They had a makeshift dinner of cheese and crackers and some fancy wine the Doctor spent too long explaining to them. Jo thought she detected some nervousness in his manner. Strange, with these two apparently being such old friends of his. He was making rather a meal of explaining their recent adventures in the village of Devil’s End.
‘But it wasn’t actually Beelzebub who appeared?’
‘Chesterford, really,’ laughed the Doctor, rolling his eyes.
Barbara talked a little about her work, and about her own amateur historical research. She’d become quite involved in a number of oddities and quirks that kept turning up in dusty old records.
‘It’s made for some very dull foreign holidays,’ Ian sighed, sipping his wine and grinning at Jo. ‘Guernsey was quite nice this summer gone, though. Tell them what you were looking for, Barbara. Go on!’
Barbara smiled, not fully appreciating being sent up by her husband, but too happy to be annoyed. ‘Well, it was all about the Nazi occupation, you see. There were a few very strange references in the press to fictional characters from French eighteenth century novels turning up in the most inappropriate…’
Jo let much of the conversation wash over her, hopping out to fetch more supplies from the kitchen. She took a phone call from Mike Yates, who passed on the gossip from UNIT HQ. Everyone was looking forward to coming to Norfolk for the Christmas break. No one quite believed the Doctor’s warnings about Cybermen, though everyone was going to bring all the gold they could lay their hands on, just in case…
The voices from the dining room were getting louder, and more joyful as talk evidently turned to old times. They were swapping reminiscences in there, and the Doctor’s old friends were getting used to his new face. Jo listened to Mike chatter on at the other end of the phone, and wondered if that was something she would have to do one day. Would she ever look into a stranger’s face and have to wonder if he really was the Doctor?
She realized she wasn’t really paying attention to Mike – who was passing on an over-complicated message from the UNIT tealady – and she was staring into the garden beyond the mullioned windows. It was snowing, she saw. Sudden, heavy snow.
And then a double decker bus was materializing - very festively - on the lawn. The sign at the front said that it was the Number Twenty-Two, and it was bound for THE DEATH ZONE.