Chapter One

The Doctor dashed frenetically around the TARDIS' console, pressing buttons and flicking levers almost faster than the eye could follow. Rose leaned on the TARDIS railing near his seat, watching excitedly. It wasn't that she'd already seen this a hundred times, it was that every time it took them somewhere different, a new adventure.

"Where're we going this time, Doctor?" she called over the din.

"Barcelona!" he called to her over his shoulder. She laughed. "What? Beautiful place, Barcelona, and I haven't gotten to show you yet. Something always gets in the way, right at the last second. Like they've put redirectional shields up to keep me out or something," he muttered to himself. "Could they do that? No, it's only a level seven, isn't it? Or is it nine?" He pulled the TARDIS screen in front of them. "What time period am I in, anyway?"

"Keeping us out then?" Rose laughed. "Fair reason to, I suppose."

"Nah, it's probably just the TARDIS at work," said the Doctor, running a hand through his unruly hair distractedly and making it stand on end before turning back to the console. "Chaos theory and all that. Anyway, they're not keeping us out this time! I just throw this lever, and--"

The TARDIS shook, then jolted sideways. Rose hung onto the railing for dear life, and the Doctor, as usual, managed to somehow cling to the console. There was a bang, and suddenly the TARDIS was still. Even the buzzing noise seemed muted.

"...wham," the Doctor finished lamely. "Well, it was worth a shot. Let's see where we are, shall we?" He pulled the screen towards him and stared at it for a few moments. His eyebrows shot upward in incredulity. "What? What? What?!? Oh, come on!" He whacked the TARDIS console, exasperated.

"What is it, Doctor?" asked Rose amusedly.

He sighed. "I wanted Barcelona, not some city named after kitchen utensils--!"

The TARDIS went dark, and there was nothing but the faintest of buzzing noises somewhere in the background.

For a few minutes, there was dead silence. Rose summoned up her courage and asked, "Doctor, what was that?"

"An alternate universe," said the Doctor resignedly, "apparently. Again. This is becoming a bit of a habit, don't you think?" he said, addressing the console. "Well, at least it'll know what to do this time," he added, turning to Rose. "We just leave it well enough alone for eight hours or so, and we're free to go. Sound good?"

Rose shrugged. "What, no great big crisis this time?"

"Nope. The TARDIS doesn't panic about the same things twice. Come on, let's go see what's out there."

"Well, come on then." Rose bounded towards the door, excitement building in her. The anticipation was the part that she never got tired of. She reached the door, threw it open, and started out the door.

And bounced backwards into the Doctor in the same movement, sending them stumbling over themselves. She hurried off into the depths of the TARDIS, muttering "raincoat" under her breath and looking distinctly grumpy.

"What?" the Doctor asked, looking out the doorway again. Sure enough, outside was rainy and looked as though it was only going to get worse. "Oh well," he muttered. He never saw quite what Rose had against the rain, especially as she was probably used to it.

He stared pensively at the rain for a few moments as Rose came up behind him, squeaking slightly in a rainjacket. "Of course it would be raining," she said as they stepped out of the TARDIS and into the wet, then was distracted by the scenery around her. "Pine trees. Big pine trees. And lots of mountains. Where are we?"

"As far as I could tell from the TARDIS computer before it gave out, we're on some sort of Earth. Northwestern United States, as a matter of fact. Something about the rainiest place in the whole country, according to the databanks. Which might be faulty, as it wasn't made for this universe. Ssh," he said, as Rose opened her mouth to ask a question. He backed them against the wall and stared out at the undergrowth. Rose strained her ears and thought she could hear whispers.

The doctor pointed tentatively. "There--no, there..." He moved a few steps out from the TARDIS. "Come on out," he called. "We won't hurt you."

Suddenly, a young man emerged from the trees and stepped tentatively towards the Doctor. "Wow...definitely not Earth," Rose whispered to herself. The boy was gorgeous, and he appeared to be only a few years younger than she was.

The Doctor threw her a disapproving look, then looked more closely at the youth. His eyebrows shot up. "What?"

"What?" the boy echoed immediately afterwards, coming closer to the Doctor with an expression of confusion and fierce curiosity on his face.

A few feet apart, they met face to face, and spoke at the same time. "What?"