Although simply content to ogle and contemplate the rumpled and energetic Time Lord smeared in grease and some alien combination of mechanic fluids, the fifth time her stomach grumbled it did so, so loudly and indigently that the Doctor paused in self-effacing horror.
“Oh Rose, I’m sorry. Feeling peckish eh? Can’t have that primitive digestive system shutting down, can we? Breakfast?” He whirled his great coat about his shoulders and then as an after thought grabbed a cloth and spittled his face clean. “Allons-y!”
“Dinner actually!” Rose sighed, stretching her legs and wincing at the pins and needles that spiked through them as she unsteadily rose to her feet. “And ever heard of soup and water, that’s disgusting!” she drawled.
They made their way back to the increasingly familiar tavern through a light fog that hung sporadically in the crisp autumnal air. The sudden silence at their entrance was far shorter this time and the Doctor pouted a little at the unspoken sentiment of, “Oh, only them again” and slouched his shoulders at the absence of a dramatic entrance.
“Still here then” the barkeep unnecessarily observed but the Doctor, top full of renewed joviality, was not a man to be deterred.
“Good news! All’s quiet on the Eastern front and Miss Tyler and I wish to partake of your egregious hospitality a little longer.” His address was met by an eye roll and several derogatory stares but his addition of, “Drinky-poos are on me, fill those sloshing beer bellies of the whole house, my good man” suddenly lifted the punter’s spirits (literally) and smiles were easily cemented as he threw a generous amount of currency onto the bar.
“Now”, he smacked his hands together, “My lady and I are starving, any chance of some grub?”
The stupefied tender half fell over himself to usher the couple to the best seats in the house – a simple wooden booth by the roaring fire and fogged up window at the back of the bar – apparently the attitude to material wealth still erased all sins.
Half an hour later Rose and the Doctor were graced with a selection of meats, cheeses, breads and home-grown veges served on silver tableware and accompanied by an ornate jug full of local brewed wine.
“Why’s there an ice pick on the table? Little early for ‘Basic Instinct’ ain’t it?” Rose observed in confusion.
“Ah, past time coutelerie, old French from cultellus meaning knife. This, Lady Rose is a Sheffield Silver, butter pick and pat circa 1883. Isn’t that brilliant! Lost all civilisations by your lot’s time.” he beamed as he fiddled with the implement.
“If you say so and can you stop swinging…Doctor…Stop it!” She stilled his hand just as the pick somersaulted across the room and into a metal tankard with a plop and splash.
“Sorry”, Rose smiled regretfully over at the rather tipsy gentlemen in scuffed boots and breeches as the unruly item brought a sudden stop to his rendition of, “When Irish Eyes are Smiling”!
“Oops!” escaped the Doctor though the crinkled laughter lines around his mirthful brown eyes had not diminished.
“Can’t take you anywhere”, Rose scolded and tried in vain to hide the twitching smirk that threatened her continence.
Just then a blood-curdling scream filled the night and the shape of a woman dropped to her knees outside the small, bevelled panes.
The Doctor had sprung to his feet by the time Rose had turned to face him.
Waggling his eyebrows in that innocuous and misappropriated way of his he extended his hand, wiggling his long fingers in her general direction.
“Miss Tyler, I think that’s our cue”, he smiled enthusiastically.
Rose matched the glint of excitement in her own eyes and grasped his hand, intertwining their fingers, as he half pulled and half ran with her out into the cold, foreboding night.