To Fare As Human

by enchantment [Reviews - 1]

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  • All Ages
  • None
  • Alternate Universe, Het, Humor, Romance, Series

"This is all your fault, you know!" accuses the Doctor as he tries to adjust to a more comfortable position on the cold stone floor.

"My fault?" cries Jamie in sheer disbelief. "We wouldn't even be locked up in the cellar if you weren't messing about where you're not supposed to be!" Jamie grumbles to himself as he rubs his arms for warmth. "You're always sticking your nose where it doesn't belong!"

"I was trying to help!" insists the Doctor heatedly as he glares at his unwilling companion. "The way that you've sorted the stock is all wrong! If you'd only listen to me then —"

"We'd be in more trouble than we could handle!" interrupts Jamie. "I know what I'm doing Dr. Smith. In fact, we haven't had any complaints about the way that I run things around here except from you." He leans his head back against a wooden post. "And I've been meaning to ask you, Doctor, just what is your problem with me anyway? What have I ever done to offend you?"

The Doctor sets his mouth in a stubborn line as he refuses to answer for all of thirty seconds. "It's not you that you've personally offended me, it's more that you've offended my personal sense of integrity."

Jamie closes his eyes with a weary sigh as he rubs the bridge of his nose to relieve the burgeoning ache in his head. "And what's that supposed to mean, exactly?"

The Doctor shifts to face Jamie with a hard stare. "You're a young man, Jamie McCrimmon, with a future ripe with possibilities! True, you're certainly not the brightest man that I've ever met," he blithely ignores the tightening of Jamie's mouth and blazing eyes as he continues, "but still…you could do so much more with yourself and instead you choose to waste yourself as a mere barman!" He blows out a blast of air as forceful as a bull in his frustration as he stares at the strangely quiet young man. "Just what are you waiting for?"

You'd be surprised, he reflects briefly before he averts his gaze from the Doctor and mutters under his breath, "There's nothing wrong with being a barman, it's good, honest work."

Gazing irritably at Jamie, the Doctor berates, "I have absolutely no idea what Zoe sees in you!"

The unexpected remark quickly brings Jamie out of his musings. "What? What are you on about now?"

BANG!

"Finally!" breathes Zoe harshly as she and Rose try to catch their breath as they lean against the open door. "I was beginning to think that door would never budge!"

Sweating from the effort of helping Zoe force open the door, Rose wipes her brow and asks, "Are you two alright? You must have been freezing in here!"

Jamie hurriedly jumps to his feet and heads straight towards the open door. "Aye, lass, that would explain the cold shoulder that I've been suffering," he mentions as he brushes past the young women in an effort to put as much distance between himself and the mockery of the man who was once his best friend.

"Jamie?" inquires Zoe worriedly before rounding on the Doctor with an angry expression and her hands on her hips. "What have you done now?"

The Doctor responds to her question with an expression of utter innocence as he pushes himself up off of the floor and meticulously dusts himself off. "Some people don't care to hear the truth Zoe, and Jamie appears to be one of them."

"And just what truth is that, Doctor?" questions Zoe angrily as she follows him out of the cellar and up the stairs.

"I told him that he's wasting his time as a barman and now I'm telling you, Zoe Herriot, that you are wasting your time on him!"

"Playing couples counseling again, Dr. Smith?" comments the Brigadier as he watches the Doctor make his way from around the bar and onto the stool alongside him.

"Oh, hello Alastair," he greets with a small smile and an arched eyebrow, "nice of you to finally turn up."

"Yes, well some of us actually have consistent meetings and obligations that have to be attended to in person, Doctor. Not all of us simply show up to work willy-nilly when the idea takes our fancy." The Brigadier eyes his old friend knowingly and surmises, "You seem very eager to see me. This sudden affection for my company wouldn't have anything to do with my offering to buy lunch, would it?"

The Doctor sniffs indignantly as he slides his gaze away from the Brig and rests his clasped hands atop the bar. "I don't think that I've ever been so insulted."

"Then you've obviously forgotten about last night," remarks Zoe coldly as she places his favorite drink before him. "Rose sent this over," she notes with a nod towards the blonde at the end of the bar. "Although why she bothers with youis beyond me!"

"Petulance doesn't suit you, Zoe," points out the Doctor drily before he takes a sip of his pint, "and it's conduct that's far beneath one that I would consider a peer. However, that is the type of behavior that I'd expect from the hairy-legged Highlander down the way." He glances dismissively in Jamie's direction as he grabs a handful of peanuts and pops one in his mouth.

It's a wonder that Zoe's fiery gaze doesn't burn a hole into the Doctor as she heatedly informs him, "As if you would know anything about Jamie McCrimmon at all! I'll have you know that Jamie has done more with his life than people that are more than three times his age and they'd be more than happy to acknowledge it! Wouldn't they Brigadier?"

The surprised soldier is caught so unaware by both the question and her fiery gaze that he is only able to manage a mumbled, "What?" followed by an embarrassed clearing of his throat and an uncomfortable, "Well…" before his giving up with a disgusted shake of his head as he allows his voice to trail off completely.

The Doctor shoots a laughing glance at the Brigadier while he tosses another peanut into his mouth, quite amused at his old friend's discomfiture until Zoe draws his attention back to her. "And of course, Jamie's not very smart!" she offers in his defense. "Well, of course I mean not as smart as me but then not very many people are, are they? Take you for instance, even in astral physics you're still sorely lacking in comparison to my skills."

Now it's the Brigadier's turn to smirk while the Doctor flushes in embarrassment as Zoe makes her final point. "But Jamie's not merely someone to be judged solely by his intellect, he's full of heart, courage and loyalty!" She gives the Doctor a quick once over which leaves him utterly confused at her irritated and pitying countenance. "And you have no idea what he's had to put up with since we've been here!"

After giving the bar top a swift swipe of her dish towel, Zoe rushes off before she breaks down in front of the two men as she begins to give way to tears of frustration. The Brigadier follows Zoe's retreat with a sympathetic gaze before turning a hardened one onto the Doctor.

The Doctor huffs in annoyance and returns the Brigadier's admonishing look with his own bland gaze. "Don't waste your breath with one of your tedious chastisements, Alistair, it won't do any good. My opinion on that boy is set and nothing sort of an out of this world transformation is going to change it." He stares down at his hands as he throws a peanut back and forth while the Brigadier sighs in resignation. The Doctor peers sideways at him and humbly quizzes, "Are you still going to treat me to lunch?"

The Brigadier spares him a wry glance before acquiescing, "Yes, I'll make good on the offer. Not that you deserve it."

A totally unrepentant Doctor acknowledges, "That's fine, Alistair, thank you. And you, of course, are entitled to your opinion just as I am entitled to mine. I'll have my usual, please."

The Brigadier raises his hand in the air to catch Rose's attention. "Miss Tyler, we'd like to order when you have a moment."

"I'll be there in just a minute, Brigadier!" returns Rose cheerily before returning her attention back to the soldier in front of her. "Now is there anything else that I can get for you, Private Potts?"

"Darlin'", what I need, you can't give me in a public place much less a public house," he replies with a lecherous grin as he leans against the bar. "But if you'd like to leave here with me after your shift is done?" he suggests while trailing his gaze over Rose's trim figure, leaving her with a feeling more of revulsion rather than excitement. "Well then, all you have to do is say the word."

Rose moves away from him to pull a pint for a punter and accepts the pensioner's money with a kind smile and a muttered, "Ta," before turning back to the eagerly waiting Private. Hands on her hips, she inquires sweetly, "Why don't you just tell me what the word is?" Watching his eyes alight with expectation at her response, she deadpans, "That way I can be sure to avoid it."

Laughing aloud at her audacity, he reaches over the bar and manages to grab her hand before she can step away. "That's brilliant, love, you know you've got quite the mouth on you!" He ignores her attempts to squirm free of his grip as he asks, "How about we put it to better use?" and puckers up in her direction.

One final tug wrests her free from his grasp and Rose hurriedly retreats to a safe distance. "You're a bit forward, aren't you?"

"I was just thinking the same thing," opines a male voice from behind the soldier, a voice belonging to an extremely stern and irate Mike Yates. "Perhaps a forward march is in order to rectify the situation?"

"Excuse me, Sir?" requests the young man after a nervous gulp.

"Back to the base, Private, now!" barks out Captain Yates irritably. "I told your commanding officer that I'd pass the message along that you were needed back at headquarters but I didn't think that I'd have to play referee by flashing a red card as well. Now apologize to Miss Tyler and move out, on the double!"

Private Potts flashes an apologetic glance at Rose as he mumbles a quick, "Sorry, Miss," before hurrying on his way.

Rose watches Mike smirk in smug satisfaction as he tracks the Private's progress through the crowd until he turns back around to find her staring at him. "Was he really called back to headquarters?" she inquires with an arched eyebrow.

Mike exhibits a wide grin as he confesses, "No, he wasn't. In fact, I don't even remember the name of his commanding officer but even so, I could tell that he was needed a lot more there than he was here."

Rose laughs softly before leaning over the bar to drop a chaste kiss onto his cheek. "Well, such a chivalrous gesture deserves a reward so anything that you order for lunch is on the house."

Mike tips his hat to her before removing it and placing it on the bar. "I graciously accept your kind offer. Is there anything that you recommend?"

"You mean besides avoiding soldiers who are fresh off of a two week leave?" she teases with her typical tongue in teeth grin. "Hmmm, what would you think about the house special?"

Mike chuckles before consenting with a sigh. "Fine, fish and chips it is then, again. Although honestly, Rose, you're promoting the British stereotype a bit too much for the tourists. I love fish and chips as much as the next person but you three have got to start serving something else."

"We will," promises Rose with a glance towards the kitchen, "just as soon as Jamie learns to cook something else." She turns around and calls out through the kitchen window, "Jamie, fish and chips for Captain Yates, please, and it's on the house!" She pulls a pint and places it before him as she insists, "And so is this," steadfastly ignoring him when he begins to protest. She sighs wistfully as she scans the noisy crowd. "You know, Captain, I can almost remember a time when I would come into a pub to pull a man and not a pint."

"Do you want me to call Private Potts back?" he suggests cheekily. "That way you could do both."

"Try it and you'll be wearing that beer instead of drinking it, mate," she warns playfully as she swats his arm.

Mike grins and gives her a brief salute as she tosses one last smile in his direction before heading off to tend to the Doctor and Brigadier.

"Oh, Zoe, could you please…" starts to request the Doctor as he holds up his empty glass for a refill, his voice instantly trailing away as Zoe purposely ignores him as she rushes by with her head held stiffly in the air.

"Oh dear," he notes with an abashed look at the Brigadier while he clutches his glass to his chest, "we are in trouble. Everyone's lining up for Rose now that they've seen Zoe behind the bar and now it seems that we won't even have a chance for a bit of froth atop our splash of beer." He expresses a pout as he stares down morosely into his glass before turning to the Brigadier with a hopeful expression as he points at his friend's glass. "Are you going to finish that?"

"Yes, I am," declares the Brigadier firmly as he slides his glass away as an extra precaution against this human Doctor's seemingly excessive thirst for alcohol. He peers over at the line of punters who have sidetracked Rose while she swiftly begins to sort through the various orders as she calls out a heartfelt promise to the Doctor and Brigadier that she'll be with them as soon as she can.

The Doctor releases a defeated sigh while glancing wearily at his old friend's unreadable countenance. "Well, do you have any suggestions, Alistair?"

"You don't need my advice, Doctor; you know what you need to do." When the Doctor diverts his gaze in a display of petulance, the Brigadier leans his arms on top of the bar and relates, "You need to make it up with the girl, John. Regardless of how well intentional you were, you were bang out of order. Jamie has done nothing to incur your wrath and you know it. You also know how Zoe feels about him and even if they're reluctant to admit their feelings to themselves as yet, the feeling is still there so of course she'd want to defend him."

The Doctor's gaze remains averted but the stillness in his body informs the Brigadier that he is at least listening to him. "John," he states as he places his hand on the Doctor's shoulder, "you're not a cruel man, I know that and so do those children but your judgment does tend to be harsh at times. Now for whatever reason, unbeknownst to me," he adds with a twinkle in his eye, "they look up to you and they take your words to heart." His hand drops off the Doctor's shoulder to drop back onto the bar and reach over for his glass. "So if you truly want my advice, you'll go over there and explain to Zoe your reasons for acting like such an idiot about Jamie and ask her forgiveness."

"That sounds like good advice to me," concurs Rose as she approaches the two men.

"Do you really think so, Rose?" inquires the Doctor with a dubious expression as his gaze darts back and forth between them.

"The Brigadier's a brilliant man, Doctor. You could do a lot worse than taking advice from him."

"Yes, I suppose so," he considers as he peeks through the window into the kitchen, "I could be listening to Jamie."

"That does it!" hisses Rose at the Doctor while she reaches across the bar and snatches his glass off of him. "You're cut off until you go and make things up with Zoe and Jamie!"

"That's not fair!" protests the Doctor in a childish whine as he tries to recapture the glass that Rose is dangling tauntingly just out of reach.

"Life seldom is, Doctor," comments the Brigadier sagely before draining his glass and setting it back on top of the bar. "Another round, Miss Tyler?"

"Of course, Brigadier, it would be my pleasure," she assures with an overly sweet smile aimed at a fuming Doctor. "Now, should I make that one or two?" she asks while giving the Doctor a meaningful look.

He obstinately stares back at her and upon seeing no glimmer of hope of either of them softening, he huffs, "Fine, I'm going, I'm going!" He hops off of the bar stool and takes but a few steps before he spins back around on his heel and cautions, "I can't make any promises with Jamie but I will do my utmost best to explain my side of the situation to Zoe. And knowing how much supportive argument that Zoe requires to see the other person's side of things, you can be assured that I will return with a great thirst." He gestures towards his empty glass. "So please be sure that it's full upon my return and that it's attributed to Alistair's tab!" he declares heatedly before heading off to confront Zoe.

They watch him leave with a mixture of irritation and amusement. "He's like a child, that one," remarks Rose exasperatedly as she collects the empty glasses littering the bar and starts washing them. The Brigadier gives a quiet nod and taking a sip of his drink, becomes lost in thought while Rose anxiously bites her lip as she studies him. Knowing that she won't receive any answers unless she asks her questions in the first place, she clears her throat to draw his attention.

"Um, Brigadier?" she requests in a hushed tone so that they won't be overheard by anyone. "I know that I haven't been one of the TARDIS crew very long and all but I'm a bit confused about something. From what I understood, the Doctor has always been very fond of Jamie and although he and Zoe have been good friends, he's never been this overprotective of her as he is now. I mean, I know that the TARDIS went and changed him and everything, but why do you think that she went and made him so different?"

The Brigadier mulls over Rose's questions for a few moments before offering his opinion. "You three weren't just having me on when you told me that the TARDIS was a sentient machine, were you? The TARDIS is actually telepathic and has the ability to go inside your head?"

Rose keeps quiet as she nods in the affirmative. The Brigadier offers a curt nod of his own in reply and then answers, "Miss Tyler, I've known the Doctor and Jamie McCrimmon for quite some time, even longer than I've known Zoe. Throughout all of the time that they've worked with me, I watched his relationship with the boy grow from best mates to one that couldn't be described as anything other than that of father and son. If I had to hazard a guess, I would say that the TARDIS knew that if there was one thing in all of this universe that could draw the Doctor out of his human guise that it would have to be his love for Jamie. There's not much that those two wouldn't do for each other, this latest escapade is proof of that."

"Okay," agrees Rose, "that makes sense but what about Zoe?"

"Well again, it's only guesswork on my part but I would think that it was the TARDIS' way of making it up to McCrimmon, for all that the Doctor is putting him through. If the Doctor is unable to care for the one person who means the most to him…" suggests the Brigadier in an encouraging tone, curious to see if Rose will pick up on his train of thought.

"Which would be Jamie," chimes in Rose with a dawning gleam in her eye.

The Brig offers a warm smile with his confirming nod before finishing, "Then the least that the TARDIS can do is guarantee that the Doctor does his best to ensure the care and safety of the one who means the most to Jamie."

"Which would be Zoe," declares Rose with a tone tinged with finality and the relief of someone having the missing piece of the puzzle finally click into place.

"Exactly," congratulates the Brigadier as he tips his glass in acknowledgment.

"You know, I was wrong before, Brig, when I told the Doctor that you were brilliant," she admits to him, his response remaining stoic with the exception of a slight raised eyebrow arched in curiosity. "You're actually a blooming genius! Are you sure that U.N.I.T. has the right man for their Scientific Advisor?"

He chuckles softly as Rose's smile turns into a worried frown while she catches sight of the Doctor chasing Zoe around the pub as the young woman does her best to avoid him. "Zoe! Zoe Herriot, will you please stop for a moment and listen to me?" begs the Doctor between breaths.

Continuing to act as deaf as she is stubborn, Zoe weaves through the various tables and punters as the Doctor doggedly pursues her while calling out, "Resistance is futile you know, I'll follow you wherever you go!"

Determined to lose him, Zoe suddenly makes a beeline for the Ladies room and upon realizing her destination, the Doctor runs as fast as he can to head her off and skid to a halt just in time to bar her way. "Well," he says before taking a few deep breaths as he steadies himself, his face flushed from a combination of exertion and embarrassment, "except for through here of course."

Zoe darts a heated glare in his direction before spinning around and beginning to stalk off when the Doctor rushes past her to stand before her with clasped hands to plead, "Oh no, Zoe, oh no, please don't leave. Zoe, I am ever so sorry that I've offended you. Please, Zoe, mayn't we be friends again?"

Noting his anguished expression, Zoe's resolve soon crumbles. "Well, I suppose so, Doctor, but only if you make it up to Jamie as well and explain to me why you're so hard on him!"

Relieved at her response, the Doctor breathes a bit more freely and gently taking her arm, escorts her to a table. "That's exactly why I'm here, my dear, and I'm absolutely positive that by the end of our little talk that you'll come to understand that I had only the best of intentions where you're concerned."

Zoe's brow wrinkles in confusion as she settles down into her seat. "Doctor, I don't understand why my association with Jamie should cause you any distress whatsoever. We're simply good friends after all."

"Oh dear," fusses the Doctor in a patronizing tone as he pats her hand in sympathy, "are we still playing that old tune? Well, never mind," he continues off-handedly in the face of a blushing Zoe, "let's merely stick with that little fantasy for now, shall we? Anyway, in answer to your question, I believe that Jamie is a complete idiot who appears to be utterly unworthy of you and not worth a moment of your time."

The Doctor's clasped hands lay genteelly in his lap while he beams at Zoe as if he's offered her the lottery instead of a load of utter tripe. Zoe's teeth clamp together before she spits out, "I thought that you were going to make it up to me and Jamie, Doctor, but that insanely incorrect statement hardly seems to be accomplishing that now does it?"

Grimacing as he straightens in his chair, the Doctor takes hold of Zoe's hand and soothes, "Zoe, I can't help how I feel; it's not as if I manufactured these feelings." Zoe glances away to lock gazes with a sympathetic Rose until the Doctor's voice calls her attention back to him. "Zoe, please, I can hardly plead my case if you refuse to pay me any attention."

"Well, go on then" she insists harshly, "explain to me why you hate Jamie so much."

The Doctor gives Zoe's hand an admonishing squeeze. "Now don't be ridiculous, I never said that I hated the boy. I am simply of the opinion that he is unsuited for you." He releases her hand to grab a peanut and pop it in his mouth. "And he is."

He shushes the protest that she's about to utter and declares, "You know it's the truth, Zoe! As genial as Jamie is, well…to everyone else apparently, he's nowhere in the same degree as you are. Can you honestly tell me that you two have anything in common other than your species?"

When a steaming Zoe can do no more than glower and sputter at him, he tightens his grip on her hand to ensure that she remains at the table so that he can argue his point. "It's not that I mind that he's a blue collar worker, hard workers in the labor force are very important and I will give him credit where credit is due. Regardless of how badly he botches a task, even I can see that he still puts forth his best effort to achieve such abysmal failure. Poor boy, he's obviously not the great intelligence, is he?"

Zoe rolls her eyes at the invective but remains seated, curious to see where the Doctor's logic is heading. "But you're brilliant, Zoe, you have an intelligence that rivals even my own. You would be one of the youngest and brightest upcoming scientists in the field of astrophysics since…well, since me if you would just apply yourself! Don't you see? If you decide to stay with Jamie, you'll lose out on so many opportunities. What chance do you have of using your scientific knowledge and exploring the universe while hanging about with the son of a piper?"

"You'd be surprised," murmurs Zoe drily. "Doctor, you're so positive that Jamie's going to ruin my life but I still don't understand. Where is this all coming from?"

For the first time in their conversation, the Doctor falters and seems unsure and even a bit unsteady, so much so that it's enough to urge Zoe to lay her hand over his own in an effort to lend him any strength or reassurance that he might need.

"I'm not quite sure myself, Zoe," he admits with a nervous chuckle. "It's odd but I keep having visions at night. Not dreams exactly, but extremely vivid snippets of an old man and a young girl. She's quite lovely really, and very sweet as I recall and I believe that the old man is her grandfather. And despite her meeting a young man who loves her with all of his heart and who she loves in return, she refuses to leave her grandfather."

He stares at her gravely as he shares, "As noble as her gesture was, she was allowing herself to be held back instead of following her heart's desire. It's so easy to push aside your own hopes and dreams for those you love, Zoe, and I don't want that to happen to you."

Zoe finds both her gaze and heart softening as she returns the Doctor's fretful glances with a warm smile. The Doctor nearly topples over in his chair when Zoe unexpectedly launches herself into his arms and gushes, "Oh, Doctor, I knew that we hadn't lost you!" When she leans back to beam at his befuddled countenance, she swiftly adds, "And I won't lose myself either, I promise. There is nothing and no one who will keep me from my dreams and I can assure you that in just a few weeks time that I'm going to have everything I want! We all are," she proclaims excitedly as draws back to gesture towards Rose and Jamie, "and you're going to be so proud of us!"

Filled to the brim with confusion as to the exact meaning of Zoe's statement, the Doctor's demeanor of concerned mentor and friend swiftly morphs into one of inquisitive scientist. His eyes rapidly travel over her face, taking note of her pink tinged cheeks and her eyes shining from what he had thought was excitement, but now… Oh dear, I do believe that Zoe's been indulging a bit behind the bar. Well, who can blame her, really? Everything's so deliciously tempting, especially when it's so easily accessible and it takes a great deal of libation to relax minds such as ours. Hmmm, I wonder if Rose has pulled that pint for me yet.

He glances towards the front of the pub and sees Rose and the Brigadier's approving nods and returns their smiles with his own as he decides his next action. "Come along, Zoe, I've kept you from your duties long enough and besides, we need to obtain a few cups of coffee for you."

"Coffee?" asks Zoe while wrinkling her nose distastefully. "Why, whatever for?"

The Doctor gives her a pitying glance as he pats her hand. Best not to embarrass the poor girl. "Why to warm you up, of course! It's very chilly today and I wouldn't want you to catch cold."

"That's very thoughtful of you, Doctor, thank you," says Zoe as she leans over and kisses his cheek.

"Now how can I get one of those, eh?" inquires the cheeky American soldier who's become completely smitten with Zoe in the brief time that he's known her.

He's sauntering up to them when Jamie walks up behind him carrying two plates of fish and chips and then quickly sidestepping the young soldier to place them on the Doctor's table. "All you had to do was say, lad," pipes up Jamie, "I'll be more than happy to kiss you goodbye."

Jamie turns towards Zoe with a stony expression. "Rose needs your help at the bar. I'll take care of this one," he asserts as he jerks his head to indicate her would be suitor.

"Looks like your order's up, Zoe," sighs the soldier as Rose calls out for help and waves her hands at the steaming plates of food piled along the kitchen window's counter.

"And your number will be up if you bother my barmaid again," threatens Jamie as he straightens to his full height. "Am I making myself clear?"

"As crystal," answers the soldier with a mock salute as he aims a soothing gaze in Zoe's direction. "No worries, sweetheart, I only came in for a drink." He smirks at Jamie's self-satisfied grin before tipping his hat to Zoe and adding with a saucy wink, "And of course, the company. See you later, gorgeous."

Jamie's about to go after the young man when Zoe jumps up to block his path and hold him back. "Calm down, Jamie, please!" She gives him a questionable once over and asks, "Can I trust you to behave so that I can go and help Rose?"

"Aye," admits Jamie grudgingly as he glares at the laughing Captain sitting at a nearby table, "although it's not me that you have to worry about."

With a relieved nod, Zoe starts to move away but stops to face the Doctor while bearing a curious expression. "Doctor, before I go, I was just wondering…whatever happened to that girl?"

"Her grandfather locked her out of the house and forced her to go off with her young man," responds the Doctor flatly.

"And what happened then?" questions an intrigued Zoe.

"Why, they lived happily ever after, of course!" he announces grandly as he leans back in his chair and laces his fingers together before resting his hands over his chest.

Zoe laughs delightedly. "It sounds like a fairytale."

The Doctor stills as he reflects on Zoe's words before concluding, "You know, you might be onto something there. It would explain why I keep picturing her with one lone shoe."

"Zoe!" yells Rose in exasperation as the lunch crowd continues to pour into the pub and grow into a small mob surrounding the bar.

"I'm coming!" returns Zoe sheepishly before rushing away without a backwards glance.

Jamie moves to follow her when the Doctor clears his throat and requests, "Jamie, could you please stay for a moment? I'd like to have a word with you."

Jamie steels himself for the next onslaught of insults that he's sure is coming and crosses his arms over his chest in an unconscious gesture of defense. "Alright, Doctor, out with it, what's your complaint now?"

The Doctor holds his head with an offended air before he flashes a remorseful look at the young Highlander. "Now Jamie, don't be like that." He motions towards the seat across from him and requests, "Please have a seat, what I have to speak with you about is very important."

"Aye?" asks Jamie dubiously. "And what's that then?"

"I'd like to discuss a certain young woman who is very dear to both of us and also some rather obvious if not yet openly declared romantic intentions towards said young lady," relays the Doctor. "I was young once myself so like you, I am perfectly capable of recalling as well as still experiencing the bloom of passion when one is in love."

Jamie's eyes narrow as he awaits the rest of the Doctor's speech. Apparently, whether the Doctor is Time Lord or human, he has yet to be known to stop at a sentence or two. "Jamie there comes a time in a man's life when aimless drifting and carousing no longer fulfills the need that it once did and the longing for a more steady and secure future takes hold, especially when a man meets a woman and not just any woman, but the woman. She's the woman who's going to change his life, his entire way of thinking and all for the better. Now, in the case of a genius becoming enamored of a…hmmm, let's not say simple, shall we? Perhaps straightforward would be a better term?"

He nods approvingly at his own assessment. "Yes, that's definitely better, a genius and a straightforward person. Well, in the case of such a unique couple, there are certain considerations that you need to take into account for such a relationship to work. For instance, the greatest patience must be exerted while the genius is allowed to work and dare I say even encouraged to work on various scientific endeavors while their companion offers their assistance as needed."

"You mean like assisting with computers and experiments and the like?" asks Jamie knowingly.

"No, I was speaking more in the vein of passing test tubes and fetching tea." The Doctor gives the young man an appraising glance. "You do understand what I'm saying so far, don't you Jamie? I don't need to simplify anything in any way?"

"I'm able to keep up with you so far, thanks," responds Jamie sarcastically.

"Good, good," acknowledges the Doctor, quite pleased with himself and completely missing Jamie's eye roll. "What I'm trying to say, my boy, is that regardless of the differences between two people, whether it be through intellect, or status in society or age for that matter, it doesn't matter as long as the two people care enough for each other to put forth the effort to make their relationship work and help each other realize the other's hopes and dreams. And in saying this, I'd like to note that the same young woman whom I mentioned earlier has requested that I, myself, offer an olive branch as it were and broach the possibility of friendship."

The Doctor begins to grimace and he appears stern as he wags his finger in the Scot's surprised face. "Normally, I wouldn't be so magnanimous after everything that we've been through, Jamie McCrimmon, but it is because of my fondness and deep affection for this particular young lady that I am willing to even attempt to befriend you at all."

"Gee thanks," mutters Jamie resignedly while he contemplates either dousing the spark of hope at the Doctor's words or fanning them into a flame.

The Doctor grabs a few chips off of the Brigadier's plate and pops them in his mouth while Jamie thinks over the problem; the older man's eyes alight with pleasure when Rose suddenly appears at the table with a large pint in each hand. "The Brigadier will be over in a minute so I thought that I'd bring your drinks over now." She leans down and kisses the Doctor's cheek to his delighted surprise. "That and the next pint, which is on me, is for making it up with…" she glances at a startled Jamie and not wanting to make a fuss over their argument, finishes with, "well…you know who."

The Doctor follows her departure with a soft warm gaze and a silly grin until he is assured that she has deftly avoided the overfriendly hands of a few of the more merry punters and has made her way back safely to the bar. He turns back to face Jamie who is cringing in his seat as he stares back at the Doctor in sheer disbelief. "Doctor," he croaks out as he grips the arms of the wooden chair for support, "this long winded speech of yours isn't your way of telling me that you fancy Rose, is it?"

"What?" asks the Doctor in horrified shock as he jumps to his feet. "I was referring to you and Zoe you young idiot, not me and Rose!"

"Me and Zoe?" questions Jamie, a look of consternation plastered all over his face until bewilderment and relief take over and then soon give way to anger. "What do you mean that I'm an idiot? You're the one who who's not making himself clear, what with going on about being in love with some unnamed woman and differences!"

"That's because I was offering examples of the types of situations that occur between star-crossed lovers!" he growls back as if it were the most obvious answer in the world.

"Well, you weren't doing a very good job at it," replies Jamie in a frustrated tone while the Doctor has to forcibly hold himself back from throttling the young man.

When the Brigadier spies the Doctor thrusting his hands into his hair and tugging at his roots, he realizes that it's time to intervene. "Here we go again," he mutters to himself before calling out to the other end of the bar, "Captain Yates, I need your assistance," before hurrying off of his own stool to break up the looming argument.

"Coming, Sir," yells Mike with an amused glance towards the Doctor and Jamie's shouting match which has now escalated into a shoving contest. Speedily downing the last of his drink, Mike laughingly sets off to aid the Brig.

Noting Zoe's worried frown, Rose walks over to her and gives her a sideways hug. "Oi, don't fret so much, Zoe. If worse comes to worse, we'll just lock them back up in the storage room."

A slightly hopeful gleam appears in Zoe's eyes as she inquires, "Do you really think that would help, Rose? I mean, it didn't seem to help them resolve their differences earlier."

Rose glances towards the spectacle that the men are making of themselves at the other end of the pub while Mike and the Brigadier try to pull the Doctor and Jamie apart. "Forget helping them work out their problems, Zoe. At this point, I'll be grateful for some peace and quiet." Raising her voice so that she can be heard over the din, Rose requests of the group of punters gathered round, "Alright, ladies and gents, who'll be next?"

To Be Continued…