Title: And Goodness Knows (2/3)
Pairing: 9/Rose. Ish.
Rating: G, possibly with bits of T for safety.
Word Count: 1,586
Spoilers: None to speak of, however, takes place before The Empty Child.
Disclaimer: I own Christopher. Until his lawyers find out. I've got David on backorder.
A/N: The author's note is that there is no author's note. That, and, I can't believe I'm doing this. I've been out of the fanfic business for quite some time. I guess I'm jumping back into it.

Summary: If his feelings were maybe a bit stronger for her than hers for him, it wasn't anyone's business but his.

"Why am I always running for my life?"

"Does it look like we're running?"

"Excuse me. Why am I always-climbing-a-cliff-face-or-some-other-equally-disturbing-adventure-ing-for-my-life?" Rose gripped the rocks with bruised fingers and risked a glance up at the Doctor. He pulled a face.

"Very funny, Rose."

"You're the one who asked for specifics."

"Shut it." He climbed a few more feet and hoisted himself over the rocky ledge, kicking dust and pebbles down at her. She coughed and shook her head, trying to remove the dust from her eyes without removing her hands from the side of the bluff. She moved up another six inches. The Doctor's head appeared over the edge of the cliff, peering down at her with his eyebrows raised.

"Are you coming?"

"Ha. Very funny," she snapped. She lifted herself another six inches, the toe of her right boot barely finding purchase. She ignored that thought. "You're also in a jumper and jeans, not a corset and half a tonne of fabric."

Suddenly his arms appeared over the edge, long, strong fingers reaching down for her wrists. Taking a chance, she lifted her hand and batted his fingers away. He glared at her and secured a hand around her wrist.

"What the hell is your problem?"

"I can get myself up, ta!" His glare only intensified and he tugged on her wrist, hoisting her. The toes of her fancy-dress boots skidded over the rock face and she struggled to gain a grip.

Without warning, he gave one hard jerk on her wrist before letting it go completely. With a shriek, she dropped three metres before she was able to grab a protruding root. A sharp pain shot through her shoulder and arm as her entire weight wrenched the root another metre.

Pebbles and dirt rained down on her from the top of the cliff and she sputtered, turning her head and trying to blink the dust out of her eyes. This was clearly a bad idea as she could now see how far, exactly, she would have to contemplate her imminent death as she fell.

Muttering, she reached her other arm up and hooked her sore, bruised and cut fingertips into the tiny space she could find for a grip.

With her fingers slightly more stable, she lifted first one foot and then the other, gaining purchase on a tiny ledge, just big enough for her toes.

Feeling a bit—not much, but a bit—steadier, she let herself take a deep breath and survey her situation.

"Okay," she said reassuringly to herself. "We've been completely abandoned by the Doctor. He hasn't stuck his fat head over the ledge, so obviously he's moved onto greener pastures." She looked over her shoulder at the barren, dusty vastness that he had the bollocks to call a luxury planet. "Scratch that. Other pastures, not necessarily green. This planet wouldn't know green if it got hit in its big, stupid, planet-y face with it."

She sighed, inched herself up a bit.

"Really, he's going to hear it. His ears will bleed he's going to hear so much from me. And then he'll die from blood loss because of the size of his great, big, bloody ears. The git," she muttered. She continued her diatribe as she slowly climbed the cliff face, regaining the ground she had lost.

Her fingers finally found the rim and she slowly hoisted herself up, peeking over the edge. Her caution was unwarranted, because no one was about – including the Doctor.

She let out an offended shriek and struggled to get her weight over the edge, on to the wide platform, scrabbling for a hold. What she must've looked like, trying to haul herself over in her heavy, voluminous dress, never occurred to her because she was too busy chanting "do not die, do not die, Mum will kill you, do not die" under her breath.

She lay on her front for a moment, catching her breath and groaning as the pain began to radiate through her shoulder, arm and chest in earnest. Using her good arm, she pushed herself into a sitting position and began to survey her surroundings.

It was much like the valley floor they had left, only without cliffs. She liked it better already. She climbed to her feet, wincing at the white-hot knives of pain shot through her shoulder and upper arm. She cradled her arm to her chest, keeping it still.

The Doctor was nowhere to be seen. And there was nowhere he could hide because there was nothing big enough to hide his big stupid head behind. The ground was rocky and cracked, with small waves of cinnamon-colored sand scattering across it in what miniscule breeze there was and the sky was bleached out, with barely a hint of blue. The sun was a roasting, whiter disc in the almost white sky.

"Doctor?" She called. She took a few shuffling steps forward. It would be easier across the desert if she could take off her heels but she didn't want to imagine what would happen to her feet if she stepped onto the baking sand barefoot. "Doctor, this isn't funny!" Her voice echoed, barely, in the distance, but there was no response. She lifted her hand to shade her eyes, but there was nothing to see. She'd never seen anything so barren.

She dropped her gaze, trying to determine if she could see what direction he'd gone, but the desert floor gave away nothing. A small, pearlescent, scorpion-like creature crossed in front of her and she held her breath so she wouldn't scream.

She didn't need to go around offending residents of this planet, what with not knowing where the Doctor was. Knowing her luck, she'd kill the scorpion and then be arrested by a large contingent of scorpion-like creatures for killing their queen.

What was with aliens, anyway? Honestly, who wanted to look like a scorpion? Weren't they supposed to be evolutionarily more advanced? She'd have to ask the Doctor.

When she found him.

A glass of water.

She could picture it.

A tall, frosty glass of water; the cool, crispness of the crystal clear liquid reflecting her image as she ran her fingers through the condensation covering the outside.

She could feel it, like liquid ice, as it filled her mouth and flowed down, soothing her parched throat and cooling her entire body.

She opened her eyes, sighed.

The scenery hadn't changed much. Not much to change in a desert, really. Too bad she'd learned to like variety. The rock she was leaning against was digging into her back in just the right way. Her right shoulder felt four times its normal size, throbbing ever larger with every single heartbeat and she could no longer move it. In fact, it felt as if her entire arm had seized up, grasped tightly to her chest, just under her breasts. It hurt less as she breathed that way, but it didn't help much when she stumbled and fell.

She lifted a hand up to the scrapes and cuts on her cheeks and forehead. They seemed to have stopped bleeding, but the sun was baking her raw.

Taking a deep breath, she climbed to her feet again, carefully. She didn't know how long it had been. The sun had completely rotated in the sky, or so she thought, or she could be hallucinating. This part of the planet seemed to have eternal sunshine, thank you very much, Doctor.

She had gone no more than a dozen metres when she stopped.

However, not by her own choice.

It was as if she had hit a force field, but that sounded far too Star Wars-y or Star Trek-y, so she was going to pretend she hadn't said it and lifted her hand, pushing it against the solid, well, air.

Frowning, she ran her hand up and down, but couldn't seem to push through. Under her hand, what felt like stone was cool and soft, even, despite the mid-day...or night?...sun.

"Okay, so there's an invisible building. Right. Really, I'm not surprised. After a Slitheen, nothing surprises me anymore. As long as the building doesn't fart and unzip its fore—oh."

She stepped back as the area around where her hand had been began to shimmer and buckle. The wavering light spread and spread until suddenly it was solid, a long, impossibly long building, stretching on either side of her, as far as her eyes could see, rising above her so high she couldn't see the top without falling backward.

A huge wooden door stood ahead of her and she looked around. She was still alone, of course. She walked up to the door and gave a hard tug on bronzed handle, stumbling back a little when the door swung open easily.

The relief was instant, when she stepped into the dim, cool hall. She stood still, letting her eyes adjust and rubbed her upper arm with her good hand, when the goosebumps popped up. She moved forward down the hallway, following the faint murmur of voices.

She found another heavy door and leaned close. The voices were definitely coming from inside. She glanced over her shoulder at the oversized fireplace she had passed and moved to it, carefully sliding the fireplace poker out of the stand. She crept back over to the door and, taking a deep breath, pushed open the door.

The sight that greeted her stunned her and the end of the poker hit the marble floor with a loud clang.

end chapter

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