"So, where to now?" Rose asked.
"I'm in a bit of a festive mood, I think. What do you say to Christmas?"
She looked at the Doctor. "It isn't December."
"Yeah, well, you can never have too many Christmases, can you? Come on, we'll go to the North Pole. Haven't been there in ages."
"The North Pole?"
"Yeah. Go see Santa. Hand out some presents."
"Yeah. Old friend of mine."
She stared for a minute. "Santa's real?"
The Doctor paused. "Well, he could be. Anyway, it'll be fun."
Rose rolled her eyes, but she smiled. "Yeah, okay then."
"Great." He grinned at her. "Better rug up. It'll be cold outside."
"So, how do I look?" Rose twirled - as best she could in the thick jacket she'd put on - and adjusted her beanie.
The Doctor smiled. "Perfect," he said. "Shall we?"
With Rose behind him, he opened the door to the TARDIS. She stared.
"Uh, Doctor?" She looked around at the conspicuous lack of snow. "I don't think this is the North Pole."
"Right." He turned to face her. "No, you're absolutely right. Let me, uh, just check a few things ..."
As she watched, he poked around the console briefly, and then stopped. "Well, we're still on Earth."
"Still on Earth?" she asked, incredulous. "That's the best you can do? 'Still on Earth.'"
"Well ... for the moment." He brightened, and Rose couldn't help echoing his smile. "What do you say we go check it out?"
She stepped out of the TARDIS after him, and immediately shrugged out of her jacket. The heat outside the TARDIS was sweltering, and somewhat reluctantly - she had quite liked it - she left her beanie behind, too. So much for being prepared for the cold.
"So?" she asked, as they started across a nearby field.
"Patience," he chided. For the next few minutes, he said nothing, then stopped as he seemed to recognise something.
"Well?" she asked, impatient. "What is it?"
"I know where we are," he said, smiling. He moved towards a nearby building, and she ran to catch up.
"Well? Where's that?"
She didn't think he heard her. "We're going to need a change of clothes," he mused, and glanced around. As she watched, he hoisted himself through the glassless window of what she guessed was a house, and after a moment, she followed him.
"We're in somebody's house," she hissed, and he nodded.
"I know. But the TARDIS is miles away, and unless you want to walk around like that ..."
He indicated her jeans, and she glanced down, then shook her head. "All right," she agreed, and started rummaging through a clothing chest. "What about this?"
The Doctor shook his head. "Something red."
"Red?" she asked, dropping the fabric. "Why red?"
He stopped, and looked at her. "Haven't you seen the people walking around?" he asked, as if it were obvious. "There's a festival on."
"What kind of festival?"
He paused. "Think of it like Valentine's Day."
"Valentine's Day?" she asked. "They have that here?"
"Well, in a manner of speaking," he said, and she frowned.
"You mean like a fertility festival."
"Well ... more like that, yes." He glanced at her. "It's not like we have to participate."
"Really?" she challenged.
He shook his head. "We'll just be historical observers."
"Observers," she repeated. "Just stand around and not get in the way? You mean, like every other time we've done that?"
"Well." He shrugged. "It could work. Here, try these on." He turned around, and she studied the clothes. They looked more like bedsheets to her, but she undressed quickly, wrapping them around her, and sighed in frustration when she couldn't get them to stay tied.
"A little help?" she asked, and the Doctor turned around. She stood with her hands by her side as he fastened the robe around her shoulders, taking far longer than should have been necessary for something that didn't even have buttons.
"Are you done?" she asked as his hands skimmed dangerously close to her chest, and he pulled back with a smile.
"Perfect," he said. Rose glanced down, wishing there was a mirror so she could see for herself.
"Your turn," she told him. She turned away, and scanned the room as the Doctor dressed behind her. Her eyes fell on a set of pins lying on a nearby chest, and she used one to secure her hair as she piled it on top of her head. "Much better," she mumbled.
"All done," the Doctor announced, and she turned back around. She picked up her discarded clothes.
"What do we do with these?"
"Stash them," he said. "We'll pick them up on the way back to the TARDIS."
"Nobody's naked," Rose whispered, as they reached the edge of the festival.
"It's not that kind of festival."
"Then what kind is it?"
He grinned, and took a step forward. "You know the best way to find out."
"I thought we weren't going to participate!" she called after him, but he was already away, joining in the dance. She shook her head.
Rose glanced up to see a man beside her, and opened her mouth. Maybe missing out on the North Pole wasn't so bad, after all.
"Love one," she said. He handed her a cup, and she drank slowly, savouring the sweet taste. "So," she began, and realised she had no idea what to say. "Come here often?"
He smiled in a faintly puzzled way, and she looked away. Good one.
"Do you want to dance?" he asked when her cup was empty, and she smiled.
She had no idea what the steps were, but it didn't seem to matter much. She took the stranger's hands as he led her across the grass, smiling as they wove amongst the other couples. It was hard to tell where one dance ended and the next began, but he didn't let go, and when they finally stopped, he pulled her closer.
"Rose," the Doctor said, appearing beside her, and she frowned. How did he always manage to do that? The man she had been dancing with dropped his hands, and the Doctor cut in.
"Care for a dance?" he asked. He took her hands before she could answer, and pulled her across the field.
"I was having fun," she protested as he spun her around.
"I thought we weren't getting involved," he said, almost echoing her own words.
"You started it," she countered. "Besides, I was only dancing."
"It's a fertility festival," he said, leaning in closer. "The fun doesn't end with dancing."
Rose blushed, grateful that her cheeks were already pink from the exercise. They danced for a while, and stopped as another girl came up beside them, tapping the Doctor on the arm. He shook his head politely, and looked back at Rose.
"Just observing," he said, grinning at her. "Right?"
She smiled. "Right."
They stopped dancing again as the sunlight began to fade, and the Doctor led her to the side of the field. "So," he said. "Have you tried this wonderful drink?"
"Now, where ..." The Doctor stopped, looking around them. They were a little way from the field, near a house that looked like the one they had first seen, though it was difficult to tell in the darkness. "I don't suppose you remember where we hid our clothes?"
She shrugged. "You're the one that hid them."
"Right." He moved forward, took a step to the left. "I'm sure they're around here somewhere."
"Hopeless," she muttered, and he glanced back as if he had heard her. She did her best to look innocent.
"Ah!" He walked forward a few steps, retrieving a bundle from the bushes. "Here they are. Now, if I could just remember where I parked the TARDIS."
"You don't remember."
He walked back to her. "Well, it's not as if they have road signs." He paused. "Really should have asked what was in those drinks."
For some reason, that struck Rose as being funny, and she brushed his hand with hers as she laughed. He took it, and she glanced up at him.
"We should find it," she said after a beat.
"Absolutely," he agreed. He didn't move for a moment, and then stepped away, pulling her back across the field with him. After walking for what seemed like hours, she spotted the TARDIS up ahead, and they ran the last few steps to it, stumbling inside as the Doctor shut the door behind them.
"So," he said, when they had both regained their balance. "How do you feel about the Middle Ages?"