Chapter Twenty Six

"How do you know where to go, the passageways all look the same," Jackie said as she followed the Doctor and Rose through the corridors to her room.

"I've spent nearly my whole life inside her; I can find my way around. Besides, the TARDIS can move rooms around and help me out. Here we are."

He entered the room and Jackie looked around. The walls had been coral colored but inside Rose's room, they were pink and more feminine looking. The room looked extremely cozy with white wooden furniture. She hurried to the bed and pulled back the eiderdown so the Doctor could gently put Rose down in her bed. She pulled the covers up when the Doctor made her comfortable and noticed a large photo on the wall behind her bed. It was Rose and the tenth Doctor, their arms around each other while they smiled for the camera.

"Where was this?" Jackie said, pointing to it.

The Doctor looked at where she was pointing and frowned.

"Um…to be honest, I can't remember," he said. "We snapped several photos all over time and space and we're too close to the camera to see the background."

"I like it. You look happy," she said.

"We try to be," the Doctor said. "Especially since our lives can become hectic and tense. I try to take her to fun places as well and we get heaps of photos there. That's why I can't remember where this one was taken."

"Have you ever thought of marrying her?"

The Doctor froze with a surprised look on his face.

"Wouldn't you have a stroke if that happened?" he said.

"Doctor, I do admit I've been a bit overprotective but being out here and going through what my daughter goes through, I've seen how close you two really are. You obviously love my daughter and she loves you. I'm just curious if you would ever consider marriage?"

The Doctor thought about it.

"My other self would have said no because Rose would have grown old while I remained young but me…I don't know. I know that at the moment our lives are too hectic for that sort of thing."

"What life isn't?" Jackie said with a shrug. "Most people have to make time in their lives to get married and there are people who have stressful lifestyles filled with danger. Firemen, policemen and soldiers get married all the time, you know."

"I know but I'm just shocked to hear you suggesting such a thing," the Doctor said.

"Well, I wouldn't have during your ninth life because let's face it, you used to be an insensitive arsehole to me."

"Fair enough," the Doctor said with a shrug.

"Then you changed and you became…softer and sweeter and I actually started to like you. I don't know about your personality now but you aren't being an arsehole to me. And I have a mother's sight and I can see the way Rose looks at you. She looks at you in a way she's never done with any other boyfriend she's had and she's absolutely devoted to you. Believe me, she never would have allowed herself to be put in a trance and cocooned for anyone else. And you give her the same loving looks. I always try to keep an open mind and not be prejudiced against others and I believe that if two people love each other, it shouldn't matter what race they are or what species, in your case. You and she, you are a team in every sense of the word," she said, taking Rose's hand and rubbing the back. "You watch out for one another and you care about her. I can trust you to look after her and treat her like the princess I know she is. That's why I was wondering."

"Thank you," the Doctor said, loving that this was coming from Jackie. "I would but…I'm not sure when I would. The time would have to be right."

"Well, I wouldn't wait too long," Jackie said. "I mean, the way I see it, you two are married in all but name now."

The Doctor smiled. He was about to say something when suddenly the roundel lights began to go on and off.

"What's this?" Jackie said, turning to look at them when they kept blinking.

"I don't know but my TARDIS is acting strangely. I'm going to have to leave you and Rose and go find out…"

Suddenly, there was a enormous jerk and the bedroom door was sealed up as the room went flying into the air. Jackie and the Doctor threw themselves over Rose while the bed began to move towards the back wall. They scrambled onto the bed just before the bed hit the wall. Then there was an enormous thump as the room landed.

"What the hell is wrong with this ship? Is it insane?" Jackie said.

"No, it's…"

The Doctor got off the bed and ran to the area where the door had been. He cursed when he realized his sonic wasn't in his pocket. He walked to the side wall and opened a small panel underneath a roundel. He flipped a switch and the door reappeared.

"Emergency override for the doors," he said to Jackie.

Jackie pointed to the door and the Doctor turned and walked back over to it. He did a double take when he realized the room had been jettisoned from the TARDIS and now was lying on top of a bed of obsidian in the middle of several volcanoes.

"What happened? Where are we?" Jackie said as she got off the bed and walked to the door.

"The TARDIS jettisoned the room," the Doctor said in disbelief. "Why'd it do that?"

"Jettisoned us? It threw us away?" Jackie said.

The Doctor didn't reply for a moment. Then he had a sudden disturbing thought.

"I think I know where Callisto went," he said grimly as he observed smoke rising from a nearby volcano.

"Where?" Jackie said.

"The TARDIS is sentient. It's alive and I think Callisto possessed her the way it possessed me," he said to her. "If that's true, Callisto just threw us away from the TARDIS and now everyone else is trapped inside her."

"Where are we?" Jackie said.

"Dunno but I'm hoping it's not where I think it is, otherwise we'll have to avoid more slavers," the Doctor said.

"Will we be safe in here then?" Jackie said.

"Yes. But…if one of these volcanoes erupts and magma covers us, we'll be trapped inside this room forever. We have to leave sometime, preferably when Rose comes to but if not, we'll have to carry her."

"But is it safe to breathe out there?"

"I don't know but I do have emergency kits in every room and they have gas masks inside them. For the moment, I think we're safe so we'll wait and see if Rose wakes up."

Jackie nodded. She went over to the corner, picked up a wooden chair that had overturned and brought it over to the side of the bed. The Doctor walked to the cupboard and retrieved the emergency kit while Jackie sat and watched over Rose.

THE END (To be continued…)

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