AN:I point readers towards reddwarfaddict's 13 Woodcutter Road as one of my inspiration sources. Do go and read it. One of my favourite fics ever. (The other source should be obvious.)
When Rose returned to the flat, she found it empty. Wondering where the Doctor was, she found a note on the kitchen bench reading Come next door—no. 73.
She was let in the moment she knocked on the door. The flat was bigger than theirs, and the occupants were a middle-age Gusk couple who welcomed her warmly. The Doctor grinned at her from their sofa, looking right at home with a mug in his hands.
"I see you've been making friends," Rose said.
"Rose, come and meet the neighbours," the Doctor grinned. "This is Adge and Lada Mojofixx. And this is my companion, Rose Tyler."
"It's a pleasure to meet you," Adge said, taking Rose's hand warmly in both his own.
"You too. I hope my companion hasn't been making a nuisance of himself," Rose said, glancing at the Doctor over her shoulder, to which he looked affronted and mouthed, 'Me?'
"Oh, no. Quite the contrary, he offered his cleaning services."
Rose raised an eyebrow. "Cleaning services?"
"He did the washing up, dusted and hovered the whole flat, and did all our laundry for us," Lada said. "Free of charge."
"Oh he didn't, did he?" Rose shook her head, trying not to laugh. "You'll have to excuse him, he gets bored easily."
"Rose, I am right here you know."
"Yeah, I know."
He stuck his tongue out at her and the others chuckled.
"So how long did the to-do list I left you take?" Rose asked.
"Finished it by noon."
She would have to make tomorrow's much longer then. "So, you've gone domestic then?" she teased. The Doctor's eyes widened in horror and she laughed at him.
"Rose, would you like a drink?" Adge asked, moving towards the kitchen. "Tea, coffee, fayn juice?"
"Erm ... fayn juice, please," she said, slightly wary but curiosity won out.
The Doctor and Lada continued a discussion they'd obviously been in the middle of before Rose had come in, about the state of the economy. Lada, it turned out, was in accounting. Rose didn't have much to add to the discussion, so remained silent until Adge returned with her drink.
"Thank you," she said, taking a tentative sip. Not bad at all. "So, Adge, what do you do?"
"I teach quisiarphology," he replied. At Rose's blank look, he explained, "The study of qui energy and its counter effects on the abstract at a physical level."
"Erm, right," Rose said, making a mental note to ask the Doctor to translate later.
Determined not to be embarrassed, Rose sat up a little straighter and tried to channel the Doctor's gift with words. "I ... I'm part of a team that surveys and supports the channel of input and output with responsibility for ... retaining a level flow of productivity in the retail sector, and maintaining a relationship with cus—clients via impromptu and irregular communications requiring task management, erm, geographical navigation and, and people skills."
Adge looked impressed, if a little confused, and Rose glowed with pride. Until Lada spoke up, breaking the spell. "I thought the Doctor said you stacked shelves at the supermarket?"
Rose shot the Doctor a death glare, and he flinched slightly. "I said it was temporary! Just till we both get settled in, I mean we've only just arrived. Going to take a while to get two careers flying."
"That's true," Adge said. "Especially in the present climate; the job market is pretty thin at the moment. You probably got lucky, Rose, applying to the supermarket when you did. The only reason there was positions free was because of that incident two weeks ago."
Rose frowned. "What incident?"
"You mean they haven't told you? It was in the papers. Three staff members died of food poisoning after taking home deli leftovers."
The Doctor raised his eyebrows, and Rose made a mental note to throw out the sausage.