The Tardis materialized.
The Doctor stepped out and took a look around the small dusty courtyard. "Oh, so not going to happen," he muttered in disgust. He turned around. "Back inside, Rose," he said, shooing her before him.
She sidestepped, "Why? What is it? What's wrong?" She looked around the small cramped yard, tall wooden fencing blocked out the view, but it was hot, with a dry desert heat, and it smelled of animals and rotting garbage. She held her nose and looked over at the pile of moldering onions that stood at the back door of the ramshackle, clapboard building they'd materialized behind. "It stinks."
"Yes it does," he said, giving the words an ominous ring that indicated something more dire than onions.
Rose gave him a sour look as he again tried to use his body mass to herd her into the Tardis. She ducked around him, trotted over to the tall board fence, and found a knothole to peek through.
Beyond, was the long, dirt road, rough buildings, and wooden sidewalk of an Old West town.
"Brilliant!" she beamed as she turned to the Doctor. "We're in the Old West!"
He slumped and grumped, stuffing his hands in his pockets. "Yes, and I've been here before. The whole experience gave me a toothache."
"But, the Old West! Cowboys! Gunfights! We can't just leave! Come on," she wheedled, sidling up to him grinning at him, her tongue peeking out as she peered up into his downturned face. She bumped him with her shoulder, "we've gotta look around. Please?"
He looked in her big brown eyes, and sighed. He was going to give in again. He knew it. She knew it. And he knew it was a horrible idea. Look what happened the last time. For all he knew he was still here somewhere, although it had been a long time ago. And he could swear this was the same courtyard. But had he already been here? Or was he yet to come?
"Please, Doctor?" she laid a hand on his arm, and he crumbled.
"Fine," he barked. "But not dressed like that, you'd start a riot."
"I'm not wearing that!" Rose protested as he held the vest out to her.
They were in the Tardise's towering wardrobe room, spiral racks of clothes twining their way up into infinity. He held out the vest and shook it at her.
"You're not going out there without it. It's either this, or a forcefield," he said.
"A bulletproof vest?"
"You said it yourself. Gunfights. Everyone out there is armed, and I'm not having you shot."
"Well what about you?"
"I can regenerate, you can't. Put it on."
Rose sighed. She looked longingly at the long, sweeping, gingham dress she'd been stroking. With a sigh she took the heavy blue vest from him. It looked like something she'd see in an American cop show. She wouldn't be surprised if it had NYPD stenciled on the back. (She quickly peeked to be sure. It didn't.) But it was also a lot slimmer than she'd have expected. More high-tech looking somehow, but it would never fit under that dress.
The Doctor had pointedly turned away and was rifling through a rack of clothes on the other side of the room.
Rose grinned and started to unbutton her shirt. Here she was in the costume room, with the Doctor, about to get undressed. Her tongue peeked through her teeth as she grinned naughtily. This was a familiar scenario, although it was the first time she'd actually been in here with him, she'd certainly thought about it enough. There was just something about the idea of all these costumes...
She slipped off her jacket, rather more loudly than necessary, to make sure he could hear the slithery fabric sliding off.
"There's a screen in the corner," the Doctor said, without looking, still perusing the rack of clothes in front of him, he pointed to a large japanned screen to her left.
She peeked at him through her lashes as she fiddled with the buttons on her shirt. He still wasn't looking.
With a sigh, and regret for lost daydreams, she ducked behind the screen and stripped down to her bra.
A floaty white shift flew over the screen and landed on her head.
"Try that, I think it will fit."
Several minutes, and several garments landing on her head later, Rose stepped out from behind the screen dressed in a long peach gingham dress with a heavy full skirt, and topped by a wide-brimmed straw hat with a bow.
"How do I look?" she said, smoothing down the gathers of the full skirt. She looked up, and caught her breath.
The Doctor stood before her looking dark and dangerous. Black cowboy boots, black denim jeans, a crisply white cuffed shirt, and a black leather duster that went past his knees.
Rose let her breath out in a whoosh. All that was missing was a gunbelt and cowboy hat.
He reached over and picked up a battered black cowboy hat from the loaded stand beside him. He pushed it onto his short cropped hair.
The only thing holding Rose up was the hundreds of layers of skirts to her dress. "Wow."
He looked up at her, "Ready?"
That was so not the thing for him to ask her right now.
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