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Cesium and Desist

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“Well, this is a proper mess, isn’t it?” The Doctor’s grin was just a tad wobbly.

“Is it safe to get out from under here?” Ryan had dived under the table when everything went pear shaped. Right now, his voice was somewhat muffled; he’d thrown his jacket over his head to protect himself from airborne whisks and measuring spoons.

“I think so, yeah,” the Doctor said, looking around the kitchen rather cautiously.  “You think so, Yaz? Gosh, that was unexpected!”

Yaz, who normally would have thought the generous dollop of chocolate on the Doctor’s nose was almost too cute to bear, agreed. The TARDIS kitchen looked as if a chocolate cake had exploded. Which, strictly speaking, had sort of happened.

Yaz felt certain the Doctor’s frenzied cry of “Not the cesium!” had something to do with it, so she wasn’t initially inclined, cute dollop of chocolate notwithstanding, to feel too sorry for the Time Lord. Not when Yaz herself had gooey, sticky, quickly-hardening and undoubtedly-difficult-to-wash-out chocolate in her hair.

And on her blouse — no, wait, down her blouse and … and … yes, in her bra.

Well, that was just great.

I’d say more of an improper mess,” she muttered, not really to herself, and glared at the Doctor. Who did have the grace to lose the grin entirely.

“My fault, Yaz, I know. Sorry; sorry, both of you. I keep telling myself not to mix up lab things with kitchen things, and then I keep forgetting. I mean, it’s been ages since I was last in here for anything more than milk for my tea. I think the last time I actually tried my hand at baking was when Romana and I made brownies. That was a long time ago.” She looked more than a bit forlorn, and Yaz wondered who Romana was. “I have no idea how the cesium got into the cupboard. I thought I was handing you decorator icing, honest I did.”

“Really? You thought it was icing? That’s proper dangerous, that is,” Ryan said. He removed the jacket from his head, inspected it for damage, tsking at the pattern of heavy cream spatters across its back. Once he climbed out from under the table, his jaw dropped. “This is worse than I expected. How are we ever gonna clean this up?”

“The kitchen? Or us?” The Doctor had apparently just realized that she’d turned into a chocolate brunette.

Despite her extreme stickiness, Yaz couldn’t hold onto her irritation. Ryan’s slack-jawed disbelief, the Doctor’s bespoke kitchen hairstyle, her own sugary decolletage … she started to laugh.

“Oh my god, Doctor. Even when we’re not having adventures in time or space, there are things blowing up at us, thanks to you! This beats Sheffield hollow; right, Ryan?”

He snickered, which action eventually became a good-natured chortle. And once the Doctor realized that her friends had miraculously refrained from rounding on her for her misstep, the Doctor laughed, too, a full-throated guffaw that left her mouth wide open for the gob of chocolate batter — luckily cesium-free — that Yaz threw at her.

She responded by taking the chocolate dollop off her nose and pitching it Yaz-ward. Instead, Ryan got the full benefit of her aim being just a little off.

“Oh, now, that’s just unfair — no warning, Doctor? Of course, you know this means war,” he whooped, reaching for the one bowl that hadn’t exploded. Yaz noticed that he kept carefully away from anything that even seemed as if it had gold spatters in it. It paid to be careful when you were sharing space with the world’s most active metal.

The Doctor must have come to the same conclusion. “Much as nine-tenths of me wants to continue the chocolate fight, the other tenth knows we all need to get out of here and clean ourselves up. Yaz, Ryan, let me check you over … where’s my sonic, please don’t let it be all over chocolate … ah, there!”

She fished out of a pocket and waved what Yaz thought of as her magic wand up and down over both humans in the room, checked some sort of readout, and sighed in relief. “All right, no cesium left on either of you — which, honestly, I could have figured immediately, since neither of you were shrieking in pain as the stuff ate through your bodies, but it always pays to be careful — so head to the showers, both of you.”

“What about you, Doctor?” At the renewed mention of cesium, Yaz started to worry about the Time Lord. She didn’t think cesium would treat an alien any differently than it would an earthling.

“Nah, nothing gold about me,” the Doctor replied, looking pleased that Yaz had thought about her. Still. she did a quick check of herself in a shiny section of refrigerator, just to make sure. Then she sat down on a stool that was miraculously free of uncooked cake, and dropped again into gloominess.

“By rights, I should be the one to explode, I suppose,” she said, looking first at Yaz and then at Ryan. “Just as kind of, you know, universal payback for putting both of you in danger. Sorry — I seriously just wanted to do some baking.”

Yaz shook her head. “I know. You’ve apologized enough, Doctor. And I tell you what; we’ll try it again some other day.” Before anyone could say anything else, she wagged a finger in the Doctor’s face. “But let’s do a real safety inspection before we get started. No dangerous chemicals, no volatile metals, no … I dunno, no weird alien artifacts that should be chained down in another section of the TARDIS entirely. That way, we can actually get the cake baked, iced, and finished in time for supper without becoming kitchen casualties, right?”

Ryan was nodding even before Yaz finished speaking, his eyes bright with humor as he waited for the Doctor’s response. “Sounds like a plan to me,” he said.

The Doctor heaved a sigh of relief. “You’ve got a deal. Baking day with my fam, only with loads of safety, and absolutely no cesium!”

Then she grimaced and looked around her at the wrecked room. The ship’s thrum was notably high and edgy; peevish, Yaz would have said of a human friend. “Can you two let us have a little privacy?”

Yaz and Ryan looked first at each other, and then at her.

“Yeah, sure,” Ryan said. He gazed around at the bespattered walls. “Good luck.”

Yaz, already looking forward to as hot a shower as she could manage, possibly followed by a sybaritic Japanese-style bath and a cup of hot tea, stopped long enough to give the Doctor a quick one-armed hug.

“It’s not all her fault,” she said to the air. “We all should have been more careful.”

The peevish tone abated a little, and the Doctor hugged Yaz back.

“Thanks, Yaz.”

Just as she turned the corner to head to her own room, Yaz heard Graham, who’d eschewed any attempts at baking. He'd apparently decided to check in on the finished product.

“Hey, Doc, are you lot done with — blimey, what the hell happened here?”

Yaz burst out laughing, and its echoes followed her all the way to the shower.

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