Rose Tyler awoke in the arms of a man. It wasn't just any man. No, it happened to be the Doctor. She had a horrible headache, no doubt the start of her hangover, and she had to yawn slightly…into his neck. He roused and hugged her closer with a grumble, as he too had a pounding sensation behind his eyes. Neither one knew that they were with each other.
Slowly, she peeled an eyelid and glanced up at his handsome face and even spikier hair. This didn't strike her as odd, but then again she had no idea where she was or what happened. His white button up shirt reeked of wine and aftershave. She nuzzled into his chest with a sigh.
"I had the strangest dream," she mumbled thickly.
He grunted. "Did you?"
"You and I got married," she explained with a tiny laugh.
"Well, that's not too strange. I had the same dream. Very vivid, actually."
They shared a laugh…and then it hit them.
She leapt back and covered herself with the sheets of his bed. Apparently, she was in nothing except her underwear and his suit coat. He was only in his shirt and drawers, and in a similar fashion covered himself. They looked at each other in horror, and then their eyes drifted to the odd rings on their fingers. It wasn't a dream.
"You!" Rose declared angrily.
He scoffed. "It was your decision!"
"It was not!"
"I distinctly remember that you wanted to participate in the ceremony."
With all of her might, she whacked his arm. "They said ceremony. They didn't say wedding. That much I can remember. You had to have known that's what they meant."
"I most certainly did not, Rose Tyler!" he shot back with a pouty expression. "How was I supposed to know that we were getting married?"
"Well, let's think about this. You're over nine hundred years old, you've seen the whole of time and space, you've been to that planet seven times, and you speak every language in existence. You're right. No wonder you misunderstood what was happening."
The Doctor grabbed his brainy specs from the night table and placed them on the tip of his nose with a glare. "I may be brilliant, but I don't know everything."
"You said that you did just two days ago," she retorted testily.
"Yes, well, even I can be proved wrong."
She snorted. "Tell that to your ego."
"Look who's talking, Rose. You're the one that said it was a good idea!"
"I'm a stupid human, remember? You shouldn't have listened to me!"
"You bit my head off just this week for ignoring your ideas!"
They sent each other looks that could kill and then remembered their state of undress. Rose stole the bottom sheet while he took the top. They retreated to separate sides of the room to retrieve their clothes, but Rose couldn't seem to find hers at all. He was having a similar issue with his trousers. How had that happened?
"Doctor…what did we do after we got wed?" she wondered in a quiet voice.
He scowled. "My memory stops after I helped you off the floor."
"I fell over after my tenth glass. That I do remember. And you helped me up. We said we had too much to drink and were going to come to the TARDIS. I can't put together what happened next. How did I get into your coat?"
"How'd I get out of it?" he added with a curious frown. "Have you seen my tie?"
She thought back. "You had tied it around your head at the party. I stole it from you and wore it for a while. You got it back…"
"And tied it around that pillar while you drew a face in marker," he nodded as the fog began to clear in his head. "Probably still on the pillar."
"Mr. Philip Pillarson. We named him," Rose continued thoughtfully.
He put his face in his hands with a grunt. "Blimey, we had far too much fun last night."
"We didn't! Did we?"
"No, no, no, I didn't mean…that. I don't think that we…I'd remember. Wouldn't you?"
She visibly calmed down. "Right. And we're not completely naked. Just mostly. We didn't decorate any other pillars on the way home, did we? Maybe that's where our clothes went."
He shook his head somberly. "No. We were dressed when we got inside. I think."
"Okay. Let's figure this out. Go through the whole day and piece it together. We went to that alien planet for an adventure. You said it was nice this time of year and I reminded you that we have a time machine so we could catch it when it's nice no matter what."
"Yes, and then we got into that chase with those strange octopus creatures. We saved the day, again, and they wanted to celebrate…" he concurred as the wheels in his mind began to turn. "That's when they invited us to participate in the ceremony."
"We did a dance around a bonfire, ran across some hot coals, started to drink wine, and then they gave us these weird rings that look like tentacles. They said that we were married, but by then we were already completely pissed. We kept drinking and partying. And then we woke up here."
"Quite right," he agreed.
She gave him a strange look. "Why'd we drink so much?"
"Well, it's nice to let loose every now and again…"
"You kept refilling my cup," she accused. "You wanted me drunk so that I wouldn't care when they told us about the marriage. I knew that you knew!"
He held up his hands in a defensive posture. "I didn't know. At first."
"But you did know before me?"
"Well, after the dance and right before the hot coals, I remembered attending a wedding on that planet once before. Lovely couple. Once we were across the hot coals and given the wine…let's just say it all came back to me. By then, it was too late to do anything about it. We'd already officially been married, so I just thought that we should celebrate. Save the yelling for later."
She wandered over to him and smacked his arm several times. "You should have said something!"
"You found out, didn't you? And you were very happy last night."
"I was drunk!"
"Maybe you'd like some wine this morning?"
She groaned. "You are infuriating! What are we going to do? Oh God, what are we going to tell my mum?"
"Calm down. We'll think of something."
After taking a breath, she thought about the situation. Honestly, she wasn't too upset about the idea of being married to the Doctor. But, he wanted her drunk just to break the news to her. He probably didn't want to settle down. She didn't want to be in a marriage if he didn't. And he probably didn't. Why bother asking and making it more awkward than it already was? So, she choked back the emotion and went for the natural suggestion.
"Do they grant divorce?"
He frowned. "Divorce?"
"I think so."
"We could go back. See what we could do."
Slowly, he nodded and looked like a sad puppy. "Quite right. Or, we could save ourselves the trouble. It's just a little planet. Really, you could argue that it's inconsequential on a universal scale. If a couple is married in one time and place, does that count everywhere? One could say that it doesn't. We could just forget the whole thing."
"Right. Forget," Rose echoed sadly. "We can just do that."
"All right," he answered just as gloomily. "Still doesn't answer where our clothes went. We should probably go look."
She nodded and they split up to search the TARDIS. Rose was the first to find them. They were sloppily folded atop the washing machine and covered in what smelled like vinegar. That's when she remembered. They had returned home, arm in arm, and the Doctor suggested that they eat chips. After making the chips, Rose went to add the vinegar and it spilled all down her shirt and jeans as well as the Doctor's trousers. He gave her his coat while they folded them for the wash. Then, they went to his bed and fell asleep together. She didn't ask and he didn't invite. It was just…natural.
"I remember," the Doctor said quietly from the doorway. He had been standing there for a few long moments, thinking about the night before and just how weird it felt being married to a human and not minding a bit.
She forced a smile at the memory. "Yeah. Clumsy me," she paused and had to ask, "Doctor, why did they offer to marry us in the first place?"
"There's a custom on that planet. If you hold hands with someone, it's a symbol that you're a couple. Actually, it specifically means that you've gone through the soul bonding ceremony and you're destined to spend the rest of your lives together."
She looked at him carefully. "You took my hand first."
"I did not."
"You so did, Doctor."
He grimaced. "Maybe. It doesn't matter. We agreed to forget this whole thing."
"Oh. Yeah, we did…" she practically whispered.
"I'd be a terrible husband. Complete rubbish, really."
"And I'd be an awful wife."
"You wouldn't be that bad, I'd imagine…" he commented nonchalantly.
"Thanks. I don't think you'd be too bad either."
Smiling at one another, she stepped forward as her heart began to race. Cautiously, she reached for his hand and he glanced down. His fingers wrapped around hers and they got butterflies. She grinned shyly and he did the same.
"You know, if you think about it, no weddings mean anything on a grand scale. It's what two people make of it…" she spoke gently.
He cleared his throat uncomfortably. "Well, I suppose a person could argue that."
"What if they did?"
Their eyes locked and he nodded towards the kitchen. "I want chips."
"Me too. Maybe we could stop by Mum's after that. She should probably know."
He raised an eyebrow. "Know what?"
"She's got a son-in-law."
"Mother-in-law…Jackie…those thoughts shouldn't belong in the same line…" he mumbled.
She whacked his arm again. "Oi, I don't care if we're married or not, she's my mum. Be nice to her."
"Oh, all right. Do I have to say 'Yes dear'?"
"What do you think, Doctor?"
Together, they went to the kitchen to eat chips, hand in hand.