b Title: /b A fair compromise

b Author: /b lj user "faythbrady"

b Gift for: /b lj user"goldydollar"

b Pairing: /b Ten/Rose

b Rating: /b PG13

b Warnings: /b None

b Spoilers: /b None

b Beta: /b lj user"karenor"

b Summary: /b Jackie Tyler finds the Doctor and Rose in a compromising situation… well, more than one really.

The atmosphere inside the TARDIS was infused with gentle warmth and echoed with happiness. Rose sat on the plastic chairs swinging her legs to and fro while the Doctor grinned up at her from under the console, his hands twisted up in the inner wires of the TARDIS.

Music blared from a speaker somewhere on one wall and they sang intermittently along with the likes of Queen, Trisha Yearwood and the Fratellis, as they held an animated conversation about previous adventures and future destinations.

It was moments like this that they truly cherished, moments when they were content just to be in each others company, laughing and joking and generally just being together.

"—and then the Great Mumbai just tossed you out with one arm!" Rose threw back her head as he pouted.

"He was surprisingly spry for a seventy year-old!" the Doctor protested, but amusement danced in his eyes at her obvious delight.

Almost doubled in laughter at the memory of the small, wizened fakir manhandling the Doctor, Rose could hardly gasp. "You're so gay!"

"Oi!" He pointed his laser spanner at her and was about to address her idea of his sexuality when a shrill buzz echoed around the room, breaking the moment.

The Doctor's head shot back under the console in alarm and Rose snorted as she dug into her pocket.

"It's my mobile, idiot!"

"You have a mobile idiot?" the Doctor joked, relieved that there wasn't something wrong with the TARDIS. "Where do you keep him?"

Rose stuck her tongue out at him. "Under the console, actually."

Before he could retort to that, she answered her ringing mobile. "Hello?"


Rose rolled her eyes. "Hi, mum."

The Doctor shuddered at the revelation of the caller and ducked back under the console, content to let Rose handle this one. It was far too early in the morning to deal with Jackie Tyler.

"How are you, sweetheart?" Jackie's voice was full of concern and motherly affection and Rose smiled at the thought of her mum ringing her up, making a cup of tea as she chatted. If she closed her eyes she could almost see Jackie Tyler dressed in a pink tracksuit hugging a steaming mug.

The Doctor exclaimed quietly from under the TARDIS as something sparked and Rose answered her mum's question with a smirk. "A'right, just fixing a few bits in the TARDIS."

"Huh!" Jackie sighed loudly. "I swear that thing needs fixing more often than not, is it safe?"

"Of course it's safe!" Rose replied indignantly and the Doctor peered out, one eyebrow raised questioningly. Rose shook her head at him. "Did you want something, mum?"

"Oh, so now I can't phone my own daughter for a chat, I've got to have a reason?"

Rose winced at the censure—a classic parental guilt-trip complex. "No."

"Well, so happens I do," Jackie sniffed. "Keisha's getting married."

Rose's eyes widened in surprise. "What, seriously?"

Keisha had been one of Rose's closest friends. Shareen, Rose and Keisha had been quite the little clique at school, getting into trouble and out of it again as easily; skipping class, eyeing up boys, drinking, shopping and … now getting married?

"Yeah, Saturday."

Rose frowned. "As in this Saturday? Bit quick, ain't it?"

"Oh and you've been around 'ave you?" Jackie accused. "For your information, she's been seeing Tommy for a year at least, although what she sees in 'im is anyone's guess. Right Jack the lad, that one—reminds me of that loser you dated, what was 'is name? James? Jimmy? Anyway they were going to get married later on this year, have a December wedding, but there was a cancellation at the hall where Keisha wanted the reception so they've pulled it forward to Saturday and she specially asked if you could come. Sounded a bit peaky, really. I suppose it's the stress."

Rose looked down at the Doctor who was now staring at her uneasy expression with confusion as her mother went on and on.

"What?" he mouthed and she shrugged one shoulder.

The Doctor did not do domestic and Rose couldn't think of anything more domestic than a wedding. He would undoubtedly grouse and grumble about it, complaining enough to make her crazy.

In a break in Jackie's soliloquy Rose managed to speak. "I dunno, mum."

Indignation swelled Jackie's usually high pitched voice up another octave. "Rose Marion Tyler, Keisha was one of your best mates and you're too high and mighty travelling around the universe, giving yourself airs, to come to her wedding?"

"Course not," Rose retorted, knowing full well that there was no way that she was going to win this. She'd just have to tell the Doctor to drop her off for a few hours and leave him to twiddle with the console or something; at least that way she wouldn't have to deal with his moaning.

"Good," Jackie was satisfied. "Then you'll be there at seven at Red Riding hall. In fact, you can be here for six and we can all travel down together, won't that be nice?"

Rose could think of many adjectives and 'nice' wasn't one of them.

She sagged in resignation. "Yes, mum."

"And you can tell himself to wear something other than those bloody trainers!"

Before Rose to open her mouth to fervently disabuse her mother of the notion that the Doctor would be coming along—Jackie put the phone down.

Rose swore and the Doctor shook his finger. "Now is that the mouth you kiss your mother with?"

She glared at him, folding her arms in annoyance. "Our presence has been requested back at mum's."

His face fell.

"And we have to go to a wedding."

His response was short, pithy and had her grinning.

"Is that the mouth you kiss the TARDIS with?"

Rose had known the Doctor for almost two years and was fairly sure that, after being alive for well over 900 years, he should be beyond the whining stage.

She was wrong.

He whined while he fixed the TARDIS, up to his elbows in red and green wires.

i "But, Rose, I don't even know Keisha, not really. I mean, yes, all right, I saved her brother's life, but how much does that tell you about a person?" /i

She ignored him and wound up the trail of wires into a neat pile.

He whinged while Rose shopped on Helix Trove, searching for the right dress.

i "Besides weddings … I don't do weddings. Yes, I did Jackie's wedding. And that one where I was devoured by the Reaper. But apart from that …" /i

Rose glowered at him, biting her tongue as she handed him more hangers.

He moaned whilst in a cell on Perallis, chained to Rose and a slimy Ridlian called Colin.

i "Tuxedos make me itch. I hate bow ties and speeches! They don't allow just anyone to make a speech. Where's the fun of that?" /i

Rose counted to ten before hijacking the sonic screwdriver and pointing it at the chains in frustration.

He complained whilst they raced back to the TARDIS, spears and javelins being thrown at their backs from not-so-very-friendly-after-all Krios.

i "You never get enough cake, and the music!" /i

Rose slammed the door shut and glared at him, irritated by his ridiculous protestations and excuses. "Fine! I'll go by myself. Mum'll be glad you're not there to ruin things. Keisha will be ecstatic to see me and all my mates will be drinking and matchmaking. We'll dance to crap tracks, get parents to do the birdy-song and YMCA and eat cake. It's not such a huge issue, okay? Don't come. Stay here and fix stuff."

He gaped at her temper tantrum and a hurt look drifted across his face. "So, you don't want me to come?"

Rose closed her eyes and bit back a scream.


"Oh, you made it then." Jackie was characteristically exuberant to see them.

"Yeah," Rose glanced over her shoulder to the Doctor who was holding his tuxedo in a bag slung nonchalantly over his shoulder and beaming at Jackie as if there was nowhere else he'd rather be.

"Oh, goodness, yes. Love a wedding, wouldn't have missed it for the world—even the nice one we were just on. Lovely people, nice javelins."

Jackie eyed him suspiciously. "Right, well, we'll need to get there for half six so you can go get changed now. I've done, so the Doctor can use my room."

He got a strained look around his eyes. "Really? Your room?"

Jackie gave him a half-sulky, half-sultry look, like a predator about to corner her prey. "Yeah. Well, you're not changing with Rose."

"Mum!" Rose was totally embarrassed by the insinuation, but Jackie just faced her with her hands on her hips.

"Don't 'mum' me, miss. He may be an alien but he's still a bloke and there'll be none of that while I'm around."

"Oh, trust me, Jackie," The Doctor assured her, "with you around, I wouldn't dream of it."

While Jackie wondered whether to be insulted, Rose nudged him with her elbow.

"Behave!" she hissed and he just grinned.

Rose's eyes narrowed in challenge. "S'all right mum, the Doctor'll dress in your room. Right Doctor?"

His own eyes promised retribution as he slunk away, Jackie watching as he entered her room.

Jackie's bedroom was as lurid and brash as her own personality; done out in pink and voile. It wasn't exactly subtle and the Doctor clutched at his tie, reluctant to disrobe in any place that looked like a chamber of seduction—Barbie's chamber of seduction.

He had his hand on his top button when there was a small knock and he spun around to see Jackie standing in the doorway biting her lip. "Rose is getting changed, Doctor, do you need anything?"

His eyes widened in fear and he clutched his tux to him like a despoiled virgin. "No! No. I'm fine better than fine. Great. Bye."

He threw the tuxedo on the bed and pushed Jackie bodily out of the room.

"All right!" she muttered in a huff at his obvious reticence. "I'll be out here if you do."

"When hell freezes over." He muttered, slamming the door and leaning against the frame.

He locked the door, paused, and then grabbed the chair from in front of the vanity and wedged it under the handle for good measure.

It wasn't that he didn't think he couldn't fight Jackie off, but there was the inexorable damage to his relationship with Rose if she found out that this was the third time her mother had come on to him.

He tried to block out the unpleasant thought as he shucked off his clothes and dragged the tuxedo out of its protective cellophane.

Rose had named it the 'Tuxedo of Doom' and, considering that the three times he'd worn it with her they'd ended up running for their lives, it wasn't such a misnomer. Still, he thought he looked pretty swish in it, and the mirror seemed to agree. He preened in delight as he turned this way and that, appreciating the lines of the tight trousers and the thin, soft shirt.

He picked up the bow-tie and twirled it in his fingers, dropping it when the knock at the door startled him.

Jackie. It had to be Jackie, come to molest him and there was only one window.

"Ye—" he stopped and cleared his throat and, slightly less high pitched, he repeated. "Yes?"

"'sme, Rose."

He sagged in relief and pulled the chair away from the door. "One second."

He heard her giggle. "What'd you do? Put a chair in front of it or something?"

The Doctor cleared his throat as he heard her laugh again and opened it to her grinning face. "Oi, I'll have you know that I—" he trailed off as he saw her properly and Rose bit her lip uncertainly.

"You like it?"

Like it?

He'd always loved Rose in period dress, or any dress really, but she'd outdone herself this time. The soft material draped over her body like a lover's caress and the scarlet colour gave her a rosy glow, screaming that here was a healthy, gorgeous, sensual female. High heels and red lipstick completed the outfit and he swallowed.


Rose laughed again, eyes sparkling. "Not too bad yourself, very James Bond."

He turned back to the mirror to gain some composure and picked up his tie. "0010 licence to, well … annoy people really. Bamboozle—ooh I like that. Escape from danger?"

"Get into trouble?"

"Of course," he beamed at her reflection as his fingers dropped the ends again. "Blast."

"Inability to dress yourself," Rose said as he struggled with the bow. "Let me."

She stepped up to him, turning him to face her and swore as one of the thin straps slid down her shoulder. She half-turned to show him the large expanse of soft, clear skin exposed by the low back and even lower zip. "Bugger, I can't close the zip the rest of the way and mum's gone out to get the car keys off Bev. We're all driving up together."

"Lovely." He tried to push away the image of Rose's unblemished skin and concentrated on messing with his tie. "I'll never get this."

"Here!" she repeated and grabbed both ends of his tie, tugging him close and standing so that he could smell the scent of vanilla shampoo.

He inhaled deeply and closed his eyes as her nimble and gentle fingers tugged and pulled at the black bow tie at his throat, occasionally brushing against the sensitive skin of his neck.

He swallowed hard.

i Think of Jackie's driving. Think of Jackie in a bikini. Anything but Rose's hands drifting lower. /i

"Oi, can you zip me up while I'm doing this?" she asked and his hands involuntarily drifted up to trace along her spine.

Rose giggled and the sweet sound lilted up to his ears. "That tickles."

He leaned over her shoulder to look where his hands were going so that they didn't venture further into dangerous territory and he caught sight of them in the mirror.

The reflection made his dual hearts race as his mirror-image wrapped his arms around the curvaceous waist of mirror-Rose.

It was the most beautiful, erotic and delicious picture and he closed his eyes to savour the image, locking it deep within his memories. He breathed in and caught another whiff of vanilla, all but moaning at the enticing scent that made him want to bite down on her luscious skin.

Rose wasn't one for showing a lot of skin, preferring to wear her clothes close to the body to reveal her figure without being slutty. But the occasional tempting traces of soft creamy flesh were enough to fuel his overactive imagination and the reality was so much more tempting. It was all he could do to think and to realise that he was in real danger of crossing the boundaries that he'd promised not to cross.

He opened his eyes to step away and squeaked as he saw the mirror.

Jackie was standing in the doorway, arms folded over her chest and a disapproving look on her face. "What are you doing?"

He suddenly realised what their position must look like to Jackie—Rose's dress was half undone and she was all but in his arms, hands slid around his neck playing with his tie.

The Doctor spun to face her and stepped back, hands held in the air like a surrender, or plea. "Uh, this is not what it looks like; I was just doing up Rose's dress."

Rose spun around, fixing her mother with an innocent look. "And I was doing up his tie. Useless at it, he is."

"He's not much better at doing up dresses," Jackie sniped as she pulled up the zip on Rose's gown. She gave the Doctor a dirty glare and then smiled at Rose. "You look beautiful, sweetheart. That Darren won't be able to take his eyes off you."

"Mum!" Rose moaned with a roll of her eyes. "Give over, yeah?"

She followed her mum out of the room, hips swaying seductively, suggestively and … off limits. The Doctor closed his eyes with a groan, trying to banish the feel of her against him, the scent of her, and the sight of those hips.

He rubbed at his face. How exactly was he supposed to go to this wedding with his best friend when he was finding it hard just to keep his hands off her?

"Doctor?" He suddenly remembered where he was and grabbed his jacket, racing after the girl who had him wrapped around her little finger.

The drive to the reception hall was one journey that the Doctor knew he'd never forget … and wished he could.

He'd been spun through the vortex, drifted through super-nova, played with black holes, jumped a worm-hole and slammed into a parallel universe, and he'd never so much as flickered an eyelid.

Five minutes with "Blind Bev" and her incredibly lax attitude to motoring conventions, her liberal use of the horn, and blatant disregard of things like red lights, made him truly, truly sorry for not passing his driving test in the seventies. Then he could have driven and they might have survived.


He gripped Rose's hand as Bev checked her make-up in the mirror again and shot him a seductive look. "So, you're a Doctor, eh?"


"What kind?"

"The kind that is killing my hand!" Rose hissed.

"Sorry!" he whispered back as Bev took a sharp corner and the Doctor hurled into her, his hand slapping against the car door, effectively trapping Rose against him.

"Hey!" Rose squeaked as another sharp bend had him sliding down the leather, his hand accidentally coming to grip her breast just as Jackie turned around in the front seat.

Her eyes widened. "Oi! What do you think you're doing? Pervert!"

Bev chuckled. "No getting fresh in the back seat!"

"I wasn't!" he protested quickly. "I wouldn't. I mean I would … but I wouldn't, I mean not—"

"I wouldn't mind." Bev waggled her eyebrows at him in the rear-view mirror and narrowly missed a milk float.

He pushed away a flushing Rose and tried not to meet Jackie's dagger eyes in the mirror.

"Sorry," he whispered mortified.

"It's okay," she replied, just as hushed. "Just put your seat belt on, yeah. You'll feel safer."

He blinked incredulously at her. "Exactly how will being restrained when driven by a maniac make me feel safer?"

She glared at him. "If you installed them in the TARDIS, I might be able to answer."

He pouted. "I'm not a maniac."

Rose opened her mouth to reply to that with all the dignity it deserved, but was cut off by Bev's yelled; "Well, no one else uses the bloody signal, do they?!!"

The Doctor closed his eyes and sunk low in his seat. "Just kill me now."

"You'd only regenerate." Rose patted his arm in sympathy. "Besides we're almost there."

They did, eventually, arrive, but it wasn't soon enough for the Doctor who needed the entire service to recuperate and meditate on the effects of extreme fear on his lifespan. He sat in the cool hall willing his breakfast to remain where it was and not interrupt the service with gastro-pyrotechnics.

Rose threw him the occasional pitying glance and dared to rub his hands under the eagle-eyes of her mother, which made him feel better and he started to think of different ways in which she could make it up to him.

Her dress and exposed skin came immediately to mind and his stomach flipped for a different reason.

Thankfully neither Keisha nor her fiancée were particularly religiously minded and the ceremony didn't drag on—he even got her name right, which put the groom one up on most weddings that the Doctor had seen.

Rose grinned as one of her oldest friends became a wife and joined in the final songs to congratulate the new Mrs. Thomas Lowan.

She was also somewhat relieved that the Doctor hadn't made a scene or done anything to distract from the proceedings, like blowing up the cake or declaring the cook a Slitheen or something. She beamed over at the man who had been good as gold, if a little green around the gills.

"You all right?" she hissed over the final notes and he nodded as applause erupted around them and the couple started to file out.

Something occurred to him. "Who's Darren?"

Rose frowned at the random question. "What?"

The Doctor leaned in close. "Darren, your mum mentioned him back at the flat."

"Oh!" Thus enlightened, Rose pointed with her little finger over his shoulder to where a tall, broad shouldered Adonis sat with his mum, looking every inch as uncomfortable as the Doctor felt. His suit was obviously a few years old and strained across bulging biceps. The Doctor felt a moment's pity.

"He asked me out right after Mickey did. Was mad as anything Mick beat him to it," she grinned. "He's a right sweetheart."

The pity vanished in a cloud of instant dislike and the Doctor sniffed. "Don't they do tuxedos in 'hulk' size?"

Rose elbowed him. "Be nice!"

The Doctor held his hands up as Jackie edged by them to congratulate the new couple.

"I was being nice, this is me being nice." He paused. "Why do I have to be nice?"

Rose poked him again, careful to hide her amusement.

The Doctor knew, however, that she wasn't mad at him and he turned around to watch as everyone filed out, shaking hands with the man in a dress and exclaiming how beautiful the bride and the flowers were.

They were like lambs, thought the Doctor, being led astray by a hungry wolf, all crowding around waiting to go … go where?

"Where are they all going?"

"Reception," Rose sounded somewhat distracted and he glanced over his shoulder to see her pulling up the hem of her dress.

His mouth went dry.

Rose slid the soft material up the smooth expanse of her leg, showing a perfectly formed calve—made strong and toned through liberal use of the word 'run'—and a slender ankle enwrapped in ribbon of scarlet red. She ran her hand down the creamy skin and pouted slightly, her slick glossed lips puffing up adorably.

"Problem?" he squeaked, his eyes drawn irresistibly to her leg.

"Mad Bev's driving," Rose muttered eyes on her shoes. "When she took that roundabout on two wheels my heel caught in the carpet, it's about off, look."

She tugged at the bottom of the shoe to show the Doctor how the heel was coming away from the sole.

At least that was her intent; all the Doctor could see was leg.

Funny, he'd always thought of himself as a breast man—although there was plenty of that on show as she bent over.

His hand rose quickly to his mouth to check for drool as Rose glanced up at him.

"Doctor? You all right?"

He nodded quickly, fervently and his hand dipped into his pocket. "Broken heel, nothing easier!" He masked his unease with a beaming smile and got down on his knees in the pew.

"What are you doing?"

He brandished the sonic screwdriver. "Resonates concrete, unlocks locks, reattaches barbed wire—"

"Triplicates the flammability," she mocked sweetly.

"Goes without saying," his eyes sparkled, "and it never met a sole it didn't like."

She groaned at his bad pun and the Doctor grabbed her foot, aiming the screwdriver where the heel should join and trying not to think about the soft skin under his fingers.

Yep, keep his mind on the buzzing of the screwdriver and not on the satiny, velvety, smooth, supple, sexy… i bugger /i .

He let his gaze drift up the lithe limb, up the curved hips and rounded shoulder to meet her amused, yet tender eyes.

"Hello," she said softly.

"Hello," he replied, his adoration clearly written across his face, as he knelt at the feet of his goddess.

Rose licked her lip, suddenly shy. "All done?"

"Hmm?" He was distracted, not knowing what she meant until she nudged him with her heel mischievously. "Oh, yes, heel, all done." He reached for the hem of her dress, pulling it down to cover the temptation. He should cover her legs, stand up and escort her to the, well, wherever everyone else was going really.

He should. He really should.

"Is the other one okay?" He heard his voice say and Rose peered down at her other foot, raising it to lie on his thigh.

"Is it?" she smirked. "You've got a better view down there."

i And hadn't he just? /i

"I should check," he decided impishly, "you know, in the interest of thoroughness."

Rose agreed sagely. "You're nothing if not thorough. Thoroughly annoying, thoroughly manic."

"Oi!" He replied indignantly, wiggling his fingers to tickle her leg beneath her dress.

Rose giggled and edged away from his dancing fingers.

"What the hell do you two think you're playing at?"

The Doctor dropped Rose's ankle and shot to his feet, raking his hand through his hair at the sight of a fuming Jackie Tyler.

"We weren't…I wasn't. We didn't!"

"There's a time and place!" Jackie folded her arms and tapped her foot on the floor. "And Church ain't it, not unless you're the next one to the altar."

The Doctor paled.

"Mum, he was fixing my heel."

Jackie gave her daughter a scathing glare. "I wasn't born yesterday, Rose Tyler. Fixing your dress, fixing your heel. I'm not a mug," she rounded on the Doctor, "and you should be ashamed of yourself, not able to keep it in your trousers long enough to be decent."

"But I really was just fixing her shoe, look!" He held up the sonic screwdriver, which, inexplicably, made Jackie more aggravated.

"I don't want to know what sick games you get up to! Sonic vibrations or whatever." She exclaimed in disgust and poked him in the chest. "Just keep it in the TARDIS, okay?"

She shook her head at Rose and stormed off, leaving Rose with a mortified flush covering her face and the Doctor staring at the sonic screwdriver with a kind of horrified fascination.

The reception was as loud and noisy as expected and the vibrations from the backbeat all but rattled the windows in their frames.

The Doctor peered suspiciously at his bulging plate and poked something pink with his fork. It moved.

He nudged Rose. "Didn't we fight this on Trakken?"

Rose spared him a glance, taking her attention from her own unidentifiable dinner. She prodded the thing with her own fork. "I dunno, did we win? Because if we didn't—we should have."

"There is the distinct possibility," he declared, "that this was once a member of the prawn family. i Dendrobranchiata /i , if I'm not mistaken. Once upon a time this happy little feller was swimming in some sea attending the shrimp ball in his best prawn cocktail outfit and looking for the best crustacean in the ocean."

Rose blinked at him and then nodded slowly. "Then someone comes along, drags him away from his little ball, hits him with a rock and then pulls out his insides."

The Doctor turned green and pushed away his plate. "Yes, thank you, Rose."

Jackie Tyler slid in beside the Doctor with her own plate and wrinkled her nose. "I know, awful isn't it? Keisha really shouldn't have let her cousin do the catering. May have saved her a packet, but I think we'll all need our stomachs pumped. What is it?"

"I think it's some kind of sushi-mix thing," Rose defended her friend loyally. "And Keish did the best she could: it was short notice."

Jackie snorted. "Everyone should have chipped in a fiver and gotten a take-out." She emptied the contents of her dish into a nearby Fern, which almost instantly began to wilt.

Rose looked at it in alarm and abandoned her own lunch with dignity and haste.

"See, I don't understand all these human rituals," the Doctor piped up to attract her attention. "On the planet Y'leria everyone in the village gets together when couples decide to marry and provide them with all the basic necessities, including the ceremony costs. It takes all the hassle out of starting off married life. All the groom has to do is perform some feat of endurance—fight a wild bull, dissect the Bradyhey or climb the Dre'ga Rock—to prove his worth and he's given the girl. Much dancing and drinking and they're ushered to the sacred tent where the tribe makes loud noises all night to cover the…uh loud noises all night." He waggled his eyebrows at Rose who blushed lightly.

"What if he fails it?" Jackie asked, interested despite herself. "What if he, I dunno, drops the ball or falls over or something?"

"Uh," the Doctor scratched the back of his head sheepishly. "Then he's taken to the public square and is stoned to death for being inferior and daring to ask for her hand."

The two women stared at him and he shrugged defensively. "I never said it was a foolproof system."

"That's better than this, then, is it?" Jackie accused and he moped, shoulders slumped.

"At least they don't play 'Westlife' to you. Contravenes Prisoner code 6 that does."

"What's code 6?" Rose inquired curiously.

"No prisoner shall be inflicted of aural or acoustic torture." He replied morosely.

Jackie bristled at the slight to her planet's music. "They're not that bad."

He raised an eyebrow imperiously. "Have you even heard 'Flying without wings'?"

"Yes, what's wrong with it?"

"Well, it's not correct for one thing, how can you fly without wings? Unless you have gravitational thrusters and even then you'll need an aerial—"

"Oh and how does the TARDIS fly then, ey?" Jackie challenged. "No wings, see!"

"Materialises," he said through gritted teeth, "she doesn't fly, she materialises."

"Yeah, well—"

Rose stood up interrupting them. "As nice as listening to you two debate pop music is, yeah, I'm going to go congratulate Keish."

"All right love." Jackie agreed but the Doctor's eyes widened.

"You're leaving me? As in actually leaving me alone?" With your mother was the unspoken addition.

"Conquer the whole of Sylvanius but afraid to be left on your own in London?" Rose shook her head, patting his hand as she left. "You'll cope. It's not like the gang are the Hoards of Tyterian, after all."

"You could always dance with me," Jackie offered as Rose walked away.

The Doctor flinched. "Hoards of Tyterian are staring to sound pretty good."

Rose made her way through the crowds to her friend, elegantly dressed in white satin, set beautifully against her dark skin.

"A'right, Keish? You look amazing."

"Cheers, Rose." Keisha hugged her. "Glad you could make it. Your mum said you were off travelling and wasn't sure if you'd make it back in time."

"For you?" Rose smiled. "Course! Is Shareen around?"

She was poked in the back and turned to see the friend she'd just been asking about.

"'ere's trouble," Shareen greeted with a small kiss to the cheek. "Didn't think you'd make it. Not a bad bash Keish, although tell Sunita not to give up her day job, 'kay? The food is rank."

"Cheers mate," Keisha said in mock offence. "It's only my wedding."

"First wedding," Shareen corrected looking over at the groom with a disdainful expression. "Don't worry; everyone does better second time round."

Even Keisha laughed. "Bitch."

"Speaking of better, though, yeah, who's the hot piece with Jackie? Rosie T, please tell me he is with you."

Rose glanced over her shoulder to where Jackie was pointedly ignoring a red-faced Doctor. She grinned. "He's with me, though I think he needs rescuing from mum."

"Where have you been hiding him?" Shareen demanded, flicking her blonde hair over one shoulder. "And are you planning on sharing?"

"With me, and no." Rose folded her arms. "I mean we're not like that."

Keish and Shareen exchanged glances. "Yeeeeah right."

"No, seriously. We 'aven't."

"Well, you should!" Shareen demanded. "I would."

"I would!" Keisha added and Shareen turned to her.

"You're married!"

"I ain't dead!"

Rose burst into giggles. "I've missed you pair."

Shareen sniffed. "Well, if you came home more'n once a year."

"Sorry." Rose shifted uneasily. "But with the Doctor, we're never sure where we're travelling to next. We end up somewhere and get into trouble and it's all so exciting that I just forget."

Shareen sighed. "Well, if I had a hot bit like him I'm sure I'd forget you too. Forgiven. But in future just ring, okay. Once a month even."

"I swear!" Rose crossed her fingers over her heart and the other two nodded appreciatively.

"So, Keish married her first husband, I just saved the universe, what you been up to Shareen?"

While Rose caught up with her friends the Doctor was busy trying to escape Jackie who had decided that it was her right to dance with him. This idea had been helped by liberal uses of alcohol and visits to the open bar. Thankfully this also dulled her predatory instinct and allowed him to hide behind some rather large curtains.

To his surprise, he wasn't alone in his hiding place.

"Uh, hello!" he greeted with a hint of discomfiture.

Darren smiled slowly. "Hi. I'm Darren; you're Rose's friend aren't you?"

"Yes, I'm the Doctor."

They shook hands in the strained way of males everywhere caught in an embarrassing situation with no way of getting out, dignity intact.

"Sooo," the Doctor drawled, "been here long?"

"Ten minutes," Darren nodded.

They were silent for a moment.

Darren sucked in a breath. "Hiding from Jackie?"

"Yep, you?"

"Auntie Mabel; also known as 'Grabby Granny'. Arms like a vice, kisses like a German Shepherd, moustache included."

"Guh!" The Doctor shuddered in sympathy at the man's plight and shared his own. "Jackie's drunk."

Darren shivered. "Yikes."

"And, I think she fancies me."

"Double yikes."

They were silent again, feeling the atmosphere change from awkwardness to fellow feeling. Darren reached into his pocket and pulled out a small hip flask. "Whisky?"

"God, yes."

Rose laughed out loud at Shareen's rendition of the latest boyfriend debacle.

"I mean what good's a boyfriend who's allergic to grass and plants? One roll in the hay and he's in intensive care, leaving poor old muggings here to fend for herself."

Keisha held her sides. "Poor dear, what did you do?"

"What any self-respecting girl would do," Shareen grinned. "I sent him a bunch of flowers."

Rose giggled as she drained her glass and handed it to a passing waiter. "Shar, how is it you attract so many dead-beats?"

"So says Mickey Smith's ex."

Rose dimmed slightly. "Mickey wasn't a loser."

Shareen groaned as she remembered that Mickey was gone. "Sorry, babe. You know how my foot likes to live in my mouth."

"She loves the taste of shoe-leather," Keisha excused with a rueful expression.

"Still you've got the Doctor now." Shareen hastily tried to rectify her mistake. "He's cute."

"Hmm," Rose turned around, watching as Jackie strutted her rather inebriated stuff on the dance floor and finding no trace of the Doctor. "Where is he?"

"Good question!" Bev said as she ambled up. "Jackie said he was supposed to dance with 'er but I'm the driver and he's going to dance with me, when I get a hold of 'im!"

"You're drunk, Bev." Shareen said with an exasperated look.

"Hwhat?!" Bev blinked and shook her head. "What duck?"

Shareen rolled her eyes and shouted. "Drunk!"

"Is he?" Bev pouted. "Bad manners, but I'll dance with him anyway."

Keisha bit back a laugh. "I think you'd better go save lover boy, Rose, before either Jackie or Bev gets hold of him. Take him home."

"Don't let them drive," Rose asked staring between her mother and her mum's friend. It was a contest in who was the more inebriated. "It was nice to see you again, Keish."

"Love ya babe," her friend said before waving her off.

Rose turned, leaving her capable friends to handle the drunks as she searched for the Doctor. He wasn't by the bar or on the dance-floor—although Jackie doing the pelvic thrust would remain in her brain forever—nor was he in the show room or the hall.

Rose was about to check outside when a noise stopped her. She could hear voices but saw nothing until she happened to glance down and caught sight of two pairs of feet peeking out under the hallway curtains.

With a curious frown, Rose stepped forward closely, listening intently.

"—but why ball bearings? Hmm? I mean edible staplers? Edible drawing pins? What's next?"

Rose sniggered as she heard the well-known 'lecture' voice of the Doctor.

"They do edible paper," said a confused and slightly drunk voice. "Put it on cakes to eat. And candles and…flowers made out of sugar."

"Sugar flowers!" The Doctor laughed. "Brilliant, you humans are brilliant!"


Rose couldn't take any more and pulled back the curtain to see a rather shame-faced Doctor holding a whisky flask with a dishevelled Darren.

Both men had wide-eyed stares as their sanctuary was invaded.

"Everything all right?" Rose inquired solicitously.

"Yes, yes, yep!" the Doctor popped his 'p' and grinned. "I was just sharing a moment with Darren here, who, like myself, has had to hide from women with, frankly, nefarious intentions."

Her lips twitched. "Nefarious?"

"Neff-fariu—furi—Fairies!" Darren nodded drunkenly. "Wanted to kiss us and dance with us. With their big moustaches and arms and grabby hands."

"Ri-ight," Rose said, trying desperately not to laugh out loud at their earnest expressions. "Well, I won't let them."

"Rose'll save us," The Doctor nodded enthusiastically, full faith in her ability to hold off nefarious fairies. "Good at that, she is."

"But I'm still not allowed to kiss her?" Darren pouted and the Doctor put his finger to his lips, shushing the boy.

"Why not?" Rose asked, puzzled.

"Promised," Darren replied, pointing absently at the Doctor. "Promised him. No Rose-kissage."

"Ok-aaay," she hedged, looking askance at the Doctor who was giving her his best "totally innocent therefore so very, very guilty" face.

"We can go, Shareen and Keisha are holding off the drunken parents, okay? So we can leave. I just need to nip to the ladies." She pointed to the rest-room and smiled curiously at the two men before leaving.

The Doctor turned to face Darren. "It was nice to eat you—meet you, Darren."

"You too, Doctor," Darren took two attempts to find the Doctor's hand with his bleary eyes but eventually gave it a manly shake.

"There you are!" A squawk made both men jump and a maidenly aunt with astoundingly pronounced facial hair suddenly appeared.

"Ack!" Darren squeaked and rapidly vanished back behind the curtain, leaving the Doctor to the tender mercies of Aunt Mabel.

She frowned and peered myopically at the Doctor. "Where's Darrie-poos? I swear I saw him."

"Ye-es," the Doctor hedged loyally. "He, uh, had to leave unexpectedly for a trip to Rhodesia. Kids today, ey!. Always off out; speaking of which I must dash myself. Got places to do and people to go. Or is it people to go, places to do, you know I never understood…" he trailed off at her hungry look and gulped. "Still, must go."

"And leave Auntie Mabel to dance by herself?" A thin, wiry hand more like a vice clamped around his wrist. "You wouldn't."

Rose turned off the tap and dried her hands, smoothing down her dress as she stared in the large mirror above the wash basin. Her hair really needed something doing to it, her roots were showing again.

Rose leaned forward to inspect them when the door crashed open and then slammed shut behind the Doctor. He leaned against it in an attempt to barricade the entrance.

"Oi!" Rose yelped indignantly. "Ladies bathroom!"

"Yes and I officially don't care!" The Doctor glanced around quickly. "But it is nice in here. I always wondered how different ladies bathrooms were to gents and if this is anything to go by they are—"

Rose dropped her hands to her hips and glared at him. "Hello, what are you doing in here?"

He bounded away from the door and headed for the windows, tugging on the hinges and poking at the painted wood. "It's stuck."

Rose followed him with her eyes trying to fathom his behaviour, which was erratic at the best of times. "Have you insulted the bouncer again?"


"The cook?"

"No." He yanked at the window frame.

"My mother?"

"Possibly." He bit his lip absorbedly. "They've painted it shut." His eyes lit up as he came to a revelation and dipped his hands into his pocket to draw out the sonic screwdriver, aiming it at the window.

Rose grabbed his wrist. "Okay, before we start resonating paintwork; why are we climbing out of the window instead of using the perfectly serviceable front door?"

"Rose," he said intently, "there is a creature out there even scarier than the Daleks, even more relentless than the Slitheen and even more heartless than the Cybermen."

Rose's eyes widened. "God, what is it?"

"Auntie Mabel."

She gaped disbelievingly. "What?"

"Auntie Mabel, five foot six, skinny as a rake and determined to kiss and suck the life out of me."

Rose folded her arms across her chest, glaring at him incredulously. "Oncoming Storm my arse! You big chicken."

"The bravery of poultry is vastly underrated," he said with some asperity, "besides, Auntie Mabel has a moustache."

Rose visibly shuddered. "All right. I'll check to make sure the coast is clear, shall I?"

"No!" the Doctor grabbed her wrist. "If she sees you she'll know we haven't emigrated to Australia, like I said."

That made no sense, even to her.

"Are you drunk?" Rose demanded. "Or just insane."

That made him pause slightly. "Both, I think."

"Well, sober up. I know you can."

Rose waited for him to take a deep breath, close his eyes and assimilate the alcohol into his system—a handy Time Lord trick.

When he opened his eyes again they were clear.

"Welcome back," she said with fond annoyance evident in her voice.

He scratched the back of his head in embarrassment. "I don't suppose I can convince you that I can't remember anything?"



"So, can we go now?"

He gestured to the door. "Only if she's not out there. I don't particularly want to be kissed sober either, thanks." He inclined his head and thought for a second. "At least not by Auntie Mabel."

Muttering derogatory things about his masculinity and bravery, as well as his parentage and flying skills, Rose peered out of the ladies room. In between the crack of the door she could see Darren's Auntie Mabel standing in the hallway pulling curtains aside with a psychotic intensity.

"Still out there," Rose chirped and the Doctor folded his arms and perched against the basin.

"Well, I'm staying in here then."

"Fine," Rose shrugged and pulled out her purse, re-doing her lipstick in the mirror by the Doctor.

He moved in closer, once again showing that he had no concept of personal space when it came to Rose Tyler. "Where does it go?"


"The lipstick?" He motioned to his mouth. "Sarah-Jane was always reapplying her lipstick and I can't tell you how many rolls Dodo went though. Even Tegan made me stop at Boots in 2312. What's the point when it just fades away? Why not just paint them permanently?"

Rose shook her head at him. "Right, so I wear shimmering pink when I'm in a blue dress? Or deep red when I'm wearing green, then? You mix and match for your outfit. As for where it goes," she wrinkled her nose, "I dunno. It just wears off. Air, talking, eating, kissing."

His eyes narrowed. "Have you been kissing?"

"Oh no!" she said with her hand on her chest in a dramatic fashion. "Apparently you've told 'em they're not allowed."

The Doctor rubbed at his ear again. "Darren was…ooh, look shiny." He pointed to the floor as a very bad distraction technique and Rose grinned.

"You are such an idiot, and no I haven't been kissing, but I have been talking to my friends and having a drink. Probably got most of my lippie on the wine glass."

Rose finished applying her lipstick and started to play with her hair, pulling strands down to curl around her face while the Doctor looked on fascinated. She knocked her earring and it slid out, tumbling to the floor.

She tutted in annoyance and crouched just as the Doctor shifted his position against the basin. As he moved, the tendrils of hair she'd been playing with got caught in the buttons of his jacket.

"Ow!" Rose squealed as her hair pulled, feeling like it was being yanked out by the handful.

The Doctor felt something tug at his lower jacket and saw one of Rose's thick long strands of hair curled around his button. She was on her knees in front of him, in a very awkward position. In fact, if she just leaned forward a little more and…

He closed his eyes and swallowed. i Oh, Rassilon's knickers. Stop thinking that, just stop or she's going to notice! /i

"Doctor!" she moaned plaintively as he shifted and caused the hair to pull, and the sound shot straight to his groin.

She inclined her head closer to his legs to try to ease the tangle which dragged her closer to the very part of his anatomy that he didn't want her to notice. The feel of her hot breath against his thigh as she reached up to fiddle with his buttons made him curse.

"Don't move," he muttered, eyes closed to keep a tight reign on his impulses which were growing alarmingly less than pure.

"My hair's stuck!" Rose complained, nose nudging against his leg in her attempt to get to her knees. Her tiny touch was enough to inflame him and, coupled with his overactive imagination, which had them rolling around the bathroom floor in complete abandon, he reached out to steady her shoulders, feeling a little dizzy himself.

"One. Second," he said in a strained voice and Rose stilled, wondering if she was hurting him in some way.

He licked his lips and counted backwards from 30 in Russian…and then Gaelic and any other language he could think of. He knew close to a billion and had hardly worked his way from Aa'lesic to Arcadian before Rose grew impatient.

"Hello, still here," she reminded him shortly and tapped his thigh, heaving a huge sigh; thus undoing all of his hard work in one hot breath of air.

He groaned out loud and cursed as the sound echoed. He frantically looked down to see if Rose had noticed his lapse.

Rose's head shot up at the uncensored noise and she inhaled deeply as their eyes met and connected, before his drifted down to her plump, red-coated lips.

"Rose," he breathed and she swallowed.


His hand drifted from her shoulder to curl around her nape, fingers tickling her hair away from the back of her neck, dancing along the edge of her spine.

Rose shuddered as irritation converted into desire with a swift slide through incredulity. He couldn't want her. Could he?

His dark eyes and intense gaze assured that he both could and did and he gently detangled her hair from his coat button, not once dropping his gaze.

One hand drifted across her shoulder and dipped under her strap, slowly sliding the red ribbon down.

What would have happened next is anyone's guess as the bathroom door slammed open and Rose spun around in horror.

Shareen took in the tableau with a raised eyebrow; Rose on her knees in front of the Doctor who looked hot, aroused, ruffled and totally annoyed at being interrupted.

There was evidence of…uh…interrupted attentions and the Doctor adjusted himself to cover the proof that they were indeed "like that".

Rose flushed, beyond mortified and hastily got to her feet, dusting off her dress. "I dropped my earring and my hair got tangled in his button."

"Uh huh." Shareen's voice was full of disbelief. "Sure."

"I did!" Rose insisted adamantly.

"And he's in here because?"

"I was hiding from Auntie Mabel," the Doctor confessed, unable to look Rose's grinning friend in the face, ashamed at his lack of self control.

"Auntie Mabel who's been dancing with Mad Uncle Hamish for the last five minutes?"

"Oh, she's gone, good. Great, fantastic. Nice to meet you, but we have to go and…just go, really. Rose?" The Doctor exhaled and made towards the door, unable to look directly at Rose either.

Rose bit her lip nervously and Shareen laughed. "Come on, love, it could have been worse. It could have been Jackie who caught you."

Like she already had twice today.

"We weren't doing anything," the Doctor maintained.

"Of course," Shareen leered. "Word to the wise though, Doctor. That 'nothing' you were doing, doesn't like having her head pulled when she's—"

"What?" the Doctor said dangerously and Shareen merely shrugged innocently.


"Give it up, Shar," Rose rolled her eyes as she stormed by her friend.

"Thought that's what you were doing Rosie T." Shareen laughed as Rose glared. "Gee, Rose, when I said go for it, I thought you'd at least wait until you got home."

There was nothing to say to that as Rose and the Doctor, with matching blushes, made their way out of the ladies room.

Rose dropped her keys on the table and flumped onto the sofa, covering her face with her hands.

The Doctor sauntered in, looking everywhere but at Rose. The long walk home had been all but silent, both parties wrapped up in their own behaviour and that of the other, minds entangled in the whys and wherefores, and a whole load of what-ifs.

Her wondering what he was thinking and him wondering how Shareen knew Rose didn't like to have her head pulled when giving...uh, just how did she know anyway?

Rose groaned out loud and the Doctor cleared his throat. "All right, Rose?"

"No." She shot him a furious look.

"What did I do?" He spread his hands out in all innocence.

"Mum thinks we're getting it on, Bev thinks you're a pervert, all my friends think we're together. I'm starving, my feet hurt and we're going to have to wait here until mum gets back to make sure she doesn't end up sleeping in the gutter. Again." She folded her arms petulantly. "I knew it'd be a disaster."

The Doctor eyed her for a long moment and then crouched down. "I had fun."

She gave him a look of patent disbelief and stuck out her tongue. "Right, course you did. Highlight of the year for you, I'm sure."

"Oh, I don't know." A small smile played around his lips and he reached for her feet, pulling them into his lap and undoing the dainty straps. "Maybe we didn't topple the government or end up running for our lives—"

"In these shoes?" Rose snorted. "I'd have broken my neck."

He grinned. "Still, I got to see you in a dress."

Rose glanced down at her posh frock. "You see me in tons of dresses."

He licked his lip, giving her a slow once over. "I like this one. I got to see twenty abuses of traffic laws and you don't usually get that outside of police shows."

Rose stifled a grin as he started to rub her aching feet.

"I got to watch two humans plan to love each other for the rest of their lives, I ate cake with edible ball bearings and that's pretty brilliant. I insulted Jackie and might live to tell the tale. I made a friend behind a curtain and only Dorothy has been able to say that before. I've never been in a girl's bathroom before and I got to walk home the most beautiful woman at the party. As parties with me go, no one died, got eaten or blown apart, so it was a pretty good evening."

Rose smiled. "Yeah?"

"I'm also extremely grateful not to have to drive home with Blind Bev."

"Of course."

"And the foot rub?" She gestured to his masterful hands as they slid over her instep.

"A distinct bonus."

She sighed, leaning her head back in appreciation of the pleasure his hands were delivering. "Better stop soon or when mum comes in she'll think we're, I dunno, up to some weird alien sexual practice."

"Well, she's already given me ideas about the sonic screwdriver." He waggled his eyebrows and Rose hit him with the cushion.


"Them's fightin' words!" he announced in a bad American accent and picked up the other cushion. Rose squeaked and ducked her head as it flew towards her head.

The Doctor laughed in triumph as it came in contact, thwacking her about the head with a soft thud and an annoyed yelp from Rose.

"You are so in for it," she warned and a furious pillow fight ensued amidst squeals and threats.

Unfortunately for the Doctor, pillow fights hadn't been in the Time Lord training syllabus and Rose emerged as the obvious victor, crawling onto his lap and hitting him on the head with her cushion. The Doctor tried to shield his head but Rose gave no mercy, calling for him to yield.

The Doctor, by nature a survivor, saw the futility of his position, unable to fight back due to all the lovely flesh sliding over his and totally distracting him.

He grabbed for her waist and felt the warm skin through her soft dress and his senses went on full 'Rose' alert; his hearts racing, pulse galloping and breathing quickening.

He decided that it was in his best interest to merely surrender and called loudly. "Ok, ok, I give in. This is me surrendering, I surrender. Rose Tyler; unparalleled Cushion Queen."

"Princess of the pillow?" She giggled.

"Sultan of the Sofa," he acknowledged and stared up at the beautifully flushed woman in his lap. "Goddess of the gilded tassels."

His thumbs stroked her inner waist and she licked her lip.

"So as the winner, I get what I want, right? To the victor go the spoils and all that?"

He reached up and stroked one strand of hair away from her face, tucking it behind her ear tenderly.

"Those are the rules," he said huskily. "So, Rose Tyler, that begs the question. What do you want?"

Those words spoken in that tone made her skin prickle in heat, burning like she was standing on the sun. Tendrils of warmth skittered across her body as his thumbs circled again, rubbing tiny circles on her suddenly so sensitive skin.

Their eyes met and held, locked in a timeless stare that drew them into each other with a powerful magnetism that they were helpless to resist.

Rose swallowed and ducked her head slightly, asking—begging—for him to take things to the next step.

The Doctor lifted his head, drawing his hands from her hips to slide up her back, arching her spine to come closer to his body, pressing her chest against his and pulling her head down to meet him in one final, desperate—

"—so that was nil points for the Dutch team and now for a word from the man in charge."

The Doctor and Rose jumped apart and Rose turned to look over her shoulder to where the television had miraculously come to life.

The Doctor shifted slightly and pulled the remote out from underneath him with an incredulous and somewhat sheepish smile. "Oops."

Rose laughed, the inanity of the television show breaking the tension that had held her in its thrall.

"Mum must have dropped it there; we were always losing the remote down the back of the sofa."

He dropped the remote control on the table by the side of the sofa and scratched the back of his neck. "Right."

Embarrassed beyond reason, Rose started to move but one hand was still holding her tightly and she cleared her throat.

"Uh, Doctor?"

The Doctor wasn't listening, his mind was awhirl. For so many centuries he refused to get involved romantically with his companions, knowing that it wasn't fair on them, on him. He'd move on and they'd either die or get left behind. But with Rose he didn't care. He'd rather have stolen moments with her now than regrets in a hundred years. He loved her, it was so alarmingly simple and it appeared that she wanted the same, in which case it was ridiculous to hold back.

"Where were we?" he asked and Rose all but gaped at his casual acceptance of the change to their relationship.

She shrugged uncertainly and he reached for his tie, the bow a casualty of their pillow fight. He pulled the black material away from his throat but was stopped by Rose.

"Let me, yeah?"

She pushed his hands away and slid her fingertips under the black silk, sliding the knot down and away, letting the ends trail free. Her hands drifted along his collar, wrapping around the back of his neck to pull the object from its place. She curled her little finger in the kiss curls at his nape and bit her lip.

He smiled. "Is this okay?"


He reached out and took hold of her chin, pulling her face to his and brushing his lips against hers in a gentle caress that sent shudders of infinite pleasure down her spine.
A gentle sigh on Rose's part was enough encouragement for him to sweep in, exploring the corners of her mouth which he had denied himself for so long, savouring the sweet honey and cherry taste that was Rose.

He pulled away slightly and looked her in the eye. "Still okay?"

"Not if you stop again," she breathed and tugged his head back to hers, fingers clenched in his thick locks.

He yanked her closer and fulfilled her wish by attempting to devour her, his mouth hot and insistent.

Rose dug her nails into his tuxedo jacket and she wrenched at the shoulders, wanting to feel the body that was always so carefully hidden beneath layers of clothes and emotional armour. The Doctor was happy to oblige and shucked off the offending item of clothing, unwilling to break the kiss between him and the object of his desire. His hands drifted higher and lower, caressing curves and touching places that had been off limits for so long, too long.

He trailed along her jaw and down her collar bone with his mouth, his oral fixation kicking in and demanding equal time to touch and taste and fell Rose. He nibbled at her jaw and licked her collar, scraping his teeth against bone and sucking at her pulse point. Rose threw her head back with a muffled moan and arched into him eliciting a deep groan from the Doctor.

It was only the presence of another noise that dragged him away from his Rose induced stupor.

It was Jackie standing in the doorway, trying to find the table with bleary eyes.

"Wassat?" she drawled and Rose sprung back, eyes frantically looking for an escape route.

"Wh—what's what?" The Doctor managed on the second try, his throat too dry.

He thought that he was dead. Jackie would kill him very, very slowly with a kitchen whisk and a sieve…or possibly quicker if he didn't remove his hands from inside her daughters dress.

But, for once, Jackie was staring at something other than the young couple. Her drunken eyes were glued to the screen that the amorous twosome had managed to shut out. She blinked once and wrinkled her nose.

"Are you really watching that rubbish?"

The Doctor glanced over her shoulder to see what was on the T.V. "It's either this or Big Brother," he cleared his throat. "They cancelled our favourite show for the Eurovision song contest."

Realising that her mother was far too interested in the fact that France was ahead by three points, Rose tried to use her distraction to her benefit by attempting to surreptitiously slide off the Doctor's lap.

But the 'mother' radar was working and Jackie's eagle—if bloodshot—eyes rounded on her daughter.


Rose dropped into the seat next to the Doctor.

"So, what's the excuse this time?" Jackie demanded, hands on her hips—with the second try at least. "Sore throat? Needed Time Lord tongue remedy? Rose has a bruise on her chest—bra strap needed fixing? What?"

The Doctor tugged at his ear. "Actually. I pretty much just wanted to snog her."

Rose and Jackie's jaws dropped in unison.

The Doctor hid a grin at the twin looks of disbelief. "And now, if you'll excuse us."

He got to his feet and grabbed Rose's hand, dragging her towards the door. "Lovely bash, Jackie. Thanks to Bev for not killing us, we'll see you when the hangover's worn off. Bye!"

Rose was towed out of the flat and down the stairs, the Doctor not letting go of her hand until they were back on the ground floor and striding across the quad towards the TARDIS.

He glanced over his shoulder with a grin. "Think she's still standing there?"

Rose chuckled. "Well, I'm gob-smacked. Where we off to?"

"The TARDIS," he explained, sliding the key into the lock. "I spent five agonising hours trapped with your friends and forced to do unspeakable things; riding with maniacs and hiding behind curtains being only two. I think you should return the favour. So you get locked in my room for at least five hours, it's only fair."

"And the unspeakable things?" Rose blushed as he tilted his head towards her with a wolfish grin before closing the door behind them, trapping her.

"Let's just say, your mother would definitely not approve."

But Rose did. Very much.