"With This Ring, I Thee Wed..."
STANDARD DISCLAIMER: Doctor Who belongs to the BBC. I'm not making any money from this.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This fic is totally separate from the other DW fics I've written, and should not be considered a part of their storylines.
Sarah Jane sat on the bed, fuming.
It had all begun innocently enough, with the Brigadier summoning the Doctor into his office for another assignment.
"There's something odd going on at a seaside resort in Brighton," the Brigadier had told the Time Lord.
"Odd is my specialty!" the Doctor had replied, beaming.
The Brigadier had advised subtlety, suggesting that they pose as tourists and travel to the resort in Bessie rather than in his TARDIS. As Sarah Jane had not been privy to their meeting, she wasn't sure which man had come up with the brilliant plan for them to pretend to be a married couple.
The Doctor had held up his newly minted driver's license issued to "Doctor John Smith", grinning a lunatic grin identical to the one in the photograph. "I'm John Smith, it says so right here! Why, you won't even have to change your name now that we're married!" the Doctor had told her brightly. She had given him a look and continued packing. "And lucky you, you're my wife!"
"You wish!" she'd said under her breath, throwing a pair of sandals into the suitcase.
The novelty of having a "wife" (even a pretend one) along with his madcap tendencies and odd sense of humor had proven to be a bad combination for the Doctor. As she'd known he would, he had thrown himself into the role of her husband with characteristic overzealous relish. Before they even left for Brighton, he had begun inventing cute little pet names for her, her least favorite being "Sugar Bumps".
Upon their arrival at the resort, he had thrown his arm around Sarah Jane's shoulders, pulled her very close and asked if the Honeymoon Suite were available, and whether or not it had soundproof walls. "We wouldn't want to disturb your other guests," he'd told the red-faced clerk meaningfully.
The whole thing was an enormous joke to him, one that he played very broadly, with absolutely none of the subtlety that the Brigadier had advised. And Sarah Jane's dismayed tolerance of his antics had only added fuel to his fire; he had seemed to take a gleeful pleasure in yanking her chain.
The bellhop who had escorted them and their luggage to the Honeymoon Suite had not noticed when the Doctor had given Sarah Jane's rear a healthy squeeze in the elevator. He had also not noticed the Doctor's surprised yelp of pain when Sarah Jane had stomped on his foot. He was a bellhop after all, and tactfully "not noticing" certain behavior from the guests was the best way to insure getting a big tip.
"Look, no one is going to believe that we're a real married couple if you continue carrying on like this!" she'd scolded the Doctor as soon as the bellhop had departed, anticipated big tip in hand.
"Why not?" he'd asked, curiously.
"If I had a husband who acted like you, he'd be my ex-husband in no time flat!"
"Oh!" he'd replied, looking oddly deflated.
It had been with relief that she had found the flyer advertising drinks and cigars for the gentlemen in the lounge before dinner.
"But I don't smoke!" he'd protested.
"You're not really married, either," she'd pointed out. He'd thought for a moment, and then grinned hugely.
"If I play my role and go smoke with the men, does that mean I'll get to play the role of husband later?" It had taken her a couple of seconds to get it.
"Only in your dreams! Now, go pretend to smoke!" she'd instructed, pushing him out the door and locking it behind him.
"I'll see you at dinner, my little Snickerdoodle!" he'd called through the closed door. "And I'm sure you'll look ravishing as always!"
"Go away!" she'd shouted.
And now she sat on the bed, fuming.
"He's impossible!" she said into the empty room. "Absolutely impossible. He treats everything like a huge joke!" But isn't it a bit of a joke? a voice inside her head asked. You're not really a married couple, you know. What are you so angry about? "Oh be quiet," she whispered.
Dinner was to be served promptly at six, and so Sarah Jane appeared in the lobby at five of, dressed in a lavender silk dress and carrying a matching handbag. The men had just finished their cocktail hour and were entering the lobby. She spotted the Doctor among them, carrying an unlit cigar in one hand and a half-full martini glass in the other.
"Sarah Jane!" he exclaimed happily, coming over to greet her. "You look fantastic!"
"Thank you, Doctor," she said. "Did you find out anything?"
"Yes," he said, absently sticking the cigar in his pocket and offering her his arm. Together they walked to the dining room. "I found out that having cigars and cocktails with a bunch of boring old sods is a complete waste of time!"
"That's not what I meant!"
"Well, none of them are aliens… at least not that I could tell, anyway. But some aliens are very subtle, you know. Why, look at me – no one would ever guess I'm an alien!"
"Oh no, no one would ever guess you're from another planet!" she agreed sarcastically. "I just hope we can wrap this up quickly and get out of here!"
"Look on the bright side," he told her with a grin. "The food is sure to be marvelous!" She laughed at this despite herself. "Table for two, if you please," the Doctor told the maitre d', who bowed slightly in acknowledgement and led them to a secluded table in the back.
"A romantic table for the honeymooners!" he told them, gallantly pulling out Sarah Jane's chair for her. The Doctor looked chagrinned.
"Well, that's what you get for asking for the Honeymoon Suite when we checked in!" Sarah Jane told him after the Maitre d' had departed.
"Yes, stupid me. Now we're stuck back here, away from all the action!" He unfolded his napkin with an angry snap.
"But it is awfully romantic, isn't it, Dear?" she asked, grinning wickedly. He gave her a look, and she knew she'd gotten her revenge for his antics throughout the day. A waiter came to their table, carrying a bottle of champagne and two glasses.
"We didn't order this!" the Doctor protested as the waiter began removing the foil from the bottle.
"It's on the house, sir," the man replied, uncorking the champagne and pouring it out. "For the honeymooners."
"How romantic!" Sarah Jane exclaimed, batting her eyelashes at the Doctor in an exaggerated fashion. "Don't you think it's romantic, John?"
"Oh, very," the Doctor agreed dryly, taking his glass. The waiter departed.
"Come on, let's have a toast," she cajoled, lifting her glass into the air. "To Doctor and Missus John Smith!" She clinked her glass against his and took a sip.
"Don't provoke me," he said in an even tone. She laughed.
"Shoe's on the other foot all of a sudden, isn't it?" He didn't reply. "All right," she agreed. "Time to get serious. What do we know?"
"Very little. There have been sightings of mysterious lights in the sky at night, and several guests have reported being taken from their beds by small gray aliens. Of course the resort has done their best to keep it all hushed up – "
"Well, alien kidnappings would surely be bad for business!"
"Any idea where these little gray things come from?" she asked.
"No. They seem to be a uniquely human archetype for some reason." She hummed the five notes that had been made famous by a recent movie about extraterrestrial encounters. "Exactly," he agreed. The waiter arrived to take their order, cutting the conversation short. When he left, Sarah Jane stood.
"I'm just off to powder my nose," she said, picking up her handbag. "Won't be a minute."
She walked through the restaurant, stopping to ask a passing waitress where the ladies' room was located.
"Back past the Manager's Office," the woman replied, pointing. Sarah Jane thanked her and made her way in the indicated direction. Passing the office in question, she overheard a man's voice.
"A Time Lord? Here? Are you sure?"
Sarah Jane automatically flattened herself against the wall, peering carefully around through the open door. A man sat at a desk, his chair swiveled so that he faced the back wall. He had a phone nestled in the crook of his neck.
"Yes, of course I'll keep my eyes open!" the man snapped. "Can't you at least give me some kind of description? 'He looks just like a human being' doesn't exactly narrow it down!" There was a pause. "I wish that scanner of yours was more specific! All right, I'll keep it in mind!" Sarah Jane quickly withdrew just in time to hear the chair swivel around and the phone being slammed home in its cradle. She very hastily found the ladies' room and slipped inside.
When Sarah Jane returned to their table, she quickly filled the Doctor in on the conversation she'd overheard.
"This certainly puts a new spin on things," he mused thoughtfully. He glanced at her. "You're going to have to help me, Sarah Jane."
"Of course," she agreed immediately. He shook his head.
"I don't think you understand."
"You said earlier that no one will believe we're a married couple if I keep carrying on like I have been. You're going to have to show me exactly how I should carry on to make it believable."
"What?" she asked
"Until we know what's going on, we have to play this married couple charade very convincingly."
"Because Time Lords aren't human, Sarah Jane!" he snapped impatiently. "If I don't behave correctly with you, I will easily be picked out as one!"
"I don't understand what pretending to be married has to do with – "
"Time Lords don't marry," he said quietly. Her eyebrows went up.
"Really? So where do baby Time Lords come from?"
"Not now, Sarah Jane," he said with a sigh. The waiter was coming with their food. "Anyone could be a spy," he pointed out with a significant nod in the waiter's direction.
"Right," she agreed, quickly taking his hand across the table. "No, just relax it like this," she said, letting her own hand go nearly limp. "It should be very casual…. Good!" The waiter arrived and set their dinners in front of them.
"Do we have to hold hands all through dinner?" the Doctor asked when the waiter had left. "I'm not used to this. I think it will be rather difficult to eat." She laughed.
"It's all right, Doctor," she said, releasing his hand. She picked up her fork and poked at her dinner. "Just so you know, this doesn't give you license to grope me in public like you did on the elevator… or anywhere else, for that matter!" she told him in a warning tone. He nodded soberly.
"I almost forgot," he suddenly said, shifting in his chair to dig around in his pocket. "The people at UNIT gave me these as part of our role." He pulled out an envelope, tore it open and let two gold rings tumble out onto the table with a small clatter. She stared at them in shock. "In light of recent events, it seems wise to put them on." He picked up a ring and tried to jam it on his finger. "I think this is yours," he told her. She offered him her left hand, and he slid the ring on her third finger. With an amused smile, she did the same for him.
"With this ring, I thee wed," she said ironically. "Just don't get any funny ideas, huh?"
"Funny ideas? Most of my ideas are funny!"
"I didn't mean 'funny' as in 'ha ha' or 'funny' as in bizarre, Doctor. I meant 'funny' as in funny!"
"Ohhhhh!" he said, his huge blue eyes widening in comprehension. "Those kind of funny ideas!"
"That's right," she agreed. "Those kind."
"Don't worry, I haven't had any funny ideas like those in a very long time." She opened her mouth to ask a question, and then closed it.
"Glad to hear it," she finally said.
"What about a stroll on the beach after dinner?" he asked suddenly.
"What about it?" she asked.
"Would that be in character for a married couple?"
"I suppose that depends," she said with a laugh. "Are we happily married?"
"We're newlyweds, aren't we?" he asked, giving her his megawatt grin and holding up his left hand to show his gold ring.
CONTINUED IN CHAPTER 2, "Just Don't Start Enjoying This Too Much!"