The new story, as I said at the end of my other one. This story DOES have references to my other story, Romeo and Juliet, so reading that first might be good, but is in no way necessary. The end of Romeo and Juliet is mentioned, though.
Oh, and Jack may appear in a later chapter, you never know.
Don't own anyone or anything, promise I won't scratch them and they'll be back in their boxes before midnight.
"Something's caught us."
"Again? Last time that happened we were on that thespian planet, remember? The one where I almost-"
"Yeah, don't remind me." The Doctor interrupted as he gripped the console while the TARDIS swung uncontrollably again. "This time it's stronger."
"Stronger usually means worse, yeah?" Rose held tightly to the railing. The last time something of this nature had occurred, she had managed to knock herself out and wake up later in an infirmary. She had no want of repeating that, so her grip was tighter.
"Probably. But the thing that worries me is it appears to be more controlled…" The Doctor's words echoed slightly in the silence that had fallen. "We've landed. Question is; where, when and who the hell caught my ship?"
Leaving his trench coat, the Doctor headed to the door, Rose following. They had been moving from one relaxing destination to another (for once; apart from one tiny incident on Theolpis. The Doctor still claimed that it hadn't been his fault, which Rose knew full well was a lie) after a particularly nasty incident on a planet occupied by thespians. It had almost been the end of them both. Rose now had a scar from the knife.
To relax and heal, it had been beautiful planets and peaceful atmospheres for a while. The Doctor didn't seem to mind the removal of action (at least, he hadn't shown it, but Rose knew there was a part of him whinging for it). So when they had started out to another planet and the TARDIS had become caught in something, Rose had known it was only a matter of time. She was fine by now, so slightly looking forward to whatever was out there. She must be getting used to the adventure and danger the Doctor seemed to draw to him, Rose thought grimly as she followed the Doctor out.
"This, Rose, it what a plain white room looks like. Note the white walls and ceiling, and the strict attention to minimalist detail."
"Oh, I've never seen a white room before," Rose replied sarcastically. But the 'strict attention to minimalist detail' as the Doctor put it, was, well, thorough – no doors, windows, or colour at all. Aside from the big blue box, of course. And them.
The Doctor traced the four walls with his hand, walking around the room until he was back where he had started, next to Rose. His brow was furrowed in thought as he looked at his hand, still on the wall. The look of confusion vanished in a second, replaced by the grin Rose knew so well.
"Well, nothing going on here, shall we go?"
She shrugged, turning back towards the TARDIS. There was a flash of white, then an empty room before them. Silence descended. Rose gave the Doctor a sidelong glance. His face was blank, eyes staring at where the TARDIS had been. The muscles of his face twitched.
"Hm." It was a noise of half surprise and half interest.
"It appears that someone or something has taken interest in the TARDIS. And if they don't let us out or at least give us information of some kind, then I might have to become quite mad. And you won't like me when I'm angry." He turned to Rose for the first time while ha had been speaking. "Tell me I didn't just quote The Incredible Hulk."
"Yeah, you did."
He shrugged. "Point stands."
There was more silence. Colour flickered on one of the blank walls. Rose gripped the Doctor's arm and turned him towards it. There was a picture there. A man, about thirty, with dark hair and piercing eyes. Only from his shoulders up was visible, but he appeared to be smiling slightly.
"I didn't want you to leave so soon."
"Who are you?" The Doctor asked, the inquiring look back on his face.
"You don't recognise me, Doctor? I'm hurt." He folded his arms and looked hurt as the Doctor glanced at Rose.
"Have, um, have we met?"
"You might remember me like this…" he changed before them, becoming an older man with the same dark hair and piercing eyes – but the shape of his face was different, and he was now dressed in Chinese-like robes.
"You're the Celestial Toymaker."
"What does that mean?' Rose whispered to the Doctor.
"It means bad. Very, very bad," he replied, eyes not leaving the screen, where the man before them had returned to how he first appeared.
"You do remember me then. A new world, Doctor, a new outlook on my creations."
"What do you want?"
It was almost a statement more then a question, and Rose saw that an iron seriousness had crept into the Doctor's face. This was an early warning sign – there was much more to this than she knew. These two had met before.
"The TARDIS, of course."
"You can't work it."
"Oh, come now!" the Toymaker laughed. "I know that! I want your technology. And to pay you back for the defeat I suffered at your hands. A new world is hard to build."
"Right. You won't get it." The steely tone was evident in the Doctor's words.
"I already have it," the Toymaker corrected smoothly. "And I could leave you and the girl here, alone, to die…but where would be the fun in that? Even you deserve a chance, and I deserve some entertainment."
He laughed, a high-pitched chilling sound. Rose involuntarily closed her eyes, trying to protect herself against it. She felt the Doctor's hand slip into her own and he gently squeezed her hand in comfort. She was grateful for it.
As his laughter slowly died, the Toymaker continued. "Games, Doctor. Ten trials. Get up here and get you TARDIS back. It should be simple for you." The picture faded.
The Doctor sighed, his head dropping slightly. Rose gently kissed the back of the hand she was holding, and he looked up from the floor to meet her gaze. "We'll get her back, don't worry. Ten games? Easy for you and me."
"It's not that easy, Rose," The Doctor said gently. "I've met this maniac before – first incarnation, if you can believe it. We're in over our heads. One or two games, maybe. Ten is a different matter."
Rose looked closely at him. "What aren't you telling me?"
"These games…they're deadly. Lose and you die. Win – we die anyway. Winning the Toymaker's games cause his world to collapse. If we got to the TARDIS, it would mean we have beaten his games. The world would collapse before we could reach the door."
Rose tired to comfort and reassure him. "We'll find a way."
He looked at her grimly, but it soon gave way to a smile. "I suppose we will. Rose Tyler, optimist extraordinaire."
"So, how do we get out of here?" Rose cast her eyes around the empty room. Still white, still nothing. First things first, they had to get out. A small noise behind made them both turn. On the wall behind them was a thin line of black.
Exchanging a glance the two travellers walked over to the now lined wall. The Doctor experimentally put his hand out and prodded the wall. It moved, ever so slightly, and then the black began to widen – it was opening. Rose glimpsed another white room beyond it, but she could see other things in it; so it wasn't empty like this one was.
The gap, now narrow enough to slip through (at least, it was for Rose) led to, sure enough, another white room, this time with a visible door and a single, low shelf, on which sat some cylindrical pieces of technology. Rose turned to the door, where the Doctor had now entered. He looked around, eyebrows raised.
"Familiar setting, this. Oooh, now. What do we have here?" He had approached the shelf and picked up one of the technological objects. Gently cradling it in his hands, the Doctor carefully inspected it, before grinning in triumph. "I do believe it's a wrist computer. Like the one Captain Jack had."
Rose had wandered over next to him by now. "Two. One for each of us?"
"I expect so." He slid one onto his wrist, watching as it bleeped into life and tightened on his arm for a perfect fit. Taking his lead, Rose did the same with her own and watched as it fit itself to her arm. The screen lit up, and text began to appear.
"Let the games begin," the Doctor read from his own screen. "Get through."
"Information will be given at the start of each new level," Rose continued when he stopped. " Mission objective, health and time will be displayed for your benefit. He's got it all worked out, hasn't he?"
"He does." The Doctor turned to Rose, placing his hands on her shoulders, his face serious. "This won't be easy."
She smiled. "Okay."
"Rose, I mean it. These games are not designed for us to get through easily. He's trying to kill us, but is twisted enough to want complex ways of doing so that he can watch. I don't know what's beyond those doors, but…" He sighed. "It could be anything. It could be hidden danger, it could be nothing to lull us into false security. It could even be impossible."
"Well, we've done impossible before, yeah? And," she continued as he opened his mouth to reply, "I mean that."
"You optimism is infectious!" he laughed, brightening for a moment before seriousness descended again. "How are you, by the way?"
"You're worried! That's what's wrong with you!" Rose grinned, but his look made her stop. "Okay, serious now. I'm fine, really – the scar's healed, and it doesn't hurt anymore."
He grinned in relief. "If you're sure."
"Well then," said the Doctor, taking his hands from her shoulders, "I believe we have the TARDIS to find." He indicated the doors. "Ladies first."
"Since when did you become a gentleman?"
"I always have been." He replied with a cheeky grin.
The door opened before them. The games waited.
Hope that's all right and has peaked interest and curiosity! Reviews would be appreciated.