“Vol-au-vent, sir?” the waitress held out a plate, and Shawn grinned.
“Don’t mind if I do!” he exclaimed, grabbing one. “This place is fantastic!” he said through a mouthful.
At his side, Juliet rolled her eyes. “If you could just remember that we’re here for a case, not for you to stuff yourself silly,” she reminded him.
He waved a hand at her, unconcerned. “Relax, Jules. At least this way if I get poisoned, we’ll know the food came from here.”
This did little to assuage Juliet’s worries, and she chewed her lip. “Shawn, please. Be careful. And focus.”
Finally, Shawn agreed, and when another waitress came around (this time holding a platter of crackers and dip), Shawn declined it in favour of staring after it mournfully. He took a moment to shake himself into a more investigative mindset. “Right,” he said finally, pulling the facts together in his mind. “We know that all of the victims have been poisoned, and that they’ve all been to these high society fundraising events.”
“Yes, Shawn, that is, in fact, why we are here.”
Spotting someone coming toward them, Shawn threw a hand to the side of his head. “I’m getting something!” he announced. “Someone s approaching. This someone is bearing a brown pinstriped suit and they have AWESOME hair.”
Juliet slapped his hand away from his head and hissed at him. “Even I knew that one, Shawn. And stop making a spectacle.”
“But it’s true,” he whined, as the man approached them, a maniacal grin pasted on his face.
“Shawn!” he proclaimed loudly, seizing Shawn’s arm and shaking enthusiastically, which somehow turned into a rather clingy embrace. “It has been a long time!”
Shawn blinked at him, entirely confused, and wriggled out of the odd man’s grasp. “I’m sorry, do I know you?”
The man blinked at him for half a second as if expecting recognition, then something seemed to align itself in his mind. “Of course,” he said, under his breath. “New face. It’s me, your-,”
“Doctor!” came a shout from across the room, and the man snapped to attention. “Did you find him?”
The Doctor shook his head, and beckoned the blonde girl over. Shawn was still staring at the man with an odd look of reverence and joy on his face when the other girl arrived, and Juliet’s confusion only increased with the man’s words. “Shawn, this is Rose, my companion. Rose, this is Shawn, my great-great grandson.”
Juliet startled at the news and laughed. All three turned to look at her. “I’m sorry, it’s just - you don’t even look old enough to be his father, let alone his great-great grandfather,” she sniggered. “Shawn, please, can we get back to what we came here for?”
Shawn was surprised at Juliet’s uncharacteristic outburst, but considering the circumstances, he forgave it. “Juliet, it’s okay.” He told her, and turned to the Doctor. “Am I to assume you’re here for a family visit, paps? Or is it more to do with the poisonings?”
“Sorry, just the poisonings. Honestly, I wasn’t even sure you existed.”
“Okay, you’re going to have to elaborate on that one a bit later. In the meantime, what do you know?”
“An Aploxan crash landed three weeks ago.”
Shawn searched around in his memory for information on the Aploxan, but failed to come up with anything. “Remind me?” he said hopefully.
Juliet and Rose were looking increasingly confused at their interaction, and were whispering furiously amongst themselves while the Doctor explained all that he knew about the Aploxans. Apparently, their touch was toxic to humans, and, to a lesser degree, the touch of humans was toxic to them. The poor fellow, the Doctor explained, probably hadn’t been realised he was harming anyone. The Doctor suspected that he was either involved in the preparations for the charity events, or at least attending them, in an attempt to get enough money or resources to somehow fix his ship and return home. Shawn and the SBPD had deduced as much - well, excluding the part about the perpetrator being an alien and not realising that he was harming people - alright, so they’d only got that he was somehow involved in the recent rash of charity galas, but still, could they honestly be expected to jump to the crash landed alien conclusion?
Once they’d caught Juliet up on the fact that yes, there were aliens, and yes, ne had in fact crash landed in Santa Barbara, the brainstormed on how best to find him. “Well,” said Juliet, “I would guess that he’s probably not feeling well, and wouldn’t want to touch too many people, maybe that would help us track him down?”
They scanned the room, carefully regarding the interactions of the people around them. It wans’t as easy as they had first thought. It did not seem that anyone was doing much touching of the other guest.
“We’re getting no where like this. Rose, you go with Juliet, Shawn, with me.”
They made their way through the crowds, Shawn’s keen eyes picking up every detail as they wove through groups of people. “What did you mean you thought I didn’t exist?” Shawn asked eventually, in a small voice. He hadn’t seen the Doctor in a long time, nearly ten years, and it had been - well, you could never quite tell with a Time Lord, given that they could change their faces, but there was a part of Shawn which could sense that for the Doctor it had been centuries.
The Doctor sighed, seeming unwilling to part with the knowledge. “They’re all gone,” he confessed eventually. “Erased in the Time War. I… I couldn’t feel Susan anymore, she was gone too. I guess I didn’t expect that her descendants would still be around.”
Shawn felt like someone had punched him in the gut and knocked all the wind out of him. He was only partially Gallifreyan - one eighth, to be exact, and he’d never even been to the planet, or interacted with many of it’s inhabitants (none who weren’t related to him), but now that he knew, now that he reached out with his mind for the connection he had with it, the one he’d ignored for so incredibly long and found it empty, he felt a sense of loss so keen that he stumbled. The Doctor’s hand steadied him. “How? What?” he gasped, tears prickling in his eyes. “What happened.”
The Doctor shook his head. “It’s a long story, Shawn. And I…”
Shawn nodded, understanding. Now was not the time. He refocussed, looking around the room and that’s when he spotted it. In the corner, there was portly looking gentleman. Almost all of his body was covered up, and a top hat was jammed rather firmly down on his head. He was watching, not making a move toward anyone, but when a man accidentally bumped against him, Shawn picked up the deft movements of the man’s gloved hands as he reached in and took his pockets.
Observing, the Doctor nodded. “I think so. Get Rose and Juliet.”
Catching Juliet’s eye across the room, Shawn indicated the man to her and she nodded. Before he had time to realise what was happening, the four had surrounded him.
The Doctor rolled back and forth on the balls of his feet. “Hello,” he beamed. “You’re a bit far from home, aren’t you?”
Sweat gathered on the Aploxan’s forehead. “What do you mean?”
“Relax,” said the Doctor, reaching out the grab his arm.
The Aploxan jerked back from the touch. “Don’t touch me!”
The Doctor made no attempt to retreat. “It’s okay. I can take you home.”
The Aploxan seemed wary, but nodded. “I’m Kevin”
“Kevin?” Juliet blinked.
“Yes, is there something wrong with that?” the Aploxans seemed offended.
“No, not at all,” Juliet hastened to correct herself. At this point, despite the long talk she’d had with Rose regarding the Doctor and aliens and such while Shawn and the Doctor had been conversing, Juliet was feeling a little sceptical of the whole plan, and frankly, of the whole situation.
A few minutes later and they were all cramming inside a tiny blue box, which was bigger on the inside, and Juliet began to wonder if she wasn’t hallucinating.
The Aploxan was overly delighted to have been returned to his home, and quickly scurried off into the red dirt of his planet.
“Right, time to go home!” said the Doctor, ready to shove them back inside the TARDIS, but Shawn stopped him. “Hang on a second, paps,” he said, thrusting a camera into Rose’s hands. “We need a photo, or Jules will never believe this in the morning.”
The Doctor laughed, and obligingly stood at in the background, while Rose snapped a photo of the two and the TARDIS.
“Here you go!” Rose handed them back the camera.
“Okay, now we can go home,” Shawn conceded.
“Alright,” said the Doctor, and then, in an almost hesitant tone, “but, did you want to maybe travel with me and Rose? Just for a while?”
It was three months later when Shawn and Juliet were returned to the gala, the same time that they’d left. Three months of time and planet hopping, saving people and planets from oppression and alien invasions. It had gone so quickly that they’d barely realized time was passing at all, and it was only when Shawn had noticed that his hair was growing too long and becoming considerably less awesome than before that they realized that they needed to return home.
It was a cheerful goodbye with the Doctor, knowing that they’d probably see him again soon, and then they were alone.
“Hey, Juliet,” Shawn began.
“What exactly are we going to tell the Chief?”