Summary: In the gap between The Christmas Invasion and New Earth, the Doctor decides to take a rest before jaunting off again through Time and Space, his head still not completely on straight since his regeneration. An ordinary night in Jackie's flat, and no one can sleep.

Note: It has been proven in several audio adventures (the one I remember most being 7's Unregenerate) that the Doctor has an uncanny ability to imitate voices. He uses his old voices from bodies 5 and 7 in this one if it wasn't obvious. utter rubbish.


Rose slept fitfully in the darkness of her old room at her mum's flat, limbs tangled in the mess of her bedcovers as she tried to get comfortable. A sigh of frustration escaped her lungs as she stopped tossing and turning and lay on her back, her eyes opening to stare at the cieling. It wasn't any use. Months aboard the TARDIS had accustomed her to the low frequency hum that was always present, and she was missing that sound now. She'd never get to sleep.

Laying in the darkness, the only light being cast from the streetlamps outside, the house seemed so deathly quiet. Every creak of every board seemed amplified as the wood and steel settled and shifted in the chill of winter.

It was then that her ears picked up the soft, low baritone murmer of voices floating down the hall from the living room. Three distinct male tones, she decided, fear pushing her heart into her throat as she sat up slowly. Mickey had gone home for the night hours ago, and her mum Jackie hadn't given the key to the flat to any of her boyfriends.

Which ment there were strangers in the house.

Swallowing, she reached for a aluminum bat that was resting against the wall, and slipped into her slippers, tugging her pink dressing gown over her pajamas. Quietly she eased the door to her room open, and peeked out into the hall.

Without the door to muffle them, she could catch distinct snippits of conversation. Each voice was seperated by short pauses, and the occassional clearing of a throat. Her fear melted only slightly into curiosity when she recognised the familiar yet unfamiliar new Londony accent of the Doctor amidst them.

"a pawn is not a pawn until the king presses forth." he was saying softly, and Rose paused at the corner, gripping her bat. Someone cleared their throat, and a distinct scottish accent spoke out, the voice of an older man, with R's rolling politely.

"But we have made a good mess of such things in the past. Too many lost to the king's games. Check." There was a sound of something being scraped, dragged across the tea table, and another cleared throat. Rose peeked around the corner quietly, and her eyes widened.

The only person in the room was the Doctor, and he was bent over a chessboard, eying the pieces as if playing against someone else, his hands clasped in a manner of thought beneath his chin. He reached forward and pondered his fingers on the white queen.

"Not a move to make, leaving the queen to fend for herself. The knight should protect." A third voice said, a soft breezy voice with wistfulness and sorrow interlaced into the gentle tones, and Rose gasped as she realized it came from the Doctor's throat. He twitched slightly, and removed his hand from the piece, shaking his head with a low murmer in his own voice.

"No, you're right...and so I shall." He moved the knight into position and the corner of his mouth twitched in a small, sad smile. "Checkmate. Can't sleep?" The last words were directed towards Rose, who winced and stepped out of hiding, nodding softly.

"I miss the TARDIS' hum." She mumbled quietly, as if that was a good enough excuse. He smiled his new smile gently and nodded, clearing his throat in slight embarrasement. "I know the feeling. Couldn't sleep myself, not that I ever sleep much anyways."

"What was that you were doing, Doctor?" She questioned curiously in a soft voice, shuffling over and sitting down on the arm of the sofa.

"Playing chess." He answered as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. She shook her head with a smile. "No, I ment that thing with your voice. You sounded like you were talking to someone...or yourself."

His posture stiffened just a tad and he sighed, leaning back and scrubbing his hands over his face wearily. "I was, sortof. Practicing my artful talent of imitation and clearing my head at the same time. After all," and he cleared his throat, flashing her a cheeky grin. "One must be ready for anything." Rose gasped, startled, as her old Doctor's Northern tones replaced the cockney accent. The Doctor coughed and began putting away the chess pieces.

"Sorry, Rose, I shouldn't have. I'm sorry I frightened you."

"No, no you didn't, I was just startled." She shook her head fiercely and lay a hand on his shoulder, making him pause. He regarded the bat in her hand with a raised eyebrow.

"Startled enough to come after me with a bat, I see."

Rose smiled sheepishly and leaned the bat against the wall. "Yeah, sorry." She paused, watching him put away the pieces of the game, looking rather lonely in the dim light of the lamp on the table. She grabbed the black Queen from his hand and set it back on the board as he blinked up at her, confused.

"I'm gonna put on a pot of tea, yeah. And since we both can't sleep...could you teach me?" She gestured to the chessboard, and he paused for only a moment before smiling widely.

"Sure." He began taking out the pieces one by one and setting them on the brown and white squares, and Rose brewed and poured them each a mug of tea, and joined his company across the table, and in quiet tones he began explaining the game to her.

Three hours later, when Jackie woke, she found a cold pot of tea on the counter, the chess game half finished, and a knackered Rose resting peacefully against the dozing Time Lord's chest, lulled to sleep by the doublebeat of his hearts.