The center column stopped moving as the TARDIS landed. The Doctor grinned triumphantly at the Brigadier who was standing across the console from him. “We’re here,” he announced.
Jo was at the Doctor’s side. “This is really Father Christmas’ work shop?” she asked excitedly.
The Doctor opened the doors. “See for yourself, Jo.”
Jo barely refrained from jumping up and down like a little kid and ran out. She stopped short and looked about in wide-eyed amazement at the huge workshop. Brightly clothed elves filled the entire floor. They made everything from dolls to baseball bats to bicycles.
They stopped for a second and looked at her. They smiled in greeting, shrugged at each other, and went back to their business.
The Doctor swept his arm in a grand gesture for Lethbridge-Stewart to precede him. “After you, my dear fellow.”
Lethbridge-Stewart stepped out behind Jo. He sighed. “I thought he was making up tales.”
Jo glanced at him over her shoulder. “You sound disappointed that he’s not.”
Lethbridge-Stewart gave a small smile. “No, it’s not that.”
“What is it then?” she asked innocently.
Lethbridge-Stewart heard the Doctor behind him. “For once, I was rather hoping he’d be wrong.”
The Doctor appeared next to Lethbridge-Stewart. He clapped him on the shoulder and smirked. “Brigadier, you should know by know that I am hardly ever wrong.”
Lethbridge-Stewart rolled his eyes. “See. Swelled head.”
An elf came up to them. He grinned widely and held a hand out. “It’s nice to see you again, Doctor. I like the new face.”
The Doctor knelt down so he was face-to-face with the elf. He shook his hand. “Hello, Willie. And thank you. I think it’s rather distinguished myself.”
Willie looked at the Doctor’s clothes. “And your taste has improved.”
“Thank you,” the Doctor said brightly. “I think so too. My previous selves had no fashion sense.”
“And who are your friends?”
The Doctor straightened up. He smiled warmly at Jo. “This is my assistant Jo.” For a split second his smile turned a bit to the lecherous side for only the Brigadier to see. “And this is Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. We all work together. This is Santa’s head elf, Willie.”
Willie shook hands with both of them. “Any friends of the Doctor’s are welcome.”
The Doctor rubbed his hands together in anticipation. “Willie, where is the old man?”
“He asked me to bring you up to his office. He and Fred are going over some plans for Christmas Eve.”
Willie and the Doctor started walking. The Doctor nodded. “So, his brother is finally in the business.”
“Yeah, they’ve made up. It’s great. Santa finally got what he always wanted. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy,” Willie gushed. “What about Susan? How’s she? And Jamie and Zoe?”
The Brigadier and Jo hung back. “He’s such a show off,” he muttered.
Jo giggled and nudged him with her elbow. “And you wouldn’t have him any other way.”
The Doctor stopped. He turned back to them and grinned. “Are you two waiting for an engraved invitation?”
Jo hurried to join them. “This is wonderful,” she told Willie.
Willie took her by the arm. “You’ll get the deluxe tour while you’re here. Don’t you want to meet the big man first?”
Jo blushed. “Father Christmas,” she squeaked.
Willie led her along. “Don’t worry. He’s great, very down-to-Earth.”
Lethbridge-Stewart joined the Doctor and they let Jo and Willie get a few steps ahead of them. “You’re going to be insufferable after this,” Lethbridge-Stewart said with a resigned air.
The Doctor’s only response was to grin wider.