There’d been a few days when Rose had wondered if this Doctor was her Doctor. But she’d had the same adjustment period after his regeneration, so the feeling didn’t bother her too much.
The adjustment curve had been steep. Here was a Doctor who looked like her Doctor, but was as angry with the world as her first Doctor. He slept a full eight hours a night, where she’d never seen the Doctor ever sleep before (it may have happened–but it was kind of that tree falling in the woods thing). He even managed to fall down the steps when he’d been explaining some rather Doctorish thing to her, and had completely lost track of where he’d been in space and time (not to mention walking backwards), and had this sudden and new taste for doughnuts.
All of it had been worrisome to her. Could she love a man who liked doughnuts? What was she to do with a Doctor with only one heart? One that got along with Jackie Tyler?
Or even more–one who finished that sentence. Her Doctor would have never done that. In fact–he hadn’t. Her Doctor always held back that part of himself that she’d wanted most. Could she be with a Doctor who gave her what she wanted?
Rose sighed, then sighed again. Something twisted up inside of her and she sighed a third time, trying not to scream. She yanked him closer to her by the hair and held her breath, wondering if it would be wrong to scream. It couldn’t be wrong, could it? Well, it kind of would have been, she supposed. Considering…
No… no. He wasn’t her Doctor. But… then he did that thing. With his tongue. And she didn’t give a shit.
Finally she had to breathe, and a moan escaped her, echoing off the dark walls.
Two and a quarter seconds later–she had no idea how she knew that exactly–there was a knock on the door.
“You bloody perverts! Get out of my pantry!” Jackie Tyler shrilled from the other side of the heavy door. “I told you about this yesterday!”
When the Doctor didn’t stop, there was another forceful pounding on the door, then the knob rattling. “We have company!”
The thing… with the tongue…
Rose giggled, but it was the wrong thing to do. It erupted into a high pitched squelch that evolved into a scream just as soon as she knocked a row of cans off the shelf. Pressing her hands against the wall, she tried to contain herself. Seeing as how that wasn’t possible, she began slapping the Doctor’s head, trying to get him to stop, and not really wanting him to.
“Mum… justa… min…oh…” She slapped him in the head again. “Not helping!”
On the other side, Jackie sighed. “Couldn’t we get the repressed one?”
“This is your fault.”
“This isn’t my fault.”
“It’s your fault.” Rose’s voice echoed off the damp cell walls. “You distracted me.”
The Doctor gestured with his manacled hands, causing the chains running up to the ceiling to rattle. “I just looked at you.”
Rose looked at her own shackled wrists, hanging above her head. “Don’t do that!”
The Doctor laughed bitterly. “OH. So I can’t even look at you now! But it WASN’T your fault we got captured by the Rutans when you were BLOWING ON MY NECK. This isn’t my fault.”
Sniffing, Rose lifted her head, trying to take the higher ground. “It’s your fault.”
Something began beeping in her pocket. It lit up a bright red, and they both stared at it for a moment. “That’d be Torchwood, checking in. Too bad we’re ALL TIED UP, and I can’t call for backup,” Rose huffed.
Then she looked at the Doctor, and it just made her even angrier. “Quit smiling like that.”
“Like that.” She silently willed the crooked grin off of her face.
His lips pulled back further. “You have to admit. It’s kind of…”
Rose swung her leg out, trying to kick him. Everything rattled and she ended up flailing in the air till she could get the toes of her trainers back on the ground. “If you say kinky, I will kill you.”
He looked around innocently. “Chains… handcuffs… dungeons…”
Growling, Rose contemplated trying to take another swing at him. “I need another partner.”
The Doctor wagged his eyebrows. “You weren’t saying that last night.”
“At work, you idiot.” Rose huffed in frustration. “This is the twenty-seventh time we’ve been captured in the last month.”
He straightened up, sniffing. “Admit it. You like it.”
Blowing her hair out of her face, Rose focused her attention on the chains. “You could help or something.” He didn’t volunteer to do anything. “You know, this was easier before you got all…starfished.”
“Oh I wouldn’t call me a starfish. They reproduce ase--” He shut up when she glared at him. “Well, your phone is in your pocket. My slightly less than sonic screwdriver’s in my pocket. We’ve been hoisted up like slabs of meat…” The Doctor fell silent again. “I suppose you can call me Starfish Doctor if you want.”
Rose spent a few minutes trying to twist her wrists free of the shackles. All she did was make them red and raw. Finally, she had an idea. “I’ve been thinking…” she said sweetly.
“Okayyyyyyy,” the Doctor drew out, as if he knew he was being lead into a trap.
“It’s not your fault.”
She licked her lips. “But if you can get me out of these chains, before the aliens come back… you may really…really like my show of gratitude.”
His eyes lit up. “You mean… with the… and the… ahhhhhhh.” A shudder of anticipation ran through him.
“And something I read about in a magazine,” she promised seductively.
There was an intense moment where the Doctor throttled his arm about excessively, half a second where he reached into his pocket for something ugly and unfortunate but vaguely screwdriver like, a bit of weightlessness, and finally Rose Tyler hitting the stone floor of the cell. “I like magazines!” he gushed. “The thing with the, and the ahhhhhhh.”
Rose licked her teeth. “Right then. But first you have to get us back to the skypod.”
He pointed the sad device at his wrist and the remaining restraint unlocked. “Right.” He sniffed, grabbing her wrist and dragging her back toward the door. “I give us five minutes to fight our way out of the prison block, two minutes to negotiate a short-lasting peace with their leader, three minutes to get back to the skypod and forty-nine minutes on the way home for you to…enlighten me.”
Looking up at the ceiling, Rose wondered just how her life had come to its current state. “You’re so easily bought.”
Unlocking the cell door, he glanced at her and shrugged. “I like the thing and the ahhhhh.” When the metal door swung open, he looked both ways. “But first we have to put my thumb back in its socket.”
“A TARDIS would be handy right about now,” Rose quipped, watching the last shuttle leave the surface of the planet they were now hopelessly stranded on.
“Let me just pull one out of my arse,” the Doctor responded with unexpected dry sarcasm, wrapping his hand around hers.
She glanced up at him, then back to the fading light in the purple-orange sky. “Jack could. Merry Christmas, by the way.”
“Oh sure, Rose and I will work during the office party! We can monitor everything!” He slapped himself with his free hand. The one that had briefly belonged to another him on another Christmas day. “I was thinking…yaay! No boring small talk! Lots of wanton naughtiness in the monitoring room! I wasn’t thinking… whoops, fall through a crack in the universe.”
Rose shook her head. “Shouldn’t you have?”
“Well, I wasn’t expecting to fall through the crack in the universe while engaging in said wanton naughtiness.”
She eyed him, then slid her hand out of his. “Then I guess I just don’t know you any more.”
His cheek twitched as darkness fell upon the primal landscape. “I knew you just a few--”
Her sharp, pointy, painful elbow connected with his side. “Unveiled innuendo. Not helping.” She thought about it for a moment. “I won’t say we used to get into less trouble. Before. But it was never something that could be avoided by not… you know. All the time.”
The Doctor snorted as he began looking around at their environment and their resources, or lack there of. A jungle planet was a jungle planet was a jungle planet. “Fifty-eight percent of the time they could be avoided. That’s not ALL the time. It’s only… slightly more than half the time. And if we can find where those explorers shuttles were launched from, we should be able to find some left-over technology. Which means we should be able to find some way of communicating if the crack opens again.”
Shoving his hands into his pockets, the Doctor began walking quickly toward the edge of the clearing that contained the least-dense foliage, assuming that was a good place to start. “When. I mean when. Of course I mean when .Why wouldn’t I mean when?”
Rose clomped after him, arms slid awkwardly behind her back, still trying to hook her bra closed from before this all stared. “Because of the time my mother had to save us from Cybermen!”
“That was a fluke!” The Doctor called behind him, his voice nearly drown out by the night sounds of the foreign planet.
Rose finally gave up and slid the bra off and tossed it into some bit of shrubbery with enormous flat leaves. “Or the time that Millie from the mail room had to save us from garbage monsters!”
With his longer legs, the Doctor managed to put some distance between them, all with a few easy strides. “Doesn’t count! We saved four solar systems that day!”
“And blew up the car park!” Rose started running to catch up.
“Incidental property damage!” He stopped and examined a square column camouflaged by some plants. “Which also is an example of how we got into–and out of–trouble without naughtiness being involved.”
Out of breath, Rose stopped beside him. “Fifty-whatever percent is still too much percent.”
Removing his not-so-sonic screwdriver from his pocket, he pulled away some of the plant life and popped open a panel. “They were tracking the energy produced by the crack, but they had no idea what it was. I may be able to get enough data from their records to figure out when the next ripple is coming through. Fifty-eight. I think the ratio is just proof that we need to do it more often.”
“Um…no. Unless we want to increase our odds of certain death while doing things in public we really are too old to be doing in public.”
“Hear me out. I figure if we just keep at it, but we’re just terribly persistent, eventually, we’ll get sick of each other.” An information screen popped up, and the Doctor scrolled through the data files on the badly disguised terminal.
Rose leaned against the small column housing the terminal, and her uncontained breasts swayed a bit. The Doctor’s eyes were locked on her chest, not on the numbers rushing by. “It’ll be a good thing. It’ll increase productivity by seventy-eight percent, troublesome field situations by fifty-eight and reduce the number of times Jackie walks in on us down to zero.”
Crossing her arms over her chest, Rose shook her head. “Um… no.” Waiting for the Doctor to get back on task, she took a quick look around. “So… why did the scientists take off so fast? I mean, when we’re done scouting a location, it takes us hours and days to pull out. They were gone in seven and a half minutes.”
The Doctor was, mercifully, back to looking at the numbers and trying to figure out the pattern, like a good Doctor ought to be doing. “I don’t know,” he muttered absently. “Evacuation drill? Real evacuation?”
“Evacuation?” Rose asked cautiously, looking at the slightly luminescent creature hovering over her discarded bra. Tapping the Doctor’s arm, she pointed to the bipedal thing that looked like a giant glowing dog. “Maybe to get away from that?”
It threw her bra aside and focused its attention fully on Rose.
Before the creature could dart toward them, the Doctor grabbed her hand and they took off full-tilt through the woods.
“Maybe not more shagging,” the Doctor offered in gulping, air deprived huffs as soon as they were behind the biggest, heaviest tree in their path. “Maybe just less near active cracks in reality?”
Rose peaked out from behind the tree, grabbed his wrist and they started running again. “Ya think?”
Rose watched the Doctor meticulously folding his paper airplane at a desk in the spare room in her mother’s enormous house. “It won’t kill you to come down and wish Tony a happy birthday.”
The Doctor pushed his glasses up on his nose. “It might.”
“It won’t. Now come down before my mother starts looking for you.” Rose put her hands on her hips, waiting impatiently.
A shockingly bitter laugh escaped the Doctor. “Oh she can look. She can scream and yell and have a fit. She can do violence to my person. I’m not going down there.” He rubbed his fingers along an edge, smoothing the crease.
Putting her hands on her hips, Rose stared down at her human Doctor. “It’s just a clown.”
The Doctor put down his paper airplane. “It’s not just a clown. It’s an evil clown in a man suit. And then there’re the balloons. That all have clowns on them. And the plates and the napkins and the tablecloths… Your mother’s insane.”
Rose leaned against the desk, folding her arms across her chest. “You’re saying you’re scared of clowns.”
Tilting his head back in righteous indignation the Doctor snorted. “I’m saying clowns are evil and if you don’t understand that, then… well… that’s a problem.”
The Doctor looked up at her in dead seriousness.“Really. They’re recognised on over nine thousand worlds as the Anti-Christ.”
She bit her cheek, trying not to laugh at him. “They have Anti-Christs on nine thousand worlds.”
“You get the point.” He added the paper plane to his ever growing pile on the desk. Taking another sheet of Jackie’s stationary, he began again. This time he folded it width-wise. For variety’s sake. “The direct opposite of a popular religious figure that may or may not have really existed in the manner in which the holy text featuring said popular religious figure states that he or she or it did.”
Rose kissed him on the lips, which plugged up the rambling bits for a moment. “You talk too much.”
“It’s just easier to say Anti-Christ.”
“Clowns are not the Anti-Christ.” She grabbed his hand. “You were the one saying you wanted the whole human experience.”
The Doctor pouted. “I meant I wanted to put on a stone and rot in front of the television for a bit. You won’t let me do either.”
Indulgently, Rose squeezed his hand. The one that had briefly belonged to another him. She liked that one. It provided… continuity. And it was also good at doing certain things that it ought not while she was driving. Like that one time, when they almost wrecked. Because she was going around a bend right when she… “Oh just come down and smile and eat some cake and give Tony his present, and we’ll leave. We can always claim very important Torchwood work or something or other.”
“Just grin and pretend like nothing’s wrong, even when I’m surrounded by all those satanic smiling faces?”
Rose patted his cheek. “That’s the human experience. We get up every day, we take a shower, we brave a world full of clown faces.”
He hesitated for a moment then some idea lit in his eyes.
Rose knew she wasn’t going to like it. She could tell the difference between the sparkle he got when it was something she’d like, and the other look, when it wasn’t. “Whaaaat?”
Three quarters of a second later, he was down on one knee. “Rose Tyler, I will bind myself to you for the rest of our gloriously mortal lives in the quaint human tradition called marriage if you’ll just spare me the clowns.”
There was a sigh from the doorway. They both turned to look at Jackie, hands on her hips and looking like she was chewing glass. “Couldn’t I have just walked in on you two going at it like rabbits again?”
Where were the aliens bent on world-domination when you needed them? Because right now, for want of something life-threatening to save him, the Doctor was stuck between a rock and a hard place. The rock being of the multi-carat variety and the hard place being Jackie Tyler. Maybe the universe could do him a huge favor and implode. Right now.
“Well, pick something.” She was glaring at him. That special glare whereby he’d really better think of something now.
He turned around, back to the really patient woman who was trying to help him decide. “I don’t like diamonds.” That wasn’t true. He liked them. Sort of. In the way that you could have feelings for inanimate objects, and he loved his sonic screwdriver (ok, so it was less than sonic now days, but he was working on it), so maybe he could muster up some sort of feelings for rocks. But diamonds were a bit disappointing after you manhandled the most famous diamond in the world.
Jackie was glaring at him again. In that evil way, where her eyes got all cold and demonic. “Then pick something else.”
The Doctor looked at the dozen or so rings on the counter and panicked. “I only asked her to marry me so there wouldn’t be clowns!” He looked up at the saintly woman in the crisp black jacket and the even crisper white shirt. “You believe me, don’t you? In fact, we don’t have to go through any of this right now. I’ll just go home--”
“My daughter’s home!” Jackie hissed quietly. “You don’t have so much as a REAL police box to your name, Mister. And you don’t even have a NAME. So you’d better just step into line!” She pointed at the rings on the counter. “Either choose something, or give them an idea of what to design. Right now.”
He opened his mouth to say something, but it just wouldn’t come out. There were a thousand things running through his head. Actually it was only nine hundred and eighty-one, but it was a lot–and none of them were working their way to his mouth.
She pointed a finger at him. “So you’re saying she’s good enough for a shagging fifteen times a day, but she’s not good enough to marry?”
All the color drained out of his face. Jackie Tyler could take over the universe, if she wanted.
“I want a blue stone,” he told the woman quietly. “Preferably man-made.” Jackie drew breath to complain about price not being an object and created stones being tacky. He just held up a hand. “Man-made stones have no imperfections. It will be more durable. And blue because that’s the universal color of betrothal, and I keep ending up in more places than a man without a TARDIS has any business ending up in.”
Jackie folded her arms across her chest and took a step back.
Happy that Hurricane Jackie seemed to have abated, the Doctor continued. “No princess-type pronged setting. It needs to be hard-wearing. Like–withstanding combat conditions. No pointed edges anywhere on the ring. Think…Flush or Bezel setting. White gold–it’s going to be more stylish for the next fifteen years. I need a matching chain that will fit over her head. Preferably one without a clasp that’ll get caught in her hair. And I know what Mrs. Tyler said about paying for it, but I can cover it.” He whipped out a black credit card.
Handing it over, he gave Jackie a nasty smile. “Advantage of not having to pay my own mortgage. All that Torchwood money goes right into the bank. Oh yeah, and if you ever start throwing around implications like that again, the offspring gets a traditional Gallifreyan name. Forty-two syllables and impossible to pronounce.”
It was Jackie’s turn to be speechless.
“Rose was supposed to tell you this morning, but you rushed me out of the house before she was awake,” he explained quickly. There. He’d won. He may only have one life and one heart and no TARDIS and an only mostly sonic screwdriver. But he’d just defeated the most terrifying creature in the universe.
And for the first time in months, Jackie Tyler smiled at him. Holding out her arms, she pulled him into a warm bear hug. “Welcome to the family.”
Dammit. She’d bested him again. How did she keep doing that?
Sighing, the Doctor hugged her back.
Now was probably a really bad time to mention he’d just made the baby thing up.
Rose vaguely remembered the Doctor saying something about going out with her mother when she’d been asleep. That had to have been a dream or something. There was no way he’d do that willingly. Of course, her mother was quite capable of making people do things under duress when she had it in her. Especially if it was a Saturday where Pete was supposed to do boy things with Tony. Then her mum wanted to “act like an adult” and go shopping or out on the town or any of a million other things that wealth and an afternoon of freedom let Jackie Tyler do.
Rose really hadn’t cared at all. The Doctor wasn’t here doing things that caused her to wake up. It meant the Doctor wasn’t making noise, or setting off the smoke detectors by trying to cook, or worse yet, causing explosions because he burnt the toast and decided that making a time-shifting toaster that allowed toast to go back to that instant before being burnt would make the world a better place. It meant she could get up, sit at the breakfast bar and leisurely sip her coffee without him trying to cram as much living as humanly (and alienly possible) into each day. It meant painting her toe nails without someone trying to huff the paint.
For a few hours, it had been an ideal world.
Just when she was thinking of draining the water out of her oversized tub, the bathroom door flung open. The Doctor was kicking off his shoes and untying his tie. He somehow managed to shut and lock the bathroom door with the same gesture. “Ok. We need to make a baby right now.”
Sitting up, Rose laughed. “Did someone’s biological clock go off? What’s all this now?”
The Doctor shrugged off his coat and snagged something out of the pocket. “I might have told a teency weency white lie to your mother.” Tossing the coat behind him he threw the small black box to Rose.
She missed it and it plummeted in the water. “About?”
He gulped. “Babies.” He looked at the broken bubbles on the surface of the water. “Uh… your ring is sinking.”
Rose stood up abruptly, the ring forgotten. “You told my mother we were having a baby? What in the name of… what would possess…what the hell were you thinking?”
The Doctor stopped unbuttoning his shirt. “I was thinking…Rassilon’s Breath, doesn’t the woman ever shut up?”
Folding her arms over her dripping bare breasts, Rose glared at him. “And that’s what you came up with? You couldn’t just tell her to shut up?”
“She’s insane. She’s crazier than… a lot of things that’re crazy. You don’t understand the pressure I was under.” He pulled his shirt off. “So are we going to do this?”
“Oh. My. God. You are serious.” Rose wiped a hand over her face. “You want to have a baby, just so you won’t have to tell my mother that her screaming made you panic.”
He pointed at the bath water, which was standing almost to Rose’s knees. “Well, apparently we’re getting married in June. In a church. With an aisle and pews and things. She’s already called a pastor and I think she’s already picked the menu. Aren’t you going to even look at the ring?”
Tentatively, Rose bent over, pawing through the water for the box. “You know, we can’t just, decide to have a baby, and then bam, we get pregnant. I don’t even know how human your little swimmers are, and I don’t even think I’m ovulating… you know, there’s a whole lot you should have thought about before lying to my mother.”
“But you’re not saying no.”
Rose opened the box. “But I’m not saying yes…ohhhhh.” Jaw slackened, she took the ring with the thick band and sparkling blue stone set deep inside out of the box. “It’s like that one from the Rafaxian open-air market.”
The Doctor couldn’t help but return grin. “I did good?”
She slid it onto her finger, still dripping and starkers. “Yeah. Oh yeah.” Somehow she managed to drag her eyes away from the ring and glare at him. “Don’t think that’s going to distract me from this baby discussion. They’re a big responsibility. I’m not sure you can handle a dog.”
He smiled innocently. “Pleaaaaase?”
“I don’t know why you’re pushing so hard. We don’t even know if its possible.”
The Doctor brandished his not-so-sonic screwdriver. “Actually, I can determine the optimum time of ovulation, and if it’s not now, I can…”
“If you say resonate my ovaries, I’ll do you harm.”
Flipping a switch on his dark-grey imitation screwdriver, he flashed his white teeth in a way that reminded her of her first Doctor for just a moment. “I don’t need to say it. I just have to do it.”
Rose stepped out of the tub. “I need to have a talk with my mother about overzealous wedding plans. Wait! I didn’t say yes to that, either! Oh my god. You two just walked me right into a wedding and a baby, all in one day!”
He pulled her to him. “That sounds like a yes and a yes.”
Rose slid her arms around his neck and rolled her eyes. “The things I do to get you out of trouble with my mother.” Her lips met his.
Eyes still closed, the Doctor pulled away first. “It was either this, or push her into a rift-crack and see what part of the universe she came out on.”
“How was your weekend?”
As she dumped her bag on the tabletop of her workstation, Rose turned to look at the tech that sat behind her. “Oh, you know.”
The pretty Asian woman smiled. “Oh…I know.”
Rose grinned. “See, what did I tell you? Illegal car racing is a great fifth date. If you’re dating Owen Harper.”
Toshiko Sato blushed. “And I never said this. But the sex was…amazing. Life-altering.”
Sliding her coat off, Rose hung it on the back of her swivel chair. “Well, I figure Owen’s got to be good for something. Glad you had a good time, Tosh.”
The other woman took off her glasses. “So. What’d you do?”
Rose thought about it. “Friday night, I drank too much wine and ended up singing opera songs–badly–in the middle of the street for about five minutes. Sunday I watched old movies and finally got around to hanging those pictures in the dining room. Now it doesn’t look nearly so desperate in there.”
Tosh slid her chair closer to Rose’s work area. “And Saturday,” she questioned hopefully.
Rose sighed. “My mother planned my wedding before I was even asked, and a certain gorgeous brown-eyed idiot told my mother I was pregnant.”
Taking a portfolio out of her bag, Rose rolled her eyes. “Keep it quiet.”
Pulling some papers out, Rose handed them over to Toshiko. “Worst part? He tells my mother I’m pregnant yesterday morning. Going by the sales receipt on the ring–oh yeah, I’m engaged, did I mention that?” she flashes the rock–blue and silver and terribly practical. “Anyways, he tells her this some time before ten,” she goes on, Tosh twisting her hand around to look at the stone from every conceivable angle. “I was not impregnated until four fifty-five. And yes, I have an exact time, he kept a detailed log of all attempts.”
Tosh snorted. “So male. The little black book of conquests. But look at that. It’s gorgeous.”
“You’re not even going to ask about this impregnation thing?” Rose was disappointed.
Looking up from the ring, Tosh shrugged and went back to ogling. “OH no. He came by my desk two weeks ago to ask about the effects of a not-so-sonic screwdriver on the ovulation process. I just hope he didn’t overtune the thing and explode your ovaries. He didn’t do that, did he? Because I told him…”
Rose rolled her eyes. “Ok. I love him. But... there are times…You know, sometimes I hate him. I mean, really really hate him. I could kill him, chop him to pieces, and turn him into stew. And no one would notice. They’d say…hmm… this Doctor. He tastes like chicken.”
Tosh finally let go of Rose’s hand and slid her chair back. “You enjoy every last minute of his maladjustment to human life.”
“Not the point. Where is he? He left the house before I did.” She pulled a paper lunch bag out. “He forgot breakfast. As funny as it would be for him to pass out from low blood sugar again, I don’t want to deal with the fallout.”
“You hate him, but you bring him a muffin,” Tosh crooned. “It’s steamy alien lo-o-ove.”
Taking the muffin out of the bag, Rose ripped off the top. “I’m having his stupid quarter-alien baby, I’d better love him. The big fat stupid… stupid…”
“Jerk?” Tosh volunteered, trying to help out.
She pouted immaturely. “Stupid-head.” She bit into the muffin top.
“You called?” The Doctor asked, setting a fresh muffin on the desk. “You brought me something. And I brought you something. Can I eat this one? It’s banana nut.” He had that grin on his face. The one where he was busting at the seams to tell everyone in the damned universe just how virile he was.
Rose would just settle him not repeating the resonated ovaries story. That was a surefire path to getting labeled kinkiest couple at Torchwood (which was a breeding ground for inner-office romance). She handed the banana nut muffin back to him. “Yes, please. Eat this. We don’t need any more ‘incidents.’”
He frowned. He hated when she brought up how he was now half-human and all hypoglycemic. “I think, sometimes, you’re mean to me. Can we find something seriously dangerous to do.” He looked at her midsection. “I mean, for me. Not for you. You can’t do anything rightnow. That’d be… irresponsible of me as manly head-of-house, to send you off to face the forces of darkness with a bun (or two!) in the oven. I just meant… I need to get out of here. So I don’t have to do paperwork.”
The Doctor looked around innocently. “I don’t know. A couple…or three or four… eggs might have, uh, been in-play.”
Rose sat down in her swivel chair and began typing. Something blinked on her screen. “Here’s one for you in Siberia.”
She didn’t acknowledge his existence. “Siberia. Looks like another crack in the universe. Careful someone doesn’t push you in,” she muttered dryly.
“I only said I’d have to do that to your mother if we didn’t make babies!”
All seven heads of her coworkers turned their way, and Rose hid her face in her hands. “Siberia. Go.” But instead of annoyance, there was something else in her voice–possibly regret that it’d be a while before they could run for their lives.
He put a hand on her shoulder. “We’ll get into trouble again, soon enough.”
Rose gave his hand a pat. “I hope you mean being held hostage by aliens and not ‘in a family way.’”
He grinned and stepped out of smacking range. “Both.”
“You have anger management issues,” Pete Tyler said simply. He folded his hands in front of him and placed them firmly on the mahogany desk.
The Doctor sat uncomfortably in an oversized leather chair, his hands resting on his knees. “No one liked that printer anyway. It never worked right.”
Pete sighed. ‘No one else felt the need to push it through a window.”
“It was twenty-two stories up.”
The Doctor sighed. “It went into the dumpster.”
“It was a plate glass window.”
There was no snappy comeback for this.
The Doctor didn’t move. He just remained frozen and semi-placid, his features unreadable. “I’ll buy a new one.”
Unfolding his hands, Pete opened a desk drawer and pulled out a short stack of papers. Taking out a rather heavy pen, Pete Tyler, Director of Torchwood scribbled something on the last sheet in the pile. “I think you’re having trouble adjusting to your new situation. Mandatory psychotherapy, starting this afternoon.”
The Doctor stood up. “But I was supposed to go to Siberia!”
Pete pushed the papers across the desk. “You’re not a team player. I get that. But you have to learn how to be, if you’re going to keep working here. You want the ‘full human experience,’ and you’re getting it. Item number one: a poor performance review and mandatory psychological care.”
And that was the beginning of the end of any enjoyment he would derive from working at Torchwood.
“Can you tell me what your relationship was like with your father?” The woman in the stern glasses briefly looked up from her notepad.
At least, that’s how the Doctor saw it. First they take away his access code to the supply closet (apparently building a long-range rift censor out of staplers and the office microwave was not an acceptable use of company supplies), then Pete makes him… find his inner innerness through therapy because he’s afraid the Doctor is a danger to himself and others.
The Doctor sighed. “How’s anyone’s relationship with anyone’s father?” he shrugged. “Actually, he didn’t even know I was alive until I got kicked out of the Academy. The second time.”
And Pete was sore about that threatening to push Jackie into a crack in the universe.
“So he noticed you after this?”
Why was Torchwood so serious in every universe, and why was it so hell bent on making sure he had no fun?
Rubbing his forehead, the Doctor tried to think of something interesting to say. “No. He literally didn’t know I existed. Apparently I was a mistake involving a loom, a Frisbee and contaminant human DNA.
Oh yeah, and Rose was mad at him again. She was still mad at him the first time for the whole…four eggs thing. But now she was mad on top of that. It was like… the cherry on top of the whipped cream on her pie of unhappiness with him.
The woman licked her shiny, plum-coloured lips. “And how did you relate to him after this?”
He sort of…ran down to the shop (he liked a good shop) on the ground floor and… you know. Bought another one of those canned espresso thingies. One of the ones he wasn’t allowed to have any more. After that one time.
The Doctor’s face scrunched. This was awful far back to remember. “I don’t… oh wait. Yeah! He threatened to make me regenerate so I’d stop sharing even a single protein combination with him.” He grinned. “Those were good times.”
You know, having one heart was bad enough. Then it has to start pounding in his chest because he had six of those tiny little cans in the course of five minutes… then he broke out into cold sweats, and then he told Owen Harper exactly where the other man could shove his medical advise, and suddenly you’re not allowed to go down to the shops by yourself any more.
“Was there a sense of rejection, because he didn’t want to share DNA with you?”
The Doctor knew it was coming. She was going to make him wear that dreaded knitted vest thingy Jackie had given him. It was only trotted out when it was sick, unkinky punishment time.
Shrugging, the Doctor began twirling his slightly less than sonic screwdriver between his fingers. “I don’t know. I mean, I share DNA with MYSELF and MYSELF didn’t want me around. But if you were sitting beside yourself, could you live with yourself?” He’d used up every “self” metaphor for that one.
“And?” the woman prompted.
“You do something really insane like give yourself what you want most, and that you’ll never have because you’re giving it to yourself just so you don’t have to deal with yourself any more. I’m a right bastard, now that I think about it. Tricky, too.” Panicking, the Doctor ran his hands through his hair. “But really I’m a nice person! I’m just… a bastard. You know? I mean…I’m a nice person, right? I have never, ever kicked a puppy. But I’ve sort of… blown up some planets. Rose says that doesn’t make me a bad person. Or that time I blew up all the Daleks. Mostly because of the time she blew up all the Daleks, probably. But it’s really nice of her to say.” He looked around the sparse office. “Balls.”
He let out a deep breath while the woman scribbling fiercely on her legal pad.
Concentrating on the in and out motion with his lungs, he tried not to listen to the sound of his one heart. It was ooky sounding. He didn’t like it. “Look, I’m only here because I irritated the boss. I impregnated his not-really-daughter with between three and six embryos and threatened to push his wife through the rift. I’m not sorry for it. But I’m only here because of that. So… like… whatever.”
The woman put down her pen and looked at him, possibly for the first time. “And how does that make you feel?”
“Like pushing her through the rift anyways? You just can’t win with Jackie Tyler. It’s impossible. You know the first time she met me, made a pass at me. I think. The second time she met me, she slapped me. Sometimes she feeds me, sometimes she glares menacingly at me. I’m… confused.”
“Admitting it is the first step.”
“I’m not going over there for dinner.”
Rose frowned. The one that the Doctor always said reminded him of her mother. The one that made her frown even harder when he said that. “It’s an engagement dinner. It’s not optional.”
The Doctor ran his hands through his hair. Repeatedly. It was becoming a compulsive disorder. “Say something came up.”
She pulled a suit out of the cupboard. Why he had to have thirteen (exactly thirteen) identical blue suits, she had no idea. “Then we end up doing this again next week. Or Pete calls your bluff.”
He tugged on his hair with both hands. “Pete. Pete… Pete’s worse than your mother. He’s conniving and devious and evil…and evil…”
“You already said evil,” she informed him evenly, digging around for a shirt. Her choices seemed to be grey or green. Or brown. Who wore a brown shirt with a blue suit? The Doctor did. Apparently.
His fashion sense had suffered greatly in her absence.
When he wouldn’t take the clothes, she pushed the hanger against his chest. “OH just get dressed. A shower’s voluntary if it means we’ll get there on time.”
The Doctor fidgeted.
Rose glared. It happened instinctively now, when he was being this way. “You know… I should have killed you last night when you started throwing around phrases like “sixteen to eighteen eggs…” or “radiation-enriched nursery toys.”
Groaning, the Doctor started picking through his tragically extensive tie collection. “I was just saying that’s what I had when I was a kid.” His eyes darted away. “And…and...aren’t we glad Dr. Harper’s scan shows only twins.”
“Sixteen to eighteen?” She folded her arms over her chest critically.
The Doctor’s eyes began darting back and forth. “Or maybe twenty-four. Resonating internal organs is tricky business! You should be astounded at my brilliance for resonating them to begin with!”
“Twenty-four?” She groaned. “You know, every time you tell this story, you tack on four or five eggs. YOU are lucky it’s only twins. Otherwise I’d have killed you, then my dad would have killed, you, and then we’d have let my mum have a go.”
But then he did that thing. The one where the smile spread up his face like the Grinch doing something naughty. He was proud of the chaos he’d caused. The wretch.
She threw her hands up in the air. “Oh just get dressed.”
He pulled out a flaming purple tie and she really did question his ability to color coordinate in this body. “Do I need a shower?”
“Do you feel gross?”
He shifted uncomfortably. “I don’t know.” He wasn’t adjusting to all of these human bodily functions all that well. Perspiration and oil buildup were foreign concepts to him.
She sniffed him. He wasn’t any grosser than any other human being after a full day worth of making a nuisance of himself at the office. “Better safe than sorry. Jump in, if you can make it quick.”
He started walking toward the bathroom, the tie still in hand.
“Leave that here.”
Looking down at the tie, he blushed and handed it over. The reddening cheeks were an adorably human trait he’d picked up recently. It was less funny than when he passed out from low blood sugar levels, but did make her feel a little giggly inside.
When the door closed and she heard the water running she looked at herself in the mirror on the back of her door. Her boobs looked like they were going to fall out of her bra. If they got any bigger, they’d need their own postal code. The rest of her seemed the same, however. She’d always wanted bigger breasts (who didn’t!), but she hadn’t anticipated the part where the Doctor continually grabbed them and made bicycle horn sounds–sometimes in public.
She found a wrap-dress in the back of her cupboard, it was one of those things her mother bought and she never really bothered with. She didn’t dress up much, and work was certainly not the place for something you couldn’t run for your life in.
Tying it around herself, she made sure ‘the girls’ weren’t going to fall out, then started searching for shoes with heels on them. It was just easier to give her mother some things than to fight over it. She’d shown up to one of her mother’s parties in jeans and a button down shirt (which had been plenty of dress-up on the estate!), and her mother’d nearly had a melt down over it.
She owned a pair of heels, didn’t she?
Kicking around things in the bottom of her–their–cupboard, Rose found ‘those’ heels. Um… no. She wasn’t wearing those in public. Those were for, uh…special occasions.
Tossing them over her shoulder, she heard someone yelp behind her. “What’d I do this time?”
“Whoops,” she conceded. “Didn’t hear you get done.”
“You said fast!”
Rose continued digging through the miscellaneous shoes and other items, not bothering to look at him. He’d just be naked and dripping wet again. Towels were a weird concept to him too. “Did you actually…wash anything?”
The Doctor was silent.
She didn’t push it any further. Wet was clean enough, she supposed, when you were accidentally betrothed due to the threat of clowns to a former alien who’d grown out of a spare hand and additional genetic material borrowed from a really amazing temp from Chiswick. The universe was a funny place.
“Well, get dressed,” she urged as she pulled out something black and conservative that her mother must have bought on one of her Tony-free shopping sprees. “And please behave yourself.”
“When do I not behave? I’m only ever the model of restraint and perfect behavior around your mother. Mostly because she’s still got a swinging arm like a lumberjack.”
Laughing, Rose slid the shoes on and stood up, looking herself over. “Well, if you are extra-specially good tonight, I’ll show you what I found in another magazine.”
He shuddered. “I like magazines.”
The Doctor slid into his shirt, the fabric clinging to his wet skin. “I will be so good that your mother won’t even know what hit her.”
“Please tell me you meant that figuratively.”
“You are in so much trouble when this is over,” Rose whispered harshly as she was pushed roughly by a rhino-alien into the ballroom with the other guests. She shook her shoulders at the rhino, unable to do much more since her bare arms were chained securely behind her back. This made it really difficult to walk in heels.
The Doctor bumped into her when she stopped abruptly, not having his own balance due to being similarly bound. “Me? I’m not the one who invited an intergalactic criminal to this soiree.” He glared at Jackie.
“How was my mum supposed to know that one of the guests was an alien?”
Unable to stop himself, the Doctor made a face. “How was she supposed to know?” He glanced around the room, a head taller than most of the guests. “Because she invited half of Torchwood, Rose. There was bound to be another alien hiding out there.”
They’d begun scanning with some strange device at the far end and marking people they considered to be human. Rose wasn’t so sure about Ed from accounting, but she let it pass. She looked for her mother in the crowd and saw her over near the Table of Unnecessary Pastries (as the Doctor called them), clutching Tony to her side. Rose’s little brother, for his part, wanted desperately to grab one of the rhinos by the horn. He kept reaching with purpose every time one walked past.
Rose and the Doctor were the only ones bound up, because they were the only ones who’d tried to escape. Go figure.
Suddenly Rose looked down at her own flat midsection. “What about Winky and Blinky in there?”
“Winky and Blinky? You’ve named the first two naturally conceived Human Gallifreyans in all the universes Winky and Blinky?” He had that look in his eye–like when she made a huge universal gaffe that would get them all killed.
“Well, I couldn’t keep calling them ‘this one’ and ‘that one.’ Now could I?”
“Actually, yes. Yes you could have.”
She nudged him with her shoulder. “No seriously. I want to know how much alien DNA you had left. There has to be some–you’ve still got your enormous… brain. And I want to know how much was passed on to Winky and Blinky. And I want to know how much trouble we’re going to get in for it. And then I want to know your brilliant plan for getting out of it.”
“I got nothin.”
Rose’s shoulder slammed into him again and she noticed him staring. “What?”
He gestured with his head, eyes never coming up from her chest.
Not really wanting to, Rose slowly looked down. Wrap-around dress, no bra… Yes. Yes, of course, Rose was bound with her arms behind her back and one of her breasts was now hanging out. It was because the universe hated her. “Help me,” she whispered suddenly.
The Doctor wiggled his shoulders, illustrating his bound wrists. “There’s just one problem with that idea.”
Glancing around at the other guests to see if they had noticed, she nudged the Doctor with her shoe. “Fix me.”
Twisting in his bonds, the Doctor tried to free his hands. “There’s loads wrong with that statement there. Lots of things I could come back with if I--” Then he actually bothered to look over at her again. She wasn’t very happy with him.
So he did the gentlemanly thing. He grabbed the edge of her dress with his teeth and started tugging it upwards. She tried to help him by trying to shake her breast back into her top, but that just made her writhe like a decapitated chicken–right into the Table of Unnecessary Pastries. It clipped her in the leg and she tumbled into it, the dress tearing as momentum took her.
The silence was…enormous. There was an elephant in the room, and it wasn’t the rhinos. It was more in the shape of a bare-chested Rose Tyler, lying in a puddle of crème puffs and the Doctor with a mouthful of expensive frock.
Sputtering, the Doctor let go of the dress as the rhinos marched forward. “I think there should be running,” he said, turning to offer Rose his bound hands to help her up. Sadly, her arms were still beneath her, now covered in white fluff and crumbs. She wiggled to a standing position on her own.
“A lot of running,” Rose agreed as they darted along the table, past the gasping guests.
“And no more parties. Ever.”
The Doctor sat down on the edge of his least-favorite coworker’s desk. “So. How’d it go?”
“How’d what go?”
The Doctor shrugged. “You know. Christmas with Tosh’s family.”
“It was like hell on earth. Her grandfather drank too much and flipped off the PC that came to the door to tell us that flashing people from your kitchen is still flashing people, and could he please stop? And her brother thinks that aliens are a government conspiracy. Jackie Tyler is a picnic compared to listening to conspiracy theories about conspiracy theories for four hours.”
But the Doctor didn’t leave.
“What do you really want?”
Crossing his ankles, the Doctor looked around to make sure no one was eves dropping. “I have a problem.”
Owen Harper didn’t even look up from his video game. “You have a lot of problems. None of which can be solved by me. Go away.”
Folding his arms over his chest, the Doctor settled in for the long-haul . “It’s a… real problem. A problem for a medic.”
Owen paused his game and turned his swivel chair toward the Doctor. “Ok. Fine. What’s up? Rose and the semi-alien spawn doing ok? Cos she’s supposed to have another checkup this afternoon…”
Leaning closer to Owen, the Doctor looked around the open office plan to make sure that no one was listening. “It’s… cold.”
The Doctor shook his head. “You don’t get it. It’s COLD. It’s really COLD. And I’m cold all the time.”
Owen turned back to his game. “That’s because it’s winter. Wear more layers.” Unpausing Mario, he promptly ran the poor little plumber off a cliff, into a fiery eight bit chasm. Tossing the controller onto his desk, Owen looked back at the Doctor, who was still not going away. “Seriously. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’ve spent all of your life in a body that’s capable of regulating temperature even in the most extreme conditions. And now you’re human–temperature changes are going to feel more drastic to you than to everyone else.”
Rose came clopping toward Owen’s desk, protruding belly leading the way, a handful of folders clutched to her chest. She tossed the folders on the keyboard and they fanned out as they slid all over the desk. “Is he complaining that he’s cold again?” The young woman rolled her eyes. “I hit him with a snowball on the way here this morning, and you’d think I’d have dumped acid all over him. He accused me of trying to kill him!”
The Doctor turned red from his ears to his nose and looked away.
Rose leaned over Owen, squinting at the Doctor. “Is he blushing?”
Owen dodged the belly in his face and slid his chair away from his desk. “Another completely normal HUMAN reaction,” he consoled the Doctor. “When you’ve just been embarrassingly stupid in front of your office mates. It’s winter. Wear more clothes until you adjust to the seasons. Now get back to work, before I tell Pete his favorite field operative is afraid of snow.”
Jaw fixed and forehead screwed up, the Doctor stood up indignantly and tugged his suit jacket down. “Well, fine.”
And with that anti-climatic return, the Doctor stalked off.
Rose laughed. “Now I can FORCE him to wear the scarf my mum gave him for Christmas.”
Owen started his game up again. “I just want it to be clear–I never liked any of you people.”
Owen was a little drunk. It was usually the best way to handle these sorts of situations. Refilling his glass nearly to the brim, started to make for Tosh’s glass, but she put a hand over it. “The point isn’t to get hammered,” she whispered critically.
The team medic sighed, gesturing to the ‘happy couple’ next to them, bickering away like they were the only ones in the room.
“I’m just saying… it’s not worth it. The wedding’ll just get ruined again. I don’t see why we need another cake.”
Rose pointed her fork at the Doctor, from across the long, narrow table in the furthest corner of the bowling alley of an Italian restaurant. “That’s not the point. If my mother wants a cake, let her have a cake. If she wants pie, let her have a pie. Just… let her have her way. For once.”
“But if you give her her way,” the Doctor reiterated, “then she’ll think she can just go about having her way all the time. And then I’ll have to wear that god-awful scarf.”
“So my mum can’t have cake at the wedding because you’ll have to wear the scarf?”
“How’s about I strangle this one with the scarf, and you can suffocate yours with the cake?” Owen whispered, wondering where the hell the waiter was, with that bottle he’d ordered a few minutes ago. “God. Like we’ve not tried to do this stupid wedding thing like four times now. Of course it’s going to get ruined. She’s overbearing and he’s got a phobia about commitment.”
Tosh was looking around for the waiter, completely oblivious to his commentary.
So he pressed on. “And remind me again why the hell we have to be in the wedding party? Didn’t I say I’d rather eat glass, after the last time?”
Tosh still wouldn’t look at him.
Finally he glanced at Rose and the Doctor, who were no longer engaging in their less-than-witty (by Owen’s standards) repartee. They were staring at him.
The Doctor frowned. “We can hear you, you know.”
Tosh had the decency to offer the couple an embarrassed smile. “Owen’s just had a few too many glasses of wine. I’ll get him home early, and he’ll be just fine in the morning.”
“I will not!” the medic announced indignantly. “I refuse to be just fine in the morning! I refuse to hand this idiot alien the ring while he attaches himself to that much money.”
Rose scowled. “He is not marrying my money–wait, I don’t even have any money. He’s not marrying my father’s money. This is a proper shotgun wedding. He knocked me up!”
“And I don’t have a phobia. Well, not about commitment. I do have an acute fear of clowns. I don’t know why you’re here either. I guess I shouldn’t have bailed you out of jail that one time.”
Owen sat back in his chair, throwing his hands in the air. “And here it is! We’re going to hold THIS over my head forever!”
Tosh smiled sweetly, trying to diffuse the situation. “He did post your bail. At three in the morning.”
The Doctor carelessly slung an arm around Owen’s shoulder. “And I’ve only reminded you of it thirteen times in the last week!”
Shifting uncomfortably in his seat, Owen looked away, embarrassed. “That’s not the point.”
“He’s blushing,” Rose pointed out, nudging Toshiko.
“I think he is.”
Rose giggled, rubbing her nearly-bursting tummy. “He definitely is.”
Owen tried to wriggle away from his new ‘best friend,’ continuing to look everywhere but at his companions.
Tosh grinned. “And that, Owen. THAT right there is the point.”
Owen slapped the Doctor’s hands away. “I can do this myself.”
Smugly, the Doctor took a step back, sliding his hands into the trouser pockets of his grey long-tailed tux. “If you could do it yourself, you’d have had it done five minutes ago when Rose popped her head in and asked if we were OK.”
“We’re. Just. Fine.” Owen Harper ripped the bow tie off and handed it to the Doctor. “Make it work.”
The Doctor didn’t take it. He just looked over the other man’s shoulder, adjusting his own collar in the large oval mirror above Owen’s head. “You didn’t want my help. I can hardly… sonic screwdriver it into submission.”
Owen slammed his fist, still clutching the tie, into the Doctor’s shoulder. “Oh just fix it already. Before your batty wife comes back in here with your noisy and unbearable offspring. “
Rolling his eyes, the Doctor tried to work on the tie as quickly as possible. “They’re not unbearable. You just have a low threshold.”
“A low threshold is getting annoyed when they strip and run around Torchwood naked when you two can’t find childcare. But that happens so often I just look the other way. No, I’m talking about them reprogramming the communications network to pick up children’s programming from other dimensions. I have no idea what the Teletubbies are, but that shit is just disturbing.”
The Doctor stopped with the bow still in mid-formation, grinning stupidly. “Oh you think that’s bad? My refrigerator plays the Lazytown theme whenever you try to use the ice machine. “
“And you like it.”
“Well, if they’re learning about inter-dimensional television transformers, then they’re not watching Barney.”
Both men shuddered and remained in silence while the Doctor made the tie look presentable. Straightening everything out, he brushed off Owen’s shoulders and turned him toward the mirror. “There we go. Completely ready to make a fool out of yourself in front of Toshiko’s family.” Then the Doctor realized what he’d just said. “I mean–completely conquer this getting married thing.”
Running a finger under his collar Owen winced. “Did you have to go and remind me?”
The Doctor shrugged. “It happens to the best of us. You’ll come to terms with it, eventually.”
Owen’s shoulders slumped. “I guess we ought to get on with it. Sooner we start, sooner it’s over.”
“Or the sooner we get interrupted by an alien invasion and we have to reschedule. Seven times.” The Doctor looked at the clock on the wall. “And those last three times weren’t even my fault.”
“That last time was NOT an alien invasion. You got cold feet.”
“Well, after six failed attempts, I just started thinking maybe the Universe knew something I didn’t.” The Doctor looked around the room, wondering if they’d forgotten anything. Owen had already been forbidden to bring a gun to the ceremony, despite how the engagement party had turned out and the Doctor already had his semi-sonic screwdriver in his breast coat pocket, ready for anything (that wasn’t running on a similar frequency or of the color yellow). So really, that was all they had to worry about.
Then he saw the flowers on the mantle below the mirror. “Ok. How do these things work?” picking one up, he pulled the pin out of the small boutonniere–a white rose with some strange garnishment that looked like it should be on a restaurant plate and not on anyone’s jacket. “Jackie wouldn’t even let me touch these things.”
And there was a reason why, apparently–so Owen found out when he got stabbed in the chest with the pin. “Ow!”
Knocking the Doctor’s hand away, he started messing with the pin himself. “How high is your IQ? And you can’t handle a pin and a flower?” Owen grumbled something under his breath.
“What was that?”
“You want to know why I’m even here?” The Doctor stepped back, unsticking the pin from his own flowery garnishy thingy and started trying to figure out how it was supposed to work with the lapels and such… “Because no one else can tolerate your foul-mouthed whineyness. And there was that one time when I bailed you out of jail.” Getting it on the first try, he folded his arms over his chest and let Owen struggle. “I think we’re best friends or something.”
Pricking his finger, Owen swore and looked up at the Doctor angrily. “We’re NOT best friends. This is an arrangement of convenience.”
“I know. It’s convenient to have your best friend also be your best man. Fantastic, isn’t it?”
“Why…you bitchy little non-alien!”
Just as Owen was drawing in breath to dish out an over due verbal smackdown, the door opened again. Rose peaked her head around the door, grinning beneath elaborately pinned curls and more makeup than the Doctor’d seen her wearing in years. “I hate to break up your special boy-bonding, but the minister’s ready to start.”
The Doctor just grinned.
Owen finished with the flower, and then stuck his finger in his mouth. “This is not boy-bonding. This is wondering how someone so smart can be too stupid to live.”
Rose rolled her eyes. “Right. If you two life-partners can interrupt the bro-mance for a few minutes, Toshiko would really appreciate her moment in the spotlight.”
Grimacing, Owen glared at both of them, and their stupid grins, and headed for the door. “You know, I don’t know which one of you I hate more right now.”
The Doctor followed him out the door. “Ooh, ooh! Can it be me?”