“Oh my God; please tell me that’s just a toaster.”
Adam’s voice echoes down the corridor of the TARDIS, faint and awed as he explores the kitchen. The Doctor and Rose share a smirk before she sighs, reaching a hand to tuck some hair behind her ear.
“So... know where we’re going next?” she asks casually, though the question is heavily weighted with something the Doctor can’t work out and he raises an eyebrow.
“Don’t you think we should let him get a bit settled in, first?” he responds, jerking his head half-heartedly towards the door. “Going somewhere straight away can be a little bit much.”
Rose gives him a look, somewhere between fascination and amusement. Her tongue slides to the corner of her mouth, just visible between her open jaw. The Doctor, who has seen this look many times before, simply looks to her expectantly. “You didn’t give me time to settle in,” she says in a voice that is teasing, and he gives a cursory smile, before shrugging and gazing up the central column of the TARDIS.
“You didn’t need it,” he replies, almost like he’s talking to his ship rather than Rose.
She folds her arms. “Why not?”
“Some are better at this than others. Born with natural talent.”
“Like art?” Rose asks hopefully. The Doctor casts his eyes down to hers again, grinning.
“Sort of, yeah. Only with less people telling you you’re wrong all the time.”
They share a small chuckle before she lets out a happy sigh and gazes at the controls distantly. The Doctor, feeling the conversation very much over, wanders slightly, sliding his hand over a lever here, a button there. His smile fades quickly and he is soon thrown into the darkness of his mind again, thoughts almost overwhelming him in their magnitude. There has been so much wrong with where they’ve just come from... so much... like, for example, why his ship didn’t recognise the call of a Dalek. She’s not stupid, she’s seen them before.
“I was never much good at art.” Rose’s voice breaks through his thoughts, and part of him is glad, because he does not want to disappear into his mind again, not for a long while.
“Me neither,” he says, grinning and meeting her eye. It isn’t a grin he can feel, but she doesn’t know that. At least, he hopes she doesn’t — these days, he isn’t so sure. She seems to be getting better and better at reading him. Or perhaps he is getting worse and worse at lying to her. Perhaps it’s both.
“Yeah, if your drawing’s anything like your driving skills, a three-year-old could probably do better than you!”
He gives her a mock incredulous look and takes up her unsaid challenge before she’s even aware what she has meant. “Oi, you want to be careful.” He waves a finger at her warningly, but there is a smile in his eyes, and this time, he might just mean it. “Otherwise we’ll ‘canoodle’ or ‘spoon’, or whatever it is you — ” The Doctor pauses just a second, considering the word and enjoying the look on Rose’s face “ — humans do.”
“Well,” she shrugs, drawing out the word over the sigh. She smirks, almost smiles, and raises an eyebrow. “Wouldn’t say no.”
He shoots her a devilish grin. “I bet.” Then there is a loud crash from the corridor and both wince. Adam’s voice becomes a couple of pitches higher and then there is another bang.
The Doctor laughs while Rose gazes down the corridor with interest. “Go on,” he chuckles, gesturing with his hand and head. “Go check on your boyfriend; make sure he’s not using the tin opener for a hairdryer, or something.”
She gives him a look that’s not quite offended, not quite humorous, and the Doctor is momentarily caught off guard.
“He’s not my boyfriend.”
The Doctor, sceptical and interested, folds his arms tightly across his chest and raises an eyebrow.
Rose looks to him pleadingly. “He’s not!” she assures, with every air of a woman who is planning on making him just that. The Doctor sighs quietly — humans. They make even the simplest things so complicated.
She begins to make her way towards the door, then stops and turns, hovering slightly. The Doctor meets her gaze expectantly.
“You... you’re all right, aren’t you? I mean — you’d say? If you weren’t?”
He grins. “Yeah. Yeah, I am. I’m fantastic, and I mean that.”
She echoes his smile then nods and walks away, trundling off down the corridor to check on Adam. The Doctor’s smile fades in time with her receding footsteps. By the time she has disappeared, he is staring after the empty doorway with a face created from thunder.
Rose and Adam sit at the breakfast counter. She has made him tea, but he hasn’t touched it. He stares despondently at the wall, before something behind the bread-bin fires sparks everywhere, and suddenly, it’s not so comforting. He sighs, shaking his head. Rose looks at him sympathetically, remembering — or at least trying to — how she felt when she first came aboard the TARDIS. But in all honesty, strange as it was, she loved every bit of it. It was something in life she had always been waiting for but never really got to experience. And it feels like this has always been a part of her life.
“How d’you get used to it?” Adam asks suddenly.
She gives him a small smile. “I dunno. I just sort of... did. Like, this was my life now, and that was it. Don’t really think about it much.” She laughs, though it is a little hollow. “Don’t get the time.”
“No...” He gazes down to his tea, growing steadily colder as time passes. Then he glances up again, and he looks more tired than Rose has seen anyone to look in a very long time. More so than the Doctor, even, who has been around for a good couple of centuries. She smiles to herself — it’s still a bit weird, getting used to that. “So, spaceship, yeah?”
“Yeah.” Rose grins, pleased to have the chance to talk to someone who this isn’t normal for, partly to share, partly to pretend like she knows an awful lot more than she does. “It’s a bit weird, but you’ll get used to it.”
Adam smiles at her warmly and nods his head. “With you around, I think so.” They smile at each other, before he lets out a contemplative sigh. “Just... promise me you won’t leave me alone with him, okay?”
He is only half joking.
“You’ll have to get used to him sometime. The Doctor’s not that bad.”
“Try saying that when you’ve been on the receiving end of one of his death stares,” Adam answers, giving her a pointed look. “I mean, honestly, I don’t think he has any more of a clue about what’s going on than I do; and you don’t see me acting all high and mighty.”
Rose isn’t sure whether to laugh at Adam or with him, so settles on a mixture of the two. She catches his eye. “Says the ‘genius’.”
They share a laugh, before he shakes his head and gazes to his feet. There is silence again for a moment or two and Rose doesn’t like it. She has always found it so easy to strike up conversation with the Doctor, to banter with him, flirt with him — and even when there’s just silence, that works too, because neither of them seem to mind it much. Like making the effort is the embarrassing thing and being themselves is just an easier way to deal with it.
This is different, but she likes it too. In an abstract way.
Something whirs and clicks, and suddenly the lights dim. They are back in a moment, but it is enough to receive a frustrated groan from Adam, and he closes his eyes, blocking out the sound and sight of the absurdity around him.
“I’m never going to get used to this,” he sighs.
“You will — ”
“Nah.” He opens his eyes, and they are wide. “I mean. This.” He laughs piteously, waving a hand around them, then swallows audibly. “I never thought... that it’d be... I mean, I know I said I wanted... but it’s different. ‘Cause I thought it didn’t exist.It was just one of those things people say, y’know?” Adam catches her eye hopefully, but all he sees is a pretty girl and lots of confusion.
He gives up.
“I’ll be fine,” he finishes at last with a weak smile. Rose nods encouragingly, then slides off her chair.
“Listen, Ads — ” He gives her a glare that cuts her off for a moment. “Er... Adam. I’m gonna go for a bit of a wander, yeah? Get my head around... everything. You’ll be all right?” She touches his arm affectionately, and he lets a smile unfurl across his features.
“If he’s got a TV, I’ll be perfect.”
They laugh with each other, and then Rose leads him down towards one of the many living rooms and sets him up with a TV that gets not only the Earth channels, but all sorts of odd and alien things as well. She has been fascinated by watching them, but Adam just stares, and eventually, she gives up with a laugh and leaves him to his football.
Then, feeling a little like the walls of the TARDIS have closed in several times, she begins a slow walk around the corridors to find the Doctor.
So much death. So much pain. So many innocent lives that have been lost without need. His planet, his race, his family. All dead. Because of Them. Because of the stupid filth that just won’t die. Except now, when he is alone and it matters least of all.
The Doctor stands in the doorway of an empty room so lost in thought he barely registers what goes on around him. The room is small, bleak: dark walls of metal lining an empty floor. The far wall across from him is a window, the entire thing. He can see space. Stars and planets, solar systems, super novas, suns. For the moment, there are just stars drifting slowly by. The room is as dark as his mind. And still he thinks.
Rose stands a little way back in the corridor, worry in her voice and a slight frown on her face. He does not answer, does not turn, does not even make any sign of acknowledgement she is there. She steps carefully towards him until she is at his side. Still he doesn’t move. Licking her lips nervously, Rose reaches for the hand that is draped by his side, sliding hers into his comfortingly, giving it a gentle squeeze. He just stands there, staring forward, like he can’t even feel it. His hand is cold, like he’s been dead for hours.
She wants to say something, anything, but she knows it will not help. So instead she breathes audibly then leans her head on his shoulder, gazing out of the window with him to watch the stars with him.
Only, he isn’t watching stars. Not those stars. He is watching a terrifying battle play out in front of his eyes, hearing terrified screams, accusations, things no being should ever have to hear before. All races who can join, give their lives, surrender themselves into fighting the one thing that should never have been brought into existence. He cannot save them all. He cannot save any of them. Not even his family. Oh, they’re all dead. Even his enemies now. The Dalek wanted to know why they survived? He has an idea: punishment. Live on, because the universe has dared you not to.
And all that death, all those lives, all those screams — they rest on his shoulders and he is alone. Who else is going to carry that burden? He knows what that little voice in his mind tells him, when he has made the mistake of letting himself become trapped in his mind like this. It’s snide, it’s malevolent, and it’s right. Blaming him, making him think things he doesn’t want to think. Damn that voice. Damn them all.
It’s not your fault.
Just because — wait, what? That’s not right, that’s not what he hears. Not in that soft, gentle tone, not with so much honesty and love behind it that it makes his left heart race a little.
The Doctor blinks, sees the room he’s standing in, feels the doorway against his shoulder, his arm around his stomach, a hand in his, warmth by his other side, someone leaning against him. He squeezes her hand, joins their fingers, and she looks up, surprised.
He turns his head, looking down at her. He is not smiling, but there is contentment in his eyes.
“Thank you,” he says honestly, and she gives him a weak smile.
“Any time — ”
“No, I mean it.” Something changes in his eyes, and her smile fades. “Thank you. For everything.”
Then he does something he never thought he would do. He uncrosses his legs, stands straight, turns and looks her right in the eye. Then he leans forward and places a delicate kiss on her forehead, enough pressure to let her know he means it. His second hand reaches for her arm instinctively and he squeezes tenderly, before opening his eyes and stepping back again.
Rose blinks at him, completely innocent. He loves her innocence, because it means she can see the world and universe in a completely different way to him. She can look at a Dalek, for pity’s sake, and see the most beautiful thing in the world. She can look inside and see something that wants and needs help, that deserves to live, that’s alone and just looking for freedom. It’s a load of rubbish, of course, but she can see it and he can’t, which makes her the better of both of them. It makes her even more beautiful in his eyes. So, without really realising that he’s doing it, he takes both her hands and tells her so.
“You’re beautiful, Rose Tyler. Don’t you dare ever lose that.”
Shocked, she takes a moment or two to process her thoughts. The last time he said that, she had been wearing an 1860s dress and had caught him off guard. This is different. She cannot think of what to say, can just stand and look at him, eyes wide and mouth open slightly.
He grins, giving her an affectionate look. Then he drops her hands.
“Right, come on,” he laughs, turning and walking down the corridor.
Rose frowns after him. “You know where we’re going then, Doctor?”
He doesn’t answer, just keeps striding along with a mischievous gleam in his eye. Under his breath as he rounds the corner, he answers softly, ‘Oh, yeah’.
Doctor Who and its accoutrements are the property of the BBC, and we obviously don't have any right to them. Any and all crossover characters belong to their respective creators. Alas no one makes any money from this site, and it's all done out of love for a cheap-looking sci-fi show. All fics are property of their individual authors. Archival at this site should not be taken to constitute automatic archive rights elsewhere, and authors should be contacted individually to arrange further archiving. Despite occasional claims otherwise, The Blessed St Lalla Ward is not officially recognised by the Catholic Church. Yet. |
Script for this archive provided by eFiction. Contact our archivists at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please read our Terms of Service and Submission Guidelines.