A/N: Had this idea for ages, and wanted to test it out. Never published an AU before, so hope you like it! Also, trying very hard not to rip off the wonderful Gallifrey Records series on Teaspoon and an Open Mind…
"Jack, I don't want to go to a bar! Besides, we'll never hear the end of it from the record label if this ends up in the papers," the Doctor complained as he was ferried into the bar.
Jack Harkness merely smirked at his friend and made his way to the bar.
"Two bottled lagers please," he told the barman with a grin as he seated himself on a barstool.
The Doctor reluctantly slid onto the neighbouring barstool as the barman placed two bottles of lager on the bar and Jack handed over the money. The Doctor tugged at the hood of his grey jumper, tugging it over his wild brown hair.
"Come on, Theta," Jack laughed at his friend. "I don't think anyone will be recognising you tonight. Didn't you see the poster outside? It's karaoke night. Therefore, this place is full of students, and I doubt they'll be interested in some thirty-something guy sat at the bar!"
"I'm thirty!" the Doctor muttered under his breath, taking a sip of his lager.
"Not the point!" Jack replied, swigging his beer.
"Look," the Doctor told his friend, turning to glare at him, "just don't get in any fights. I don't need the press publicising any pub brawls,"
"You think I'd do that, Theta?" Jack asked with a smirk.
"I know you too bloody well. Of course I do," the Doctor muttered.
The Doctor sighed as a group of teenagers crowded into the bar, laughing and yelling. A gangly teenager was just walking away from the karaoke machine, causing one of the teenage girls who'd just entered to squeal.
"Rose! You should totally go do the karaoke!"
"No, Shareen," a blonde teenager- evidently Rose- replied, rolling her eyes.
"Oh, go on! You've got a great voice!" Another girl piped up.
"Just leave it, Keisha," Rose told her friends as they made their way over to the bar.
Jack and the Doctor watched as the group of teenagers ordered their drinks and payed before disappearing across the room. The two men then returned to their drinks.
Half an hour later, the karaoke machine started up again, causing the teenagers and students to cheer while the Doctor and Jack groaned.
"Remind me why you chose a bar, again, Jack?" the Doctor asked with a sigh.
"Yeah, maybe a pub would've been better," Jack conceded as he ordered another round.
The music began, and the Doctor sighed as he recognised the tune. It was the fourth time that night that some spotty, greasy-haired youth had chosen to sing 'Animal', and he was quite frankly getting sick of the song.
"Come on," he told Jack, grabbing the new bottle of lager the barman had placed in front of him. "Let's finish these and get out of here."
Jack nodded, and the two men began downing their drinks quickly. By now, the teenager was finishing the song and out of the corner of his eye, the Doctor saw another teenager step up. Standing up, he and Jack began to make their way across the crowded bar. And then the Doctor stopped dead as the teenager began to sing. He glanced over at the karaoke machine and spotted the girl from earlier- Rose, if he remembered correctly- beginning to sing 'Edge of Glory'.
"Huh," Jack said. "I can see why her friends wanted her to sing. She's quite good."
"Yeah," the Doctor murmured in agreement, his gaze fixed on the teenager.
He didn't notice Jack's smirk, as he was far too distracted by Rose. Soon, though, Jack recognised the look on his friend's face that meant he was thinking hard about something.
"What you thinking about, Theta?" Jack asked his friend, only just being heard over the noise of the bar.
"I'm thinking that we need to speak to that girl…" the Doctor replied to his friend.
"What? Why?" Jack asked, frowning.
"Come on! We've wanted to leave Rassilon Records for ages! Ever since Koschei started getting far too big-headed and the guys at the record label became too controlling…"
"Well yeah, but what does the girl have to do with it?" Jack asked, brow furrowed.
"She could be our ticket to setting up our own label," the Doctor answered quickly, finally turning to his friend. "You said so yourself; I don't work so well as a solo act, even with you on drums. If we could talk to her, get her to sign up, even for a few months to see how it goes… We could finally get out of Rassilon Records, Jack! We could make it big!"
Jack sighed, watching his friend carefully.
"Theta," Jack told his friend, tugging him towards the door to get out of the noise and allow them to have a proper conversation, "you said that about all the others, too."
"I know, but I have a good feeling about that girl!" the Doctor replied quickly. "I mean, listen to her! Her vocals will work really well with mine!"
"That's what you said about Grace, and Sarah Jane, and Tegan and Ace, Theta! And look how they turned out! They left, they weren't interested in your mad-cap ideas to pull away and start a record label!" Jack shouted.
The Doctor set his jaw, glaring at his friend before turning and heading back into the bar. Jack sighed, and debated whether to go after his friend, before changing his mind. He'd head back to the hotel. The Doctor would see sense soon, and come back.
The Doctor sat patiently at the bar, watching Rose with her friends, trying to search out the opportune moment to speak to her without seeming pervy. Eventually, he got his chance when Rose came over to order more drinks. She didn't seem to notice him at first, not until the Doctor cleared his throat. She smiled uncertainly at him before returning to staring listlessly behind the bar as the barman prepared her drinks.
"Some nice, um, singing earlier," the Doctor told her, smiling awkwardly.
"Thanks," Rose replied awkwardly, glancing over at him again.
And then she did a double-take.
"Aren't you…?" she began uncertainly, brow furrowing.
The Doctor watched as she mentally shook herself.
"No, sorry, probably not," Rose continued, brushing it off.
"Oh, that depends on who you think I am," the Doctor replied with a grin.
"Are you…The Doctor?" Rose asked.
The Doctor could tell that she was expecting a resounding 'no' from him, but he merely grinned and waved. He watched in amusement as her brown eyes widened.
"It really is you!" she murmured, looking him up and down.
"Yeah," the Doctor replied. "Although, I wasn't expecting to be recognised in a bar full of students. I'm not exactly famous."
"You should be," Rose blurted before she could stop herself.
"Thanks," he replied with a smile as the barman finally finished preparing her drinks.
He saw that Rose glanced over at her friends, unsure whether she wanted to rejoin her friends or talk more to him.
"You're welcome to join me, if you'd like," the Doctor offered quietly. "If your friends don't mind."
Rose grinned and nodded.
"I'll just take their drinks over and I'll be back," she replied with a grin.