Chance Meetings by DameRuth



Summary: DW/Firefly crossover.
Rating: All Ages
Categories: Tenth Doctor
Characters: Jack Harkness, Other Character(s), Rose Tyler, The Doctor (10th), The TARDIS
Genres: Action/Adventure, Crossover, General
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: Tales from the Findersverse
Published: 2007.03.03
Updated: 2007.03.30


Chance Meetings by DameRuth
Chapter 1: In The Junkyard
Author's Notes: So, I went and did it to myself again -- I mentioned to a friend that I'd been seeing some DW/Firefly crossovers, and she was suddenly all over me to do one. I laughed it off, since I have three unfinished stories going as it is, but once that seed was planted in my brain, it just started *growing* . . . I'm using Ten, Rose and Jack from my own little personal AU setting here (post "Finders Keepers" and "Promises To Keep"); the Firefly characters are post-"Serenity." I do have to thank River for giving me Jack's "nickname"; I'd been thinking if I had the Wolf and the Storm, just plain old "Jack" was a little bland for the third member of the team -- but the part of my brain playing River remembered Abbadon, and gave me the perfect sobriquet.

Kaylee kicked at the coil condenser, wrinkling her nose. It really was a piece of junk, beyond resurrection. Her foot scuffed the ground in the process and raised a puff of dust. Dry as a bone -- midsummer here in Davesport, with the sun high and beating down on her back. A trickle of sweat ran down between her shoulderblades, and she tucked a wisp of hair back up under the brim of her battered straw hat.

Well, best keep looking. She raised her eyes to cast around the junkyard speculatively. She was getting to be a downright expert on junkyards, what with the Captain always sending her out for parts. Still, she knew that meant he trusted her judgment, which took a lot of the gripe out of her.

She wound around piles of engine parts, hull scraps, and God-only-knew-what, with dry weeds and tufts of sagebrush sticking up through, keeping an eye out for the glint of brighter metal -- newer parts, things likely to be in more fit condition.

Half an hour later, she'd found two only-sort-of-trashed condensers; if she ripped them apart and added in some bits from _Serenity's_ own half-dead condenser, she just might end up with a single functioning unit. She tagged the condensers, and wondered if she should keep looking, or if she should head back to the ship while she still had a square inch of skin that wasn't covered in dust and sweat.

A rattle from the other side of the current junk pile caught her attention. Curious, she walked around it, and was surprised to see someone else there, digging away -- not just someone else, another girl, even. Girls didn't tend to care for mussing their pretty selves in junkyards, and Kaylee felt an automatic sense of kinship with this new person.

She was young -- maybe even a mite younger than Kaylee herself -- pretty, brown-haired, slender, with her hair caught up in a messy knot at the nape of her neck. She wore a pink t-shirt and a pair of faded jeans, along with an unfeminine but practical pair of work gloves. Those gloves made Kaylee like her even more.

"Howdy," she called out.

Surprised, the other girl looked up, then took in Kaylee's friendly smile and smiled back.

"Hello," she said, "I didn't know there was anyone else here."

Boy, that accent was different -- Kaylee found she couldn't place it. It sounded kind of like some of the accents from the Core, but not quite. That made her curious.

"Just lookin' for some parts," Kaylee said. "Cap’n' s got us sprucing up while we have a break. What're you lookin' for?"

The other girl sighed. "Parts, like you. I've got a list, but I'm not havin' much luck." She pulled off a glove and fished in a pocket, retrieving a rather sweaty and rumpled piece of paper.

"Well," Kaylee said, holding out a hand. "I've been over what feels like three-quarters of this godforsaken mess, maybe I've seen something you're after."

The other girl hesitated, and then handed over the list. "Thanks. My name's Rose, by the way."

"Kaylee." Dang, that was an odd mix of parts. Still, she'd seen a power-step module that might still have some life in it, back a ways. "I think you might be interested in this over here . . ."

The power-step turned out to be just what Rose was after, so she tagged it, and the two of them continued their treasure-hunt through the junk. Kaylee was so happy to have found a kindred soul, she forgot all about the dust. The two of them hit it right off, and they were chattering along like old friends in no time.

"Actually, I'm not an expert on this," Rose told Kaylee after they'd tagged most of the parts on her list. "I'm still learning. Jack and the Doctor are the ones who really know what they're doing."

"I dunno, you seem pretty up on things to me," Kaylee told her, honestly.

"Yeah, well you haven't heard them going on together -- in fact, speak of the Devil . . ."

Kaylee looked in the direction Rose pointed, and saw two men weaving towards them through the junk. The tall, skinny one in the suit and tie (carrying his jacket slung over his shoulder in this heat) must be the Doctor, from what Rose had said, and that meant the other, in a white t-shirt (now the worse for dust) and jeans, must be Jack.

Kaylee raised her eyebrows in appreciation. Jack was just about the prettiest human being she'd seen, outside of Simon -- which was saying something.

"How's that list coming along?" the Doctor called out, at almost the same time Jack called, "'Lo Rose -- who's your friend?"

"Got most of it," Rose told the Doctor as he reached them, handing over the list with each found part marked off on it, and to answer Jack, she said, "Jack, Doctor, this is Kaylee, she's a ship's engineer out looking for parts, like us. She's been a big help."

"Pleased to meet you, Kaylee," the Doctor said, taking her hand with a pleasant smile, His grip was firm, dry and cool, and Kaylee was impressed he wasn't running hot like everyone else on a day like today.

""Same here," Jack said, shaking her hand in turn, and giving her a dazzling smile. "I should hang out in junkyards more often."

Kaylee blushed a little, but in a happy way. Jack really was a fine-looking man.

Next to her, Rose rolled her eyes. "Pay no attention to him. Flirting's a spinal reflex for Jack."

"Thanks, Rose, love you, too," Jack said, amused and unoffended. The Doctor had the same accent Rose did, but Jack's accent was pure, polished Core. He didn't look like a soft Core-dweller, though. He had a gun holstered at his side, Kaylee noticed, and he wore the weapon comfortably, like someone used to it.

The Doctor she couldn't place -- didn't look like a doctor-Doctor, not like Simon, maybe a University Doctor. Come to that, Rose was hard to figure, too. She wondered what the three of them were doing out here on the Rim, but it was bad manners to ask, so she held her tongue.

The Doctor was running down the list, Jack looking over his shoulder.

"That's almost everything, really," the Doctor said. "Jack and I found most of what we were looking for, so we're in good shape."

"Might as well knock off for the day," Jack added. "We'll be retrofitting this stuff into the wee hours as it is. We can go looking again tomorrow -- maybe it'll be cooler . . ."

Retrofitting. That made Kaylee's ears prick up. She was still trying to figure what kind of ship these folks might have, what with the parts list and all. Sounded interesting, that was for sure. Too bad she'd probably never find out more, but it was fun to puzzle over.

The four of them headed back to the junkyard's main office, to pay for their tagged items and arrange delivery. Kaylee wished she could spend some more time with Rose, since they got on so well, but she had other errands to do, and was realizing she'd taken more time in the junkyard than she'd planned.

So, she said her farewells and was off to arrange for refueling, and a crate of new air filters.

Once that was done, it was well into the afternoon, and getting even hotter, if that was possible. It was that last burst of heat, before things started cooling down for the evening. Kaylee's mouth and throat were dry, and she felt like she’d turn into dust herself any moment.

On the strip heading back down to the docks proper, a sign caught her eye. "Cold drinks - Beer - Juice" it pronounced. Once she'd seen that, she just couldn't help herself. She had a little spending money tucked into a pocket, and cold juice sounded like pure heaven right about now. She could spare a few more minutes . . .

She ducked through the door. It was a seedy little place, more concerned with booze for crews on shore leave than anything else, and it looked like it could be rough. The place was nearly deserted now, though, it being too early for the serious drinkers, so Kaylee wasn't worried.

After the barest glance around, she headed straight for the bar, slapped down her money, and within a minute was savoring a tall, cool glass of pineapple juice -- the real thing. Well, made out of concentrate, she was sure, but it had come out of an actual plant at some point, which put it miles over and above the fake stuff.

She closed her eyes and sighed as she plunked the empty glass down on the bar. Yessir, purest heaven . . .

The impact of a body hitting the stool next to her startled her, an instant before a heavy hand landed on her shoulder. Kaylee's eyes snapped open, and she found herself looking at a total stranger. A very large, very rough stranger, who was smiling at her in a way that was not at all kindly.

Oh, shit, was all she could think, I'm in trouble now.

"So, sweetheart," the stranger said, smiling at her more broadly as he picked up on her discomfort. "What brings you here? Lookin' for a little company?"

Dammit, the Cap'n would skin her alive for being so stupid, and he'd be right; just 'cause a seedy dive looks empty doesn't mean it's safe for a girl on her own, not in a place like Davesport.

She managed a smile back. "Just meetin' up with some friends of mine," she said, starting to bluff. "In fact, they should be along any minute, here . . ." Her eyes darted around, while she tried not to be obvious. The bartender was down at the far end of the bar, pointedly ignoring them. No help there.

The hand on her shoulder tightened. "Well, now, I betcha' I can show you a better time than those friends of yours. Why'n'cha come along with me?" He started to shift his weight.

Kaylee clung to her stool, "Thanks kindly for the offer, but I'll just stay where I am," she said, keeping her voice desperately pleasant and cheerful, trying to plan out her next moves. She knew a few things the Cap'n had taught her for situations like this, but she was never very good at them, and knew if she got it wrong and didn't incapacitate the man, she'd be in far worse trouble once he was angry . . .

"The lady said she's not interested," a new voice said, and Kaylee turned her head to find herself looking at Rose's friend, Jack. He wasn't smiling at all, now, and he looked very different. "So take a hike, why don't you?" His cold eyes were fixed on the man holding Kaylee, and the stranger had gone very, very still. He kept his hand on Kaylee's shoulder, though.

"This here's a private conversation," he snarled at Jack.

Just then, the Doctor and Rose arrived, flanking Jack, and Kaylee was surprised at how different they looked, too. There was something about Rose that reminded Kaylee of Zoe -- all focused and confident, ready for a fight. And the Doctor . . . he had a set, fierce look on his face that Kaylee would never want directed at her.

"Not anymore," the Doctor said, his eyes dark and blank. Scary, Kaylee thought -- she'd seen hired killers who looked friendlier than he did right then.

"C'mon, Kaylee," Jack said. "We'll walk you back to your ship." He held out a hand, and Kaylee grabbed it gratefully. She stood up, and the stranger let his hand slide off her shoulder. Obviously, he'd decided he didn't like the odds, what with facing three people, and one of them visibly armed.

They made it out the door, in dead silence, and Kaylee huffed a relieved breath.

"This way," she said pointing, and took off. No sense in hanging around and waiting for any further trouble. "Thank you," she said next, as they walked, meaning it. "I should never have been so stupid . . ."

"For wanting a glass of juice on a day like this?" the Doctor asked her, raising his eyebrows in mock surprise. "Seems reasonable enough to me." He smiled, and she felt better knowing he wasn't going to make fun of her.

"That's what we were planning," Rose said from the other side of her. "Changed our minds when we walked in the door and saw you, though."

"Nothing like rescuing a pretty lady to round out the day," Jack agreed. "Better than juice, anytime." He grinned and winked at Kaylee, and she didn't mind that sort of thing at all, coming from him. She grinned back.

Rose and the Doctor both gave Jack a long-suffering look, and Kaylee couldn't help laughing. They were clearly such good friends with each other, and they gave off a pleasant, friendly vibe now they were away from the bar. It made her feel easy to be around them, even though they'd just met.

"Anyway, Kaylee, this is our first visit to Davesport. If you'd like to point out the sights along the way, that would be a great help to us," the Doctor told her with an encouraging smile. It seemed the least she could do as a repayment, so Kaylee happily complied.

--

Mal leaned against the doorway of _Serenity's_ open hold, and enjoyed a rare moment of thinking about nothing much. Zoe, next to him, was technically on guard duty -- sitting in an old folding chair at the top of the ramp, in the shade, and reading an old-style paper book -- but Mal had found himself drawn down to the hold by the prospect of fresh air and a bit of company.

They kept a friendly silence, while she turned pages and Mal watched the world go by. Zoe'd always had a fondness for what she called "real" books -- said she couldn't hardly concentrate without pages to turn -- but she'd taken to reading a lot, after Wash's death. Mal was glad she had something to keep her mind occupied.

Relaxed as he was, it was hard to go completely Zen, but for once the thoughts going through his mind were pleasant. A few good jobs done, a few payments finally received without entertaining complications, and they had enough cash to spend on some much-needed improvements. Most of the crew was out on errands to that end. Results were starting to show; the junkyard had already delivered Kaylee's secondhand parts. The pile looked decidedly unpromising to Mal, but he'd seen Kaylee work miracles with less.

He was expecting everyone back soon, but for now, all he had to do was let some clean air circulate through the hold (always a welcome benefit of being back in atmo, especially after a run using those gorram cheap air filters they'd gotten last time), and relax.

'Course, the 'Verse rarely left well enough alone, and things were bound to change . . .

Mal picked out Kaylee's voice over the general hubub of the docks, going a mile a minute, and approaching at a good clip. That girl was hard to miss, once she got going. Without moving his head to look for her, he wondered, idly, which of the crew she'd hooked up with on her way back, assuming that was who she was talking to. Then:

"There's _Serenity_!" he heard her chirp. "Isn't she shiny?"

"I'll say!" an appreciative male voice answered, and it wasn't one Mal recognized. He straightened up a bit, and felt himself getting a little less mellow. Who was Kaylee talking to?

He craned his neck, looking, and there was Kaylee, pushing through the crowd, with three strangers in tow. She was talking with them like they were old friends -- though with Kaylee, that could mean she'd known them anywhere from ten years to ten minutes.

"She's got beautiful lines," one of the strangers continued, the same voice Mal had already heard.

Two men and one woman; Mal looked at them narrowly. The man who’d been speaking was dark-haired and muscular, with a holstered gun prominently displayed on his hip; Mal was willing to bet he had a few other weapons hidden on his person, even though his clothing didn't allow too much room for that. The second man was more lightly built, wearing a suit that was fancy for here, but scruffy for the Core; he had a scholarly look to him, but that suit coat left a lot of room for un-scholarly surprises. The woman was young -- younger than the men, who weren't old to begin with -- pretty, nice figure. She didn't seem to be armed, though again, appearances could be deceptive.

They didn't look threatening, but Mal had learned the hard way to take no chances, and to accept nobody at face value.

Kaylee reached up to pat _Serenity's_ hull, and the dark-haired man followed suit. Predictably, Kaylee was glowing. Anyone who liked the ship had her total approval.

The scholarly man surveyed _Serenity_ with his hands in his pockets, relaxed. "I bet she could strip the wind, once she gets up to speed. How do you have your power source configured?" he asked, in a tone of relaxed but genuine interest.

Mal raised an eyebrow at an accent he couldn't identify, asking questions about his ship. He straightened completely, so he was no longer leaning in the doorway. Zoe was still seated, but alert now, closing her book. She'd picked up on Mal's change in mood without the need for words to pass between them -- after so long, they didn't need any chatter to exchange information.

Kaylee started in on the technical details, practically bouncing with delight. The strange girl grinned at her, and slipped around the dark-haired man to pat the ship. "I like her," she told Kaylee, when the latter stopped for breath, "She reminds me a little of our ship. There's a good feel to her."

Mal decided it was time to join in. He coughed. Kaylee and her friends all looked in his direction, Kaylee shading her eyes to see into the hold entrance. Mal and Zoe were in deep shadow from the perspective of those outside, which had kept them from being noticed before.

Kaylee spotted Mal and gave him a grin and a wave. "Hello, Cap'n!" she called out, heading up the ramp. After an exchanged glance, the strangers followed. "I found those parts at the junkyard, and got us a pile of filters ordered -- the good charcoal ones, no more having _Serenity_ smell like someone's armpit . . ."

"Parts’re already here," Mal told her, waving towards the pile to one side of the hull.

"Oh, good, I paid extra to deliver 'em fast . . .Anyway, Cap'n, Zoe, this here's the Doctor," the scholarly one, "Rose," the girl, "and Captain Jack Harkness."

Mal shook hands all around, willing to be neighborly at the moment. He was a little surprised the dark-haired man had the title of "Captain" -- he'd pegged the scholarly one, the Doctor, to be the man in charge, judging from the body language of the others.

"What's your ship's name?" he asked the Captain with a smile, "Maybe I know her."

"I doubt that; we aren't from around here," Captain Jack answered, easily, "and she's not really mine -- the Doctor's the man in charge." He nodded at the Doctor, who smiled.

Interesting -- a smooth deflection and redirection. Mal considered. He'd had the Doctor pegged as the brains, this "Captain" Jack as the muscle, and Rose as the main squeeze.

Now, though, he wasn't so sure about that. Jack's polished charm screamed "conman!" to Mal, holstered gun aside, and the measuring look Rose had given Mal during their handshake had him convinced she was more than a pretty face along for the ride.

They didn't quite add up, and that was enough to put Mal on edge.

Then the Doctor surprised him again. "Our ship's called the TARDIS," he said -- such an oddball name, Mal was willing to bet it was real. Not the sort of thing someone normally made up to lie with, anyway.

"And Jack's right, we're a long way from home," he continued, all light and breezy. Up close, Mal revised his estimate of the man's age upwards. There were a lot of fine lines at the corners of the Doctor's eyes, and glints of silver in his sideburns. Older meant trickier, in Mal's book. "Fortunately, Kaylee's been kind enough to help out a few poor, wandering souls, for which we're grateful . . ."

"Me help you!" Kaylee burst in, laughing. "You saved my hide, all I did was show you around a little."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, what's this, Kaylee? There been trouble?" Mal asked, concerned.

"Nothing major," Jack cut in, "Just a little misunderstanding in a bar. We didn't even have to break any furniture." He grinned again, oozing cocky charm. Mal wasn’t sure if he liked the man or wanted to pop him one.

Just then, though, there was the bang of a boot hitting the ramp, which made them all jump, followed by the steady thump of running feet.

Mal was treated to the sight of Jayne, looking all hot and bothered, running for the hold while hiking up his pants one-handed. Almost by reflex, Mal put out an arm and stopped him.

“Jayne, I’ve got a feelin’ there’s an explanation I need to hear,” Mal said without preamble.

Jayne considered, but was obviously in a hurry, so he confessed, “I was with a girl, and she took my belt.”

“You mean, you were with a whore, she waited till you had your pants off, and then she robbed you?” Mal translated, his tone the model of reasonableness.

Jayne grimaced, but obviously saw no point in denying it. “Got my money and my belt and my gun. She almost got my pants, but I got ‘em away from her afore she took off running.” He moved to go past Mal, but Mal kept his arm where it was.

“And where are you goin’ now?” he asked, voice still reasonable, but a little firmer.

“I’m gonna go get a bigger gun and go get my gorram stuff back’s what I’m gonna do,” Jayne told him, sounding like it was the most obvious thing in the world.

Mal sighed. He glanced up again, and saw that Kaylee, Rose, and Jack were all trying not to laugh; the Doctor was watching with a distant, but still amused, smile. Just what he needed, an audience. He should be charging admission of these folks, if they thought the show was so fine.

“No, Jayne,” Mal told him, sounding like Sweet Reason herself. “You’re going to go get something to hold your pants up, and you’re gonna forget this.”

“But Mal, they took my gun . . .!”

“And you have plenty more where that came from. But your girlfriend’s long gone by now, and I don’t care to wait around twiddling my thumbs while you try’n find her. Also, fair’s fair — you fell for it, y’know.”

Jayne looked like he was thinking over a response, but kept silent.

“Meanwhile, Jayne, you were supposed to be on a job for me, not shopping for female companionship, d’you recall?” Mal let his voice drop about twenty degrees, and Jayne stiffened, looking suddenly caught out.

“Wouldn’t’a slowed me down any, if she hadn’t ripped me off,” Jayne started to protest. “Leastwise, hasn’t before.”

“Before? You’re in a regular habit of taking side trips while you’re on ship’s business?” Mal’s voice dropped another twenty degrees, and started oozing sarcasm.

Jayne, realizing his error, mumbled something and then hurriedly moved to push past Mal into the ship. This time, Mal let him go.

From behind him, Mal heard the faintest snicker. Zoe, of all people. He sighed again.

“I swear, one of these days I’m gonna get you to rivet those pants on him, Kaylee,” Mal started, momentarily forgetting his visitors, but cut off short as he heard yet another couple of familiar voices approaching.

Simon and River — with River the loudest.

Suddenly, that had all Mal’s attention.

River’d been doing vastly better since Miranda, but she still had her bad times, and given what he knew the girl could do, those bad times made a man mighty nervous.

He turned, and saw something that didn’t help his mood any. The Doctor suddenly straightened, and his head whipped around to face River. Jack and Rose followed his motion a split second later, in perfect unison. Mal had never seen anything quite like that; there was something downright creepy about it.

“It’s the Storm,” River cried, as Simon called to shush her, “And the Wolf and the Giant-Killer . . .”

“Honey,” Simon said desperately as he steered her towards the ship, “I don’t understand, just slow down . . .”

“They’re here, and it’s wrong, and it all burned, golden fire everywhere, and they can see me -- I can see them!” River wailed, with her face in her hands.

Simon got her up the ramp, while everyone else stood frozen -- _Serenity’s_ crew because, well, it was River, and one couldn’t help be a little cautious there, and the strangers, well, because the sight of a girl having a breakdown would startle anyone, right?

Except, it seemed like more than that with the Doctor, he seemed . . . transfixed, utterly focused on River, lips parted, face blank.

Simon had River just to the top of the ramp, his arm around her shoulder, guiding her, when she dropped her hands from her face — and ended up looking right at the Doctor. She stared at him in horror for a moment, and screamed.

Everyone jumped and shifted, but nobody seemed to know what was happening in this little drama but River and the Doctor. Mal flicked a glance at Rose and Jack, and, after their one moment of uncanny connection, they seemed to have broken back apart into two regular people, just as confused as anyone.

“River!” it was the Doctor’s voice, and it gave Mal a shock. The lightweight tone was gone, replaced with calm command. “You’ve nothing to fear. Look!” He stepped towards her, and held up his hands, palms facing her, rotating them so she could see the backs as well. “Not blue, not two. Three.”

She shrank back against Simon, who was glaring at the Doctor with all his might, trying to figure out what was upsetting his sister, obviously torn between supporting her and moving to defend her.

“Not blue?” she said, making it a question.

“Never blue,” he told her, dropping his hands, his tone warming, turning reassuring.

“It burned, the monsters came and it burned,” she said, her voice going small.

The Doctor’s eyes were dark, but his tone stayed warm. “It did, but long ago. It’s not here, it’s not now.” He smiled at her. “You can see, you know it’s true.”

River was silent, but began to relax, to stand upright and away from Simon’s support. “True,” she echoed in agreement, still in a small voice. She looked past the Doctor, at Rose and Jack. “The Wolf and the Giant-Killer, bright and dark . . .” she started to say, and trailed off.

“Friends of mine,” the Doctor told her, still reassuring.

River considered. The hysteria was gone, and she was nearly calm again.

“I’ve been dreaming,” she told the Doctor, deathly serious.

That wiped the smile from his face. “So have I,” he told her, voice soft and equally serious.

“The Storm dreams,” River said, sounding surprised. Then, startlingly, she smiled. “I’m not alone,” she said, with a little laugh, and broke away from Simon to dart into the ship.

Dead, total silence for a moment.

Simon broke it, with an anger born of concern and confusion. “What was that?” he yelled, “Who are these people?” He glared at the Doctor, who was staring after River, into the ship. “What was River talking about, how did she know who you were . . .?” he started forward, as did Mal.

Rose and Jack pulled in closer to the Doctor, looking suddenly defensive.

Mal heard Zoe stand up behind him, with a scuff of chair legs.

Kaylee looked completely lost.

Simon reached out to grab the Doctor’s shoulder, but Jack caught his wrist with a warning look on his face, and said something to Rose in a language Mal didn’t recognize.

That was just about the last straw for Mal. He prided himself on knowing at least how to cuss a man out in most languages of the ‘Verse, and he could still put a name to the ones he didn’t speak — but he couldn’t place this one.

“All right, you, I want to know what this is about,” he yelled, by way of an opener. Then the Doctor turned to look at him, and Mal forgot what he’d been about to say next.

Mal had rarely seen such a look of pure and perfect rage on any man’s face — with something else mixed in that made him think twice about getting any closer.

“Who did that to her?” the Doctor asked, not loudly, but with tremendous force.

It wasn’t what Mal was expecting. “What?” he asked, still angry, and more confused than ever.

“Someone ripped apart that young woman’s brain,” the Doctor told him, clipped and level. “Who was it?”

“What do you know about it?” Simon asked, pulling his hand free from Jack. Jack let him go, but kept a cold eye on him.

Vaguely, Mal was aware that Zoe and Rose were facing each other, wary and watchful. This could get very interesting, very quickly.

“Nothing,” the Doctor said, turning to focus on Simon, and freezing the younger man in his place. “Except that it suddenly explains a lot of things I’d been wondering about.” He turned to look at Mal again, and his face eased somewhat. “Is there somewhere we can go and talk? I think it would be mutually beneficial if we did.”

“I’m starting to think that myself,” Mal said, still wary, but wanting whatever information he could get.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, the Doctor brightened. “Any chance for a cup of tea?” he asked, sounding now as if nothing had happened and he was just on a social call. “I could really use a cuppa about now.” He grinned, and Mal couldn’t think of a damn thing to say for a moment.

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