Well. I got the most interesting prompt for the Hearts-in-Time Summer Adventures Ficathon over at LJ. At least, I don't automatically think, "It's summer, where're the Vikings?" Mind, I'm not from Minnesota. -grins- But I thought Summer=Vikings would be the coolest thing to try to write.
The Viking Invasion
Chapter One: Enter the Vikings
Like so many things, these days, Rose supposed this mess technically started with Jack. For once, he hadn't done anything on purpose, or actually anything wrong at all, as the Doctor would, surprisingly enough, be the first to admit. Jack had just managed to get himself injured, and everything had sort of... cataclysmed from there.
Jack had taken a strong light burst from some sort of crystal during their last trip. The Doctor had had the medicine necessary to correct Jack's vision, to make sure he would see again, but the Time Lord had been almost horrified when he realized he only had two doses. He could replicate the drug, but it would take several days, and would cost one of the doses. The drug, of course, couldn't be acquired through any legitimate channels, for some reason which Rose had never managed to understand.
What it meant was that Jack had been stuck with one eye well and one eye covered by a dark patch to prevent any light from reaching it and making his temporary blindness even worse. The Doctor had given him drops to treat it, and Jack hadn't complained even a little bit, which surprised Rose until she realized that Jack had fully expected to be rendered blind, forced to have his eyes replaced, by the damage.
The Doctor had decided to take them someplace safe, a small, uncharted little backwater out in M135, which was populated by a tiny handful of very very wealthy and very very reclusive retired so-and-sos from several different planets. He'd landed them on a beach, but wouldn't come out with them, and then Jack had felt self-concious with his depth perception off and without his vivid green eyes to charm (he hadn't considered that the eye patch gave him a sort of pirate-like appeal). So he'd stayed inside to help the Doctor. Rose had gone out on her own, to find a small coastal town, an abandoned beach, and weather to absolutely die for. It was completely safe, not a problem in sight, hadn't been even a petty crime here in generations.
She'd given the beach up as dull around lunch time and, after failing to persuade, bully, or bribe the Doctor into joining her, had gone up into the small village. It was, apparently, a service town for the recluses, populated and operated by selected close-mouthed types who'd sell their souls before a private picture of the people who provided their livelihood. They'd all looked at her quite askance, as people weren't supposed to be here without absolute reams of clearance paperwork and everyone therefore knew everyone else. Rose had simply claimed her mysterious employer had given her her first day off since bringing her here. It had the advantage of being half-way true-ish. Everyone had instantly turned sympathetic and understanding, completely familiar with the rare tragic case like hers.
Rose hadn't inquired what sort of tragic case they thought she was, just settled herself in to play cards and share a drink and talk trash with the servants of the rich and famous. It really was a bit fun, this, almost like being down the pub at her mum's, with the added advantage that she could go home and away from this once she was done.
It had been, all in all, a beautifully perfect summer day. Even when the foul weather rolled in off the sea late that afternoon, Rose had been content in the knowledge that she was dry and cozy and understood, the Doctor could ring her if necessary, and everything was nice and happy and safe as houses.
Still, it all boiled down to Jack being injured, leading to this entire chain of events. Rose stuck hard to that fact, because as soon as the Doctor became aware that she was running for her life across the beach, she was absolutely certain he was going to try to pin this one on her. After all, only jeopardy-friendly Rose Tyler could possibly be the cause of the sudden, inexplicable Viking invasion.
"Pull the green one," the Doctor said. "No, the other green one," he added, and he sounded like his patience was at an end.
"D'you know how many of these wires are green, Doc?" Jack demanded, and his patience had also stepped out. He suspected it was in the library, in the liquor cabinet, where he would also very much like to be right about now.
The Doctor snagged the sonic screwdriver, the force hammer and, inexplicably, a roll of duct tape. "Don't care if it's been broken since before I was born," he muttered, "I'm gonna bleedin' fix it, an' you're gonna live with it."
Yep, it was bad now, all right. He was talking - aloud and comprehensibly - to the ship.
"I said I'd not go near the chameleon circuit an' I won't." He banged the duct tape down on the console and whirred the screwdriver over a long series of switches, which all went "click", ominously, at the same time. "What possible difference would it make if I did rewire it through the recall cir..." He stopped what he was doing, shut off the screwdriver, and looked around. "Did you hear that?"
"Hear what?" asked Jack, who couldn't hear anything but the swishing, flowing, ponging silence of the TARDIS at rest. And maybe some rain.
The Doctor held up a hand, the one with the screwdriver in it, his head tilted to one side as he moved across the grating like a hunter in an old film - only much more gracefully. You tended to forget, really, when the Doctor wandered around all bandy-legged and lanky, that the predatory edge of a jungle cat was hiding just out of sight. His head tilted further, and he made several steps toward the door. "Viewer, Jack, now," he snapped, and jumped the open grating, flipping the door locks open as he went.
The viewer came up and revealed a scene that, in Jack's opinion, would never fail to inspire - Rose Tyler, soaking wet, in skimpy clothes, running across a beach. "What's she running from, though?" Jack asked aloud.
"Blue button, down 'til it stops," the Doctor replied. He was next to the doors, now.
"Doc, you need to see this!" Jack shouted.
"No time," the Doctor said.
"No, really. I think... Doctor, it looks like she's running from Vikings."
The Doctor stared at Jack, blue eyes wide and horrified, and then he flung open the doors, leaving the TARDIS at a dead run. Jack started to follow him, then pivoted on his heel and went to grab his blaster first.
The Doctor raced across the sand in the pouring rain, his boots kicking up great white clumps as he went. It was hard to maintain his footing, and it had to be harder for Rose since she'd probably been wearing nonsensical little shoes, nothing with traction at all. If she fell, if she went down for even a second, those barbarians would be all over her, and the Doctor was not about to let that happen.
This probably wasn't the best plan, not really, but the Doctor figured he could do something impressive, say something, distract them, challenge them, anything. He had a lot better chance against a screaming horde than Rose did.
He also appeared to have a hammer, as he obviously hadn't dropped it. At this point, he decided it would do for a reasonable facsimile of a credible threat, at least until Jack could get back with the fire power. The Doctor had seen true beserkers in action. If these were the real thing, death was the only option. However, with Viking beserkers, it was possible, even likely, that they were just running amok under the blood-lust and could be brought back to themselves by a single hard jolt.
He could hear Rose's shrieks quite clearly now, equal parts fear and rage, and she was calling for him. He could hear the laughing, taunting, and jeering of her pursuers. Likely not true beserkers then - it was usually all rage in a real psycho-traumatic killing frenzy.
He topped a dune and the lightning lit up the blackened sky well enough to see quite clearly, even through the rain. Rose staggered, blinded by the light, and the Doctor reached out and caught her arm. She fought and kicked wet sand at him, until he let her hand slip down to join with him. The second their fingers interlocked, she knew his. Shoving the rain and her wet hair out of her face, she shouted, "This isn't my fault!"
The Doctor jerked her the rest of the way up the hill and shoved her behind his body. "Run!" he snapped over his shoulder.
"No!" Rose snapped back.
"Jack's coming, he's bringing his blaster, run!"
"If Jack's bringing his blaster, you're still gonna need someone who can see what they're shooting at. Leaves me, since you won't, and I can knee-cap the lot of 'em."
The Doctor took his eyes off the Vikings - and their senseless yelling - long enough to turn, tower over Rose, and shout, "Do as you're told!" over the sound of the wind.
"What'd you do?" Rose asked.
"Wha...?" the Doctor started, and trailed off, realizing what she meant. The Vikings, every last one of them, had gone quiet.
The Doctor watched in surprise as the very largest of them staggered half-way up the dune and then dropped to his knees. Confusion etched on his face, the Time Lord shrugged at his little human and she shrugged back. "Ya don't hafta do that," he said, raising his hands in a placating gesture.
No one could hear a word of it over the sudden, titanic detonation of thunder.
All of the Vikings dropped to their knees.
Certain he hadn't been this bewildered by human behavior in a very, very long time, the Doctor looked to Rose for an explanation. "You're so impressive?" she offered dubiously.
Jack charged up the dune beside them. "What's happening?" he demanded, his blaster as leveled as he could manage at the nearest Viking.
At the sound of his voice, the Vikings had all looked up. Jack looked back at the kneeling, bowing barbarians in surprise.
Lightning split the sky again.
The Vikings broke and ran.