The Doctor gritted his teeth, summoning up all the mental discipline at his disposal and tried to blot out the sounds echoing around his TARDIS. It was no good: they still got through. He circled the console, looking for a distraction. He slipped on his glasses, peering intently at the rise and fall of the complex glass column, searching for the tell-tale signs of the journey's progress. But the rhythm of the up and down motion seemed to underscore the noises drifting through the corridor to him.
"How can they still
be at it?" He said aloud as he tucked his glasses back into his suit and
moved to a different panel on the console. "We've been in flight over an
hour now. How can they still be going like that?"
He was already beginning to regret letting Rose bring Mickey onboard. It was bad enough that he'd proved so utterly useless: he'd had to rely on Arthur the Horse in the end, but the constant noises coming from their room. It was enough to drive someone to distraction.
"Maintenance!" The Doctor threw off his coat, tossing it behind him so it landed on one of the console room's buttresses, "bit of hard graft, that'll take my mind off it!" He wrenched up one of the access panels and climbed down into the complicated interior of his magnificent ship. Within a few moments the sonic screwdriver was whirring happily; the Doctor trying to focus on its resonance as it gently probed into the TARDIS.
But he could still hear them. Mickey and Rose. One high-pitched, almost shrieking, the other well the other was Rose. The Doctor let out an exasperated sigh.
"They're only human," he told himself sternly, "it's natural for them, instinctive." He nodded and absently prodded a dimensional oscillator, "but do they have to do it so loud and so long?" The oscillator spat sparks and the TARDIS lurched sideways. The Doctor clung to the underside of the console until everything settled again. The sounds from down the corridor didn't even pause.
Why couldn't he just let
them get on with it? Was he jealous?
"Nah," he said out loud, "I think it's great, they've got all that catching up to do." He didn't sound very convincing, though.
He hauled himself out of
the maintenance hatch and covered it over again.
"Music, yes, got that old eight-track somewhere," he searched the various bits and pieces of the console, found the ancient cassette player and produced a tape from his jacket pocket. He held it up to the light to read the inscription.
"To the Doctor, so long and thanks for all the Quarks, love Marc."
The sounds of T-Rex began to fill the console room.
"Twentieth-Century boy," the Doctor sang along. "Though why you didn't go with Thirtieth Century, like I said I'll never know. Anyone would think you didn't enjoy our trip."
Suddenly Marc Bolan's voice lowered an octave, slowed and stopped. Irritably the Doctor popped the cassette out, leaving a trail of tape behind, screwed up beyond use. Angrily he tore the tape out and flung the cassette across the room, leaving him alone with the noises from Mickey and Rose's room. The sounds; the voices; why won't they stop?
"Right," the Doctor straightened, snatched his coat from where it lay and tugged it on, "I'm the Captain of my ship, and it's time to lay down some ground rules." He put his glasses on again for added authority, stalked out of the console room and deeper into his ship.
"I won't have it. Not on my ship. They need some dignity," he grumbled
as he passed the art gallery, "they can do what they want off ship, but
He reached the door, the voices the other side seemed to be reaching a climax. He considered knocking but no this was his ship. He grabbed the handle and burst through.
Mickey and Rose looked up with same guilty expression: breathlessly caught in the act. The Doctor stood in the doorway, shoulders hunched, fury on his face.
He glared at each of them in turn, then took a deep breath for an indignant bellow: "It's been over an hour! Will you please stop arguing!
He jabbed a finger in the boy's direction: "Mickey, come and help me do some calibrating."
Sheepishly, Mickey followed him through to the console room, Rose trailing behind.
"Right, hold that button down," the Doctor pointed, "don't let it go until I say."
The shouting match already seemed a memory to Mickey as his face broke into a grin. Rose joined the Doctor the other side of the console but for once, Mickey didn't feel the usual pang of jealousy as she stood side by side with him. He found the switch the Doctor had indicated. It was a very important looking button, with wires and tubes coming out of it and everything. He pressed it with a single finger and was rewarded with an astonishing bleeping noise.
Finally, he thought happily, I get to be useful!