly. Molly was distracted by a face peeking in from the door to the office. Molly ducked down before she could be seen.
"There's someone else out there," she hissed to the Doctor.
"Dunno," she replied. "But I think it was the same woman I saw at the call center. Some ginger lady I saw, looked like she was sneaking around too. Maybe another reporter?"
The Doctor raised his eyebrows. "Better take a look then." He looked up cautiously, freezing in shock as he saw the woman Molly had indicated. She was surprised to see recognition in the Doctor's eyes. The Time Lord gaped at the window, speaking a name Molly had heard before, one he had told her, one of a person she had never expected to meet.
Yay, a wild Donna appears! Of course, I leave it on a cliffhanger (yeah no not really since you've all seen the episode) but next time I will finally, *finally*, be able to write Donna. *pumps fist*
Right, so, again, more Molly and Doctor filler moments. Sorry for choosing Sarah Jane Smith to mention rather than another, less visited Classic companion, but again, I have never seen Classic Who, and I'd never be able to do any of the other companions justice as I don't really know much about them.