Title: Turn My Wooden Heart (Chapter 7/13)
Author: [personal profile] anogete
Characters/Pairings: Nine/Rose
Genre: Action/Adventure, Romance
Rating: Adult, NC-17 (eventually)
Beta: [profile] seeing_history and [personal profile] amberfocus
Summary: The Doctor and Rose find themselves wrapped up in a war between two tribes of people. As they sort out the conspiracy surrounding this war, they begin to question their feelings for one another.
Disclaimer: I certainly don't own anyone or anything associated with Doctor Who, but I do enjoy playing with Nine and Rose. ::pets them::
A/N: This fic is thirteen chapters with a short epilogue, and it is nearly complete. I'm going to try to post at least two chapters a week. Also, big thank yous to seeing_history and Amberfocus. You gals have been so much help, and I appreciate all you do.

Previous Chapters: Chapter 1 || Chapter 2 || Chapter 3 || Chapter 4 || Chapter 5 || Chapter 6

CHAPTER 7

The track Rose had noticed ran the length of the hall, which curved around until she had lost all sense of direction. Finally, they came to a narrow staircase on the right side of the hall. It descended into darkness. Just around the corner was a large room with many doors off it.

“Generator, all the bells and whistle that make this place work,” the Doctor said after sticking his head into the staircase and listening for a moment. “Let’s go this way.”

They continued around the corner and into the foyer. The Doctor immediately pulled out the sonic screwdriver and unlocked the first door to their right. It clicked open and revealed a room devoid of anything but a camp bed with a curious addition to the usual four legs. There was a metallic bar secured to the bed frame and running down the center of it only millimetres above the floor. It was quite obvious the bar was mean to fit into the tracks in the hall.

“What’s going on here?” Rose asked, walking over to a set of cabinets on the wall. They were empty, but this did not have the feel of an abandoned building. Everything had been kept clean and free of dust or disrepair.

“Don’t know, Rose. Looks like a medical facility to me.” He hurried out of the room and ran to the next one, unlocking it in a snap with his sonic. Rose followed him and saw an identical space next door, complete with camp bed and empty cabinets. However, this room had a surgery tray with wheels as well. No instruments were to be found, but the place gave her the creeps.

“Doctor, let’s get out of here.”

He stepped outside and walked down to the end of the larger foyer that connected the rooms. A wide tunnel extended as far as he could see. “This way,” the Doctor said, motioning for her to follow him.

Rose hurried to catch up as his long legs carried him swiftly down the tunnel. Despite being well-lit, the atmosphere still made her terribly uncomfortable. If they ran into someone now there would be no way of hiding or avoiding an encounter.

“Who did this?” Rose asked, glancing behind her, remembering the haunting surgery suites.

“Don’t know. But I think this is where the Sarhn and the Harack end up when they are abducted. This isn’t a coincidence.” Rose shuddered at the thought.

The tunnel stretched on for what felt like kilometres. Rose’s feet were aching and she was sure the sun had set when they saw a door at the end. For the past several hundred metres, they had been traveling uphill. The Doctor surmised that the door ahead would lead them to ground level. A small vehicle, similar to a golf cart, was sitting at the mouth of the wide tunnel they had traveled through, obviously for quicker access to the facility.

The Doctor carefully unlocked the double doors with his sonic and pushed one open just the slightest bit. He motioned Rose to follow him and opened the door the rest of the way. Rose stepped from the silent tunnel to what appeared to be a basement room. Noises could be heard above them, though they were very faint through the concrete walls.

“Where are we?” Rose whispered, grabbing the back of the Doctor’s jacket. The feel of the leather was both familiar and awkward.

“Let’s find out.” He unlocked the only other door in the room.

Rose followed the Doctor as he wound his way through basement passages and storage rooms filled with medical equipment. Finally, he found a staircase and a service elevator. They took the staircase and slipped out into a hallway on the ground floor. She wasn’t too surprised to find they were in a hospital. However, Rose was stunned to find they were surrounded by humans--by her own kind. Or at least they looked like humans.

The Doctor’s eyes were darting here and there. He looked just as stunned as Rose. “Wait…” he said, trailing off, uncertainty in his voice.

“What?” Rose asked.

“It can’t be.” He sprinted down the hall. An elderly woman hanging on to an IV pole nearly fell over in his wake. Rose jogged behind as she saw him push open a side door to the hospital and disappear out it.

She burst through the door right behind him and took a look outside for herself. They were in the middle of a huge city with buildings towering over them from all sides and futuristic cars zooming in and out of traffic on the road. It was well and truly night time, but the lights from the buildings and flashing billboards, not to mention the cars, were enough to brighten things.

“Where are we?” Rose asked, looking around her at street vendors and shops, at humans crowding the pavement in what looked like a downtown district.

The Doctor’s eyes were wide as saucers when he turned to look at her. “Zed Six. We’re on Zed Six.”

“But--but that’s where we were originally going. I thought you said we were redirected to another planet by the dodgy capacitor.”

“We were pulled off course, but not as far as I thought. This is most definitely Zed Six. I intended to bring the TARDIS to an alley behind an equipment shop. The generators below the meadow are sending out vibrations and signals to prevent the natural vegetation from growing there, to prevent the tribal members from finding the hatch to the facility. The faulty capacitor must have allowed the TARDIS’s destination to be changed slightly. To the same planet, just a different location on that planet.”

Rose stepped aside as a group of teenagers pushed past her. “But why? Why would they build that place out in the forest?”

“No idea, but I do know where we can start asking questions. Let’s go.” He grabbed her hand and pulled her down the pavement. They walked several blocks before the Doctor ducked into a dingy repair shop with a rusted sign hanging out front. Rose reluctantly followed along.

A man in his late forties was sitting on a tall stool behind the counter. His hair was thinning and his white shirt was smudged with black grease. He grunted his acknowledgement of the new customers, but continued working on the circuit board he was bent over. “How can I help you?”

“I’m looking for a capacitor.”

The man’s head shot up at the sound of the Doctor’s voice. He smiled broadly and jumped down from the stool, wiping his hands on his pants. “Doctor! Haven’t seen you in quite some time. How are you?”

“Good, good.” The Doctor smiled, extending his hand and shaking the shop keeper’s. “How’s business Lloyd?”

“Just fine, same as ever.” Lloyd craned his head to look behind the Doctor. “Who’s this, then?”

Stepping aside, the Doctor motioned to her. “This is Rose Tyler. She’s traveling with me.”

Lloyd’s eyebrows lifted as he looked from Rose back to the Doctor. “She’s a pretty one, eh?”

The Doctor smiled and turned to Rose. “She’s beautiful,” he said softly, but with warmth. “Rose, this is Lloyd. He keeps me in parts. Good man, he is.”

Rose waited for the qualifier, for the Doctor to say she was beautiful for a human. It never came, and when she turned her eyes to Lloyd, she saw his hand waiting in the air for her. She jutted her hand out and Lloyd shook it enthusiastically. “Nice to meet you Rose,” he said with a grin. “I hope the Doctor here has been treating you right.”

“Oh, most of the time, I’d say,” Rose replied with a wink.

“Good.” Lloyd slapped the Doctor on the shoulder before bending over and rummaging through some boxes behind the counter. He emerged a moment later with a deceptively small, yet extremely important component--the capacitor needed to repair the TARDIS. “Just got this one in a few weeks ago.”

The Doctor pocketed it and paid Lloyd with money Rose did not know he had. Then he leaned his arms on the counter and moved closer to the shop keeper. “Have you heard about anything odd going on at the hospital?”

Lloyd frowned and shook his head. “Not that I can say. Haven’t spent much time there, thank goodness. Fate willing, I won’t have to in the future. Why do you ask?”

“Oh, nothing much. Just got some strange readings when I arrived here a few days ago.”

The shop keeper shifted his weight from one foot to the other. “My old lady works there as a nurse,” he said. “I could ask her about it. Or you could stop by and see her tomorrow. She’s got the morning shift.”

“She wouldn’t mind talking with us?”

“I’ll tell her to expect you. Just ask for Beth at the admissions desk.”

The Doctor nodded. “We appreciate the help.”

“No trouble at all. None at all,” Lloyd said, glancing at the clock above the door. “You two best be running along. Curfew is in twenty minutes.”

“Curfew?” The Doctor and Rose asked.

Lloyd looked surprised for a moment, and then nodded. “That’s right. You haven’t been here since the riots.”

“What happened?” Rose asked, stepping up to stand against the counter beside the Doctor.

“It was a little over a year ago. Some crazy doctor,” Lloyd paused and nodded at the Doctor before continuing, “Not you, of course--a medical doctor at the hospital. His name was, oh I don’t know. Tinsley or something of that sort. Ewan Tinsley. Anyway, he transferred over here from another colony. Within a few months, he had half the hospital staff all riled up and on the verge of a walk-out. Even got some students at the University involved, and they all smashed up the place. A few businesses across the street from the hospital were broken into and looted. It was a bad day all around.”

“Why did they riot?” The Doctor looked very interested.

“I can’t say I know for sure. The Daily News download said he was protesting wages and working conditions. Beth didn’t know anything about it, said the fellow was nothing but a troublemaker, that the hospital pays all the workers just fine. There was some rumbling from the underground news sources about a cover-up of the real reason, but you know how that goes. Lies are damn easy to make up and easier to spread. He probably had his pants in a twist over some senior doctor getting a bit more money than him.” Lloyd shook his head. “And those kids at the University, they’ll look for any excuse to run the streets and smash up windows.”

Rose looked up at the clock. Fifteen minutes until ten o’clock. “It’s a little early for a curfew,” she said.

“Those politicians got themselves all worked up over the riot. A week after it happened, they’d locked all those people up and smacked the entire city with this ridiculous curfew. An overreaction, I’d say.”

“What happened to the doctor? Tinsley, you said his name was?” the Doctor asked.

Lloyd shrugged. “Supposedly locked up in jail. His trial was real hush-hush, and they put him in solitary. Guards claim he was riling the inmates up. Like I said, sounds like a troublemaker to me.” He looked up at the clock again. “You two best be getting along. I’ve got to close up shop. Anyone open past ten gets a fine.”

“You’re kidding?” Rose said, looking outside to see the street was nearly empty of cars. Only a few stragglers were on the pavement just outside the door. The mad rush she saw when they first left the hospital must have been everyone hurrying to get home for the evening.

“Wish I was, Miss Tyler,” Lloyd replied. “That Tinsley and his lot really mucked things up for the rest of us.”

“What happens if you’re caught outside after curfew?”

“Jailed for the night, I hear. Then a hefty fine or more jail time, depending on who you are and why you were out.”

The Doctor and Rose looked at the clock again. Ten minutes until curfew. “Looks like we should be going then,” he said, taking Rose’s hand.

“You two lovebirds staying at the Poblos Resort?”

“Where’s that?” the Doctor asked. Meanwhile, Rose opened her mouth to deny the lovebirds comment. She didn’t get the chance.

“Two blocks north of here.”

The Doctor nodded. “Yes, that’s the one. Lovely place.”

Lloyd nodded proudly. “Best place to say on Zed Six, I’d say.”

“Nice to see you again, Lloyd. Always a pleasure,” the Doctor called out as he pulled Rose through the door. Lloyd yelled his goodbye just before the shop door closed.

The suddenly empty city was eerie, and Rose found herself unnerved by the lack of people. “Do you think the psychic paper would work if we are stopped?”

“I’m sure it would, but we’re not going to test that out.”

“Why?”

The Doctor started down the street in the direction Lloyd pointed when he was asking about the hotel. “We can’t very well wander the city all night, and it would take us half the night to get back to the TARDIS.”

Secretly, Rose rejoiced. The last thing she wanted to do was traverse that silent tunnel for half the night. “This better be a fantastic hotel with a hot tub,” she said when the Poblos Resort’s sign came into view. “My feet are killing me. And I deserve a nice soak after spending three nights in the wilderness.”

“You’re starting to sound just like Jackie.”

Rose’s eyes widened as he pulled the door open for her. “I do not sound like my mum.”

The Doctor just grinned and gave her a wink when she stepped through the glass door into the opulent lobby.
.

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