Chapter Two

After telling her friends where she was going, Rose headed towards the other side of the building. When she reached the halfway point and moved on, she began passing men instead of women and she asked the men she saw if they knew where the Doctor or Cephos were rooming, describing them to the people she met. She didn't have any luck until the fourth man she met, a little blue dwarf with a couple of horns growing out of his head like a demon. The man introduced himself as Nanos and told her that he was rooming with the Doctor and Cephos. He led her back to their room and the Doctor smiled when he saw Rose.

"Miss me already? Or do you want to risk the wrath of the authorities and room with me?" he teased.

"Doctor, can I talk to you for a moment?" Rose said.

"Sure. Sorry, chaps, gotta go for a moment. My companion needs me," the Doctor said, sliding off the top of his bunk bed.

Rose noticed that no one was below him while Cephos and Nanos were using the other bunkbed.

"You only have three in your room then?" she asked as the Doctor stepped outside with her.

"Yeah, for the moment. We've been getting to know one another though," the Doctor said, hooking his thumb back at the room. "What about you? Settling in?"

"Yeah, we're all filled up and Tarana and I are getting along with our roommates. But that's not why I'm here."

She told him about the man and described him and what he said to her. The Doctor's face darkened when she told him what he said to her.

"They have security here, I've seen it. Best to tell them what's going on," the Doctor said. "I don't know who this man is but considering I've made a lot of enemies over the years, he could be someone with a grudge and I don't want to spend our time here sorting him out. Come on."

Rose took his hand and followed him back towards the center of the building. When they reached the entrance to the outside, they noticed a man wearing a white shirt, red waistcoat and black trousers. He was wearing a small nametag on the right side of the waistcoat so the Doctor stopped him and Rose told him what was going on. The man asked her to describe her stalker and when she finished, he nodded.

"That's Johnson, we hired him as part of the competition this year," the man said.

"What'd ya mean?" Rose said.

"Well, we added a new element to the competition. Not only will your partner be looking for you but Johnson and several others will be chasing people out of their hiding places and making it harder for the seekers to find you."

"What's he doing with me then?" Rose said. "The competition hasn't even started."

"Well, some of the predators as we call them are going around the dormitories, acting tough and pretending to threaten some of the participants. Psychological warfare, if you like."

"I see. Well, they shoulda said something," Rose said.

"Sorry, I thought everyone was informed about the predators," the man said.

"No harm done. She was just a bit frazzled," the Doctor said. "We've had our share of stalkers and she came to me because she was worried."

"Again, my apologies. I'm Daryl. If you need anything, please come and find me. We want your stay here to be pleasant."

They thanked him and left to go back to Rose's room. The Doctor followed behind; escorting her to make sure she wasn't harassed again. Johnson was nowhere in sight and Rose relaxed when they reached her room. The Doctor peeked in and waved at the other women.

"You're having fun without me, that should be illegal," he said to Rose.

"Nah, I'll never have as much fun as I have with you," Rose said.

"Oh, is this him?" Sharon said as she and the three women peeked around the door. "My, my, he's cute."

Rose giggled when the Doctor blushed at that. She and Ssslisa introduced themselves and they chatted for a moment before the Doctor decided to head back to his room. Rose waved goodbye and the women watched him as he turned and headed back to the men's side of the building.

"He is very cute," Sharon said as they went back inside the room. "You're very lucky."

"Yes, he is. He used to look different to that but he regenerated."

"I've heard about that," Ssslisa said as they sat back down on their beds. "We have legends of the Time Lords on my home world. They can change their faces."

"Not just that, their whole bodies," Rose said.

She explained regeneration to Sharon and Tarana. While she did, she thought she saw Johnson passing by the door again and she fought to keep her anger in check. She figured he was doing that to everyone and she was taking it personally. He was playing mind games with everyone and she was falling for it. She had to be better than that if she hoped to win.

After a while, a man brought in a tray filled with glasses of milk and biscuits. Rose sipped the milk and thought it tasted very sweet, much sweeter than cow milk. The cookies were sweet too and she devoured three of them along with the glass of milk. After they were finished snacking, the man came back around to take the tray away and the women decided to go to sleep. Rose and Tarana removed their veils and put them on the table and Ssslisa turned out the overhead light and got into bed. Rose listened as her friends fell asleep but it felt weird lying in a strange bed surrounded by people she barely knew. She was used to her bed and the soft wheezing of the TARDIS and the Doctor occasionally coming in and snuggling with her. She wondered what he was doing now. She knew he rarely slept so she decided to go and see if he was still awake. She got out of bed and looked out the door. The corridor was dimly lit now and she heard soft snores coming from the other rooms. She couldn't see Johnson or Daryl or anyone else so she slowly walked towards the men's rooms. She reached the front door but still no sign of Daryl. She wondered if he was on a break or was outside doing something before she hurried past the door to the men's area. Some of the snores were louder here and she giggled when she heard some men telling some of the snoring men to shut up. She reached the Doctor's room and peeked inside. Cephos was snoring loudly and it was a half snore, half roar as he slept. The Doctor was in the top bunk staring up at the ceiling, wide awake as usual. She crept inside, hoping to sneak up on him but as usual, his senses were on red alert. He turned his head towards her and an impish grin spread over his face.

"You're not s'posed to be in here, Rulebreaker," he said softly.

"Can't sleep. I s'pose you can't either with the racket Cephos's makin'," Rose said.

The Doctor chuckled.

"Yes, he's quite loud. I just hope he doesn't kick in his sleep or I might get toe claws in me bum," he said, pointing downwards.

"I like my roommates but it's not the same here. I miss being on the TARDIS."

"So do I," the Doctor said. "At least there I could walk around; here I have to stay in my room. Or I thought I did until you popped in here. You really are being a rule breaker, you know that, right?"

"I just wanted to see ya."

"Well, you've seen me, now scamper back to your room, little mouse, before we get thrown out of the competition. You'll be okay, trust me. I have my ears attuned to your screams and I'll be down the corridor lickety split if you bellow."

"It isn't that. I'm just lonely for ya."

The Doctor beamed and laid his hand on her cheek.

"Rose, you better go back to your room," he said tenderly.

Rose nodded. She beckoned to him and he leaned over the bed and smiled when she kissed his cheek and whispered goodnight in his ear. He whispered goodnight in return and ran the back of his fingers down her cheek before she reluctantly headed out the door and back to her room.

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