Chapter Eighty Eight

"Doctor, this never works and it only gets Rose riled up and then she's angry for the rest of the day," Jack said to the Doctor while they headed down the passageway towards the living room.

"Nonsense, she enjoys the banter and the closeness it engenders, just watch!" the Doctor said.

"Your funeral," Jack said, shrugging.

The Doctor entered the living room and walked over to Rose. She was sitting on the sofa reading another book. The Doctor boldly walked up to her right side and leaned over, staring at her with wide eyes while Jack stood back and watched.

"I have come for fun and merriment again," he said to her.

Rose paid no attention to him and kept on reading.

"Why do you read so much when there's zillions of things we could be doing at this moment?" the Doctor asked.

"Because reading keeps me calm which keeps me from putting my fist in your face," Rose said without taking her eyes off the book.

"Why do you enjoy violence so much?" the Doctor said, leaning in close to her face.

"Because violence teaches you to leave me alone when I'm reading," Rose said as she read her book.

The Doctor looked at Jack and he chuckled when he winked at him and leaned in closer.

"I want to do something with yooooou," he said in a hushed voice.

Rose turned the page and said nothing. The Doctor puckered up his lips and made kissing noises while Rose read. He pointed to his overly puckered up lips while Rose kept her eyes on her book. He then shot an annoyed look at Jack when he leaned in and tried to kiss him.

"Piss off," the Doctor said, shoving him away. "I'm giving my full attention to Rose."

"Can't say the same for you, I'm afraid," Rose said as she continued to read.

The Doctor watched her read for a minute and then he put his fingertips on the top of her book.

"May I peruse your reading selection?" he said sweetly.

Rose made note of the page she was on and let go of the book. She watched while he closed the book and looked at the cover.

"The Astrology Murders," he said to Jack.

He sat down on the sofa when Rose sat up to allow him space. He quickly zipped through the pages, speed reading the story while Rose and Jack watched in astonishment. Jack chuckled when he noticed that the further he got into the story, the more disgusted his expression became.

"Don't tell me how it ends," Rose said when he neared the back of the book.

The Doctor finished reading the book, put it down on the coffee table in front of him and folded his hands in his lap while he gave Rose a stern look.

"Explain why you brought such filth into the sanctity of this TARDIS?" he said to her while Jack snickered.

"What? This book?" Rose said, pointing to it.

"This book is disgusting. A crazy man murders people in disgustingly, insane ways and she reads this for enjoyment!" the Doctor said to Jack.

"I didn't know it was a man doing the killings!" Rose said, throwing up her hands in exasperation.

Jack laughed when the Doctor froze with a deer in the headlights look on his face.

"Oh, um…well, I didn't say which man though," the Doctor quickly said to Rose.

"Don't tell me anything more!" Rose said.

"What page were you on?"

"127," Rose said.

"Okay, I remember what happened on page 127 and so it is safe to tell Jack that this person doing the killings sawed off the legs of a woman while she was tied up and conscious," he said to Jack. "Then he…let her bleed to death. I ask you, is that filth or no?"

"Depends on if he beat her with her own legs before dying," Jack said, shrugging.

Rose giggled at the peeved look on the Doctor's face.

"You're not helping, Harkness," he said.

"What's that have to do with astrology?" Jack countered.

"This person is killing people based on their zodiac sign," Rose said. "He…since the Doctor revealed that part of it, is planning twelve murders."

"So what's the significance of cutting off the woman's legs?" Jack said.

"That's just what he did to the woman," Rose said.

"But if it's the zodiac, shouldn't he murder people based on that instead of just randomly sawing off a woman's legs?" Jack said. "Did the writer even think this plot through?"

"Thank you!" the Doctor said. "And I agree, shoddy writing for a shoddy book read by a shoddy person!"

"Ooo, that was ballsy," Jack said when Rose eyed the Doctor.

"What do you want me to read then?" Rose said to the Doctor.

"Something about puppies. I enjoy puppies," the Doctor said.

"Fine. I'll find a book where a murderer ties puppies up and saws their legs off," Rose said.

"And you'd enjoy that book too," the Doctor said while Jack giggled. "You'd be on the bog reading it and laughing at the poor puppies' distress. Because you are…baaaaad!" the Doctor said with wide eyes.

"Yup! Now can I have my book back?" Rose said.

"I cannot in good conscience allow this filth to touch your hands again," the Doctor said, pointing to the book.

Rose sighed and leaned up to grab the book but the Doctor snatched it up and held it to his chest.

"I will not allow your mind to be corrupted," he said.

"I've read porn before, my mind is already corrupted," Rose said in a snotty voice.

"Really? Describe the porn," Jack said, leaning in.

"Oh, piss off!" Rose said, pushing him away. "Give me my book back," she said, holding her hand out to the Doctor.

The Doctor stared at her for a moment before puckering up his lips again. Rose gave him a withering look and tried to grab the book but the Doctor shoved it into Jack's hands. Jack gleefully ran across the room with it while the Doctor pointed to his puckered lips.

"What? You want me to kiss ya and I'll get my book back then?"

The Doctor nodded and pointed to his puckered lips. Rose balled up her hand and pointed to her fist.

"Book back please," she said. "Or fist goes in face."

"See, this book has corrupted her mind," the Doctor said over his shoulder to Jack. "She reads violent things and she reenacts them. I'm only asking for one kiss and she wants to punch me. This is why I must forbid the reading of this book."

Rose sighed and got up from the sofa. She tried to walk over to Jack but the Doctor leapt up and grabbed her, pulling her into an embrace. Rose tried not to smile while the Doctor gave her puppy dog eyes.

"Why must we be at odds?" he said sweetly.

"We're at odds because you're in here bothering me and keeping me from reading," Rose said just as sweetly.

The Doctor held her close and rocked back and forth with her while Jack snickered.

"Calm, my companion, be at peace now," he said as he rocked. "Release the violent thoughts of doing damage to my person and be mellow for a change."

He grinned when Rose's body shook with silent laughter and he kept rocking her back and forth.

"Be calm. As the Zen master Fung Shei once said, calmness is the blanket of the universe."

By now Rose was fighting hard to keep her laughter contained while the Doctor rocked her back and forth.

"Yes, that's it. Calmness," the Doctor said while Jack came up behind Rose for a closer view. "As the great Zen master, Dai Fong Chi Quo said, back up off my grill and give me peace, yo!"

Rose finally lost it and Jack grinned when she started giggling. The Doctor gave Jack a triumphant look while he continued to rock her back and forth.

"Can I have my book back please," Rose said when she sobered up enough to speak.

"No. Because desire is the root of all evil," the Doctor said. "That's what the Buddhist master, Bush Blossoms, said to his students. If you desire something it will only cause pain and that will lead to sawing the legs off puppies and that would be bad."

Rose laughed harder and Jack shook with silent laughter while the Doctor gave his friend another triumphant look.

"Bush Blossoms? Where'd ya come up with that, ya weirdo?" Rose said to the Doctor.

"He is a great Buddhist teacher I once knew. He also taught that sawing the legs off helpless women is naughty and should be avoided at all costs."

"What about sawing the legs off you?" Rose teased.

The Doctor let out a melodramatic gasp and the rocking increased.

"There, there, we mustn't think of such things," he said, patting the back of her head. "That will lead to anger and terror and pain…for me. Calm, my companion, calm."

Rose snickered and put her chin on the Doctor's shoulder.

"Has calmness descended on your person yet?" the Doctor asked.

"Yes," Rose said.

"Very good," the Doctor said, letting go. "Jack, return the book to its owner. I shall be getting a nosh in the kitchen if anyone needs me. And remember, calm, calm!" the Doctor said over his shoulder while he walked towards the living room door.

Rose took the book from Jack when he held it out to her.

"You just love following him around and seeing what he'll do next, don't cha?" she said to Jack.

"I get bored easily, I find entertainment wherever I can," Jack said, putting his hands in his pockets while he headed for the door. "Remember, no sawing the legs off things, you filthy minded girl."

"Piss off," Rose said good-naturedly.

She sat down, watched while Jack walked out of the room and with a chuckle went back to reading her book.

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