Rating: G (There is one damn.)
Spoilers/warnings: Set after The End of the World
Disclaimer: Doctor Who belongs to the BBC and not me.
Summary: Written for the OT3 ficathon. It ended up being a combination of the two prompts I had to choose from: one about the Doctor's birthday and one about meeting up with someone from the Forest of Cheem. This is the first time I've ever written anything like this.
“So what the hell has got the Doctor’s knickers in a twist?” Jack asked Rose as he entered the control room of the TARDIS.
“I don’t know. What have you done to get them that way?” Rose answered absently. She was sitting in the captain’s chair; feet propped up on the console while she read a fashion magazine she had picked up on their last stop. True, the inhabitants of that planet weren’t exactly built like humans but the clothes that the females wore were beautiful none the less. Rose had been trying to figure out a way she could adapt some of the styles to the human form.
“Me? Get his knickers in a twist? If only….” Jack sat down next to Rose on one of the jump seats
Rose rolled her eyes. “Well, I really left the door wide open for that comment, didn’t I?”
“That you did.” Jack agreed. He slung one arm around Rose’s shoulders and leaned in to look at her magazine. “Hey! I kinda like that one. How do you think something like that would look on ….”
“No.” Rose cut him off before he could get any further. “That give me such an awful mental picture that I don’t even wanna think about it. I’d have nightmares for weeks.”
Jack laughed. “But, seriously, what the heck is going on with the Doctor lately? The last few days every time we go near him we’re lucky not to get our heads bit off.”
“Yeah, I’ve noticed,” Rose admitted. “And, no, I have no clue. You have any ideas?”
“Not really. It seemed to start that last day we were in Shcleriet. Woke up on the wrong side of the TARDIS and just kept getting worse as the day wore on.”
“Who woke up on the wrong side of the TARDIS?” a gruff voice came from the doorway.
“I did,” Rose answered quickly. “Didn’t sleep well last night. Really restless. Made me cranky.”
“That’s what you apes get for havin’ to sleep so much,” the Doctor grumped as he went over to the console. He eyed Rose’s feet where they were resting on the edge of it. “D’you mind NOT using my ship as foot stool when I’m working?”
“Sooory!” She pulled her feet down as she and Jack glanced at each other. The Doctor had his back turned to them, already busy poking buttons and adjusting dials.
“Where are we heading now, Doctor?” Jack asked.
“Somewhere,” He answered shortly, not bothering to look up from is work.
“C’mon, Jack,” Rose stood up. “Let’s go get ourselves some tea before we get thrown out the door in mid-flight. She grabbed Jack’s hand and they both headed toward the door.
“Where would you like to go?” the Doctor asked before they reached the door.
Rose and Jack stopped in surprise. The Doctor’s tone of voice, while not full of warm fuzzies, was at least civil.
“Wherever you want is fine, Doctor,” Rose said gently.
“Surprise us, Doc,” Jack told him.
“How about I use the randomizer then?” he asked the pair.
“Works for me,” Jack told him and Rose nodded in agreement.
“All right then,” the Doctor began to set the controls to activate the randomizer. “Go and fix your tea and beans on toast while I get the real work done."
“Ok,” Rose smiled at him, happy to hear him sound more like himself. The two started off down the hall.
“Oi!” The Doctor called after them. “Bring me back a cuppa while you’re at it!”
As the sound of their feet faded down the corridor, the Doctor turned back to the controls.. He knew full well they had been talking about him before he came into the room. Those big ears of his were useful as well as ornamental and they came in quite handy for eavesdropping.
The Doctor sighed and leaned up against one of the pillars. He had been a right bear of late, he had to admit. The demons had been stirring in him again and whenever that occurred, his patience and personality usually took a turn for the worse. This time had been no exception and Rose and Jack were there to bear the brunt of it. He stood there lost in thought for several minutes until he heard someone returning. Quickly he straightened back up and busied himself at the controls before Rose entered carry a mug of tea.
“Here you go, Doctor,” Rose handed him the steaming hot cup and he took it from her with a smile.
“Fantastic! Ta, Rose.” The smile she returned to him lifted some of the weight he felt off of his shoulders and his own smile grew bigger and more genuine as a result. Happily, he took a couple of big gulps of the still near-boiling liquid.
Rose shook her head, “How you can do that is beyond me. Mine’s still sittin’ on the table in the galley cooling.”
“Cos I’m a Time Lord, that’s why Miss Tyler.
She teased right back at him. “Didn’t know your lot had asbestos lined stomachs.”
“They don’t. That’s why I refuse to try your mother’s cookin’”
At that remark, they both laughed.
“Are you feelin’ alright?” Rose asked hesitantly. “You’ve been all out of sorts lately.”
“Yeah, never better. I reckon you’re not the only one that gets up on the wrong side of the TARDIS once in a while.” He carefully set his tea down on one of the railings and turned back to his work. “I want to adjust a few things before using the randomizer. Go on and drink your tea with Jack before it gets too cold even for you.” He told her.
Rose started to leave then stopped as she remembered something.
“Doctor, do you want a piece of cake with your tea? Jack and I are having some.”
He hoped she hadn’t noticed how he had tensed up at the mention of the cake. “Nah! That’s OK. Maybe I’ll come down later and have a piece.”
“I can run it back here to you if you want.” She offered.
The Doctor turned back towards her. “No need, Rose. Really. I tried a bite of it the other night at the restaurant.” He made a face. “Too much icing for my tastes. It was so sweet that it would have given me a toothache, if it was even possible for me to have a toothache.
“Ok. Jack and I will be back up in a little while. See you in a bit.”
Jack looked up when Rose returned. “You still have your head attached to your shoulders. I’ll take that as a good sign.”
“Yeah, he was OK. The tea made him happy.”
Rose sat down across the table from Jack and took a sip of her tea. It was still almost too hot for her to drink. She took a bite of cake next.
The cake was a left-over from their last night in Shcleriet. The three of them had gone out for dinner, a proper dinner in a proper restaurant. Not their usual equivalent of a trip to the local chippie. It had been Jack’s idea. He had announced it that morning to Rose while the Doctor was out trying to find some obscure parts for the TARDIS.
“Do you know what day this is, Rose?” he had asked her.
“No idea. And knowin’ you, I’d be afraid to ask. It’s probably Intergalactic Sex With Sex Sheep Day”
“No,” Jack put on an injured face. “Of course not. That’s months away! And besides, wool makes me itch.”
“So what’s the big occasion then?”
“Today is my birthday.”
Rose clapped her hands. “That’s wonderful, Jack. How old are you?”
“Hey! I’m willing to tell you it’s my birthday but there’s no way I’ll ever tell you my age.”
“Any rate, Happy Birthday Jack!” Rose gave her good friend a hug and a kiss on the cheek. “We need to celebrate.”
“Damn right. That’s why I told you about it. I want to take you and the Doctor out to dinner tonight. My treat.”
That’s sweet Jack, but it’s your birthday. WE should be the ones takin’ you out for a treat. “
“Nah. I’ve got the cash and it would be my pleasure to take the two of you out.”
“IF the Doctor will go,” Rose put in.
“Why wouldn’t he?” Jack asked.
“Oh, you know what the Doctor is like. We’ll tell ‘em and he’ll just roll his eyes and tell us to go without him.”
“Well then, young lady, you’ll just have to use your charms on him,” Jack told her. “You know he’ll give into you if you ask him enough.”
“No,” The Doctor said on his return. “Absolutely not.”
“Why not?” Rose asked him.
“Because I don’t want to go, that’s why. I’ve got better things to do.”
“Like what?” Rose and Jack asked in unison.”
“Repairs on the TARDIS. That is if you lot want to go anywhere.”
“You’ve been repairing the TARDIS now for two days straight,” Jack told him. “I think you can take a break for a few hours to go out to eat.”
“It’s delicate work. I can’t just drop what I’m doing in the middle of it and swan off to silly party.”
“Then when you get to a point where you can stop safely, you can come with us to eat,” Rose told him.
“ I’ve got reservations for three at 6:30,” Jack said. “I suggest you find a stopping point about an hour before that so you’ll have time to get ready. As for me,” he yawned and stretched. “I’m off to take a little birthday siesta. I expect to see BOTH of you here at 6:15 ready to go. Got it?”
We’ll be here Jack. I promise,” Rose said as she shot a threatening look at the Doctor who was already disappearing beneath the console.
“It’s five o’clock, Doctor.”
“No, it’s not. It’s 5:01:31.5. I’m a Time Lord remember? Don’t need to keep tellin’ me the time.”
“You know what I mean.”
The Doctor knew exactly what Rose meant and was having none of it. “You run along now like a good little human and get ready for your birthday dinner with Jack.”
“You need to get ready, too,” Rose told him firmly.
“No. I do not need to get ready because I’m not going. You two can bring me something back to eat later. Now shoo!”
Rose stubbornly sat on the grating like she had been nearly all afternoon while the Doctor worked underneath on the column. They had chatted on and off as he worked while she handed him tools and brought him an occasional snack. Every time she had started to bring up the subject of Jack’s dinner, the Doctor had managed to deflect it to something else.
“Why won’t you come along?” She asked him. “And don’t go telling me it’s because you have to work on the TARDIS. You’ve been fiddling with the same thing over ‘n over for an hour. What’s the real reason?”
“I just don’t enjoy that sort of stuff. Never have. Don’t plan on starting now.”
Rose let out a frustrated sigh. She sat and watched him for a few minutes more.
“When is your birthday?” she asked him.
The Doctor looked at her as if she were crazy. “My what?”
“Your birthday. When is it?”
“Don’t have one.”
It was Rose’s turn to look at him as if he were crazy. “You’ve got to be kidding. What are you going to tell me? That you were hatched?”
“As a matter of fact, I was.”
Rose’s mouth dropped open in astonishment as the Doctor looked at her with a deadly serious expression. Finally, he could stand it no longer and he burst out laughing.
“The look on your face when I said that! Ooh! That was priceless!”
Rose gave the Doctor a punch on the shoulder. “You…you…GIT!” She sputtered. “You were just having me on!”
“OW!” he yelped, but he couldn’t stop laughing. “Do you want to see my baby pictures of me in my shell?” He barely dodged another punch.
“Just for that, you ARE coming along tonight! No arguments!"
The Doctor rolled his eyes. “Rose…”
“Alright. I’ll go,” he gave a martyred sigh.
“Thank you!” She reached over the side of the grating to where he stood below and gave him a hug around the neck.
“Oi, Barbarella! You’re choking me! Now go on and get yourself ready.”
Rose jumped up to her feet. “C’mon. You need to get yourself ready, too.”
“I will. I need to put a few things back in order first.”
“Be sure you change your clothes!” Rose called back over her shoulder as she headed down the corridor to her room to change.
Jack and Rose appeared in the control room promptly at 6:15. The Doctor was sitting in the captain’s chair with his arms crossed over his chest and a scowl on his face. He brightened up considerably when he saw Rose. She had changed from her hoodie and jeans into a bright pink top and a better looking pair of trousers.
“You look nice,” he told her. “For a human.”
“Thanks, Doctor,” Jack said. “I hoped you’d notice my new shirt. Kinda brings out the color in my eyes, don’t you think?”
The Doctor fixed Jack with an icy blue stare.
“OH! You meant Rose?” said Jack in mock disappointment.
Rose giggled; then looked critically at the Doctor. “What about you? You were supposed to clean up and change your clothes. You’re wearin’ the exact same thing you were earlier.”
“I washed up and put on a clean jumper. What more do you want?” He linked arms with Rose and with her in the middle the three of them headed out for dinner.
They had a nice time at the restaurant, even the Doctor, despite his earlier grumblings. The place that Jack had picked was casual and had excellent food. They ate and talked and enjoyed themselves. At one point, Rose excused herself from the table on the pretense of finding the restroom. She cornered their waiter instead and asked if they had something like a cake available that they could have for a dessert. After some explaining, he told Rose that they did and that he would bring it out for them when he saw them finishing up the main meal. The waiter brought it out and set it in front of Jack. The cake was covered in a thick coating of a kind of neon green icing while the inside of the cake was a deep red color. It was also shaped like a pyramid. Not exactly a traditional Earth birthday cake but Jack was pleased with it anyway. He cut each of them a slice and had the rest boxed up to take back with them.
As Rose sat at the table with Jack eating leftover cake, she realized that the Doctor’s bad humor had not started the morning after the dinner, but rather towards the end of the dinner. By all appearances, the Doctor had been having as grand a time as the rest of them but, when the cake had made its appearance, he had grown quiet. In fact, he had hardly touched his slice of cake, just took a few bites and spent the rest of the time poking it about with his fork. He hadn’t been unpleasant, just quiet. He had said very little as he held Rose’s hand when they walked back to the TARDIS.
“Maybe it was your birthday,” Rose suddenly said out loud.
“Huh?” Jack said around a mouthful of cake.
“Your birthday. I think that’s what put the Doctor in such a mood.”
“My birthday? Why”
“Dunno,” She sipped thoughtfully on her tea. “When is the Doctor’s birthday?”
“Beats me. Does he even have one?”
“Of course he does,” Rose answered. “Everyone has a birthday.”
“Not necessarily,” Jack pointed out. “Plenty of species aren’t born like humans. There are cloned species, species that reproduce like yeast through budding, species that hatch from eggs….”
Rose threw up her hands. “Don’t talk to me about species that hatch from eggs. The Doctor’s already had his fun with me on that. Yes, I get your point. Not everybody comes into existence like humans. I understand that. But, there is a point where everyone comes into existence, no matter how they do it. That’s a birthday as far as I’m concerned, whether you hatch or grow in a test tube doesn’t matter. “
“He’s a Time Lord, Rose. For all we know, he’s ALWAYS been.”
“Doesn’t matter. Birthday’s are a celebration of a person’s life.”
“I thought that’s what funerals and wakes were for?”
Rose made an exasperated noise. “While they’re still ALIVE, you nit.”
“Sorry, I just enjoy giving you a hard time,” Jack laughed. “So what do you suggest we do to get the Doctor out of this mood? Bake him a cake?”
“You know, Rose,” Jack said. “You know how the Doctor can be about personal stuff. Are you sure he’d even want a birthday….thing…done for him?”
“Probably not. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve one.”
“I really wouldn’t want to take the chance on pissing him off over this unless I was absolutely sure about how he’s going to react to the idea,” Jack warned.
Rose reluctantly agreed. “Yeah. Maybe we need to investigate this idea a bit more before jumping right in.” She pushed back from the table and stood up. “C’mon. Let’s go find out where we’re goin’”
The Doctor looked up as Jack and Rose came back into the control room.
“Ready with the randomizer?” Jack asked.
“In a tick,” the Doctor was looking with mild concern at the readouts on a couple of screens. The numbers he saw there weren’t quite what he liked to see. Not that they were bad or wrong, one was a little higher than he liked, one was a hair lower. Both were well within safety parameters so he shrugged and turned back towards his friends. “Good enough. Who wants to do the honors?”
“Ladies first,” Jack gave a little bow to Rose.
The Doctor pointed at the controls. “Turn that dial three clicks to the right and then push that button next to it.”
Smiling happily, Rose stepped up to the console, turned the dial and pushed the button just as the Doctor had directed.
With a sudden lurch that sent the three of them reeling back a few steps, the central column of the TARDIS began to pump up and down.
“Where are we going?” Rose asked once she regained her balance.
“Don’t know,” The Doctor had one of his ear-to-ear grins going. “That’s why it’s called a randomizer. We won’t know the where or when until we land.”
“So we won’t know until we step outside the door?” Jack asked.
“Nah! It’ll tell us on the read out. Anyway, she won’t let us out into anything dangerous without warning us first. Won’t you old girl?”
The TARDIS gave another lurch, this one hard enough to send Rose down on her backside onto the grating. Jack and the Doctor both grabbed a hand and pulled her back up to her feet.
“Seems like a lot of pot holes on this road in time and space,” Rose laughed.
“Hang on tighter this time,” The Doctor warned. “This is turning out to be a bumpy ride.”
Just as he said that, the TARDIS began to shake violently and fountain of sparks began to shoot from the control panel
“NO,NO,NO,NO,NO,NO,NO!” the Doctor exclaimed as he frantically tired to stop the sparks and bring the TARDIS back under his control.
Wisely, Jack and Rose backed away and let the Doctor have plenty of space to do his work. This wasn’t the first time something like this had happened. After a few more wild shakes, rattles and rolls the TARDIS landed with a jolt. It gave off a few more shots of sparks, then quieted.
“That was one wild ride,” Jack coughed and fanned away some of the smoke. “Are all randomizer trips like this one?”
“No,” The Doctor answered. “I don’t know what happened. Some bit of circuitry must have given out. Nothin’ too bad. We’ve landed safe ‘n sound.”
“Anyway, where are we?” Rose leaned eagerly over the display. It was blank.
The Doctor scowled over her shoulder as he looked or himself. “Can’t be.” But it was. He wacked it a few times with his hand. The panel spit out a few more sparks, flickered briefly to life and then went dead once again.
“So we still have no idea where or when we are?” Jack asked. For the last two hours, the Doctor had been working on the faulty wires and circuits.
“’Fraid so,” Rose sighed. She and Jack had spent the time running for tools and parts that the Doctor had asked for.
“Wanna go for another cup of tea and a piece of cake?” Jack suggested to her
“Why would you want to go and do a thing like?” The Doctor pulled his head back out from the inside of the console. “Done! Finished!"
“Where are we then?” Rose looked at him expectantly.
“Ah, still can’t tell you that,” he confessed. “I’m done with what I can do. The TARDIS will need a day to finish healing on her own.”
“In the meantime, we get to sit and wait,” Jack grumbled. “C’mon, Rose. Tea and cake sounds like the best thing going right now.”
“Quit your moanin’,” the Doctor told him. “Just because the TARDIS has to sit here for a day doesn’t mean we have to”
“But we don’t know where we are,” Jack pointed out. “Or what will be outside that door if we go out.
The Doctor gave an exaggerated sigh of impatience. “No. Like I already told you, the TARDIS will keep us safe. She won’t let us step out into anything like a vacuum or an ocean or some poisonous atmosphere. And anyway, even if she can’t tell us right now where we are in time and space, she can tell us what it’s like out there.”
He went around to the other side of the controls and brought up a screen. “A beautiful sunny day. Temperature is about 80 degrees. Breathable atmosphere and lots of vegetation. He looked up at his friends. “What are we waiting for?”