Chapter Six

Rose was given a low wooden bed in the servant's quarters with other women. Most of the women were foreigners and thanks to the TARDIS, Rose was able to talk to them and learn their stories. Although she was amused that the women were so amazed she could speak all their languages fluently. Since everyone in the room was topless, Rose soon got over her self conscious reaction to it and after awhile, ignored it since everyone else did. She did find that it was more comfortable in the stifling heat. Most of the women filled her in on their duties and what was expected of her. They also had some interesting stories about Hatshepsut and the royal court and she learned that the teenager sitting beside Hatshepsut was her nephew Thutmose the Third. Rose found it interesting that the foreman had the same name but she figured he might have been named for Thutmose the First or Second.

The beds had no pillow and only a thin piece of linen to cover up with. Rose looked at the ivory headrest that was supposed to support her neck while sleeping and figured it would be uncomfortable but it actually made her more comfortable by giving her neck the support it needed and despite her earlier misgivings about it, she fell asleep quickly.

The next morning, Senet came into the room before dawn and announced loudly that they needed to get up and begin their duties. Rose stored her linen blanket and neck rest in a small wooden box under her bed. She freshened up and tried as best she could to apply the kohn eye makeup. One young girl from Nubia noticed her fumbling with it and offered to help. Her name was Tawaret and she was near Rose's age, although she said she'd been serving the royal court for ten years. She had her head shaved like everyone else but she was tall, thin and angular and Rose still thought she was beautiful. She bonded with the young Nubian and Tawaret took her around and they did their duties together.

Towards the end of the day, they were cleaning a huge room together. There was polished wooden and gold furniture which they had to keep polished in addition to sweeping the floor and cleaning the little knickknacks on the tables. There was a huge painting on the wall of Amun behind Hatshepsut, Amun's hand on his daughter's shoulder while she smiled beatifically. There were also several windows, once again positioned up near the ceiling. Rose was polishing a golden table that had lion feet under one of the windows while Tawaret swept the floor with a straw broom.

"You missed a spot."

Rose jerked her head up when she heard the Doctor's voice above her and saw him peering into the window above her. She noticed his head was now shaved.

"You missed a spot," he repeated, pointing down at the table.

"Oh, shut up," Rose said.

"Greetings, my friend," the Doctor said while Tawaret turned to see who was talking. "I'm having a rest, taking a break from painting and I peeked into this window and lo and behold…"

"My God, we're on the third floor," Rose said while Tawaret walked up.

"Tell me something I don't know," the Doctor said. "This painting is huge. I'm working on Hatshepsut's white linen dress. They gave me something easy to do, probably because I'm new. I see you made a friend in the meantime."

Rose introduced Tawaret to him and the Doctor waved.

"Greetings. I'm Apollon," he said to her. "Nice to meet you."

"And you," Tawaret said.

"We're doing our duties together," Rose said. "She's showing me around."

"See, you didn't need me, you found someone else to help you," the Doctor said.

"And I notice you got shorn too, little sheep," Rose said.

"Yes, Meritamun did it last night. Hated to lose my lovely locks but actually, this is more comfortable. My hair isn't heating my scalp up. Plus, it's a bit more hygienic. They had a problem with fleas and lice here which is part of the reason they shaved. So I suppose I can't get a giggle off your Sinead O'Connor look any longer."

"The servants here seem to have the easier jobs than the slaves," Rose said to him. "We're just cleaning. I noticed a few slaves were dirtier than we are. Tawaret said a few of them are sent to the quarries to mine the blocks for the monuments and some are sent to clean the stables. We're lucky, compared to them."

"Tawaret, how did you come to work at the palace?" the Doctor said to her.

"I was sent here by my father when I was eight. My father was a chief of my tribe and he sent me to demonstrate his loyalty to the Pharaoh."

"And because your father was important, they made you a servant rather than a slave," the Doctor said.

Tawaret nodded.

"I think that's part of the reason people are separated into the two different classes," the Doctor said. "I'm assuming most of the slaves were probably taken in battle at some point and servants volunteer to work or are tribute like Tawaret."

"The ones I've seen are mistreated as well," Rose said. "They've beaten some of the slaves. Makes me think of Nut."

"She's alright. I looked after her. I gave her the last of my jelly babies though. I'll have to sneak back to the TARDIS and get another bag for her. I can't do much for her at the moment but at least I brought a bit of happiness into her daily routine…"

He turned his head around when Rose heard someone yelling at him. He groaned and turned his head back to the window.

"Sorry, girls, gotta get back to work. You better do the same but it was nice having this chat."

"Be careful, Doctor, don't fall off," Rose said.

"I will, believe me, I'm being very careful walking around up here. The scaffolding is wooden so I'm watching where I step. But they're looking for people to do some painting indoors so I'm going to ask if I can do it so I can see you more often. But for now…cheers, my friends."

He waved goodbye and Rose and Tawaret did the same. Rose sighed as he moved away from the window. Tawaret was good company but she missed him and wished he was beside her so they could tease each other and talk while they worked. Tawaret turned away and went back to sweeping the floor while Rose went back to polishing the table.


At the end of the day, Rose went back to the room without Tawaret and called for the Doctor. To her relief, he was still there and came back to the window.

"Heading home?" Rose said to him.

"Um…" the Doctor said, glancing up. "About another half hour, I think. But we are finishing what we're doing and then I have to clean my brushes and store everything for tomorrow. Mertiamun says hello. He's working on Amun so he's on another scaffold but I met him at lunch and told him about our conversation. He actually liked you, him and Nefer, so he said to take care of yourself. Oh and Senemut, their child, is quite friendly. She helps her mother and Nut from time to time when she's not out playing with her friends. Have to say though; it's not the same without you there. I keep thinking of something to say to you and you're not there. I hate it."

"So do I," Rose said. "The other servants are friendly enough but I miss having a giggle with you."

"Really?" the Doctor said happily. "I feel the same way. Nice to know I'm being missed by you."

"I have to attend a banquet tonight," Rose said.

"Oh? Blast, that sounds like fun," the Doctor said.

"I have to play a musical instrument."

"Really? Which one?"

"I told them I didn't know how to play one so they gave me a tambourine, I suppose they think I can't cock that up," she said.

"Well, you can if you have no rhythm," the Doctor said.

"I wish you were coming to it," Rose said wistfully.

"You just miss me in every way, don't you?"

"Yes," Rose said, nodding.

The Doctor beamed at that.

"I miss you as well," he said fondly. "I wish I could come tonight but I doubt they let the laborers attend palace functions. But I'll be thinking of you and I'll tell Nut you said hello. But I better go now, Rose. I gotta put my supplies away and meet Meritamun down on the ground. Good luck with the banquet."

"Good night, Doctor."

"Good night, Rose."

Rose watched while he moved away from the window. She sighed again, longing for him to be with her while she turned and headed out of the room.

Back                         Home                              Doctor Who Main Page                          Next

Your Name or Alias:      Your E-mail (optional):

Please type your review below. Only positive reviews and constructive criticism will be posted.