Chapter Five: Blue

Disclaimer: I don't own the series, the characters, or a 'What-the-heck-are-TPTB-doing' backspace button. Piffle. Could use one of those.

Author's Note: Inspired by being up too late, my mom's day off, and my brother asking 'We have orange juice?' when it had been in the fridge for a week. (I got Season Three for my birthday, by the way, meaning that I had to finally cave and agree to watch the Season Two finale episodes. Heartbreak… In an unrelated aside, throwing soap at the shower walls in a temper tantrum is both satisfying and not messy.)

ON WITH THE SHOW!

Rose was halfway through breakfast when she realized that the Doctor hadn't made an appearance yet. And this was odd. Not that he was a morning person—as they didn't technically have mornings on board the Tardis and Rose's internal clock had been knocked askew ages ago—but he usually at least dug himself out of whatever he'd been doing to keep himself amused to wish her good morning and cadge at least half of her breakfast.

But today she hadn't seen him. She had swung by the console room to look for him (and ask if he was planning on stealing half her bacon so that she could make enough for them both) when she'd first gotten up, but there weren't even random spare parts lying scattered on the floor. She had found a sweater of hers that she'd forgotten she'd left there and forgotten about, along with one odd shoe. (So she left her things all over the place. So what? If he minded, he'd have either been sarcastic and rude about it, or collected everything up and dumped it at her bedroom door.)

She was wearing the sweater, but she'd left the shoe, since it would be daft to walk around inside with one shoe. Not as daft as it would be to walk around outside with one shoe, but…oh well.

Where was he, anyway? Come to think of it, he hadn't come by to talk to her last 'night' either, and it wasn't at all unusual for him to sit at her bedside watching her, half dozing himself, while she slept. Rose was vaguely aware that this would creep most sane people out, but she loved knowing he was there with her, and on a more practical note, it stopped him from finding new and imaginative ways to stave off boredom, such as letting sixty-seven rubber bouncy balls loose, or drawing on the ceiling. Or breaking things just so he could fix them, which she'd never actually caught him at but suspected him of.

Almost concerned now, Rose dumped her plate in the sink (they both believed in the deal-with-it-later school of dishwashing, so nobody would mind) and set off to check most of their usual haunts, snagging that stray shoe along the way and chucking it back into her room in passing (deal-with-it-later again).

She knew he wasn't in the console room, and that he hadn't ended up there while she was eating, because she couldn't hear the inevitable crashes, bangs, and cracks that usually culminated in a shout of 'I really think I know what I did wrong this time!' She snooped around the various libraries and dens for a while, and spent a few minutes looking for the swimming pool before remembering that he'd sealed it off weeks ago, saying that he was going to get around to fixing it sometime this century. Apparently it leaked. The general wardrobe (singular in the sense that all the rooms and chambers and things were connected, but extensive in the sense that there were rooms and chambers and things) was always fun to explore, and she made a note to ask him if he'd ever actually worn some of this stuff once she found him.

Of course, if he was somewhere in the deep depths of the Tardis, looking for something obscure or just off on a wander, she'd never be able to find him.

Rose poked her head back into the kitchen just in case, but nothing had changed apart from her breakfast dishes having vanished, courtesy of the Tardis. Heading back up a flight of spiral stairs, she considered risking the nearby rooms that Jack had labeled (literally—there were still signs on the doors) the Closets of Diabolical Crap, but, again, she couldn't hear any crashing. And those rooms were insane. One of them had eaten Mickey once. Not permanently, of course. He and the Doctor hadn't spoken to each other for a while after that, although in the Doctor's case it was more a matter of not being able to stop laughing for long enough to speak.

She was medium-sure he wasn't asleep. He didn't need to sleep as often as she did, and mostly waited until Rose was getting ready for bed to invite her to sleep in his room. Jackie would scream her head off and probably try to slap him again if she found out, but they sure weren't going to tell her (reckless, not stupid). And anyway, it wasn't like they were sleeping-sleeping together. It was just a nice, comfortable, between-close-friends sort of thing.

As a general rule (right up there with don't-wander-off, but more followed), any door that wasn't locked was OK to enter. Rose didn't really expect the Doctor's bedroom door to be locked, as he hadn't done that in ages, but she tested the doorknob tentatively anyway. It clicked open at her touch and she peered in.

"Doctor?" she hazarded, squinting through the half-light he'd left the room in. "You awake?"

"Yes. But I'm not getting up," he replied, muffled. It sounded vaguely like he either had a pillow over his head or was underneath several layers of blankets.

Now, that was odd. "Why not?"

"'m sulking."

Okay. Rose rolled her eyes and inquired, "About what?"

"Dunno. Just generally sulking. 'Bout pretty much anything."

Because that made sense, right. Considering he'd been his hyper-cheerful self just last night.

"Why?"

She heard him heave a sigh and was pretty sure she could see the bedcovers move if she tried. "Just because. I don't want to get up." Long fingers emerged from the tangle of sheets and gestured—excessively, she though as the lights dimmed further, because the Tardis regulated the lights pretty much telepathically.

Rose took the hint and closed the door.

"Guess everyone needs a day off," she said to herself, shrugging. "It's not like he can stay still for very long anyway. He'll get bored."

She killed the 'day'—between waking up and getting tired again—with nothing tasks, like calling her Mum for their longest chat in ages, painting her nails, and trying out the interesting set of dials, switches, and knobs in one of the random bathrooms, which was fun and made a big mess (often synonymous). By the time she got around to eating what might be called dinner (mostly scavenged out of the fridge, for although she was the only one in her mixed-up family who could cook, it was no fun without the Doctor getting underfoot) she was starting to get worried.

"I could have sworn he couldn't stay in one place for five minutes and then he goes and does something like this," she muttered, half to herself, half to the Tardis (who was always listening anyway). "Is he sick or something? How long is he planning to keep this up?"

'Tomorrow' came around and there was still no sign of the Doctor. Rose was starting to suspect (vaguely) that this was one of his odd little object lessons. 'See what I have to put up with every time you have to go off and sleep all the time? See? See how boring it is?'

He'd proven weirder points before, mostly because he was talking too fast for her to keep track of the argument, but this was just…well, weird.


The Doctor was, in fact, sulking. Not about anything in particular. Just because. He'd dozed off hours after Rose had gone to bed and woken up without a good reason to get out of bed. Nothing was broken, they weren't crashing, and no one was screaming. And Rose was still asleep, so he wouldn't have anyone to talk to even if he did get up. So he'd stayed in bed for a few more hours, and since doing nothing depressed him, he'd ended up depressed, which didn't help with the whole finding something to do bit. Vicious circle. Ta.

Somewhere along that circle he'd tossed Rose out of his room. Oops. He'd apologize in a way that didn't involve an actual apology per se once he'd gotten out of bed. Eventually, when he could be bothered.

From beneath his comfortable pile of blankets, he heard the door click open again. How long had it been? He hadn't been keeping track. Not long enough to think of a non-apologetic way to apologize, by any count. Not that he'd been, you know, thinking about it.

"Doctor…" Rose again. Of course. No one else on board since Mickey had left to be Ricky (see, he'd been right all along, of course, so there).

"Are you getting up yet?"

"No," he replied, somewhat grumpily. Nice, deep blue funk…

He could hear the resignation in her "Okay," but let it lie. He would get up, really he would. Just not right now. He heard the door latch again.

Wait a second…

SPLOOSH!

Yelping in surprise and indignation, the Doctor sat up in bed, dripping wet. "What the—" He stopped to spit water out of his mouth. "Rose!" he yowled pitifully, suddenly aware that he looked—and quite possibly sounded as well as smelled—like a drowned cat.

Rose had her hands set on her hips stubbornly, empty bucket still clenched in one. It would have been quite cute if it weren't for the fact that the empty bucket had been full, and was now empty only because he was soaking wet. "I know what you're like when you're left to sulk," she scolded him. "One day, maybe. Everyone get one bad day. Two days, no way."

Spluttering, he was still trying to put two and two together, adding Rose and dripping wet and coming up with Rose dumped a bucket of water over me! It just didn't connect. "I—you—I mean—what?"

It didn't help that she had a point. He turned really depressive when left on his own. It was part of the reason he invited people to travel with him in the first place.

The bucket-less hand came up off her hip to point at him sternly. He focused on the threatening finger so intently that he went briefly cross-eyed.

"Up," she ordered. "I'm not letting you just sulk around in here."

"You dumped water on me!" he finally came out with.

"Yes, I did," she replied calmly. Or as calmly as you can be when you're rousting someone out of bed with the help of a bucket of water.

A confession? What was he supposed to do with that? If she'd argued, denied it, he could have cunningly argued her around with obvious proof and evidence and logic and clever witty repartee, assuming he ever got his brain connected to his mouth again. As it was, all he could say was, "But…"

"Up," she repeated, smirking. That wasn't fair. The smirk was cuter than the stubbornness.

"Up?" Reduced to monosyllables. And sounding like an echo. And, oh yeah, sopping wet, too. Oh, this was shaping up just great.

"There, you see? Not that hard," she said, mock-congratulatory.

It was a stupid, stupid question, but he wasn't letting her have this one without a fight. "Or what?" he asked, despite the fact that his comfortable nest of blankets was completely soaked. Brain still not connected to mouth, see. Should really do something about that some time soon. Really soon.

"Or…you could sit there and drip," Rose pointed out, just as he ran a hand through his dripping hair reflexively, which only served to make his shirt even wetter. He considered wringing it out, but realized that this would involve either taking it off in front of his overly smug lady, or ending up with wet pants into the bargain, neither an appealing prospect. The former had some appeal, true, but not in the current situation.

She'd followed his train of thought. "In wet clothes and cold blankets. Well, I suppose you could move to somewhere dry. It's a big bed." She was reading his mind. How did she do that? "In that case, I'd dump this second bucket of really cold water all over you."

"You're kidding."

"Nope," she smirked. "Got it right here." He followed her nod to see that yes, there was another bucket at her feet. He couldn't attest to the temperature, of course, and wasn't about to find out (reckless not stupid again).

"And if you're still sulking, assuming you can find somewhere dry, I'll just have to go away…and come back with buckets of orange juice."

He gave her a stare he usually reserved for people with really stupid ideas, explosives, and fingers on the big red button. "I think I'm up. Wait, we have that much orange juice? I want orange juice. Not, you know," he hastily amended, "all over me."

Having achieved her objective, Rose could afford to be nice (and gloat a bit). "Well, I was just thinking about breakfast, so orange juice could be arranged. I can make pancakes—without burning anything—too, by the time you're out of the shower.

Shower sounded good. It meant more water, but at least it would be warm, and he could put on some dry clothes.

"We still have that syrup we picked up, too," he said happily, blue funk completely dispelled by the thought of food and dry clothes. "Good stuff, syrup. It doesn't go in buckets well. Now, that would be a mess…"

Rose winced as his voice was cut off by the bathroom door closing. Yes, it would be. Please, let him never get a chance to try that. We don't have that much syrup anyway…I hope.