Title: Return to Tara, or Places You Shouldn't Visit Twice
Characters: Tenth Doctor, Rose Tyler, Ann Walken, Romana I (in spirit), implied Fourth Doctor/Romana (I & II)
Sequel to: An Earthly Child
A/N: The lines of XX are not a formatting error.
Summary: The Doctor had hoped to get some fishing in this trip.
The TARDIS materialized on Mara-5 with it usually vworp vworp sound. She should have materialized on Mara-3, but the TARDIS decided she didn't want to materialize there.
Inside the Doctor thumped the console.
"What's wrong, Doctor?" Rose asked curiously. She wasn't in any hurry to see Mara-3 it sounded rather boring.
"We landed on Mara-5 instead of Mara-3." He frowned checking the sea of gauges, dials, and little screens that seemed to appear and disappear at random. "I'm sure I set the galactic coordinates correctly. Maybe I should check the connection between the…"
Rose pouted slightly. "Doctor."
"Hmm?" He'd already started fiddling with on of the panels.
"What's wrong with Mara-5?" Rose asked.
The Doctor looked over at her. "Nothing really. It's a bit gaudy. One of the tourist traps of this sector." He tapped the sonic screwdriver against his lips. "A bit like Vegas, now that I think about it. Vegas with less Tom Jones."
"Who?" Rose asking, wrinkling her brow.
"Doesn't know who Tom Jones is, next she'll be telling me she's never heard of Ringo Starr," the Doctor muttered.
Rose folded her arms across her chest. "I'd like to see it."
"Ringo?" the Doctor asked raising an eyebrow.
"No! Mara-5." Rose swore he was dense on purpose sometimes just to annoy her.
The Doctor shrugged. "Can't see any reason why not. Mara-3 is much more interesting though, at least if you catch it at the right point in time. Mara-5 is always a tourist trap. Just rather a smaller or large on depending on the date. Shall we see if it's large or small?" He held on his hand to her with a grin.
Rose laughed. "Let's go find out," she agreed, taking his hand.
"Where are we going?" Ann asked. She leaned against a bit of railing.
The Doctor let go of Rose's hand and turned around. Rose sighed inwardly and wondered if she looked put out enough the Doctor would make the kid stay on the TARDIS. Rose didn't mind the kid but this was supposed to be her adventure not Ann's.
"You aren't going anywhere, urchin," the Doctor told Ann. "You'll be having quite a nice time on the TARDIS. I'm sure you can keep yourself entertained."
"But—," Ann protested. "You just said it was just a tourist trap and I know who Tom Jones is, so why can't I come. Rose gets to go."
The Doctor paused. "You know who Tom Jones is?"
Ann nodded. "My grandmum's a fan. She's thrown her knickers on stage."
Rose made a face.
"Regardless of the fact it is awesomeriffic that you know who Tom Jones is, you can't not come. Rose is an experienced traveler and is older than you, though not by much, and because I said so." The Doctor ticked off the reasons on his fingers.
"Awesomeriffic?" Rose echoed.
The Doctor frowned. "A phrase I have never used before and hopefully never will again."
"Those are terrible reasons. And it's not fair!" Ann argued.
"Life isn't fair and anyone who says otherwise is selling something," the Doctor told her. "Come on, Rose."
Ann plopped down on the floor and glared at them both. "The Dread pirate Roberts would let me go," she moaned.
As they stepped off the TARDIS to be bathed in the neon lights, though the Doctor would later explain that it wasn't really neon lights but small animals that lived in the tubes, Rose thought she heard the Doctor mutter. "He probably would have."
The Doctor showed Rose a rather hideous looking shirt with the words: 'I lost my mind on Mara-5'. He looked quite pleased with himself.
Rose made a face and a noise of disgust. "That hideous. You aren't buying that are you?"
His face fell. "Oh, do you think so? Hmm. Well, too late now. Already bought it."
"I don't want it. It something you'd buy a kid," Rose complained. "Besides it looks to small for either of us."
The Doctor shrugged and handed it to Rose. "Maybe it'll fit the urchin then."
Rose had to hurry to catch up with him.
Ann started up at the ceiling of her room. So far, being on a ship that could travel through time and space was b-o-r-i-n-g, boring.
She sighed and sat up, swinging her feet on to the floor. They had made two stops so far, neither of which was to take her home. They'd left her on the TARDIS on Mara-5, which even the Doctor said was just a tourist trap. Rose had brought her back a rather ugly t-shirt. 'Lost my mind on Mara-5' indeed.
The second place had a name Ann didn't even try to pronounce. Even though both Rose and the Doctor came back covered in slime, she'd thought they'd had rather more fun that she did stuck on the TARDIS.
There was plenty to do in the TARDIS but she was used to be in a dorm with lots of other children. Even before she started boarding, and her mum had been alive, there were always people around, either sewing costumes or rehearing lines.
Ann wandered into the library and found the Doctor with his nose in a book. "Hello, urchin."
She rolled her eyes. "Hello, prat."
"Doctor Prat to you," he said not looking up.
Ann sat down at the small desk off to one side of the room, the math text and her notebook right where she left them. The desk appeared one day after the Doctor caught her on the floor working out equations, though she thought he might have spotted the book of plays under the math book. He told her she'd ruin the carpet since she wasn't paper-trained.
"Are you taking me home this time?" Ann asked after several minutes.
The Doctor didn't look over at her. "No."
Ann glared at him. "I thought you wanted me off your TARDIS."
"I'll take you back when I get around to it. Not rearranging my life for some little urchin." The Doctor's tone didn't change.
"When you plan to get to it then?" Ann demanded.
The Doctor looked at her over his book. "Won't matter much. Remember we're traveling through time and space. Can take you back at the exact moment you left. No one will even notice." Ann figured he thought he sounded comforting.
Ann shut her book. "No one would notice even if you didn't," she said under her breath as she stormed out of the room.
"Are we taking her with us this time?" Rose asked the Doctor.
The Doctor shook his head. "She's an infant, Rose. Well, not by human standards and by Torfan standards she's middle aged. There is a race of humanoids I met once who counted their lifespan backwards, and one that actually aged backwards, but I don't think that has any relevance on this."
Rose frowned, leaning again the rail. There wasn't much difference between ten and twenty when you figured it like that. "I'd look after her."
He pinched the bridge of his nose. "Rose, do you remember your mother's reaction when I brought you home twelve months later instead of twelve hours? Somewhere back on Earth, little Ann Walken has a mummy and daddy and she's ten, Rose. Ten years old and too curious for her own good."
"You think I'd let something happen to her?" Rose started at him, shaking her head.
"I do trust you, Rose. Nothing to do with you really."
"Why haven't we taken her home then?" Not the first time she'd asked that question lately.
The Doctor turned back to the console panel. "Need to check the stabilizer before we land. She was acting a bit funny last time," he started to mutter to himself.
Rose really hated when he ended conversations that way.
In her room, Ann felt the TARDIS land. She scrambled down the hall hoping to catch them before they left. Maybe they'd take her this time. She could always hope.
Ann reached the console room in record time. "So, where'd we land this time?" she blurted out as she skidded to a stop. She ran smack into the Doctor while doing so.
"Didn't anyone ever tell you not to run in the halls?" the Doctor asked, keeping her from falling over. "You could poke an eye out. No, wait, that was running with scissors. I forget why you're not supposed to run in the halls. Must be a good reason. Why else would schools everywhere have signs about it ––"
"Do you even know where we landed? And where's Rose?" Ann interrupted, stepping back from him.
"And put up the signs if –– Tara," the Doctor said. "It's very rude to interrupt."
Ann put her hands on her hips. "It's very rude to change the subject. Where's Rose?"
He waved vaguely in the direction of the wardrobe and started fiddling with something on the console panel.
"Can I come this time?" Ann asked.
"I'm ready, Doctor!" Rose called, walking into the console room.
The Doctor leveled at finger at Ann. "Not one foot out of the TARDIS until we come back. Hear me, urchin?"
"We won't be too long," Rose told her and shot the Doctor a hard look.
"That's what you said the last time," Ann muttered.
The Doctor patted Ann's head. "If you're a good girl, we'll let you walk around a bit when we get back," he teased. "Tara's a rather nice planet. Horrible fishing though."
Ann showed her teeth. "Careful, I might have something catching."
He patted her head again. She snapped her teeth at his fingers and growled.
"Doctor, stop teasing her," Rose sighed, shaking her head at them both.
The Doctor laughed and led the way out of the TARDIS. "I think you'll like Tara, Rose."
"Pretty enough," Rose agreed looking around.
"Lousy fishing," he said absently. He never had caught any fish last time he was here. Lost his fishing rod, too, and he'd rather liked that one. Least he was better dressed this trip.
"Why do you keep going on about fishing?" Rose wondered raising an eyebrow.
Why was he? "I rather liked it," he told her, wondering if he should go back for a fishing rod. He wouldn't have Romana nagging him about getting on with things this time at least.
The Doctor decided he hated fishing. "Once."
"I went fishing once when I was little. Fell in a drainage ditch," Rose said with a laugh.
He grinned slightly. "I'm sure you were pushed. I think one of the castles is just over this ridge. It has some wonderful underground tunnels."
"Underground tunnels don't sound very lovely," Rose said and wrinkled her nose.
The Doctor scoffed. "Haven't seen an underground tunnel with me," he grinned.
"Yes, I have." Rose tugged on his hand. "Doctor." She suddenly sounded rather upset. "Doctor!"
"Hmm?" he asked, glancing over at her.
Uniformed guards surrounded them. "Well, this is rather familiar," he muttered. "Out of curiosity do those swords…"
One of the guards brought the sword closer, and he could hear the crackle of energy. "Just checking." He held up his hands.
"Who are you? What are you doing here?" the guard with the sword under the Doctor's chin demanded.
"Us? Just wandering through really. New to the area, thought we'd take in the sights." He smiled widely.
"You are on the private estate of the King and trespassing is not taken lightly. Take them to the castle. The captain will see to them."
His smile fell. "You see if we bloody well come back here for our next holiday."
The sword pressed a bit closer to his throat.