no faffing about this time! straight on with the story!
"Hold onto your hats ladies and gentlemen, we're going down!" Rose shouted, clinging onto the rocking centre of the TARDIS, he body being thrown about. The Doctor grinned at her and flicked a few more buttons, sending her flying across the control room, she managed to regain her balance just quick enough to make a very elegant landing on both her feet at the other end of the room, quickly lasing her arms around one of the tell pillars next to her. In her best pilot voice, Rose spoke again, "Pardon me ladies and gentlemen, it appears we're experiencing some turbulence, but we'll have it sorted in a jiffy, don't worryeeeekkkk!" Rose squealed as the whole TARDIS moved onto its side.
"Hold on!" the Doctor grinned as Rose was thrown back to the control desk, only just managing to stop herself from falling on top of the Doctor as he flicked one last switch and the TARDIS suddenly felt as though it upside down and Rose had to cling onto the Doctor's skinny form to keep from ending up on the roof. He looked behind him to where Rose was stood and they began to laugh. In another instant, the TARDIS underwent a sickening lurch as she righted herself and landed in an unknown destination, sending the two passengers spread-eagle across the floor.
Lying next to each other, the wind knocked out of them, it only took Rose and the Doctor one glance at the other before they were both rolling about in hysterics neither caring for the moment about where they were, or how badly that last landing had been. That's what they loved about each other, was the way it was all so funny, and the way it just didn't matter.
The Doctor was the first to recover from the little accident, and he was one his feet reaching out a hand to help Rose up as well, who was still giggling on the floor. Rose took his hand, and the Doctor pulled Rose about half way up, then, with a wolfish grin, he let go and she fell back in a heap, laughing as much as she used to be. The Doctor chuckled to himself, before offering her his hand again.
"Oh, you don't honestly think I'm dumb enough to fall for that one again do you?!" she declared, shaking her head and getting up by herself. The Doctor decided not to answer that question, instead he continued to grin at her until she hit him over the head. Then the chase was on and Rose tore across the TARDIS, but the Doctor anticipated her every move, racing after her around the control desk, always just too far behind.
Rose looked back and grinned at the Time Lord at her heals, laughing as he reached out to grab her, but missed by a fingerbreadth. In the moment it took Rose to look back, however, she failed to notice the wire lying on the floor of the TARDIS from last time the Doctor was 'fixing' some controls and hadn't bothered to clear up properly. It only took a second for her foot to entwine in the wire, and a second longer for her to keep running, unaware of the wire around her foot, then she tripped and fell to the floor, a triumphant Doctor leering over her. Of course, the Doctor had seen the wire previously, and had stayed just out of reach to give her the false impression of an advantage while really he was just setting her up… Or maybe he noticed when she did… But he'd never let her know that.
"That'll teach ya!" he laughed, as a disgruntled Rose untangled herself from the abandoned wire and gave him a sour glare. Still laughing, the Doctor bent over to pull his Rose to her feet, his hand just brushing the back of her neck as he gripped her arm in a gentle hold, helping her up. For a moment, they were standing so close, he could feel her soft breath against his face, and then she had moved away and was walking over to the opposite side of the room, reaching to get her denim jacket from where it hung on the rail by the door on top of his own, brown overcoat.
She felt his eyes on her as Rose pulled her jacket over her thin form, and turned to meet his gaze with a steady look. He blushed a little when he realised she'd seen him watching, but she pretended not to notice as she smiled at him, her eyes glittering slightly in the gentle light of the TARDIS. He returned her smile eagerly and bounded across the room to stand next to her, reaching over her to grab his own coat. He caught her eye for a second as he leant close to her face, but then the eye contact was broken, and he pulled the long jacket around himself.
"So…Where are we?" Rose asked, biting her lip slightly as she grinned at her guide and companion. He decided not to reply, merely winking in her direction and nodding his head towards the door, a cheeky grin across his face, "Seriously Doctor, where are we?"
"That would be telling!" he grinned as he stepped past her, his hand reaching out to open the door, "But if you wanna spoil the fun…"
He stopped midsentence as Rose rushed past him, standing in the way of him and the door, just like he'd known she would. He grinned again, and so did she, before she turned and opened the door, blinking against the harsh light of the new world.
"The woman has just stepped out, she's ours now."
"She is alone?"
"Well, no, she's with a man, but he is unarmed. Harmless."
"Never underestimate the power of an unarmed man. Sometimes they can be the most dangerous."
"Do you want us to eliminate the threat, sir?"
"No, just watch him, make sure he does not get in our way. They're unarmed, they must be like that for a reason, no-one's unarmed for no reason."
"Yes sir. And what about the girl? Do you want us to move at once? It would be easier to do it before she gets a feel for the place."
"Not yet. She must trust you. Must believe what you say. Get in between her and the man. It is important that he does not get in your way. Nothing must go wrong."
"Yes sir. Anything else?"
"So what is this place? Where and when are we?" Rose asked, her arm wrapped through his as they walked across an empty field of lush purple grass, the bright sun glaring down at them. Rose had long ago shrugged of her little jacket, and it now lay, unused, in her spare arm. She wondered how the Doctor wasn't too hot in his large overcoat, but then again, he was so different to her, she didn't really think about it for too long.
"I'm not actually sure…" he murmured, unwilling to admit to Rose that the TARDIS had brought them here for some reason, but she had refused to give him the coordinates, so he had just as little clue as to where they were as she did for once!
A bit of paper blowing in the breeze caught the Doctor's eye and he reached out, snatching it from the air to hold in front of him.
"What is it?" Rose asked, as the Doctor flipped over the card a couple of times.
"Ah! There!" she jumped a little as the Doctor suddenly held out the card and placed one hand on top of the other, the card sandwiched in-between.
There was a small buzzing noise, and a gentle glow issued from between the Doctor's fingers. He smiled softly and lifted his top hand off the card, which was now shooting a white light in a tunnel-like circle above it. Rose barely had time to register what was happening before a tiny figure appeared in the light. It was almost as though he was made of the light himself, Rose thought, as the man flicked long, slender wings twice, before greeting his audience.
"Hello. My name is Fridric, thank you for calling. Unfortunately, there is no-one at the office right now, but leave a personal message and someone at Gespollian Inc will get back to you as soon as they possibly can. Otherwise, I can help with most queries, but not complaints, I'm afraid. Now, how can I help you?"
Rose looked up to the Doctor, unsure about whether this was a recording or not. Her first instinct was that it was a recording, but it looked so alive, and was looking from Rose to the Doctor in the sort of expecting way it only could if it could really see them, there, right then.
To test her theory, Rose moved around the card to stand next to the Doctor. Fridric's eyes followed her, when she went, and she felt a kind of cold chill through it's gaze.
"What is it?" she whispered to the Doctor, who hadn't given her any hints, rather just watched the little…well, man.
"I am not an it," the man corrected, insulted, "I am a he."
The little man looked up at Rose with deep, intoxicating, blue eyes. He looked intentionally like a human, only more muscled, and with a pair of beautifully shaped, strong, stunning, dragonfly wings sprouting out of a shirtless back. His body was strange, almost as though he was part of the light surrounding him, not just in it, and his skin had a curious texture to it. Rose couldn't tell whether he was clothed, or whether it was merely his own skin, thicker where a pair of trousers should be, and coloured a more greeny than the rest of his golden-light form. He had dark brown hair, swept back from his face by an invisible force, and, although it looked as though it would fall into his eyes at any moment, it appeared that some sort of wind was constantly blowing it back. Looking closely, Rose noticed that he had webbed fingers, and wasn't wearing any shoes, revealing webbed toes to match. Another strange thing about him was the fact that he didn't seem to blink, and when he did, it seemed to be a great effort for him to close his thickly-lashed eyelids. He was quite beautiful, and Rose almost felt paled in comparison.
"Yes, and quite right too! Please don't mind my friend, she's a bit slow in the head," the Doctor tapped Rose on the head with his knuckle, just for good measure, "But, umm, if you don't mind me asking, what is this place? Why are they no people around?"
"The people of Knox are all inside the buildings, surely everyone knows that! No-one ventures out into the sun anymore, not since it started coming! But shhh, we must not speak of it! To hear it's name it comes running, flying from the sky and…! Oh, too many a-time have I been in the hands of someone when it has come! Just let it's name slip once and…"
"Yes, yes, thank you! I think we'd better get inside then, don't you Rose?"
"The female is Rose? The Rose?" the creature looked up, instantly and visibly interested. Rose felt the Doctor's hand tighten around her own as he peered down at the little man. She squeezed his hand softly when she saw him tense and prepare to speak.
"It's okay," she told him, and then she spoke to the man in the light, "Um, hi, I'm Rose and umm, how do you know who I am?"
"So you are her!" he declared, a wistful look in his eyes. The Doctor cleared his throat and Fridric came back to his formal self, just a little quieter than he was before, and a little more rushed, as though he was afraid of being caught giving out this information, "Legend tells of a woman with amazing powers. The woman who will bring us out of the dark and into the light. The stories say she is the flower, the one who will allow the planet of Knox to blossom in the sun once more, without fear of them. The legend says that there will be a woman, a lost girl, a traveller, someone who has seen the darkness and fought for the light. She will bring the planet back to the way it used to be. Back to the way it should be. For a while that name was Wolf, but someone came up with Rose a long time back, before the city was forced into the dark, and we have waited for our flower, for our Rose, for such a long time!"
Rose felt the Doctor's hand tighten around her own, and he breath caught slightly as the word Wolf was said, but at no mention of bad, she recovered quickly, and managed to keep looking more or less indifferent all through the small, light-man's speech.
"Is it true? Are you her? Are you our savour?" The man continued, and the Doctor's frown increased.
"I don't know… Maybe…?" she looked at the Doctor for guidance.
"You sure it was just Rose?" the Doctor asked, clearly confused, "Are you sure there wasn't a man in the legend?"
"No, no, no! It quite clearly speaks only of a Rose. And she must undergo the last stage of the journey completely alone, else all will fail, and Knox will never leave this ongoing darkness!"
Rose looked at the Doctor again, "It can't be me, not if it's not you as well? Right?"
The Doctor just shook his head, "I don't know," he answered, truthfully. "Anyway!" he continued, addressing the man again in a cheery voice, "We'd best be off, gotta find out more about this legend, eh, Rose?!"
Fridric looked pleased that they were taking his information so seriously, but at the same time, he seemed reluctant to let them leave him, "Good luck then. The fate of Knox rests in your hands."
"Good to know!" the Doctor replied, making to cover the small card again with both hands, dropping Rose's to do so.
"Wait!" the creature shouted, just before the Doctor closed his hands around him, "Before you go, you should know this! The evil one, the Wane, she will only see the Rose alone, but you must not let her look directly at you if you wish to live. Go well, Rose, our savour, and know that the citizens of this planet will always be behind you 100%!"
The Doctor nodded and moved to close his hands again, while Rose smiled gratefully. As he closed the tunnel of light, and the Gespollian faded from view before he could say anything else.
Once the man and the light had completely vanished, the Doctor threw the small card to the ground distastefully, his eyes watching it float on the wind. Rose observed the Doctor carefully, his face unreadable, but that didn't stop her from trying. She had always prided herself on the fact that she could often read him, even when he thought he was covering up his emotions well, and to anyone else, he was. Today, she knew what he was thinking, just like she always did, but she would never tell him, never let him know just how much she knew about all those things he kept hidden from her.
Rose's eyes never left the Doctor's empty face, and neither moved until the card finally came to rest on a tuft of grass. Once it had completely stopped moving, Rose stepped forward and picked it up, pocketing the card containing the small man, who clearly knew more than the Doctor did about the place they had come to. The Doctor frowned as the scrap of card went into Rose's jacket pocket, but she didn't explain why she had chosen to keep it. And she didn't plan to tell him that the reason was that she knew the Doctor knew very little about this planet, even though he would never admit that to her! It was just the idea of someone who knew the planet, and knew the legend that they had recently been informed of, being close to her, made Rose feel a whole lot more comfortable with staying.
"The child had heard the legend. We move now?"
"Hold on. She has the card?"
"Yes sir, but she can not know what it is, there is no possible way."
"What about the man?"
"He can not know either, they are both as ignorant of our planet as we are of theirs."
"Good. Make sure it stays that way. Monitor the card, wherever they go, it'll go, make sure we always know where that is."
"Very good sir, anything else?"
"Yes, let's send our friends from far away a little greeting present, to welcome them!"
They walked, hand in hand, across the purple grass, marvelling at the beauty, and the emptiness of their surroundings. Rose had to grin up at the Doctor on more than one occasion, finding him grinning happily back at her, despite the situation and the problem they found themselves faced with.
Rose loved this. She loved the fact that they were facing a potentially life-threateningly dangerous… thing, and yet they were still walking across fields, happily holding each others hand and grinning, just because they could. She loved the feel of his skin, and the way they kept 'accidentally' bumping each other, just to be closer. Rose knew, well, kind of knew, that the Doctor maybe looked on her a little more than just another companion, and she had realised a while back that he was slowly finding his way into her own heart.
The Doctor was also wonderfully happy. His mind, although scorched with worry for his friend, was blissfully satisfied with walking through an abandoned countryside with his Rose. In fact, he couldn't think of anywhere he'd rather be than right there, right then.
But something Fridric had mentioned still bothered him. He had said that the planet was still heavily populated, but they stayed inside out of fear. But fear of what? So far, the Doctor hadn't noticed anything that he could see to force people inside. Maybe these 'things' were invisible? But that would just be stupid! Invisible things that no-one can speak the name of forcing an entire race to live indoors, afraid of the light, and the outdoors, he convinced himself. Yet he still couldn't get the idea out of his head. Something wasn't quite right with Knox, and he had to find out what. For Rose's sake, as much as everyone else's.
"It's beautiful!" Rose breathed, stopping, and pulling the Doctor out of his thoughts.
Looking up, "Yes, it is," he agreed. Rose turned to look at him, and found the Doctor's eyes not on the bird, like hers had been, but watching her with careful amusement.
"What?" Rose asked gently, a soft tinkling in her voice that was like music to the Doctor.
Self consciously, he took a step forward, towards her, and Rose titled her head just the tinniest little bit, in a way that her lips just caught the light of the fading sun, making them glitter in the most wonderful way. He moved even closer to her, his hands finding hers between their almost-touching bodies, and he held them tight, softly stroking her palms with his thumbs.
He was about to move his head when the nose of a branch snapping brought them back to themselves. Without releasing her hand, the Doctor looked all around for the source of the noise, but there was nothing. At all. No life. There wasn't even any branches around to snap. Rose moved closer to the Doctor and he squeezed her hand reassuringly, still scanning their surroundings.
"Let's go," Rose nodded in agreement, holding the Doctor's hand ever tighter, still looking around for the noise. As they turned away, Rose just noticed the bird had also disappeared, with no trace of it ever being there left, and she hurried to keep up with the Doctor's now-quick pace.
"What do you…" but she was cut off by the Doctor's 'shush!' before she could finish asking what he thought it was. Immediately, she tensed up, and her grip on his hand tightened ever more, but that was okay, cuz the grip he had on her own had also increased.
Before she could say anything, the Doctor had pulled her to his chest, and he held her there tightly, her face buried deep in his shoulder. "Don't move," he whispered, his arms softly stroking her back in a futile attempt to calm her increasing nerves. Tensing, Rose shuffled slightly in the Doctors grip, just enough so she could make out his expression.
It was calm, but also deep-set, as though he was made out of stone. Rose knew the Doctor well enough by now to know that face could mean nothing good was about to happen, and she quickly hid her face back in his chest, her arms linking behind his neck to hold him closer to her. She knew this face, and she wouldn't lose him.
Slowly and carefully, Rose felt the Doctor's face lift so he was looking at the sky, and she knew that his expression was still the same. She pretended not to notice the almost-fear in his voice, that he thought he had hidden when a whisper tickled her ear saying, "Whatever you do. Don't look up." She felt him burry his own face in her hair and she moved her arms to hug his body closer as he continued, "Look up and you're dead."
She pretended not to be afraid, but she knew the Doctor would be able to see straight through it as soon as he looked at her, just as she could see through him. And he'd looked up…
"What is it?" she asked, so quietly it was barely audible.
"That doesn't matter. The point is; you mustn't look at it. Rose, just trust me, and don't look."
She pulled herself away from him a bit, just enough to look him in the eyes, and had to fight with everything inside her not to look up. She would have, but she knew him, and knew he wasn't exaggerating when he said whatever this was would kill her if she looked at it. So, with a struggle, she kept her eyes forward and just focused on the Doctor.
As though he could read her mind, the Doctor understood Rose's struggle not to look up, and he pulled her back to him, keeping her safe. Although she knew he was looking himself.
"We have the male sir, he has sighted the creature, what will you have us do with him?"
"Let's play with this one… Do nothing for a bit. But we have him in our hands now, and it will only be a matter of time before we lead them both to us."
"The prophesy says that it must just be the girl sir! The man is useless to us so long as they're together!"
"Maybe so, but he clearly means a lot to her, and if we can mess her about a little, maybe she will be easier to destroy. Don't forget, she must be killed, else all fails, and we must not fail!"
"Keep an eye on them, but don't move yet. Let's see if we can get in her head first."
"The man cares for her, he will not be easy to overcome."
"The creatures have not failed to overcome a victim before."
"They rarely hold people at their wills for long, and my readings show this man has intelligence of the likes we have never seen before!"
"And yet he is harmless?"
"Quite harmless, we think, but the creature may not be able to hold him for long without burning both their minds."
"We can spare one creature for this purpose, and the man would be preferable alive and usable, but if he must burn out, then it is irrelevant so long as we get the woman."
"Yes sir. When would you like us to move?"
"Not just yet. Let them think they've won for now. I will summon you when the time comes to do any more."
"As you wish sir."
"And call off the creature, bring it here, I wish to talk to it. In privet."