Chapter Three

"Where's our snails, you fat, bloated cow?"

Nine rolled his eyes when Jack said that aloud to another passing waitress.

"I knew this was a bad idea," he said to Rose.

"He's not saying it loud enough for them to hear, you gotta give him that much," Rose said.

"Thank goodness for small miracles," Nine muttered while Jack and Mickey giggled behind their menus.

"I think I shall start with something that has tons of wine in it so I can get pissed and annoy the Doctor even more, how 'bout it, Mickey?" Jack said to Mickey.

Mickey glanced at the Doctor. The Doctor gave him a pointed look.

"Actually, I better not since the Doctor barely tolerates me at the moment," Mickey said.

"Oh, screw the Doctor," Jack said.

Rose laughed when he froze and his eyes widened at the thought of that.

"Hate to burst your bubble but it won't happen in a million years, Harkness," the Doctor said.

"What about a million and one years then?" Jack said.

"We'll see when that happens," Nine said dryly.

"That's an open invitation then," Jack said, pointing at him.

Cecile brought them their glasses of chardonnay and plates of escargot. She set them down in front of everyone and took the tray back to the tray jack before she asked for their orders. She took everyone's order and left.

"Get me my bœuf bourguignon now, you slut," Jack said when the waitress was out of earshot.

"If anyone hears you say that, my fist will be in your face, Harkness," Nine said.

Instead of answering, Jack grabbed his plat of snails. The snails had been taken out of the shells, cooked and then placed back in the shells. There was a small fork on the plate that was used to fish the cooked snails out of the white shells. Jack pulled one out and showed the small piece of meat to Mickey.

"Well?" he said to Mickey.

"You first, mate," Mickey said, making a face.

"I've already eaten it. Come on, you wanted to do this. Just open up your mouth, put it in and chew," Jack said.

Nine was watching this. He picked up a shell and fished out the snail and held it out to Rose.

"You've eaten worse than this travelin' with me," he said to her.

Rose took the fork from him, stared at the snail for a moment before she popped it in her mouth. Mickey watched while she handed the empty fork back to the Doctor and chewed it.

"How is it?" Mickey said to her.

"Chewy but I like it," Rose said while the Doctor gazed at her proudly. "You go next."

Jack waggled the fork in his face and Mickey took it from him. They watched while he stared at the snail on the tip of his fork with disgust.

"French people are strange," Mickey said as he gazed at it.

"I'm sure French people think the same of you," the Doctor said while Rose laughed.

"Come on, Mickey, eat it!"

Mickey stared at Jack as he began to chant "Eat it!" over and over. Mickey rolled his eyes, put it in his mouth and chewed for a few seconds before making a face and spitting it out on his plate.

"Ugh, no thanks!" Mickey said, handing the fork and his plate of snails back to Jack.

"This is why I don't want him traveling with us," Nine muttered in Rose's ear.

"So he doesn't like snails, so what?" Rose said to him.

"I don't mind that he doesn't like snails," the Doctor said to everyone. "There are many things I don't like. That's fine. But think of it in this way. What if you're on some alien planet and you're among a tribal culture and they want you to eat a ceremonial dish that has bogeys and goo all over it and to not do it would be rude and you eat it, make a face and spit it out at their feet. Do you think that would go over well with the natives?"

"Spit it out when no one's looking then," Mickey said indignantly.

"What if you're in the middle of the village surrounded by the entire tribe?" the Doctor countered. "What if spitting it out would be seen as an act of aggression and you would be killed if you did that?"

"And I s'pose that's happened to you before," Mickey said, crossing his arms over his chest.

"Yes. Several times. I've had to swallow putrid, gooey stuff that make these snails look like custard tarts," the Doctor said. "And as for the French being strange…every culture has food that other cultures find odd. I'm sure there are some French people who find it odd to eat blood pudding. So just keep that in mind, Smith, if you ever do decide to travel with me full time."

"Ha, like that will ever happen," Mickey said, rolling his eyes.

"Well good, because I don't think you're cut out to be a full time companion anyway," Nine said.

"And Rose is?" Mickey countered.

Nine looked at Rose who was now eating the snails on her own plate with gusto. He looked at Mickey and gave him a pointed look.

"So? She likes snails then," Mickey said with a shrug.

"I'm companion material," Rose said smugly before eating another snail.

"So am I," Jack said smugly before eating a snail.

"I'm not and thank God for that," Mickey said before taking a sip of his chardonnay.

Nine shot an exasperated look at Rose and she giggled before fishing another snail out of the shell. While she was doing that, her mobile's ring tone went off.

"Oops, forgot that was on," Rose muttered as she quickly stood up and fished it out of her pocket.

"Sorry, it was from me," Jack said, picking up his wine glass. "Just phoning you to congratulate you on eating snails for the first time."

He held out his hand and Rose gave him a high five as she sat back down.

"Hey, Mum," she said into the mobile while Nine rolled his eyes. "Yeah, we're at a French restaurant in London at the moment, waiting for our food."

"We're not visiting her," the Doctor said to Rose.

"Um…I'm eating snails at the moment," Rose said to her mother. "They're good, actually. But Mickey doesn't like them."

"Got that right," Mickey muttered.

"You do realize we're in a fancy restaurant and you're on the phone in the middle of it?" the Doctor said to Rose.

"Mum, I need to go, the Doctor is whinging about being on the mobile in the middle of a fancy restaurant," Rose said.

She listened for a moment and then looked at the Doctor.

"She said to shut your gob before she comes down here and smacks your face in the middle of the fancy French restaurant," Rose said to him.

"I hate her mother," the Doctor said to Jack and Mickey when Rose went back to her conversation with Jackie.

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