Chapter Twenty Nine

When they left the bedroom, the Doctor stopped and sniffed the air.

"Blimey, that smells good," the Doctor said.

Rose sniffed the air with him and felt herself salivating at the smell of cooking beef. She shared a glance with the Doctor before they changed direction and headed back to the kitchen.

Donna smiled when they entered the kitchen. She was standing at the stove frying hamburgers in a cast iron skillet.

"I looked through the food and thought I'd keep it simple," Donna said as she turned one of the hamburgers with her spatula. "I made some for everyone and I have chips baking in the oven."

Rose suddenly felt hungry when she smelled the delicious aromas that were flooding her nostrils. The Doctor thanked her for cooking their meal and explained what he wanted to do.

"I wondered about her," Donna said as she turned another burger. "I think you're right. We can't keep her here alone, not if she's informing on everyone. I think the three of us could handle her. But before you go in there, eat. Let her sit there awhile and think about what she's done. Besides, she has that food George gave to us. She won't starve."

The Doctor nodded. He checked on the chips while Rose poked around in the fridge and pulled out some vegetables so she could make a side salad. They busied themselves with preparing the food, chatting while they worked.

"So…when did you become a medic?" the Doctor said to Donna while he pulled the milk out of the fridge. "You never told me you had medical training."

"I'm not a proper doctor," Donna said, going to the fridge to check for cheese. "I signed up for the medical squad to avoid going to the labor camps. I got a basic course in first aid through them and I used my knowledge of caring for granddad to supplement that. I assisted John and the others when we went out to the labor camps and they also taught me more about medicine. Not an expert but I know more than I did before the Toclafane attacked."

She grabbed some bread off the counter beside the fridge and took that along with a large slab of cheddar cheese and a tomato to the kitchen island. She sliced up the tomato while Rose peeled off some lettuce leaves for the hamburgers.

"So you've seen a lot of the labor camps then?" the Doctor said, pouring the milk into glasses.

"Not all of them. Mainly the ones in between London and Dover," Donna said as she finished slicing the tomato and put the slices into a bowl. "You and Rose didn't see how bad things are since you were in the back of the lorry but what Clarice said about Calais is the same between London and Dover. Towns are being emptied of people. Killing em or taking them for slave labor. London as well. Chiswick was shot up and most of our neighbors were killed. It's Hell on Earth here, Doctor."

"I know," the Doctor said, leaning on the counter once he poured the milk. "And if we don't stop the Master, other planets will suffer our fate."

Donna walked back to the skillet with a plate. She used the spatula and put three burgers on the plate before she turned off the burner and put the skillet on a cold one. She then checked on the chips. She examined them for a moment while they baked in the over before she plucked out a tiny one, blew on it and popped it in her mouth. Satisfied they were done; she grabbed a couple of pot holders and took it out of the oven. She put the baking pan on the cold part of the stove and the Doctor closed the over and brought another plate over to Donna. She used the spatula to put the chips on the plate and when she was done, she took it back over to the kitchen island. Everyone helped themselves to the burgers, chips, salad and milk, fixing it to their liking before taking everything over to the kitchen table.

Rose took a bite of her burger and tasted the greasy goodness in her mouth.

"This is good, Donna," Rose said.

"Thanks. I cooked for granddad on occasion so I've had a bit of practice. Besides, it's hard to muck up a burger."

"You miss your family?" Rose said to her.

"Like mad. Especially granddad. We were very close," Donna said. "He loved stargazing and I used to go up on the hill behind our house and sit for hours looking at the stars with him. He died quickly and mum and dad did as well, thank God. But still, it's hard being left behind."

"Tell me about it," the Doctor said. "I dealt with survivor's guilt for years after Gallifrey was lost."

"And Earth became your adoptive home, yeah?" Rose said. "And now you have to watch it being destroyed as well."

"Yes, except this time there'll be a different ending," the Doctor said with a determined look in his face. "I love Earth and I'm not about to lose it the way I lost Gallifrey."

He paused a moment and watched Rose eat a chip. Rose paused in mid chew when he chuckled.

"What?" she said through a mouthful of chip.

"Donna, it's a good thing you did fix this because Rose is a chip fiend. That's all she wanted when she traveled with me. Chips, chips, chips."

"I'm English," Rose teased. "Eating chips is in my blood just like drinking tea and having a pint."

"Aaah, yes," the Doctor sighed. "Used to get a nice pint of Jabwalla back on Gallifrey and relax after a long day."

"And what is that? Like lager?" Donna said.

"Sorta. Made from fermented berries, was delicious. But lager is good too," the Doctor said.

They finished their meal, put the leftovers back in the fridge and washed the dishes. When they were done, they decided to go and see Clarice.

"I just had a thought," the Doctor said as they headed for the bathroom. "We would have had to take her out to let her use the toilet. I pity those people who got locked up in the room until someone came to take them. Probably forced to urinate on the floor if she didn't allow them to use the loo."

They went into the bathroom and the Doctor used the sonic to unlock the hidden door. He jerked the towel rack down and Donna and Rose prepared themselves to fight Clarice if she tried to attack the Doctor. Instead, Clarice was sitting on the bed, her cheeks tear stained and her eyes red. She glared at the Doctor when they came into the room.

"What do you want?" she spat out.

"I want to tell you that we're leaving here. I still don't trust you. I think you told the Master we were coming, didn't you?"

Again, he studied her and saw the guilt pass over her face.

"You're coming with us," the Doctor said.

Clarice gave him a shocked look and the Doctor snorted.

"Give me a break. As if we'd leave you behind to betray us again," he said.

"I'm sorry for what I did," Clarice said.

"I'm sure you are but that doesn't mean we're gonna trust you automatically. You have to earn that trust back. In the meantime, we're going to leave here and hide and you're going to be watched carefully. Any sign of deception and I'll put you into a deep coma. If you help us, we'll allow you to stay with us. I give you my word that I'll protect you but only if you prove yourself trustworthy. If not, I give you up to the rebels the first time we see any and let them decide what to do with you. So, your decision, Clarice. What will you do, help us or help him?"

"I want to help," Clarice said.

The Doctor studied her face but he couldn't detect any deception this time.

"Then we'll leave in a few hours," the Doctor said gently, hoping to gain her trust. "Once we reach Calais, we need to find a department store. Do you know where one is?"


"Good. I need some electronic parts along with a few other things. We need to make a few things that'll protect us from the Master and his minions. I just hope the shops haven't been looted dry. Anyway, do you need to use the toilet?"

Clarice nodded and Rose and Donna stepped out of the room when the Doctor told her to get up and use it. Rose and Donna left the bathroom and shut the door while the Doctor waited in the bathroom, his back turned to give Clarice some privacy while she used the toilet.

"I hope the Doctor knows what he's doing," Donna said to Rose as they headed back to the living room. "I don't trust that woman."

"I don't either but I'd rather have her with us than leave her here to tell everyone where we're going," Rose said. "Maybe she'll help us out now that the Doctor is here. I think the Doctor's right. I think she's a nice woman, she's just a bit of a coward."

"Well, can't fault her for that," Donna said. "I became a medic rather than suffer like the rest of the slaves. I just hope the Doctor finds what he needs so he can protect us all. I'm assuming he's making more of those key things."

"I think so," Rose said. "Now he needs to make two, one for you and one for her."

They settled down on the sofa, slumped back and relaxed. Donna stared at the TV and on a whim, grabbed the remote and turned it on. She flipped through the channels but there wasn't anything on.

"I doubt you'll find anything, Donna. I don't think Harry cares if people can't watch Coronation Street now," Rose said.

Donna tried one more channel and this time the black screen was replaced by a news channel. Donna and Rose leaned up and watched while photos of her and the Doctor were displayed along with warnings that they were dangerous criminals and must be apprehended on sight. Rose smirked when she saw the photo of the Doctor. It was him in his aged state.

"Is that what the Doctor looked like as an old man?" Donna said.

"Yeah," Rose said.

"Love the liver spots," Donna quipped.

Rose chuckled at that.

"They've been showing him like this and now he's young again so perhaps if he's spotted, people won't know him," Rose said.

"But that leaves you," Donna said.

"I know. The Doctor's gonna help me alter my appearance. Dye my hair and cut it so I won't be quite as recognizable. I…"

She trailed off when Jack's photo flashed on the screen. She called for the Doctor when she saw the alert that he had escaped and was on the loose.

"Doctor, Jack escaped!" Rose called back.

The Doctor came into the living room with Clarice and looked at the screen. The alert was now for Martha though so he looked at Rose and asked her what they said.

"They said he just escaped and he's at large," Rose said.

"Can't you get a message to him somehow?" Donna said.

"I don't know how. I don't even know where he went. Now we have him and Martha to worry about. I'm not that worried about Jack though since he's immortal. But if he escaped…that's another one out there working against the Master. I…"

He trailed off when they flashed the photos of Rose and the Doctor again with the same alert at before.

"And Harry still thinks you're an old man," Rose said, pointing to the screen.

"Yes, but…that's you…Clarice, you have a pair of scissors?"


"We'll cut your hair here and get some hair dye when we go to Calais. Could you show me where the scissors are at?" he asked Clarice.

Clarice nodded and the Doctor followed her out of the room. Donna grinned and nudged her friend.

"Purple. Get your hair dyed purple," she teased.

Rose snorted.

"No thanks, I don't wanna be a punker," she said. "Besides, I think the purple hair would make me stand out even more. Ugh, I s'pose that's the only thing showing on this channel is these alerts because they're back to Martha again."

"Yeah, just checking to see if there was anything on the telly," Donna said, switching it off.

The Doctor came back into the room with Clarice. Clarice settled down in a chair near the sofa and picked up a book while the Doctor took the small scissors she had given him and asked Rose to follow him into the kitchen. Clarice glanced at the Doctor when he left the room with Rose and then glanced at Donna.

"Don't…try…it," Donna growled at her.

Clarice sighed and turned her attention back to her book. Donna studied her and decided to take a cue from the Doctor and try to gain her trust. She asked Clarice a few questions which led to them chatting about each other's lives. While they talked, Donna realized that she really was a nice woman, just someone put in a bad situation. She hoped she really was going to help them now.

While they talked, the Doctor and Rose came back into the room. Rose's hair had gone from hanging down to the middle of her back to a bob that came down to her jawline.

"Wow, you look good," Donna said while Clarice nodded in agreement.

"Thanks," Rose said. "I hope we can find some hair dye but at least my hairstyle is different now."

She went and sat down beside Donna while the Doctor passed the scissors back to Clarice. Clarice put them on the table beside her and the Doctor walked over to another chair and settled into it. Donna resumed her chat with Clarice and Rose and the Doctor listened for awhile before joining in.

"My parents were killed in a car crash when I was young," Clarice told them. "I was raised in a Catholic orphanage until I was 18. I went to university and was studying to be a nurse but a man told me I would be a great model and I dropped out to do modeling. I was successful enough to afford this farm. That's what I was doing when the Toclafane attacked me. I've tried to keep the farm going but I have cows and it's expensive to keep them. I thought about selling them but I figured I might keep them and slaughter them just in case times get really rough. If we're leaving now, they might die. Might as well let them go free and let them wander so at least they have a chance."

"I think they'd have as much chance as the humans around here," the Doctor said. "With the Master in charge, every life form has to fend for themselves."

Everyone fell silent when they heard a knock at the door.

"Clarice, were you expecting someone today?" the Doctor said.

Clarice shook her head.

"You told the Master we were here, right? Tell me the truth, I won't get mad."

Clarice looked at the floor and nodded sadly. The Doctor told the women to stay put while he went to investigate. Clarice picked up the scissors, got up and handed them to Donna.

"Just in case," she whispered. "You take them so you know I won't betray you."

"Thanks," Donna whispered back.

Clarice sat back down but a moment later, the Doctor called for everyone to come to the door.

"It's okay, no need to worry," he called out. "Jack's found us!"

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