“Khan, eventually I would like to get into the kitchen to start dinner,” Molly said rather impatiently, almost stamping her food. She should have known that when the kitchen was redesigned that having a door on it was a bad idea. She should have known. Khan had eyed it approvingly and she should have seen the gears whirring around in his head and known that with the fancy training he had gotten at Le Cordon Bleu having a door separating him from her and allowing him to lock her out of the kitchen was a bad idea. “If you don’t let me in there I’m just...I’m just going to go down to the chippy and that’s where I’m going to have my dinner!”
There was the clatter of pots and pans at that and then the door opened and Khan stuck his head out. “Patience is a virtue,” Khan said.
She glared at him. “Not when you’re pregnant and irritable and hungry,” she said, crossing her arms.
“You’ll ruin my surprise,” he said.
Her glare softened at that. “Is it an edible surprise?” she asked, moving up to him and reaching up to play with the collar of his black shirt, which was dotted with flour and she thought perhaps powdered sugar. All that training and he still made a bit of a mess when he was baking. It was rather endearing.
“As I’m in the kitchen, that is the rather obvious thought,” he said, reaching forward to put his hands on her waist. He let his fingers settle in, digging into her hips slightly. “I suppose I could scrap the dinner portion if you’re really craving the deep fried blasphemy.”
She chuckled. “I wouldn’t mind fish and chips, but your version is better,” she said. Then her eyes lit up. “Can you make it soon?”
“Not tonight,” he said. “But perhaps tomorrow. Tonight I was planning on alcohol free beef bourguignon. It was more the desserts that were the treat.”
Her smile got wider. “Desserts? As in, plural?”
He nodded. “Yes, plural. But I can’t make them if you distract me.” He leaned down and kissed her softly, or at least she knew he had intended to but she was so touched that she wanted to show her appreciation. Not enough that he got any ideas of leaving the kitchen, of course, but enough that he got ample motivation to keep working. When she let him go, he rubbed a small circle on the top of her hip bone with his thumb. “The beef bourguignon can wait until tomorrow if you want takeaway tonight, and I can make homemade fish and chips on Wednesday. But I should get back to making your desserts soon.”
“That sounds good,” she said. “What level of spice do you want tonight?”
“Indian sounds fine,” he said. “Now leave me be or your sweet tooth will not get indulged.”
She smiled up at him and gave him another kiss, one that was not much more than a quick brushing against the lips. “Oui, mon amour,” she said before letting him go and pulling away. She saw him grin back and shake his head before shutting the kitchen door again. Ever since she had told him she was pregnant he had bent over backward to take care of her, to answer her every whim. She had known he loved her, would do anything for her, but the kindness and tenderness he had shown in the last four and a half months had taken her breath away at some points. It was in sharp contrast from the man who had landed in her bedroom all those years ago.
Years...it wasn’t that long ago to everyone else, but thanks to time travel shenanigans with the Doctor, it had been years to them, and it had been, for the most part, wonderful years. She had been thankful for them, for every last second she had gotten to spend with Khan, and knowing that in another four and a half months they would have a child together it made her quite giddy. She was eager to spend the rest of her life with him, however long that was, and she was hoping it was quite a long time. She wanted forever with him, if at all possible.
She went back out to the sitting room and got her mobile, and dialed the number to Khan’s favourite Indian restaurant, placing an order for his preferred meal. She was famished, as she usually was, but knowing that she was having desserts plural waiting for her caused her to order a smaller meal that she normally would have so she would have room to at least sample a little of each of his wares. She never would have expected culinary skills to have become Khan’s forte when she had first met him, especially after the disaster around Christmas, but he had surprised her and continued to do so every time he went into the kitchen. She had no problem leaving most of the cooking to him these days, especially since she found herself tiring more easily.
She was enjoying pregnancy, she was, but she knew that there was a chance her child was not a normal child. Khan was not a normal man himself; he was, after all, genetically engineered to be different. He had thought he had been sterilized, and so for her to be pregnant at all was a surprise, so there were no real ideas to what to expect for this pregnancy. There was no bloody way in hell Molly wanted to have the Doctor attempt to repeat his actions that he had done to take James and the others back to their home universe to reach out to anyone there for answers, because the people who had been keeping Khan prisoner could very well try and take him back, and she didn’t want to lose him. She couldn’t bear to.
And there were still so many unanswered questions of how Khan had come to be in the first place, and what that had meant, and there was always the chance that all of that could come into play. She hadn’t meant for her thoughts to swing in this direction but as they did she felt her hands involuntarily move to that small baby bump protruding from her. She didn’t want the people who were responsible for creating Khan to find out about their child and try to take him or her, to run experiments on them or worse. The more normal her child was, the better, so the more normal her pregnancy remained the better. She hoped all women got tired easily at this stage in their pregnancy and it wasn’t anything strange, that all women had cravings for out of season fruit, that all women had to pee all the time and had mood swings. The less abnormal it all seemed, the less chance she had of pinging on anyone’s radar.
Eventually, she pushed the thoughts aside and went to her bookshelf and picked out a book to settle down with while she waited for their takeaway. It arrived just as the kitchen door opened and Khan stuck his head out. “You timed it perfectly,” he said, nodding towards the sacks containing their food. “Your desserts are done.”
“Oh, so I get to decide whether I want to be good and eat dinner first, or whether I want to be naughty and eat dessert first?” she asked with a smile, heading over towards him.
He nodded. “I suppose this can be another one of the ways you’re naughty,” he said, taking the sacks from her and then moving out of the doorway.
“You do so love me best when I’m naughty,” she said with a laugh. She moved inside the kitchen and then her eyes widened when she saw, on all the spaces on the kitchen worktops, multiple desserts that had strawberries in them. She turned to Khan and put her hands over her open mouth slightly. “You remembered.”
He nodded. “I was indeed listening when you said you were wickedly craving strawberries. I know you thought I hadn’t heard you, but I went and bought out all the strawberries I could find for this.”
Molly went over to him, ignoring the fact his arms were full of takeaway, and framed his face in her hands before pulling it down and kissing him. “Oh, I know I tell you I love you all the time but I really love you, Khan, really and truly,” she said.
“You haven’t even tasted them,” he said with a smile.
“I don’t care,” she said, not letting go of his face. “You’ve locked yourself in the kitchen to do this for me and it means the world to me. You’re a bloody treasure.” She kissed him again for good measure and then let go of his face before walking around, looking at each dessert. There wasn’t much room left on the island in the center of the kitchen, but Khan set the sacks of takeaway there before joining her. “So, what is everything?”
“Well, this is a strawberry tart,” he said, pointing to a tart that was sitting near the sink. “It’s got a pâte brisée crust and is filled with crème pâtissière. If you like this, I can substitute other fruits you might be craving later, such as apricots, peaches, raspberries...whatever you might want.” She eyed it approvingly, her mouth already starting to water. Next, they moved over to a glass filled with a mousse. “I know you enjoy puddings of the chocolate variety so I attempted to make strawberry mousse aux fraises with a recipe I found. It made six servings and I ate one to check how it tasted, so there are four more in the refrigerator. You are welcome to as many as you want, but they should be a priority when it comes to what’s eaten.”
She nodded. “I may eat that as you show me the rest,” she said.
He went to the drawer where they kept their eating utensils and got her a spoon, and when she had it in her hand she picked up the glass and then took a spoonful and ate it. Oh, it tasted absolutely scrumptious, and she moaned as she swallowed it. He smirked at that. “You approve?” he asked.
“I may eat all of the servings and you may not get any,” she said, taking another bite.
“This was my treat to you, Molly,” he said. “I will be content with whatever you are willing to share.” He moved a little further along and pointed to two other items sitting on that part of the worktop. “Not all of the recipes I made were French, by the way. This is a Strawberry Lemon Layer Cake that was based on a recipe from New York’s Milk Bar, and this is a Razzleberry Pie, which is strawberries with blackberries, blueberries and raspberries.”
“They both look absolutely scrumptious,” she replied, eating some more of her mousse. “I get the feeling the Strawberry Lemon Layer Cake took quite a bit of work?”
Khan nodded. “I almost chucked it out the window at one point. I may be Le Cordon Bleu trained, but that was a challenge.”
“It looks beautiful,” she said, leaning over to kiss his cheek. “Almost too beautiful to eat.”
“Bite your tongue,” he said, giving her a glare.
She chuckled. “No worries, dear. I will probably wolf down the whole thing.”
“Well, one thing I know you will most likely wolf down the entire thing of, as I have no interest in it, is the Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream that I made by hand. I saw the recipe and thought it sounded like just the sort of thing a pregnant woman would crave. That is in the freezer.”
Her eyes lit up. “Oh, that does sound rather good,” she said. “And there were real strawberries in it?”
He nodded. “And strawberry preserves as well. I omitted the strawberry liqueur, all things considered, and made a simple strawberry syrup instead. I bottled that up for you to use when you make pancakes, in case you wanted to.”
“Oh, you are the best.” She moved away to look at what looked like nearly a dozen and a half donuts and her smile got wide. “If I wasn’t eating the mousse I’d snack on one of those right now.”
“I know you have a fondness for those type of confectionery treats,” he said. “They’re called Strawberry-Buttermilk Fōnuts, though I don't understand why they aren't simply called donuts. I had one and they are rather good, I suppose. I think you may want to give one or two to Lestrade and another few to Amelia and Rory.”
“I suppose I can share,” she said with a laugh. “I don’t think I can eat all of this by myself before it goes bad, truthfully, even with your help. You don’t have as much of a sweet tooth as I do.”
“No, I do not,” he said.
She moved over to a loaf of bread next. “Oh, this looks heavenly,” she said. “Strawberry bread?”
He nodded. “Not a dessert, per se, but I saw the recipe and thought you would enjoy something for breakfast that was a bit different than your normal routine.”
“That will be lovely. Little pat of butter on it and that will be just perfect,” she said. Next to it looked to be a bowl of strawberries with a white heart in the middle. She turned to Khan and smiled. “Oh, a heart. How lovely.”
“This is a French recipe,” he said with a touch of pride. “It’s Couer à la Crème with caramelized strawberries. The Couer à la Crème is made with goat cheese, cream cheese, honey, heavy cream and sugar, and I had to go through a rather intensive process to get the heart shape made.”
She felt her heart swell at that. “Khan, how long have you been planning this, exactly? I mean, I’ve mentioned wanting strawberries a few times over the last few weeks, but you’ve put quite a bit of thought into this, and you must have worked very hard to get all of this done, buying all the strawberries and all the various ingredients, and then doing all this cooking and baking and doing...whatever it took for that,” she said, gesturing to the Couer à la Crème.
“Just two weeks now,” he said. “I’ve had Amelia and Rory helping, keeping some of the nonperishable ingredients at their home. I decided today would be the day I sprang the surprise upon you, and so they brought the things over last night, along with the strawberries and other perishable ingredients I had bought and stored at their home. I had thought that you might want the cheering up, since there are aspects of this pregnancy that seem to have made you grumpier as of late. Acquiescing to one of your more persistent cravings seemed to be something I could do that would in some small measure alleviate it.”
She set her half-finished glass of mousse down and embraced him, resting her cheek against his chest. After a moment he embraced her back, placing his chin on the top of her head. “You really have no idea how much this means to me, Khan. You really don’t. You’ve gone to this great length to spoil me and it’s just...it makes me feel so special. It makes me feel so loved. You always make me feel so loved, you really do, and I adore that about you.”
“Well, you are,” he said.
“I should do something like this for you,” she said. “Something very special that just lets you know how important you are to me, because you are. I don’t think I tell you often enough, either. I should tell you every day.”
“You tell me more than enough, Molly,” he said. “More importantly, you have shown me. Trust me, I know. I would not have chosen to stay in this universe if I did not know how much I mean to you.”
She lifted her head up and looked at him. “Really?”
He nodded. “Yes, really. He lifted a hand up and tucked her hair behind her ear. “You have made it abundantly clear that, aside from our child, there is no one more important in your life to you than I. I know this at the very core of my being. You do not need to do anything elaborate to prove it to me. Should you want to, though, I would not object. It is nice to be showered with affection sometimes.”
“Yeah, it is,” she said with a smile. “It’s nice to be rewarded for it as well, I suppose.”
“It is,” he said with a nod, running his hand up and down her back. “Though I do still have food to show you. And you have mousse to finish.”
“The mousse can be put in the refrigerator,” she said. “And so can our takeaway, and I’m sure everything else can keep, right? I mean, most of it can, I’m sure.”
“We might need to postpone any romantic rewards just momentarily while I double check but I imagine most of the items in this kitchen can keep on the worktop for the time being,” he said, using his position to pull her a little closer.
“Good. Because you got a little messy when you were doing all this baking, and I think you can use a hand cleaning up before I properly thank you for such a pleasant surprise,” she said, moving so she could put her arms around his neck. “I mean, you have flour or something on your face and in your hair and we don’t want that in bed, now do we?”
“No, I don’t think we do at all,” he said, a slow smile spreading on his face.
“See? So I think there should be a shower of some sort before we go to the bedroom. Or a bath, whatever you prefer. And I should help get you all nice and clean.”
He tilted his head back and forth slightly. “There are benefits to either,” he said. “But there can be much more fun in the shower.”
“Then shower it is,” she said before leaning in to kiss him. He used the opportunity to pull her as close as he could, but she didn’t mind. Kissing him now was perfectly fine. She’d honestly forgotten just how hungry she was for food when she’d realized how hungry she was for him. He always seemed to have that effect on her, and really, she hoped that never, ever changed.