Chapter Fifteen

I have to admit I was a bit uneasy about leaving the Doctor behind. My Doctor's done this sort of thing before and usually it's because he's about to do something he doesn't want me to see. Something unpleasant that involves doing something nasty to someone. He never speaks about what he does which leads me to wonder how much he really is capable of. I don't know about this Doctor but I could never get the truth out of my Doctor, no matter what I did, so I learned not to ask anymore. I only know that the Oncoming Storm name and people's fear of him has to come from somewhere.

I was searching for Jack and Rory when I turned the corner and ran into River. She was leading one of the guards by the hand and he had a soppy look on his face. I noticed there was a bit of lipstick smeared across his lips. River gave me a shocked look.

"I thought you went back to your universe with Rory," she said.

"I did. We mended Rory and we came back. He's helping Jack patrol the building," I said. "What's wrong with him?" I added, pointing to the guard.

River grinned and leaned in.

"Hallucinogenic lipstick, I never leave home without it," she said softly to me. "I got this one to talk after I gave him a little kiss and he gave me some information. I was going to see the Doctor and let my friend tell him personally."

"He's with Marbella," I said. "I was helping to guard her but he asked me to leave and patrol the building. I think he's doing something to Marbella now and he didn't want me to watch."

"I have a feeling you're right. He does that sometimes," River said grimly. "I love my husband but sometimes he thinks we're too stupid to realize…"

River trailed off when she noticed I was reeling back in shock. The moment she said "husband" I stopped listening to her. I had a suspicion they had a relationship but married…was this in the future for my Doctor has well? Suddenly, I had an urge to just drop everything and leave this universe for good.

"Rose? What's wrong?" River said to me.

I looked at her face, trying to determine if she was being sarcastic and mocking me but she looked sincere. Great, the Doctor didn't tell her about me. Just like Sarah Jane. And if he was married to this woman, why did he just kiss me? Suddenly, I had an urge to slap him. I debated whether to just leave this universe for good but the Doctor needed me right now. So I decided to just shove all my emotions to the side and help them out. Then I would leave and never come back.

"Nothing, it's nothing," I said, shaking my head.

"No, Rose, it's something, I can tell," River said.

"Aren't we going to the party?" the guard said to River.

"In a moment, darling," River said quickly to him before turning her attention back to me. "Sorry, I told him he was on a date with me and we were going to a fancy dress ball to meet the Doctor. But what is really going on, Rose? You look pale."

I don't doubt that. I felt sick to my stomach as well. But I forced myself to quickly tell River who I was and that I had a relationship with the Doctor. I also told her about the kiss. River's mood darkened at that and I thought she'd say something to me but instead she told me to follow her. She asked me to show her where the Doctor was and I led her back to the cell block. We said nothing on the way back but River didn't see to be angry at me. She looked upset but I sensed it was directed at the Doctor. As for me, I didn't know what to think about her. She seemed nice enough but why did the Doctor marry her when he told me all this time that we could never be together. I felt so betrayed.

We stopped outside the cell door and River pounded on it.

"Doctor, it's me," River yelled. "Open the door and come out!"

She stepped back and looked at me. She gave me a kind smile so obviously she wasn't angry at me. The door finally opened and the Doctor tentatively stuck his head outside the door and looked at us.

"Yeah?" he said.

"We want to speak to you, both of us," River said to him. "Whatever you're doing with Marbella, it can wait."

"What about him?" the Doctor said, pointing to the guard.

"I used my lipstick on him and got him to talk. I was bringing him here to tell you what he told me but I ran into Rose on the way," River said.

"Okay…" the Doctor said in confusion.

"Just…step outside," River said, beckoning to him.

The Doctor sighed. He stepped outside and closed the door. He was about to say something when River suddenly slapped him hard across the face. The Doctor staggered back, a stunned look on his face while he held his hand to his cheek.

"What was that for?" the Doctor said angrily to her.

"I was speaking to Rose and Rose informed me that you sent her away so you could be alone with Marbella. I let it slip that we were married which visibly upset her. She then informed me that you just kissed her not ten minutes ago. Needless to say, both of us are upset," she said.

The Doctor groaned. He looked at both of us.

"How come you didn't tell her we were married?" River said to him.

"I didn't have time. I've been a bit busy, River," the Doctor said angrily.

"Is that is or were you afraid Rose would be upset?" River said. "And that would mean you wouldn't be able to kiss her if she knew?"

"I thought it best not to tell her since our wedding hasn't occurred in her universe yet," the Doctor said. "I didn't want the two of you having a catfight."

"And you weren't going to tell me of this plan of yours?" River said. "If I'd known, I would have chosen my words more carefully around her. And why did you kiss her? Was that part of the charade?"

The Doctor sighed and slumped against the wall.

"I couldn't help myself," he said weakly. "You don't know about her and how close we were. I missed her and I just…I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I momentarily lost my senses and hurt you both. I was hoping to avoid conflict between you two."

"What conflict? I figured you had relationships before me. Nine hundred years, sweetie. I wasn't counting on you being a choir boy when we started dating. She's your past lover, big deal. I've had other lovers before I met you. My mum can attest to that. I had several boyfriends when she knew me as Mels. I'm not angry that you loved Rose, I'm angry that you weren't honest with either of us about our connections to you. But of course that's de rigueur with you, isn't it? Rule one, the Doctor lies and all that?"

"I'm sorry, I really am," the Doctor said.

He looked at me, his eyes pleading for understanding.

"Did your Doctor fade away before he could finish his sentence?" he asked me.

"Yeah, he did," I said softly.

"I did the same and I regretted that. Not to mention I did something else later on that I regret. Something that hasn't happened to you yet but will happen soon."

I didn't like the sound of that but I kept my mouth shut and let him speak.

"When I regenerated, I realized that I made a lot of mistakes in my previous life. I was stupid when it came to our relationship and I didn't want to repeat the errors I made in my past life. So…when River came along, I opened my hearts to her in a way I didn't with you."

"And you married her," I said.

"Yes. But I love you both. I can't stop myself from loving you, Rose. I can't turn it on and off like a switch. Having you here rekindled some of the emotions inside me and…when I started pretending you were my slave, I thought I would take the opportunity to steal a kiss from you. That wasn't the smartest thing to do but I couldn't help myself. I had to kiss you again. I know it's not much of an excuse but it's the truth. The Doctor doesn't always lie, River," he said, looking at her. "I thought since she was leaving that I could get away with it and give her another wonderful memory of us. I hope you can forgive me. I don't want either of you to be cross with me. I want you to be friends."

He gave us a hopeful look. I looked at River and she looked at me. She grinned and let go of the guard and took my arm. The Doctor watched us while she took me about fifteen feet down the corridor. She whispered in my ear and I giggled when I heard her plan. While she was whispering, I watched the Doctor while he examined the guard. The guard was still a bit giddy and was telling the Doctor how much fun he was having at the party. I made a mental note to ask River if she had some more of her lipstick. It seemed to work pretty well. She finished telling me her plan and the Doctor watched us hopefully while we walked back to him.

"So…everything all right then? I do have to get back to interrogating Marbella," the Doctor said.

"We will forgive you on one condition," River said to him.

"And that condition is?" the Doctor said to her.

"We each get one slap at your cheek as punishment for deceiving us," River said.

The Doctor looked uneasy at that.

"You want to slap me?" he said.

"Well, it's better than a kick in the crotch, isn't it?" River said while I giggled.

The Doctor's eyes widened and I figured he was scared River might actually kick him because he quickly agreed to our punishment. I let River go first and stood back. The Doctor braced himself and River slapped him hard on the left side of the face. Then she stepped back and I stepped in front of him.

"Please don't make it Jackie strength," he said to me.

Ah-ha, that's what he was nervous about. I told him I would go easy on him before I hauled off and slapped him. He started to put his hand over his stinging cheek when River grabbed it. She looked at me and I walked around to the right side of his face and both of us kissed his cheeks at the same time. A big grin spread over the Doctor's face as we stepped back and he embraced us both.

"Thank you for not killing me," he said to us. "I'm sorry it came to this."

"Well, I consider it forgiven now that we got in a slap to your face," River said.

"And so do I," I said.

The Doctor beamed at that before turning his attention to the guard.

"So…what does he have to say to me?" he said, pointing to him.

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