Title: Oh Very Young

Pairings/Characters: Rose/TenII

Author's Note: Written for Challenge 68 (Photos) at LJ comm then_theres_us. Please let me know what you think, I literally survive on feedback.


"You're staring again," he shouted over the noise, and she shook her head, can't hear you. The crush of bodies, moving like one living organism, pressed and surged against them like the tide. Under the stars, in a claustrophobic clearing half filled by a steel and flashbulb stage-this is where the Doctor's source said their target would be tonight. Rose had the grainy photo, printed from security footage, tucked into the waistband of the tightest skirt the Doctor had ever seen.

He had a sneaking suspicion they looked like someone's embarrassing mom and dad dressed as Sid and Nancy for Halloween, but Rose had been beside herself with glee as she layered on her dark raccoon eyes and reached for the mascara.

He was helpless in the face of that kind of enthusiasm.

The music was deafening and he thought he could see the driving bass rhythm on her skin. A girl with several fairly aggressive lip piercings knocked into Rose as she was leaning close to shout, "What did you sa-" and the momentum sent her sprawling into the Doctor, who caught her awkwardly, and crushed like this against his chest she stole a kiss.

He swallowed a self-satisfied little grin. "I said, you're staring again." And he set her upright, letting his hands linger on her longer than necessary.

"Well, you look..." She smiled in a way that made him nervous.

"It's a disguise!" he said, still competing with the music, earning several odd looks from the crowd.

"Yeah, you're really blending in," she cooed in his ear, pressing against him and letting the music carry her away, leaning her head back and shaking out her hair. She'd clipped in a few long locks of vibrant pink and crimped and teased the whole mess into a soft, electric bird's nest. She ran away with the drumbeat, eyes closed, and he watched her dance. The white flash of her teeth behind red lips sent a shiver down his spine. In the strobe, there was something dangerous about her.

"I still think...we're a little old for this assignment," he said, shoving his hands in the snug pockets of his jeans and bobbing half-heartedly.

"Speak for yourself, sweetheart," Rose said. "Do you see the guy?"

"No, do-" he said, but Rose was already bending and pulling a pistol out of an ankle holster, weaving through the crowd with a deadly grace.

"Right," he said, and forced his way through the crowd, emerging at a run somewhere near the back and circling round to head the guy off. He could see Rose far off to his left, bearing down on their mark in two inch heels that laced to her knees. He tore across the field and called to the fleeing, black-clad figure, "Hey, just wait! We only want to talk!"

The kid looked up at the Doctor, eyes wide, and behind him Rose tucked the gun in the back of her skirt and hit him with a flying tackle that sent them both tumbling and skidding across the grass. They rolled to a clumsy halt and Rose quickly came out on top in a brief scuffle while the Doctor jogged up, fishing around in his pockets for a pair of cuffs.

"I don't suppose he'll just come along without these," he muttered, and Rose carefully hid a smile.

"I'd hoped to have more time for dancing," Rose said, fastening the cuffs, and the Doctor saw she'd scuffed both her knees. Small, perfect beads of blood appeared along a track of grass and dirt and skin, and he was suddenly overwhelmed with how young she was-how very young.

She stood and brushed herself off, hauled the kid to his feet and watched with rapt attention as his forked, reptilian tongue poked out between his teeth.

Rose turned to the Doctor with that old wide-eyed wonder, flashing her predator's smile, and behind her the deep red glow of the stage lit her hair like fire.