Like Stones in Winter
written for the TTU ficathon, which is on NOW! you don't have to be a member of the comm to participate,
just go to then-theres-us(dot)livejournal(dot)com and check out the awesome prompts you can fill! my prompt was
the line 'LA is as hot as fuck and Manchester's about to freeze' from Jeseca Hoop's song 'Bed Across the Sea'.
It's too cold for rain.
Manchester is on the brink of winter. She wanted to come here for Christmas and he managed to get them here for the start of Hanukkah. She seemed to enjoy it, despite the fact they are here a month early.
The condensation is thick on the windowpane, and his breath steams it up whenever he breathes. The hotel room is cold, despite the fact he has three heaters at full blast. He still shivers. It has nothing to do with the cold. He's scared, so scared, of the girl in the bed. So scared.
The hotel room they managed to get is small. It only has one bed, a double, which he of course offers to her. The walls and flooring is decorated in that fifties style, the almost-obnoxious colouring of yellow and brown. She's called it quaint, he's called it a sight for sore eyes, and they had chuckled as they'd climbed the stairs to their room. No elevators around here, he'd chirped at her, as he'd bounded the stairs two at a time. She'd laughed, but it hadn't reached her eyes as she took the stairs slower than he'd done, moaning slightly about why they couldn't have just gone back to the TARDIS.
Nonsense, he'd told her. Where's your sense of adventure gone to? Nothing like a stay in a genuine 1956 hotel to make yourself feel at home, he'd said. Go to bed, he'd added. We've got a busy day tomorrow. Don't you want to get your mother something back from 1956, after all?
She is sleeping, wrapped up in a duvet, as if the cold does not bother her. He would think that it doesn't, if it wasn't for the fact she's wearing two sweatshirts and a pair of pink fluffy socks. She's been awfully quiet today, just wandering around behind him, not really paying attention to the sights. The curiosity he's grown to love from her was gone, replaced by a demeanour he's not used to.
And so she sleeps, unaware of the man sitting on the windowpane, looking out on a November night in Manchester, with two hearts on the brink of freezing.
It's too hot to sleep.
Not that she tried particularly hard.
The covers are twisted on her empty bed as she watches LA from her window. The briefing is lying at her feet, forgotten. She's only here because her Dad asked - begged - and said the break could do her some good. The window is closed. She's cold, although her body is begging to differ.
She finds the heat unbearable. She tugs at the neck of her sweatshirt, desperately trying to free the fabric that clinging to her body in the most unpleasant way. She sighs and her hand falls her side. The lights of LA are twinkling brightly, teasing her almost, with what she could enjoy if she'd been here with the right company.
The pain of it in her chest takes her breath away. Her hand returns for her side to her chest, although this time she is rubbing it, trying to ease the pain.
It doesn't ease.
She pushes her sweaty hair out of her face, leaning her forehead against the window. It makes a slight squeak as the moisture on her forehead is trapped between skin and glass, but she ignores it. She hears the honk of a horn and the screech of a siren, and she watches and people walk past the window of her hotel. A couple are having an argument outside a bar across the street, and a woman is chatting on her phone whilst doing elaborate arm movements. She almost smiles. She's guilty of doing that, and he's - he'd - always told her so.
She can't get used to thinking of him in the past tense.
Her eyes fall on to the latch of the window. She doesn't hesitate as she pulls it up, sighing as cooler air rushes into the room, over her body like a cold shower. It's pleasant in the most peculiar way. She's already cold, but she doesn't stop; she clambers silently so she is standing on the ledge she was just sitting on, and ducks, so she can pass through the open window and out onto the windowpane outside.
People are looking by this point, gasping and pointing in her direction. She doesn't care.
She just falls.
It is the sensation of falling that wakes her up. She sits, bolt upright, breathing heavily, heart racing.
He was by her side in a heartbeat.
What's wrong? He asks, clambering onto the yellow-and-brown bedspread beside her.
She shakes her head, one hand on her chest, trying to calm her racing heart. She can't remember what the dream was about, only the feeling that came with it. She can't remember a time where she has ever felt more lost or more alone.
He puts both arms around her, cradling her, rubbing his cheek against the top of her head. He feels both her arms come around his waist, her face burying itself in his shirt. Rose, he asks, what was your dream about?
She sighs into him. I can't remember, she says, honestly. You were gone.
He chuckles quietly. I'll always be here, Rose, he says, kissing the crown of her head, as he feels her sigh, this time in contentment, as she settles into sleep once more. She doesn't need to ask if he'll stay. He'll always be there, he said to her. She'd believe him over her own mother.
She misses the haunted look in his eyes.