Afraid 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!