ESCAPE TO PARADISE

The porter opened the door to the suite and stepped into the lounge area. 'I'm sorry that these are the only accommodations we have available at the moment.' He gestured towards the two doors on opposite sites of the lounge. 'You'll find a full bedroom and bath on either side, and the sofa here pulls out into a bed.'

The three travellers followed him into the room and all started looking around. The two that carried small cases set them down. 'I say,' Harry started. 'This is very nice.' He turned to Sarah as she wandered over towards one of the windows, pulled back the blinds and peered outside. 'Does this pass muster, Old Girl?'

Sarah whipped around and glared at Harry for calling her "Old Girl" again, but refused to say anything in front of the porter. Harry instantly knew from that look that he'd be getting an earful later, but just watched Sarah turn to the porter with a smile. 'It'll be fine, thank you.'

Harry reached into his pocket for a tip and slipped it to the porter. 'Thanks.' As the porter left, Harry turned to the Doctor. 'You're very quiet, Doctor.'

The Doctor ignored him, instead pacing back and forth across the room focusing on kicking at the ends of his scarf with his shoes.

Sarah walked over to the Doctor and playfully nudged his shoulder. 'He's pouting cause the TARDIS landed us in what appears to be a tropical paradise instead of the standard disaster area.'

The Doctor turned to look at her, his eyes narrowed. 'I don't think you realize the gravity of the situation. The TARDIS locked us out.'

'She's mad at you.'

'What!' the Doctor yelled. 'My TARDIS, mad at me? How could you think such a thing?'

'Maybe you've not talked dirty to her or stroked the console enough.' Sarah gave him a wicked gleam, suppressing a laugh as the Doctor's eyes widened. 'Oh come on. Don't think I haven't heard the way you speak to her.'

The Doctor pushed his floppy hat to the back of his head in defence, 'She's a machine, Sarah.'

'Since when? You've always said she's more than a mere machine.'

'Right now, she a very temperamental, erratic, irascible, argumentative machine.' He spat out the final word before continuing to fuss at a mumble neither of his companions could understand, leaving Sarah to wonder if it was even English.

'Yes, well, sounds very much like her owner at the moment.' Sarah left the Doctor to continue his mutterings as she turned to Harry. 'I don't know about you, but it's very late and I haven't had a decent night's sleep in a long time.' She gestured over her shoulder towards one of the bedrooms. 'I'm taking that one and you two can fight over who's sleeping on the sofa.'

That broke the Doctor out of his state. He looked up, an easy smile returning to his face. 'Quite right. Get some sleep.' He nodded towards the opposite room. 'Take the other room, Harry. I most likely won't sleep and you both need your rest. I have to work out how to get us back in the TARDIS.'

'Maybe it'll let us in tomorrow, eh Doctor?' Harry offered.

'Perhaps.'

After the three bid each other goodnight, Sarah and Harry retired to their respective rooms, leaving the Doctor to pace around the lounge pondering the problem of his cranky TARDIS.

~!~!~!~

Several hours later, the Doctor blinked and stretched, then frowned, realising he'd fallen asleep standing up yet again. He knew it was his body's way of telling him that he needed some proper rest. A loud rumbling snore emanated from the direction of Harry's room, alerting him to what woke him up in the first place. He walked over and put his ear up against the door, his frown deepening as he got his confirmation.

The Doctor yawned, something he never did and knew instantly he couldn't get any proper rest with all the noise. He hesitated only a second before walking across the lounge. He reached up and put a hand on Sarah's door and after thinking only a brief moment, he silently opened the door and peeked around it.

Sarah was sleeping soundly on one side of the bed, curled up on her left side facing away from the door. The Doctor came in and closed the door behind him. He walked over and sat gently on the edge of the bed, then reached out, lightly touching Sarah's shoulder.

It was enough to wake Sarah. She turned her head in his general direction. 'Something wrong?' she whispered sleepily.

The Doctor's voice was soft as he responded. 'Only that Harry's snoring so loudly it sounds like a jet engine out there.'

'I heard rumbling. Figured it was you.'

'I do not snore, Sarah.' With that, he flopped down on top of the covers next to her and focused on the ceiling.

She turned over to face him. 'You didn't in your last body, but this one has a tendency if not to snore than to at least talk in your sleep.'

'Impossible.'

Sarah rolled on to her back, but kept her head turned towards him, then pulled the covers up under her arms and grinned. 'Says you, but I've heard it a few times.'

He turned his head towards her, an amused expression on his face. 'Go back to sleep, Sarah Jane.'

She reached out with one arm, and patted him on the shoulder before pulling her arm back and tucking it underneath the covers. She finally closed her eyes, but couldn't keep from smiling as she said, 'Make yourself comfortable, but the minute you start talking, I'm kicking you out of here.'

With a final harrumph, the Doctor slid his hat over his face and folded his hands across his stomach.

~!~!~!~

Sarah woke up to the smell of coffee wafting through the air. Lying on her side and using one of the Doctor's arms as a pillow, her eyes darted around the room as she remembered the previous evening. Glancing over her shoulder, she could see the Doctor still sleeping soundly behind her. She pushed back the covers, then reached down to move the arm the Doctor had draped tightly around her waist. He stirred enough to re-wrap both arms around her, pulling her snugly to him, her back now flat against his chest. 'You're like a teddy bear, Sarah,' he muttered sleepily.

She rolled her eyes. 'That's a beautiful thing to say first thing in the morning,' she replied sarcastically.

He buried his nose into the back of her hair. 'All small, soft and cuddly.'

She lifted her head up and looked back towards him before sighing and letting her head fall back against his arm. 'Doctor,' she whispered. 'It's morning.'

'That's nice,' he mumbled back. He loosened his arms enough for her to turn and face him.

She reached out and put a hand on his chest, pushing back slightly for some distance. 'From the smell of it, Harry's awake and has coffee ready.'

The Doctor grinned even as he pulled her closer, closed his eyes and guided her head to rest under his chin. 'Maybe if we wait long enough, he'll bring us breakfast in bed.'

'Since when is that your style? Lying about, I mean.'

'Since I'm resting.' The Doctor pulled back and opened his eyes to look into Sarah's.

She didn't want to admit how good it felt for him to be holding her again. She felt herself relaxing even as she snuggled against him. 'Of course Harry will think this is entirely inappropriate,' she whispered.

Sarah felt the Doctor's deep sigh. 'Harry should relax a bit. After all, you did say this was a tropical paradise. Maybe it is a good idea for us to take a bit of a holiday.'

Sarah propped herself up on her elbow. 'And the TARDIS?'

The Doctor shrugged. 'I have some ideas, but it requires the greatest of delicacy, elegance and charm.'

Sarah tried to keep her expression serious. 'So who's gonna manage that then? Harry maybe?' She couldn't stop herself from grinning.

He easily returned her smile. 'A little less of your cheek, Miss.' He surprised Sarah by leaning up and placing the lightest of kisses on the tip of her nose. 'Do you really want to go investigate whether Harry has managed to ruin the coffee?'

'Do you want an honest answer?' Sarah asked as she settled back down in his arms, curling up close to him, content to stay there as long as the universe allowed it.

The Doctor took a deep breath, his contented smile remaining. 'I think I have your answer, Sarah.'

~!~!~!~