The Enigma Variations was a piece of music based around a single, unknown, theme. Likewise, this collection of stories have the same theme, and each story is based closely on a song. The difference is that you know the theme; what you don't know is the song. The stories can come from anywhere, have any rating, any characters, any adventure. Feel free to try to guess the song; I'll be glad to tell you if you get it. Clues are embedded in the work. Also, feel free to suggest songs. I'll be glad to try them and see what happens.
"Really, Doctor," said Rose, bubbling with laughter she could hardly contain, '"I'm completely serious about the gymnastics stuff."
They were walking hand in hand on the way back to the TARDIS from the Great Fair of Vardana V. This planet was soft and rich, with vivid grass as far as the eye could see, and an annual festival that took up half a continent. They'd lost Jack not ten minutes after arriving, and as near as Rose could tell, the Doctor was trying to catch up Jack's quota of teasing her.
She'd insisted that some troop of young gymnasts they'd stopped to watch were no more impressive than Jericho Street Junior School's troop, and this was what she got. Couldn't just have the assertion that these kids were better or worse, no chance. She got...
"An' I'm serious that your body's prob'ly changed a bit since under sevens," the Doctor countered, blue eyes sparkling brightly as he beamed down at her.
Rose looked down at her breasts, tilted her head to the side to consider her hips. Then she grinned up at her companion with her tongue in her teeth. "What're you tryin' to say, Doctor?" she asked. She stopped walking and posed herself carefully, arching her back a little to bring her chest into prominence, her free hand rested lightly on an outthrust hip.
It was too much fun to tease him; Rose just couldn't seem to help herself. He would get all stern and bluster and glower, or he could go all flustered and innocent. Either way, she delighted in it, though she much preferred the second. It seemed completely unbelievable that a man who looked forty and was 900 could manage any sort of innocence at all, and to Rose it made him completely beautiful. Either way, she loved it.
Of course, there was also the third option, one that had been happening more and more often, ever since Jack came on board (though Rose refused to allow herself to think the two were at all connected). The Doctor could give as good as he got, which was what he was doing right now. Rose wasn't used to this yet, but she thought she could quite get to like it if she could get over the not being able to breathe while he was doing it bit.
Merry and a little wicked, his blue eyes followed the path her own had so recently described. Rose found herself fighting off a shiver. His gaze seemed to have a physical weight as it lingered at her breasts, trailed languidly down to her hips, considered her thighs, and wandered leisurely back to meet her eyes again. Under this scrutiny, she could easily imagine his hands contemplating the same journey, calloused and cool but gentle against her heated skin. She forced away a burning blush, poured the heat of it into her smile and a shift in her stance that said, "Well?"
"Don't have to say anything, me," he murmured. One of these days, that dark Northern voice was going to reduce her to a puddle of screaming want at his feet and it was even odds if it would be on an occasion like this or if he would be reading aloud from a cereal box when it happened.
Sometimes Rose wondered if he knew what he did to her. Then, there would be incidents like this one, when his expression clearly said, "Your ball," that she wondered why he did this since he obviously did know. They were back to the game, she supposed, where they would try to see which one of them broke first, or if Jack would manage to teleport them away before it got interesting.
Rose didn't know where Jack had got off to just now and didn't particularly care, so long as he was no where near a teleport. She also had no idea what she said back to the Doctor, but he actually laughed, and the Doctor laughing was so brilliant that she completely lost any trace of whatever sense she had left. They bantered back and forth across the brilliant grass, while crowds and couples alike passed them by. Theoretically, they were discussing Rose's athletic prowess, but actually they were pretty much flirting like there was no tomorrow.
For once, it was Rose who broke, she supposed. Or maybe he broke and she still made an idiot of herself, she didn't know. All she knew was that she was trying with more difficulty than she remembered to do a cartwheel. All she got were grass stains on her jeans and quite a few bruises when she toppled awkwardly.
It worked on the third try, and the Doctor gave her mocking, half-hearted applause. She frowned indignantly and turned another one, stopping half-way through in a handstand.
The Doctor proclaimed, "Impressive!" and Rose tilted to give him a saucy wink. It was her undoing. The next thing she knew, she was sprawled in the grass. Or rather, she was sprawled on the Doctor, who was sprawled on the grass. Also, her leg hurt like hell.
"Wha?" she questioned.
The Doctor frowned up at her. "Sorry, shoulda been faster."
He'd moved to catch her, she supposed. She smiled at him and warmth spread through her. His eyes were all over her again, and Rose wondered if they were back to flirting now or if this was something even better. "Thanks," she murmured.
"You're bleedin'," he answered, all business. "Need to get you patched up."
"But..." she protested.
The Doctor didn't listen, just scooped her to her feet and turned to cut through the ambling crowds. She didn't know why it was so urgent to him, she'd gotten banged up worse than this falling over on landings. Hadn't she?
She looked down at her leg. Her jeans had a broad rip in them and the edges of the tear were bright red. OK, so the TARDIS had never mangled her clothes, even if She did make them disappear periodically. Also, if you ended up getting cut on the TARDIS, it cleared up quickly, and this wasn't going away.
Rose felt a slow, itchy trickle of something damp on her leg and remembered that sensation from growing up. She felt like laughing, really, mostly at herself. When she was small, she'd several times tried to impress someone she loved and wound up getting hurt instead. (Nearly brained herself once, her mum said, practicing for the competition when she'd got the bronze.) Had she never changed at all?
Rose didn't have time to consider it, though, because she tried to put weight on her knee and it tried to collapse out from under her. She bit her lip over a yelp of pain, but some of the noise came out anyway, along with a sudden rush of tears streaming from her eyes. "Doctor," she croaked.
The sonic screwdriver was whirring and the Doctor was muttering quietly under his breath. Rose was in his arms in a heart beat, no idea how he'd managed it; she didn't think of herself as particularly light weight.
They were just playing, Rose thought fretfully. They'd not done a single life-threatening thing all day, and now she had a hole in her new jeans and a massive dent in her pride and she didn't even know where they were going. "Doctor, it's not serious," she insisted.
The Time Lord met her eyes with thunder in his. "Ya weren't s'posed to get hurt at all, here, today," he insisted.
Rose chuckled. "S'a hobby I have," she told him, "doin' stuff I'm not s'posed to do. Not s'posed to get bruises on my knees, or stuck in a cellar in Cardiff, or into a car with a stranger - never mind a spaceship."
The Doctor gave her a wobbly smile. "You'll never find someone stranger'n me to go with, anyway."
"Truer words were never spoken," Rose asserted devoutly.
The Doctor's arms around her felt so nice, but her knee hurt so badly, she just couldn't get comfortable. It was especially awkward when he had to shift her as he walked so he could see where they were going and not end up stuck in the same situation. He seemed to be trying his level best to be careful with her, but it was painful to the point of tears for her, all the same. Rose closed her eyes to try not to think about the throbbing pounding in her knee and the dizzying sensation of being held so close to the Doctor.
She really wished she was imagining the pain in her knee so she could enjoy the... well, the nearly painful pounding of her heart. He smelled of leather and time, wool, and mysteries, and she just wanted to bury her face in his neck and maybe give it a nip or two while she was at it. It was kind of ridiculous to be fantasizing about him under the circumstances but honestly, it made a weird and wonderful sort of sense.
Normally, they were too busy running for their lives, or too exhausted from having run for their lives. It was very rare for them to have the time together that wasn't full of noise and chaos and other people. It reminded her of dancing in the hospital basement in 1941. There was a war on, and people getting turned into zombies, and his jealousy, and her shock that she still hadn't found time to fully analyze. But it was a quiet moment, there was music, and so Rose Tyler and the Doctor danced.
Well, they attempted to do. Jack had interrupted that time. Rose swore silently to herself in the name of her bruises that no matter what happened, if she ever had another chance like that, nothing was going to interrupt.
She opened her eyes to realize they'd stopped moving. An unfamiliar voice was saying, "Bring her in here."
The voice, for all that it was strange, was older and reassuring and reminded Rose of her mum. She opened her eyes to consider the woman and realized they were back at some medical tent for the Great Fair. The woman wore all white except for the strange pink cap that designated the medical people here. Rose made a mental note to ask the Doctor if it had anything to do with mauve.
"D'you have anything I can give her for the pain?" he asked.
"Nothing that won't make her loopy," the older lady replied, so business-like she almost sounded cross. "And we're out of ice packs at this station."
"Frozen veggies?" Rose asked cheerfully. The woman really reminded Rose of Jackie. "S'what my mum used to do at home."
The woman smiled at Rose and pointed at a curtained off area, apparently directing the Doctor. "I was just thinking that exact thing, dearie," the woman said. She pointed at a narrow, low, but comfortable looking little bed.
The Doctor lowered Rose gently, being careful of her injured leg. Rose immediately felt cold and bereft. It was like going from absolute safety to being stuck in the middle of a war zone. Not that Rose wouldn't have felt absolutely safe even in the war zone if the Doctor was hoping her. He gave her a wobbly, guilty smile, which Rose knew she'd have to take some time to soothe, and stepped back to let the dark haired, dark-skinned old woman take a look. Rose heard the sonic screwdriver being discretely whirred, but didn't worry.
The woman bustled over Rose with chirruping instruments and funny bits and bobs that were nothing like the quick indifference of the NHS back home, or the alien beauty of the TARDIS med-bay. "Now, don't you worry, we'll have you right as rain in no time." She turned an imperious expression on the Doctor, looking down on him for all that she had to look up nearly half a mile to do it. "You, young man. Go next door to that Arvid what-sits. Tell 'em Grandola said give you whatever he's got frozen so we can fix your young lady up."
The Doctor rolled his eyes but, much to Rose's amazement, gave not even a token protest. He didn't even mutter "stupid apes" as he made a bee-line straight for the door they'd apparently come through.
Rose was starting to worry about him.
"Now, don't do that, dearie," said Grandola, patting Rose lightly on her good knee. "Here, let me help you get changed into something so's we can look at that leg of yours. Can't ice it through this... what is this fabric, anyway, child?"
"Denim," Rose said.
"Well, when I was your age, I admit I wore inappropriate clothes, myself, but this... you really need to reconsider, child." The woman grinned almost wickedly when Rose couldn't help rolling her eyes. Grandola looked nothing whatever like Jackie, but the resemblance was so uncanny as to be unbelievable. "Now, lets get them off you before your young man gets back. He looked to be having enough problems already."
Rose absolutely could not help it when she started to giggle.