Chapter Nineteen

The Doctor stepped out of the storage room, shut the door and blinked for a moment in shock. Michelle was coming out of the room under the stairs and it was a bit of a shock to see her back to nine years old after seeing her future self. What shocked him even more was the fact that the bookworm was carrying a Kindle Fire in her hands.

"Wait a moment," he said, crossing the room. "You have enough books to rival the British Library or Library of Congress and you own a Kindle Fire? Why?"

"I need something to carry with me on long trips," Michelle said.

"And you can't carry a book?" the Doctor teased. "Are your arms that weak?"

"This has Angry Birds on it too," Michelle said. "And Mah'Jong."

"I could take you to China and let you play Mah'Jong for real," the Doctor teased. "And I'll lock you in a giant birdcage with a bunch of angry birds. You don't need a Kindle Fire for that."

"You weren't around when I got this," Michelle said, poking his chest.

"I'm here now," the Doctor said, poking her forehead.

Michelle stared at him for a moment and then inspected his feet.

"I wonder if alien feet hurt when you stomp on them?" she mused.

She giggled when she stomped her right foot and the Doctor backed up to the unfinished room with a look of fake fear on his face. The contrast between her older, seductive self and the cheeky kid who just tried to stomp on his feet made the whole thing surreal. Michelle walked up to him and turned so he could see the screen. She brought up Angry Birds and chose the first level. She played it for him and gave him a smug look when she beat it.

"See, I'm very talented," she said, walking away after she was finished.

"So am I which is why I don't play Angry Birds," he said. "I use my talents for other things."

Michelle lay on her stomach on a blanket beside Amy and Rory. She glanced at the sleeping couple and continued to play her game, silencing it so they and River could sleep. The Doctor walked over and lay down beside her. He noticed Rex was gone but not his chew toy and figured he got bored or hungry and went off to do other things. The Doctor stretched out carefully beside River.

"Tell me another story," Michelle said, glancing over her shoulder at him. "I liked the Dream Lord story; tell me something else while I play my game."

"Well, the Dream Lord wasn't a story, that really happened."

"I know but I mean when you told it, it was just a story to me. Tell me another."

"Well…" the Doctor said, looking up at the ceiling while he thought.

"Can I ask you a question?" Michelle said.

"Of course, Bookworm."

"What happened to Donna? I mean, that other you is in the past, right? So how come Donna isn't traveling with you now?"

"Well…something happened to her and she forgot about me," the Doctor said sadly.


"Well…if I tell you, will you swear not to tell Donna if you ever see her? Because she's not supposed to know what happens to her in future."

"I swear," Michelle said, leaning up on her side and crossing her chest with her finger.

The Doctor nodded. He softly spoke to her and told her about Donna and the Crucible while Michelle listened and played her game in a contented silence. At first, the Doctor thought he could handle talking about Donna but when he got towards the end and he thought about losing her, the emotion overwhelmed him and his voice began to crack. He noticed Michelle perk up at that and she set her Kindle Fire down and looked over her shoulder at him. Then she got up and walked over to him.

"No, just stop," she said. "You're getting upset and I'm sorry I asked you to do that. It's my fault."

"No, I wanted to tell the story, otherwise I wouldn't have bothered," the Doctor said, taking her hand. "It's just that Donna was my best friend and I miss her."

"What did you think when you saw her again?" Michelle said.

"It was painful," the Doctor said. "Especially when she asked the same sort of questions you're asking now and I couldn't tell her what happened. She wanted to travel with me forever but circumstances got in the way. That happens sometimes, Bookworm. Sometimes people leave or they forget about me and some even die. If you want to travel with me, you'll have to be okay with that because I don't know what's going to happen to you and the last thing I want is to see you hurt."

"Do you tell people that?" Michelle said. "Did you tell them that?" she said, pointing to Amy and Rory and River with her fingers.

"He told us something like that," Amy murmured, her eyes still closed. "We know the risks and accept them."

"Oh, did I wake you?" the Doctor said.

Amy grinned.

"I've been awake for some time and listening. I didn't want to disturb you so I stayed still," Amy said, opening her eyes. "I wondered about Donna as well. She seemed like a nice woman. Is she still alive, even if she did forget you?"

"Yes, she's alive," the Doctor said. "But she can never remember me or she'll die."

"Hmm," Amy said. "I would like to hear the rest of the story but I'm with Michelle, you're getting upset telling it so I think you should stop now. This is Christmas; don't bring yourself down, yeah?"

The Doctor nodded and he smiled when Michelle gave him a hug.


After another hour, everyone was up and getting the house ready for the extra guests. The Doctor and his family ate a light lunch consisting of leftovers brought home from Alicia and Tom's house and after eating, they helped clean up and setting the table. Amy, River and Rory helped Lori in the kitchen while Jim vacuumed the carpets and the children took their baths. The Doctor hurried down to the TARDIS so he could ask his ship to make dessert for everyone.

After the TARDIS made the pie, the Doctor brought it back upstairs and into the kitchen. Amy was heating up some green beans in a pot and she glanced over her shoulder when he brought the large pie in.

"Is that the sweet you were talking about?" she said to him.

"It is, indeed. Called Ambrosia, it's made of the berries of the Binyon tree. It's heavenly," the Doctor said, setting it by a huge pan of mashed potatoes. "Lori, need any help?" he asked her while she opened the oven door and checked the turkey.

"I don't think so, could you check on the children though?" she said to him.

"Absolutely!" the Doctor said.

He walked out into the lounge and smiled when Rex came up to him with tail wagging.

"Hullo, my friend, wanna go check the children with me?" he said.

He turned to go down the hallway when suddenly he heard Brittany's voice. She was in her bedroom with her sisters, singing loudly so the Doctor could hear her.


"I WILL KILL THE OWNER OF THAT VOICE, I SWEAR I WILL!" the Doctor said while everyone laughed hysterically.

"TRY IT, ACNE FACE!" Brittney yelled out.

"I'll show you Acne Face!" the Doctor yelled as he hurried down the hallway with Rex.

He was passing by the bathroom when the door opened and Tom stepped out, butt naked and dripping wet.

"What was that?" Tom said to him.

"That was your sister, about to die for the crime of insulting me," the Doctor said.

He and Tom stared at one another.

"Um…you might wanna go back inside and continue your bath now," he said when Tom didn't move. "I don't think the world and his wife will want to see you in the altogether tonight."

"Come with me," Tom said.

"What? Into the bath?" the Doctor said while Tom turned around and went back inside. "That's a bit intimate, isn't it? Not to mention we'd be crammed in the bath together."

Tom got back in the bathtub while the Doctor closed the door behind him.

"I wanna talk to you," Tom said as he splished some water.

"Okay…" the Doctor said, lowering the toilet seat and sitting on it.

"Daddy and me have man to man talks so this is what this is," Tom said.

"Okay, man to man talk it is. What are we talking about then?"

"Girls. They suck," Tom said, pushing a rubber duck and watching it float towards his feet.

"Okay, I don't agree but go on…" the Doctor said, amused.

"My sisters are okay but other girls suck," Tom said, grabbing the duck and putting it back near his crotch again.

"And do you have experience with other girls?"

"Huh?" Tom said, frowning.

"Do you see lots of sucky girls then?" the Doctor amended himself.

"Yeah, in kindergarten," Tom said, nodding, as he pushed his duck again.

"And what do they do to you?"

"They talk and talk and talk."

"Ah, I see. Well, I have to agree with that," the Doctor said, nodding.

"They bore me," Tom said, letting out a world weary sigh while he picked up his duck.

"Well, you're young. You'll see things differently when you get a bit older," the Doctor said. "So, you only mentioned your sisters. Do you think your mum sucks?"

"No," Tom said, shaking his head while he let his duck float.

"What about your family?"


"What about River and Amy?"

"I just said my family doesn't suck," Tom said.

"Oh! Yes," the Doctor said, smiling at that. "But other girls suck."

"Yup," Tom said.

"I see. Well, I'm afraid you can't cook them and eat them so you just have to put up with them for now," the Doctor said.

Tom stared at him for a moment.

"You're cool," he said.

"Thank you, so are you," the Doctor said.

"That's what I wanted to talk about," Tom said.

"Well, you'll grow into liking girls eventually," the Doctor said. "Just give it time."

"Okay," Tom said.

"Now, hurry with your bath so you can be ready when the others come," the Doctor said.

Tom nodded. He held out his arms and the Doctor smiled when he gave him a hug.

"I love you," he said to the Doctor.

"And I love you too," the Doctor said, patting his back. "Finish your bath."

"Okay," Tom said.

The Doctor gave him a loving smile before he opened the door and stepped outside. He stopped short when he saw Michelle standing there.

"Hey, my sister says that we should get you that Operation game so you can practice pulling things out of humans," she said to him.

"ROOOOOOAR!" the Doctor said and laughed when Michelle squealed and ran back to Brittany's room.

"I agree, sometimes girls do suck," he said to Tom before he stepped out and closed the door behind him.

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