Fandom: Doctor Who
Summary: The Doctor and Rose go to a planet. Trouble ensues. Takes place after "Fear Her" and right before "Army of Ghosts".
Rose stirred a splash of milk into her tea, taking it to the kitchen table before tasting it. She sipped it and years of associating tea with comfort relaxed her in her chair almost automatically. She remembered Jack laughing at their constant of turning to a cuppa after any grand adventure.
“I'm surprised you two don't float from planet to planet,” he'd laughed, flashing his wide grin and pointedly swigging his coffee, the TARDIS having supplied an espresso machine soon after his arrival.
But, Jack was sorting out the 51st century, so far as she knew, and so far away.
The Doctor drank his tea disgustingly sweet, two heaping spoonfuls of sugar and so much milk it was nearly white. The old Doctor, her first Doctor, had liked it black and nearly scalding, steeped much stronger than Rose's.
The Doctor. She sipped again, a smile playing on her lips. He'd dashed her off, taken her from one end of the universe to the other and from the past to Earth's future (and even beyond that). He was her best mate and she loved him.
She paused and repeated that last in her head. If she was being honest, and if not in her head then where else, there was really no other way to describe the way she felt. Fancying, stuck on him, completely mad about him... It all really boiled down to the same thing. She loved him.
Rose took another sip of tea. She was pretty sure he felt the same, as sure as one could be with a nine hundred year old Time Lord with the enthusiasm of a nine month old puppy and the attention span to match. He held her hand more often, hugged her tighter and when he gave her that smile, it was as if the whole universe faded into the background.
She set her mug on the table, running her finger around the rim. Their latest adventure, the one that had drawn her to the kitchen seeking solace and English Breakfast, was still fresh in her mind. It had started, as so many of their trips did, with a brilliant idea.
The Doctor had seized on the idea to show her the Greatest Bazaar in the Galaxy. “Not the Greatest Show,” he'd assured her. “That was rubbish. Plus, run by some awful nutters,” he'd mused. “Not as great as one might expect from that name.”
They had set down almost smack dab in the centre of the swirling, bustling bazaar; half marketplace, half fairground and filled with species of all kinds. He'd taken her by the hand and drawn her into the crowd and soon they were surrounded by the masses of beings buying, selling and having a grand old time.
Rose had half expected the Doctor to disappear on her the first time a pretty something caught her eye, citing a need for this part or that for the TARDIS (he'd done it once when Jack was with them, leaving the two of them to shop to their heart's content), but he'd just smiled and kept pace with her, hands in his pockets and an amused smile on his face.
They spent a happy few hours wandering the bazaar, sometimes hand in hand, dragging each other here and there to look at everything from Aashinu silks to Zviri fiber optic cables. Rose fell in rapturous love with a tissue thin silk scarf, hand painted with flowers she'd never seen before. The Doctor gave her a grin as he passed over the requisite number of credits, tweaking the edge of the scarf as she tied it over her hair in the same way the woman selling them had done.
After looking for what seemed like ages, Rose finally found something for her Mum. It was a cute little knicknack that looked like a gold top that was apparently made of Bezoulium and went cold when it was supposed to rain and warm when it would be sunny. Rose just thought it was pretty and that Mum might like it.
He went into paroxysms of joy over some of the Zviri cables (“Do you know how hard it is to find a decent cable for a possibly slightly outdated time machine?”) and the glasses came out as he inspected very single cable, and those of the next leading competitor, Fewsea. He settled on two and paid before stuffing them into the pocket of his suit jacket, which was, of course, bigger on the inside.
“No one does fiber optics better than the Zviri, nobody,” the Doctor was half explaining, half rhapsodising. Rose just smiled and nodded, 'hmm'-ing whenever it seemed necessary.
She had finished the oddly coloured ice block the Doctor had handed her(“Try this, you'll love it.”) and was looking around for a rubbish bin to toss the chartreuse and ochre stained stick into when a disturbance up ahead caught her eye.
“And the fibers are grown in these sort of colour-coded colonies-”.
“-That designate their use. Red is for-”.
“What?” He paused mid-stream, forehead crinkling. Rose simply pointed at the swelling mass of people right in front of them. “Ah. Trouble?”
“Should we investigate?”
“I suppose we must.”
The Doctor offered Rose his arm. She looped her arm through it with a grin and they started forward.
The cause of the rukus was not hard to find. A rather intense looking man with the golddust skin of the planet's natives was standing up on a stage that appeared to regularly host some sort of auctions. He was shouting something about the government, throwing out names of people and trade agreements Rose would never have heard of as they reached the back of the crowd.
“Excuse me,” the Doctor asked a woman standing in front of them, “what's going on? We're, uh, not from around here.”
The woman, also with shimmering gold skin and a scarf over her hair like Rose's, sighed with sufferance. “They are the Entitlists. The planet has opened new trade negotiations with Kitsiraio 4 and there are those, like the Entitlists, who want to keep everything on planet as much as possible.”
The Doctor pondered that. “Isn't that sort of ridiculous for a planet that boasts the Greatest Bazaar in the Galaxy? I mean, you can't have authentic Melisary pottery from anywhere but Melisar.”
The woman gave the Doctor a crooked smile. “I did not say they were right. They are considered a non-issue by most, dedicated though they are to their cause.” With a nod to the Doctor and Rose, she resettled the basket on her arm and swept off.
Most of the crowd had begun to disperse, the locals having heard it all before, though some onlookers were still arriving, mostly tourists drawn by their curiosity. The Doctor and Rose were about to continue their wanderings, the nearby pier having caught Rose's eye, when a shriek tore the air and made them turn back.
The crowd's waning attention and diminishing size had apparently been noticed by the self styled revolutionary and as the crowd's attention snapped back to him, it was plain to see why they were looking now.
He held a young woman out in front of him, one arm loosely looped around her neck, enough so that the device strapped to his chest, and previously concealed under his jacket, was clearly visible.
The Doctor drew out his sonic screwdriver; the tip glowed and the frown on his face deepened.
“Can you disarm or disable it?” Rose asked, her eyes flicking from the terrified young woman to the Doctor.
“No, there are no electronics involved that I can safely interrupt. There's chemicals involved, but all I could do would be to play with their composition and that's not a good idea.” He ran a hand through his hair, looking distressed.
Local law enforcement must have been called, because a phalanx of uniformed police had jogged up. They stopped a safe distance away, not far from where the Doctor and Rose had been standing before. One man, tall and reed thin, slowly walked closer and began to speak with the hostage-taker. The Doctor took Rose's hand and led her away.
“Where are we going?” she asked him.
“Back to the TARDIS.”
“You've got a plan, then?”
“Flying away,” he replied, shoulders tense as they strode away.
Rose stopped short, causing the Doctor to be pulled to a halt. “We're just going? We're going to leave that girl, all those people? What if that bomb goes off?”
“Then we will be safe and very far from here.”
She stared at him. “I cannot believe this. You, Mr Running-Headlong-Into-Danger, running away? To save your own skin?”
“To save yours!” he burst out, facing her, before realising what he'd said.
Rose looked at him askew. “We've been in danger loads of times and you never ran away then.”
“Times when the world is at stake, or we can't avoid it? Yes, we've stayed and we've fought, but this is a time when we don't have to.” He stepped closer and his voice dropped. “I can't lose you.” His hand reached up and brushed her cheek before resting on her shoulder, his thumb absently rubbing circles.
She smiled up at him. “Yeah, Mum'd slap you again,” she said cheekily and he smiled back.
“Then, in the interest of saving my handsome face, can we please go back to the TARDIS?”
Rose's smile faded. “I can't just swan off, knowing I'm leaving people in real danger. If something happens, I'll always wonder if we could have stopped it.” She stepped in, mirroring his actions of a moment ago, closing the scant distance between them and looking up at him. “What if she's got someone who can't lose her? If you want, I'll do this alone, but I've got to do something.”
With a heavy sigh, the Doctor put his arms around her and rested his chin on her head. “Well, when you put it that way...” There was a pause as he held her, her arms wrapped around his middle and cheek pressed into his suit jacket. She could hear his double heartbeat before he gave her an extra squeeze and let go. He looked at her expectantly. “So, got a plan?”
She beamed at him, her smile dazzling. “Sort of. It may involve a distraction on your part.”
“Playing to my strengths, I see.”
Once Rose had sketched out her plan and the Doctor had added an idea or two of his own, they finally approached the police.
“Uh, we're here to see your leader?” the Doctor hazarded when an officer noticed and came to shoo them away. The young officer did not look impressed.
“I'm Rose Tyler and this is the Doctor,” Rose volunteered, flashing the Doctor's Slightly Psychic Paper at the officer. “We need to see the man, or woman, in charge.” Whatever he saw on the paper spurred the young man into motion. With a crisp nod and a “Follow me”, he lead the Doctor and Rose into the fray.
“Where did you get that?” the Doctor asked Rose mildly as the followed along.
Rose shrugged. “Nicked it when you gave me that lovely hug. I just thought it might be useful and you've got a bad habit of forgetting to pull if out sometimes.” She offered the wallet back with an impish grin and he pocketed it.
“See if I give you such good hugs again,” he groused, then grinned at her. “That's my Rose.” Anything else he might have been planning to say was dashed upon their arrival at the man in charge.
“Captain Kadhaffi,” the young guard said to the back of a heavyset man looking at a map on a hastily set up command table. “There's a Special Agent Rose Tyler and the Doctor to see you.” Rose and the Doctor just had time to exchange grins at the title the Slightly Psychic Paper had bestowed upon her, when the Captain turned around.
He had looked heavyset from behind, but he was really a powerfully built man with a serious face and widely set black eyes that would have been kind if he were not dealing with a crisis. The tense look on his face gave way to a smile as he hastened to greet them. “Doctor!” he enthused. “So good to see you. Been a little while since we saw you last.”
The Doctor and Rose exchanged a new set of looks. “Future visit?” Rose posited aside.
“Seems like,” he replied just as quietly. “But...”
Captain Kadhaffi continued. “And, Special Agent Tyler, was it?” he asked Rose with a handshake. “Very nice to meet you. I'm Captain Jake Kadhaffi, head of the Bazaar Security. Have you known the Doctor long?”
A little puzzled, Rose gave him a crooked smile. “Seems like forever.”
“Last time, Doctor, you were accompanied by that striking woman with the rather... loud voice.” He looked around anxiously. “She's not here, is she?”
Just as puzzled as Rose, the Doctor shook his head. “No... No striking woman with a loud voice...”
“You didn't bring my Mum here!” Rose hissed.
“Without you?” the Doctor replied. “And, striking's not exactly the word I'd use to describe Jackie...”
She thwacked him on the arm and returned her attention to Captain Kadhaffi.
“So, to what do I owe the honour, Doctor, and Agent Tyler?”
“Well, we saw you were having a bit of trouble and thought we could lend a hand,” the Doctor supplied. His mind was still unsettled about the whole situation, compounded by Kadhaffi's knowledge of him, but not of Rose. He didn't want to worry, could have been that Rose simply was having some time at home with her Mum, but why would he have travelled without her? A cold feeling settled in his stomach as he listened to Kadhaffi start to explain the situation.
“-though I'm not sure how much help can be given. Negotiations are impossible with someone who is asking for impossible things.”
“What impossible things?” Rose asked. She seemed to be taking her assumed role as Special Agent Rose Tyler seriously, with a tilt to her head and a hand on one hip.
Kadhaffi sighed. “He wants the trade negotiations with Kitsiraio 4 stopped, to start with. And, an audience with the Supreme Minister. It's so much easier when all they want is a million credits and a heliopod.”
The Doctor smiled. “Well, then, perhaps we can add some new factors to your equation.”
“Well, for starters, have you identified what the bomb is made of?” Rose asked.
“Yes, of course. It's one of the first things we do.” Kadhaffi pointed to a sketch on the table. “It's really fairly simple. A metal tube filled with two highly volatile chemicals, separated by a quick release valve. One push of a button, the chemicals mix and cause a rather large explosion. Simple, but very effective.”
The Doctor looked pensive. “Maybe I could try to stabilise one of the chemicals before they mix, change the make up a little?”
The Captain shook his head. “Even if you could, they're both stable before they mix. Pretty harmless apart, for the most part.”
“I still think our original plan's the best idea,” Rose said and the Doctor nodded.
“Captain Kadhaffi, we're also going to need someone to go with Rose.”
Kadhaffi turned and pointed to a group of officers standing by and a young man hurried over.
“Yes, sir?” Not much older than Rose, he looked expectant.
“Lieutentant Simun Graybeel, this is the Doctor and Special Agent Tyler. They're lending a hand and they need you to help them.”
“Hello.” Graybeel nodded and the Doctor and Rose nodded back.
“Right, you're with me, then,” Rose said with a nod. “The Doctor and Captain Kadhaffi are in charge of catching his attention. We're in charge of making sure he doesn't hit that button.”
Rose coloured faintly and chuckled. The Doctor 'hrumph'ed and turned back to the stage
The hostage-taker and his hostage were still there and the Bazaar security's man was still speaking with him, trying in low, even tones to talk him down. There was apparently little in the way of success going on. Thankfully, most of the surrounding area had been evacuated already.
“All right then. Rose, you and young Mister Graybeel should get going. We'll give you a moment before you start,” the Doctor said over his shoulder.
Rose nodded and straightened her shoulders. She pulled her new scarf off her hair and as she passed the Doctor, she handed it to him. “Hold on to this for me, yeah?”
His fingers closed around hers for a brief moment before he pocketed the scarf. “Give it back to you in a few,” he replied and she smiled back and kept going.