I wrote this in about three hours, so I hope it's alright. I'm still pretty new to writing Doctor Who. Please forgive any Americanisms I might have overlooked. Thanks for giving my story a shot! Enjoy!


That's Why Your Tea Was Cold


The TARDIS was, without a doubt, cross with him.

He just didn't know why. It wasn't like he'd done anything especially different lately—he tinkered with her controls like always, rewiring this and replacing that. He'd even stroked the bits of her she liked stroked. So why she was treating him so badly he just couldn't tell.

It all started when the hum in his head had changed from pleasantness to mild irritation. She's taken ill, he'd thought, and he began probing through her console, looking for a cause. There'd been nothing. Maybe she doesn't like this planet, he'd thought, and shrugged it off.

Locations came and went, and the hum intensified. He'd swept through her again and found nothing out of sorts. Then came the passive-aggressiveness. At first, it was little things. She would land in a tight spot, facing a wall so he couldn't get out. At first, he wasn't concerned—landing is a precision sort of thing, and it could very well be his fault. But it couldn't very well be his fault eight times in a row.

Then she had started choosing her own landing spots. The first time he'd stepped out of the TARDIS and into a thigh-deep pond, he cursed silently and made a mental note to look before he leapt from then on. He hadn't, of course. The next day (relatively), he'd been aiming for a woodland on Analiodes III, and instead found himself mired in the acidic quicksand of Analiodes IV. Not lethal acid, luckily, but enough of an irritant to give a fellow rather painful hives anywhere it touched. If it hadn't been for Rose pulling him back into the TARDIS, he'd probably have hives up to his ears and not just his sternum.

Which brought the point to Rose. The darling child, it seemed, was still on favorable terms with the timeship. Rose never stepped out into six-foot-deep snow trenches. Rose didn't spend three and a half hours trying to navigate the corridors until she found the wash room. Rose didn't have the trouble of running away from six slavering junkyard dogs, only to find the TARDIS had moved thirty paces to the left—behind a fence. And Rose didn't have a nonstop hum in her head which was starting to sound suspiciously like the Macarena stuck on infinite loop.

Now she wasn't moving at all. The grinding of her engines had stopped halfway through their trip, and now they were dead in the water inside the Time Vortex. He prodded and he pressed, to no avail. He tried wheedling, tried commanding, tried several sharp blows from a little silver hammer. He tugged on his hair, but the only end that served was making him look more out-of-sorts than ever. He'd put on and taken off his glasses fourteen times in the last eight minutes.

Rose asked if the TARDIS needed recharging. Did they need to go to Cardiff? She'd not complain about Cardiff if that's what the TARDIS needed.

No, he said, it's more like. Hummm. It's more like, when you've been going together a while, and the only thing she says anymore is 'not tonight, love, I've got a headache.' She knows what you want, she's just being spiteful because you forgot to call on your lunch hour, and you're only just a bloke, and it's not like you can remember that yesterday was the seventh anniversary of her cat's tragic demise, and it's not your fault she spent the whole afternoon blubbering to the lady in the next flat over, but you're pretty sure that's why your tea was cold when she brought it to you, and even though you've apologized, she just smiles in that way and pats your knee, and you know she's not going to forgive you any time soon, even though you brought home the chips like she asked, and then—

Doctor, Rose interrupted, is this goin' anywhere?

He plucked his glasses from his nose for the seventeenth time. No, he sighed, I suppose not.

Four hours later, he was curled on the grating, rocking back and forth and mumbling the lyrics to Earth dance hits. This had to stop, he decided. His fingers were itching to start doing accompanying dances, and nothing in the universe was worth that. Well, almost nothing. The people of Riedor made some rather fine banana daiquiris.

Rose, head thrown back and limbs splayed, loosed a peaceful snore.

He stood and went over to poke her (they were stuck here and she had the audacity to nap?) when he noticed something—the closer he got to Rose, the less intense the humming in his head became. He stood over her, contemplating. Was there some residual power left in her? Was she the key to this mystery?

His companion awoke with a none-too-ladylike snork sound and yelped when she noticed him hovering over her. (She told him later that she was rather certain in that moment that he was going to eat her. When he scoffed and said that was preposterous, she gave him an impression of what she said he'd looked like. It was rather unnerving.)

Rose, he said, don't be alarmed, but—

Rose, of course, having heard those infamous words, bolted around the console and stared at him with wide eyes. Oddly, the humming hadn't gotten any louder for all that. He took a step towards Rose again, holding his hands up placatingly. And there the hum was, like a mental slap.

He stopped. Took a step back. The hum receded slightly. Looked down. The hum faded a bit more. Right, he said to Rose, not you then, eh? She continued edging away slowly, and he could practically see her little mind trying to figure out if she should take her chances running or whether it'd be better to hit him on the head first.

Ignoring her, he crouched. Soon, his had plastered his cheek against the grating, and the TARDIS's hum was the least annoying it'd been for a long while. It was, say, only ten times past the bearable level rather than the heretofore fifty times. The whole thing, he told a still-bewildered Rose, was quite like a game of warmer/colder, except with fewer scraped knees and more of his mind being assaulted with pop remixes. This, he thought, was rather unfair.

Soon he had wormed his way inside the innards of the TARDIS and was blindly poking towards the way with the least amount of noise. Right, left, over that odd metal thing, back half a meter…he could've sworn there was ghostly chuckling behind the pulsing beat in his head.

You want your head-lamp-thingy? Rose called down to him, less wary and more curious now.

He was just about to say yes when he saw it: a clamp. A tiny little clamp, holding back a bundle of wires. He'd been replacing a part here, had to get the wires out of his face. And he'd left the clamp. Gingerly, he reached out and released it. Instantly, the humming dropped to a near-silent level, the tone changing into something like relief. He gently buffed the deep grooves out of the wires' casings, and the engines ground into life.

Ha! he shouted, ha! Wriggling back out again, he waved the clamp in front of Rose's face. This is why you always take care of your ship! Poor old girl, did it pinch? I'm sorry. He dropped the clamp into his pocket and began fiddling with the controls like nothing had happened.

Later, however, when Rose was out picking up pizza, he frowned and chided, There was no reason to be so dramatic. The vibrations of the TARDIS just seemed self-satisfied, and there was nothing for it but to shake his head.