Tranquil Beauty and Brilliance
Title: Like Pearls on Silver Blade
Disclaimer: I don't own anything but Summer (and that ownership is tentative at best)
AN: Many thanks for Methos for helping as a beta! No crossover yet in this chapter (besides vague Buffy references), but it's coming, and I'm sure you can all guess what it is...
The group reacted as one, a wince and shudder of revulsion as the odours of the town assaulted their noses. Donna in particular seemed disturbed, which was to be understood, the others had at least some previous experience with the genuinely stinky residents of the universe, while, at least so far as Rose and Summer could conclude from the brief tales that had been told in the TARDIS, the Doctor had largely attempted to keep her to the more sanitary regions of time and space.
He had not always been successful, but that was also to be expected. He was the Doctor after all.
Rose looked up and down the street they had landed in with intrigue and disgust warring in her expression. This was remarkably dirty, even for the sort of travels they'd been on before. After a short pause she realized that the Doctor had begun to walk down toward a well-lit pub at the end of the street, and tried not to feel terribly bitter as she noticed that Donna was holding his hand. No matter how happy he'd been to see her, it wasn't as if...
Summer's hand slipped into hers, and she nudged the blonde's shoulder. "She's not like you," the newly-Gallifreyan girl said quietly. "You know that right?"
"Yeah," Rose scowled as she cast another glance at the pair. “Right.”
"Tyler, seriously," the girl formerly known as the Key rolled her eyes. "You just look at them and it's obvious that she's like, a sister or something to him. He doesn't look at her
like he looks at you
. Usually he doesn't even say goodbye to people when he can pop down the street and visit, didn't he like, blow up a star to say goodbye to you?"
"Yeah," she shrugged. "But he said goodbye, and that was it in his mind, ya know? I mean, not that I'm not welcome or somethin' like that, but he moved on, maybe I shoulda’." She trailed off with a thoughtful look as she smiled softly at Summer.
"Oh whatever," Summer wrapped her arm around Rose's shoulder. "Just don't get all possessive or anything okay? That's the fastest way to make a guy, especially one like Mr. Undomesticated up there, freak out."
"I'm not being possessive!" Rose sounded offended now. "Am I up there whining about it?"
"No, but you're being sulky back here," Summer pointed out astutely. "If there's one thing in this universe I understand it's sulking because you feel left out. So just ignore it, hang out with me, your new bestest friend ever as of now because I say so, and enjoy that we're..." she paused and shouted up at the Doctor. "Any idea where we are?"
"None at all!" He called back, not even looking at them. "Isn't it exciting?"
"Why do you like him again?" She quirked an eyebrow curiously.
"Oh you're just full of it," Rose shoved her slightly. "You think he's fantastic, don' lie!"
She refused to dignify that with an answer, instead choosing to look around the street with wide eyes. There were women in all manners of 'bawdy dress', which in this time period was a floor length dress that had one end pulled up to show about half of a calf. The men were nearly all drunk, and several of the prostitutes, as Summer was fairly sure they could be classified, held their own mugs of vile-smelling liquid.
The air was heavy, hot and sticky with humidity and hidden under the stench, fragrant with spices. The windows that were lit held candles, and in a few they could peek in and see families – the few men who weren't out with the whores and drunkards were curled around their wives, a touch of normality even in a city as mad as this one.
"Is it rotten an' selfish that I'm a bit jealous?" Rose's voice came as a small whisper. "I know it's stupid."
"Nah," Summer's voice was low as she leaned her head toward her friend. "The guy you're in love with and have a totally undefined relationship with is holding hands with another girl. Even knowing that he's totally not into her, it's still gonna smart."
"Oh," she sounded a bit relieved. "Normal then."
Summer rolled her eyes and nudged Rose gently. "Girl, you're in love with the only living Time Lord, I'm a Time Lady
," she added as Rose opened her mouth. "There is no such thing as normal
in this sitch."
"You're so... American sometimes," Rose smirked. "Definitely more California than...” Rose paused as she hunted around in her memory for the Doctor’s – and now Summer's – home planet. “Gallifrey in there."
She shrugged, kicking the dirt road thoughtfully. "I've spent the last decade speaking Sunnydale, which believe me is a language unto itself. Besides, I think my head's still more human than Time Lady." They stopped in front of the pub and watched as the Doctor and Donna went in. "Let's stay out for a minute," Summer suggested quietly. "Things have been so nuts...we haven't really talked since we got up with your dude. You're kinda quiet here lately Missy."
"What, didn't get enough talk back at Sarah Jane's?" Rose smiled a bit tensely. "We were there for three weeks and didn't do nothing but
"Aaand what has changed since then?" Summer folded her arms and leaned against a post, shooting a pointed look at the young Londoner.
"Everything" Rose sighed, nodding. She stuck her hands in the front pouch of her shirt and swayed thoughtfully. "I jus'...I don' know what to say to him anymore, it's like... he was so glad to see me, and then... nothing. I'm back in my room, an' it's farther away from his than it used to be, now I know he don't have feelings for Donna or anything... So why?"
"Um, I think I covered that back in the 'Time Lord' section of this discussion," Summer pointed out, keeping a close eye on the door, knowing full-well how these conversations always worked out in movies, with the topic suddenly showing up just within hearing range. "Though I think that could just as easily be summed up as the 'male' portion, seriously, he's a guy. Might be a thousand year old Time Lord, but he's still a boy."
"Yeah well, boys are stupid," Rose sulked a bit.
"Throw rocks at him?" Summer suggested, her face softening sympathetically. "Look Tyler, you've gotta accept that the dude's got some issues. He's practically a thousand years old, and he's lost a lot of people. Trust isn't easy for the ancient, believe me I've met my share."
"I know, but it's so hard..." She frowned, folding her arms. Summer watched her expectantly and she threw her hands in the air. "What else do you want me to say? I dunno what to do!"
"Say you're gonna walk up and plant one on him, duh!" Sumer rolled her eyes and glanced in the doorway. "See, right now he's in there, probably getting into something wicked stupid, into which he will also drag all of us, and the fastest way to distract him from that is you walking up and," she cleared her throat and affected a British accent. "Snogging
Rose frowned. "Don't do that." There was a pause as she shook her head roughly, "Really, really don't do that."
Summer folded her arms and grinned. "But seriously, what's he gonna do? Send you home to your mom? 'Cause crossing an impossible barrier between universes and introducing him to the only other living member of his species doesn't say that you love him, nah, it'll be just ruined
if you kiss him."
"Yeah, it could!" Rose's eyes were filled with something very akin to fear. "What if he says no, alright? What would I do then? Pretend it didn't happen, just go on with adventures? Or pop 'round to Shareen's, have a good cry and move on? Ain't like he's Jimmy Stone, I can't just go find new one by the corner, you know?"
Summer waved her hand in the universal gesture for 'volume!' and glanced cautiously into the pub, where the Doctor and Donna appeared to be deep in discussion with someone very disreputable. "Look, I'm not an expert on ye olde Gallifreyan dude... but my sister once dated a guy that had a couple centuries on her. He worshiped her, but he was so convinced that he was wrong for her that it took her best friend freaking out and screeching at him for making Buffy feel like crap for him to realize how bad he was messing with her, and further that the smoochies were imminent. Of course them having sex ended up almost destroying the world, but that's so not the point." She paused. "Did that make sense outside my head?"
"A bit, yeah," Rose sighed. "You really think he thinks of me like that?"
"Um, duh," she rolled her eyes. "I mean, I know I was unconscious during the reunion, but Donna told me about it. With the tears and the drama, he totally loves you."
"Totally eh?" Rose smiled a little.
"Hardcore. You Brits need to stop mocking the accent, by the way. Gonna stab you in your sleep." She said this with a broad smile that made Rose just a bit uncomfortable. She winked. "Kidding... mostly."
"Okay then!" Rose pushed off from the beam and glanced inside. "He's going to get us in trouble. Let's walk on down to the water, maybe we can find a spot of beach to sit on and watch the ocean."
The next few minutes were spent in silence as they strolled along the waterfront before settling down on the cool sand. They relaxed, leaning back and looking up at the stars. It was amazing to Summer... she could feel them. She could feel the movement of the ocean a dozen yards away, she could feel the moon pulling at the tides, and if she concentrated, she could almost bury inwards and see glimpses of the Vortex that she had once carried in her flesh. She wanted to understand, to train herself to know it better... but it would take years, and she hadn't the patience yet. Maybe someday she would sit down with the Doctor, allow him to come close enough to teach her... but for now, she just wanted to look at the stars and imagine what was happening on their distant worlds... enjoying the ebb and flow that she felt so deep in her bones.
"Rose?" They both let out a breath as the concerned voice of the Doctor reached them. "Summer! Rose!"
"We should yell," Summer sighed. "He's gonna freak."
Summer sat bolt upright, her eyes wide. There was a worried, not quite frantic presence in her head
. She had never given him permission to do that, how dare he! She envisioned a door slamming in his face and stood up. "That's not nice!" She shouted. "You're not allowed!"
He appeared around a nearby dune and frowned at them both. "Did you not hear me?" He glanced sharply between them. "What are you doing out here by yourselves?"
Rose didn't answer, but Summer shrugged. "Chillin'. Hey, I'm gonna go back to find Donna, and we'll stay by the TARDIS, promise," She held up her hand in the classic 'scout's honor' position before walking back in the direction of the town.
"Rose, what's the first rule?" He was trying to be stern, but not succeeding very well. It was easier to be mad when they actually got in trouble.
"Don' wander off," she parroted, rolling her eyes. "Yeah, I know, sorry. It was too hot in there."
"Well," he sat down in Summer's recently vacated spot. "I found out where we are!"
"Yep," he smacked his lips over the word. "We're in Tortuga! Mid 18th century, bit fuzzy on the when. I got very conflicting answers from the men in the pub, but they were very drunk so it's excused."
Rose smiled slightly. "Learned a long time ago, don' never trust the word of a bloke after more than two beers."
"Rum seems to be the drink of choice these days," he grinned at her. "Vile really, but they appear to be fond of it. And I booked us on a cruise."
Rose grinned widely, her tongue just peeking out between her teeth. "Advanced booking? Carnival won't be opening for a couple hundred years ya know?"
"A pathetic imitation of the real thing, no, we're going on a real ship, with sails!" He was getting animated, and she had to laugh. "It's been decades and decades since I was on a ship that traveled outside the Vortex!"
"And where is this ‘cruise’ taking' us?" Rose leaned back, looking up at the sky.
"No idea!" He beamed. "Somewhere in the Caribbean I would assume. I had to produce gold," his smile dimmed a bit. "But they'll be taking the four of us and the TARDIS to wherever it is that they're going. A brand new adventure Rose, a historical journey!"
"You're mad," she chided affectionately. "Gonna get us all killed by pirates."
He paused, tilting his head thoughtfully. "Oh. Caribbean. Pirates. Forgot about that."
"There's a whole ride devoted to it at Disney World," Rose grinned. "Though I don' think there's so many women chasing men with rollin' pins here."
"You know, in all my travels I've yet to make it there."
"What?" Rose propped herself up on her elbows and gaped at him. "Impossible! I've been somewhere that you haven't?"
"When did you do that?" He quirked an eyebrow at her.
"In Pete's world," she admitted with a shrug. "After Johnny was born, my little brother that is, Mum and Pete took us and Mickey to Florida. Mum said she could finally afford to take me on a proper holiday, and she was..." she paused and looked back up at the sky. "She knew I'd find a way back, so she wanted to make sure I had good memories from there, so I wouldn't forget her."
"You'll never forget your mother," he replied gently. "Even if it were possible to forget your mum, any mum, it would never be possible to forget Jackie Tyler
." The last was said with a bit of a shudder, and Rose leaned over, shoving his shoulder roughly.
"Oi, what have I said about talking 'bout my mum?" She tried to maintain her scowl but ended up laughing. "I guess she is memorable though, you'll never forget being slapped by her."
"I'd say you're bein' a girl, but that'd be too mean to my sex," she grinned broadly. "You're just a great big baby."
"Alright, enough insults!" He stood abruptly and grabbed her hand, helping her to her feet as well. "Best get back to the TARDIS, you and the girls need to get some rest, ship leaves at daybreak."
The smile didn't leave her face as they walked back into town, although there was no danger present, he never let go of her hand.