15 April 2007

Oxford Ostinato - Chapter 1 Part 1

Kevin watched the strangers disappear across the grass with little curiosity. He wasn't paid to be curious, just observant. He turned back towards the house that was hidden amongst the trees, looking forward to his shift ending and a break from the boredom of being stuck out in the Oxfordshire countryside. When he'd accepted this job in London the previous week, he'd thought it would be easy money, and so far it was, but he hadn't anticipated the sheer boredom of his 'babysitting' role. He hoped it would all be over soon so that he could take his earnings and go away for a week or two. Maybe he'd go to Manchester or Glasgow. Somewhere lively with lots of people was definitely necessary.

Once back at the TARDIS, the Doctor asked Saskia to put their picnic things away whilst he looked to see what concerts were being performed in or near the city.
"I promised you a treat," he said, "and you shall have it. Nothing is going to stop us."
Saskia rolled her eyes. "Well you've totally jinxed us now," she said. "I thought you knew better than that!"
He raised his eyebrows at her. "Oh ye of little faith," he said, pretending to be hurt, but secretly wondering if she was right. He suddenly remembered chastising Ida for saying 'No turning back' when they were investigating the interior of the planet that orbited a black hole. He saw that Saskia was looking at him expectantly and sighed. "OK. I shouldn't have said that. If we get monsters instead of music, I promise I'll make it up to you as it'll be my fault entirely."
Saskia grinned at him. "Deal." She went off to the kitchen with the picnic hamper.
The Doctor watched her go, relieved by her smile. He'd been worried that his big speech just now might have soured their friendship since it was still so new. He pulled off his overcoat, draping it over the back of the bench, then pulled out his dark framed glasses and put them on. He used the TARDIS to check local events listings in an effort to find a concert that Saskia would enjoy.

Kevin walked through the evergreen trees that surrounded his current, and very temporary he hoped, home and let himself into the kitchen through the back door.
"All clear?" asked the kitchen's other occupant, a short, stocky man in his forties with a shaven head and a scar across his right cheek.
"Yeah. There was a couple across the river, had a picnic, but they've buggered off again now," answered Kevin.
"Did they see you?"
Kevin looked disgusted. "Course not! I ain't no amateur, you know! They 'ad no clue I was there."
"All right, keep your hair on." Stan offered him a mug of black tea.
"Ta." Kevin took the mug and sat down heavily at the table. " 'Ow much longer d'you reckon we'll be 'ere?" he asked, after drinking noisily.
"Week maybe," Stan answered, scratching his cheek.
"A week? Geez I 'ope not!" Kevin scowled. "It's so bloody borin'!"
"Well find something to do with yourself," Stan advised.
"Like what?"
"I don't know. Read a book or something." Stan scowled at him, annoyance reddening his face so that the scar stood out lividly. "You can read?"
"Cheeky bastid!" Kevin exclaimed. "Course I can read. I went to school an' all!"
"Well then." Stan stood up. "I'd better go and feed our guests," he said and picked up a covered tray from the table.
"See ya later then," Kevin said. He finished his tea, then let himself out of the house again and set off around it, then down the long, tree-lined drive to the distant gate.
He'd go to the pub and have a couple of pints and some food before he headed into town for some fun.

When Saskia walked into the Control Room after disposing of their picnic things, she found the Doctor sitting on the bench, with his feet up on the console. He was munching on a banana.
"Hello," he said with a big grin. "I've found three concerts for you. It's your decision as to which one we go to."
Saskia sat down beside him. "Go on then."
"The Oxford Chamber Orchestra are doing the Overture to Mozart's Magic Flute, Sibelius' En Saga and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6. Or Oxford Philomusica are doing Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2 and Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique. Finally, the City of Oxford Orchestra are doing Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte, Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony and Elgar's Cello Concerto."
Saskia frowned. "They're all doing a concert tonight? Surely that's bad planning?"
"Actually no," the Doctor answered. "The concerts are on different nights this week, but – " he gestured around the Control Room " – Time Machine."
Saskia raised an eyebrow but didn't say what she was thinking. She had no desire to insult either the TARDIS or the Doctor by questioning their ability to arrive back in Oxford on the right date. "Well, I like the sound of the concert featuring Elgar and Beethoven," she said.
"Fantastic!" The Doctor beamed at her. "That one's actually on tonight. Go and get your glad rags on, and we'll go for a meal first."
"Glad rags?" Saskia asked quizzically.
The Doctor nodded. "We're going to do this properly, so we'll dress up."
Saskia shrugged. "OK. I'll go and see what clothes I brought with me that qualify as 'glad rags'."
"If you haven't got anything suitable, there's bound to be something in the TARDIS wardrobe," he told her.

Saskia went to her room, wondering what the Doctor would wear. She'd only ever seen him wearing his blue pinstripe suit so far, with a variety of different coloured shirts and ties. Half an hour later she walked into the Control Room again to find the Doctor waiting for her. He was wearing a white tuxedo with a dark blue bow tie and looked positively dashing. He'd even tidied his hair, although Saskia couldn't help wondering how long it would stay tidy, giving his habit of ruffling it. She met his eyes and was amused to see he looked quite stunned at her own appearance. She couldn't resist doing a little twirl on the spot, so that her dark blue evening dress, the colour of which matched his bow tie she was pleased to note, swirled around her.
"Wow! You look – wow!" the Doctor said, still looking stunned.
"Thank you, kind sir."
He suddenly executed a flawless bow, then offered her his arm. "Would my lady care to accompany me?" he asked, grinning.
She grinned back and made a half curtsey before accepting his arm. They went back outside and Saskia suddenly thought to ask "Where is this concert?"
"In town, at the Sheldonian Theatre," the Doctor answered.
"And where are we going to eat?"
"I've reserved a table at the Randolph Hotel's restaurant," he said.
"I trust we're not walking there?" Saskia asked.
"We are not. I've also arranged for a car to pick us up."
Saskia found that she was impressed that he seemed to have thought of everything. She wondered if he was going out of his way to make it a pleasant evening just in case they did get monsters. Then she saw the long white limo that was waiting for them on the road, and found herself staring wide-eyed and open-mouthed.
The Doctor opened the back door with a flourish. "After you my lady."
Saskia pulled herself together and got into the car. "Have you gone entirely mad?" she asked the Doctor.
"No I don't think so," he answered, a big goofy grin on his face showing his delight at the surprise he'd given her. "Don't you like your surprise?"
"I do, but I'm completely astonished. If we do get monsters, I may just forgive you anyway," she answered, grinning back at him.
"I hope we don't get any monsters," he said seriously.
"Me too!"

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