Chapter Six

While Merzet and Arella walked to the auditorium, people around them were celebrating the holiday. Krunke's Comet was visible in the sky, a large ball of light among the stars in the sky. The party down below was in full swing. They passed by revelers dancing in front of bonfires and a few Gallifreyans were getting drunk on drambleberry wine. The partiers they walked past were run of the mill Gallifreyans and a few of them hooted and hollered at the Time Lord and Lady and made fun of their robes. The Doctor gritted his teeth when one drunken man yelled out that he looked like a pooftah.

"Ignore them, be proud of who you are," Arella said when she noticed Merzet's anger.

"I hate being a Time Lord sometimes. I stand out enough as it is without being set apart in society."

"What do you mean?" Arella said. "You look like a normal Gallifreyan to me."

She noticed Merzet's eyes lowered to the ground and she took hold of the sleeve of his robe.

"What are you ashamed of?" she asked.

"Nothing, it's nothing. It's just something I'm known for…back home," Merzet mumbled.

"Well, you're not back home, you're here and I won't laugh at you."

Merzet smiled at that and his hearts fluttered when she took hold of his hand. They passed by Gallifreyan partiers and headed for the Academy building where the Time Lords were holding their celebration. Merzet breathed a sigh of relief when they went inside and they were among other Time Lords and Ladies dressed in their formal robes. Merzet guided Arella over to a long wooden table. The table was laden with food and drink and they both poured a bit of night berry cordial into small glass cups. The people in charge of the Academy had hired a Gallifreyan band for the night and they were playing a slow, jazzy song while a few people danced. Merzet sipped his cordial and watched them dance to the music. He suddenly got the giggles and Arella gave him a questioning look.

"I'm sorry but this headgear is not really suited for dancing," the Doctor said, knocking the top of his own skullcap. "Makes everyone look like a bunch of frilled lizards dancing."

Arella giggled.

"It does but you know the rules, we have to be in our robes for school parties and other functions."

"Yes, well rules were made to be broken," Merzet muttered. "And this is definitely one rule that needs to be changed."

Merzet glanced over when Arella called to a couple of women and wished them a happy holiday. Merzet shifted uncomfortably, painfully aware that he had no friends apart from Koschei and Arella and that thought made him feel more isolated and alone than usual.

"Arella, why don't you go talk to your friends for a bit. I'll be okay," he said to Arella.

"Nonsense, they have their own dates. I want to spend time with you. Stop being so self-conscious. I don't care about your deep, dark secret. I told you I like you and I came to the dance with you so I'm gonna spend my time with you. Now come on, let's dance."

Arella noticed the look of horror that passed over Merzet's face for a moment. She took his glass from his hand and put it and her glass down on the table. Then she took his hand and led him out among the dancers. She giggled at Merzet's awkwardness and calmly showed him how to dance. After he got the hang of it, he relaxed and enjoyed himself unaware that Koschei was standing in the shadows at the back of the room glowering at them both.


"Bom bom bom!" Rose said. "So the plot thickens then? Jealous stalker is angry you're dancing with a girl and not him?"

"Yes. He decided to come and see what I was doing and didn't like what he saw," the Doctor said.

"You said this Koschei became your enemy?" Jackie said.

"Yes, he took the name Master and he's been trying to kill me for centuries."

"After spending time with ya, I can see why he wants to."

Rose bent over laughing when the Doctor glared at Jackie. She shrugged.

"You can be irritating at times, I won't lie."

"Well, so can you, Jackie, I won't lie either," the Doctor said.

"So did Koschei come over and stop ya then?" Rose said, eager to avoid a fight between her lover and her mother.

"Well…not at first, he watched from the shadows for a bit…" the Doctor said.


The band finished playing a song and Arella led Merzet off the dance floor.

"So…once you're finished with the Academy, you're going to go off to parts unknown and observe the universe?" Arella said when they walked back to their glasses and retrieved them.

"I s'pose. That's what Time Lords do, eh?" Merzet said.

"Any particular place you want to observe?"

"Well," Merzet said. "I was thinking about Earth."

"Earth?" Arella said, making a face. "Why? I've heard it's a backwards planet in the middle of nowhere. They don't have any close neighbors and they only have one moon. How boring is that?"

"Well, I did take a class on Earth history and they seem to be a fascinating lot. They're isolated but that's what makes them so interesting. They seem to be a world unto themselves and yet, they've managed to do great things despite their isolation. I want to go and find out what makes them so unique."

"I s'pose if that's your interest, you should follow it. Personally, I'd prefer Alpha Centauri or the Pleiades or even Malonganga. Somewhere where you get a diversity of life and not just a bunch of apes…"


"And look at me, I died and came back as an ape," Rose said, throwing up her hands. "I turned into the very thing I despised!"

"Um…yes, I s'pose you did," the Doctor said while Rose giggled. "I wouldn't say you despised the humans, you were just misinformed about who they were, like most people on Gallifrey."

"So I decided to come back as a human because that was your favorite thing in the whole universe," Rose said, poking his arm. "I made sure you'd really love me this time around by turning myself into an ape. My God, I'm clever."

She laughed when the Doctor gave her an odd look.

"Yeah, that was genius reincarnating yourself into an ape, Rose. I'm in awe of the master plan you devised to get me to like you while you were off somewhere …dead," the Doctor said dryly while Rose sniggered.

"Yup, I made a lot of sacrifices this time around," Rose said smugly. "I made myself into something I didn't like so you'd like me all the more so you better appreciate all I did for ya because I coulda been something better than this, ya know."

"Jackie, have you ever had Rose checked for mental illnesses at any point in her life?" the Doctor said while Rose snickered and poked the Doctor's arm. "Sometimes I question her sanity."

"This coming from the man who travels around time and space in a blue box kidnapping women wherever he finds them," Jackie said.

"I didn't kidnap her," the Doctor said while Rose giggled.

"I told him no the first time but he came back again for me," Rose said.

"And you ran into the TARDIS….willingly, I might add," the Doctor said to her.

"Nah, he had some sort of ape tractor beam, it pulled me right in," Rose said.

Jackie chuckled when the Doctor gave Rose a long, hard stare.

"You're not helping, Tyler," he finally said to Rose.

"Sure, I'm helping, I'm your companion, Merzy, or did you forget?"

"Right! On with my story then!" the Doctor said while Rose winked at her mother. "Anyway, we danced and ate…"

"And made sweet love on the table in between the crisps and gherkins," Rose said.

"While the Master watched them," Jackie said.

"And then he joined in and they had a three way on top of the pizza," Rose added.

"What is going on here?" the Doctor said while Rose and Jackie laughed. "I never thought telling you my life story would bring out the comedians in the two of you."

"We're just adding a little spice to your story," Rose said.

"Well, if you're gonna do that, I'll go back to the TARDIS And you and your mother can make up the entire story on your own," the Doctor said.

"Okay, we'll shut up then. Continue with your story," Rose said innocently.

The Doctor scrutinized her while Rose kept up her innocence act. He settled back in his chair and cleared his throat while Rose shook with silent laughter.

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