Disclaimer: Obviously, had this show been mine, I would have offered Billie Piper mucho dinerofor returning to series 3, even groveled some, if it was necessary. Or better yet, I would have made the actors my own personal puppets! (Why do I always get so carried away with these disclaimers?)
Summary:It's exactly the Human Nature episode (3x08), only with Rose as the Companion. And with different scenes. And different dialogues. And a different plot.
Spoilers:Oh, guess. Alright, alright, up to Human Natureand Family of Blood.
Rating:So far, PG, though I honestly haven't written the rest yet.
UPDATE, June 23, 2010: fixed that stupid formatting issue, where lines with a single "-" were deleted, causing the story to look like a jumbled mess. Sorry about that! (And shame on you, )
There was a soft knock on the door. So soft that he actually wondered if he wasn't imagining things.
A second later, a head popped into the room, and John Smith almost dropped the book he was holding. It was a woman, and she was beautiful, and he wondered if he wasn't imagining her as well, because she looked so much like the person he dreamt about just the night before.
"Mr. Smith?" she asked carefully, when his staring started to border on ridiculous.
Even her voice sounded familiar, though his dreams were too hazy to be sure. He quickly decided he was delusional. He lied down the book, "Yes, hello. Come in, come in. I've been expecting you."
She frowned, "You have?"
His brow furrowed, "Haven't I?"
She chuckled, as if she was expecting him to be flighty and distracted. "Afraid not, no," she said. "I'm new. I'm the new housemaid. I came to tidy up?"
He felt like slapping himself over the head. Sometimes he was so terribly foolish. Of coursehe wouldn't be expecting her. "Yes, of course, sorry," he apologized swiftly. "My head's elsewhere."
She nodded kindly, almost indulgently, and started clearing up the many papers and books that were scattered all across his chamber. He noticed she was making the effort of not misplacing his things, as if she knew he'd hate that, knew he'd prefer a little disorder to losing anything. It was all a bit too strange for ordinary John Smith.
He scratched his head in general confusion. "How-how long have you worked here?"
"Just ten minutes, sir," she answered, her tone seeped with patience.
"Oh, of course." He shook his head, "New, you said. Sorry. I'm new as well."
"Are you?" she murmured, distracted by an especially chaotic pile of papers.
He nodded, frantic beyond any measure of proportions. "Just started working here two weeks ago. It's very lovely, isn't it? I mean, the village. Not my work." Again, he shook his head, "I mean, my work is lovely, but I imagine you wouldn't know."
She raised her eyebrows.
"Oh, God, sorry!" he jumped to his feet apologetically, almost dropping the chair in the process. "I didn't mean to imply anything."
She laughed, and once again he was struck by a wave of familiarity. "The village is lovely, yeah," she said. "A nice change of pace from the good old London Town."
"You're from London, then?" he asked enthusiastically, glad for an ending to his accidentally offensive little outburst. "So am I! I'm from London as well. It's very lovely, isn't it?"
He didn't even notice it was the exact same thing he had just said until she chuckled quietly. "London is lovely, yeah."
She continued her tidying, and for a few minutes, not even the swishing of papers disturbed the silence that emitted from the room. John Smith tried not to follow her with his eyes in a way that would be too obvious, but there was something about her that disturbed his peace, and he wasn't a very peaceful man to begin with.
His head constantly buzzed with confusion, a feeling that he forgot some of his luggage in the train station. But when shewalked into the room, the buzzing was replaced by a steady stream of confusion. A singleconstant question in his head, and he had to voice it, else he'd burst from within.
He cleared his throat, "I'm, uh, sorry. I don't mean to disturb your work…"
"Please, do," she said pleasantly. "I don't mind. I can, actually, talk and work at the same time."
The last sentence lacked the necessary formality for a housemaid, but John Smith found that it didn't disturb him. Of all the things that baffled him about her, this was at the bottom of the list. "I just… wanted… I'm sorry, have we met? In the past, I mean? Somewhere in London, maybe?"
She looked at him quizzically.
He hurried to explain, "It's just… I hope you don't mind my saying, you seem awfully familiar."
"I don't think so, no," she assured him, smiling softly. "I would have remembered you." He startled back, and she quickly retreated, "I'm sorry, was that too bold? My sense of propriety is a bit lacking."
He shook his head violently, "No, it wasn't, really… well, yes, maybe a bit too bald, but that's not what I… are you sure we've never met before?"
She exhaled, seemingly morose, though he found no logical reason for her to be. "Quite sure."
John Smith frowned, and continued frowning until she finally finished with the room.
"Alright, then," she swallowed awkwardly. "Good day to you, Mr. Smith."
She reached the door, and just as she opened it, he found himself releasing a strange sound from his unnaturally dry throat that was meant to call her back inside.
Luckily, the sound registered and she turned around patiently.
"Sorry," he said, realizing that might have been the tenth time he apologized in the course of twenty minutes. "Sorry, uh… I just realized, I don't… what's your name?"
Her startled reaction surprised him. She seemed bewildered that he even had to ask, which sort of supported his theory that they've met in the past somewhere. A second later, she shook her head, "Rose, my name is… it's Rose. Rose Tyler."
John Smith fumbled across the room, almost knocking over a bookshelf, to shake Rose Tyler's hand awkwardly. His confusion didn't quell in the slightest, but he couldn't really put his finger on the cause of it. What was painfully obvious to him was that same sense of familiarity from before, somewhat enhanced now, at having her hand in his.
"Nice to meet you, Rose. I'm John Smith," he choked, even though she knew his name already.
A few long seconds passed before Rose started shifting self-consciously at their still joined hands. They were hardly positioned as a handshake anymore, and her breath became a bit labored as she said, "Nice to meet you too, Mr. Smith."
And then she practically fled from the room.
John was left standing at the entrance of his door, his outstretched palm lingering in the air, tingling strangely. Small villages were known for their slightly odd atmosphere, but this was really beyond what he had imagined when he came to live there.