Author: Me, myself and that weird plot bunny.
Show/Ship: Doctor Who/ Ten/Rose
Genre: Fluff, unashamed and proud
Prompt: #15- Subliminal
Disclaimer: My brother bought me a sonic screwdriver. Ha!
Summary: The Doctor takes Rose to an alien Fun fair and one of the rides is a little more either expected.
A/N- Happy!Who fic from my new table.
The holiday had been her idea, the location had been his, and while Rose thought that her proposal had been a good one, she was still dubious about his.
“Come on, Rose!” he said, throwing his arms wide in the ebullient way he had of embracing the universe. “This is a perfect place to rest and relax.”
Rose eyed him dubiously. “A fun fair? An alien fun fair?”
“Of course!” The Doctor grinned. “Oh, until you’ve been to a Sustacian fun fair you’ve not lived!”
Rose sighed and tucked her arm into his, leaning in close and inhaling his odd mix of sweet and spicy scent.
It was comforting and exotic — a bit like the Doctor really.
She had been chased around solar systems and attacked on planets that she couldn’t even pronounce and she was tired and aching for just a little bit of TLC.
When she’d mentioned to the Doctor that she was tired, he’d got that tell-tale gleam of mania in his eye and declared he knew the perfect place for her to unwind.
She still got shudders when he did that, memories of his ‘fightin’ hand’ and other wacky ideas coming to the fore.
“Okay, then,” she decided to go with it this time. It would probably end in tears. Hers. “Tell me what’s so great about a Sustacian fun fair.”
He beamed, knowing he had won.
“The food! The smells, the sounds, the rides, the games, it’s all very, very exciting.”
“Like your Earth amusements, I think.” He pursed his lips. “I never really went to many Earth fairs, bit too boring. Like Blackpool, never saw the appeal myself. Although I do adore Candy floss. It’s just sugar and air—fantastic! They have something similar here called cloud-sugar but it’s lighter than air and has a devil of a time sticking to the stick before it floats off. It’s one of the reasons the birds on Sustacia are so fat. Good eating on a Sustacian bird, feed a family of four for a week. Of course you’d get tooth decay before you’re thirty … am I babbling again?”
The Doctor often reminded her of an enthusiastic puppy, one she wasn’t sure she wanted to hug or tell off for peeing on the carpet.
“Yep,” Rose said, “But its okay, I was listening. Fat birds, sugar and tooth decay. Sounds like Blackpool to me.” She grinned at his bark of laughter as she scanned the fair. “Okay, what’s that one?”
She pointed to something that reminded her of an old fashioned coconut shy.
“Ah, now that is a Humptodian egg-shack.”
Rose smiled, waiting for him to explain.
“The aim of the game is to knock the egg off the stand with the little squids and the egg breaks as it hits the floor and you get whatever’s inside. They used to be real Humptodian eggs but recently they’re just cases filled with treats. If the egg doesn’t break then it gets put back on the stand.”
“But what if they, like hard-boil the eggs or something, that way they never break!”
The Doctor stared at her bemused. “But that would be cheating. It’d be like Earth vendors weighing down the cans or coconuts so you can’t knock them off.”
Rose gave him a pointed look and he gaped.
“Really? That’s cheating!”
She laughed out loud at his scandalised face. Sometimes, just sometimes, he could be so sweetly naïve she’d forget that he was a 900 year old alien.
“Hang about,” Rose blinked, something coming to her. “Humptodian? Like Humpty-Dumpty?”
The Doctor smiled knowingly. “Thought you’d pick that up. Humptodians are fragile, especially when at the egg stage. Now back, ooh so long ago, the TARDIS appeared during one the Humptodian wars when the chieftain, Dumpay was assassinated. The previous chieftain had been lobbying for a division between the two factions of the egg-hood.”
“Hard-boiled verses scrambled?” Rose teased and he shook his head ruefully.
“Worse … poached and fried.” His eyes twinkled as Rose laughed. “Dumpay wasn’t up for either; he was literally sitting on the wall. Those older Humptodians wanted someone who would side with them so they had him killed and bought off the guard so that no one would stand in to help. The nursery rhyme you know was actually the funeral epitaph.”
“How did it get back to Earth?” Rose asked, fascinated.
“How’d you think?” he grinned. “It was a catchy little tune!”
Rose laughed out loud and stared around, far more interested that she had been previously.
It was times like this that she loved her life. Just travelling and learning new things, being with the Doctor and living.
It didn’t hurt, of course, that he was easy on the eyes.
“This place is great,” she admitted.
“Over there,” he pointed, “is your typical ‘win a goldfish’ except—”
Rose peered. “It’s a squid in a box.”
“Teriyakl,” he amended. “Adorable little things, change colour, scent gas, eat shrubs, last for, ooh, ages. I had one once.”
“What happened to it?”
Rose shook her head, rolling her eyes.
“That’s your basic shooting range. Hit a Sycorax; win a stuffed yellow Martian. That’s the guess your weight; don’t play that.”
“Why not?” she wanted to know.
The Doctor shrugged. “Prizes aren’t very good.”
“What’s that one?” Rose saw a card game that looked vaguely familiar where two boys sweated furiously over the outcome of the hand.
“Like snap,” the Doctor frowned. “Only you win real money or lose real fingers.”
“Ah,” Rose watched as some poor punter nearly got his hands nipped off by the crocodile painted on the back of the card. “I’ll miss that one then.”
“Over there is your ‘hook a duck’ bonanza.”
Rose blinked. “That’s not a duck.”
“Hmm?” The Doctor stared and blushed. “Right. Some of the booths are quite adult.”
Rose giggled. “Obviously.”
He steered them away from it and stood in the centre of the fair with his hands on his hips. “Right, Rose Tyler, what do you want to do first? Whack a Slitheen? Shoot a ball through a space warp? Sonic blasting; first board to explode wins? How about race the Hopchurns—not really fair since they only have three legs between the two but you can win a lovely green rug.”
Rose pondered her options. Interspersed with the skill games were large boxes, the size of long distance Lorries painted various garish colours. She could hear yells and screams coming from them and, as she peered closer, she could read the signs above them “House of Mirrors” was one and “Yearn Train” was another. Small black shuttles like mini cars whooshed around the front and people got out, others got in and then whizzed back into the boxes.
They were fairground rides.
Rose had always loved the rides back home, like the Wurlitzer and the Dodgems. She could just imagine getting the Doctor into one of the Bumper cars. She grinned.
“What are the rides like?”
“Fantastic!” He almost leaped into the air. “Vortex is like an Earth rollercoaster. Then there’s Ancestor trek—”
“Let me guess,” Rose said as the short shuttle shot into a black box where screams echoed. “Ghost train?”
“Yup, only scarier because the field is slightly telepathic which means you really do see dead people.” He paused. “I don’t want to go on that one, if you don’t mind?”
Rose shivered. “Fine by me.”
“In fact,” he said considering it, “many of the rides have a low telepathic field so that you get the most out of the experience. The House of Mirrors plums your subconscious and preys on your vanity, making you more beautiful or showing parts of your true self. More of a psychological trip than a ride, really.” He mused.
“What’s a Yearn Train, then?” Rose wondered.
“I—” a strange look crossed the Doctor’s face. “I don’t know, never seen that one before.”
As they watched the ride, a girl with long orange hair in three dread-plaits stumbled out of her shuttle and leaned up to the ticket vendor giggling.
The vendor shrugged and the girl walked away, waving her hands. She passed close by and bumped into Rose. She stopped dead and smiled an odd fixed sort of smile.
“Go on the train,” she said. “Ultimate trip, I swear. Can’t tell you why. It’s all hush-hush. A surprise.” She burst into laughter that had Rose taking a step back.
The Doctor grabbed her hand as the girl cackled again.
“I really must buy more cloud-sugar,” she trilled and walked away.
The Doctor looked at Rose as the girl walked away like she was a zombie.
“Weird,” Rose mumbled and they turned their attention back to the ride just as another shuttle belted out of the entrance.
Two aliens, tall and hawk-like clambered out of the shuttle and seemingly wandered off in a trance.
“Weird-er,” the Doctor agreed. “So people go in to the Yearn Train and come out sort of … possessed?”
His face lit up with glee and Rose groaned.
“Some rest and relaxation!”
“Oh, come on!” he enthused. “Demon possession, odd boxes, weird behaviour. Right up our street.”
“All right,” Rose gave in; she could never resist him when he was like this. “But you are so buying me some of that cloud-sugar stuff.”
He tightened his grip on her hand and they wandered closer to the garishly decorated box. It was blue and red and green and made you feel sea-sick just by looking at it.
“What’s the thrill?” the Doctor called and a green triple-headed alien poked a head out of the ticket box.
“’s a surprise ain’t it?” the creature squawked with a voice eerily similar to Rose’s old P.E. teacher. “s’what it seys on’t side. Surprise ride, yeah? That bein’ a surprise. ‘s more’n me jobs wurf ta tell ya.”
Rose leaned over. “How come she sounds like she’s from Leicester?”
“Lots of planets have a …,” he paused and glanced over at her, “I can’t pull that one off here, can I?”
Rose shook her head.
“The TARDIS is playing with you,” he admitted and Roses’ eyes gleamed.
“Knew it! Knew it when that Freck-de-preck had an American accent.”
“Freyackdeprec,” he corrected, “and no, that was real.” He turned back to the vendor who was watching them in undisguised interest.
“What kind of ride is it?”
“Sur. Prise,” said the vendor, sarcasm rolling off her in waves. “Dunno wha’ ta tell ya, mate, ‘cept s’prise, yeah. Cor, you ain’t ‘arf fick. Tek a tick’t, or begger off, yeah? Got real customers and that.”
“Okay, we’ll take two tickets!” The Doctor beamed and handed over something gold and glittery that Rose couldn’t quite see.
The short shuttle stopped in front of them and they got in. It was quite a snug fit and the vendor looked bored as she started poking levers.
Rose turned to the Doctor. “Do you really think this is a good idea? We’ve got no idea what goes on in here. That girl came out weird, so did those two others.”
“What better way to find out than to go in?” he grinned manically and suddenly the shuttle was moving.
The doors opened and they shot inside, Rose banging into the Doctor as the track jolted them.
Inside the box was pitch black except for two tiny blue lights which seemed to zip over Rose and the Doctor.
“Uh, huh, just as I thought,” the Doctor said. “Telepathic field.” Off Rose’s look he explained. “The tiny blue dots read our thoughts and emotions, helps them to construct a reality based entirely on us.”
Rose opened her mouth but suddenly the blackness was gone and they were in a large flower-filled field. The trees were full of pink blossoms and the skies full of fluffy pink clouds. The meadows were hazed in a purple mist and the mountains were pale blue and ethereal.
It was soft, romantic and completely cheesy.
“Not based on Barbie’s dream garden then?” Rose wrinkled her nose. “This so isn’t me.”
“Uh no,” the Doctor cleared his throat, embarrassed. “Theses are the Eles Fields in the outer rim galaxy.”
“Yours?” Rose was incredulous. “Why construct a pink field?”
“No idea, but it was said to be one of the most romantic destinations. Ridiculous of course,” he said distractedly. Even as he spoke the walls ripped, the pink fading away to reveal a flash and then a deep blue, almost black atmosphere. Starlight flickered around them and Rose saw the magnificent colours of space rise ahead.
“Eagle Nebula?” The Doctor frowned. “That’s not one of mine …”
“Must be mine,” Rose grinned. “I love this; saw it on a calendar back home. Always wanted to see it.”
“Why didn’t you say?” he said, almost hurt. “Next stop, Eagle Nebula!”
Rose leaned over, hugging his arm tight. “Thanks, Doctor.”
Rose watched as the hue of colours drifted over them. It really was so very beautiful. She leaned her head on the Doctor’s shoulder and just enjoyed the silence.
There was another flash and then the blackness started to drift away, converted to a soft yellow.
The Doctor pursed his lips. “I wonder what that flash was?”
Rose was too busy staring at the buttercup fields that surrounded them. “More flowers?”
“Hmm?” the Doctor glanced around. “Oh, they’re more creatures from The Mezantoic Sector, beautiful creatures, they mate for life you know…” he trailed off, a sudden blush starting on his cheeks.
“You all right?”
A flash distracted her as the yellow bled into azure blue and the coast filled her view with perfect palm beaches and clear blue waters.
“Quick, tell me what you’re thinking right now?” the Doctor demanded.
“I could do with a real holiday, why?”
“Hmm.” The Doctor dug into his pockets and pulled out the sonic screwdriver. He pointed it at the walls and waited.
With a flash the walls started to bleed into the too familiar Cardiff bay.
Now Rose did scowl. “What’s going on?”
The Doctor was taking readings off the screwdriver and didn’t answer.
Another flash had the walls take on the odd hint of dark red drapes and velvet cushions.
Rose poked the Doctor. “Okay, I’m confused now.”
“What?” He looked up and Rose was astonished to see his cheeks turn the same colour as the sheets.
“Okay, you so can’t push this off,” Rose exclaimed. “You know what’s going on here, don’t you.”
“Of course!” he said, like he had just twigged it. “Yearn … what’s another word for yearn, Rose?”
“Um, crave? Want? Desire?”
“Exactly!” he beamed. “The dots read our thoughts and emotions and supplied us with images about we most want. You have been thinking about a holiday so it showed you the beach and the Nebula, places that you’ve wanted to go.”
Rose frowned. “And you want pink fields, yellow bugs and Cardiff?” she looked around. “And the porno version of Aladdin?”
“No, no, no, no, no, no,” he cleared his throat, looking away. “Some alien brains work on different visual cues. You see holiday destinations because you want a holiday. Imagine if you wanted something different like …oh, I don’t know, to be a millionaire. You’d see piles of gold maybe, jumbo airliner, champagne and caviar. If you wanted companionship you’d see dogs or team-mates or—”
“I get it,” Rose nodded. “Some things need to be subtle so whatever you most want is like clued in to those pictures?”
“Yes.” He seemed pleased that she’d got it.
“But, Cardiff?” Rose screwed up her nose.
“It’s a representation of …” he trailed off again as music started to be piped through the air.
It was Glen Miller’s ‘In the mood”.
Rose giggled. “We danced to that.”
The Doctor was silent and Rose turned her head to see him looking down.
Her brain began to frantically work. “The Eles fields were one of the most romantic destinations you said.”
The Doctor said nothing.
“Then those bugs that mate for life, the music we danced to and the harem place.” Rose bit her lip. “What do you want, Doctor?”
Before he could answer there was another flash and they were inside the TARDIS in a room that Rose had only been in a handful of times. His room.
The covers were turned back and the lamps gave a soft glow, illuminating the bed.
“Oh.” Rose blinked slowly. “Really?”
He cleared his throat. “You know, this ride really should be ending soon. I think I should complain to the management and you know those flashes, Rose, well they—”
He was cut off, mid-ramble by Rose’s lips.
Few things in the universe had ever stumped the Doctor, but analysing the taste that was Rose would surely do it. Behind the softly kissing couple the walls exploded with pictures of fireworks, honey dripping, chocolate melting and stars exploding.
His hands clutched at her hair and his mouth slid to trail kisses down her neck, nipping at her jaw line and licking at her throat.
Rose sighed heavily and wished that this would go on and on.
That was when the shuttle jolted and the little black car whooshed out of the tunnel.
The Doctor sat back quickly and stared at Rose with wide eyes.
Rose blinked. “What?”
“Those flashes were subliminal messages to try to get you to buy the snacks they make here. They show you your desires and make you buy sweets. Good ploy that. I think they used to do it in cinemas back on Earth. In fact I—”
“Doctor?” Rose said sweetly. “I don’t do subliminal, yeah, or subtle. If you don’t take me back to the TARDIS and kiss me again, I’ll thump you.”
A slow smile slid over his features. “Really?”
“Promise? You’re not mad or anything?”
“Only if you stop.”
A grin broke over his face. “Fantastic!”
“But first,” Rose decided. “You’ve got to buy me some of the cloud-sugar; I’ve got a real yearning for it.”
“Subliminal,” the Doctor said smugly. “I’m too advanced for that to work.”
“I want to lick it off you.”
“Cloud-sugar it is.”