Hide and seek combined with a game of tag with a four year old boy was a fun game to play. Adding a pair of excitable wolves to the game made it even more interesting…
…Of course, that’s if you had only been playing the game for a few minutes. Right now, Rose was on hour three, and she was thoroughly beat and ready to take a nap. Three times she’d tried to step back and let little Mark play his game with the two wolves, and each time her darling and precocious little lad whined and begged her to keep playing. Even the suggestion to eat and drink hadn’t worked to settle the youngster down.
She finally let out a sign and flopped onto a chair, more off it than on it as she slid down as far as her back. She waved her hand at her son when he stopped running only long enough to ask if they could keep playing. “Go ahead,” she managed through a dry mouth and panting breath. “Mummy just needs a rest, okay? Just a minute.”
He jogged over to her and grabbed her hand. He pulled on it incessantly with a whine. “Mamma, please play with me.”
Ordinarily those gorgeous big green eyes of his would melt her into a little puddle and she would immediately acquiesce to whatever his two little hearts desired. But right now, she just couldn’t keep going.
“Baby, I can’t,” she answered pitifully. “Mummy’s really tired and needs to right now. Can you wait for Daddy? He should be home in only a couple of hours.”
“Papa’s so far away,” he wailed, still tugging on her hand. “And I want to play now. Please? I’m so bored.”
That last word was moaned, groaned, and sang on a long and lilting note. Rose did all she could do to rise up to a stand. Her legs were shaking and her heart pounding. Where did this kid get all this energy?
…She’d blame his father. Absolutely blame him.
“How about a snack instead?” she asked him gently. “Little Time Lords need to eat to become big and strong like their daddies.”
He walked up against her legs and looked up at her with squinted and analytical eyes. “And then I can fly the TARDIS like him, too. Right?” He pulled away from her and held out his arms like he was an airplane. “And travel around the Universe through time and space!” He ran around making plane noises.
“Yeah,” Rose drawled on long and thankful sing-song note. “Once you’ve gone to the academy and gotten your license to fly, maybe Daddy will get you your very own TARDIS,”
He stopped running on the spot. His arms snapped down to his hips and he tilted his head at her. “But I want our TARDIS,” he told her in a voice that commanded no argument at all.
“Well, I don’t know about that, Mark.”
“Daddy said I could have her,” he answered with a smirk. “Says he’s domes … domest… ehm..”
“Domesticated,” Rose offered.
“Yes!” he cheered. “That’s it. Domesticated. So he says now that he’s – dom-esti-ca-ted – and isn’t going to flit around the universe anymore.”
“Yeah,” she said with a laugh. “I’ll believe that when I see it… I give him another five years – and you starting at the academy - before he gets itchy feet and wants to head out again.”
Mark looked confused. “Why would his feet itch?”
Rose merely shrugged her shoulders and shook her head. “Baby, I don’t know. It’s just a saying.”
“Strange saying,” he muttered with a shrug. His eyes then lit up and he ran past her into the house. “Let’s play in the TARDIS!”
Rose’s eyes shot open wide. She spun and quickly ran in behind him. “No, Mark. Daddy said you aren’t to play in the TARDIS.”
He grinned as he spun in his run and gave her a cheeky wink. “He won’t know!”
“Oh yes he will,” she muttered, knowing that the Doctor was very particular about the TARDIS and how close their son got to her. Usually, she was confident that the beautiful blue ship was always kept locked and safe from time tot hands, but the Doctor had been pottering around in her before he left for work this morning, and was in a hurry when he left …
She rounded the corner to see her small boy, wearing a short-sleeved crimson tunic and shorts set, disappearing around the open door of the ship.
“Damn it, Doctor,” she growled as she bolted in after him, followed closely by the female Dahrama. Her mate was in the living room gnawing at an itch on his front paw.
“Mark, don’t you touch anything!”
His eyes were wide and falsely innocent as he looked at her from around the main console. “What?”
“Oh don’t you what me young man,” she chided him firmly. “Now come back here. Don’t touch anything, or I’ll tell your father you were being naughty today.” She gave him a stern point of her finger. “I mean it, Mark. Daddy won’t be happy to know you were playing about in here.”
With a look of challenge in his eye, young Mark stared at his mother as he slapped his palm on a few of the buttons on the panel in front of him. He said nothing to her at all as he continued to stare at her as he slapped and poked a few more, this time with both hands.
“Mark,” she warned darkly. “Look. I know you’re bored, and I’m sorry. But I tell you what. How about you and me take a walk to the Cascades? We can go swimming if you like? I can make us some sandwiches, pack some drinks?”
Well that seemed to interest him. With a beaming smile, he turned to run around the console toward her. “Yes! And I can ride down that new slide that papa made!” He let out a little oop as his foot caught on a stray cable and he stumbled.
“You can indeed,” Rose began only a moment before she let out her own style of oop when she saw her son fall. Immediately she rounded the console to pick him up, but was thrown backward as the TARDIS whined to life and the whole room shifted. “What the…?”
Mark was on the floor, his leg kicked up into a lever. There was horror in his eyes as he looked toward hit mother. ‘Mamma? I didn’t mean it. I’m sorry. It was an accident.”
“Oh Hell!” she yelped out as the door behind her slammed shut. The column in the centre of the room lit up and started to shift in a slow rise and fall timed perfectly with the whine and wheeze of dematerialisation – a sound that Rose knew far too well for her to mistaken. “Oh no. No no no no no.”
Quickly she jumped to her feet to face the console over the top of Mark’s head. She flipped levers, turned dials, slapped buttons, but nothing seemed to shut down the movement of the rotor column in the centre of the room. At the doors of the ship, her female wolf pawed desperately at the doors, her long craws scraping loudly against the wood.
Phone! Rose could call the Doctor, tell them something had gone a little bit awry, and could he please teach her how to operate his TARDIS so she could come home? He wouldn’t be that mad at her, would he?
His fault for leaving the ship unlocked!
She petted her hips, against the only two pockets that this outfit had. There was no hard bump of a phone in either of them. The phone was charging on the kitchen counter. She braced her hands on the console edge and lowered her head as she considered just what she could do from here. She had zero knowledge in how to operate the TARDIS. She couldn’t pilot it, she couldn’t set it to return, she couldn’t even work out how to light up the comms line.
“Mamma,” her son’s voice – so tiny and scared – called from below. “Mamma, I’m so sorry.”
“It’s okay, baby,” she assured him with a soft voice.
‘When I said I wanted to go on a trip, I was only joking,” he said with a croaking voice. “And now I got us lost, didn’t I?”
“We’ll be okay.” She set her hand on his mussy, sweated flop of brown-haired head, and looked up tot eh column. “Help me out, Old Girl,” she begged the TARDIS. “Land us somewhere safe until he can find us. Please.”
The command deck swooped to one side as though the ship suddenly changed course, and in a quick moment the wheeze and howling ebbed off, to leave only the hum of her emergency systems to break the silence in the room.
Rose breathed out a small sigh of relief that they were on the ground. She had no idea where, and whether or not leaving the TARDIS would be a safe endeavour, but at least they were on the ground and not stuck in the vortex where the Doctor would have no way of getting to them.
Her son still whimpered at her feet. Mark hugged at her leg and sobbed out his terrified apologies and for her to please not tell his father about this.
“Don’t know why you’re so scared of him,’ she murmured as she tried flicking up a few random levers to see if she could get something to work in her favour. “All you need to do is give a little whimper at him, and he’ll run out to buy you a present.” She looked down to him, trying to shield her fear with admonishment. “Spoiled little thing you are.”
There was whimpering and whining coming from the door as well as from her ankles. “And you too?” she moaned out pitifully. “Come on. You’re a Dahrama! You’re a strong proud woman! Suck it up …” She winced and actually laughed as she shook her head. “And wait for the boys to come save us. Oh, how utterly pathetic.”
The wolf gave her a little humph, whether or not in agreement to her words, she really didn’t know. But she took it as such and rubbed her hands on her skirt. She stooped down to pick up her frightened child, and sat him on her hip. She held him tightly and expressed words of comfort in Gallifreyan – the primary language that she and the Doctor were teaching him over English. He seemed to settle and simply snuffled wetly against her throat.
“It’s okay, Mark,” she soothed gently, not wanting to upset the lad any further. “Things like this happen when adult Time Lords forget to lock up their playthings from curious little Time Tot hands.” She walked to the door, and to her wolf who was still pawing desperately at the door. “Daddy will be here shortly to take us home. Don’t you worry about that.”
She stopped at the door and scratched the wolf behind the ears. “And your mate will be right there with him, Darling.”
Beyond the door she could hear loud sounds of whooping of children on the other side. A longer listen assured her that they were sounds of thrill and excitement over cries of fear, and so she twisted the tumbler to unlock the door and held her breath. She looked down to her son, who was how wiping at his eyes and nose with his wrists. “What do you think? Should we wait here for Daddy, or should be take a peek outside?”
“Is it safe?” he asked worriedly.
“Well that’s the question of the day, isn’t it?” she answered with a sigh and a look to the door. “But I trust the TARDIS not to have landed us anywhere too nasty.” She juggled his lithe little body at her hip. “So what do you say; want to step outside for a minute?”
His tears dried quickly and a sense of excitement came over him. “Really?”
“Yeah,” she sang out, successfully hiding any of the apprehension she felt – which was a lot. “Why not? Let’s explore just a little bit while we wait for Daddy.” She blew out a breath and pulled open the door. “Because only Rassilon knows how long that’ll be.”
She did expect for the door to open and the three of them be greeted with a wide open field of sorts. That wasn’t the case, however. It looked to Rose as though they had materialised inside an aluminum shed. Granted, it wasn’t a small shed, more like a large storage room for a high school metal workshop. It was dirty, dusty, and incredibly warm. Almost immediately she felt sweat on her brow. Her hip upon which her son still sat was almost unbearably hot. With a coo and a demand for him to stay close, she set his feet on the ground and held on to his little hand, which was fortunately cool like his father’s.
“At least you won’t roast to death,” she murmured as she took a look around them and fanned her face with her free hand. “And at least the TARDIS looks like she’ll be safe from discovery in here.”
It was quite dark in the shed, with the only lighting being from the sun outside shining through the gaps between the doors and the roof structure. It allowed her enough to determine what they were in, and enough to know that although small, there was plenty of room to move around.
A look to the left and she saw some old rusted-looking tool cabinets and a worn-out bench. It was covered in dust and cobwebs, which meant it hadn’t been used for a long while. Quite likely, neither had this room itself. Not if the thick webbing in the corners of the shed, and across the abandoned equipment were any indication.
Her son let out a stunned gasp of complete surprise, which had her drop her eyes to his little face half hidden in the shadow. “What is it?”
He pointed toward her right, and to a tall blue cabinet in the corner. “Mum. It’s another TARDIS.”
Her head twisted to look to her right, and she let out a gasp. “Oh no,” she whimpered to herself. “This. This is not good at all.” She flicked her eyes to the TARDIS she’d arrived in. “This was your idea of sending us somewhere safe?” She tilted her head to one side, her eyes wide. “Well. I suppose it should be safe … although if the Doctor’s here, so is some form of mortal danger.”
The only question now in her mind was just which one of the Doctors was here? One she knew already, one who knew her in the past, or one who never knew her at all.
Oh this was going to give her a headache.
“Whichever one you are,” she breathed out finally. “I hope you can tell us hot to get home. Hopefully before my Doctor finds out we’re even gone to begin with.” She looked down to her son, who looked up at her with amused eyes. “Yeah, baby. I can be afraid of upsettin’ him too.”
Not that he was anything to fear, of course. But he was really awfully good at the silent treatment when he got mad at her because of an argument … and she hated the silent treatment. She’d especially hate being on the receiving end of it because of a mistake he’d made….
…Maybe she should give him the silent treatment instead.
Better yet: maybe she should stop blaming him for the mess she was in right now.
A loud whoop and cheer from outside had her lift her head out of her thoughts, and Rose Tyler tightened the hold she had on her son’s hand. With gentle coaxing and a forward stride, she led the two of them to the door, their protective wolf standing guard at her side.
She pressed her palm to the door, immediately drawing it away with a hiss at the heat of it. She shook it in the air to cool it wondering just what kind of landscape they were about to talk into. Nothing on Earth could possibly be that hot, so surely they hadn’t materialised there…
Wherever they were, it was time to search out whichever version of her husband was on the other side of the door. So without further concern for anything other than finding him, she covered her hand in her long bell sleeve, pushed open the door, and then froze.
It was an almost audible whoomph of heat that assaulted her on the other side. However hot she found it inside the shed, it was fairly mild to the heat outside. Fr a moment she wondered if she had singed off her eyebrows, lashes, and any other bit of hair on her face or head. She spared a quick and concerned glance down at her boy, who actually grinned into the heat with his eyes tightly closed and shook her head.
“Just like your father,” she breathed out with amusement. “No matter how hot or how cold, you just grin and bear it.”
He chuckled a happy sound from the back of his throat, and then started to tug on his mother’s hand. “Come on, let’s explore!”
“Not scared anymore, then?” she asked as the two of them stepped into incredible sunlight and a heat unlike any she’d ever experienced before. Gallifrey was hot even on a cool day, but never with heat quite as scorching as this. She wiped at her brow and then flicked the length of her long deep blue skirt as though it might kick start some magical mystical kind od air-conditioning serve for her.
No such luck, unfortunately.
She seemed to be correct in her assumption that they’d landed at a school. Although this was unlike any that she’d attended back in London. This one was actually quite small. She could see three long two-storeyed buildings, set in a U-shape, with all doors facing a smaller building at the centre. There were no corridors, just balconies overlooking grasses that were in desperate need of a good watering. There were a few tall ghost-like smooth barked trees with very little foliage to give off any real shade. In fact, taking a look around, she couldn’t see too many areas where there was any real shade to be offered.
She assumed that students must stay inside, given the stifling heat. It only had to be mid-morning, but it felt like they were in the very hottest part of any day.
“Ooh,’ her son sang out with a giggle and a kick of his feet along rocky dirt. “Ground’s red, like home.”
She looked down, and then looked up and around. Sure enough, the landscape certainly had a lot of red in it. Not from the grasses, like on Gallifrey, but red like the deserts near Arcadia.
“So it is, Mark. Great observation!”
“Did we just move to another part of Gallifrey?” There was actually annoyance in his voice at that. “I hope not, because that wouldn’t exactly be worth makin’ papa mad.”
“It’s be more likely to make him laugh than mad,’ Rose offered with a shrug.
There was a whoop and a cheer, and a trio of young teens shot by them. All three of them were dressed in an inordinate amount of red: Shirts, hats, socks, ribbons, and even streamers fashioned into a pair of pony-tails. Another youngster pushed by, this one wearing the same level of colouring, but this time in blue. She spun in her run to yell out an apology.
“’Scuse me, Miss. Sorry!” She turned to another friend, also dressed in blue. “C’mon, Shaz. Mr. Smith is in the hundred goin’ against Mr. Horn.”
“Ahhh, Horny will kick his arse,” Shaz hollered out.
“Loser’s gotto wear a bloody dress on Monday! My bet’s on Smith!”
They squealed and took off, no doubt to wherever this hundred thing was.
Rose’s eyes were wide. Well. With that rather specific and easily recognisable accent, she had now officially worked out just where the TARDIS had landed them. Australia. How she didn’t immediately determine that just from the blistering heat, she didn’t know. OF course just where in Australia remained to be determined… and just what time period…
Following the cheers, Rose, Mark, and the wolf walked along a worn red path toward a rickety looking cyclone fence. The gate was open, and they stepped through, down onto a bitumen road, and toward what appeared to be a large sporting field big enough for a decent game of cricket. It was filled with more teenagers than Rose ever hoped to see in one place ever again since she left high school. All of them were attired in one of four colours: Yellow, blue, green, and red, and all of them seemed to be cheering for anyone else that happened to be wearing the same colour.
They walked further down toward the field, crossing into a small outside stadium seating area, where a group of what appeared to be parents had set up drink and food tables.
Rose lifted her eyes and head with realisation. School sports carnival. Athletics, by the looks of the tracks painted onto the grass and the various other activities happening in the middle of the field.
The took a look toward the very edge of the field, where there seemed to be the most excitement from the teens right now. Blue, red, green and gold were all mixed, but the two men they were cheering on obviously represented very specific colours.
One man, tall and muscular and quite attractive for a teacher, was dressed all in yellow. He wore a streamer around his forehead like a headband and had yellow paw prints drawn in a track along one leg and an arm. He wore a long yellow sleeveless T-shirt with a rip in the front. Toned and tanned legs came out of a pair of ridiculously tight and short shorts that quite clearly had the teenaged girls giggling and gushing. The other fellow, dressed to represent blue, wore sport shorts that reached down past his thigh, and halfway to his pasty-white knees. He was not nearly as well built as his competitor, but was still lithe tall and fit. His blue coverage was with a T-Shirt, head streamer, and a cape hanging from his shoulders.
“Here’s for Bulloo!” he called out as he turned around on the field to take starting position in what must’ve been the race of the day.
Rose’s entire face fell when she saw familiar brown hair, tousled into high spikes, and a bright, wide, manic smile that could only ever belong to one man – the very last one she had hoped to see.