Title: Fashionable Chitons and History Lessons
Author: Lady Yueh
Disclaimer: I don't even think I own the knowledge I paid to learn in my history classes. Isn't that more like public property? Either way, Doctor Who is not my property by any definition. Neither are lots other media contained within.
Author's Notes: This is a response for the AnyWhere But Cardiff Fication at Time & Chips. Erm...it's somewhat fluffish and I hope I conveyed my love of history because it took our dynamic duo forever to get out of the TARDIS! The prompt was: Macedonia and/or Asia Minor during the reign of Alexander the Great / 336-323 BC
This is one of the reasons I've been M.I.A for awhile. But I'll get to finish up other fics. I hope.
Please comment. Reviews are love.
The Doctor was not pleased.
Rose could tell.
He was fidgeting and making faces that consisted of frowns and wrinkled noses (as if he'd had a whiff of her mum's cooking. Actually, even the thought of her mum…). And was his eye twitching?
Frankly, she was surprised he wasn't enumerating the ways in which he was not happy. At length and with much griping.
It was comforting, sort of, to realize that some things do stay the same despite regeneration.
Of course, that meant that he'd always been a whinger. Nine hundred years old and he still grumbled like a pouting child. Talk about universal constants.
She was impressed that it only took him an hour to start complaining. That took more will power than she'd thought him capable of. Then again, facing Jackie Tyler, willingly, took some serious strength of character.
"Why are we watching this?"
Rose's smile was pure mischief. "You're watching it 'cause you agreed to do whatever I wanted. I'm watching it for the Farrell Factor."
The Doctor cried out in protest, "I thought you meant Will Farrell! Or Mark Farrell! Not…what kind of name is Colin anyway? Derived from Gaelic, you know. Means "whelp"; honestly, "whelp"! And this film, completely full of historical inaccuracies; utterly misleading and over-dramatic. What was Oliver Stone thinking? It's like he tried to weave a tapestry with different threads but just got tangled up. Any oblivious person going in to watch would be completely lost!"
Rose had to swallow her laughter. "So then he's like a contradiction or it's ironic right? I mean, Colin may mean whelp but the man is obviously…" the sentence trailed off suggestively as she gave a lusty sigh.
The Doctor frowned in displeasure.
"But but look at his acting! He's all weepy and emo; and he obviously has some issues with his mother. Freud would have a field day. Good old Alex was not weepy and emo. Smart as a whip, ambitious and determined; had to be, in his line of work. That's it! I won't allow you to go through life with such an erroneous impression of Alexander the Great! Rose, we're going to Macedonia!"
Rose threw an arm over her face and groaned dramatically. "Here we go again."
"What are you talking about?" The Doctor questioned, somewhat affronted.
Rose sighed and looked at him seriously. "S'like, remember when I was watching Troy? I was happy just watching but you had to come in and start in on how it was a travesty, that you couldn't "believe they would tarnish such classic brilliance!" So, you had to take us to Troy. Only you made a mess of that and we landed in the middle of The Battle of Marathon!"
"That film was a joke," The Doctor asserted.
Rose glared. "That film had Brad Pitt in it! And Orlando Bloom! Eric Bana! Sean Bean! Showin' off their legs! I wasn't watchin' for historical or literary purposes!"
"And The Battle of Marathon was a very important battle in human history." The Doctor, choosing to ignore Rose's statement, continued his train of thought. He refused to lower himself by making petty comments about second rate fluff actors. However true they may be.
Rose snorted, "S'not like it was the first time, either! What about when I wanted to watch Rome and you criticized their portrayal of Cleopatra as "an affront to history". Honestly, it's entertainment! Fiction."
She shook her head. "Makes me glad I haven't watched Gladiator with you."
"Rose," The Doctor looked and sounded wounded. "I love Gladiator! Russell Crowe was brilliant! And the score--that was pure genius!"
Rose's expression fell somewhere between exasperated and fond.
"Does this mean we're not going to see Alexander?"
Crap. He was using the Puppy Dog Eyes. Those, in conjunction with The Pout, had brought women to their knees, sent hearts racing and fluids pumping.
They were irresistible. And he knew it too, the bastard.
"We'll go see Alexander after we finish watching Alexander, savvy?"
The Pout made its debut.
"Fine. As long as you stop stealing lines. You could get sued for that, you know!"
"I am disinclined to acquiesce to your request."
Rose had immediately made her way to the TARDIS wardrobe after the film.
He knew this because she forced him to sit through it with her. All three hours, forty minutes and twenty seconds. Being a Time Lord, and thus hypersensitive to Time, had never been more painful. Which might be a bit of an exaggeration. Teensy-weensie. Itty bitty. Kinda sorta. Ish.
Though, to be fair, he'd forced himself into a meditative state just after she'd agreed to go to Macedonia. Any more of that drivel and he'd do himself bodily harm. Which was out of the question. He couldn't afford to lose an iota of foxiness. That is, he'd only just regenerated. It'd be bad form to become disfigured or handicapped mere weeks after receiving his tenth body. And at his own hands no less!
"What do you think?" Rose's voice shook him from his branch of thought and from the absentminded tinkering he'd taken up knowing she'd be ages in the wardrobe.
He looked up, ready to deliver a remark about women and clothing. It got a bit lost; somewhere between his brain and his tongue.
But, to be absolutely clear, his breath did not catch, stop, or become in any way impeded by the sight of her. It was physiologically impossible. Really. Eyes did not widen much less wander and blood was not pumped, heated or rushed above normal expectations. Not at all.
And Rose Marion Tyler most certainly could not wear that.
At least not outside the TARDIS.
The cotton chiton fell in graceful waves, merely hinting at the shapely figure it covered. Its vibrant, scarlet colour only served to highlight the glow of her skin as the top, fastened by gold brooches at each shoulder, left her neck bare and displayed the delicate skin of her throat. She'd curled her hair and adorned it with small but intricately designed combs. She'd foregone any other jewelry, but its absence did not, by any means, diminish or lessen her appeal.
He could only imagine, with dread, the masses of males who would follow her with their eyes. Not to mention, question her parentage, availability and dowry. And Rose, being a product of her time, would brazenly cut a large swathe of admirers and would-be suitors without even trying. It was in her nature to be flirtatious. That meant he would, at best, have to play the mediator slash guardian. Worst case scenario, Rose would have a permanent following which he'd be forced to deny entrance into the TARDIS. Rose would pout, he'd fold and they'd have dozens of Greek pretty-boys cluttering the halls of his TARDIS.
No, better to nip the impending problem in the proverbial bud.
It was no wonder that the first and only word he could articulate was, "No."
Loudly and vehemently.
"Is it…wrong?" she questioned with an endearing expression of startled confusion as she pulled at the cloth. It only served to emphasize the lush curve of her hip and the enticing length of her thigh. Which he was not thinking about. Really.
"It's fetching! Really brings out your um…pinkness," he babbled quickly in an effort to reassure her.
Rose quirked an eyebrow and curved her generous lips in an indulgent smile at his antics.
"Then, why can't I wear it?"
"Weeeelllllll," he stretched out the mono-syllabic word to an astonishing extent. "Only the wealthiest of women would sport dyed cloth and lets not even go into all the gold!"
How was it that she made furrowed eyebrows look attractive? That was just unfair!
"So, it's too much?" she questioned.
He nodded enthusiastically, "Women of the highest rank were almost entirely confined to their homes. They were wholly under the thumbs of their male relatives. Their only freedoms came from their religious duties The lower class women had to work in order to support their families. Ironically, they had more freedoms than their more privileged counterparts."
Rose sighed, somewhat frustrated. "Then what am I supposed to dress in? This took ages to put together."
She turned plaintive hazel eyes towards him, practically begging him to help.
He assumed an appearance of deep and careful consideration before nodding crisply, taking her hand and pulling her back to the wardrobe.
It wouldn't do to surrender too soon or she'd walk all over him.
Rose watched with ill concealed amusement as The Doctor rummaged through one of the many wooden chests that littered the TARDIS wardrobe.
Usually, she only ventured into the wardrobe when she had hours to spare. The sheer amount and variety of clothing was rather daunting. When she did want something more period she'd trust the TARDIS to pick something out and set it next to the changing area.
Which is how she'd come to be in her current attire. She'd had considerable choices to pick from, some so heavy and complex with jewelry and accoutrements that she'd immediately tossed them aside.
She had rather liked the fit and drape of the crimson outfit but she'd rather not have to act like some shy and browbeaten woman who believed she shouldn't be seen or heard.
She gave a squeak of surprise and shock as cloth hit her face. "Oi! Watch the hair!"
He answered her indignation with a cheeky grin. "Just switch the scarlet chiton for that and we should be in business."
She held up the chiton and found that it was almost identical to what she was wearing only it was an unassuming cream colour. It would be perfect for blending in.
"Quickly now! History doesn't wait for costume changes!" He called as he strode out of the room.
"Better?" Rose called as she re-entered the console room.
"Perfect," he affirmed with the most swift of glances.
"Right then! Where and when are we?"
Her only answer was an enigmatic grin.
Her rejoinder consisted of an expectant expression.
Impassive, he refused to meet her eyes.
She softened, now pleading. He couldn't see it but he could definitely feel the look.
He wondered why he even tried.
His question was answered by the brilliant grin she was sporting as soon as she saw him give.
He turned to the TARDIS doors and made a motion with his hands. "Outside these doors, the year is 336 BCE in the city of Aegae. Aegae is the capital of the kingdom of Macedon, Macedonia to you, and we're here for a wedding!"
"A wedding? Who's getting married? Alexander?" She questioned promptly with evident excitement as they exited the TARDIS.
The festivities were in full swing and they were engulfed by the crowd of merry people in the streets.
"We're going to see Alexander the Great get married!" Her statement was full of glee.
The Doctor looked sheepish.
"What? But you just you just said Alexander!"
"Weeeelllllll," he began reluctantly. "The wedding already happened so we're really just here for a party and then we can go and see Alex. Plusthisisn'tAlexandertheGreat'swedding."
Rose, with expert skills, deciphered his high speed babble.
Frowning, but not particularly angry, she queried, "Then whose wedding is it?"
"This is in celebration of the union between Alexander of Epirus and Cleopatra," The Doctor explained.
"Cleopatra?" Rose was baffled.
The Doctor made a face. "There was more than one Cleopatra in history," he lectured.
She steadied herself for the long speech she knew was coming.
"Cleopatra VII, Caesar and Antony's Cleopatra won't be born for awhile yet, almost three hundred years. She's of Macedonian descent, you know. This Cleopatra is Alexander's sister. The Great's, that is, not the one she's marrying. Not that it's much better, she's his niece," he added casually.
"Seriously?!" she interjected.
He nodded before continuing, "Yep. He's her mum's brother. Speaking of her mum, she's not particularly pleased at this point in time."
Rose took the hint. "Why's that?"
"Philip remarried about a year ago. Nice girl named Cleopatra," he added.
"Do they not have many names? Seems Cleopatra's getting a bit overused," Rose teased.
"Philip renamed her Cleopatra Eurydice. So she's pretty much known as Eurydice. Though, that was his mother's name as well," The Doctor carried on.
"He renamed her!" Rose cried out. "Like like a pet or something? How can you rename someone?"
"Well, it's not like he hadn't done it before. Olympias, Alexander's mother, was originally named Myrtale. In fact, you could say this whole wedding is to appease her."
Rose had been ignoring her surroundings in favor of The Doctor's impromptu history lesson. With good reason. He made this stuff sound more sordid than Eastenders.
"Wait. Stop. Now you have to tell me this in order. How's this wedding for Olympias?" Rose's curiosity was overwhelming.
The Doctor, delighted at her interest, began his narrative with glee. "Remember, in the film, at Philip's wedding banquet he exiles Alexander?"
Rose nodded and he continued. "Well, that really happened. Olympias was furious when Philip married Eurydice-"
"How many wives did the bloke have?" Rose interrupted.
"What? One for every day of the week?" Rose questioned, unimpressed.
"Humans," The Doctor muttered. "Stop interrupting. Now, Olympias was angry because Eurydice's family started going on about getting a pure Macedonian on the throne. Olympias started claiming that Alexander was the son of Zeus. Philip was livid. He divorced Olympias, pronounced Alexander to be illegitimate and decided to make proper Macedonian babies with Eurydice. They had Europa and Caranus. Now, Olympias and Alexander went to Epirus to stay with her brother Alexander. There were words, Philip offered his daughter Cleopatra to Alexander of Epirus and here we are!"
"Huh. Forget Rome, they need to make a series out of this lot," Rose chuckled.
"Sure do. And that's only a bit of it. Very condensed version. Come on. This way to the theatre." He took her hand and started leading her up a street.
"We going to see a show?" Rose murmured.
"Not exactly," The Doctor hedged.
"Wait," Rose said to herself. "The theatre? Isn't that…we're going to see Philip--" The Doctor hushed her with a look.
They were stopped at one of the entrances. A big man, with a sword who stared at Rose for longer than The Doctor was comfortable with.
"And you are?"
The Doctor flipped his psychic paper in one practiced motion, "I'm The Doctor. This is Rose."
"Diplomat from Corinth eh? Well, hurry up an find yourselves a spot. King Philip is due to arrive at any moment. I doubt he would approve of stragglers interrupting his ceremony." With that, he ignored them and continued his watch at the entrance.
"Time to see Alexander," The Doctor whispered to his companion.
"Bout time," she mumbled.
They found somewhere to sit with a decent view. The wine was flowing freely and they both accepted when it was offered. In an effort to blend in, of course.
"So, who's who? And I thought we were gonna meet the guy. Not watch him from stadium seats."
The Doctor huffed. "Well there's Cleopatra Eurydice. Olympias is the one glaring at the poor girl. Erm…that's Alexander."
Rose eagerly followed his finger to the man who would come to be known as Alexander the Great.
"Wow. He's so young," she whispered lowly. The weight of what was about to happen hit her heavily. This wasn't a movie. That guy wasn't Colin Farrell. He looked like someone she might meet at a club back home. And he was going to become a great conqueror. He'd fought in wars and would fight in many more.
"He's your age." The Doctor informed her.
Shouts and screams came from outside the theatre.
"And now he's king," Rose turned to him to see if he would refute her statement.
The Doctor nodded, acknowledging the veracity of her words.
"TARDIS?" He suggested in the face of her unusual silence.
She nodded solemnly and took his hand.