A/N: Well, another Who-fic to add to the collection. Not that I've done many. All of one, in fact. And a oneshot xD This story is set sometime in the first series, so Ninth Doctor obviously. It's sometime after "Father's Day" but before "The Empty Child". Mostly, this reason is because I couldn't be bothered to include Jack and considering they only 'get rid' of him in the final episode of the series, I can't really use those times. Pity, really, because the title of the story actually branched from Rose's comment in "The Doctor Dances": 'He's like you, only with dating and dancing'. I won't have time to update my chapters too much, I'm afraid to admit. I have exams which I'll be studying for, so my chapters may be days or even weeks apart. I'm warning you now...
Characters: Rose Tyler, The Doctor (Ninth), mentions of Mickey Smith and Jackie Tyler.
Disclaimer: I own none of these characters. And if I did, I could never come up with the fantastic storylines anyway, so it's probably just as well :P
Summary: The Doctor does Dinner and Dancing. Or so he thinks. Taking a bored Rose back to early twentieth century France, he tries to show her that he's not all about the monsters. But, of course, nothing is ever as simple as it seems with the Doctor and before he knows it, they're both caught up in a situation they would rather both avoid. When innocent lives become put in danger, the Doctor must learn the difficult lesson of facing up to what he feels and what the title 'Doctor' really means.
Story Rating: K+ so far for the earlier chapters. T from Three onwards but, so far, only for the language.
Genre: Romance, Action/Adventure, Angst, Drama, Humour, Mystery, Sci-Fi (Well, it's Doctor who. You can't really not have sci-fi, can you?)
Spoilers: None, so far. I don't really try and intertwine my stories with previous episodes. I like to think of them as stories on their own :D
Chapter I – Define 'Nice'
"So, where to now?"
The question was genuine. They had spent a few Earth days tucked away, floating through the cosmos enjoying each other's company and keeping out of trouble. But the Doctor was getting twitchy now, Rose could tell. He wanted excitement and adventure. He couldn't just sit around and do nothing.
Rose was sitting cross-legged on the floor in the TARDIS control room. Her hair was tied up in a messy bun with gentle wisps of blonde framing her concentrated face. In front of her on the floor were photographs, masses of them, fanned out as if she were putting on a show. In her lap was a photograph book, empty for the time being, but soon to be filled with wonderful, colourful memories. She had picked it up from home the last time they had visited, with the intent on filling it as soon as possible.
The Doctor's presence distracted her, and she glanced up to him.
He was leaning casually against the frame, his arms folded but an inquisitive grin on his face. His close-cropped dark hair was looking particularly lively and his large, blue eyes were wide with wonder. Rose laughed inwardly as she recognised his trusty leather jacket – did he ever take that thing off?
The Doctor unfolded his arms and took a step forward, his eyebrow quirking upwards.
"You want to be careful with things like that," he commented, jerking his head towards Rose's top. It was a bright pink t-shirt with the words, 'Blondes do it better,' scrawled untidily across the chest. "The TARDIS might get jealous."
"Sure it's the TARDIS you're talking about?" Rose chided affectionately, laughing. He rolled his eyes in answer, then strode over to her side and craned his neck over Rose's shoulder at the photographs on the floor.
"You have a room, you know," he stated.
"It's a bit of a mess," Rose admitted, only slightly embarrassed. During her first few weeks in the TARDIS, she had tried to keep everything tidy to set a good example. But old habits die hard, and she was soon back to her old self. What was the point in being someone she wasn't, anyway?
"That one's nice," the Doctor said, reaching out an arm to point at a particularly unflattering photo of Rose and her mother – both drunk – at what looked like a New Year's Eve party. Rose was wearing a questionably short skirt and a rather low-cut top.
"You're kidding," she snorted with contempt. Picking it up, she read aloud the message scribbled on the back. "Rose and Jackie, New Year's, 2002. One for the picture book."
She turned it over in her hands to look at the picture it showed. The two women were leaning on each other for support. Rose swivelled her head to look at the Doctor. "Can't believe I picked this up. Must have got in with all my other pictures." She caught his eye carefully. "Want it?" she added with a grin.
The Doctor sniffed and straightened before wandering absently over to the controls of the TARDIS.
"No thanks," he said matter-of-factly. "Sixteen-year-old girls and their mothers don't really do it for me." He flashed Rose a mischievous grin. "Well," he added cheekily, "not human sixteen-year-olds, anyway."
"Pervert," Rose laughed. The Doctor pretended to look offended, causing her to laugh harder. When she had sobered slightly, she glanced at the devastating picture.
"You said it was nice," she said quietly.
"True. But I also said the universe would implode if Britney Spears got a record deal."
"I like Britney Spears!" Rose replied incredulously.
"I know. Your singing in the shower is enough to tell me that."
Rose blushed as red and heatedly as lava and suddenly became very interested in a photograph showing her mother and a group of relatives huddled on a sofa in their front living room. She muttered something about 'invasion of privacy', to which the Doctor let out an uncontrolled bark of laughter.
He crouched down by a panel on the controls, frowning as he opened a hatch and poked his sonic screwdriver inside. The lights in the control room dimmed for a moment, as if the TARDIS were protesting. The Doctor ignored it.
"So. Come on, then," he said after a while, turning back to Rose. She still hadn't put any photographs in her album.
"What?" she asked distractedly, not looking at him.
"Where do you want to go?"
"Oh. Dunno. Can't you just... pick somewhere?"
The Doctor got to his feet and felt a frown crease his forehead. She couldn't be bored already, could she? He remembered how excited she had been when she first came aboard the TARDIS, how her suggestions had been wild and original and how she couldn't wait to get into another exciting battle with the Doctor by her side. What happened to that Rose? Because the woman sat in front of him now in jeans and a t-shirt was certainly lacking that element.
"Well, I usually pick up on a distress call or you suggest somewhere. There's no point in me deciding. I'm the pilot, it's no fun."
Rose sighed and shook her head before getting to her feet, letting the photograph album slide off her lap to the floor. Obviously, she would have to wait to complete it. She shoved her hands in her pockets and turned to face the Doctor.
"How about somewhere... nice?"
Nice? That was it? That was all she had to offer? Well, she needn't have bothered in that case. Since when had the Doctor done 'nice', anyway? Nice was boring. He didn't do 'nice', and Rose should know that.
"Nice?" he questioned with disbelief. "Define 'nice'."
"Dunno," Rose replied helpfully with a shrug. "But it's all a bit samey, isn't it? I mean, we go somewhere, there's a problem, one or other of us almost dies and then you save the day. Then we start all over again."
"That's not true," the Doctor countered defensively. "I seem to remember that the first day I met you, you were the one that saved the day. I'd be dead if it weren't for you."
A smile passed fleetingly over Rose's face, but it was gone when she replied.
"You know what I mean. I just want something new."
New? Could he risk new? He had been purposefully keeping all of their encounters Earth-based in case it was all a bit too much for her and she decided that time-travel wasn't really her cup of tea. He didn't want to scare her, after all, and he couldn't bear the thought of her leaving. Yet, here she was, asking for more. She truly was fantastic.
But the Doctor also got the feeling that it wasn't their destinations Rose was questioning, but the manner of their adventures. In which case, she was right – it was time for something new.
"Okay," he conceded with a smile. She almost did a double take at his answer.
"Oh – kay," he said slowly, as if talking to a four-year-old. Then he grinned. "You're right. It's been a bit hectic lately. I guess we could go for something easy, no danger involved."
At this, her face lit up. He recognised the enthusiastic look in her eye and hoped that she didn't think he was just giving in to the request for her. Because he wasn't, he told himself. He could do with a break too, right? A nice bit of culture? He was certain of it; and he knew just the place.
"How about..." he said thoughtfully, yanking down hard on a lever before quickly darting around to the other side of the controls to reach for a button, "... twentieth century France. That sound good?"
"That sounds wicked," Rose declared happily with a wide grin.
The Doctor chuckled; she would have to work on her dialect. Oh, and her clothes too. There was no way he could let her wander around 1920s France in her contemporary London clothes. It just wouldn't work, especially if they wanted to remain inconspicuous. He hesitated before pressing the button his hand hovered over.
"What?" Rose asked questioningly.
"You'll need to change," the Doctor replied. He caught her eye, then added reluctantly, "And, come to that, so will I."
Rose couldn't help it. A burst of laughter escaped her lips and she raised a hand to her mouth to cover it. Her eyes were laughing as she spoke.
"You? Change clothes to fit in?" She giggled more, practically doubling over with laughter. "You didn't even change when met Charles Dickens. What's new now?"
"Nothing," the Doctor replied defensively, folding his arms over his chest. "I just thought it might be nice if I made the effort. But if you don't think it's worth it, then that's fine."
"No, it is," Rose assured, quickly stifling her laughter with a snort. "Please?"
"Nope," the Doctor replied cheerfully. He pointed down the corridor of the TARDIS. "You've blown it now. Missed your chance. So hurry along and get changed – I won't wait forever."
"Fine," Rose half sulked. She crouched down next to her photographs, picked them up and trundled off to her room, her arms laden. She opened her door, flung the book and photos down on the bed and then turned to her wardrobe. She was pleased to see when she opened the door that the TARDIS had already picked out something suitable for her to wear. It had a knack for that. It was a white, silken affair which began at the nape of the neck and swept gracefully to the floor, the lower half bunching in pleated folds. The dress had tight-fitting sleeves and was covered with beautiful beads, like pearls, which were sewn delicately into the fabric. It was one of the most beautiful things Rose had ever seen; it reminded her of a fairy's wing.
She took it graciously from the hanger and thanked the TARDIS out loud. She then stripped off her clothes and slung the dress over her head. She had no idea if that was how she was supposed to put it on, but it seemed to work. And, of course, it was a perfect fit. She then undid the bun in her hair and shook her head from side to side, letting her blonde mass bounce of its own free will. Rose seated herself down in front of the mirror on her makeup table and got to work.
It was twenty minutes later when the Doctor heard the tap of heels echoing down the TARDIS corridor. He had impatiently been pacing the control room, thinking, and making no effort to change his attire for their visit. Where would he take her? How long would they stay? Could he really get away with jeans and a leather jacket? He was just about at the point of wondering how long it could possibly take to get changed when Rose appeared in the doorway at his elbow.
He turned, startled, and was blown away by what he saw. Rose had really made an effort. Her hair had been tidied up and was held back in a tight bun, with two free strands of hair left to bounce either side of her perfect, porcelain face. Her make-up was subtle but still accentuated her long eyelashes, rosy cheeks and full, red lips. The dress she was wearing flattered every curve of her body but remained elegant and sophisticated. She was, in ever sense of the word, beautiful. Even more so than she had been in nineteenth-century England. And the Doctor was lost for words. He actually couldn't speak, couldn't even tell her that she looked exquisite, despite being a human. He could only stand, his mouth hanging slightly open in shock and his words caught in his throat.
Rose smiled shyly and caught his eyes. "TARDIS do a good job on the dress, then?"
The Doctor cleared his throat and blinked hurriedly, as if awakening from a trance. He reached down and caught her hands with his before twirling her around.
"You look amazing," he said proudly. Then he grinned. "And you'll be the envy of every woman in all of Bordeaux."
Rose's entire face lit up.
"We're going to Bordeaux?" she asked, as excited as a child on Christmas morning.
"Not quite," he replied, shaking his head. "Close, though. It's a little town called Saint-Émilion, about thirty kilometres from Bordeaux. Lovely little place; you'll love it."
The Doctor let go of her hands and made his way back over to the TARDIS controls. He looked up at her before he started his work. "Better hold on to something."
Rose didn't need telling twice. She grabbed at a railing that ran the circumference of the room. The Doctor hit buttons and pulled violently at levers, whooping and cooing excitedly as he did. Rose grinned as she watched him and the TARDIS lurched and crashed with the effect of his meddling. The final impact made Rose lose her grip on the railing entirely, and she fell to the floor in a crumpled heap. The Doctor, well practiced at controlling his centre of balance, merely wobbled a little. But he crossed the room and offered the young Londoner his hand. She took it with a grin and was back on her feet in no time.
The Doctor offered his arm.
"Shall we?" he asked surreptitiously.
"We shall," Rose confirmed, taking it.
He grinned as he led the way to the door. Carefully, he opened it and the two of them stepped out into the welcoming air. He had landed the TARDIS in a dip of a hill, out of sight of the little town that lay beyond. In the countryside, it stuck out like a sore thumb; but no one would be coming this way to see it. A cobbled path snaked down the hill in front of them, and they walked it to the brow of the hill. In the growing dark the lights of the town twinkled gently up at them, each like a little, winking, colourful eye. The Doctor heard a gasp of wonder escape Rose's mouth and couldn't help feeling just a little smug.
"Welcome to Saint-Émilion," the Doctor said happily, putting his hand out across the town as if he were a tourism officer. He began to lead Rose along the path and down the hill. "It's June 12th, 1924. Culture is at its height and that little town down there holds more secrets and wisdom than a hundred young school girls."
Rose looked at him, wide-eyed.
"Is that really true, Doctor?"
"No idea," he shrugged with a laugh. "Sounded good, though. Tell you what; I'll race you there."
"You're joking if you think I can run in these shoes," Rose stated, indicating delicate, golden high-heeled shoes on her feet. The Doctor gave them a quick glance before looking back at her with mischief in his bright blue eyes. He bit his bottom lip and those eyes of his sparkled like a fresh stream.
"All right then," he said, fighting off the urge to laugh. He edged closer to Rose. "I'll carry you!"
Before Rose could even protest, she found herself being swept up into his arms as if she were light as a feather. She laughed as he shifted her in his arms so that he supported her fully behind her knees and lower back. On instinct, she reached her arms up around behind his neck.
"Geez, Rose," he complained in his Northern edge, pretending to huff and puff. "I think someone needs to lay off the chips."
"Oi, cheeky!" she laughed, giving him a playful punch in the chest.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you," he advised, grinning. "I might drop you."
She shrieked with laughter as he mimicked losing his grip and dropping her to the floor.
"So what now?" Rose asked as he began to follow the path down the hill with her in his arms. He seemed well practiced, as it was surprisingly comfortable, lying there in his arms. He stopped walking for a moment and looked at her intently.
"How about dinner?" he asked earnestly.
Rose beamed. "Do I have a choice?"
"Nope!" the Doctor laughed as he began to stalk down the hill, this time avoiding the path and taking the long, winding way down the soft grass. "I've got you hostage now. So you can't escape."
"Better be a gentleman, then, so I won't have to try," Rose teased.
"I," he replied defiantly, nearly tripping over a large rock on the grass, "am always a gentleman. You can ask any of my dates."
"Oh, so this is a date, is it?" Rose asked, her voice mischievous and daring. The Doctor glanced at her and raised an eyebrow.
"We'll see," he replied with a grin. "Depends how well you behave. But if you expect me to be carrying you back up this hill, I'd lay off the chocolate cake."
"You need to work on your manners, Doctor," Rose said, not in the least bit offended. "It's no wonder you haven't had a date in years."
The Doctor looked at her incredulously. "Right. For that, Rose Tyler, I am going to make you so dizzy you won't be able to find your way back to the TARDIS."
He began to spin on the side of the hill, his feet performing perfect little circles. It was difficult to keep his balance, but he managed. All around him, the colours blurred and merged together in the growing darkness, until all he could see was the woman in his arms. He was laughing. She was too, and as their laughter rose unanimously into the air around them and the grip around his neck tightened, the Doctor began to loosen his grip on Rose.
"No!" she cried with laughter as she felt herself slipping.
"Yeah," Rose choked.
"Good." The Doctor stopped spinning and, very gently, lowered Rose to the floor and out of his arms. "And you can walk the rest of the way, too."
Rose pouted, causing the Doctor to roll his eyes. Then he grinned and held his hand out. She took it, their fingers linking.
"Now then," he said brightly as he began to lead her back towards the path and down the rest of the trail. "Time to show you the town. Oh, and you owe me a dance."
The Doctor flashed her a wicked grin. "The rules! I do the dinner, you do the dancing."
"Right," she laughed sarcastically. She fell into step beside him as they descended, already more than half way down. "You'd better not step on my feet, though."
"Scouts honour," he replied, holding up the salute with his free hand.
"You're never a scout!"
"Well, no. But it doesn't matter; I'm so much better."
Rose gave him an affectionate shove with her shoulder, causing the Doctor to step off the path.
"You want to watch yourself, you do," she commented lightly as his grip on her hand tightened. "Any more up yourself and you'll be – "
"I think we've had quite enough of that sort of talk, Miss Tyler," the Doctor cut across with mock reproach. "Best behaviour, remember. And if you're lucky, I might let you stay more than one night."
"Same goes for you," she replied with a soft smile that danced in her eyes. He looked at her, and returned it, tightening the gap between them.
"Fair deal. Now come on. There's something I want to show you."
"Doctor John smith and his lovely assistant Rose Tyler," the Doctor stated factually to the hotel attendant at the reception desk. The pair had followed the cobbled path all the way to the town, where Rose had been enthralled in watching a street player who was sitting strumming beautiful music from his guitar. When the Doctor had finally managed to pull her away, he had led her down a beautifully narrow street with the lamps twinkling at them gently. The two had walked fairly slowly, enjoying the warm summer air and each other's company. The Doctor had told a joke that use to go down well on Gallifrey and it made Rose laugh so hard that passers by began to give them little, amused glances.
The Doctor had pulled Rose close to this side and said quietly in her ear, "Don't you go splitting that dress with all your laughing – I'm not going all the way back to the TARDIS just so you can change."
That had, of course, only made her laugh harder.
Eventually, he had found the hotel that he wanted to check in to. The couple were now standing at the reception desk in the dreary, bland hallway. There was a door behind the desk, leading into an office, and a flight of spiralled staircases wound their way up towards the right. Through a pair of glass double-doors there lay a restaurant. But, for the moment, the Doctor and Rose were battling their way into a reservation with nothing but the psychic paper and the Doctor's gaudy attitude.
The receptionist, whose nametag read 'Pierre Duval', sniffed loudly. He was a tall man with messy, copper hair and dark brown eyes. No more than twenty-five, the red suit he was wearing was very unflattering.
"I do not see a reservation," he said, his accent coated thickly in a French lining. He peered through gold-rimmed spectacles at a book on the desk in front of him.
"Well, you must have lost it then," the Doctor replied brightly, flashing a secretive grin at Rose. "It's all right, though. I don't mind booking again."
"Yes, well... it appears we are fully booked," the receptionist sneered, his voice mocking. Rose didn't like him, but the Doctor was not to be deterred.
"That's strange. I didn't think you were. Let me see..." he said, raising himself up on the counter with his hands to peer over to the reservation book.
"Sir!" the receptionist protested heatedly. "Customers are not permitted behind the counter. Kindly control yourself!"
Rose bit her top lip in embarrassment and looked away as her cheeks filled with colour. The Doctor had no clue when it came to social tact – and he had told her to be well behaved!
"But you have a free room," the Doctor persisted, lowering himself again but putting a finger on the book. "Right there. See?"
The receptionist looked. Sure enough, there was one room free. He was certain that they had been fully booked before; but perhaps the occupier of the room had checked out whilst someone else was on his shift. Perhaps he had just overlooked it. But whatever the reason, he had no alternative but to let these two miscreants check into the hotel. If they had the money.
"Very well," he sighed with disdain. Pierre glanced from the young woman dressed far too scandalously for her own good to the controversial man, who looked about twice her age. Their hands were fastened together like two young lovers, but there was no ring on the girl's wedding finger; it was just as well he was not allowed to make personal comments about the customers.
"For that room, it will be 1,933 francs," Pierre said with a hint of triumph. By the looks of them, they wouldn't be able to afford half that.
"Oh?" the Doctor questioned inquisitively. "Your prices have dropped. Why's that? Business been bad, has it?"
Pierre cleared his throat, but did not answer.
"Okay then," he Doctor smirked. "Cash do it?"
The receptionist watched in horrified awe as the strangely clad man reached into the depths of his coat and produced the exact right change, down to the last cent.
"Very good, sir," was all he was able to stutter as he mentally counted the money and handed over the key to the room. "Let me find someone to show you to your room."
"No need," the Doctor replied, shaking his head. "I know my way around well enough. Good night, Pierre Duval. Oh, and," he paused at the side of the desk before heading up the stairs to their room. "We'd like to book dinner. For two. Half past eight."
He dug around in his jacket for the necessary money to over the costs and threw that down onto the counter along with the rest.
"Half past eight," Pierre repeated. "I'll make the arrangements."
The Doctor nodded, smiled, and then the he and Rose tumbled up the stairs, Rose only just managing to hold back her laughter until they were out of earshot. At the top, she burst into peels of it, holding her sides for comfort.
"The look on that guy's face when you leant over the counter!" she cried with mirth as they made their way along the carpeted corridor onto which the staircase led.
"I know," the Doctor grinned back. "Good, wasn't it?"
"Cocky, more like."
"Got us a room, though, didn't it?" he asked as they stopped outside a white door with a bronzed number '27' on the front. This, according to the rasp of the key, was their room.
"It was fantastic," Rose said quietly.
The Doctor, who had begun to put the key in the lock of the room, stopped and turned to look at her, his eyes boring softly but intensely into hers. He smiled. Not his cocky I-am-the-king-of-the-universe smile, but a sweet, gentle smile with made his entire face soften.
"I'm glad you think so," he replied tenderly. "There's more where that came from. Lots more."
"I hope so," Rose replied before she could stop herself. The words just sort of slipped out of her mouth without consent. But the Doctor took it in good humour and reached to cup her face affectionately with his hand. Rose couldn't believe that this easy action, seemingly so simple for the Doctor, could make her hold her breath with anticipation. But he dropped his hand quickly afterwards, completely unaware how it had made Rose's heart leap.
He grinned and slipped the key into the lock.
The door opened into an expansive sitting room. There was one cream sofa in the middle, sitting on a dusty red rug. The carpet was cream too, as were the walls in the room. Across from them, on the opposite side from the door, there were wonderful French windows which opened out onto the balcony outside. On the right wall, a luscious fire was crackling happily in its grate. The mantelpiece above it was splendid, made from what looked like mahogany wood. Soft lights on the walls filled the room with a wonderful golden haze. It was serene.
The Doctor stepped into the middle of the room, admiring the work.
"Not bad," he said at last, turning back to Rose, who was still standing in the doorway, lost for word. "You're not going to stand there all night, are you?"
"I... It's lovely," she said finally. She'd always wanted to stay in a really posh hotel. In the middle of France. In 1924.
She didn't really notice as the Doctor shrugged and made his way to the final wall, which sported double doors that slid open sideways. These too were cream. The Doctor pushed the doors apart and stopped dead at what he saw. He suppressed a laugh.
"Oh Ro-ose," he sang out behind him, gaining the attention of his companion. She joined him at his side but, unlike the Doctor, could not see the funny side and gasped.
"Oh," she said, embarrassed. There was only one bed. A single bed.
The Doctor, cheerful as always, turned to her with a grin.
"I'll flip you for it," he said jokingly. Rose flushed.
"What are we gonna do?" she asked seriously, ignoring his joke and looking away from him.
"You take it," the Doctor offered. "I've no use for sleep anyway. You'll need it more than I will when the time comes."
"No, I'm going to make you sleep in the bath," he replied sarcastically. Then, more definitely, "Of course I'm sure. Honestly Rose, I won't be needing it."
She gave him a quizzical look. "What makes you say that?"
He didn't answer her. Instead, he turned and made his way over to the diamond-leaded windows which gave a view out on to the balcony. Opening them, the Doctor stepped into the warm, night air, inhaling the rich fragrance around him.
"You have to see this, Rose," he called back, walking forwards and putting his hands on the railing. The balcony was not large, but it was big enough to hold a feathery tree in a flowerpot at either end. The high railing, which swept all the way around the perimeter for safety, was white and delicate. From where he stood, the Doctor could see the streets of the town spread out before him with twilight wanderers enjoying the evening. The narrow roads were paved with the soft, golden light of the shops and houses that surrounded them, and all around there seemed to be an air of calmness. Sounds of people walking and talking rose up to meet him and that, mingled with the comforting smell of summer in the air, made him feel so at home that at that moment in time, he would not have been too disappointed if someone had told him the TARDIS had malfunctioned and he had to stay here.
The Doctor was so taken in with the scene, he barely even noticed Rose's presence at his side. But he turned his head to smile at her and was pleased to see she was watching him. He held her gaze for a moment before flicking it back to the street. Slowly, he extended his arm and wrapped it protectively around her waist, pulling her closer to him. Rose had the sudden urge to lay her head on the Doctor's shoulder; but she refrained. She felt the grip around her waist tighten comfortingly, and she smiled.
"I wouldn't bring just anyone here, I hope you know," the Doctor said quietly, his eyes taking in the street. He was surprised at how easy it was to be here with her, without worrying about what she was thinking or how she was feeling. He knew she was happy.
"I know," Rose said, interrupting his thoughts.
He grinned down at her.
"I only take the best. So I may as well add some culture in, right?"
"Right," Rose replied, leaning into the Doctor's shoulder casually. Of all the places and times she could choose to be, or had ever been, this was fast becoming the favourite. There was nowhere else she'd rather be. Not at home in front of the TV with her Mum and other Godawful relatives. Not in Mickey's arms as he told her how much he missed her and begged her not to go off again. Not even in the TARDIS control room, watching the Doctor cackle with delight as he set them on their adventures. No, she would have chosen a balcony in France and the Doctor's arms any day.
"Is this weird for you?" Rose asked suddenly.
"The things I've shown you in my life and you ask if this is weird?" the Doctor laughed. He tapped Rose's head with the index finger of his spare hand. "Have you got a screw loose in there, or something?"
Rose grinned, but the smile didn't quite reach her eyes.
"I was just wondering if you did this kind of thing often, tha's all."
"No," the Doctor replied, shaking his head. "Not often. I used to, though. This sort of thing used to be quite my speciality."
"Yeah." The Doctor glanced at the watch on his wrist. "It's about time we went down for dinner. You set to go?"
"Just let me pop to the ladies'," Rose said with a winning smile. The Doctor let her out of his arms with a chuckle.
"Off you go, then. I'll meet you by reception." He winked at her. "Don't be late."
She did a small courtesy, to which the Doctor replied by breaking into a huge, amused grin. Then she made her way to the bathroom and the Doctor, who first of all checked that he had the key to the room, made his way downstairs.
A quick glance in the mirror told Rose that she looked good enough for dinner. She gave her hands a quick wash under the tap, hardly being able to believe where she actually was and that the Doctor was about to take her out for dinner. She had just reached for the towel to dry her hands when she heard a noise from outside. It was difficult to tell what it was, but it sounded very much like someone trying to smother a small cough. Rose frowned and listened harder. But all she could hear now was the steady drip of the tap in the bath and the rising voices of people outside her window. Shrugging and putting the entire thing down to imagination, she replaced the towel, gave herself a final, quick glance in the mirror above the sink and then unlocked the bathroom door. She walked into the bedroom and noticed movement from the corner of her eye. She turned to look and was just in time to see the door leading into the hall close with a light click. Rose frowned. Had the Doctor only just left? He must have done, for Rose spotted something resting on the bed which hadn't been there before. Nestled in the luxurious pillow she saw a blank envelope. Reaching for it, she took out the paper that was folded inside it and read.
You look particularly splendid this evening. You will have to let me make this a night to remember, for the both of us. If you accept this invitation, please be kind enough to meet with me in the restaurant at eight thirty five. If not, well, I'll be seeing you later.
All my love,
That was all it said. There was no name left, but the Doctor always was cryptic like that. Rose smiled. 'A night to remember'. What could he mean? Putting all thoughts that would get her banned from an 18+ film out of her head, she put the letter back on the bed and walked slowly to the door. Feeling rather like an excited schoolgirl on a first date, she opened the door and made her way into the evening beyond, her head spinning with all the promises the evening had to hold.