The job on Anagonia went bad. It went bad very quickly and with almost no warning. One minute, Charley was happily distracting the Customs Registration official at the space-port and the next, she was ducking behind a counter to avoid the gunfire. The man she'd been talking to went down with the first shot and Charley had a horrible moment where she thanked God he'd been standing in front of her. She used her sleeve to wipe some of the blood off her face and grabbed her blaster from where it was strapped to her leg.
Peeking up over the counter she felt her heart stop as she saw Mel standing, a man holding some sort of rifle on her. Time seemed to slow down as she set her blaster to its highest setting and fired. When the mist of blood cleared, Mel had dived to the ground and Glitz had taken out the other shooter. Disregarding the fact that there could have been other shooters, she stood up and raced for Mel. The look she gave the surrounding area was perfunctory at best. Instead, she knelt down next to Mel and almost started crying in relief when Mel sat up next to her.
The desperate kiss she pulled Mel into was only broken when Glitz coughed. “Look you two can continue if you'd like, but the local law enforcement is going to get here eventually. I'd really prefer to be somewhere else when they do so.”
“Did they at least pretend to pay us before going for the guns?” It seemed like an awful thing to ask, but Charley knew this job had been make-or-break for them.
Mel snorted from where she was digging through headless's pockets. “No, but they didn't wait until we unloaded either.”
“Jackpot!” Glitz yelled out from where he was digging through the other man's pockets. He held up a credit stick and walked towards them. “Fully loaded. Even more than they were going to pay us. Mel can get the money off it once we're off this planet.”
“Great.” Mel took the stick from him and put it in one of her pockets. “Now we just need to figure out what to do with a cargo bay filled with Christmas toys.”
“There must be other planets that have outlawed Christmas?” Glitz's laughter was all the confirmation she needed to know they'd still be able to sell the toys. Charley thought outlawing Christmas was a silly thing to do, but apparently it happened.
Boromeo wasn't a bad place overall. Not really. They were more than a bit strict on crime, admittedly, but everything else was fine. It wasn't the first she'd ever been in, but it looked to be her last. Charley paced inside her jail cell, listening to the grating of the chain that kept her tethered to the wall as it slid along the floor. They'd scheduled her execution for the following morning and somehow she just couldn't seem to sleep. She stopped walking as the door to the cells opened.
“Hey,” Mel said as she walked through the door.
“Hey, yourself.” It wasn't much, but it really was the only thing she could think to say. She walked as close to the bars as she could before the chain went taut. “What are you doing here?”
“What am I doing here? You didn't think I'd just leave you here, did you?” Mel looked like she'd been crying and Charley desperately wanted to reach through the bars to hold her, but the chain just wasn't long enough.
“Well, yes.” Mel looked furious at her answer. “No, not that I think you'd just give up on me or anything. It's just I got caught trespassing on the High Holy Temple thing. With the Very Special Jewels in my hands.”
“Yeah, well, they think only one person would be stupid enough to try stealing the jewels. They figured me and Glitz were conned into taking you here so you could go after them.” Now Mel reached through the bars and trailed a hand down her face. Straining against the chains until her arms felt like they were going to pull out of her sockets, she managed to get her face to the bars of the cell. Mel leaned in and kissed her. Charley let the hands on her face guide her into the kiss and tried to say everything that hadn't been said before.
They were eventually interrupted by the guard coming to take Mel away. Smiling sadly Charley backed away from the bars and watched Mel walk out. She managed to keep from crying until the door closed behind her. Slowly she sat down on the cot and let herself weep.
The next morning was bright and cheery, perfect for a public hanging. The crowds surprised her as Charley was lead up to the gallows. Apparently they had decided to open the winter festival with her death. How cheerful. The hangman hadn't quite gotten the noose around her neck when a flash of red drew her attention to the roof of the building across from her. She saw Mel as she stood up and flung something over the side. It took her a second to recognize the sonic grenade and she barely had time to remember to not clench her teeth before it went off.
“Let's go to Zaakros, they said. See all the plants, they said. It'll be a great holiday, they said,” Glitz muttered to himself as he sat next to the bed in the hospital. Mel laid on the bed, pale as the sheets tucked around her. Her breathing had gotten better in the last few hours, but Charley still refused to leave her side. She had fallen asleep in the chair she'd pulled up next to the bed. Her head was pillowed in her arms as she laid bent over holding Mel's hand. “Next time, I get to choose where we go on holiday.”
“Glitz?” Mel muttered as she opened her eyes. She looked around and noticed the room and Charley next to her. “What happened?”
“What happened?” Glitz tried to sound angry, but his relief at her waking up made that impossible. He reached for the cup of water next to the bed and handed it to her. “What happened is that you're apparently allergic to the local equivalent of bees. Scared me and Charley to death, you did.”
Mel took the cup and drank. “I don't remember. We were waiting for the tree lights to be turned on and then everything gets fuzzy.”
“They turned on the lights.” He took the cup back from her and refilled it. “You and Charley made a bunch of noise about how it reminded you of Christmas back on Earth and then you passed out. Scared everyone else, too. You almost died before the doctors realized you'd been stung.”
“Oh.” Mel looked down at Charley next to her and laid a hand on her head. It looked like a light touch, but Charley woke up immediately. When she saw Mel was awake, she broke into one of the brightest smiles Glitz had ever seen on her.
“I'm gonna go tell someone you're awake. They probably have tests and things.” He stood up and made his way to the door. He hadn't made it even halfway before Charley was holding Mel's face in her hands and peppering it with kisses.
“This is the last time we do business with Time Lords!” Glitz yelled out of his cell.
Personally Charley agreed with the sentiment. The job for Miasimia Goria had seemed too good to be true and it turned out that it was. Still, she couldn't just let a statement like that go unchallenged, Mel would never forgive her. “You knew the Rani was a Time Lord? If I remember correctly, you were the one that found this job. You said we were taking advantage of a rich hermit who didn't know any better!”
“I thought we were!” Glitz continued and this time sounded more than a little contrite. “Although with a name like the Rani we really should've guessed.”
Before Charley had a chance to agree to the statement the door to the cell block opened. Mel stepped through with one of the guards. She gestured for them to remain quite as they were let out of their cells. Outside the cell block the Rani stood with her arms crossed and looking ready to kill everyone in site. Mel smiled cheerily at her and waved, “I guess I'll be seeing you. Honestly this time travel business gives me a headache.”
The Rani smiled back at her. It looked like she was attempting to smile anyways, what came out was more of a grimace. “Remember what I told you.”
Mel nodded her head enthusiastically, “Yes, I must never tell the Doctor about this meeting. Whenever it is that I meet the Doctor. Are you really sure that I end up traveling through time with this man? It seems rather far fetched to me.”
“I'm sure.” With that, the Rani turned around and walked away. The guard who had let them out showed them to where the Nosferatu II was being kept and left them.
Mel waited until they were off the planet and out of reach of the Rani before leaning over and kissing Charley and practically falling over in laughter. “Are you going to tell us how you managed that?”
“Yes,” Mel said between giggles. “You see, when I was traveling with the Doctor we had a run-in with the Rani. She recognized me and I pretended not to know who she was. Amazingly enough, I managed to convince her that I hadn't met her yet.”
“And so she just let us go?” Glitz sounded about as skeptical as Charley felt.
“Whatever else she is, the Rani is also a Time Lord.” Mel started laughing again.
Suddenly Charley got it and started laughing too. She looked up and saw Glitz standing with his arms crossed. “She couldn't cause a paradox. She had to let us go so she could meet Mel again later. Only Mel already met her.”
Glitz looked at them and threw his hands into the air. With a mutter of “Time Lords” he left the room.
“Why can't we ever have nice holidays?” The question came from Mel as she backed up against the wall with her hands raised. Charley stood next to her and gestured to where Glitz was attempting to apologize for whatever it was that he said to offend everyone. “Oh yes, him. He would go to a planet that communicates with their eyebrows and then wiggle his eyebrows.”
Before Charley could respond, Glitz was backed up next to the wall with them. In front of them stood six men, holding rather large guns, looking very angry. Charley reached out for Mel and grabbed her hand. They stood as close together as possible as more angry people showed up. As the guns were leveled at them Mel leaned over and kissed her. It wasn't their first kiss goodbye, but it really did look to be their last. After a few seconds Charley realized they hadn't been shot, which seemed odd under the circumstances. She looked at the group of men holding them at gun point.
They were still there, but looked to be less angry. After staring at them for a couple of seconds the firing squad burst into laughter. Before Glitz could do more then mutter “What?” one of the men stepped forward. “I'm sorry. It's a bit of a joke on our part. Can't really expect people to know what they're saying when they visit.”
“A joke!” Charley practically screeched. “How is making people think you're going to kill them funny?”
The man had the grace to look embarrassed, but then he smiled again. “We have a bit of a warped sense of humor here on Delphon.”
“I'll show you a warped sense of humor,” Glitz managed to say. He made a lunge at the man before Mel grabbed his arm to stop him.
“Yes, well.” The man coughed and then handed them some signs on string. “My name is Seric and on behalf of Delphon I welcome you to enjoy our Festival of Lights. If you would just agree to wear those for the duration of your stay you'll avoid any further complications.”
Charley looked at the sign. It stated: I'm sorry. I'm not from Delphon and as such I am not capable of controlling my own eyebrows. Please forgive me for any offense given. She looked over at Mel and together they shrugged and slipped the signs over their heads. Looking over she saw that Glitz had already put his on and was laughing with two of the local girls as they attempted to teach him to say something. Smiling at Mel she hooked their arms together and set off to enjoy the festival.