Chapter 6, Lavish Accommodations

"Don't s'pose it's bigger on the inside," said Rose, poking the tent flap with the toe of her boot. The tent looked barely big enough for the two of them, unless they planned on spending the night standing up--no, crouching.

"No," said the Doctor, "you're thinking of the wizard tents in 'Harry Potter'."

"Actually," said Rose, slowly, "I was thinkin' of the TARDIS. Y'know, big, blue box? We sometimes do some travellin' in it?" She was giving him that teasing grin that he loved, just a bit of tongue poking out between her teeth.

"Well, unfortunately the TARDIS is parked about three miles away, through a dark and scary forest, at the moment," he told her, unable to supress his own smile.

"Looks like this is it for the night, then," she acceded.

"Ladies first," said the Doctor, holding back the tent flap for Rose to duck through. "Sorry 'bout not carrying you over the threshold, but it's a bit of a tight fit," he said, continuing to joke about their surprise wedding.

Of course, he was only joking about it, because he couldn't get the thought out of his mind.

He followed her into the tent, but didn't go far, as there was a narrow bed that took up all but the front few feet of the interior. It was piled with blankets, but the night was warm enough that they should be able to use most of them as padding atop the straw mattress.

Rose dropped her sack of clothes by the entrance, then sat on the foot of the bed attempting to kick off her slightly muddied boots. The Doctor looked again at the bed, increasingly aware of its lack of width, then took some mental measurements of the grassy patch on which he stood, wondering how comfortable he could make himself there with maybe a blanket or two. "Don't even start," said Rose, breaking into his musings. "You're not takin' the floor on your wedding night," she said with a smile. Still, the Doctor didn't answer, made even more irrationally uncomfortable by the mention of a wedding night. "C'mon, plenty of room to share," she said, scooting back onto the bed, and reaching up to undo the flowers from her hair.

The Doctor mentally kicked himself into action. If Rose didn't have a problem with it, why was he suddenly obsessing? With a melodramatic sigh, he draped his jacket and tie over the foot of the bed, put his shoes next to Rose's boots, and climbed onto the bed. "You and your domestics," he chided. "Next you'll be wanting a honeymoon."

"You'd better believe it!" said Rose, dropping the last flowers onto the ground beside the bed, and combing out her hair with her fingers. "And it had better be good, mister 'all of time and space.'" She settled herself on the bed next to him, wrapping a light blanket over herself as she turned her back to him.

Due to the confined space, the Doctor found himself also forced to turn onto his side, with his arm draped over Rose's waist. "All of time and space," he said, mulling over her words. "Something fit to crown all our previous adventures combined." Crown. "I know, how 'bout the coronation of King Jesteen XXIII of the planet Zog?"

"Zog?" asked Rose.

"A lot more fun than the name implies, I promise," said the Doctor, brushing some of her hair from his face, and not noticing the lingering scent of flowers at all. Not one bit.

"Hmm," said Rose quietly, snuggling deeper into her blanket and, to the Doctor's delight, pulling his arm closer around her. "I'll have to see it to believe it," she said. "But if I don't like it, you'll have to come up with somethin' better."

She was already drifting off, but the Doctor couldn't help but keep up the banter. "Something better? What do you want?" he asked.

"Music. And definitely more dancin'," was her sleepy reply.

The Doctor knew she couldn't be held accountable for her words, but he couldn't help the swell of happiness at what they implied after today's events. Still, he continued his teasing. "Music. Dancing. I offer you the leader of the Relqine Protectorate, and all you want is the king of rock 'n roll." Then, it hit him. "Oh, but that's brilliant!" he exclaimed, half sitting up. "Rose? How'd you like to see Elvis, live and in concert? Hmm?"

She didn't answer. That, and her deep, even breathing, told the Doctor that she was finally asleep. He gently pressed a kiss to her temple, then laid back down, settling his arm protectively around his wife--friend, he thought, startled that the idea had already penetrated so deeply into his subconscious. Best friend, he repeated to himself, closing his eyes, and allowing himself just a bit of sleep as well.

The end.

Next story, "Lantern Extinguished"--see you there!