Chapter Nine

After bartering for some bread with a small wooden ruler he had in his pocket, the Doctor and Rose found a bench in the village square and sat down. The Doctor gave the bread to Rose and rested on the wooden bench, his eyes continuing to scan for the woman or any signs of trouble. Rose munched on the freshly baked bread while she perused her book. She kept on giggling as she turned the pages and read passages and the Doctor eyed her when she read a passage and took his right hand, pretending to study it intently.

"What is it?" he said.

"Says vampires have hair growing on their palms, it's one of the signs!" she said ominously with wide eyes

"They also thought anyone with red hair was a vampire," the Doctor countered.

"Oh, is that why you want to be ginger then?" Rose said.

She laughed when the Doctor poked her side and shook his head.

"I don't see any mention of nice vampires in here," Rose said, turning the page.

She snickered when the Doctor gave her a withering look.

"You have the wrong book, Rose. You didn't see Vampires Are Our Best Friends right under this one?" he said, tapping the page.

"Well, you're a nice bloke…ish…vampire…person…thing."

She laughed when the Doctor gave her an odd look.

"And you're a nice woman…ish…ape…human," he said while Rose laughed harder.

She sobered up and took another bite of her bread while she went back to looking at her book. The Doctor resumed his scan of the village but his attention was diverted by a black beetle crawling on the ground in front of him. He watched while it stopped in front of him and then looked at Rose who was chewing her bread and reading something in the book. With an impish grin, he snatched it up and put it in his mouth. Rose gave him a disgusted look while he spit it out and put it back on the ground.

"The blood is the life," the Doctor said with wide eyes. "I need lives, lives!"

"You need a brain transplant more like," Rose said, shaking her head before turning her attention back to her book.

"It's sad how you're just used to my vampireness now," the Doctor said, settling back against the bench.

"You won't hurt me," Rose said without looking up from the book, "you're not under Ian's control anymore."

"Yes but I can be a right bastard when I wanna be," the Doctor said.

Rose bit her lip, holding in her laughter while the Doctor stared at her and waited for a response to that. He opened his mouth and hissed at her before closing it. Rose fanned the air around her nose while muttering, "Phew, manky smell," to herself.

"Soon I will make you one of my hellish legions of the undead, I swear it," the Doctor said airily while he resumed scanning the crowd.

Rose paused when he said that, her mind on that and the question she wanted to ask him about making her immortal. The Doctor sensed she wasn't reading anymore and he turned his eyes to her.

"You okay?" he asked.

"Doctor," Rose said, deciding to address the elephant in the room, "if you don't find a cure for your vampirism, can…I join you?"

The Doctor was shocked by that.

"You protested when I tried to convert you in my office," he said.

"Yes but you weren't you then," Rose said. "You were being controlled and you were evil. Things have changed."

"Rose, this isn't the ideal life for anyone," the Doctor said. "It's not like it is in novels where the vampire and his lifestyle are romanticized. There is a reason why I want to find a cure. You're an adult and I can't stop you from becoming a vampire but you better think long and hard on it before committing."

"I know and I have but I just mean if there's no hope of finding a cure, I want to be with you so you won't be lonely."

The Doctor said nothing as he studied her face. Rose looked down at her wrist.

"When I gave you blood, I thought it would be painful and disgusting but it was soothing and painless," she said.

"That's because vampires inject a chemical into the bloodstream that numbs the area and keeps the blood flowing," the Doctor said. "Which I'm sure you won't find in your book there but I told you before that vampires don't want panicky people while they're feeding because the adrenaline makes the blood taste bad. I'm glad you had a pleasant experience but I still hated doing that to you and if I hadn't been severely injured I would have refused. I told you I don't want to condemn you to this even if I can't find a way back. But it's your life…or undeath, I suppose, and if you want it badly enough, I will oblige. Just know what you're getting into before taking the plunge, please."

"I will," Rose said, taking his hand. "Besides, I only meant if there was no way back for you. I don't want to do it and have you change back."

"Yeah, neither do I," the Doctor said.

"Although, you need to get your hairy palms before I believe you really are a vamp," Rose teased.

The Doctor chuckled at that and winked as he laid her palm against his cheek and she let out a fake squeal. He watched her lovingly for a moment while she returned to her book and her bread before he turned his attention back to the villagers.


The Doctor and Rose sat on the bench, crowd watching and looking for any signs of abductions but nothing happened. The Doctor perused the book when Rose quit reading, speed reading and Rose giggled when he kept snorting at the bogus facts about vampires.

"I wasted my yoyo for this rubbish?" he said when he finally closed the book.

"It's entertaining rubbish?" Rose offered.

She laughed when the Doctor rolled his eyes at that. He pointed ahead of him and they saw Frida coming towards them, her basket in her left hand. She smiled as they stood up.

"I brought you some food," she said, holding the basket out to the Doctor.

"Thank you. I'm not hungry but Rose might enjoy your food," the Doctor said.

Rose thanked her and took the basket. She looked inside and saw some bread, cheese and a bit of sausage. Frida asked them to sit down and she stood in front of them when they sat back down.

"I snuck away from my house," Frida said.

"You shouldn't have done that," the Doctor said. "You might get in trouble."

"I know but…I want to help because my best friend was taken two years ago and I don't know where she is."

"Oh God," Rose said. "How old is she?"

"Eleven, same as me. She was nine when they took her," Frida said.

"What happened?" the Doctor said.

"We went out to market like I did today and when we were at market we got separated a bit and when I looked for my friend after I'd gotten what I needed, I couldn't find her."

"How do you know that these people that tried to take you today took her?" the Doctor said.

"Because she wasn't the only one and people have seen that woman before."

"The one that tried to take you?" Rose said.

"Yeah. They think she's one of the countess's servants. There are others though. There's three or four. They drive through the village and look down on everyone."

"And everyone's who been abducted, are they young women and girls?" the Doctor said.

Frida nodded. Then she thought a moment.

"No wait, there was one man who disappeared too," she said. "He spoke out against the countess."

"And her spies overheard him?" Rose said.

"I think so, yeah," Frida said. "That's why we have to be careful here. There are some people who have been offered money and jewels to be the countess's spies so you have to be wary of everyone."

"What was your friend's name?" the Doctor said.


"Frida, we'll do everything we can to get her back and anyone else who might still be alive," the Doctor said. "But in order to do that, we might have to sneak into the countess's castle and investigate."

Frida turned nervous eyes up to the castle and the Doctor put his hand on her shoulder.

"You don't have to do this if you don't want to," the Doctor said.

"No, I want to do this. I want to stop these people from hurting us again," Frida said.

"Then we have to find a way to get into the castle and look around without anyone seeing us," Rose said.

"Maybe I can do that. People send young girls to be servants if they can't afford to feed them."

"They do that when the countess is killing them?" Rose said, shocked.

"Not everyone believes it's the countess. Some believe it's vampires and the women are vampires or their servants. Some people might believe the countess is killing people but they're so poor they don't have a choice. Boys are worth more than girls here so unless you can marry a girl off to a wealthy man, there's not much use for them."

Rose glanced at the Doctor who was seething at that.

"I don't believe that," the Doctor said. "I have many friends who are women and they're not worthless. Being poor and not having enough food is a shame but sending a girl to be a slave and possibly be abused and killed is still unacceptable. But you're implying you go up to the castle and offer yourself as a servant? Are you okay with that? That woman might be there and see you."

"Then she won't come to the village and harm others," Frida said with a shrug. "If she's looking for me, I might as well go to her and help you out."

"Your father is wrong. You're not worthless. You're very brave," the Doctor said admiringly. "If you want to do this, we can help you. We'll sneak into the castle since I'm sure everyone will be focused on you and perhaps we can meet up inside."

Frida nodded and the Doctor patted her on the shoulder as he and Rose stood up.

"Come on, let's get to the bottom of these abductions and stop them once and for all," he said to Frida.

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