Chapter Thirty Five

"This isn't bad," Rose said when they stepped inside the apartment.

The walls were made of breeze blocks that were painted grey and unadorned. There was one narrow window up near the ceiling but it had been boarded over. There was a ceiling fan with a light and when they flipped the light switch, the fan began to turn. They were in the living room. There was a battered hide-a-bed with flowers all over it, an old and chipped table that had a ceramic lamp on it. The lamp had a geisha painted on the base of it. The chair was mismatched, blue suede with a pink throw pillow on top of the cushion. There was a 21 inch TV on top of another battered table. It was up against the wall with the chair across from it, the table next to the chair and the sofa beside the table. There was a door off to the left that led to a small, basic kitchen with old appliances and wooden cabinets above the counter. When they went into it and looked around, they saw another door to the left. They went in and looked at the bedroom. The bed was queen sized and was only a frame and pillow top mattress. It was at the back of the room. There were two pillows and a faded blue blanket on it. There was one table beside it with a small black ceramic lamp on the table, a large chest of drawers and a large cupboard was near the door. To the right was the bathroom with a lime green bathtub, toilet and sink with a small cupboard. Above the sink was a medicine cabinet. The Doctor opened it and took out a small bottle of ibuprofen. He popped open the top and peered in. He saw ten tablets were left so he put the cap back on, put it back and closed the door.

"You're right, this is nice. Small, but nice. So how do we do this? Who goes where?"

"Well, I was thinking I and the women would take this one and you take the other one," Jack said.

The Doctor gave him a withering look while the women laughed. Jack shrugged and grinned.

"Okay, we have a bed in the sofa," the Doctor said. "And a bed in the bedroom. So perhaps 3 or 4 of us can stay in here?"

"I'll stay," Donna said.

"Me too," Clarice added.

"I'll stay and protect these beautiful women," Jack said.

"Then Rose, Martha and me can take the other flat, provided it also has a bed in the sofa," he said.

Rose and Martha followed him across the hall to the other apartment. The apartment was similar to the other one. It had the same arrangement as the other one, just different furniture and lamps. The Doctor checked the bed and confirmed it was a hide-a-bed.

"You ladies want the bed in the bedroom or this one?" the Doctor said. "I can take either one."

Martha wanted to be in the bed with the Doctor but she realized he was being polite by taking a bed by himself. She looked at Rose.

"What do you want?" she asked her.

"I can sleep on the sofa, did that plenty of times when I was young," Rose said with a shrug.

"Pile into the bed, all of ya!" Jack called from across the hall.

"Shut up, Harkness!"the Doctor said while the women laughed. "Actually, you take the bed. I'll be a gentleman and sleep on the sofa. Besides, it's safer back there. No window," he said, pointing up to the boarded up window.

"I'm gonna sleep with Donna and Clarice, is that alright?" Jack called from the other apartment.

"He is annoying, isn't he?" the Doctor said while Rose and Martha snickered.

"You're not sleeping with me, Sunshine!" they heard Donna yell.

"Ooo, guess Jack's fantasy of a three way has just disintegrated. Hold on. I want to talk to him about Clarice before he seduces her into bed. She just got done being the Master's concubine, she doesn't need to be Jack's as well."

He ran out the door while Rose and Martha watched. Martha glanced at Rose when she wandered back into the bedroom. She sighed, not really liking the prospect of sleeping with her rival but she decided in the interest of group harmony to give her a chance.

"I was joking, Doctor, I wasn't gonna sleep with them," she heard Jack say.

She snickered at that and sat down on the sofa.


Martha turned her head when she heard Rose calling from the bedroom.

"Yeah?" she said.

"They have clothes in this cupboard and swimming costumes! If they fit, I'm gonna go for a swim."

Martha got up and was about to go in the bedroom when the Doctor entered and shut the door.

"Now that everyone's safe, I'm gonna go out and do a bit of scavaging. We still need a few items and some rucksacks. Dinner's at five and that's…three hours from now," the Doctor said, checking his watch. "I need to find some hair dye for Rose. I cut her hair but she's still recognizable. Do you and Rose want to come with me and help or relax here?"

Martha considered that.

"If you don't mind, I want to stay here awhile and settle in. I'm tired from walking all over the Earth."

"Fair enough! Rose?"

"Yeah?" Rose said from the bathroom.

The Doctor and Martha walked to the bedroom. The Doctor stood outside the shut bathroom door and told her what he was going to do. Rose opened the bathroom door and the Doctor blinked when he saw her dressed in a two piece pink bikini holding a large towel.

"Um…I wanted to go for a swim," Rose said. "I found this in the cupboard along with some other clothes. But I can get changed if you need me."

"No, it's fine. Go ahead and relax. Martha's staying here as well. I think I can handle the scavenging. I was going to find some hair dye though. What color do you want to be?"

Rose leaned against the doorframe while she thought that over.

"Um…black, brown or ginger, whatever you can find. But nothing outrageous! Don't get me hot pink or something like that."

"Nothing outrageous! Got it!" the Doctor said. "Martha, you want to change your hair color since you're well-known as well?"

"Um…well, I s'pose I could put some red highlights in my hair if you can find some."

"Red, got it! Okay, I'll be off then. Be back in time for dinner. Don't let Jack pounce on you! Rose, enjoy your swim! Allons-y!"

Rose and Martha watched while he left the room.

"Are there any more of those?" Martha said, pointing to the bikini.

"Yeah, in a box on the floor," Rose said. "And towels are in the cupboard in the toilet."

Martha walked over the cupboard, knelt down and looked through a box filled with old clothes. He found a one piece black bathing suit. She stood up and put it against her body. Thinking it might fit her; she switched places with Rose and shut the bathroom door. She slipped out of her clothes and put the suit on. To her delight, the suit nearly fit her, just a bit loose but it was still good enough for a swim. She opened the cupboard, grabbed a brown towel. She shut the cupboard and tucked the towel under her arm. When she opened the bathroom door, she was shocked to see Rose sitting on the bed.

"I thought we'd go together," Rose said.

Martha nodded. She and Rose left the apartment and walked down the hallway. To their right was a shower room and to the left was the entrance to the pool. They used the shower room and got themselves wet, cleaning the dirt off their bodies before heading towards the swimming pool. When they got inside the room, they noticed someone was swimming laps in the Olympic sized pool. The room was large and made of breeze blocks, there were several windows scattered around the room near the ceiling but they were all boarded up and the only light source was the fluorescent lights on the ceiling. There was a diving board and some white wooden deck chairs were scattered around the deck of the pool with a couple of metal tables in between some of them. On the walls was a sign listing the rules of the pool room and several life preservers. Rose and Martha laid their towels on the nearest chairs and Martha walked over to the steps leading down to the shallow end while Rose walked to the deep end.

The woman noticed her and waved when she stopped and treaded water. She was in her late 40's with long red hair and a long scar down her right cheek. She was wearing a black bathing suit similar to Martha's. Rose waved at her and stopped.

"You're new," the woman said, treading water.

"Yeah, we just arrived," Rose said.

"You're British?"

Rose nodded.

"She is as well," Rose said, pointing to Martha. "I'm Rose Sax…Tyler and that's Martha Jones."

"I'm Grace Holloway, nice to meet you," she said. "Come in, the water's warm."

Rose tested the water with her toe, sat down on the edge and slipped in. She allowed herself to go under, wetting her hair before she kicked her way back up to the surface. She smoothed her hair back when she came out of the water and grabbed hold of the deck while Grace swam over to her.

"Are you one of the slaves?" she asked.

"No, we're traveling," Rose said while Martha swam over to them.

"I'm with the medical squad. Used to be a surgeon before the Toclafane attacked. I was based in San Francisco but I transferred to LA a few years ago because LA County General offered me more money and less hours. I was there when those things attacked the Earth. I got grazed by one of their lasers," she said, pointing to the scar on her cheek. "Now, I work for them. Not exactly honorable but it keeps me alive and I can take care of others and keep an eye on them. So are you guys by yourself?" she said as Martha came up beside Rose and grabbed the edge.

"No, there are six of us. There's two more women and two men," Rose said.

"Where are you staying?"

"In the flats near here," Martha said.

"I'm on the third floor. Are you eating supper? I'll join you guys if you're eating here."

"We are and it would be great if you did," Rose said while Martha nodded.

They swam for about an hour and a half before Rose and Martha got tired and decided to go back to their apartment. Grace decided to go with them and she swam over to another deck chair and grabbed her towel. They dried themselves off and Grace followed Rose and Martha as they left the room. They walked back to the apartment, chatting while they walked. When Rose opened the door, the Doctor was sitting on the sofa.

"I did a bit of scavaging and found some rucksacks and some clothes and a bit of food," he said. "Oh, and I got the hair…"

He trailed off when Grace came inside behind Martha and Rose.

"Grace," he said before Rose or Martha could introduce her.

Grace frowned.

"Do I know you?" she said as the Doctor stood up.

"Yes, you do, Grace. It's me. I'm the Doctor."

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