The moment had come.
The Doctor chewed his lip, staring at the carrier bag currently serving as their laundry basket. After a moment he peered inside. "I think it's time we tried out the washing machine, Rose."
"There can't be that much in there, look it's tiny."
"It's bigger on the inside," he replied.
"Oh. How much bigger?"
"Big enough. I for one don't want to run out of ... anything. So ... how are we going to do this?"
There was an awkward pause, neither wanting to be the one to volunteer to handle the other's underwear.
"Oh, for goodness' sake," Rose said at last. "We're both grown-ups, we can be mature about this. We take turns, deal?"
She pulled out a coin. "Let's flip to see who goes first. Heads or tails?"
"Heads," he said as she flipped it.
"No," the Doctor said firmly. "You get started on the laundry, I'll go out and get us a proper basket to keep it in. Anything else we need?"
"Soap power, fabric softener and something to hang it all out on afterwards," Rose said.
"Oh. Good idea."
Rose sat down on the bed and picked up one of the Doctor's books. "Go on then, best get a move on. The washing won't soap itself."
The Doctor was wondering how exactly he had ended up feeling like he had got the short straw, as he tried re-folding and unfolding the airer for the hundredth time. The laundry, already freshly washed by Rose, was waiting in a crumpled wet heap in the new basket while he struggled to make sense of the instructions.
"Where does this thing go?" He balanced a sort of flap in his hand, glaring at the row of holes that he was somehow supposed to fit another piece into.
"Need some help?"
"No," he said with gritted teeth. Pride would not allow him to give into her smirk. "If I can bring down a Kazutan Empire with nothing but a compass and a bottle of milk, I can do this."
"If you say so." Rose stretched out on the bed, going back to her book—well, the Doctor's book, one of the few that had been inside his pockets the day they'd lost the TARDIS.
The Doctor sighed, dropping the pieces and bringing the instructions right up to his face to make sure he was reading them correct. They were written in half a dozen different languages, and while the distant chameleon circuit was still translating with ease, the original wording was slightly wonky in each—meaning that each set of directions contradicted the others.
"I can do this," he muttered again, determinedly avoiding Rose's eye.
"For goodness' sake Doctor, it's only an airer," Rose said. "How would you fare with a flat pack dresser?"
"Good thing that's not on the list then," he muttered. "OW!" An attempt to pull apart two pieces he'd put together wrong had slipped and pinched his finger.
"Ready to admit defeat yet?"
"Rose, I've defeated Daleks and Cybermen and monsters from the deepest depths of the galaxy. I will not be outdone by a three-piece piece of plastic made for drying knickers."
"I think you've got the main part upside-down."
Two hours later, the Doctor looked at the time and sighed. It was late, and Rose was in bed, still watching his struggles in amusement.
"Could you give me a hand?" he mumbled.
Rose got out of bed, briefly glanced at the instructions, and stood the main part of the airer up correctly before slotting the two extensions easily into place, and headed back to bed. "You only had to ask."