A belated Merry Christmas to all... I will be back reading soon!!
They had turned up in a blizzard and Rose, in her thin jacket, shivered as she hunched by the Doctor who seemed impervious both to the bitter wind and to the fact that she was improperly dressed for such a cold climate.
“Alright, Docta... it's very Christmassy... also very cold, let's go back in, yeah?” Her voice carried in the wind in the other direction from him and he appeared not to hear her properly.
He looked out across the white terrain, breathed in the cold as if it were sweet and warm and, just as he was about to turn to her and agree, take her arm and pull her back into the warmth of the TARDIS and take her somewhere more... festive; he caught sight of a bedraggled figure stumbling through the cold blizzard.
“Look... over there.. you see?” He pointed out the freezing beggar trudging through the deep drifts, and Rose squinted her eyes to the distance where he was was pointing. She nodded, leaning into him as if instinctively seeking shelter.
“Run and get the hamper, Rose, we'll see he dines well tonight, get his fire burning and set him a Merry Yuletide!” Rose hesitated even though she was already headed towards the large basket sitting at the top of the ramp. Sometimes the Doctor was very bossy and not at all gallant. Still, she pulled the heavy basket over her shoulder and ran back down the ramp and through the doors after her brilliant Time Lord.
Of course, he was no longer there where she had left him. No. He was halfway up the hill and heading in the direction of the man he had spotted.
“Doctor!” she screamed into the wind, and he turned moments later, waved and beckoned to her before turning around and continuing his trek upwards and away from her.
Her jacket was too thin for such a cold night, and the wind was bitterly strong, whipping into her as if it knew how to get through to her very bones. As if this weren't enough, she had the heavy hamper across her back and an uphill trek through the thick snow. She fixed upon the Doctor's retreating back and forged slowly up with much difficulty.
He had left large hollow footsteps to mark his way and she used them as footholds to help her up. It was easier to guide her and the warmth of her Doctor's tread seemed to remain there for her, giving her a small boost as she tried desperately to call him through the whistling wind.
It started to snow hard, the ice cold flakes hitting into her face, catching in her mouth as she shouted for him. She could feel her body beginning to buckle as the cold and the struggle overwhelmed her. As she sunk to her knees, her last thought was of the Doctor and his complete obliviousness to her plight. Would it always be like this? Would she always have to run after him while he forged ahead ever stronger than her?
Just as her knees hit the snow a strong warm hand pulled at her elbow and she looked up into the familiar brown eyes of her Doctor. The concern and the compassion were very evident across his face and as he pulled her back up, wrapping his long coat about her freezing body, she felt the familiar warmth creep back into her bones, curling into her stomach and settling her shivers almost immediately.
“Keep hold of my hand, Rose... don't let go!” He had to raise his voice above the bitter wind, and he then shouldered the basket and together, hand in hand, they continued their journey.
As they neared the pauper's cottage and she regained her warmth, she wondered if it was the wonderfully smelling and rather scratchy long coat that swaddled about her, but later, as the pauper and his family offered them a seat at their table and the fire was lit; she knew it was the warmth of her Doctor's hand that she still clutched that had given her the strength to carry on.
At the end of the evening, they wandered back down the hill towards the TARDIS. The night was clear, the wind had dropped a little and it was no longer snowing.
“Rose...” He didn't look at her as he spoke, and she glanced up at him as they walked.
“I made a big mistake... I should have thought. I keep forgetting... I'm sorry...”
“Nah... no worries... been plenty of close ones... you came back...”
“I should have waited for you... should have made sure you were properly equipped... I was so intent on helping others that I couldn't see that I was needed much... closer to home.” Rose came to a halt, which in turn made the Doctor also come to one and he turned to her an arm's length down the hill and looked back up at her. Their faces were on the same level and the moon lit up her eyes.
“Home?” Her voice was a little breathy and he couldn't tell if it were from the cold, physical exertion or from something else. However, a question always needed a response.
“It is, you know... been through so much... together, couldn't call it anything else really, could you?” And, of course, his voice rose an octave as he, himself, proffered a question quite by accident.
“No... I really couldn't...” she replied after a beat, and they continued their journey home... together.
Rose and Doctor forth they went,
Forth they went together,
Through the rude wind's wild lament,
And the bitter weather.