You Can’t Pluck a Bald Turkey by Tardiscrew
Summary: Just when Rose thinks she has everything ready for Christmas the Doctor starts acting weird. Is he sick, under the influence of something alien? What should she do?
Categories: Tenth Doctor
Characters: Rose Tyler
Genres: Fluff, Humor, Mystery, Romance
Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
Chapter 1: Chapter 1It was a Christmas miracle! Christmas was two weeks away but they were ready!
Rose’s pushing, prodding and cajoling had even nudged the Doctor along without too much whining. The Console room was glowing and twinkling and decorated to the nines! So was the Library and major corridors in the ship. Christmas gifts were pretty much purchased or made and mostly wrapped. Christmas baking, which the Doctor took a keen interest in, including developing new recipes, was all done and frozen. Brilliant!
Christmas was two weeks away yet Rose sat in the library with her feet up by the fire, sipping her tea, thinking this was the way to do Christmas. Start early and the stress was vanquished. Feeling quite superior she basked in her calm sense of control.
Except for a few minor items, her ‘to do’ list was done! It really was the only way when you never knew if you’d be speeding through the universe responding to some sort of galactic emergency or cosmic disaster. But, even if there was an emergency, they were ready!
Digging her list out of her pocket, because she greatly enjoyed striking items off it with a black marker, she turned the list over and there was the one terror she feared above all others, ‘get and cook turkey’! How could she have forgotten the bloody bird! She forgot the bird because turkeys were her arch enemy and a curse of gargantuan proportions!
Last year her turkey had blown up! She didn’t know what giblets were let alone that she was supposed to take the giblets out of the cavity. She didn’t even know they were in the turkey cavity. As a result, the heavy plastic bag they were in had puffed up and blown the stuffing out of the bird blasting off one of the legs and blowing the stuffing all over the inside of the hob!
She’d studied how to cook turkeys for weeks and even though the Doctor had assured her last year’s turkey was perfectly cooked…it blew up! Because of giblets, which no one had told her about, it blew up and it blew up just to cause her embarrassment!
The Doctor had been truly impressed at the devastation, even struggled to control his uproarious laughter without success. But that turkey did it just to show her up. She was convinced.
Omigawd, they needed a turkey! This year she was not going to be defeated. This year the bloomin’ bird was going to bend to her will. She left her calm and her tea behind running down the corridor to find the Doctor.
“Doctor!” she called, running into the console room.
Sensing her alarm the Doctor gave her his full attention. “Something wrong Rose?”
“We have to go the Earth straight away.”
“Very well, what’s up?”
“We don’t have a turkey? We need a turkey!”
The Doctor’s one eyebrow arched. “Ahhh, decided to give it another go?”
“Yes, I’m not lettin’ a bloody gobbler get the better of me. Anyway, you said last year’s turkey was perfectly cooked, except for, well, the melted plastic and blown off leg!”
“That’s the spirit Rose! Third time’s a charm I say!”
“So, can we go to Earth?”
“No need Rose. We have a turkey. Come along and have a gander! See what I did there Rose?”
“Gander goes with goose, not turkey, ya plum.”
Grabbing her hand, the Doctor led Rose down the corridor but after a bit Rose was puzzled. “Hey, why we goin’ to the garden?”
“You’ll see,” the Doctor said mysteriously.
Entering the garden, the Doctor quickly reached for a container he’d left at the entrance and shook it as if it was some kind of signal. Suddenly, something seemed to respond with a truly bizarre sound in the distance.
A very large, very ugly beast was trundling toward them. It had weird red wobbly flesh hanging over and under it’s cruel beak which matched its sharp clawed, deadly toes. It’s eyes were cruelly lifeless like shark eyes.
“Doctor!” she cried, “what is that and are we in danger?”
Quickly she slipped in behind him peeking around his arm as the beast waddled rapidly towards them.
“Of course not Rose. This is Brad the Impossible. He’s a turkey!”
The Doctor was clearly fascinated with the ugly beast, bending to sprinkle feed for him on the grass. Rose had never before seen what a real live turkey looked like.
Still peeking around from behind him Rose asked, “What are those red, fleshy bits over and under the beak?”
“Ahh, well, the bit over the beak is called the ‘snood’”, he explained, pursing his lips and drawing out the sound. “Both males and females have snoods to attract each other but the male snood is bigger. It’s the bit under the beak that is fascinating Rose. It’s called the ‘wattle’ and its purpose is air conditioning. See how Brad’s feathers are dark. Well, in summer when it’s hot, turkeys can overheat but the wattle, the one bit of exposed flesh on a turkey, allows them to perspire copiously so they can cool down.”
“It looks gross and the sweating thing is gross too! Besides are male turkeys even used for meat?”
“Oh yes! In fact, older male turkeys are used for meat because younger ones are too stringy. With females it’s the opposite!”
“Brad is quite magnificent don’t you think Rose?”
“Well, magnificent doesn’t spring to mind to be honest. I can see you are quite impressed with Brad, Doctor. I mean you’ve named the beast and you’re feedin’ ‘im, lettin’ him shite all over your garden so how ya gonna chop off his head ‘n feet, gut him ‘n pluck out his feathers now that you’ve given him a name?”
The Doctor frowned, never intending Brad to be eaten, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t tease Rose.
“Rose, I was thinking that since we don’t have your Mum this year til Boxing Day you’d want to try the authentic approach to turkey dinner, you know, like the pilgrims on Plymouth Rock where they fattened up their turkeys, then ‘offed’ them for a wonderful Christmas dinner with their….err…home made preserves ‘n such?”
Rose wasn’t buying it crossing her arms with one foot tapping which the Doctor knew was not a good sign.
“First off, I’m British, a Londoner to boot ‘n not a Pilgrim! Second, I am not cutting off Brad’s head, guttin’ ‘em ‘n pluckin’ him. So, unless you are prepared to tackle that job, you best take him home ‘n take me to Tesco’s so I can buy a proper bloody bird.”
The Doctor didn’t respond because all his attention was on Brad. Rose didn’t understand what he found so compelling about Brad but then there were lots of things that captured his interest she didn’t fathom.
But the Doctor found all life fascinating, even terrifying life, so Rose aimed to soften the blow.
“Doctor, I reckon you of all people know what it’s like to be separated from your own kind. Brad probably wants a chance to use his snood on a girl turkey, yeah? You could set him free!”
“Okay,” the Doctor agreed, thinking that Rose was truly a stellar companion.
Rose secured a turkey from Tesco’s after tea at her Mum’s. The Doctor hadn’t joined her because he had to find a planet suitable for Brad. He decided against Earth because Brad would just get captured and eaten. They returned to the stars and Rose wondered if she wasn’t being fair to Brad so she decided to go feed Brad on her own.
Entering the garden she took one look, retreated and ran back down the corridor to the console room because she was freaking out.
“Doctor! Doctor!,” she called, “there’s a whole herd of turkeys in the garden!”
“There are thirty-six turkeys in the garden Rose all of which come from different gene pools, both males and females.”
“But, but why?”
“To avoid inbreeding of course.”
“You’re breeding turkeys now?”
“Not exactly but Brad will.”
“But, but Doctor, the whole garden is covered in feathers ‘n guano.”
“Fear not Rose. Guano is great fertilizer and the TARDIS will water it in gradually. We’ll get the feathers picked up bit by bit.”
Rose studied him wondering if he was sick, wondering if she should do something. This did not seem like normal behavior for him.
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Chapter 2: Chapter 2Afraid the Doctor was ill on account of his sudden turkey fetish possibly having contracted some sort of turkey virus, Rose considered taking his temperature.
But then he called to her. “We’ve landed and it’s time to set the flock free! Come on Rose.”
Much relieved he had decided to release the damn birds, Rose had the foresight to don a pair of rubber boots as the Doctor wanted her to herd them from the rear down the corridor while he led them from the front by shaking the food bin, making him look like the pied piper of turkeys.
Despite the plan, it was utter chaos. Screeching, squawking, gobbling turkeys with wings flapping, feathers flying and crap spurting they gradually made it down the corridor, through the console room, and out the door!
Rose looked down at her clothes, entirely ruined by the turkey quanno, spit and feathers. She was not amused. Why did he bring a live turkey on board in the first place?
Watching the Doctor leave the ship he stood there watching the disorganized, strutting-in-all-directions turkeys. Rose noticed nary a feather or sign of excrement on his clothes or shoes and the turkeys all kept a respectful distance from him, almost like they were paying respect to him.
These were the occasions that reminded her how alien the Doctor could be. His behavior was odd but she’d learned to be patient. He might or might not have an explanation and even if he did have one, he might not explain it. That’s the way it was when you travelled with the Doctor and if you couldn’t live with it you were free to leave.
Considering her disgusting state she left the Doctor to contemplate his turkeys and headed to her shower. Once done and changed she saw the Doctor had left her a note. ‘Rose, when you are ready please join me in the library’.
When she arrived the fire was roaring because he knew the ship was cool for her and he had just served her tea the way she liked it. If he sometimes acted odd, he wasn’t without consideration for her comfort.
“‘Ta Doctor. Fireplace is pretty with the fire and all the decorations.”
He didn’t answer straight away, apparently deep in his own thoughts. Not knowing what to say Rose stayed quiet too, staring into the flames.
“Yes,” the Doctor finally responded, also captured by the sight, “fires are hypnotic. Perhaps they remind us of our far distant beginnings living in caves.”
“Hard to imagine Time Lords living in caves, Doctor.”
“Hmmm, yes but we all had humble beginnings, even Time Lords.”
“Something on your mind Doctor?”
“Yes. I…you see….I sometimes don’t pay enough attention to you when I should, when I should explain things. I don’t mean to be….rude to you Rose. I just get….absorbed. You see, I’m used to being alone and doing whatever I want when I want but I worry you might think I’m rude to you and that it makes you unhappy. I don’t want you to be unhappy. I don’t want you to leave Rose.”
However fanciful her imaginings, Rose was convinced she could see his soul shining in those soft brown eyes. It wasn’t just that he feared being alone, he feared losing her. They couldn’t be more different yet they seemed to click. It wasn’t just teacher/student, they had become trusted confidants.
“Doctor, I live here with you because you’re generous enough to allow it. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me. Not because of all the amazin’ things you show me but because of you. You don’t have to explain anything to me but thank you for wanting to ‘n I’m not gonna leave you. If I was thinking of it, I’d tell ya first so we could have a chance to fix whatever was wrong!”
Rose sprang to her feet and hurried over to him squeezing in beside him in his armchair. Gratefully the Doctor wrapped his arm around her closing his eyes appreciating her affection for him.
Snuggled together in front of the fire Rose was very happy and knew he was too.
“So, ya wanna tell me about Brad the Impossible?”
The Doctor laughed, a proper honest laugh and Rose was sure she would remember it for a long time.
“Brad is unique among turkeys Rose. When I say that I mean there has never been another turkey like him. He is telepathic.”
“Oh come on! Tell me another one,” Rose skeptically reacted.
“I mean it Rose. Imagine my surprise, scouting out turkeys, when I felt terror projected at me. Naturally turkeys are afraid of us and we know this because they try to run away from us flapping their wings trying to scare us. But I felt fear telepathically so I projected calm and Brad was the only turkey that stopped flapping while the others were still in a panic. Brad knew I wasn’t there to harm him.”
“But, how could a turkey be telepathic?”
“How, indeed! Anyhow, I used food to coax him out of the flock and by using calm telepathic assurances I got him into the TARDIS’s garden. I used some of his DNA from his turkey spit and sure enough he has a telepathy gene! It’s a mutation and a hell of a mutation at that! I scanned all the turkeys he was with but he was the only one with the mutation.”
“But why’d ya put all the other turkeys with him?”
I made Brad a flock of turkeys hoping he’ll pass along his genetic mutation! Just think Rose, sooner than you think, the planet I put them on could be full of telepathic turkeys. Isn’t it brilliant!”
“Blimey! you mighta created a whole race of telepathic turkeys who one day return to Earth to get even for their slaughter on Easter and Christmas!”
Laughing the Doctor pointed out, “They’d have to be sentient for that Rose. It would take thousands and thousands of years of evolution to result in a cranium large enough to grow a big brain not to mention a stronger neck to hold up their heads!”
“But, what was all that stuff about bein’ like a pilgrim ‘n needin’ to pluck him ‘n such?”
“I was just havin’ you on Rose. I wanted to see if you’d fall for it. I should have known you’d see it a mile away. As you say you’re a scrappy Londoner, not a pilgrim.”
“So knowing the trauma I’ve faced with those bloody birds you decided to convince me I should prepare turkey dinner from scratch, from a live bird!”
“Well, put another way, I decided to remind you preparing a turkey dinner is a lot less challenging than it was in days past to help you put it in perspective. It’s really giblets out, stuffing in, throw in oven, take out when the proper temperature is reached.”
“No ya didn’t! Ya got fascinated with telepathic Brad ‘n everythin’ else took second place. That said I’m determined to pull it off this year.”
“No Rose. True, I was fascinated with Brad but you fascinate me more than Brad or anything else really. You come first, always.”
Seeing the sincerity in his eyes she hugged him tight.
In the days that followed there was a flirty new excitement between them in the lead up to what would be their own private Christmas.
Rose knew their relationship had changed, that he had decided he wanted to be closer to her. The escapade with the turkeys had been the catalyst. It was as if her willingness to put up with what anyone else would have seen as insane behavior made him see her unshakeable faith in him. It also provoked him to think about her importance in his life.
Being with the Doctor was always fun and exciting for her but being the object of his undivided attention made her nervous and giddy. They orbited around each other, their talk and touches, while tentative, became more intimate and welcome.
By Christmas Eve the building tension between them demanded some sort of resolution. It was the Doctor who dragged a mattress in front of the fire and covered it with pillows. With a simple, ‘Will you join me Rose Tyler?’ the Doctor took her on a journey she could not have imagined. The fire of their entwined bodies roared much brighter than that burning in the fireplace. The Doctor introduced her to pure pleasure and Rose knew it had deep meaning for him, that his gift to her was himself and that it was for her and her alone.
It was an intimate Christmas that changed everything for the better. Everything twinkled and glowed, most of all each of them when in the presence of the other. Neither seemed to notice her turkey was perfectly cooked because they were too absorbed with each other!
Best Wishes to all for 2022!
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