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The Sands of War

Chapter Text

 

Rose was used to the TARDIS’s rough landings, but when she was jarred out of her sleep because of a massive jolt, she had to think that something was wrong. No sooner had she sat up in bed than the Doctor had burst through her doors, his hair a mess and his jacket off.  

“Hi,” Rose said, her voice thick with sleep. “Are you alright?”

“Yep!” He said, though he didn’t look like he was.  “Just checking on you, since we had a bit of a rough landing.”

She cocked her eyebrow.  “Yeah, I’m fine, it just woke me up.  Where did you land us?”

The Doctor shook his head. “That’s just the thing! I didn't land us.  The TARDIS did.”

“What?” Rose swung her legs over the side of the bed, standing up. “Is she okay?”

“I think so-” his eyes flicked down to her legs, which were left mostly bare by sleep shorts.  He blushed and looked up at the ceiling, directing his eyes away from her. She rolled her eyes and stood up.  It was just like the Doctor to avoid anything that might be perceived the ‘wrong way’. He could be a bit much, these days, ‘these days’ being since his regeneration.

“Anyway, I’m going to go and check on the TARDIS, then I think we should go out and see where she’s dumped us, eh?”  The Doctor looked back to her, his eyes fixed firmly on her face.

Rose nodded. “Okay.  Just give me a bit to get dressed, alright?”

“Yep!  Perfect.”  He smiled at her and turned, heading back towards the console room.  Rose rolled her eyes at his behavior and started looking around in her drawers for something to wear.  The Doctor hadn’t told her what sort of weather they’d landed in, and she wasn’t sure that he knew, so she just pulled on jeans and a t-shirt, pairing it with a jacket.  She didn’t want to be caught not wearing enough, after all.

When she went to meet the Doctor in the console room, he was underneath the console, his legs bent up.  He swore a couple of times in Gallifreyan before rolling out from underneath the console and staring up at Rose.

“I don’t know why she landed,” He said, looking completely puzzled. “There’s nothing wrong!”

Rose frowned. “But there has to be a reason,” She said, “She doesn’t just land for no reason.  Aren’t you connected with her?”

“Yes, but she’s not telling me anything,” The Doctor sighed, running his hand through his hair.  “The times she’s acted like this are few and far between.”

Rose reached out and stroked one of the TARDIS’s coral struts.  “Are you alright?” She asked the ship, knowing that she wouldn’t respond, but also knowing that it wouldn’t hurt to ask.  A little grateful hum was sent her way and Rose smiled, patting the strut and looking back to the Doctor. “Safe to go out, at least?”

“Well, yes, it is,” the Doctor said slowly, “I just think there’s a reason the TARDIS landed us here.  And well, you’ll have to dress the part.”

Rose cocked her eyebrow.  “What? How come you never have to dress the part?”

“This is a matriarchal society, Rose, in the midst of war. I think we have to stop it, but I can’t get involved.  Not directly at least. It has to be you.”

Rose swallowed.  “Oh, um… That’s a little intimidating.  What would my role be, exactly?”

“Lady of the house.  I’d be your… Ahem. Servant.”  He blushed and looked away from her, and Rose felt her own cheeks heat up in response.

“Doctor, where are we going to get a house in the middle of a war?  Because we’re going to have to live somewhere if we want to blend in, you know that, right?”

“Yes, well, the TARDIS and the psychic paper will take care of that.  I wouldn’t worry too much.”

She scoffed. “I’m worried, Doctor.”

“Well, that’s understandable.  I think we’ll be fine though, providing we don’t cause too much trouble.  And the TARDIS will help us out with lodging and the like. I’m sure.”

Rose wasn’t as sure as the Doctor was, her stomach churning,and she sighed and looked up.  “And what am I supposed to wear?”
“The TARDIS will have something for you in the wardrobe room,” he said, and hopped up in front of her. “Thank you, Rose.”

Having him stand in front of her made her melt just a bit, so she smiled and nodded.  “Of course, Doctor. I’m interested in what’s going on too, just….” She wrinkled her nose. “Nervous.  I don’t think I’ve ever really been in charge before, you know?”

“I know,” he said, “But I think you’ll be just fine.”  He offered her a smile and turned back to watch the console screen.  Rose blinked and went back to the wardrobe room without another word.  The Doctor had been a bit odd with her since he regenerated. He’d get close to her, or touch her, and wouldn’t mind getting close, but he never got close enough.  Well, in her opinion at least. The closeness she’d shared with the Doctor was a bit ruined, and she only hoped that it would come back the longer they had since he had regenerated.

The wardrobe room opened up to show her a purple flowing dress sitting on a mannequin. It had a halter top, with a gold pendant sitting right under the collarbone, and it flowed out all the way to the ground, with arm pieces that would hold her upper arms and create wings that attached to the shoulders.  

Rose blew out a breath when she saw it.  She’d worn beautiful things in her time with the Doctor, but never anything like this.  She approached the dress, reaching out to touch it. It t was silky and she had a feeling that once she put it on she wasn’t going to want to take it off.

The TARDIS hummed happily at Rose’s satisfaction with the dress and Rose quickly dressed, glad there was a zipper from the lower to middle back.  The rest of the back was open, but the wings that attached to the upper arms of the dress covered most of her.

If this was what matriarchal societies wore, Rose was going to request they visited more of them.  She looked at herself in the mirror, smiling a little at the way it fit her. “Thanks,” She said to the ship, patting the wall on her way out.  

When she walked back out to the console room, she was surprised to see the Doctor dressed for the event as well.  He was wearing a loose white tunic and trousers, and brown sandals. She felt her jaw drop and then saw his drop.

“Erm.  Uh, the TARDIS told me she’s set up lodgings for us on the outside of town.  A villa! Apparently, you’re a princess.”

Rose blinked. “What?”

“Your role is that of a visiting princess from another planet.  You’re renting the villa. We can park the TARDIS in it.”

“And if I’m a princess, what are you?” She asked tentatively.  She wasn’t sure what his response would be, since he hadn’t bothered to tell her, but it would either be embarrassing for her, an aggravation to him, or something else entirely that she hadn’t thought about yet.

“I am your humble servant,” the Doctor said, his cheeks flushing.

She blinked. “What, for real?”

“Most women here have at least one male servant on staff.  And since I’m… A male… That’s me!” He grinned at her. “Only in public though.  I’m not allowed to walk alongside you or look you in the eye. And I can’t speak to anyone without your permission.”

Rose raised her eyebrows. “That’s a little extreme, don’t you think?”

“Well, yes, but it’s not my rules. In private we can talk as freely as you like, though, so it’ll be… The same, essentially.”
“Yeah, but what if I don’t know something and need your help?” Rose asked, starting to feel a little nervous.

“Ask for my assistance, but you can’t be overly kind to me,” the Doctor said, beginning to pilot the TARDIS, presumably to park them in their new villa.  “Men are really looked down upon in this society.”

Rose watched him, seating herself a little awkwardly on the jump seat.  “So I have to treat you like dirt, and we’re- what? Just people who are still living high class in the war?”

“Yep,” The Doctor replied cheerfully.  “The story we’ll go with is that you were visiting and got stuck when the war started. High society people often go on business as usual during a war, don’t they?  This isn’t any different. But, by the TARDIS’s calculations, this war will ruin the planet, economically and population wise. We need to calculate it and stop it.”

This sounded more like their territory.  Rose nodded, feeling a little more secure in their mission.  She watched him dance around the console, and she wondered if he was being dramatic just because, since they were only moving through space and not time.  He looked like he was enjoying himself, at least.

This new Doctor intrigued her so much, and she still knew he was the Doctor.  She could see it in his smile, and in the way he looked at her. But there were parts of it that were still awkward, like hugs and touches.  She wanted to hug him more, and snuggle up on the couch like she used to when he was… Well, the man he was before.

But this Doctor didn’t seem to like it as much.  Well, he was still tactical with ehr, but it didn’t seem to be the same. He didn’t seem to initiate it as much, and she wondered if he thought of her differently now. He said he was the same mand and she believed him, but it was exhausting to keep up wiht his emotions now.

The Doctor flipped a switch and the TARDIS started to roll in the vortex, making Rose grab onto the seat.  

“You dressed up for this one,” she remarked, just needing some sort of conversation to fill the air.

“I have to!” The Doctor said, almost indignantly. “All servants have to wear white.  It’s so in case they’re hiding anything in their clothes, their employers will see.”

“Servants or slaves?” Rose asked, narrowing her eyes.

“Servants,” the Doctor said firmly.  Vienna, that’s the name of this planet, is easy to leave.  But it’s a good situation for young men, steady pay, a place to stay.  Believe me, Rose, no one is here against their will.”

“Okay,” She said softly, and he smiled at her.  

“Besides!  You, bossing me around.  Isn’t that what you always wanted?”

Rose had to laugh.  “No, I don’t think so. I just wish you would listen to me sometimes, that’s all.”

“I listen to you all the time!” He said, feigning offense. “Besides, you’re the one that does all the wandering off.”

“Oh, that is simply not true,” Rose laughed, “You get distracted so much, especially now!”

“Well, we’ll just see about that,” He said, and went to straighten his tie before realizing he wasn’t wearing one. He awkwardly smoothed his hand over his tunic and sniffed, looking away from her and making her giggle.

The TARDIS landed with a jolt, ending anything else that would have happened during the moment, and Rose planted her feet so she wouldn’t launch forward.  She still stumbled off the seat, and the Doctor caught her about the waist. “Alright there?” He asked, looking very proud of himself for preventing the fall.

“Yeah,” She said, “Is it just the two of us, then? In the villa?”

“Yep!  Come on then, Rose Tyler,” he let go of her and headed towards the TARDIS doors, stopping to look back at her and waggle his eyebrows.  “Let’s go stop a war.”

Chapter Text

 

Rose had expected, based on their attire, that they would be entering a desert-esque landscape, and she was pleasantly surprised to find that she wasn’t one hundred percent right. After stepping out into the villa, Rose rushed straight to a window and saw that their villa overlooked a city.  On the edge of her vision she could see a huge river, so clearly there would not be a worry for water.

The city reminded her of Aladdin, and was clearly incredibly old fashioned.  She squinted a little. “Thought you said this planet was called Vienna?” She said, turning over her shoulder to the Doctor.

He lifted a shoulder. “Well, at this point, Earth has burned.  Lots of planets are named after prominent cities to pay homage, in a way.”

“Ah,” Rose looked back to the window.  “Can we go look around?”

“If you like,” The Doctor nodded to her, a twinkle in his eye.  “You are the boss, after all.”

“Yeah, but not in the house,” Rose said, smiling a little and trying desperately not to blush.  “Besides, isn’t there a war happening? Isn’t it dangerous?”

The Doctor came up behind her but didn’t stand right next to her, probably in case anyone was looking in the window.  It wouldn't do for him to stand right next to her, she supposed, if he was supposed to be her humble servant.

“Since when do wars affect the wealthy?” The Doctor teased, and Rose rolled her eyes.  

They went down to the marketplace below them, but not without Rose gawking at everything on their way down the stairs.  It was beautiful, and Rose didn’t think the two of them had ever had such a lovely place for the two of them. They’d always stayed in guest rooms and the like, they’d never had anything like this before.  And Rose had certainly never had anything like this before.

The people of the planet were a bit taller than the Doctor, and had pale green skin and pointed ears. They were beautiful, Rose had to acknowledge, and though the women looked at her, all the men stood behind the women, eyes downcast.  Some looked like the women, but some were very human, or other species she’d seen before on her travels with the Doctor. So, this really was a place for people in trouble to come to work. Well, men at least.

As he’d said, the Doctor stayed a step behind her at all times, even when she was at stalls looking at things.  She looked back at him to ask him a question, but he didn’t look her in the eye.

“I don’t like this,” She said lowly to him after a few stalls. “It feels weird.”

The Doctor huffed out a laugh behind her. “Mm,” he agreed, touching her arm to keep her away from someone who was about to brush up against her. “Pick something out, we have unlimited credit.”

‘I haven’t found anything I want,” Rose looked back at him.  “This place is incredible, though. I’ve never seen any place like it.”

“Well, I suppose not,” The Doctor mused, “I was here once before, but it was ages ago.”

Rose had been turned around to look at the Doctor, so she didn’t notice someone was in front of her until she bumped into her.

“Oh! I’m sorry,” She took a step back from the local woman she’d bumped into, running into the Doctor in the process.  The woman Rose had jostled had a humanoid young man behind her, whose eyes were downcast. It was still a terribly odd sight to see.

“Quite alright,” The woman said, smiling.  “I can see you are not from here. What is your name?”

Remembering her part, Rose dipped her head. “Princess Rose, of the… Powell kingdom.  It’s off world.”

“I would imagine so!  You don’t look like you’re someone of Vienna.  Well, no matter, it’s a pleasure to meet you, your highness,” the woman said, “I’m Leik, not a princess, I’m afraid.” She had a twinkle in her eye and seemed halfway decent, so Rose smiled at her.  “Tell me about your kingdom?”

“Well, it’s… Not unlike Vienna,” Rose said awkwardly, trying to keep her eyes from darting around too much.  “There’s not a lot of vegetation. Just needed to get away for a bit, you know?” She hoped Leik would take that as a hint that she didn’t want to talk about it.

The other woman smiled.  “I understand that completely.  Still, I must say, your servant is well behaved, for being an off worlder.”

“I told him the rules,” Rose said, trying to sound as stern as possible, “he knows the consequences for not following them.”  She resisted the urge to introduce him as she usually would.

She detected a bit of movement from the Doctor but chose to ignore it, knowing what she was saying was probably upsetting him or making him uncomfortable. Not for the first time, she wished they could be equals, like usual.

“Well, I’m impressed.  And even so, you’ve landed on our planet during a troubling time, I’m afraid.”

Rose nodded. “Yeah, we know there’s a war, but other than that, no one will really tell us anything.” She knew it was a fib, but didn’t think it would matter too much. They needed to know about the war regardless, and maybe she could get Leik to tell them something.

“Oh! I’m sorry to hear that you haven’t been informed,” Leik frowned.  “Why don’t you come to my house for evening meal tonight? I can give you the address my sister and I live at and you can meet me there later.  I can tell you anything you’d want to know.”

Rose felt her shoulders sag in relief.  “Oh, that would be wonderful. I’ve been so confused.  We wouldn’t have come here if we’d known a war was going to break out.”

“I can imagine,” Leik said, her voice full of what Rose labeled as motherly sympathy.  “Here,” she held her hand over her shoulder and her servant placed a small notebook in her hand without raising his eyes to her.  She wrote something down in it and handed the paper to Rose. “Here. Meet us here at about seventeen. Okay?”

“Great!” Rose said, looking down at the address.  “I’ll see you then. Thank you.”

Leik bowed her head to Rose in respect before walking around them, her servant at her heels.  

“What’s seventeen?” Rose asked.

“LIke military time, on your planet.  Except, you know, there’s twenty seven hour sin the day,” the Doctor said. “So… Just five pm.”

“Huh,” Rose frowned.  “Twenty seven hours. That’s kinda weird.”

“Not really, lots of places have different hours,” The Doctor told her, and she found herself missing them holding hands and him swinging them as he explained something.  The bounce in his step was telling her how it would feel.

They wandered around the market a bit, and Rose picked up a necklace for herself and a book that she’d seen the Doctor eyeing when he thought she wasn’t looking.  

Once they were back in the villa, the Doctor walked alongside her.  She handed him the book and he beamed at her.

“Thank you,” He said.

She rolled her eyes.  “It’s your money.”
“Yeah, well.”  He shrugged. “Have you seen the pool?”

“There’s a pool?” Rose let him change the subject, since that was what he liked to do now, when the moments got too heavy.  And she’d only given him a bloody book.  She resigned herself to the fact that they would never be the way they were before. Their easy conversations, no matter how deep, were gone forever, and she’d need to accept it.

“Yes, there’s a pool,” the Doctor said, jostling her from her thoughts.  “The TARDIS made sure there was a pool at our villa since she likes you so much.”

Rose smiled.  “Yeah, well, I don’t want to get in the pool before we go for dinner. Am I supposed to change for that?”

“You don’t have to,” The Doctor said, “Besides, you’re a princess, so I don’t think she’d be allowed to tell you how you should be dressing.”

The Doctor decided he’d go to the pool regardless of what Rose was doing, and, not wanting to be alone, Rose followed. It was a rooftop pool, out of sight of anyone, and the view extended so much farther than just the marketplace.  The city beyond was absolutely beautiful, and Rose inwardly decided she wanted a whole day to just adventure around the city.

She hiked her skirts up and dipped her feet in the pool while the Doctor changed into swim trunks from the TARDIS.  The water was clear and the aesthetic of it was somehow old and new at the same time. She heard the Doctor come in behind her minutes later and jump into the pool, far enough away from her that no water got on her dress.

He came up for air and slicked his hair back, rubbing water out of his eyes as well.  Rose laughed, kicking her feet a little in the pool.

“You know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you swim,” Rose said.

He frowned. “Really?”

“Yeah. Whenever I went swimming in the pool on the TARDIS you never came with me. You were always grumblin’ about something you had to do under the console or whatever.”

He looked a little crestfallen. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t get upset, it doesn’t matter.”

He seemed to want to say something else, but he didn’t.  He swam over to her, leaning against the wall next to her legs.  “I think you did well today.”

“Really?” She wrinkled her nose.  “I thought I wasn’t terribly convincing.”

“You were, though,” he said, “I didn’t think to tell you what country or planet you were from, so that’s… You really did do well. I think you’ll be fine tonight at dinner as well.”

She looked down at her feet, the intensity of his eyes so close to her making her stomach flip. “Well… Still, you should probably tell me what questions to ask. I won’t know.  Wait, can’t I tell you that I give you permission to speak?”

The Doctor sighed. “It would be extremely frowned upon, though. You’d be viewed as weak.”

“God, how do these women get married?” Rose groaned.

“Well, their husbands are submissive and sometimes they don’t marry men.”  He squinted the moment the words left his mouth. “You… Weren’t actually asking, you’re just frustrated.”

“Yeah.”
He reached his hand out to her as though he was going to take her hand but took it back when he saw water dripping from his fingers.  Rose reached out to him and took his hand, lacing their fingers together and laying them poolside. She looked at their joined hands, not sure what she should say, but deciding it might just be best to enjoy the moment.  She didn’t want to stare at him too long, but seeing him shirtless… Well, he was gorgeous.  

“Just ask about the war,” The Doctor said quietly after a few moments. “I think you’ll ask the right ones.  We just need to find out who the wrong side is so we can stop them.”

“You think that the two of us can stop a war by ourselves?” Rose asked, feeling a little doubtful.

“I’m certain of it.”  He watched her carefully, and she offered him a tight lipped smile.  He squeezed her hand, sensing her nerves. “You’ve been in diplomatic situations before, Rose, I have complete faith in you.”

She appreciated his confidence in her, and she wanted nothing more than to hug him, but she really couldn’t with him all wet and her trying to preserve her dress. Not to mention that he was half naked.  

“In any of those situations, I’ve had you, though.”

He smiled softly at her and leaned against the side of the pool, his chin rested on their joined hands.  “You don’t need me.”
“Yeah, I do.”
“No,” he shook his head.  “You don’t. You’ll be fine, I promise.  I’ve always said you ask the right questions.”

She stroked her thumb over his knuckles.  “Well, thanks.”

“Anytime.”  He squeezed her hand before releasing it and diving into the water, going in for another lap.  Rose sighed and leaned back on her hands. He was so unfair, really. She tilted her head back, letting the sun warm her skin.  Maybe the dinner at Leik’s house would answer plenty of questions for them, and they could start to work towards a solution.

If she asked the right questions, that was.

Chapter Text

The Doctor got out of the pool and Rose straightened herself out to get ready to go to Leik’s house.  The Doctor told her he knew how to get to the house, and it was within walking distance, which made Rose feel a little better.

“Wait, how do you know?” She asked.

“I kept note of key signs when we were walking around today,” the Doctor said, tapping the side of his temple. “Photographic memory, you know.”

Rose arched an eyebrow at him.  “Wow, okay, that’s a new one.’

“Well, I can’t tell you all my secrets at once, can I?”

The walk there was a bit odd, since the Doctor had to murmur directions from behind her. Despite his ‘photographic memory’, he got them lost a couple of times, but they still managed to make it to Leik’s home on time.  Rose was a bit tired when they got there, though, after all that walking.

Leik’s house was little more than a big, white stone hut, built to keep the sun off of it.  Rose knocked on the wooden door and barely a few seconds passed before Leik answered the door, her servant behind her and a young woman behind both of them, peeking over Leik’s shoulder.

“Ah, princess!” Leik bowed her head.  “You’re just in time. Come in!” Leik gestured for them to enter and Rose noticed that she hadn’t even acknowledged the Doctor, which she supposed was normal. She wanted to chance a glance back at him, but didn’t dare with so many eyes on them.

“Thank you once again for having me,” Rose said, hoping just including herself in the statement was what was required, or at least what was smiled upon.  “Is this your sister?” She gestured to the younger woman.

“Yes, this is Lydia.  A very earth centric name, I know, but our parents were fond of it.”  Leik pulled her starstruck sister forward. “You should say hello to the princess, Lydia.”

“A pleasure to have you in our home, Princess Rose,” Lydia bowed, and Rose dipped her head in acknowledgement.  

“Nice to meet you,” Rose smiled politely.  She noticed Lydia’s eyes darted to the Doctor more than once, and she swallowed hard.

“I’ve already got dinner all set up.  There are several rooms, as you can see, so the servants don’t have to eat with us.  I can send them into the other room if it makes you more comfortable.”

Rose resisted the urge to frown. “I wouldn’t be uncomfortable, but… Whatever you think is best.”

“Well, then they can stay, but Lydia and I do so enjoy to play cards with our guests after meals, so they can leave us then.”

The three women sat down at the table, and at a smaller table sat the Doctor and Leik’s servant, who had to sit on the floor instead of on chairs.  Rose felt a little bad, watching the Doctor fold his long legs up under him to sit comfortably, but these were the roles they had chosen to play.

On the table was what looked to be unleavened bread, as well as some odd colored vegetables and what Rose hoped was something similar to chicken. It was quaint, and that made her feel far more at home.

“We hope you will find the food to your liking, Princess,” Lydia piped up. “We wouldn’t want you to not have enough to eat.”

“It’s fine,” Rose said, smiling at the nervous woman.  “This is actually very similar to what we eat on… Powell.  But tell me, are these vegetables? I’ve never seen anything like them before.”

She could practically feel the Doctor biting his tongue to keep himself from rambling on about the food.  Leik explained to her what they were, which was basically a long, fancified version of ‘vegetables you’ve never seen before’.  Rose knew they were trying to impress her because of the princess charade, but it disappointed her a bit. She wished they’d come up with something else.

Then again, something else might not have gotten her invited over at all.  

“So, not to get… Right into it, what started this war?” Rose asked as everyone served themselves.

“Ah,” Leik nodded slowly.  “Well, it’s a civil war, within the country.  Some think that we should not be operating they way we do.”

“You mean, as a matriarchal society?”

“Yes, that and the fact that we don’t often accept trade from the outside.  It makes some upset, they feel like they’re closed off from the rest of the universe.”

Rose nodded, at this point not sure what side she should be on. “And what do you think?”

“I think we can let the outside in, but it’s hardly cause to start a war.”

Lydia shifted around a bit in her seat. “I think they’re just trying to protect us. All of us.”

“The warrior women have killed civilians,” Leik shot back.  “That’s not appropriate no matter what the circumstance is.”

“Intentionally?” Rose asked, frowning.

“More like there’s no warning for the civilians to clear out before the fighting begins.  We don’t even know where the fight is happening now, and we won’t until tomorrow.”

Rose furrowed her brows, her concern going.  “That’s… Um… concerning.”

“It certainly is,” Lydia said, nodding furiously, obviously just wanting to be included.  “I’m afraid they’ll come here.”

“Luckily, we’re not very good for war supplies,” Leik said, frowning at her sister. “This area isn’t rich in land or products that would be interesting to the generals and warrior women.  I should doubt they would come here.”

“What will we do if they do come here?” Rose asked, chewing her bottom lip as fear started to crawl through her.

“Oh, Princess, don’t worry!” Leik noticed Rose’s nervousness.  “We’ll be quite alright, I assure you. As long as you stay in your home, I’m sure everything will be fine.”

Rose smiled tightly. “Sorry, I’m just a bit nervous, I suppose.  I wasn’t expecting this when I came here.”

“I’m sorry you have to visit at such a time.  We weren’t expecting this either.” Leik rubbed her forehead, looking a bit frustrated. “It really is a stupid reason to fight, you know?  Simply because some people think things should be different.”

“Isn’t that all war?”  Rose asked, taking a sip of her water.  “You know, just fighting because we’re different?”

“You may be wise beyond your years, Princess Rose.”  Leik raised her glass to Rose.

The topic turned happier after that, and Rose found out more about the culture, which seemed very Ancient Greece, which she was very fond of.  Leik was very kind but she noticed Lydia glancing over at the Doctor more than once.

They were almost done with dinner when the wind started to pick up outside.  Rose turned to see sand coming in through the window. WIthout a word, the Doctor and Leik’s servant got up and started fastening down sheets over the windows.

“Ah. Sandstorm,” Leik said glumly.  “Looks like you might have to stay here for the night, Princess.”

Rose swallowed, “That’s alright, I’m sure we can make it back.”

“Nonsense.  We have a spare room.  It’s a bit small, though, and your servant will have to sleep on the floor, of course.”
“Of course,” Rose replied, trying not to be a touch offended that the Doctor was being spoken about that way.  She really wasn’t enjoying being his upper as much as she thought she might.

After staying up for awhile and chatting with the two ladies,  Rose yawned one too many times and they were ready to rush her off to bed, eager to please a ‘princess’.  She was given extra clothes to sleep in and she and the Doctor were huddled in a small room that luckily had a door.  Light still made it in through the window, even though it was covered by a sheet. She sank down on the bed, relieved, as the Doctor finished folding up her dress from the day.

“Do you know how hard it is to be in the same room with you and not be allowed to talk to you?” She asked the Doctor.

“Do you know how hard it is not to talk?”  He replied, arching an eyebrow.

She laughed, kicking her feet a little on the high bed. “Yeah, I suppose that’s proper traumatic for you, isn’t it?”

He sniffed and sat down beside her.  He nudged her shoulder with his. “By the way, I was right. You were amazing.”

She blushed a little, unable to look him in the face. “Thanks,” she said, “Though I still don’t know who’s side we should be on.  On one hand, there’s nothing wrong with wanting change, but do they really have to kill people over it?”

The Doctor sighed, slumping forward a bit.  “It’s hard to say. Leik seems to have a pretty firm opinion on it.  Of course, most people do when it comes to war, don’t they?”

Rose nodded, relaxing and settling her head on his shoulder. “It makes me exhausted,” she laughed softly.  “I hate not knowing what the right thing is.”

“Yeah,” The Doctor’s voice sounded a bit strained, and she found his hand with both of hers, squeezing it tight.  “Sometimes you don’t know what the right thing is until it stares you in the face.”

“Even then, it’s okay not to know.”

He tilted his body so he was looking down at her, a bemused expression on his face. “Have I told you recently that you really are fantastic?”

She wrinkled her nose at him. “No, not recently.”

“And I’m sorry about that.”

She yawned in response, which wasn’t what she’d meant to do, but the day and the heat had caught up with her, as well as the sand kicking about outside their window. “Too bad we can’t spend our first night here in our posh villa.”

He sighed.  “It really is a shame, isn’t it?” he sounded so saddened by it that she couldn’t help but laugh.  He started to get off the bed and she frowned.

“Where are you going?”

“The floor.”

“You don’t…” She squirmed a little and looked away from him. “You don’t have to sleep on the floor.  We can share.”

He watched her carefully. “Are you sure?”

“Yeah, the bed’s big enough.  Besides, I’d feel all kinds of guilty if you had to sleep on that hard floor.”  She scuffed the floor with her toe. “Besides. We shared… Before.”

“I didn’t know if you’d still be comfortable with that.”  His eyes on her were making her a little nervous, and she bit the inside of her lip to keep herself from saying anything stupid.

The Doctor nodded a little and without another word the two of them adjusted themselves under the covers.  They were facing each other and sharing the one pillow that sat on the head of the bed.

“It’s funny how it’s so primitive here, but the beds are so nice,” Rose said, her eyes fluttering shut.

The Doctor’s chuckle was warm and filled her with heat, so she studiously ignored it.  “A mix of cultures is always something interesting, isn’t it?”

“Mm.”

His hand moved up to her head and he stroked his fingers along her hair. “I’m sorry,” he said, “I should’ve realized that you were tired.”

“How could you?  You’re not supposed to talk to me.”  WIthout realizing it, she cuddled a little closer to him, and he allowed it.

“I suppose that’s true.”  

“So how do we stop this war?” She whispered, not wanting to admit that she was afraid.

He sighed deeply through his nose. “Well, I know you wouldn’t want the fighting to come to us, but it’s got to.  That’s the problem, that we can’t track the fighting. Even the TARDIS might not be able to.”

“Really?”

“Like you said, they’re a bit primitive.  So obviously they did their record keeping a bit differently.  And besides that… history is always skewed just a little bit in the history books, isn’t it?”

“I guess… I would sort of hope that they keep their wars straight, though.”

“We can look in the morning,” The Doctor promised.  

As it got darker around them, they grew braver, and when they finally fell asleep, the Doctor was curled protectively around Rose, his back to the door.  Her hand fisted in the front of his shit, as if afraid he’d sneak away in his sleep.

Of course, he stayed.

Chapter Text

Rose floated in and out of sleep all night as the sand storm raged on outside.  Every time she woke she could feel the Doctor in front of her. It was comforting, to be surrounded by him in a world she didn’t know.  At one point she thought he murmured something to her, but she wasn’t awake enough to question him about what it was. She did, however, distinctly feel him press a kiss to her forehead in the middle of the night.  When she opened her eyes and looked up at him, however, his were closed.

She huffed and rolled into him, wrapping her arms around his waist. She wanted to let him know that she was alright with any touches he wanted to bestow upon her, and he didn’t seem to mind, as he wrapped his arms around her waist in return.  She smiled and rolled a little closer to him. She knew he really wasn't awake enough to hold his supreme Time Lord-yness over her, so she took what she could get. It was simply nice to be close to him.

When she woke up to sunlight streaming through the sheet that covered their window and onto her face,  the Doctor was on the ground, appearing to be sleeping soundly. She frowned. As selfish and improbable as it was, she had wanted to wake up next to him.  She reached out of the bed and tapped him on the shoulder. “Hey, what are you doing on the floor?”

He rolled over and looked up at her.  “I’m not really supposed to be in bed with you, so if someone had come in here, we would’ve been in a lot of trouble.”

Rose swallowed. “Oh.  Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

“Do you need help getting back into your dress?”

“No, I can do it.”

“Alright, then I’ll go out and see what I can see about breakfast.  I doubt the ladies are up yet.” He shuffled to his feet and smiled at her.  She sat up in bed and looked over at him.

“Doctor, Leik’s sister, Lydia… She has a crush on you.”  She said it before she could even think about it, and winced once the words slipped past her lips.

The Doctor turned and looked to Rose curiously, his eyes curious. “And how do you know?”

“I know this kind of stuff, Doctor,” Rose replied, picking at an imaginary thread on her cot. “I’m just saying, be careful. She might try to come after you.”

He arched his eyebrow and stared at her for a few moments. “Are you saying you think Lydia might hit on me?”

Well, in for the penny.  “That’s exactly what I’m saying.”

They stared at each other for a moment in a not-quite staredown, and finally, the Doctor put on a huge smile, winked at her and said, “Lucky for you I’m a terribly loyal servant” before disappearing out the door.  Rose blew her cheeks out, not wanting to know what he meant by that little statement. He was always doing that anymore, saying things he didn’t mean and teasing her. Well, since his regeneration, anyay. Before, she felt like they were always pretty much on the same page.  But not anymore.

She sighed and rolled out of bed, dressing slowly back into her clothes from the day before.  It took her a bit longer this time, and once she was done she did everything she could to try to put her hair back into some sort of order.  There was no mirror in the room so she had no idea if she was presentable enough, but she supposed it wouldn't have mattered really.

When she got back out to the living area of the house, Leik was already awake, and her servant was setting the table with the Doctor.  Rose watched for a moment before Leik saw her.

“Ah, good morning, Princess!  I trust you slept well.”

“Very well, thank you,” Rose smiled.  “The storm’s passed, yeah?”

“Yes, very early this morning it ended,” Leik said, “Which I’m sure you’re very relieved for!”

Rose nodded, smiling.  “Not that staying with you wasn’t lovely! I just like to at least have a change of clothes when I stay somewhere.”  She hoped Leik wouldn’t be offended by her statement, but Leik just smiled.

“Very true,” she acknowledged, tilting her head in a very elegant manner. “I hope you will stay for breakfast before heading home.”

“We’d love to,” Rose said.  She was actually starving and didn’t quite want to walk home in the heat without having something in her stomach.

Luckily, breakfast was normal, eggs and some sort of toast.  Rose tried not to eat too quickly, but the Doctor and Leik’s servant weren’t concerned with table manners. If there was anything the Doctor wasn’t going to turn down, ever, it was a good meal. She almost laughed, but turned her attention away from them.

“Where’s Lydia?” Rose finally asked, even though she didn’t quite care.  

“Oh, she likes to sleep late,” Leik waved her off.  “She might not even want to come out before you leave, honestly.”  She smiled. “That girl will never be a leader, that’s for certain.”

Rose laughed a little.  “Well, I suppose it’s not really meant for everyone.”

The rest of breakfast passed slowly until Leik suddenly called out, “Oh!  You missed a messenger. Apparently the fighting is nearing here, so you might want to clear out of where you’re staying.”

Rose tried to look shocked, but she knew that no matter what she and the Doctor would be staying nearby.  They were looking to get in on the action, after all. She nodded demurely to Leik. “We’ll keep that in mind. Thank you for telling me.”
“Of course.  I wouldn’t want you to get hurt.”

They left right after breakfast so as not to overstay their welcome, and the second Leik’s door was shut behind Rose and the Doctor, she spoke to him.

“We’re not going anywhere.”

“Nope,” he said cheerfully, still walking behind her.  “We’re staying put, Rose Tyler, and we’re going to like it.”

She laughed a little, the slight awkwardness of earlier forgotten.  “We always do, don’t we?”

“Yep!  Even if things get a little sticky, the TARDIS is right there, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much.”  She could practically hear the bounce in his step and shook her head a little.

“And knowing us, things will be getting very sticky,” she pointed out, wanting to look at him to at least shoot him a dirty look.

“Quite right!” He chirped, completely unbothered. She rolled her eyes. Of course he would be.

Of course, she wasn’t concerned either.  Not really. She trusted the Doctor and she was sure that everything would be fine. Although it would be something that would probably be tough, she knew they’d be able to get through it. The thought made her heart swell and she wanted to just grab his hand.

“-And see, Lydia doesn’t have a crush on me, or she would’ve gotten up to see me off!”  The Doctor has been talking the whole time and Rose hadn’t been paying attention at all.

She blinked. “Well that’s not true,” she said, “she was probably up all night thinking about you, or something.”

“Rose Tyler, are you jealous?”  He sounded almost happy about it, and she felt her cheeks heat up in response.

“I am not!” She snapped.

“Oh, you are!”  He laughed a little.  “Rose, you don’t need to worry. Not at all.  I’m not going to run off into the sunset with some girl.”

She bit her tongue. She could think of a couple times he’d swanned off, but she wasn’t about to pick an argument with him when they were getting along so well.

It seemed to take ages to get back to the villa, and by the time they got there, Rose felt like she might need a nap. The sun had risen and was beating down on them. Once she was in the villa, she threw herself face down onto the couch and groaned.  “Wow,” She said, “All that walking.”

The Doctor sat down next to Rose on the couch by her feet and patted the back of her calf.  “Awful, isn’t it?”

“My feet hurt,” Rose complained.

The Doctor shocked her by slipping her shoes off and beginning to rub one of her feet. She tried not to jerk in surprise too much.  As tactical as this Doctor was, she was still terribly concerned about doing or saying the wrong thing. He massaged the bottom of her foot with his thumbs and she sighed, pressing her face back into the couch.

“Thanks,” She said softly.  

“Mm.”  He sighed heavily and leaned back on the couch himself.  “You know, the reason this hurts your feet so much is because the soles of your shoes are actually too flat.  They offer no support on the sand, which has maximum resistance.”

“Interesting,” She mumbled into the couch.

“I certainly think so!” He said. He continued chatting about happily about shoes and feet, but his foot rub put her to sleep before she could even pretend to pay attention to what he was saying.

When she woke up, the Doctor was moving about the kitchen, and Rose sat up on the couch.  “Doctor?”

“Ah, you’re up!”  He looked over at her and smiled brightly.  “I was thinking tonight we’d go to a party.”

She blinked, perking up in an instant. “A party?”

“Yep!” The Doctor said, popping the ‘p’.  “I checked the TARDIS’s files on this place, and apparently there’s a very urban setting about four miles from here.  And, uh… Well, there’s a good friend of ours there.”

Rose felt excitement start to build up in her.  “Oh? And who’s that? You and I don’t have too many mutual friends, Doctor.”

He laughed. “No, I suppose we don’t.  And honestly, I wasn’t going to tell you.  But it’s Jack. The TARDIS is picking up his signal.”

Rose’s eyebrows shot up into her hairline. “What?! Jack’s alive?   And you didn’t tell me?”

The Doctor blushed deeply and went back to the stove he’d seemingly been slaving over. “Well, no. I didn’t know where he was and I didn’t want you to be mad at me.”  He looked up at her from under his fringe. “You were already upset with me after the regeneration, I didn’t want to push my luck.”

Rose took a deep breath, trying to keep her cool. “I wasn’t mad at you, Doctor, I was just confused. That’s totally different.”  She watched him, hoping he believed her. “Um. Besides, what are you doing?”

“Cooking you lunch,” he looked incredibly proud of himself, so she had to bite her lip to keep herself from laughing too hard.

“Was there really anything in the fridge?” She asked.

“Yep!” He was dishing something out onto plates, and he nodded to the dining room table.

Having lunch in a posh villa with the Doctor was something that made her feel very strange.  In a good way. It felt all too domestic, though, and she knew that he wasn’t going to put up with it for too long.  

“So, what’s this party for?”  She asked once they were about halfway through their meal.  “You’re not one for parties. And you can’t even interact with anyone, really.”

The Doctor lifted a shoulder. “It’s… Interesting, you know?  I can sneak around and see what’s going on with the war, what went on today, and you can… i dunno, socialize.”

Rose snorted. “I don’t know if I’ll be good as socializing while you aren't able to talk to people.  Well, women.” Of course, she thought, that might be a good thing.

“Well, maybe I’ll talk to Jack.  We don’t know why he’s here anyway, it might be nice to check it out.”  The Doctor lifted a shoulder. “I don’t know if that’s going to be interesting, though.”  

Rose leaned back and crossed her arms over her chest.  “I think that the two of you will have plenty to talk about.  Especially the fact that you abandoned him without telling me that he was even alive.”  

He had the decency to at least look sheepish. “Well, I know that you would never tell me.  Why we left him, that is. I’ll just ask him later.”

“Um, well, you don’t need to do that,” he said, his eyes darting around.

“Hm.”  Rose regarded him carefully.  “I think I still will.” She leaned her elbow against the table. “Thanks for cooking lunch, though.”

He puffed up at her words, all of his earlier sheepishness forgotten.  It was amazing how quickly this man’s ego could reinflate. “Well, I wouldn’t want you to starve on a foreign planet, would I?”  He waggled his eyebrows at her.

She laughed, mostly because she knew he wanted her to. But she couldn’t help but wonder what Jack was doing on this planet.  He wouldn’t do well in a matriarchal society, would he? Not one where he couldn’t control anything, at least.

But as nervous as she was, she knew that she’d at least have two people around her that she trusted.

Well, of course, if Jack was still the same.

Chapter Text

Rose took a shower in the villa and changed into a dress similar to the one she’d been wearing, only this one was a yellow that changed to pink at the bottom of it.  Rose twisted around and looked at herself in the full length mirror of what the Doctor told her was her bedroom. He’d explained that this was the mistress bedroom (which she thought sounded a bit wrong, but when in Rome) and that he’d be down the hall.  Rose had peeked in on his room and was relieved to find it didn’t look like standard servant’s quarters. It was actually quite nice.

Smoothing her hands down her skirt, she found nervousness beginning to bubble up inside her.  As much as she knew the Doctor was gung ho on stopping the war, she wasn’t sure he completely understood exactly what was going on.  Well, of course he did, the Doctor understood nearly everything, but if she was captured, or killed… That was it. He’d regenerate. But she would die.

She wasn’t sure why she was so afraid to die.  She didn’t used to be. But something about watching the Doctor explode in flames and come back as a different man had scared her a little.  They were in a good place now, and their relationship (Whatever that was) was stable, but she always felt like she was saying the wrong thing, or couldn’t bring up his former self.  

She left the room only to run into the Doctor.  He huffed out a breath and caught her around the waist.  

“Whoops!” he said, smiling at her.  “Oh! Pink and yellow!”

She frowned a little. “Um, yeah.”

“Lovely.” The compliment seemed to roll off his tongue, which surprised Rose even more.  She blushed and slipped past him.

“Well, we’d better get going to that party, yeah?  Do we know the address? And do they know who we are?”

“They know who you are,” the Doctor corrected her.  “They won’t know me, of course.”

“Of course.”

*******

They ended up riding a carriage into the town, which was far more urban than anything they’d seen thus far. There was a bit more grass around, and bigger buildings as well.  It almost looked like any regular city, and Rose found her jaw dropping. She wanted to ask the Doctor what things were, how they got built, and why things were so different a mere thirty minutes away from the small town they were staying in, but the driver would hear, and if they could avoid that, it would be terribly helpful.

The Doctor exited the carriage and extended his hand to Rose with his head bowed.  Despite the flutter in her stomach she stoically took his hand and allowed him to help her down.  She passed a stack of notes to the driver and thanked him before leading the way to the front of what looked to be a house.  

She knocked, not sure if that was the right thing to do here, and was surprised when the door opened about a half a second later, revealing Jack Harkness.  Rose pursed her lips, trying to keep herself from smiling or showing any emotion at all.

Jack beamed at her.  “Oh, relax, Rosie, all the stuffy folk stay upstairs. This is where the servants hang out until the party’s over.”  He held his arms out. “Give me a hug.”

She smiled and ran into him, wrapping her arms around his waist.  He chuckled and wrapped his arms around her back. “I missed you too.”

The Doctor made an indignant sound in the back of his throat. “Well, alright, that’s enough of that.”

“Why, Doc, do you want some?” Jack teased, releasing Rose.
“No thank you,” he frowned.  “But it’s good to see you.”

“Why are you here?” Rose blurted out.

Jack shrugged, his smile slipping a little. “It’s just where I ended up, honestly.  After the Game Station I was drifting along. I’m the servant to Jeze, who’s throwing this party since I assume the two of you don’t know, until I have enough money to get off this planet.  Until then, well.. It’s not a bad setup, really.”

“Yeah, you and all your flirting. Bet it’s easy to keep you in line.”
“Oh, not at all,” Jack grinned.  “Luckily, there are some people here who like to break rules.”

Rose arched an eyebrow.  “Well, leave it to you to find those people.”

He flashed another smile at her and winked.  “You know it.” He gestured to them both. “Come on in.  Me and the Doc will have some alone time while Rose parties with the rich.”

Rose rolled her eyes as she entered.  “How’d you even know it was the Doctor? He’s regenerated.”

“Well I know a thing of two about Time Lords,” Jack said as he shut the door behind them once they were inside.  “And besides. I know you wouldn’t travel with anybody else besides him.”

Stumbling over incoherent words, Rose flushed and headed up the stairs to the rest of the party.  She was instantly accepted and the other women, dressed just as posh as her, drew her in and offered her some wine.   She accepted and fell into chatting with the other ladies. It really had been a long time since she’d had some girl talk, and she was pleasantly surprised to see Leik there as well.  She made a beeline for her.

“I didn’t know you were coming!” She said, feeling relieved beyond measure to see a familiar face.

“Same to you,” Leik smiled, nodding to Rose in greeting. “I’m very glad to see you out!  Miss Jeze really does host the best parties!”

Rose laughed, the tightness in her chest releasing. “So I’ve heard.  I wanted to see what it was all about, thought there was no better time than now.”

Leik raised her glass of wine and nodded. “Here, here, Princess!  Come on, I’ll introduce you around.”

*********

While Rose was getting the grand tour and being fawned over by everyone, the Doctor was stuck with Jack, scrubbing dishes in the kitchen with the rest of the servants.  There were quite a few men drifting around, all wearing pretty much the same uniform the Doctor had donned.

“I know you don’t like not being the center of attention,” Jack said, as another servant brought down another tray of dishes from the party, “But I think it’s nice that Rose gets to do her own thing for once.”

The Doctor narrowed his eyes. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Jack shrugged, dunking the dishes in the soapy water. “I don’t really mean anything by it, but, you know… It’s always about you.  You save the day, another girl falls all over you… And that was back then, I can’t imagine what your woman situation is like now.”  Jack paused for a minute and glanced suspiciously back at the Doctor. “Unless-”

“Unless what?”
“Unless you and Rose finally did it.”

The Doctor sputtered and walked away from the sink, wiping his hands on his trousers. “Now, that, Jack Harkness, is absolutely ridiculous, and besides, I don’t really appreciate you talking about Rose like that.”

Jack turned to face the Doctor and leaned back against the counter. “Oh, yeah? Because, Doctor, the way she looks at you is not ridiculous, and it’s not a little girl’s infatuation, either.  She’s in love with you.”

The Doctor didn’t know quite what to do with that. He sputtered for a moment, ran his hand through his hair, and tried terribly hard not to be embarrassed when some other men snickered at him, but all to no avail.  “Listen,” he said softly, “I don’t know what makes you think that, but Rose is my companion. It’s incredibly unprofessional for us to be discussing her this way.”

“But you want to.”

“I do not.”

“You were staring at her when you walked in! I’ll bet you like watching her in that dress just as much as every other guy here.”

“Other guys were not looking at her.”

“Hey, boys?” Jack called out, crossing his arms over his chest.  The other servants in the room turned to look at him and the Doctor had to wonder what he’d done to earn that level of attention from them.  Jack smiled a little. “Did you all see Princess Rose when she came in?”

One of the men blew his cheeks out and let out a laugh.  “Never seen a better looking woman, boss. I’d like to see her in something not so loose, though.”  The other men heartily agreed and the Doctor’s jaw dropped. He saw red and all he wanted to do was gather Rose up and take her back to the TARDIS where he was the only one looking at her at all times.   No Jack, none of these men.  Nobody. It was a primal instinct and he wasn’t quite sure where it had come from but it had hit him full force.

Jack laughed, breaking the Doctor out of his thoughts.  “See?”

The Doctor frowned. “I’m done talking about this.  There’s a reason we came here tonight.”

The smile slipped from Jack’s face as he accepted the change in mood. “You’re here about the war, aren’t you?”

“I’m here to stop the war.”

“Oh, I’ll bet you are,” Jack said, and tilted his head back a bit. “Problem is, this society, and Vienna as a whole, is a bit bonkers about communication.”

“So I’ve noticed,” The Doctor replied.  “Word travels pretty slow around here, and we don’t even know where the fighting is half the time.  We can’t stop what we can’t see coming. The TARDIS picked up your signal and I thought maybe you could help.”

Jack sighed dramatically. “Ah, so it’s not just a casual visit?  Fine. But keep in mind I”m not doing it for you, I’m doing it for Rose.”

“I just need to know what you know,” the Doctor said, trying hard to be patient about the whole thing.  “Do you know where the fighting is?”

Jack pursed his lips and looked around the room, making sure no attention was on them.  Luckily, everyone had moved on, and was doing their job or enjoying a quick meal. He reached into the pocket in his trousers and pulled out some sort of pocket computer.  Touching the screen, it flared to life, showing a detailed map of the area.

“This is a historical map of the time period,” Jack said in a hushed tone. “And before you get on me about it, no, I shouldn’t know or have this.  But I do, and it’s helping you, so I don’t want you on your high horse.” He scrolled along and zoomed in on where they were. “So, this is the town we’re in right now.  The fighting is about twelve miles north of here, in the desert. Completely out of the way of urban life.”

The Doctor furrowed his brows and lamented not bringing his glasses.  “Hang on, then. It’s that close? And no one knows?”

“Yes.”

“So, we’ve got less time than I thought.”

“What’s your plan, Doctor?”

“When have I ever had a plan?”

Jack grumbled and scrubbed his hand over his face. “Usually I’m all for that, but not this time.  You’re putting Rose in a lot of danger here.”

“Rose would be upset with me if I put her in less danger,” The Doctor pointed out.  “She knows when I’m trying to keep her safe and she resents me for it.”

“So, you’re just going to walk up to the women warriors and demand a cease fire? That’s not gonna go well.”

“No.  I was hoping we’d have more time, so Rose could establish her place in society, and then maybe we could stumble upon a camp.”

“You’ll certainly be able to stumble upon a camp,” Jack said humorlessly.  “But you need me. You need this map. Rose is going to have to make friends with Jeze so that I can come along and we can work things out.”

The Doctor nodded in understanding. “I know,” he said softly.  “It’s just… I hate not being on equal footing with her. I hate having to work separate and not as a team.”

“Believe me, Doc.  If Rose hasn’t changed a lot, and I don’t think she has… Then she’s feeling the same way.  Have you tried telling her about your feelings for her?”
The Doctor rolled his eyes almost painfully.  “Jack, I’m not-”

The other man held his hands up in surrender.  “Sorry. Come on, let’s keep having a look at this and see when the two of you can sneak in.”

Chapter Text

While the Doctor was being tormented by Jack on the first floor, Rose was having the absolute time of her life.  She’d forgotten, for a bit, that they had to be stopping a war, and was enjoying the party. She was getting along very well with Jeze, who was Jack’s mistress.  The woman was one hundred percent ready to have fun, as evidenced by the fact that she was throwing this party.

“Several times a month, if she can,” Leik said, telling Rose as if it were a secret.  “Sometimes she likes to have royal men from other planets here. It’s a lot for her servants to handle.”

“She has more than one?” Rose asked, surprised.

“Yes, she’s got three.  They do all her planning for her so that she can just show up and enjoy the party.  It’s exhausting, I’m sure, but of course, they never complain.”

Rose was a bit sure that Jack enjoyed it, really.  He wouldn’t be the one to turn down a party, after all, even if he was the one planning it.  She nodded, and decided it might be best to change the subject.

“So, is Lydia here as well?” She asked, even though she really, really didn’t care.

Leik sighed. “She’s around,” she said, exasperated. “I swear, that girl will be the death of me. I was hoping she’d be out on her own by now.”

Rose opened her mouth to reply, but a woman who looked more human than anyone else here approached, waving happily.  She had dark hair and sparkling green eyes, and it was obvious by the way she carried herself that she was the one in charge of the party.

“Jeze!” Leik greeted her happily. “This is Princess Rose.  It’s her first party of yours.”

“Nice to see you too, Leik,” Jeze laughed. “And nice to meet you, Princess.  I’m sorry you had to visit our little planet when so much is going wrong. That’s why I try to make things more fun around here.”

“I completely understand,” Rose said.  “And it seems as though everyone is enjoying it too.”  

Jeze took a shine to Rose right away, and Rose found herself hanging out with the other two women for most of the party.  Lydia eventually showed up, but since Rose had already taken a dislike to her, she found herself not talking to her as much.

Eventually, Leik and Lydia went off to get something to eat, and Jeze ushered Rose to sit with her on the couch.

“Oh, I can tell you don’t like Lydia,” she said softly, looking around to make sure that no one was truly listening.  

Rose blushed. “Oh, I wouldn’t say that-”

“She’s desperate for a husband,” Jeze whispered. “None of the other women here are too ready to be married, but she has been obsessed with the idea.  Even going after servants!”

Something ticked off alarm bells in Rose’s head with that statement.  If Lydia went after the Doctor, she would have hell to pay to Rose.

“Oh?” Rose asked, arching an eyebrow.

“Yes.  Such a shame that Leik is saddled with her.”

“Why is she?” Rose asked.  “I didn’t want to ask Leik and upset her.”

“No, of course not,” Jeze patted her knee.  “Lydia refuses to move out without being married.  All she wants is a family. Which is completely understandable, but… I think there might be a better way to go about these things.”

“Do you wish to be married, Jeze?”  Rose asked, hoping she wasn’t overstepping any boundaries by asking.

Jeze lifted her shoulder, glancing upwards for a moment. “I’ve had gentleman callers, but nothing that I’ve ever wanted to last.  Do you intend to marry?”

“I’m… Expected to,” Rose said, trying to play her part as best as possible.  “You know, within my own… Kingdom.”

Jaze nodded with understanding.  “Yes, I understand. But do you want it?”

Rose was forced to consider it seriously.  She thought of the Doctor, who would never settle down. She thought about how she didn’t really want to leave him.  But… The idea of having children, and having a family… It was nice. “I think I would. With the right person, you know?”

“Oh believe me, I know.”  Jeze glanced around the room. “As liberating as it is to be around peers, other young women, one often misses the company of men.  Tell me, do you speak to your servant in private?”

Rose smiled a little. “Yeah,” She said softly, “On my planet, it’s a little different.  We don’t really have servants, but because we’re living here, it’s what my… Servant plays into.”

“Oh.  That must be so lovely.  I talk to mine too sometimes, when no one else is around, you know.”  

“I understand,” Rose said softly, “I sort of wish things were a little different.”

Jeze wrinkled her nose. “Me too.”

Leik and Lydia arrived back then, and Rose pasted on a smile, filing away everything Jeze had said for later.

****

“Maybe you and Rose can come over on another occasion,” Jack was suggesting to the Doctor down in the kitchen.

The Doctor looked over at Jack slowly. “What’s the catch?”

“Nothing.”  Jack shrugged.  “I just think it might help the both of you with your… Quest, or whatever.  You want to stop the war, I don’t think you’ll find a better person to help than Jeze.  And besides, she’s not like the rest of the population. We’re almost friends.”

The Doctor blinked. “That’s not really allowed, is it?”

“No, not at all.  But we have an understanding, and she knows that someday I’m leaving.  In the meantime, I do enjoy her company.”

“In… In what way?”

Jack laughed at the Doctor’s uncomfortable expression.  “Not like that. Well, not yet anyway. Time will tell. She’s a nice girl and everything, but she might want to settle down, and I wouldn’t want to disappoint her.”

“You know, we could just… Take you with us, when this is all over,” the Doctor suggested hesitantly, only because he knew that Rose would want him to.  If they never offered, Rose would probably hit him, and that wasn’t on his list of things to enjoy from Rose. He sighed and looked away from Jack, not even wanting to see his response.

“I’d… Like that.”  Jack seemed openly surprised. “I think it would be wonderful to travel with you both for just a little bit before going back to Cardiff.”

“What are you doing in Cardiff?”

“Torchwood.”  Jack laughed when the Doctor cringed and shook his head. “I knew you wouldn’t like it.  But that’s alright, I wouldn’t be travelling with you forever. But… I missed you both. And it hurt when you left me, Doctor.”

The Doctor sighed. “I know what happened to you.  You’re an anomaly now.”

“So is Rose, but you didn't kick her out.”

The Doctor narrowed his eyes at Jack. “Where did you get that idea?”  

“I know she’s different,” Jack said, “I can feel it because I’m different. I can’t die.  But of course, you know that.”

For the first time, the Doctor was embarrassed by his own actions.  “I know.”

“And what about Rose? She’s not the same, not after Bad Wolf.”

“It’s nothing I can sense, she’s fine.”  The Doctor narrowed his eyes. “If I could feel something wrong, I’d scan her.  But there’s nothing wrong.”

“Doctor, I’m one step under celestial being.”  Jack’s voice was incredibly matter of fact. “I can tell something’s going on with her.”

The Doctor didn’t want to admit that anything might be wrong with Rose, of course, because if she even might be suffering ill effects from Bad Wolf… He wasn’t sure he would handle it well.  Of course, he knew that Jack was probably right, and that he should get Rose checked out. But he was afraid of what he might find.

“Doc?”

“I know,” he said softly.  “But I’m not losing her, I would know.  And I can’t… If something’s happened to her, she would hate me.  Probably want to go home too.”

“Wild horses couldn’t drag her away from you,” Jack said softly, “You have to know that by now.”

“She’s… Fond of me.”

“Yeah, okay, Doc.”  Jack patted him on the back.  “If you want to keep being delusional, that’s fine by me.”

When it was all said and done, the Doctor and Rose stayed the latest out of anyone at the party.  Even Leik and Lydia begged off exhaustion, and disappeared shortly after the sun went down.

Since Jeze felt comfortable with Rose, she invited Jack and the Doctor to join them upstairs.  Rose felt relief surge through her. Having a lot of time in a strange environment without the Doctor made her a little unsettled, so she was glad to have him around again.

“I want everything to be like you would have it on you rhome planet, princess,” Jeze said as the Doctor took a seat next to Rose.  Jack smirked at them and sat next to Jeze, leaving a surprising amount of room between them. Knowing Jack, Rose would’ve thought he would’ve practically crawled into her lap.  

“Well, thank you,” Rose laughed, feeling the knot that she hadn’t realized was in her chest release.  Being close to him just made her feel a bit more relaxed, and she leaned towards him, just a bit. Part of her wanted to trust Jeze and tell her everything, but she knew that the Doctor would tell her that they couldn't trust anybody, and they wouldn’t know what this woman’s deal actually was.

“How long have you been here?” Jeze asked them.

“Just a couple days,” the Doctor said, doing his best to look at least a little meek.  She knew how difficult that had to be for him. “We didn’t know there was a war when we landed, I would’ve never suggested it.”

“Your servant suggested here?” Jeze said, cocking her head to the side.

“He plans most of our trips,” Rose hurried to cover his blunder.  “I don’t have time to plan my vacations, and when the time comes, I’d rather it be a surprise anyway.”

“Understandable.  I’d love to travel more.”  Jeze’s voice was wistful, “But, making people happy with my parties is quite enough for now.”

Jack winked. “And I enjoy helping to plan them.”  He gestured to the Doctor and Rose. “They’re very interested in the war.  Dare I say it, they might try to stop it.”

Rose could feel the Doctor trying not to glare at Jack, and her lip twitched a little.  “We come from a pretty peaceful planet,” she said carefully. “War is a terrible thing, and we always see where we can… Help.”  She finished the sentence so lamely that she winced at herself.

Jeze laughed. “Well, we just want the fighting to stop.  I don’t even know how we’d stop it, but… It would be nice to.”

“Are you on one side or the other?” The Doctor asked, his interest piqued.

“No,” Jeze said seriously, “I just want it to end.”

The rest of the evening was really quite pleasant, but when Rose started to nod off with all the wine that was in her and the late hour, the Doctor laughed and helped her stand.

“I think we’d best be off, then.”

“Oh, it’s gotten rather late, hasn’t it?”  Jeze’s pretty brows furrowed and she got up to usher her guests to the front door.  “I hope you’ll come over again.”

“You can come to our place next time,” Rose blurted out before she could think better of it.

“Oh, we’d love to,” Jack purred, and Jeze laughed, patting his arm.

“He’s a weird one, I know,” she said.  “Here! I’ll give you my phone number. I know phones are a rarity around here, but I’m lucky enough to have one.”  She ran off to get a pen and paper and came back to hand Rose a paper that only had symbols and not numbers. Rose stared at it for a minute and then beamed at Jeze like she knew exactly what was going on.  

“Thank you!  I’ll be sure to call.”

Jeze hugged Rose with a girlish squeal.  “It’ll be so nice to have a friend again.”  

Rose felt her brows furrow but she hugged the other girl back.  Jack went to hug the Doctor, who was less than impressed by that idea.  

When Jeze released Rose, Jack snatched her up in a hug, and she giggled, patting him on the back.

“Have a good night, princess.”  Jeze nodded her head in a slight bow.

“Oh, no, I’m just Rose.”  She waved her hand at her.  “We’ll see you soon.”

Rose wasn’t sure why, but once they left, she felt fear crawl over her.  “Can I-” She reached for him, and after he looked around and saw no one watching them, he reached his hand out for her.  She took it with a heavy sigh and tucked herself right up against his side. Without thinking, and it must have been because of the moonlight and the quietness around them, he turned and kissed the side of her head.  

Yes.  It must have been the moonlight.

Chapter Text

Rose found herself looking over her shoulder several times, as though someone was behind them.  The Doctor frowned at her, and tugged her arm gently.

“Are you alright?”  

She smiled up at him, feeling her lips tremble. “I’m a little… Uneasy.”

“Why?”  He looked around, “There’s nothing here.”

“We don’t know that,” she said, “There could be someone around here, you don’t know.”

The Doctor moved to hold her hand instead of her arm, and somehow, it made her feel a little safer.  She blew out her cheeks and looked up at him, waiting for him to say something. Anything, to ease her mind.

He sighed and looked around. “I like to think that we’ll be alright.”

“But you don’t know.”

“No one knows,” he said, tugging on her hand a little.  “But I think we’re very good at what we do, and we’ll be just fine.”

His words reassured her just a bit, and they walked back to the villa together in silence.  Once inside, the Doctor locked the doors firmly, and Rose immediately turned to the stairs, fully ready to go to bed.

“Okay, I think I’m gonna… Go to sleep.”  She pointed up the stairs. The Doctor turned to her and smiled.  

“Goodnight, Rose.”
She walked to him and gave him a goodnight hug, which was the norm for them, and he returned it heartily, giving her a happy little hum.  She giggled and hugged him tighter. Finally, she pulled away and reached up to kiss him on the cheek.

“G’night.”  She turned and walked up the stairs before she could ask if he would stay with her like he had at Leik’s house.  It was completely inappropriate for her to ask now, and even if she did, she didn’t think he would want to. After all, there was nothing about her that was actually appealing to him.

Grimly, she thought Lydia might just be his type.

She went to the TARDIS to gather her own pajamas, and the ship hummed happily when she entered.  Rose laughed a little, patting one of the coral struts. “Nice to see you, too,” She said, “I hope you weren’t worried about us last night.”

The TARDIS sent her a nonchalant hum that told Rose that she knew what was going on through her connection with the Doctor.

“Of course.  A Time Lord and his ship.”  Rose grinned. “I’m just here to get my pajamas.  Is it cheating to ask where the fighting will be tomorrow?”
The hum she got in reply was something definitely akin to “what the Doctor doesn’t know won’t hurt him” which made Rose laugh even harder.

The time ship showed a map on the screen, dating a few days in a future from where they were currently.  The fighting marked for tomorrow was absurdly close. They’d sneak right up on the whole city. The tiny marketplace, everything.  Blowing out her cheeks, Rose nodded. They’d have to be ready tomorrow then.

A questioning hum broke through her thoughts and worry.

Jack?”

“Yeah, Jack’s here,” Rose nodded.  “And… I don’t know if he’s doing well, you know?”

Rose got caught up in girl talk on the ship, and sat on the jump seat, swinging her legs and chatting late into the night.

Meanwhile, downstairs, the Doctor was fretting.  Jack’s words about Bad Wolf had made him incredibly nervous.  He wasn’t sure where Jack had even heard about Bad Wolf affecting Rose, but at the time he’d just fallen back into the colleague like relationship he’d had with Jack.  It was hard to remember what he did and didn’t know from that day, because there were some parts even the Doctor didn’t remember.

One part he did remember, however… Was kissing Rose.  Taking the power from her. Well, it had been more than that.  But he’d never say that out loud. Unless he was asked, perhaps multiple times.  

He sighed, running a hand through his hair. This was all far less complicated before they knew Jack was here, but he couldn’t turn his back on him. He’d already done it once, and it had filled him with immense guilt.

And part of him wanted to go up to Rose, to talk to her about everything Jack had said, and scan her in the med bay. He knew he should, but nothing seemed wrong with her, and the Doctor really did love to remain blissfully ignorant.  He took a deep breath and shook himself. It was time to stop thinking about that.

But yet he couldn’t stop thinking about Rose.  He headed up to his own room and flopped down on the bed, not bothering to change.  He was essentially in pajamas anyway. He wondered, as he often did, if Rose was comfortable, and if she’d had enough to eat and drink that night.  He presumed she had, she would’ve said something if she was hungry.

Then again, she’d been distant since his regeneration, which he supposed was his fault.  He should’ve told her about it. Of course, he thought he’d be in his ninth body for a lot longer, and that he would’ve stayed with her in that body a lot longer.  Now, he was terribly unsure, which was terribly unlike him.  The Doctor was supposed to be self assured, even when nobody else was.  

With Rose, however, he could be more… Human.

*****

Rose eventually went back to her room and went to sleep, bidding the TARDIS (who was now very excited to see Jack) goodnight.  She felt a little strange sleeping alone after last night, but she shook the feeling and curled up in a ball, her exhaustion taking over her.

She woke up to a heavy knock at the door.  How she heard it up the stairs, she didn’t know, but she must not have been sleeping heavily.  She got out of bed, her hands already shaking, and she started to hurry down the stairs.

When she reached the bottom, the Doctor was already there, sonic in hand.  He placed his hand out in front of her to stop her from coming any closer. She stopped right behind his hand, grabbing onto his wrist.

“Who is it?” She whispered.

“I’m scanning now,” he said, “Go back to your room.”

“I’m not leaving you,” She said firmly, sending him a dirty look.  “How could you think that I would?”

“Rose, I need you safe.”

“Tough.”
She could tell that he wanted to argue with her further, but another knock and a sob came at the door.

“Doctor, Rose, come on, it’s us,” Jack shouted.

The Doctor narrowed his eyes but lowered the sonic. He opened the door slowly, keeping Rose behind him.  Jack was holding onto Jeze, whose face was sheet white.

“What’s going on?” The Doctor demanded.

“The warrior women have moved in, and they’re headed right for Jeze’s house.  We have to get out of here.”

The Doctor worked his jaw.  “Okay, come in.”

Rose transferred her grip to the Doctor’s shoulder, and he looked back at her, just to make sure that she was alright.  She nodded.

“They just… We heard them outside, we slipped out the upper window.  I thought we had more time.” Jeze breathed a ragged sigh. “They’re headed this way.  Not looking for anyone in particular, but they’re fighting through the city.’

“The TARDIS is here, right, Doc?” Jack asked.

“Yes, but we’re not going in here.  Rose and I came to stop this war.”

“TARDIS?   Stop the war? I thought you just wanted to help the cause.”  Jeze didn’t seem hurt, just confused by the whole thing.  She looked between the Doctor and Rose. “You aren’t from this planet, I know, but you seem to know a lot more than you’re letting on.”

“I-” Rose sighed, “Our job in a way, is to try to save people.  And tight now, we’d like to save you.”  She pursed her lips, stopping more words from slipping out.

“Well, good,” Jeze said, obviously putting on a brave face. “Because I am very afraid.”

The Doctor waved his hand, looking very confused. “Hello, yes, just one tiny thing. How did you know where we were staying?”
Jack tapped his temple.  “Your beautiful, sexy ship is still in my head.  She called out to me.”

“I was telling her you were here tonight,” Rose piped up, feeling relieved.  “She must have been reaching out for you, known that the two of you were in trouble.”

“Your ship talks?” Jeze asked.

“Yes, but we don’t have time for that now.  Rose, Jeze, go in the TARDIS, explain when you get in there, whatever you need to say, just… Stay safe.”

“I am not going without you,” Rose said firmly, lifting her chin in defiance.

“Rose, please,” He took her by the shoulders. “I cannot lose you.”

“You won’t.”

“If you too aren’t going to shag, or whatever you two call it, you need to do something.  Rose, just protect Jeze. The Doctor and I will take care of things out here.

Rose wrenched herself out of the Doctor’s loose grip, staring daggers at him, and gestured for Jeze, leading her to the TARDIS.  Before they disappeared upstairs, she heard Jack offer to the Doctor, “You are so stupid.”

After explaining everything to Jeze, the other woman called down a bit, seemingly because there was something else to worry about.  Rose was itching to ask more questions though, and she sighed a little, touching her forehead as though that would relieve the headache that was growing.  

“Jeze, I do hate to bring this up, since we’re… You know, in the thick of it. But are the warrior women especially violent?”

Jeze shook her head, sitting on the jump seat. “I didn’t want to tell you, but they’re usually not.  From what we’ve observed of this war, it’s the most violent war Vienna has ever seen.”

“All this over other worldly trade?” Rose asked, remembering what Leik had told them before.  “That seems a bit harsh.”

Jeze lifted a shoulder.  “We lose so much money, not accepting anything from the outside.  But some people don’t want to admit it. Technologically, we are so far behind many other planets… Even your own, I would assume, Princess.”

Rose decided to keep the facade of Princess up, just so she wouldn’t overwhelm Jeze.  She sighed. “Yeah, no, we’ve got computers and loads of technology.”

“So do other planets.  You know, when I was young, I-”

The TARDIS shook with the force of someone hitting it, and Rose stumbled.

“Don’t leave the TARDIS!” came the Doctor’s panicked voice from outside.

“We can’t leave them,” Jeze said, completely afraid but brave in a way that made Rose think she might be good friends with her after all.

“No, we can’t,” Rose agreed.  The TARDIS, knowing Rose was planning on leaving, and also wearing only a vest top and shorts, brought a sweatshirt out from Rose’s bedroom and threw it on the floor of the console room.  Since Jeze’s pajamas were more covering, she didn’t really need one, and Rose didn’t think to offer.

She threw it on and stormed out of the TARDIS.  The Doctor and Jack were being held by two warrior women that had the same light green skin as the locals, only they were much taller.  Another grabbed Rose and a fourth grabbed Jeze.

“You aren’t from here,” one of them scowled.  “You aren’t just visiting. You are officially our prisoners.”

“Rose, why can’t you ever just listen to me?” The Doctor sounded both heartbroken and angry.  Jack shook his head, but Rose could tell that it wasn’t at her. She fought against the warrior woman.

“How did you get in here?” Jeze asked.

“They have weapons,” Jack said softly, “We really don’t.”

The Doctor hung his head, and Rose could tell that for the first time, he was disappointed that he didn’t carry a weapon.  That very thought shocked her into action.

“We’re just visiting!” Rose shouted, “I’m not-”

The woman holding her knocked her out, and Jeze shrieked her name as the world went black around her.

Chapter Text

 

Rose woke up with an ache in her back and the Doctor’s hand stroking through her hair.  She instantly knew it was him just based on how safe she felt underneath his touch. She jerked, remembering Jeze and Jack, but he forced her head back down, and she realized it was pillowed on his thigh.

“Don’t move,” he said softly, “You might have a concussion.”

“Where are we?” She asked, focusing on the feeling of his fingers carding through her hair over and over.

“We’re in jail.”

“Where’s Jeze and Jack?”

“Right here, Princess,” Jeze said softly.  “They’ve put us all in the same cell.”

“Some people from the party are here too,” the Doctor whispered. “Leik and Lydia too.”

Rose squeezed her eyes shut. “I’m sorry, Doctor.  I shouldn’t have left the TARDIS like you said.”

“Let’s not talk about that now,” the Doctor said, “I don’t want to be upset with you.”

Rose felt herself relax just a little, and the Doctor continued to stroke her hair.  She had been afraid, upon waking up, that he would be upset, and want to fight with her.  She wrapped her hand around his knee, moving just a bit closer. His touch was absolutely heavenly, and she was sure that he probably knew it.  

“I’m still sorry.”

“Shh, Rose, let your head rest.”

“I think she’s probably fine, Doctor,” Lydia’s voice came from across the room.  Rose furrowed her brow and shifted closer to the Doctor. She wasn’t sure when she got so jealous, bus she really, truly was.  Nothing could keep her from slipping back into sleep.

When she woke up again, she sat up, and the Doctor let her, his eyes full of concern.  “How are you feeling?”
“Just fine,” Rose said, and he opened his arm to her.  She saw for the first time that he was sitting against the brick wall of their cell, his legs splayed out in front of him.  Taking his invitation, she curled up into his side. His arm wrapped around her shoulders and she took a look around.

There was one cot, which no one was sleeping on.  They were all on the floor, all sleeping except Jack, who was sitting across from them. He waved a little to Rose, and she waved back.

“M’sorry, Jack,” She whispered.  

Jack sighed and moved to the other side of the cell to sit on Rose’s other side.  “Don’t be sorry. Jeze would’ve come busting out of there if you hadn’t, I’m absolutely certain of it.”

“She’s brave,” Rose said.

“She is,” Jack acknowledged.  “But then, so are you.”

She laughed and sat up a little. “Come on.  What’s the plan to get out of here?”
Jack smiled an incredibly charming smile at her, and she smiled back, missing the easiness that fell between them before.  She reached for his hand and he took it, pressing a wet smacking kiss to the back of it. She giggled and pulled her hand from him.  

“Really though, what’s the plan?” She asked, tilting her head a little. “We can’t hang out in here forever.”

“No, I suppose we can’t,” Jack said, sighing a little.  “But we also can’t get out. The Doctor tried his sonic on everything.  And he told them everything, since we’re all in here together.”

Rose narrowed her eyes at the Doctor.  “You told them everything?”

The Doctor sputtered quietly for a moment, and Rose saw a blush crawl up his cheeks.  “They were asking questions, about why I was so concerned about you, more so than a servant should be about a mistress, so I just had to tell them that we were… Friends.”

“Well, they know we’re from off planet.”

“They still think you’re a princess, though,” Jack whispered to her, “In case you were wondering.”

Rose arched an eyebrow. “I was, a bit.”  She looked back to the Doctor. “And there’s no way to get out of here? At all?”

The Doctor shook his head. “As primitive as parts of Vienna are, this part seems to be drastically different. I’ve never seen locks like that before.”

“What are we even in for?” Rose asked, trying to keep her voice from raising. She was annoyed enough that it was incredibly difficult.  

“Treason,” Jack said lamely.  “They think that because we were in one house, and were seen with Leik and Lydia before, that we’re all in cahoots.”

“Cahoots?”
“Yeah, to take down the side of the war that wants to block off trade.”

Rose furrowed her brows. “Don’t we?”

“Of course, but the whole point was for them not to know that. I guess a few of the warrior women saw me and Jeze fleeing the house and thought we were doing something shady.”  Jack paused, but at Rose’s glare, continued, “We actually weren’t. Like at all. We just thought we might be arrested regardless, which I suppose wasn’t true. Either way, I shouldn’t have led them to you.”  He shook his head, a dimple popping out on his cheek with his frustrated expression.

Rose thought for a moment, but she had severe doubts that she and the Doctor wouldn’t have been caught regardless.  She shook her head, leaning into the Doctor’s shoulder. “I don’t think you could've done anything different, Jack. We all did things wrong.  What time is it now?”

“About two in the morning, your time,” the Doctor replied, without even needing to think about it.  “Why?”

“We need to at least try to get out of here,” Rose said, trying to stand up.  The Doctor held her shoulder, keeping her down.

Once he was sure she was going to stay sitting, he got up and sat in front of her instead, pulling his sonic screwdriver out of the waistband of his trousers.  Rose had a feeling that he really, really hated not having pockets at the moment.

“At least let me scan you?”

She sighed and nodded, knowing it would ease his mind and he would probably just let her do what she wanted if he knew that she was alright.

The buzzing of the sonic filled the air as he ran it over her forehead.  She shifted her eyes to Jack, who was looking at her with just as much worry.  She forced a smile at him. “Come on, I’m fine,” she said, rolling her eyes a little.

After a moment, the Doctor sat back.  “Yes, I suppose you’re fine. I thought you might have a concussion.”

“But I don’t?”

“You don’t.”

Rose crossed her arms over her chest. “Yeah, well.  Now, can I start trying to get us out of here? Is there a window?”

The Doctor swallowed hard. “I mean, yes, there is, right at the top, but we couldn’t get to it, and even if we could, we couldn’t get it open. I think there’s no reason to worry.  We’ll probably be released within the next few days. We’ll try in the morning. You need your sleep.”

Rose expected Jack to be on her side, but when she looked over he was nodding in response to the Doctor’s words. She narrowed her eyes at him, feeling a bit ganged up on.  Sighing, she realized she wasn’t winning this one.

“But in the morning, we’re getting out.”

“We can certainly try, Rose,” the Doctor said softly.  “But I’m not sure that there’s a way out of this.”

“There’s always a way out, Doctor,” Rose replied, leveling her gaze with him.  “You of all people should know that.”

Jack beamed at her.  “Oh, Rosie, I missed you.”

Blushing, Rose turned, trying to get comfortable on the concrete floor.  The Doctor laid down next to her and laid his arm out next to her. “Use me as a pillow,” he said softly, “I don’t want you to get a crick in your neck.”

She knew that she should say no, that it was so dangerous, to be so close to him without getting to be close in the way that she wanted to be close to him.  But she shut up the little voice in her head and laid down against his side, her head on the space between his shoulder and chest.

“What about you, Doc?” Jack asked, a flirty tone lilting his voice.

“Goodnight, Jack,” the Doctor said firmly, and Jack took the hint, laying closer to Jeze but laughing to himself as he did so.

“I’m really sorry, Doctor.”  Rose felt like she should still apologize.

“I… I’m sorry too,” the Doctor said, “I don’t know why I can’t just take you on a lark, why it always has to be so difficult.”

“Because this is our lives?”

“No… I should still be careful. I should try to take you to nice places.”

Rose looked down into his face. “I don’t mind it,” she said softly.  “I like traveling with you, and if I didn’t like certain aspects of it, believe me, you would know.  Like, for instance, I don’t like when you wake me up early.”

He laughed. “Oh, I know.”

“Exactly.  You’ll know if something upsets me, Doctor, but I wanted to do this. I wanted to save these people just as badly as you did.  I’m just sorry we somehow got them all dragged in here with us. I know we’re obviously foreigners, and so is Jack, but-”

“Oi, we’re done talking about this now,” the Doctor said quietly.  “Really. We’re doing the right thing, and that is all I can ask from us, Rose Tyler.”

She nodded, resting her head a little more firmly against him, and dropping off to sleep.

*******

When Rose woke up the next morning, her back hurt, but not her neck. The Doctor wasn’t sleeping, and she realized that he probably hadn’t slept all night. He hadn’t really slept much since his regeneration, and she knew that he didn’t need a lot of sleep a lot of the time.  She still felt guilty using him as a pillow when he could’ve been doing something a bit more useful.
“Wake up!” The shout of a female guard startled her and she sat up quickly, her heart pounding hard in her chest. The woman who had scared her was the same light green color as the rest of the locals, and she was holding a large tray of mush in her hands.  She slid it through a door in the prison door and Rose felt her stomach roll at the sight of the wobbling mass of food.

“How long are you keeping us here?” Jeze piped up, her chin lifting in defiance.  Rose felt an odd sense of pride for the young woman. She was so strong for facing issues that she’d never truly faced before.

“We’re keeping you here until the war is over. We won’t have you interfering with things that aren’t your concern. Especially when you are cavorting with foreigners.”

“They’re simply our friends,” Leik said from her space on the jail floor, and Rose noticed that Lydia was cowering behind her sister. She was more irritated by the other woman than before.

“Aren’t people allowed to disagree with the war?” The Doctor asked, cutting off any response to Leik’s comment that the guard might have had.  “Not everyone is going to be in favor of any sort of fighting.”

“There were plans,” the guard said curtly.

“You had the place bugged,” Rose said softly, “Every place. You’re stalking the residents of this planet to see who’s in favor of the war.’
“Silence, foreigner!” the guard shouted.  “Eat your mash, and do not speak to me again.”

Rose felt her head spinning. This was far more than just a war.  It was an invasive government, which was something that made Rose far more upset than being wrongfully imprisoned.  Well, truth be told, it wasn’t really wrongfully, since they were planning treason. But they hadn’t even known what to do yet.

She blew out her cheeks and looked at the Doctor. “What now?” She asked.

“We try to get out,” he replied, looking absolutely furious.  Rose could tell that he hadn’t liked that guard’s attitude, and so he was probably going to be a bit more willing to try a bit harder to get out.  

She looked over and saw the same determined look on Jeze and Jack’s faces. As guilty as she felt for dragging them into this, she couldn’t help but think that they needed them all to do this.  For once, this was something that she and the Doctor couldn’t do alone.

Chapter Text

The whole day passed, which shocked Rose completely. She had thought that they’d be back by now, that they’d be done.   Things involving the Doctor were usually resolved quickly, or even if they didn’t, they had a plan.

“I’m not feeling well,” Lydia said suddenly after their third plate of mush for the day.  She looked to the Doctor. “You said you were a doctor, didn’t you?”

The Doctor’s gaze flicked between Rose and Lydia, looking very nervous.  It seemed that propriety, as well as the knowledge of the truth about Rose and the Doctor, was enough to make people all settle on the same level.  The Doctor swallowed hard and nodded. “I can… Practice medicine, but I don’t have tools here.”

Rose sat back against the wall, looking over at Jack, who had his eyebrows raised.  He’d seen it too, how everyone was always flirting with the Doctor. Not that she had any sort of monopoly over the Doctor.  She blew her cheeks out and shook her head at Jack.

“Well, I’m still going to try to bust out of here,” Rose said, getting to her feet and put her hands on her hips.  “I’m tired of sitting around.”

“Me too,” Jeze said, standing up.  Jack stood as well, his gaze staying on the Doctor, as though seeing what his reaction to Rose would be.

“We’d all like to get out of here,” the Doctor said, scrambling to his feet. “I’m not sure how to, but-”

“You still have the sonic, don’t you?” Rose asked, holding her hand out.

“I- I tried it,” he said.  He suddenly looked like a very lost puppy, as though he was losing Rose’s approval.  He wasn’t, of course, she was just terribly annoyed with the fact that everybody always got to flirt with the Doctor except for her.  It wasn’t even legitimate, she was just cranky and tired, and wanted to finish what they started.

“Didn’t you teach her how to use it, Doc?” Jack asked softly, trying to diffuse the situation, which he had become increasingly good at over the years.

“Well, yes,” the Doctor handed it over to Rose, giving her a look that clearly said ‘we’re going to talk about this’.  She smiled as she took it and turned to Jeze, the both of them heading to look at the lock on the door.

“What’s going on with her?” The Doctor asked, gesturing to Rose.

“You’re kidding,” Jack said.

“No, of course I’m not kidding.  She’s been acting strange all day, and I just don’t know what I could’ve done to upset her.”

Jack rolled his eyes.  Some things never changed, and this was one thing that he wished desperately had.  “Doc. I think we’ve discussed this.”

“We’ve discussed your delusions,” The Doctor said, a bit mockingly.  “I don’t think-”

“She’s in love with you, you absolute idiot.”  Jack tried to say it quietly so as not to embarrass Rose.  “And that girl, Lydia, is flirting with you blatantly in front of her.  So… Make your decision known.”
“What?”
“Kiss her, or touch her, or something,” Jack threw his hands up.  “You are exhausting! The both of you! Neither of you want to make a move when you both so desperately want it!  Do you know how hard it was to live with that??”

The Doctor blinked, and blushed a bit. “I couldn’t.”

“Right.  Well, you’d better make your mind up soon, Doctor, and I don’t mean because of this.  If you don’t take up what she is so obviously offering you-” Jack broke off and shook his head. “Then some other man is going to offer it to her.”

The Doctor sent him a glare, and Jack rolled his eyes once more.  

“Not me, but someone.”

“She said she’d travel with me forever, Jack, she’s not going to swan off with some man.”

Jack shook his head. “Women have needs, Doc.  She’s not gonna wait around for you forever.”

The Doctor stalked away from Jack, away from everyone else in the in the cell. He stood in the corner, brooding, and Jack was reminded of his Ninth self. Still just as stubborn, he decided, watching the Doctor watch Rose.  It had never been any other way, really. And they were both fools if they thought it was anything else. There was clearly love there, so much deeper than the way two humans loved each other in Rose’s time. Jack, better than perhaps anyone else, knew there were no limits to love.  There was no real reason the Doctor and Rose couldn’t be together, besides the Doctor’s stubbornness.

Rose, on the other hand, wasn’t paying attention to the Doctor anymore.  She was a bit sick of dealing with him, not knowing the effect he had on women, not even the effect he had on her.   She knew she shouldn’t blame him for it, but she honestly couldn't help it.  She was so sick of it, but she knew she couldn’t say anything, or stay mad at him for long.

He’d taught her how to use the sonic, at least the basics, and she was hoping that she knew a simple fix to get out of here that maybe the Doctor hadn’t thought of yet.  It was not a great idea, she knew it, but she needed to do something. Sitting around wasn’t going to help them.

Jeze noticed Rose’s change in demeanor and touched her shoulder. “Are you alright?” She asked softly.  “You seem tense.”

Rose sighed. “I am, a bit, but I don’t really have a right to be, do I?”

“Is it about the Doctor? I know… I can tell, it’s a bit of a lover’s tiff, isn’t it?”

“If we were lovers, I suppose it would be,” Rose snapped, and then blushed hotly.  “I-that’s not what I meant.”

Jeze laughed. “Oh, sweetheart, believe me, I know.”  She looked back at the sulking Doctor. “But he does care about you.  Loads.”

“I know,” Rose sighed, “And that’s why I’ve got no right to be upset. He can do… Whatever he wants.”

“He doesn’t want Lydia.”  Jeze looked to the woman in question, who was staring blatantly at the Doctor.  Jeze poked Rose. “You should kiss him.”

What.”

“Do it.  If you think he’s going to reject you, the way he was fretting over you when you were sleeping.  He was talking to Jack about you the whole time.” Jeze suddenly seemed excited by the whole thing, but Rose was feeling a bit concerned about the whole thing.  The idea of just kissing the Doctor in front of Lydia was something that thrilled her a bit, but she could never do it. Mostly because she simply wasn’t brave enough.   So many times she wanted to kiss him, both in his last body and in this most recent one.  She blew out her cheeks and shook her head.

“I could never do that, Jeze,” she said softly.  “He’d never forgive me.”

“I think he might try to bust you out of here just so he can have you to himself,” Jeze laughed.  “Here, give me that tool, and you can go-”

Rose turned away, keeping the sonic to herself.  She started running it along the front bars of her cell. “So, what, are they keeping us until the war is over?”
“Or until they try to kill us,” Jeze said, accepting the change of subject reluctantly.

“That won’t happen.”  Rose frowned. “I’m going to make sure to get us out of here before either of those things happens.”

“You are very brave, Rose.”

“Thank you.”

******

The Doctor was about to explode.  Rose was driving him mad, over there, being clever, and Lydia had decided she wanted to speak with him and Jack.  Leik had migrated over to Rose and Jeze, chatting to both of them as though they were the best of friends, hatching a master plan to get everyone out.  The Doctor was running out of ideas, and he was quite defeated by Rose not speaking to him, so he had slumped to the floor a long time ago. Jack had sat next to him, which was somehow more annoying than anything else that could’ve happened to him.   Especially since Jack was still nagging him about Rose.

“So, from what you’ve told us,” Lydia said softly, perching next to the Doctor, “You travel quite a bit.”

“Rose and I do, yes,” the Doctor said.  “The two of us travel together, I’m sure I said that.”

“And I’m going with them too,” Jack piped up, trying to shut down the situation before it escalated too far.  “The three of us used to travel together in the good old days, and it’s going to be the old team back together again!”

The Doctor forced a smile. “Yep,” he said, popping the ‘p’, “It’s gonna be… Just great.”

Jack blinked.  He’d been expecting a different word.

Rose worked far into the night.  Jeze stayed up with her, but Leik eventually tired and went to sleep, curled up facing the wall.

“You should just kiss her,” Jack whispered to the Doctor, who rolled his eyes.  

“Come on.”

“You should!  It would drive Lydia away and she’d finally know how you feel about her.  You shouldn’t keep it such a secret, Doctor. She deserves to know.”

The Doctor wasn’t really in the mood for another lecture. “And then what, Jack? We’re together, properly, and she dies prematurely.  Or maybe she doesn’t. Maybe she lives to seventy and I have to watch her die. Either way-”

“Either way you’ve allowed yourself happiness,” Jack said firmly.  “And wouldn’t that be terrible? Besides, you still have to scan her. You said you would.”

“I know,” The Doctor said, shifting uncomfortably, “But either way, that doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t mean anything. I- Rose means everything to me, no matter what. But we can’t be together, no matter how much it hurts me.”

“It’s hurting her too, Doctor,” Jack said softly.  “It’s eating her up inside. When are you gonna realize that this isn’t just about you?”

***

Eventually, Rose and the Doctor were the only ones still awake. She was slumped against the bars, still shuffling through random settings, hoping that one of them would somehow stick.

The Doctor had been thinking since his talk with Jack, and after several cycles of him fighting with himself, he got up, his knees cracking, and walked to Rose.  

“You need sleep,” he said, sitting down next to her and touching her shoulder.

“We need out,” She said, turning tired eyes to him.  “I can’t let us spend all this time in here, it’s our fault.  It is. Isn’t it?”

The Doctor blew his cheeks out. “I’m not even sure, Rose.”  He was close to her, close enough to touch, but she was fire, eating him up, and she’d burn him.  But no matter what, he’d get burned, wouldn’t he? That was the trouble with the whole thing.

She buzzed the sonic again, and he took it out of her hand.  “Stop,” he said softly. “Come on, go to sleep.”

“I can’t.”

He cupped her cheek in his hand, searching her eyes.  “Rose. Come on.”

“What are you doing?”

“I don’t know,” he whispered. “I was hoping you would help me.”

“What if I don’t know either?”

“Isn’t it better if we both don’t know… But we both know that we both don’t know?”

Rose laughed, turning her head into his hand.  He huffed out a laugh, grateful that he had made her smile.  She returned her gaze to him and tipped her chin up. “Go on,” she whispered. “I dare you.”

“You dare me?”

“Mm.”

He bent down slowly, his hearts hammering against his chest, and he could hear her heart too.  Both were equally terrifying. He kissed her then, soft and gentle, and Rose sighed against his mouth. Jack had been right.  She was waiting for this. She’d been waiting for him, this whole time.

Her hand went to the back of his head, drawing him closer, and he dared to open his lips against hers.  She allowed him to kiss her deeper, making the kiss sensual and something far more than she could’ve ever expected from him.  He felt her start to lose breath and he pulled back, pressing his forehead to hers.

“Come on, get some rest,” he said softly.

“Okay,” she agreed, finally, and laid down against him on the cold floor.  It was far more comfortable tonight.

Chapter Text

Rose woke slowly, and when she did, she wasn’t sure how things would be different.  After all, nothing ever changed when there were charged moments between them, but this was a kiss.   And she couldn’t even try to wake him up with a kiss because there were other people around.  

Instead, she reached out and cupped his cheek, hoping her touch would wake him.  His hand, which she hadn’t realized was on her back, stroked up and down over the hoodie she wore.  “Good morning.”

“Good morning,” Rose replied.

“How did you sleep?” His voice was gravelly with sleep, and she wondered just how much he’d slept overnot.  He probably hadn’t slept a lot, what with his superior biology.  

“Good… Okay.”

“Good.”
Rose laughed a little and the Doctor joined in.  He slid his hand lower on her back and drew her up against him.  “I wish we were alone,” he whispered.

“Me too,” she leaned down a little, trying to hold back just a little bit from kissing him.  He leaned up and stopped that thought, taking her lips in a kiss. She almost felt like exploding, just from the absolute joy of kissing him, being allowed to kiss him.

He broke away after just a few moments.  “I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to… Stop.”

She laughed and sat up, “Good thing, too, because I’ve worked out a way to get us out.”

He frowned.  “What, really?”

“I think so.”  She got to her feet, scooping up the sonic on her way up.  “We didn’t try the bend function. Setting 12Gamma8, right?”

The Doctor sat up, looking up at her with an absolutely adoring look in his eyes.  “You remembered.”

“Not till just now, I forgot about it.  Didn’t think it would be useful.”

“Well, I do,” Rose headed to the lower corner of the bars.  “What did the sonic say this was?”

“It’s a kind of metal very specific to this exact place and time period.  The likelihood of the sonic working on it-”

“It’s working,” Rose said slowly, delightedly.  “Just barely, look.”

He bent down next to her in the dim light and watched carefully.  The metal was bending only slightly, and it would take several hours for it to bend enough to let a person out.  The Doctor wondered briefly how Rose could see so well in the dimness.

“You did it,” he beamed at her, pride evident on his face.  “You, Miss Tyler, are amazing.”

She grinned back at him, tongue in teeth.  “Thank you.”

A bit of awkwardness set in as the Doctor’s eyes zeroed in on her tongue and he wished very much that they were alone.  Even though they weren’t, he wanted to make sure she knew that he cared about her, that she was absolutely everything to him. That Lydia, or any other woman that had ever flirted with him, was nothing in comparison to her.  Everyone else was dust under her feet. She was a Queen among scum.

Instead of that, he just murmured, “Um… Just like that then, I suppose.”

Rose seemed to deflate a bit at that, making guilt rocket through him.  “Oh. How long do you think I should hold it here?”

“Well, we’ll need to be careful, since the guards are coming, but-”

“Good morning, you two,” Jack said cheerfully, coming up behind them. “What are we doing?”

“Getting out,” the Doctor said firmly, looking over his shoulder at Jack.

“And what’s the plan when we get out?”

Rose blinked.  “Not sure on that one.

“We run,” the Doctor said bluntly.  “There’s no other way.”

“Well, we can’t stop the war, not without the TARDIS,” Jack said, crossing his arms over his chest. “So we’ll have to go back to where you and Rose were staying.”

“Good idea,” Rose said before the Doctor could negate anything Jack was saying.  It would be in their best interest to go back.  After all, their sneak approach to slide in and stop the war hadn’t worked. They needed plan B, and if hiding out in the TARDIS until they found a solution was the best thing to do, then that was what they would do.  

The Doctor looked like he wanted to protest, and he probably only wanted to protest because it was something Jack had suggested.  Rose nudged his shoulder, shaking the near grimace off his face.

“Doctor, it’s a plan,” she said softly.  “We need one of those.” It felt like such an elementary reminder, but Rose knew that sometimes you had to ease the Doctor into the idea of having a plan that wasn’t his, or having a plan at all, really.  

She looked back to her work, focusing on bending the odd metal bars.  She heard the Doctor sigh heavily next to her and knew she’d won that one.  Although at this point it wasn’t terribly difficult for her to win little tiffs with the Doctor.  

They fell into silence, and Jack said on the other side of Rose, staring at the Doctor with his eyes narrowed. Finally, he asked, “Did something happen last night?”

“What?” Rose and the Doctor both replied at the same time, which made Jack grin like a fool.

“So something did happen!” He cried, clapping his hands once. “I knew it. You two didn’t shag right out in the open, did you?”

The Doctor turned bright red and began stuttering.

“No, we didn’t,” Rose said, exasperated. “I don’t know why you think everyone is just like you like that, Jack.”

He winked.  “A guy can dream, right?”

Rose huffed out a laugh and went back to her sonicing.  “Doctor, you can breathe now, I told him we didn’t shag.”

As much as she hated to admit it, his vehement refusal just made her feel self conscious, and a little bit bad about herself.  Would it really be so awful? She supposed he was a Time Lord and far above physical pleasures, but that didn’t really explain all the kissing they’d been doing if that was the case.  She blew out her cheeks and adjusted her position so she could sit without hurting her knees.

The Doctor did start breathing again, but he continued to look embarrassed until Jack chuckled and got up, going to wake everyone else so they could get ready to ‘bust out’ as he would call it.

“I’m not-” the Doctor sighed, “Have I upset you? You look upset.”

“I’m not,” she said. She was sad, sure, but she was past anything the Doctor saying upsetting her. She was a grown woman, after all, and she didn’t need to be spilling her guts to him every time she was feeling insecure.  That wasn’t really fair to him, and it wasn’t his to deal with.

He sat down heavily next to her, no longer just crouching, and rubbed his hand over her shoulder. “I feel like I never know what to say to you,” he admitted, “And it always seems to be the wrong thing when I do say something.”

“You don’t say anything wrong, you just say what you think,” she looked over at him, “And sometimes you think weird things.”

“Thank you.”

“Doctor, I’m not even sure if that was a compliment.”

He laughed and moved closer to her. “I’m sorry.  But Rose, you must know that you are very, very important to me?”

She bit her lip, trying to figure out how to word it to him without him getting upset.  “I know, Doctor, but… I guess it wouldn’t kill you to show it once in awhile.”

“Did I not last night? Or this morning?”

She blushed. “That’s a good start.”

He moved closer, brushing his nose against her cheek. “Or right now?”

She turned towards him.  “Doctor…”

“And everyone’s awake!” Jack clapped his hands and Rose and the Doctor jumped.  Rose dropped the sonic but quickly picked it up again and went back to work, and the Doctor removed his hand from her back.  A sharp pang went through her. Of course. He wouldn’t want anyone else to know what was going on between them. She’d confront him about it later, but right now, she was just too tired.   She wanted to get out and finish this.

Leik and Jeze hurried right over to Rose, kneeling down next to her.

“You figured it out!” Jeze said, clapping her hands with excitement.

Leik looked over at Jeze, clearly not wanting to have such an excited reaction.  “Well, we knew she would, didn’t we?”

Lydia however, was still fixated totally on the Doctor.  She came up next to him, disregarding how close he was to Rose.  “I’m sure you had something to do with it too, Doctor.”

“No, actually,” The Doctor was quick to reply, grinning.  “Rose did it all on her own. I was being quite stupid.”

He sounded very proud of himself.  Rose rolled her eyes. “He’s often stupid.  This is just the first time he’s admitted it.”
Jack barked out a laugh.  “She’s not wrong. Lydia, come over here, you’re crowding them.”

Lydia pouted openly.  “You don’t mind, do you, Doctor?”

Rose felt her blood start to boil but said nothing.

“Sister!” Leik said.  “This isn’t about your search for a husband.  This is literally a matter of life or death.”

Since Lydia’s skin was green, it turned an odd, darker shade when she blushed.  She got to her feet and stared daggers at her sister. It was clear that the two had a fairly healthy sibling rivalry, but the Doctor’s suddenly uncomfortable expression told everyone in the room that he didn't’ especially want to be a part of it.  He cleared his throat and turned his attention back to what Rose was doing.

The sound of footsteps approaching their cell made everyone scatter. Rose jumped up, tossing the sonic, and the Doctor snatched it from the air and shoved it down the front of Rose’s hoodie.  Her jaw dropped and she looked up at him in shock.

“Doctor!”

“We have to hide it,” he hissed, dragging her to the far corner away from the bars they were bending so it wouldn’t look too suspicious.  Jack was laughing so hard at the exchange that tears were running down his face.

The guard approached and slid their tray of ‘food’ into it.  “What is he laughing at?” She barked, pointing at Jack.

“He’s delirious,” Jeze piped up. “He’s my servant, ma’am, and a bit off the rails, I’m afraid.  Always has been.”

“Well get him under wraps, quickly.  He shouldn’t be disturbing anyone else.”  Luckily, the guard didn’t question it any further, and Jack sobered up quite quickly once he had been called out.  

“How many people do you think are in here?” Jack asked after a few quiet moments, when Rose was still shaking from the feeling of the Doctor’s hand going down her shirt and the notion that they were almost caught with the sonic at all.

“We didn’t even think about getting them out,” Leik realized, “They could be accused of treason too.”

Rose watched the debate war on the Doctor’s face. She knew he wanted to save everyone, but would that be possible?  Would it even be the right thing to do? She watched his eyes like they were a movie, flipping through all the options and trying to decide which one was best.  She blew out her cheeks and reached to touch his shoulder.

“Doctor.”

He snapped out of it, looking down at her suddenly like she was the only thing in the world worth looking at.  He swallowed hard.

“We don’t have to decide right now.  It’s okay.” She squeezed his arm and she could tell that he was holding back from hugging her due to their current audience.  He nodded, the dimple in his cheek poking out as he grit his teeth.

Rose wasn’t sure how kissing him had made things more complicated, but somehow it had.  She squeezed his arm one more time and let it drop before returning to her place, pulling the sonic out of her sweatshirt, and continuing the job.

It felt a lot like resonating concrete.

Chapter Text

It took the better part of the day, but eventually there was enough room in the bend of the bars for Rose to slip through.  She looked back and cocked an eyebrow at the group behind her. “Can we all get through this?”

“You just need to fit through, Rose.  Get us out from the outside,” Jack suggested, already having an idea of what Rose’s answer to that might be.

She wrinkled her nose at him.  “I can’t leave all of you. If they find out I’ve left, you’ll be the ones punished for it.”

“Then don’t let them know.”

Rose looked back to the Doctor, who’s mouth was set in a grim line.  He looked a little unsure of himself, and he cleared his throat once she made eye contact with him.  Running a hand through his hair, he looked down at her.

“You can do this, Rose.  You’ve saved me before.”

As shocked as Rose was to feel affirmation from the Doctor, she decided not to show it.  She smiled a little, feeling her cheeks heat up. She looked through the bars she’d pried apart with the sonic.  She didn’t even know where she’d go once she got out.

“There’s keys, right?” Leik said, breaking the silence that had fallen over them.  Rose looked up at her and shrugged.

“I guess there would be,” She said.  “I just… I don’t know. What if I don’t make it back?”

The Doctor seemed confused as to why Rose was feeling insecure and nervous about the whole thing.  She looked back and forth and swallowed hard. “Okay.”

“I’ll come with you,” Jeze said, smiling a little.  “If that’s alright with you.”

Rose breathed out a sigh.  “Okay, sounds good. Come with me.”

The Doctor reached for Rose but pulled his hand back and stood back next to Jack. “We’ll distract the guards if they come back.”

Rose nodded and looked down the hall to make sure no one was coming before slipping through the bars, falling through on the other side.  Jeze followed quickly and Rose helped her to her feet. “Come on, then, let’s go.”

Jeze and Rose ran down the hall, keeping their heads down so they couldn’t be identified.  There were only two more cells on the row, both filled with people who were either sleeping or sitting down, with no one making an effort to try to escape.

Rose supposed that was something pretty specific to her and the Doctor: Escaping. A lot of people, or aliens, rather, would simply accept their fates.  Rose blew out her cheeks as they slowed to a stop at the end of the hall. Jeze came up next to her, panting lightly.

“Where now?”

“I don’t know,” Rose replied, looking around in confusion.  “I was knocked out when we were brought in here.”

“That’s right,” Jeze chewed on her bottom lip and looked around as well.  “I think I could take us back out to the front of the building.”

“We don’t need that, we just need the keys,” Rose protested.

Rose realized that they probably should’ve planned this all a little better before they came out here, but she was nearly hyperventilating with the adrenaline that was coursing through her.  She could practically hear her heart beating, thundering against her chest. She didn’t know what they would do to them, after all, if they were caught. They didn’t know if they’d be murdered or tortured or-

Rose stopped that train of thought before she could keep carrying on down that dangerous path.  Swallowing hard, she turned to Jeze. “Keys.”

“Right.”

Jeze seemed to be terribly excited by the whole thing, and Rose realized that with her love of parties, this was probably just another adventure to her.  Well, at least one of them seemed to know what was going on with everything. She offered the other woman a smile, more to assure herself than Jeze.

The logical thing to do would be to find a guard. Rose was confident in her own abilities, to be able to take someone down, though she knew the Doctor didn’t like that sort of thing.  Well, the Doctor wasn’t here, and she had Jeze, and between the two of them, that would be enough.

As if hearing her thoughts, a guard woman hooked around the corner, her green skin painted with what looked like blue war paint.  Her eyes widened. “Prisoners!”

Rose jumped into action, grabbing the woman and pulling her back so she could cover her mouth.  “Hush. Give us the keys to the cells.”

Jeze pulled the spear from the guard’s hand as she tried to reach up and stab it through Rose’s jaw.  It took a bit of wrestling, and ended with all three of them on the ground, wrestling for the spear. Eventually Jeze had it fully in her hands, but she’d grabbed it by the tip, so her hand was bleeding.  

“Just give us the keys and we won’t kill you,” Rose said, hoping that the guard wouldn’t call them on their bluff.

Her brows furrowed a little and she fought against Rose for another few moments before finally pulling back to pull a ring of old looking keys from her belt.  

“If anyone asks, you beat the absolute shit out of me,” the guard said, her eyes glinting.  “If you release the prisoners, it’ll be on your heads.”  When she got to her feet, Rose noticed that she had a limp and felt a twinge of guilt cut through her.  She hadn’t meant to hurt her, but they’d all fallen.

Before the guard could change her mind, Rose started at a run back to their cell, and Jeze followed, still holding onto the spear with one hand and cradling her bloody hand against her torso.

“I’m sorry you got hurt,” Rose said, adrenaline rushing through her body even still.

“It’s okay, I’m sure- it’s not too bad, it can’t be.”  Jeze looked at it and didn’t seem to convinced, and Rose set her mouth in a thin line. They’d been quick, but at what cost?

They made it back to the cell and Jeze was bleeding even harder. Jack got to his feet and looked to her.  “Jeze, what happened?”

“We had to fight for the keys,” Jeze said as Jack reached for her hand.  She let him take it and examine it closely as Rose took the keys from her.

“You had to fight?” the Doctor asked from where he now stood, right in front of Rose.

She winced and nodded a little.  “She wasn’t going to give it up, and we took her weapon.”  She looked up at him. “We didn’t do anything to hurt her, Doctor.  I wouldn’t do that.”

The Doctor looked away from her, having the decency to look embarrassed for thinking that Rose could do something like that.  She had to admit that she was a bit miffed at him for even thinking that. She looked away from him and continued trying the keys.  There seemed to be nearly a hundred, on such a huge, old looking ring.

“Are you alright?” He asked finally, his voice much softer than it had been.

“I’m fine,” she said, “I didn’t get hurt.”

“Good.  Good, I wouldn’t want you to… Yeah.”

She hated this awkwardness between them, but she wasn’t even sure what to do to fix it.  She kept on trying the keys until she finally found one that fit the lock. She cried out and swung the heavy door open.  “Come on,” she waved her hand and Lydia, Leik, the Doctor, and Jack all came rushing out.

“I’m sorry, Rose, but we can’t fight with you,” Leik said, shaking her head. “I have to protect myself.”

Rose nodded and smiled. “I understand. I’m sorry you got dragged into all this.”

Leik bowed her head in respect to Rose and her and Lydia took off towards the entrance.  Rose blew out her cheeks and was surprised to find the Doctor slowly taking her hand. She looked up at him in surprise and he smiled a little, looking down at their hands.  

“I never know where I stand with you,” She blurted out.  She hadn’t meant to, but it had been bubbling up in her for what felt like forever, and she bit her lip the second it slipped out.

He blinked, his smile fading. “What?”

“Nothing,” She shook her head. “Come on, we have to go.”

She tugged his hand and he stumbled after her, Jack and Jeze behind them.  Soon enough, they took off at a run and Rose had to follow the Doctor since she didn’t really actually know where she was going.  He led the group out of the prison, which seemed to be in a pretty secluded area. All around them were barren trees and empty space.  Rose stumbled to a stop.

“Where do we go?”

“Back to the city, back to the TARDIS,” The Doctor replied, tugging on her hand. “Come on, we have to keep going before they realize we’ve gone.”

The run was surprisingly difficult, and Rose wondered if she’d been losing her touch sitting around for two days, or if she actually had hurt her head.

Jack was running alongside Jeze but keeping an eye on her hand, which was still bleeding, though not as profusely as it had been.  Rose bit her lip and turned away from the two of them, hoping that Jeze wouldn’t get an infection from the tip of the spear. Logically, she knew that the Doctor would fix her up, but the very human fear of infection and death was one that was very difficult to get rid of so easily.

It took two hours of on and off running to get back to the villa, and Rose nearly sobbed with relief, as wearing a hoodie in the heat had caused her to end up covered in sweat.  The second they were inside the villa she discarded it, leaving her in just her vest top and shorts that were starting to feel manky.

The Doctor reached for her hand again but Rose shook her head and gestured to Jeze.  Understanding, the Doctor nodded.

“Come on, into the TARDIS, and into the med bay with you,” he said, gesturing to Jeze.  She looked up and smiled quiveringly through what was certainly nearly excruciating pain.  

“I’m really fine.  We need to figure this out first,” she said bravely, her eyes shining.

“Don’t be stupid,” Jack said, taking her hand in his to examine it. “This could be deeper than we think, and the Doctor can fix it in a minute like that.” He snapped his fingers and beamed at her.  “We’ll all be safe in the TARDIS.”

Exhaustion swept over Rose but she pushed it down to walk behind the Doctor up the stairs and into the TARDIS.  She walked up next to him as they headed towards the med bay and cleared her throat to get his attention. “Where do you think Leik and Lydia went?”

“Back home, probably,” the Doctor replied, “I can’t think of anywhere else they would go.”

“What if they get captured again, because of us?”

“We can’t see them before we leave, if that’s the case.”

“I thought you wanted to stop the war,” Rose reminded him, looking at him curiously.

He sighed heavily, scrubbing his hand over his face and opening the door to the med bay.  “I’m not sure that’s actually possible, Rose. I may have actually overestimated my abilities this time.”

Rose frowned.  As much as she complained and rolled her eyes when the Doctor bragged, she actually didn't’ like Humble Doctor very much.  She followed him into the med bay and grabbed him by the sleeve, making him turn to face her.

“We’re going to try, though, right?  We have to.”

“My judgement is skewed,” he said as Jack and Jeze brushed past them to the examination table.  “I didn’t even think about the other prisoners once we were faced with getting out of there. It didn’t even cross my mind,” he sighed and waved her off when she tried to speak.  “It wasn’t adrenaline, Rose, I can compartmentalize my thoughts. If I had made it a priority, I would have paid more attention to it.”
Rose was afraid to ask her next question.  She wrung her hands and lifted a shoulder at him.  “So, what was it, then? The reason you didn’t make it a priority?”

He met her eyes with a firmness that made her step back.  “I needed to get you out of there,” he said simply, as though it was the most obvious answer in the world, and walked to Jeze at the examination table.

Rose stayed rooted to the spot for several moments.  This was impossible. As much as they cared about each other, Rose couldn't remember a time when her love for the Doctor had- but she’d already could remember.   She’d just done.  She felt her shoulders sag.  She’d left the TARDIS when he’d told her not to because she’d known he was in trouble, and had put Jeze in danger as a result.

But, she reasoned, if she hadn’t left the TARDIS, no one would have figured out the setting on the sonic to use, and everyone would still be imprisoned.  Emotions warred within her, trying to decide what was the right thing, what she should’ve done.  Had she been wrong to worry about him?  Had he been wrong to ignore other people for her well being?  She couldn’t decide, and that scared her most of all.

She watched him start to clean Jeze’s hand and realized with absolute certainty that she was going to have to talk with him about it all, whether she wanted to or not.

Chapter Text

When Jeze was patched up (much to her amazement, looking at her newly healed skin in awe) Jack suggested he take her to the galley and get her something to eat.  It was obvious he was just trying to give the Doctor and Rose some alone time, but Jeze went along with it, following Jack from the room.

Once they were gone, the Doctor rubbed the back of his neck, looking anywhere but at Rose.  “I think we need to talk,” he told the wall.

Rose pursed her lips and nodded, knowing that even though he wasn't really looking at her, he’d sense the movement.  “I know,” She said finally. She lifted her shoulder. “Dunno where to start, though.”

The Doctor finally turned to look at her, and Rose was taken aback by how soft his eyes looked.  He sat down in the office chair that was in front of some of his machinery. “I suppose I should just be honest with you.”

“That would be nice.”  She walked to the examination table and hopped up onto it.  Breathing a shaky sigh, she decided it was best to just be up front.  “You kissed me.”

“I did,” he acknowledged, swiveling the chair to face her and scooting closer to her, looking up into her face.  

“Do you regret it?” She asked, when he didn’t say anything.

He shook his head.  “No. Do you?”

“No.”  She laced her fingers together in her lap and studied them.  “But I have to admit, Doctor, that I don’t even know what’s changed. Usually, you know, when two humans kiss, it means something, and they’re… Different.  Afterwards. Or maybe I just watch too many movies.”

“It’s not that,” the Doctor said, “That you watch too many movies, I mean.  Did you think it didn’t mean anything to me?”

Rose lifted a shoulder. “I didn’t want to get my hopes up, you know?  Stuff with you, it’s always so different. I never really know where I am, what’s going on between us.”

“Does it have to have a name?”

“Yes,” Rose replied firmly, furrowing her brows. “I’m tired of pretending that there’s nothing between us, and then when things do happen, we pretend they don’t.  We share a bed, we hold hand, you’ve kissed me before, and yet… It just makes me feel like you don’t care nearly as much as I do.”

The Doctor’s expression had turned to one of distress, and he stood up out of the chair so he could come closer to her. “I’m sorry,” he said softly, “I’m sorry I made you feel that way.  It’s just… Time Lords, the way we had relationships like this, it was always different. It wasn’t nearly as intimate.”

“Are you saying that we have an intimate relationship?” Rose cocked her head to the side.

He nodded.  “To me- in my culture, what we have would be considered indecently intimate.  But it doesn’t bother me.  Being close to you in a way that would disgust my people is never something I want to give up.”

“Thanks.”

He sighed and took her hands in his. “I’m sorry. I’m not good at talking about this kind of thing.”

“Which is weird, because you excel at talking.”

He offered her a smile. “Yes, I usually do.  But not with this. Not when it comes to you, and my… Feelings towards you.”

Rose felt her heart speed up but tried to calm it down.  There was no reason to get excited. It was hardly possible that he might actually say anything besides that.  She was having trouble making eye contact with him, but she forced herself to. She didn’t even know what to say to him, in response to that.

“You confuse me,” she admitted quietly, looking down at their hands.  “Sometimes I think you might want more with me, like right now, but sometimes you just say things that don’t make sense, or you push me away, and it’s all so much.  I don’t want you to feel pressured to be near me, but… I want to be near you. Does that make sense?”

“Yes,” he said quickly.  “And I should be more up front with you.  From the beginning I should have been more up front with you.”

“Then start now,” Rose said, exasperated.  “You know exactly how I feel about you, I know you do.  But I’m still confused.”

“I love you,” he said, and her eyes snapped up to his.  His jaw was a bit clenched, as though he hadn’t meant for it to slip out quite yet or quite like that.  He sighed hard, and then nodded to himself. “I love you. The thought of not having you with me is the most frightening thing I can imagine, and Rose, I’ve seen terrible things.  Earlier, when you weren’t really speaking to me… I wasn’t sure how long I could handle you being upset with me.”

She didn’t know what to do except hug him, so she wrapped her arms around his neck and tugged him up against her, resting her chin on his shoulder.  He sighed heavily and hugged her close, his nose pressing into her hair. She found herself blinking back tears, reveling in finally knowing where they stood, where everything was for them.  

“I love you too,” she whispered.  “More than anything. So much it scares me.”

He let out a shuddering breath that made him press even closer to her, and she wondered if it was possible to mold into one person if they held each other long enough.  They’d hugged plenty of times before, but this was monumentally different. This was a promise.

He slowly pulled back and looked her in the eye, his breathing a little shallower than it usually was.  He smiled a little and reached up to cup her cheek with one hand. “Can I kiss you?” He asked.

She blinked.  Nobody had ever asked her that before.  “Why are you asking? You didn’t ask last time.”

“And then you acted very weird,” he pointed out, “So I thought it might be better if I just ask you this time.”
“That’s very sweet.”

He preened a little at the compliment, and she laughed, nodding against the palm of his hand.  “Yeah.”

“Yeah?” His voice was so hopeful she thought it might just break her.

She rolled her eyes.  “Yeah.”

He grinned and leaned closer to her, still looking a little nervous.  He finally leaned forward and kissed her softly, making Rose’s insides turn to absolute mush.  She’d kissed people before (not extensively, of course) but there was something so different about this.  She had to wonder if she’d ever truly been in love before the Doctor, if this was what love felt like.  She was pretty sure that it was.

The kiss was pretty chaste, not any deeper or more passionate than the one they’d shared in the prison cell, but she didn’t mind.  It was them, and that was all that really mattered. After a few moments, she pulled away, mostly because she knew she would escalate things if they were left alone for too long, and there were still two other people on board.  She laughed a little when he leaned forward to try to catch her lips again and she pressed her fingers to his lips.

“We still have Jeze and Jack to think about,” she reminded him, “And… We should see about stopping this war.”  She raised an eyebrow at him and he looked suddenly bashful.

“Ah.  Forgot about that, just a bit.”

“That’s not like you,” She said, furrowing her brows.

“Well, like I said, you make me- stop, you know.” he blushed a little, and Rose found it so incredibly charming and sweet that she just had to kiss him again, now that she was allowed.  He opened his mouth over hers immediately, wrapping his arms around her and drawing her in again.

This time, Rose wasn’t strong enough to push him away.  She squeezed her eyes shut and kissed him back hard, threading one hand into his hair.  An alarm beeping caused them to pull apart, and the Doctor looked up at the ceiling. “Alright, I get it,” he said, pulling back from Rose.  “The TARDIS said we should eat real food, and make something for our guests.”

Rose laughed, climbing down from the examination table.  “She’s probably right. We’ve been eating sludge for the past few days, and humans need better sustenance than that.”

The Doctor winced. “You’re right.”

They stood in silence for a few moments, looking at each other, and the Doctor finally held out his hand to her.  Rose smiled and took it, feeling relief wash over her as their fingers wove together. He grinned at her, his whole face lighting up, and she rolled her eyes, mostly unable to help it.  She wasn’t expecting him to be so excited about hand holding since they’d just snogged, but that was fine.  It was very… Characteristic, now that she thought about it.  He squeezed her hand and tugged her from the room, and towards the galley.

When they entered the room, Jack had prepared toast for him and Jeze and the two of them were sitting together, eating and chatting.  Jack looked up and saw that they were holding hands, and a slow smile crawled across his face. Rose blushed and looked away from him, tempted to drop the Doctor’s hand.  

“Really, Jack, just toast? The TARDIS can make a five course meal in ten minutes,” the Doctor was saying, oblivious to the exchange between Rose and Jack.

“This is all she would let us have,” Jack complained.  “You tell her to cook something else. Better yet, have Rose ask, she always liked her best.”

The Doctor looked at Rose. “Yeah, she does,” he said, smiling a little, and Rose squeezed his hand and let it go so she could go and take a seat at the table.

“We’ll clean up,” She promised the TARDIS as she sat down.  “And this is Jeze, I don’t think we introduced her to you. But she’s very polite and she’ll help me.”

The TARDIS hummed, as though considering Rose’s proposal, and food started materializing, seemingly out of nowhere, on the table.  Rose and the Doctor had seen it before, and therefore just thanked the TARDIS as he came to sit next to her, but obviously Jeze had never seen anything like it before, and her jaw dropped when a plate appeared before her.

“Oh, that’s just incredible!” She enthused, almost afraid to get too close to the food before her.  

Jack would’ve been surprised, if he hadn’t lived in the TARDIS before.  But even though he’d never seen this particular trick before, he had a feeling that she was incredible of some really amazing things that he wasn’t aware of.  This was one of them. He offered up to a mental thanks to the TARDIS and tucked in.

The TARDIS had offered up Shepherd’s Pie and other London-centric dishes, and while Rose thought that it was just coincidence, the Doctor knew that the TARDIS was offering Rose comfort food, thinking she would need something akin to a mental hug, and this was the closest the ship could offer.  The Doctor offered her a soft mental thanks, and she offered a cheerful hum in reply.

It was an oddly nice meal, Rose decided.  Not that all meals on the TARDIS weren’t nice, but there was something different about the table being full, all of them sharing food that reminded her of her childhood.  She looked around and smiled a little.

“So, Jack, you’ll be staying on a bit, once we sort this out?” The Doctor asked, not really looking as though he cared all that much.  

“Yeah, I think so,” Jack said, “I’d like to, I mean.  If you’ll still let me.”

“Well, I’d still like you to come,” Rose said, looking up at him with an earnest look on her face.  “I missed you when… Well, I missed you.”

Jack winked at her. “There are plenty of people that do, Rosie.”

Jeze rolled her eyes next to Jack, and Rose giggled.  She looked at the Doctor and elbowed him. “We should extend the invitation,” she said softly.

The Doctor nodded, sitting up a little. “Would you like to come along, Jeze? Traveling with us?”

Jeze tilted her head to the side, seeming to consider. “I’m not sure. I don’t think this is the life for me.. But I can’t go home with the war still going on.”

The Doctor grinned. “Good thing we plan to end it.”
Rose blinked and looked over at him skeptically. “I thought you weren’t sure we can do it.  That’s what you said earlier.”

He looked her with sweet reverence in his eyes.  “Rose Tyler, with you, I think I could do just about anything.”

Chapter Text

 

After dinner, Rose and Jeze set about cleaning up while the Doctor and Jack headed to the console room to scan the planet and see if they could find any way to stop the war without violence.  The Doctor, of course, was more dragged than walked himself, since he didn’t particularly want to leave Rose. She shooed him off, making sure he was actually gone before starting to clear the table.

“So, things are better between you two?” Jeze asked conversationally, looking down at the dishes.  Rose sighed, a little happily.

“Yeah,” She said, “It looks like things are finally sorted out.”  She smiled, taking a dish from Jeze to set into the sink. “Although he could turn on a pin at any moment, really.”

Jeze tilted her head empathetically. “It must be difficult.”

“What?”

“To be in love with someone so unpredictable.”

Rose opened her mouth to protest before she realized that she’d already confessed, as had the Doctor, so there was hardly any need to keep it a secret anymore.  She nodded, then, forcing herself to be honest. “Yeah,” she said, “It’s really hard. But worth it, you know? It has to be.”

Jeze sighed dramatically, coming up next to Rose to help. “You know, I don’t think I’ve ever been in love.”

“That’s strange.  Nearly everyone who meets Jack falls in love with him.” Rose teased.

Laughing, Jeze shook her head. “No, no, I don’t think that would ever happen. I don’t think I’d want it, to be entirely honest with you.  I think it would take a very, very special person to tie him down.”

Rose had to agree with her. If Jack was ever going to be monogamous, it would have to be with someone he loved with his whole heart.  “I think someday, he’ll find someone that’ll make him settle down.”

“Me too,” Jeze agreed heartily. “And hopefully I’ll find someone too.”

“How does getting married actually work on Vienna?” Rose asked, genuinely curious. “You know, since the women are in charge, and men are looked down on.”

“It’s complicated,” Jeze admitted, “And difficult, but procreation has to happen, which is the only reason it’s allowed.  But I couldn’t live on Vienna anymore if I got married.” She paused for a moment. “But I think I’d like to be married for more than procreation, though that would be… Nice.  I’d like to be in love.”
Rose smiled. “Yeah.  I think it’s… The best feeling.”

“But hard.”

“But hard,” Rose agreed, thinking of all the times she had sat alone in her room and wondered what she had done wrong to make the Doctor not want her, or anything of that sort.  She blew out her cheeks and shook her head. Those times were over now. She hoped so, anyway. She didn’t plan on loving anyone else for the rest of her life, and she was just naive enough to believe the he might stay with her for all of it.  She wasn’t sure she could fault him, though, if he decided to leave, when she got older and was no longer young enough to assuage his guilt.

Clearing her throat, and her mind of such thoughts, she offered Jeze another smile. “I hope you get to be married,” she said softly, “I think all the men anywhere you go will love you.”
Jeze preened a little at the compliment. “Well, one can only hope. But there aren’t many of my own people to choose from.”

“The Doctor and I aren’t-” the same species, rose mean to say, but that seemed almost a bit too weird. She laughed. “We’re not as alike as we’d like to be.”

“He still cares for you, though, any fool can see that.”

Jeze talked on about the man she’d like to marry someday, and it brought Rose a bit of hope.  The Doctor was it for her, and maybe if she approached things the same way that Jeze did, they could actually stay together for as long as possible.

They had no sooner finished the dishes then the doctor and Jack burst in the galley, looking like two little boys who were waking their parents up for Christmas morning.  

“We’ve done it!” The Doctor said proudly as Jack punched the air behind him.  “It took a simple tweaking, and seeing what events couldn’t be changed, but-” he took a deep breath.  “It would seem as though the people are not as willing to fight as they seem to be.”

As it turned out, the Doctor explained, many women on the planet were growing restless, growing bored of speaking to only women.  Understandably, he said, since one’s own gender would become disgustingly boring if that’s all they were exposed to. So it wasn’t really about trade at all.   But there was a peace treaty signing he would be attending to make sure that the terms were fair.  And, he added, that servants would be allowed to talk to their mistresses.

“Vienna needs to be part of the outside universe,” Jack said, directing his attention mostly to Jeze for that point.  “It’s not right for them to be alone; it makes them turn in on each other like this and fight for no reason.”
Jeze nodded. “I couldn’t agree more.  I spoke freely with you and my other servants, jack, but that's not the case for the majority of women. I think it’s wrong.  We’re all alive, sentient beings. There’s no reason not to speak to one another, even if one is employed by the other.”

The Doctor beamed, shoving his hands in his pockets. “I’m certainly glad you think so,” he said, “Since you’re a local.  But, come on, we’ve got to go and get there! The treaty happens about three years from now, and-”
“Wait, hang on,” Rose held her hand up.  “I thought you said you’d done it. But you’re not stopping the war.”
“No, I’m not,” The Doctor agreed. “But I’m ushering in peace, or helping to.  They won’t have the same perspectives that you and I have, Rose, couldn’t even think of them if they wanted to.  So, we didn’t stop the war. But… We can help them prepare for a future.”

As lovely an idea as Rose thought that was, there was something else standing in their way.  “Doctor, you’re a man.”
He blinked. “I’m glad you noticed.”

She shook her head as Jack laughed behind the Doctor. “No, I mean, they won’t let you speak.” She turned to Jeze.  “Jeze should speak.”

Jeze turned sheet white.  “No, I couldn’t,” she said, “I couldn’t possibly!”

“Who better?” Rose asked, laying a hand on her shoulder. “Come on, Jeze, you’ve lived here forever, it wouldn’t be right for any of us to do it.  Especially not a man. You’re the only one of the four of us that anybody who’s a local here would listen to.”

“That’s not true,” Jeze said, “I’m sure they’d listen to you, Rose, you clearly have a way with words.”

Rose smiled, knowing that while Jeze might actually mean that, she was also probably partially buttering her up to get her to do it instead.  She shook her head. “Nope. Can’t be me. It’s got to be you, but we’ll all be there.”

Jeze looked a bit frantic.  “Do we have to decide right now? Can I think about it?”

The Doctor sensed Jeze’s panic and nodded quickly. “We’ll stay in the TARDIS for the night.  Jack, your old room is still here, and you can show Jeze to a guest room.”

“Where are you and Rose going to stay?” Jack asked flirtatiously, making the tips of the Doctor’s ears turn pink.  

“Just get out,” he groused, not making eye contact.

Relief flooded visibly over Jeze and she let Jack take her by the hand and lead her out of the galley.  Rose watched them, her arms crossed.

“I think she’ll do it,” she mused, cocking her head to one side. “She doesn’t have nearly enough faith in herself.”

“I agree,” The Doctor said, approaching her slowly and setting his hands on her waist, tugging her close to him.  “But, that does leave a question.”

She hesitantly let her hands rest on his upper arms, looking curiously up at him. “And what’s that, then?”

“Where are we going to stay tonight?”
Rose fought back a smile, not even sure how to begin to answer. “Hm,” she hummed, breathing out a slow sigh. “I suppose we could sleep in my room.”

“Why yours?”

“Because your room is sad,” Rose said bluntly.  “It’s all grey and dark.”

“I haven’t had a chance to change it since-” he bit back bringing up his regeneration, and Rose smiled reassuringly.

“I know,” She said, “But for now, I just think we ought to stay in mine.”

The Doctor returned her smile, looking dreadfully relieved.  “That’s fine, great even.”

“Go get changed, I’ll meet you there in ten.”

The Doctor looked surprised, mostly because it was a command and not a question, but also because Rose had assumed (and basically told him) that he was expected to sleep on this particular night.  And while the Doctor had no problem falling asleep with Rose Tyler in his arms, he was not used to falling asleep at all.  Usually, he put it off for as long as he possibly could, which was a very long time for a Time Lord.  However, he relented mentally, he might be alright with making an exception this time.

Rose changed into pajamas and perched on her bed, feeling a bit nervous.  There wasn’t any expectation, of course, but she still felt a bit on edge.  The Doctor hadn’t ever slept in her room before, no matter how many times that they’d shared a bed before.  It all seemed so foreign and familiar at the same time that it was making her head hurt. She massaged her temples and blew out her cheeks, trying to calm down.

It would be fine.  It was just her and the Doctor, the way it was always supposed to be anyway.  They’d be fine. They’d always be fine.

The Doctor knocked before entering, and when Rose beckoned him to come in, he peeked around the door as though he wasn’t sure he was actually allowed to come in, which made Rose laugh.  “You’ve been in here before, you know,” she reminded him.

“Yes, to wake you up or check on you,” he said, entering and shutting the door behind them, “And I was still repressing my feelings for you, so those don’t count.”

Rose cocked an eyebrow at him.  “It’s much nicer to not be repressing, if you ask me.”

“I didn’t ask,” he replied teasingly, and climbed on the side of the bed she wasn't’t sitting on.  He reached out and cupped her cheek, drawing her into a kiss. It seemed to be spoken that this sort of behavior wouldn’t be happening around Jack, because he would never behave himself, so Rose was content to enjoy it in private like this. She closed her eyes and leaned into him, realizing she wouldn’t have to memorize any of it because it would be happening often.

“I love you,” he breathed out when he pulled away from her, eyes still closed and fringe brushing her forehead.  It still made her heart clench to hear him say it.

“I love you,” She replied, smiling at him.  “We should get to sleep though.”

The Doctor opened his eyes and made a face that strongly resembled a pout before grumbling that she was right.  He got under the covers like he’d always done it, and Rose followed, turning on her side to face him once he got comfortable.  He turned as well and settled his hand over hers where it lay between them.

“So we really can’t stop it?” Rose asked on a whisper as the TARDIS sensed their positions and dimmed the lights.

The Doctor shook his head against the pillow.  “We can’t. I’m sorry.”

She closed her eyes. “I just don’t want-” anyone to have to die.

“I know,” he scooted towards her and wrapped an arm around her, pulling her close to his chest.  He kissed the top of her head and she snuggled into him, wondering why this all felt so familiar and right.

“Shouldn’t this feel weird?” She asked, voicing her thoughts.

“No,” the Doctor replied. “We’ve always held hands, and hugged, and we cuddled on the couch a couple of times.  I hardly see anything odd about this.”

Her heart warmed a little at his honest confession. “I’m not used to you being so straight forward.”

“Figured I should try it.  For you at least.”

“Thanks.”

“Mm. Go to sleep.  We’ve a peace treaty signing to attend tomorrow.”

With peace and rest in her heart for the first time in what felt like ages, Rose fell asleep, her fist curled into the Doctor’s sleep shirt and his hearts beating against her cheek.

Chapter Text

 

Rose had woken up with the Doctor before, but this was something that was inherently different.  In her sleep, she’d always been careful in a subconscious way to not touch him too much, or to get too close.  But today,she woke up on top of him, her arms wrapped all the way around him, her head in the space between his head and chest.  His breathing was even underneath her, so he was clearly still asleep.

She sighed, letting her eyes flutter closed again.  She wasn’t ready to wake up, though she almost never was.  But being in this particular position made it even harder. She felt the Doctor’s breathing grow shallow underneath her cheek and his hand stroked up her back to land in the back of her hair.  She tipped her chin to look up at him.

“Hi,” she said softly.

“Hello,” he replied, his voice gravelly with sleep.  He cleared his throat and tried again. “Good morning.”

“Mm,” she agreed.  “You slept.”

“I thought it was obvious that I would.”

“Nothing you do or say is every obvious,” Rose replied helpfully, and the Doctor huffed out a laugh.

“That’s true.”

Rose let the quiet settle around them for a moment, then thumped his chest. “Hey, do you think Jeze’s gonna be ready for today?”

“If she’s not, we can stay in the TARDIS,” the Doctor said.  “But I think she’ll be just fine, quite honestly. Women have a lot of power here.”

“Women have a lot of power everywhere,” Rose said firmly, “I think it’s just whether they see it or not.”
The Doctor hummed  a little, agreeing with her. “I rather think you’re right.  Jeze, though, seems quite confident in herself, so I’m sure she’ll come around the idea of this meeting within a day or two, at most.”

Rose nodded against his chest, letting her eyes flutter closed again.  Something about laying with him like this was so relaxing she could hardly bear it, but they would have to get up and get Jeze and Jack up if anything was going to be done today.  And if Jack had remained the same at all, he’d be sleeping as long as possible.

“We should get up,” she said softly.

“You say that,” the Doctor replied slowly, “And as much as that make sense, I do not want to move.”

“Me either,” Rose admitted.  She propped herself up on top of him so she could look down into his face. “I don’t expect you to stay with me every night, you know.”

He frowned, his brows drawing together in confusion. “Why wouldn’t I want to come stay here with you every night?”

Suddenly his eyes looked too intense, and she looked down to pick at a button on his jim jams. “I dunno,” she said, “It’s not like you sleep an awful lot usually, you know, so it’s sort of unfair, isn’t it?  To expect you to lay here and do nothing for eight hours a day.”

His hand stroked up and down her back as he thought for a minute, and he let out a long, deep sigh.  “Well, I could stay until you fall asleep, and come back before you wake up. And of course, if I needed sleep, well, I’d do that with you.”  He grinned at her and it was so contagious that she had to return it.

Knowing she’d never get up if they carried on like this, she rolled away from him and got to her feet, ignoring his whine of protest.  She looked over her shoulder and raised an eyebrow at him. “Well, come on. We really can’t lay around forever. I thought you’d agree with me on that.”
“Just because I agree doesn’t mean I want to act on it,” he grumbled, but still got to his feet, running his hands through his hair.  It was far more tousled than usual, as though for the first time in years, he’d let himself sleep peacefully. She knew he had nightmares, and the knowledge that he hadn’t had any while he was with her was something that sent a wave of reassurance through her.  This was right, all of it was. She only hoped that the Doctor wouldn’t continue to doubt himself like he often did.

She brushed her hands on her sleep shorts and headed into the bathroom to get ready.  Jeze would probably be up to it, she tried to tell herself, and she wanted to be able to be there when they went back to Vienna.

After an hour, she came out to find the Doctor sitting on the edge of the bed, dressed in his suit and his hair perfectly done up.  Rose mourned the loss of his relaxed look from before quietly, and offered him a smile.

“You were quick,” she remarked.

“I know exactly how I want to look every morning,” he said, gesturing to her.  “You have way more… Options.”

Rose rolled her eyes and walked past him, intent on heading to the galley.  He muttered something about going to wake Jeze and Jack and she nodded, letting him know she’d be starting the tea up for them all. She was certainly going to need it.

Jeze entered the galley several minutes later, looking like she hadn’t gotten a lick of sleep.

“Didn’t take the Doctor long to get you up,” Rose remarked when her friend entered.

“No… I didn’t want to make anyone wait,” she said, smiling a little.  “To be truthful, I didn’t sleep very well.”

“I didn’t think you did,” Rose admitted.  “You look exhausted.”

“I just don’t know if I’m the person to bring about change,” Jeze said softly, sitting down in a chair but still facing Rose.  “I’m so simple, I throw parties and try to make people happy. That’s all.”

Rose turned and frowned.  “Jeze, you live there.  You have far more right to talk about the future than anyone else.  You have the right to be the future.”  She smiled a little when Jeze blushed.

“I’m not nearly that important,” she replied softly.

“You are,” Rose said, “But you don’t have to do it today.”

Jeze wrinkled her nose a little. “I just… I don’t think I’ll be able to do it if I wait,” she said simply.  “I’ll get even more nervous.”

“Do you want me to stand with you at the treaty meeting?” Rose asked.

A look of relief came over her face and she blew out her cheeks.  “Thank you,” she said, “I would very much like that.”

The Doctor and Jack entered then, the Doctor looking very annoyed and Jack was tousled, like the Doctor had physically yanked him out of his bed.

“Thought I’d be entitled to some rest,” Jack laughed, sitting down next to Jeze.  “But the Doctor here seems to think that I deserve just a few sweet hours.”

Rose rolled her eyes. “He does the same thing to me, Jack, that’s just how he is.”

“I doubt the way he wakes you up is unpleasant,” Jack shot back, offering her a smile that made her blush and look away.

“Jack,” The Doctor groused.

Deciding to cut this unpleasant conversation off as soon as she could, Rose cleared her throat.  “We should be getting ready to go then, shouldn’t we?”

She and Jeze dressed back in traditional garb, and Rose was surprised by how much she liked being back in the long, flowing dress.  This one was light blue, and Jeze’s was a dark purple that fit her skin quite well. She still looked sickeningly nervous, and Rose wasn’t sure how to comfort her.

“You’ve got to know that you’ll be fine, yeah?” Rose asked, offering Jeze what she hoped was a reassuring smile.

“I’m hoping,” Jeze said, cracking her knuckles nervously, “But I’m just me.”

“Exactly.”

The Doctor put them at exactly the right time, which Jack teased him for until the Doctor looked like he might put Jack through the floor, and they walked out of the TARDIS right in front of the courtroom like structure that the peace treaty meeting was being held in.  

“We can’t go in,” The Doctor said, shoving his hands in his pockets.  “This, all of it… It’s up to me or Jack. It’s up to you, Jeze.”

“But I can be here for moral support,” Rose said softly, squeezing Jeze’s arm.  

Jeze gave Rose a nervous, tight lipped smile and nodded slowly.  “Yeah,” she said, let’s go then.”

Rose offered the Doctor a glance over her shoulder, smiling a little when he winked, and turned back to walk in with Jeze.  The court of women was already set up in a colosseum formation, all around a podium in the center of the room. Rose let Jeze enter slightly ahead of her, even though the woman was trembling slightly with fear.  

The woman who stood at the podium looked up at the two of them and raised an eyebrow.  “And what are you doing here?”

Jeze bowed and Rose followed suit, assuming it to be appropriate.  

“My name is Jeze, I live here on Vienna,” she said softly, “I was wondering if it might be appropriate for me to speak at this treaty signing. I have something to say.”

There was a murmur through the crowd, but the woman who stood at the podium seemed vaguely amused by Jeze’s question.  She looked around to see if anyone was upset by the question, and when no one said anything, she waved Jeze down to the podium.  Jeze looked back at Rose and she nodded, issuing her forward.

Jeze took shaky steps down to the podium, with Rose close behind and taking a seat in the front row of seats, making sure Jeze would be able to see her.  She smiled a little as Jeze took the podium over from the woman who was in charge.

“Hello, everyone, I’m sorry to interrupt,” Jeze said, looking a little nervous still.  “But I couldn’t really let any of this happen without saying something.” She looked around, eyes darting a bit wildly.  “I think we should be a part of the outside universe. We should be able to trade on other planets, in other galaxies, and we should be able to talk to men.”

The last comment got a bit of a rise from the crowd, but Jeze raised her hand, finally looking like the power that she was.

“Aren’t you tired of speaking only to women?” She asked. “Because I am. I’m sick of it. I want to get married and have children without moving off world.  I want to be able to talk to father. I want… I want us to still be in charge, but I want it to be fair.

“I used to have parties.  Great, big parties with women and their servants, and sometimes we’d talk to each other, and it was wonderful.   We had so many differences, and that was what made it so wonderful!  And those differences, the ones we share with off-worlders? They’re just as good, sometimes.  So please… Please consider this with the treaty, and with moving Vienna forward.”

The room was silent, but Rose chanced a double thumbs-up to Jeze as the other women looked to each other.

“We’ll consider your input heavily, Jeze,” The woman who had been leading the discussion said, “It’s been interesting to hear your opinion, and we will discuss it further.”

Jeze, understanding her dismissal, bowed again to the woman.  “Thank you,” she said, “Thank you for listening.”
Rose waited until they were outside to give Jeze a hug, squealing with excitement.  “You did it!”

“That doesn’t mean they’ll do it,” Jeze said glumly.

“But it’s a step!” Rose said excitedly, “And that might be all they need.”

The Doctor came up behind Rose, resting a hand on her back.  “Did you get to talk to them?”

“Jeze did, and she was amazing!” Rose enthused.

“Well, you look terrified,” Jack said.

“I’d… Like to go home, if that’s alright,” Jeze said meekly.  “I don’t think I’m cut out for a life of adventure, really! But it was quite exciting.”  She smiled up at Jack. “But you should still go with them, Jack.”

“I’ll see you home,” Jack said.  “You two, don’t leave without me.”

Rose and the Doctor bid Jeze their goodbyes, and when she and Jack left, Rose found herself feeling oddly at ease.  

“I think it’ll be okay,” she said softly.  “After all this, all the fighting and the disagreement.  I think they’ll still disagree, but… I think it’ll be alright.”

The Doctor smiled at her, absolute adoration written on his face. “You know, I rather think so too.  And a lot of that was you encouraging her.”

Rose wrinkled up her nose. “Nah, I can’t take credit for all that.”

The Doctor tugged on her waist, pulling her close to him and wrapping his arms around her.  “I think you should take some, at least.”

She followed his lead, wrapping her arms around his neck, still a bit shocked that she could be close to him in this way.  “Just a little. I am pretty amazing.”

He laughed, his eyes absolutely sparkling with adoration for her.  “Yes, you are.” He kissed her quickly, and tugged her towards the TARDIS.  “While we’re waiting for Jack, why don’t we think about the next world we can save.”

Rose laughed and let him pull her back into the TARDIS.

Back into another adventure.  

They managed to actually wait for Jack before the wanderlust got to them.