A/N: So I present to you a three-part special spread out over three nights, for Halloween...
Don is my alternate name for the metacrisis, in an A/U post-series 4 world where Rose and the metacrisis stayed on the TARDIS.
It was a cold, windy October night, and three very wet, windswept and thoroughly disgruntled time travellers were making their way by foot down a long, seemingly endless road in the deep depths of the English countryside, almost completely lost.
"You said the TARDIS was down here!" Rose exclaimed through chattering teeth, hugging the Doctor's coat even tighter around her to try and block out the cold of the night.
"I said I thought the TARDIS was down here," the Doctor corrected, hopping to avoid a building puddle on the ground.
"He's got us lost," Don the meta-crisis muttered, now almost completely unable to feel the end of his nose from the cold. "We're completely lost in the middle of nowhere."
"No, we're not," the Doctor insisted quickly. "We're just... umm... Straying from the intended destination."
"What the hell is the time?" Rose wondered.
"You said we'd be back by ten!"
"I said hopefully we'd be back by ten!" the Doctor corrected again, a little lamely.
"We're looost!" Don sang quietly.
"We're not lost!" the Doctor said strongly.
"He's got us loooost!"
"Don, you're not helping!"
"But we're lost, aren't we?" Rose breathed, feeling more and more cold and miserable by the second.
"Look!" the Doctor began, spinning around on the spot to address his two companions, his finger in the air. "It wasn't my fault the Pixians decided to teleport the TARDIS aboard their ship and then dump her back miles from where we left her..."
"Yeah, it was!" Don replied instantly. "They asked you where you wanted to put her!"
The Doctor made to retort, then very quickly realised he didn't even have anything to say to that, so he just closed his mouth and spun back around on his heel, and hurried on.
"Yeah, keep walking, Time Boy!" Don yelled back... and then stopped dead, frowning. "Donna's back," he muttered, wide-eyed and looking at Rose.
She giggled, taking his hand and shuffling after the Doctor.
They continued trudging along for about twenty seconds in silence before they turned a corner, and suddenly the Doctor turned back to them, grinning and pointing. "Yesss!"
Don and Rose acquired a sudden burst of energy, smiles bursting on their faces at the mere thought of a hot bubbly bath and their comfy TARDIS beds...
Then stopped, faces simultaneously dropping.
"A house!" the Doctor exclaimed happily, then paused, staring at them, his face falling. "... What?"
Rose just sighed and looked at the floor, Don scratching the back of his head, frowning slightly.
"Okay, it's not the TARDIS," the Doctor admitted. "But it's shelter. We just ask for a place to sleep and start off again tomorrow morning."
They didn't reply.
"Or," the Doctor began. "We could carry on walking in the rain and wind for another hour."
Don considered this, and then instantly perked up. "A house!" he exclaimed happily, nudging Rose, who smiled instantly.
"A house!" she echoed, just as happy.
"Good!" the Doctor said, smiling. "C'mon."
They continued down the road and turned into a track leading to a small farmhouse, the old rusty metal sign saying 'Old Grey Farm' swinging and squeaking back and forth in the wind. They continued up the track to the front door of the rotting crooked house, where the Doctor made to knock, but Don quickly pushed him out of the way.
"I'll handle this!" he declared, striding towards the door before quickly trying to sort out his clothes and hair to half-presentable, then finally knocking on the door, assuming the appropriate posture.
Within a few moments the door swung inwards to reveal a short scruffy old bearded man, hunched over holding a walking stick with a crooked spine, a cataract in one eye and wearing dirty, torn, ragged clothes that hung loosely on his thin frame. He simply stared at the group, looking between them as if regarding cattle to be slaughtered.
"Hello!" Don began brightly, smiling. "I'm Don, this is my brother, the Doctor, and this is Rose," he said, gesturing to them in turn before extending his hand to shake the old man's. The man didn't take it, gazing at it for a moment before looking back at Don, who quickly continued. "We're, um, holiday makers, got a bit lost, can't find our hotel. We're looking for some shelter for the night?"
"Eh? Speak up!" the man suddenly yelled.
Don tried desperately not to flinch in the blast of his horrendous breath, steeling himself and widening his smile.
"Sorry," he began again, a bit louder. "We're looking for..."
"SORRY! CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?"
"Ye," the man gruffed.
"GOOD! WE'RE LOOKING FOR SHELTER! WE'RE LOST!"
The man stared at him for a moment.
"WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO REPEAT THAT A LITTLE LOUDER FOR YOU?"
"No," the man replied simply, reaching to the side and fumbling for something before holding out some keys to Don, jerking his head to the left side of his home.
"There be an old 'ouse," he grunted as Don took the keys. "Out back. But..." The old man suddenly looked around behind the group for a moment as if looking for any lurking bystanders, before leaning forward to Don... "But don't be goin' in the cellar... Cos those that do... don't never come out."
And with that, he slammed the door shut and the three time travellers were left standing there in the dark, staring at the place he'd been.
"Well," Don began, turning to the other two. "That was ominous."
"This feels like the start to a really bad horror story," Rose mused, giggling and clinging onto the Doctor a little tighter for warmth.
"Horror stories aren't this dull," the Doctor muttered.
"To our hotel room then, I guess," Don said, shrugging and smiling half-heartedly.
They found the house around twenty metres from the farmhouse, another complete wreck of a building slowly but surely decaying before their eyes. As Don inserted the key into the front door lock the door decided it had had enough, and just collapsed backwards into the house with a feeble crash and plume of dust on impact.
"It was like that when we found it," Don muttered, staring at the fallen door.
The Doctor rolled his eyes and followed Don inside the hallway, helping Rose over the collapsed door before both men grabbed it and pushed it back up into the door-frame to block out the elements. Not that it made even the slightest difference as the wind and rain continued to crash against the sides of the old, creaking house. The Doctor drew three torches out of his jacket and passed them around, and for a moment they just tried to process their surroundings. Within moments all three beams of light were rested on the floor at the end of the hall, where sat an old trapdoor in the floor – the cellar door. It was chained shut, still and silent. It didn't seem very threatening, but all the same, they all glanced at each other.
Rose caught the Doctor's expression. "You wanna open it, don't you?"
He looked a little guilty, hopping from foot-to-foot. "You don't?"
She rolled her eyes, just as another gust of wind crashed against the house and the entire structure seemed to wobble.
"Is this safe?" Rose wondered vaguely.
"Probably not," the Doctor admitted, checking a light switch, and unsurprisingly it didn't work. He moved to check the mirror propped up against the hallway wall, then frowned, running a finger along it and staring at the completely black dust he'd picked up. He was about to put it into his mouth almost instinctively before Rose quickly grabbed his hand and cleaned it off, glaring at him.
"What?" the Doctor asked, genuinely confused.
"That's disgustin'!" she squeaked.
"Oh, everything's disgusting to you," Don replied airily, starting off down the corridor as he assumed a mock high-pitched voice, "don't pick your nose, Don, that's disgusting! Don't mix custard and peanut butter, Don! That's disgusting! Don't throw yourself into that manure pile and then not wash for a week, Don! That's disgusting!"
He disappeared around the corner, taking his rant with him. Rose just sighed, and made her way down the corridor to check the bedrooms, leaving the Doctor standing alone in the hallway. The wind howled, the rain fell, a loose door somewhere slammed closed with the wind.
He quickly decided to make himself occupied by checking out the kitchen.
At first Don had been relieved to find out there was a toilet, but then slightly horrified to discover how bad of a state he had found it in. He was slightly glad he only had to pee so he could remain fully upright whilst doing it, because the seat didn't look very appealing.
There was no loo roll, and the taps didn't work. Everything was rusted, dirty and covered in cobwebs, with damp covering the majority of the wall. He didn't feel particularly compelled to look any deeper into the crevices of the bathroom, and went back to the mirror to check how he looked.
"Bloody hell," he muttered to his reflection. He'd decided to grow his hair a little longer than the Doctor's, and this was only a detriment in the harsh weather as it was now completely tangled and slicked down his forehead. He had found out long ago that Donna was quite appearance conscious, so he'd already decided he wasn't going to leave this bathroom until he was mildly attractive. He drew out a comb he kept readily in his pocket, and tried desperately to sort it out.
Just as he was finishing up he looked down to pull the matted hair out of his comb, dropping it into the sink. He looked back up at his reflection again... but suddenly something appeared in mirror's reflection that hadn't been there before...
He jumped and turned around, but nothing was there. He waited a few seconds, just breathing, then looked back at the mirror.
"Idiot," he breathed to himself, shoving his comb into his pocket and making a few final adjustments before quickly moving out of the bathroom.
Rose had discovered this place had three bedrooms, still with the beds in. A master bedroom with a huge King-sized bed and two smaller bedrooms with single beds. The one with the least cobwebs was the master bedroom, so she decided she was going to reserve that for the night.
Tentatively she lifted the duvet to check the state of the sheet. To her surprise it seemed clean, but when she dropped the duvet a huge plume of dust exploded out and engulfed her in a chorus of coughing and choking.
Okay, she thought after she'd managed to recover. It could be worse. It could be full of spiders.
She turned her attentions away from the bed, and instead to the drawers beside it. She pulled one open to have a look to find a small, golden heart-shaped locket – quite beautiful in its own right. She picked it up and tried to open it, but it seemed to be stuck fast.
She shrugged and pocketed it. It wasn't like anyone would miss it, and it a nice little object to have. But just as she went to close the drawer she suddenly stopped, catching a glimpse of what seemed like a sharp metal knife, covered in blood...
She did a double-take, but whatever it was seemed to have disappeared, leaving an empty drawer. Just a trick of the light, she supposed, and closed it.
But all the same, she quickly left to find the Doctor and Don.