Disclaimer: "Doctor Who" is the property of the BBC, and "House" is the property of Fox. I intend no infringment with this tale.

It was just their luck to stumble into a blind alley. Why couldn't they ever dash away from imminent danger and end up in a nice, big, open field, or better yet beside a sturdy door that he could coax open then lock securely behind them? It was always an alley…

He'd ponder this coincidence later. At the moment, the Doctor's most pressing concern was keeping the two aliens away from Rose. Tquarwesiian claws did very nasty things to human flesh, and he had no intention of letting one of those razor-like appendages get anywhere near his companion. He shoved himself in front of Rose, holding out his arms as threateningly as possible. Tquarwesiians were a bit like bears—occasionally they could be intimidated by sheer size and perceived ferocity of an opponent. Not a lot going on inside their craniums, actually, which was sometimes a good thing and sometimes a very bad one. Right now he was leaning toward judging this characteristic in the latter category.

"Stay back!" he shouted at Rose, then he stretched out his arms even farther and forced the loudest yell he could muster to roar from his chest.

The creatures paused for just a second or two, cocking their heads and focusing their tiny, red eyes upon him. He lunged forward, flailing his arms and yelling again, and they took a step back.

"It's workin'!" Rose said. "'S probably better with two."

Before he could stop her, she stepped out from behind him and lifted her arms. The Doctor spent exactly one tenth of a second berating himself for failing to tell her that Tquarwesiians had keen senses that immediately perceived gender, and that on their planet almost all females, of nearly all species, were harmless. He spent the next four tenths of the second trying to twist his body around to nudge her back. The final half second was devoted to a tremendous thrashing of arms and thumping of noses in an attempt to keep the aliens away from Rose. They stormed forward the instant they registered that she was female. Their claws extended, raking through the air in wicked arcs.

The Doctor did everything he could to intersperse his body between the creatures and Rose, but their heavy arms battered him and their enormous feet stomped at him, and it was all a blur, really, until suddenly a blinding light flooded the alley and, with a tiny crackle of ionic energy, the aliens vanished.

The alley was shrouded in late-afternoon shadow once again, and the Time Lord found himself on his hands and knees. He scrabbled to his feet, gaze locking on Rose immediately. She was leaning against the wall, blinking and rubbing at her eyes.

"What was that?" she asked rather breathlessly.

"Animal control, or their planet's equivalent of it. I told you they were here illegally—no papers or permits. Their people retrieved them."

"So they're gone?"

He nodded and gave her a smile. "Yep—back to their planet for a good, long while. Saved us a trip there, which is fortunate, because it's not a place that you'd enjoy much. Ready to head back to the TARDIS?" He extended his hand to her.

Rose lifted her arm and took one step, then promptly fell to the ground. A tiny little "oof" escaped her as her hands hit the pavement.


The Doctor was at her side in an instant, eyes running over her. She wore dark jeans, and in the dim light he hadn't noticed the stain spreading over her thigh. Now it was all he saw.

"It's just a scratch," Rose murmured, trying to turn over and wrench herself into a sitting position.

"Stay still," he instructed gruffly, tearing the fabric away from the wound. One hand dipped into his pocket to retrieve a pen torch; the other automatically pressed over the site of the injury.

"'M okay," she protested weakly. She brushed her fingers over the gash then hissed in pain.

Summarily he moved her hand aside as he shone the torch beam on her leg. "Damn it," he said.

Blood poured from the wound; the internal iliac artery was cut. His eyes flicked to the ground, to the crimson pool beneath her leg, and he knew that she would bleed to death in a matter of minutes if he didn't do something immediately.

Now her hand lay limply at her side, and her body began to slump down. She was rapidly going into shock. He shifted around so that he could rest her head against his chest, keeping his hand clamped over the artery with an iron grip. He pulled the sonic screwdriver from his jacket and fumbled one-handed at the settings for just an instant then switched on the device.

"Rose," he said, bending his head so that he could speak close to her ear, "I have to cauterise the wound. It's gonna hurt, but you've gotta stay still." His words were perfunctory, but he had to tell her, had to let her know what he planned to do.

He unclamped his hand from her leg then plunged his blood-soaked fingers into the wound, opening it, exposing the damaged artery to the small beam emitting from the screwdriver.

She gasped, and he could feel her body jerk back, but he managed to press his shin over her leg to keep it still. Tiny wisps of smoke rose from the wound, and the smell of burnt flesh prickled in his nose. He waited a second, then another, watching to be certain that the blood was slowing. Indeed it was, and he exhaled shakily.

Rose's eyes were huge, and tears glistened on her ashen cheeks. She was trembling in spite of herself. He reached for her arm, wrapping his fingers gently around her wrist as he stroked the back of her hand with his thumb. Her pulse was thready, but he was sure he'd got to her in time.

"You're gonna be okay," he told her.

"Hurts," she whispered.

"I know."

He gathered her into his arms and stood, keeping her against him, supporting her little body.

"Think I need a doctor," she murmured.

"Yeah," he agreed, "one with some supplies."

Rose sniffled. "Maybe… we should find a hospital."

He looked around, gathering his bearings. "Princeton," he said. "We're in Princeton, New Jersey. Hospital's about five miles from here, TARDIS's about three." He was thinking aloud, talking to keep her conscious as long as possible. He didn't want her slipping fully into shock until he'd got her someplace safe. "Little far for us to walk, an' I'm not sure about gettin' a cab in this neighbourhood."

"Doctor?" Rose's voice was very soft, and he didn't know if she was making an inquiry or a request.

"Hang on, Rose. I have an idea." He wrapped his arm around her more snugly and half-carried her out of the alley. He stood for a few seconds then pointed ahead. "Just two blocks away," he said rather cryptically, then he increased his pace as a smile spread across his face.

He tried knocking first, but of course there was no one at home. The sonic screwdriver made quick work of the lock, and within a few seconds the Doctor was helping Rose across the threshold and into the townhouse.

"Breakin' in?" she said weakly.

"Belongs to an old friend—well, really more of an acquaintance, but he'll have everything we need. I'll have you sorted in no time."

The Doctor scooped Rose into his arms and carried her to the bedroom. He settled her on the bed then began searching through the house for the items he needed. He found the Vicodin in the bathroom, as expected. There was a suture kit, too, and a decent array of first-aid supplies. He found syringes, saline, bandages, scissors, a basin for water, and a good stock of clean, fluffy towels.

When he returned to Rose, he dumped the supplies on the night table then opened the bottle of Vicodin and gave her a tablet, which she swallowed neatly without even needing water. That small task completed, he cut away the leg of her jeans to provide better access to the wound. He cleaned it with water then irrigated it with saline, working somewhat slowly to give the drug a chance to kick in. He hated to cause her any more pain than absolutely necessary.

When her eyelids grew heavy and finally closed, he checked her pulse and respiration then, satisfied that she would feel very little, sutured the wound and set a sterile gauze pad over it. He wanted to provide some air circulation; he'd bandage it properly later. He was just covering her with a blanket when he heard the front door opening.

The Doctor stood and strode out of the bedroom. The owner of the town home was leaning against the door, emptying a pill bottle into his mouth.

"Gregory House," the Doctor addressed his host by way of greeting. "It's been awhile."