Life As You Know It by avoria [Reviews - 72] Chapter or Story |
I've been away all summer, hence the silence. However...
There is silence for a few moments and then the muffled sound of fabric on fabric. The door opens, just wide enough for Rose’s head to poke around the corner, and the Doctor notices with some surprise that – firstly – she hadn’t locked the door and – secondly – she is wearing little more than a pink bath towel.
“Did you just ask if I wanted a ...sandwich?”
Part the Third — Tooth and Claw
They’re almost in the Time Vortex again, Rose feeling thoroughly amused by the prospect of having werewolves in the monarchy, when the Doctor stops suddenly and looks up. His look is quiet, calculating, and it take Rose a moment or two to realise he is looking at her.
“What?” she asks, when he obviously isn’t going to say anything.
He simply shrugs, clears his face, and puts his head down again. “Nothing.”
“Is that the sort of ‘nothing’ that means ...something?”
His gaze is on her again and he can’t help the half-smile, half-smirk that tugs at his mouth.
Rose laughs. “What?”
His smile widens a little, showing his teeth. “You look cute in dungarees,” he says at length, watching her. “That’s all.”
A pause passes between them as Rose tried to work out if he’s joking or not.
“Seriously?” she asks at last, with a tone that doesn’t quite believe him. “That’s what you were thinking?”
He nods, entirely content. “Yes, it was.”
It is he who laughs this time. “What?”
“Nothing,” she says quickly, self-consciously tucking hair behind her ear. “Just not used to you complimenting me.”
“Well, get used to it.”
She meets his eye with a strange, slightly wary, gaze and the Doctor looks away. He clears his throat, regaining his former composure.
“So, Miss Tyler, where to next?” He is back in ‘Doctor’ mode again, leaving Rose somewhat thrown.
“Shower, I think,” she answers definitely.
The Doctor stills and glances towards her, his face set as he wonders if he’s heard her right. He blinks, rather like a deer caught in headlights. “Beg your pardon?”
“For me?” Rose clarifies slowly.
“Oh, yes, right. Sorry. By all means, shower away.” He grins, his guard up once again. “The universe can wait.”
“Whatever you say, Doctor,” Rose chuckles as she leaves the console room. “Whatever you say.”
She’s gone within the minute and the Doctor lets out a heavy sigh. This regeneration is so different, so prone to wearing his heart on his sleeve, that it’s a wonder he can even concentrate on what he’s doing for longer than thirty seconds. He’s certainly not used to fending off Rose when she’s not even the one making the moves on him — quite the contrary, in fact.
He feels guilty for lots of things today, not least leaving Rose alone long enough so she could get captured and almost eaten by the werewolf. And there is something about that Queen Vic that he doesn’t much trust, either; perhaps the fact that she mistrusts him. He shall have to be careful in that era for a while — at least until he regenerates again, probably — but no doubt her tantrum will come to nothing.
Something twinges in the right ventricle of his left heart, and he isn’t quite sure why.
It is at that moment something eerie reaches his ears and he freezes to the spot (not that he has moved much in the first place). Singing: Rose singing, in the shower, and the TARDIS carries it to him for reasons no better, he can see, than to torture him. She’s not even particularly good at it, which he finds strange because he’d always imagined her a good singer. Maybe there is something about a shower’s acoustics which make humans sound particularly dire. The thought entices him and he makes a mental note to try it some time.
Whatever it is she’s singing, she is making it impossible for the Doctor to do any work. He goes to the library in an attempt to get her out of his mind through reading — but the music follows him, getting no more or less loud as he passes the bathroom door.
It’s not so much Rose’s singing that bothers him as the image of her in the shower — suds everywhere — just feeling at home enough to be herself and not feel embarrassment. Although, no doubt if she knew he could hear her, she would gain that attractive blush in her cheeks and shy away slowly. He will be sure to give her a compliment about her singing when she is out of the shower.
However, the problems still stands that he cannot get her out of his head. He is left eventually with what feels like his only option — standing outside the bathroom and rapping on the door with his knuckles. It is also almost the same moment when the water is turned off and the sounds of showering and singing desist. She’s going to think him pretty rude after this, he reckons, and probably a little bit mad.
“Doctor?” calls out her voice nervously; she is obviously not expecting company. Then again, why would she? It isn’t as though he makes a habit of coming to the bathroom when she’s having a shower.
“Er ...” he stumbles, his original reason for being here now dissipated. “I ...wondered if you ...wanted a — a sandwich.”
There is silence for a few moments and then the muffled sound of fabric on fabric. The door opens, just wide enough for Rose’s head to poke around the corner, and the Doctor notices with some surprise that — firstly — she hadn’t locked the door and — secondly — she is wearing little more than a pink bath towel.
“Did you just ask if I wanted a ...sandwich?”
Her face is quite sceptical; he supposes he can’t really blame her. It was a pretty poor excuse.
“Might have done. But you’re busy. So ...I’ll come back later, shall I? Good? Okay, see you later then - ”
“Hold on a minute.” Rose reaches out and grabs his arm gently and the towel slips a little. The Doctor gulps, sure he has been busted (though quite what for he has no idea). “Actually, a sandwich would be great. Thanks.”
He feels slightly relieved, but no matter how hard he tries to stay focused on her face, his eyes dip — just for a second — to where the towel has loosened. Fortunately for both their sakes it seems to have fixed itself, and — perhaps more fortunately for the Doctor — Rose doesn’t seem to have noticed his ‘casual glance’.
He leaves with orders for a cheese and pickle sandwich not a moment too soon, and silently curses himself as he makes his way back down the corridor for acting like a randy teenage boy. He’s going to have to start keeping tabs on himself at this rate, if he’s not careful. What he needs, he thinks, is a nice little distraction ...
When Rose approaches him some time later with news of a phone-call from Mickey-the-Idiot and a problem at the local school, he knows that that was not the distraction he had in mind. He’s in the kitchen when she finds him, absorbed in a rather good piece of literature (“Doctor, why anyone would read in the kitchen, I don’t know,”) and he’s not in the mood to go gallivanting back to Earth. Especially not for a misguided idea about ‘something fishy’, and especially not for Mickey. (“Honestly, Rose, the boy can’t even remember his own name.”)
“No,” he states without even having to look up from the pages.
“But why not?” Rose pushes, standing in his line of sight just above the top of the book.
“Because!” He brings his head up with such force his glasses ride a little way up his nose. Rose refrains from correcting them and instead folds her arms. “We’re busy!”
“So, what, I’ll just ring him back up and say ‘Sorry Mickey, we can’t come right now, we’re busy’.”
The Doctor nods, then looks down to his book again. “Seems fine to me.”
“What’s the matter with you?” she asks, sidling closer to him. “What happened to the time when you would have leapt at an adventure?”
“It isn’t an adventure,” the Doctor argues, giving up on the reading and removing the spectacles from his face. “Not when it’s Mickey involved. Besides ...I sort of wanted to ...you know, spend some time with you.”
He’s said it now, he tells himself gently — no going back now. Rose’s surprise is evident on her face and she taps her mobile phone against her mouth while she thinks. Her eyes linger on the Doctor.
“So what am I supposed to tell him, then? When he rings back?” She’s being serious now and the Doctor feels ever so slightly on edge.
“Tell him, in these exact words - ‘I’m not interested’.”
He takes sincerity from the words by air quoting.
Rose gives him a playful slap across the top of his arm.
“Doctor,” she admonishes, though it is not without humour.
“Worth a shot,” he mutters.
“Please, Doctor?” She is trying her best persuasive efforts now, using a bit of her womanly charm and stroking his arm enticingly. Despite his best efforts to ignore her, it even begins to work. He looks up to her innocently and sees that shameless tongue poke out of the side of her mouth. “You get to play teacher ...”
His face lights up at this. “Really?”
Rose nods. “There’s a lot of space on the faculty — I’m sure the psychic paper could get us in, no problem.”
He sits back in the chair a little, considering. He then frowns and looks at her.
“What will you do while I’m covering teacher, then?” She scowls and the Doctor winces. “Sorry,” he adds, not meaning to have offended her intelligence. “That was rude again, wasn’t it?”
“Look,” she says, somewhat irritably, fumbling for her phone again, “if you really don’t want to go, I’ll just ring him back and say — ”
“Rose.” He reaches out a hand to take hers and she stops, a little perplexed. He’s smiling and she can’t help but smile too. “We’ll go. If you want to.”
“It’s just, I thought it’d be something to do.”
“You don’t have to find excuses to go back and see him. If you miss him — ”
“I don’t miss him,” she counters pointedly, slowly. “It’s just that ...if there’s something alien going on, and we leave the world to fend for itself — ”
“Rose, believe it or not, there have been aliens on Earth throughout your entire history. And you’ve still come out strong. The Human race, born to survive.”
He adds a grin, just for good measure. Rose smirks.
“So, what you do, then, that’s just ...interfering with history.”
“Not interfering, no. Keeping an eye on, maybe, and jumping in at the last minute. That’s what we do.”
“Sounds like you’d be up for a school full of demented kids then,” Rose teases as the Doctor stands. “I haven’t seen you with kids since World War Two — ”
She stops mid sentence, realising just how long ago that seems and just how much has changed since then. The Doctor notices and looks at her with masked features. Slowly he outstretches his arm, his hand towards her and his fingers open for hers to slide through.
“Come on,” he says softly, “let’s see what this school of yours has to offer.”
“You sure?” she asks, taking the hand with her own and letting him lead her towards the console room.
“Positive. Except ...I want to make a pit-stop first.”
Anything for a distraction.