Chapter One

"Oh God!" Rose said as she and the Doctor fought their way through the pelting rain. "This is horrible. Didn't you know this would happen?"

"No, because it hardly ever rains on Balbonia. The TARDIS is many things but she's not a weather forecaster," the Doctor replied.

They had landed on Balbonia to enjoy a moonlit picnic. The planet was much like Earth with green grass, forests, a wide stream with a Victorian-type purple house nearby and a starlit night with two moons. They had put a blanket down by the stream and were enjoying supper and the night sky when it started to cloud up. At first they weren't worried, not even when a few drops of rain started to fall. But then the rain fell harder and faster and by the time they decided to go back to the TARDIS, the rain was approaching a downpour. They had hiked for some time to get to the stream and while the walked back to the TARDIS, the rain pelted them and Rose used the blanket to try to protect herself, wrapping herself in it while the took off his trench coat and put the collar on his head and wrapping it around himself.

"We're not gonna make it, we're gonna drown!" Rose said as the rain stung her face and the wind picked up speed.

"I doubt we'll drown but we'll catch a cold if we stay out in this much longer," the Doctor yelled, blinking when the rain hit his eyes.

"What about that house we saw?" Rose said to him. "D'ya think they might let us stay inside until the rain lets up?"

The Doctor thought about that. They were a few miles from the TARDIS and he had no desire to go the whole way in the deluge. He nodded and both of them turned back. Luckily, they were walking with the wind now and the rain was at their backs but they were still soaked and both their hair were plastered to their faces. By the time they made it to the house about a half hour later, they were both soaked to the bone and shivering with the cold and the wind.

The house was three stories tall, painted purple with white trim and a white wooden door as well as a wraparound verandah. They walked up onto the verandah and the Doctor knocked at the door. They couldn't see any light in any of the windows and the Doctor wondered if the house was occupied. He figured they would wait for a few minutes and if there was no answer he would use his sonic screwdriver on the lock. As they waited, he glanced at Rose who was sniffling and shivering. Her hair was matted and stuck to her face and the Doctor knew she was miserable. The blanket was completely soaked, providing her with no warmth. He checked the inside lining of his coat and found it to be dry. Without explanation, he took the blanket off Rose and threw it away from her. It landed with a splat on the wooden verandah and Rose thanked the Doctor when he draped her in the coat. She grabbed the lapels and closed it shut while the Doctor knocked again.

"I don't think anyone's home," Rose said.

"Well, I'm not staying out here then," the Doctor said, reaching into the inside pocket of the jacket for his screwdriver. "If there is someone in there, we'll tell them the door was unlocked and we were in need of shelter. We both need to get warm and that overrides the need to be polite and wait for an invitation."

He used the screwdriver on the lock and opened the door. The lights were out and the Doctor reached into his trouser pocket for a torch while Rose shut the door. He turned it on while Rose shivered beside him.

"It's cold in here, feels like it hasn't been heated in ages," she said.

"Well, houses like this usually have a fireplace so let's go find one and get warm."

"Sounds good to me," Rose said.

They walked through the front parlor and through a couple of rooms before they found a fireplace. The fireplace was made of white stone with carved lion heads on each end of the mantle. The Doctor examined it and to his relief, found a few unused logs. He swung the torch around and saw a red velvet sofa at the back of the room. He noticed a patchwork quilt at the end of it and he took Rose over to it. He made her lay down and covered her with the quilt. Rose felt her skin getting warm while she watched the Doctor make an inspection of the room. There was a matching red velvet chair and a cherry wood table between it and the sofa. There were no lamps or anything that appeared modern or at least modern in the sense of Rose's time. He told Rose he would be near by and he moved into the next room with the torch. The next room was the dining room with a huge oak table and high backed chairs. There were two large oil paintings of people on the wall to the right of the table and the Doctor looked at them.

The first one was a man who looked like he was from Shakespearian times. He had long curly brown hair that reached past his shoulders and a pencil thin mustache on his thin face. He was dressed in Elizabethan clothes. The other portrait was a woman who looked a bit pale and sickly. She was thin and sallow with dark circles under her eyes. She was wearing a plain cotton dress that had a gently sloping neckline. She was smiling but it seemed like a weary smile to the Doctor. He stared at them for a moment and then continued his investigation. He moved into the next room and found the kitchen. To his relief, there were two used candles in gold candlesticks sitting on the wooden counter. He used his screwdriver and lit them. He put his torch away and guided himself back to Rose with a candle in each hand.

"Found candles, now we have a way to light the fire," the Doctor said, putting one candle on the table beside the sofa.

Rose sat up and watched while the Doctor set the other candle down by the fireplace. He fished inside his trouser pockets and found a few pieces of scratch paper. He lit them with the candle and stuffed them between two of the logs. He worked until the logs finally caught fire and then he walked to the side of the fireplace, picked up the grate and put it in front of the opening. He put the other candle on top of the mantle and stood by the fire, enjoying the warmth as the blaze grew. There was a window behind the chair and the glass shook from the wind and they could hear the rain pelting it. Rose watched the rain running down the glass in rivulets.

"Glad we're not out there," she said.

"Yes, I'm finally drying out. Felt like I never would," the Doctor said.

"Did you find anyone?" Rose said.

"I found two portraits on the wall in the next room. Man and a woman. They looked like they're from Elizabethan times. Other than that, no."

"I don't think anyone's been here in a long time," Rose said.

"Perhaps. There isn't any dust on the furniture and the wood looks newly cut," the Doctor said. "There could be someone here, they're just upstairs and didn't hear us because of the storm."

"I hope they're friendly," Rose said. "Last thing we need is someone chasing us around the house with an ax."

"I'll try to find someone," the Doctor said. "You stay here and keep warm."

"Are you sure? I could go with ya, just in case," Rose said.

"Nah, I'll be fine. Just stay here and warm up. I want to make sure we're welcome here if the house is occupied."

Rose squeezed his hand and the Doctor smiled as he squeezed back. He walked over to the mantle, took the candle down from the mantle and Rose watched as he walked back to the front parlor.

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