Rose heard the tell-tale sound of little cat feet bounding down the TARDIS' corridors long before either cat or bipedal form of the Doctor found her. As much as she had enjoyed spending time in the pool, the library, the holographic 360-degree planetarium, and the butterfly room, her desire to explore remained. So, she had set out to explore strange, old parts of the time ship, seeking out forgotten workshops, new storage rooms, and boldly going where she had never gone before. She was quite satisfied with the results of her endeavour. It had certainly become an entertaining adventure (though finding her way back to the console room was going to be a quest all its own).

Just when Rose thought she had seen every kind of storage room possible, there was always another down the hallway. She eventually made her way into a section of the TARDIS containing a number of dusty, holiday-themed storage rooms. (She was definitely going to use her newly-acquired knowledge of the Doctor's extensive collection of everything imaginable against him the next time he said he didn't like decorating for a holiday. He had decorations for so many Earth and alien holidays that Rose was sure he could supply an entire shop with it all.)

She had progressed from room to room, checking in with the TARDIS once and a while to see how the Doctor and his metacrisis were doing. The ship responded with a distant, thoughtful hum every time. Rose knew the TARDIS would tell her if something significant happened in the console room, so she remained mostly unconcerned as she wandered.

The last storage room she discovered was full of decorations that were more familiar than many of the others. Christmas decorations from multiple eras were piled high everywhere she looked. A holiday wreath was lying in the middle of the room when she first entered, surrounded by several extremely tangled strands of lights. The sight triggered a memory from months earlier when the Doctor had made a mess of his holiday decorations as a cat.

Rose had just sat down on the floor to untangle the lights when the TARDIS hummed at the fringes of her mind. The Doctor and his feline counterpart had evidently reached an agreement that the ship approved of enough to release them from the console room.

Rose smiled inwardly. She knew they would work it out...eventually.

It wasn't long before she heard the sound of a cat running at top speed down a nearby corridor. A moment later, the bipedal Doctor's footsteps could be heard dashing after him. "You think you're SO impressive with four legs,” he called out.

The feline seemed to agree. "Mrow!"

The Doctor laughed. "I keep telling you, if you are, then—"

A door was thrown opened and slammed shut, cutting the Doctor off. He shouted something unintelligible. A series of heavy objects crashed to the floor, and then Rose heard him yank another door open and yell, "Oi, that's cheating!"


"Still cheating!”

The cat’s pawsteps slowly came to a halt.

Rose glanced up, giving up on the tangled lights and setting them aside. She could hear the metacrisis somewhere down the corridor from the Christmas storage room, presumably looking for her. Why had he stopped short?

She heard the Doctor catch up to him before he spoke again. "What? But you slept for 14 hours yesterday. Consecutively!"


"Oh.” The Doctor reached an epiphany of some kind. “I didn't think about that. You were only born two days ago, so it makes sense. Sorry, I should have known this would happen.”

Puzzled, Rose listened to the sound of movement in the hallway. Was something (else) wrong with the metacrisis? Had he gotten hurt? 


Whatever the metacrisis said made the Doctor sigh and scuff the bottoms of his plimsolls against the coral floor. "Yes, of course she’ll like it."

The feline must have been satisfied with that answer, because his quiet footsteps started up again a moment later.

Rose got to her feet and brushed a few streaks of dust off her clothes as she prepared to meet them.

“Rose, love, are you down here?" the Doctor called.

”Yeah, in here,” she yelled back, "with all the holiday decorations you knocked over on Jyotaris!”

“Ah.” He sounded less enthusiastic about that.

Rose laughed. Hopefully the Doctor would get over his embarrassment about that night soon. After all, the ancient Jyotarian cat curse placed on him then had prevented him from leaving the planet until Rose found him on her final dimension jump, and helped them save the universe from Davros. All in all, that curse seemed to have done more good than harm. (Bad Wolf’s immense power aside, Rose would never again underestimate the ability of a human-Time Lord cat, a ball of neon green string, and a furious Donna Noble to help bring the creator of the New Dalek Empire to whatever remained of his despicable knees.)

The Doctor and his feline metacrisis burst into the room in a flurry of brown and blue. The metacrisis immediately bounded up to Rose with a joyful chirrup, springing up on his hind legs and balancing with his front paws on her knee. She knelt to pet him, scratching under his chin and running her fingers through the ever-untamable fur between his ears. He melted into her touch, dropping back to all fours with a deep, rumbling purr emanating from his chest.

“There you are!” The Doctor said, joining them with a relieved smile on his face. "You've been busy! Couldn’t find you for a bit.”

Rose glanced up at him with a tongue-touched grin. "The pool was nice, but not very interesting to explore for the fifty-ninth time. I haven't been here very long though. I only made it as far as trying to untangle these." She gestured to the knotted lights beside her to illustrate.

"Oh, you can leave those,” the Doctor said dismissively. “They’ve been like that for the past few hundred years or so.”

“What, really?" she asked, straightening up.

"I'm fairly certain they have, yes."

"Wow. Wait, so why couldn’t you find me? Didn’t you ask the TARDIS where I was?”

The metacrisis began to protest about the lack of attention being paid to him. Sharing a somewhat exasperated look with Rose, the Doctor picked up the feline and cradled him in his arms with more gentleness than she expected from someone who claimed to hate cats nearly every time they encountered one. Mostly, though, she was pleased to see both feline and bipedal Time Lord acting far more at ease with each other. Neither of them seemed to be too upset about her locking them in the console room either.

The Doctor shrugged. “Oh, you know how the TARDIS can be. She implied that you were in one of the storage rooms and we figured out the rest."

Rose resumed petting the metacrisis with a soft smile (silently noting the hint of jealousy that flashed in the Doctor’s eyes as she did). “Sounded like you two were having fun racing each other,” she said.

“He started it! Course, I would’ve won easily, but being the less rude one of the two of us, I let him win.”

The metacrisis grumbled at that, then yawned again.

"He's also very tired," the Doctor added.

Rose frowned. “What’s wrong with him? Will he be alright?”

“Oh, yes. I just didn’t realize he would receive all of the usual effects of regeneration I managed to avoid by channeling my regeneration energy into my severed hand. He’ll be perfectly fine as long as he gets a good, long rest instead of spending all night clawing at doors, getting stuck in trees, or falling in the pool.”

The cat in question meowed lowly.

“Yes, yes, I’m just about to get to that,” the Doctor muttered.

Rose stilled her hand in the middle of petting the fur along the metacrisis’ back, looking expectantly between the two of them. “Are you talking about his new name? What did you pick?”

The Doctor met her gaze with some uncertainty. (He really wanted her to like whatever name he and the metacrisis had chosen, she realized.)

 “Tempus,” he said finally, “meaning time in Latin. Not sure why he chose it, he hasn't said. He didn’t like any of my suggestions, so I asked what he wanted to be called. I thought it was a bit...unnecessary for a part-Time Lord cat to call himself ‘Time’, but it’s hardly the worst name he could have chosen. It’s starting to grow on me. What do you think?”

“Tempus….” Rose muttered. It had a sort of mysterious quality to it that suited him, and if that was what the metacrisis wanted to be called, then Tempus was the name she would use. “I like it,” she decided.

I hoped you would.”

She jumped at the sound of the Doctor’s voice echoing through her mind accompanied by a faint hum from the TARDIS. “Did you just say—What was that?” she asked.

The Doctor only shook his head and looked down at his metacrisis. “That wasn't me. I wouldn't...not without... It was Tempus. He can project words telepathically through the TARDIS. I’m sorry I, I mean we didn’t tell you earlier. He was supposed to tell you, but then we started investigating why he’s blue, and then I had to fix all sorts of things on the console that got overheated on the Crucible, and here we are.”

Rose put her hands on her hips, raising her eyebrows slightly. “You forgot to tell me Tempus can talk through the TARDIS?”

The Doctor opened his mouth to reply, but Tempus beat him to it. He had the sense to project an apologetic tone as he said, “No. I just wanted to be better at it first.”

It was a little strange to hear him speak in the Doctor’s voice, but Rose knew she could get used to it eventually. She didn’t really have an issue with him speaking telepathically, not after she had learned so much about how to utilize Bad Wolf’s unique form of telepathy once she’d returned to her original universe. She was more surprised that it was possible at all, since the Doctor himself hadn’t been able to project sentences through the TARDIS as a cat.

“Alright. These past few days have been hard for both of you," she conceded.

“For all of us,” the Doctor corrected. Tempus echoed him with a small, sleepy meow.

“And we got through it, just like we have everything else,” Rose said. She finally gave into impulse and carded her fingers through the Doctor’s hair, gently combing it into a slightly calmer state. She could tell he’d been running his fingers through it, like he often did while trying to figure out something particularly troublesome.

His eyes fell closed as she worked, but opened again when she pressed a kiss to his cheek and pulled away. She started toward the door after one last glance around the storage room. “Come on, let’s get something to eat. We’ll clean up this mess later. I know the moment we get Donna, you’re going to want to go to some planet where we could possibly get stuck in a prison cell without food that’s safe for human consumption. I want to start our next adventure on a full stomach.”

For a moment, the Doctor only stared at her with a vacant look in his eyes and a faint smile on his face.

Rose waited, biting her lip to stifle a giggle. “Doctor?”

He blinked. “Hmmm? Oh, yes, let’s get mess. I mean breakfast! I bet Tempus would love some. I already ate.” He caught up to her and together they began their long and winding journey back to the newer sections of the TARDIS.

They had nearly reached the kitchen when Rose realized that Tempus hadn’t spoken a word the entire time. She glanced down at the feline, still in the Doctor’s arms.

“Awww!” she whispered. The cat was fast asleep. His white paws and the tip of his tail twitched occasionally as he raced through unknown dreams.   

The Doctor gave her a warning look.

Rose rolled her eyes good-naturedly and made a point of opening the kitchen door as quietly as possible. She’d make sure to give Tempus a bowl of milky tea when he woke up. In the meantime, she would ask the Doctor what had happened in the console room.