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The Blue Box Affair

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Bodie drove sedately through the crowded streets of London. Sedately because, although it wasn't his usual choice of forward momentum, there were too many bloody cars in front of him to shift out of third!

“I hate traffic,” Bodie said aloud. He got no response from his partner.

Doyle was craning his neck back for the tenth time in as many seconds. Apparently something behind them interested Doyle more than Bodie's whining. Bodie was not best pleased. He sighed heavily. No fun complaining when there wasn't an audience. Bad enough traffic was so horrid that he had shift down into second.

“We could walk faster than this,” he whinged anyway, pleased with the apathetic tone that he'd mustered. Nothing from Doyle.

“Ray!”

“Hummm. Bodie?”

Finally! Doyle remembered he was sharing the car with another human being!

“Yes, my liege,” Bodie answered sweetly.

After another backward glance, Doyle turned around and straightened his backside in his seat. He chewed his fingernail.

“Doyle, what is it?” Bodie asked, slowing as he approached a red traffic signal. He was now beginning to worry. Doyle was acting strangely. “Why do you keep looking back? We catch a tail? Who is it? You're starting to make me paranoid!”

“Nah...” Doyle looked once more before he slumped in his seat. “Thought I saw something odd.”

“Like...?” prompted Bodie. When Doyle didn't answer, he sighed theatrically. “Ray!”

“What!”

Patiently as if he were speaking to a youngster, he asked, “What did you see, oh partner of mine?”

“Er, well... A blue box.”

“Eh?”

Doyle clenched his teeth as if he didn't want to repeat the phrase. “A blue box,” he said in a snarly voice.

Bodie rolled his eyes and shook his head, affection in his tone. “So? You saw a blue box. Let's call the Daily Mail and put it in the headlines.” The light changed. He was first in line so he jammed his foot on the accelerator, making the tyres squeal. He shifted into second and third, roaring forward. Something strange must have happened because the traffic that had been at a crawl in front of him had disappeared. Gleefully he jumped into fourth and shot down Camden Road. “A blue box, and he thinks it's strange,” he said to the heavens patiently. “Shoes come in blue boxes. Biscuits come in blue boxes. Washing powder.”

“Not that kind of blue box, you dumb crud! A police box!” Doyle shouted.

“Eh?” Bodie said again. “Right. Now you are making me sound like a dolt. Police boxes are blue!” He glanced over at his partner. “And you might recall, in this modern day and age, we don't have police boxes any longer on London roads.”

“Except for a few examples here and there,” Doyle added knowingly.

“Right. You probably saw something from that telly show. Probably filming around abouts. You know the one.”

“Doctor Who.”

“That's it. Watched it a few times as a kid. Had a bloke with wild white hair and he zipped around outer space.”

“Did you like it?” Doyle asked, picking at a fingernail.

“Nah. Preferred sports to science fiction.”

“Bodie.”

“Still right here, mate.”

“So if I didn't see anything, do you think that police box is real?”

They'd stopped for yet another traffic signal and Bodie followed Doyle's pointing finger. He leaned forward to see past Doyle's head. There, in the middle of the pavement, barely 20 feet away, was a bright blue police box. As he watched, the door swung inward and a young, skinny bloke with a long brown coat and floppy hair peered out. He looked around and spied the Capri. As Bodie watched, the bloke grinned widely and waved madly with one hand whilst holding up a sign with the other that read, “Scarsdale: 9PM”. He gave a happy little wiggle, stepped back inside the box, and in seconds it began to emit an odd noise. The white light on top of the box began to blink and then, much to Bodie's astonishment, the entire thing slowly faded away.

Car horns blared behind them, making Bodie jump. He pushed the gear lever into first and squealed through the road junction. At the first empty space he saw, he pulled in and looked at his partner.

“What the hell was that?”

Doyle looked at him with wide eyes. “Doctor Who? Special effects?”

“Did you see any filming equipment; any crew or cameras?”

Craning his head to look around, Doyle said, “No.”

“Bloody good special effects. So good they didn't need a film crew. Is that possible?”

“Yeah. Bloody good.” Doyle's voice was quietly confused. “Maybe they were inside one of the shops?”

“But how did it disappear. It did disappear, didn't it?” Bodie asked, still not sure he'd seen what he'd seen. Or thought he saw.

Doyle nodded. “It did. At least I think it did.”

Bodie was quiet for a moment before he said, “Mate, I think we've been had.”

“Or...” Doyle turned to face Bodie and said firmly. “We've seen the Doctor.”

“It's not real! It's a sodding television programme!” Bodie waved a hand back to where the blue box had sat.

“So then let's be logical. If it wasn't real and we didn't see a film crew, then we've both been drugged or are drunk.”

“I'm neither. Wish I were.” Bodie huffed out a breath before he admitted, “And I saw it disappear.”

With a snort of amusement, Doyle said, “I'm not drugged or drunk either. And I saw it disappear right along with you. Damn it anyway.” He chewed a fingernail. “Should we tell Cowley?”

“Tell him what? We've seen Doctor Who? I'm not saying a bleedin' word. Not on your life.”

“Or yours,” Doyle said with a scoff. “He'd have our bollocks nailed to the wall if we told him we'd seen... whatever that was. Some television programme being filmed. One of those ones where they set up a horrid prank and idiots fall for it. That's not us.”

“Definitely not us.” Bodie nodded firmly. “We're too smart to be taken in by a prank.”

“I say we investigate first.”

“Yeah. The note. Scarsdale,” Bodie said.

“9 PM.” Doyle looked at his watch. “Three hours from now.”

“Just enough time to have a drink or three. I can't meet a fictional character sober. Or on an empty stomach.”

Doyle stared at him for a heartbeat before he said, “You are a moron.”

Bodie laughed. “That's why you love me. I make you feel so incredibly bright.” After checking traffic in the mirror, he pulled away from the kerb and headed towards Edwardes Square. “Know a good chippy on Queensway.”

“Good. I'm hungry and I need a beer.” Doyle gave him a look that told Bodie in no uncertain terms that he would pay for the smart-arsed remark about Doyle's intelligence at a later time. Bodie could only wait with anticipation. Doyle had such a marvellous sense of... revenge.

--------------------------------

Bodie drove the roads around the Scarsdale Tavern several times, giving Doyle time to keep a sharp lookout, peering down side streets and observing pedestrians.

“Looks okay,” Doyle finally muttered. “Don't see anything out of place. Guy walking his Dalmatian. A few couples out strolling. No blue boxes.” He leaned forward, looking up. “No alien space ships that I can see.” After another drive around the perimeter, he said, “No ominous music playing in the background. There's always ominous music in horror stories.”

“That's what worries me. Everything looks so damned normal!”

“Maybe it is.”

“Not on your life.”

“Pessimist.”

As Bodie pulled into a vacant parking space, he grinned. “Yet you adore me anyway.”

“Don't push your luck,” Doyle growled.

Bodie guffawed, turned off the ignition and checked his gun. Doyle gave his own weapon a once over and holstered it. After they exchanged a glance, nodding to each other, they both climbed from the car. Shoulder to shoulder they walked towards the Scarsdale silently. There wasn't much to say after you'd been summoned by a television character whizzing around London in a blue box now, was there?

-------------------------------------

The Scarsdale was a popular watering hole. There were a few dozen people drinking and talking and drinking even more at this time of the evening. It was the local for a lot of folks since it was in the middle of a suburban area. As the agents approached, they scanned the area thoroughly. Bodie elbowed Doyle, who oomphed at the sudden attack.

“There he is,” Bodie said, cocking his head towards a dark shape sitting at one of the outdoor tables.

Doyle sauntered over, pulled out one of the white iron chairs and plopped down. Bodie spun his chair on one leg and straddled it, leaning his arms across the back.

The man looked normal. He was young to be sure, but appeared to be around their own ages. Good looking with a bright smile and dazzling white teeth. He had hair like some poncey fashion model. Bodie snorted with amusement at his own thought. He was about as poncey as they came now that he was shagging Doyle so he'd best be careful with those sorts of derogatory thoughts.

“Good evening, gentlemen!” the man said brightly. He held out a hand. “I'm the Doctor.”

Doyle laughed, shaking the outstretched hand. “Of course you are. And I'm Captain Kirk! This here,” he jerked a finger at Bodie, “is Mr Spock. Pleased to meet you.” He kept shaking the stranger's hand until this Doctor pulled it back and flexed his fingers.

“Strong one, eh?” the Doctor said with amusement. “Pleased to make your acquaintance, Mr Spock.”

Bodie and the Doctor shook briefly. Bodie did not try to break the man's fingers.

“Drink?” the man asked.

“You buying?” Bodie asked suspiciously.

“Of course.” He patted his pockets before he grinned sheepishly. “I would, but I've no cash for this plan- er, city. Country,” he mumbled. “Blimey. Sorry. Rain check.”

“I'll get the beer,” Doyle said with a sigh. “Bodie?” At his partner's curt nod, he sauntered into the pub.

Bodie called out, “Watch your back, sunshine.”

“Always.”

“So... Mr or Doctor or whatever the hell your name is, what do you want?”

The Doctor leaned forward, eyes bright. “To the point. Good. I like that in a fellow. Right to it. I need your help. You and your partner. My computer-”

“Your computer? You have your own computer?” Bodie asked, eyeing the man cautiously.

“Yes. Doesn't everybody? Of course not,” he said, answering his own question. “I sometimes forget. Hard to keep track without- Well, anyway. I need your help.”

“I'll bet,” Bodie muttered unkindly. “Listen, mate. You're one of those actors in that ridiculous kids' television programme and you're trying to put one over on my partner and me. I don't have the time nor the temperament to play fucking games with the likes of you!” By the time Bodie was done ranting, he was on his feet, and so was the Doctor.

“What's this? I leave for five minutes and you boys are at fisticuffs already?” Doyle set three glasses of beer on the table, along with half a dozen bags of crisps.

“Nah. This berk says he needs our help.” Bodie picked up a glass and took a long swallow. He wiped the back of his hand across his mouth.

“Then let's hear the man out,” Doyle said reasonably. He sat down and drank from one of the two other glasses. “Here you go. On me.”

“Cheers,” the Doctor said, taking a small taste. He wrinkled his nose.

“Too much for you,” Bodie asked. “Want a glass of milk?”

“This will do. Thank you, Captain.” The Doctor lifted the glass in salute before taking another sip.

“Our guest has his own computer, Doyle.” Bodie winced. “Damn. Sorry. Captain.”

The Doctor laughed. “Don't worry, my friend. My computer has already given me full dossiers on each of you. And before you put your fist into my face, Mr Bodie, rest assured I am not here in any harmful capacity. I am not here to cause trouble. I am here merely to ask for your and Mr Doyle's help.” The Doctor looked from one man to the other earnestly. “It is a matter of national security. You will be doing your country a great service.”

His tone was so serious that Bodie stopped drinking and stared at him. “You really mean this?”

“Or you think you mean it,” Doyle added. “You're an actor. You pretend all the time. Come on. Spill it. Just who are you?”

“Yeah. Out with it. Doctor Who?” Bodie said.

Doyle elbowed him this time, giggling. “Doctor Who! You walked into that one, mate.”

“Thought you said you hadn't seen the programme?” Bodie bristled. “This bloke is a fake!” After a moment, he demanded, “Have you seen this one on the telly then?” Under his scrutiny, Doyle squirmed. “Talk, damn it, Ray.”

Doyle sighed heavily. He drank from his glass before admitting, “I've seen every episode and I've never seen this fellow.”

“Eh?” Bodie rubbed his forehead. “If you make me say 'eh' once more, I'm going to mash you into the pavement! Now is this one of those blokes, whatever you call them, doctors!”

“There's more than one,” Doyle admitted.

“I know that! I just- Doyle, how many are there?”

“So far, five.”

“And they're actors.”

“Right.”

“So this prat sitting here is one of those five actors.”

“Ah... no. Never seen him before.”

The Doctor interrupted. “As much as I enjoy watching an old married couple argue, I must insist that we start our search immediately. I am not one of the five doctors on television. I'm a future doctor and I'm here only because the Fifth doctor is off world and it's safe for me to be here. Double jeopardy and laws of time and all that.” He waved a hand through the air. “I'm the Tenth doctor and I am real! I'm as real as both of you! Unless you want to tell me you're on the telly too!” He stared down each man in turn. “Well, are you? If you believe I'm some fictional character sitting here right in front of you, one that you saw in the TARDIS in Camden Road, than you must be as well!”

Bodie shook his head. Doyle did the same. “We're not on telly and neither of us are actors. We're real.”

The Doctor smiled happily. “Agreed! You're agents, special agents, in Central Intelligence 5.”

“How did you know that?” Bodie asked.

“I told you, I have-”

“-your own computer,” Doyle finished.

“Right!” The doctor said with too much bounce in him in spite of the fact that he was sitting down. “Now we're making progress! I know we'll work so well together! I always need good companions and you two are crackers!”

“Crackers!” Bodie glared at the crazy man. “Now wait just a second!”

“Not crackers?” the Doctor paused, closed his eyes for a second. “Hang about. Oh right! Not crackers! Forget I said that. Cracker jacks! Wait, that's American. How about accomplished! Qualified! Professionals!”

Bodie and Doyle stared at the Doctor for a long moment. He looked back at them, the grin plastered to his face.

“Give us a minute.” Bodie stood up, tugging on Doyle's sleeve.

A few metres away, they huddled together.

“Should we help this bloke?” Bodie whispered.

“I think we should.”

“Why?”

“Don't know. Feels... right?” Doyle shrugged.

“You don't sound sure.”

“We have tomorrow off. Why not? Besides, I kind of like him.”

“Are you going to have it off with him?” Bodie asked.

“No! Berk,” Doyle added, when he saw Bodie grinning. “One of these days... Only want to have it off with you.”

“So let's hear the rest of this daft story of his. I admit he's got me curious.”

“I'm curious as well.”

Back at the table, in the dark, the three men talked softly. Well, Bodie kept his voice down, as did Doyle. The Doctor was too enthusiastic to moderate his tone.

“So what's the job?” Bodie asked.

“I need help infiltrating the Crufts Dog Show and stealing a dog, a Corgi to be exact,” the Doctor explained. “It will be a disaster if I don't get the mutt back to its owner in-” he looked at his wrist where most normal people might wear a watch, and he laughed aloud. “No watch.” Pulling an old fashioned watch out of his waistcoat, he flipped it open. An eerie glow wafted out, colouring the Doctor's face in a white wash. “Ah, okay. Twenty hours. Got it.” He snapped it closed and pocketed it. “We've twenty hours to return the dog to Her Majesty or there will be hell to pay.”

“Eh?” Bodie said, slamming his fist on the table. “Did it again!”

Doyle patted his arm. “It's okay, mate. I understand. Small vocabulary and all.” He snickered before focusing on the Doctor. “Tell us in very simple language so we can understand what you are saying. What dog and what Her Majesty?”

“Well...” The doctor swallowed. “Somehow... er, when I was visiting. She... I left the door to the TARDIS ajar and I didn't know she'd snuck in.” He grinned sheepishly. “It was a gift, you see, for Lizzie's eighteenth birthday.”

“You want us to believe that you know, er, Lizzie? As in Queen Elizabeth?” Bodie asked incredulously.

“Of course. She's not my first queen, you know. There was this time-”

“Spare us the details,” Doyle insisted, holding up a hand. “I happen to know me history. Elizabeth's da gave her a Corgi on her eighteenth birthday, named Susan.”

Bodie stared at Doyle, his mouth agape. “And you know this how?”

Doyle smiled. “Intelligence and breeding, that's me. I know a lot about a lot of things.”

“Splendid!” the doctor exclaimed. “And quite right.”

“Why is it that the dog,” Bodie asked, “needs to go back to... where she should be? Can't they just get another dog?”

“Oh, no!” the doctor said firmly. “Not at all. Susan and Elizabeth's relationship is a fixed place in time. Now if it were a fluctuating place in time, then that would be totally different!” He gestured wildly as he spoke. “Fixed places are very important.”

Bodie shook his head, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Then go and get the bleeding dog and take it back to Buckingham Palace or wherever the hell it's supposed to be.” He paused, let out a huge sigh and then said to Doyle in a surprised tone, “I'm crazy, I tell you. I'm believing this story and I'm trying to work out how to fix this.”

“Can't. It's not that simple,” the Doctor explained.

Bodie rolled his eyes heavenward. Doyle patted his arm in sympathy and said, “It never is. Go on, then. Give us the details, so we get this done properly.”

“We're helping this bloke then?” Bodie asked Doyle.

“Might as well. Got tomorrow off.”

“True, although I did have designs on your body rather than chase mongrels through the streets of London.”

“Best not chase the Queen's dog through the streets of London,” Doyle said sagely. “Too many tourists with cameras. We'll end up on the evening news and then what would Cowley say?”

“Oh, Christ,” Bodie said, shock in his tone. “I don't even like thinking about it. You 'n me 'n the Queen's dog on the front page of The Daily Mail.”

“Or the Sun,” Doyle offered. “Dognapping is a crime, you know.”

They both glared at the Doctor, who merely laughed.

“Ah,” the Doctor said with happiness, “George Cowley! He's a good man.”

Bodie and Doyle exchanged shocked, surprised and astonished glances, simultaneously saying. “You know The Cow?”

The Doctor nodded, grinning. “Since he was a lad!”

------------------------------------

“Forget about Cowley for now, what about this dog business?” Doyle asked, taking a draw of his second beer.

Bodie sat beside him, eating his fourth bag of crisps. He wasn't in the mood for a long story and he was about to tell this Doctor so when the man smiled at him and waved a hand. If the Doctor didn't have such an affable way about him Bodie would have enjoyed tossing him over the fence, but the bloke did seem like he was sincere in his request. Bodie hated being tapped in his sentimental vein and he hated that he actually wanted to help this crazy arsed fellow.

“Sorry about all of this but I wouldn't ask for your help if it wasn't important,” the Doctor explained. “I know it seems like I should be able to whisk myself in with the TARDIS and snatch up the wayward canine but that's not going to happen. Even at this time of night, the place-”

“What place?” Bodie asked.

The Doctor dug into a pocket in his coat and pulled out a scrap of paper. He then searched his person before plunking a pair of horn-rimmed spectacles on. That was when it happened and when it did happen Bodie was mortified. Something about those glasses made Bodie's heart skip a beat. If he wasn't shagging Doyle (and wasn't perfectly content with his lover), he'd have liked to have a go at the handsome Doctor. Shocked at his own train of thought, he ripped into a fifth bag of crisps and firmly ignored Doyle's raised eyebrow that he could see out of the corner of his eye. He daren't look at his partner lest his often psychic (or so it seemed!) lover read his mind merely by looking into his eyes regarding his involuntary response to their guest. No, it wasn't going to happen, so Bodie kept his gaze locked on the man. It was the only way to remain alive and intact, with bollocks firmly in their rightful place.

“Earls Court Exhibition Centre. It's over by-”

“I know where it is,” Bodie said grumpily. “Lived in London for a good while. Longer than you, apparently.”

“Bodie,” Doyle said, a warning in his tone. “He's only telling us what's what.”

Bodie sighed. “I know but at this rate, it will be long past last orders before we know what in God's name is going on! I want the short version before I'm too old to move!”

“All right, all right,” the Doctor said soothingly. “The York Notes version is if we don't get that dog back to where she belongs by tomorrow night, the entire world as we know it will no longer exist.” The Doctor looked seriously from Bodie to Doyle and back again. “In fact, neither of you will exist any longer nor will you remember that you were ever born. Short enough version for you?” he ended coldly.

Bodie looked at Doyle. Doyle looked at Bodie. They both looked at the Doctor.

“Then let's get ourselves a bloody dog!” Bodie said, leaping to his feet.

“That's the spirit!” the doctor cried.

“We are bloomin' nuts!” Doyle added.

“Allons-y!” the nutter of a Doctor shouted.

“Eh?” Bodie and Doyle said together, looking at the mad man who apparently came with his own blue police box.

-------------------------------------------

While Bodie drove the Capri towards Earls Court, Doyle questioned their guest more thoroughly.

“What exactly did you mean about either of us no longer existing? I can't believe we'd die-”

“Not die,” the Doctor interjected. “Not have ever existed. Totally different kettle of fish.”

“So I wouldn't know it if I'd never existed, right? I mean, it's not as if I'd look down from the heavens-”

“Or up from the fires of Hades,” Bodie offered thoughtfully.

“Shut it.” Doyle punched his arm. He looked back over the seat at the Doctor. “I wouldn't know it, now, would I?”

“No. But it's against the rules of the Time Lords to change time! You and Bodie are fixed places in time and I can't change that! I have to make this right or there will be consequences that even I can't imagine!” The man was gesturing wildly, his hands flailing.

“All right! Calm down.” Bodie caught the Doctor's gaze in the mirror.

“I am calm,” the Doctor said, his tone anything but. “I am always calm. I am a vision of calmness.”

Doyle snorted out a laugh. “Right. Anyway, back to wiping us out of existence because of a sodding dog.”

“You must understand time is fluid. The dog in itself isn't the problem but what Elizabeth will do as Queen and even before she is crowned because of her love and affection for her dog. The dog is ill so she cancels a meeting. It's time to whelp puppies so she doesn't press the Red Button. Things like that, that will have major consequences on the peace and freedom of the world.”

“So swoop in and get the dog!” Bodie insisted.

“I can't! Don't you understand? I'm governed by the rules of time!” The Doctor moved up to put his head between the front seats so he could look at each man in turn. “The TARDIS can't be in two times and/or places in exactly the same time, and neither can you or I. Sometimes you can be where you were, and maybe then you can be where you are. Once or twice. On the odd years. Understand?”

“Clear as mud,” Bodie muttered.

“It's complicated. I said before, there are fixed places in time. Like...I can't go back and let's say, kill Hitler as a small child. Or prevent his parents from having sex so he isn't even conceived! Time doesn't work like that or I could fix every problem in every galaxy in the entire universe!” The Doctor sighed. “I can't even help my own people. The Time Lords are all dead but me and I can't help them,” he said softly.

“Sorry, Doctor,” Doyle said. “I understand. We'll do what we can to fix this.”

The Doctor grinned. “Brilliant!” He was quiet for a moment before he moved back to his seat. There was silence for a good while before he said, “London. Love London. Always have, even when it was a filthy old place. In the millennia I've been a time lord, I have spent an inordinate amount of time on this small island!”

“Strange how that happens,” Bodie said, “considering the programme is filmed here!”

“We already discussed this,” the Doctor said, clearly conveying the hurt he felt that these blundering agents didn't get the severity of the situation. He was definitely pouting when he said, “I thought you believed I was as real as you and your partner here. We won't be a good unit if we don't trust each other!”

Bodie shook his head slowly, not wanting to start the discussion up yet again. “We believe you and trust you. Don't we, Ray?”

Doyle looked at Bodie carefully before he answered. “Sure we do.”

There was a huge sigh from the back seat. Doyle glanced over his shoulder once again. The Doctor looked as if he was having a bad attack of wind. Or he didn't believe Bodie's reassurances. Wonder why?

“Look,” Doyle said. “We'll do this because I think if we don't, something bad will happen.” When Bodie tossed him a curious look, he shrugged. “It's gut instinct. I think we need to do this, mate.”

After a long minute Bodie nodded. “Driving to Earls Court, aren't I?”

“Cheers!” the Doctor said, well, cheerfully. “And you drive exceedingly well, if I do say so myself! Haven't driven many automobiles in my time.”

“Don't thank us until we get that bleedin' dog back to whenever it needs to get to!” Bodie snapped.

Doyle put a hand on his shoulder. “It will be okay, Bodie. I'll keep you safe.”

“Thank you, James Bond. Keep those special weapons at the ready, be prepared to rescue the damsel in distress, and save the world as we know it!”

“Geronimo!” called the Doctor. “No wait... That's not right. Allons-y!”

-------------------------------------------

It was fully dark when they skulked towards Earls Court Exhibition Centre at 1140. The plan was to enter the building through a side entrance, use something the Doctor called his “sonic screwdriver” to locate the dog, and whisk it away. Bodie had no clue what this sort of screwdriver was but Doyle seemed excited about it.

Not gonna happen. Instead of being a quiet place at this time of night, once they'd approached from behind a building, they all stopped in their tracks. The entire area was alive with activity!

“Marvellous,” Doyle muttered. “So much for stealth.”

“Apparently not,” Bodie agreed. “This is crazy. It's worse than Trafalgar Square at high noon when the tourists descend!”

The men stood in the shadows and watched the hustle and bustle. Dogs were being walked to and fro. People rushed in and out of the back entrances, carrying dogs and crates and boxes and luggage. There was a lot of noise and confusion. Tomorrow was the first day of the 'bigger than the universe-renowned' dog show and apparently, from Bodie's perspective, dogs and owners and handlers didn't sleep the night before a big show. Not at all convenient for them if they were going to sneak in and snatch a wayward dog.

He could understand that. He often couldn't sleep the night before a big operation so these people (and pets) must feel the same. The excitement of competition kept one awake. Bodie had often felt the same way once upon a time when he was chasing a bird and another bloke had his eye on her as well. The thrill of the hunt made one's blood race. Must be the same for dog showing, not that Bodie ever wanted to find out for himself. He'd be damned if he'd prance around with some canine at the end of a string, showing its features off for the judges. Not his kind of op.

“How are we going to get in without being seen?” Doyle asked.

“Why do we need to get in without being seen?” Bodie asked, realisation suddenly dawning. “Why do we need to sneak in at all? Why not waltz in like everybody else!”

Doyle looked at him for a moment, seemed to consider protesting then he broke into a grin. “Good point. These people don't necessarily know each other so why can't we join in the madness? All we need are dogs!”

“Eh?” Bodie said before he clamped a hand over his mouth.

Doyle laughed. The Doctor nodded vigorously. “Dogs! Exactly! No need to skulk in when we have dogs! We will be able to waltz in, as you said, and find that Susan in no time!”

“If she's here,” Bodie said.

The Doctor looked horrified. “Of course she's here! She got out of the TARDIS this afternoon when I was here!”

“Tell me again why you were inside the building earlier today?” Doyle asked.

“Well... er, as it happens, sometimes the coordinates on the TARDIS aren't what I'd call precise. All I can figure is that while Susan was on board, she peed on the floor, thereby sending a mass of fluid to run across the main platform onto some wiring below. The TARDIS must not have liked that because she sent out a hail of sparks and rumbled ominously. Then she took it upon herself to set a course. I'm sure she decided that when we landed, the offending canine must be gotten rid of.”

“Your space ship tried to kill a defenceless dog?” Bodie said, aghast.

“No! She decided to return Susan to her rightful owner!” The Doctor said, annoyed. “We don't hurt people or creatures or... life forms! It's only that the TARDIS was in a bit of a snit. She set a course for the largest contingent of dogs she could find on her scopes and zap, we were at Crufts, inside the building. In the ladies' loo, I might add,” he said with an embarrassed grin. “Weird, that one,” he muttered to himself.

“Then why didn't you just... use your radar or sonar or whatever to get the blasted dog back?” Doyle asked. “I've seen the programme. You've got all sorts of buttons and levers and dials on the console and you... do that thing with the police box.”

“Well...” The Doctor ran a hand through his hair, making it stand on end. Sheepishly he admitted, “I saw her run out at the last second. The door had popped open. Must not have shut it properly.” He looked embarrassed. "Now it's obvious that the bloody lock must need fixing."

“Not shut it properly!” Bodie said loudly. "You think?"

“Shhh,” Doyle said. “Don't want the coppers sussing us out before we even start this supposed mission!”

“Sorry,” he said to Doyle. To the Doctor he said, “You are a bloody menace! First you go to 1940 whatever and you visit with the bleedin' queen-”

“Princess,” the Doctor interrupted.

“Queen, princess, dog catcher! I don't really care!” Doyle hissed quietly. “Still, you've taken a royal animal and lost it! And now you tell us it will change the course of history and not for the good!”

“Yeah, what he said,” Bodie said, nodding at Doyle. “Good job, mate.”

“Cheers,” Doyle said.

“All of this is irrelevant! The thing we need to do now, in the here and now, not in la-la land, is find the dog so I can return it!” The Doctor was flailing his hands. “Are you going to help me or not? Was the TARDIS wrong? Is Cowley wrong? You aren't the best agents in the organisation?” he demanded.

“We are,” Bodie said. “And we will find the dog.”

“Or die trying,” Doyle said with annoyance.

Bodie glared at Doyle. “I don't want to go out on a moronic dog case! I always thought I'd go out heroically in a hail of bullets or blown up by an atom bomb, saving the entire planet or at least London.”

“I thought you'd go out eating too many pork pies and of heart failure,” Doyle muttered.

“Arse,” Bodie groused.

“Either way, if we don't find her and return her, you'll be dead,” the Doctor reminded the two best in the business agents. "No more pork pies or heroics!"

“Not if we don't exist. Won't remember a thing,” Bodie said jovially, earning him an odd look from Doyle. “Well, it's true!”

“Yeah, marvellous,” his partner answered, not a speck of warmth in his voice. “As much as you care, apparently.”

“Ah, Ray, don't be like that. Even if I never existed, I'd still love you.” Bodie gave his partner a warm smile and rubbed at his arm.

“You big old softie,” Doyle answered, smiling back.

The Doctor cleared his throat. “This is lovely and all but can we get back to the task at hand?”

“Right,” Bodie blurted out as the flush rushed up his face. Usually he and his partner weren't that affectionate in public. Not good for the job and especially not good because of the horrendous ridicule he'd get from his mates. Bodie the poofter, not something he wanted to deal with. Still, Doyle might be worth it-

“Oi. Cloth ears.” The elbow in Bodie's ribs brought him out of his reverie. “Listen up,” Doyle was saying. “We need a plan.”

“Got a plan,” Bodie offered. “Wait here.”

Before the other men could answer (or protest), Bodie sauntered down into the belly of the beast, or the middle of the fray. He paused, looked around, said 'hello' to several people who met his gaze evenly. No one protested or called “fakers!” so he turned back and gave his mates a wave. He walked towards the car park. After a moment to look around, Bodie slid between two very large motor homes, listening and looking until he found what he thought was just the ticket: a darkened motor home with several yapping dogs inside. He paused, listened again, and smiled. Four of the little blighters if his ears were doing him justice. And if his reasoning was correct, with that kind of annoying sound piercing anyone's brain, the owners of these sweet things were either drugged into sleep or at the pub where it was much quieter! Bodie sent up a prayer to whatever lurked in the heavens, took a small leather case from his jacket pocket, pulled out a piece of thin metal, and had the motor home's door unlocked in ten seconds (or less).

“Blimey,” Bodie said under his breath as he pushed the door open. “Hello!” he called out in a reasonable tone. “Evening,” he added. Waiting, no one answered. He stepped up past the passenger's seat and looked around. The noise inside was even worse. Four little dogs, Yorkshire terriers he saw, were yapping furiously and leaping continually in their wire enclosure. They sent the water pan and a food dish flying. “What? You have new batteries in you tonight? Christ, the din is enough to drive anybody mad.”

At the back of the interior he saw two doors. Through the kitchen/lounge area, he opened the door on the right. A small loo the size of a phone box. A red phone box! He closed the door and opened the last one. Bedroom. He glanced around. Empty. Good, at the pub after all. Wish I was at the pub with Ray! He sighed and looked around until he found the leashes for the little blighters.

“First set of chompers that touch this skin and you're a fur collar on a bird's coat. Understand?” Bodie stood over the pen of small, hairy dogs. They stared up at him. “Good. Unlike your other people, this person is in charge. Now sit!” Four little furry butts hit the floor. Pink tongues lolled out from between little white teeth. “Fantastic.”

Bodie opened the small door on the pen. “Now out, one at a time!”

Like little soldiers, each dog walked out sedately, stayed in one place until its lead was clipped on, and then obediently sat. Bodie glared at each one in turn. Their ears went back and one whined. Bodie waggled a finger. “Quiet.” He grinned. He had a super power: he controlled dogs. Wonderful. He'd have to remember to tell Doyle. Except for that Rottweiler that one time. He hated that dog on sight and that dog hated him. He would have burned its face off if it had attacked. Good thing it didn't. Of course, its owner already had a face that looked like it had been burned off. Bodie guffawed aloud. Sometimes he amused himself.

Bodie left the motor home with his new friends.

“Oi, Bodie! What in blazes do you have?” Doyle demanded, staring open-mouthed down at the dogs who sat at Bodie's feet.

“I borrowed some mutts for our cover.” Bodie smiled widely.

“We'd better hurry then, before the owners discover their dogs have gone for walk-about,” the Doctor said. “Well done!” he said to Bodie, taking one of the leads. The little dog bared its teeth at him. “Hey, now! That's no way to speak to a Time Lord!”

The dog shook itself thoroughly. Bodie laughed. “Guess he told you. Here, take this one. She's a sweetheart.” He handed over one of the leads.

“Cheers,” the Doctor said, accepting the offering. “Heel!” he said as he started to walk towards the exhibition hall where several doors stood ajar.

Doyle followed, walking the dog Bodie had assigned to him. The little thing pranced along, looking for all the world as if she knew she had beautiful, long, flowing hair and a pretty purple bow on her head. “Good girl,” he whispered. She smiled back up at him. He had a way with birds! Even four-legged ones.

Bodie walked behind the duo, one lead in each hand. The little Yorkies sauntered along, clearly showing off. “Show dogs,” Bodie muttered, although he couldn't keep the smile from his face. “Vain little mites.” He'd never been to a dog show but from what he could see, it looked like fun! He had a special fondness for controlled chaos and that was what it looked like to him.

The men walked towards the building confidently. No sense in looking out of place, now that they had dogs. No one looked at them other than to admire their charges. Bodie saw some curious faces but if anybody recognised the dogs they walked, nobody said anything. He wondered if all dogs looked alike to folks who had other breeds. Did a Rottweiler owner know his friend's Yorkie on sight? Interesting discussion-

Bodie walked right into Doyle, who had stopped in front of him.

“What?” he asked.

“This is madness,” Doyle said. He had stopped at the entrance to the centre and was looking from side to side.

Bodie joined him, taking in the view. It was indeed madness! Hundreds upon hundreds of people and dogs were inside the building. The Doctor walked on, Doyle followed, with Bodie taking up the rear. There were all sorts and sizes and colours of people and dogs milling about. Some of the critters were in crates or cages while others were attached to nooses that hung from the arms of tables, keeping them in check.

“Are they being punished?” Bodie asked, nodding towards the closest table where a pure white terrier of a sort was held in place by a cord around its neck. It didn't seem distressed; merely stood while its owner brushed its fur.

“No,” the Doctor said. “He's being groomed. That little rope thingy holds him in place so he doesn't spring off and run amok.”

“And that would be a bad thing?” Doyle asked.

“Can you imagine,” the Doctor said, “all of these hundreds of dogs running loose? It would be mayhem!”

“Not to mention in nine months there would be lots of little extra doggies running about,” Bodie added, grinning at the thought.”

“Nine months?” Doyle repeated. “Don't think it takes that long for a girl dog to have her babies.”

“No?” Bodie asked.

“Didn't you ever have a dog as a kid?” Doyle asked, raising an eyebrow at his partner. “Do you even like dogs?”

Bodie lifted his chin. “I had a cat once but no dogs. Mum wouldn't allow animals in the house once she got the new place in Kensing-” He stopped short. Doyle was staring at him, mouth open, and he knew why. He rarely (make that never) spoke about his family. And he wasn't about to start now.

“Don't even,” Bodie growled, much like dozens of dogs around them.

“Kensington? Your family lived in Kensington? What aren't you telling me?” Doyle asked, excited interest lighting his face.

“So?” the Doctor said. “I could probably tell you a lot about Mr Bodie if I plugged his name into the computer.”

“You will do no such thing,” Bodie commanded. “That's an invasion of me privacy!”

Doyle grinned. “We'll talk later,” he said to the Doctor slyly, winking.

Bodie glared at both men before he drew himself up and sniffed. “Let's get to work, eh?” He started to cringe but stopped himself. If he said “eh” once more he'd scream!

“Right. Now where to start?” the Doctor muttered, gaze scanning the room.

Bodie looked about also. “Thought you had a sonic whatever-”

“Screwdriver,” Doyle supplied.

“Sonic screwdriver. Use it and let's get this done sometime before Christmas!” Bodie complained.

“It's only June,” Doyle said.

“And at this rate, it will be Boxing Day before we find the bloody dog!” Bodie said loudly.

People around them stared.

“Sorry,” Bodie said, shrugging. “Excitement,” he said with a smile.

There was too much going on for anybody to give them more than a moment's attention. As a group, the men and dogs started forward. The Doctor's head swivelled left and right. Bodie kept half an eye out for a wandering Corgi. None appeared.

“Do you think this bloke knows what he's doing?” Bodie asked under his breath, leaning his head closer to Doyle's.

“I hope so. On telly... Well, he usually seems to take matters in hand.”

“Usually?”

Doyle lifted his shoulders, giving Bodie a strange look.

“So you're telling me that he's not all he's cracked up to be? No gamma rays or whatever to get the job done? Good old shoe leather as usual?”

Doyle nodded. “Mostly. A lot of the times it's his assistants-”

“Like us?”

“Like us, that save the day.”

“Fantastic.”

“Good phrase for a doctor.”

“Eh?” Bodie said, grimacing. Shit. Said it again.

“All the doctors have catchphrases. Let's see... The Fourth Doctor said, 'Would you like a jelly baby?'”

“Oh now, that would scare off the bad aliens if ever there was a scary phrase!”

“It's for fun,” Doyle explained.

“What's his?” Bodie pointed to their companion.

“Seems like it's that 'alonso' he said earlier. But remember, he hasn't been on telly yet.”

“It's bloody confusing, keeping up with all of them! There should be some sort of book or something that's written it all down!”

Doyle shrugged. “Good idea. Maybe I'll write it one day.”

“In your spare time.”

“Yeah.” Doyle gave Bodie a warm smile. “Got other things to do in me spare time.” He waggled his eyebrow.

Bodie felt himself blush. “Christ, Doyle, not here!”

“Afraid somebody might see how much you love me?” Doyle asked.

“Berk.”

Doyle gave Bodie a dazzling grin in response. Bodie knew when he'd been beat. He closed his mouth and stopped.

“We need to do something other than follow the Doctor around.”

The Doctor turned back. “Find something?” He walked over to them.

“Do your thing with your thing,” Bodie said, waving his hand through the air. “We're wasting time here. That dog isn't going to waltz up to us and say hello.”

“This isn't an exact science!” the Doctor stated. “That's why I need your help!”

“You have it,” Doyle said, stepping between Bodie and the Doctor. “We want to help but you haven't told us a single thing to do!”

The Doctor ran his hand through his hair, making it stick out wildly about his head. “I- I don't know! There are so many dogs and people and, and...” He sighed, spinning in a circle.

“Hey,” Doyle said sympathetically, putting a hand on the Doctor's shoulder. “We'll find her. We won't give up until we do.”

“Yeah, mate. Don't worry. Doyle 'n' me are the best.” Bodie patted the Doctor's other shoulder all the while giving Doyle a look that said, 'We are so fucked!'.

“Thanks,” the Doctor said, looking from one man to the other. “You're both the bee's knees.”

“Fantastic,” Bodie said in a falsely cheerful tone.

The Doctor grinned. “Onward!”

“First we need to ditch these mutts,” Doyle said, looking down at the four Yorkies that now sat obediently at Bodie's feet. “What did you do to those dogs?”

“It's my charming personality,” Bodie said, straightening a non-existent tie. “And my devastating good-”

The ceiling lights began to blink wildly. A door slammed, then another. People started to mutter. The lights continued to blink and then the entire area was plunged into darkness.

“Calm down!” shouted the Doctor. “Just an electrical malfunction!”

“Is it?” Doyle asked, reaching out to latch onto Bodie's sleeve.

“Not a clue,” the Doctor said under his breath. “Stand still.”

Bodie clutched Doyle's hand. He couldn't see anything but he could hear the people in the exhibition centre start to grow alarmed. There was something wrong. Very wrong. Then it hit him. Not a single dog barked.

“Ray, the dogs,” he whispered into his partner's ear.

“Why are you whispering?” Doyle asked. “What? Oh, that's weird. Not a bark or a growl. Doctor?”

There was a strange sound and a blue light. Bodie blinked, the light from what he guessed was the Doctor's oft-mentioned sonic screwdriver seemed incredibly bright in the dark area. Bodie found himself holding his breath, expecting- something. After the Doctor turned in a complete circle, he turned off the device. Darkness took over once more.

“Bodie, Doyle,” the Doctor said softly. “We have a big problem. A big, big problem.”

“That's an understatement,” Bodie agreed.

Throughout the exhibition hall, torches were discovered in dog supplies and the room was lit by bobbing rays as people shone their torches about.

“The doors are locked! We can't get out!” someone shouted in the dark.

“Don't panic!” the Doctor called out loudly. “Help will come soon!”

“Help is already here,” a masculine voice said. The voice was husky and deep, loud enough to cut through the dog owners and groomers' voices.

Bodie felt a shiver of dread race up his back. He squeezed Doyle's hand. “This isn't good.”

“I've got a bad feeling about this,” Doyle said.

“Heard that one in a movie once. Didn't like the consequences,” Bodie said.

“Me neither.”

All of the lights blinked off and on for a few seconds, giving the entire area a strobe effect.

“See! Help is here!” the Doctor shouted. “Don't panic!”

Bodie had to close his eyes for a moment. After a few more seconds of blinking, the lights came back on and stayed on. Bodie threw a hand over his eyes, blinded momentarily by the brightness. When they had adjusted, he looked around. Who had spoken? Who had come to help? He didn't see any flashing Panda lights or anything that indicated that the police or Earls Court private security had come to their aid.

“Cor blimey,” Doyle said, his mouth agape. He and Bodie were facing each other but he wasn't looking at Bodie's face. He was staring straight past him, his eyes wide. “What in bloody hell is that?” He went for his gun and pointed it at something behind Bodie.

Bodie did the same, knowing that if Doyle saw danger, then danger was here! He didn't bother asking what was going on but spun on his heels. His own eyes went wide and he blurted out, “What the bleeding hell is that?”

Standing barely six feet away from them was a very large Rottweiler It was glaring at them, if a dog could glare. Drool fell from its dewlaps in long strings and its eyes glowed a bright blue. Bodie levelled his gun, ready to protect himself, Doyle, the Doctor and anybody else who might be attacked by what looked to be a rabid dog. Keeping his aim, Bodie wasn't surprised when the dog looked directly into his eyes. Predators did that when they were ready to spring. They tried to intimidate their prey. But what happened next made Bodie almost piss himself. To his complete and utter astonishment, the dog spoke. In English. With a German accent. Holy fuck.

“It will be hell to pay here and now if you and the rest of these humans do not obey me instantly! Blood will flow!” it said clearly.

The Doctor stepped forward, putting himself between Bodie's weapon and the dog.

“Move out of the way!” Bodie hissed, side-stepping the man.

The Doctor held out his hands towards the animal. “What do you want? What are you?” He cautiously reached into his pocket and pulled out his sonic screwdriver, pointing it at the Rottweiler. It growled menacingly, taking a step forward. The Doctor yanked the screwdriver back and looked down at it. “Ah ha! So that's what this is!” He glanced around the area. “All of them?”

“What are you taking about?” Doyle demanded. “All of what?”

“Look. The dogs. All of them are... infected. Taken over,” the Doctor explained. He looked back at the screwdriver. “Alien something or others have taken over their bodies.”

“You're crazy!” Bodie shouted, but he looked down at the four Yorkies who had been so sweet and loyal since he'd sprung them from their prison.

The four little dogs were standing in a straight line, staring up at him. Their eyes glowed blue. Their little teeth showed when he met their eyes, and as a group they stepped forward towards Bodie. Remembering what he knew about predators (the animal kind!), he dropped his gaze. They paused and he glanced up between his lashes. The little Yorkies ran over to the Rottweiler and sat at his feet, er paws. Whatever. The Rottweiler actually nodded to the small dogs, who grinned up at him. Bodie would swear that they were smiling. Traitors. The Rottweiler, the apparent leader of this rebellion, turned away without another backward glance. The little dogs fell into step behind him.

Bodie turned to the Doctor, fury in his tone. “I thought you said help was here?”

“I'm sorry. I'm so sorry but I was wrong. Help isn't here. But bad things are.” The Doctor moved closer to Doyle. “Put the gun away. It won't help. All of the dogs are now alien creatures capable of speech and thought. Look.” He pointed.

Bodie followed the direction of his finger, as did Doyle. Indeed, all of the dogs that were able were walking away from their owners in neat lines, like good little soldiers. One woman ran up to a white dog that looked to weigh about a stone. When she reached down to scoop up her pet, it leaped at her throat. She screamed, falling backwards as the sharp teeth sank in. Some exhibitors who could see what was happening began to scream and run. Others ran to the woman's aid. They tried to rescue her only to be attacked by the dogs that had been marching in unison.

Screams filled the air. People ran away from their dogs. Those animals on grooming tables that had been secured by leads and unable to jump free began to call for help. Any dog close to the tethered ones raced to their aid. With tooth and claw, they freed their fellow canines.

Many of the dogs were in crates. Those shouted for assistance and once again, any animals close by somehow managed to use their teeth and claws to open the closed case doors. Reason gave them the ability to figure out the locking mechanisms on crates and cages. They were now rational (or irrational as the case may be) alien creatures bent on domination. If any human tried to interfere they were bitten or clawed until they ran away crying and screaming.

“Please wait, er, General! Who are you?” the Doctor called out to the apparent leader of the takeover, the Rottweiler.

It paused, giving the Doctor a look over its shoulder, head cocked. “This knowledge will not help you.”

“Go on,” the Doctor cajoled. “Humour me. I'm just a- human after all.”

The Rottweiler laughed deeply, a cold sound. “You are no more human than I.” It paused, looked around. “We are Sporin!”

“Ahh, Sporin. Good. Thanks for that,” the Doctor said. “Good to meet you. What is your goal on this planet?”

Bodie said, “This is ridiculous!”

The Doctor didn't look at Bodie but said quietly, “Please, Agent, I'm gathering intelligence. It could be helpful in the situation.” He smiled at the Rottweiler. “Sorry about that. You were saying?”

The Rottweiler gave the Doctor a look that said, 'I'm not as dumb as you think I am!' It let out an annoyed huff of breath, turned and marched, yes marched, off, with the Yorkies marching in close order behind it. As the men watched, other dogs in the vicinity joined until a small army of canines moved towards the doors.

The doors that had slammed shut when the lights had first gone out were now operating. Several swung open for the approaching army of animals. They didn't pause or turn around but moved forward as one.

The Doctor pulled Bodie and Doyle by the sleeves into a corner. “The human race is in trouble. There are more dogs than humans on Earth and if they all become infected with whatever has happened to these animals, nanogenes I'm guessing, they will overpower the humans and destroy them.” The Doctor turned on his sonic screwdriver once more. “This isn't helping. I need the TARDIS. I need her computer to tell me what Sporin are. Never met one before. Interesting technology. Could study them at a convenient time.”

“Don't want to meet one now!” Bodie said roughly, interrupting the Doctor. The man did tend to babble on more than was necessary! At least in Bodie's opinion.

“Doesn't sound like much fun,” Doyle agreed before he asked, “What about the mission? The Corgi and the princess? What is going on?” His voice rose in anger and he took a step closer to the Doctor. He pointed a finger into his face. “You've been playing us since the moment you started following us in that stupid blue box!”

“We don't like being made fools' of,” Bodie said, pushing himself belligerently into the Doctor's personal space. “We don't like you.”

“Well,” the Doctor said affably. “That's all well and good. But it doesn't change a thing. These nanogenes are here whether we like it or not, and we have to think of a way to get them out of the dogs. We need to send them on their way. Something brought them here, probably a search for a home the way they took over and seemed happy about it!”

“Help them?” Bodie growled. “We want to help them not kill them? Are you mad?”

“Possibly,” the Doctor answered. “But I never kill another living creature no matter what form that life takes unless it's pure desperation or preservation of lives. It's not in my DNA.”

Bodie put his hands on the wall on either side of the Doctor's head. He leaned in close. “I don't care what's in your- damned A or B or C or whatever the fuck you call it, these things need to be stopped!” He was so angry he could have smashed in that pretty boy-doctor's face in a heartbeat. “If killing them is what needs to be done, then I'm all for it!”

Doyle put a hand on Bodie's arm. “Hang about. We have no clue what we're dealing with. The Doctor has had a lot of experience with other life forms. We need to listen to him.”

Bodie turned to glare at Doyle. “Other life forms? Are you daft?”

“Bodie, you saw the dogs! What do you think is happening? Special film effects?” Doyle squeezed his arm. “This is happening, even if you don't want to believe it. I don't blame you. I don't want to believe it either!”

Bodie kept his gaze locked with Doyle's for a good thirty seconds before he took a step back. He nodded curtly.

“Cheers, mate,” Doyle said, patting his bicep.

The Doctor looked from Bodie to Doyle, smiling. “Allons-y!”

“He says that once more,” Bodie muttered, “and he'll be wearin' that alons up his zee.”

Doyle snickered, catching Bodie's gaze. Bodie glared back until he started to laugh.

“Doyle, this is crackers. We are ballsed up more than we've ever been. With a capital B I might add.”

Doyle gave him a fake happy grin. “I like to think of it as a fuck up.”

“Oh, wonderful.” He bowed, waving his arm. “Shall we?”

“Cheers.”

Doyle followed the Doctor, with Bodie at his heels. It was going to be a bumpy night. What was left of it, anyway.

-------------------------------------

The trio of fearless soon-to-be alien-fighting men were mere feet from making their way out of the building when a girlish voice called out, “Doctor?”

The Doctor spun so quickly that he slammed into Doyle. Bodie banged into Doyle and the three men staggered.

“Who called me?” the Doctor asked.

“I did,” answered the girl.

Bodie looked around. Doyle did as well. The Doctor took a few steps forward.

“Where are you?” Bodie asked, not seeing the speaker.

“We'll help you. Come on out,” Doyle said.

“Please, we're here to help,” the Doctor added encouragingly.

“I'm so scared.” The little girl's voice drifted out from behind a pile of dog crates.

Doyle signaled to Bodie to go around to his right. Doyle went left and they circled the crates. The Doctor followed Doyle. Much to their surprise when they met in the middle, they didn't find a little girl but a little dog. A Corgi. A reddish brown bundle of fur with white markings.

“Susan!” the Doctor cried, rushing forward.

Bodie snagged his arm. “Wait. It might rip your face off!”

Doyle casually reached for his gun.

“She will not bite me!” the Doctor cried, holding out his arms.

The short-legged dog ran forward, leaping up. The Doctor bent down, caught her and she began licking his face.

“You're a nutter,” Doyle said to the Doctor. “Takin' unnecessary chances.”

“She'd never hurt a fly.” The Doctor rubbed Susan under her chin.

“Damned dog bit a copper,” Bodie said. “Read it in the paper. She's a biter, she is.”

Doyle raised his eyebrow in surprise. “Your breadth of knowledge never ceases to amaze me.”

Bodie gave a toothy grin. “Not that I blame her. I'd bite a copper meself.” He waggled an eyebrow at Doyle.

“Bodie!” Doyle snapped.

“What? Never!” the Doctor protested. “Not this little cutie pie,” he crooned in a falsetto, kissing the furry face.

“Blah,” Doyle said, wrinkling his nose.

Bodie leaned over and whispered into Doyle's ear. “This from the bloke who had his mouth all over my hairy- Oomph!” he coughed when Doyle jammed an elbow into his ribs.

“Cretin,” Doyle whispered.

Bodie grinned.

“Where have you been?” the Doctor asked Susan.

“Hiding,” she replied.

Bodie stared. “She's talking.”

“Well, no kidding,” Doyle said. “Remember? Infection? Alien something or other?”

Bodie rolled his eyes. “I remember. So why isn't it-”

“She. Susan is a she,” the Doctor said firmly. “And a sweet little girl she is too.” He'd reverted back to baby talk. Susan wiggled happily in his arms, licking his chin.

“So why isn't Susan biting your face off!” Doyle asked from between clenched teeth. Clearly his patience was wearing thin.

“Yes, do tell,” Bodie said, no more patient with the situation than Doyle.

“I have no idea. No wait. Maybe it's because she doesn't belong here. After all she's from the past.” The Doctor rubbed Susan's ears. She seemed to smile as she cocked her head and squeezed her eyes shut in pleasure.

Bodie didn't know that a dog's expression could show enjoyment, but the little dog sure looked like the ear rub felt good. “She's not infected by Sporin because she's out of place?”

“Oh, she's infected all right. But little miss Susan here is out of time,” the Doctor explained. “I have no explanation for why the nanogenes have infected her but not made her part of the collective. She does have the power of speech, as we've all heard, and free will, but we need to get her into the TARDIS environment before it changes! No sense waiting to see if she becomes a dog soldier! The TARDIS will protect her.”

“Hope it protects us too. Let's move.” Doyle looked around. He grabbed a large towel from a nearby table. “Wrap her up so nobody sees her. In case the gestapo patrol demands we turn her over to them.”

Bodie nodded his approval while the Doctor swaddled the dog. He covered her neatly and then flipped her onto her back.

“If anybody asks, she's a baby who needs her cot,” the Doctor explained.

Susan let out a sound that mimicked a baby's cry. The Doctor looked down at her. “Nicely done, missy.”

“Thanks,” she said in her little doggy-girl voice.

“Now shush,” Bodie said.

He glance at Doyle, who nodded back. They stood side by side scanning their escape route. When they were confident it was as good as it was going to get, they moved forward together with the Doctor behind them, carrying his precious bundle. The people left behind after the dogs marched off seemed mostly in shock. Some were angry. Many were crying. Bodie wondered if they should try to help but they had an assignment, a very important one. He'd make sure they contacted Cowley and relayed everything that had happened once they were safely away.

They made it to the door without incident and hurried into the night. They didn't know what lay ahead but they forged on. After all, they were with the Doctor and Doyle had told Bodie that he saved other planets and alien worlds all the time on the telly. Maybe he could do it in real life as well. After all, all of this was real. Not a sodding television programme.

Besides, they were British. Soldiering on was a way of life!

------------------------------------------

“This way,” Doyle said, walking briskly away from Earls Court.

The group wound their way through the milling crowd that was gathered outside the centre's rear doors. Out here, the same reactions were manifesting: excitement, surprise, fear, anger. In the distance Bodie could hear sirens but so far none had made it to the centre. Once they'd cleared the immediate area around the exhibition hall he could see why. Cars were stopped on all the roads they crossed. Something had caused London's streets to grind to halt. He didn't have to wonder what the reason was. Marching lines of dogs will do that to a city.

“We'll have to walk to the TARDIS,” Bodie said, looking around. “This is a bloody mess! We'll never get anywhere in the Capri, even with the siren.”

“True,” Doyle said, “but we can get somewhere on the Underground.”

“If these Sporin haven't affected it yet.”

The Doctor agreed. “Let's go for the Underground.”

“Where did you park?” Bodie asked. He was on high alert, carefully watching for any wayward Sporin dogs to leap from the dark bushes or from between buildings to rip their throats out.

“It's near Lancaster Gate. Little alleyway in a dark corner,” the Doctor said.

“Take about 15 minutes if the trains are running,” Doyle said.

“Got any cash?” Bodie asked the Doctor. He didn't wait for an answer. “No, of course not. Just how do you survive in all the places you claim to visit if you don't have local currency?”

The Doctor grinned. “Intelligence and charm.”

Doyle let out a snort. “Now you sound like Bodie.”

“Hey!” Bodie said, fishing coins from his pocket and clinking them in his hand.

They entered the station at Earl's Court and took the tube to Lancaster Gate with no problems. Thank God. The train was relatively empty at this time of night (it was already bloody 1116) and after changing at Notting Hill, they finally made it to their stop.

“I'll mind your gap,” Bodie muttered. “Do you ever get tired of hearing that?”

“Nah,” Doyle replied. “Never take the tube.”

The Doctor had been singing to the baby- dog on the train. Now he was quiet and Bodie noticed he seemed nervous.

“What?” Bodie asked, walking beside the Doctor. “Something wrong.”

“I've got a bad-”

Walking on the Doctor's other side, Doyle held up a hand. “Don't say it!”

The Doctor did not finish his thought. He kept looking around, his gaze darting left and right. Bodie was sure he'd start turning complete circles. The bloke made Bodie nervous watching him.

The trio (not counting the dog) took the lift out of the station and headed west on Bayswater Road.

“There,” the Doctor nodded towards a byway with the sign on the wall: Elms Mews. “In the corner of the small car park, under a tree, about halfway down.” He turned right into the passageway.

The lane was narrow and dark. Trees swayed in the breeze, their leaves rustling. It was quiet, with only a distant siren breaking it. No dogs barked.

“Stay close,” Bodie said, pulling his gun. “Stay behind me.”

The Doctor fell in behind Bodie. “Shhh, little one. Be very quiet.”

Doyle took up the rear. The men walked as quietly as possible. Suddenly a loud screech rent the air. A white streak raced from the shadows, running over Bodie's shoes. He leapt back, gun aimed down.

“Bloody stupid cat!” he hissed. “Why didn't the Sporin take the damned cats?”

Neither the Doctor nor Doyle answered. After Bodie's heart stopped pounding, he took a few more paces forward. A black shape heretofore unseen stepped from out of the darkness to Bodie's right.

“Halt! Who does there!” a voice demanded.

Bodie turned, raising his gun. “Come out of there or I'll blow you away.”

Doyle pushed the Doctor behind him, shielding what the man carried from the intruder's view. He had his gun out and aimed in the direction of the voice.

“You had best reconsider.” The shadow formed into a large black Doberman. “Why are you lurking around? All humans were ordered indoors.”

“Didn't get the message,” Bodie said.

“Why are you armed?” The Doberman stepped closer. “It is illegal in this country for citizens to run around with weapons.”

“We're mastermind criminals. Don't care about the sodding laws,” Bodie growled. “Now let us pass or else.”

“I've already contacted the nearest patrol. They'll be here in moments.” The dog lifted its nose. “What is that he carries? It smells...” Its nostrils flared. “It is one of us! Give it to me, you kidnappers!”

The Doctor jumped out from behind Doyle. “No. No, you're wrong. It's just the towel. It's my little girl and she's exhausted. The towel was used to dry off our dog earlier. At the dog show. Crufts, you know. She's exhausted as I said and quite cranky. Needs her nappy changed and her cot.”

The Doberman stepped closer. “I don't smell a dirty nappy. You're lying!”

Bodie took his opportunity. The dog was within reach. He brought the butt on the gun down on its head. It crumpled to the ground.

“Hurry!” Doyle cried, dragging the Doctor by his coat sleeve.

They ran the last few yards and turned right into a small parking area. There, in the shadows, was a blue police box.

Bodie yanked on the door and then pushed. “It's locked!”

“Key's in my coat pocket.” The Doctor lifted his left arm.

Doyle thrust his hand in and pulled out a small, normal-looking latch key. He held it up. “Expected something more- grand.”

“Christ!” Bodie exclaimed, ripping the key from Doyle's fingers. He jammed it into the lock and pulled.

“Push it in, you moron!” Doyle shouted. “We've got company!”

Bodie didn't take the time to look to see who was joining the party. Or what. He thrust the door open. Doyle propelled the Doctor through the door and he fell in behind him. Bodie rushed in, slamming the door. He had caught a glance of the troop of dogs that had entered the car park as he shut the door. He instantly turned the locks and leaned back against the door, breathing heavily.

The Doctor sprang into action. He pushed his bundle into Doyle's arms and raced up the ramp. He ran around crazily, throwing levers and pressing buttons. The engine began to hum. Bodie watched with his mouth open. The inside of this police box was enormous! The Doctor ran around a huge round control panel. All sorts of lights and sounds came from what Bodie had guessed was the engine of the craft. As the Doctor did whatever he was doing, the clear cylinder in the centre of the console began to emit a humming sound and something (the engine?) in the cylinder moved up and down, whooshing. Bodie kept himself pressed against the door. He briefly wondered if there were somewhere to buckle into a seat belt when the Doctor let out a cheer and they were moving.

It wasn't like an airplane taking off but a gentle sway. Under his feet he could feel the floor vibrating slightly. When the Doctor turned towards him and threw out his hand in triumph, Bodie gave him a wan smile. He took a step forward, holding onto the hand rail in case he experienced some sort of turbulence.

The Doctor ran around the console yet again, flipping yet more switches and turning dials. “Yes! Super! We're on our way! Bob's your uncle!”

Doyle was standing at the top of the ramp still holding the Corgi in his arms. Bodie cautiously made his way up to stand behind his partner. They both turned to look at each other and Bodie shook his head.

“What the f-?” Bodie slapped his hand over his mouth. From between his fingers he muttered, “This is barmy. One hundred percent off the rails. I wouldn't have believed it if I wasn't standing here!”

“Oh my God. It's all real! The TARDIS is real!” Doyle looked as gobsmacked as Bodie felt. His eyes were wide and they darted left and right and up and down.

“Well,” Bodie said, looking around, still unable to believe what he knew he was seeing, “it's bigger on the inside.”

“Yeah,” was Doyle's succinct response. “Good observation, Agent 3.7.”

“I need a second to take it all in.” Bodie watched as the Doctor continued his frenzied race about the TARDIS controls. He hoped to hell that this crazy man knew what he was doing!

Susan gave a little squeak. “Please put me down! I'm not a baby.”

Doyle rolled his eyes and unwrapped the little dog. “But you are. How old are you?” He gently put her on the floor.

She found her footing easily. “I'm four months old,” she told him with all the haughtiness of royalty.

Doyle burst out laughing. “You're adorable.”

“No dogs in the flat,” Bodie reminded him. “Cowley would not allow it.”

“Cookie had a dog,” Doyle reminded him.

“He also had a wife and kid, and look how that turned out.” Bodie saw Doyle blush with the painful memories. Thank heavens he hadn't had to shoot that dog! “Sorry, mate.” He patted Doyle's shoulder.

“No worries,” Doyle said. But he didn't look at Bodie as he walked over to where the Doctor was standing.

Bodie joined them. The Doctor was typing on a keyboard and in a few moments, he shouted, “Ah ha!”

“Anything useful?” Bodie asked, trying to read the screen.

“Like how to kill them?” Doyle asked before he hurriedly added, “Sorry. How to disperse them or make them want to go elsewhere?”

The Doctor pulled out a pair of glasses and plopped them on his nose.

Bodie looked at Doyle and shrugged. Doyle looked back. “A time lord needs glasses?” he whispered.

The Doctor leaned forward. “Sporin. Yup, I was pretty much on the money. Nanogene race that travels through space. Doesn't need to breathe, can somehow navigate in a large cluster... Hmmm, not a lot is known about them. Doesn't seem like I've ever run into them before, which is quite astonishing.” He tapped a few more keys.

“Why's that?” Bodie asked. “You haven't been everywhere in the galaxy, have you?”

Doyle laughed. “Bodie, the Doctor has been everywhere and every when in his lifetime!”

“He's what? Thirty-five? How many places has he been?”

Doyle sighed loudly. “He's a Time Lord. He regenerates. He's hundreds of years old!”

Bodie raised an eyebrow, looking at the Doctor, who grinned and nodded at him. “Isn't that kind of boring after a while? Living that long in a box?” He looked around.

The Doctor smiled. “It's exciting and exhilarating, but it is rather lonely sometimes, being the last of my kind.” He shrugged. “I manage.”

“He has assistants who travel with him. Blokes and birds he meets across the universe who want adventure,” Doyle explained.

“So people volunteer for this assistant gig?” Bodie asked.

“Not always. Sometimes people or aliens get swept up involuntarily. Then they're stuck with the Doctor.”

“Oh really? Why can't he just, I don't know, return them to where they were?” Bodie asked before he threw up a hand. “Wait. It's a fixed point and he can't go back, blah, blah, blah. Pretty damned convenient, eh? Got a time machine and can't use it properly.”

“Bodie, that's not how it is! You haven't watched the programme! Travelling with the Doctor would be the single most marvellous thing to happen to anybody! To visit worlds and times, any you chose!” Doyle's eyes sparkled with excitement. “To see the Vikings conquering Mercia, to touch a dinosaur! And that's just on planet Earth!”

“As long as it doesn't disrupt the space-time continuum, apparently.” Bodie couldn't keep the annoyance from his tone nor did he try to.

Bodie also didn't like how Doyle was acting, as if he thought going with this doctor to unknown worlds would be something he'd like to try. Doyle wouldn't leave him, would he, to travel the stars? If the Doctor was looking for a travel companion and he asked Doyle, would Doyle go? He turned away, not wanting Doyle to see the fear in his eyes. “Fantastic. Got a loo around here, mate?”

The Doctor pointed. “Of course! The TARDIS is fully equipped with all the mod cons. Through that archway, tenth door on the left.”

Tenth door? Just how big was this bloody thing anyway?

"Cheers," Bodie said, going in the direction the Doctor indicated. He didn't look back but he could hear the awe in Doyle's voice as he chattered with the Doctor, asking nine or ten questions in the few seconds it took for Bodie to make his way out of the main engine room until he was no longer able to hear the two men talking animatedly together. He found the bathroom after opening one wrong door. It looked like a bedroom, with the bed hanging from the wall by chains on each end, like a shipmate's sleeping quarters.

While he urinated, Bodie wondered if the Doctor slept. He was, after all, not human, an alien. It sounded strange to his own mind to say the word. Overall he liked the bloke. He was affable and intelligent and good-looking. Bodie understood why Doyle was attracted to him. While Bodie considered himself affable and intelligent and good-looking, he did not have one thing the Doctor had that was so enticing - a TARDIS.

Finished, he washed his hands in a strange type of sink that whooshed out air on his skin. He shrugged mentally. Some sort of alien technology no doubt. Probably cleaned his hands better than good old soap and water.

When he returned to the main control area, he found the men sitting on some comfortable-looking chairs, drinking tea. Susan lay at the Doctor's feet munching a biscuit. Whether it was human friendly or not, Bodie's stomach rumbled.

"Sit down, mate!" the Doctor said, waving a hand at an empty chair. "Tea?"

"Please. Milk, one sugar."

"Biscuit?" the Doctor asked, holding out a plate.

"Cheers. 'm starving." Bodie took the cup and the plate. He put the plate on his lap and began to eat. Alien biscuits tasted remarkably like Waitrose custard creams.

"Bodie!" Doyle said affectionately.

"I'm hungry!" Bodie said around a mouthful of biscuit. He slurped his tea and sighed with pleasure. "Good, this. Thanks, mate."

"Any time. It's nice having company," the Doctor admitted. He put his cup down and jumped up. "Now back to work! No, you finish," he said to Bodie, waving a hand at him. "Sit. Relax. Doyle and I have got this!"

Doyle drank down his tea and jumped up with the same bounce remarkably like the Doctor's. The two of them were beginning to give Bodie a headache. Hopefully the sugar would give him a boost. He needed it around these two Duracell Bunny types. The energy was enough to drive any sane bloke over the cliff.

The Doctor yelled, "Bob's your uncle!" so loudly that Bodie sloshed tea onto his plate of biscuits.

For an alien time lord, the Doctor used a lot of slang commonly spoken in Great Britain. With a disgusted grunt, Bodie put the cup and plate aside. "What have you found?"

Doyle gave Bodie a wide grin. "I've used the TARDIS computer! I've found how to defeat the Sporin!"

"Great," Bodie said unenthusiastically, but Doyle didn't notice. He and the Doctor had their heads together as they read the computer screen. Bodie felt useless. He could leave and they wouldn't have a clue that he had. He knew he was feeling sorry for himself but he had every right. Doyle was his!

"So that's it?" Doyle asked. "That will send the Sporin on their way to find another planet to bother?"

"Should. That's what the computer says. Computers are rarely wrong."

"Go on," Bodie said, walking around to join the Doctor and Doyle. "Dazzle me with your brilliance."

Doyle grinned at Bodie. "It's quite simple, really. But without the Doctor we'd never have figured it out! Not in a million years!"

"We haven't got that much time," Bodie said.

The Doctor and Doyle laughed as if Bodie were the best comedian this side of Alpha Centuri, wherever that was.

"The computer says," Doyle grinned as if he'd discovered how to spin straw into gold, "we must use tea!"

"Eh?" Bodie said for the hundredth time in twenty-four hours. "Tea? How is that possible? Not acid or gamma rays or bloody iodine? Tea?"

"Yup," the Doctor agreed. "Tea. Good old India tea. Not Chinese or Turkish or any other kind. Pure Indian tea."

"Why is that?" Bodie asked.

Doyle grinned. "The chemical composition of India tea differs slightly from other types. There is a special enzyme in it that is harmless to humans but will encourage the Sporin to exit the bodies and drift off into space. Isn't that brilliant?" He looked fondly at the Doctor. "And it's all his doing. If it weren't for the Doctor, we'd all be doomed!"

The Doctor beamed. "Ta, Ray."

"Marvellous," Bodie muttered. It was Ray now! Isn't that sweet?"How do we get all those dogs to drink tea?"

"They don't need to drink it," the Doctor explained. "They need to be doused with it!"

"All right," Bodie said, sighing. It was like pulling teeth. "How do we douse them with it? All of them."

Doyle gave Bodie a look of such long-suffering patience that Bodie had the sudden urge to put his fist through his beloved partner's teeth. “The TARDIS can affect the weather. We can make it rain tea.”

The Doctor looked at Doyle fondly, as if he was a brilliant student who was doing a grand job of learning his lessons. “That's right. She can excite the atmosphere and make it rain or snow. We'll just have to rig up the AD device, add the tea and off it goes!”

“How do you make it sound so simple, saving the world?” Doyle asked, awe in his tone.

Bodie had to hold himself together to keep from yelling, But we save people too! He didn't want Doyle to look at him scornfully. Or worse, with pity. Bodie's rants and raves wouldn't do any good. Nor would it sway Doyle once he'd made up his mind, even if he tried to use guilt on him. Besides, he couldn't do that to Doyle. Not to someone he loved dearly. He could see that Doyle had made up his mind and Bodie cared about him enough not to stand in his way to happiness.

Bodie nodded curtly. “Great. Let's get it done so the good doctor can be on his way."

As soon as the words left Bodie's mouth, he realised what they meant. His heart dropped. He didn't want the Doctor to be on his way because that meant Doyle would be gone! Maybe he should stall the project. Delay getting rid of the Sporin so Doyle wouldn't go! As soon as he thought about doing that, he paused. Bodie huffed out a loud breath. He couldn't do that. He couldn't risk people's lives. Not any more. His time with Doyle had changed him. He wasn't a merc any longer. He was a protector of Queen and country. Even if he wasn't overly thrilled with this current assignment.

Bodie squared his shoulders. He would help the Doctor rid London of the Sporin and when it came time for Doyle to go with him, he wouldn't stand in his way. He'd bid Doyle adieu and disappear once and for all.

Aren't you the sodding brave little soldier now? Bodie scoffed at himself. But he was determined to hold to his own words. He would do what he could because it was the right thing to do. Then he would be done with CI5 and London, permanently.

Bodie always did fancy a cottage on a sunny beach somewhere. It was time he had it. Too bad he couldn't have it with Doyle. They would have had such a grand time together.

--------------------------------

Doyle clicked off his r/t. “Check that from the list of things to do. Cowley's been fully apprised of the situation. He's got all agents not assigned to life and death situations elsewhere on standby. And he's got a supply of India tea. God knows where he comes up with this stuff.” He pocketed the device. “You have the coordinates,” he asked the Doctor.

“I do indeed!” The Doctor spun a few dials and pushed and/or pulled some levers. The centre cylinder of the TARDIS whooshed again but Bodie didn't pay much attention to it now.

“Cowley is a funny fellow but he gets the job done,” Bodie mused.

“He didn't lose his wig when I asked him to have the military on stand-by as well,” the Doctor said. “George is my kind of bloke.”

“The Cow is a good man,” Bodie said. “Except when he's yelling at us to get on our bicycles.”

The Doctor laughed. “He saved my life once. But that's a tale for another time! We have work to do!”

Bodie gave him rueful smile. “He saved your life. Sounds like our Cowley. Nothing new then, eh?”

“Nope,” Doyle said, smiling. “Same old Cowley.”

The Doctor chuckled. “Some things never change.”

A sleepy little voice from behind Bodie said, “Are we home yet? I miss my Lillibet.”

The men looked down at the floor. Little Susan has woken from her long nap. She sat looking up at the Doctor. “And I'm hungry and I have to tinkle!” She did a little doggie dance to emphasise her point.

The Doctor scooped her up. “Come with me, young miss. I'll show you the perfect spot for that tinkle and then we'll stop in the galley. I have some tasty treats with your name on them!”

As he walked off, Doyle asked, “You have a galley as well?”

“Of course! I did say we had all the mod cons. Where did you think the tea came from earlier? We don't have a replicator like they do on Star Trek.”

“You've seen Star Trek?” Doyle asked.

“Who hasn't?” the Doctor quipped. In his best Captain Picard voice he said, “The TARDIS will calibrate the water to tea ratio and load it up into the AD device.”

“AD device?” Bodie had to ask.

“Atmospheric Disturbance device,” the Doctor supplied.

“When are we going for the tea?” Bodie looked around but didn't see any crates.

Over his shoulder the Doctor called, “Oh, we're already at the warehouse your good major told us about! Won't be a tick and we'll be on our way again?” He rubbed Susan's ears. “And you, my sweet thing, shall have a nice spritz with some tea water. It will make your coat all glossy and you will feel absolutely amazing! I promise.”

The Doctor walked off, still chatting with Susan. Bodie could hear the little dog giggling as they made their way down the corridor.

Bodie turned his attention back to Doyle. “We moved again? Flew, I mean?” He hadn't even noticed when the TARDIS had moved. Cor blimey. It didn't take much to get used to hopping about at all! He did wonder if all the take-offs and landings were as smooth as the ones he was experiencing.

“Fantastic, isn't it?” Doyle chimed. “It's absolutely amazing.”

“Amazing.” And it was, Bodie had to admit. The TARDIS was a marvel. It was hard to even understand it existed let alone be in it. He would never forget this op. Not in a million years.

“Why are you smiling?” Doyle asked.

Bodie shrugged. “It has been an astonishing-” he looked at his watch, “thirty-six hours. I wonder if he's ever crash-landed.”

Before Bodie could muse further about the Doctor's exploits, he returned with a happy Corgi at his heels.

“Onward!” the Doctor shouted. “As soon as I get one more piece of information-”

The telephone on the TARDIS console rang.

The Doctor sprang to answer it. “'ello.” pause. “Hmm. Yes!” another pause. “Good! Fantastic!” a short pause. “Cheers!” He hung up the receiver and looked happily from Bodie to Doyle. “The game's afoot!”

The Doctor banged on the computer keyboard and laughed, throwing back his head. “Ah ha!”

Bodie exchanged a look with Doyle that clearly said, He's definitely a mad bastard! Doyle nodded, his own eyes wide.

The doctor swung the computer screen towards Doyle and Bodie. They peered at it together.

“What do you see?” the Doctor asked.

“A lot of red dots. Some of them are moving,” Doyle offered.

“There are thousands,” Bodie said. “The dogs! They're the dogs from outer space!”

“Not quite,” the Doctor explained, “but close. They're the heat signatures of the dogs. Cowley had his boys scouting for the biggest gathering and that's what this is.”

“Wow,” Doyle said. “More than I'd imagined!”

“Can we douse all of them at once?” Bodie asked.

“It would be significantly more difficult to pour tea rain on the entire City but a gathering would be much easier. There could definitely be some strays, however, it's fortuitous that the commandant of the dogs- that Rottweiler from last night- apparently sent out a call to arms.” The Doctor tapped the screen. “We have a plan!”

“Allons-y!” Doyle cried.

Both Bodie and the Doctor stared at him before bursting out laughing.

---------------------------------

The Doctor ran around the platform surrounding the TARDIS control console. Bodie wondered if he ever got tired of rushing to and fro. Bodie was tired of watching him! How could anybody have that much energy? Then he remembered that the Doctor wasn't anybody; he was a Time Lord. Maybe Time Lords didn't sleep.

Bodie considered asking the Doctor about it when the man let out a cry of delight.

“Where are we going?” Doyle asked.

“Brompton Cemetery!” the Doctor answered

“Where the dogs are gathered,” Bodie added.

“Exactly!” the Doctor exclaimed, throwing yet more levers.

The TARDIS engines started to whoosh and Bodie felt the familiar sensation of the floor vibrating and a flash of movement. He had so many questions that he would never have the chance to ask. The Doctor would be an interesting bloke to spend some quiet time with, to find out about time travel and outer space. Bodie gave a quiet snort. Did this man ever have quiet time? Probably not.

“Here goes!” the Doctor shouted, pushing another set of buttons.

On the computer screen, the image of the thermal heat signatures blinked off. Another push of a button and the screen turned into a camera. Bodie saw London below, the buildings, roads and traffic coming into focus. They rushed down at an alarming rate. He shut his eyes, sure they would crash. Instead, the TARDIS glided smoothly above what he recognised as Brompton Cemetery. It was strange at this perspective but he easily identified the large circular wall surrounding the gravestones and the domed roof of the chapel. They dropped closer until he could see hundreds of dogs milling about the graves. There were so many dogs that they spilled out into the parkland that ran along the sides and in front of the cemetery proper. Bodie had no idea that there were so many dogs in London itself! If they had a chance to take over the city, there would be no saving the people!

Doyle stood beside Bodie, his hand on Bodie's upper arm. Bodie heard his sharp inhalation when he saw the gathering of dogs.

“I can't believe it,” Doyle said quietly.

“I hope this works,” Bodie said, “or London is gone.”

“It will work. I have faith in the Doctor.”

Bodie briefly patted Doyle's hand. “So do I,” he admitted. And he meant it.

--------------------------------------

“Look!” the Doctor called, pointing.

The agents saw what the Doctor had brought to their attention. They circled the cemetery, and on the perimeter roads surrounding it, figures moved into position. Hundreds of figures: police and military, Bodie reckoned.

“They'll capture the dogs as they return to normal,” the Doctor said.

“Cowley said the command centre would be the exhibition hall,” Doyle said.

“I can't wait to see the announcement on the telly,” Bodie said, shaking his head and laughing. “The newspaper headlines will be nuts!”

The TARDIS landed across the way, in a large open area near Brompton Park Crescent. Bodie opened the TARDIS doors and walked out. He could make out the line of police and military through the trees. The uniformed people were standing quietly. They certainly didn't want to attract the attention of the Sporin-ified dogs before the tea rain fell.

Doyle and the Doctor came out behind Bodie. Bodie listened for a few moments. It was strange, hearing such a quiet city. Most of the traffic had been snarled by the troops of dogs patrolling the roads. He could hear the rumble of the tube in the distance and the horn of a barge on the Thames. What was missing was the sound of dogs barking in the distance, a common enough thing that he ignored all of the time. Now it was odd actually listening for the barking and not hearing a single one.

The Doctor licked a finger and held it up.

“Good wind. Nice cloud cover.” He peered up, turning in a complete circle, then threw out his arms. “Great weather for tea rain!” The Doctor walked over to the TARDIS, reached up above the door.

Bodie couldn't see what he did but suddenly the light on the top of the TARDIS glowed brightly. A dazzling white flare launched into the sky, then another, and finally a third. They were silent as they raced into the sky, disappearing into the dark clouds that hovered over the cemetery. Bodie listened carefully, his gaze locked on Doyle's. There were three muffled pops, not loud enough to cause any attention unless you were waiting for them. The three men were quiet, waiting. Waiting.

Ten seconds.

Twenty seconds.

Thirty seconds.

A raindrop hit Bodie's nose. Then another until a gentle drizzle fell. After another full minute, the rain came down steadily. Sticking out his tongue, Bodie tasted good Indian tea. He began to laugh but then quickly shut it. They waited some more.

Two minutes of steady rain.

Three minutes of steady rain.

Four and five and six.

Bodie was thoroughly wet now but he didn't move. Frozen in his spot, he listened. Then it happened!

First it was one, then two, then a dozen, then dozens of dozens.

Dogs began to howl and bark. And bark and howl. It was a marvellous sound!

Bodie laughed aloud. He launched himself at Doyle, picked him up and spun him around. The Doctor did a dance on the wet grass, laughing along with Bodie. Doyle grunted when Bodie dropped him to his feet.

“You're both mad as hatters,” Doyle said. He smiled. “But the dogs are barking and howling!”

“Looks like the lads are moving in.” Bodie pointed. The line of uniformed men had moved forward out of his line of sight and in the distance he could hear shouting.

“Our work here is done!” the Doctor said happily. “Shall we?” He bowed, waving a hand towards the TARDIS. “I have a little miss to deliver back to her home! I have places to go and people to see! The universe awaits!”

As if on cue, Susan stuck her head out the door and barked.

The Doctor cheered. “Hurrah! Well done you!”

Susan barked again and ran straight to Bodie. He reached down and scratched her ears.

“Looks like you've got your dog charm back,” Doyle said, laughing.

“Looks like,” Bodie said, patting the dog's head. “Good girl.”

Susan looked like she was extremely pleased at Bodie's praise.

“Off you go!” the Doctor said, waving Susan inside. Smart dog that she was, she understood and followed direction.

“Shall we?” the Doctor said.

Doyle didn't need a second invitation. He was inside faster than Susan.

“Bodie?”

“Nah. Ta all the same. I'm going to find my car and go home. Grab a shower and a kip.” Bodie reached out his hand. “Thanks for everything. It was a grand adventure.”

“What about Ray? Won't he wonder why you've gone off without him?”

“He won't even notice.”

The Doctor studied Bodie carefully. “Ahh,” he said non-commitally. “If you're sure.”

“I'm sure.” Bodie held out his hand. “Thanks again.”

The Doctor took Bodie's hand in both of his. “It was at that! Thank you, kind sir. Best of things to you, and all that. It was fantastic! I've got to stop saying that. Used by another doctor. Oh well, Cheerio!”

Bodie waved before turning away. He heard the TARDIS door close. He heard the whoosh of her engines. Then it was quiet except for the barking of dogs in the distance and the shouting of men and women as they chased the wayward creatures. Life was back to some semblance of normal for most of London, but not for Bodie.

Goodbye, mate. Good luck and good life. Stay safe and have grand adventures!

Bodie did not look back. Not even once.

------------------------------------

Bodie was at Earls Court and his Capri was at Edwardes Square. He couldn't hail a cab although the streets had begun to clear of the many stalled or abandoned vehicles. By tomorrow London would be back to normal, but for now, he decided to take the tube home. Besides, the Capri was a motor pool car and Cowley could send one of the lads for it tomorrow. He'd leave the keys on the kitchen table when he left.

Walking home after climbing the steps from the tube station, Bodie was able to make himself not think about anything important. He was too tired to feel sorry for himself anyway. What was done was done. Doyle was with the Doctor and he was alone. Again.

Bloody hell but he needed a bath! He felt dirty in his days old clothing. Once inside his flat, he ran the water while he stripped. His robe was hanging on the back of the door, and with a clean pair of socks, he went into the bathroom. He urinated then turned off the taps, sinking into the hot depths. It felt wonderful! He shampooed his hair and gave himself a good scrubbing. Out of the water, he dried and slipped on the robe and socks.

Bodie tied the belt as he walked into the kitchen. He stood there for a moment, hungry but too tired to do much about it. The fridge held one can of lager so he took that into the lounge and flipped on the telly. He didn't bother with a lamp, letting the flickering of the TV light the room.

Lying down, Bodie sipped the beer and idly watched the tube. Of all things to come on, it was an episode of, you guessed it, Doctor Who. He saw the blond-haired man bounce about the TARDIS, a completely different blue box interior than the one he'd been in a mere hours ago.

The bloke on the telly wore a rather strange outfit for an alien. It was an old fashioned cricket get up. At least this Doctor had good taste. Bodie liked cricket, and he liked the Doctor's jaunty hat. But what in God's name was that green weed attached to his lapel? He crunched up his eyes but he couldn't make out exactly what the thing was. Apparently this doctor didn't put an ordinary carnation in his lapel. He remembered what Doyle had said the other day, that this was the Fifth Doctor. His doctor (his doctor? really?) had been the Tenth. Odd how that time travel worked!

Bodie watched as the episode unfolded. Something about snakes and temples. He reckoned that one actor, young, with rather large ears and full lips, wouldn't get much work. Not the usual handsome type for telly. The episode ended and something about celebrities came on. Bodie found himself dozing off and on. He had finally fallen asleep when a loud banging on his door startled him awake.

“Oi, mate! Open up!”

A familiar voice. Doyle? Bodie wiped the sleep from his eyes and stood. More banging, loud enough to wake the entire floor.

“Bodie, shift it!”

Slowly Bodie made his way to the door and opened it. Standing there in all his glory was Ray Doyle. His arms were full of carrier bags and he had his foot pulled back, ready to kick the door once again.

“'bout time!” Doyle walked in and thrust most of his burdens into Bodie's arms. “I'm famished!”

Bodie sighed, following Doyle into the kitchen. Doyle flipped on the lights as he walked through. Bodie dropped the load of bags onto the table. “What are you doing here?”

Doyle started emptying the contents. Beer. Biscuits. A loaf of bread. Several wrapped parcels from the delicatessen. Something that smelled fabulous in takeaway containers. Bodie sniffed. Chinese. Shrimp and noodles. His mouth started to water. Doyle knew he would eat rice but preferred noodles. But he wasn't about to be wooed with a bit of food.

“What are you doing here?” he repeated. “Aren't you-?” He waved his hand skyward.

Doyle opened a can of lager. He took a swig, then swiped the back of his hand across his lips. “You are such a moron.” He popped the top of a second can and thrust it at Bodie. “Did you really think I was going off on some amazingly marvellous adventure with the Doctor?” When Bodie looked at his slippers, not answering, Doyle circled the table. He reached out and pulled Bodie close. “You are more than a moron. You're an idiot.”

“Is that worse then?” Bodie asked, his throat tight.

“Christ, Bodie, don't you have any faith in me? In us?” Doyle asked, hurt in his tone.

“I- Well,” Bodie stuttered. “I- suppose.”

Doyle lifted Bodie's chin until they were looking at each other. “You suppose. You, William Andrew Phillip Bodie, the man who claims he's God's gift to men and women alike, is afraid of not being good enough? What? You didn't think you could compete? The world is definitely going to end tonight!” He laughed, raising his free hand to the heavens.

“Don't laugh at me. I can't compete! I don't have a bloody time machine!” Bodie admitted, flushing with embarrassment. “He was fun and exciting and handsome. He could give you adventures! Most you'll get with me is more than likely killed on an op.” He tried to pull away but Doyle held fast.

“Bodie, it's been a couple of tiring days. I'm hungry and I'll bet you are too.” Doyle dropped his hands. “You smell nice and I'm in horrible need of a bath. I definitely do not smell of roses and lavender.”

Bodie chuckled. “Yeah, you do have a bright odour about you. And I am hungry. Ta for the food and beer.”

“Are we done with all that other stuff?” Doyle asked, opening takeaway boxes. He retrieved two plates and piled both with shrimp, noodles and spring rolls. “Eat.”

With a contented sigh, Bodie sat and dug in. “Good,” he said with his mouth full.

“Cretin,” Doyle said affectionately, taking a long draw from his can of beer. He finished his meal and beer. Dropping his plate in the sink, he passed plate that held a delicious looking Swiss roll to Bodie. “Enjoy another beer and pudding while I take a bath. Have I got an extra change of clothes here?”

“Don't you always? Just don't bother putting them on right now,” Bodie said happily. “Ray?”

“Yeah?” Doyle turned around.

“What happened with Susan?”

“Oh, we took her home.”

Bodie's eyes widened. “You went back to...?”

“1944? Yeah. In the blink of an eye. Was pretty cool but after that, I went to the shops before they closed,” Doyle said matter-of-factly.

“You went to the shops,” Bodie said.

“Said that, didn't I?”

“You gave up the Doctor for me?” Bodie asked, still gobsmacked that Doyle loved him that much.

“Bodie, shut up.” Doyle rolled his eyes and left the room. On his way down the hall he called back, “Best you'll be nice to me tonight then, eh?”

Bodie chuckled. Just like that, it was settled. Doyle was staying, not only tonight but for good. What Bodie liked about his Ray was there wasn't any drama in their relationship. Bodie was an idiot. Doyle forgave him for not having faith in him. Bodie would never do that again. He was quick learner! End of story.

Happy beyond words, Bodie couldn't keep the grin from his face. He could hear Doyle running his bath, moving about. It made him smile so much his mouth hurt! Doyle was here and Doyle was his. He slices the roll into six pieces, ate four with his beer, leaving two slices for Ray. He didn't open another lager. He wanted his senses sharp (well, as sharp as they could be when one was in need of a good kip) so that he could enjoy every inch of a squeaky clean and willing bed partner.

When Bodie heard Doyle shave, that was his cue. He walked through the flat, double checking locks and turning off lights. He headed to the bathroom, brushed his teeth, peed, and sniffed under his arms. He still smelled clean. With a grin, he hung his robe on the back of the door and sauntered into his bedroom.

Pausing at the door to enjoy the scenery, Bodie was treated to a Raymond spread out on the clean sheets. The bedside lamp cast a warm glow on Doyle's skin and his hair was in damp ringlets. He looked good enough to eat.

Doyle gave Bodie a bashful grin. “If you stare any longer, I'm going to start without you.”

Laughing, Bodie crossed the room and climbed into bed. Doyle's arms circled his shoulders. Bodie sank in for a long kiss, enjoying the taste of minty goodness. It wasn't long before they were both kissing, stroking available flesh and shivering not from cold but from excitement.

Bodie had Doyle's cock in his mouth whilst his was in Doyle's. Nothing like the traditional positions to give a bloke an orgasm. It was all too soon before both men were coming.

“Christ, Ray, but you're good,” Bodie said when he righted himself on the bed, head on pillow.

“Cheers. You seem to have enjoyed that.” Doyle brushed the backs of his fingers across Bodie's cheek.

“As did you, kind sir.”

Doyle laughed, kissing the tip of Bodie's nose. “Come here.”

Bodie didn't need a second invitation, he flipped and scooted back until he was spooned with Doyle with no space between them. His buttocks were warmly cupped by Doyle's crotch. Doyle's arm was around his chest, holding him close.

Warm and comfortable, Bodie closed his eyes. He patted Doyle's hand before lacing their fingers together. “You're the best companion I could have.”

Doyle kissed Bodie's shoulder. “I don't half love you, Doctor Bodie.”

Bodie chuckled softly, drifting to sleep thinking about flying hither and thither in his own blue box. He wouldn't be a mad bastard like that Doctor. But after a second, he reckoned that was the best part. He could easily be a mad man with a box. Especially if he had Doyle beside him.

They were a grand pair!

In the distance, Bodie heard a couple of dogs howling at the moon. At this moment, all was right with his world. It was with a great feeling of satisfaction that Bodie fell asleep.

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