“He’s driving me crazy, Mum,” Rose told her mother over tea. “He’s perfectly useless. He mopes around the house, he barely eats, and he never wants to go out!” she continued.
“Well, he’s had a hard time of it, Love,” her mother said. “He’s having to adjust to being human and all.”
“But he’s not adjusting, Mum!” Rose cried. “He’s just driving me bloody bonkers!” She put her face in her hands.
“What about your other activities?” Jackie asked cautiously. Rose looked up at her.
“What other activities?” she asked.
“Oh, you know, Sweetheart,” Jackie began, “In the bedroom?”
“Well,” she answered, “Considering I sleep alone most nights while he’s downstairs in the lounge tinkering with gadgets…”
Jackie reached across the table and touched her daughter’s hand.
“Still taking apart your stuff, is he?” she asked.
“Mum,” she said, “I think I’m going to kill him.”
* * *
“She’s driving me crazy, Lucy,” said the Doctor to the old lady.
“That’s nice, dear,” said Lucy.
“She’s perfectly tiresome. She’s always cross with me, her cooking is atrocious, and she’s obsessed with her appearance!”
“That’s nice, dear,” Lucy replied.
“It’s bloody awful!” the Doctor continued. “The only place we ever go is to one of her shallow friends’ homes for house ware parties. Have you ever been to one of those things? A bunch of women sit around gossiping and squawking over plastic containers or other kitchen do-dads. I very nearly slit my wrists at a party featuring paring knives!”
“That’s nice, dear,” Lucy said cheerfully.
The Doctor looked at Lucy, who sat beside him on the little park bench. Her eyes stared straight ahead blankly, but she had a wide, bright smile on her wrinkled, old face. “Lucy,” said the Doctor, “I think I’m going to kill her.”
"That’s nice, dear.”
* * *
Rose set her briefcase on the hall table and poked her head into the lounge. She groaned at the sight that greeted her. The Doctor sat on the floor surrounded by bits of machinery and piles of scribbled-on paper. He was wearing an oil-stained t-shirt that read “Every time you call tech support, a kitten dies” and a pair of well worn sweat pants. In one hand he held a piece of metal with wires pointing out in all directions from it, and in the other hand he held the sonic screwdriver he had made a few months before. Rose bristled when she thought about how the Doctor had dismantled both the refrigerator and her CD player in order to make the device. She watched as he pointed the sonic at the metal and wires and pushed a button. The sonic buzzed and Rose flinched. She hated that noise.
The Doctor noticed her standing in the doorway and put down whatever it was he was working on.
“Hello, dear,” he said to her without a smile.
“Hi,” replied Rose, just as glum.
“How was work?” the Doctor asked.
“Fine,” answered Rose. “How was…er…whatever you do?”
“Great!” the Doctor answered. “I think I just may build a time machine yet!”
Rose groaned and started up the stairs. Halfway up she turned and yelled down to him.
“Don’t forget we’re going to Sam’s house tonight.”
It was the Doctor’s turn to groan.
“What is it this time?” he asked.
“Home remedy books and some kind of new miracle laundry detergent,” Rose called from the stairs.
“Damn,” thought the Doctor, “No sharp objects.”
* * *
The Doctor sat in a very uncomfortable metal chair at the back of the room while one of Rose’s silly friends demonstrated how the laundry detergent removed hollandaise sauce from silk napkins.
“Yippee,” he thought to himself as a sipped his horribly vile punch from a red plastic cup.
“Psst!” whispered a voice behind him.
He turned and saw a man standing over his shoulder. The man gave him a little smile and leaned down.
“I can get you out of here,” he said.
“You can? Really?” asked the Doctor. “How?”
“I’m Ashe, Samantha’s husband,” the man said, extending his hand. The Doctor took his hand and shook it.
“John Smith, Rose’s husband,” he introduced himself.
The man nodded and cautiously looked around.
“If you care to watch the match, we can do so in my workshop,” he whispered.
The Doctor looked at Rose, who was yammering away to a lady with big earrings and even bigger hair.
“Lead the way,” he told Ashe.
Ashe put a finger to his lips and motioned with his head for the Doctor to follow. The Doctor gulped down the rest of the loathsome punch and stood. His legs felt numb and rubbery and he fell forward, catching himself on the back of the metal chair.
“You okay?” asked Ashe.
The Doctor clutched at his abdomen.
“I’ve been poisoned. Cyanide. Where’s your kitchen?”
Ashe pointed toward the kitchen and watched in bewilderment as the Doctor scrambled away.
Hearing the commotion at the back of the room, Rose hurried to the kitchen in search of the Doctor. She found him, standing in the middle of Sam and Ashe’s kitchen with a bottle of ginger beer in one hand and a salt shaker in the other, pouring the contents of both down his throat.
“What the hell are you doing?” Rose demanded to know.
The Doctor swallowed the mixture and looked at her.
“I was poisoned,” he said. “Got to metabolize the cyanide.”
“Metabolize?” Rose asked.
The Doctor began hopping around, snapping his fingers.
“A shock,” he said to Rose. “I need a shock.”
Rose said nothing, but crossed the room to where the Doctor stood. She put her hands on his shoulders and fluttered her eyelashes at him before bringing her knee up sharply between his legs. His face grew red, his eyes bulged out, and he doubled over in pain.
“Thank you, dear,” he managed to squeak before falling to the floor.
* * *
“Come on now, you,” the Doctor said, pulling on a large chain. The Weevil at other the end of the chain snarled at him and showed its teeth.
“Snarl all you want,” said the Doctor. “There’s a tasty treat in this for you if you do what you’re told.”
He held up one of Rose’s shirts and wagged it under the Weevil’s nose.
“That’s her scent. Now go get her,” the Doctor commanded.
He unlocked the back door of the house he and Rose shared and motioned for the Weevil to go inside. When the creature had done so, the Doctor hurried back down the dark alley, sure no one had seen him.
He returned an hour later, whistling happily to himself as he bounced down the street. It was a brilliant plan. Since it was a Weevil attack it would be quickly covered up by Torchwood, and he would be the poor pitiful man whose wife had been brutally murdered in an attempted burglary. The Doctor chuckled to himself a bit as he took a banana from his pocket and practiced his lines.
“Oh Rose,” he said dramatically to the banana, “My darling, my love! What have they done to you?”
He skipped quickly up the front steps and opened the door. Stepping inside, he quickly realized that his plan had gone awry. The floor and walls, which he had expected to be covered in blood and gore, were spotless. There was no sign of a struggle or even a small scuffle. Poking his head into the lounge, the Doctor saw Rose sitting on the couch reading a book. Stretched out on the couch, its head in her lap, was the Weevil. Rose stroked its head with her free hand.
“About bloody time you got home,” said Rose without looking up.
* * *
“You’re not eating much,” Rose said to the Doctor from her seat across the table.
The Doctor looked down at the gray unappetizing mass on his plate. It was supposed to be food, but to him it looked like a brain transplant gone horribly wrong. He pushed a lumpy bit around his plate with his fork. Rose had to have cooking lessons.
“I’m just not hungry,” the Doctor told Rose with a sigh. He got up from the table and carried his dish to the sink.
“If you’re finished,” Rose said, “Do you think you could take Louis for a walk?”
“Louis? Who’s Louis?” the Doctor asked.
Rose pointed to the Weevil who was curled up on an oversized pillow by the back door. The Doctor started to protest, but thought better of it. At least he could find something decent to eat while he was out. He picked up the Weevil’s chain and gave it a yank.
“Come on, Larry,” he said.
“Louis,” Rose corrected.
Rose smiled to herself when the Doctor had gone. She had not believed her luck when the Weevil showed up at her door. At first she thought it was going to devour her, but she managed to gain control over it with a few slices of cold pizza from the fridge.
Now her plan could go forward. Rose had been disappointed by the failure of her poisoning attempt. She had planned it so carefully, making sure to do it while in a large group of people so the blame could not be automatically shifted to her. She had never imagined, however, that the Doctor could metabolize cyanide. Bloody Time Lords.
The Weevil would work out much better. She had seen, from her work at Torchwood, how vicious the creatures could be and what they could do to a person. The Weevil already hated the Doctor. It snarled at him whenever he got close to Rose.
“It’ll probably rip him to shreds!” Rose laughed out loud.
She was startled half an hour later when the Doctor returned dragging a whimpering Weevil behind him.
“Now, go get on your pillow and go to sleep,” the Doctor commanded. The Weevil quietly crawled off to the kitchen to do as it was told.
Rose stared at the Doctor, her mouth agape. His hair was a mess, his glasses were askew, and his trousers hung in ribbon-like shreds around his skinny legs, but he was alive.
“Wh–What happened to you?” she stammered.
“Little devil attacked me,” the Doctor answered rubbing the back of his neck. “I took care of it though.”
He beamed and pulled out his sonic screwdriver and held it to his mouth like a microphone.
“Always spay and neuter your pets!” he said in his best game show host voice.
* * *
The dim lights of the Torchwood lower basement cast a green glow over the shiny linoleum floor as Rose crept toward the storage area. She pulled the Doctor’s Torchwood ID card from her pocket and swiped it across the security panel. She had filched the card from his trousers when she washed them earlier that evening. With what she planned to do Rose knew she could not risk using her own card. As Head of the Torchwood Archives, the Doctor had access to everything in the lower basement. Rose knew exactly what she wanted, and when the door locks hissed open she crept silently through the door and over to the shelving units at the back of the storage room.
* * *
The Doctor fumbled around in the darkness of the storage room. He did not dare use the light from his sonic screwdriver even though his human eyes were horribly night-blind. He couldn’t risk detection, and more importantly, he couldn’t risk igniting any of the volatile chemicals or devices stored in the shelving units.
The Doctor had stolen Rose’s Torchwood ID card from her briefcase earlier that evening. He knew, with what he was planning to do, he could not use his own card. As a Senior member of Torchwood, Rose had access to all areas, including the storage areas of the lower basement.
The Doctor squinted in the blackness of the room, trying to read the labels on the shelving units.
“Ah hah!” he whispered when he finally found what he was looking for. He reached out and took hold of his prize.
Rose grabbed the smooth, round, metal object and tried to remove it from the shelf, but she found it would not budge. She yanked hard on it, but it remained stuck. Suddenly the object pulled her back the opposite way.
“What?” Rose cried.
“What?” said a familiar voice from the other side of the shelving unit.
Rose peered through the shelf and found herself staring at the Doctor, who was holding the metal object tightly with his right hand.
“Doctor?” she said, trying to wrest it from his grasp.
“Rose?” he replied, yanking the object toward himself.
“What are you doing here?” Rose asked.
“I’m just…um…What are you doing here?” questioned the Doctor.
“I asked you first.” Yank.
“I…uh…it’s a secret.” Pull.
“Let go,” Rose said, straining to hold on to the little alien object.
“No way,” the Doctor told her. “What do you want with the Havaloen Orb anyway?”
“What do you want with it?” Rose asked.
“I asked you first,” said the Doctor.
The Havaloen Orb was a bit of alien technology that Torchwood had picked up from a Space Hippy several weeks before. Though very small, the orb packed quite a punch when detonated. It could bring down a large building in one blast.
The tug-of-war continued between the Doctor and Rose, each one doing their best to take the orb from the other’s grasp. Finally, Rose pulled with both hands and yanked the orb away from the Doctor. The action sent her stumbling backward and she landed on her bum against the back wall of the room. The Doctor raced around the shelving unit and over to where she sat proudly holding her hard-won prize.
“Be careful, Rose!” cried the Doctor. “That thing is extremely sensitive! One wrong move and you’ll blow us to bits!”
“I know. I’m not stupid,” snapped Rose. She stood up carefully and examined the orb.
“This little thing could turn you into a crater,” she told the Doctor as she tossed the little object up and caught it in the palm of her hand.
The Doctor winced.
“Yes,” he said. “It could make you an unnaturally blonde pile of dust.”
Rose and the Doctor studied each other in silence for a moment before the realization hit them.
“You’ve been trying to kill me!” they cried in unison.
* * *
Rose glared angrily at the Doctor.
“Well, what was I supposed to do?” she asked. “You’ve taken apart all my stuff, trying to build your stupid time machine!”
The Doctor sneered.
“I had to do something to get away from your dull friends and their even duller parties!” he yelled.
“At least I have some friends!” Rose shot back.
“Hmph,” smirked the Doctor, “My willy has more personality than most of your friends,”
“Not like you ever use it,” Rose said bitterly.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” asked the Doctor.
“You know what I mean,” answered Rose. “We haven’t shagged in weeks!”
“Well, I’m not the one hiding up in the bedroom with the door closed!” the Doctor retorted.
“All you have to do is open the bloody door!” Rose cried.
The Doctor began to argue, but paused, his expression softening.
“Seriously?” he asked
“Of course, you twit,” Rose answered softly.
“But I thought you didn’t want…” The Doctor paused again.
“It’s not supposed to be this way,” said Rose. “What happened to ‘happily ever after’?”
The Doctor laughed.
“This is the real world, Rose,” he said. “Love takes work.”
“You love me?” asked Rose.
“Of course,” the Doctor answered.
Rose leaned forward and grabbed his lapels and kissed him, much the same way she had on the beach at Bad Wolf Bay. The Doctor returned the kiss, his fingers gliding through her hair. The kiss deepened and they began tugging at each other’s clothing. Unable to undo the Doctor’s shirt buttons with one hand, Rose absently tossed the Havaloen Orb over her shoulder.
“Did you just throw the orb behind you?” the Doctor asked her.
“Mm hmm,” she murmured against his lips.
“Bugger,” said the Doctor.
The mushroom cloud could be seen for miles.