“Bless me optics!” said Mr. Jago, while inspecting the big colourful painting in the lounge area. “Look at this, Professor! It's the Doctor's becoming blue box of beauty!”
“A “Tardis”, as I recall it was called… and you're quite right”, said Professor Litefoot after taking a second look of the painting Jago was excitedly focusing on. It was a still-life of flowers and leaves, but the presence of the Doctor's time vehicle gave it an odd sense of surreal scale. The Tardis was seemingly landed upon a leaf of a spiky red rose.
“Do you suppose the rose is as tall as a mighty tree, or if the Tardis is as tiny as a teacup?” Jago asked, looking more closely. Litefoot couldn't say, but he pondered if all the paintings and other curious objects were similarly connected to the Doctor. This was in his house after all, and come to think of it, it made sense that all the seemingly unconnected knickknacks had sentimental value. Lord knows Litefoot's comfy home was filled with curious objects he had no other use for, than to have them on display. But Mr. Jago loved kitsch, and that Baker Street 107 provided far more than Ranskill Gardens… Litefoot's assets were way too valuable and tasteful to attract utter glee from a peacock like Mr. Important Impresario here. Jago couldn't resist the urge to put his paws on everything and opening every little jar and pot and cabinet to see what's in them.
“Oh, and look here professor! What an exquisite artwork, I can see the fluff of every feather and the fuzz of every individual curl of her hair. Tell me, do you think she's lovely Lady Romana? The muff seems to obscure her face...” he said after founding a whole assortment of tiny framed portraits hidden behind the Persian curtains. Litefoot nodded and looked more closely. He could recognize the Doctor, both in the first form they had met him, and the rainbow incarnation they since have become more accustomed. Litefoot pointed out, that the gentleman with wild reddish brown curls and a positively Byronian costume was the man, who had introduced himself as the Doctor's associate the time, when Jago had been visiting her sister for an extended period of time.
“The Doctor sure does associate a whole banquet… he himself is more than a one man band, if you know what I'm talking about!” Jago mused and gave Litefoot a friendly pat-pat on his back. They soon found a picture of Miss Leela – she was pictured together with a pretty faced young man, not more than a boy really, who was sporting some sort of peculiar uniform. Her husband? Leela sure had a fierce air of protectiveness on her, but then again, that was Leela in her most leelaness.
"Great likeness I must say, though I wonder why the artist gave Miss Leela such an unladylike expression”, Litefoot pondered. In his experience portraits were meant to be proper, as a painting, even a photograph was meant to survive past one's death. Certain dignity was expected. Jago gave it a gently mocking belly laugh.
“Precisely for the likeness my man, precisely for the likeness!” he cleared and gave a something of a broad opinion for expressiveness over stiffness. You wouldn't expect anything less from an old actor. You know, Litefoot rarely found himself weighing Jago's professional opinion the way he did now. You could hear it in his booming voice and see it in his happy eyes, that he no doubt had the sense of aesthetics. Litefoot was a little ashamed of himself, now that he recognized the rawness of his own attitude.
This revelation, that he might be a tad more conservative than he liked to admit, reminded Litefoot of Jean Bazemore. Back in the day she had snapped at him more than once, that he had an awful tendency to belittle women, even if he didn't mean to. Not to cause grief or bettering himself, but out of habit and upbringing. Bazemore was right. Litefoot had changed his attitude for the worse, when her man-disguise had been revealed… and it was absolutely and entirely unfair.
So, when it came to Miss Bazemore – or indeed, Miss Leela – they've both demonstrated how there is no such thing as “a proper ladylike”, and it was just a thing Professor had constructed himself. Why shouldn't Leela be portrayed as the nature of force as she was? He wouldn't disapprove someone painting Mr. Jago flushed and jolly, after all.
“I wonder why the Doctor has hidden all these under curtains”, Litefoot pondered further. There seem to be secrets continuing endlessly in directions. Maybe Baker Street had an ounce of the same magic that made his blue box bigger on the inside. In this case, having more walls than there was room!
“Surprises my dear Professor, everybody knows unwrapping is the best part of the mystery”, said Jago and went on to pulling off more curtains. A compilation of new small wonders was revealed.
“Good gravy! Isn't that our Ellie?”
“Goodness gracious. And there's us too!” said Litefoot and couldn't help but gasp! The painting was small and insignificant amongst all the more flashier pieces, but it was without a doubt them. Sitting facing each other, dressed as they were at the moment and leaning towards, as in warm, cosy conversation. The painting of the Tardis and the rose was behind them, making the setting the very same Baker Street they were prying in the first place.
“I think this is enough curiosity for the moment. Would you care for some tea?” said Litefoot after a while. Jago huffed.
“Splendid. I was getting a bit peckish already…” he nodded. Off did Litefoot go to the kitchen. Making tea always calmed him in a peculiar sort of way… men of his status should have staff to do this for him, and yet Litefoot had only Mrs. Hudson – and she didn't even pretend to tend him like a silent servant! Litefoot had gotten used to making his own tea if he wanted a cup in strange hours. Maybe he had grown to appreciate women a slightly better because of it, who knows. Seemed a bit rude to boss Mrs. Hudson around as if she was a young maid, so Litefoot averted doing that.
Not to say Jago had his own preconceptions of women. Either of them had reason to boast. Though Jago's bias stemmed from disastrous romantic failures, when Litefoot's failings were a side-product of not actually associating with the fairer sex.
Jago kept talking to Litefoot even when he was watching the kettle in the kitchen. His excitement was such a delight. Jago radiated happiness – or mild intoxication. In Litefoot's experience Jago was positively sober only by accident, but funny enough it didn't do him any ill. You'd think an old, continuously drunkish theatreman was a menace, but Mr. Jago, oh, Mr. Jago…
Litefoot picked the kitschiest cups he could find. Jago's expression was worth the effort.
“We could go out and eat a proper dinner later”, Litefoot suggested, “I would need to change my attire if so though.”
“Mm?” hummed Jago, “But that orange sportcoat is such a fetching lil' thing! Tugs at your wispy waist! Gives a gentleman a fitting form, as the fashion dictates.”
Litefoot felt his cheeks burning. It wasn't the first time Jago had nonchalantly complimented his figure, but this time it hits him particularly hard. He had chosen this jacket Jago's taste in mind, eyesore orange pattern and all. Kitsch, as aforementioned, attracted Mr. Jago as well as a pint of pale ale. Well, maybe not as well, but it was in the same basic lot of attractions, nonetheless.
There was a touch, very slight on his arm, but Litefoot felt it like a violent caress of an electric shock. Which might be a tad morbid metaphor, come to think of it. Jago must have noticed how he tensed, but he kept touching him just enough not to be overt, but definitely with a subtext in mind. Which, considering Mr. Jago's general competence in “subtle”, made it a significant effort.
The tea was sweet and Jago was even sweeter. He emoted with his hands when he spoke and broke his teacup because of it. The climax of a humorous anecdote sure did benefit for the added slapstick. The Doctor probably will find the shards of the former rice porcelain cup to be less comical (though the one with the eyes and the smile might not care). Jago wouldn't take his eyes off the Professor, and the midst of Baker Street's display of kitschy glimmering goodies, Litefoot felt as exquisite as a Monet in a golden framing. Jago put his hand on Litefoot's knee.
“Out of all the fashionably frivolous thingamabobs in this room, you are my feverish favourite, Professor”, he said.
“Now, Henry, took you long enough to get into the good part,”, Litefoot pointed out and kissed his dearest man in a way that would have made a very nice tasteless romantic postcard if anything. Jago said something about waiting the right dramatic moment.
“Just because I lavishly love and ludicrously lust you, doesn't mean it shouldn't be a spiffing spectacle every time, don't you agree?” he said, and you know, you can't argue a professional opinion like that.