Rose shrieked as she tore across the ice. She was headed straight for the bank, and suddenly realised her speed was too great to turn in time without falling on her backside. There was nothing for it but to try to slow down as best she could before she smacked into the tree.
"Rose!" the Doctor called out from across the white expanse of the frozen lake, worry clear in his tone. "You all right?"
Rose was laughing when she turned around. "That was great! Did you see me? I dare you to top that speed!"
"Have you gone completely mad? I told you to stay with me!" the Doctor yelled, clearly miffed. The frigid stretch of nothingness in every direction except the sprinkling of short trees Rose had just collided with caused his voice to sound crisp and carry endlessly, with nothing to reverberate or echo off of. From the middle of the lake, he was tentatively putting one skated foot in front of the other, slowly, very slowly, making his way toward her. Steadying himself with his arms out at his sides, he pumped them in time with his sliding steps. The Doctor was a dark shape against the bleached background, sporting black mittens and dark coat, his tawny brown overcoat stretching down from under it all the way to his ankles. Rose could see his breath misting the air in front of his face.
"Oh c'mon, I'm fine and you know it." Wiping bark and bits of tree off her striped scarf and hugging her pink parka, Rose started off back towards the Doctor. She wasn't the best skater, but she wasn't bad either. She loved the way the glassy ice lay untouched all around her - untouched, that was, until her skates crunched crisp white lines through it, marring its surface. It was just the two of them, out in the middle of nowhere. They might as well have been in the thick of a frozen wilderness, if not for the deep blue police box looking very out of place as it stood in solitude far off on the bank. Later, she imagined they could retreat from the numbing cold of the harsh environment into its warm interior, toss all their gear onto the floor, and heat up with a good cup of tea, but until then, Rose had loads of energy to burn.
As she glided effortlessly toward the Doctor, Rose decided she would rush up and skate circles around him. She suppressed a smile at the idea of getting him at his own game. "'Sides, I've got just a bit more natural padding than you," Rose informed in mock resignation, "I can understand if you're worried about falling and hurting yourself."
"It's not me I'm worried about," The Doctor, having apparently missed the jab at an insult, was calmer, his voice softer now that Rose had almost reached him. "And what do you mean about padding?" He studied her up and down, his expression quite serious. "Just a bit. A very, very little bit."
Rose poked her tongue out and showed her teeth, trying not to blush. "Ah, that's right. But you're changing the subject." She punched his well-insulated arm, and suddenly realised he had distracted her from her goal. Ducking to the side, Rose began to skate around the Doctor, her tone dripping sarcasm. "You've yet to impress me with your 'vast experience'."
"Hey," the Doctor complained, attempting to track Rose as she skated around and around, "stop it. Stop it." He finally gave up trying to keep up. "I said I might be rusty. New legs, new technique and all that. All I need is a little warm-up," he muttered by way of explanation, then accused more loudly, "and you're not helping."
Rose laughed. "Really, Doctor, I reckon you need a bit more than a warm-up." She reached for his mittened hand. "C'mon, let me help."
The Doctor pulled his hand out of reach. "Nah. Let me work it out." He continued his shifting from one foot to the other, sliding a short ways on each. "You're the one who wanted to come here. What did you want to do?"
She shrugged. "Just sort of skate around, I guess. You know," Rose hesitated, looking out over the expanse, as if for answers, "whatever happens."
"Ah, huh. So, skate around, then." The Doctor twitched a mitten, indicating the ice.
"You just said you wanted me to stick with you!"
"I did? Right, of course I did. Well, skate nearby, then."
Rose huffed and lunged at an angle away from him, driving her skates into motion, and slid around in silence, waiting for the Doctor to figure himself out. She wondered why he would tell her with such confidence that he could skate when he most surely could not.
"I'm sure I used to know this stuff," the Doctor muttered to himself somewhere behind her, seemingly deep in concentration.
Rose breathed deeply in the crisp, icy air. Maybe she could go to the bank and find some snow that wasn't too icy, enough to make a snowball with, to chuck at him. Since he was paying so much attention to what he was doing, maybe she could manage to sneak away, if she were quiet enough.
With one last look to make sure his back was to her, Rose began to glide slowly away. Then, when she had made considerable distance, she stopped looking over her shoulder. What did it matter if he found she had wandered off? It's not like he could catch her, anyway.
A few short trees dotted the bank. Rose frowned. Why would there be trees if the place was mostly frozen year round? She would have to ask the Doctor. That was, after he'd gotten over her having pelted him with a series of fat snowballs. Rose grinned down at the stretch of powdery snow at her feet.
With several tightly-packed balls of snow stuffed out of sight within her coat pockets, Rose hefted a loose, more innocent-looking mass in her gloves. The biting wind picked up, and Rose balanced the snowball in one glove as she pushed back strands of her blonde hair that had carried across her face. This was going to be good. She turned around.
The snowball dropped, splattering across the ice. Rose suddenly went stiff, eyes wide with surprise, and a little bit of confusion, at first. There, on the center of the frozen lake, the Doctor was a dark blur, twirling like a top. He emerged from the spin in an elegant leap that set him gliding across the ice.
"Rose! I can skate!" the Doctor announced, beaming. "Hah!"
Rose stared. She suddenly remembered back to a moment before his regeneration - a moment she couldn't believe hadn't come to her before. She had been trying to teach the Doctor to dance, only to find out he suddenly remembered how. Now, watching his new self falling into a graceful backwards arc, building speed across the ice, Rose found herself smiling excitedly at him.
"Oh my God, you're beautiful!" Rose exclaimed excitedly, bouncing a bit on her skates. "What took you so long?" She started back towards him, watching as he flipped around mid-stride and began moving forwards in the same direction, his long coat tails flaring as he accelerated even faster.
"I think it's time I took you up on that dare!" the Doctor voiced confidently, all eagerness. His eyes were shining, suddenly alive.
"I'd say you already topped it!"
"Come on, Rose! Fancy a race?"
"Wouldn't that be, I dunno.. a bit dangerous?" Rose squinted at him, and then added quickly, "Your words!"
"Sometimes, I wonder about that memory of yours, Rose. I specifically remember saying that I had nothing to worry about, and you," the Doctor indicated her footwork with interest as she slid around to skate alongside him, "aren't bad either."
Rose flashed him a smile. "That's flattering, coming from someone who learned to skate in five minutes."
"Oi, I just needed a warm-up." The Doctor's tone of annoyance vanished as quickly as it had come. He pointed. "Race you to the TARDIS. Ready, set, go!"
The Doctor took off across the ice. Rose laughed and tried to catch up. She started to gain on him, but Rose had a feeling the Doctor wouldn't let her pass him. While contemplating the best way to go about beating him, it suddenly dawned on her.
"Come on! Chop, chop! Your mum's gotta be faster than you!"
The Doctor almost lost his balance, whipping his head about in confusion to see what had hit him. Clumps of snow dislodged from his brown hair and dropped into the neck of his coat.
"That's gonna be really cold there in a minute!" Rose tried to advise with a straight face, but it turned into a laugh halfway through. She zipped past the now almost stopped Doctor.
"Rose Tyler!" the Doctor scolded, "You..." He was at a loss for words as he shook himself, flinging snow. The following growl, though, told her she was in for it.
Rose yelped and grabbed ice, skating desperately for the TARDIS. She couldn't stop laughing, feeling the inevitable coming. It wasn't far before she could hear the scraping of the Doctor's skates, hot on her heels.
The Doctor rushed, arms locking around her. Rose squealed, and promptly lost her footing.
"Ahh!" Both the Doctor and Rose tumbled into a heap.
Rose took stock of herself. "That could have really, really hurt, you know!"
"Yet, you landed on me. Lucky you."
Rose turned sympathetic. "Oh, I'm sorry! You all right?"
From his supine position on the frozen surface, the Doctor seemed not to hear her. "That. That fall right there? That was a well choreographed fall, I'll have you know!"
They were both still panting from the race-turned-chase, and Rose extended a hand to help the Doctor up. He finally seemed to notice and took the offer, joining Rose in propping back on hands a short distance from the TARDIS.
As the Doctor and Rose sat catching their breath, Rose suddenly pointed up at the sky.
"Look! It's snowing!"
Sure enough, solitary flakes disappeared against the whiteness, quickly followed by a few more, then more, and more.
"Blimey," the Doctor muttered happily. Although, I reckon I don't need to be any wetter, thanks to you."
"What's that? Not wet enough, you say?" When the Doctor glanced over, she had produced a snowball.
Despite the dangerous gleam in his eyes and the cock of his head that warned she would pay for it, there was a hint of a smile. "No. No no no no, you don't."
Rose feigned launching it, and the Doctor ducked behind a sleeve. With her target lost, she smashed it ineffectually at his chest, where it exploded apart.
Ammo gone, the Doctor pounced, and Rose discovered too late that he was going for her pockets.
"How many of those you got in there, eh?" he hissed, wrestling Rose as she squirmed and shrieked.
"None left! Lemme alone! Ahh! No, no!"
The Doctor, prize in hand, released her and got to his feet. He must not have wanted to hit her point blank, the gentleman. Well, she had one snowball left. The Doctor's eyebrows jumped when he noticed it, and decided to flee instead.
"What a wimp!" Rose yelled after him.
"Wimp, am I?" the Doctor drifted sideways so he could better see her while keeping his distance. With his free hand, he smacked his coat-shielded bum. "Right, here, Rose. Or are you chicken?"
"Oh, no you don't. You're not gettin' me to waste my shot that easy." She left unsaid that it had almost worked.
"Hah! Who's the wimp now?"
The chase carried across the lake. Rose, determined to make him take his turn first, insulted his aim and laughed at him. The Doctor taunted her and wiggled his backside. Finally, having not watched where he was going in favor of teasing Rose, the Doctor was forced to stop short of sailing into the bank, and Rose quickly caught up with him. She took her chance.
The snowball thunked into the piled snow just beyond him.
"Hah, fluffed it!" the Doctor rounded on Rose, sending his snowball scattering with a rather loud piff across the front of her parka. Rose moaned in defeat.
"You got lucky, you did," Rose insisted, coasting with the last of her momentum towards him.
"Aw, come on."
"I say we try again. Snow's right here."
The Doctor sighed. "Make a note: always let Rose win," he muttered with insincerity.
The snow was falling thickly now. For a moment, they both just looked on as the horizon disappeared in the flurry.
"Still think skating is lousy?" Rose grinned widely and nudged the Doctor with her elbow, then ended up leaning on him.
"Well..." the Doctor hesitated, raising a mitten to rub the back of his hair as he looked at nothing in particular, "It's sort of... you know. Domestic." The word was pressed through his teeth, as if forbidden. "I suppose it's not that bad," now seeming to suddenly change his mind, throwing it to the wind. Eyes dancing, the Doctor turned his head to peer at Rose, offering one of his confidential small smiles. "If you've got the right person to share it with."
sure if I have anywhere to go with this, so expect this to be the
Please tell me what parts you liked, and any you didn't! I think I did good, for an American. (wink)