Romana lay back and rested her head on the pillow, her long blonde hair fanning out ever so slightly. Instantly, she felt a sense of calmness wash over her, and she closed her eyes, only opening them when she felt his presence again. Sure enough, the face of the Doctor swam into view. He was smiling, again, and she found her gaze lost in the brilliant sparkling whiteness of his teeth.
"Well-" he began.
"Wait a moment," she whispered, "I'm just trying a better position."
"Ahhh!" Romana exclaimed, "There! Oh yes, I could lie here for days."
"Is it comfortable?"
"See, I told you it was a good idea."
Romana smiled, and the Doctor carried on.
"It stands to reason that before you commit yourself you should have a go, as it were, beforehand."
Romana mumbled a reply. She had felt it before. After saving planets all the time she sometimes just needed to unwind. However, each time she had tried in the past she had been thwarted, as the Doctor's one was old; it had seen better days. Then again, he'd often remarked he had never had a good chance to use it, thinking the idea in itself was utterly preposterous.
Once again, his voice cut through her thoughts: "Shall we, then?"
Romana's eyes snapped open and she grinned up at him. "Yes please!"
The Doctor beamed, gave her a sort of half thumbs-up, and bounded over to the salesman. "We'll take it!" he affirmed.
The salesman smiled broadly, as he'd been trained to do in these situations, and took a biro from his jacket pocket. "It is an excellent bed isn't it sir?" he said as he scribbled in a few details on a form, "You won't regret it." He proffered the pen to the Doctor: "Sign here please." The Doctor duly signed, before turning to Romana, his toothy smile still there and growing wider all the time.
"Now don't say I don't get you anything!" he boomed.
The salesman, countenance vacuous yet polite, coughed once in a bid to get the Doctors attention. It worked. "Now, if you can just come to my office so we can sort out delivery details..."
"Ah! Of course!" The Doctor motioned that he should lead the way, began to follow, and then stopped to spin round to face Romana. "You'll be alright here, won't you?"
"Good. And don't talk to any strange men offering you sweets. And take these." He pulled out a bag of jelly babies and threw them to Romana, who caught them deftly. Then, with three single bounds, he had managed to overtake the salesman. The two of them turned a corner, and Romana was alone once more. She ate a jelly baby and lay back again.
At the sound of the muffled cry of anguish, the Time Lady sat up sharply and looked about her. "Who said that?"
"Me, you silly woman, me!"
Romana looked all around the bed but could see no one close enough to have said anything she could have heard so clearly. "No, sorry, I still can't-"
"I'm behind you."
She duly looked behind her, but could still see nobody.
"Now look about 30 degrees downwards."
"Yes, that's right. I'm the pillow."
"Oh, er… hello."
"I'm sorry about resting my head on you."
"That's alright. It's actually how I feed."
Romana shuffled backwards along the bed slightly, away from the talking pillow. "You eat heads?"
"No, don't be absurd. I eat dead skin or, if I'm very lucky, headlice."
She decided to consider her next question carefully. She didn't want to upset or offend the pillow, but curiosity was always a downfall of hers.
"How come you can talk?"
The pillow cleared his throat, or, at the very least, made the aural equivalent. "Well, I'm not really a pillow. I'm a Kooshoine, from the planet Sufur. We're a race of beings who lead pretty dull lives actually. But, one day, I was suddenly teleported here. I couldn't get back to the rest of my people so I've been waiting for about eight years for somebody to help me. I've attempted to communicate with the life forms here but they just wander off. In fact, you're the first person here who's attempted to strike up a conversation with me."
Feeling vaguely proud of herself, though quite why she could not fathom, Romana decided the best course of action was to extend the hand of friendship. "Well, I'll do the best I can to help you."
The Kooshoine gave a cry of glee. "Oh could you? I'd be so very grateful!"
"What do you want me to do? I have a spaceship that could take you back."
"Oh, that won't be necessary."
Suddenly, the lights seemed to go dim, and everything beyond the immediate radius of the bed seemed to get hazy. Romana rubbed her eyes, and shook her head, but it made no difference. All she could concentrate on was the Kooshoine and the bed itself. She could hear something, a low rumbling, or was it more like… like… Well, to use an onomatopoeic expression, she heard a "whoosh", and then the lights came back. But the bed wasn't in the furniture store on Earth anymore.
"Here we are," said the Kooshoine.
Romana looked around her. They were outside, she was sure of that – she could see hills, and trees. What was peculiar about the new place was that the ground resembled a huge patchwork quilt, stretching for as far as she could see. A lake was situated about 20 metres away from the bed, and sitting around it were more Kooshoines. She could hear them chatting merrily to each other; they didn't seem put out by her sudden appearance. In fact, they didn't appear to register her at all.
"This is my world," explained the Kooshoine who had taken her here.
She furrowed her brow. "But if you can teleport yourself back here, why do you need my help?"
"Well, in case you haven't noticed, I don't have legs. I need someone to carry me over to the lake and my people."
"Oh. Oh I see." Romana got off the bed and picked up the Kooshoine, making sure she didn't grab anything she didn't think she ought to grab. Looking about, she located a spot that looked suitable and started walking towards it, making sure not to step on anyone along the way. She reached the spot and bent down to put the Kooshoine down. Whilst doing so, she could have sworn she heard some wolf-whistles, but quickly dismissed the idea of sexually-charged talking pillows from her mind before she went mad. Gingerly placing the Kooshoine in the shade of one of the trees, she stood up, and put her heads on her hips..
"Is that alright?"
"Oh yes, thank you so much!"
"Oh, no problem really." Romana smiled and began to walk over to the bed again, before she realised she had no idea of how to get back to Earth.
"Before you ask," said the Kooshoine, "I can extend my powers. Just get on the bed and I'll send you back home."
"Ah, thank you." Romana climbed onto the bed, and tried to find her Kooshoine amongst the rest of them; it pained her to admit it, but they all looked alike to her.
She spied him, and nodded.
"OK. Hang on to the headboard tightly! Cheers!"
Her wave went unseen as the image blurred and she had to fight off the waves of nausea again. Thankfully, the trip was short and she soon found herself in the department store, just in time to see the Doctor striding from an elevator, holding a desk lamp, price tag swaying in the breeze.
"Hullo Romana. I hope I wasn't long."
"No, er… Doctor, I-"
"I'm afraid that we've got work to do. Well of course, after we've solved the problem of getting this bed into the TARDIS. I went back there, briefly, to ask K9 some mathematical questions, the answers of which could deduce the best angle with which to precisely and elegantly shove the bed through the doors as I pride myself on being a Time Lord at the cutting edge of practicality as you very well know."
"I suppose so, Doctor."
He stared at her, eyes agog. "You suppose so?" he exclaimed, in mock anger. "Give me back my jelly babies, you've had enough."
Romana rolled her eyes and handed him back the bag. It was opened, a jelly baby was taken from it and consumed, and then she found herself drawing his gaze again. "Alright," the Doctor mumbled grudgingly, "You can have one more. But that's your lot." He handed out the bag again, and Romana, sighing in that I-put-up-with-you-because-I-like-you-really sort of way and extracted a sweet..
"Doctor, what was this work you mentioned?"
"Work?" The Doctor stared for a good five seconds, as if in a trance, before snapping back to reality. "Oh yes. Well, I received a distress call, from a planet called Taybell. The people are being enslaved by the Kooshoines."
Romana dropped her jelly baby. "The Kooshoines?" she asked, faintly.
"Yes, the Kooshoines. Doesn't sound too promising if you ask me, but we've got to help them. It's vital! …Probably." The Doctor turned on his heels and began to walk off. "Apparently it all started when someone reunited their leader with them on the planet Sufur. You can't trust anyone to do the right things these days; come on Romana!"