*Note* I've upped the story rating to M to be cautious, but although chapters 8 and 34 contain implied love scenes, they are the edited versions and not explicit.
This is the sequel to "Falling Slowly" but can be read alone. Some things referenced throughout will make more sense if that's read first, though. The key points to know are the Doctor and Rose are now in a bonded relationship and still together after Doomsday.
This first chapter is pretty light and innocent, but by the second chapter you'll see exactly where this story is headed. The Doctor and Rose are in for an emotional journey.
Disclaimer: Nope, not mine. Doctor Who and its characters belong to the BBC.
I've been anxious to finally get this story started. I hope you enjoy the ride! And remember, your reviews keep me motivated to write. ;)
Somewhere in the limitless expanse of time and space, a blue box drifted through the heavens, its occupants about to engage in an all-important discussion as a crucial question was asked.
"So, forward or backwards?" the Doctor asked Rose as he pulled himself out from beneath the console and brushed off his hands on the pinstriped fabric of his trousers. The binary circuitry connecting the matter control projectors had gone on the fritz, and the Doctor had spent the last hour making repairs while Rose sat nearby on the jump seat reading a book, occasionally pausing from her reading to hand him various tools as needed.
Rose was absorbed in her current chapter and didn't quite register the Doctor's question that had been posed to her. He stood in front of her, bouncing impatiently on his heels as he awaited a response.
"Hmm?" she replied inattentively as she finally lifted her eyes from the page to look up at his expectant face.
The Doctor was a little irked at her lack of attention; but to be fair, when she had tried to hold a conversation with him earlier he'd been so engrossed in his repairs that she had finally given up and sought out reading a book.
The Doctor was fiercely devoted to the women in his life – Rose and the TARDIS – so whenever the TARDIS needed some of his attention, Rose understood that she'd just have to share him. Perusing the shelves of the library, she had chosen a romance novel to occupy the time. Not that she needed fiction to bring a dose of passion into her life – the Doctor fulfilled her every desire in that regard quite thoroughly (when he wasn't engaged in TARDIS repairs, that is). Reading had given her something to do other than staring at the Doctor's feet sticking out from beneath the console for the past hour, though. She loved watching him tinker, but the soles of his trainers weren't exactly the best view he had to offer.
Well, the repairs were finally finished and they could get back to exploring the wonders of the universe. The Doctor, as always, was eager to go.
"Forward or backwards?" he repeated, since she'd apparently missed the question the first time.
Rose put the book aside, her full attention now resting on the exuberant Time Lord in front of her. "You're all finished, then?" she asked hopefully.
"Yep," he answered, popping his 'P' with pride. He made a grand sweeping gesture with his arm, meant to indicate the universe at large. "All of time and space is once again at your doorstep. Just say the word – it's all yours for the choosing."
Rose grinned as she stood, then thrummed her fingers against her chin as she pondered his question. "How 'bout you set the coordinates to random?" she suggested.
He quirked an adventurous brow. "The mystery tour, eh?"
"The mystery tour," she agreed. "And I'll bet you ten quid – speaking of which, you've owed me that other ten quid ever since Scotland, so this will make it twenty – that we'll end up somewhere you've never been for a change."
He nodded and accepted the challenge. "Deal. But you should know the chance of arriving in a location I haven't been is only 7.8934628%. Which means there is a 92.1065372% chance that you will lose."
Rose rolled her eyes at his superior prediction and lifted her hand, tapping a finger to the side of his head, then couldn't resist the temptation of running her hand through his gorgeous brown locks. "I think you pull that stuff out of this giant Time Lord brain of yours at random just to sound impressive."
Something close to a purr rumbled deep in his chest from her ministrations, but the Doctor managed to keep his train of thought. "It might be random, but it's random fact. And it is impressive," he rebutted, then captured her hand, whose magic fingers were sensually massaging his scalp, and placed a lingering kiss to her palm. He raised darkening eyes to hers as his voice dropped a note lower. "And as for another fact, there is a 99.9586734% chance that if you keep this up we'll never even make it out of the TARDIS."
Rose grinned saucily, the pink tip of her tongue peeking out alluringly between her teeth in the way she knew drove him mad. "Are you saying that running my fingers through your hair is all it takes to seduce you and get your supposed barriers of arousal to tumble and fall?"
The Doctor sniffed, tilting his chin aloft and straightening his tie. "Certainly not. I have a bit more control than that. But I know what running your fingers through my hair makes you want, and far be it from me to deny you your desires."
She smirked. "Riiight. Know what I think? I think you and your hair are just trying to divert my attention to keep from losing this bet."
He scoffed, wagging a stern finger at her. "Just for that, your irrepressible desires are just going to have to wait." He walked back up to the console and punched a series of buttons with a flourish, then spun a final dial.
Rose gripped a firm hold on a nearby strut to keep from losing her balance and falling to the floor as they landed at their mystery location with the usual grace.
"Prepare to cough up ten quid," the Doctor said with a confident grin as he sauntered towards the door, grabbing his long brown coat on the way and slipping it on.
Rose followed after him and stepped out of the TARDIS to see where the randomly-set coordinates had taken them. Oh, she would never grow tired of this.
Rose stood outside in the warm breeze and lifted a hand to her forehead to shield her eyes from the bright midday sun as she gazed out at the scenery before them. They stood atop a lush green hill overlooking a picturesque city below, which sat in a valley surrounded by fertile, hilly terrain. The architecture and landscape with its subtle romantic ambiance reminded Rose somewhat of an Italian village, with the exception of the hover-car type vehicles moving about in their designated routes.
"Ah, lovely!" the Doctor exclaimed with enthusiasm. "I haven't been here in, ohhh, centuries."
Rose sighed. She should have known. "Well, so much for the 7% chance."
He turned to her and held out his hand, wiggling his fingers in request. "It was actually 7.8934628%. And this means...time to pay up."
Rose waved him off with a flick of her hand. "No, this means, Mr. Know-It-All, that now we're even for the ten quid you still owed me."
He frowned, having somehow managed to win yet still lose. "Well, if you want to get technical..."
Rose laughed. "Oh, look who's talkin' about getting 'technical'." She looped her arm through his as they began walking down the hill. "C'mon, let's go see this place you haven't visited in centuries. Allons-y!"
The Doctor stopped in his tracks. "That's my line."
Rose gave him a wink, then leaned up to kiss him lightly on the jaw. "What's yours is mine, my beloved Bond Mate."
A slow grin made its way across his face. "So it is, Rose Tyler." It had now been just a little over a year, but no matter how much time passed, he would never cease to marvel that he and Rose had come so far in their relationship and were able to have this life together. There wasn't a single day either of them took that for granted.
They walked arm-in-arm down the grassy hill towards the city as the Doctor filled Rose in on the details of their location.
"This is the lovely planet Janyeer, and we've arrived in the Capital City of Shenreen. It bears some similarities to Earth, but it's about one-quarter the size. Quite small, relatively speaking. Quaint in some regards, but they've made some impressive advances, particularly in the medical field. It's a level five planet, but even though their own space travel is limited, they've become quite accustomed to extra-planetary visitors," he explained.
As they reached the moderately bustling crowds of the village, Rose noted the population appeared to closely resemble humans, though were maybe just a little taller on average. Their clothing style was somewhat uniform and conservative. Although the flowing, minimally embellished empire waist dresses worn by many of the women had a simple elegance.
"They all look human," Rose remarked as the two of them meandered through a stone-paved marketplace.
"No, actually, they look Time Lord," the Doctor corrected.
Rose chuckled. "Fair point."
"It's a fairly common physical form found throughout the galaxies. Particularly well-suited to these types of planetary climates."
Rose nodded. "So they look human and Time Lord, but outward appearance aside, humans and Time Lords have their differences. So, what's different about the people of Janyeer?" she asked curiously.
Rose sensed a shift in the Doctor's mood and saw a slight tensing of his features. When he answered, his voice carried the same care-free tone, but Rose knew him well enough to see through the façade. "Oh, all species have their various differences. It's what makes each one unique and interesting."
They both knew that didn't answer her question. Despite the closeness they now shared and the deep inner parts of himself the Doctor had opened to her, there were times he still kept himself closed off. Rose had learned to sense when he needed to be pushed to open up further about some things to keep them from weighing him down unnecessarily; she had also learned when to just let it go and give him some space.
Rose knew this was one of those times when if he didn't want to talk about it further, she should just let the matter drop. She wished he would always be more of an open book with her, of course, but that just wasn't who he was. Rose didn't take it personally or love him any less for it. She knew his nature before she accepted him as her Bond Mate. Nearly a millennia of carrying burdens alone was not a characteristic that would change overnight or even in a few years, and maybe to some extent it would never change.
The Doctor and Rose continued milling through the open-air marketplace, taking in the sights and sounds of the pleasant village atmosphere. They stopped at a canopy-covered stand selling fresh produce. Rose sampled a fruit which resembled something like a blue peach, but tasted like a watermelon, while the Doctor ate a purple, prickly skinned, oval-shaped fruit which he swore tasted just like a banana. He offered her a bite, but she couldn't get past the prickly texture on the outside, which he warned her must be carefully peeled to avoid being poisoned by swallowing one of the small barbs. While not fatal, he told her the agonizing stomach cramps and projectile vomiting might make you think you were dying – and reach the point where you wished that you would. She passed on his tempting offer and just stuck to the safety of her blue peach.
They continued along and emerged out of the marketplace and closer in to the heart of the city. They stopped and looked ahead at a large building just a little ways beyond, which seemed to have nearly the entire population of the city congregating there as a steady crowd flowed in and out of the building.
"That looks like a very popular place," Rose commented.
"It's a hospital," the Doctor informed her with a frown. "But why does it look like the busiest place on the planet? Mind you, hospitals are usually busy places; but not that busy. I wonder why...?"
Rose turned to him, a glint forming in her eye. It seemed they had a mystery to solve. "Well, you and I are quite good at nosing around hospitals." She gave him a venturesome smile and bumped him with her shoulder. "What'd you say we find out for ourselves why it's overly occupied, yeah?"
He cocked his head to the side, his own intrepid eyes sparkling. "Are you suggesting we do some investigating?"
"I think I am."
He held out his hand to her and wiggled his fingers as she slipped her hand in his, fitting like a glove. "In that case, to borrow your line, Allons-y!"
The Doctor and Rose walked hand-in-hand towards the hospital, believing that for them this was just another ordinary day, another ordinary adventure. The coordinates may have been set to random, but the events poised to take place here had been woven throughout the fabric of time like the strands of an unbreakable thread.
The players were in place, the cards were about to be dealt, and destiny would soon play its hand.