PORTRAIT OF A NIGHTMARE

Chapter 6

Before the two policemen could grab hold of the Doctor, he did some fancy footwork and somehow got around them. Then his hand flashed into his pocket, bringing out the psychic paper. He held it out to Inspector McLeod.

"Hold on a tick you lot. Have a look at that, before you do anything rash." The Doctor told them.

Abruptly, he paused. "Wait! Tick. Rash. Rash. Tick. Hmmm-," He said to himself. To the policemen, the Doctor explained, "Let me re-phrase that. It's probably a bit confusing. I know you humans do sometimes get easily confused. I didn't mean that you should actually hold a tick. And I know a tick bite can give you a rash. But," he smiled gesturing at the wallet he was holding out to them, "what really I meant to say, is read what's on that card before you arrest us. Ermóagain."

One of the helmeted bobbies nudged the other and whispered, "He's mad, that one." The other officer grunted his agreement, whispering out of the corner of his mouth, "As a bloody march hare." They both shrugged and continued to watch over the prisoners.

"According to this paper, you're with His Majesty's Secret Service on loan to Scotland Yard." Inspector McLeod said, putting on a pair of wire-rimmed spectacles and squinting at the paper. He was much shorter than the Doctor, and had to almost stand on tiptoe to read the paper in the Doctor's outstretched hand. The inspector shot Rory a loathsome look. "And according to that card, this young man here is your grass."

"I'm his what now?" Rory objected, "No, there must be some mistake. I'm not a...".

The Doctor shot Rory another cautionary look to shut him up, then beamed a friendly smile at McLeod.

"Right you are.. Bang on. No flies on you, I see." The Doctor straightened his tie, and said importantly, "I'm Secret Agent John Smith. At your service."

McLeod blustered at the Doctor, "Why in thunder didn't you say so in the first place, man?"

"You mean to tell me inspector, that you didn't notice the word 'secret' in secret agent?" The Doctor said, with a raised eyebrow. He spun around and pointed both index fingers at the man. "If that's a demonstration of your powers of observation, it's a wonder the whole of London isn't going on one big crime spree."

"EróDoctor," Rory murmured, "Actually, I don't think that's helping." To Rory's dismay, he was being ignored. It was if the Doctor had completely forgotten he was there.

"But, D'ye not realize the time you've caused us to waste? How many men we've had out hunting a common carriage thief?" McLeod demanded, glaring up at the Doctor.

"Oh, cheers. Now I'm a carriage thief, a grass and common?" An insulted Rory said out loud to himself. "I think I liked it better when I was simply a nurse and Mr. Amy Pond."

One of the policemen looked at the other with a slightly bemused expression. He whispered 'Amy?' The other policeman smirked and whispered back, "A nurse?" They both shrugged again. It took all kinds, these days.

"You mean I've taken up your time, while you could have been looking for the man behind the murders around the Ransome Hotel...not to mention the missing girl from that West End pub?" The Doctor rattled off, walking in circles, talking with his hands. "Possibly a separate crime. But something tells me not."

"Of course that's what I mean!" The little inspector yelled. He stopped himself just short of hitting the Doctor in a fit of temper. He paused and took a deep breath. After wiping off the lenses of his glasses McLeod pocketed them, then gave the Doctor an incredulous stare. "Hold on. What did you just say?"

"You really should try to clean the wax out of your ears a bit more, Inspector." The Doctor suddenly walked up to McLeod and gave the man's left ear a close inspection. "And maybe trim some of the hair in there. Whew! You could feather a sparrow's next with that." The Doctor stepped back several paces. Putting his hands to his mouth to form an impromptu tannoy, he shouted, "I said, that I believe there may be some sort of link between the murders and the missing girl."

Inspector McLeod scowled. However, he decided not to respond to the Doctor's ridicule. "You think the missing girl and the murders are connected? That's quite a leap in logic, Agent Smith."

"Yes, well, I'm very good at leaping. And jumping..." The Doctor jumped up and down to prove this, "...oh, and hopscotch. I'll show you." He patted down his pockets, and was crestfallen to find he didn't have what he was searching for. The Doctor looked questioningly at Inspector McLeod. "You don't happen to have any chalk on you, do you?"

Clearing his throat Inspector McLeod replied tersely, "No. I don't. Sorry. Perhaps we should continue this discussion in my private office, sir.

A short time later found the Doctor and Rory ensconced in chairs in the inspector's office. At first, the police had wanted to put Rory back in the cells. But the Doctor had swiftly interceded on his behalf, claiming that keeping an eye on Rory was his responsibility. However, Inspector McLeod insisted that the two policemen stay on guard outside the door.

The inspector was sat behind his desk. He had an amused smirk on his face and kept his fingers steepled before him. As he looked upon the Doctor, an odd gleam flickered in his eyes. Rory decided the man suddenly looked like a cat sitting in front of a mouse hole. Out of nowhere, he felt cold. Glancing away from McLeod, Rory gave an involuntary shudder. Suddenly, something felt decidedly wrong. He caught the Doctor gazing at him out of the corner of his eye. The Doctor slipped a him a wink. Whatever was going on here Rory decided, it wasn't anything good.

"Now then, Agent Smith" Inspector McLeod said softly, "Perhaps you would like to tell me why you're here. And how you think that missing girl is connected to the murders." He said softly.

Plunking his feet and long legs on the corner of the desk, the Doctor leaned back in his chair. A thin, knowing smile crossed his lips.

Folding his hands across his lap, the Doctor said, "I'd be more interested inspector, in why you're so interested in why I'm so interested."

Inspector McLeod clenched his fists and sat back in his chair, giving the Doctor a baleful glare.

"As you say, I'm interested. So suppose you enlighten me." The frowning inspector replied impatiently.

Smiling, the Doctor said flippantly, "So much interest. If we were a bank we'd make a mint."

Slamming his legs to the floor and standing so abruptly that it startled Rory, the Doctor began pacing up and down in front of the desk.

"OK. OK. You want to know why I'm here. I'm here because something's very, very wrong with this time stream. Something is here that isn't supposed to be. Like that little girl. You see, I like children. As much as I like my nose. Wonderful thing, noses. Smell is one of our greatest senses. Well..." he paused and made a face, "...except maybe when you're using a portaloo at rock festival." The Doctor resumed pacing, "Thing is, I have a great sense of smell, me. For instance, I can smell clone from a hundred yards away. And that little girl in the alley, your daughter, she positively stank of clone." He stopped suddenly before the desk, slapped his palms down on it and leaned towards McLeod. "So why don't you start by telling me who you really are?"

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