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The Doctor, the Face, and the Bad Wolf

Chapter Text

A stain of crimson spread outward from the bullet hole that had pierced the light blue shirt. The man’s pulse was thready and his breathing labored. John knew he had to get the man someplace safe — to a physician or skilled nurse quickly. Unfortunately, there was no place in Paris safe for either of them now. He knew he had to get him out of Paris, but roadblocks and checkpoints blocked every road out of the City of Lights.

“Think, think!” he muttered to himself as he looped the tall, muscular man’s limp arm over his own shoulder, and dragged him back to his 1933 black and green Citroën Rosalie coupe, just a few hundred feet away from the scene of the ambush.

John now knew he should have listened to The Face. The Allied agent had warned John that he suspected his three am rendezvous with Bad Wolf on the left bank of the Seine had been observed. But even still, John had insisted that The Face give him the intelligence tonight. In the end, Jack was convinced by John’s weighty argument about duty, honor, and sacrifice.

So they met at ten o’clock. And one minute later, Jack’s lightning-fast reflexes had neutralized three of four German agents who had bore down on them. But the fourth agent had shot Jack, and then bolted, presumably back to his commander to report his findings.

Because of his stubbornness, the most important American operative in France, who also happened to be his best friend, had been gravely injured. Not only that, both of them had been visually identified.

Nervously, John looked left and right down the dark alleys as he drove as casually as he could through the darkened streets of Paris. His alias, Jean Dupont, was a physician, which afforded him a modicum of freedom to move in and out of the city at all hours.

John had buttoned up Jack’s long, blue coat, and arranged him in the front passenger seat. To any casual observer, he would have looked like he was sleeping. John gripped the steering wheel as he approached a checkpoint, the first of several. His French was flawless, and he could charm an angry Nazi-trained German Shepherd. Luckily, he had not needed to charm this particular German foot soldier, who was obviously tired, cold, and bored. The wooden arm was raised, and John released the breath he had been holding as the floodlight on the guard house faded in his rearview mirror.

He progressed through three more checkpoints without any probing questions. As he approached the final checkpoint, the last barrier between himself and his destination, Jack began to groan. He then began to speak loudly, agitated, in English. His accent was unmistakably American.

“Papers,” barked the German soldier impatiently. He thrust his gloved hand through the open window.

Wordlessly and without making eye contact, John provided his identification and credentials.

“So you’re a physician, eh, Monsieur Dupont?” the soldier asked in broken French.

“Oui,” answered John.

Jack groaned loudly, catching the soldier’s attention. The soldier sauntered around to the passenger side of the vehicle. “Put your window down,” he ordered.

John hesitated for a moment, but then complied.

“Why’d you do it for him? Can’t he do it for himself?” asked the soldier, suspicious.

“Drunk like a donkey,” lied John. “He can’t hold his wine worth a damn.”

The soldier sniffed around Jack’s face. “I don’t smell any wine.”

“It was a very fine French wine. Very rare. It doesn’t have an aroma. Very rare,” he repeated. “It was a special occasion. He is to be married tomorrow.”

The soldier eyed Jack one more time, and then walked around the rear of the vehicle. He stood for a moment, his hand on the door of the guard house, but then turned, and lifted the arm, allowing them to pass.

John drove without stopping for three hours, and when he pulled up the long, gravel driveway of his destination, it was two am. The sky was inky black, and a sliver of the moon was hanging in the sky. A single light shone through one window, but the rest of the numerous windows of the old, ornate, stone building were dark. The many inhabitants of this residence would have retired long ago, knowing they would have to rise before dawn.

He did not expect a welcome committee, not here, but there she was standing behind the iron gate: the brave, stalwart Mother Superior of the Sisters of Our Lady of Peace.

“I’m so sorry to have disturbed you at such an ungodly hour, Reverend Mother, but I am seeking asylum and my friend needs immediate medical attention.”

“Who sent you, sir?” asked the tall woman.

“The Gallifreyan Brotherhood,” John replied without hesitation.

“Well, come on then. Let’s get your friend out of that motorcar, and I’m sure you’ll be wanting that motorcar hidden,” she tutted as she turned and pulled a rope which rang a small, but deep sounding bell. “We have rules. One, you may not tell us your true name, your alias, or your country of origin. Two, you may not speak to the sisters unless they approach you or they are immediately attending to your needs.”

“Attending to my needs?” Jack asked, quietly cheeky.

Mother Superior cast a disapproving glance Jack’s way, and John started to say his name in chastisement but then caught himself, remembering not violate rule number one.

“I will give you names, which you are to use while you are our guests. Which leads us to rule three. You are our guests. You are not to work. The work we do is our worship, as is serving our honored guests.”

“Thank you, Reverend Mother,” John replied kindly.

“Just call me Mother, please, and I shall call you…” she looked at John for a moment. “Skinnyboy. As for the disrespectful one, I think I’ll call him–”

“Call me Casanova,” Jack suggested groggily.

“That is not a name fit to be uttered in a convent,” she countered calmly.

John smirked, knowing that this woman was very astute, even though she had lived a cloistered, chaste life.

Three women dressed in black from head to tow hurried down the portico and joined the trio.

“Sisters, please retrieve the stretcher, prepare the surgery and wake the team. We have a patient.”

oOo

She stared at a significantly large crack in the white plaster ceiling that she had decided was roughly the shape of a rabbit.

She had failed her mission. Going home for reassignment was not an option. Stuck was the only way to describe her situation. She laughed at the irony: the night before last, she was singing sultry songs of love and loss. Her gown had been the most alluring in her wardrobe: black satin which hugged and skimmed every curve, bump, and dimple of her figure. The neckline was dangerously low, plunging deeply down her chest. Her lips had been painted cherry red and matched her nails and toes. Her lashes had been black and thick, and her face, powdered and pale like porcelain. Her hair had been curled and pinned in an elaborate and glamorous style akin to Betty Grable.

But now, all traces of glamour were gone. She had used laundry bleach to hastily disguise her naturally glossy brown hair, and then bobbed it above her shoulders in an attempt to disguise herself. She was expected to get up at five am, and slip into something black, but nothing like the black satin gown she wore while crooning Perfidia, Take Me, and Moonlight Serenade. She had a new identity now: Novice Marie Rose.

Chapter Text

“Remember the rules, and it would be wise for you to keep your vow of silence for your own safety. Your French is perfect, but your accent is terrible.”

“Yes, ma’am. I mean. Rev... erend... Mother....?” The young woman cringed, knowing just how poor her accent was. Her expertise was written translation, not verbal communication.

Mother Superior smiled. “Your hair is poking out, Blondie. And Mother is fine. You’ll find that we Sisters lack formality. Most of the time.” The mature woman with the kind eyes and deep laugh lines smiled.

The girl who was now known as Marie Rose shoved the stray lock of hair under her wimple and smiled softly. “Thank you for taking me in, Mother.”

“We may not be able to pick up arms, but we can help those who are beating back those Nazi devils. When you have finished with breakfast, I’ll need your help in the infirmary. You are medically trained, no?” 

“Yes. Triage and emergency first aid mainly.”

“That’s fine. See you in, say, twenty minutes?”

Sister Marie Rose agreed, and the two women went their separate ways.

oOo

“I feel awful,” moaned Jack. “What didja do ta me, Doc?”

“You jumped in front of a speeding bullet," John explained. 

"Sounds like something I'd do." Jack laughed and then gritted his teeth at the pain.

"Don't talk. You're liable to burst a stitch or something. We’re under the care and protection of the Sisters of Our Lady of Peace. Don’t use any names,” John said, sitting down on a stool next to the white metal hospital bed.

Jack nodded a vague acknowledgment, but then his head lolled to the side, and he returned to his deep, morphine-induced sleep. John yawned. He’d been awake all night.

The light coming through the large, paned windows was muted, and the air was cold and damp from the unusual June drizzle. John shivered and pulled his heavy tweed field coat tighter around his body. He leaned against the stone wall, closed his eyes, and began thinking of a way to complete the mission.

So many Allied and innocent lives were depending upon the Doctor. He had to get that message from Jack. Bad Wolf had given the decoded, but still encrypted message to the Face, whom had committed the series of letters and numbers to memory. And then the Face set a match to the paper before throwing it into the Seine. No paper. Too risky. The Face had been on the cusp of passing the message on to the Doctor when they were ambushed by the Germans.

A sister in garb that indicated to John that she had not yet taken her final vows approached. John opened his eyes and stood gallantly in the presence of the pretty, young woman with outstanding hazel eyes framed with well-shaped dark eyebrows. Her full, pink lips were quick to smile, but she did not speak. She simply nodded her head as a greeting and nudged the stranger out of the way, so she had room to do her job.

She looked at the man on the bed and opened her mouth to gasp but clapped her hand over her mouth to stifle the sound before it was voiced.

A second woman approached. “I apologise on behalf of Marie Rose,” the woman said in broken French. “She isn't hardened to the horrors of war yet. That poor man,” she tutted as she looked down at Jack.

In the light of day, the welts and bruises from the struggle were clearly visible. His nose was swollen, perhaps broken, and he had a black eye. Marie Rose looked apologetically over at John and then back down at Jack.

John smiled softly at Marie Rose and put his hand on her shoulder, hoping to offer at least a small bit of comfort.

“I hope you never, ever become used to the horror,” he said in French, making sure he had captured her eyes with his own. 

Rose nodded.

“Marie Rose, please fetch a stack of square dressing. About this much.” The nurse held up her fingers, indicating an inch. “And I need a large roll of wrap, and a bottle of peroxide, and a bottle of iodine, too.”

The young girl nodded and removed herself.

“Why has she taken a vow of silence, Sister?” John asked, looking over his shoulder at the young woman walking into the supply cupboard.

“Dunno,” the ginger shrugged. "So what does Mother Superior call you?” asked the ginger-haired woman, ignoring his question.

Quite abruptly, John realized the woman was wearing the white uniform of a nurse, not a nun’s habit.

"Skinnyboy,” he said in English, cringing.

“Well, thank God. You speak English." 

“You’re not a member of this order, are you?” he asked, one eyebrow cocked.

“Oh, was it the lipstick that gave me away?” she asked sarcastically. “No, Dumbo, I’m not a nun. I’m a trained nurse. I live and work here while my husband is away," she said sadly.

“How’d you end up in France? You’re English.” John enunciated the word.

"Léandre -- that's my husband -- he's French. He is a POW somewhere in Germany." She squared her shoulders bravely. "And I don’t really like talking about it, to be perfectly honest.”

“I'm sorry," John said quietly.

"Thanks, Skinnyboy," she replied.

They were quiet while the nurse carefully removed the blood-soaked dressing in preparation to clean his wound.

"So. Can you tell me your real name, or did the Reverend Mother give you a ridiculous moniker as well?” asked John, continuing to speak English but with a forced French accent in order to maintain his alibi. 

The ginger-headed woman leaned over and closely examined the bullet wound. “Just Donna,” she said, keeping her attention on her patient.

Marie Rose returned balancing the items on a white, metal tray. Carefully, she set it on a rolling procedure tray, and stepped away.

“Thanks, sweetheart,” said Donna kindly. “Skinnyboy, I need you out of my hair.” She paused. “Please,” she added as an afterthought.

John stood from his chair. “Would someone fetch me when there’s news about my friend?”

“I’ll send Marie Rose. Where will you be?”

“Does this place have a library?"

oOo

Rose walked through the outdoor portico to the library, which was housed in a smaller building separate from the main hospital. The singing of mid-morning prayers echoed and bounced against the stone. The haunting melodies calmed her nervous mind. 

The Face was the patient in the bed upstairs, and she was certain that the other man was the Doctor. At least she was almost certain. The Face had told her about the Doctor several times, and it certainly made sense that he would be the one to have brought The Face here. The Face was supposed to have met the Doctor last night after all. And whomever had followed her to the meeting with the Face early yesterday morning would have most likely shadowed the Face all day, following him to his next meeting last night. 

The Face had spoken highly of the Doctor. In fact, Rose had teased the handsome American, accusing him of having a thing for the mysterious Doctor. The Face had not missed a beat and winked at her saucily before kissing her blind. Rose had not minded the kiss. It had been toe-curling, to be sure, but she was certain that this man would probably kiss anyone with a pair of lips. After the snog, he had explained that someone had been observing them, and he thought that a pair of lovers kissing passionately by the Seine was far less suspicious than a man and a woman talking at two in the morning.

She knew the rules that Mother Superior had laid out -- that she was not to speak, nor was she to reveal herself -- but if this man was the Doctor, she had to confirm that he had safely received the message and passed it along. 

Rose decided that she would drop a few hints, and if the tall, thin man with the really great hair picked up on them, she would drop a few more before revealing herself fully.

And if he really was the Doctor, he would be able to get all three of them out of France, and safety back to London.

Rose reached her destination and opened the door to the library. She stepped into the austere room dedicated to both Heavenly and Earthly knowledge and closed the door behind her, taking care to do so quietly. 

The man was lying on a large wooden table normally used for studying enormous manuscripts. His legs were crossed at the ankles and his hands clasped under his head. As she drew closer, she could see that his lips were moving, and she could hear he was muttering quietly in his sleep.

“Look out! There’s one behind you! Jack!” He sucked in a breath and sat bolt upright.

“Are you alright?” asked Rose reflexively. 

“Yeah. M’fine. Bad dream.” He pushed his palms into his eyes and then swung his legs off of the table and hopped down onto the stone floor. “So you do speak.”

Rose pressed her lips together firmly and looked away, sheepishly. She shook her head nervously.

“It’s alright, I won’t ask you to break your vows. Is my friend awake? Is that why you’re here?” he asked politely in French.

Rose nodded, while wondering how in the world she was going to drop hints if she could not speak. She kept her face down meekly, avoiding eye contact with the handsome man. His walk was almost regal in its rigidity. He had noble bearing, to be sure, or was it military training? He was certainly sure of himself. Something else occurred to her. When he had talked in his sleep, he had spoken English. With an Estuary accent. 

Maybe she should not be the one to drop the hints. Perhaps she should drag them out of him.

Chapter Text

The pair left the library and strode towards the hospital wing. While Sister Marie Rose remained silent as they walked, Colonel John Smith prattled on about last year’s grape harvest and the how it would affect Champagne production.

When they reached the door, Sister Marie Rose stopped and waited for the Doctor to be the gentleman, and usher her through. She had become used to the overdone manners of the Gestapo officers who were always trying to curry her favor with only one thing in mind. However, she had remained seductively aloof to the frustration of the officious men who were used to getting what or whom they wanted when they wanted it.

“Oh! Right,” John said after wrinkling his nose momentarily wondering why she had stopped. He opened the heavy wooden door for the woman by his side and ushered her through. The immense room was filled with empty, perfectly made hospital beds. The smell of bleach and clean linens permeated the air. Captain Jack Harkness was the only patient, and his bed was the furthest from the doorway, and on the right.

Jack was sitting up, and Donna was laughing hysterically. He was speaking too quietly for John to hear from the doorway, but from the tone of Donna’s laughter, John had a feeling it was one of Jack’s bawdy stories. In his opinion, it was certainly nothing fit for a nun's ears.

“Pardon me, Sister, perhaps you should wait here for a moment while I talk to my friend. His language can be quite coarse, and I don’t want him to offend you.”

Rose pinched her lips and nodded. She was having difficulty holding back her laughter, as she had laughed at quite a few of The Face’s jokes and had been the object of his teasing, (almost) innocent advances on several occasions. But playing the dutiful novice, she stayed back while the handsome man went to speak with his friend.

“And so Skinnyboy here is running down the hall screaming, ‘Bomb! Bomb!’ But I’ve got a winning hand -- finally! And I’m getting really cold.”

“Well, I can imagine you would be. Strip poker in an unheated chalet in the Alps? In January?”

“We’re a crafty bunch of boys,” he said with a wink. “We know plenty of ways of keeping warm.”

“You intel officers are all the same,” Donna snorted. "Innuendo, subterfuge, and poker."

“That’s enough, Casanova.” John stopped his friend, holding up his hands. “No more stories.”

“Aww, come on, I was just getting to the good part, Doc.”

The hair on the back of the Doctor’s neck bristled. “Donna, may we have a moment?” he said, never taking his eyes off of the Face.

“No, I’m afraid I can’t leave my patient,” said Donna stiffly.

“Anything you say to me you can say in front of her,” Jack said with a goofy grin.

John furrowed his brows. “Just how much did he tell you, Donna?” he asked, ire rising.

"I don't know, that's sort of a broad question, don't ya think?" asked Donna.

“Donna, did you give him Sodium Pentothal?” John asked, quite serious.

“What? No!” protested Donna. "I'm not one of you blokes. I ain't in the spy business. I'm just a nurse."

“In that case, do your job, nurse, and sedate him.” John stood straight and tall and took on an air of aristocratic and military superiority.

Donna turned and faced John fully. “I will not, Colonel! There is no medical need for him to be sedated!”

The muscles in John’s jaws were visibly tense, and his dark brown eyes were flashing. "Sedate him now."

Jack sighed. “Will you lighten up, Doc? We can trust Donna. Trust me.”

“Stop talking.” John clenched his fists, his fingernails pressing into the skin of his palms.

“You know who her husband is, Doc? Sergeant Major Léander Michaud. Leader of Moon’s Marauders.”

“You will stop talking now, Captain. That is an order,” John said loudly.

Jack laughed and then groaned at the pain of stretching his injured chest tissue. “Aye, aye, Colonel.” He saluted sloppily with the wrong hand. “And come to think of it, Doc, I really don’t think a colonel in Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force has any authority over me. I’m a Yank.”

The angry, loud conversation had drawn the novice in, and Rose had crept closer, unbeknownst to John. “You don’t recognize me, do you?” she said to Jack, ignoring the now bewildered Colonel John Smith for the moment.

“No. Should I, doll? Is it alright if I call you doll? You being a nun and all.” Jack winked.

“Just a mo,” she said in English. She returned to the large door, closed it and engaged the lock. She returned to the bedside, pulled off the wimple, sending her blonde hair cascading down. “Look closer. And I used to be brunette.”

Jack screwed up his face and then started laughing. “I thought you looked familiar, but I had chalked it up to the medication. I dreamed about you,” Jack said, voice low and sensual. “You were singing just for me.”

Marie Rose blew a puff of air through her plump lips. “Yeah, well, you can keep that dream to yourself.”

Jack laughed. "You know I love teasing you. You’re just so innocent for a doll who’s in the line of work you’re in. Doc, this is Bad Wolf. Bad Wolf, meet the Doctor,” Jack said proudly and perhaps a little bit giddily before he nodded off to sleep.

“What? What!?” John exclaimed, squinting, volleying his attention between the blonde and the loopy invalid.

Donna stood by, watching the scene unfold, knowing her presence had been forgotten for the moment. “Boys, I think I’m going to go do things that need to be done.” Donna left the trio for the supply cupboard.

“What are you doing here?” Rose asked, putting her hands on her hips. “You should be in London by now, delivering my translations!”

“I could ask you the same,” John said to the blonde. “Well, not the delivering to London part. Don’t you have documents to be translating?”

“I asked you first,” Rose challenged.

“Ladies first,” the colonel countered, this time assuming a role of superiority. “That’s an order.”

“If you’re giving me an order, I think I have the right to ask your rank and branch of service?” asked Rose respectfully.

“Of course. Colonel. Royal Air Force. Intelligence.”

“Yes, sir.” Rose snapped to attention. She felt silly standing at attention in a nun’s habit.

“And yours?” he asked with a hint of a smile, trying hard to not admire her posture, which hinted at her curves, even covered in the simple gray tunic of a novice.

“Corporal. Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. Intelligence. But you’re clever and already figured that out, didn’t you?” she said, letting her smile appear momentarily.

The Doctor relaxed a bit and returned it. “As you were, corporal. Now tell me how you ended up pretending to be a nun three hours outside of Paris.”

Rose released her rigid posture and nodded. “I’m a chanteuse at Le Vaillant. It’s a known hangout for Gestapo and Nazi bigwigs.”

“You sing at Harold Saxon’s nightclub? Saxon the Nazi sympathizer? He’s an extremely dangerous man, corporal,” John said, wide-eyed and earnest.

“Yeah, I know,” she said, hugging herself protectively. “I was careful, Doctor.”

“How’d you get the job?” asked John, curious. “He’s very discriminating about the people he allows himself to be surrounded by.”

“Simple, really. Showed up, auditioned, was hired.” She shrugged. “The dress I was wearing may have helped a bit,” she teased.

“Doubtful,” John said, scrunching his eyes. “He’s not really attracted to beautiful girls.”

“You saying I’m beautiful, Doctor?” Rose smiled cheekily, capturing her tongue between her teeth.

John cleared his throat and blushed. “Considering.”

“Considering what?” she asked, striking a saucy pose, her hands on her hips.

“Considering… you’re an intel operative?” His voice squeaked, and he tugged on his ear nervously.

Rose rolled her eyes.

“Continue your story.” He had now recovered his composure, and his face softened.

“So, yesterday morning, I was waiting at a café to meet a friend for coffee. A note was delivered to me by a little boy. I didn't recognize him. It was a warning to get out of town and to come here immediately. The writer said Harold was sending someone for me. That he was angry at me about something. So I returned to my flat, went blonde with laundry bleach, grabbed a few pieces of clothing and took the first train that I could get.”

“Do you know who sent it?” asked John.

“I know exactly who sent it. It was Lucy Saxon, Harold’s wife.”

“Wife in name only,” John added sarcastically under his breath. “So you trust her? Did you confide in her?”

“Lucy’s never given me a reason to be suspicious, and I’ve been watching her closely.” Rose halted. “And no, I didn’t confide in her. I don’t confide in anyone, except The Face here.” Rose inclined her head towards Jack.

“Are you and Jack together?”

“So his name is Jack then?” she asked flirtatiously, avoiding the question.

“Well, as far as I know. But I have a feeling that’s an alias too. All I know is that for now, he’s a Captain in the US Army Air Corp. And are you and him a couple? I need to know for,” he cleared his throat, "security purposes."

“Right," she drawled. "Security purposes. No. We’re not. I’m completely available,” she said, her mouth dry for some reason for having divulged this to the handsome Colonel.

“Good. Good.” John nodded and pursed his lips and then moved off of the subject. “So now that you’re here, what now? What’s your plan?”

Rose’s racing heart slowed down. “I don’t know. I’m sort of stuck. I have no support, no more mission, nothing. I was going to sort of lay low for a few days and then try and get back to London.”

“Unfortunately, I have a feeling that we may not have a few days, corporal,” he said, suddenly serious.

“Do you think someone knew about the note?” asked Rose.

“I think we have to assume that no one can be trusted. I’ve learned this lesson several times.” His face was hard and hinted at anger. “Saxon will do anything to get what he wants, and he’s wanted me for, well, a long time.”

“What does he want from you?” Rose asked somewhat shyly.

He examined the woman’s face. She was so young to be an intelligence operative. But was bright, brave, and seemed to have retained her humanity in spite of being a part of this spy game. Something deep inside told him she was someone who could be trusted. “What’s your real name, Bad Wolf?”

She hesitated, opening and closing her mouth a few times, starting and stopping.

He placed a hand on her shoulder and squeezed, just like he had when she first saw Jack injured and bloody. “Did you know you have saved my life?”

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“Those coded messages you have translated have saved me time and again, Bad Wolf. I’d be a dead man without you, probably buried in some unmarked grave behind enemy lines. Not that anyone would miss me,” he added with a wry chuckle.

“Who are you?” she asked, contemplating the loneliness in his eyes. “Really, I mean. I know you’re a colonel in the RAF, and I know you’re an intelligence officer, but really, Doctor, who are you?”

He thought for a moment. “The Doctor, Colonel John Smith, Lord of Gallifrey. I’m the last Lord of Gallifrey.”

She looked down, suddenly self-conscious. “You’re welcome, and I’d miss you. I mean, if I knew you, I’d miss you,” she whispered, looking back into his eyes. “And my name is Rose. Rose Tyler.”

An explosion rocked the hospital. John grabbed her hand. “Run!”

Chapter Text

John tugged her away from Jack's bed, but Rose slipped her hand out of his grasp.

"We can't leave without him!" Rose turned and looked at Jack. "And what about Donna? What about the nuns?" she begged. "Us just being here has already jeopardized them, but leaving him here?"

The Doctor laid his hands on her shoulders and looked her in the eyes. "They made the choice to harbor us, Rose. Remember that." The Doctor had captured her attention, and wasn't going to release it until she agreed. "Jack will be safe here." Slowly, he drew in a breath, held it, and then released it loudly. "But you won't."

"Why me? But I'm no different than you or him. Surely you are more valuable than me! You're an officer! A colonel! I'm just a translator. There are plenty of us scattered about France. I don't even have my higher school certificate!"

The Doctor released his grip on her shoulders. She had not realized just how tight his grasp had been until it was removed. She looked down at her shoulder for a moment and then back into his face. His eyes showed desperation.

She decided to test him. "I'm not leaving without them," Rose said, her protest less convincing this time.

“You are leaving with me, and we have to go now," he reiterated firmly.

Though the Doctor's words were quiet, they sounded dark and dangerous, and Rose felt frightened. She shuddered at the force of his demand.

"Rose." He spoke her name with gentleness this time. "Please." He closed his eyes. "You must be believe me. You must leave with me. I don't mean to frighten you. But from the sound of that echo, I'd say that explosion was about a mile away, just down river a bit."

She shook her head and looked away from his face, still frightened, even though his demeanor had changed. Rose swallowed her fears and hoped her voice wasn't quivering. "When I came into town, the train crossed the river. Could it have been the railway bridge?" she asked, trying to regain her professionalism.

“An explosion! They’re coming!” Donna yelled, hastily returning from her hiding place.

There was a loud banging on door. "Why is this locked? Let us in! We have a patient who needs care immediately!" It was Mother Superior.

Rose, Donna, and the Doctor all exchanged nervous glances.

"What should we do?”

"Go unlock the door," the Doctor said quietly to Rose. "And your head - cover your head back up, or you'll cause a riot."

Rose smiled quickly, and replaced her wimple as she slowly walked to the door and opened it with grace and deference.

"Is there a problem? Oh, it's you, Sister Marie Rose. Don't break your vow child. I'll speak with Nurse Macavois. What's the meaning of this?" the intimidating woman said, charging towards Donna. "We have a patient here ready to give birth, and the child is in distress! Every second is precious!"

"I'm sorry Mother, the lock must have slipped. It wasn't intentional, I assure you," Donna said respectfully, her lie apparently convincing, as Mother Superior's face relaxed a bit.

“Forgive my anger. It was uncharitable. The explosion has me on edge. The grounds will be crawling with Nazis soon." The woman's hands were shaking. Nurse Michaud, could you be of help for a moment? Please come and sit with this poor girl, help her with her breathing. She is suffering, the poor child. No husband, and her family has disowned her. Sister Kovarian is preparing the surgical suite. The girl will most like be undergoing a caesarean section before morning."

The pregnant girl's bed was down a ways from Jack's on the other side of the ward. Donna rolled white curtained partitions around the bed to give the young woman privacy.

"I suppose the two of you will be leaving us presently, given the recent explosive event?" Mother Superior quietly asked the Doctor and Rose.

"Yes, that is the plan," the Doctor stated, looking at Rose briefly, then back at Mother Superior.

"But I'm worried about our... friend," whispered Rose, breaking her 'vow.' "I'm nervous to leave without him."

"He will be well cared for dear. Do not worry yourself. I have much practice hiding those who are in need of disappearing," the older woman replied calmly.

"I will take my leave and attend to our young mother." Mother Superior retreated to the pregnant girl's side.

"Doc, Rose,” Jack said groggily, waking from his drug-induced rest. "I need a paper and something to write with."

"So have you been pretending this whole time?" Rose asked quietly, moving closer to Jack's face.

"I'm a sneaky bastard. Of course I've been pretending," Jack replied quietly.

"You're not writing out your last will and testament or something, are you?" Rose asked.

Jack chuckled. "No, nothing like that."

Jack wrote a paragraph of nonsense words, which he handed back to the Doctor. He watched his friend's face, curious to see the colonel's reaction.

The Doctor furrowed his brow, drew in a breath, and slowly released it through his nose as he scrubbed his hand down his face.

"That bad, Doc?" asked Jack.

"Yeah," drawled the Doctor. "You, Rose Tyler, were the bearer of some truly bad news."

Jack closed his eyes and relaxed into the pillow. "You have to leave me here."

"Like bloody hell we're going to leave you here," said Rose.

"Rose, I'm sorry, but he's right," said Donna in hushed tones. She had returned from the young girl's side as an older nurse, Sister Kovarian, was now caring for the suffering girl. "It would be too dangerous to move Jack. His lung was punctured by that bullet, and his lung function is tenuous at best. There is the risk of collapse, a blood clot, infection. He hasn't even had surgery yet. The thoracic surgeon won't be here until tomorrow.” Donna explained.

"Rose, it'll be alright. I promise," Jack said, trying to convince the operative. He gritted his teeth.

She looked at him, confused. "We've all had our covers blown. Doctor. All of us," she reiterated. "He won't be safe here, and he will jeopardize everyone in this convent.”

"Rose. Sweetheart.” Jack groaned in agony and then looked at the Doctor. "You've gotta go with him. Stop being so stubborn about this. Trust me. Trust him. He'll keep you safe." Jack opened his eyes, and stirred, wincing as a shot of pain shot through his chest. "You're the Bad Wolf, and the Bad Wolf has to be kept safe. No matter what."

"And. you're The Face," Rose said, pointing at Jack, "and he's the Doctor!" She turned to face the tall man standing by her. "We are all targets!"

Both men were silent. Nervously, the Doctor looked up at the ceiling and shoved his hands into his pockets, clenching his jaw. The muscles under his unshaven skin flexed as he thought.

"Why do I get the feeling that you blokes aren't telling me the whole story?" Rose laughed nervously, and shook her head. The Doctor's face remained free of emotion, blank and unreadable.

The Doctor drew in a deep breath, and blew it out heavily. "Rose, we need to go. Now."

Rose continued to hesitate. Jack caught the Doctor's eye for just a moment, cocked an eyebrow in question, and the Doctor nodded.

"It's been fun girls and boys, but it's time to say goodbye," said Jack, looking up at the ceiling.

Rose sensed an air of finality in his words. "Don't talk like that," Rose said, shaking her head.

"Rose? Come here for a minute." Jack asked.

Donna stepped aside, and Rose moved closer.

With only a hint of his natural flirtatiousness, Jack made a request. "Would you be willing to give this gorgeous old face of mine a kiss goodbye?"

Tears were gathering in the corners of her eyes. She knew Jack was saying more than simple a goodbye, and was not being in the least bit flirtatious. She placed a soft, lingering kiss on his cheek as she gently cupped his face, but then he turned, and captured her lips, kissing her passionately and fervently.

He let his head drop back into the pillow. "Rose, you are worth fighting for," Jack said loud enough for the Doctor to hear.

She touched her tingling lips with her fingertips.

"Wish I'd never met you, Doctor. I was much better off as a coward," said Jack with a hitch in his voice.

"You were never a coward, Jack. Your motives simply needed to be re-directed," the Doctor said.

"I really hope this works. If not, see you in hell." With those words, Jack drew in a deep breath, and bit down hard. His face winced at the searing pain that engulfed his lungs, he convulsed, and then, stopped breathing.

Donna and Rose gasped in unison.

"Jack!" cried Rose, unable to control the volume of her voice.

Donna shoved the earpieces of her stethoscope into her ears, and probed for sounds of life. "He's stopped breathing. His heart isn't beating!"

"Donna, he's gone," the Doctor replied, his voice calm and flat. "Take him to the morgue."

"Like hell I will!" she hissed. Donna leaned over, and grasped his mouth, prying it open, to attempt artificial respiration.

The Doctor grabbed Donna's arms from the back, and pulled her off of Jack. "Don't touch his lips!" he commanded, fierce.

"What? Why? What are you doing?" Donna asked angrily. "How dare you prevent me from treating my patient!"

Rose's hands were shaking as she stared at Jack's face. She now understood what Jack had done, and could hardly believe that he would ever feel such desperation to resort to this. Donna saw Rose staring, turned and saw a trickle of pink foam, saliva tinted with blood, dribbling from the corner of Jack's mouth. His eyes were open and unmoving, all light of life, gone.

"No!" Rose lunged at Jack, but the Doctor pulled her back, and turned her into his chest. "It's best that we leave now, Rose. Please. Believe me. We have to leave. Donna, put him in the morgue. Make sure the room is well ventilated, and do not allow anyone to perform a postmortem examination. You have to stay here to make sure he remains safe. Do you understand?"

"What kind of a person are you?" Donna answered, angry and disgusted. "How can you be so unfeeling!"

The Doctor released Rose. "Go get your things, Rose. Quickly. We need to leave. Meet me in the stone barn."

Rose complied, but tripped over her feet as she fled the ward.

The Doctor turned to Donna. "We need to talk."

oOo

Rose ran to her room and changed into clothes much more suitable for blending into life in the French countryside: sensible brown shoes, a drab tweed skirt, and a wool cardigan the color of oatmeal over an unpressed, white cotton shirt. She quickly plaited her hair, and then twisted it into a simple knot on the back of her head. Finally, she pulled on a brown, knit cap to hide her freshly bleached hair.

Mother Superior met her guests in the stone barn. "I will pray for your safety," she said, looking in turn at each person. "My lips are sealed, and in fact, I do believe I am going to take a vow of silence for a yet-to-be-determined length of time. And I'm so sorry for your loss. Is there any family I should notify?" she asked kindly.

"I will contact his next of kin," the Doctor said, slipping naturally into French. "We need to go."

The woman replied with a slight bow of her head.

The ancient wooden doors were opened by Sister Kovarian, who had left Donna with the girl in labor, and away the Doctor sped into the waning, raining, grey afternoon.

Rose remained silent for a few minutes, seething. "Sir, may I speak freely?"

"For heaven's sake, drop the Sir, and yes you may."

"Alright then. I have half a mind to slap you! Donna was right! How could you be so unfeeling! I understand now that we had to leave him, but— but— he used his— his implanted cyanide!"

"You think I don't know that? You think this is an easy decision for me, Rose? I've been playing this wicked game a whole helluva lot longer than you have."

"I'm not some stupid schoolgirl, Doctor! And I may not have been doing this for a few decades-"

"Rose, you need to calm down," he interrupted. "You aren't doing either of us any good winding yourself up like a stupid female!" The Doctor immediately regretted the words that had flown from his mouth in anger, though he hid his regret well.

"Stupid female?" she repeated in utter shock.

"At least I didn't say stupid ape," he muttered under his breath. "I'm sorry, that came out sort of wrong. But that’s me. Rude."

"You sure are rude!" Rose hissed, crossing her arms over her heaving chest.

Heavy silence filled the car as Rose watched the mileposts slip by.

John broke the silence by clearing his throat. “The thing is, he isn't dead.”

“What?” Rose frowned.

“Jack took an experimental drug. It slows down the heart and breathing to the point where it is nearly invisible to human senses, giving the appearance of death, while protecting brain function. Very advanced. You should be impressed. I am."

Rose turned fully sideways, and faced the Doctor, mouth agape.

The Doctor pulled his vehicle onto the soft gravel shoulder, and set the parking brake. He took his hands off of the wheel and turned to face her. "I can see you are upset, and you have every right to be."

"Bloody right, I'm angry. You should have let me in on the secret. I bet Donna knew, didn't she, huh? Didn't trust me enough, did you?"

"Your reaction had to be genuine, Rose. There were others in that room, and we know nothing about them. No one can be trusted."

Rose turned away from him, and leaned her head back against the seat, and closed her eyes momentarily. The rich leather squeaked pleasantly under the pressure. She turned, face soft and forgiving. "I'm sorry I doubted you, Colonel. I suppose I'm so new to this. I should have trusted your experience."

"You're right. You should have trusted me," he said sternly.

Rose looked down and picked at her fingernails. She looked out the window, misty-eyed, and then turned back to him, eyes glistening and contrite. "There is a lot you could teach me, isn't there? About this life?”

“I believe I could.”

“Then would you? Teach me?" She bit her lip and looked at him expectantly.

The setting sun peeked through a break in the clouds, and lit her from behind, and for a moment, she looked like a halo had settled upon her. The Doctor took a moment to study her face for the first time. She was so young, so inexperienced, but had already shown such bravery. She simply needed experience, and someone to believe in her.

"I would be honored, Rose Tyler," he said seriously.

"Thank you, Sir," she shook her head and laughed quietly. "I mean Doctor."

"You know, rank within the intelligence community is a bit murky. There are times, of course, when orders must be given, and complied with, without question. But for the most part, we sort of look the other way, treat each other as equals, especially in the field."

"You're rambling, Colonel," she said cheekily, testing just how murky the lines between ranks really were.

"I tend to do that."

"Rudely ramble?" she asked.

"Yeah," he answered quietly.

Without really knowing it, the pair had moved closer to each other, and his arm was stretched up around her headrest. It would have taken very little effort at all to drop it a few inches, and pull her to him.

Shyly, Rose looked at the Doctor's lips, then deep into his eyes. The former sternness on his face had at some point changed to unease, or perhaps, nervous anticipation. With one finger, she brushed away a stray lock of his fringe. He swallowed nervously, and licked his lips.

"I suppose, if this were a spy movie, and you were Laurence Olivier, and I was Vivien Leigh, this would be about the right time for me to kiss you, or you to kiss me," she said, lips parted, voice quiet.

The Doctor looked at her rosebud lips, and Rose closed her eyes in expectation. His lips touched hers, pressed ever so gently but she tore herself away, breaking the spell.

"But it isn't a movie, Doctor," she said, loud and biting. "But it could be, don'tcha think? Because I think you'd agree that I'm a very, very good actress."

"What?!" he exclaimed, confused.

"You should have trusted me with the secret," she said. "I was pretty convincing, wasn't I? Me the trusting, naive younger girl. And you being the wise, all-knowing experienced soldier.”

"Who you calling old?" he said, offended.

"Well you ain't young!" she laughed.

"You're right," he said with a half smile, conceding defeat. His voice was rather gravely and low. "I won't make the same mistake again."

"Which one? The kissing or the trusting?" she asked.

"Not trusting you. Of course." He winked.

She cleared her throat. "Good. Now that we understand each other, how long will the drug be in effect?"

Rose was trying to keep her voice steady — finding it necessary to again be a very good actress, because she was finding it difficult to think about their mission. She was very distracted by the fact that her lips were tingling, and her stomach doing flip-flops. Further, she was mentally kicking herself for ending that kiss before it had really begun. It did not help matters that the Doctor had a smug look on his face, and she wondered if he was somehow telepathic, and knew exactly what she was thinking. Perhaps she was not quite so skilled an actress as she thought.

He released the brake, and pulled the car back onto the road. “He’ll be out for about thirty-six hours give or take."

"Really?" she asked, surprised. "I didn't know such a drug existed."

"Very much on the QT. I should hope that you would never be placed in such grave danger as to have to consider using it."

The rain started back up again, and the clouds overtook the sunlight that had graced them for a moment.

"I didn't tell Donna beforehand, Rose." The Doctor glanced over at her.

Rose blushed. "Oh?" she asked, still concentrating on maintaining a level of professional distance.

"I told after the fact, while while you were gathering your things. I thought she was going to slap me."

Rose laughed, her mood lightening. "I could really see that happening."

"The drug might buy Jack enough time so that the attention from the explosion blows over. As I have observed, the Germans usually sweep the area within twelve hours, and if they don't find who they're looking for, they leave." The Doctor looked over at Rose again.

"So Donna knows how to take care of him, right?" she asked, worried.

"I gave her instructions. You and Jack aren't having an affair are you?" he asked, abruptly changing the subject.

"What? Why would you ask that?“

"That was some kiss he gave you," he said, with mock sternness on his face.

"He's a very good kisser." Rose smiled, and captured her tongue between her teeth.

"I'm a great kisser," he said to himself.

Rose pretended not to hear him. ”Like I told you before Doctor, no, we are not together. And we’re not lovers.” She looked out the window and pinched back a smile. He certainly did not need to tell her he was a great kisser. She could tell he would be fantastic. And if she ever got another chance to feel his lips on hers, she would let him kiss her just as long, and hard, and deeply as he wanted.

"So, how'd you end with the name Bad Wolf?" he asked loudly, quick to move away from that topic of discussion.

"My instructor named me," she answered. "I was the only one who finished the training. Everyone else failed. I don't know why I succeeded when no one else did. So here I am, the only one, other than Lady Tardis herself of course, who knows how to translate Ancient Gallifreyan runes. Doesn't mean any of it makes any sense to me, though," she said shaking her head, in self-deprecation. "Whoever invented that machine to translate English into those runes, and then print them out, was a genius."

"The technology is old. Really old. I tinkered with it a bit to make it work more efficiently, modernized the interior workings of the device, that sort of thing," the Doctor said casually.

"That's your machine?" Rose said, awed.

"Yep. Been in my family for ages. Lady Tardis and I are the last members of my ancient clan. The Americans have been experimenting with the use of Navajo, Cherokee, and other indigenous languages. I thought up the idea to use Gallifreyan runes in a similar fashion.

"Do you read Gallifreyan runes then?"

"I do." The Doctor nodded and turned to look at her, smiling. "But unlike you, I understand what they actually mean."

"So why do they need me then?" Rose asked, confused what her role was in the process.

"Oh, but you are very important, Bad Wolf. Very. Do you think I could do this all alone?"

Rose opened her mouth to speak, but the Doctor began talking again.

"Good old Lady Idris Tardis," the Doctor said fondly. "We go way back. You must be very special for the Old Girl to have taken a shine to you. And you have no idea why she named you Bad Wolf?"

"No, I really don't know. School is all a blur, really. I mean, there are whole days that I don't even remember. Strange, really," she said, screwing up her face. "So where are we going?”

He didn't answer her question. "We should find a place to stay for the night. We'll attract unwanted attention being out after dark."

"Where are we going, Doctor?" Rose asked a second time, with more emphasis.

He was silent.

"You said you wouldn't keep things from me anymore," she challenged.

"I'm not keeping anything from you," he said with a somewhat manic smile.

“Are you sort of figuring this out as you go along?” Rose grinned.

"Yep." He smiled, and waggled his eyebrows at his passenger.

The road curved around the hill, and a humble village was revealed. A large stone home on the outskirts of town bore the sign, chambre d'hôte.

"There's a B & B," Rose said.

"See? Who needs a plan! Always, well, when I say always, I really mean usually, most of the time. Probably. Anyway, shall we see if they have any vacancies, Madame Fabre?” The Doctor stopped the car in the crushed rock drive.

"Madame?" She arched her eyebrows. "And are you Monsieur Fabre?” Rose grinned with her tongue caught between her teeth.

"Unless you would rather be the wanton wife who has left her dull husband to run off with a handsome British Army colonel."

Madame et Monsieur Fabre it is," she replied quickly.

"That's Docteur Fabre,” he corrected.

They gathered what little luggage they had, and rang the bell.

oOo

The telephone clanged noisily, interrupting Harold Saxon's evening entertainment.

"This had better be important because I am very busy." He looked over at the guest in his bed.

"I have news, Monsieur Saxon."

"Well don't just leave me hanging, woman! Talk! It's what I pay you for."

"The Doctor, The Face, and the Bad Wolf have been under the protection of the Sisters since last night. They arrived separately, Bad Wolf being the first. She came here by train, as you predicted she would. Her true name is Rose Tyler, and she is a corporal in the WAAFs."

"So my little songbird was a spy after all. Pity. She did attract the right sort of people with her voice and reasonably good figure."

"The Face and the Doctor arrived by motorcar late last night. The Face had been wounded - gunshot to the chest. Very serious. Surprised he lasted as long as he did."

"He's dead?" asked Saxon, emotionless.

"Yes. Just an hour ago. His name was Jack, and was an American Army Air Corp captain. The Doctor is Colonel John Smith. He's also Lord Smith of Gallifrey."

"Well, well, well. What a coincidence. I should've known that good old Johnny would end up playing spy. Always was drawn to anything dramatic and dangerous. How did you learn all of this Madame Kovarian?"

"The ventilation system in the hospital is very amplifying shall we say? I discovered a spot in the cleaning supplies cupboard that may as well be the front row at the Savoy, the sound is so perfect. As soon as I heard we had new guests, I volunteered to do some cleaning as penance for my many, many sins," she said with an evil grin. "There is more. The Doctor and Bad Wolf have left the hospital. There was an explosion down at the railway bridge over the river and they were worried that the Germans would-"

"They've already left?" he hissed into the black handset.

"They won't get very far. I sabotaged his vehicle," the woman explained, self-assured.

"You aren't completely incompetent then. What direction did they head?"

"I don't know. They didn't speak of their plans."

"Were you able to retrieve the message from the Face before he died?"

"No. That loud ginger nurse kept the hospital wing locked while he was in her care, and the Doctor was with him the entire time."

"Blast it all! Does anyone suspect you? Mother Superior? Any of the nuns?"

"No."

"Keep an eye on the ginger. Perhaps he said something to her before he died."

"There is one more thing. The Face committed suicide."

"Really now. How very unexpected." Harold Saxon thought for a moment. "Keep me informed."

"Yes sir."

"You know I don't like being addressed as 'sir.' Call me Master."

"Of course, Master."

Chapter Text

As was the case with most people during these dark days early in the German occupation of France, the owner of the inn was quiet, suspicious and guarded. He took the Doctor's money, spoke as few words as possible, and asked no questions other than, "How many nights will you be staying with us?" and, "Will you and your wife be joining us for supper? If so, it will cost you a few francs more."

"One night, and two for dinner," answered the Doctor in lyrically perfect French.

The key to the bedroom was handed to the Doctor, and Rose accepted the bath linens provided for the shared bath and toilet at the end of the hall. As far as they could tell, they were the only guests.

Supper was served at eight o'clock sharp, and the five people sat in silence for much of the evening. Save the clanging of knives, forks, spoons, chewing, and swallowing, the only other sounds were the embarrassing, rude noises coming from the innkeeper's young, teenaged son.

The cassoulet was heavy on the beans, light on the meat, but well prepared and filling. One carefully measured glass of wine was provided to each person at the table, except for the boy, who received a glass of buttermilk. He scowled when his mother placed it in front of him. The wine glasses were generously filled, and the crimson liquid was potent and fine. Baguettes from the local bakery were provided to sop up the sauce, and not a drop of the thick, savory stew remained either in the pot or the five bowls.

The conversation increased as the wine was consumed, though Rose remained silent.

"My wife lacks confidence in her French, or else she would thank you herself," the Doctor explained, and Rose made a contrite face. "It was delicious, just what we needed. Thank you."

"Where are you from?" the wife asked Rose, as she took a sip of her second glass of wine.

"Italy," answered Rose. Simultaneously, the Doctor replied, "Switzerland. "It's complicated — sort of — actually." The Doctor pulled on his ear. "She's from a,” he swallowed somewhat nervously, "village right on the border that has been the subject of a nasty dispute for several hundred years. Half is situated in Italy, the other half in Switzerland."

The innkeeper nodded.

"Her father was a goat herder in a long line of goat herders, and I met her at a goat... cheese exhibition where she was... exhibiting... goat cheese... ing."

"Are you a cheese importer, Monsieur Fabre?” asked the innkeeper's wife.

"Yes. Yes, he is. He's a doctor of cheese," answered Rose with a straight face. "He received his doctorate from the University of... Klom. I was never more proud of him than I was on that day."

"As you can hear, her French is adequate," he rocked his hand back and forth, "but her accent is atrocious, don't you think?" he said with a too-bright grin.

Rose slowly turned and shot him a withering look. "Rude," she mouthed in English.

"Eh... her English, however, is flawless." He grinned over at her. "Although, I must say, her accent makes her sound as if she is from America... one of the southern states, specifically. I do believe she must have seen Gone With the Wind several times."

Rose smiled wryly. "Well, I declare, I do think you're bein' quite rude, sir," she said, poorly imitating a southern belle.

"Just... don't," said the Doctor, again rudely.

"No squeaking bed springs tonight for you, my friend," the innkeeper said with a slur, followed by a hearty laugh.

"Maurice! Mind your tongue in front of our guests. You've had too much wine."

"Ouch!" the innkeeper screeched as his wife slapped the back of his head.

The Doctor's face blanched. Rose's cheeks flushed a rosy pink. The innkeeper's son made a lascivious face, and to make matters worse, went on to made a crude gesture with his hands.

The innkeeper's wife shouted at her son, "Henri, you filthy, filthy boy! Go out back and chop firewood for an hour, and then to your room!"

"Don't blame your husband, Madame, it was my husband who was rude," Rose said in her best French, looking at the Doctor.

"Your French is fine, Madame Fabre,” said the wife of the innkeeper, glaring at the Doctor in a show of feminine allegiance with Rose.

Rose sat up straighter and smiled briefly. "While Monsieur Fabre was raised on an estate, he spent much of his time in the barns." Rose took a large gulp of wine.

The innkeeper's wife cackled merrily, and raised her wineglass in salute to Rose. "Learning all about cheese I suppose?"

"But he does have his charms and talents," said Rose, winking at the Doctor flirtatiously.

"As does my Maurice." The innkeeper's wife grabbed her husband's face and kissed him full on the lips.

“Babette, you are the devil in a dress!" replied Maurice with a dirty grin.

The innkeeper and his wife quickly escalated the demonstration of their affections.

"I think I'm ready to retire for the evening," said Rose quickly to her faux husband, inclining her head towards the kissing couple, who seemed to have forgotten there were guests at the dining table.

The Doctor cleared his throat loudly. "Would it be possible to purchase a bottle of this fine wine to bring to our room?" asked the Doctor, holding his empty glass.

"Ho ho!" Maurice said with a smirk. "Perhaps the springs will be squeaking after all."

The Doctor pulled a large note from his wallet. "Will this do?"

"I suppose," said Babette, feigning indifference, but secretly thrilling at the profit. She retrieved a bottle of the Bordeaux, and handed it to the Doctor. "It will buy you privacy as well. We will sleep downstairs tonight, won't we Maurice?"

"Yes. In the far bedroom," he replied, tracing his wife's hip before hauling his amorous wife against him, as they once again, kissed sloppily.

Rose rolled her eyes at the tipsy, handsy couple, and then picked up the wine glasses that she and the Doctor had used at dinner.

"Breakfast is at seven o'clock," the innkeeper's wife explained between punctuated kisses to her husband's neck, cheeks, and lips.

"We'll probably be gone by then. If you think of it, you could leave us a loaf of bread-"

"...and a cake of cheese in the kitchen," Rose interrupted the Doctor, humorless.

The Doctor stifled a guffaw.

Neither were sure that their request was heard, as the randy couple stumbled out of the dining room, presumably towards their bedroom.

The Doctor led Rose out of the room and up the stairs. Once safely behind a locked door, he spoke quietly. "I hope that really did buy us some privacy."

"That was rather brilliant, I have to admit," Rose replied, hushed. She sat on the bed and unlaced her sensible, brown shoes. "So I'm a Swiss-Italian cheese maker, yeah?" Rose said through tittering laughter.

"I'm honored that you have awarded me a doctorate of cheese. From the esteemed University of Klom, no less," he said with a smile as he took off his jacket and unbuttoned his shirt, leaving the shirttails hanging out of his trousers.

"You're a good actress," he said, genuinely complimentary. "Would you care for a glass of wine?" asked the Doctor casually but very quietly.

Rose turned and watched him uncork the bottle. "Do you always carry a corkscrew with you?" She continued the conversation in hushed tones.

"Never know when you'll need to open a bottle of wine in a country inn," he said with a half smile. "I'll pour a couple of glasses and then pour the rest of the bottle out."

"To maintain appearances?" proclaimed Rose.

"Naturally."

They heard silly giggling, slurred speech, and shuffling outside of their door, as the innkeeper and his wife had apparently followed them upstairs, and were skulking on the other side of the door.

Rose rolled her eyes, and pointed at the door. The Doctor smirked as he handed her a glass of wine. Rose accepted the glass, took a large drink, and set it on the bedside table. "I hope you know that I'm not going to squeak any bedsprings with you," she whispered.

"But we should pretend to make up," he replied quietly with a wolfish grin and eye waggle. "Keeping up appearances and all that."

"I think we oughta have good row first. You know, makeup sex is the best kind. Or so I've heard. I've never had that particular variety before."

"You are rude!" Rose shouted loudly in broken French.

"And you are drunk, Hildi!" shouted the Doctor as loudly as he could. "You should never drink in public. It makes you silly."

"Hildi?" mouthed Rose with a smirk. "Don't call me Hildi!" she hissed. "You know I despise that name! That horrible English brute — John Smith! He called me Hildi!" she shouted back, adding a hitch to her voice, with as much hurt as she could through her threatening giggles.

"Oh! Darling! I'm so, so sorry to have dredged up those old, horrid memories. Oh my dearest, sweet, precious girl, my Brunhilda Annaliese Maria Rosamund Fabre.”

Rose fell onto the bed in hysterics, and the springs squeaked. The Doctor joined her with a bounce, and again the springs squeaked.

"Oh, my beautiful darling, come to me please! Help me forget that horrible man. Give me your lips and hands and-!"

The Doctor bounced violently on the bed with a force that caused the heavy wooded headboard to bang the plaster wall, loudly.

"I'm here, my love, I'm here. Forgive me! Forgive me please! I am so very, very… rude."

"Take me, my darling! I can't wait any longer or I might die from..." Rose looked up at the ceiling and strained for words. "...unresolved sexual tension!"

"That would be a painful death indeed!" the Doctor retorted with one eyebrow raised. "Let me not be the cause of your demise, dearest. I will resolve your tension!"

They got off of the bed, made scuffling sounds with their feet, as if they were removing clothing in a fury, and then fell back onto the bed.

"You're so beautiful my precious girl!" the Doctor said with a gleam in his eye, as he looked up and down Rose's recumbent form.

Rose moved to kneel, one hand grasping the headboard. The Doctor followed her example.

Next came the oohing, aahing, moaning, and groaning, and finally the telltale squeaking of bedsprings. With a shout of “Jacque!” and "Brunhilda!" the squeaking and headboard banging stopped abruptly.

Shuffling and scurrying outside of their door was followed by loud tramping down the stairs, as the drunk innkeepers made their escape.

“Jacques?” John smirked.

“Jack is a brilliant kisser.” She caught her tongue between her teeth. “But poor Brunhilda, Dr. Fabre doesn't have much endurance," said Rose sadly.

"I think it's a case that Brunhilda Annaliese Maria Rosamund is obviously putty in Jean’s very skillful hands," bragged the Doctor with a sniff.

Jean?” Rose raised an eyebrow.

John tugged his ear. “Meant Jacques. They'd make terrible spies. Much too loud. But very passionate. Blimey, Jacques is wordy when he's making love to his beautiful Brunhilda. Speaking of terrible spies. Can you believe those two were eavesdropping on us?" The Doctor shuddered.

"They're French," she said with a dismissive shrug.

The Doctor chuckled and got off of the bed. "We need to get some rest. It's going to be an early morning. I'm hoping to be on the road by five o'clock. You take the bed, and I'll take the sofa."

"Alright," Rose replied quietly. "Just make sure you straighten the cushions before we leave, or else they'll wonder why I kicked you out of bed after that passionate round of bedspring squeaking."

"Right," he said with a grin. "I'm just going to wash my teeth and use the loo. Be right back. Why don't you change while I'm gone, hmm?"

Rose nodded, and retrieved her nightclothes from her small satchel. She pulled out a modest cotton nightgown, but sighed as she looked at it, somewhat disappointed that it was neither pretty nor attractive. She never thought she would be in this situation when she had fled her flat in Paris. She frowned when she remembered she didn't have any sort of dressing gown to cover the nightdress, either. Finally, she was taken aback at the thought that she cared that her nightgown wasn't attractive. She slipped out of her clothes and pulled the muslin over her head.

There was a quiet knock on the door. "Safe to come in?" asked the Doctor.

"Yeah. Sure." Rose stood sheepishly with a small toiletry bag in her hand containing her toothbrush, toothpowder, and soap. "I'll just go wash up then." She snatched a bath towel as she walked out.

The Doctor's eyes followed her form as she left the room. He did not notice the simplicity of the nightgown. He was too busy admiring the form of the woman clearly silhouetted underneath.

oOo

The wind whistled ominously outside as a storm rolled in. The Doctor had not been able to sleep, as a broken spring in the battered sofa was pressing into his back. He had tried sleeping on the floor, but it was cold and drafty.

Rose had slept fitfully for the past hour. She'd talked in her sleep about formulas and mathematics, recited equations and long strings of numbers.

"I won't tell you!" Rose shouted and sat up. The bedclothes fell around her waist. Her body was covered in a sheen of sweat, and her thin white nightgown clung to her like a second skin. She shivered as her clammy skin was exposed to the chilly night air.

Quickly, the Doctor moved to her side. He eased her back onto the mattress, unsure if she was awake or still asleep. He pulled the duvet up under her neck, and pushed a damp lock of hair out of her face.

"Are you alright?" he asked when she opened her eyes and looked up at him.

She nodded. "Just a bad dream. I have that same dream a lot." She breathed in and out a few times. "I need to change. I must have a fever or something and I'm freezing. Would you mind looking the other way?"

The Doctor went and stood by the window, with his back to her, while Rose removed her nightclothes. She traded the gown for a pair of underpants and a simple satin camisole before climbing back into bed.

"That floor can't be comfortable, not to mention freezing cold. You'd never know it was June," she said, working up the courage to invite him to share the bed. "You could, I don't know, share the bed with me. It's big enough for both of us and warm. You'll sleep much better. Who knows when we'll have such a nice place to sleep again?"

"You sure that's alright? I promise, Jacques won't be making an appearance," he said nervously.

"I trust you, Doctor."

John wasn't sure he trusted himself, the way her hair was splayed on the pillow, and her skin was still glistening.

Rose turned onto her side, and pulled the covers tightly around her neck. "You wore out Brunhilda. I promise she won't be asking for Jean’s obvious talents again tonight.” Rose teased.

John cleared his throat. “Life of a spy. So many aliases to keep track of. But what I want to know is what was that dream? You were muttering all sorts of numbers and such. You say you've had it before?" he asked, turning on his side to face her.

"Yeah. I dunno really. Ever since cryptology training with Lady Idris, I've had that dream. It makes no sense really. I'm in this, like, stone church or castle or hall or something. It's obviously really old and important though, and there are Gallifreyan runes covering the walls. In my dream, I understand what they mean. And there's always this singing. Like a choir high above me. And it's beautiful and the song is so old and it's in the same language as the runes. But whoever is singing, is singing in this weird language - numbers are the language and does that make any sense at all?"

"Go on," he prompted gently.

"But then it becomes a nightmare. Always. The singing changes to shouting and there's someone after me. Someone who wants to take the numbers from me. They want to get into my head and pull them out, and,” she paused, “and then I wake up, and I never know what any of it means and I think I just maybe—“ Rose closed her eyes.

"What? What do you think?" he prodded.

"I think that it has to do with my lost memories during the time I spent with Lady Idris in training. I think she did something to me Doctor, and it scares me."

He knew exactly what the numbers meant, and the numbers were the reason why Bad Wolf had to be kept safe, protected from the Nazis at all costs.

"I'll keep you safe. No matter what." Without asking permission, the Doctor pulled Rose into his arms, and stroked her back. He comforted her until she fell asleep, peacefully and dreamless, and then he released her.

He, on the other hand, did not sleep. He knew it was essential that the Bad Wolf be protected. He watched Rose breathing in and out, her chest rising and falling, innocent of the treasure she carried in her mind.

He sighed and ran his hand through his hair. It had just been confirmed. Lady Idris, the genius of this age or perhaps any age, had shared It with Rose Tyler.

Buried deep in Rose's subconscious was the power to manipulate intelligence, appearance, longevity, and maybe even determine life and death itself. Lady Idris had emblazoned the Skasis Paradigm onto Rose’s subconscious, and Hitler would stop at nothing to possess it.

The Doctor stretched out his hand, and let it hover just above her cheek, so close that he could feel the warmth radiating off of her skin. But he resisted the urge to touch. He had to.

Chapter Text

Rose did not sleep. After her nightmare, the Doctor had gathered her into his arms and rubbed her back, thinking that this would ease her back to sleep. Oh, his comforting touch had felt delightful. However, his touch had had the opposite effect that he had probably intended.

Rose Tyler had melted into the touch of his hand, how he’d skimmed circles on her back with his fingertips. In the fog of drowsiness, she imagined he was writing her messages in circular, geometric patterns. In her mind, she saw Gallifreyan runes being traced on her skin. She assigned meaning to the delicate touches. Her name and his twined together.

The Bad Wolf and the Doctor.

The feel of his strong arms around her made her want nothing more than to adjust her position just a few inches so that she was resting her head on his chest. She would allow the sound of his slow, steady heartbeat lulling her to sleep. But then common sense kicked in, and she was suddenly wide awake, afraid to go to sleep. She let her body go limp and pretended to sleep, regulating her breathing, relaxing her muscles from head to toe, and the Doctor released his grip on her. She waited until she knew he was asleep, and her eyes popped open.

The reasons were myriad that she should not fall asleep. She might bump into him, touch him in a sensitive spot, roll into him and rest her head on his chest. So many reasons. Cuddling, spooning, snuggling, hugging… lots of other ‘ing’ reasons. So she decided to keep herself awake.

At four-fifteen, she rolled out of bed, stole away to take a quick shower, and dressed in her sensible traveling clothes before returning to their room.

She knelt by the bed and whispered into his ear. "Doctor." Rose stifled laughter that was threatening to bubble up at the sight of his hair. His perfectly coiffed chestnut hair of the night before was now aimed in a hundred different directions. It was difficult, but she resisted the urge to plunge her fingers into the thick tufts. She wanted to ruffle it, to feel silky strands between her fingers. Her mind drifted again, and she imagined how soft it would feel lathered and soapy, and smiled at thought of playing with it as they shared a shower. "You have really great hair," she mouthed to herself and then shook the warm thoughts out of her mind.

The Doctor was laying on his stomach, legs sprawled wide, and arms tightly hugging the somewhat lumpy, feather pillow. She realized though that it was not his pillow that he was holding. It was hers. Sometime after Rose had left the bed he had taken over her pillow.

He stirred, and nuzzled deeper into Rose's pillow. "C'mere," he said groggily, more asleep than wakeful. "Mmmm. Rose. You're soft." He sighed and smiled, hugging the pillow more tightly. "Smell good, too. What perfume is that? Or is that just you?"

Rose flushed as she watched the Doctor continue to nuzzle the pillow, but knew that a man certainly could not be held accountable for their nocturnal fantasies. She touched his shoulder, and gently shook him. "Doctor, it's time to get out of bed." She still spoke gently, but louder this time.

Slowly, he turned his head. One eye opened lazily before the second, and he smiled as he discovered he was eye to eye with Rose, who was kneeling. "G'mornin," he said sleepily, without a hint of embarrassment in his voice. "What time is it? About half four?"

"Four thirty on the dot." Rose said as she stood up and moved to the window. She drew back the lace curtain with a finger to look outside. "Still raining." She turned around, and leaned against the wall trying to appear casual, though feeling awkward about the intimacy of sharing a room while pretending to be husband and wife.

The Doctor got out of bed, immediately awake, without a second thought that he was only wearing his underpants and a white vest. Rose sucked in a breath, and spun around to avoid the sight of the tall, thin man in his underthings. The Doctor smiled at her selective sense of propriety. Only a few hours before, she had been curled into him in bed. And before that, they had simulated the most intimate of activities two people can share.

"How did you sleep?" he asked.

"You slept well," she replied, looking out the window with her arms crossed.

"But you didn't, did you?" he asked as he gathered his clothing.

Rose did not answer.

"You didn't sleep well, did you?" he repeated.

Rose didn't answer immediately, and wasn't looking at him when she finally did. "No," she said with a sigh. "I'm not used to sharing a bed, and-"

"No?" he asked flirtatiously. "That surprises me. Girl like you. Surrounded by all of those pretty boys at that posh club where you sing such sultry, sexy songs."

"Girl like me? What does that mean?" she asked.

"Oh you know, beautiful, smart." He halted to gauge her reaction. "Available?"

Rose wasn't sure if he was asking a question, or making a statement. She put a hand on her hip. "You're having me on, right? I'm not that kind of an operative, or that sort of a girl for that matter, John." Purposefully, she did not use his operative name. "Besides, they are Nazis!" she shout-whispered.

"So it's John now? Isn't that a bit personal?" he said with half smile.

"Doctor is personal. John isn't."

His wolfish half smile became soft and affectionate, though Rose did not see, as her back was still to him.

She cleared her throat. "If you have to know, I couldn't sleep 'cos my mind was racing." It was a half truth. She needed to change the subject. "You snore." This was an outright lie.

"I do not!" he protested as he pulled his trousers on. "You can turn around now. The important parts are covered," he said, furrowing his brow, worried.

She blushed and then turned to face him putting on her actress face. "Yes you do. You snore."

"Am I loud?" he asked as a flush of pink crawled up his cheeks.

"Not too loud," she said, coming closer to him, suddenly feeling in control of the conversation.

It did not escape his notice that she was examining his face. His formidable powers of observation told him that she thought that she had the upper hand. He was not sure when this had become a question of power, but he decided to play along. He put on a serious face and crossed his arms.

"Huh." He pressed his tongue against the back of his teeth, as he paused. "No one has ever told me that before." He tipped his nose upward slightly, and gave her a challenging look.

Rose cleared her throat, pressing on. "So I take you're not used to sleeping alone, then?" she asked, successfully sounding coy to hide her trepidation.

The Doctor grinned devilishly. Rose frowned, wondering why and when the man's sleeping arrangements had started to matter.

"Rose Tyler, what sort of man do you think I am?" he asked, pretending to be offended.

"You're a man, that's what kind," she said.

The Doctor kept his face straight as he buttoned his cuffs, tugged on them with a snap, and slipped on his long brown overcoat. "Well, time to go. You ready?"

She nodded with a sigh, knowing he had somehow won this skirmish.

"Allons-y!" he said, far too cheerfully for quarter to five in the morning.

oOo

The innkeepers had not remembered to put out bread or cheese, but both were found without much effort, and the Doctor left a note under the empty bottle of wine from last night's dinner. As they headed out of the kitchen, he also spied a jar of berry jam which he nabbed, and pushed into his pocket with a smile.

The rain was falling steadily, so they quickly put their few pieces of luggage into the backseat of the Citroën, settled into the car, and were soon on their way down the road. Even though it was Sunday, and the village was quiet, the Doctor decided it as prudent to take a route that skirted the village.

Rose dozed to the rhythmic sound of the windshield wipers swishing back and forth. Steadily, the rain beat against the glass. The sky began to lighten as sunrise manifested itself behind the thick cloud cover. The Doctor alone with his thoughts as Rose slept. He found that he had to concentrate to keep the vehicle safely on the road. The route was precarious as the road skirted a swollen stream to the right.

An odd grinding sound came from the engine, and the car lurched, awakening Rose from her light sleep.

"Is everything alright?" Rose asked.

The Doctor's knuckles were white as he gripped the wheel. "It's like she suddenly has a mind of her own," he said through gritted teeth. "I've been fighting with her for the past ten miles. I don't know what's wrong. It's like she's got indigestion or something," he said, frowning.

Rose sucked in her breath as the automobile lurched again, this time violently. The tires screeched on the wet pavement as the engine seized, the wheels locked, and all control of the brakes and steering was lost.

"Hold on tight!" the Doctor barked.

Rose braced herself, squeezed her eyes shut and held her breath as they skidded off of the road and down an embankment. The stop was violently abrupt, and both the Doctor and Rose felt the full force of it as they were thrown forward.

Rose groaned as she realized exactly where they were, head first halfway into a swollen river. Water was quickly seeping into the passenger compartment. She looked over at the Doctor.

"Oh no," she managed to say. "No! No!”

His body was limply draped over the steering wheel, and there was a head-shaped imprint in the glass. It was sagging precariously, ready to break into a million jagged, razor sharp pieces.

Rose breathed in and out, and calmed herself. She opened her own door, and saw the swift, rushing water up to the running boards. She could see that it was not safe to step into. She closed the door, rolled her window down, hoisted herself out, and pulled herself onto the roof of the vehicle.

From this high spot, she could see that the vehicle was angled, and the Doctor's side was still on dry land - for the moment. If the water level rose any further, the vehicle would be swept away. She knew she had to move quickly. Rose scrambled over the roof, and jumped onto the slick, grassy embankment, sinking ankle-deep in mud. The door was unlocked, but difficult to open, as the frame of the car had been torqued by the impact.

She gritted her teeth, and pulled hard, freeing the door, but sending her onto her backside. She tried again, this time successfully pulling him out onto the embankment.

Rose knew it was imperative that she retrieve their personal belongings from the back seat. Not only was dry clothing a necessity, but the luggage also contained their food, forged identification papers, and other documents that could compromise their safety. She assumed the Doctor's weapon was in his bag. It was regulation that all agents keep their firearm at hand. He wasn’t wearing a holster, and she saw no evidence of it stowed in either his trouser pockets, coat, or jacket. She hated wearing one, and only did so under the gravest of circumstances.

The luggage was hastily secured, and she returned her attention to the Doctor, kneeling down beside him in the wet grass. When he stirred, Rose released the breath she didn’t even realize she was holding.

"Blimey, what happened?" he asked before he gasped. The Doctor sucked in a breath through his teeth with a hiss and winced in pain.

"We've had a bit of a mishap," Rose said as casually possible. "Your car. It's in the river."

"If that's you're definition of a mishap," he winced, "I'd hate to be in an emergency with you," he said, trying to be humorous.

"Yeah, well, that's me, always trying to find the sunny side," she said with a nervous laugh. "The engine blew up or something. You shouted to 'hold on' and then we were careening down the hill, and we hit the water. It all happened so fast.” Rose leaned over to get a better look at his injuries, and quietly groaned, feeling pain in her side.

"Rose, are you alright?" He tried to sit up too quickly, but became dizzy, and slumped back against the grass.

"I'm fine, just bruised, I think, but you have to stay still Doctor. You might have a concussion considering that you just kissed the windscreen."

He chuckled. "How'd you get out without falling into the river?" he asked looking over at his now half-submerged automobile.

Rose touched his forehead tenderly picking out the glass that was big enough for her to grasp with her fingertips. "Shimmied out my window and over the roof," she said distractedly, far more concerned about the Doctor. "I had to get you out before the car got swept away. The river's rising fast what with all this rain." She looked over at the river. "I need to look at your head." She spoke calmly, but her hands were shaking as she touched his bleeding forehead. The water beating down on her dripped off of her forehead onto his face.

"I'm fine." He brushed her hands away and tried to stand. "We need to get out of here. We're much too much in the open, especially now that it's daylight."

"Please. Hold still for a minute!" countered Rose. "There's some glass stuck in your forehead right above your right eye, and unless you want it falling into your eyeball and blinding you, I'd suggest you hold still for a minute! I have tweezers right over there in my luggage."

"Rose,” he said firmly, sitting up, much stronger now, "I am not gonna go blind, but we might get shot if we don't find someplace to hole up then get to Calais!"

She chewed on her lip and looked at him worried.

He put her hands on her shoulders. "I can handle a little bit of pain, but we have to go. You can look at my head when we're safe. I promise," he said with a warm smile. He sprang to his feet, and pulled a befuddled Rose to hers. "Come on then. Nothing like a nice walk in the rain. Just look at that countryside! Gorgeous!"

"A minute ago you were moaning and groaning, and I thought you were gonna pass out, and now you're acting like nothing's happened.” She picked up her piece of luggage.

"Superior genetics. Always been a fast healer, me," he said proudly, leading the way.

"You think you're so impressive," Rose said with a tongue-touched smile as they reached the top of the embankment, and the road.

"I am so impressive!" he cried, rather defensively.

"So Doctor Impressive, what's the plan now?" she said with a bit of a sigh.

"Calais. We need to get to Calais, and catch a ride back to England. We'll find a radio, and request a boat be sent for you."

"You mean us, right?"

He didn't answer.

"Doctor, I don't understand why all of a sudden I'm so important."

Again, he didn't answer.

Rose stopped walking. "Why won't you tell me the truth?" she asked in frustration.

"Because it's dangerous, Rose! What you don't know is dangerous, and I promised to keep you safe."

"I'm so confused. What I don't know is dangerous? That hardly makes any sense. What don't I know? Who did you promise?"

He stopped and turned around. "I promised Lady Idris, that's who!" He ran his hand through his hair nervously. "But at the time, I didn't know who I was promising to protect. She told me that I would know who I was to protect when the time was right."

Rose stared at him, mouth open, and then shook her head.

"The old gal always has been a bit cryptic," the Doctor said, tugging on his ear. He wrestled with how much he should tell her.

"What's in my head Doctor?" she asked nervously. "What do I know? What did she put there?"

He looked at her proudly. "You are brilliant, Rose Tyler. No wonder she picked you out all of the others to share her secret with." The Doctor extended his hand to her, Rose accepted, and they resumed walking. "She didn't tell me much, only that she had been working on something very important, something earth-shattering, and she wanted to make sure she wasn't the only person with secret. She called it the Skasis Paradigm. She believed she'd discovered a way to manipulate the human genetic code at its most basic level."

Rose’s mouth gaped for a moment, and then snapped shut. “Oh, Hitler would love to get his filthy hands on that.”

The Doctor looked right at Rose. "Yes. He would."

"But Doctor, I don't even have my HSC. Why in the world would she choose me? I'm no genius. Why not you?" Rose asked calmly as she stared down the road.

"I think my brain would explode with information that complex," he said in jest. "Thing is Rose, you shouldn't be able to hold that information in your head. It's powerful. Too powerful, and somehow, we need to get it out. I need to get you back to safety so Lady Idris can undo whatever she did."

Rose closed her eyes for a moment. There was something so comforting about the Doctor's voice. She felt at peace with him. "It's alright. I think I'm okay with it. It's not like I can just remember it and write down a bunch of formulas or something. I think it’s safe somehow, stuck in my head.“

"But Rose, if the Nazis find out that you have this information, they won't know that, and they certainly won't believe you if you tell them."

Rose had no counterargument. "It's all just mental. I met you what, two days ago? And here I am walking down this road with you, and you're telling me that I have this life-changing information in my brain." She shook her head. “And why do I feel like I’ve known you for years? Not hours.”

He looked at her. “We do fit, don’t we? Mutt and Jeff.”

Rose laughed.

“You're taking this news well,” he said.

"How else should I take it? Would you rather I were a sobbing mess by the side of the road? Or should I run away into that field over there?” Playfully, she bumped his side. "I suppose you'd be rid of me then."

He looked down at her and smiled. "Now why would I want to do a thing like that?"

"Oh, I don't know. What with all of those women who didn't tell you that you snored, I just figured maybe I was in the way."

"HA!" he barked a laugh. "I was having you on. Only time I'm not alone is when I'm bunking down with a group of ripe-smelling soldiers, and apparently, none of them have the nerve to tell their commanding officer that he snores!"

"You don't snore," she said quietly.

The Doctor stopped. "Hmm, what's that you just said?"

"I said, you don't snore." They started to walk again. "I was trying to change the subject." Rose decided to be bold. "So, I never asked. Is there a Mrs. Smith back home on your grand estate? What's it called? Your home?"

"Gallifrey. But it's gone now. There was a fire."

"I'm sorry." Rose turned as they walked and laid a comforting hand on his arm.

He looked down momentarily at her hand and smiled, pushing down any pain of which he may have given her a glimpse. "Nope. No Mrs. Smith."

"Oh." She nodded and swallowed, but this time, she was fighting not to smile.

"I'm all alone Rose."

"No you're not. You've got me." She leaned into his side, and smiled up at him.

"So what about you? Is there a Mr. Tyler? So to speak,“ he asked.

She laughed and shook her head. "Used to be someone, but he found someone else when I joined the RAAFs. He didn't like that I was adventurous." She rolled her eyes. "Married his girl and shipped out the next day. He's a midshipman in the Royal Navy."

"His loss," said the Doctor staring down the long, straight road. They were now in farmland, with rows and rows of early summer crops peeking out of the fertile soil to the left and the right.

"Can we slow down a bit?" she asked.

"Gotta keep moving. If I'm right, and I usually am, there is a farm about a mile from here and the owner is friendly."

"You know this,” Rose pulled in ragged, tired breaths. "You know this how?"

It had been about two hours since the accident, and Rose was starting to feel poorly. Her skin was clammy, and face blanched.

"Didn't you memorize the maps? You're supposed to memorize the maps Rose. You know those little blue stars? Friendly French. French who are friendly," he turned down and grinned at her. "Hurry up, then! The weather is finally fine, the birds are singing, and I'm craving a banana."

"A banana? Where you gonna get a banana on a Sunday?" she asked, her breath labored.

"Oh, I don't know," he said making a funny face. "But it doesn't mean I can't crave one."

"I really need a rest, Doctor." She let go of his hand, walked over to a tree and leaned up against it. She closed her eyes and leaned her head back. She felt dizzy, and her heart was beating rapidly.

The Doctor started to make a rude remark, but now he could see right away that Rose was not well. He joined her and dropped his leather satchel to the ground. He put his hands on her shoulders, examined her eyes and then placed a lingering kiss on her forehead.

"Fever," he pronounced.

"You decide… you decide to kiss me now?" teased Rose with a small smile on her face, though her eyes remained closed.

"Best way to gauge for a fever without a thermometer. Lips have more nerve endings than almost any other part of the body. You really should have told me you weren't feeling well Rose." He pressed his fingers against her neck. "And your heart rate is far too fast."

"Didn't wanna slow us… slow us down. Oh Doctor, I feel like I'm gonna… pass out."

"Steady on," he grabbed her under her arms. "Stay with me Rose. Don't lie to me. Are you hurt somewhere that you didn't tell me about?"

"Yeah, sorry," she said. "It's my right side. My back."

He eased her down to the ground, and leaned her gently against the tall poplar, one of hundreds which lined the tree lined country road they had been walking. The rain had finally stopped, and the sun was out. Beams of late morning light filtered through the trees, illuminating the mist rising from the rain-washed road as the warmth of the sun quickly evaporated the water.

"You know, I hear that there is a seven day a week market in Calais that always has bananas," he said, trying to keep her lucid as he eased her coat off of her shoulders and then untucked her white shirt.

“What’s with… you and bananas,” she teased.

“Portable. Very good for you. And delicious.”

“But a market? Really? Even on Sundays?"

"Naw, I made it up, but wouldn't that be brilliant?" he rambled, trying to divert her attention from the obvious pain she was feeling.

He barely touched her side, but still she winced. He eased her forward away from the tree, bracing her with his arm. “I need to look at your back. I’m going to need to lift up your shirt. Is that alright?”

“Yeah,” she groaned.

There was a large bruise forming on her side which wrapped around her torso onto her back. The bruise was over her right kidney, and extended below the waistband of her trousers.

“I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to take a look at your low back now, and these trousers are in the way," he said. "I need to unbutton them."

She nodded her assent and smiled wanly. "Glad I wore my good knickers."

He ignored her attempt at humor, and quickly unbuttoned the side buttons of her trousers with emotional detachment.

The gentle sound of dripping water, the much welcome warmth of the sun, and the Doctor's cool hands on her low back seemed surreal, and Rose giggled.

"Doctor, you have beautiful hands," she said. "You gonna need to examine me anywhere else?"

"Probably," he said, playing into her now fever-induced rambling. "I think we need to get you to a surgery, and fast."

"My back!" she whimpered in pain. "It's killing me!"

"I'm going to run to the village and come back with help. I'm going to have to leave you here, but I shouldn't be long, Rose. I'm fast. Really fast. Steeplechase champion four years running. So hold tight!"

She grabbed his upper arms, and there was terror in her eyes. "Please, no, please. Don't leave me here, Doctor."

"I have to," he said, with a smile of resignation on his face, and a hitch in his voice. "You need a doctor."

"I already have you. My Doctor.” She looked up at him with adoration, and then closed her eyes.

He cupped her face and stroked her cheek with his thumb.

Finally, she nodded. “Go."

The Doctor leaned her back against the tree, and took off running as fast as his long, lithe legs could carry him.

Chapter Text

Author's Notes: Trigger warnings: threat of domestic violence, drug use (The Master has reappeared).

Harold Saxon was grinning like a child who had just been given a cherry-flavored ice lolly on a hot summer day.

"So!" He clapped his hands, and then folded them in his lap. For a protracted moment, he stared at his wife from behind his mahogany desk. She was stretched out on an art nouveau settee. Exotic and sweet smelling smoke curled around her head, hanging heavy in the air, imprisoning her in a state of half-awareness. This was the way Harold Saxon liked Lucy best: quiet, compliant, and apathetic.

"I just received terrible news!" He pushed out his lower lip, in an exaggeration of nonexistent sadness.

"What's that, Harry?" Lucy asked, blasé, as she drew in smoke through a long pipe.

"Your friend Rose has been in a terrible accident." He perked back up and giggled giddily. "She ran off with a spy and ended up in the river! Isn't that exciting?"

"Is she alright?" Lucy managed to ask. Even though her head was fuzzy from the opium.

"Depends upon your definition of alright. Alive? Most likely. My German friends found the Doctor's car - that's the operative's name, by the way. Pompous windbag. Always has been. I've known him for years. But as the car was empty of all possessions, and they were not in it, it is safe to assume they escaped."

Lucy continued to smoke, hoping the effects of the drug would help obscure the nightmare that had become her life.

"The poor things are like rabbits being chased by a fox, and they don't even know it! Isn't that delicious? They don't stand a chance, I'm afraid." He shook his head, frowning like a circus clown.

In a moment of brazen foolishness, Lucy fought to prop herself up. "You really want Rose that badly? Aren't I enough for you?" she asked angrily. In her opium-addled haze, she was brave and bold. When sober, Lucy knew better than to question her husband, the Master. She dropped the mouthpiece, and rose from the sofa. She nearly took a fall as she wobbled closer to Harold on her four inch heels.

"Lucy, Lucy, Lucy. You know that I adore you, dear heart," he said. Sickening sweetness dripped from his words. "Why don't you run off and put on that fetching new red frock. I have some people I want to impress. It doesn't hide much, and I'm much less apt to take my frustrations out on you with so much skin on display."

Lucy lost her nerve, nodded, and staggered out of his office. She was coherent enough to know that she did not want to be beaten today.

oOo

The first thing that he realized when his eyes opened was that he was shivering. Secondly, he was dying of thirst. Lastly, but least worrisome, was his state of undress. He was naked, covered only in a sheet. He sat up slowly, and tried to recall what had brought him to this place. He looked around the room. The only light was coming through high windows. There were several beds, but only one other person was with him, and that person was covered from head to toe with a white sheet.

No, he realized, they were not beds, they were tables, and he was in a small morgue.

Jack was now very aware where he was, and he rolled off of the table, staggered to his feet, and shuddered away the morbidity of his situation. He grabbed the scratchy, bleach-scented sheet that was covering his former corpselike self, and fashioned a toga. It wasn't the first time he had to create clothing out of a sheet, and it didn’t really look too bad. Considering.

He leaned heavily against the table. The smooth grain of the wood felt like a million splinters under his hyper-sensitive fingertips. Blood was erratically being pushed through his veins as his heart sputtered and thumped out of time, trying to work itself back into a healthy rhythm. Jack closed his eyes, and rested his head on his arms, focusing on breathing purposefully, as the technician who had implanted the capsule had trained him.

Memories quickly flooded his empty mind.

There is an explosion.

The Doctor wants to take the Bad Wolf and flee.

He has to keep her safe.

But her soft heart refuses to abandon The Face, and Rose stands her ground.

The ginger nurse, Donna, refuses to release him on medical grounds.

Both the Doctor and Jack instinctively know that nothing will persuade Rose to leave without Jack, and knocking her out and physically removing her to the Doctor's vehicle is out of the question. The Doctor would never resort to that. Lying is more his style.

Besides, Jack already knows that his friend's cold, lonely heart has begun to thaw in the warm presence of Rose Tyler, and it seems right. It’s almost as if they are meant for each other. Destined. Jack can see it in the Doctor's eyes. It is a look he has wanted to see directed at himself, but knows it never will be.

Only the best for the Doctor, after all, and Rose Tyler is the best.

He kisses Rose Tyler goodbye.

He says goodbye to his best friend, the Doctor.

The Doctor nods at Jack, and Jack knows what needs to be done. It is the only way to protect the message the Bad Wolf has translated. But even more important, the only way to protect the Bad Wolf herself.

He closes his eyes, bites down hard on the capsule embedded in a cap on a back molar, and hopes for the best. The drug is experimental after all, but he has always had pretty damn good luck.

Then comes the blackness.

"Oh, I am lucky," Jack murmured in relief into his arms before straightening himself up. "Water, food, clothes. In that order."

oOo

"Oi! Your toga thing is gaping open.” Donna pointed

"At least the view's not bad," he said cheekily, pulling the sheet back over his thighs.

"I'm sure the sisters don't particularly appreciate that view. Now hold still while I listen to your ticker." Donna pushed him down onto the bed forcefully.

"Secondary to this miracle," Mother Superior said with a smirk, "that has brought our guest from the brink of death, how are his wounds, Nurse?"

Donna removed the earpieces of her stethoscope. "Seems like the extreme deepness of the sleep has been remarkable for his body's natural healing process, Mother. His lung function is nearly normal, and per the chest x-ray, there is no more danger of collapse. Of course, the bullet wound is still quite tender, but the sutures are holding, and the tissue is no longer in danger of rupturing, barring infection, of course. But, I don't see any sign of infection. He's on the mend.”

Jack folded his hands across his lap and smiled brightly, his blue eyes twinkling in the late morning sunlight that was streaming through the windows of the private examination room.

"How long was I out?" he asked.

"Let's see, you gave me the fright of my life around eighteen hundred hours on Saturday night, and it is now Sunday, eleven thirty-four. You do the maths." Donna handed him his fourth glassful of water, and he eyed the bowl of beef stew that was steaming on the tray. "You get that after you get dressed," Donna said harshly.

"Yes, ma'am," he replied with a salute and a wink.

Donna smiled and rolled her eyes. "You never stop, do you?"

"No, ma'am."

"Now, Casanova," said Mother Superior, "you should be aware that our German hosts paid a visit while you were conveniently dead. Providentially, your friends had already been gone for a full two hours before the soldiers arrived," she said encouragingly.

"Did they ask any questions that led you to believe they were looking for me or my friends?" asked Jack, concerned.

"I don't believe so. I believe they were looking for the perpetrators of the bombing - it was the railway bridge was destroyed, by the way. The Germans didn’t do it. I assume it was La Résistance. The brutes did the usual stomping about, breaking bottles, knocking over tables. As soon as they realized that we were innocent of harboring those for whom they were looking, they left."

Jack looked noticeably relieved. "Donna, I need to get out of here, as soon as possible."

She furrowed her brow, and then nodded. "I understand. Just be careful, you!" she said pointing at him.

oOo

The Doctor pounded on the door of the physician's clinic, rang the bell, and then pounded again.

"Stop your beating on my door! I'm coming, I'm coming!" a woman's voice called impatiently from within the combination medical office and house.

An uncommonly beautiful woman, petite and dark-skinned, with a vaguely exotic cadence to her perfect French, stood in the open doorway. Her glossy ebony hair was pulled away from her finely-featured face into a neat knot at the back of her head. She apprised the man, immediately noticing the cut on his forehead.

"Need… doctor!" he managed, bracing himself within the doorframe, his arms spread eagle. He had never run so hard in his life, and his lungs were burning, nearly spasming in a struggle to provide the breath that he needed to form words.

"I'm the village physician, Marthe-Jeanette Jones. You're hurt. Come in and I'll take a look at that gash-"

He waved her off. "No. Not me. My friend. She's hurt badly. We were in an automobile accident. I left her… about… three miles down… the road." The Doctor closed his eyes, and leaned against one side of the doorway and panted.

"Slow down! I can hardly understand you!" She disappeared behind the open door and reappeared with coat, cap, and medical bag. "You need to breathe, Monsieur."

"We walked for about three hours after the accident. She didn't tell me she was hurt, but then she started to complain of feeling dizzy. I'm quite sure she is in shock. Her pulse was racing. She has fever. Hematoma. Low back. The accident… about three hours ago... our car... went into a river. Walked three hours... She didn't tell me she was hurt... I think... there is kidney damage." The Doctor bent over and grabbed his knees, calming himself.

"Are you a doctor, then?"

The Doctor straightened up slowly, and drew in a few deep breaths. "No. Just a genius."

Dr. Jones rolled her eyes at that.

"I ran to a friendly farm outside of the village. I needed to know you were trustworthy, and then ran back to the village."

“And by friendly, do you mean not sympathetic to France’s evil guests?”

He nodded.

“You’ll find no love for those German demons here. I’ve got a vehicle. It's around back. It isn't very big. Sorry." Sensing the urgency, she ran, and the Doctor followed. A yellow, two seated roadster was parked behind her cottage. "You asked if I was trustworthy?" she asked, unlocking the door and jumping in.

“I trust the farmer.”

"If her condition is so urgent, then why not come straight to me?"

He hesitated. “The Gallifreyan Brotherhood sent me."

The woman halted, her key just short of the short of the ignition. She nodded, and then inserted her key to start the roadster. "Understood. Who are you?"

“It would be better for you if I didn't disclose that information. I gave you the phrase, and that will suffice." He closed his eyes, let his head back with a thud against the headrest. "I left her under the twenty-first poplar on the southeast side of the tree-lined road southwest of the village.

"You counted the trees?" she asked, incredulous.

"I had to do something to keep my mind occupied. To stop worrying about her."

"On our way, clean up your wound." The physician handed supplies to the Doctor. He winced when he applied the alcohol to the cut on his forehead. Sometime during the long walk, the small shard of glass had fallen out of the cut.

“You’re British, aren’t you? I can hear a slight accent. Are the Germans looking for you?" she asked, getting straight to the point.

"I don't know. Probably. Most likely," he said, frustrated by the slowness of the vehicle.

"What's the story in case we hit a roadblock?" she asked. She was nervous, but brave, ready to do her part to support the effort to defeat the Germans.

They rounded a turn just outside of the village.

"You mean like the one up there?" asked the Doctor. He made an angry face and then righted himself.

"Yeah," answered Dr. Jones, deflated.

"Drive casually. But hurry, I need to get to her."

"What?" The look of confusion on Dr. Jones' face irritated the Doctor.

"Oh, never mind! Just pull up to the roadblock and I'll do the talking," he replied curtly as she slowed to a stop, and then rolled down her window.

"Dokumente." A low-ranking soldier barked the order.

Dr. Jones handed her identity papers to the soldier without question.

The Doctor dug into his overcoat to locate the best documentation for the situation, one of his many identities. "Gorgeous day now that the rain has let up," he said.

The soldier frowned.

The Doctor smiled. "You Germans do like your documentation, don't you? Everything is in order, I assure you." The Doctor handed his information through the window, leaning across the physician.

She kept a brave face, but the Doctor could tell Dr. Jones was nervous. The soldier looked at Dr. Jones' documentation and was immediately satisfied. Next he examined the paperwork provided by the Doctor.

"Why are you traveling today, Herr Lefurgey?" the soldier butchered the name.

"I'm an ornithologist. I study birds, specifically the mating habits of the rare Ruby Tufted Grebe," he lied. "There was a sighting down by the river, and it would be quite the — pardon me — feather in my cap if I could sight one and officially log him. Though, it goes without saying that I would never, ever steal one of their feathers."

The soldier smirked, but then righted his attitude. "Everything is in order. You may proceed."

"If I could ask, is there some trouble?" the Doctor asked, halting Dr. Jones by grasping his hand on the wheel. "Should we be worried about unsavory individuals knocking us over the head while we are on the hunt for the Grebe? We will be on foot after all, and as you can see, I'm a slight man, not up for any sort of confrontation with hooligans."

"You'd be wise to be on your guard. We are seeking two people, a male and female. They may be injured, and they are dangerous. You will report anything suspicious to the German-French liaison in the village." The soldier studied the Doctor's face. "I see that you are injured."

"Oh that? That's nothing. Had a run-in with a testy cockerel this morning.

The soldier frowned briefly. "Keep your eyes open. Report anything suspicious."

"Of course we will! We'll keep our eyes and ears open." The Doctor winked. "Citizen soldiers, we are! Auf Wiedersehen!" he said, with a finger-wiggling wave of farewell.

Dr. Jones was relieved to pull away from the roadblock when the Doctor released his hand from the steering wheel. Neither spoke for at least a mile.

"Ruby Crested Grebe?" Dr. Jones finally said through sputtering laughter.

"That's Ruby Tufted Grebe," he corrected. "She should be just up on the left about two hundred feet."

Martha slowed the vehicle to a stop on the soft shoulder when the Doctor indicated to do so. "At least, that's where I left her," he said, worried. "But where is she?"

"Maybe she moved out of sight? There's a culvert just behind the line of trees," Dr. Jones suggested.

"Yeah, two feet deep in water with rainwater runoff." The Doctor got out of the vehicle, and scanned the area. He jogged across the road and looked behind the tree. He fell to his knees at the sight of Rose Tyler laying on her side.

"I found her!"

Dr. Jones grabbed her black medical bag and joined the pair. She unfolded a white cloth and laid it on the ground as a clean place upon which to lay instruments.

The Doctor stroked Rose's damp, limp hair away from her face. "Hello."

"Hello," she replied quietly, eyes still closed. "You came back after all.”

"You gave up on me," he accused. "That was rude.”

She opened her eyes. "I knew you would come back for me, I never gave up,” she croaked defensively.

"I told you not to move a muscle," he lectured. "You aren't where I left you?"

"Did you really think I could have wandered off?" she asked with the barest hint of a smile.

He did not want to tell her what he thought had happened. "I have a feeling you're rather jeopardy friendly." He fingered the collar of her shirt.

"I heard someone coming, so I dragged the bags back around the tree and hid as best as I could. Glad I did, 'cos a couple'a German trucks went by." Her voice was weak.

"You're brilliant." The Doctor spoke so gently, so close to her lips, that only their breath kept their lips from touching. He pulled back a little and let his eyes roam over her flushed face. If he had not known she was gravely hurt, he would have thought the blush on her cheeks was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. "They must have been the ones to set up the roadblock just out of the village. I told them I was a professor of ornithology." He chuckled quietly. "They believed me, too."

Rose smiled and closed her eyes. "Doctor of cheese. Bird professor..."

"Well, I am a genius," he boasted, then became serious. “They're looking for us. Said so at a roadblock up the road.“

Rose shivered. "I'm so tired and cold.”

"This is Dr. Jones. We can trust her." Before he lost his nerve, he closed his eyes, brushed the hair away from Rose's forehead, and dropped a soft, lingering kiss.

Rose opened her eyes and smiled as brightly as she could, catching his eyes before he looked away. "Taking my temperature again?"

"Quite right," he answered before he sat back on his haunches and stood up. "I'll put the luggage in the boot."

"Thanks. For running all the way for me and-"

"No more talking. Just rest while I look you over," said Dr. Jones.

Rose nodded.

"What should I call my patient?" Dr. Jones asked over her shoulder, knowing they would not reveal their names.

"Call her-" the Doctor began.

"Call me Hilda,” Rose interrupted. "And he's Jacques."

The Doctor raised an eyebrow, and Rose laughed quietly.

"You know how I feel about you calling me Jacques."

"It's a compliment," Rose teased, a hint of her tongue peeking through her teeth.

He cleared his throat and rubbed the back of his neck.

Dr. Jones sighed as her patient flirted with the handsome man standing behind her, ignoring doctor's orders to rest.

"I'm going to turn you onto your side so I can take a look at your back now." Dr. Jones rolled her gently. "I already know you have a fever. I can tell just by touching your forehead that you're burning up. We'll get a more accurate reading back at my surgery."

"I can't take her back to the village, Dr. Jones. I need you to take us someplace safe," said the Doctor.

"She must go back to my surgery. She is going to require twenty-four hour monitoring. I need to watch for internal bleeding. For infection. She is going to need an IV. Maybe even a blood transfusion if she's bleeding internally. Given the size of this bruise, and how quickly it has formed, that is a very real possibility. Not to mention narcotics for the pain. And what if she needs a surgical procedure-"

"Go back to your clinic and bring everything you'll need. If further care is needed, we'll go from there. I won't risk bringing her back to the village. I won't." The Doctor set his jaw, firm in his resolve.

"There's nothing further I can do here," said Dr. Jones. "And I don't like your idea, not one bit."

"Dr. Jones, this girl here, this woman, she is more important than you or I can even fathom. She cannot fall into German hands. It would mean the end of life as we know it if she were to be captured."

Dr. Jones stood silent, pondering. "Well when you put it that way,” she said with a slight waver in her voice. "Do you have someplace in mind?"

"Château Torchebois.”

Chapter Text

Dr. Marthe-Jeanette Jones unfolded the rear jump seat, and then put the top down to provide as much fresh air as possible to her patient. The sun was shining brightly, and the rain of the past few days had stopped. However, the jump seat was still damp from water that had seeped in through the cracks during the recent deluges.

With strength that didn’t match his slender physique, the Doctor picked up Rose, and carried her bridal style to the yellow roadster. Marthe-Jeanette opened the passenger door, and the Doctor set her on the bench seat.

"You didn't have to carry me," Rose said quietly as she settled herself in the expensive vehicle.

"I be a rubbish hero if I didn't," he replied with a proud sniff, mildly offended.

Rose laughed quietly. "I appreciate it though. You're stronger than you look."

"Are you disparaging my physique? I have very manly, hairy arms!"

Rose giggled. "Oh they are so very, very manly."

The Doctor jumped with as much vigor as possible into the open jump seat.

Dr. Jones slid into the driver's seat and started the vehicle. "You settled in back there?" she asked over her shoulder.

The Doctor harrumphed in an exaggerated show of discomfort. He adjusted his long legs, as he was feeling rather folded into the small space of the jump seat. "Do they really expect a grown man to sit back here?" he complained.

"I'll take that as a yes," replied Martha-Jeanette. "You're going to have to tell me how to get there,” she shouted over the sound of the engine and road noise, aggressively shifting from second to third gear.

“Château Torchebois — The estate is east of the village, near kilometer marker fifteen." The Doctor had to loudly enunciate each word in order for the driver to hear.

Dr. Jones navigated the curves and turns like a professional on the Grand Prix circuit. The engine of the yellow roadster purred satisfyingly as Marthe-Jeanette gripped the shiny, wooden steering wheel.

"S'weird sitting as a passenger on the left while we are on the right-hand side of the road," Rose mused quietly in French. The vehicle, a 1938 Triumph Dolomite roadster, was right-hand drive.

“I bet it would be. This yellow beauty was a gift from my father when I graduated from medical school. More like a salve for his guilt. He ran off with his nurse. His blonde nurse."

Rose turned towards Marthe-Jeanette, raising one eyebrow.

”No offense against blondes," Dr. Jones said with a smirk.

"None taken. Just went blonde a couple days ago as a disguise. Bobbed my hair, too."

Dr. Jones knew it was important to keep Rose talking so she would stay conscious until she could get her to a safe location. She was quite curious about the woman, but did not want to upset her. She settled on a non-controversial subject.

"So how long have you and the Doctor been together?"

“We're not together," Rose answered simply.

Marthe-Jeanette made a face, surprised. "Oh. I thought — well the way you two…” She decided it was best to not press the subject further.

"Take this fork to the right," the Doctor called loudly from behind.

Dr. Jones drove as instructed, careening down the road thickly lined on both sides by trees. The sun dappled cheerfully through the green treetop canopy. The Doctor settled back and rested until the next time he would have to give directions.

Marthe-Jeanette was quiet for a moment. "So, uh, does he have a family?" she asked, trying to sound casual.

"I'm not at liberty to say," Rose replied flatly.

"Oh, you don't have to answer, I understand," backpedaled Marthe-Jeanette.

Rose sputtered a laugh. "You'd have to be half dead not to wonder, Dr. Jones. Don’t feel bad.”

"Do I sound that desperate? There aren't too men single men in the village, except for those under the age of fifteen or over sixty."

Rose smiled and blushed. "He is very good looking."

"I bet he knows it too." Marthe-Jeanette chuckled. She glanced into the rear view mirror. The Doctor appeared to be deep in thought, ignoring the ladies.

"He's nice. Considerate. Brave. Very brave," Rose said seriously. "I've only known him a couple of days, but I feel like I could trust him with anything, you know?"

Martha nodded. "Yeah, I think I do."

“And he has great hair," Rose added.

"Really great hair," Marthe-Jeanette agreed.

"Where are you from originally?" asked Rose, in friendly fashion. "I can tell by your accent you're from someplace more exotic than this village," she said.

"Exotic?" The woman laughed. "Ha! Blazing hot more like it! My family is from Dakar in Senegal, French West Africa. We immigrated to Paris right after the Great War. Father is a physician, and Mother is—“ Dr. Jones sighed. "What is Mother? Socialite, social climber, source of endless frustration,” she mused.

Rose laughed.

"Slow down, the road gets rough up ahead," called the Doctor loudly.

"You think this is rough? This isn't rough, monsieur!" yelled Martha-Jeanette over her shoulder with a grin. "You haven't seen rough 'til you've driven in Senegal!"

"You know what Doctor? Your hair is really great. Dr. Jones and I both think so," Rose said over her shoulder, glassy-eyed.

"What?" he replied, confused. “And don’t say my name, Marion.”

“Sorry. Forgot. You’re Jacques. And you know why I call you Jacques? Because Jack’s such a great kisser, but all I can think about is kissing your beautiful lips. I could just chew on that bottom one,” Rose slurred. "Slim and a little bit foxy, you are. I’ve been looking, and I like it." She smiled, head lolling to the side.

Marthe-Jeanette looked over at Rose, alarmed by the sudden change in her demeanor. Her head had slumped to the side, and her eyes were now closed. Dr. Jones increased the speed, driving wildly, hitting every pothole and bump, unconcerned for the state of her vehicle.

"You're gonna blow the suspension on this Triumph, Dr. Jones, if you don't slow down," warned the Doctor, sprawling over the back of the vehicle to speak into Marthe-Jeanette’s ear."

“Don’t have a choice. Your friend’s condition is deteriorating. She's saying all sorts of interesting things."

"But she was fine a minute ago," he countered. "You alright?" the Doctor asked Rose over her shoulder, sprawling himself precariously across the back of the yellow Triumph, and into the back seat.

"'M so sleepy, Doctor,” managed Rose, voice raspy.

He clenched his jaw at the sound of his code name.

“The improvement in her condition after we found her by the side of the road has probably been superficial, fueled by adrenaline.”

“Will you tuck in? That sofa can’t be comfortable. And the room is so cold. Get in bed with me. We’ll keep each other warm,” she slurred. “Or are you afraid of the Bad Wolf?” She laughed.

"Hold on Rose, we're almost there," the Doctor said slightly frantic.

"Rose? Is that her real name then?" the physician asked the Doctor.

“This is the fever talking! She’s speaking nonsense,” The Doctor spat.

"Nice to meet you, ma'am, or was that impolite?" Rose stuttered. "I don't know how to address you, you bein' almost royalty and all."

“I’m not royalty,” Dr. Jones said.

She drew in a stuttered breath. “I’m Rose. Rose Marion Tyler. I suppose you'll be wanting to know more about me. I grew up on the poor side of London, England. My mum's name is Jacqueline, but everyone calls her Jackie. And my dad was Peter Tyler," Rose muttered, eyes closed. Her teeth began to chatter loudly as she shivered. "He died in a trench over in France, a week before the armistice. Bad luck he had, Mum always said. I was just a baby. War ended just a week later. Did I already say that? I'm so cold. Don't they heat this old castle, Lady Idris?”

“That’s some imagination she’s got there,” Dr. Jones said.

"She's hallucinating, Dr. Jones.” The Doctor pulled his hand down his face, frustrated at his foolish error of revealing the operative's true name, and frustrated further that Rose was starting to spill highly sensitive secrets.

“Who’s Lady Idris?” the physician asked.

“Stop asking questions.” The Doctor paused and then drew in a heavy breath. “For your safety and ours, please forget everything you have heard, or may hear her say, Dr. Jones."

"Alright." Marthe-Jeanette’s voice was serious. "Is she dangerous or something?"

"Rose? No." The Doctor shook his head, then clenched his teeth, serious. “She has to be kept alive and safe, Dr. Jones. Do you understand? She must be kept alive - for all our sakes."

"I will do my very best. I'm good at what I do, and as long as you listen to me, follow my instructions, I will be able to heal her."

"The entrance to the estate is just ahead. Blink and you'll miss it. See that break in the trees?"

"There?" Dr. Jones asked.

"Yes! Turn there!"

Dr. Jones reacted immediately and pulled into the nearly-hidden drive. She navigated the meandering crushed gravel drive as quickly as she could. On each side of the driveway were thick stands of young chestnut trees, obscuring the estate from the road. Marthe-Jeanette held onto the steering wheel with one hand, and felt Rose's forehead with the other. “Her fever is dangerously high. When we arrive, I'm going to need you to jump out. Tell them we need a cool room with a bed and lots of ice!“

"Drive around back," he barked. “There! Through that archway into the courtyard!"

Even before the automobile had come to a complete stop, the Doctor had hit the ground in a barely controlled sprint. He banged on the heavy wooden door. "Gallifreyan Brotherhood sent me! Agent down! Condition mauve!"

The door was quickly opened, and the Doctor was ushered into the crumbling château by an elderly woman who was much more spry than her age suggested she should be. Her voice could be heard echoing from inside of the stone mansion, bouncing around the enclosed courtyard, ordering staff to speed it up, to prepare quarters, get ice, alert the Allied contact.

Two men ran out of the mansion and loaded Rose onto a canvas stretcher. The group was led through a maze of dimly lit, musty corridors and stairwells into the bowels of the massive stone home.

Their destination was the cellar, which had been partially carved out of stone. When the founders of the winery had excavated into the hill upon which the château was built, they had discovered a sizable, natural cave. It had served as the aging room, and as the vineyard grew, it was expanded. Stacks of oak barrels turned on their sides lined the stone walls, and wooden racks filled with green bottles of fine red wine boasted the elegant Torchesbois label.

But what had once been the aging cellar now served a dual purpose: it was also the brand new base of operations to one of several branches of the growing French Resistance. Their strength was growing daily, and they already had communications equipment, a few emergency provisions, some medical supplies and a small sleeping area. Of course, there was no source of natural light in the small suite rooms, as they were underground, but the kerosene lanterns hanging from the ceiling provided soft light where needed. The mattresses on the side-by-side twin beds were meager. The two wooden chairs, rickety and ancient.

Rose continued to ramble nonsense as she was transferred off of the stretcher and onto one of the thin beds. "Stop!" she yelled. "First you must inject it to an open bio-ring. But not that one! This one. See? The circuit’s gonna need to be been closed.” She licked her lips and her shook her head. "No! No! Not that way. Close the circuit! Close it!” Her face contorted in frustration.

Dr. Jones opened her black medical bag and pulled out a syringe and a small glass phial of clear liquid. "Where's that ice?" she barked. "I needed it ten minutes ago!"

"The non-deterministic manifolds! Can't you see what I need? It's as plain as the nose on your face!" Rose pointed without direction, dropped her arm, and then thrashed her head from side to side. "The subject cells will regenerate continuously once the catalyst is introduced. I need— I need— I need— tea. Get me tea.”

The Doctor stood by helplessly, running his hand through his hair as the physician pulled the drug into the needle and squirted a small amount into the air it to release a tiny air bubble. She found a vein in Rose's arm, inserted the needle, and depressed the plunger. Rose's face went slack, and she relaxed immediately, melting into the bed.

"That should prevent her from convulsing, but I've got to get the fever down. Get me that ice damnit!" she called out to no one in particular.

"I'm coming! I’m coming!” An elderly woman rounded the corner, tottering under the weight of an ancient wooden yoke, which spanned her bent shoulders. Two large wooden buckets filled with chunks of ice dangled from each end. "The ice house is halfway across the grounds. I’m so sorry.”

“Thank you madame.” The Doctor leapt to her side and removed her burden. "What do you want done with the ice, Dr. Jones?"

"Marthe!" she hollered, irritated. "Stop calling me Dr. Jones! And bring those buckets over here next to Ro- her. Pack the ice tightly around her body, focusing on her torso and her head. We'll worry about melting later. We need to get her temperature down now. And help me get these clothes off of her."

The Doctor and Marthe-Jeanette worked together to remove Rose's coat. The physician unbuttoned Rose's white shirt while the Doctor removed Rose's sensible, mud-covered shoes. Marthe-Jeanette unbuttoned the side placket on Rose's trousers, and the Doctor tugged on the legs, so that her body was free of the heavy cotton twill. For the sake of Rose's modesty, a thin white cotton sheet was draped up to Rose's neck. Men would be traipsing in and out of the room to speak with the Doctor.

"Now what?" asked the Doctor.

"Now, we wait." Marthe-Jeanette pulled up a chair and dropped into it heavily, releasing a heavy sigh.

The Doctor, however, did not sit, but alternated between pacing with his hands pushed deeply in his pockets, and leaning heavily against the stone wall. Every few minutes, Rose would mutter scientific formulas, numbers, or theorems in her fevered state, none of which made any sense to him.

"So what is she talking about? It's obviously something scientific," asked Marthe-Jeanette.

"I can't say."

"Can't or won't?" asked the physician.

The Doctor stopped, clenched and unclenched his fists. “You’re asking too many questions. Convince me you aren't working for the wrong side of this war.”

His anger caught Marthe-Jeanette off guard.

"The two of you, you're obviously agents. I gathered that pretty quickly," she said, dodging his thinly-veiled accusation.

"Dr. Jones, am I going to have to take measures to prevent you from turning us in?"

"That won't be necessary." This time, the woman spoke in a lilting London accent. "I do work for someone, but you will find that I am working on the same side as you, Doctor.”

The Doctor straightened his spine, and tipped his nose upward. “Go on.”

“We are all in the service of His Majesty, although I work for a section known as UNIT. My code name is Walker."

"Who do you report to at UNIT?" he asked, suspicious. Very few people, even within the intelligence community, even knew of the existence of UNIT.

"Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart," she said, standing a bit straighter.

"Well why didn't you say something before?" he asked, in a high-pitched, irritated, squeaking voice.

"I had my suspicions, but it wasn't until we arrived here at Torchesbois, and you again gave the code phrase, 'Gallifreyan Brotherhood,' and yelled ‘agent down, condition mauve.’ That confirmed what I had suspected. She kept calling you Doctor, and you told me back in the village that you aren’t a physician. You are pretty notorious, mister." She gave him a rather alluring half-smile.

"Yeah, well.” He scratched the back of his head nervously. "So you just pretended not to know how to get here?"

"Obviously," she said, rolling her eyes. "I couldn't have you suspicious if you weren't on my side."

He stared at her, then shook his head. "There are surprisingly few secrets in our secret world."

"I have a few questions for you, Walker. One, are you really a physician, and B, is she really going to be alright?" His second question was full of genuine concern.

"Studied at St. George's at the University of London," she said proudly. "Dr. Martha Jones at your service."

"St. George's. I’m impressed, Dr. Martha Jones," the Doctor replied.

"You should be, Doctor," she said, with that same flirtatious half-grin she had flashed him before. "And as to your second question, I still don't know." Martha sighed, and stood up. She felt Rose's forehead with the back of her hand, and then pulled out a thermometer. She shook it to settle the mercury, and inserted it under Rose's tongue, while calculating her pulse on Rose's wrist. She removed the thermometer out of Rose's mouth, and examined it. "Down half a degree. Good. But not good enough."

The Doctor clenched his fists a few times, and then pushed his hands into his pockets.

"There's nothing more that I can do for her. It is truly up to her own body now. If I don't return home tonight, it'll raise suspicion. I need to get back to the village before dark, but I promise, I'll be back out tomorrow morning first thing. I'll leave the thermometer with you. When her fever dips below 99 degrees, remove the ice packs."

"Nothing else?" he asked, worried.

"No." She shook her head. "I wish I had some miracle up my sleeve, but I don't. Her kidney is bruised, which simply requires time to heal. She's no longer in shock, so her blood pressure has regulated. Just the fever now. She's young and strong, though, and there is no reason she shouldn't pull through."

"Thank you Martha."

Martha Jones squeezed his shoulder. "Of course. See you tomorrow, alright? And I'll have food sent down. And Doctor, I’ll do my very best to protect your Rose.”

He smiled softly, and nodded. “Thank you.”

The Doctor sat back down and decided to catalogue their assets: a small table in the corner with a wireless radio with the headset draped across the back of the chair; a kerosene lantern for light; kerosene heater for warmth. He sniffed the air, and could barely smell the aroma of the fuel, so he assumed that the air circulation was good, and there was little chance of asphyxiation. While Rose needed it to be on the cool side to aid the reduction of her fever, the Doctor knew that once her temperature was regulated, they would be a chilly. The cave was a constant 53 degrees Fahrenheit per the combination thermometer-hygrometer that he had seen in the main wine vault.

On the bedside table between the twin beds was a wash basin and pitcher filled with water. The Doctor's eyes were drawn to a chamber pot on the floor, and he cringed at the sight, realizing that at some point he was going to have to take care of certain physical necessities.

"Dr. Jones asked me to bring you a meal," said the same older woman who had guided them when they first arrived. She cackled when she saw the look on the tall man's face. "Don't worry lad, there's a modern toilet and bath just up the stairs, out the side door. Impossible to put plumbing in here what with all of the rock, this being a cave of course."

"Well, they could have run the piping-" the Doctor began to lecture quietly.

"You English and your obsession with daily bathing," the old woman teased. "The chamber pot is in case of an emergency, if we have to seal you off from the rest of us." The elderly woman pointed to a large sliding metal door. "On the other side of the door it looks like stone. The damn Germans won't be the wiser if they come for you. We'll slide the door shut, and you'll be as safe as two kittens in a flannel-lined basket."

"Thanks for the supper," he replied with a smile.

"Will our guest be needing anything to eat?" asked the woman.

"Nothing right now."

"I'll check on you one more time before I retire. You enjoy that supper." The old woman toddled off.

The Doctor stood up and walked to the little table to retrieve the bowl of soup and small loaf of bread. A carafe of red wine and a small glass had been provided as well. He didn’t feel hungry, but he knew that it was best to eat when food was available. No matter how safe one felt, safety was something never to be taken for granted. So he ate, ignored the wine, and decided it was best to catch some sleep as well.

He turned down the lantern light until it was nearly out, and merely glowing. After removing his shoes and his clothing down to his underwear, he slipped into the humble bed, and closed his eyes.

He listened to Rose's raspy, unsteady breathing. While she was no longer hallucinating, she was clearly not out of the woods yet. It had been a long day, and he knew that he had a long night ahead of him, as well.

Chapter Text

It was turning out to be one of those excruciatingly long nights, filled with racing thoughts, dark worry, and eyes that wouldn’t stay closed. He had been unable to sleep more than fifteen minutes at a stretch fearing that something would happen to Rose, and he would not be there for her. Around ten o'clock, the housekeeper had checked in one last time, and the Doctor requested a portable kerosene stove, a tea kettle, and tea things.

It was now three fourteen am. The ice had melted quite a while before, and he had transferred Rose to the small bed he had vacated, having given up on sleep. He replaced the wet bedclothes with clean, dry bed sheets, and took the still somewhat damp bed for himself. He didn't have any more ice, and he didn't want to risk leaving her alone to retrieve more.

The sight of a tin of honest-to-goodness Twinings Earl Grey tea pushed the corners of the Doctor's mouth up. He had not had a proper cup of Earl Grey in months. He poured water into the kettle, and lit the stove. The flame glowed golden, and before long the water was boiling. With well practiced accuracy, not bothering with a spoon, the Doctor shook loose tea into the simple white stoneware teapot. He mentally ticked off the minutes until he could pour the fragrant beverage through the strainer.

Rose stirred, and the Doctor's attention was immediately diverted away from tea. She shivered under the single sheet, so the Doctor hastened to her side and felt her forehead with the back of his hand. She was clearly feverish. Her once soft lips were cracked and dry. Golden hair was now darkened from sweat — limp and clinging to her scalp and forehead. Even in the dim light of the kerosene lantern that was hanging from a peg on the wall, the Doctor could see dark purple patches dominating the areas under her eyes. Her breathing was shallow and stuttered.

"Chips. I want chips,” she muttered. "You are such a cheap date, John. Do you ever carry any money?" She was dreaming. But then, she began thrashing from side to side, whimpering, "No! No!"

Rose's eyes sprang open, and she sat up, panting, lungs begging for air. The Doctor hugged her, rubbing her back, and eased her back down onto the pillow.

"Shhh, Rose. It was just a dream," he said low and quiet, stroking the damp fringe away from her clammy brow.

She didn't respond to his comforting words, but continued to whimper. "They said he was lost at sea, Mum. I can't believe he's gone!" She was crying now. "Will you come with me? To the beach? I need to say goodbye."

Rose turned onto her side, and pulled herself into a ball, and cried into her pillow.

"Mum, I can't just forget about him, I can't! He showed me a better way of living your life. You know he showed you too. That you don't just give up. You don't just let things happen. You make a stand. You say no. You have the guts to do what's right when everyone else just runs away. He's was out there. Somewhere. Doing what was right and noble, and no one even knew what he was doing for us! He probably saved us more times than we will ever know, and you just want me to forget about him! Well I can't, and I won't, and I'm joining up, and you can't stop me!"

Tentatively at first, he leaned over, and placed a lingering kiss to her forehead. He told himself that the intimate gesture was simply for the purpose gauging the intensity of her fever, but knowing the reason was otherwise.

Rose's eyes fluttered open, but were glassy and unfocused. "You can't be real. You're dead."

She smiled sadly and reached for his cheek. Rose cupped it and stroked the rough stubble of his jaw with her thumb. "I never told you. I should have, but I didn't, and I'm so, so sorry. Forgive me John? Please?"

The Doctor knew she was not seeing the face of Colonel John Smith, but this other John, a man she had loved. The sad, pleading smile was not for him, but he felt the overwhelming need to comfort her on the other John's behalf.

"Yes, of course, Rose. Always.”

"I'm sorry. I'll miss you. And I loved you. I loved you so much." Her voice trailed off, she sighed and fell back asleep. This time, she slept peacefully.

oOo

Not even a fifteen minute hint of sleep blessed the Doctor after Rose's dream. He stretched out on his bed, leaning up against the headboard and studied a map. He was comparing the different routes to Calais. He hoped that Martha would be able to give him a more-firm prognosis for Rose's recovery time when she arrived. The Doctor expected her any time now, as it was nearing eight thirty. Rose was still sleeping deeply, and had only stirred ever so slightly since her last verbal outburst when she had dreamed about the man who had been lost to her.

Echoing footfall belonging to six feet approached, and Dr. Jones along with two men rounded the corner.

"How's my patient this morning?" she asked the Doctor without any pleasantries. She immediately went to Rose, and began an examination of her vital signs. The first man, dark skinned and serious, stood with a confident stance, arms crossed. The second, shorter, with wild blonde hair, leaned casually against a wall, but was no less confident.

"Restless last night, to be sure. Talked in her sleep. Fever seems to have gone down slightly overnight, but it's still high. Who are those two fellows?" he asked, inclining his head in the direction of the menacing men.

"Did you do the forehead kiss test?" Dr. Jones asked, voice teasing, ignoring his question.

"I misplaced the thermometer you left for me." The Doctor pulled on his ear nervously,

"Oh this thermometer?" asked Doctor Jones. She smiled knowingly as she picked up the glass instrument that was on the bedside table, right where she had left it the night before.

"It was dark, and I didn't want to disturb her by turning on the light to read it. You two going to introduce yourselves or not?" He asked the two men, quickly changing the subject.

"I'm Michel," answered the dark skinned man. "And that's Jacques. We're Resistance.”

The Doctor smiled wryly. "Did you two have anything to do with that bit of pyrotechnic prowess down river?"

"May have," answered Jacques. He pulled a cigarette from his pocket, and lit a match.

"Put that thing out! Are you barmy? I have a patient in here, and you can't smoke that around her!" Martha ordered.

Jacques pulled a displeased face, dropped the cigarette, and snuffed it out with his heavy leather boot.

“I hope you don’t mind, Doctor, I sent word to your people across the Channel.”

The Doctor’s head swiveled towards the man leaning against the wall.

“Did I spill the beans?” asked Jacques.

The Doctor set his jaw and looked at Martha. “Dr. Jones?”

“I promise, I haven’t said a thing."

“Naw, the lovely Martha didn't share your secret,” Jacques said casually. “The Face contacted us last night asking if any of us had heard news of the Doctor and Bad Wolf. Word has spread about their jaunt into the river. Put two and two together once the good Dr. Jones here told us about her patient and the man who brought her in.”

“What do you know of the Face?” asked the Doctor.

“He’s fully recovered from his gunshot, and making his way to Calais with a ginger woman. An extraction team will meet all of you in Calais two weeks from today. Is that enough recovery time, Martha?" asked the blonde underground fighter looking over at sleeping Rose.

"Should be. Plans can always be changed," Martha stated simply.

"So that there is the Bad Wolf, eh? Not what I expected. She doesn't look like the typical operative," asked Michel.

"I'm tougher than I look," muttered Rose sleepily.

The Doctor took three long strides, and was by her side when she opened her eyes.

"Hello," she said, looking up the Doctor. "How come there are so many people here?"

"They were delivering a message to me," answered the Doctor quickly. "How are you feeling?"

"Oh, same old, same old." Rose smiled weakly, and pulled the sheets tightly up under her neck, realizing that she was wearing nothing but her bra and knickers. "I'm thirsty. Could I have some tea?" she asked, turning to Martha. "And maybe some toast? I'm feeling like I might get sick.”

"That would be fine," replied Martha,

"I have tea things. How do you like your tea?" the Doctor asked Rose.

"One sugar, no milk please."

The Doctor set to the task of preparing a fresh pot of tea.

"Could one of you boys go up to the main house and fetch some toast for my patient?" Dr. Jones asked the two Resistance fighters.

"Mission accepted," said Michel. "C'mon Jacques." The handsome operative winked flirtatiously at the physician as he left, and Jacques trailed behind.

When the men disappeared, Rose grinned at Martha. "Someone likes you, I think."

Martha cleared her throat. "First rule. Don't get involved with an operative. Just leads to heartbreak."

"So you do know him then?" Rose teased further as she sat up. She took the sheet with her, holding it tightly against her chest, leaning back against the light blue, painted iron headboard.

"I wouldn't say I know him. I've had to patch him up a time or two. You wouldn't believe his code name." Martha laughed merrily.

The Doctor handed a cup of tea to Rose and joined the conversation. "What?"

"Mickey Mouse," Martha said with a half smile.

Rose smiled. "That's not very manly."

"And the Doctor is? You aren't even a real doctor," asked Martha condescendingly, with a raised eyebrow.

"Oh, but you're wrong. The Doctor is very manly." He cleared his throat and tipped his chin proudly upwards. "Doctor can means all sorts of things. It's mysterious. Am I a healer? A scientist? A professor? A man of letters? Now Mickey Mouse on the other hand-"

"Alright, alright, enough self-aggrandizement, I get it! Let me finish examining Rose. Finally have real names to call you both. It’d get confusing calling you Jacques what with Jacques over there, and I forgot what you told me to call Rose here.”

“Why’d Martha call you Jacques?” Rose asked the Doctor.

He tugged his ear.

Martha answered. “Oh, something about a bloke you know named Jack and how Jack is such a good kisser, and how you wondered if the Doctor here would be too.“

“That’s enough, Dr. Jones.”

Rose blushed and slunk down further under the covers.

“Doctor, you go stand around the corner and post guard so that no one barges in.”

The Doctor disappeared around the corner.

"How are you feeling this morning?" asked the physician, prompting Rose to lay flat.

"Sore, a bit nauseated like I said before. I think I still have a fever, but at least the headache is gone."

"And your back, how is it?" The physician prompted Rose to roll onto her side. With professional skill, she pressed and poked the bruised areas to further assess Rose's kidney injury.

Rose yelped.

"Sorry," apologized Martha. "What about here?" She pressed on Rose's bottom-most ribs, right above the bruised area.

Rose hissed. "Not good."

"I think that you have cracked ribs as well as a bruised kidney. My guess is there is no internal bleeding. Your belly isn't bloated, your fever has reduced significantly, and there were no indications of blood in the urine sample that I took."

"I gave a urine sample?" asked Rose, incredulous.

"I inserted a catheter last night. I will remove it now, unless you want to keep it in place?" Martha asked.

"I didn't even notice. I must have been really out of it. Go ahead and remove it. I can manage on my own, at least I think I can."

"Yes, I think you'll be fine. Just be careful not to overexert yourself. If you feel even the slightest bit dizzy, ask for help. Promise?" asked the woman, earnest in her concern.

Rose agreed, and Martha removed the catheter.

"So you aren't French,” stated Rose, as Martha continued her examination. "And you're an operative, too?"

"I'm sorry I lied, but like you, I have to be very careful. I'm sure you understand. And call me Martha, would you?"

Rose agreed. "You aren't like any doctor that's ever treated me before," Rose said with a smile. "You're funny and nice. More like a mate than a physician."

"Dangerous circumstances have a tendency to make me lighten up a bit. Humor helps my nerves."

"I know what you mean. The night before last, the Doctor and me, we had to pretend we were married cos we checked into an inn while running away from the convent hospital. Ended up having a row for the benefit of the innkeepers, and then we pretended to make up. The innkeeper and his wife were spying on us outside of our door."

"No! Really?" asked Martha. She scrunched her nose.

"Yep, really. So we jumped around on the bed a bit, got the springs squeaking.“

Martha laughed hard. "I would have loved to have seen that. The Doctor, he's quite an interesting man."

Rose closed her eyes and tried to relax while Martha took her blood pressure. The cuff tightened on her arm, and slowly released.

"I bet you make a good team," stated Martha. She covered Rose back up with the sheet.

"Do you have anything for the nausea? It's sorta getting worse," asked Rose.

Martha rifled through her medical bag, and produced a small brown bottle of tablets. "Put one of these under your tongue and let it dissolve. It should help rather quickly."

"Thanks. I think I'd like to put some clothes on. I'm a bit underdressed." Rose crinkled her nose as she surveyed her clearly defined female form under the white sheet.

"The Doctor will be disappointed," teased Martha.

"We're not that way," Rose said as casually as she could.

"So you've said,” Martha teased.

"What do you mean by that? We haven't talked about this before."

"Actually,” Martha drew out the pause, "yeah, we have."

"When? When did we talk about this before?" asked Rose, unbelieving.

"On the drive on the way here from where we picked you up. In fact, you said lots of interesting things about the Doctor." Martha pinched back a smile.

"What? What sorts of things did I say?" she asked, laughing nervously before she chewed on her lower lip.

"Well, you weren't in your right mind, of course. You were wildly feverish and probably in shock and-"

"Martha..." Rose prompted, impatient to know how much of the growing attraction to the man she had revealed.

"For starters, you told me your opinion of the Doctor's hair," Martha said, rather flatly.

"That it's sorta… brown?" Rose asked hopefully.

"Sorry blondie. And I quote, 'It's really great.'" Martha imitated the growling sound that Rose had made in her fevered state. "And then there was the part about his beautiful lips, and how you'd like to chew on them, and-"

"His lower lip," interrupted Rose quietly. "I said that I wanted to chew on his lower lip, didn't I?" Rose groaned. "Bloody hell, I remember now. Do you think he heard what I said? Did he say anything to you? Did he comment? Did he-"

"Calm down, Rose!" Martha chuckled. "What's the worst that could happen? He finds out you think he's attractive? He already knows that, to be sure. Just look at him! Who wouldn't find him attractive? He's an outstanding specimen of manhood," Martha giggled. "Besides, the road noise was deafening. When he spoke to me, he had to shout right into my ear. Unless he has supernatural hearing, I doubt he heard a thing."

"He had to have heard. He was right there." Rose closed her eyes and covered her face with her hands. "He was looking over my shoulder. I remember that much."

Martha smirked, and went to Rose's luggage to retrieve a nightgown. "You know, I tested the waters, flirted a bit with him, and he'd have none of it. I'd say his affection is clearly directed elsewhere."

Rose blinked and swallowed hard, looking up at the ceiling. Her stomach was in knots. "You really think so?" she asked.

Martha nodded. "Lucky girl. Just be careful Rose. I was only half joking before about rule number one. This life, it's dangerous. It'll try to tear you apart."

Rose fingered the edge of the bed sheet.

"You don't have much clothing in here. You'll need your things washed from yesterday. I'll take care of that for you. I'll try to find some clean underthings and more clothes. And I'll bring you a dressing gown, unless of course, you'd like a hospital gown, the kind that opens in back. Oh so very sexy,” she teased.

"Dr. Jones!" sputtered Rose as her head popped through the opening of the plain muslin nightgown. "You are wicked!"

"You bet I am. You know, it's kinda nice having another girl around to talk to. It's been a long time since I've been able to be myself, to not lie about who I am."

Rose scrunched her forehead, worrying. "I'm gonna be alright, aren't I? I mean, I'll be able to go back into the field soon?"

"You're going to need quite a bit of rest, Rose. I know you are feeling better this morning, but you have to remember, that is compared to how horribly you felt yesterday. You were critically ill, you know that?"

"Yeah.” Rose sank back into the prickly goose feather pillow.

"You are far from fully recovered." Martha patted Rose's hand. "I'll go and let the Doctor know you're decent, and it sounds like Mickey is back with that toast. He's out in the hall chatting with that Doctor of yours."

"He's not my Doctor.” Rose's voice trailed off, as Martha walked off, ignoring her weak protest. "Oh, never mind."

Tea and toast, along with the medication administered to fighter pilots who experienced airsickness, alleviated Rose's nausea. She was still very tired, and her fever would creep back up when she over exerted herself, though it was no longer life threatening. An old aluminum bathtub was brought into the room, and just enough warm water to be useful was lugged down in buckets so Rose could bathe and shampoo her hair properly. Martha discreetly helped her in and out of the bathtub, and Rose felt much better once she was able to wash off the stink of fever and sickness.

Martha had been correct. Rest was the best medicine for Rose, and within a week, the pain of her cracked ribs had become a dull ache. The kidney pain in her back was far less intense than it had been. She would yelp from time to time if she moved the wrong way, and staying in one position for too long was not a good idea. But on the whole, Rose was content with her recovery.

She was, however, quite tired of being confined to the dimness of the secret apartment in the cave, though the tight quarters had had one positive result: she and the Doctor had become the best of friends. They had talked extensively about their travels, cases, likes and dislikes. The Doctor learned that Rose was nearly fearless when it came to trying new and exotic foods. Rose found out that the Doctor had a soft spot for children's literature and hated pears.

What they had not discussed, however, were their personal lives outside of the clandestine service.

It was on the tenth day post-injury that Rose was allowed to venture out to shower on her own.

"You're sure you're ready for this? What if you get dizzy? What if you fall in the shower? It's not like I can come to your rescue, Rose," the Doctor protested.

"Sure you would. You'd close your eyes. Or not," she said, teasing him by catching her tongue between her teeth. She loved to make him blush, which she discovered, was not very difficult to do. "You'd grab a towel, toss it at me, and then you'd pull me up off of the floor. Now stop worrying about me. I'll be fine!" Rose pulled together the necessities for her shower and left their shared living space.

Rose made the short walk to the shower and toilet without incident. The bathroom was accessible within the walled-in courtyard where they had first arrived. It had been built for the use of the vineyard workers only a few years before, and was modern and clean. One inch square black and white tile covered the floors and walls, and a series of slatted windows above eye level could be opened for ventilation.

The Doctor disregarded Rose's nonchalance, and skillfully trailed her in secret, half a minute behind. He had never heard Rose sing, but he recognized her voice the moment he emerged from the stairwell into the bright daylight of the courtyard.

A sultry song echoed from the shower room. Her voice was low and smoky, and the words slowly dripped off of her tongue.

"I've got a crush on you, sweetie-pie..."

The Doctor smiled softly, crossed his arms, and leaned against the stone wall next to the bathroom door. He closed his eyes and listened to her, imagining she was singing a serenade solely for him, under a spotlight, hugging a microphone, wearing a sexy gown. Every sound was amplified by the tile, so that he could even hear her footfall, and the soft sounds of clothing being dropped to the floor.

The faucet squeaked as she turned on the water, and water stream from the shower head sputtering against the tile floor. He could hear the moment she entered the hot, steamy stream of water. The timbre of the sound changed ever so slightly as it pelted her skin instead of the hard tile. She sighed, obviously enjoying the feel of the water sluicing down her body. While her voice was somewhat muted by the water, he could still hear her honey-smooth song. A wicked thought came to mind, wishing she would slip and fall - not so badly that she would be hurt of course - but enough of a slip to cause her to scream, so he would be forced to come to her rescue. He brushed the thought aside quickly, as his body was beginning to betray his fantasy.

The shower stopped, but Rose continued her performance. "Night and day, you are the one. Only you beneath the moon or under the sun. Whether near to me, or far. It's no matter darling, where you are, I think of you day and night."

The distinctive sound of a razor being tapped against tile punctuated her voice. She halted every few lines or so... tap, tap, tap... and then resume singing. She hissed. "Oh bugger me."

The Doctor smiled at her slightly colorful language, and surmised that she must have nicked herself with the razor blade. After a few minutes, she turned the water back on. The Doctor tried not to think about the feel of silky smooth legs under his fingertips and lips. Up until then, he had successfully been able to divert his mind from drifting towards the obvious, and arousing fact, that Rose Tyler was just on the other side of the wall he was leaning against. She was unclothed. She was wet. She was lathered up. She was- Rose's voice snapped the Doctor out of his rapidly spiraling fantasy.

"What are you doing out here? Were you spying on me?" she asked cheekily.

He gulped at the sight of her tongue poking between her teeth. He really had to talk to her about that distracting habit of hers. It was doing things to him. He had been in his own world for who knows how long. Rose was wearing a white shirt that clung appealingly to her curves, and a butter yellow A-line skirt. Simple white plimsols were on her feet, and her legs were bare, free of stockings. Her skin was pink from the hot shower and scrubbing, and her hair damp, brushed off of her face.

"No. Nope. No. No spying going on. Completely a gentleman at the ready to rescue you should you have fallen. Did you cut yourself shaving? I heard you yelp." He paused, mouth gaping open.

"You were spying, you naughty man." She moved closer to him. "You wouldn't have a styptic pencil would you? I can't get the bleeding to stop." She turned around, and looked over her back at her shapely calf. Blood was dripping from a small cut on her Achilles tendon.

"Yes... uh... back in our room. You know, you have a lovely voice. Have I told you that before? No, I couldn't have because I... I... I've never had the honor and pleasure of hearing you sing before, now have I? And did you know that Night and Day is... is... one of my very, very favorite songs? You have a lovely voice, Rose Tyler."

Rose blushed, mirroring the pink flushing that was quickly spreading across the Doctor's freckled face. She noted that the man was obviously nervous about something, unable to look her in the eye, and had begun to rub the back of his neck with his hands.

"Well, uh... thanks." Rose looked down at her feet and laughed nervously, unsure why she was unsure of herself at this moment. Her ability to sing had always been something that had come effortlessly. Performing had never been a source of fear. Got her into Saxon’s club, after all. “Won the bronze medal, under sevens, talent competition. For singing. But that was a long time ago. Are you nervous about something?" she asked, her words rapidly spilling from her mouth.

"Me? Nervous?" He blew a raspberry of denial. The Doctor breathed in and out, effectively calming himself. "I have an idea. If you're up to it, that is. Would you be up to taking a short walk this evening? After dark? Have a bit of a picnic? I have it on good authority that someone around here may be able to provide us with a lovely bottle of wine, and perhaps some cheese and bread? It looks like it's going to be a beautiful night, and well, in a few days, we're going to be back out there running for our lives.”

“Are you asking me out on a date?” She bit her lip, and then smiled slowly.

He swallowed hard. And then nodded. He looked down and drew a star in the dirt with the toe of his shoe. “I have a surprise for you. Something I'd like to show you."

Rose looked down at the gravel she was pushing with her shoe, and then back up. "Uh, something you want to show me?" she asked, sounding more courageous than she was feeling.

"Something astronomical. A rare astronomical event," he stuttered.

She tipped her head to the side and smiled. "Yes. I would like that."

Chapter Text

The night was, indeed, lovely. A velvety indigo sky. Moonless. Stars winking. Late-blooming grape blossoms subtly perfuming the vineyard.

Hand-in-hand they made the walk up the hill. The Doctor tried to be patient with her, resisting his urge to pull her along at a quicker pace. Self-admittedly, he was an impatient man. Even at their slow amble, Rose was slightly winded by the time they reached their destination.

"You alright? I walked too quickly, didn't I? Sorry, just anxious."

"I'm fine. Really. I'd have been tired if I only walked across the courtyard for dinner in the main house," she said, frustrated.

"There is a meteor shower tonight. We should see at least one a minute. That's the surprise."

"Sound brilliant! I've never taken the time to look up at the sky before really. Too much light in London. And then there were those pesky Nazi bombs.”

The Doctor unfurled a large blanket, sat cross-legged, and opened the large wicker picnic basket. Inside was a simple supper of bread, cheese, strawberries, and wine. There was also a small kerosene lantern.

He pulled a camera and a tripod. “I’m going to take some photos of the night sky. Well I’m going to try. Mickey Mouse loaned me the gear.” He shrugged off his long, brown coat, and folded it several times to form a cushion for her head.

"Here, rest a bit."

Rose complied, and lay on her back, resting her head on the pillow formed by his coat. "The sky. It's beautiful. Do you think there's life out there?"

"Sure. Why not?" he said without hesitation as he uncorked the dark green bottle. "This is Malbec," he said, pouring a glass of deep, red wine. "Rich in tannins. Magical things, tannins. Good for your recovery." The Doctor winked. "The Torchesbois vineyard mainly grows grapes for other wineries who use them in blended wines, such as Bordeaux-style blends, but this is one of their fine, single varietal, house-aged bottles." The Doctor swirled the glass. "Didn't have time to let the wine breathe. Well. I was too impatient to wait. Swirl it, in your glass like this, and it'll aerate nicely."

Rose rolled onto her side and accepted the glass. "I didn't know wine needed to breathe," she laughed. "The only thing I know about wine is that red goes with beef, and white goes with fish and fowl-"

"Oh Rose Tyler, that's not a hard, fast rule. Though some would lead one to believe, if one were to drink, say, Vouvray with-"

Rose touched his lips with her fingertips, staving off another scholarly lecture. "Shall we taste it?" she asked with a smile. Her voice was more sultry than she had intended.

"Wait!" the Doctor halted her arm, and a bit of wine spilled onto her hand.

"What?" she asked, startled, bringing her finger to her mouth to lick the drop of wine.

"I want make a toast." He held his glass up. "If it weren't for you, I'd probably be in a German POW camp right now, and I'd much rather be here with you, under the stars, than sharing a cell with some grubby soldier. So, here’s to you, Rose Tyler. Thank you for pulling me from that car. I'll never know how you did that. You shouldn't have been able to, but you did. You saved me."

Rose dipped her head, and mouthed, "Thank you," before touching the rim of her glass to his.

Together, they sipped the plummy, rich wine. They both hummed their appreciation, and then laughed quietly at their identical reaction.

"I'm so glad I met you. Being with you, I love it," said Rose, rather joyfully. "You've made what could have been a really dull recovery interesting and even fun."

"I aim to please." He waggled his eyebrows at her.

They drank wine, ate bread and cheese, and even fed each other strawberries, though it was more playful than romantic. They wagered one pound on who could catch more with their mouths as the other they tossed the berries at each other.

“I have one more surprise.” The Doctor produced a small bar of chocolate. "I asked Martha to pick this up in the village for me. It's Belgian." He unwrapped the bar, and split it, handing half to Rose.

"How in the world? Chocolate? You're in possession of contraband, Doctor. I may have to report you to the authorities," she teased, enunciating each word. She broke a small piece off, and instead of popping it into her own mouth, brought it to the Doctor's. She touched it to his lips, and he accepted it.

The wine wasn’t quite going to Rose's head. She was still completely rational after the two glasses of the potent, rich wine. But the strong defenses that she had built around her heart for years were crumbling.

"Your turn," he said, offering her a morsel from his own portion.

She looked into his dark eyes as he fed it to her, and made a conscious decision to touch her tongue to his fingers as she accepted it. His eyes softened as he relaxed his eyelids, and gazed at her hungrily.

"Doctor, we know so little about each other." She took his hand, and threaded her fingers through his.

"What do you want to know?" he asked quietly, offering himself more transparently to anyone than he ever had before.

"Do you have someone? I mean, someone special. A girl back home? I know you said you weren’t married, but… you could have been acting.“ She looked down into her nearly empty wine glass, scared to ask the question for fear of a broken heart.

The Doctor moved from his seated position onto his side, mirroring Rose. "There is no one Rose, no woman with whom I want to share my life. No girlfriend, no lover, and no wife. I'm not married."

Rose let out a breath she was holding. "Why not? That's not too personal is it?"

"No, it's alright." He sighed heavily. "I was married once, a long time ago."

Rose's head snapped up, her eyes meeting his.

"She died."

Rose was quiet, unable to know how to respond.

"They all died. My entire family. There was a fire. My ancestral home. It burned. They all burned. Everyone died but me. And one other person."

Rose rolled onto her back and looked up at the sky, keeping his hand in hers. She sidled up closer to him. “I’m so sorry." She squeezed his hand.

"So, I remain unattached, footloose and fancy free," he said with a cynical laugh. "Alone, and unwilling to risk losing anyone else. Penance, I think, for what I did."

"Penance? I don't understand,” she said quietly.

"It was my fault, Rose. It was one of my inventions that exploded. I was in my basement lab tinkering. Something went terribly wrong. I made a slight miscalculation, and the chemicals I was mixing became unstable. There was a tank of helium that I'd foolishly put off taking it outside to store it properly. And then, I saw what was going to happen, knew it was inevitable. It was like I could see it in slow motion before it happened. I escaped, but just barely. The explosion was catastrophic. No one else even had a chance." His eyes were glistening.

"Oh Doctor, how long have you been carrying this burden alone? You haven't told anyone, have you?"

He closed his eyes and slowly shook his head. "Only Lady Idris knows. She was the only other survivor. Until you, she was the only person that I trusted enough to tell what caused the fire.”

Rose leaned over him to cup his cheek. Her hair fell around her face and grazed his face as she kissed his lips. It was a comforting, soft, gentle kiss without a hint of passion, but there was love infused into that kiss. Rose knew for certain now. She had had plenty of time to think during her long recovery. She was in love with this man, this beautiful man who had buried his brokenness so deeply. She felt compelled to love the hurt away. She was not ready to tell him, not yet. It was too soon. But she promised herself she would tell him.

She parted from him, ever so slightly. "You have me."

"Rose,” he whispered into her mouth, mere millimeters from his.

"Yes, Doctor?"

"What about you? Why don't you have anyone waiting for you?"

Rose sat up, and leaned back on her elbows. "I had someone. Sort of. You remind me of him, a lot really," she said with a sad smile as she looked up at the sky, and then over to him.

”Skinny with freckles, unruly hair, and a genius?"

"No," she shook her head and laughed. "His hair was shorn, his eyes were icy blue, and he had a rather prominent nose and ears. So no, you look nothing like him. But yes, about the genius part. Don't let it go to your head, you're already smug enough as it is."

"I'm hurt, Rose Tyler," he pouted.

She laughed and bumped his shoulder. "I'm not looking for a replacement for him.You're both so brave, and intelligent, more than a bit mysterious."

"I rather like your description of me," he said proudly.

"He said his life was too dangerous for me to be a part of it." Rose's voice hitched. "I argued with him about that, said I didn't care. But he said he didn't want subject me to the inevitable heartache of getting one of those death notice telegrams."

The Doctor was quiet for a moment. He sat up, emptied the rest of his glass, and set it down deliberately. "Sounds like a very good man."

"The thing is Doctor, he always thought he knew what was best for me, just because I was young, and not as bright as him, and he was always trying to send me away! I hated that. It hurt. At first I thought it was because he didn't think I was good enough for him. But, he made it very clear that wasn't the case. He had more faith in me than anyone I had ever met. Well, until you.”

"Rose Tyler, he would never think you weren't good enough for him. You've got it backwards. I’d guess that didn't think he was good enough for you." The Doctor poured himself another glass, and then topped off Rose's. "Sounds familiar." He studied her face, and then stroked her cheek.

Rose closed her eyes and leaned into his touch. "Is that what you think? You're not good enough for anyone?" she asked, on the verge of tears.

He ignored her question. "What did he do? For a living?"

She ran a finger under one of her eyes, flicking a stray tear away. "He was a Commander in the Royal Navy. Submariner. He would go off to the North Sea for months at a time. I think they were gathering intelligence on the Germans."

"Oooh, that is dangerous," he said seriously. "I'd be willing to bet they were monitoring their illegal shipbuilding program. Not too fond of submarines myself. Seem sort of dodgy." He scrunched his noise. "Too claustrophobic. I like open spaces too much." He shuddered.

"He'd wallop you if you said that to his face," she said playfully.

"Hold on. Did you say he was a Commander in the Royal Navy?"

She nodded.

"Rose, he had to have been at least forty, forty-five years old to have achieved that rank! And you were how old at the time?"

"Shut up, you sound like Mum," she looked at him sideways, somewhat irritated, but then she sputtered a laughed. "No, you're right. It was a helluva age gap, but I didn't care. He was brilliant. I joined the WAAFs because of him, you know. He gave me the confidence to take that risk, and I did it in honor of him. He showed me a better way to live, that I couldn't just sit back and watch bad things happen."

"He died, didn't he?" he asked sympathetically.

She nodded. "It's been three years now," she answered quietly. "No one ever said how he died. I wasn't family, and even if I was, I don't think they would have told me. I don't know if I want to know how, to be honest. Thing is, we were never officially anything. Not even…” Rose turned and looked at him. "We were never intimate." She looked up at the stars, surprised that she had revealed something so personal. "We were the best of friends. Better than best friends even. It was different with us. But I never told him, Doctor, how I felt. I never told him that I really and truly loved him, and then it was too late. He was gone," she said matter-of-fact, shrugging her shoulders.

John studied her face — blank, resigned.

Rose took a few sips of wine. ”I’ve been on plenty of dates since then, but never serious with anyone, and certainly not involved. I figured if I hadn't given him myself, how could I ever share myself with anybody else? No one ever measured up."

The Doctor looked deflated.

"Don't think that. Please. Not you. I'm talking about… before you. Do you understand what I'm telling you?" she asked hopefully.

He swallowed hard, but remained silent, too afraid to answer her question, afraid to admit to the implications that he might be ready to open his heart.

She sighed at his refusal, and then cleared her throat and shook her head. "I was a bit stupid, too, before I met John. Got involved with the wrong bloke. He was older, and so handsome in his Army uniform, but there was nothing else to him. He was a flatterer, promised me the moon and the stars, but never fulfilled one promise. Jimmy was his name. And I let him talk me into having sex with him when I was sixteen. He told me that he loved me and said I owed it to him cos he’d joined the Army and was gonna be a hero. I was so, so stupid." She shook her head. “No war then, of course. And he was being posted Brighton."

"No Rose, not stupid, trusting. And perhaps naive."

Rose smiled at him, grateful for the kind words. "Well I'm not naive anymore. And I've been so careful not to let anyone get too close."

"Do you think that maybe, you could… you might want to… let me get close?" He reached for her hand and threaded his long fingers through her small ones. He pulled her closer to him, trapping their hands between their chests.

"Yeah," she replied quietly, but without hesitation. "But I thought before… you wouldn't answer me..."

"Old habits Rose. I'm just an old soldier, and have a hard time believing someone as wonderful as you would ever want me."

"Better with two, Doctor."

He nodded.

"The Doctor and the Bad Wolf.” He paused. “No. The Doctor and Rose Tyler." He combed his fingers through her hair and cradled the back of her head with his palm.

This time, when they kissed there was not a hint of comfort or simple affection. This was pure, unbridled passion. It had not been initiated by either one of them, but was a mutual meeting somewhere in the middle. It had been such a long time since either of them had experienced any sort of truly intimate touch, a kiss with a deep down yearning to know the other person. With this simple kiss, their bodies immediately craved more, and set a natural course for passion.

They reclined down together, embracing, pressed tightly up against each other under the dark, moonless sky. They studied each other by touch rather than sight.

Rose felt the hard planes of his chest. His lean, strong biceps. Muscular buttocks. She let her hands slowly and freely roam from place to place. She toed off her plimsolls and pushed her toes up under a trouser cuff.

The Doctor laughed into her mouth, as his hand became tangled in her hair. Once free, he squeezed her shoulder, her arm, and then let it rest in the well of her waist. He pulled her shirt free of her skirt, and teased the exposed skin of her waist with his fingertips, testing her boundaries, not knowing how far she would let him go. He slipping his hand further under the stretchy cotton jersey, inch by inch. Not only did she not protest, her passion increased, so he skimmed up the soft skin over her rib cage with his open hand, and then paused just under the soft underside of a breast, one fingertip stroking the swell.

"Is this alright?" he asked.

She nodded, and gave her verbal answer in the form of a low moan, so he went further still and palmed her bra-covered breast, kneading it, running his open palm in a circle, drawing her nipple into a firm, sensitive bead. Rose's hand had been caressing his back, but the moment he touched her breast, she slipped her hand inside of his trousers, and palmed one of his buttocks, pulling him into her.

Heat was building quickly, prickling and sharp, and both of them wanted — needed — more. Touches quickly became fevered, grabby, and intense. Hands roamed with growing boldness, moving to the most intimate places, though all touches to places where intimacy would be shared remained covered with cloth. It heightened the sensations, increased the anticipation and desire to touch the real thing.

In a quick, bold move, Rose pulled her hand from his buttock, unzipped the fly of his trousers, and slipped her hand inside. His back arched at the sensation, and he bucked into her hand with a low moan, and a single filthy word. He pushed up her skirt, and slipped his hand inside of her pants. She made a high pitched squeaking sound and tipped her pelvis, encouraging him further, but still, he remained stalwart, not touching her in the place they both craved.

In unison, their hands halted, though not in hesitation. He removed his hand from under her skirt and then took both of her hands into his, and held them above her head, up and out of the way, restraining her playfully. He smiled a bit wickedly, then brought them back down to their sides. “We’ll do that later.”

“Lookin’ forward to it.”

The Doctor rolled a very willing Rose onto her back, and held himself above her, propping himself between her spread legs for a long moment. She looked up a him, her eyes twinkling in the starlight, lips parted and glistening, chest rising and falling rhythmically. He wanted to remember this moment, sear it into his mind, the moment they both knew what was coming, what would happen next.

He licked his lips, and made an almost feral growl as he dragged himself up her body, and then blanketed her. He aligned himself, hard to soft, male to female, and hungrily attacked her lips. Rose parted her mouth, accepted his bid to dominate her tongue. Tongues danced, teeth clashed, hips rolled and thrusted, fueling quickly-coiling need.

Rose breathed even harder as the Doctor pressed a series of fevered, open mouthed kisses along her jawline and down her neck. He pushed up her shirt, and she sat up enough so that he could remove it. Hungrily, he looked at the satin covered breasts. Her nipples were prominent through the fine piece of French lingerie she had had bought on a whim in Paris. He nuzzled her seductively displayed cleavage, licking and nipping her creamy, round breasts. She combed her fingers through his hair, messing it into a million wild directions as he moved his mouth take in a satin shielded nipple.

"Take it off of me," she begged, arching her back to give him access to the closure, but yelped at the motion.

The Doctor pulled away immediately, worried. "Sorry! So sorry. If I went too far,” he panted.

"No! I just moved in the wrong way — pesky cracked rib. But I'm okay now." She smiled at him softly, and cupped his cheek. “I know you’ll be gentle."

He ran his hand through his hair nervously. "Are we going too fast, Rose?" His question was earnest.

"Probably," she replied honestly. But you 'n me, I feel like we're different somehow. It's like everything's been leading me to you. Almost out of my control even. Oh, I don't know what I'm saying. It’s so hard to explain. I feel like somehow, some way, I was following a trail of breadcrumbs that led me to you."

He did know what she meant, but he didn't understand how or why either. It hadn’t occurred to him until this very moment. Standing sentinel at the entrance to the old Gallifrey estate was a bronze wolf howling at the moon, and a wolf featured prominently in his family crest. And perhaps most alarming of all was the ancient family legend that told of a young she-wolf who would save a battle-weary son, rescue him from a most dangerous foe. But in doing so, the valiant wolf would be lost in battle. Was the Bad Wolf his wolf? Was Rose the fulfillment of legend? Or was this simply some self-fulfilling prophecy?

Was he was reading too much into his feelings for Rose? He shivered at the possibility that the story was not a myth after all, but prescient.

But Lady Idris was the one who had told him the legend of the Wolf and the soldier. And she was the one who had named Rose Tyler Bad Wolf. She’d seen something in Rose that she’d deemed special — she had given Rose the Skasis Paradigm after all. Maybe she knew that Rose was the one for him, too. His beloved Lady Idris had always encouraged him to keep his heart open to love again.

"You just want me for my really great hair. Or perhaps you just want to chew on my lower lip?" he teased, trying to push the disturbing thoughts aside, but successfully masking his fear from her.

Rose groaned but laughed. "You heard that?"

"I did." He wore a proud, almost arrogant grin.

"Gimme that lip of yours, then." Rose grabbed his hair, and playfully tugged, pulling him to her smiling lips. "And the rest of you, too. I want you, Doctor. Here. Under the stars."

Chapter Text

The meteor shower graced the night sky. Fragments of long dead stars and planets pierced the atmosphere, trailing streaks of fire in their final act of brilliance.

On terra firma, the June air remained warm, even though midnight was approaching. Night creatures sang, chirped, and clicked. A subtle breeze stirred the leaves on the grapevines, snatching the fragrance from the late spring blossoms, carrying it away.

The ground was nearly flat, smooth from hundreds of years of vineyard caretakers tramping through the rows, tying tendrils, trimming dead wood, propping clusters, snipping the heavy, ripe fruit, carrying it off in baskets and crates to be pressed into juice, fermented in barrels, savored by countless lips, witness to both celebrations and the mundanities of life.

The vineyard had stood as a silent sentinel over many events, but none so intimate and passionate as what was happening within its protective, fertile rows on this early evening in July.

They had begun in urgency, perhaps a bit worried that the moment might be stolen from them. But now, urgency had given way to intention as they slowed previously fevered actions, savoring each moment as a tiny taste of the pleasure to come.

They were standing now, intent upon undressing each other.

Her fingers unbuttoned his shirt, unable to remove her eyes from the slow revelation of skin each time she slipped a button through its hole. The shirt was discarded and added to the growing assortment of clothing. Rose placed a kiss right in the middle of his chest, breathing in deeply, inhaling his pleasantly musky, masculine scent. Soft hair covered a moderate portion of his chest, and she rubbed her cheek against it for just a moment.

"Let's get you out of this, hmm?" he asked, tracing the waistband of her skirt.

Rose nodded.

Wrapping his long, tapered fingers around her hips, he rotated her around so that she was facing away. He took a moment to appreciate her back, skimming a fingertip up and down her spine. His feather-light touch left a wake of goose pimples, and she shuddered.

Not willing to lose contact, if even only for the time it took for him to draw down the zip of her skirt, she let her head fall back onto his chest, and reached back to cup his cheek. He hummed his approval when she stroked the late-night stubble on his jaw.

Both to Rose's frustration and delight, the Doctor delayed the removal of her skirt to drop a soft, wet, open mouthed kiss onto the juncture of her neck and shoulder. She gasped at the tender sting as he sucked the skin. She thrilled to know he’d marked her, and he knew it was only the first he would make this night. Her head dropped forward, exposing her neck, and he dragged his mouth along an invisible path to the other side where he left a second.

"I need you to touch me," Rose asked, breathy and wanting.

"Need you too. Taking my time. Only get one first time.” He snaked his arms around and cupped her satin and lace covered breasts, sighing into her ear at the feeling of the soft flesh under his palms.

A moan escaped her mouth, and she moved her hands overs his, trying in vain to push them under the fabric, but he denied her the pleasure with a hum from deep in his throat. Instead, he skimmed the pads of his thumbs over her nipples until they were pebbled and sensitive against the fine fabric.

"Please touch me," she said again, needy to feel his skin on hers.

"Patience, Bad Wolf," he said darkly. "I promise, it will be worth the wait."

"Do you plan..." She gasped as he wickedly teased her tender flesh. "Do you plan on torturing me all night? 'Cos that isn't very nice."

"Who says I'm nice? I'm only giving as good as I've gotten the past weeks, what with all that moaning and sighing in your sleep, and walking around in your underthings when you didn't think I would notice."

"Hardly fair," she replied breathily, but smiling now. "I can't help what I dream about, and it's not like we had much of a choice, what with the sleeping arrangements, Doctor."

The Doctor squeezed each breast one last time, then skimmed his fingers down and around her waist, and up her spine, until he was fingering the clasp of her bra. Rose bit her lip in anticipation, but he removed his hands and finally unzipped her skirt. Gravity took over once he had eased it over her hips, and then it pooled around her ankles.

He palmed her hips, and turned her around so that they were facing each other.

She was now only in her underthings, which were finely crafted, but far from what she would have worn had she known they would be standing together in the starlight. Lucy Saxon had asked her to come along with her to an exclusive Paris lingerie boutique, and Rose had purchased a few things. The bra fit beautifully, but was made for maximum serviceability, contouring and enhancement. It left plenty to the imagination, save the sheer fabric, which offered a tantalizing hint of dusky pink. Her knickers, while fine quality, were hardly sexy. She thought back with regret to the other lingerie set she had purchased, but had left in the bureau drawer back in her Paris flat.

While Rose contemplated her dull lingerie with regret, the Doctor removed his shoes and tossed them haphazardly to the side.

Rose drew in a nervous breath. "I wish I were wearing underthings that were prettier."

"Can't say I really noticed. I am far too busy imagining what you are hiding."

"I could say the same." Rose's fingers grazed the skin immediately under the waistband of his unzipped trousers, but she seemed hesitant.

"Second thoughts?" he asked, but without judgement.

"No!" She blurted her answer abruptly. "No," Rose repeated quietly, shaking her head and smiling. "I want this so, so much." She looked into his eyes and smiled.

A powerful wave of desire surged through her, and in one swift move, she tugged his trousers down his legs. She stood back up, and pressed herself flush against him.

"Hello," he said huskily, as he cradled the back of her head with his hand.

She returned the simple greeting, eyes sparkling happily. "Hello."

He did not want to wait any longer. It was time to move forward, so he kissed her fiercely, passionately, fully in command. His lips kneaded hers, hard and fast, establishing exactly who was in charge of this kiss. His hands were unable to stay still, moving from her face to her hair, tugging her hips into his, then back to her face. Neither did he wait politely for Rose to welcome his tongue into her mouth. He stormed right on in, and consumed... devoured... sucked the wind right out of her lungs. Only when her fingers dug into his arms, proving she was just as hungry for him, did he pull away.

Rose found herself unable to speak or barely think coherently. Not that words were necessary really, and her reply was a squeaking sound rather than a real word.

Thoroughly pleased with himself, the Doctor winked at her saucily. She took the opportunity to take advantage of his distraction, and pulled his head down to hers, giving as good as she had just gotten. Mouths opened, tongues tangled and danced, swirling around each other, until she took control, and sucked on his tongue until he was grinding his hips into her, simulating what they both knew was yet to come. He grabbed her thigh, and pulled her leg up around his waist.

Her mind was reeling from the intensity of the Doctor's lips, the grinding of his pelvis, and his roaming hand grabbing her hair. Her body was quickly preparing itself accept his. She knew it was cliché, but her knees were weak, heart pounding, and ears were ringing from the blood rushing through her veins.

He pulled his mouth away, released her leg, but held her tightly somehow sensing that he had made her legs unstable. And just when she had managed to recover, he kissed her again, this time, leaning her back over his arm ever so slightly, just like those handsome heroes did in the movies.

Without a word and with very little effort, the Doctor lowered Rose to the blanketed ground. Their lips never lips broke contact for more than the most infinitesimal moment as they stretched out onto their sides. Rose threaded the fingers of a hand through the Doctor's, and then drew his hand to her lips to drop a soft, lingering kiss before kissing each knuckle.

"I'm really getting tired of being patient, Doctor." She guided his hand behind her back, bringing it to the clasp of her bra, wanting him to be the one to unwrap her, an unspoken message that she was entrusting herself to him. She knew she was completely safe in his hands, and that he would not break her heart.

The Doctor had already placed himself in her care, entrusting her with his closest held, most personal secret: his history.

His normally dexterous fingers fumbled, and he grinned. "Maddening contraption. Are you sure this isn't a chastity brassiere?"

"Sorry. Bit of a bugger, this one is."

Finally, the clasp released, and the Doctor pulled off the garment without any pretense of finesse, and cast it aside. He wasted no time gazing or praising her breasts with affectation or flowery words. Palming one, and suckling the other straightaway, humming noises of satisfaction rumbled against Rose's chest. In response she moaned melodically, arching her back as is if she might possibly gain more contact. Until this point, her hands had been grabbing at the picnic blanket, but now, they were kneading his back, silently urging him forward.

The Doctor removed his mouth with one final flick of the tip of his tongue to her erect nipple. "Reality is much, much better than fantasy."

"Are you saying you've had impure thoughts about me?” she asked, her voice playful and teasing.

"Oh, maybe a time or two. The circumference, height and shape of your breasts are perfectly in line with what I had concluded, given the far too limited information that I had gathered," he said, sounding scholarly. "Your nipples, however, are much rosier, and so much more succulent than I could possibly have imagined." He wore a slightly devilish grin now.

She slapped his upper arm. "Dirty old man," she said before she laughed. "Now hurry up and do some more research."

Enthusiastically, the Doctor pushed her onto her back and pinned her arms by her sides, as he slipped between her legs.

She giggled when he dipped his perfectly pointed tongue into her navel. "Stop! Stop! That tickles!" Rose squirmed and laughed under the torture of his tongue.

The Doctor ceased the pleasurable torment, and moved to sit on his heels. Rose sat up, pushed him onto his back and straddled his hips. Her giggling quickly dissipated as she felt the evidence of his arousal pressing against her, exactly where she needed it most.

"See something you like?" she asked seductively, rolling her hips into him.

He smiled, and looked at the apex of her thighs, covered in creamy white silk. "Oh yes. I certainly do." He skimmed a finger over the silk-covered, sensitive area. "But what I would really want to know is what is under here, hmm?" he said, quiet, but enthusiastic. "Don't get me wrong, Rose Tyler, I really love the blonde, but you said you bleached it. What is your natural color, hmm?”

“Why don’t you take a peak?” she teased.

“Oh, I will. I am a very curious man, if you haven't figured that out yet. I have an overwhelming need... No, it's more of a compulsion to touch-smell-taste everything around me."

"Taste?" Rose squeaked out the questioning word.

"Mm hmm," he replied with as much ease as if she had just asked him to pass the potatoes. “Get up on your knees for me for a moment, would you?" he asked casually, interrupting his own train of thought. "I suppose it's the scientist in me. I come from a long line of intellectually-minded men and women. It is in my genetic code. My family has always been devoted to science, learning, and..." He drew in a breath as he tugged her underpants down her thighs.

"So, have you made a significant discovery, Doctor?" she asked.

“I believe I have. You are as ravishing as a brunette as you are blonde. I rather like you both ways.”

She playfully batted his shoulder.

“But I think more testing may be required. Yes. Definitely need to run a few highly sensitive tests."

Swiftly, he went up onto his knees, and pinned her underneath himself once more before sitting back up onto his knees. He dragged her underpants fully off of her legs, and then returned to his crouched position between her thighs. With the intensity of a scientist and the desire of a lover, he grazed his lips, not quite kissing, teasing her belly, and then further, and further…

Rose moaned, knowing that she was about to be pleasured in a way she’d dreamed of during her most intimate moments with herself.

He leaned forward, and dropped slow, soft kisses just below her navel, then into the well just next to her hipbone. He rode the rise and fall of her belly as he worked his lips down, down, further still, closer, and closer, and closer.

Rose drew in a breath. “No one’s ever… I’m… You sure you want to do this?”

“Oh, I want. Do you want?” he asked permission.

She was quiet for a moment. “Yeah.”

She gasped at the never-before felt sensation of lips and tongue sucking, nibbling, and lapping. His tongue worked that bundle of nerves - the sole purpose of which is to provide pleasure. He tickled, and toyed with his mouth, humming sounds of pleasure against her which reverberated through her being. When Rose began to shiver under his mouth, he lifted his eyes. He wanted to witness his Rose experience her first - the first orgasm he would give her, and the first to come from his or any mouth.

The soaring began low in her belly, down deep. She panted rhythmically, singing small noises of need, her hips rocking to the same tempo as her beating heart, pushing, grinding into his mouth as hot, prickling, pulsing, toe-tingling pleasure shocked her to the core.

When her keening and writhing subsided, he calmed her, eased her down the other side until she melted into the blanket. He slid up her body until they were face to face. The Doctor had just prepared a cheeky comment about rendering her speechless when he saw her golden brown eyes were glistening with unshed tears.

"What's wrong?" he asked. "Did I do something wrong?" He pushed her fringe out of her face. "I didn't frighten you did... Oh, I'm sorry... you weren't prepared for-"

"Shut up, it was gorgeous." She sniffed, and then laughed before kissing him, slow and soft. "It was a bit surprising at first. Didn’t know what to expect, but I really hope it's not the last time," she said with a smile. "Bit overwhelming is all. Never felt anything like that before. Heard about it of course, I'm not completely naive."

"Oh, I think I could manage to fit that into our future repertoire."

"Doctor, this isn't a one time thing is it? I mean it's been an intense couple of weeks, and for me it's been wonderful. I've loved every minute of it, well not the being hurt part, but I wouldn't change a thing 'cos it meant I got to be here with you.“ She stared deep into his eyes.

The Doctor rolled off of her, but immediately pulled her into him so that they were fitted together like two spoons in a drawer. She pulled his arms around her, and he cupped one breast, gently stroking the swell underneath. She reveled in the feeling of safety as he draped one leg over hers. She could feel his arousal against her buttocks, but for some reason, he was waiting to move forward.

He sighed into her ear before he spoke. "When I was at my lowest, a few months after the fire, Lady Idris had me for tea one Sunday. I'll never forget what she said. 'Thief,' that's what she always called me — I have absolutely no idea why.” He grinned at the endearment. "'Thief, you've lost so much, but keep your eyes open for her. The one who will rescue you.' I had no idea what she meant, but of course, I said yes, because one never says no to Lady Idris."

"Doesn't it seem odd to you, Doctor? Odd that I immediately trusted you? Spies don't trust other spies, especially if they've never met." She turned in his arms so they again were facing each other and stroked his cheek. "I feel like I've been trying to find you. Like something has been leading me to you for a while now."

"Rose, did Lady Idris ever talk about me?" he asked, serious and earnest.

Rose furrowed her brow, and closed her eyes while she spoke. "I haven't told you this before, because it was sort of private. You see, I've had this recurring dream ever since my training." She paused. "Lady Idris introduces me to someone. A man. She never says his name, and I never recognize him, but I always feel very safe with him. He's tall, devastatingly handsome. Very slender, but strong. And really really intelligent. Genius-like intelligent. "

"Sounds like someone you might know?" he said. "You sure it isn't me?"

Rose smiled at the cheeky man and rolled her eyes. "I'm getting to that. Anyway, after she introduces us, she always leaves. Me and the man, we go to this beautiful bedroom and are usually intimate," she said with a shy smile. "And then Lady Idris comes back.”

"Do I want to know this part?" he asked, scrunching his nose.

"Not while we are doing anything, you git!" she chuckled. "Lady Idris comes into our bedroom and talks nonsense and sings this song that I don't understand. But at the same time, I do understand it.” She shook her head. "It's so weird. I'm sure now that it has to do with the Gallifreyan runes. But this week, the dream changed. This time, the man — there was this golden light — and he turned into you."

The Doctor's stomach flipped. Would Idris have gone so far as to plant a suggestion in Rose's mind so that she would find him attractive? He went back to his thoughts earlier this evening. She’d given Rose the name “Bad Wolf”. Would she have gone so far as to plant a suggestion that made Rose fall in love with him?

Love.

He repeated the word in his head. Rose loved him, he was sure of it, and he was sure he loved her back.

“And there's one more thing. There was always a wolf with the man. And then with you, always walking behind you, like it's protecting you." Rose's voice became firm and resolute, and she turned in his arms so that they were face to face. "I want forever with you, Doctor."

He silenced Rose with his mouth. He knew scientifically that no post-hypnotic suggestion that Lady Idris could have planted would be able to make someone, anyone, fall in love with him. What they had was real. It was not the product of Lady Idris's meddling. It was clear that she had seen something extraordinary about Rose Tyler. And maybe Lady Idris even knew the Doctor needed his Rose. His Bad Wolf.

But their love was had not been manufactured or manipulated. Pushed along perhaps, but wholly and completely genuine, and theirs alone.

He rolled her onto her back, and situated himself between her thighs. "Forever, my Rose."

She nodded, knowing this was it - the moment that would bind them together. He slipped inside of her with a shuddering sigh, rested his forehead against hers, and began to move, not only seeking his pleasure, but demonstrating his unspoken love to her.

The lovers kissed deeply and passionately, sealing a union that they knew would be legally formalized at some point in the future, but for now, was just as binding, even if the words had not been spoken.

And so it was, with rows of grapevines to serve as their bedchamber, and the fragrant, fertile earth as their bed, Rose Tyler and the last Lord of Gallifrey, surrendered themselves wholly. They had never said the words to verbally seal their love, but they both knew.

oOo

The Doctor awoke at first light. The earth smelled fresh, and the mist was hanging low to the ground. He looked over at his Rose. She was sleeping peacefully, curled up on her side. Sometime during the night, he had covered them with his coat. He slipped out from underneath the makeshift blanket, and pulled on his clothing. He dug through the basket, and found the camera. Adjusting for the low light, he snapped a few pictures of Rose sleeping, wrapped in his coat.

She mumbled in her sleep, and moved onto her stomach, head turned to the side, pillowed on her arms. He pulled the coat low down her back so that it was barely covering her buttocks, and he took one final picture of his Rose, skin glowing in the sunrise, hair messy, lips full.

oOo

Rose finally awoke when the sun broke the horizon and shone on her face.

"Morning," he said quietly, sitting by her side.

"Hi." Rose smiled brightly, turned onto her back and stretched. She looked down at herself, remembering she was bare. She moved to pull the coat up.

”No. Please. I want to see you this way, glowing in the morning sunlight."

"Alright," she said, blushing. "But can I get dressed at some point? Or are you going to force me to walk around naked from now on.“ She stretched her arms over her head, losing her self-consciousness.

"As much as I would love that. No. In fact, I think we'd better get back to the château, or else they're going to come looking for us."

"Good point."

Rose dressed quickly, and the two of them gathered the picnic things, and headed down the hill, swinging their clasped hands between them.

No one seemed to take notice or care when they entered the courtyard together, wearing the same clothing, though rumpled, that they had worn the day before.

"I think I'll take a shower." Rose said dreamily as they wound their way down the tunnels into their secret quarters.

"I'll take one after you. As much as I want to, I don't think it would do for me to join you," he said thickly into her ear.

oOo

"Our source on the inside says they are staying in a secret room that is located within the wine aging cave under the château. There is only one way in and one way out."

"He really is a stupid twat. Always has been, ever since our academy days. Staying in a cave. Really now. John Smith, Lord of Gallifrey, in a cave of all places. You'd think he would have treated her better than that! He doesn't know who he is protecting! And he's made them both sitting ducks."

"It's actually quite nice as caves go. I've had to spend some time there myself-"

"I could care less about the amenities of the cave, Yvonne Hartmann. Is the Bad Wolf healthy enough to travel? I wouldn't want to risk her up and dying on me. My buyers would not be too pleased if I didn't deliver her safe and sound."

"Yes, Master. She's recovered fully."

"Jolly good! Let's make a day of it then! I'll have chef prepare sandwiches and lemonade! Oh, strawberries, too! We'll take a jaunty little trip into wine country. What do you say Lucy? Some fresh air would do your drug-addled brain some good."

"Whatever you say, Harry."

Chapter Text

Donna stopped and pointed at a motorcycle with a sidecar. "Oi! If you think I'm gonna ride all the way to Paris in that contraption, you've got another thing coming, sunshine!"

"Donna, get in now. I risked my neck coming back here for you. I had to charm my way through four German roadblocks. Got stuck for five putrid miles on a one lane road behind a wagon filled with cow manure."

Donna's face hardened further. "You sure some of it didn't rub off on you?, 'cos this story you're telling me sounds like a big pile of-"

"Would you shut up for one second and listen?" interrupted Jack.

The handsome man drew in a deep breath and placed his hands on her shoulders and looked right into her eyes. "You are not safe here. There is someone inside of that convent who is either pretending to be a nun, or is really bad at that whole love your neighbor thing. Because whoever she is, she knows that you not only treated me, but that you met Bad Wolf, and she has told Saxon all about it, and Saxon's people are coming for you. And they are coming soon - today even - if what I have been told is correct."

"Who's Saxon?" she asked.

"A very, very bad man. That's who Saxon is."

"And you know all of this because..."

"I'm a spy, if you have forgotten. It's my job to know things. And I have a very good friend who is, let's say, close to the man. Very close. And this person risked her life to warn me, to warn our mutual friend."

Jack looked up at the starry sky.

"I've only known you for a few hours really, and I can already tell that you are trouble, mister." Donna laughed, and patted him on the arm.

Jack smiled at Donna, then grew serious. "He wants Rose." Jack ran his hands through his thick, dark hair. "That's Bad Wolf's real name. Rose Tyler. She was hurt badly in a car accident the day after she and the Doctor fled."

"And how do you know that I'm trustworthy?" Donna put her hands on her hips and cocked her head saucily. "Why are you telling me all this?"

"Do you really think I haven't had you checked out?" He winked at her. "Besides, what do you think Saxon would want with you if you weren't one of the good guys, Donna?" Jack asked, semi-sarcastically shaking his head.

"Well there is that," she agreed.

"When Saxon wants something or someone, he gets it. And people get hurt when they get in the way of him getting what he wants."

"But what I don't understand, is what he wants that sweet girl for?" Donna was genuinely perplexed.

"Dunno," he lied quickly.

He did not want Donna to be burdened with that particular knowledge. In the event that Donna was caught, Heaven forbid, Jack had to make sure there would be no intelligence to extract from the woman. Saxon already knew Rose was the Bad Wolf, so sharing Rose's true name with Donna was not risky. It also helped keep Jack's mind calm to think of Rose by name.

"The nuns will be safe. For now. But you aren't a nun, and they know it. You haven't even been pretending to be a nun."

Donna sighed. "I should have stayed in Chiswick with Mum and Gramps, but I just had to see him off.”

"You'll see them soon enough."

"We aren't going back to Paris, are we?" she asked, insightfully.

"No. We're going to rendezvous with Rose and the Doctor, and then the Doctor and I are going to make sure that you and Rose get back to England quickly and safely."

"But what about Léander? I promised I'd wait for him in France!" Donna protested.

"Lee is in a POW camp, Donna. And if he knew just how bad it has gotten here in France, he'd be furious to know you stayed."

Donna stood silent for a moment, then hiked up the skirts of the traditional and suddenly impractical nurse's gown, and climbed into the sidecar. "Well don't just stand there, Casanova! Get a move on. We have some rescuing to do!"

She quickly put on the goggles and helmet, grinned madly and braced herself. He revved the engine of the motorbike, engaged the throttle, and drove off into the predawn darkness.

oOo

Rose and the Doctor sat silently, side by side on her twin bed, sharing their midday meal from a single plate. Although inconvenient for the purposes of eating, they maintained close contact touching from shoulders to feet. They were unwilling to part - not even to eat. If they could have held hands, they probably would have.

He popped a strawberry into her mouth, and she wordlessly thanked him with a kiss from her berry-blessed lips. With a sly grin, she placed slice of pungent cheese onto a hunk of hearty bread, and offered it up with a smile. He took a bite, grimaced at the sharp taste, and she laughed. He took it from her hand, and offered it right back, daring her to try. Bravely, she took it into her mouth and swallowed with a smile, even though the taste was unusual.

They punctuated their repast with kisses, nuzzles, but said no words, not wanting to mar the quiet beauty of this once-in-a-lifetime moment, the morning after promising each other forever. It was a honeymoon of sorts. For all intents and purposes, they had forged a sacred union under the stars.

Once their plate was empty, Rose set it onto the bedside table and lazily stretched out onto her side. She propped her head into the palm of her hand and stifled a yawn.

"Sleepy?" asked the Doctor. His eyes were soft as he admired her curvaceous form.

"You kept me awake half the night," Rose answered, raising a single eyebrow, and offering him half of a smile.

He waggled his eyebrows, and looked down at her with eyes the color of the richest espresso. "You and me - we make a brilliant team. Hope and Glory, Mutt and Jeff, Shiver and Shake-"

"Which one's Shiver?" asked Rose, grinning with her pink tongue peeking through her teeth.

"Oh, I'm definitely Shake." His voice rumbled seductively. "So." He traced the curve of her hip and the well of her waist. "How about some more shivering and shaking, hmmm?" His voice was low and thick in his throat as his fingertips wandered from where they had been caressing her waist to the underside of her breast.

Rose laughed, still a bit shy with the newness of their intimacy, but her body was certainly not shy, and quickly relaxed into his touch. He reached out for her, and willingly she melted into her arms. Without further words, they lost themselves in lazy and unhurried kisses in the dim lantern light. Mirroring the slowness of their kisses, the Doctor unbuttoned Rose's shirt. He pushed the fabric aside to caress her shoulder.

"Doctor, the door." Rose asked breathily, but without much alarm in her voice. "Someone'll probably barge in on us."

"I..." He paused to kiss her collarbone before continuing. "...locked the only door..." He kissed her cheek next. "...from the inside." He then returned his attention to her lips.

Though still languid, these kisses were no longer lazy. They both parted their lips, but only enough so that the tips of their tongues could dart out to taunt and tease, neither fully satisfying the other in their erotic game of hide and seek.

Rose was the first to pull her lips away, moving on to place impatient, erratic kisses across the cut of his jaw, down his neck, and to his chest.

"Clothes off," the Doctor said in a tone that bordered on commanding.

"Don't have to ask me twice," replied Rose, breathy.

They scrambled to undress. Once free of the last barriers of separation, they fell back into each others embrace. The Doctor rolled her onto her back, blanketing her. Rose gasped, and the Doctor hissed at the feel of so much skin meeting skin. He growled into her neck, but then lifted his head until their eyes met - hers half lidded with desire, his nearly black and flashing with want.

With her fingertips, Rose traced geometric patterns from deep within the recesses of her mind across his lean back.

The Doctor's hands, in contrast, never stopped roaming. He explored as much skin as he could, nearly manic as he skipped from place to place, anxious to memorize Rose by touch.

When his hands finally rested, it was with the utmost gentleness. He cupped her face, skimmed his thumbs across her flushed cheeks, and looked into her eyes. Rose stopped tracing the invisible runes, hands frozen and splayed across his back.

Slowly, he brought his lips down to hers. In that single tender kiss, the Doctor offered his unspoken love to Rose. A love that was devoted, fierce, longing, grateful, and unrelenting. A love that would never, ever give up.

"Need you," Rose whimpered against his quivering lips.

oOo

Now chilly from the glistening sweat on their skin in the coolness of the room, they sought warmth under the covers of the small bed made for one. They simply listened to each other breathe for a long while.

"We're leaving tomorrow. For England," he whispered into her ear, while he caressed her belly.

"How long will we have to wait before we can come back safely?"

He didn't answer.

"Doctor?" she asked.

"You won't be coming back." He pressed his lips into a tragic smile that was not reflected in his eyes. "You can't."

She nodded, but not in agreement. It was inevitable that they would be separated eventually. "I think I knew that, but I had I to ask." Rose smiled trying to fight tears. She shook her head and spoke more strongly. "Can't I come back to you in a few months? I could get a new identity, change my hair color. I could be ginger even. I could-"

"Rose," he said, and then shook his head. He sat up and leaned against the headboard. "I promised to keep you safe, and that means sending you home."

Rose joined him sitting upright, draping her legs across his. She crossed her arms, partially in anger, but mainly to keep the sadness that was welling up tamped down. "So I was just a job, then, wasn't I? Latest in a long line of others. Someone you were told you had to keep safe if you ever came across me. So, who else have you saved and seduced, hmm?" She was lashing out, angry and hurt, fearful of the future.

"Rose Tyler," he said with a small, knowing smile. "I know you don't really believe that." The Doctor moved so he was facing her.

She shook her head. "Of course I didn't. 'M sorry," she said softly, unable to meet his eyes.

"There has never been anyone else like you. Of course there've been others I've worked with, men and women. All brilliant, all special.“

Rose tipped her head upward, looking at the stone ceiling and again sniffed tears away, trying hard to hold onto her composure.

The Doctor set his jaw and kept his voice low and steady. "This job, working in the intelligence world, keeping secrets, spying, lying, never able to be completely truthful or trusting of those even closest to you. Facing danger at every turn. Facing death. It destroys people. It eats them up and spits them out."

"But you were truthful with me.” Rose paused. "Weren't you?" she asked, pain radiating from her voice and eyes.

He nodded with a suddenly bright smile. "Oh yes. Always with you."

Rose hugged him in relief, then pulled away. She reached for his hands and held them both.

"But imagine seeing… Imagine seeing that happen to someone you…” His voice trailed off.

"What Doctor?" she asked, earnest and desperate to know how the sentence was going to end.

"You can't come back across the Channel. I can't see you get hurt. Not now. Not ever."

"I don't ever wanna leave you!" She nearly shouted. "I won't! I want forever with you! Like I told you last night! And I thought you wanted that with me, too!" Rose pressed her hand to her bare chest and pled with him with her brown, shining eyes.

"I want that more than anything, Rose Tyler. But sometimes… sometimes there are things that are more important than what I want. More important than what you want. You are indispensable to the war effort. You are special, unique. And-"

"But I'm not! I'm just a girl from the rough side of London who some crazy mad lady decided to shove some numbers and crazy pictures into her brain!"

He ran his hand through his hair and then left the bed. He retrieved a cloth, dipped it into the water basin, and handed it to Rose. They tidied and dressed in deafening silence, and without prompting, both sat on the edge of the bed again, not touching, staring straight ahead with their hands in their laps.

He realized she had silently succumbed to the tears she had been fighting. The Doctor pulled her into a fiercely tight hug. Rose gasped at its intensity, and he released his hold slightly, but kept her in his arms, rocking her ever so gently.

"But you are special Rose. Oh so special, and I can’t…” The Doctor's voice broke. "I can't let anything happen to you. And after this bloody war is over, we’ll be together.”

“Forever.”

Slow kisses became passionate, and once again, they found themselves laying on the bed. They knew this was their last chance to be in each others' arms, and their passions quickly surged. The Doctor's hand began to wander, seeking the softness of Rose's skin-

The bed shuddered hard.

"What was that?" asked a startled Rose.

"It wasn't me. We haven't done anything yet," the Doctor said with a suggestive chuckle before he nuzzled her neck.

A second small tremor shook the room.

"Was that an earthquake, Doctor?" asked Rose. They both sat up, alarmed. "I think we had better get out of here."

Hastily, they grabbed a few important items. The Doctor slipped on his long, brown trenchcoat, and grabbed his valise. Rose folded the map the Doctor had been studying and pushed it into a leather satchel, and together they trotted out of their living quarters and into the long, winding tunnel that would lead them into the home above. The propane lanterns hanging from the ceiling were still swaying from the ceiling hooks when it happened yet again. Much stronger this time, they could taste unseen dust, and a small fissure appeared in the masonry wall of the man-made tunnel.

"That was no earthquake. Hurry!" The Doctor grabbed Rose's hand, and tugged her along as they hastened towards the exit. They were still nearly two-hundred feet away from the way out.

There was yet another explosion, this one bone-shaking strong. It knocked them both to their knees as the ground buckled under their feet. All of the hanging lanterns crashed to the floor, plunging them into inky darkness.

"Come on, we have to keep moving!" he commanded as he fished a torch from his pocket and flipped it on, providing a weak bit of light.

A masonry wall to the right buckled and bulged. "Doctor! The wall!" Rose screamed in warning.

Pieces of rock showered down onto their heads as the natural stone ceiling began to crumble. Instinctively, the Doctor knew that danger was imminent, and with a groan that came from down deep in his being, the Doctor half flung, half pushed the love of his life away from himself before he stumbled backwards.

Rose landed on her backside, then reached out to the Doctor in desperation. The couple had mere seconds before their lives came crashing down. Not only did the masonry wall collapse, but the ceiling itself caved in, sealing the Doctor off from safety. And from Rose.

"Rose!" he shouted, then coughed. "Rose!" He pulled a handkerchief from his trouser pocket and held it up to his face to filter the settling matter.

He could hear Rose coughing violently, and he felt a wave of relief simply knowing that she was alive. The Doctor swung the torch here and there, and the beam of light revealed the gravity of his situation. There were small gaps near the top of the debris pile. However, the holes were nowhere near large enough for either Rose or himself to slip through. Behind him, rubble littered the corridor as far as he could see. He might be able to get back to the living quarters to access the two way radio.

"Doctor?" Rose called out. "Are you okay?"

"I'm okay. Just sort of stuck. Can you get to the door and get us some help?"

"I can't open it." She laughed quietly at the irony. "I think you have the key. Oh, wait! I hear voices!" Rose pounded on the door with her fists.

"Wait! Rose, don't tell whoever that is about me yet. Make sure you can trust them. We don't know who that is."

Rose understood the necessity of caution. "In here!" she shouted to the people outside.

"Hello in there! How many of you are trapped?" the woman asked in English. Her accent was of someone well-educated and cultured.

"Just me! Who are you?" asked Rose cautiously through the door.

"I'm Yvonne Hartman, British Intelligence. I'm stationed in London, but have been looking for you and the Doctor for weeks now. I'm here to retrieve you both."

Rose released a shout of relief, but then she heard the distinct tapping of a rock. It wasn't Morse code, but she recognized it nonetheless, and knew what it meant, though she had never heard it before in her life: "You don't know me."

"Doctor? Doctor Who?" asked Rose with a sly grin, both confirming to the man she loved she had received his message, and replying to Hartman.

The Doctor tapped a second message. "Bluff."

"Before you disappeared, you were on a mission in Paris to pass a message along to the Face, who was in turn to give it to the Doctor. The three of you fell off the radar, and we've been looking for you for weeks now. You were seen travelling with a man, Wolf," she cooed. "A tall, handsome man who matches the description of the Doctor. You shared a room at an inn. The proprietors said that they heard you being intimate. You were very loud."

Rose gasped. "Um… I…” Rose scrambled to craft a viable lie. "I was lonely and scared and… I met a man who said he was a cheese salesman and, well… I think I'm entitled to a bit of privacy, ma'am." Rose said rather rudely. "But that's not really important! Can you get me outta here or not?" she asked hotly.

"A team is on its way."

"Don't they have a spare key?" she asked. "For the door?"

"Spare? Who has the other key?" Hartman asked, suspicious.

"I did, but I sorta forgot to grab it when the room started to shake!" Rose lied.

On the other side of the rubble, the Doctor smiled at his precious girl's acting skills, which one time, he had called into question.

"And how'd you even know that there was a cave-in?" asked Rose, suddenly suspicious, herself of the woman on the other side of the door.

"Heard the explosions, of course," Hartman replied quickly.

“But who set the charges?” Rose panicked.

“We don’t know. I'll be back in about fifteen minutes. You can wait fifteen minutes, can't you?" she asked, somewhat catty.

"Oh, I think I'll manage," Rose said.

Hartman and another person left, voices echoing in the courtyard.

"I'm worried, Doctor," Rose said quietly.

He did not answer her. "I wonder where Mickey Mouse and Jakey-boy are?" the Doctor asked instead.

"Saw Mickey yesterday, and he said they'd be out on a mission today. Only the housekeeping staff is here, and I don't think that either Agnes or Bernadette are up to it breaking down the door, let alone digging you out."

"Oh, I don't know, Bernadette may look eighty, but she's as strong as someone half that age," he said.

Rose relaxed a bit, and sat down, leaning up against the door. "You know Hartman then?" she asked.

"No, I don't, and that's the problem. I don't trust anyone I don't know. She may be as good as Sergeant York, but until you know for sure, don't trust her, Rose."

"'Kay," she answered simply. "What about Jacques and Mickey? Should I send them to come back and get you?"

"Yes. I've got a really good feeling about those two."

They stayed quiet for a few minutes.

"Doctor. I hear men's voices. The crew must be here," she reported.

"Rose, when you get out, do whatever you can to get to Calais, to get back home. Promise me."

"I won't leave without you, Doctor," she said firmly.

"You have to."

"Doctor! I hear Harold Saxon!" Rose exclaimed in a panicked voice. "And I hear men speaking in German! Oh Gods! They found us!”

The Doctor sprang up and began to pace nervously in the tight space of his trap. "Rose, you have to think. You have to get out of there! You have to hide! Climb into an empty barrel! Anything! Just don't let yourself get caught!"

"There's no place to hide! I'm boxed in! Doctor! Someone just said that they will have the door down in less than two minutes!"

"Rose! Please! Get away from that door!"

"I can't! There is no place to go! I'm surrounded by rubble!" she shouted desperately. "The door is the only way in or out!"

The Doctor could hear her scrambling to remove broken rocks and brick from the debris pile in a futile attempt to get to safety, to get to him.

"Oh God! No! Please no!" she said in a panic. "No, no! They are hacking it away with an axe, and almost have it down!" Rose stopped talking, and with all the strength she could muster, she calmed herself. The Doctor was shouting, but she could not hear words, only his voice. She knew now that there were only seconds left before she would be in the hands of the enemy, and it was as if time had slowed. She had to tell him.

"Doctor?" She said his name calmly.

The Doctor sensed a change in her voice. She was no longer panicking. She was calm. Resolved. She’d somehow accepted her fate. He needed to be strong for her, to give her this final memory. His reply was just as calm. "Yes, Rose?"

Rose drew in a breath. “I… I love you!"

He smiled, though his heart was breaking. "Quite right, too." The foolish words spilled from his mouth. But before he could correct himself, he heard her hitching breath and crying from the other side of the rubble. "And I suppose… if it's my last chance to say it, Rose Tyler-" Those final three, beautiful, heartfelt words were drowned out by the crashing sound of the door being breached.

"Miss Tyler, so nice to see you again. Oh, I like the blonde! It suits you, it really does." It was Harold Saxon.

"Getcher paws off of me, Harry!" Rose spat angrily.

The crack of a palm against skin, and then Rose's pained cry caused bile to rise in the Doctor's throat. Angrily, he opened his mouth, desperate to threaten Harold Saxon, but something in the back of his mind told him to hold his tongue. He gritted his teeth, forcing himself to stay silent. If Saxon knew he was on the other side of the wall, he would be captured as well, but if he remained silent, there was a chance he would be rescued.

He would find Rose and save her.

"Oh, did that hurt? I'm sorry, my hand slipped. I'm truly disappointed that the Doctor isn't here with you. I was so looking forward to putting a bullet through that smug face of his."

Rose straightened herself and looked Harry in the eyes. She finally allowed her tears to flow freely, honestly brokenhearted. "He was crushed in the collapse," Rose lied bravely, her voice cracking in the grief of her loss. "I didn't tell Hartman because I didn't trust her. Now I know I was right not to!"

"Berlin is lovely this time of year, it really is. You are going to love your new home!"

Rose growled, making one final effort to escape. "I won't help them! I won't!"

Saxon ignored her screams. "You there," Harold said to a low ranking German foot soldier. "You were the one responsible for setting the charges, is that correct?"

"Jawohl, Herr Saxon!"

The Doctor heard the man's proud reply, but shuddered at the shock of a single gunshot, and Rose's horrified scream.

"Well, you did a bloody shoddy job, Jerry. There wasn't supposed to be a cave-in. You killed the Doctor," said Harold Saxon angrily. He directed his ire at two other German soldiers. "You! Clean up this mess. You! Douse the Château with petrol and torch it."

The Doctor squeezed his eyes shut as he heard Rose's grunts, screams, and curses fading as she was dragged away. In agony, he leaned his forehead against the wall and pounded the hard rock with his fists, and then he was left in black silence.

"Rose Tyler, I love you, too.” His words came out as a futile whisper. He had wasted those last precious moments. He realized she probably would have gained more courage from hearing those three words coming from his mouth than anything else he could have said.

One tear streaked through the dust on his pale, blank face.

oOo

Thirty-six long hours filled with heartbreak, anger, and helplessness passed before the Doctor again saw the light of the sky. Donna and Jack's faces were the first he saw when he scrambled through the cleared rubble.

"Doc..." Jack said, heartbroken. He tried to pull the Doctor into a hug, but the tall, thin man dodged his friend.

The Doctor ran a hand through his unwashed hair, and then dragged both of his hands down his dirt-smudged face, squinting in the glaring sunlight as his eyes adjusted from the time underground. He stretched, squared his stance, and drew in a breath.

"Alright. What do you know? Any leads? Any word from our contacts in Berlin?" He was the picture of professionalism.

"She's gone. Just vanished,” said Donna, hopelessly.

"I know she is gone, now tell me something useful!" growled the Doctor.

"It seems that two French Resistance fighters named Michel and Jacques tried to rescue her at the train station, but they were captured, as well."

"Good men," the Doctor said, genuinely proud, with a nod.

"Saxon sent in a brute squad that morning," said Jack. "Killed most of the Torchesbois staff the morning of the cave-in. We think they set the charges the night before, um…” Jack swallowed hard. “When the two of you were spending the night in the vineyard." Jack smiled softly.

Surprised at Jack's revelation, the Doctor swiveled his head and looked at him.

"When we were trying to find out what happened, we asked around, and the two of you were observed by one of the vineyard workers returning to the château just after sunrise."

"We were together," the Doctor said nearly in a whisper. "I love her, and I never told her." Doctor drew in a deep breath through his nose and looked away, recriminating himself, yet again.

"We'll find her Doc, we'll find Rose and rescue her," Jack promised.

oOo

The Doctor leaned against the railing of the fishing vessel, watching the midnight lights of Calais fade into nothingness. Salt spray stung his tired eyes, and cruel wind whipped his hair into a tangle of brown. He startled at an unexpected interruption, pulling him out of his painful memories of the final moments with his Rose.

Gently, Donna touched his arm. He turned his head and sighed at the look of worry and kindness that had taken over her usually buoyant countenance.

"Are you alright?" she asked quietly.

The Doctor looked back into the churning black waters of the Channel. He pushed himself from the railing, squared his shoulders, and shoved his hands into the pockets of his trousers and looked her squarely in the eyes.

"I'm always alright."

Chapter Text

May 9, 1945

Colonel John Smith leaned heavily on the sturdy oak desk - back hunched, arms straight, eyes closed. The nightmare of war in Europe was officially over. Hitler had committed suicide — or was assassinated if rumors were to be believed — leaving a gaping power vacuum. The last defenders of Berlin had surrendered to the Red Army on 2 May, and on 8 May, the Allies declared victory in Europe. VE Day.

The Soviets had already hoisted the Hammer and Sickle over the Reichstag, and Colonel Smith had an unsettled feeling that a new battle was already brewing over control of Eastern Europe. But if he was being honest with himself, at this moment, he was not thinking too much about Soviets, politics, pacts, surrenders, or Nazis. He had only one thing on his mind now that the War in Europe had ended.

Rose Tyler.

Between July and December of 1940, the Doctor had personally led five clandestine missions straight into the heart of the Third Reich. The first had been a successful scouting operation into Berlin to gain intelligence on the whereabouts of Bad Wolf. He discovered that his Rose was being held in a medical research lab inside of Nazi Headquarters in Berlin. The second and third missions were attempted rescues, but both failed. On his fourth attempt, he’d nearly succeeded. He had seen her profile through a window — she had been less than fifty feet, but the risk to her life had been far too great. Too much was at stake. Bad Wolf could not be lost. So with enormous regret, the Doctor had ordered the mission aborted.

It was during the fifth and final rescue attempt that he learned Rose had either escaped her sadistic captors, or as the meager evidence was hinting, was rescued by brave souls from within the German Army itself.

After their disappearance, she had turned herself into a phantom.

But he knew she was alive, and her name kept him fighting. And that name had been spread all over Germany: Böser Wolf — Bad Wolf - scrawled in chalk or messy paint, scratched into wood, even etched into glass. It was her calling card, a symbol of defiance to the resident evil, that there were still people willing to defend helpless, the downtrodden, those preyed upon and reviled. It was left in the wake of helping those who needed help the most, and when they needed it most desperately.

"Undesirables" disappeared into thin air before they were scheduled to vanish in the middle of the night. Supply trains carrying raw materials to factories were derailed, their cargo set ablaze. Lorries carrying the richest meats, pastries, and produce bound for Gestapo Headquarters, the homes of Nazi bigwigs, or clubs frequented by Party loyalists were hijacked. The food mysteriously materialized in crates on street corners in the wee hours of the morning, always left in the poorest and most desperate neighborhoods and ghettos.

Slowly, he drew his head up, then paused to look at the familiar map of Europe that had dominated one wall of his office for five long years of war. At least one hundred push pins, each tagged with a numbered paper flag, were scattered across the map. Red flags represented a confirmed report of a crippling strike to the Axis. Blue flags marked unsubstantiated incidents that were highly plausible, even if officially unconfirmed. The markers silently spoke of those interrupted supply conveys, destroyed munitions depots, and doomed innocents freed from boxcars bound for Hell on Earth.

But there was something even more important about these strikes. Not one had been an official Allied mission. The pushpins meant "Bad Wolf was here," and to the tired, though still resolute man, each of those flags was a testament to the courage and ingenuity of one Rose Marion Tyler, Defender of the Allies.

The Doctor was so very proud that Rose had made the best of her forced exile. But one thing greatly confused him: Rose had never contacted her superiors, or the Doctor. Not once. It would not have been impossible to do so. Difficult yes, but not impossible. He had spent many sleepless nights wondering why she had neither made radio contact, nor sent a coded letter, a postcard even. Anything that would hint at her location or to make request rescue.

In the back of his mind, in his darkest moments of loneliness and self-recrimination, the Doctor wondered if she had not loved him after all. That perhaps she was simply being kind. Acting. Maybe she had been caught up in the panic of her impending capture when she cried out her love for him. Perhaps she truly did believe that he had seduced her. Or maybe it had been a moment of weakness on her part, a matter of giving in to their mutual attraction.

The Doctor sighed, and turned around to sit on the edge of his desk. He rubbed his hand down his face, feeling the stubble on his jaw that was just this side of unacceptable while in uniform. It was now almost fifteen hundred hours, and he had been awake for thirty-three hours straight.

A single rap on his doorframe knocked him out of his drowsy reverie. "Colonel Smith, you asked me to remind you about the conference in the War Room."

"Thanks, McCrimmon," he replied quietly. "Oh, and McCrimmon, any word on how that list of missing intelligence agents is coming?"

"Not yet, sir. I'll let you know ASAP when I have news."

oOo

The shabby flat had no electricity, no gas, and no water. No plate glass remained intact, which meant the four inhabitants huddled together in the winter, and fanned themselves in the summer. The flat mates did not complain (much), as shelter was a luxury that many in Europe no longer had. Much of the city in which they lived had been reduced to rubble.

The lock on the door clicked and Jacques Simone, dressed in black from head to toe, entered the candle-lit room. He placed a quick, friendly kiss on Rose's cheek, and handed her a small loaf of stale bread and a glass bottle of water. "It's all I could get," he said apologetically. "I'm sorry, it isn't much."

"And I don't need much," Rose said with a brave smile, even though her stomach was aching. "You take half." It took a bit of effort to tear apart the stale loaf of bread. Pieces of crust crackled off and littered the worn Persian rug, a small bit of evidence that the former residents had perhaps been well off.

"You're skin and bone, Rose!" protested Jacques. "You need every single bite you can get."

"And who isn't, Jake? They were rationing back home in England, and France was starting to have shortages when we were captured five years ago. At least we survived. Just take it, would you?" She pressed the bread into his hand.

Jacques knew this was an argument he would never win. "They signed the surrender."

"'Bout bloody time," she mused, more to herself than to Jacques. "Do you think it's safe to leave Berlin yet?"

"Rose, I don't think that staying here is even an option." Jacques found a cloth and started to rub the soot off of his face. "The Red Army has taken control. And from what I've heard, they are just as brutal as the Nazis - evil in a different uniform."

"Where's Micks?" asked Rose after she took a bite off of the bread.

"He heard that the Red Cross was sighted pitching a camp about ten miles outside Berlin. He went to scout it out."

"Mummy?" a small voice called out from around the corner.

"What are you doing up, sweetheart? It's late." Rose opened her arms and a small boy rubbed his eyes and stumbled sleepily into her arms.

"I had a bad dream, Mummy," he said softly, nuzzling his fuzzy brown hair into the crook of her neck.

"Mummy has you now. You're safe, and no monsters can get you." She rubbed a soothing circle on his back.

"It wasn't a monster, Mummy. It was those soldiers with the black spiders on their arms. They were coming to take you away."

"The evil spider men are all gone, sweetheart, they won't be back ever again because Mummy and Jake and Mickey and Daddy and so many other brave, brave people, all worked very, very hard and scared them away."

She rocked the tired, frightened boy gently in her arms until his sniffling cries ceased. Even once he had fallen asleep, Rose kept her son close, rubbing her cheek against his own, soft, round and rosy one.

Jacques looked at her, and softly smiled. "He's going to be so proud of the two of you."

Rose nodded and managed a small smile for Jacques. She would be lying to herself if she said she was not nervous.

Less than twenty-four hours had passed between the time of their first kiss and their separation. The precious memories of those few precious hours spent in the arms of her Doctor had seen her through the darkest days in the hands of the Nazis. Rose fought against going back to that terrifying place in her mind, but she was tired, and let her mind drift.

oOo

"Fraulein Tyler, haben Sie etwas, das der Führer will."

She understands the words, but he is speaking German, a language she has never learned.

"I can't give that devil anything that I don't even know I have, now can I? Not that I would ever give him anything, anyway." The words came out of her mouth in perfect German.

She feels the sting of the handprint on her cheek for two days.

Her head is fitted with a metal cap strung with ominous looking wires. A tall, gaunt man in a white lab coat is standing in front of a large metal cabinet covered with all sorts of switches, gauges, and dials. The unit is emitting a low, rumbling sound which unsettles her to the core.

The sadistic scientist that she has come to recognize as the one in charge of breaking her, promises that she will not feel a thing.

Methodical and slow, the skeletal man turns the largest dial, and the low rumbling sound increases both in intensity and volume. Her head is tingling, and the hairs on her arms are standing on end. She closes her eyes and concentrates on two words: Bad Wolf.

She repeats the words to herself, in her mind, hundreds of times during the procedure. She stays strong. The frightening machine has failed to force her brain into giving up its secrets.

They use this machine every day for three months. She never breaks. They finally concede defeat and begin to formulate a new plan.

She is thankful each and every moment of her waking hours that the newly-discovered, tiny life in her belly has remained safe during the torture.

Rose wakes up to find herself laying on a table. She realizes that she is naked, but her modesty remains protected with a black satin sheet covering her from neck to toe. The evidence of her pregnancy is now visible.

The room is dark, candle-lit, and she has the distinct feeling that occultic practices occur within the room. She knows from those intelligence briefings she’d attended ages ago that Hitler has a near obsessive interest in the occult and all things supernatural.

It takes a moment for her eyes to adjust to the dim light. Quickly, she recognizes ancient religious and spiritual symbols and relics from cultures all over the world adorning the walls and even the ceiling. The swastika is the most prominent symbol, though.

She scans the room more carefully this time, until her eyes rest on one particular stone carving. More candles illuminate this item than any other relic in the room. It is a Gallifreyan rune. She still cannot interpret what it says, but somehow, the geometric patterns are familiar and comforting within this strange, dark place.

A man enters. He is wearing crimson velvet robes embroidered with the same symbols as those in the room. Even in the dim light, Rose sees that this man is the image of Aryan perfection, with his strong, straight nose, golden hair, and cold, blue eyes. He nods at his assistant, who in turn drops the needle onto a phonograph record. The strains of Wagner's Ritt der Walküren echo tinnily in the room. It is not the first time Rose has heard this particular bit of music, one of Hitler's favorites she guesses. It was always played during those "metal hat" sessions, as she has come to refer to them.

"Again with the Wagner! What is it with you people and-"

The robed man claps his hand over Rose's mouth, and commands her to remain silent while he summons the spirit that is inhabiting her mind.

Rose successfully stifles a laugh when the man whirls around in circles requesting that the spirit residing in the Abomination's mind leave its unclean host and transfer itself into the golden urn he is holding. He again begs for it to leave the Abomination, to dwell in a worthy vessel: der Führer.

Rose sits up. "I'm not an abomination, and I'm certainly worthier than-"

She is locked in her cell for a week. Food and water are provided, and no further procedures or ceremonies are conducted.

Two high ranking army officers appear in her cell in the middle of the night and order her to dress. They tell her she is being moved someplace more suitable for a woman in her condition. She estimates she is now seven months pregnant, and she worries that this is the end.

But the truth could not be further from that. These men are her rescuers. Members of a growing resistance movement within the ranks of the German military. They are high ranking Army officers who somehow know that her knowledge, if it were to be gained by der Führer, would increase his power exponentially.

She is taken to a home in the countryside, and reunited with Jacques and Michel, who gape at her belly for an inordinate length of time before hugging her and lavishing her with concern and care.

Rose recovers emotionally and physically from her six month ordeal under the kind and capable care of Frau Schwerin, midwife and mother of one of the conspirators. Her baby is born without complication. He is healthy and strong, with an impressive pair of lungs, and a shock of soft, brown hair. She calls him Jonathan.

Within a year, Jake and Mickey (as Rose has come to call the two Frenchmen), begin to undertake simple sabotage missions, with intelligence received from the German Resistance. Soon they are valuable members of the team, and are wholly invested in the cause of fighting Hitler from the inside.

They move from city to village to town to city, always aided by foes of the Third Reich. They are fed, clothed, and given supplies for their missions. Those nights that they are not undermining the Axis powers, they are performing in cabarets, small performance halls, and supper clubs. The Nazi officers, they find, have loose tongues when plied with alcohol, and having their enormous egos stroked, and the trio learn many secrets as they mingle with the appreciative crowds.

Rose keeps a journal of her days and nights, the mundane and the absurd. She hopes to one day be able to give it to her Doctor. But not yet. For now, she is needed here.

Now is not the time for selfishness. Now is the time for sacrifice.

oOo

It hardly seemed possible - after nearly five years of pain, loss, danger and fear - the time for joy, happiness, and yes, even selfishness had come. She was going home!

But then a familiar worry creeped into her mind. What if her Doctor had given up on her? What if he’d moved on? Found someone to love and be loved by? There was also the very real possibility that he had been killed. It was wartime, after all.

But she would always have her son to cherish and remember the love she and John shared. Her precious Jonathan Smith Tyler.

She was proud that she’d persevered. She had been brave, strong, and resourceful in the face of overwhelming danger.

So Rose Tyler decided that she was ready to face what would come, whatever that meant for her and her son.

"I think it's time to send the message now," she said bravely to Jacques. "I've written it out. It needs to be transmitted exactly as I've written."

"I'll do it tomorrow," replied Jacques.

"Does that mean we're going home to England? That we’ll be with Daddy soon?" asked the child who was supposed to be asleep.

Rose smiled in response to her son's playing possum. "Yes Jonathan, we are going to try. Now go to sleep, sweetheart." The tender mother closed her own eyes and rested her chin on the warm, drowsy head of her beloved son.

Jonathan shifted, sighed, and curled in on himself. His breathing regulated as he relaxed fully, and this time, fell into a deep and dreamless sleep.

Rose pulled in a long breath and released it carefully so as to not wake her sleeping child. Her mission was finally complete. She could now safely breach that wall that had separated herself from her Doctor.

oOo

It was Mrs. Wilson's day off, which meant tea was a simple cheese sandwich and a banana. The Doctor took a sip of Earl Grey while he read the newspaper, most of which were stories about military events of which he had known the details days ago. The doorbell rang, and with irritation, he folded his newspaper and set it on the dining table. The last thing he wanted right now was a visitor. He wanted to finish his tea, his newspaper, shower off the grime of fatigue, and then fall into bed and sleep as long as his body would allow. He had been ordered by his superior and good friend, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, to take two full days of leave.

He opened the door to find Lady Idris smiling brightly. "My Thief!" The quirkily dressed woman tipped her head and held out both of her graceful hands for him to take.

"Hello Idris." The Doctor greeted his closest and only relative with a genuinely fond kiss on the cheek. He led her into his cozy lounge. The room was dim, but comfortable. The blackout curtains were drawn, mainly out of habit, even though the Blitz had ceased long ago. "So what brings you to London?"

Idris smiled enigmatically, and handed the Doctor a handwritten note.

oOo

Danger was everywhere at midnight on the streets of Berlin, so caution was essential. Occupation force soldiers would be out looking for fun, pleasure, trouble, or all three. There were thieves and scavengers desperate for food, money, clothing, or anything of value. Security patrols with a dubious sense of morality were another concern.

Rose looked up and down the abandoned, debris-cluttered street. From her partially hidden spot tucked into an alcove in front of an abandoned shoe shop, she had a partially obstructed view one block in each direction. She strained her eyes for any sign of movement within the rubble. Her handgun, which she had rarely used, and only in self-defense, was in the pocket of her blue coat. Her hair, dark and long, was tucked up inside of her knitted tam.

She looked down at her gold wristwatch, a gift from one of the many admirers at the cabaret where she sang on those nights when she hadn’t been undermining the Third Reich. The oyster face glowed in the light of the full moon. It was just after midnight. If the message had successfully made it to London, help would be arriving soon.

Rose heard the low rumble of an engine, and a motorcar turned the corner onto the street, one block up. It advanced slowly, and then rolled to a stop, no longer able to proceed due to wartime damage to the road.

The door swung open, and a figure emerged. Male. Tall. Thin. But unlike Rose, the man wasn’t hiding in the shadows. He was walking boldly down the center of the street, looking to the left and the right, searching...

With halting steps, she left the relative safety of the alcove, bit still hugged the stone building. He was less than half a block away now. She listened for the confirmation that he was her rescuer. And then she heard the song she’d chosen. Sweet, tuneful whistling. But then whistling turned to singing.

“Ive got a crush on you, sweetie pie…”

Rose covered a gasp with her hand and then the silvery moonlight revealed the face of the tall, slender man.

”All the day and night-time give me sign…” she replied, confirming that she was there.

It was Him.

Hurtling herself out the shadows into the street, she ran as fast as she could towards him. Her hat fell off, and her dark blonde hair fell free from the hairpins, trailing behind her as she ran.

In turn, the Doctor ran full tilt, his long legs carrying him swiftly and surely to his Rose.

The moment they met, they were each others arms. Their lips met. Names were gasped against mouths, refusing to break contact. The Doctor's hands cradled Rose's face, moved into her hair, and then back to her face.

Her arms pulled him tight. She needed to feel the whole of him pressed against her, to know this was real.

Dizzy from the emotional intensity, Rose lost her balance, but the Doctor was there to catch her. He looked at her face for the first time in five years. She was still beautiful, though she was significantly thinner than he had remembered, and her eyes spoke of privation and fatigue. He promised himself that never again would she lack for anything if it was in his power.

He too wore the pain of the last five years. There were new lines around his eyes, and Rose fingered the crinkles as he smiled, and then rested her cheek on his chest. His heartbeat thudded hard and steady, the most comforting sound in the universe, she thought.

"Hello," she said. Her voice was watery but sounded so very happy.

"Hello," he replied, just as emotional as she. "So, what have you been up to lately?"

Rose choked on her laughter and hugged him more tightly. "Oh, you know, same old, same old. Hiding in plain sight, singing in the cabaret for Nazi bigwigs, blowing up the odd munitions depot."

He pulled away, holding her at arm's length. "Rose Tyler, Defender of the Allies!" he pronounced.

Rose rolled her eyes self-consciously, but smiled nonetheless.

"Where is Jonathan?" he asked, so excited his voice was quivering.

“He’s safe. With Jacques and Michel — Mickey and Jake — that’s what I call them now.”

"Have they taken care of you Rose? Because if they haven't-" he said sharply.

Rose nodded with a smile. "Yeah, they've been great, actually. I couldn't have done it without them, I don't think. They even were a part of my cabaret act. It was Jake's idea, the act was. We gathered a lot of intelligence from those drunk officers. Do all blokes boast about their exploits?" She grinned, and her pink tongue peeked through her teeth.

"Took a while to get Mickey to wear a blonde wig and fake eyelashes, though." Rose smiled.

The Doctor barked a laugh, and Rose joined him, laughing. After a while, their laughter subsided, and Rose furrowed her brows, suddenly nervous.

“John, you're okay with it, then? Being a dad?" Rose pulled back a little, but held onto his arms, looking up into his eyes.

"Rose, I can truly say, that at this very moment, I have never been happier in my entire life. And that includes our son," he said firmly so she understood the meaning. "There is one more thing though." The Doctor grasped her hands in his, and pulled them to his chest, close to his heart. "Five years ago I was so very rudely interrupted by some very not nice fellows."

"Yeah?" Rose hoped that she was right about what he was about to say. She had spent too many nights wondering, doubting, but ultimately hopeful about that unfinished sentence spoken in the cellar of a French château. She was nearly holding her breath, waiting for him to speak the words she most wanted to hear.

"Yes," the Doctor said softly and patiently, his eyes clearly conveying what he was about to say. He cupped her cheek and gazed into her eyes. "Rose Tyler, I love you."

Rose grabbed the lapels of his suit coat, and pulled him into another kiss, this even more passionate than the first.

They clung to one another, arms tightly wrapped, not willing to let go. This wasn't just a passionate kiss after a declaration of love. It was so much more for them. This was I love you, I missed you, I need you, and stay with me. After thoroughly kissing the breath from one another, they finally parted, still gazing into each other's eyes in wonder and joy.

They were finally together.

"Rose Tyler," he started to say, but then he paused. "I have lived without you for the past five years and I don't want to spend a moment more without you."

Rose felt tears in her eyes. "Doctor, I want..."

"No," he said softly but firmly. "Please let me finish." He smiled and took a deep breath. "Rose Tyler, you once said you wanted to give me forever. I would like to spend forever with you. If you want."

Rose grinned and threw herself in his arms. "Yes! Yes, I want!"

He pulled her into another passionate kiss, and when they parted he spun her around lifting her off the ground. The pink skirt that was hidden under her long, blue coat swirled in celebration.

Rose looked up into his glistening eyes. "Doctor, there's someone who has been waiting to meet you for as long as he can remember.” Rose whistled a little tune, and two men dressed in black, one carrying a small child, appeared from a far alley.

John’s cheeks were wet by the time the precious, sleeping boy was in his arms. He buried his face into the child’s hair and whispered words of love and comfort and joy and relief.

The boy stirred before he lifted his head. “Mummy?”

Rose put her arms around both the love of her life and her beloved boy, nestling her head between the two of them, first kissing John’s jaw, and then her son’s cheeks, feeling her tears mingling with John’s.

“Daddy?” he whispered.

“Yes, Jonathan, your Daddy’s here. Daddy’s got you. Both Mummy and Daddy are here and you’re safe. And I love both of you so much.”

“Take us home, Doctor,” Rose whispered into his neck.

“Allons-y.”