A Teaspoon And An Open Mind: A Doctor Who Fan Fiction Archive
First Doctor, Second Doctor, Third Doctor, Fourth Doctor, Fifth Doctor, Sixth Doctor, Seventh Doctor, Eighth Doctor, Multi-Era
Like Nobody's Watching by Andraste [Reviews - 24] Printer


1. The Blue Danube

Barbara keeps expecting the Doctor to become less startling with continued exposure, but so far the opposite has been true. It's not enough for him to have a ship that travels through time and space, he has to turn out to be as full of surprises as his Police Box. This is a case in point: she never would have expected him to be an excellent dancer.

Hand resting lightly on her hip, he whirls her around the floor with ease, making her graceful despite her uncomfortable shoes, the corset stays digging in everywhere and the powdered wig perched on he head. His eyes sparkle, and there's not a trace of the intermittent frailty that's affected him more and more since Susan left them.

The music - not yet a cliché here, Barbara supposes - arrives at its familiar conclusion, and he bows deeply. Barbara laughs and curtseys back to him.

"Thank you, Doctor," she says. "Where did you learn how to waltz so beautifully?"

He chuckles in response and waves a hand. "Oh, here and there, here and there. Shall we continue?"

Barbara shakes her head. "I'm afraid that I haven't your energy." Enjoyable though playing at being a lady has been, all she really wants to do now is return to the rooms the Doctor has somehow acquired for them and get out of these clothes.

Taking her arm, he leads her back to where Ian and Vicki are waiting for them. The girl is fidgeting with her wig, and Barbara has to suppress the urge to tell her to stop. Ian looks no more comfortable in his 18th century costume, but Barbara thinks that the tights suit him very well. If they can just manage to stay out of trouble and find some privacy ... but the chances of that happening are remote. Suddenly she longs for their stolen Roman villa.

"That was splendid!" Vicki says. "Can I try the next dance?"

There are any number of men here who would oblige her, but Barbara doesn't think that letting an excitable girl from the future dance with strangers would be wise. Vicki isn't her pupil, but she still feels an obligation. They really shouldn't leave her unsupervised, even if Barbara would rather be somewhere else.

"I'd offer," Ian says with a rueful smile, "but I'm afraid I'd only stand on your feet."

"My dear," the Doctor says, holding out a hand to her, "I am more than able to show you the finer points." Turning to lead her onto the floor, he looks back over his shoulder at Ian. "Barbara is tired, Chesterton. I suggest that you accompany her back to her room." Then he glances at her, and she's almost certain that he winks.

Barbara raises an eyebrow. He hasn't said anything, but the Doctor probably notices more than he lets on. All at once filled up with gratitude and affection. It's the greatest surprise of all, and one she may never grow used to: she never expected him to be her friend.


2. Mosh

"It's not what I call dancing," Polly said with a disapproving sniff.

In some ways, this futuristic nightspot was similar to the clubs in her native time, with its flashing lights and crowded bar. In others, it was more alien than many of the other planets she'd visited, precisely because it was so close to home and yet not home.

In the ten minutes they'd been here, a girl with bizarrely styled hair had complimented her on her 'retro outfit' and a seedy looking man had offered her something called E. Whatever that was, she had no intention of trying it out. As in any club, there were couples dancing together and snogging, but Polly hadn't known where to look when she saw that some of them were made up of two girls or two boys. Strangest of all was the dancing, which seemed to consist mostly of jumping up and down in time with the thumping baseline. She was beginning to wish that she hadn't asked the Doctor to take them 'somewhere fun', although at least nobody had shot at them or taken them prisoner. Yet.

"Aye, and the music's horrible," Jamie added cheerfully. "I cannae hear myself think."

Privately, Polly thought that this wasn't much of a loss, but she resisted the temptation to say so. Jaimie might not be the brightest button in the box, but he was a brave and loyal travelling companion.

"You can talk," she said instead, "when your bagpipes are just as bad!" She softened the insult with a smile, and Jaimie smiled back. He was attracting some odd looks, probably because of the kilt, although it was hardly stranger than some of the outfits people here were wearing. This place must seem even more foreign to him than it did to her, but he didn't seem uncomfortable. Polly envied his ability to take time travel so completely in his stride, even though he'd only been with them a few weeks.

Ben finally managed to push his way back through the crowd, their drinks clutched to his chest. "Thanks," Polly said gratefully, unscrewing the top of her Coke. The bottle was made of plastic, but at least the fizzy drink inside still tasted the same.

"Where's the Doctor got to?" Ben asked.

"No idea," Polly replied. "I thought he'd gone to help you with the drinks."

"Over there," Jaimie said, pointing. It took Polly a moment to see what he was gesturing at; the Doctor was not a tall man in his new body, and he was surrounded by a crowd of people. Even through the crush of bodies, she could see he was leaping up and down as enthusiastically as any of them. Polly felt herself turning scarlet on his behalf. He might look younger since his bizarre transformation, but he was still far too old to be making a fool of himself that way.

Reading her expression, Ben grinned at her. "Not dignified enough for you, Duchess?"

"He looks ridiculous," she said.

"He looks like he's having fun. I thought that was why we came."

Polly sighed and shook her head, and took another sip of her drink - it was moments like this that made her long for 1967. At least she knew that she'd been right to hide the Doctor's recorder before they left the TARDIS.


3. Fertility Dance

One thing John Benton appreciated about his work for UNIT was that it managed to present him with new challenges on an almost daily basis, but this one took the cake. He'd almost got used to tangling with Cybermen and gargoyles, but dancing wasn't his usual line. Miss Hawthorne was a persuasive woman, and he was used to following orders. It was just that the Brig had never instructed him to skip around a dirty great pole while holding a length of ribbon.

Both of his commanding officers had been sensible enough to head for the pub at the first sign of dancing, and Benton thought longingly of the pints they'd be downing without him. If they were officially off-duty now that the Master had been carted away, he could do with a drink.

He was slightly comforted by the fact that the Doctor had also been roped into the celebrations. "I never took you for a dancer, Benton," their scientific advisor said at they wove past each other.

"I'm not. Well, not really." This wasn't the first May Pole he'd danced around, although the last time he'd been hardly more than a boy. "I didn't think this was your sort of thing, either."

They'd done another round of the pole and the music had come to a close before the Doctor appeared beside him again, quirking one eyebrow. "What exactly is 'my sort of thing', Benton?"

Benton winced. He didn't like to say that he thought the Doctor was too much of a snob for it, or that it was a bit funny for a supposed alien in a velvet jacket and a frilly shirt to be frolicking about on the village green. He had a feeling that the Doctor knew what he was thinking anyway - he usually did. Heavens knew he hadn't meant any insult. He respected the Doctor enormously, and while he'd never have said so out loud, he was very fond of him. It was just that he wasn't exactly one of the lads.

He was saved from having to make any reply at all by Jo Grant, who took both him and the Doctor by the arm. "That was thirsty work!" she said, pulling in the direction of the pub. "Come on, you two."

Benton went with her gladly, although he suspected she'd have dragged him along even if he hadn't wanted to go. For such a tiny thing, she had a forceful personality, and she'd managed to almost single-handedly defeat a demon earlier in the day.

"The old English pub is another one of Miss Hawthorn's miracles," the Doctor said, "and one that gets far too little recognition."

"Will you have a pint with us?" Benton asked the Doctor. It wasn't as though he wanted him to be left out.

"Nothing could please me more," he replied with a smile. "You'd be amazed by some of the people I've drunk beer with, Sergeant Benton."

Benton had to agree that he probably would be, but this time he was sensible enough to keep his mouth shut.


4. Conga

Romana - strange how she's started to think of herself by that name - knew she would never understand what the Doctor saw in this backwater planet, its backward people and their silly leisure activities. She certainly couldn't have explained how he'd managed to talk her into joining in one of them.

"You're meant to be kicking your legs out," he says, raising his voice to be heard above the music even though he's just behind her in the line.

"If I do that, I'll knock something over." She's amazed that the man in front of her hasn't damaged a wall or a fellow guest already, and is glad that she's not in his way.

"As I understand it, that's all part of the entertainment."

What they're doing barely qualifies as dancing. The line weaves its way through the house like a giant centipede, kicking erratically. Its rhythm might be explained using chaos theory; it certainly has no connection with the music. It's loud and hot, her feet hurt, and the place stinks of sweat and the fermented drinks many primitive species consume on occasions like this. You'd have to be a human to find it entertaining, but the Doctor seems to have gone native. His long legs swing into her field of vision from time to time, and his hands are firmly attached to her waist.

"How long does this go on for?"

"Until the music stops or we all fall down in a heap," he replies. "Just enjoy the experience."

"This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever done," she shouts.

"Excellent! We'll make a proper traveller of you yet."

This wasn't quite what she'd had in mind when she'd stayed on in the Doctor's out-of-date TARDIS. Romana kept meaning to ask him to return her home now that they'd found the Key to Time, but somehow she never seemed to get around to it. Occasionally, at moments like this, it occurs to her to wonder why not.

"I thought that you were going to show me the universe," she says.

His hands slide down until they rest on her hips. "Ahhhhh," he says, speaking softy but leaning close enough that she can feel his breath on the back of her neck, "but this is the universe. Unlike Gallifrey, it's a very silly place. Kick your legs and see."

He's right about one thing. The universe is nothing like Gallifrey, and he's nothing like any other Time Lord she's ever known. She tentatively kicks out one leg, and wonders what else he might have to show her.


5. Charleston

When Tegan Jovanka was a teenager, her Uncle Ben had kept horse called Jack that Tegan had ridden - or attempted to ride - whenever she visited him. Getting the Doctor onto the dance floor reminded her of trying to make that stubborn old nag jump the creek. She'd flattered, cajoled and whined and she was damned if she was going to beg.

"But I hardly ever get to go dancing!" she said, putting down her glass with a clink.

After months - years - of travel, they'd finally landed back on Earth in the twenties, and Tegan wanted to enjoy this period of history to the full. The Chicago speak easy was just like the ones in the movies, filled with hot music, glittering outfits and illegal booze. She just hoped that there were no disfigured murderers lurking in the attic waiting to spoil her fun this time. The Doctor was bad enough.

"You could always dance with Turlough," he Doctor said.

"Oh no," Turlough said, sipping his champagne and shaking his head. "You can leave me out of this, both of you."

"I don't want to dance with him," Tegan said. "He'd probably just stand on my feet."

"How do you know that I won't?" the Doctor asked.

She knew because she'd watched him. Dashing around the TARDIS or running away from monsters, there was just something about the way he moved that made her sure he'd be a great dancer. Not that she was going to try to explain that to the Doctor.

"There's no point badgering him all night, Tegan. He just doesn't want to admit that there's something he can't do."

Tegan had to give Turlough credit where it was due - he knew how to push people's buttons. He'd done it to Tegan often enough, and the Doctor's frown took on a different quality that showed her Turlough's words had hit home.

"Of course I can dance, I simply choose not to. The hallmark of a gentleman is that he knows how to Charleston, but doesn't."

"That's silly," Tegan said. "What's the point in knowing how to do something if you don't do it?"

"I know how to recite Pi to several thousand places and kill a man with a spoon. That doesn't mean I'm going to do either of those things."

"I doubt there'll be any casualties if you dance with Tegan," Turlough said dryly, "although you can never tell with us."

"I thought you were staying out of it," the Doctor said.

"What's the matter, Doctor?" Turlough asked. He looked pointedly at the glass of water the Doctor was drinking. "Are you worried that you might accidentally enjoy yourself?"

The Doctor's frown got deeper still, and Tegan almost held her breath. All of a sudden, he launched himself to his feet. "Very well, then. If it's the only way to get the two of you to leave me alone -" he held his hand out to Tegan stiffly.

Tegan bit back a remark about that not being the proper way to ask a lady to dance and took it, smiling. She didn't expect him to be graceful in defeat. "Come on, then," she said, hauling him out onto the floor. "Show me what you can do."

Out of the corner of her eye, Tegan could see Turlough pouring himself another glass of champagne. He'd probably been plotting to get his hands on the rest of the bottle all along, the little creep. When the Doctor put a hand on her shoulder and proved that he danced just as well as he played cricket, she found that she didn't care.


6. God Only Knows

Evelyn tried not to subject anyone to her singing voice, but she couldn't resist humming along as she and the Doctor swayed slowly in time with the music.

"Enjoying yourself?"

Head leaning against the Doctor's shoulder, Evelyn smiled. "Oh yes. Most people don't get to relive their youth quite this literally."

The Doctor had found a pocket full of chronologically appropriate change for once, and Evelyn was determined that they would work their way through the entire jukebox. She knew every song by heart - strange the things that stuck in your mind. It must be getting near to closing time; the teenagers who had filled the diner earlier in the evening were starting to leave, still giving the older couple sideways looks. Somewhere else in this time, there was another Evelyn Smythe, barely more than a child herself. Over the past few months, Evelyn had been to Earth in the future and the past, before she was born and long after she must be dead. But she'd never been to her own past.

"It's funny," she said, "to think that there's another version of me out there somewhere."

"What do you think she's doing now?" the Doctor asked. She didn't have to lift her head to know that he was smiling.

"Probably working hard - I was ridiculously studious at that age."

He chuckled. "I can imagine."

"I suppose there must be earlier versions of you somewhere, as well."

"Quite a few - 1966 is one of those years. I don't think any of them are likely to walk in on us, though."

"I wonder what that earlier me would say if she knew I was in New York right now, dancing with an alien?"

Not that the Doctor was a little green man, but it was still a mind boggling concept if she thought about it too hard. From this position, it was easier to tell that he wasn't human - not only could she hear his double heartbeat, he smelled faintly of honey and was cool to the touch even in the overheated room.

She felt him stiffen slightly in her arms at her remark. "You're never going to find out, you know."

Evelyn looked up at him. "It's all right, Doctor. I know that I can't go around changing my own past. The last time somebody went messing about with my history, I almost vanished completely, remember?"

"Would you, though? If given the opportunity?"

There were a few things she might like to tell her younger self, if she could have gone over and called her from the pay phone in the corner. Not to bother getting married, just for starters. She certainly wouldn't change her decision to step into the TARDIS - but there were moments that she regretted only getting to do this now. Her knees hurt if she had to run away form a monster, and she was always aware that the next shock might be the one that her heart couldn't stand.

"Sometimes I wish that you'd turned up sooner," she said at last.

"Sometimes, I wish the same thing about you," he replied.

Not knowing how to respond to the compliment, she took refuge in a joke. "It's probably just as well you didn't find me until now - I don't think I'd have had the patience to put up with you."

"Careful with the insults, or I might accidentally tread on your feet."

Evelyn closed her eyes against the harsh artificial light and listened to the music, knowing that she wouldn't trade what she had now for the world.


7. Rock and Roll

Mel peered through around the hall, but could see no sign of her travelling companion. A few months ago it would have been impossible to lose him in a crowd- she wouldn't have missed that coat anywhere - but now it was all too easy. She'd seen him dancing with Rae earlier on, but perhaps he'd already left.

"Are you having fun, Mel?"

She jumped, and turned to find that the Doctor had appeared suddenly at her elbow, in that uncanny way of his. "Sort of. The Navarinos keep standing on my feet."

"I can understand why," the Doctor said. "It's always a bit difficult, being a new shape."

Mel wondered if it was really a good idea for him to be shouting that over the noise of the band, but nobody was paying attention. The Navarinos and her paranoid room-mate were at least as strange as the Doctor, but no-one seemed to have noticed that the dance was full of aliens, not to mention a girl from 1989. It was amazing how unobservant people could be.

"It's a pretty big surprise for the rest of us!" she replied with a grin. She'd done her best to take his regeneration in her stride, having been told that the Doctor could change his face at any time the day after she met him, but it was certainly startling.

"I thought you approved," he said teasingly. "You haven't harassed me to drink a glass of carrot juice in weeks."

Mel didn't quite know how to respond to that. The Doctor certainly had lost weight recently - not to mention height and a mop of blond curly hair. She felt a bit silly now for having badgered him to slim all the time. As things turned out, the TARDIS console had posed a greater risk to his health than heart disease or diabetes.

"You haven't looked at though you needed it," she said at last, leaving it at that.

She'd never refrained from nagging the Doctor's previous incarnation about his weight, but if she did it now it would have somehow felt like she was insulting him behind his back. Even knowing that personality didn't have any feelings left to hurt, she somehow didn't like the idea of doing it. Within a few hours of meeting him, Mel had sussed out that the Doctor's bombastic manner concealed a need for affection and approval. Lately, she'd started to wonder what layers this new incarnation's mild-mannered exterior was covering.

Wanting to change the subject, she held out a hand to him. "Fancy another dance?" she asked.

"I don't think so, Mel. This isn't really 'my scene', as they say where you come from. I think I ought to go and look for Rae; she seemed quite upset when she left. You'll be all right here, won't you?"

Mel forced a smile, trying not to feel hurt. "Of course I will. Provided my feet survive the Navarinos!"

Knowing the Doctor, he didn't mean to make it sound as though he was throwing her over for a Welsh girl with a motorbike. But the fact was, she just couldn't be certain any more. Pushing away the depressing thought, she took a deep breath and looked around for another partner. If the Doctor didn't need her any more, there was still a whole universe full of people to go dancing with.


8. Circle

The Doctor's feet are pink, with five long toes, and C'Rizz finds them utterly fascinating. He's always known that the Doctor and Charlotte have delicate skins, but he's never considered the fact that even the soles of their feet are vulnerable. He wonders how they can bear to take off their shoes and dance, even on sand, with no protection.

The Doctor leaps and spins in mid-air, clapping his hands and laughing, and Charlotte follows him - there's no music, but it doesn't seem to inhibit them at all. The firelight makes patterns and shadows on their skin that almost makes them look Eutermesan. The creatures sitting with C'Rizz beside the fire make a complicated series of arm movements at each other, and he hopes this means they're pleased with the performance.

They don't seem too different from the Doctor and Charlotte, although their skins are pale blue instead of beige, but they have no mouths or ears, and seem to communicate entirely through body language. The Doctor finds this intriguing and has talked a lot about a species that communicates entirely with their eyebrows, whatever eyebrows are. But it bothers C'Rizz. They have no way of really understanding what the aliens are thinking or doing. What if his travelling companions accidentally say the wrong thing while they're dancing around the fire? There are a lot of aliens and only three of them. Not that the Doctor seems to worry very much about saying the wrong thing, in any language. There's something childlike about him, for all his wisdom, especially at moments like this.

Abruptly, the Doctor comes to a stop in front of C'Rizz, and Charlotte runs straight into him, giggling.

"Are you sure that you won't join in?"

"It's great fun!" Charlotte adds.

He shakes his head, and the alien nearest him makes another series of gestures. C'Rizz hopes he hasn't said anything to offend it - he could have just commented on the weather or insulted its mother, and he wouldn't know either way.

C'Rizz has stopped thinking of the Doctor and Charlotte as aliens. They're his friends, the nearest thing he has to family, even if their skins don't change colour and they keep their skeletons under their flesh. Yet there are still things about them that he finds incomprehensible. He's lost his home, his people and his beloved, but the Doctor and Charlotte have lost an entire universe. He doesn't understand how they can be so carefree.

They flop down in the sand on either side of him, and two of the aliens get up to dance instead. Their movements are graceful and constrained, not like his friends' wild gyrations at all. Charlotte lies on her back and looks up into the night.

"I miss the stars," she says conversationally. "Why is it that the sky is always a funny colour in this universe?"

"Purple is a perfectly normal colour for a sky on many planets," the Doctor says. "It's all a matter of perspective."

"How do you do it?" C'Rizz asks them, watching the aliens move. He imagines that they're telling a complicated story. "Get used to the sky changing colour and meeting species that communicate without words?"

The Doctor's smile fades a little, and he gives C'Rizz a considering look. "It takes time," he says at last.

There's that word again. Perhaps if C'Rizz knew what it meant, he would understand his friends better.


9. In the Mood

"If we're going to do this, you have to let me lead."

There was a hint of uncertainty under the firmness, which Jack Harkness found intriguing. Obviously used to pushing people around, but maybe not in this context. He could tell that the Doctor was only agreeing to do this at all because he had something to prove. Maybe to Rose, maybe to Jack, maybe to himself.

He saluted mockingly, then held his arms open. "Can do. You're the boss."

Rose grinned at both of them. "What's that make you, then?" she asked the Doctor. "A general or something?"

The Doctor put a hand on Jack's hip and shook his head. "Never."

Not keen on the military. Jack filed that away with the rest of his limited information on his charming host and began to move in time with the gramophone.

Fist the Doctor and then Jack had danced with Rose, which left only one logical combination left to try. Now that he'd remembered how, the Doctor was a good dancer, and Jack had no objections - he had nice strong hands, which Jack had always been a sucker for. A little cold, but he could work with that. A face that was brimming over with character. Great eyes, too.

"So, nice place," he said. "You come here often?" He let the Doctor steer them in a different direction before they could collide with the central console.

"I usually drop by for a cup of tea and a change of socks in between saving the world, yeah."

"Does it get good mileage?"

"She," the Doctor corrected. Something told Jack he wasn't just being poetic.

"Really?" he said, looking around speculatively. Dimensionally transcendental ships were rare enough, but a sentient one was something really special. He's heard rumours about Time Lord vessels, but this one must be unique in the universe now. He wondered if she could produce a decent Martini in case of emergency.

"Don't get any funny ideas," the Doctor said. "If you're going to stay, you'll have to learn to behave."

"I'm sure you'll have fun trying to teach me." Jack Harkness had no intention of letting himself be tamed, by the Doctor and Rose Tyler or anyone else, but there was no need to admit that straight away.

"You see, that's exactly what I mean. Is there any conversation topic you can't turn to innuendo?"

"Try me and find out."

"The weather?" Rose suggested from the sidelines. "Football results?"

"Bananas?" the Doctor suggested. "No, wait, even I can do that one."

Jack laughed. "Is it true that you have two hearts?"

"Might be."

It sounded like a challenge, so Jack leaned forward and put his head against his partner's chest. There is was, the tell-tale double beat. He's heard things something like it before - hell, he once danced with a woman who had three - but it still sends a thrill right through him. There was always something new to find. He inhaled deeply, taking in the scent of leather and honey. He could feel the Doctor gradually relax and accept the contact.

"You two getting comfortable there?" Rose asked.

Jack turned his head slightly so he could look at her, enjoying the look of mingled amusement, jealousy and interest on her face.

"There's no rule that says only two people can dance at a time, y'know." He let go of the Doctor with one arm and held it out to Rose. She didn't hesitate in coming over.

"Uluk."

"Excuse me?" That was a new one on Jack.

"It's a planet where they dance in trios instead of pairs. Of course, they've all got eleven legs each there."

"Must spend a lot of time standing on each other's feet," Jack said, welcoming Rose into their embrace.

It's was awkward at first, and he wouldn't want to try any fancy steps this way. It was also kind of nice, with the Doctor's arm around him and Roses head on his shoulder as the music played on, far beyond the point where an ordinary gramophone would have needed a change of record. He had got no plans to steal them away from each other - with two hearts, there should be plenty of Doctor to go around. He didn't know much else about Time Lord physiology, but he hoped he was going to have a good time finding out more.


10. Bridal Waltz

"You look beautiful, Barbara."

She turned to find a man - perhaps thirty, he looked younger - with his hands in the pockets of his incongruous overcoat. It was an odd thing to be wearing in June, especially at a wedding reception.

"I'm sorry, have we met before?" she said, a puzzled frown forming.

Perhaps he was some old friend of Ian's, somebody she'd been introduced to at a party once and then forgotten. That didn't feel quite right, though. She couldn't imagine he was an easy person to forget.

He smiled. "Yes and no. May I have this dance?"

"That's a very forward request for a stranger to make," she said, laughing.

"Come on, Barbara, we're hardly strangers."

Barbara felt the bottom drop out of her stomach as she realized exactly what the strange cut of his suit might mean. She'd admitted to Ian that she hoped the Doctor might show up to the wedding. He had laughed at her, albeit not with any malice. The Doctor had been upset when they'd decided to leave the TARDIS, and as Ian had pointed out, even if he wanted to come he'd probably end up on Venus instead. But perhaps this man knew the time traveller. Perhaps he knew her, but in the future.

Realizing that she was gaping at him, she smiled nervously. "Then I'd be more than glad to dance with you."

He grinned at her and held out his arms, whirling her around the floor in a waltz.

"Is the Doctor somewhere about?" she asked. If he didn't recognise the name, then she could always pretend she thought him some old university friend of Ian's and claim that she was asking after a professor of theirs. His eyes twinkled with amusement, though, so he obviously knew who she was talking about. Perhaps this was one of her successors. She suppressed the urge to attack him with a barrage of questions about Vicki and Steven.

"He's closer than you think."

Barbara refrained from craning around the hall looking for him. "I'm glad," she said. "I didn't think he'd come."

"He very nearly didn't, but I've been to one wedding already today, so I thought, what the hell ..." he cut himself off abruptly. "Ian still not a dancer, then?"

She laughed. "He's always saying I'd be better off with someone else."

"Yes, I remember. That time in Vienna, with you in that nice blue number and all of us in silly wigs."

Something about the way he said it made it all drop into place. The accent, the eyes, the age, all of it was different, but ... all of a sudden, she knew. It was impossible, fantastic.

"But how ...? she started.

"It would take a lot of explaining," he said, still dancing, "and I'm not sure you'd believe me anyway."

Barbara had believed in boxes bigger on the inside and bug-eyed monsters. She could believe this.

"Just try me, Doctor."
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