The permanent temp

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Rose Tyler is a temp who gets a job at Lazarus Laboratories and is put in charge of organising the professor's latest invention's début. She invites her friend, Martha Jones who brings Dr John Smith with her and he is the one to save them when things go wrong. When Rose gets dismissed she ends up working for John but Martha gets jealous. AU where Rose never meets the Doctor.

Rose Tyler is a temp assistant who gets a job at Lazarus Laboratories and is immediately put in charge of organising the professor's latest invention's début.  She invites her friend, Martha Jones who brings Dr John Smith with her and he is the one to save them when things go wrong.  When Rose gets dismissed she ends up working for John but Martha gets jealous.

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Chapter 1
Rose never met the Doctor and John Smith is a duplicate Doctor type character and Donna's cousin.

Rose couldn't believe her luck when she got a call from the temp agency, from Donna Noble herself.

"Sit down Rose, don't look so surprised.  Here are the details, you're just what they need, you're good at organising things and they're in need of a head of the PR department.  The woman who called said there's a big event coming up in a few days so you start tomorrow."

Rose looked at the card she'd been handed with the address - Lazarus Laboratories, head, Prof. Richard Lazarus.  Rose knew where it was in a prominent part of town.

"Thanks Donna, I'll do my best."

"I know you will Rose, no students or metal monsters there."

"That wasn't my fault Donna, be fair."

"Get out of here Rose, I was just messing with you."

Rose went home, babbling to her mother about her new job.

"It's all very well you getting a fancy job Rose but you never keep them love.  Look how long that department store, what's its name lasted?"

"Yeah, well that wasn't my fault the store got blown up and those students dressed up as shop window dummies.  Still don't know about the weird bloke in the basement though, him with his leather jacket and that awful northern accent.  Bloomin' cheek, dragging me out and telling me to go home and eat my beans on toast, I'm glad I never saw him again."

"Yeah, well he might just have saved your life Rose, you could have still been in there love if he'd not pulled you out.  What were you even doing in the basement after work?"

"Taking the lottery money down to Wilson but he wasn't there.  I hope he got out before I did."

The next morning, Rose put on her best skirt and blouse, kissed her mother on the cheek and picked up her keys and mobile.

"Bye Mum, see you tonight."

"Yeah sweetheart, good luck."

Rose arrived in plenty of time, being shown around and meeting the professor, a 76 year old professor who went around all day trying to kiss her hand again and made Rose squirm every time she had to go find him after being given the daunting task of organising the event the following evening – that of showing off the said professor's latest invention, some sort of genetic manipulation device.

She thought her friend the medical student, well trainee doctor would be most interested and she'd not seen Martha for a while so she altered the guest list and put her name down and wondered if she would be bringing anyone with her.  Martha had mentioned she liked this older guy at the hospital, the head of psychology but she couldn't recall her friend giving his name.

So during her break, she gave Martha a call.

"Hi Rose, what have you been up to?" Martha asked her.

"Oh nothing much, got a new job."

"Another one?" Martha laughed, trying to eat her lunch while waiting for John to show his face.

Martha thought she was finally getting somewhere with whom her sister described as a 'geek', the hapless Dr John Smith but all he'd done so far was sometimes have lunch with her and all he talked about was his work with his patients.  That and all his various inventions to make his life easier, like the computer system he'd come up with and how his poor secretary kept up with him, she'd no idea.  She'd called in several times since meeting him to find the poor woman sitting staring at it in despair.

"So, about my new job Martha, I've got something that's right up your street.  Ever heard of Professor Lazarus?"

"Have I ever?  No way, you got a  job in his labs?"

"Yeah, there's a big event tomorrow night, want to come?  I've put you on the guest list, just show up.  Are you bringing anyone?"

"I might do, if I see him this side of Christmas, he's been hiding from me."

"Aw, maybe you make him nervous Martha?  I'd love to meet him if you can persuade him to come with you."

"I'll try.  Oh, he's just walked in, text me the details will you?"

Rose said goodbye and Martha called her rather nervous target over.

"Hi John, not avoiding me were you?"

"Ah, Martha, hello, fancy seeing you here."

"It's the staff canteen John, where else would I be eating?"

"Yes, indeed.  I can see you're already eating, I'll leave you in peace then." 

John was nervous, he was always nervous.  In fact, he couldn't remember not being nervous around Martha Jones.  She seemed to like him though what he'd done to deserve her attention, he'd no idea, it had just happened without any encouragement from him.

"Why don't you go get yourself something and join me?  I've got something to ask you."

Panic set across his face.  Martha had something to ask him, was she going to ask him on an actual date?  What would he do if she did?  Run for the door and go hide in his office?  John Smith, a 38 yr old doctor of psychology, a bachelor though not by choice when Reinette, the French head nurse had gone back to better herself in a top Paris hospital to become the head of psychiatric medicine and had broken his heart two years ago.

Now all he had was Martha Jones, who constantly flirted with him and found excuses to visit his office by befriending his slightly scatty secretary who couldn't get her head around his brilliant (if he had to say so himself) computer system, the Tardis.  He swore the computer had taken on a life of its own since he had developed it several years ago from spare parts he'd come across in a storeroom.

He had spent all his spare time on it, well mostly when he wasn't working on a device that resembled a screwdriver with different functions and was seriously considering putting a patent on it, until his cousin, a certain Donna Noble of the Noble temp agency had told him he was a spaceman and to grow up.

Now, he found himself getting some food and debating going back to join Martha or go sit on his own.

"So Martha, what did you want to ask me then?" he asked, hoping sincerely she wasn't going to suggest he take her out to a fancy restaurant or something equally awkward.

"Actually John, I learned something interesting from my friend.  She's just got a new job at Lazarus Laboratories, the professor is unveiling his latest invention, a genetic manipulation device."

"Wow!  Really?  That sounds interesting."

"Ah, that got your attention.  Well she gave me an invitation, want to go with me?"

"Oh, Martha Jones, you're a star!  That would be brilliant.  Is it a formal event?"

"Yes so black suit and tie, no mucky trainers."

John looked down at his off-white converse shoes and tried not to appear offended she should suggest he wore them all the time and possessed no other footwear.  He did, a pair of red and white and a pair of black and white ones, he'd show her.

John went off, excited at the prospect of seeing this device up close, the fact he had to go with Martha pushed out of his mind for now.  He knew the trainee had a crush on him but he felt no such thing for her, he'd not yet got over being dumped and couldn't bring himself to tell her he wasn't interested in that way.

Martha though was quite pleased with herself, already planning what she was going to wear and fully intending she was going to call this a date, even though she'd been the one to suggest it.  While Martha had been getting John to agree to go with her, Rose had been busy organising the caterers and the musicians for the evening, being told money was no object.  The press had already been informed and a TV crew were going to do the announcement after the morning breakfast show.

So Rose went home for the day, being told she'd done quite well by the professor's partner, Lady Thaw, who caught Rose as she was leaving.

"You've done very well my dear, for someone so young.  You seem to have settled down but don't get too comfortable with the professor."

Rose knew what the older woman was getting at and had no intentions of going down that road.

"I was always good at organising things but the professor makes me feel uncomfortable, you have my word on that."

"I hope so, I would hate for you to lose your job Rose, just bear that in mind."

"I will your Ladyship."

Rose hoped she wouldn't get dismissed for being cheeky.

The next day, deciding she wouldn't have time to go home and get ready, Rose brought a change of  clothes with her and hung her dress up behind her office door.  It was just a simple black dress she hoped would be appropriate for the occasion.  She thankfully saw nothing of the professor all morning until they had to go out to do the press interview.

The professor gave his statement, John was making sure he was tuned in on his laptop to see what it was all about.  He gulped when he heard the man saying he was going to change the meaning of what it was to be human.  He thought Lazarus was a bit of an egotistical maniac and was glad now he'd accepted the invitation.  Martha had just come in the outer office and asked if John was free, being told to go in.

"Ah Martha, take a look at this."

Martha saw the professor and then she caught a glimpse of Rose in the background.

"That's my friend, there, behind Lazarus."

John seemed to be taking more notice of what was being said, until she pointed Rose out.  Martha noticed, trust him.  Lazarus was saying how everything was being kept secret until the unveiling to a select group of influential people later that evening.

John closed his laptop.  "Well it could be a very interesting evening.  So, I'll meet you there then?"

Martha was rather hoping for him to escort her but she was lucky he'd accepted.

As the day went on, the final preparations for the demonstration were being made in the reception area as people busied themselves with various tasks.  Rose was telling the caterers what she expected, the musicians were arriving and the professor was up in his office, out of Rose's way.  She still had to go face him to show him the final guest list, hoping he wouldn't ask who Martha Jones was.  She went up to his office just before the events were about to take place, interrupting his talk with Lady Thaw.

Rose thought she'd heard something about them operating the device commercially.  She wished she knew more about it but being in the PR department didn't qualify her for being privy to such information and it had been a closely guarded secret.

"Excuse me Professor."

"Ah Rose, there you are."

"I've brought you the final guest list."

"Yes, thank you Rose, you've done an excellent job."

He held onto her hand and she just knew he was going to kiss it again and she'd have to go wash it as he wasn't about to let go, getting her a scowl from the other woman.

"That's an interesting perfume Rose, what's it called?  You look very nice this evening."

Rose pulled her hand away.  "It's called soap."

With that, she made a rather hasty retreat.  The professor went back to his previous conversation and Rose thought if he was considering cornering her later, he could think again and what would they be wanting to go commercial with exactly?  All she knew was that it was something to do with genetics though what, she had no idea, she was never that good at science when she'd actually attended school.

Martha had met John outside and they were just being admitted.  Once inside, John looked around, seeing a bank of machines and a cylindrical device on a plinth.  Then he spied a waiter with a tray of delicacies and his eyes lit up.

"Ah, nibbles, I love nibbles."

"Yeah, very you," Martha managed to say as she saw Rose walking towards them.  "Rose!  Hi."

"Martha, hey, how are you?  Is he with you?" she asked as she pointed to John, who had just got another handful of nibbles.

"Yeah, he's my plus one.  Rose, this is Doctor John Smith.  John, this is my friend Rose, she works in the PR department."

Before Rose could respond, John was grabbing her hand and shaking it.

"Actually, I'm head of the PR department, I put this whole thing together.  Hi, nice to meet you John."

She was going to ask if he was the one Martha always went on about but since he was still shaking her hand, decided to try and get it back off him.

"Nice to meet you too Rose, I'm the Doctor."

"I thought it was John?" Rose queried.

He gave her a grin back.  Rose shook her head and decided to leave it.

"So, what do you think then?  Are you impressed?"

"What's the professor going to be unveiling tonight then?  That looks like it might be a sonic microfield manipulator," John interrupted, grinning and realising Rose had now taken her hand back.

"Trust you to bring a geek with you Martha.  I'll catch up with you later then?"

"Geek?  Who is she calling a geek?" John asked indignantly as Rose turned away.

"She means you're a bit enthusiastic about it," Martha assured him, shaking her head as Rose hurried off.

"Oh, in that case, I'll let her off.  So she's your friend?" 

"Yeah, she was a temp in the A&E department, she was good too but a load of students came in claiming they'd been chased by metal robots and she quit."

John smiled.  The lights were dimmed and Rose went to take her place as the professor called for attention.

After his brief yet informative introduction, the professor made a startling announcement.

"I am going to perform a miracle tonight and you will watch and wonder.  Tomorrow, you will wake to a world which will be changed forever."

John even stared and thought this was going to be very interesting and couldn't wait for the demonstration to begin.
Chapter 2

Professor Lazarus strode towards his latest invention, Rose stood back out of the way next to Lady Thaw, who was positively glowing at the thought of it succeeding and making a heavy profit once approved and also the thought of being young again. The lab assistants were making their final checks as the older man opened the door to the capsule.

John could only stand and stare as the consoles lit up and spying a big red button, he could never resist a big red button, wondered if it was the emergency stop. The lead technician closed the door behind the professor and flipped a bank of switches. Everyone shielded their eyes as a bright white light filled the room and let out cries of surprise as the device began to spin on its cradle of four extended arms. A few minutes went by and everyone was silent until suddenly, an alarm sounded and sparks began to fly from the bank of switches.

The technicians were flipping switches in vain, the device itself almost spinning out of control. John of course was the first to react, getting his sonic screwdriver out of his pocket, he knew it would come in useful one of these days. He dashed over to the console and began flipping more switches as the assistants could only stand and watch him take over, trying different settings on his screwdriver.

"Somebody stop him!" Lady Thaw cried out, covering her mouth in horror. Rose was trying to hold her back.

"If it blows up, it will kill everyone in this room, is that what you want?" John yelled back, grabbing a handful of wires and trying to yank them out. "Martha, press the big red button when I say so."

Martha just stood there like everyone else but Rose was the nearest and went to stand by it.

"You press that young lady and you are finished here," Lady Thaw protested.

"If it means not dying tonight, I don't really care, your Ladyship," Rose answered defiantly, getting her a massive grin from John. Rose was his kind of person.

John was still trying to slow the device when he suddenly shouted, "STOP!" pulling the thickest of the cables out and Rose put her hand on the red button. Martha broke out of her stare and rushed over to the capsule door as Rose and John arrived at the same time, looking at each other and grinning.

As the sealed door hissed, they all stood back to muffled cries from those gathered, expecting to see an old man either stagger out or fall out. Instead, there in the old professor's place stood a much younger man with blonde hair. Lady Thaw could only gasp in delight, thinking it would be worth going through the mangle to end up young again with this very handsome man now running his hands over his face.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I am Richard Lazarus, I am 76 years old and I am reborn!"

Rose, Martha and John stared as everyone gathered around to get a closer look. John snapped out of it first and took Rose to one side.

"Well done. It's Rose isn't it?"

"Yeah and that was not meant to happen, thanks for saving us."

"It was nothing, I didn't fancy getting blown to bits either."

Rose smiled at him but he was out of bounds, her best friend fancied him but he hadn't been paying Martha that much attention since they'd arrived a short time ago, maybe it was one-sided on Martha's side.

Lady Thaw was still recovering. "He actually did it! Rose, you are dismissed, you could have killed him."

John leapt to her defence.

"In all fairness, she saved him, don't be so hasty."

"Do you know who I am?"

"Nope, except if I'd taken any notice of you we wouldn't all be standing here." He took Rose by the arm. "Sorry I got you fired Rose."

"Aw, it's okay, it's not the first time I've been fired, thanks for sticking up for me though. You're a friend of Martha's then?"

"Well, not friend exactly, we work in the same hospital, I think she fancies me." He pulled a face at the thought.

"So it's not mutual then?" she dared to ask him, watching Martha seeing the professor was okay and no worse for wear as the women all gathered around him, admiring him unlike they had done earlier.

The press were now all over him as were the women and he was posing until Lady Thaw took him to one side.

"We have things to discuss Richard, in your office."

"Excuse me everyone, I'll be right back. Where's Rose got to?"

"I fired her, she almost got you killed."

"I think you are out of order my dear. I'll find her later, what did you want to discuss?"

The two of them went off and Rose stopped staring at John and went to find Martha. Did her friend realise John didn't fancy her back?

"What just happened there?" Martha asked her.

John had caught up, having stopped to grab another handful of nibbles.

"I think he just changed the meaning of being human," he mused as he caught the professor before he left the room.

"Look at you Richard, it's astonishing," Lady Thaw was just saying to him.

"I'm famished," Richard declared, grabbing the full tray from a passing waiter and stuffing the tiny delicacies into his mouth.

"This is just the beginning my dear and we are not just making history, we are changing it."

"Energy deficit," John declared as Richard finished the last of the food while everyone stared.

"You've seen this before? Who are you?"

"Doctor John Smith and yes, I've had some experience, it always happens with this kind of process."

"How could you know that?"

John didn't want to go into the details. "You were using ultrasonic sound waves to create a state of resonance," he beamed, trying now to impress Rose as much as anyone else and never bothering Martha was now standing next to him, trying to pull him away.

"You understand what I was trying to achieve then?"

"Enough to know you can't have allowed for all the variables."

"You are not qualified to comment," Lady Thaw huffed, scowling because Rose was still there and it was preventing her making plans to split the profits.

"It would have exploded."

"And I thank you for that Doctor Smith but it would have been properly tested before we went commercial."

"Commercial?" Martha questioned. "You are joking?"

"Now, now Martha, I'm sure they will get closed down before that happens," John insisted, turning back to Rose. "Did you know about this?"

"No, if I had, I would have been out of here."

John was liking her more and more but felt sorry he had been responsible for getting her fired. Maybe she worked for his cousin's agency, this sort of job was right up Donna's street.

"Come along Richard, we have much to discuss, our friends will be wanting news as to its success," Lady Thaw insisted.

"I hope you know what you're doing professor?" John called after him.

Martha took him to one side but he saw Rose leaving to clear her office and get changed.

"Rose, are you leaving so soon?"

"Yeah, in case you hadn't noticed, she just fired me."

"I'm sorry about that. You never gave me your surname."

"It's Tyler, Rose Tyler. I have to go now before she gets me thrown out."

John watched her walk off but before he could go after her, Martha finally cornered him.

"You should have stayed out of it John, you got Rose fired with that stunt you pulled."

"Excuse me, so you agree with what's going on here then?"

"Well not exactly but you could have done more damage. Come on, let's get out of here."

"You go if you want, I'm staying for a while, I feel bad about Rose."

"Why? She'll just get another job, it's what she does John, she's just a temp."

"That's not fair Martha, she's your friend."

With that he walked off and approached the still device, walking around it, the technicians trying to reset the switches and smoke still coming from some of the wires he'd pulled out. He was watching the stairs where Rose had gone up a few minutes ago, he felt like he had to say something to her but what?

He was about to give up when he saw her with a holdall, she had changed back into her skirt and blouse.

"Rose, are you okay?" he asked, reaching to take the holdall.

"I'm fine, has Martha gone?"

"Yeah, I think she was a bit annoyed with me," he grinned as Rose wouldn't let go of the holdall handle.

"Do ya think? She talks about you all the time you know?"

"Really? I can't think why?"

"You're such a dunce John, she fancies you."

He looked down at his black and white converse shoes. "I know and I don't know how to tell her I don't feel the same."

"You should break it to her gently. So, what exactly are you a doctor of then?"

"Psychology, mainly but I have doctorates in other fields, I find the mind fascinating but I have one in physics and one in science."

"So what was that device you used?"

John liked nothing better than showing off to young blondes.

"Sonic screwdriver," he beamed proudly.

"Be serious," Rose laughed back.

"I am being serious, I was never more serious."

"Yeah, if you say so. I should get out of here, I guess I'll be taking a trip to the agency, they are so gonna be annoyed with me."

John wondered if he should mention Donna but thought he would leave it and ask Donna in the morning to go easy on her if she was one of her temps.

Rose spied the professor and Lady Thaw coming back and went to stand behind John. She was too late as the professor spotted her.

"Are you still here?" Lady Thaw asked her.

"Now, now my dear, it's Rose isn't it?" the professor asked, trying to grab her hand again.

"Yeah and I was just leaving but what happened wasn't my fault."

"I never said it was my dear. There's no need to leave just yet, is there?"

Rose knew he'd been trying to corner her since her arrival. Even though he looked younger, she knew what he really looked like. John was the one to rescue her, taking her arm.

"Come along Rose, you still have to show me around."

"Well I just fired her," Lady Thaw insisted.

"Don't be so hasty," the professor replied.

"It doesn't matter – I quit, I'm not staying around you lot, you're crazy. So you get to live a little longer?" Rose retaliated.

"It's not about living a little longer, it's about how much money they can make," John assured her.

"Yes but we can improve the quality of life," Lazarus told him.

"Its not the time a person has to live but what they do with it," John replied.

They were interrupted as the professor showed signs of cramp and pulled on his collar.

"Something wrong professor?" John asked, bringing a pair of specs out of his pocket.

"It's nothing, probably cramp."

John wasn't so sure as the professor showed signs of discomfort and suddenly arched his back and his arms flew up in front of him in a claw-like movement.

"Ah, Rose, it might be best if you stand back," John warned her, just in time as Lazarus fell to the floor.

"Someone help him, he's having a seizure," Lady Thaw cried out as everyone watched in horror.

"Too late for that," John noted as the professor crawled on the floor and everyone stood back.

He suddenly seemed to change in front of them, everyone standing back but before Lady Thaw could step away, the monster that had emerged attacked her. Everyone went screaming in different directions, John pulling Rose behind him.

"Get out of here Rose."

"What are you going to do?"

"Stop him. Lazarus, you're a joke, look at you."

The monster turned around as people fled for the exit. John headed for the stairs, the monster following. Rose shook her head and instead of getting out, decided to follow but was stopped by a returned Martha, who had seen people running out onto the steps.

"Rose, what's going on?"

"It's the professor, he's changed into something, some kind of monster."

"What? How's that possible?"

"Well I don't know, John's leading it away. We have to find him and help him."

"What can we do Rose? He's giving us time to get away, we should take it."

"Then why did you come back Martha?"

"I wish I hadn't now, I came back because, well I felt bad about leaving him when I invited him, then I saw everyone running out. I might have known he'd get involved. I really like him Rose but he hardly knows I exist."

"I'm sorry Martha, some things aren't meant to be."

"Yeah, like you keeping a job. Come on then, let's go find him."

John was leading the monster through the labs, trying to come up with a plan as it was on his heels. He suddenly had an idea as he climbed up to change the current on the light switch on the wall. Then he hid behind a desk as he was being taunted.

"A game of hide and seek Doctor Smith, how disappointing. Why don't you come out and face me?" Lazarus asked as John was opening all the gas outlets.

John broke cover. "Have you looked in the mirror lately? Why would I want to face that?"

He sprung up and headed for the door, flicking the light switch on the way out, causing an explosion. He dived to the floor.

Rose and Martha heard the noise.

"That has to be him," Martha mused, running after Rose.

They went around the corner and Rose collided with him.

"What are you two doing here?" John asked, looking at Rose and holding onto her.

"Thought you might need some help," Rose grinned. "Did you get it?"

"I hope so," Martha answered for him.

Suddenly there was a crash behind them.

"Maybe not?" John offered and grabbed Rose's hand, getting a scowl from Martha, who ran after them.

"So what now?" Rose puffed, trying to keep up with John.

Martha saw her chance and headed for the door, thinking they would eventually get away. Before John or Rose knew it, they had reached the professor's device.

"Quick Rose, inside."

"What? Are you serious?"

"Yes, I'm betting he wouldn't destroy his own work."

"Yeah, then what?"

"I think I understand how it works, I might be able to reconfigure it to throw out the waves rather than absorb them."

"Great, you'd better not put us through the blender."

John closed the door behind them, leaving Rose pressed up against the wall as John took the control panel off beneath their feet.

"Okay, you have some explaining to do, where did that thing come from?"

"It was buried inside him, some kind of throwback."

"Its Human?"

"Well yes, some long forgotten dormant genes from long ago, his machine must have stirred them."

"What's he doing out there?" Rose wondered.

"Best not find out."

Suddenly, the machine began to move.

"You'd better hurry up and do something or we're gonna end up just like him."

"Don't worry, I'm almost done."

"In your own time then. I'm so gonna kill Donna for getting me into this."

John thought he'd been right, she did work for Donna's agency and now he owed Rose big time. The device was going faster but suddenly, John reached his goal and the device sent out a pulse, bringing it to a standstill. He opened the door to see the professor lying on the floor.

Rose went over. "Is he dead?"

John crouched down just as Martha came back in, followed by an ambulance crew.

"What happened?" she asked.

"The device was set in motion but it went out of control, we couldn't stop it in time."

"Where were you two then?"

"Inside?" John offered.

Martha looked at them both as the professor was taken away. John unfastened his tie and saw Rose's holdall.

"Come on Rose, let's get you out of here."

"Oh, never mind me then?" Martha huffed as she followed them.

"Martha, Rose has just been in that device, you ran off. Come on Rose, I'll take you home, it's the least I can do."

Chapter 3
Martha scowled after them as John picked up Rose's holdall, this time Rose didn't resist him as he also took hold of her arm, carefully avoiding the police who were scratching their heads and trying to figure out what had just happened.  The technicians were now back inside, wondering what was going to happen to the device and the equipment as the remains of Lady Thaw and the still youthful Professor Lazarus were taken away on stretchers.

Once outside on the steps, John took a moment to check how Rose was doing.

"What just happened back there?" Rose asked as she was aware he was holding onto her arm.

"You want the full version?" John smiled at her.  "You were there, you saw as much as I did Rose, best act all innocent if the police ask any questions though, they might just cart you off if you tell them what really happened.  Where do you live?"


"So I can take you home, I can just drop you off nearby, I don't have to deliver you to your door and come in and meet your mother or anything like that, don't panic.  Not that you have any reason for me to meet your mother I suppose but in case you were thinking that I thought you'd want me to meet her."

Rose was staring blankly at him.

"Doctor, let's just go.  Should I call you that or John?"

"I don't like being called John, it reminds me of…." He trailed off.  "Never mind, to my car then – Allons-y!"

Rose let out a giggle.  "Do you always speak French?"

"Used to have a French girlfriend, it used to amuse her though I speak several languages, have to in my line of work.  Molto Bene, Bellissimo!"

"Okay, let's go then.  Where's Martha?"

"I thought she was behind us?" John answered, looking around.  Then he saw her come through the glass doors behind them, followed by the two stretchers.

"Maybe she was making sure the ambulance crew got those two out?" Rose suggested as she saw Martha.

"Yeah.  I should really get you home Rose and I'm really sorry I made you lose your job, I feel really bad about it," he replied, scratching the back of his head as he put the holdall down on the step.

"Looks like I would have lost it without being fired, it wasn't your fault they were both deluded."

John smiled.  Now he had to call Donna in the morning and tell her not to chew Rose out that the whole evening had been a disaster and hoped Rose would still get paid.  He didn't even know if this was her first day or she'd been there longer.  Now he was about to take her home, probably not to her door and he'd never see her again but he wanted to.  Maybe he'd get something out of Donna, if he was sneaky enough.

"You two got out fast enough, I almost got collared in there, the police asked me what happened," Martha complained as they walked down the steps.

"So what did you tell them?" John asked as they reached the bottom and trying to remember where he'd left his car and hoping it had not been towed away or clamped, since there had been no notices or parking signs and he was fairly certain there were no yellow lines.

"I told them the experiment went wrong, the lab techs could only agree with me since they knew no more than I did.  See you at work tomorrow then John?"

"What?  Oh, yeah, see you tomorrow Martha."

They were just about to walk off when there was a loud crash and everyone looked in the direction the ambulance had gone, since it was a quiet area.

"What was that?" Rose asked John.

"No, it can't be, he was dead and she definitely was."  John waggled his eyebrows and held his hand out to Rose.  "Let's go find out then, Avante!"

Rose smiled and looked at Martha, who just shook her head and followed them, trying to keep us as John dragged Rose along behind him.  They caught up with the ambulance just around the corner, Lady Thaw still on the stretcher and the ambulance crew looking just as she was, all drained dry.

"That shock didn't kill him then?" Rose mused.

"Nope, doesn't look like it, I wonder where he went?"

Then his eyes lit up as he let go of Rose's hand and got out his sonic screwdriver.

"Don't be daft John, how are you going to find him with that thing?" Martha asked.

"Don't come with us then," he grinned as he dropped the holdall again and Rose was wishing she'd never brought it along.

"You can find him with that?" Rose asked as he screwed his face up and held the device to his ear.

Suddenly, he called out, "This Way!" and made both Rose and Martha jump.

"He's in the cathedral then, what's he doing in there?" Rose wondered.

"Seeking sanctuary I expect, where else would he go?" John replied as he followed the signal, Rose picking up her holdall.  It had her belongings from the office and her best dress inside and a pair of expensive dress shoes.

She was grateful she'd changed back into her flat black ones but wishing now she wasn't wearing a skirt, if John was going to keep running off and she was daft enough to follow him.

They walked around the building and found the door was open.

"Do you still think he looks human?" Rose asked as they approached the door carefully.

"Maybe, if he just 'fed' off that ambulance crew."

"Fed?  What do you mean fed?" Martha asked worriedly.

"I think something happened that turned him into that monster and he needs to feed on humans, sucks them dry to maintain it, like he was eating all those nibbles but now he has a taste for humans."

Rose did not like the sound of that but leaving her holdall on the last pew, followed John, who was still checking his sonic screwdriver.  They'd just reached the alter when John saw something move.  When they looked, the professor was huddled in a green blanket.

"I was here before, during the war, we hid in the crypt.  I thought we were all going to die then."

"So you were back there, trying to preserve yourself?  At what cost?" John asked him.

"I had to survive."

"Not by killing them Lazarus."

"It was necessary."  Lazarus let out a laugh and he convulsed, making a horrible cracking sound.

Rose and Martha could only stare as John was looking around, Rose figured he wanted them to do something, like be the bait.  She got close to him.

"You have a plan?"

"Yes, if we can get him up there, into the belfry, I have a trick that might work."

Rose took the hint as the professor looked pale and convulsed again.

"He's going to change again?" Martha asked, dreading the answer and looking at Rose.

Rose looked up to the gallery surrounding the building.  She knew she had to at least try to help and if John wanted the professor in the belfry, that's where Lazarus had to be led, one way or another.

"Look at you, you're mutating again, you can't control it.  End it now Lazarus, that's not progress, you're not human any more," John taunted him.

"No, I'm more than an ordinary human."

John laughed.  "You're right, you changed what it's like to be human but it's finished, people saw what happened tonight, no-one will go near your device."

"A mere technicality, there is nothing wrong with the device.  People will soon forget when it rejuvenates them."

"I'm going to see it never operates again, it's over, just accept it."

"I will feed again, soon," Lazarus warned him, stretching out.

"I'm not going to let that happen, this ends, tonight."

"You won't be able to stop me."

Rose could see where this was going as John made eye contact with her, looking up at the gallery again.

"Leave him Lazarus, don't you want a go at some fresh meat?" Rose taunted him.

"What are you doing Rose?" Martha asked as Lazarus moved suddenly.

"Doctor, the belfry!  Come on Martha."  She rushed back past her friend, grabbing her hand.

John could only step back and run the other way, if his plan was to work and he hoped Rose was really good at running.

Rose ran for the stairs, Martha half protesting.

"Where are we going?"

"The bell tower, John has a plan."

"Well it had better be a good one, Lazarus is right behind us."

Rose was halfway down the gallery when she stopped to peer down, seeing John climbing into the organ housing.

"Doctor!  What do you want us to do?" Rose shouted across to him as he got his sonic screwdriver out of his inside jacket pocket.

"Get him to the very top."

"I hope he knows what he's doing?" Martha mumbled behind her.

"Well you know him better than I do Martha," Rose replied, setting off again.

"Not that much better, he keeps trying to avoid me, it's like he's scared of me."

"He probably is if you keep making it so obvious you fancy him."

"Listen to you, giving me advice about men, you and that mechanic," Martha hissed back.

"What was that?" Rose replied as she heard a terrible moaning sound at the other end of the gallery.

"He's changed again?" Martha offered.

"Come on, we have to get him to the top of the tower."

"Then what?" Martha quizzed her.

"Then he'd better have come up with a plan."

John had come up with a plan, if Rose and Martha led the creature right to the top and he upped the volume on the organ, he could get the bell to resonate and not being human, the sound would burst the creature's eardrums and it would fall, hopefully.  He just prayed neither Rose or Martha would fall with it.  He slipped into the organist's seat and pulled out the stoppers and placed his feet on the pedals, then one-handed, he began to play the notes, any notes, he didn't really care as long as it made a loud noise.  He watched the decibel level, knowing he had to get it to a certain level, then he would amplify it with his screwdriver and hope the creature was now at the top of the tower.

Rose and Martha ran up the remaining steps and came to a platform against the wall of the tower, going to the far end and hearing the noise from the organ.

"What the hell is he doing?" Martha asked, covering her ears as the creature appeared in the doorway.

"I think I know what he's trying to do," Rose whispered back.

"Ladies, I have you now," the creature hissed as it decided which way to go.

Rose knew if they went one way or the other, the creature would easily catch them but she was going to do her best not to let it.

"He can't go after both of us Martha.  We'll go towards it, then when it gets halfway, it will be stuck and we can get out."

"That's your plan?" Martha questioned her.

"Have you got a better one?"

"No, I suppose not."

"Well we can turn around easier than it can I'd say.  Ready?"

"No but I don't suppose that makes any difference?" Martha quipped back.

The noise from the organ was getting louder, steadily so Rose made the decision and stepped towards the creature.  The creature dutifully made its move towards her as Martha crept around the other way and just a few steps away from it, she saw Martha was almost in the doorway.

"Now Rose!" Martha called, willing her friend to turn and run.

Rose made a face, turned round and run after her friend but as she did, the creature lashed out and caught her, knocking her over the wooden railing but Rose saw the sconce and grabbed hold of it.

"Rose!" Martha shouted as the creature stepped backwards so it had the room to go back after Martha.

It had just reached the doorway as John's organ playing finally reached its crescendo, the creature grabbed both its ears as did Martha but Rose could only screw her face up and hold on and hope it didn't cause any permanent hearing damage.  The creature let out a final moan and fell over the railing to the stone floor below.

Martha had regained her senses and was leaning over to grab poor Rose to safety, pulling her onto the platform as she hung on to Martha.  John heard the fall, hoping it was the creature and rushed out to see it had changed back to the younger professor.  Surely it couldn't survive that fall?

"Rose! Martha!" he called, looking for any signs of them.

"It's okay, we're both okay," Martha called as the two women hugged, noticing he'd asked about Rose first.  Maybe her friend was right, she had been too keen to give him the come-on.  Maybe she should give him some space, he'd probably never see Rose again after tonight, even if he did drop her off home.

"Thanks Martha," Rose managed to smile.

"It's John you should be thanking but why are you calling him 'Doctor'?"

"He said he preferred it, maybe you should try it?"

Martha let go of Rose and they looked over the railing.  John was crouched at the side of the professor as the two women ran down the stairs and back along the gallery.  As John closed the professor's eyes, he changed back into the old man he had been.

Rose was first out as John got up and Rose ran towards him.  In all the excitement he took hold of her and gave her a hug, Martha scowling at him.

"Are you okay?  I saw you hanging around up there," he grinned.

"Seemed like a good idea at the time, did you have to play so loud?  My ears are still ringing."

John smiled as he let her go and cupped his own ear.  "Pardon?"

Rose playfully smacked his arm.  "Come on then, you were supposed to be taking me home."

"Shouldn't we wait for the authorities?" Martha wondered as John led Rose back up the nave.

"I think it's best we leave Martha, it will just look like he's fallen, there's nothing we can do.  They'll probably take him to The Royal Hope now anyway, you can check in the morning.  Let's get you home then, you're very jeopardy friendly Rose, do you know that?"

Rose nudged him as he put his arm in hers and picked up her holdall from where she'd left it.  Martha reluctantly followed after she covered the professor with the green blanket he'd used earlier.

They came face to face with four officers getting out of a police car.

"Anyone else in there?" one asked John.

"No-one except the professor."

"What happened?  He was taken off in that other ambulance."

"Yeah, seems he was only unconscious and went crazy, ran up to the top of the tower and got dizzy, he'd already fallen when we got in there.  I'm the Doctor by the way, Doctor John Smith and that's medical student Martha Jones.  Rose here worked for the professor, she's a bit upset so I'm going to take her home."

"Well if you're a doctor, have you examined him?" the officer asked as the ambulance arrived.

"I'm not a medical one, Martha's the one you need to speak to."

"Miss?" the officer addressed Martha.

John saw this was their chance to escape as the officer got his notebook out and began asking Martha questions.  Once away from the scene, Rose pulled John to a stop.

"She's not gonna thank you for that you know."

John grinned back at her.  "You don't say?  I got you out of it, did you want to answer their questions?" he asked, wiggling his eyebrows again that was driving Rose crazy.

"I suppose not."

"Right, so where do you live then?  I need a general direction even if you insist I don't see you to your door, in case I get any more ideas you want me to meet your mother."

Rose smiled.  "I live on the Powell Estate."

"Oh, is that a large estate then?" John mused as he found his car nearby, thankfully clamp-free.

"It's a council estate you plum," Rose nudged him as he opened the front passenger door for her then opened the back one and put her holdall on to it.

He found Rose's block of flats on his satnav and they set off, hearing the sirens in the distance as they probably took the professor off, this time hopefully he wouldn't come back to life but John thought his name was rather apt.  Rose was quiet all the way back as they passed under the street lamps.  John Smith was way out of her league.  He was a successful psychologist at the hospital Martha worked at, she saw him most days and now, Martha had a better idea how to get him interested in her, what would someone like him want with a temp, one who couldn't keep a job for more than a few days at a time?

Martha had everything going for her, she was a bright medical student, studying for her exams and John said he'd had a French girlfriend.  Maybe that was why he wasn't interested in Martha, maybe she'd not left him and just gone away for a while and he was waiting for her to come back?

John kept glancing at her and smiling to himself.  He'd made quite an impression on the young blonde, apparently and he'd stuffed it up by coming out with she wanted him to meet her mother if he took her home.  How stupid was that?  No wonder Reinette had not thought twice about accepting that post in Paris.  All he'd done since she'd left was pine after her and wonder why she'd gone off without giving him a second thought then before he'd known what had hit him, he'd caught Martha's eye and she was crowding him.

"You can drop me here," Rose told him as they approached the two yellow blinking lights of the crossing just by the bus stop.

"Are you sure?  It's quite late you know?"

"Yeah, everyone knows me, I'll be fine and thanks for bringing me home.  I won't invite you in for coffee, since, well you seem scared of meeting my mother."

Before he could protest, Rose was halfway out of the car, grabbing the other door handle and retrieving her holdall.  She closed both doors but John wound down the front window.

"Rose," he called as she turned away.  "Rose, will I ever see you again?"

"I don't expect so, not unless you want a temp who can't keep a job for more than two days, then what would be the point?  Bye John."

With that she set off back to her flat, a tear in her eye but she wasn't going to let him see, what was the point?  John watched her walk off but at least he knew her name and first thing tomorrow morning, he'd call Donna and tell her to go easy on Rose.  Then he had a better idea.
Chapter 4
Rose climbed the steps to her floor and let herself in, opting to throw the holdall onto her bed before facing her mother.  John had watched her walk off, feeling sad and determined he was going to see her again.  She could have gone anywhere in the block of flats she'd walked towards he supposed but he hadn't wanted to let her go.  Why had he been so stupid and bring up about him meeting her mother?  What kind of idiot did such a thing when he was only seeing her home?  Now though, she might not want to see him again but he had to give it a try.

Rose now had to face her mother, who once she had heard the door open, was stood with her arms folded and waited for an explanation of what she'd just seen on the late news.

"So, that went down well then?  It was all over the news.  What happened Rose?  They're saying that device he was going to use exploded and there were several casualties.  Do you know I was worried sick that you were one of them?  Why didn't you call me?"

With that, Jackie closed the gap and pulled Rose into a hug.

"I'm fine Mum, honestly."

"Did you get a taxi home?"

"No, Martha brought a friend with her, he dropped me off just now."

"Who was that then?"

Rose didn't want to go into details.  "I just know his name's John, she didn't say much else."

"Why didn't Martha bring you back?  I've not seen her for a while and what do you mean he dropped you off?"

"Just leave it mum, I'm tired."

"Well it looks like you're out of a job again, what's Donna going to say this time?  It was bad enough in that department store's basement and those dummies."

"Mum, it's been on the news, she'll know it wasn't my fault.  Technically, I'd say it was hers for sending me there.  I'm off to bed, then I have to go back and see the agency in the morning.  No doubt Donna will want to interrogate me over it."

Martha had driven home, wondering how she'd managed to get caught up in all that.  She'd seen it as a chance to see John out of the hospital and hoped she might get a proper date out of it but she should have known, Rose had her eye on him even though she'd not said anything about it.  She decided she would go confront him tomorrow, casually stop by his office and ask if he wanted to go catch a film after work or maybe a drink to talk about the events that had just taken place.

She also wanted to know why he'd baled out of facing questions about what had happened in the cathedral, she'd taken ages to get away then she'd had to give all her details and why she was even there in the first place, John had just got away with it and so had Rose and Rose had been the one to invite her.

The next morning, Rose delayed as much as she could making the journey to the Noble Temp Agency and hoped Donna was having a day off.  John though had called his cousin as soon as he'd got to his office, just before nine.

"What do you want spaceman?" his cousin greeted him.

"Hi Donna.  Did you watch TV last night?"

"Of course I did.  You called me up to ask dumb questions?  Duh."

"No, I mean the news, what happened last night."

"Don't you talk to me about that, it was a disaster and one of my temps was there.  I'll be lucky to get paid for that job.  Honestly, I can't send that girl anywhere, no matter where she goes, there's bound to be trouble, I don't know what it is with her.  A while back, I sent her to this store and she claimed shop window dummies came to life then minutes later, the place went and blew up.  I mean come on, it had to be students who severed a gas main or something."

"Donna, I was there last night, with Martha," he said with a serious tone.

Donna laughed.  She knew the medical student had the hots for her hapless cousin though what women saw him in, she didn't have a clue.  He was a skinny boy in a suit, a long streak of nothing but something about the way he waggled his eyebrows and flicked his out of control hair made them swoon.  It was a shame it hadn't worked on that stuck up French head nurse.  John had never been the same since she left him.

"So go on then Einstein, what were you doing there?  How did Martha get an invite?"

He was about to say from Rose but thought he'd better keep her out of it, poor Rose was already in the firing line.

"I don't know, I never asked but I think I might have met your temp, is she a friend of Martha's?"

"Yeah, I think so.  She'd better not have invited Martha, or you for that matter."

"No, I don't think so, Martha was surprised to see her.  'Erm, Donna, I need a new secretary.  Emma doesn't have appeared to have turned up for work this morning."

"I wonder why, spaceman.  Well you can't blame me, she's not one of my temps.  I'll have a look, see who's qualified then.  When do you want someone to start?"

"Tomorrow?  I'll see if she turns up first, she might just be late but I think she's considering leaving anyway."

"Can't really say I blame her.  Okay, expect someone first thing tomorrow and don't think you're getting a discount either, I have a business to run and a certain temp isn't helping."

"Well actually Donna, I knew she was a out of a job, since I was there when it all went wrong and I was thinking, maybe you could send her?"

"Don't make me laugh John, Rose Tyler is no secretary, trust me."

"That's not fair and I don't need anyone who can use a computer or do filing.  I need someone who can understand my computer system."

"No wonder your current secretary's quit then.  How many's that?"

"Recently?  What?  Never mind.  Can you send Rose?"

"You know her name then?"

"Well yeah, Martha introduced me.  Please Donna, I know she's not a secretary but I saw what happened last night, that was not her fault."

"She was there, that's enough."

John went quiet.  "Please Donna, just for me?"

"Oh okay, keep your knickers on, I'll send Rose but don't say I didn't warn you cousin."

"Thanks Donna and do me a favour.  Don't tell her I asked for her or that I'm your cousin."

"She'll find out it's you when she gets there dumbo."

"Well yeah but I don't want her to think I asked for her."

"Why not?"

"Well, something else happened and I took her home."

"Aw, spaceman's in love."

"Shut up Donna.  After she saw what happened to Lazarus, she was upset."

"What happened to him?"

"He made himself young but he was injured, oh never mind, I just offered to give her a ride home, she knew she was out of a job."

John knew there was no need for anyone but the three of them to know what had really happened.

"So you felt sorry for her?  Well the spaceman has a heart.  I thought you'd lost it when that French nurse of yours left you?"

"Leave Reinette out of it Donna, she left me, she's hardly likely to come back.  That's what you get, for trusting someone you work with, they all leave in the end."

"Sorry – spaceman.  So if I send Rose around in the morning, not telling her you asked for her personally, you're not interested in her?"

John remained silent.  "I don't know Donna, I just figured I owed her after what happened last night."

"Okay, I'll send her, don't blame me if you end up getting your heart broken again."

"Thanks Donna.  I told her where I worked though, she might guess so can you deny you know me then?"

"That will be my pleasure – dumbo.  Sometimes I don't think I know you at all John.  When are you coming round to see grandad?"

"I'll be round on Sunday, promise."

"You'd better, I'll tell mum to fatten you up with her famous Sunday lunch then.  Shall I tell her you'll be bringing someone with you?"

"No, why should I be bringing someone with me Donna?"

"Rose perhaps?"

"Donna, I'm just offering her a job, that's all."

"Whatever you say, you skinny boy in a suit.  Now, I have work to do."

"Yeah, thanks Donna.  Looks like Emma's decided to give it a miss today."

"I can send Rose when she turns up here, if you want?"

"Nah, best leave it until tomorrow, she might not be over last night yet.  Besides, I don't want her to think I've taken pity on her."

"Duh, you have taken pity on her."

"Well I don't want her to know that, do I?"

"Please yourself.  See you on Sunday then – with Rose."

Donna ended the call and laughed to herself.  Who would have thought it?  Rose Tyler and her hapless ditzy cousin who didn't have a clue about women.  She'd really felt bad for him when that stuck-up Reinette had taken that job but considering they only hung around the hospital together and hardly ever went anywhere else, it was hardly surprising on her part.  Now if he'd shown her the sights of London, taken her to posh restaurants and showed her a bit more attention in the romance department, he might well have stood a chance.  Still, no wonder he was trying to avoid this Martha, if they worked in the same hospital, she supposed it was Déjà vu.

Rose was on her way to the agency and on her arrival, the receptionist, Kathy, told her to take a seat, not really surprised to see her back and it was only Thursday. Three days was the tops Rose kept a job but Miss Noble had just rung through to say when she arrived, she was to be sent in.

Rose felt like she was being summoned to the principle's office to be told off for not trying hard enough at school which she supposed was a reasonable comparison.  She'd let down the agency again and was surprised how she kept getting paid.  She knew being a temp was no proper career, most of her friends had steady jobs but no, not her.  All that time wasted skipping school for a loser guitar player and ending up broke and with that other loser Mickey Smith, whom she'd not seen for the last week, thankfully.

"Miss Tyler, you can go in now," Kathy informed her.

Rose gathered her thoughts and her purse and managed a weak smile.

"Good luck," Kathy smiled back.  She felt sorry for the poor girl.

"Morning Rose, no need to ask how last night went then?" Donna smirked, shuffling folders around on the desk and bringing Rose's out, not that she needed to really find it, it was the thickest one on there, she could have found it blindfolded.

"I know, I don't need a lecture if it's all the same, Miss Noble.  You're gonna tell me you can no longer keep me on your books, that I'm a liability and I needn't think I'm gonna get paid for the last few days."

"No, just the opposite actually.  Lazarus laboratories just made a bank deposit, you'll be paid accordingly tomorrow.  Lucky you.  They say on the news there was a tragic accident and the place has been closed down and all outstanding accounts have been paid by the receivers, that's why you've been paid, plus I think they were a bit embarrassed, I mean come on, it had to be a joke, right?  A machine that can make you younger?  A jar of night cream can do that."

"Yeah, well he looked a bit different when he came out of that machine, trust me."

"Oh come on Rose, he was in there putting make-up on to fool everyone.  The device wasn't really spinning, it just looked like it was, it stayed still, a make-up artist was in there and they slipped out while the attention was on him."

"If that's what they say.  So, I'm still on your books then?" Rose asked hopefully.

"What do you think?  We still have vacancies to fill, not everyone goes through several jobs a week Rose.  One just came in half an hour ago, it may be your thing, seems this bloke in a hospital needs a secretary, he doesn't want anyone who can use a computer, says he has his own system.  You should be able to handle that."

"Okay, where is it then?"

"The Royal Hope and before you say anything, no, it's not the A & E department though why you'd think a load of students dressed up as robots posed a threat, I don't know.  No, it's some mad professor who treats the deluded or something.  Here's the details."

Donna took the card she'd scribbled John's details on.  Rose stared at it.  It read 'John Smith Psy.D, BSC, Ph.D– Royal Hope Hospital.'  She wondered if it was the same John as last night.  Her heart leapt.  No, it couldn't be, could it?

"So, who is he then?  What's those fancy letters after his name?"

She couldn't tell Donna she thought it was the same bloke who had stopped the professor's device blowing up last night, nothing had been on the news about the real events, it had all been covered up, thankfully.

"How would I know?  He just made a point of spelling them out to me, I think he was trying to make himself sound important if you ask me.  Just go to the main reception in the morning and show them the card, they'll find him I expect, can't be that many blokes with those letters after their names there."

The card gave no other details, Rose was no wiser when she left Donna's office but at least she wasn't out of work or out of pocket.  She put the card in her pocket and went outside, it was raining, just for a change.  She went into a nearby coffee shop and had just sat down after treating herself to a vanilla latte in a paper cup, not a posh white crockery one that her mother called a soup bowl when her phone rang.  It was Martha.

"Hey Martha, sorry about last night, going off like that but John was giving me a ride home."

"Yeah, it's him I'm mad at, not you, leaving me to answer all the questions by that officer.  I had to tell them he was like that when we found him and we'd only gone with you because you were concerned when he'd gone in that ambulance.  So, how did your boss take it?"

"Okay, at least she didn't fire me.  She's sending me to some doctor's office tomorrow morning, at your hospital."

"Oh, who's that then?"

Rose didn't want to let on she suspected it was John but how could it be?  He probably already had a perfectly good secretary and she didn't do secretarial work as such, just temping such as making coffee and running errands.  That was all they seemed to think a temp should be doing, that and filing your fingernails and chewing gum, she did neither and often got scowled at by the other temps.

"Oh, some bloke with fancy letters after his name, it's on the card.  I'll find out when I get there."

"It might be John," Martha offered, hoping not.

Martha had not had the chance to drop by his office yet and it was approaching lunchtime, she'd see if he was in the staff canteen and see if he took Rose to her door or just dropped her off, hoping it was the latter.  Why exactly would John be interested in a temp when she herself was a medical student?  At least she had more in common with him than Rose had.

Rose detected the tone in her friend's voice but shook it off.  It sounded like jealousy but why would Martha see her as a threat towards John?

John tried to muddle through the day, he only had four patients to see anyway.  He avoided Martha successfully by going to the main cafeteria and taking something back to his office, he was in no frame of mind to be questioned if he took Rose to her door or dropped her off and what business was it of Martha's anyway?  He was surprised she'd not paid a visit to his office on some pretence or another but he wished she wouldn't pay so much attention to him, he was going to have to say something to her sooner or later, she'd be sure to find out he'd asked for Rose to be his new secretary, temporarily or not.

The next morning, Rose was up early, getting ready for what was hopefully going to last longer than three days being a temp.

"So what's this new job then?" her mother asked, curled up on the sofa in her pink dressing gown, a cup of tea in one hand and the portable phone in the other and watching the morning chat show that had some Scottish actor Rose thought was cute on it going on about his latest role.

"I don't know, someone with fancy letters after his name, it's not usually Donna's type of thing really.  Why did she give it to me?"

"You're lucky you're still with the agency after the other night young lady.  Don't be late then."

John had arrived early, pulling into his reserved parking spot which for a change someone had not already parked their Jag in and he'd had to scribble a note saying theirs was the next one and would they kindly take notice next time as the one left vacant was next to a wall and gave very little room to get out, which was why they probably did it.  Maybe he'd be five minutes early every morning from now on.  He stopped by the main reception and spoke to a fair haired girl, with the name badge 'Chelsea' pinned to her jacket lapel.

Chelsea had a bit of a crush on the rather dishy Doctor Smith and always felt faint if he called 'morning' in her direction.

"Good morning, 'erm, Chelsea.  Listen, some temp from one of the agencies will be coming in shortly, give her directions to my office will you?  Thanks."

"Sure Doctor Smith, anything for you," she smiled, getting her a scowl from the older woman who was trying to answer two phones at once while the younger woman was flirting with the skinny consultant who needed a haircut.

John winked at her and headed towards his office, hoping Martha wasn't doing the rounds with Mr Stoker, who kept on talking about retiring to Florida but was still there six months later.  Rose got off the bus and stared at the hospital entrance.  She'd been here before and wasn't so sure about coming back and hoping no-one remembered her for walking out.

After getting a stare and general directions to go to the first floor and follow the yellow line until it became a green one, then take a left and it was the second door on the right and she was doing her best to remember, she found the right corridor that had a blue sign with loads of different departments then spotted one for psychology and she stood for a moment.

No, surely there was more than one physiologist in the hospital called John Smith but she knew that was fairly unlikely.  She'd told him she worked for an agency but not given the name of it, why would he have rung Donna's unless he'd asked Martha and that was as unlikely as having two John Smith's in the hospital.  She stood, getting up the courage to knock on the door, there was a sign that said the department name and to enter upon arrival.

She turned the handle on the door and looked inside, finding no-one sitting at the desk but another door was open and there sat John, the man who had rescued her more than once the other night and taken her home and whom she thought she would never see again.  He heard the door opening and saw Rose standing there so he got up and came towards her.

"Hello Rose."
Chapter 5
Martha had been doing the rounds with Mr Stoker's group and could have sworn she'd just seen Rose at the reception desk but as usual, the consultant had been in a rush and she'd probably been seeing things.  She decided as soon as she got a break, she would call her friend and confirm she'd just imagined it.  Why would Rose be back in the hospital, unless she had an appointment and she'd not mentioned it.  Martha also thought she must try and stop by John's office and have it out with him, ask him why he was avoiding her yesterday and what exactly he was playing at.

He'd accepted the invitation to the presentation the other night, then he'd gone off and left her, twice and then he'd taken Rose home.  She was also still a bit annoyed he'd asked Rose first if she was okay after being chased by that creature and he'd given her a hug.  If she didn't know better, she would think he didn't want to be friends any more.  She'd known him about a year and it had taken months to get him to sit at the same table with her in the canteen, when he remembered and she didn't have to call after him to remind him but at least once he'd sat down, he'd talked to her.  Then she'd started going by his office on some pretence or another.

Rose was still debating whether to turn and run or say hello back.

"Say something Rose.  What are you doing here?"

"What?  Oh, right.  The agency sent me, I'm your new temp."

"Then welcome!  Didn't know they would send you, fancy that!"

"So you didn't ask for me then?"

"Well, not exactly, since I didn't know where you worked."

"I was told you had a very unusual computer system, it doesn't look like that to me," she noted as she crossed to the desk to see a keyboard, although it had a lot of extra keys and some were missing.  No wonder his last temp left.

"So, where do I start then?"

"Making coffee?" he grinned.

"Typical, that's all you bosses think us temps do, make coffee and run errands all day.  That or wear short skirts, cross our legs and chew gum while filing our nails."

"Oh, so that's where my last secretary went wrong then?" he grinned as he crossed to fill the kettle and switched it on.  "I'll make the coffee then shall I?"

"Never mind, I can make it, you're supposed to be the boss around here.  I should have known it would be you really."

"Oh, why's that then?"

"Are there many John Smith's around here with fancy letters after their name then?"

"Maybe not.  So, let me give you the welcome speech then?  I usually have four patients a day, each staying about thirty minutes and I don't like any interruptions, well not unless the hospital's being invaded by space rhinos wearing helmets who are chasing shape-shifting aliens anyway."

Rose smiled. 

"Anyway, the first one will be here at ten, then I'll have another coffee.  Just buzz me when they arrive, then enter them on the computer.  I keep my own notes which will want typing up but I usually send them to the general office, you can take the folders down after the last patient's been in.  The hours are nine until four with an hour for lunch.  Any questions?"

"I don't think so except do I call you sir?"

"No, just Doctor will do, let me show you how the computer works eh?  After we've had our coffee.  Oh, can you bring the milk in the mornings?  We seem to have run out.  Go ask Kathy next door, tell her it's for me."

Rose went off to the office next door, getting a long stare from Kathy when she introduced herself but being handed a carton of milk and she seemed quite pleased Rose said she would be bringing the milk for him from Monday morning.  The morning went smoothly, John had shown her how to get the sessions screen on the monitor, then to click on the patient's name, which alerted him as to who had arrived so he could get the right folder, which Rose was meant to have the right four folders on his desk before the first patient arrived so she went to the filing cabinet to retrieve them after getting the names off the screen.

She then went to put them on his desk.  John sat there, leaning back on the chair with his arms behind his head and grinning.

"Your day's files, Doctor," she grinned back.

"We're going to get on just fine Rose."

"I hope so, I really can't afford to get fired again."

John smiled at her.  "Oh, I don't think that will be a problem Rose, do you?  I meant to apologise to you, for being an idiot the other night."

"I wasn't aware you were being an idiot."

"Well I was but we'll talk about it after work.  Would you like to go get something to eat when we finish?  A burger and a banana milkshake maybe?"

"Well just the once then, since you're my new boss."

"Call it a welcome.  Right, best get to work then."

He flexed his long fingers and reached into his pocket to put his specs on, which Rose thought made him look cute.  He gave her a smile and picked up the first folder.

"Rose, it's lunchtime," John called as she was staring at the screen and wishing for a normal computer so she could pass the time and not be bored out of her mind.  Even the few patients didn't want to talk, they just picked up the magazines that she imagined were from next door.

"Doctor, can this computer do anything else?  I mean besides bring up the names of your patients for the right day?  How does it even do that?"

"Ah, well that's the clever bit.  I get referrals from other departments and the Tardis picks them up."

"The what?"

"The Tardis, my computer.  I invented it myself, good isn't it?" he beamed proudly.

"Well it's different but it would be good if I could get on the internet."

"Why'd you want to do that?"

"Oh, you know."

"To update your social status perhaps?" he asked, wiggling his eyebrows.  "You don't get paid to do that."

"Oh, I thought it was a requirement of being a temp?  So that's where I've been going wrong?"

John frowned at her.  "What sort of jobs have you had?"

"One's where the boss is usually tryin' to get you to sit with your skirt halfway up your ass."

"Rose, I'm not like that.  Blimey, no wonder you kept leaving then, I mean if you weren't willing to oblige."

"No, I wasn't.  Sorry, I was being catty.  So, where's the café then?  I hope it's not expensive, I don't have a lot of spare cash."

"My treat, first day.  Most staff go into the staff canteen and bring their own stuff and just buy a drink but we can go to the main café if you want?"

"No, the staff one's fine."

"Good, right then, just turn off the monitor then when we come back, I'll log you onto the computer and give you the password."

Then he remembered Martha would be in the staff canteen.  Still, she would find out sooner or later Rose was working for him.  Best get it over with then.  Martha was already on her way since Mr Stoker had given her something to do and she'd not had chance to wander down towards John's office.  She sat facing the door but her jaw dropped when John walked in followed by Rose.

"Rose!  What are you doing here?"

"Hi Martha.  I'll just get something to eat."

John was already in the queue with a tray and ordering two of today's specials and never bothering to ask Rose if she liked chicken and bacon pasta.  He was getting two sodas and Rose could only stare at him and walk behind him to a table on the opposite side away from Martha.

"John, you were being rude, Martha's sitting over there."

"Was she?  I never noticed.  Here, get your lunch before it goes cold.  Look Rose, she makes me uncomfortable, okay?"

Rose smiled and sampled the food, which tasted good and was probably better than the visitors got and they paid twice as much.

"Sorry, I never realised it was that bad, when you said something the other night.  You should really tell her you're not interested in that way."

"Any suggestions how I do that exactly?"

"Nope, I've never dumped a woman before," she smiled.

John saw the funny side and glanced over at Martha, who was composing a text message by the looks of it and he hoped it wasn't to him.  It wasn't, it was to Rose as her message tone beeped.

'Traitor, why are you having lunch with John?' it read.

Rose composed one back.  'I was invited, he's my new boss.'

Martha wasn't going to just let this ride.  'Oh, that makes it okay then, doesn't it?'

Rose decided enough was enough and put her phone back in her pocket.

"Trouble?" John asked, reaching for his soda.

"Nope, just jealousy rearing its ugly head.  I don't know what's come over her, I thought we were good friends."

"Ah, there's nothing like women playing at being jealous.  My ex was jealous of Kathy in the next office because she used to flirt with me."

"I can see her point, she gave me a right look when I asked for milk for you."

"Mm, I bet she did.  So, what did Martha have to say?"

"It doesn't matter.  I'll bring a packed lunch on Monday, you go to the main café.  I don't want you to feel awkward and have to sit and eat lunch with me every day."

"I don't feel awkward Rose, I just don't like being looked daggers at."

Rose turned to see Martha staring at John's back and could see him having to pull them out, several of them by the look on Martha's face.

"Anyway, what has she even to be  jealous of?" Rose wondered.

After lunch, Martha had already left, determined she was going to get to his office one way or another but she had an awkward patient to see to, a Miss Finnegan, who kept saying she was feeling sickly when all she did was eat salad for lunch and dinner in the three days she had been there, despite instructions from Mr Stoker.  Then, Martha had been searching the corridors for the woman who had only supposed to be going to the bathroom but she'd been gone for over an hour and both bathrooms were vacant.

Martha had also had a run-in with two mysterious figures wearing all leather and motorcycle helmets blacked out when one had shoved her to the side as they came out of the lift.

"Oi, watch it mate," she'd called after them. 

The other one stopped and turned but Martha chose to dive into the lift and pressed the button before the man could reach her.  Who did they think they were she wondered and what were they doing here?  Were they messengers?  She shook it off and got out on the next floor, John's floor and began her search for the missing female patient.  The search brought her to John's corridor and she really should check there to make sure the woman wasn't hiding or making a nuisance of herself.

She opened the outer door to his office, Rose was staring at the screen.

"Hi Rose.  I'm looking for this patient of ours, a Miss Finnegan, oldish with grey curly hair, has she been in here saying she's lost?"

"No, no-one like that's been in.  You lost a patient then?" Rose mused.

Ha!  The great Martha Jones had lost someone, served her right for giving that look to them earlier.

"Not exactly, she has to be in here somewhere.  Look Rose, I'm sorry about earlier, okay?  I was a bit surprised that's all.  How did you get this job?"

"John called my agency, Donna thought it would be amusing to see if I could actually keep a job more than a few days I suppose."

"Did you tell John where you worked?"

"Well no but I may have mentioned Donna's name but how would he know where to look?  Did you tell him?"

"Of course not.  Anyway, I haven't spoken to him since the other night, he's been avoiding me and you being with him today didn't help."

"Sorry Martha but it's not my fault, I didn't know Donna was going to send me here.  Anyway, it's the weekend, maybe you could ring him and see if he's busy?"

"I don't think so Rose, he doesn't seem to want to see me outside the hospital, maybe that's why his last girlfriend left him?"

"What?  You mean she was only his girlfriend in the hospital?  How do you know that?"

"There were rumours he only saw her here or in the nearby pub."

"Well, it's no-one's business really, is it?  You'd better go find your missing patient Martha."

"She's probably sat up in bed drinking tea and pretending she's been there all the time knowing my luck.  I think she did it on purpose.  Oh and watch out, there are two messengers going around the building not looking where they're going, one bumped into me coming out of the lift."

"Thanks for the warning and sorry about not sitting with you but John was paying, I didn't bring much money with me."

"Yeah, okay.  Friends?"

Rose smiled.  "Yeah, friends.  Hope you find her."

"So do I or Mr stoker will put it in my file.  It's funny though but before she went missing when I'd just got back from lunch, I'd looked at her chart and I got a shock from the metal clip but the forecast isn't for a storm."

"That's weird then."

"Yeah, right, I'm off and I might call John later, see if he wants to go for a drink after work."

Rose thought she'd best not say he was taking her for a burger and a banana milkshake after work.  Still, it wasn't exactly a date, he probably wanted to see what she had made of her first day, it was perfectly normal.

John's next patient came in with a teenage boy who did nothing but stare at her until John indicated he was ready but after they had left, Rose heard a commotion in the corridor.  Rose was curious and went out to see people running down the corridor.

"Kathy, what's going on?" she asked the woman from the next office.

"I think one of the patients has gone mad, someone said Mr Stoker has been found in his office and all the blood was drained out of him, don't know what's going on now."

John was now behind Rose.

"Really?  That sounds interesting, shall we go take a look Rose?" he asked her, a grin on his face.

Rose knew this was going to be trouble.  He locked the door and led her to Mr Stoker's office, Martha was already there, closing his eyes.

"What happened Martha?" Rose asked as John got his specs out and Martha was staring.

"It was that patient, I came to tell Mr Stoker I couldn't find her, she was just coming out, with those two messengers I told you about, they pushed past me but I saw her putting a straw back in her handbag.  Then when I came in, he was just laid there.  I called security but everyone kept looking in and screaming then running down the corridor, she'll be hiding somewhere I expect.  What the hell happened to him?"

"You're the medical expert Martha, you tell us," John replied, taking a look around the office.

Two medics came in and took over and Rose led her friend back into the corridor.

"Come back to John's office, I'll make you a drink," Rose suggested, trying to lead Martha away.

"No, I'm fine Rose, I have to go see the administrator, he'll want to know what happened, I expect Miss Finnegan's checked herself out by now."

"What was she in for?" John asked, taking off his specs that Rose thought he really looked cute in.

"Salt deficiency, that's what Mr Stoker said it was, no wonder when all she ate was salad for every meal."

"There's salt in blood, she's a blood-sucker or a vampire."

"Don't be daft John, there's no such things," Martha laughed.

"How else can you explain it Martha?" Rose asked her.

"Well we won't know unless we find her and ask her, will we?" John stated, looking as the two medics took the consultant away.

"Oliver, what are you going here?" Martha asked her fellow student.

"I heard what happened, it's true."

"Bad news travels fast," John muttered under his breath.  "So, where would she go next?"

"Maybe she's gone, like Martha said," Rose suggested.

"I doubt it, come on Rose, she's got the perfect feeding ground here for her snacks, blood banks on her doorstep but I wonder why she's taken so long?  Come on, let's see if we can find her eh?"

"Rose, don't be daft, if she's wanting fresh blood and she's been waiting, anyone could be her next victim?" Martha warned her.

"Don't worry Martha, I'll look after her," John promised, taking Rose's arm.

"I'll go to the office then."

"Right, you do that then Martha.  Any ideas where she went?"

"Don't ask me," Martha huffed, knowing when she wasn't wanted as she walked off.

John led Rose further down the corridor until they came to the old part of the hospital, empty cages lining the walls and abandoned wheelchairs all over the place.

"Does anyone actually come down here?" Rose wondered out loud.

"I expect so, x-ray and MIR are down here.  Oh, maybe that's where she's hiding?"  His face lit up.


"It's the last place anyone will think of looking for her, just think about it?"

"If you say so.  Best look out for those two blokes in black."

"Yeah, I wonder who they are?"

"Her henchmen?" Rose suggested, John giving her a funny look.  "Maybe not then.  Why don't we split up?"

"No way Rose, we stick together."

"Anyway, I say this is your fault."


"You said no interruptions unless there were shape-shifting aliens or space rhinos in helmets, remember?"

"I was joking Rose, to put you at ease."

They had reached the x-ray department but it was empty apart from a technician who didn't look too pleased to see them.

"Anyone been in here?" John asked him, pointing out his badge clipped to his belt.

"Not recently, not since they opened the other x-ray department in the new wing.  Don't know why they bother keeping this one open."

John nodded and went back out, almost bumping into Rose.

"Still don't want to split up?" she asked, holding him back.

"Well okay but be careful.  I'm going to take a look in the MIR department, you look in the rest of these rooms then come and find me, I'll be down there somewhere.  No longer than five minutes, right?"

"Right, good luck."

"You too and yell if you find anything, or run."
Chapter 6
Rose found nothing so she followed the sign for the MIR, wondering if John had been luckier.  He had.  He'd walked in to find sparks coming from the MIR itself and a woman in a dressing gown with her back to him behind the screen turning dials and putting two lots of cables together.

"Oh, sorry, must have taken a wrong turn," John said cheerily.  "Is that thing, that MIR thingy supposed to be doing that?"

"You wouldn't understand."

"Well I did magnetics at university, I passed that one.  I was looking for my girlfriend, petite, blonde?"

Suddenly, something grabbed him from behind and held him.

"Hold him," the woman commanded.

"I was only looking for the outpatient's, my girlfriend's expecting."

"With a hospital badge?"

"Well, yeah, how am I supposed to know where the maternity unit is?"

"You won't have to worry about that," she assured him, getting her straw out of her handbag as the figure holding him moved his neck.

The MIR was beginning to make a noise and more sparks were coming from the wiring.  John was just hoping Rose had given up and was on her way.  She was, seeing white light coming from the doorway of the MIR room and wondering what was going on and if it was safe to go inside.

"Why don't we talk about this?  Maybe you can come for tea?" John asked as Miss Finnegan stroked his neck and sucked on the straw.

"Why would I want tea?  Look, I even brought a straw.  Steady him."

"Who are you?  What's that straw for?  Are we having milkshake?  I like banana."

"Oh, I'm a survivor, at any cost.  You're quite the funny man.  If it helps, the dead don't tend to remember."

"I didn't come here alone."

She was just about to start sucking on John's exposed neck when the door opened.

"John, are you in here?" came Rose's voice.

The straw had a sharp edge to it and had caught John's neck and a trickle of blood was coming from it as Miss Finnegan pulled it away in surprise.

"Well if it isn't your little pregnant girlfriend come to rescue you?  Now I can have afters."

"Oh no you don’t, whoever you are, let him go," Rose yelled.

"Oh, I will, when I've finished with him."

"Well you might want to reconsider that because I don't think that scanner should be doing that."

"Maybe you're right, let him go."

John fell to the floor, blood on his neck.

"You can save your boyfriend or chase after me and in your condition, I'd stay here if I were you."

With that, she shoved the straw into her handbag and left.  Rose rushed over to John, grabbing a nearby sheet off the pile to stem the flow of blood coming from his neck.

"Are you okay John?"

"Yes, I need to stop that scanner.  Take my sonic screwdriver, setting 56 and aim it at the blue cable."

"How do you know which one?"

"Rose, we don't have time, just do it, please before this thing takes the whole hospital out."

Rose dashed over and aimed the screwdriver at the cable.  The electricity seemed to dim as John told her to pull the two blue plugs apart and then the red ones.  The machine itself died down and Rose rushed back to John, who had propped himself against a trolley, holding the cloth to his neck.

"You need to get that looked at."

"It's nothing, just a scratch, fetch that first aid kit and clean it with a medicated wipe then put a plaster on it."

"She was going to do to you what she did to that Mr Stoker, wasn't she?"

John just smiled, hoping she'd not taken up on the fact the woman that had just been going to have him for tea had mentioned Rose was his pregnant girlfriend.  Hell, he'd been in enough trouble suggesting he met her mother.  Rose was just cleaning the nick on his neck when the door opened and Martha came in.

"John, Rose, what happened here?  Someone said there was electricity coming from here.  Are you okay?  Here, let me take a look."

That was the last thing John wanted.  "I'm fine, Rose can take care of it."

Rose put the plaster over the wound and pulled the backing paper off, smoothing it across and John rather enjoying it.  He held his hand out for her to help him up.  They were about to leave when the operator came back in and looked around, seeing the cables but John pulled Rose out before the man could protest and Martha muttered a 'Sorry" after her as she followed.

The corridor was now deserted.

"Thanks for saving me back there Rose.  You saved the hospital as well."

"Yeah, well I can't leave you alone for five minutes, can I?"

"Yeah, well, I don't normally make a habit of getting blood sucked out of my neck."

He held his arms out and gave her a hug, Martha tried to look the other way.

"If you two are interested, they caught Miss Finnegan, they've taken her to the secure unit in psychiatric.  Someone identified her going into Mr Stoker's office just before I found him and no-one else had been in.  She'll have a job getting out of there.  You should go to the office and report that John.  Did she try it with you?"

"Well yes but Rose came in just in time.  Right, let's get out of here then, it's almost home time, we'll stop by and get your things Rose."

"Okay and you and I have to talk."

"Really?  What about?"

"You know what about, Doctor."

"Haven't got a clue, well except I was going to apologise for the other night, was that it?  Are we still on?"

"On for what?" Martha asked as they turned back into the main hospital

"Oh, didn't Rose tell you?  I'm taking her out after work for a burger and milkshake, banana flavour of course!"

"Brilliant," Martha muttered to herself.  He'd never asked her out for a burger and a banana milkshake, not that she particularly like banana or thought burgers were healthy but that wasn't the point.

They came to John's office and he let them in, Rose saying goodbye to Martha before following him.  She didn't want her friend hearing what she was about to ask him, hoping he'd been spinning a tale to the female vampire about her being his girlfriend.

"So are you okay then?  Martha didn't look too happy you were taking me out after work, she was going to ask you to have a drink with her, she told me earlier.  Are we still going?"

"I don't think that's a good idea."

"Oh, so you were just saying that, for Martha's benefit?  While we're at it, what was all that about?  Did you tell that woman I was your pregnant girlfriend?"

"I had to come up with some excuse for being in there, I told her I was looking for maternity.  I didn't mean it wasn't a good idea for us to grab something to eat, I meant for me to have a drink with Martha.  That's if you still want to?"

"No, I don't think it's a good idea, I'll just go straight home, if it's all the same to you?"

"Yeah, fine.  Let me at least drive you home after all that?"

"Well okay but you're not meeting my mum," she smiled, grabbing her shoulder bag from the bottom desk drawer.

"Right, no meeting your mother, got it.  Do you forgive me?  For saying you were my pregnant girlfriend?"

"I suppose I can let you off, under the circumstances.  I'll put it down to you about to have the life sucked out of you shall I?  Are you okay to drive?  I mean the loss of blood?"

"I didn't lose much, I've lost more when I've cut myself shaving.  You can leave the files until Monday morning, if you're coming back?"

"Are you trying to say I can't keep a job for a day now, Doctor?  My record is three days."

"So you keep telling me.  I wasn't sure you'd want to stay, me opening my big mouth like that?  Let me make it up to you?  Say tomorrow night, have dinner with me?"

"Oh, okay, I'll think about it but you never gave me your number."

"Right, sorry, I'll give it to you when I drop you off."

A short time later, John had stopped just after the bus stop, away from the crossing to let Rose out.  Now he had no chance of seeing where she went.  Rose got her phone out and he tapped his number into it.

"So, call me in the morning so I can make a reservation for us.  I live in, well never mind, I can come and pick you up."

"I'll call you in the morning then and can I give you some advice?  Tell Martha and put her out of her misery because I only just stopped myself saying I was going to get something to eat with you earlier."

"Right, I'll do that then, the next time, if she does.  Sure I can't get you to change your mind, about going somewhere now?"

"No, best not but thanks for the ride home, again."

"Yeah, we seem to be making a habit of it, don't we?"

"Yeah, bye then."

"Rose, I hope today didn't put you off?  It's not normally like that."

"No, I didn't get put off.  See ya!"

He watched her through the rear view mirror as she disappeared around the corner.  He'd now made two stupid mistakes and he hoped he wouldn't have to continue paying for them but at least she'd said she would consider going out for dinner with him.  He'd almost told her where he lived, she might not have been that impressed he lived in Chiswick.

All Rose could do for the rest of the day was think about John, how he could have died in that MIR room, did he always do stupid things like that?  As if a few nights ago hadn't been bad enough, getting chased by that creature and almost getting caught.  Still, at least he'd not fired her, that was something.

The next morning, she got her phone and debated whether to accept his dinner invitation, what could go wrong with that?  She was about to call him when Martha called her.

"Rose, what the hell did you say to John yesterday?"


"You know what, he told me more or less he only wanted me as a friend, that he'd never ask me out like that and you don't know anything about it?"

"No, it's nothing to do with me Martha, why are you blaming me?"

"Oh I don't know, maybe because twice now he's hugged you, right in front of me.  Do you know what it's like Rose?  To fancy someone and they don't even know you exist outside work?"

"No, can't say I have really but what's it to do with me?"

"I called, like you suggested and asked if he wanted to meet me for a drink, talk about what happened and do you know what he said?"

"No, how would I?"

"He told me, came right out and said he wasn't interested in that way, he'd had enough with Reinette with him working with her and he wasn't going to make that mistake ever again, getting close to someone.  Can you believe it?"

"So, what's that got to do with me?"

"Oh come off it Rose, you're interested in him too, don't deny it.  Well I've got news for you, you're out of luck as well, he said he won't be making that mistake again and you work for him."

The realisation hit Rose as she hung up.  She'd been about to accept his dinner invitation but it was just that, wasn't it?  Just an invitation to have an evening meal with him, no need to make a big deal out of it, was there?  She didn't have to tell Martha after all and he certainly wouldn't tell her that was for sure.  She'd told him to tell Martha he wasn't interested in that way so it was her fault.

She dialled the number John had put in her phone and waited for him to answer but John was having his own crisis.  He'd had a message from Reinette to say she was coming back next week, her new job wasn't as glamorous as she'd thought it would be and she was in talks with the hospital to come back.  He didn't want her though, she'd left him to go off and where had they got in their relationship anyway?

So he got up the courage to send her one back saying it was over and if she came back, good for her but he wasn't picking up where they'd left off.  Reinette had taken it the wrong way, which had got him in an even deeper mess so he'd replied with a 'Too late, I've got another girlfriend, her name is Rose.'  Now all that remained was for Reinette to either not get her old job back or for him to pray Rose would never find out.  His phone rang, an unknown number.

"Hello, who's this?"

"It's Rose, blimey, had you forgotten you gave me your number yesterday?"

"No.  Hello Rose."

"Hi, Martha's a bit upset with you."

"Is she?  Why's she upset with me?"

"If you don't know, I'm not telling you.  Is the invitation for dinner tonight still open then?"

"Oh, yes Rose, it most certainly is still open.  May I call for you, say seven?"

"How about I meet you where you dropped me off?"

"If I didn't know better Rose, I'd think you didn't want me to know exactly where you live."

"It's not that, it's just hard to explain how to get around the back to the car park then you might not want to leave your car there.  When you bring me back, I'll show you where it's safe to park and you can walk me to my block, how's that?"

"Then I look forward to it.  Do you like Chinese?"

"Yeah, okay so I'll wait by the bus stop at seven, will you be coming that way?"

"No, the other way but stay there so I can look for you.  See you tonight then, brilliant!"

John smiled to himself.  Rose had forgiven him for being an idiot, twice and had accepted his dinner date but what had he just told Martha?  He'd said he wasn't going to get fooled by someone he worked with but Rose was only his temp, technically she wasn't in his employment, she could be replaced at any time but she'd taken to his computer system quite easily, he didn't want to replace her, well not after just one evening out.  He'd wait and see how it went.

Just after six, Rose was getting ready for her 'date'.  Her mother was watching from the doorway.

"So, is it such a good idea to go out with this John then?  I mean, if Martha fancies him?"

She'd not yet told her mother he was her new boss.

"That's up to him Mum, he asked me out.  He told me he's only friends with Martha, what she does about it is nothing to do with me so I'm not stealing him away from her, if that's what you mean?"

"Well she might look at it that way."

"So, what if she does?  He's not dating her or anything, she's never been out with him so she doesn't have the exclusive on him, does she?  He can ask out who he likes but it's just one date, I think he feels bad about the other night."

"Oh well you'll probably only have the one date then, you'll be back with Mickey next week."

"I've not seen him and I'm not bothered if I do, I'm through with him."

"Whatever you say Rose, you're the one who keeps going back all the time, he only has to phone you and you're off running to him."

"I'm over him Mum, just leave it will ya?"

Just before seven, she put her jacket on and picked up her bag and keys.

"Right, I won't be late back and no, I'm not bringing him back with me.  I'll let him walk me downstairs."

"I never said anything did I?"

"You didn't have to Mum.  See ya later."

"Yeah, have good time, you may as well get a good meal out of him."

Rose was at the bus stop with a few minutes to spare, watching in the opposite direction and trying to remember what car it was.  It was very rare she got picked up by car and even rarer she was being taken anywhere other than for a pie and a pint at the local pub.  She was determined to make the most of it.  She thought John's car was approaching as one slowed down, then she saw him wave to her.  She used the crossing to get over the road and got in the passenger seat, a bit embarrassed she had the same dress on as she wore the other night and hoped he wouldn't notice.

"Hello Rose, been waiting long?"

"No, a few minutes.  I could have waited on this side of the road."

"No matter, I just need to turn around, I'm taking you somewhere near where I live, if that's okay?"

Twenty minutes later, John had parked outside a new Chinese restaurant Donna had told him about and just hoped she wasn't out with her new boyfriend.  The evening was going well he thought, he'd managed to make her laugh then they'd got back in his car and driven to a quiet pub, him only having non-alcoholic lager again as in the restaurant and just after ten, he said he would drive her home.

"So, do you forgive me for being an idiot the other night then?"

"I told you, there was really no need John, you got yourself out of it."

"Yeah, I suppose I did but you did really well yesterday, I think the Tardis likes you."

Rose laughed.  "Thanks, I think.  So, I'll see you Monday morning then?  With the milk."

John smiled as she led him around the estate and he stopped just by the playground.

"We can walk from here, it's not far and your car will be okay here."

"Good, long as I don't get lost coming back?"

"Nah, it's not complicated.  I had a great time."

"Yeah, me too, it's been a while since I took someone out."

Now was Rose's chance to find out if what Martha had said was true or not.  They got out of the car and walked across the playground, Rose taking his arm, which made him smile.

"What about your girlfriend?"

"We didn't have much time to go out really, she worked different hours, I used to go meet her at the pub near the hospital and she never really wanted to go out at weekends, said she was studying."

"Oh, that must have been awkward then?"

"Yeah.  The thing was though, it gave everyone the wrong impression I suppose and when she left, well she broke my heart."


They had reached the back of Rose's block.

"Here we are then, I can get in this way.  Thanks for taking me out."

"Any time and maybe on Monday, we can get that burger?"

"Maybe.  Goodnight John."

"Yeah, goodnight Rose, tonight was brilliant, fantastic."

She moved closer, intending to kiss his cheek but he caught her and instead, he kissed her.  She let it last a few seconds then broke it off.  She'd never been kissed like that before but he was her new boss, he didn't date anyone who he worked with, according to Martha or was her friend just trying to put her off because he'd told her he wasn't interested in her?

Rose broke away and ran off to the door, letting it lock behind her and leaving John looking bewildered.  Had he gone too far?  Wasn't that what he was supposed to do after taking a woman out for the evening?  Reinette had wasted no time snogging him once he'd seen her to the apartment she shared near the hospital but she'd never invited him in except for the odd time or two.  They'd mostly gone to his place and then she'd insisted he brought her back, she'd never stayed the night even when he'd finally persuaded her to actually have sex with him, which hadn't been nearly enough times as he'd liked.

Now Reinette was wanting him back but not for a repeat of before.  Was Rose mad at him though?  He'd find out on Monday – or not then he'd have to call Donna again and ask for another temp, how embarrassing was that?
Chapter 7
Rose ran up the stairs as fast as she could, not knowing exactly why she'd run away from him.  It was only meant to have been dinner, she'd only been going to kiss him on the cheek but he'd kissed her properly with no warning.  She'd liked it but he was her new boss and she couldn't afford to lose another temp job, Donna would be so annoyed with her again.  She didn't know how she kept getting away with it but Donna had more jobs that sometimes needed filling than she had temps.

She reached her flat and let herself in, hoping her mother wouldn't be waiting and going into the bathroom before her name was called.  She looked at herself in the mirror and cursed herself for leaving John dangling.  What on earth would he be thinking?  Had she just given him the brush off?  He was clearly interested in her but she and Martha were bound to fall out over it, especially after the call that morning.  John was fun to be with and he'd already told her he didn't feel that way about Martha but as long as he was her boss, there could be nothing between them.

Then she got a message.

'Sorry, I didn't mean to upset you.  Friends?'

John had got back to his car, without getting lost and had sat for a few moments, phone in hand wondering what he could possibly say.  He'd made a huge mistake, kissing her like that when it hadn't really been a date as such but the damage may have already been done.  He was still waiting for a reply when he drove off.  He'd finally got one as his message tone went when he pulled up outside his apartment.

It simply said 'Yes'

The next day, John went to see his aunt Sylvia and his grandad Wilf and hoped his cousin would go easy on him.  She didn't as he knocked on the front door.

"Well if it isn't the spaceman himself?  Come in.  Mum, it's John."

"Hello dear, how are you?" his aunt asked him as Wilf came into the kitchen and greeted him with a hug.

"Hello son, been alright have you?  That Reinette come back yet?  You've not been the same since she left you."

"No Grandad, I don't want her back though she's trying to get her old job at the hospital back.  It wouldn't work, she left me, I don't give second chances, I'm not that sort of a man any more.  Been stargazing lately?"

"Yeah, still got the old telescope and the allotment.  You should come up sometime."

"Yeah, I'll try, got nothing else to do.  Hey Donna, the new temp seems okay, thanks."

"Oh, she didn't punch you and tell you to get lost then spaceman?"

"You got a new temp John?" his aunt asked as she set the table for lunch.  "What happened to Emma then?"

"Spaceman's computer system was too much for her.  He asked me to send a temp so I sent him Rose."

"You did what?  That was hardly fair, sending Rose to your cousin, she has the worst record according to you, what did you send her for?"

John was praying Donna would say no more but he shouldn't expect any mercy from her.

"Because he asked for her."

"He did?"

"I'm here, hello."

"Sorry John but why did you ask for Rose?" his aunt asked as she put a plate in front of him.

"I met her the other night, when that professor went crazy and I got her fired, I felt I had to help her out."

"Well that was very good of you John.  So how is she getting on?"

"Quite well, the Tardis seems to like her, the computer hasn't acted up or locked her out yet but there was a bit of trouble in the hospital on Friday afternoon."

"Oh, I saw that, that poor man.  Did you find out what happened to him?  They just said he bled to death."

"No, they kept it quiet.  He should have retired six months ago as well."

"Never mind that spaceman, how did Rose do on her first day, really?"

"She did fine and no, I won't be asking for a replacement, well at least I hope not but I did something a bit stupid last night."

"Go on you dunce, what did you do?"

"I don't want to talk about it."

Wilf spoke up.  "Bit of woman trouble eh John?"

"I don't know Grandad, I asked someone out and messed up."

He didn't want to tell Donna it was Rose.

"Don't tell me, you finally asked Martha out?" Donna scoffed.

"Well did you?" his aunt asked him.

"Well, 'erm, not exactly a date."

"I knew it spaceman, she finally wore you down."

Well it was marginally better than having Donna thinking he'd asked her temp out.  He was just glad Donna did not have Martha's number to confirm it.

"So, what stupid thing did you do then?" Donna asked him.

"Never mind, it's too late now."

"Kissed her goodnight and she slapped your face?" Donna grinned.

"Not exactly, it doesn't matter."

John was getting ready to leave when Wilf took him to one side.

"Are you okay John?  You look a bit off your game.  You worried about Reinette coming back?"

"Yeah Grandad, I finally got over her when she broke my heart and she wants to pick up where we left off but I've met someone else.  Don't tell Donna but it's not Martha who I took out last night, it was Rose."

"Ah, well then, that's more like it, I didn't like that Martha very much, she was a bit pushy if you ask me."

"Yeah, well I told Martha I wasn't interested in her but I may have blown it with Rose.  I tried to kiss her goodnight but she ran off."

Wilf let out a chuckle.  "Don't let it put you off son, you maybe just caught her by surprise."

"I suppose you're right Grandad, it wasn't really a date as such.  I just hope she turns up to work tomorrow, I'd hate to have to call Donna for a new temp."

Wilf patted him on the back.

When Rose had got up that morning, her mother wanted to know how her 'date' had gone.

"It wasn't a date Mum, I told you that.  Anyway, you were right, it wasn't a very good idea and now, I have to face him tomorrow and pretend everything's ok."

"Why what happened?"

"He kissed me goodnight, that's what happened."

Her mother laughed.  "Is that all?  Thought it was something bad."

"It's just not a good idea, he's my new boss."

"Then tell him and just put it down to experience."

So Rose made up her mind she was going to give him no reason to ask her out again.  Martha's words kept coming back to her but he'd already explained why he hardly had been seen out with his last girlfriend, she had no reason to think if he did ask her again, it would be any different.

Monday morning, she made her way to work, remembering to get some milk and arriving just before nine.  John had got there early and got his parking spot but his rival had pulled up as he was walking away.  He recognised the other man.

"Well, if it isn't Dr Smith?"

"I might have known it would be you Harry, using my parking spot.  It has my name on it, yours has your name on it."

He had assumed someone else had taken the other man's parking space.

"Ah but it's more fun parking in yours John.  I hear you got caught up with that mess on Friday, poor Stoker."

"Yes, I was there, it wasn't pleasant.   Must dash and don't get any ideas about trying to beat me to my own parking space in the morning."

"You're so dull John.  I heard you had a new temp?  What happened to Emma?  I liked Emma."

"She left, probably because you kept trying to get her to come and work with you.  What would Kathy think?"

"Kathy prefers to talk about you all day, can't think why.  I must stop by and meet your new temp, Rose is it?"

"Don't bother Harry, you won't lure her away."

"We'll see.  Oh, do you like my new car?"

"A bit flash for my liking but it's very you."

Harry laughed and walked through the main door, John just behind him.

"Ah, good morning Chelsea," Harry called.

The girl scowled at him, he wasn't the one she wanted to flirt with her but John always just waved and carried on, well apart from Friday morning but she didn't want the other consultant's attention.

"Good morning Doctor Saxon.  Good morning Doctor Smith."

Harry noticed the change in her tone and turned towards her as John carried on to the lifts.

"Tut, tut, my dear girl.  If I didn't know any better, I would think you like Doctor Smith more than me.  That's not the case is it my dear?"

He reached over and put his hand under her chin.  "Why don't you just stand there and look gorgeous?"

The other receptionist, Rita, just shook her head.

"Chelsea, you have work to do."

"I have work to do Doctor Saxon, excuse me."

"Another time.  Don't let me keep you."

John was glad to have escaped but Harry also stopped to talk to Martha, who liked him even less than Chelsea did.

"Ah, Martha, how are you today?"

"Fine thank you Doctor Saxon.  Excuse me, I'll be late for rounds."

"Who's taken over from Stoker?"

"We're just about to find out, if you let me go?"

Harry had got her up by the wall next to the lifts.

"I hear your boyfriend's got a new temp, jealous?"

"He's not my boyfriend and so what?"

"I heard something very interesting on Friday afternoon, before Stoker's demise.  Our little French head nurse may be coming back."

"What's that got to do with me?"

"Come on Martha, you hated her because she just strung John along when he could have been going out with you."

"I didn't even know him back then, well not to talk to, why should it bother me?"

"He keeps turning you down and now he has a new muse, his new temp.  If you don't make your move soon, he'll be gone forever.  Think about it Martha."

"He'll be gone anyway when Reinette gets back."

She just hoped Rose hadn't really got a crush on John, she would be disappointed when he went back to Reinette, which he was bound to do.

John had reached his office, Rose was waiting.

"Ah, good morning Rose.  You remembered the milk then?  Have you been waiting long?"

"A few minutes."

"I should get you the spare key, save you waiting tomorrow morning.  Is everything okay?" he asked, letting them in.

"Fine, why wouldn't it be?"

"I got the impression you were mad at me on Saturday night?"

"No, I wasn't expecting it, that's all.  It was one kiss, forget it."

"Right.  Okay then, if that's what it was.  Fine with me."

He went into his office and closed the door.  He had well and truly got his signals mixed up and Reinette may be coming back and he'd told her he had someone else – Rose.  How was he going to get out of this one?

Rose went off to get some water to fill the kettle and thought about what was just said.  Now he'd never ask her out again and may even resort to changing his mind about Martha.  It would never work, with either her or Martha, not when they worked with him.  She went back to make his first cup of coffee and knocked on his door.

"You don't have to knock when I have no patients Rose."

"Sorry.  Here's your coffee, I'll have your day's files presently, the computer was playing up."

"What?  That means she's upset, what have you done to her?"

"Me?  How can I do anything to upset a computer?"

"She's very sensitive, you must have done something.  Let me take a look."

"Well I can't even get the names of today's patients on screen."

"Ah, well you have to be delicate and ask her nicely."

"Geez Doctor, it's a computer."

"Don't say that.  I'll let you off this once, since you're new.  Let me talk to her."

He turned to his screen, pressing a button on the keyboard that was almost as bad as the one on Rose's desk.  The screen came to life and Rose saw a 'Good morning Doctor Smith'

"Good morning to you too Tardis.  What seems to be the problem?"

'No problem Doctor Smith.  Rose is upset.'

"Is she now?"  he raised his eyebrows.  "Are you upset Rose?"

"No, why?"

"The Tardis thinks you are.  Tell her you're not upset and she'll let you log on, won't you?"

'Yes Doctor Smith.  Are you still upset Rose?'

"No, I'm not upset Tardis.  Can I get to work now?"

'Yes, of course Rose.'

Rose offered John a weak smile and went back to her desk, logging on successfully and getting the day's patients.  She shook her head and went to the filing cabinets to retrieve the folders.  Temperamental computer.

The Tardis decided to let that one slide.

Martha had discovered who the new consultant was and she didn't like her so after ward rounds, she slipped away on some pretence and went towards John's office.

"Hi Rose, busy?" she asked as she saw the outer office was empty, the last morning patient just going into John's office.

"No, come in Martha.  I didn't know if you were still talking to me or not."

"Yeah, I'm still talking to you.  Look, we both took things the wrong way but I heard something earlier.  His old girlfriend may be coming back to work here so we're both going to have our noses pushed out."

"So you think he'll go back to her?  He told me why they hardly went anywhere."

"Why's that then?"

"You'll have to ask him, I can't tell you what he told me but there was a reason."

"Yeah, like he'll tell me.  Anyway, it won't matter, she can twist him around her little finger if she wants.  He'll go back to her, trust me.  Have you met Doctor Saxon yet?"

"You mean in the next office?  No, I've only met his secretary."

"He's a real womaniser, watch out for him, plus he's married.  I feel really sorry for his poor wife, Lucy."

"Why would I have to worry about him?"

"You're blonde, he has a thing for blondes, just ask Chelsea in main reception, the poor girl cringes every time he walks past and flirts with her."

"Well I'm not Chelsea, am I?  He's hardly likely to come in here."

"Don't be too sure about that Rose, he'll make a point of coming in sooner or later.  He was always trying it on with Emma, she wasn't a natural blonde but it didn't stop him."

"I'm sure I can handle him, thanks for the warning though.  Martha, you may as well know now, I went out to dinner on Saturday night with John, he felt bad about what happened here in the hospital on Friday afternoon, that's all.  Nothing happened and I won't be going out with him again so if his old girlfriend comes back, I'm not that bothered."

"Yeah, you say that now Rose but will you be able to keep feeling like that when you see them together in the staff canteen?"

"I brought my own lunch today, I can go elsewhere and eat it."

"Okay, have it your way.  Maybe I'll see you later?"

The door to John's office opened and Martha made her exit.  His last morning's patient left and another appointment popped up on the screen, Rose pressing the button to confirm it before it was filed away in the computer's memory.  She still couldn't work out how the computer functioned and she'd no hope of ever doing so since it 'talked' to her earlier.  She also wondered how new patients got their confirmation letters but that wasn't her job, so she'd been told.

John pressed the intercom.  "Rose, can you come in please?"

"Sure, I'll be right there.  I took the files from Friday down to the office for you."

"Thanks Rose.  That wasn't what I wanted though."

Rose got up and leaving his door open went in to see him sat with his legs folded on the corner of his desk and his arms resting at his side.

"Still mad at me Rose?"

"No, why should I be?"

"I said I was sorry, I thought, well that Saturday night was a proper date but I obviously got it wrong.  Did I?"

"No, I got it wrong, just forget it."

"Oh come on Rose, I wasn't that bad was I?  At keeping you company?"

"No, I suppose not.  I should get back to work."

"Doing what?  You were bored on Friday," he smiled.

Rose smiled back.  "I brought my own lunch today, if you want to go to the other café?"

"You still think I'm trying to avoid Martha?"

"She told me what you'd said to her on Saturday morning."

"Oh.  Well I was only taking your advice Rose, you said not to keep her wondering so I told her."

"Yeah, not very tactfully by all accounts."

"What was I supposed to say to her?  Keep her thinking I may at some point change my mind?"

"Well you might.  I heard your old girlfriend was thinking of coming back?"

"So?  I'm not interested in picking up where we left off, it's over with her."

"If you say so.  Anything else?"

"No.  So you don't want to sit with me in the canteen then?  Are you going to sit with Martha?"

"I may just stay here."

"Ah, well, I have a rule.   No eating lunch in the office," he smiled.

"Are you just saying that?"

"No.  Oh, before I forget, here's the spare office key, go on, take it, it's yours.  Quite a big moment really," he grinned.

She took the key without a word and he caught her arm.

"Don't be like that Rose, I thought we were friends?"

"Yeah, okay but no more non dates, right?"

"Ok.  How about just grabbing a burger after work?"

"Not a date?"

"No, definitely not a date.  Come on, let's go have lunch."

He had just got up when the outer door opened and in walked Harry Saxon.

"Ah, you must be John's new temp?" he asked Rose, holding his hand out.

Rose backed off.

"What do you want Harry?" John asked.

"Just a friendly visit.  I wasn't able to welcome her on Friday, then you were busy, so I heard.  I also heard you worked for Professor Lazarus my dear?"

She wondered how he knew that?

"Is that how you got the job here?"

"I just work for a temp agency, I go where I'm sent.  Excuse me, I'm just going for my lunch."

"Oh then allow me to escort you to the café"

"No thanks, I brought my own and Doctor Smith is going that way, to the staff canteen.  I doubt you'll want to be seen there?"

"Really John, you eat with the rest of the staff?" Harry scoffed.

"I'm surprised you don't go into town and meet your wife Harry?  How is Lucy anyway?"

"Oh, the same as usual, boring.  Now Rose on the other hand doesn't look boring."

"Leave her alone Harry."

"How many is that John?  How many temps leave because they get nowhere with you when all you do is pine over that French nurse?"

"I do not 'pine' over Reinette, even if she does come back.  Why don't you try your luck with her, she's blonde?"

"You're wasting your time with him Rose."

"Maybe but at least he's not married, or a show off."

"Come on Rose, we're wasting time.  Excuse us Harry, I need to lock the office." 

They got to the staff canteen and John said he would get her a soda.  When he came to join her, he put his tray down and saw Martha coming in.  Martha ignored them and went to sit on her own.  So much for Rose saying she wasn't interested in John, she thought.  Her friend would just have to learn the hard way then.  John going back to Reinette was a forgone conclusion and Martha was sure she had seen the French head nurse go into the hospital administrator's office earlier.  Reinette Poisson had wasted no time in coming back and would soon have her claws in Doctor John Smith before Rose even knew it.
Chapter 8
"So, you're not mad with me any more then Rose?" John asked as he ate his lunch, feeling sorry she was eating home-made sandwiches and he was eating beef stew and dumplings.

"Nah, I was being stupid, it was just you took me by surprise the other night.  I don't like that Doctor Saxon, he's a creep.  I may not be so polite in telling him to shove off next time."

"Just ignore him Rose, everyone else does, he's tried it on with every blonde in the hospital, even my ex girlfriend and if Reinette comes back, he's welcome to her.  I meant it, I'm not going back to her."

"Yeah, well I'm hardly in a position to fend her off, if she's the head nurse.  How long has she been away?"

"Almost a year and funnily enough, that was around the time Martha began talking to me, she must have been waiting for a chance.  I feel really bad about letting her down now."

"She'll get over it, I'll introduce her to my ex," Rose smiled.  "I just wanted to leave this morning, I was gonna ask you to phone the agency and get a replacement."

"Oh, I'm sorry Rose, you should have said.  That would have been a shame, the Tardis likes you."

"Really?  When the screen wouldn't come on?"

"She's very sensitive, she can pick up moods and she sensed there was something wrong, she was only concerned about you.  I used to get told off for upsetting Emma."

"Yeah, I can imagine.  Looks like Martha is still mad at us then?"

John turned to see Martha sitting with her back to them.

"What can I do?  It's not my fault she fancies me, just because I'm a bloke in a tight suit," he grinned.

"Yeah, mad Martha, that's her."

"Oi, are you suggesting she fancies me out of sympathy?"

Rose giggled, something John was finding very charming about her. 

"Well, I'm not so sure.  I mean Kathy wasn't too happy on Friday when I introduced myself and that Chelsea in reception gave me a funny look when I came in."

"Blimey, have I got a fan club?"

They got back to work and thankfully, Harry avoided going back into John's office and Martha got caught up by the new head of the department so as they left just after four, incident free this time, John asked about going for a burger – his treat.  Rose agreed but said it was just the once.

"Oh come on Rose, why just once?" John asked as they found a seat, the place being filled with school kids.

"Let's not start that again John, please?"

"Oh, okay but there's no reason why we can't go out after work, as friends?"

"You don't get it, do you?"

"Get what?"

"You're clueless when it comes to the opposite sex John, they don't want to be just friends with you, especially with you looking like that.  The tight blue suit, the top button of your shirt undone and your tie not straight, then the way you flick your hair and waggling your eyebrows, you drive women crazy."

As if to prove her point, two older teenage girls in the corner were pointing to him and giggling and if she were to get up and go to the ladies room, they would be over like a shot to chat him up.  He tugged at his shirt collar, in an attempt to fasten the button but Rose was near enough to grab his arm to stop him.

"Too late, you've already got an audience over there."  She nodded towards the two girls, who were nudging each other.

"Oh, I think I may need rescuing Rose, help me out?"

Rose laughed.  "Serves you right, you can't go around like that and expect to be invisible.  If you take Reinette back you won't have a problem, will you?"

"If I take Reinette back, you'll get jealous and leave," he admitted sadly, slurping his banana milkshake that the two teenagers could hear and made them giggle.

"You're scared of her, admit it John."

"I'm scared of what she does to me, she had me under some sort of hold and when she left, I was heartbroken, it took me a long time to get over her.  I'm never doing that again Rose, trust me and if she tries, I'm scared she'll only have to say the word and I'll go back to her."

"Blimey, you were really hooked on her?  When you said she never wanted to really go out, she just wanted to show you off to the hospital staff, like as a warning you were hers and for the rest of the women to back off."

John shrugged his shoulders, a sad look in his eyes.  Rose wondered what sort of woman could do that, get him in such a state.  No wonder he'd been keen to try and impress her the other night, then again in the hospital, he was trying to break free of Reinette's hold and now her return was imminent, he was scared to death he'd fall back into her trap.  Rose took his hand over the table.

"Well, we'll just have to stop her then, won't we?"


"Yeah, I'll fix you a date with Martha then shall I?" she teased, poking her tongue out.

"That I don't need, thanks.  Oh, I get it, you're just messing with me, very funny Rose.  If she comes back, will you pretend to be my girlfriend?  I have a confession to make."

"Oh.  I can't just pretend to be your girlfriend John, that's not fair, I would be no better than her, would I?  Just for us to be seen in the pub near the hospital and seen eating lunch together, which we already do, what would be the difference?  You'd just be using me as an escape, to prove to her you can get another woman interested in you."

He hadn't thought of that.  It would make him no better than his ex either, would it?

"She called me, the other morning, said she was getting her old job back and she was looking forward to resuming where we left off.  I told her I had someone else when I said I wasn't going to be used any more.  She'd thought I wanted more than we had before, I don't so I told her I'd already got a new girlfriend."

Rose let go of his hand.  So he had been stringing her along but he grabbed it back.

"I said it was you."


"Please Rose, don't be mad at me, I was desperate, I could have said it was Martha but I don't want to get her involved so you were the one I thought of.  I'd really like it Rose, if you were, my girlfriend, no pretending."

Rose let go of his hand again and sat back on the seat, John got up and sat next to her, seeing the two teenagers get up and ignore him.  They must have thought he'd been just showing off.  He took her hand, stroking the back of it and looked at her with his sad brown eyes.

"Say something Rose, please?"

"What do you want me to say?  After you pulled that stunt the other night, I made my mind up I was not going to give you any more excuses to ask me out.  When I mentioned that kiss, you said fine, that's all it was, one kiss after a night out."

"I didn't mean it Rose, I thought that's what you wanted it to be, just one kiss."

"So did I but we work together John."

"I worked with Reinette, so what?"

"Yeah and look where it got you?"

"She worked different hours, she was studying for her exams.  She made me believe that was the reason we never went anywhere but it doesn't have to be like that with us."

"We work in the same office John."

"Yes, I know that but it would work out Rose, I know it would, if you gave me a chance.  We have fun, don't we?  I never really used to have fun, it's the most fun I've had, since I met you."

He took her hand properly and put his fingers between hers, they fitted together perfectly.

"Please Rose, give me a chance?"

"Let me think about it, I could lose my job if my agency boss found out, I'm not supposed to get involved with clients."

"Oh, I don't think that will be a problem Rose, trust me," he smiled.

"Oh, you know that for certain?  You don't know what she's like, we all call her The General."

John couldn't resist laughing, that's what their grandad called her.

"Yes, I know.  Donna Noble, my cousin."

"What?  Oh, now I get it, you asked for me the other day, didn't you?"

"Well, 'erm, yes.  I felt bad because you lost your job when the experiment went wrong but that wasn't the only reason.  I couldn't bear the thought of never seeing you again and I never even had your phone number."

"You could have got it from Martha."

"Seriously?  Yeah, like she'd ever give it to me when I asked her and said I wanted it so I could ask you out, that would have gone down extremely well."

"I should be so mad at you, as if I'd ever get a job, working for a psychologist, I usually get all the seedy places like betting offices and loan sharks."

"Blimey, no wonder you're expected to show off your legs then," he grinned.   "So, are you mad at me?"

Rose nudged his arm.  "So, you're the one Donna calls spaceman then?"

"She talks about me?"

"She's mentioned you.  Why does she call you that?"

John got up, pulling her with him.  "Let me take you home, properly and I may tell you, if you're lucky and yes, I do want to meet your mother."

"You are so going to regret that, she'll probably slap your face for kissing me the other night."

"Blimey, you told her?"

"I was upset, even the Tardis picked up on that."

"Yeah, she knows I like you."

"Come on then Doctor, then when you've met my mother, we'll see if you still want me to pretend to be your girlfriend to give the message to Reinette."

They got into John's car.  "Rose, that's just it, I don't want a pretend girlfriend."

"I was playing with you John, geez, relax."

"Not amusing Rose, you have no idea what Reinette's capable of.  She claims she's related distantly to Madame Du Pompadour, the uncrowned queen of France."

"Seriously?  She must be deluded then, what did you ever see in her?"

"I told you, she held some kind of spell over me, we started talking one day and I found I couldn't back away, no matter how she treated me and I agreed I wouldn't keep her out late and give her time to study and all that and the day she passed her exams, she accepted the post in Paris and she was all packed and ready to leave.  She never even gave me a warning."

He went quiet, remembering the day he'd called for her, her cases being put into a taxi to go to the airport.  She had kissed both his cheeks, told him she wouldn't forget him but she'd got this exciting opportunity and she was gone, leaving him waving at the taxi as it drove off.  That was when he'd told himself never again would he be fooled by a woman, hence avoiding Martha and half the female staff in the hospital, that was until he'd met Rose.

Rose was feeling sorry for him, she'd been no better than his ex.  So what if they did work together?  John remembered where to park and Rose led them through the playground, leaping over the low railing, John walking around and smiling at her.  Then she took his hand and they walked to the rear entrance to the block of flats, Rose putting the code in and making sure John took a note of it.  They climbed the stairs to her floor and walked along the balcony until Rose stopped at her door.

"Don't say I didn't warn you, just get ready to raise your arm to fend her off."

"I think I can handle your mother Rose," he grinned, waggling his eyebrows.

"Oh, you have no idea.  Ready?"

John looked at her.  Yes, he was ready to start a new chapter in his life.

It went down better than either of them expected.  John just held his hand out to shake Jackie's, rather enthusiastically that she was taken by surprise when Rose said who he was and before Jackie could slap him for upsetting her daughter on Saturday night, she'd invited him into the living room and was making him a cup of tea.  Rose could only stare in amusement then went to help her mother in the kitchen.

"Whatcha turn him down for Rose, he's a bit of a charmer that one.  You should have invited him in the other night."

"I was just a bit shocked, that's all but we're good now.  So, what ya think of him then?"

"He seems nice enough, are you serious about him?"

"I dunno, I like him but working with him, well it's asking for trouble but there again, it works for some people."

"You don't know until you try love, give him a chance at least, what's the alternative?  You ready to go crawling back to that mechanic?"

No, she wasn't ready to spend the rest of her life crawling after that no good Mickey Smith, whom she'd seen with one of her so called 'mates' Trisha Delaney.  What did he see in her, albeit she seemed to have lost some weight recently, probably some new-fangled crash starvation diet.

John was making jokes, Jackie was laughing at them and she suggested they all went out for a drink at the local pub.

"Mum, John has to drive home."

"Well he can have one bottle on the non-alcohol stuff can't he?"

Rose didn't want to spend the evening with her mother telling him embarrassing stories of when she was growing up.

"No, Rose is right Jackie, I really should be getting off now, I've got a way to go.  Thanks for the tea, you make a great cup of tea, you could save the world with that tea, a super infusion of tannins and free-radicals, brilliant!  Very British, drinking tea while the world comes to an end.  Rose, I'll see you at work tomorrow then?  Don't forget the milk, will you?"

Rose got up, not realising he was now sat so close to her with his arm half on the back of the sofa and half on her shoulder, rubbing it with his thumb.

"I'll see you out then."

"Right, best be off then, it was nice meeting you Jackie, very nice, brilliant."

Rose led him to the door and out onto the balcony, leaving Jackie wondering why her daughter had run off the other night and was now probably about to snog his face off once they got outside.  It was still quite early but in view of them eating earlier and Rose not wanting to rush things since they just about established she was now his girlfriend apart from a few minor details, she was just going to let him kiss her once and say goodnight.

"So, it wasn't that bad then, was it?" he asked, putting his arms around her neck and leaning close.

"No, not as bad as I thought, she must like you, she was always slapping my ex for keeping me out late.  Goodnight then John."

"What happened to calling me Doctor?" he grinned, pushing his luck and going to kiss her neck just below her ear, which made her shiver. 

He noticed and did it again, moving slightly as he did when she didn't try to resist.  Rose was trying to hold herself together and not run back inside, which would have put them back to square one again.

"I can't call you that when we're out, can I?  So, see you tomorrow then?  Are you going to tell your cousin?"

"No way, she already thinks I went out with Martha."

"What?" she asked, trying to back off.

"Well I couldn't tell her I took you out on Saturday night and it was her who said it was Martha, I just let her think that.  Does that mean you're going to run away again?"

He leaned down and pulled her closer, now kissing the back of her neck and Rose beginning to relax into his shoulder.  He smiled as he felt her putting her arms around his slim waist.

"She knows Martha then?"

"They've met a few times, Donna was at the staff party last Christmas at the hospital but apart from that, they're not close.  My aunt doesn't like her much, Martha was at a mutual friend's wedding a while back.  I'll set Donna right, don't worry about your job, I can get the hospital to take you on full time, if you want?"

"Let's just see how it goes first?"

"Yeah, okay.  We don't have to go out every night, if you don't want to?  We can grab something to eat, then I can drop you off on my way home, it's not too much out of the way and maybe we can go out properly at the weekend?"

"Well, okay then but can we keep this quiet, for now?  I don't want everyone thinking you're going out with me because your ex is coming back to work again."

"Right then, we'll keep it quiet for now but Reinette will make a point of seeking you out, to make sure I wasn't just saying that to fend her off, about you being my girlfriend and if she's annoyed enough, it could get around the hospital very quickly."

"Then we'll deal with that when we come to it, won't we?"

John smiled then looked up.  "So, will you run off if I kiss you goodnight again?"

"Why don't you try it and find out?"

"You're just teasing me again Rose, don't keep doing that, please?"

He leaned closer, finding the right angle and looked into her hazel eyes, closing the gap until their lips were almost touching.

"I won't run off this time John," she managed to whisper.

That was all he needed as they kissed, this time deeper and for longer that Rose thought she was going to melt and she no longer felt like running away from him.  They could deal with the problems facing them concerning working together but things were plotting against them as they kissed on the balcony outside Rose's flat.  Reinette had successfully negotiated her return and was settling into her old apartment she shared with another nurse.

She had heard rumours John did indeed have a new temp, a blonde called Rose and if he really was now going out with her, the little upstart was in for a few surprises because one click of her fingers and John would be back with her before the other woman knew what had hit her.
Chapter 9
John was beaming all the way back to his apartment on the outskirts of Chiswick.  Now he may have to admit to Donna he had got involved with one of her temps but it could wait, just as long as Donna and Martha didn't meet and his cousin asked her how her date on Saturday night had gone with him.  He was already in enough trouble as it was, Martha did not seem to be talking to him any more and once she found out he was seeing Rose outside of work, she would probably fall out with Rose as well but that was sometimes the price you had to pay.

No matter how many times men and women met, friends would be lost somewhere along the way, it was the way of the world.  He was pleased he'd got to kiss Rose again, not like the other night when she had backed away and he'd wondered what he'd done to make her that way.  Now though, there was a real possibility Reinette was coming back, the rumours may have been true and her call not just to get him going.

He'd just got home when his phone rang, it was Reinette herself though why he still had her number in his phone after all this time, he didn't exactly know.  He decided to ignore it, hoping she would get the message.  She didn't as his message tone sounded.

The message just said, 'I'm back, see you tomorrow.'

He swallowed and got out of his car.  "Now we're in trouble," he told himself.

He'd left Rose leaning against the door once she went back inside.  The kisses they'd shared were much better than the hurried one on Saturday night.  She really had been about to quit that morning, wondering how she could have carried on but all that had gone now.  She just hoped he wasn't doing it to keep his ex away.

John got to work the next morning, seeing Harry was late again, the man was too arrogant to make the effort to get there early.  He waved to Chelsea but she called after him.  She'd already heard people calling good morning to Miss Poisson, who had been followed by a crowd of people when she got into work and knew there was going to be trouble.  She'd not been there when John and the head nurse had been an item but she'd heard about it, it had not ended well from what she knew.

"Excuse me Doctor Smith, I just thought you should know, Nurse Poisson is back."

"What?  So soon?  Thanks for the warning, 'erm, Chelsea."

"No problem Doctor Smith."

She hoped he'd actually notice her one day but most of the females in the hospital below the age of thirty hoped the same thing.  Rose had got there early, already had the kettle boiling and on seeing the door open, got up to make coffee.

"Good morning Doctor Smith," she teased.

"Good morning Rose, I hope that's the last time you're going to call me that today?" he asked her, reaching for her hand and kissing the back of it.

She smiled and handed him the coffee.  "I think I saw Reinette when I came in, blonde, wears her hair funny and had a crowd of people following her?"

"That sounds about right, if most of them were male?"

"So, she has that effect on everyone then?"

"You could say that.  I tell you Rose, she really is related to that French noblewoman, she has all the breeding and the airs about her, plus, she's irresistible to men, I just happened to be her last victim."

"Aw, poor John," Rose smiled, patting his back gently.

The Tardis had been good that morning and the screen had already been on as Rose put her shoulder bag into the bottom drawer.

"Right, better get to work then," John declared, putting his coffee mug down and cracking his fingers, making Rose cringe.  He noticed and grinned.

"Oh, if Harry Saxon comes in, just pick up the phone and tell him you're calling his wife, trust me."

"I'll do that, if he wanders in but what if Reinette comes by?"

"Well, just tell her I'm with a patient, she won't know will she?  Don't let her intimidate you Rose, she'll say all kinds of untrue things, like she was the love of my life, how easily she could lure me back if she wanted, just smile and say nice try.  She can't get you fired, she won't know what agency you came from, well not unless Martha tells her and she likes Reinette less than you do.  You do believe me, don't you Rose?"

"Yes, I believe you.  I'll bring your day's files in then."

He stepped closer to her, putting his hand on her shoulder.  "Oh and no flirting in the office Rose," he winked, kissing her cheek.

"I'll try and remember that and restrain myself shall I?"

Martha had been less than pleased she had caught sight of Reinette and more than annoyed when the returned head nurse joined in ward rounds.  It turned out she knew the new head of the department and had easily wormed her way back in.  After they had finished, Reinette had to go pick faults with one of Martha's diagnosis's.

"Ah, Martha, a word?"

"Yes Ma'am?"

Reinette continued with her list of complaints after she had initially made remarks upon leaving the patient and Martha wished the ground would swallow her.  She sought sanctuary with Rose once she got away.

"Martha, I wasn't expecting you to call by today."

"You might be my only ally in this place Rose, Reinette's back."

"I know, John told me.  I thought you weren't talking to me?"

"Yeah, sorry Rose but seeing you and John having lunch, well it got to me but she's back and it means before the end of the day, he'll be walking out with her, trust me."

"What makes you think that Martha?"

"He just will, I heard her saying to one of the other nurses, she's giving him until lunchtime then she's coming looking for him, even in the staff canteen if she has to and she won't care if you're sitting with him either."

"Well tough, she'll be in for shock then, won't she?  He's already warned me not to let her intimidate me."

"Oh Rose, you have no idea how intimidating she can be, she chewed me out in front of everyone, then did it again after ward rounds.  I swear Rose, she's really something.  When she was here before, she had John following her like a lovesick puppy, she would have him waiting for her at the local then see her off in a taxi most nights and the few times they left together, she'd tell her friends the next day how he never even got inside her apartment."

"He told me she was just using him but I guessed most of it.  Martha, can you really blame him he didn't want to go out with anyone else, after she treated him like that?"

"Yeah, I feel really bad now, once bitten and all that.  I'd still be his friend though, if he wanted, what about you?"

"What about me?"

"Come on Rose, if he's scared Reinette wants him back, are you just as scared he'll use you to fend her off?"

"He's already scared she'll get her claws into him again, I'm gonna play her at her own game, I've agreed to pretend to be his girlfriend."

Rose thought this was her chance, to be seen with John around the hospital and be able to keep Martha as a friend.  Now she just had to pull it off, convince Reinette she was wasting her time trying to get him back and let John in on her plan.

"Seriously?  Well, it may work, Reinette knows his type, blonde so I could never convince her he was going out with me, you might be more convincing but you're not fooling me Rose, I can't see him pretending you're his girlfriend."

"Oh, well she won't know that, will she?"

Martha went off and it was soon lunchtime.  Reinette had been so busy making sure everyone knew she was back and that she was going to pick up with John where she left off, she'd not had time to visit his office and see who her potential rival was.  She'd heard his new temp was blonde, typical but hardly anyone had seen her except in the staff canteen and to think John still frequented the place, eating with the rest of the employees.  She'd got him out of that habit, getting him to take her to the main cafeteria and sometimes to the nearby pub.

She decided to lower herself and drop by the staff canteen, hoping John would be sitting alone but he was already sitting with Rose, having persuaded her to leave her sandwiches in the office, treating her to lunch and saying he would pay from now on.

"John, Martha came by earlier, she's still talking to me."

"That's good, see, she really is your friend," he replied, eating his chicken stir fry.

"Yeah but she wouldn't be if I told her, you know, I had to say I was going to pretend to be your girlfriend, you're not mad at me are you?  It was just for Martha's benefit but she didn't believe me."

"Oh, well seeing it was just to throw Martha off so she'd still talk to you, okay, I'll go with it but you're not are you, just pretending?"

"No, unless you want me to?"

"No, I don't like that idea.  Oh, watch out, better make it look good,  Reinette's standing in the doorway."

Rose just smiled.  "So what?  Is she coming over?"

"Oh yes Rose, she's coming over."

"Ah John, Mon Chéri, you have been avoiding me all morning, did I not tell you I would be back?"

"Yes, so you did Reinette, I do have patients you know.  Oh, have you met Rose?  Rose, say hello to Reinette my love and no fighting, I can't abide fighting."

"Nice to meet you Reinette."

"You should not be addressing me in such a manor young lady, it's Miss or nurse Poisson to you."

"What did I say about fighting?" John muttered under his breath.

"Now then Reinette, be nice.  May we finish our lunch if you don't mind?"

"By all means Chéri we will catch up later perhaps?  I went back to my old apartment, meet me at The Crown after work and you can escort me home."

"Ah, well, that's not going to happen Reinette, I have a standing date with Rose after work, we go out for something to eat, don't we love?"

"Yeah and who do you think you are?  Telling John to meet you and see you home?  He may have fallen for that line before but you're out of luck this time lady."

"How dare you speak to me in that tone?  John.  Why are you associating with this, this woman?"

"Forget it Reinette, it won't work, Rose is my girlfriend now.  Why don't you go find Harry, he couldn't wait when he found out you were coming back."

"Harry is not you John, why would I want him?"

"You only want to play with me Reinette, it's over so you may as well give up now."

"You are wrong John, it is not over, you will be back, when you've had enough, she cannot compete with me."

Reinette turned and walked off.  Rose let out the breath she'd been holding.

"Wow, she's some piece of work that one."

"Isn't she just?  You stood up to her well Rose, I'm proud of you."

"Yeah, well I don't think she'll give up that easily.  You know you said no flirting in the office?  Does that extend to the pub?"

"What did you have in mind?"

So Reinette huffed her way around the hospital for the afternoon, pretending to those who were bothered that she would wear him down and he'd turn up at he pub after work.  Rose had just come back from taking John's patient's folders down to the office and collecting the others when she saw Reinette go into John's office so she hurried after her, just as she disappeared into his inner office.

"Reinette, what are you doing here?" he asked, taking his feet off the desk and getting up before she pounced on him. 

He knew Rose would be back any minute and he didn't want her to get the wrong idea, Reinette knew what time he sent his secretary down to the office every night.

"I came to give you another chance John, you aren't really interested in Rose are you?"

"Yes I am Reinette, now you'd better leave."

"Oh, are you afraid your new muse will find us together perhaps?"

She stepped closer, leaving John nowhere to go.  She put her hand on his cheek.

"I missed you John, can you truly say you never missed me?"

"I never missed you Reinette, now, you should leave, you really don't want to be here when Rose comes back."

"She does not bother me Chéri, let her come in."

"Well you might want to be bothered," Rose hissed from the doorway.  "Take your grubby hands off my boyfriend."

"Really, is that the best you can do?  John, why are you bothering with her, she is so common."

"Who are you calling common, you French tart?"

"Are you going to let her insult me like that John?"

"Oh, you're on your own on this one Reinette, I did tell you that you didn't want to be here when Rose came back, you were warned.  Ready to go Rose?"

"Yeah, so excuse us.  John, you can show me the local pub, if you want?"

"My pleasure Rose.  Bye Reinette, you know your way out?"

"Huh, this isn't over John."

"Oh, I think it is."

He held the door and then locked it behind him, went up and grabbed Rose by the waist and pulled her into a kiss, making sure Reinette was getting a good look.

Reinette let out an 'Arrgh' and walked off.  This was most definitely his last chance, why should she waste her time on him?  It had been fun while it lasted, maybe she should try it with Harry?  John led Rose out to his car.

"So, do you think it worked then?" Rose smiled, John reaching over to kiss her again.

"Oh yes Rose, I think it worked, don't you?  So, burger or pub?"

"Will Reinette be there?"


"Burger then or maybe we can go out later?"


"Well yeah, if you want?"

"I want.  Does this mean we're dating, properly?"

"Yeah, I'd say so.  Are you going to tell Donna now?"

"Why don't you come for Sunday lunch at my aunt's this weekend and she'll find out?"

"Okay then, you're on.  She'd better not fire me."

"Nah, she won't do that, trust me."

So the next few days, the two of them worked together, resisting a quick snog between patients, the Tardis seeming happy that they had got together and always having the names of his day's patients ready for her on her arrival.  They agreed they would go out on Saturday night, just having a snack together after work then John would drop Rose off so Rose treated herself to a new dress for the occasion and when he called for her on Saturday night, he complimented her.

"Wow Rose, you look great.  Oh, this is for you."

He handed her a boxed pink orchid.

"It's lovely John, thanks.  Shall we go?"

The evening was pleasant, John took her to another new place he'd heard of then drove her home, this time she invited him in for coffee.

"I had a great time John, thanks."

"Yeah, so did I, Rose, has this been too much?  I mean us grabbing something to eat every night and now, well, I don't want to seem like I'm, you know, over keen."

"I don't think that now John and I love getting something to eat with you every night.  John, would you mind though, if I didn't work with you?"

"No, Rose, I don't want you to leave, I love working with you, do you feel like you have to leave?"

"Well no, not exactly but Donna might object."

"No she won't, I can handle my cousin.  Don't leave."

"Okay, I'll stay then, if you're sure?"

"Oh yes Rose, I'm sure.  I called my aunt this morning, she's looking forward to meeting you and so is my grandad Wilf, he'll just love you.  I've not told Donna yet though, let's surprise her eh?"

"Yeah, okay.  So, I'd better let you go then?" she asked, cuddling up to him on the sofa, which he was liking very much.

"Well, if you're throwing me out?" he teased.

"Mum will be back soon, then you'll never get home."

John laughed and leaned over to kiss her again.  They heard the door opening and sat up.  Then he whispered, "Next Saturday night, come back to my place?"

They got up and Rose walked him onto the balcony.  "Night then John, see you tomorrow?"

"Yeah, are you nervous?"

"About meeting your family?"

"Yeah, I'm nervous about you meeting them," he smiled, putting his arms around her as the cool breeze made her shiver slightly.  "You should go inside love, I'll see you tomorrow, I'll pick you up at one."

They kissed again and he left, Rose watching him walk along the balcony and him turning to wave one final time.  The next morning, his phone rang, it was Donna.

"Hey spaceman, mum says you're bringing someone to lunch today, anyone I know?"

"Yes, you may know her."

"Martha?  About time."

"No Donna and I don't want you to get mad but it's Rose."

"What?  Seriously?  Well who would have thought it?  You let me think it was Martha."

"You said it was Martha.  Anyway, be nice to her and don't try and put her off Donna,  I really like her."

"Ah, spaceman's been caught.  I heard Reinette's back in town?"

"Yeah, bad news travels fast but she's well out of the picture, I'm going out with Rose now, I won't get caught in her trap again."

"Well it sounds like Rose has got you well and truly hooked, good luck spaceman."

"Yeah, well I'll see you at lunch cous."

Rose was getting nervous as the time approached for John to pick her up.

"Why are you so nervous Rose?" her mother asked her.

"It's one thing working for Donna but having lunch with her and the rest of his family, well, that's something else Mum."

John came to call for her and as they drove to Donna's house, Rose tried not to act nervous.

"You'll be fine Rose, don't worry."

"Easy for you to say.  So, do you live near to them?"

"Not far.  I was raised by my aunt Sylvia and my uncle Geoff when my parents were in a train accident when I was thirteen.  I'd stayed at home because I had the measles, gave it to Donna so I stayed with them, then there was a train crash.  After that, well, I had to go and live with them."

"I'm sorry to hear that John.  My dad died when I was a baby, I never knew him."

"Yeah, at least I knew mine, sorry.  Right, here we are then, ready for this?"

"Just as ready as you were to meet my mum."

"Yeah, she's a bit overpowering, your mother."


"Yeah.  Come on then and I may even let Donna tell you why she calls me spaceman."

"That sounds like it's interesting."

"Oh it is Rose, it is."

As he knocked on the door, which would probably get him told off by Donna again for not ringing the doorbell, he took Rose's hand and kissed the back of it.  Another chapter had just opened in both their lives and with any luck, he hoped Rose would see it through to the end with him.

The End!