This is an idea I've been playing with for a while, after reading Jacqueline Rayner's superb book 'The Stone Rose.' This story will probably make more sense if you've read the book. If you haven't, basically the Doctor and Rose travelled to Ancient Rome, where, to stop paradoxes and the like, the Doctor ends up sculpting a marble statue of his beloved companion, posing as the goddess Fortuna.

This story takes place in Season 4, after the Doctor and Donna's visit to Pompeii.

Hope you enjoy xx

Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who. The Beeb does. I didn't write 'The Stone Rose.' Jacqueline Rayner did. I think that just about covers it…

Lost BloomHiccups

The Doctor frowned as the TARDIS gurgled and whirred. Donna held onto the railings for dear life, her teeth chattering in her mouth with each tremor.

"Oi, fix your ship, spaceman!" she hollered over the din.

The Doctor patted the console, making shushing noises, and the TARDIS calmed down. When he'd regained control (of course he'd claim he never lost it in the first place), he turned to Donna and glowered at her.

"Am I in a spacesuit?"

"What?"

"Does this look like a shuttle?"

"What?!"

"Am I wearing a goldfish bowl on my head?"

"What are-"

"So stop calling me 'spaceman'!" he said in an irritated tone.

"Well, it's rattling around like it's infested with woodpeckers! Alien woodpeckers, probably!"

"Don't have a go! She's got hiccups."

"Hiccups?"

"Yeah."

"What?!"

The Doctor sighed in frustration, and flung the monitor round to look at it, choosing to ignore Donna for a moment.

Donna pushed her hair from her face, looking down at her attire: she was still wearing the long, elegant Roman dress. Not really her thing.

"Gonna go change into some real-person clothes."

The Doctor looked up from his monitor. "Wouldn't bother, Donna…"

--

"Rome?"

"Yeah."

"But we've just come from Pompeii!"

"I know. That's what I meant about hiccups." The Doctor tried to think of a way to explain himself that she would understand.

"Its like a stone skimming on water. The TARDIS skipped a small way through time, and a small way through space, and we've ended up in Rome. About a hundred years after Pompeii."

Donna crossed her arms and huffed. "Bit insensitive, after what we've just been through, don't you think?" Images of the suffering and tragedy in Pompeii burned as brightly as lava through her mind. She shuddered at the thought of Vesuvius erupting over the city below.

As she was reliving her own haunted memories of that terrible night, it took her a while to notice the Doctor's, more intriguing, reaction.

He was scuffing his feet against the metal grating of the floor, and messing around with the monitor, bringing up lists of new coordinates. In Donna's view, he was uneasy to say the least.

"Y'know, you're right," he suddenly blurted out, his eyes wide with a manic energy. "Lets go somewhere else. Anywhere you like! How about we go see the first anti-gravity Olympics? Never got to take anyone there yet. Or…"

Donna frowned. Was he… trying to distract her?

Why doesn't he want to go to Rome?

"I suppose we could try Rome," she said carefully, testing the water and looking for his reaction. She wasn't disappointed: his eyebrows nearly flew off his forehead and he momentarily froze like a rabbit in headlights.

"No, no, no, let's go somewhere completely different!" he said with an excitement she could tell was false. "I know: you're a temp! Let's go see the first telepathic computer. Called it Yvonne, although why they did is beyond me! Year 2361, what do you think?"

While he was talking he set various dials and pulled switches. His hand rested over the controls in anticipation. "Well?"

Donna shook her head. "No, I wanna see Rome. Come on, might as well get some more wear out of this dress, can't see me wearing it round any Olympics or computer place."

The Doctor stepped back from the controls, running his hands through his hair, trying to look casual but obviously racking that enormous brain of his for anything to stop them going outside.

"France?"

"No."

"Thailand?"

"No."

"New Africa, 2114?"

"Well…"

"Yes?"

"No!"

The Doctor scowled, and sighed in frustration, but not quite defeated.

"Why don't you want to go to Rome, Doctor?"

"I… I don't want some guy on a market stall flogging the TARDIS for a few Sestertius or a jug of wine. Again. That fella was completely out of order, I mean-"

"Doctor!"

"What?!"

"The TARDIS will be fine. Let's go and look round a few shops or something. Bet the temples are beautiful."

The Doctor visibly cringed at that, which made Donna worry.

"Doctor, what is wrong with Rome?"

He shuddered. "Nothing. Lovely place," he said through gritted teeth.

"Well, then, lets go and look around. I bet you'll have a great time. Just think of all those ancient monuments and things, all brand new, waiting out there!"

She could see his feet itching towards the door, and knew he would cave eventually.

"Oh, okay, fine," she sighed in false exasperation. "I'll just go myself. And if I get into trouble, or kidnapped, or something, you can go and tell my mum."

That got his attention. He hadn't met Donna's mum yet, but with his past experiences with mothers it wasn't something he was looking forward to. Especially if he had to go alone and report a missing daughter.

He groaned as Donna opened the door.

"Wait for me."

--

What do you think? This is chapter 1 of 5, so not as long as my last story but I hope people like it all the same. It's gonna be a real sweet one; the Doctor gets all sombre and reminiscent thinking about Rose. So this is a Ten/Rose story, even though she's not technically in it. Please let me know what you think: hit Review! xx