THE HIDE AND SEEK COMPETITION

Chapter One

Rose stepped outside of the TARDIS and looked around at the forest they had landed in. The Doctor had recommended a change of clothes for her and she was wearing a powder blue strapless dress, matching slippers and a blue veil trimmed with gold hiding most of her hair. She could tell the Doctor liked her outfit even though he didn't say it in words. He was wearing his usual brown suit, white trainers and trench coat. Rose adjusted her veil while the Doctor closed the TARDIS door. In front of them was a large stone arena and she could see people from different planets heading inside through a large opening. The Doctor took Rose's hand and they walked over to a dirt path and headed for the queue. Rose could see several people of different species were wearing similar outfits to hers which made her feel better since she wondered if the people really did wear the outfit she was wearing or if the Doctor said that so he could see her in it. Not that she minded if the Doctor had lied since she enjoyed seeing his expression when she first came into the console room.

They reached the back of the queue. Rose studied the couple in front of them. They were both cat humanoids, the male was lionine with a full mane. He was wearing a white toga and sandals on his large feet. His large tail swung lazily back and forth behind him. The woman looked like a cheetah and she had on a purple outfit similar to Rose's. The woman looked over her shoulder when she felt Rose's eyes on her.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to stare," Rose said.

The woman turned completely around.

"You are human?" she said.

"Yeah, I am. What are you?"

"I am felinus. I'm called Tarana and this is my mate, Cephos," she said, pointing to the lion.

The lion smiled and turned towards them. The four of them made polite conversation as the queue moved along and by the time they reached the registration booth by the opening they were laughing and joking like old friends. Cephos registered him and Tarana at the booth and then they stood back and waited for the Doctor and Rose to finish. Once they were registered and received black bracelets, Cephos took his mate and his new friends out of the arena through a different exit towards a café he knew of. The café was built of white cement in a rectangular shape. Trees on all sides provided shade. They walked through a small wooden door and headed for a table near the back. They sat down and a woman with pale pink skin took their orders. Rose allowed the Doctor to order for her since he was familiar with the choices on the menu. When the drinks came in tall glasses, Rose examined hers. It was a pale pink liquid, nearly the color of their waitress's skin. She sipped it and licked her lips. The liquid tasted like cherry cola with a bit of an extra zing to it. The Doctor's drink was a pale purple and he sipped it languidly while listening to Cephos speak.

While they chatted and ate their meals, Rose could feel eyes staring at her. She finally looked behind her and saw a large man sitting three tables away from her. He had a red cyborg eye and numerous battle scars all over his face. He also had a metallic prosthetic hand and he used that hand to raise his glass of green liquid to her. Rose gave him a polite smile and waved hello. The man grinned at that and nodded. Rose frowned, noticing the man was sitting by himself. She turned back around, figuring his partner was in the toilet or doing something else. She turned her attention back to Tarana but she still sensed the man was watching her.

After dinner, the four friends decided to room together before the competition started in the morning. The dormitories were extremely long and made of cement and looked like the restaurant only larger. When they got inside, they found to their dismay that men slept on the left side of the building while women stayed on the right. Both Rose and Tarana said their goodbyes and headed with several other women to their rooms. Each room had two bunkbeds with a long wooden table and a high backed wooden chair between the beds. Each bed was made with sheets and a blue blanket. At the end of the building was the communal bathroom and toilet. Rose and Tarana chose a room near the toilet and took the bunkbed on the left. Rose took the bottom bunk while her friend took the top one. Soon they were joined by another human, a young woman with long brown hair and grey eyes who was wearing a sports bra and jean shorts and a humanoid lizard who had on a leather bra and pants. The four women sat on their beds and chatted and Rose felt like being in an intergalactic slumber party. The other humans name was Sharon and she had fallen in love with an alien man and had gone with him back to Andromeda. They 'd married and had a child. The man's name was Seltok and he was participating in the games while their child was being looked after by a relative. The lizard woman was called Ssslisa. She came from Frongia and was here with her mate for the games. The four women compared notes on their men and were giggling about them when Rose suddenly sensed someone passing by the open door. She turned her head just in time to see the man with the cyborg eye going past. He had been looking right at her as he went by. Rose rolled her eyes at him and turned her attention back to the other women in the group.

"So, Rose," Tarana said, "is the Doctor your mate then?"

"Nah, we're just best mates," Rose said.

"Do you want him to be?" Sharon said. "I mean, obviously I have no objections to humans being with aliens."

"Well…" Rose said.

The others prompted her to speak when she hesitated and she giggled and nodded.

"I love him, yeah," she said. "I think he loves me but he won't say it. He gives me those little looks though and the way he acts around me, I can tell he fancies me."

"Was this his idea?" Ssslisa asked.

"Yeah, it was."

"Maybe this is some sort of kinky thing. You hide and he finds you," Sharon said.

Rose giggled when the other girls oooed at that and teased her. She excused herself to go to the toilet and as she was going out the door, she gasped when she nearly ran into the man. He had been standing by their doorway listening and he smirked at her shock.

"Clear off, mate!" Rose said. "I'm not interested in ya if that's what you're hopin'."

"No, but I'm interested in you…and your friend," the man said in a deep, gravelly voice.

"What'd ya mean by that? Who are you?"

The man chuckled and Rose flinched when he ran his finger down her cheek. He winked at her and walked past her. Rose watched him walk away and decided to tell the Doctor about him as soon as she was done using the toilet.

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