Disclaimer: Not mine. Sadly.
Author's Note: Written for the livejournal community then_theres_us. Unbeta-ed.
The Doctor aims for the planet Savannah, during its annual Floating Market - "Real ships, Rose, bobbing right above your head. Paisley sails, jam from all over the galaxy, a Haphillian fortune teller...Love her. Tells me I'm going to be a film star." - and settles the TARDIS down in early 1945. London, Earth.
Rose quirks an eyebrow when the Doctor informs her that they're a bit off course. "Not much. Seven - eight centuries at the most." He hold his thumb and forefinger up, the space between them nearly nonexistent. "Miniscule really, in the grand scheme of things."
Rose bites her lip, reaches out to adjust the Doctor's measurement. Her hand falls away from his, fingertips now inches apart. "It's more accurate that way, yeah?"
"Ah." The Doctor swallows. "Yes. Well."
They nearly pass the pub.
"A perception filter," The Doctor explains, neck craned back so that he can get a proper look at the pub's sign. It sways precariously from a metal rod, reads: The Leaky Cauldron. "Well, like a perception filter. Bit different."
"Alien?" Rose asks, and picks imaginary dust from her cotton top.
The Doctor shakes his head, frowns. "No. At least not any alien I know." He pauses to consider, adds a touch smugly, "And I know quite a few."
Rose grins, bumps her shoulder to his. "Think you're impressive?"
"Oh, terribly," the Doctor answers, glancing sideways.
"And modest, too," Rose laughs. She links her arm through the Doctor's. "So, what's a girl gotta do in order to get a drink in these parts?"
The Doctor leans close. "Oh, all sorts of unspeakable things, Rose Tyler."
The inside of the pub is a subdued affair. The patrons nurse noxious looking drinks and refuse to meet a stranger's gaze. The Doctor and Rose are instantly out of place the moment they bound through the door, laughter tumbling forth from smiling lips.
"Oh," Rose breathes, stopping short of the entrance. The Doctor continues on, unaware, until he finds himself anchored to one spot by the crook of Rose's arm. He surveys the room.
The barman nods in greeting. One curious inhabitant looks up; their stare quickly falls away after they have surmised that the Doctor and Rose are of no interest - or importance.
The Doctor leans toward Rose, whispers "It's a tad quiet."
"Hm." Rose's eyes follows the path an older woman makes toward the bar. "They seem anxious, yeah? Like they're all waiting for something awful to happen."
Rose shrugs, allows the Doctor to pull her nearer the barman. They don't get much information from the man, who introduces himself as Tom. What they're able to gather is this: there is a war. It has been a long time since it started, and there are reports that at this very moment it may be ending.
"Well," the Doctor sniffs, purposely ignoring Rose's amused stare. "That was rude of them."
"You were waving the sonic in everyone's face," Rose reasons, taking the Doctor's hand and leading him down Diagon Alley. They pass an abandoned cauldron shop. "I'd say they were right to kick us out."
The Doctor hums, swings there joined hands and pulls Rose into a bookstore. Around the checkout counter a group - of what Rose and the Doctor have recently discovered to be real witches and wizards - is huddled around an ancient looking radio. The noise coming from the speakers is nothing but pops and crackles, punctured every few seconds by a snatch of a genderless voice.
The Doctor nudges Rose, leans close to ask "What do you suppose they're listening to?"
Before she has a chance to answer, a nervous looking woman speaks. "Oh, can't you fix it faster?"
"Patience, Minerva," a balding man says. He waves what appears to be a bit of twig in a series of loops and half circles, all the while muttering softly under his breath. The radio gives a shrill squawk and falls silent. "Blast."
An old witch shakes her head, scoffs. "I said it, didn't I? We should have never accepted Muggle technology. It's not reliable."
"Oh, now. C'mon," the Doctor interrupts loudly. "That's no fair at all. Stereo's a fair bit brilliant. You humans - whether you're magical or Mugg...what was it? - Well, you lot. Your inventions are brilliant. Mostly stupid, yes. But, they're quite clever, too. From time to time."
The group turns as one to gaze upon the Doctor, who is grinning widely, and Rose, who is willing herself invisible. Secretly, she hopes they do not assume she has arrived with the Doctor.
"Who're you?" a broad shouldered man asks, a suspicious pinch to his features.
"I'm the Doctor."
"What sort of doctor, then? You work at St. Mungo's?"
Rose can't help but grin as the Doctor brandishes the sonic screwdriver and plows through the small crowd to get to the radio. There is a mechanical whizzing as the tip glows blue, and a portly witch whispers "What sort of wand is that?"
There are loud bangs and pops up and down the cobblestone street. They remind Rose of gunshots, a car backfiring, bombs being dropped. She presses close to the Doctor's side as a group of three men appear out of thin air beside her.
"What a crowd!" the Doctor yells, barely heard over the celebration taking place on the street. Witches and wizards of all ages are dancing to odd sounding music, their shimmying hips bumping those who are using their wands to send multicolored sparks up into the air. Rose watches the slow swirl of gold and blue, tightens her grip on the Doctor's arm.
"It's lovely," she breathes.
The Doctor's hand flits to the small of Rose's back, guides her to the entryway of Eeylope's Owl Emporium. A drunken couple passes, the man gossiping loudly - "They say Dumbledore wept when they carried Grindlewald away."
"What happens now?"
The Doctor shrugs. "Dunno. I can't quite get a grasp on the timeline. Something terrible, though. I can feel it, just there. Something horrible and dark, bathed in evil."
Rose shudders. "But not now, right? They get to keep this piece of calm. For a while."
The Doctor nods. "Yes."
"Good," Rose says simply.
It is night, Diagon Alley now packed with a different sort of revelry. There is an abundance of Butterbeer and Fire Whiskey, amorous couples locked in passionate embraces.
"It's called Butterbeer for a reason, Rose."
"Yes. But...stand still, please."
The Doctor is helping Rose to keep her balance, his hands placed on her hips to keep her from tipping over (and crashing into the table they've just vacated at Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor). Above their heads there is a fantastic pop of lights. Rose's head falls back, mouth opening in a gasp.
"Oh. 's beautiful."
"Very." The Doctor's eyes follow the line of Rose's exposed neck. Her face - lit teal and purple from the fireworks - is colored with wonder. Softly, he says "Rose."
She turns her gaze to him with a sleepy smile. "Hm?"
They are bathed with a red and gold tint when the Doctor leans forward to kiss her. She tastes a bit like butterscotch, her tongue curling against his. When they part, Rose presses a light kiss to the Doctor's neck - right above where the knot of his tie resides.
"Wish you'd do that when I'm sober."
Rose hums lightly, rests her cheek against the Doctor's shoulder. "Take me home, Doctor."
He swallows thickly at the sound of her voice. "Alright."
Taking her hand in his, the Doctor leads her back to the TARDIS.