Another gap filler-inner, this time covering the before and after for "Fear Her", and a tiny bit into "Army of Ghosts".

Once again, although this story is meant to remain within the TV show canon, it's written as a sequel to my stories, "The Girl in the Stalking Spaceship", "Age of Bronze", "Lantern Extinguished", "Gravity Schmavity", and "Love and Monsters". I'd like to dedicate this to gaiafreedom21, who inspired this entire series of stories by wanting to see how the Doctor's and Rose's relationship changed as a result of "The Girl in the Fireplace"

This is the unbeta'd first chapter, since I'm too impatient to wait until my betas get back to me :)

If some of this seems a teensy, weensy bit familiar, it's because parts of this story were inspired by the non-AU portion of my even earlier story, "Happily Ever After".

Disclaimer: Surprise, surprise, I don't own Doctor Who. Nor do I get anything from writing these stories--except wonderful, constructive reviews! Wink, wink; nudge, nudge ;)


Chapter 1, Shopping Trip

Rose stepped out of the TARDIS behind the Doctor, and adjusted her backpack of laundry as she followed him out of the alley in which they had landed. They seemed to be at the edge of a market square, with all sorts of canopied sales tables set out before them. Surrounding the square were towering buildings, the like of which Rose had never seen before.

"They're sort of shimmery," she said to the Doctor, as he took her hand, leading her across the square.

"It's because of the planet's location," he explained as they walked. "Well, it's not technically a planet, actually part of an asteroid belt, but this particular chunk of space rock was so huge that it became habitable. But the other asteroids in its orbit are full of all sorts of rare metals. Hence the buildings, as well as the jewelry."

Rose glanced down from the skyscrapers to look at the tables as they passed. "Oh, wow!" she exclaimed, seeing the variety of jewelry and trinkets spread out before her. "Can I get somethin' for Mum?"

The Doctor sighed, but cooperatively led her over to a table.

She smiled, squeezing his hand. Rose looked at the table, and what seemed like intricate bronze sculptures. "What is it?" she asked.

"This," said the Doctor, picking up a piece with a nod from the sales attendant and holding it in front of her eyes, "is what's known as 'Bezoolium'. It acts like a barometer, getting cooler or hotter when the atmospheric pressure decreases or increases."

"So, a barometer, so it can, what, tell the weather?" she asked, taking the piece from him and inspecting it.

"Basically," said the Doctor. "You could think of it as cool: rain; warm: sun."

"Perfect!" said Rose, "I'll take it."

They walked a bit further, when Rose came upon a table of the most exquisite rings and bracelets she'd ever seen. They were made of a kind of silvery metal, with pinks and turquoise twisted throughout. "Beautiful," she breathed, running her hands over the jewelry. She smiled as she traced the swirls on one ring, marveling at how the diamond-like gems were almost woven into the band. She moved on, fingering a bracelet made of such fine strands of the metal that it felt almost like cloth.

"Would the lady like to try the piece on?" asked the attendant.

"Could I?" she asked with a smile.

The attendant released it from the display table and held it up. The Doctor took it from him before Rose could reach for it. "Allow me?" he asked her.

Rose smiled, holding out her right arm. She hoped the goose bumps he gave her weren't too obvious as he wrapped the bracelet around her wrist.

The attendant chose that moment to pipe up again. "The lady is indeed fortunate; the gentleman has very delicate hands."

"They're not delicate!" The Doctor objected, obviously flustered. He was so funny when he was embarrassed.

"I only meant well-suited to delicate tasks," the attendant corrected himself.

"Well they're not," the Doctor huffed. "They're manly hands. Hairy even, see?" He held up his hands for the clerk's and Rose's closer inspection. "Manly, hairy hands," he mumbled, making quick work of the clasp, and gently fitting the bracelet around Rose's wrist.

"Seem pretty delicate to me," Rose teased.

"You like?" he asked. Rose raised her eyebrows. "The bracelet," he clarified.

"Love it," she confirmed.

"We'll take it," said the Doctor to the attendant.

Rose watched as the credit exchange was made. She really hadn't intended to get anything for herself, but the Doctor was being so sweet. She kissed him right on the lips when he'd completed the sale. "Thanks," she said.

"All set then?" he asked with a smile as she pulled away. She nodded. "Alrighty, next stop, laundromat."


Rose thought it looked like a wall of paint samples, but instead of colors, each card had a number and a scent description. They were grouped into categories: fruits--those she expected, other foods (including cheeses), flowers; and then they just got weird. She amended her earlier impression of it not being quite like choosing paint, when she saw the "colors" section. The Doctor insisted that colors had particular smells, and spent the better part of half an hour trying to get Rose to be able to distinguish between them.

"Come on, Rose, this is just simple olfactory distinction," whined the Doctor. "I'm not even giving you the tricky ones."

Rose was standing with her hands firmly over her eyes, while the Doctor waved a card under her nose. "This one?" he asked.

Rose sniffed, then pursed her lips. "Red?" she asked.

"Eh, almost. Orange," he answered.

"That smells nothin' like an orange," she argued.

"Color, not fruit." Rose sighed. "How about this one?" he asked.

She tried to concentrate. To be honest, she was mostly just enjoying their proximity, but standing with her eyes covered was taking some of the fun out of it. "Brown."

"Exactly!" he exclaimed. "How about this?"

Rose was startled. Her mind had been wandering, and she'd been thinking about his hair. His thick, soft, oh-so-fingerable . . . . She mentally shook herself and smelled the next card. She smirked, getting an image of the ridiculous white tie he was wearing today. "White," she said.

"Ah, you're getting it now!"

She was surprised, to say the least. Colors really have smells?

"And this?"

She couldn't help but lick her lips. "Red," she answered.

"Okay," the Doctor said, his voice squeaking slightly. "Um, seems you've got the hang of it. I'll leave you to it, then."

Rose peeked through her fingers to see the Doctor watching her mouth, then dropped her hands, snapping him out of it.

"Just, uh, pick which one you want, then give it to the clerk with your laundry," he instructed. "You've got your credit stick?" Rose pulled it from her pocket and waved it. "Good. I'll just get the groceries, then." With that, he turned and left the building, leaving a smirking Rose in his wake.


To be continued.