“Ooh! Yaz look at this!”
She heard the excited voice call from the other side of the shop, thankfully it was small and she could still see the blonde, practically bouncing up and down as she pointed at a glass container in the wall, so she wasn’t that embarrassed. There weren’t many people in the shop anyway. Laughing at how animated the Doctor was being in her actions, it was almost as if she were a cartoon, she walked up to see what the fuss was about.
“Yeah? What – Oh my-”
“Brilliant, isn’t he?” the blonde beamed as she stared at the container. “Well, I say he, they’re actually hermaphroditic, but it seems like a he, don’t'cha think? Yaz?”
Yaz knew it was a mistake taking the Doctor to the exotic pet shop. It was Graham’s idea for the Time Lord to get a rabbit or something to look after and talk to when she was bored or alone, seeing as recently the fam couldn’t stay off earth too long. Ryan and Yaz had busy working days, whereas Graham had to meet up with his old work buddies and do some errands he was procrastinating doing. Which meant they couldn’t go on adventures with her for around two weeks or so. They knew it was a time machine and they could be back in five minutes, go on one of their lunch breaks, but they weren’t going to risk it. Knowing Yaz’s luck she’d get a cut or scar on her that would raise suspicion. It was best to avoid going on any adventures for a while.
The Doctor was rather sad and decided to have an ‘earth day’ as she called it, even though it was just a shopping trip to get them adjusted to life at home since they had been gone for a week on various alien planets – or a camping trip as they told everyone else. She did assure them that she didn’t need a pet, she would be alright on her own, but they didn’t stand for it. Graham even gave Yaz money for her to get a pet and anything to go along with it. She tried to politely refuse, but it didn’t work.
So here they were, in a pet shop looking at a striped Giant African Land Snail. In all honesty, Yaz just wanted to look at the cute lizards and geckos, probably the smaller snakes, but she didn’t - and probably should have in retrospect – think that the Doctor would want a giant snail as a pet.
“You want that don’t you?” she sighed, regret evident in her tone.
“Yeah, think he’s cool,” the Doctor grinned, practically vibrating with excitement. A moment later she stopped slowly, as if she only now sensed Yaz’s trepidation to her getting a snail as a pet. She looked down, worry evident in her features and her voice softened as she mumbled; “he’s not too much is he?”
“What? No, he’s not,” Yaz smiled kindly as she tentatively put a hand on her shoulder. “It’s just, I don’t really know what you’d do with a snail, and the point is to get one to distract you-”
“Or just keep me company,” she muttered. “I’ll probably just talk to him, and I’m sure I can set up a room or something for him for when we’re out and about.”
“You really, really want him, don’t you?”
“I do,” she said softly and flashed a childlike smile at her friend as she finally looked away from the giant snail. “I’ll even get the TARDIS to pay Graham back, given that money was earmarked for a fluffy rodent or something.”
“I’ll talk to someone about getting him now then, just stay here yeah?” Yaz raised a brow, grinning when the Doctor’s face lit up like a child who had been given sweets.
“Yup! I’ll stay put; I swear!” she mock-saluted and stomped her foot on the floor.
Shaking her head, yet had a smile on her face, Yaz went to find a worker, occasionally glancing back at the blonde, making sure she was indeed staying put. Surprisingly, she had. All she did was stare at the African snail, and what seemed like talked to it.
“Hey, um, my friend was wondering if that African Land Snail is for sale?” she pointed to her once she got to the desk.
“Yes, actually,” the worker grinned. “Have you or your friend looked after an African Snail before?”
“I haven’t no, but I’m guessing my friend has,” she gestured to the still bouncing blonde staring at the animal. “Are there any leaflets though?”
“Yeah,” the red-head nodded as she ducked under the desk, assumingly looking for said leaflet. A moment later her head popped up and she bashfully slid it over. “Here, should give you everything you need to know on how to look after them! I’ll get Stephen to get it out for your friend, do you want to look at any containers while you wait?”
“Um,” Yaz glanced at back at the Doctor, now rambling to a little boy about how cool the snail was. Focusing a little, just to make sure she didn’t say anything to freak him out, she heard names, which only meant they were both trying to come up with a name for him. She suppressed a laugh and turned back to the worker. “Honestly, I think she’d probably want to carry it, and has stuff for it at home. We’re going back soon anyway; do you think that’ll be okay?”
Kayla, as her name tag read, hummed as she thought. “In a carrier, yeah, on her own? I’m not sure,” she shrugged. “But of course, once you walk out of here we can’t do or say anything, so your friend could take it out of the container when she wishes.”
“Great!” Yaz grinned. “Can I pay for the snail now? And if there’s any food for it here?”
“I’ll go get you some, and then get Stephen, you can tell your friend the good news,” Kayla motioned towards the blonde, now waving her arms about as she seemed to explain something to the kid.
“Thanks! We’ll be over in a bit,” she nodded as she grabbed the leaflet and strolled over to the Doctor just as the kid got pulled away by his dad, who was talking on his phone. Ignoring the pang of anger, she smiled up at her friend, waving the leaflet slightly. “Think you’re gonna need this, assuming you haven’t looked after a giant snail before.”
“I can have it?!” her face lit up again.
“Yes, and I’m assuming you’ll have the correct stuff for him in the TARDIS?”
“Good, just need to get the fella out and the food then we can go back to Ryan and Graham,” Yaz grinned.
The Doctor nodded, almost triumphantly as she looked around. She was still bouncing on the balls of her feet, all of the excitement and seemingly happiness making her fidgety, as usual. Yaz noticed the only times she stood perfectly still was when it was a life or death situation. Even when she claimed to be bored in the TARDIS she would at least be tapping her foot.
In reality, it only took a minute or two for Stephen to get the snail out, and for Yaz and Kayla to sort out the payment, but to the Doctor it seemed like hours. She was clearly impatient. Yaz noticed, when she was grabbing her purse to pay, that she edged closer to her and didn’t take her eyes off the cardboard box the moment she saw Stephen carry it to the desk. It was almost as if she were waiting, somewhat patiently, for permission to take the pet.
“There, you’re all set,” Kayla smiled at them and passed the box to the blonde.
“Thanks, didn’t expect it to be this quick,” Yaz muttered as she pocketed the small food container in one of her bigger pockets and her purse in her jeans pocket. She side stepped, only to see the Doctor look at her expectantly, still waiting for permission. It was rather odd, given how impatient she usually was, but thought it was probably out of nerves or risk of getting told off and not being let to have the pet. “You can carry him, he’s yours after all.”
She grabbed the box rather gently, and attempted to hold in a squeal. It was admirable, yet odd, that the Doctor of all people could get this delighted over a snail, a generic earth snail too, not even one from space. Yaz was sure there were space snails somewhere in the universe.
They waved goodbye to the workers and headed towards Greggs, that was on the second floor, and they were on the ground one. Yaz noticed how close her friend held the box, suddenly protective of it once she saw the amount of people around. She glanced up at the escalators, seeing that there were quite a few people barging their way to and from them at the top. The Doctor was pretty clumsy already, and she knew how upset, and possibly angry, she’d be if she got nudged and dropped the box because of someone bumping into her. Worst case scenario, the box falls down the escalators, resulting in serious injury to the snail, and probably some to the Doctor since she would definitely chase after it.
She glanced at the blonde, who held the box close and tried to look through the holes in it before looking back at the escalators, clearly looking apprehensive.
“Elevator?” Yaz asked suddenly, noticing there was nobody by it. As much as she hated it, it was the only option with zero accidental injuries to the Doctor or the snail.
“Elevator, yeah,” the Doctor grinned, and strolled over to it as she hummed.