Author's Note: I'll be honest, this one started as just a smut piece, but I merged it with another idea and ended up with this. Hope you enjoy it!
Time Frame: This assumes that months pass between Mickey leaving and 'Idiot's Lantern'. Takes place between these two.
His tongue snakes out, running up along the curve of her clavicle, stopping just at the base of her neck. Too long for a sample to analyze. She is just surprised, that is why she is breathing so fast. The planet is naturally hotter than they were used to, that's why his hand is boiling against her skin. His tongue clicks against the roof of his mouth and his feet force him to move away.
"Doctor?" If her voice shakes, it isn't because of him.
"You're practically exuding hormones."
Language of Hands
He has absolutely no idea how they managed to be invited.
Not that he plans on letting Rose know that. She thinks that he had deliberately chosen their destination, taken some care in landing them away from prying eyes, walked them easily towards the town, worked a bit of magic with his babbling and slightly physic paper, and got them invited to the Region's daughter's wedding.
In reality, he had every intention of taking them to see some ice sculptors that he was fond on of Keldar V but the TARDIS had seen fit to drop them there, in the middle of some farmer's field. He had picked a direction at random and ended up in the city's main market where Rose had insisted on looking through one of the shops. He had waited outside.
And that's when it happened. When he had somehow gotten involved in a hostile argument, got punched in the face, babbled his way out of being arrested, convinced some random streetlings that he was someone important, and discovered that the man who had punched him was the Region's advisor. That was how he met Devyn, the Region's son, who had invited him to his sister's wedding as a version of an apology.
The Doctor is pretty certain that he wants to keep Rose in the dark about the specifics. It makes him sound a bit better.
And that is what brought him to be standing in the archway separating the entrance to the luxurious dance hall. It isn't the architecture- the arched windows lined with gold, the intricately laid marble flooring, the centuries of history painted on the expansive ceiling- that catches his eye. It isn't the remarkably Grecian dresses or the elegantly tailored suits or the sundry of exotic foods arranged throughout the hall. It's Rose. Because he's found that, ever since the war, the exploration and the discoveries and the excitement isn't half as much of a rush as the look of awe on her face when he's shown her something new and formerly unknown.
Her hand is clasped in his and she leaning against his shoulder as she often does. Finally, once she's taken in the sight, she grins excitedly up at him. He loves that look of mischief and he can't help but smile back down at her, a brow quirking as if to say, "What do you think?"
"This is brilliant!"
"You think? Just a wedding."
She rolls her eyes at him. Sometimes she wonders if it was the alien side of him or the male side of him that completely misses the excitement of things. "It's a huge party with hundreds of really rich people and great food and we've been invited to stay for the next three days." Rose searches through the crowd, loving the sight of Grecian robes and delicate jewels adorning the olive skinned women. "So who's who?"
He shrugs, "No idea. That bloke over there, in the red suit thing, he's the Region's son. The one who invited us."
"And that man there, in the greyish suit next to him, is some sort of advisor to the throne. Didn't catch his name though."
"And the bride and groom?"
"Not here yet, I don't think."
"So tell me about this place. What are the weddings like?"
"No idea. Don't know much beyond the basics. Region is in charge of the entire planet. It's a monarchy, but unlike England the throne goes to the eldest regardless of gender. I believe that the Region's daughter is heir."
"Beyond that, I'm as lost as you are. Exciting, huh?"
She looks up at him. This time it is definitely the alien in him not quite getting it. It is one thing not to be excited about a party, but he finds it just a little too entertaining to stroll blindly into a situation that could end up being potentially dangerous, life-threatening, insulting, embarrassing, or include jail-time.
A melodic chime whispers through the open hall, crushing all sounds of conversation. Rose looks up at the Doctor, eyes questioning him but he isn't looking at her. She follows his gaze and finds his attention to be at the top of the stairs. And there she is. The Region herself, or at least, Rose assumes it must be the Region. Her gown is lined with purple and the design and embroidery is far more elaborate than the rest of the guests. Her deep black hair is pulled back into delicate knots and what can only be described as a jewelled crown sits naturally on top her head. With shoulders squared and a soft smile gracing her royal cheeks, she steps aside to allow the couple behind her to be seen.
The couple is even lovelier than the Region herself. Younger, not much older than Rose herself, with equally majestic and ornate robes. There is a look of Grecian royalty on their lightly coloured faces and dark eyes and the way they look at each other makes Rose smile at the sight of such obvious love. At least this world doesn't believe in the pathetic political game of arranging royal marriages.
Then, just as abruptly as they were interrupted to signify the entrance of their hosts, the three had descended into the crowd and noise and music erupted throughout the room. Rose smiles up at the Doctor, tugging on his arm.
"Can we meet them?"
"Of course. What else are we here for?" She smiles at him and he can't help but smile back. "Come on!"
"Doctor?" They turn and the Doctor smiles at the man before him. "I'm glad to see that you were able to come."
"Wouldn't have missed it."
"And this must be your friend you mentioned."
"Yes, Rose, this is Sir Devyn Kendrix, the Region's son and the one who invited us. Sir Devyn, this is my companion, Dame Rose Tyler."
Rose looks back to the man before her, trying to hid the blush that came to her cheeks in response to being- once again- in the presence of royalty. He was good looking- high cheek bones, dark brown eyes, dark brown hair grown long but still neat. As the Doctor had said, he is wearing a red suit thing, not quite the Greek robes to match the women, but it didn't actually look out of place in the ancient looking home.
"A pleasure," he says with an incline of his head. She's almost disappointed that he doesn't kiss her hand or cheeks.
"Devyn," a woman cooed as her arm hooked around Devyn's. Rose looks her over, smiling fondly at the way the woman's hand curls into Devyn's and his dark eyes naturally focus entirely on her. "Is it true what Lynan says? You caused a riot in the market this morning?"
"I wouldn't say riot." Rose smirks at the teasing and watches at the man's eyes search out the Doctors. "What's your opinion, Doctor? Did we cause a riot?"
Rose can't tell if his eyes dart away from her because he's thinking or if it has something to do with the slight pink creeping over his cheeks. "Riot? Hardly. More like a scuffle. A small misunderstanding, really." He's rambling, like he always does when he gets nervous and she wants to laugh, more because he's nervous about something than because of his rambling that she's grown accustomed to.
"Thank-you, Doctor," Devyn chuckles, and gestures to the woman on his arm and another woman Rose hadn't even noticed off to the side, "This is my wife, Odella, the love of my life. And next to her- as I'm sure you know- is my sister, Lynan."
The Doctor smiles at the two- his soft, polite pull of his lips that he reserves for these awkward moments of introduction- before bowing slightly in a similar way that Devyn had before. Following his lead, Rose gave a short curtsy.
"This is the Doctor and his companion Rose."
"My brother told me about you, Doctor. I am glad that you were able to help him with his… slight disagreement."
"Not a problem. Thank-you for allowing us to be at your wedding."
She just inclined her head, turning her eyes to Rose. "It is time to eat. Join us, we would be delighted to hear more about you. And," her eyes sweep over Rose's body, her jeans and t-shirt standing out uncomfortable amongst the regal gowns of the other guests, "where you and your friend come from."
Rose nods, "Of course, we'd love it." Her hand slips into the Doctor's, such a natural gesture and yet she feels almost scandalous at the way three sets of eyes drop to their joined hands. She drops his hand almost as quickly and doesn't look when she hears him cough uncomfortably and shoves his hands into his pockets.
"Lead on, I'm starved."
Rose is a bit surprised when Devyn sister, Lynan, wraps her arm through hers and leads her towards the dinning hall. Odella, Devyn's wife, is beside them, chattering away about something Rose can't quite follow. She smiles over her shoulder, hoping that the Doctor and Devyn are following.
The dinning hall is huge, just like the rest of the palace- as Rose has begun to think of the place. Two unbelievably long tables fill the hall and Lynan heads for the one off to the right, dropping Rose's arm and wrapping her hands around the chair at the foot of the table. Odella continues around her, delicately taking the seat next to Lynan. "Rose, please join us."
Rose smiles and steps up to the chair across from Odella. Her hand curls around the side of the high backed chair, pulling it out and preparing to sit when she notices that they Doctor isn't following her. She turns just as Devyn touches his elbow and says, "We're over there, Doctor."
The Doctor just nods, turning away from her and following Devyn to the other side of the hall. She reaches out to him. He stops, smiling at her when he turns back around. "It's just a cultural thing. It's fine. Enjoy your womanly gossip."
He is such a dork sometimes. She swats his arm lightly, but even so she can't help but laugh and say, "Enjoy your manly political discussion."
"Oh, I will."
Rose takes her seat. She doesn't notice until then that she's surrounded by the females. She twists around, looking over the high backed chair, to see that the Doctor has been lead over to the other side of the room, where all the men have been seated.
She wonders briefly why they're segregated, but the food's suddenly arrive, whisked in on silver platters. The place might be posh, but at least she doesn't have twenty forks to choose between. She waits, looking carefully around at the other women to see what she should do- she'd had to start eating if there were some kind of grace or other ritual.
Thankfully there isn't and Rose takes in her food for the first time. It looks almost normal- something approaching fruit and vegetables- but she's not so sure about the colours. She doesn't normally eat foods that are red and blue, but she's just as willing to try as she's ever been.
"So, your Doctor… what is his full name?"
Rose looks up at Lynan's voice, swallowing down the interesting spice of the blue fruit. "Just the Doctor. He doesn't have a name beyond that."
"Curious," Odella sighs beside Lynan, her voice drawn out in a mostly bored sort of way.
Rose tries to ignore her, having already decided that Odella is something of a snob. She reaches out for her goblet- gorgeous, made from gold and decorated with engraved symbols. It's red, slightly thick. She thinks it might be wine and takes a sip. Sweet, vaguely like red wine but much better. She takes another sip.
"How long ago were you wed?"
Rose started, very nearly choking on her wine, as she looks up to find Lynan calmly watching her, chewing thoughtfully on her food. Rose clears her throat, taking a small sip to soothe her throat before setting the goblet down. "Sorry?"
"How long ago were you wed?"
"Oh, em… we're not. Married. We're not married."
The look shared between Lynan and Odella didn't go unnoticed by her. Odella looked back to her, "But I saw you holding hands. You can't not be married."
Of course the Doctor would find a society that's prudish enough to equate hand holding with marriage. Rose sighs, wringing her hands as she wets her lips. A tight smile graces her face as she looks back to them, "Right, of course. It's… complicated."
Lynan leans in, smirking playfully as she does. "Oh, do tell."
"Well," her eyes look off to the side, desperately searching her imagination for a reason why she would have to hide her marriage. "My mother was venomously opposed to our relationship. We got married against her wishes… three weeks ago. We haven't told anyone- been trying to hide it as much as possible. Guess we just forgot ourselves here."
Odella had gone back to her food, unimpressed by her explanation. But Lynan's smiling at her, amusement playing over her face. "You two make a cute couple." Rose couldn't help but blush. Why did people always think they're a couple? "Why would she object to him?"
Rose laughs at that, shaking her head, "It's a long story."