||[Oct. 29th, 2006|01:02 am]
Doctor Who Concrit
Hello to you all,
I've written a small fic, more like a ficlet I suppose, for the Rose ficathon. This is my first real fic, in any fandom really; certainly my first in DW, aside from a drabble. I also haven't done any real creative writing in a loooooong time. That being the case, I can use all the help I can get with this, though I am proud of myself that I actually got this thing written and finished. So here it is; please offer any all criticism/suggestions you may have. Thank you!
Sometimes the TARDIS liked Rose to dress up. Rose was more of a jeans-and-a-jumper kind of girl; the TARDIS, on the other hand, appeared to be a girly-girl (and she was a girl – Rose was sure of that), and occasionally decided that Rose’s usual roster of clothing was sub-par. On those days, the wardrobe would offer up only what the TARDIS deemed appropriate; more often than not, this would include all manner of feminine dresses and frilly skirts, with nary a scrap of denim or hoodie in sight.
The trouble was, the TARDIS generally had a good sense about these things. Though Rose grumbled about her forced fashion makeover, the days when she did defer to the TARDIS’s taste were the days she caught the Doctor watching her out of the corner of her eye, speculative look on his face. Those were the days that he held her hand a little longer; leaned in a little closer to whisper in her ear; scrubbed his hands through his messy, shaggy hair a little more often; and smiled at her with just that little bit more of a twinkle in his eyes. Those were the days that made Rose think that maybe, just maybe, she could mean something more to the Doctor than all his previous companions; and the TARDIS hummed with satisfaction and ascent.
The day the Doctor took Rose to meet the Kantorian ambassador to the UN (Universal Nations, of course) was one of those days. Apparently, Kantoria was a Very Important Planet (“Important?!” exclaimed the Doctor. “Rose, these are the people – well, they don’t really like to be called people anymore, but still – they’re the people who invented clothing!”), and meeting its ambassador required formalwear. Rose was used to seeing the Doctor in a suit, so it shouldn’t have shocked her so to see him enter the console room wearing an elegant charcoal cut-away coat and matching dove-grey trousers. With a cravat. Rose’s mouth dropped open.
“Seriously.” she said. “That’s what you’re wearing?”
The Doctor grinned and preened, puffing out his chest and strutting around the console like a peacock. This was apt, as his cravat was made up of a blend of colors native to those very birds; luminous blues, greens, and shimmering purples.
“Don’t you like it?” he asked, absurdly pleased with himself. “It was made for me especially by Tsar Nicholas’ personal tailor.”
Rose was still in her flannel rubber duckie pajamas; she was just getting over the Callypsan Bovine Flu she’d contracted the week before, and felt she needed a hot cup of tea to perk her up before she could tackle the day. She grinned.
“Of course it was,” she said, tongue between her teeth. “But look what happened to him.”
The Doctor looked deeply offended. “Are you implying that I’m likely to end up shot and abandoned in a ditch somewhere? It’s not really that bad, is it?”
Rose giggled. “I dunno. I s’pose it might’ve seemed less… odd back in Russia. That’s not where we’re going, is it, though?”
“Well, no…” the Doctor frowned, brow furrowed. He made some quick adjustments to the TARDIS’s controls, and then perked up considerably. “Though we could, if you like! Did I ever tell you about the time I saved the Amber Room from marauding Glaswegians? The planet, of course, not the city… Imagine, they wanted to use the amber as the basis of a special preservative to embalm their dead! I’m afraid I’ve not been able to look at borscht with quite the same equanimity since, though.”
Rose stared at him incredulously. “Borscht?!”
“Yes, of course, borscht. Full of anti-oxidants and flavinoids. Perfect for retarding flesh decomposition, particularly in Glaswegia’s sulfurous atmosphere.”
Rose blinked, and shook her head. “Right. And that’s about all I care to hear about that particular topic. So where are we off to, then?”
The Doctor grinned, and flapped his arms excitedly. “Fromagia! Universe’s most prodigious producer of cheese! There’s cheese everywhere!”
“Why… is the Kantorian ambassador particularly fond of cheese, then?”
“Cheese? Goodness, no.” replied the Doctor. “Kantorians only eat the fruit of the acacia plant. No, there’s a general assembly of the UN taking place on Fromagia. I thought we might like to go have a look-see, before we meet ol’ Grafnamar for dinner.”
“Will we have to eat acacia fruit, too?” Rose asked, eyebrows raised.
“Of course not,” the Doctor scoffed. “You’d be dead within the hour. No, La Laiterie, Fromagia’s most eminent gourmet restaurant, caters to all its clients’ interplanetary needs. Graf’ll have his acacia (and I don’t know how he doesn’t get bored of it), and you can have a steak! Or a kidney pie! Or chips! Oooh, or borscht!”
“Thanks, no,” said Rose primly. “I’ve left my Russian heritage back on earth.”
“Well, alright,” said the Doctor. “You can think about it, and decide later. I’d recommend the Talluvian Braken Fricassee. Or the chili. Now, off you go, get ready! Time’s a-wastin’! Tick tock, tick tock!”
* * * *
And so the TARDIS decided that this was one of those days. Though, considering the Doctor’s get-up, Rose conceded that the newly acquired Juicy Couture jeans (five quid in a consignment shop in 2031, thanks ever so) that she had planned on wearing earlier were probably not appropriate for today’s outing. But the choice was taken out of her hands; her wardrobe contained nothing but elegant gowns and cocktail dresses. Immediately, a sleek jade-colored silk number caught her eye, as the TARDIS had doubtless intended it to do. She liberated it from the wardrobe’s confines, and held it up against her body in front of the mirror.
The corners of Rose’s mouth lifted in an unconscious smile. The dress was cut on a bias, with soft folds of silk falling from the waist, and brushing against her legs. A plunging V-shaped neckline in both the front and the back allowed for the display of skin (but not too much). The color of the silk brought out the green in her eyes and made them sparkle. Her skin looked flawless and creamy, and the dress’s simple design accentuated womanly curves she’d previously thought of only as girlish.
It would do. It would do very well, indeed.
Twenty minutes later the dress sheathed her body, and Rose was desperately searching for her mascara. The TARDIS had filched her makeup this time too. All she could find was a sheer foundation, champagne-colored eye shadow, lash tint, cream blush, and peachy gloss. Since when had the TARDIS started giving her beauty tips, as well?
Once she’d sufficiently wrecked her room in the futile search for her cosmetics, and finally surrendered and applied what the TARDIS had offered up (but not without leaving incense burning in her room in protest – she knew the TARDIS hated that), Rose swept her hair up into a simple chignon, and emerged, resplendent, from her bedroom.
…Only to find the Doctor half-ensconced underneath the console, busy with some form of jiggery-pokery or another. Bugger. And she’d been hoping for a grand entrance, too.
“What’re you doing down there, in all your finery?” she called.
“I’m being careful!” his voice floated back. “Took my coat off! And put a small stasis field around myself, just in case!”
Rose rolled her eyes. “Lord, I thought we had somewhere important to go?”
“Well, you certainly took long enough with your primping!” he shot back, head immerging from beneath the console for a brief moment, and then disappearing again.
And then reappearing again, plus one gob smacked expression.
“Rassilon,” he breathed, slowly unfolding himself from underneath the grating, staring at her all the while.
“What?” Rose asked, suddenly self-conscious.
“What?... Oh. No. It’s just… Did you know that, on Io, the color green signifies aggression and violence? And blood feud. Because their blood is green, of course…”
Rose stared at him in confusion. “… So, not good?” she said, gesturing vaguely up and down her torso.
“Eh?” said the Doctor, still considering her. “Oh! No! It’s lovely! You’re lovely! Beautiful, even – “
He stopped short, coloring slightly, and then grinned manically.
“Rose Tyler, you look very nice. Downright posh, you are. Ready to meet a pre-eminent ambassador. Lovely!”
He grabbed her hand, and skip-hopped around the console with her. “Here we go! Off to our posh dinner party!”
* * * *
The planet Fromagia was, indeed, full of cheese. The entire planet seemed to be involved in its production; animal, plant and mineral alike. Great vats of bubbling molten cheese dotted its landscape; the pavestones of the cobbled streets appeared to be made of a particularly bright yellow variety.
“Follow the yellow-brick road!” the Doctor commented. Rose giggled, and wondered where all the milk came from. There were no cows, at least not so far as she could see.
“Cows!” scoffed the Doctor. “They haven’t used cows to produce milk to produce cheese in ages!”
Rose was unimpressed. Frankly, she didn’t much like cheese. The Doctor blanched.
“Hush!” he said. “Don’t let them hear you say that!”
Rose sighed, and promptly slipped in a puddle of mozzarella. The Doctor caught her elbow, before she could land squarely on her bottom, and ruin her lovely dress. “Karma,” he said, shaking his head.
“Yeah? And it smells a bit stinky, too!” Rose shot back.
“Ssssh! It’s slightly psychic cheese, Rose! It’s been known to bring on hallucinations of your worst fears!”
“Now you’ve asked for it!”
* * * *
Upon reflection, Rose supposed that she had asked for it. Which was why they’d ended up running for their lives, yet again, she guessed. Though, how had she been supposed to know that, according to Grand Kantorian Law, there was a class system based on clothing color? It certainly wasn’t her fault that wearing green while your hair was yellow indicated some sort of threat or disdain for anyone of a higher caste than you! [Edit: Eurgh, I don’t like that, but I can’t come up with anything more criminal about the dress on my own. Ideas?]
“Well, this is a refreshing change!” the Doctor called back to her, as she stumbled along the sticky cheese road in her bare feet (the strappy gold sandals the wardrobe had produced for her, while alluring, were not conducive to running).
“What are you talking about?” Rose yelled back.
“We’re not running for our lives this time!”
“We’re not? Then why’re we running like… stink?” Rose asked, grinning.
The Doctor groaned at her pun. “Well, they won’t kill us in the event that they catch us, so technically…”
“No?... Well, then, I’m guessing they’ll do something just as unpleasant?”
“Well, that depends on your perspective,” the Doctor replied.
Rose stopped abruptly, yanking the Doctor back to her, nearly causing him to topple over with the backlash. “What’re you talking about? What are they going to do to me?”
The Doctor grinned rakishly.
“Oh… just remove and destroy the offending item. As well as have you banned from any Kantorian High Gatherings for the next year or so, though that shouldn’t affect you much.”
Rose’s mouth fell open. “So… they’re going to strip me… naked?”
“Not if they don’t catch us! Now run!”
They ran some more. But the sticky surface of the cheese-road slowed them down, while the ambassador’s guards seemed to have been prepared for the eventuality. They were catching up, slowly but surely. Rose and the Doctor rounded a corner, not very far ahead of the Kantorian guards now, and the Doctor cast around desperately for someplace to hide. His glance fixed on one of the smaller vats of cheese nearby, which wasn’t bubbling quite so menacingly as the others. Rose followed his glance.
“Oh, no, Doctor! And me in my posh gown, too! It’ll be ruined!”
The pounding footsteps of the guards could be heard growing steadily closer behind them. They were about to turn the corner; the Doctor and Rose were about to lose their chance to hide.
“There’s nothing for it, Rose!” the Doctor said, yanking her toward the vat. “Even those guards are too high class to look for us in the cheese!”
So into the cheese they went. It was a particularly pungent variety, as their luck would have it. The Doctor’s respiratory bypass system kicked in, but Rose and her little human lungs could only hold her breath until she thought her head would explode. Luckily, just as she thought she was about to pass out, the Doctor tapped her on the shoulder, giving her the all-clear. They emerged from the cheese, completely covered in yellow muck dripping, mucus-like, off their bodies.
Rose gasped for breath, and flung the cheese from her eyes. “This… gotta be… most disgusting…”
“Really?” replied the Doctor jauntily, scrubbing the cheese muck from his hair. “You must be forgetting the exploding sand worm of Beta Romeo?”
Rose paused from the task of trying to unstick her formerly-lovely dress from her legs for a moment to turn a delicate shade of green and close here eyes.
“And there I was, thinking I’d finally managed to bury that awful memory. Thanks, “she said, swiping at her face as a drop of gelatinous cheese dripped down her cheek.
The Doctor helped her out of the vat, and they made their sticky way back to the TARDIS.
“Well,” said the Doctor, once they were safely in the vortex. “Good thing this get-up is made from those new Kryptonite fibers. The TARDIS should be able to salvage it for me. Too bad about you dress, though…”
* * * *
Rose stood in front of the gilt-framed mirror, in the gilt-covered bedroom, in her father’s overly ornate house. Only he wasn’t really her father, was he? He was her alternate father, in this alternate universe, where her alternate mother had conveniently died and made way for her actual mother to take her place.
It was all so neat. Mickey to replace dead Alternate Ricky. Alternate Pete to replace their dead Pete. Jackie to replace dead Alternate Jackie. And Rose? Rose to take the place of a Rose who had never been. Not quite as neat, but it would do, she supposed.
There were Alternate London, and Alternate Torchwood. Alternate family, and Alternate friends. So it shouldn’t have surprised her that here, in this place where all things were replaceable (except her heart, which had stayed with her Doctor and her life in her universe – and why couldn’t there be an Alternate Doctor? - ); here, there was also an Alternate Jade Dress.
Rose held the dress up in front of herself, and smoothed the familiar satiny material against her body. Here, past the edge of the end of all things, stood Rose Tyler, a dead woman, still alive. Time marched on, linearly now, but here was her dress, her beautiful jade dress, reborn again like a phoenix from the ashes of its burning. There was no alternate love here for Rose Tyler; but time in all its glory moved forward, as the Doctor had shown her it always must, and Rose smiled and knew that she could move forward, too.
[Edit: I am not pleased with the last couple of sections. Maybe it’s just me, but they seem lacking; what do you think? Suggestions?]