AN: This is my current little diversion to life. For some reason I've pick up Doctor Who again, and specifically the first season. Nine will always be my Doctor. And the dynamic between him and Rose was adorable. So, to get me back into the writing spirit for my other fic, I'm just going to give this a go. (Might as well, all the voices in my head currently have British accents anyway.)
This is set between "Long Game" and "Father's Day." I really only say that because "Father's Day" has an unnaturally large following in the fan realm. Short, sweet little look into the peaceful side of time and space travel…. Well, statistically, there had to be some, right?
"Where do You Want to Start?"
By Isis cw
"Right. Where do you want to start?"
"Um… the inside's bigger than the outside?"
"Are you alien?"
"Yes. …That alright?"
"Just sec then, I want to call mum."
"Don't tell her I'm here," the Doctor called after her, only half smiling.
Rose pointed a finger at him in warning. "Right, like where else you'd be. I'll just tell her you've popped out for Valmuschian caramels."
"I said I was sorry."
She pointed sterner at him. "You owe me a box."
"I know!" he waved her off and popped open one of the TARDIS' deck panels to get a closer look. This was going to take a little jiggerypokery. He hadn't used these circuits in… oh, a long time. Looking up as Rose headed towards the living area, he called after her, "Bring a coat."
"Why, is cold here?" she turned back to ask, her phone already in hand.
"Bit nippy. Around 12 Kevin."
"Um…" he could see her grapple with that in her adorable little human way before she shook her head. "And I need coat?"
"Oh, I'll fix that," he happily gestured to the TARDIS controls next to his feet.
With a dumbfounded expression she began, "You're going to fix…. Oh, alright," she gave up and started again for the living areas.
Looking deflated, the Doctor sat on the deck and gave her a mild pout. "You don't even ask anymore."
Rose rolled her eyes with a chuckle. "Oh, right, sorry." Coming a few steps closer, she stood in front of him, behind the railing. "Oh Doctor," she over-exaggerated, "how could you possibly change the temperature outside so we don't get deep-freezed?"
"Well if you're goin'a be like that," he shooed her on and turned his attention to the controls.
"You're so full'a ya'self," she laughed at him.
"I am not!"
"Are too! You just want to hear yourself explain it and have me standing here looking daft."
Indignantly, he pulled out a memory coil and clicked his sonic screwdriver to setting 18. "You're cleverer than some."
"Oh a compliment!" she cheered. Stepping back up to the control deck she stood beside the open grate. "Don't worry, I'm not running away from you on some free floating asteroid, or whatever you called it."
"Better not," he chimed in, looking up at her. "Wander too far and you'll float home. Instant ice pop," he snapped his fingers for emphasis. "Perfectly preserved though. Never have to worry 'bout the wrinkles," he smiled and motioned towards his eyes.
Rose gave him an aghast once over. "What wrinkles?"
The Doctor's smile dropped and he managed an innocent look before purposefully going back to the coil.
"I am nineteen years old," she reminded him. "I do wrinkle."
"'Course," he automatically agreed without looking up.
"You are not cleaver."
Holding up the coil, he set the screwdriver to make a new bend in the memory crystal diaxum. "We'll see how cleaver I am." With a pop it reset and he looked up at her with an "I told you" grin.
Unable to stop, Rose smiled at him too and then shook her head and walked off. The Doctor watched her go from the corner of his eye and continued to smile as he replaced the coil and hopped up to try the controls.
By the time Rose returned he'd managed to stabilize the force shield, and the TARDIS' atmosphere had bled into the space created. "How's your mum?" he decided to ask.
"You asking?" she looked shocked.
"Alright, I tried," he wrote it off. "You ready?"
She held up a puffy coat, scarf and hat he was sure she'd pinched from the wardrobe. Putting it on, she wrapped herself up. "What 'bout you?"
"I'll be alright." Double checking the temperature and atmosphere he turned to her, pointedly looking stern. "Right then, first thing. Do not wander."
"Where am I going to wander to? We're on an asteroid."
"And normally I'd think that'd be enough, but it's you, so don't wander," he emphasized again, louder.
"Go past the force shield—"
"No wrinkles, got it," she interrupted. "You can go first." She flipped her blond hair out of the coat and tied the scarf around her throat.
"Right then," he nodded, satisfied with her. "Here we go." Leading them to the door he opened it and stepped out. When everything was satisfactory, he held out a hand for her and Rose took it.
Gingerly stepping out onto the uneven surface, he watched her face as she tried to look every direction at once. There it was, that sense of wonder, the look of awe. This was why he did this. Just to see the universe through new eyes. Her eyes. To see it all reflected back at him through them. That Rose-tinted version of everything around them. Everything new, everything exciting, everything innocent. Everything things weren't to him anymore.
"We're really… on an… asteroid."
"I'm sure I said that."
"Well yeah, but…" she gestured with her free hand. Taking it in, she looked around at the small chunk of rock that they sat on, no bigger than an average house. Above them loomed the full bulk of the planet Cuniosomii with its magnificent gaseous atmosphere making brightly colored bands and patterns. The thirteen moons that circled the planet hung huge and jeweled in silhouette in the black of space.
Everything was huge, and just out of reach from here. There was no better vantage point they could possibly ask for.
"How did you do this?" He turned to regard her openly, a look of impertinence clamping his mouth shut. She noticed the look and gave him one in return. "Well go on. Now I'm asking."
Giving up, he straightened his shoulders and nodded towards the edge of the rock chunk. "The TARDIS has a perpetual force shield generated around it. Keeps everything from flying apart through the time vortex. I just had to open it up a bit," he smiled happily at himself. "Let the atmosphere from inside outside and here we are."
"What about gravity?"
"Does that too," he nodded.
"Not you," she chuckled.
"What do you mean, not me?" he grumbled at her, scrunching his eyebrows together. What did it take to impress this girl?
Rose just laughed at him. "So what we here for?"
Once again standing to full height, he checked his watch. "This is the year 185,000. And Cuniosomii," he gestured towards the mass of the planet, "is installing rings today."
"What you mean, the planet?"
"Yep," he bounced cheerfully. "Latest in planetary accessories. Got a dull world, jazz it up, move in a moon. That's been done for years. But since the wedding of Grand Mox Alvenoon, and Ethereal Being 18 on Mallacoria, rings are 'in' again."
"So, planets have beauty contest now too?"
"You're catching on," he nodded.
"And they're making rings… in a day."
"Six." Leaning in closer he chuckled. "Wouldn't you like to be that building crew?"
"That grant must be enormous," she chuckled. "But rings, like Saturn. Where are they getting all of the dust and bits?"
"Asteroids. Just like we're standing on."
"But then," she glanced around nervously, "aren't we in way?"
"Naw, they got what they need. Pushed these bits out of the way. The new ring orbits will be closer. And they should be starting right over," he pointed past her to where the edge of sunlight lit the planet's cloudy surface, "there. The point just over the capital city. They're doing this for the monarche's 85th half birthday."
Looking down at her, he nodded happily. "Cun's have a thing for halves. Proper birthday, aw, no big deal. Maybe a card, maybe a letter. Half birthday, though, they go all out. Parties, gifts, sacrifices—they're a lot of fun," he grinned.
"So, can we go to the planet after?" she asked, lightly elbowing him.
He hummed and shook his head, "Not you."
"And why not?" she huffed.
"Forty percent nitrogen atmosphere," he stated. Reaching over with his free hand he poked her scarf. "Human lungs."
Rose nodded but looked back at the planet a bit disappointed. "The TARDIS can translate for me, but it can't breathe for me."
Knitting his eyebrow, he gave her a look. "You complained that it got into your head without asking."
"Well I like it now."
"You lot, always changing your mind."
Pointing at herself in the same place he had, she leaned into him and whispered, "Human girl."
The Doctor hummed a bitter acknowledgement.
Rose shifted, snuggling her face into her coat a bit more and pushed the scarf over her lips for a moment. "You alright?" he asked, registering the cold.
"Fine," she assured.
"The TARDIS is keeping up but it's not really meant to be comfortable, just non-dangerous."
"It's alright," she waved it off. Thinking about something for a moment, she looked up at him again. "So you breathe nitrogen."
"A good portion of it, yeah."
"So… the only places we've gone, are places where I can breathe."
"Well, I wouldn't be a very good designated driver otherwise."
She laughed at the reference. "I just meant… there's lots more out there, but we can't go. Or I can't go."
There was something in the way she said "I." Something so selfless and selfish at the same time. "There's some," he confirmed. "Always alternatives though. There are hundreds of breathing devices out there for any place you want to be." He shrugged to himself, "Not all worlds appreciate their use though."
A line suddenly broke free of the planet's atmosphere and streaked into the sunlight at the edge of their line of sight. "Here we go then," he announced, squeezing her hand just once.
The line glittered for a moment before it staggered and broke as a hundred ships reached their starting point and began to move outwards in both directions. Slowly the line bled from one into two as a shimmer began to develop between them.
"So they're spaceships?" Rose asked, catching on to the display.
"More like space dump trucks," he confirmed. "That's a lot of material to circle a planet this big."
"And they're just… pouring it out."
"Well it's all been mapped out. Just a matter of spreading it thin in a stable orbit."
The two watched as the lines of dump trucks moved farther away from each other. And slowly, in the opening, they could start to make out the shimmer of color. It started to immerge like a fuzzy rainbow, hard to pick out at first, but the more they spread, the easier it was. Red, then a thin stripe of yellow, then blue. Another yellow, and then bright orange flamed to life with just a hairline of green at the end.
"Colors of the empire," he stated before she could ask. "Capital city on the Capital planet of a hundred world assembly."
"So it's their flag?"
"Uh-huh," he smiled at her.
She watched the spread of colors for a moment. "Does Earth ever do this?" she asked, curiously looking up at him.
He had to think, but shook his head. "No. Probably couldn't decide on colors," he guessed.
Looking at her, he raised his eyebrows. "Human girls," he teased.
Rose laughed at him but slapped his arm for it. The two stood chuckling as the ships continued their trek. Another line of ships streaked up from the planet and ceremoniously took the place of the first ones, continuing in both directions as they now covered an eighth of the orbit.
"You're not cold?" she ventured suddenly.
"No. You?" he asked, concerned she was ready to give up the view.
"No." She looked at him, confused for a moment.
"You're always wearing that thing," she eyed his leather jacket. "Even when it's freezing, you don't care."
"Well I regulate temperature better than you do," he shrugged.
With a mild shake of her head, Rose turned back to the planet. Raising her hand, she pushed her scarf up around her nose more. Though a bit muffled, he heard her say, "Sometimes I try to forget you're alien."
The Doctor snapped his attention back to her, but she was concentrating on the show. He wondered if that was true. Swallowing, he turned his eyes back to the new rings, but that echoed at him. Maybe she could forget it for a moment. Maybe it just didn't matter to her sometimes. He found himself hoping that was true.
Sometimes he wished he could say he wasn't alien. Wasn't an alien to everyone. Wished there was someone to say he was the same as.
From the corner of his eye he watched her again. The silly little human girl who never dreamed anything but her own little world existed… forgot he was a time lord. It didn't bother her.
"So you can handle different temperatures," she started, seemingly thinking out loud. "And you can breathe all sorts of air."
He nodded to her, "Anything but a lot of sulfur." He motioned to his nose. "Makes me sneeze."
She laughed and he had to too. "So you're just built this way?" she asked, an odd crinkle to her nose as though she didn't quite believe him.
"No sense being a race that can go anywhere if you can't actually go anywhere."
"Aw." Looking as though that made sense to her, Rose nodded to herself. "What other tricks you got?" she asked suddenly. The Doctor looked at her, confused, but she eyed him mischievously. "You got gills in case you need them?"
"No," he refuted. "Not that I haven't wanted them once or twice," he confided. "In general not all that different." He tried not to notice, but the disbelieving look was hard to avoid. "A few tweaks," he tried.
"Like?" she prodded.
If Rose Tyler forget every now and then that he was alien to her, it probably wasn't a good idea to give her more to think about. However, there was no getting around her some times. "You know, oddities," he shrugged.
He rolled his eyes and gave her a disapproving look. "What does it matter?"
"Why shouldn't it?" she tossed back at him.
He didn't have an answer for that, and clenched his jaw shut. He just didn't want to seem that different. Didn't want to have to talk about himself.
"Alright I won't ask," she huffed at him and turned back to the view.
That only made it worse. Now it was his fault he didn't answer something. Didn't the woman believe in leaving things alone? Glancing sideways at her, he figured he'd known the answer to that since the day he met her.
With an internal hiss, he turned to face her. When she looked up at him, he motioned for her to give him her free hand. "What?" He motioned again, nodding to her hand. When she finally held it up, he took it and gently laid it against the right side of his chest. Covering it with his own, he pressed it tightly against him and waited for her say something.
She didn't. She just looked between his eyes and their hands with her typical "are you mental" expression. "What do you feel?" he prodded.
"Your heartbeat," she stated a bit hesitant, as though she figured she had the wrong answer.
That thought brought a bit of a smile to his lips. Guiding her hand, he moved it to the left side and again pressed it tight to him. "Now?"
Rose watched their hands for a moment, even more unsure of herself. "Still your heartbeat," she quietly answered.
The smile rose just a bit more. This was actually turning out to be more fun than he'd expected. "Not 'still,'" he mildly shook his head. Moving her hand again, he placed it in the center of his chest and spread her fingers to cover as much as she could.
She looked at him oddly and then stopped, her eyes going back to their hands. "It's faster," she reasoned. "It's… odd."
"Binary vascular system," he stated, using the same terms Van Statten had when he'd seen it, through extreme measures, in the dungeon of his little alien museum. When she looked at him confused, he tried again. "Two hearts," he simplified for her. Taking his hand off hers he smiled tightly and tipped his head down towards her, waiting for the reaction.
Rose didn't move, and didn't take her hand away. For a moment she just seemed to be listening to the moving staccato inside him.
"You're feeling both. That's why it seems fast. They're sequenced. Tha-dump, tha-dump," he mimed happily.
"What happens if one stops?" Rose asked quietly, looking up at his face again.
"The other keeps going. Gives the first time to heal. Trick of longevity," he teased.
Apparently finding that reasonable she nodded and took her hand away. "Nine hundred years, it seems to be working."
The Doctor swallowed harshly, but turned back to the ring formation. That wasn't accurate, but there was no reason to tell her that. No reason at all to tell her that.
A streak of light caught their attention and the two watched another new set of ships immerge from the planet and take the place of the others. The rings were now extended almost directly in front of them and the colors sparkled in the omnipresent sunlight.
"Grand Mox of… Alv…."
"Alvenoon," he supplied again.
"So he's like the little blue fellow on Platform 1?"
"Yep. Same race, although under-evolved a little at this point. Different city. Better title," he chuckled.
"And Ethereal Being?" she mocked a haughty tone of voice.
"Oh, lovely creatures. Fantastic! Happy man, he is." Rose giggled at him and bunched her scarf up over her nose. "Bit full of themselves though," he confided.
"Well, pretty ones always are."
Tilting his head just enough to look at her, the Doctor smirked at the assessment. "Aw."
He turned his eyes back to the display before she caught his expression. "What?"
"There were so many fewer questions when stars were still just the holes to heaven..." – Jack Johnson
AN: Well, I feel so much better with this out of my system. I dedicate this little piece of useless drivel to the memory of the Ninth Doctor and my unhealthy fangirl love affair with Christopher Eccelston. In case anyone can't tell, I am not British, and cannot figure out how to dialog this better. I also had unreasonable difficulty with the narration, which ended up being little more than stage directions. But hopefully it gave everyone a good chuckle. I got enough of a kick out of it to bother posting.
Info: The opening quote is from "Rose." Mox of Valhoon is from "End of the World," as is "jiggerypokery," and Van Statten is from "Darlek." Other references as needed. This is probably an overdone image, but we as the audience get to find out about the whole two hearts thing (provided we're new to the franchise) in "Darlek," but Rose was too busy regenerating the "metaltron" to find out too. The dynamic of the two in the first season is just so danged cute I couldn't help my imagination.
Blaa blaa blaa. Hope you enjoyed it. Please review if you feel it deserves one. Goodnight.