Requested Prompts: snow on Christmas Day, a stocking full of presents, and carol singers.
Another loud sigh issued from his companion. This was the third time she'd sighed in as many minutes and the sound grew more irritating. He'd already put himself on the other side of the console to no avail, the sound followed him relentlessly. If she had something to say he wished she'd just say it. Clenching his jaw, he stared at the panel in front of him and braced for the inevitable, anticipating the next long exhale. He wasn't disappointed.
Looking down his knuckles showed white, and he watched them slowly turn back to their natural shade as he released his grip on the edge of the console. Taking a deep breath he closed his eyes, the steel cable between his shoulder blades refusing to loosen. Pushing away from the console he covered the distance between them in a few strides. Arms folded across his chest, hands clenched, he glared down at the figure curled in the captains chair oblivious to the oncoming storm.
"Just say it!"
Rose jumped, her look one of startled surprise as she fumbled for the magazine slipping from her lap. It landed with a small thwump, a torn page dangling from between her fingertips. "Happy now?" she snarled, bending down to retrieve the rest of the tabloid before stomping off.
Well, that had gone well, thought the Doctor watching the blondes stormy retreat. Dropping his arms to his sides, his anger diminished as he toed the metal grating and turned back to the console sighing, amused at the irony.
Two days ago they'd dropped Adam off, the Doctor still bristling at the young man's blatant disrespect for rules. He'd only allowed Adam aboard at Rose's insistence, once again ignoring his own instincts that told him the boy would be more trouble than he was worth. Unfortunately Rose hadn't seen it that way when he'd told her, and now here they were; avoiding each other most of the time or trading rude insults when they were in a room together.
Muttering to himself, he leaned heavily on the console. Maybe if he'd not allowed Adam on board in the first place, yet how was he to suppose to say no? Look, I'm sorry I almost got you killed, on more than one occasion, took you away from your family, showed you your world being destroyed, he paused.
Aside from the first few moments they'd landed in, what he'd believed to be Naples in 1860, but instead turned out to be Cardiff, he was unable to recall a time they'd not stepped beyond the TARDIS doors without being chased by monsters or facing imminent danger. That was hardly living up to the trip of a lifetime he'd promised her, and he was feeling those effects on his own outlook. Time for a bit of change, he thought.
He was sandwiched between the floor grating and the underside of the console, replacing old wiring when a pair of denim legs sprouting pink bunny slippers on the bottom appeared close to him. He glanced quickly at the pair of beady black eyes staring blankly back. "That's illegal on some planets."
The ears flopped in response as Rose wiggled her toes. There was something a little odd about wearing stuffed animals on one's feet, but rather than pointing out the obvious, the Doctor remained silent.
Rose squatted next to him, fingers wrapped around a steaming cup and holding another out for him. Pushing himself to his elbows he accepted the warm mug and mumbled a quick thanks. Rose dropped her gaze, grasping the mug with both hands.
"Sorry I bit your head off earlier," she stated softly.
Closing his eyes he savoured the mellow taste of the tea before responding. Easing out from under the console, he sat up and draped an elbow over one knee, keeping the other curled under him, and held the mug so as not to spill its contents. "I've been thinking." Rose raised an eyebrow at this admission, still not looking up to make eye contact. The Doctor blew out a breath. "We've visited a few unusual places." Rose's shoulders shook, he wasn't sure if it was laughter or not. "And, well, I figured we could use a nice quiet trip for once." She looked up meeting his eyes and he saw apprehension there.
Unfolding himself he stood and offered her a hand. "Come with me," he said with a half grin that broadened into a smile as her tongue caught her top lip and she reached to take his hand. Pulling her to him he wondered why he hadn't thought of this sooner.
"Where we going?" she asked and he could hear the excitement in her voice, maybe she would forgive him, if he got this part right.
"'s that a planet?"
It was the Doctor's turn to give her a surprised look as he flipped switches and turned assorted dials. "No, it's not a planet, it's a city. Oberndorf is approximately seventeen kilometers north of Salzburg."
"In Austria," Rose asked.
The hum of the TARDIS and the Doctor moving around the controls kept the silence at bay for a moment.
"On Earth," she stated simply.
The Doctor stopped; hand poised over the handbrake and tried to make sense of her disappointment. "You're not interested?" he queried, trying to keep his voice neutral.
"Should be quiet unless you land us in a war," she shrugged, the buttons in front of her holding her gaze.
He was unsure if that was meant as a comment against his navigational skills or if she was semi serious, as he was hoping to land just a few short years after the Napoleonic Wars. No matter, he pulled back on the lever and the TARDIS shuddered as they scrambled for hand holds.
The jolt upon landing sent them both to the floor. The Doctor, leaping to his feet was unprepared when the TARDIS pitched sideways throwing him into one of the coral arches. Rose managed to roll with the unexpected motion and stayed on the floor as if waiting.
Moving towards the monitor the Doctor scanned the display quickly and broke into a wide smile. "Fantastic." Looking sideways at Rose, his smile faded as he followed her gaze downwards. Those pink bunny slippers stared upwards with that immovable smile pasted on the ends.
"Why are they always smiling?" Rose mused out loud.
"Not a bad view," the Doctor blurted out before his brain had time to engage. He felt his face grow warm as Rose looked taken aback at his declaration, and cleared his throat. "Right, better get a move on, don't want to miss this." The Doctor hastily ushered Rose towards the hallway.
"Yeah," she agreed quietly, still studying him.
A few minutes later Rose reappeared having exchanged her pink hoody for a more sensible winter overcoat, and a pair of brown boots. The Doctor nodded appreciatively and reached for her hand, pulling her towards the door, then turning towards her. She could feel his breath on her face. "Are you ready for this?" His enthusiasm piqued her interest and she rewarded him with a broad smile, tongue resting at the bottom of her upper teeth and a deliberate nod as she stared wide eyed at the closed door.
Pushing the door open the Doctor stepped through and halted causing Rose to run into him, or rather bounce off of him. He surveyed the slatted walls surrounding them, the room thick with a heavy dust, suggesting its lack of use. They'd landed inside some type of structure and there appeared to be a door ahead of them, short enough even Rose would be forced to duck.
A shadow fell across the doors outline followed by heavy banging. "Who's in there? I demand you to open at once."
"Guessing someone's home," the Doctor stated, reaching for the door handle and opening it to the astonishment of the man on the other side whose hand was raised in a fist. "Hello," said the Doctor cheerily, stepping past the open-mouthed individual and pulling Rose with him, the small door shutting behind them. "I'm the Doctor and this is Rose," he introduced them quickly as the man's eyes shifted back to the door. Rose gave a small wave.
The man standing before them wore a black cassock indicating they were in a church, which only confirmed the Doctor's suspicions. "Forgive me." The Doctor nodded, waiting patiently for the man to continue. "I'm Josef Mohr, and you sir, what is the meaning of this?" he indicated the door they'd just stepped through.
"Ah." The Doctor gave him an apologetic smile. "The, um, pipes seem to be a bit out of sorts," he nodded towards the door. "'fraid they won't be of much use to you for awhile. Not until you can get them fixed that is." It wasn't his fault the TARDIS hadn't differentiated the pliability of the metal and had treated the pipes as part of the floor.
The man's face turned a dark shade as he spluttered. "Are you quite daft? I have a recital this evening. However am I to do that without the organ?" By this time his hands had risen with his voice and he was gesticulating wildly. "And on Christmas Eve, of all the times for this to take place. I've even promised a new song," he argued pointlessly. Turning he hastened away, his voice still carrying back until he began descending the stairs.
The Doctor's attention was pulled back as he felt Rose tugging on his arm. He looked at her mildly surprised to see her staring at the spot Josef had occupied only moments before.
"You all right?" he asked concerned that maybe she'd hit her head during their landing. Nodding she continued to stare, her mouth opened then closed as if she wasn't able to find any words. The Doctor faced her, tilting her head upwards, forcing her to look at him. No signs of concussion he assured himself, then held up two fingers. "How many fingers?" It never hurt to be absolutely positive.
Waving him off, Rose pulled her hand from his and made to follow Josef.
"Oi, where do you think you're off too?" She didn't think he was going to let her go swanning off on her own, the sting from Jackie's hand was still fresh in his mind, and he quickly followed.
Down a flight of stairs and through another doorway, this one a bit taller led them to the main sanctuary. Even this was rather small by modern standards, although the room was well kept and great attention had been paid to the tiniest details. A few folks stood around, and no one seemed to pay the two outsiders any mind, so used to visitors that a couple of new faces was nothing unusual.
"Doctor," Rose called out almost reverently as she stepped outside lifting her chin up until she was looking skyward.
It was snowing he noticed as he joined her and let his gaze travel upwards then turned toward his companion watching the delight in her eyes, her tongue darting out to catch an errant flake and that infectious grin. He forced himself to pull his eyes away and took in the surrounding area.
"Isn't it beautiful?" she breathed, walking out into the whiteness. He watched her, enjoying the moment and cataloguing it for future reference knowing for certain he had made the right choice in bringing her here.
"Christmas Eve. Eighteen hundred eighteen. Oberndorf Austria." Facts and figures make up the entire universe, but put those together in unusual combinations and sometimes there is that little extra worth waiting for.
"You knew, didn't you?"
"I had a general idea," he replied nonchalantly.
"No monsters?" He shook his head.
"No bombs?" He arched an eyebrow, again shaking his head.
"So, no one's chasing us, locking us up, or trying to get rid of us?" He laughed out loud, watching her struggle with the idea this was perfectly safe, for once.
"That all right?" he asked, watching her scoop up a handful of snow. She nodded, then turned and let the snowball fly. Ok, he should have seen that coming he thought as he wiped the wet from his face, ignoring the small bit that found its way down his neck.
Not many missiles missed their target as they pelted each other from short range, Rose taking the brunt as the Doctor's hands weren't as affected by the cold. Soon they were laughing, wet and slightly winded from the exertion, and silently agreed on a truce.
The first strains of music filtered through the doorway, as the Doctor reached for Rose's hand pulling her with him towards the church. "C'mon, don't want to miss this." He led Rose into the sanctuary just as Josef and Franz, the Doctor had quickly pointed him out, began to sing Silent Night. The sound of the two men's voices accompanied by the guitar filled the small room, the choir joining in at the chorus.
Rose's squeezed the Doctor's hand and he thought he detected tears in her eyes as they listened to the music but she wouldn't look away from the performers. Making their way back to the TARDIS later that evening, she stopped just outside the blue doors.
Still holding the stocking full of gifts she had been given by one of the children she threw her arms around the Doctor's neck. "Thank you," she whispered.
The Doctor returned her hug feeling like his hearts had grown three sizes, after all, promises were meant to be kept.