Chapter Twenty

After Tom got out of the bath, he got dressed for the dinner. Lori told the Doctor that they usually had a Christmas dinner with a few family members on Christmas night so they can relax and unwind after the manic pace of the last day and a half. By the time everyone was ready, Ruth and Dan were coming up the driveway. Jim went to greet them as the door while the Doctor helped Lori pour milk and hot tea for the family and guests. Rex stood by him, wagging his tail while he watched and Lori gave him two large dog biscuits as a treat. Rex gobbled them up while the Doctor patted his back.

Thirty minutes later, Alica and Tom came and the Doctor and his family helped their adopted family serve the children and their guests. Everyone sat at the dining room table, ate and chatted while Rex lay nearby and dozed. Alicia, Tom, Dan and Ruth quizzed the Doctor about Gallifrey and asked them about some of their travels so the Doctor took up the lion's share of the conversation for awhile. While he talked, he could see snow start to fall outside as he looked out the windows behind the table. Tom glanced outside the window and groaned.

"Ugh, I was hoping the snow would pass us by," he said. "Hate driving through it."

After dinner, the Doctor cut up slices of the Ambrosia pie and served it to everyone. Everyone took a bite and their eyes widened.

"Oh my God, this is so good," Lori said. "The filing is really sweet."

"It's synthetic filling sadly, the Binyon trees no longer exist but I'm glad you like it," the Doctor said.

"Did you make this?" Alicia said.

"No, my ship did."

"Do you mind if you could ask it to make another one for us. This is wonderful."

Ruth nodded and asked for the same.

"My pleasure," the Doctor said, happy that he was able to contribute something to the dinner.


After dinner, the guests relaxed in the lounge while the Doctor and his family helped their other family members put away the food and clean up. While they were doing that, the Doctor noticed Michelle seemed morose. She was unusually quiet and he figured it was because they were about to leave again. He also noticed the others weren't saying much and his heart ached, knowing he had to leave them behind for the moment. As the minutes wore on, Michelle looked more and more upset and he could tell she was about to cry. So he decided to ask her to come to the TARDIS with him to help carry the Ambrosia pies up when the TARDIS finished making more. Once they were on the stairs, the Doctor spoke to her.

"Love, I have to go," he said.

Michelle swallowed hard and nodded, the tears finally flowing down her face.

"I miss you when you're not here," she said to him in a choked voice.

"And I miss you as well which is why I came back straight away. But I can't stay here. I don't want to stay in a house full time. I like to visit and rest for awhile and enjoy your company but I want to travel and see the universe and I've done that for centuries. It's not you, Bookworm. This is the way I am. Do you understand?"

Michelle nodded. He put his hand on her shoulder while they walked to the storage room.

"I wish I could grow right now so I could travel with you," Michelle said while the Doctor opened the storage room door.

"So do I but you should enjoy being a child for as long as you can. Being an adult isn't all it's cracked up to be," the Doctor said as they headed towards the TARDIS.

He clicked his fingers and they stepped inside. While they walked to the kitchen, the Doctor thought about how he could let everyone stay in contact with him and a smile spread over his face.

"I want to make a deal with you," he said to her.

"Yeah?" Michelle said, looking at him.

"I have a way for you to call me wherever I am in time and space. I can give you a mobile that will let you do that but…if I do it, you can't be ringing me every five minutes, yeah? Maybe we can figure out a time to call me once a week. That way we can stay in touch. Do you wanna do that?"

Michelle nodded enthusiastically.

"You promise you lot won't be ringing me nonstop if I do this for you?"

"I promise," Michelle said, crossing her heart.

"Okay, I'll do that then," the Doctor said, squeezing her shoulder.


After making the pies for him, the Doctor requested a mobile be made for the Stevens family with a companion one that would allow them to keep in contact. The TARDIS obliged but made one for each member of the TARDIS plus one for the family. The Doctor checked the phone numbers of each mobile and wrote them down on a piece of paper along with the eventually owner of the phone for Michelle to give her parents and he made sure that she would give the mobile to her also. Then they went back upstairs with the pies.


After admiring the medallions and accepting the pies, Alicia, Tom, Dan and Ruth chatted a half hour more before they decided to go back before the snowfall got worse. The woman hugged the Doctor and his family and the men shook their hands and wished them good luck and told them to return soon. After that, they took their pies and the Doctor and the others stood on the front porch and waved to them while they headed to their cars.


The Doctor and his family lingered an hour longer after everyone left before the Doctor finally told them they had to go. His hearts caught in his throat when the children began to cry and even Lori had misty eyes. He hugged them all along with his companions and promised he would come back.

"I'll make sure to keep the cell phone safe so the children don't bother you at all hours," Lori said, showing him the mobile.

"Thank you. And don't be afraid to use it. Just use it in moderation," the Doctor said.

Rex bounded over to him and the Doctor knelt down and rubbed his sides.

"Protect them well, my friend," the Doctor said. "Make sure they stay safe until we come back."

Rex barked at him that he would and the Doctor smiled at that and rubbed his head. As he and his companions went down the stairs, their adopted family and Rex was silent as they followed them and the Doctor felt like he was leading a funeral procession judging from the somber air around them. The somberness continued as they walked to the TARDIS and the Doctor clicked his fingers and opened the doors. There, he and his family hugged them all again and promised to return soon. Lori urged the children and Rex to stand back and the Doctor smiled tenderly at them as he went inside with the others. The children screamed out that they loved them as he shut the door and they stood with their parents and Rex watched while the TARDIS vanished.


(One week later…)

The Doctor was sitting in the console room, chatting with Amy and Rory when the mobile in his pocket began to ring.

"One guess who that is," he said, standing up while Amy and Rory chuckled.

He pulled out the mobile and hit the talk button.

"Time Lords Are Us, I travel in time and space to get away from your stupid face," the Doctor said while Amy and Rory laughed.

"IT'S YOU!" Michelle squealed into the phone.

"I'm sorry, It's You isn't here, you must have the wrong number, Madam."

"No, I don't," Michelle said.

The Doctor chuckled and sat back down.

"So, this must be your weekly chat session with yours truly then," he said.

"We wanted to say hello," Michelle said.

"I gathered that," the Doctor said. "So…still alive then? Haven't died of heartbreak from missing me?"

"I do miss you. It's boring here," Michelle said. "We had New Years and now we're back at school. I just had a math quiz today that was very hard."

"Maths," the Doctor said.

There was a moment of silence while the Doctor sniggered.

"Yeah, math quiz," Michelle said. "It was hard."

"Mathssssss," the Doctor said, drawing out the S while Amy and Rory listened.


"It's maths, not math, be British!" the Doctor said.


"Yes! Be British and say maths!" the Doctor said while Amy and Rory laughed.

"I don't wanna be British so I'll say math!"

"That is unacceptable. Here, say it with me. Mathssssss, Macaroni cheese, car paaark! Be British!"

Michelle giggled.

"Is Amy and Rory and River there, I wanna talk to someone else now," she said.

"Amy and Rory are here. River is not. She doesn't travel with me all the time, she likes to go dig up dead bodies and ooo and ah at them. As for talking to Amy and Rory, I will allow you to do so if you acknowledge that maths is the proper use of the word and not math."

"I miss you," Michelle said with a sigh. "You're so silly and fun. It's boring around here."

"Well, I'll come back soon, Bookworm. At the moment, we're traveling to a planet called Munge where we'll dump Amy in a vat of chocolate sauce and eat her."

"No!" Michelle squealed.

"Yes, we're gonna eat her and you can't stop us. Right, Rory!"

"RIGHT!" Rory yelled.


Amy bent over laughing when the Doctor jerked the mobile away from his head the moment Michelle shrieked in his ear.

"Um…okay, we won't then," the Doctor said, tentatively putting the mobile back against his ear. "Well, I'll let you squawk at Rory and Amy before I chat with the others. Rory, Amy, wanna get this?"

Amy got up and took the mobile from him.

"Hey, Shelly, they're gonna eat me! Help!" Amy said.

The Doctor grinned and settled back in his chair, listening while Amy chatted and laughed with Michelle and loving that he was still in contact with the family he had grown to love.


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