Run With You

Human Nature pt 2

Time passed, the weather grew colder, and John and Rose grew closer.

It wasn’t at all what Rose intended to have happen. She just wanted to keep him close, to do exactly as the Doctor requested and make sure he didn’t do anything that would hurt her. But as breakfast Saturday morning turned to lunch, turned seeing each other the next day then to after work in the evenings, Rose was finding it more and more difficult to resist him. This was the Doctor as a human, after all, and while he wasn’t the same man there was enough of him there that she felt herself falling.

Which inevitably turned into them sort of dating.

If she had to pin point where it started, it was the first time she held his hand. An accident built from habit as they roamed a bookstore one evening. John had found a collector’s copy of Charles Dickens, and started rambling off everything his human brain knew about him once Rose showed an interest. And then, mid rant, her hand slipped into his and made him stumble. She would have pulled away, the warmth of his skin wrong against hers, but he squeezed her fingers gently and gave her a goofy grin that she couldn’t take away for anything. From there, the hand holding became natural again to the point that neither thought to cover it up when they walked into the pub that Friday. Martha noticed, Rose knew, but she said nothing.

But that was about as physical as it really went. Hand holding was one thing, but the idea of anything more than the occasional hug made her nervous. When the Doctor was all leather and big ears that was the extent of their interactions, and she managed to get along just fine while dealing with how she felt about him. The body may be hers, as the Doctor put it, but it was incomplete without the entire man.

Though the shadow of him, the thin, pale comparison was still amazing and wonderful.

Bad, bad thinking on Rose’s part.

“Here we go,” John said as he walked out on to his balcony where Rose was laying on one of two loungers. He handed her a cup of pipping hot tea before pulling his lounger right up next to hers in the small area where the out door heaters worked against the chill of the October evening. “So, where were we?”

“It was your turn.” Rose said.

“Right, so, uh, yeah, future ambitions you said.” He pondered, contorting his mouth in all kinds of odd expressions as if he didn’t want to say. “Are we talking teaching wise, or?”

“Anything you want.” Rose mused as the blush crept up to his ears.

“Right, yeah.” He said, exhaling a long breath that danced in the air above their heads. “I want a family life.” He said bluntly.

“Oh?” Rose said, her heart breaking a bit.

“Yeah. You know, wife, house with a garden, ten kids.”

“Can’t have kids, me,” She said automatically, looking up at the stars above the city.

“Dogs.” John said quickly. “Ten dogs, various breeds. Or cats. No, not cats, the smell would be awful. Not a cat person.”

And she laughed through the equal bouts of pain and pleasure his answers gave her. Rose rolled her head to meet John’s vulnerable gaze. “Always thought you wanted to travel?” She teased.

“I could do that too.” He answered quickly.

“You’re eager to please.” She countered, and his eyebrow quirked up in a bemused manner. “Seriously though, John.” She said, emphasizing his name more for her sake than anything. “What do you want for your life?”

He sighed. “I dunno.” He replied as Rose drank her tea. “Is it weird that I never really thought of it? That I never really thought I had a future? I know it’s odd, and blimey, doesn’t it sound morbid when you say it aloud. But I just never really thought about it much. I guess, in the future, I just want to say I was able to help where ever and however I could. Kinda like this Doctor bloke I keep dreaming about.”

The liquid got caught in Rose’s throat and she choked and coughed for a minute before she managed to choke out a “Doctor?”

“Yeah,” John said, not at all seeing the terror or wonder in Rose’s gaping stare. “For the last couple months I’ve had these fantastic dreams where I’m this adventurer named the Doctor. An alien with two hearts who travels in this blue box. And he sees these amazing creatures, and places, and does what ever he can to help.”

“Yeah?” Rose said, schooling her face into one of interest that didn’t give away how hard and fast her heart was pounding in her chest. “Does he do it alone?”

John’s face turned red. “No.” He said simply, “No he doesn’t.” His eyes drifted to her. “Now you think I’m barmy.”

“No,” She shook her head, smiling without meaning to. “Not at all. Tell me more about him. About this ‘Doctor’.” She said, shifting to lay on her side.

How much did he remember? How much of him was still in that head of John’s, and was there a risk of him remembering before the end of next month?

“Alright, so,” John started, telling her about their time fighting a werewolf in 19th century London, and Rose listened to the careful way John avoided giving the Doctor’s companion a name.

A flash of light above them stopped John short, and the two watched as a green hue moved around the sky, fall somewhere around the school.

“What was that?” Rose asked.

“Shooting stars, I imagine.” John replied, not seeming the least bit bothered by it. He turned to her with a grin. “Or maybe it’s a space ship.” He said with a twitch of his eyebrows.

Rose laughed, trying not to let the possibility of that being true play on her mind too much.

Without thinking, Rose scratched at her right wrist only to realize she shouldn’t be able to. There should have been a bracelet where the itch was. Glancing down as John resumed his story, her throat went tight as dread clenched her chest.

Her bracelet was gone.

Martha walked around the back of John’s building to the garage-like storage units, heading for the one that co-ordinated with his apartment. Taking out her keys, she found the one to the lock and got to her knees, fitting it in and feeling the release. Glancing around and seeing no one, she lifted the rolling door enough for her to get through before closing it behind her. Feeling the wall for the light switch she knew was there, she flicked it on and smiled at the sight of the lovely blue box.

She flipped through her key ring and found the one to the TARDIS, unlocking the door and stepping into the dimly lit inside.

It was eerily quiet, but Martha didn’t mind. In here was better than the world she was thrown in, the one where John Smith flirts with her, going so far as kissing her, only to immediately chase after Rose like a puppy dog the second she saunters in a bar with a too-tight jumper.

It wasn’t fair of her to think like that, she knew that. Rose wasn’t actively trying to get John’s attention, and Martha heard Rose crying in the shower or her bedroom enough times at night to know that this situation was destroying her. The Doctor was her best mate, and she had already lost Nine and her family. As much as Martha could see that Rose was not letting John edge what ever they were into the a more physical relationship, she did worry about the repercussions.

And that’s why she came back, among other things.

She thought she saw Tim Latimer fingering something gold that looked a lot like the bracelet Rose had been wearing earlier in the day, but when she went to talk to him he pocketed it. Not really feeling she had the right to inquire, she let it go.

Then, as Rose was on her bed before going to see John, the fob watch laying before her, Martha picked it up to study it. She agreed with Rose that it was a good idea to keep it locked up so securely, to prevent it ever being lost or stolen, but she hadn’t really gotten to look at it after Rose placed it in the little box the Doctor had asked her to get. She was careful with it, they both were, but as Martha handed it back to Rose their thumbs grazed the release at the same time, and the watch popped open. Both screamed in panic, Rose managing to get it closed before too much of the golden light leaked out, but both were too terrified to say anything. After Rose had closed the box, returned it to the safe and locked the doors to the hutch she took off to get ready to see John.

And if things weren’t bad enough, an hour before returning to the TARDIS Martha caught the mysterious green glow hovering in the sky before disappearing around the school.

“Hello,” The Doctor’s voice ran out, and she turned to see the hologram of him standing a few feet away. “This is emergency program 45. Rose, Martha, if you’re seeing this than I have used the chameleon arch. I wouldn’t have time to properly tell you what you need to worry about, so the TARDIS has latched on to the instructions in my mind and will have put them in a hologram for you. I’m sorry, it’s all happened too quick. So here it goes. First off, don’t worry about the TARDIS, she’ll go into emergency power so they can’t detect it. Rose, I know for you that may mean your head will feel a little fuzzy. I’m sorry, but it’s the only way. Second, don’t let me hurt anyone. I have no idea what my personality will be like when I get to the other side of this, but I trust the two of you to make sure I don’t do anything I’ll regret. Three, don’t involved in historical events. I’m not sure where the TARDIS will put us, but what ever you do, keep a low profile. Five. No, sorry, Four, stay together, don’t abandon each other.”

“But what do we do if there were accidents? Mistakes? What do we do if something odd comes around after those mistakes?” She asked, and as if her vocal request meant something, the hologram paused with his mouth open.

“Twenty-three,” He suddenly started up again. “If anything goes wrong, if they find us, open the watch. Everything I am is kept safe in there. Once it’s opened, the family will be able to find us so be very, very careful. Now, Martha, I’m sorry, but this next part is for Rose alone. I hate to ask you to leave, and I’m sorry I don’t have a private message for you, but I am running out of time.”

Martha sighed. She’d only seen this once, right after they landed, and the hologram probably wouldn’t continue until she had left the TARDIS anyway. Sighing heavily, wishing there had been more of a hint, Martha stood and headed to the doors.

“Rose,” The Doctor’s voice made her freeze, and she only dared to watch the hologram over her shoulder. “I’m so, so sorry that this has happened. And so soon after, well, you know.” He said, and she could see the smile on his face. “But it’s important for you to know something: your scent is pretty much mine to the family. While they may have caught a small whiff of Martha, you would still come through so much stronger than she did even though it would have been secondary. Your life span will be just as tempting, and that’s why it’s imperative that you keep your bracelet on all the time. Taking it off would be like opening a new box of chocolate, the scent will be overwhelming and it will lead them to exactly where you were when the bracelet was removed. With any luck it might confuse them but ….” He paused. “I’m fading. Sorry. Time’s up. Keep me safe, precious girl. All of me. I ….” And the hologram faded out.

Martha’s heart pounded, her ears rang, and she tried desperately to think if she remembered seeing the bracelet on Rose’s wrist.

The doors to the TARDIS creaked open, and Martha turned to see a wide eyed Rose staring at her.

“I think we’re in trouble.” She said between panting breaths.

“You saw it to?” Martha asked her.

“Worse than that,” Rose said, lifting her wrists. “Bracelet’s gone.”

“How’d it turn out?” Tim asked John as he finished looking over the short story he handed in. Technically it was for an assignment, but John asked Tim to come by at the end of the day for them to discuss it.

“Pretty good, actually,” John said as he took his normal spot next to Tim in the student’s chairs. “Though I question whether or not his companion would have actually been the one to shoot out the space ship.”

“Yeah, she was. Because she’s a bad ass.” Tim countered, pushing his hair out of the way. “And besides, what do you know? All the stories you have in that journal of yours makes your guy sound like he wants someone to rescue.”

“Maybe he does,” John countered, glancing at the journal in front of Tim on the desk. “Maybe he likes to feel wanted, or important.”

“He sounds full of himself in some cases,” Tim said, picking up the journal and flipping through it. “Or themselves, I guess,” He said as he came across the page where John had sketched the various faces he’d glimpsed in his dreams. “Where’d ya learn to draw like this, anyway?” Tim asked, tapping his knuckle against the page.

“Gallifrey,” John replied automatically.

“’Kay,” Tim said with an eye roll. “Must be somewhere in Ireland.”

“Yeah.” John said, narrowing his gaze. “Guess so.”

“You guess so?” Tim countered, chuckling in his throat. “You don’t even remember? Man, sixties were bad for you.”

“Oi, how old do you think I am?” John scoffed, and Tim laughed.

“Old,” he said. “Way older than you look, that’s for sure.” He added, and just as John thought to say something about rudeness, he could tell that Tim wasn’t quite sure about what he said himself.

There was a hesitant knock on the door, and Tim glanced up before John did, his gaze narrowed as if he recognized whoever it was, but didn’t know how.

“Hi, sorry, am I interrupting?” Rose’s voice got his attention, and he couldn’t resist the smile that came over him.

“Thought you had your other training tonight?” John asked, standing up and straightening his shirt out. He still wasn’t used to Rose, still couldn’t believe that this woman was genuinely interested in him, and it made him nervous every time. Nervous that the dam would break and something would change and he’d lose her.

She grinned, not quite the big one he found he liked most, but one that still made his heart stutter. “I do, don’t need to be there for another couple hours. Thought you were working tonight.” She teased, and then her tongue stuck between her teeth and part of his brain shut off.

“I do,” He managed to say. “Parent teacher conferences. Doesn’t start for another couple hours.” He said, shifting closer to her. “So what brings you by?” He asked, hand reaching for hers like muscle memory.

“I was hoping that I left my bracelet here,” She said. “I never noticed, but when I came to see you yesterday I had it but by the time we got to your place.”

“Oh,” John said, trying to think if he saw it. “I hadn’t noticed. You want me to check the lost and found or …?”

“Is this it?” Tim spoke up, holding the gold object out.

“Oh my god, yes!” Rose exclaimed with sheer relief. “Thank you! Where’d you find it?”

“Out in the hall.” He said with a shrug. “Came by to see Mister S and found it outside his door.”

Rose darted over and grabbed the bracelet before she kissed Tim on the cheek hard. “You’re a great kid. I wish I had something to give you for it.”

“’S all good,” Tim stuttered, his face beat red, and John had to cover his mouth to stop his snort from becoming a full on laugh.

“Still, can’t thank you enough.” Rose said as she clutched the bracelet to her chest, her hand wrapped tightly around it.

“Just be glad it was only a day,” Tim said quietly. “Though it may have done more damage than the fumble with the watch.”

Rose leaned back and stared at him, looking at him in disbelief. “What?” She said on a breath.

Tim shrugged. “Sorry, sometimes I say shit, I don’t even know why.” He said, bowing his head.

“Yeah,” She said, taking a really good look at the young man before she cleared her throat and came back over to John. “So, umm, you still want me to go with you tomorrow?”

“Oh yes,” John said with a smile, “Don’t want to chaperon a Halloween dance without you. Where would be the fun? Besides, already got my costume all picked out.”

“Oh, we’re dressing up, are we?” Rose asked as she fastened the bracelet back on her wrist. “Good thing I brought it up, otherwise, how would I have known?”

“Sorry,” He smiled. “So, umm, I’ll talk to you later?”

“Of course,” She said, and John thought for a spit second that maybe she was going to kiss him. And as if she had realized he noticed her lean in, her cheeks turned red before she placed a quick peck on the corner of his mouth. Turning and leaving before he could say or do anything, all John could do was watch Rose walk down the hall and ignore the way that Baines seemed to sniff her before watching her walk away himself.

“Dude, that’s your girlfriend?” Tim asked as he came up beside him.

“Yep,” John said, a bit of manly pride washing over her.

“Nice,” Tim said, his hand hovering in a fist by John. Realizing what it was, John bumped his fist to Tim’s. “Woman’s a wolf.”

John’s brow knotted. “Isn’t it supposed to be fox?” He asked.

“Nah, man, that’s an insult to her. She’s a wolf.” Tim huffed. “Anyway, I gotta head. Don’t wanna be here when my aunt shows up.” He clapped John on the shoulder. “Later Storm Boy.”

“Storm boy?” John asked, crossing his arms and leaning against the door frame.

“Just me saying shit.” Tim called over his shoulder.

“Language.” John half-heartedly scolded. Tim just waved as if he had merely said ‘later’ and kept going.

“There she is,” John said happily as Rose came up to him and Martha as they headed back toward the school from the coffee shop Rose worked at. “Is that your costume for tonight in that bag?” He asked as he spied the plastic sack in her hands.

“You’re going to be there too?” Martha asked with as much enthusiasm as she could muster.

Another month, she told herself. Another month and it will all be back to normal. John will be gone, and Rose and the Doctor could fall back into that perfect team they had been. And maybe, just maybe, Martha would be able to earn the smile that John was now giving Rose as the flirted. It had been her look before, the one he’d give her before telling her she was a star, when she did something brilliant or they lived through another near catastrophe. Too soon had they had to take a pause in their developing relationship, what with Rose falling ill after the Cupla mission, then the sudden attack by the sun on a space ship.

She was ready to forgive him for not being honest about the other companions, to let him know that all was still well between them, but she hadn’t been able to find him for an hour after she woke up, and he was so quick to bring them to that beautiful planet with its vast landscapes for her to start the conversation. Then the family struck, and well, it was all down hill from there. Except, of course, for that first week when John flirted with her because of their mutual homeland, all culminating in that kiss outside the bar.

“I’m not telling you what my costume is,” Rose protested, “So stop asking. You’ll find out when I meet you later.”

“Can’t I get a hint?” He asked in a begging manner. “I already told you I was going as super hero of sorts.”

“And that was more of a hint than I had asked for.” Rose countered.

“But it was a hint nonetheless, one I was hoping you picked up on and would, oh, I don’t know, go as my sidekick.” He said in an obvious way as the stopped in front of the school, almost being hit by a skateboarder in their sudden pause.

“I’m no one’s sidekick.” Rose teased, smiling with her tongue between her teeth. Why did she do that? Why did she have to flirt all the time, and with so many people? “If I am anything to anyone it’s their partner. Mutt to their Lewis, Hope to their Glory.”

“Shiver to their Shake,” He said without a second thought his eyes focusing something on the distance.

Rose caught Martha’s eye, and there was a panic in them that lead her to believe that it wasn’t just a random pairing he blurted out.

“Whoa,” John said, suddenly whirling around and catching the arm of a skateboarder who was looking back at his friends. A few seconds later the smack of his board on metal and a car horn’s angry blaring got her attention.

“Oh my god, is anyone hurt?” Martha asked, going into Doctor mode as she watched the driver get out of his car and inspect where the board hit.

The teenager, who looked as though he was about to wet himself, seemed fine other than the bruise he’d likely have on his arm from where John yanked him.

“No, thankfully.” John gritted. “Next time use your brain, James. Better in your head than on the pavement.”

“Yeah, sure thing, Mister S.” He said, going to collect his board and talk to the owner of the car.

“Blimey, super hero might be on the money.” Rose said, her voice shaking.

John shrugged. “Not all that heroic, just good timing.” He said, looking over Rose’s shoulder and smiling. “Ah, and look who decided to grace us with his presence today! Good ol’ Dave.” He said with cheer, waving to their fellow teacher.

Something seemed off about him, Martha noticed right away. His eyes were too wide, his grin too forced. And what was more is he wouldn’t stop grinning. He came up between Rose and John, taking a deep breath through his nose.

“You alright, there, mate?” Rose said, looking at Dave suspiciously.

“You wearing a new smell, there, Rose?” He asked in an oddly monotoned voice.

“No,” She said, furrowing her brow, sniffing her jumper. “Did we change laundry soap, because Vikki at work asked me the same thing?” Rose asked her, and Martha shook her head. “Odd.” Rose said before shrugging it off. “Anyway, you three go back to work, and I will see you, mister, at seven. Don’t be late.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” John said adoringly before Rose walked away. He sighed, looking pleasantly dazed before Dave leaned in and took a good, strong whiff of him, eyeing him suspiciously. “Dave?”

“Sorry,” Dave said, his odd grin not faltering. “Thought I smelled something.” He said before heading inside, Dean Baines joining him along with some preppy looking blonde girl.

“Is it just me, or is he acting weird?” John asked as he and Martha headed inside a little more slowly.

“Very,” She said, an unsettling feeling gripping her chest that she just couldn’t shake.

“I think you should take the watch with you.” Martha tried to encourage as Rose finished with her make-up.

She paused, eyeliner just beneath her tear duct as she stared at Martha’s reflection in the mirror. “No.” Rose said firmly before continuing to line her eye.

“You agreed that it’s likely we’ve been found,” Martha protested, striding up beside Rose and standing so she had to be looked at. And Rose relented, not only because she couldn’t finish getting ready, but because this was a conversation that needed to be ended. “Why not take the watch with us where we know we can access it quickly if we’re found?”

“And what if someone bumps it open? Or worse, what if we lose it? The Doctor told me to protect him, to keep him safe, and that’s what I’m doing by keeping the watch locked up.”

“You don’t understand,” Martha tried to protest, looking slightly comical in her blue Belle dress while trying to be serious. “They chased us through the vortex, do you really think we’ll get away from them if they corner us at some party?”

“And do you really think having the very essence that they want right there is going to do us any good?” Rose asked in counter, and she could see Martha struggling to come up with a valid argument. “If they’re here, then it’s my fault. I was the one who didn’t notice my bracelet came off, and it was probably me who flicked the watch open. Hell, it may even be my fault that there seems to be so much more of the Doctor in John than we were led to expect. But I will not, under any circumstances, let that watch out of this flat, out of that safe, until it’s time for the Doctor to come back to us.”

Rose and Martha stared each other down for the longest time, seconds ticking away from the clock on the wall, neither wanting to be the one that gave up their stand.

“I would go through great lengths to protect the Doctor,” Rose reminded Martha. “Risked my life for him before and would do it again. But the watch stays here.”

Martha was about to counter when her cell phone rang. Being the one to break eye contact, she went after the device in the living room.

Rose finished her make-up before standing back and taking a look at herself in the top half of her costume. And maybe Martha had a point about her being a trigger, keeping the bit of the Doctor in John’s personality in the forefront, but she also couldn’t help it. It was an exact copy of what she wore with him when he was supposed to take them to see Elvis, and oh did it bring back memories for her. Painful, beautiful memories of when she was sure he was going to kiss her but didn’t, but how she swore they inched closer to getting to where they were before he had to turn human.

Sighing, she grabbed a square of tissue paper and dotted the tears from her eyes before they spilled over an ruined her make-up.

“Alright, that was the school. Dave hasn’t shown up like he was supposed to to help set up, so they want me to go in. Please, Rose, consider bringing the watch. I just … I got a bad feeling.”

“I know,” She said to Martha in the mirror. “Me too.” An with a nod, Martha turned and left the flat, grabbing her coat along the way.

John would be there soon, and suddenly she found she needed some strength to get through the night. The costume was a bad idea. Talking about the Doctor, and the watch, and the family was a bad idea. And all of those were starting to make her want to enact Martha’s bad idea.

Going into her bedroom, she went about unlocking the various safe guards she had in place, getting the watch box out of the safe and bringing it to the bed. Pulling it out, caressing it, it whispered to her.

Rose, keep me safe. Be careful, precious girl. Be cautious.

They’re here.

Rose dropped the watch into the lining with a startle. So it wasn’t just a hunch on their part, the family really was there. Hunting them down, or namely hunting down the Doctor.

She wavered staring at the watch, wondering where on her costume she could put it without losing it. But no. She slammed the lid of the box down and promptly returned it to it’s place behind the locked doors. They were here, but there was nothing to say they caught on to him, that they knew where he was. If anything, they knew where she was, and if it came down to keeping him safe over her, well, her multiple centuries were nothing on the Doctor’s virtual immortality. He could still stop them even if they consumed her.

He would be safe.

The tentative knock on the door made her gasp, and she forced herself to calm down and take a breath. It’s not like blood thirsty aliens from space knocked. She knew who was on the other side of the door, she’d been expecting him.

Straightening her dress and throwing on her jacket, she put on her best smile and strode to the door.

“So, what do you think?” The Doctor asked as he put his arms out to the side, showing her the brown, pin-stripped suit he favored so much when he first regenerated. “I know that pretty much everyone except you and Tim aren’t going to know who I’m dressing up as, but I thought it’d be fun. Play the adventurer for the night.” He asked, his manic grin in place as it had always been.

Tears started prickling her eyes, seeing him as him before her both making her heart break while it swelled with longing. The latter dominated, and without thinking she stepped up and put her hand on the back of John’s neck to make sure he didn’t move as she got up on the tips of her toes and kissed him.

It wasn’t supposed to be any more than a firm, chaste kiss, but John apparently had other ideas. After his initial shock, his lips became mailable before seeming to take on muscle memory from the hours the Doctor had spent kissing her just before the change. He cupped her face, and as much as she wanted to pull away it was difficult. But one thing Rose was missing, the thing that allowed her to finally pull away, was the lack of his presence in her mind. That was in the watch some thirty feet away.

“Wow,” John said simply. “Guess you, umm, like the costume then.” He said, clearing his throat and shifting the blazer.

Rose laughed, “’S very original. I guess, I just liked how you looked in a suit.” She covered quickly.

“Right, well, okay. So we should, uh, go. To the dance. Where we’re chaperoning.”

“Yeah,” She said, stepping out of the apartment and locking up behind her.

“Well, this isn’t so bad,” John said as they walked into the dance already in progress. The school gymnasim was decorated to the hilt with Halloween decor and smoke machines, the room darkened with only the neon and black lights to offer any kind of visibility. “Don’t see too many skin baring costumes, always a good thing.”

“You seem incredibly nervous, considering.” Rose pointed out.

She was sure if the lighting had been a bit better she would have seen John’s ears go red.

“I may or may not have been debating all night if I should ask you to dance, or if that would be frowned upon.” John admitted, leaning in to keep his voice low.

Rose laughed. “Oh, I’m fairly certain that would make you out to be the most embarrassing teacher here.” She teased, smiling with her tongue between her teeth.

“Oi, I’ll have you know, Rose Tyson, that I am an excellent dancer.” He countered, straightening his tie in just the way he always had as the Doctor.

“Are you?” She asked, crossing her arms.

“No idea,” John admitted, and they both laughed.

“Oh my God,” Martha’s voice got their attention before she threw her arms around a startled John who had no idea what to do with his hands. “You’re back! Wait, if you’re back, then somethings wrong, have they found us?” Martha asked as she backed away and looked around the room.

John laughed nervously, looking to Rose and attempting to loosen the collar of his shirt with his finger. “Umm, didn’t realize I went anywhere. Well, except home to change. Like my costume? I’m this character that Tim and I have been sorta working on.” He said, straightening his blazer. “I’m the Doctor.”

“A character,” Martha said, gapping at him before looking to Rose who merely shrugged. “Right.”

“Hey Mister S, nice costume,” Tim proclaimed as he came up to them, wearing a suit himself though in blue. In his hand, Rose noticed, was something wrapped in duct tape with a blue marble on the end. “Though personally, I think mine’s better.”

“It is quite impressive.” Rose smiled, making Tim blush.

“Yeah,” He said, trailing the word as he shuffled. “Anyway, mind if I, uh, hang around with you guys?”

“You don’t want to hang out with your friends?” Martha asked. “Dance with a girl or two?”

“Uh, yeah, technically the closest person I have to a friend here is ‘the Doctor’, Miss Jane.” Tim replied with a bit of grin before ribbing John. “And honestly, I think it’s best if I’m near here, if you know what I mean.”

Martha furrowed her brow. “Can’t say I do, but alright.” She said, looking back out at the students with confusion.

Tim turned to Rose, and she saw the worry there, the way he steeled himself for something to happen. A cold chill shot through her, and she turned her gaze away only to have it fall on a pair of teenagers staring at them with disturbing smiles. Both seemed to inhale at the same time, like they were taking a deep whiff of the smoke filled air.

“Tim,” Rose said, her voice shaking as those teenagers tilted their heads to the side.

Before the young man could say anything, a blast of light and the hum of a laser cut off the music. The students screamed and ran to the opposite side from where the DJ had been, all cowering and clamoring over each other.

“There will be silence! All of you!” Dave shouted, flagged on entrance by Rose’s red-haired co-worker Vikki. Both are armed with guns that look far too alien to be from this time period, and clearly real.

“Dave,” one of the other teachers approached him, “What’s going on?”

With an unsteady smile, Dave turned the gun on the teacher and shot him, leaving nothing more than a pile of ash where the man once was.

“Holy shit,” Tim mumbled quietly.

“John,” Rose said softly, “Stay behind me, don’t make a sound. We’ll see if we can get out.” She shifted slightly in front of him.

“Behind you? Shouldn’t you be behind me?” He asked in hushed, panicked tones, gripping her arm and seeming to work up the courage to actually be the one to do the protecting.

“We asked for silence!” Vikki proclaimed, and immediately the room died down to silent.

“There he is, mother of mine,” The preppy looking blonde girl who’d been eyeing them all night inched toward Vikki and Dave, smiling that same disturbing smile. “There’s the Doctor. I know, I heard them talking and,” She took a whiff, “ Don’t you smell it? That hint of what we smelled before?”

“He took human form,” The teenage boy said, and Rose realized that none of them had blinked.

“Human?” John choked out. “What do you mean, ‘human form’? What other form could I possibly be?” His voice grew higher with every word, and his hands on Rose’s arms began to shake.

“And a human brain, too! Simple, thick, and dull.”

“He’s no good like this.” Vikki shook her head.

“We need a Time Lord.” Dave said with a sinister satisfaction.

“Easily done,” The teenage boy said, leveling the gun with John’s head, though the shot would have hit Rose. “Change back.” He demanded.

“Dean, please, what are you talking about?” John begged.

“Change back,” Dean insisted.

“What?” John stammered.

“He needs more motivation,” The teenage girl said, grabbing Martha and shoving her toward Vikki. For her part, Martha only let out a yelp, even as the gun in Vikki’s hand was leveled to her head. She took a couple deep breaths before glaring at Rose, an ‘I told you so” dancing in her eyes. “She’s your little lady love, isn’t she? That’s what this girls memories say. Won’t you change back to save her.” The teenage girl taunted.

“No, she’s not the one he loves, she’s just his friend.” Dave said, grabbing Rose so quick she hadn’t had any time to react before she was whirled around and forced to stare at John as she sensed the gun near her temple.

Rose stood firm, refusing to allow her body to shake despite how bad her muscles quivered. She ran through all the maneuvers Dave had taught her, and hoped somehow the thing that possessed him didn’t have access to those memories.

“Have you enjoyed it, Doctor? Being human?” Dean taunted as John looked terrified between Rose and Martha. “Has it taught you wonderful things? Are you better, richer, wiser? Then let’s see you answer this, which one of them do you want us to kill? Your friend, or your lover? Your choice.”

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