He never takes “no” for an answer, especially when his mind is set on something. How can you say “no” to such fantastic character anyway? The battle is doomed to be lost in advance…
I knew something was wrong when he used the doorbell instead of materialising in my attic/cellar/garage/garden as he usually did. I was tempted to ignore him, but he started banging at the door and since I didn’t want to get in trouble with my neighbours, I opened the door. There he was, standing on my doorstep with a very suspicious smile on his lips.
“How are you?” He asked. “I hope that you don’t mind me popping up unexpectedly like this!”
Either it was one of his jokes or there was something terribly wrong in the universe.
“Are you alright?” I couldn’t help but wonder.
He looked sincerely surprised by my question:
“Why, yes of course. Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Because you never use the door let alone the doorbell.”
“There is a first to everything!” He said happily before stepping inside in a rather authoritative manner.
That’s when I noticed the pet carrier he had tried to conceal from my view. My worries took a different turn as I realised that he hadn’t been joking at all. He had been playing me in order to get something from me.
“Oh no,” I grumbled, running after him in the corridor. “No, no, no, no!”
I burst into the living room just in time to see him gently put the pet carrier on the carpet. Then he knelt in front of it, obviously intending in opening its door.
“Just forget it!” I screamed rather angrily. “Whatever creature/monster/alien you want me to look after, it’s no! You have some nerves popping in like this! The least you could do was to ask for my permission before bringing this…this…”
The last words died in my throat as I saw what he had brought to me. The pet carrier’s door was now open and a grey-blue furry head cautiously came out of it, sniffing the air while the black and white whiskers moved like antennas. Big bronze eyes starred at me and then the purring began.
Next thing I knew, I was sitting on the sofa next to the Doctor and we were petting a chartreux cat that was lazily laying between us.
“Please meet Eccleston,” announced the Time Lord, who seemed very fond of the cat.
“Is it yours?”
Somehow I already knew the answer, but I still couldn’t bring myself to picture the Doctor with a pet, especially considering his way of life.
“It is,” he replied very seriously.
There was something in his tone that preventing me from asking more questions. He explained that his cat needed a new home and that he had thought about me. I must confess that my first reaction was to feel flattered. He probably noticed it because he added a few compliments that were definitively meant to ensure my cooperation in his plan. He had probably thought every possible reaction through and there was virtually no point in me fighting the decision he had made for me. I was to take care of Eccleston.
“Why can’t you keep it?” I finally asked. “If it’s your cat, it’s your responsibility. You can claim it’s yours if you give it away…”
The Doctor sighed:
“I wish it were that simple. First, I didn’t chose him, he chose me. You know cats.”
“They are just as infuriating as Time Lords.”
My visitor seemed hurt by my comment but went on:
“My TARDIS is not a cat person. She is an old girl you know; she finds it hard to adjust to Eccleston’s presence. She happens to be even more difficult than when I introduce her to a new companion.”
I almost burst into laugh hearing him whining about his TARDIS. Since when did he introduce her to his companions?
“Speaking of companions,” he continued, “they too have issues with Eccleston. The only ones who didn’t mind about him were Polly and Ben.”
There were regrets in his voice but I barely noticed. I was in shock. I had managed to make a list of the Doctor’s companions and I recalled that Polly and Ben belonged to a distant past.
“Are you telling me that you’ve had this cat since your second regeneration?”
A feeling of unease crept over me as I looked down at Eccleston.
“Indeed, but he too went through a few regenerations. Only his face never changed so it was easier to recognise him once it happened.”
I felt the urge of pinching myself to check if I was still awake. Suddenly this whole conversation seemed totally grotesque, unreal even.
“On which planet did you find him?”
This time, it was the Doctor’s turn to look shocked.
“Here, on Earth, of course! Where else could I find such wonderful specimen.”
“Of course,” I muttered. “And let me guess, you understand cat language?”
Once again, I cursed myself for giving up so easily. There was no point in me arguing anyway. I couldn’t resist Eccleston’s cuteness… But I insisted upon knowing the Doctor’s pet companion story and the Time Lord agreed to tell me…