I originally ended to end it with Chapter 3, but everyone was so nice to me and I loved your comments so much, I have checked to see what happened the next day. And here it is.

As I am a professional writer and have work to do to get paid, I have decided to deal with these thudding plot bunnies in the traditional manner - I will inflict them on others. Please see my Profile for the Challenges of the Month. The first set will run through the end of March. Please let me know when you respond to a Challenge so I can read and review.

Epilogue: The Morning After

Rose woke with a start because she felt something astonishingly cold behind her ear. She yelped, because one does not expect to be woken from a dead sleep in one's own bed by a cold nose when one does not own a puppy.

The cold whatever retreated with a mumbled, "Sorry, Rose."

Oh, that's right, she thought. There's a Time Lord in bed with me. If she remembered correctly, he'd confessed to being a "stoned immaculate" Time Lord around about the time he ended up here. She wondered if he was better now.

She waited.

"Rose?" he said, sounding nervous and baffled at the same time.

She smirked. Yep, all better now. "Yes, Doctor?" she purred suggestively. He had it coming, since she now couldn't blackmail him about everything that happened on Desteria after all.

"Erm. Good morning?" he ventured, weakly.

"Fantastic morning," she replied, still in that sultry tone.

"Um... what's going on?" he asked.

Her grin widened, and she hid it by pulling the covers up over her lips. "You tell me," she invited.

She expected him to babble something incoherent and try to get out of there faster than humanly possible. She expected him to stammer some explanation for something utterly irrelevant and blush so brightly she'd be able to feel it through the covers since she was pressed so close to him. She even expected that he might just yelp and vanish - she'd always believed it was possible for him to do that. What she didn't expect was for him to go absolutely still and silent.

So of course, that was what he did.

She waited a few moments, to see if he would do anything she expected, or anything she hoped for, or in fact anything at all. Instead, he might have disappeared altogether, except that she could hear the soft whisper of his breathing and feel the steady thrum of his hearts where his chest rested against her back.

Finally, curiosity won and Rose turned over to find him staring blankly up at the ceiling as if trying to read hidden messages there.

Maybe he could do that, too.


"Hum? Sorry, I was... trying to... erm. Yes. What were you saying?"

She gave a breathy chuckle and, since he was so close and so edgy, she put a hand up to run it along his jaw. His muscles twitched under her touch, but he didn't pull away. She brushed at the bristly brown stubble. This would be interesting to wake up to every morning, really.

Bad Rose.

"I was asking you what happened."

"You don't know?" His eyes pleaded with her.

"S'my bed," she answered with some asperity, dodging the question.

"O...K." He looked so astonished, she wondered for a moment if he'd never ended up in a situation where he honestly didn't have any idea what to do.

"Well, it's just there are definitely clothes involved," he began, at high speed. "My suit, I think, and what I was thinking sleeping in that I'll probably never know. Normally when one ends up baffled in bed with a pretty girl, there's very little clothes involved, which I admit would be a problem, since I rather think I'd prefer to remember something like that."

She blushed and grinned, amused and delighted at the same time.

He smiled. "I was supposed to ask you something, Rose. Do you remember what it was?"

His mad question of yesterday popped unbidden into her mind. She nearly groaned aloud in frustration. He'd been frisky and flirtatious and dangerously attractive and beautiful and it had been all she could do to keep from jumping him. He'd invited her, point blank, with his words and his smile and come-hither eyes and... why had he landed her on a planet with air that made you want...

"Doctor," she asked, "let's say there's a planet out there with an atmosphere that makes you want... well... makes me want... um..."

"We'll just leave it at that," he said, pushing her hair away from her face. "I think you're going to spontaneously combust from all that blushing." He smirked at her and she couldn't decide whether she wanted to punch his face or snog him stupid. "There's several planets out there with chemicals in the atmosphere that humans react to in that manner. Why?"

"Can you think of any reason, any one at all, why you'd want to take me to such a place?" She knew her voice was cross and stern, but she was going to get an answer out of him, if it killed him.

He blinked at her, but she thought, maybe, just maybe, did he look... "Ohhh, yes, you see, most of those planets are very peaceful, and quite a few of them have become resorts with the most incredible sights and views. Usually, there's mountains, too, and those are always nice, I like mountains, you know, as long as I don't have to climb for my life, and I think they're very pretty to look at. Oh, and on Waupang, you can try out various sports, any sort of sport you can think of, and there's Seegro Carolia, with all the artist communities - not those snooty galleries, you understand, but genuine art, close to the world, and you can get some of the most beautiful things, practically for a song, and the pottery, oh, exquisite..."

He was babbling at a rate she'd actually never heard before. Yep, she thought, smugly. Guilty as sin. But of what? She had absolutely no idea and couldn't form her mouth to ask.

"Maiszia, it has pink clouds, look like spun sugar, and the sunsets, well, they say in that part of the Galaxy that you haven't lived 'til you've seen 'em. Then, on Lawren, they make candy. I realize that sounds odd, but we're talking candy like you imagine exists when you're a very little child, candy that looks like hunger and smells like laughter and tastes... oh, it tastes divine. The chocolate there, it's like silk, and they make this ice cream with it..."

He was as beautiful as sin, too, dammit.

"What about Desteria?" she asked.

He stopped mid-rant and considered her with careful eyes. "Never heard of it," he said.

She stopped. He'd taken her there. She knew he'd taken her there, how was it he could claim he'd... Waitaminit.

"Oh my GOD!" she shrieked. "You remember!!!"

"Time Lord," he replied smugly.

She jumped up from the bed, still screeching like the shrew she suddenly felt she might very well be. Snatching up her pillow, she lit in to him, tell him off as loudly as her voice could go and using the pillow for punctuation. "You!" whack "Evil!" thud "Conniving!" whack "Sick!" thud thud "Sadistic" pummel "Demented!" whack thud whack...

"Sexy?" he ventured as she hunted for more words. She hit him again, so he rolled over on his stomach, and hid his head under his pillow.

"YES!" Thud pummel "Arrogant!" whack thud "Insane!" thud slam thud "Alien!" whack th...

His arms shot out of his cocoon faster than the human eye could follow. He snatched the pillow with one and the other somehow circled Rose's waist. Before she could get off a good scream or even a small yelp of protest, he dragged her down onto the bed, rolling as he went. She came to rest on top of him, sprawled awkwardly, her face inches from his, her chest heaving from her overwrought emotions.

She didn't dare move, because she couldn't without getting into a compromising position. She almost didn't dare breathe because the look in his eyes was dark and challenging and so intense it burned.

"I remembered what I was supposed to ask you, Rose," he said, an arrogant, beautiful smirk twitching his lips into temptation. His voice sounded like seduction itself, turned audible and given to one man, one alien, and she was lying. on. top. of. him.

"Yes, Doctor?" she breathed.

He tilted his head and looked at her, letting one of her hands loose so he could reach up and brush her burning cheek. She was going to melt, right here.

"What was the pink thing in the box?" he whispered.

Rose stiffened, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath. Evil alien menace. "I hate you," she told him, quite calmly.

He laughed merrily and wrapped his arms around her, straightening her body a bit with careful hands. Damn.

"I love you too," he said.