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Title: A Chapter Can Be a Book
Rating: All Ages
Characters: Ten/Rose, Reinette, Jack, Donna, Wilf, Jackie
Summary: It's 'The Decoy Bride' with Doctor Who characters. The Doctor is meant to be marrying Reinette, but in order to confuse the press, they use a decoy. Things don't go according to plan...
A/N: First things first, huge thanks to silverlunarstar for agreeing to beta this. And secondly, it's less an AU and more a rewrite with different characters. And thanks to kahki for the title.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 |


On a small beach on Hegg, the Doctor and Rose walked side by side, headed to Jackie’s B and B in the hopes of finding some dry clothes.

Still feeling slightly shocked at what had almost happened to her, Rose had finally managed to stop shivering long enough to say, “Thanks for saving my life.”

“Well, I’m sorry you nearly drowned,” said the Doctor, glad that she hadn’t.

Rose half-smiled. “Don’t be. My life flashed in front of my eyes and half way through I was just bored. Being drowned was the highlight.”

Surprised by the fact, the Doctor realised he actually agreed. “Me too actually. It was kind of nice to do something productive for once.”

There was no point denying it at this stage, Rose thought and admitted, “You were right, about me staying with me mum. I am a loser.”

“Well, you were right,” the Doctor said, deciding that honesty would be for the best, “About my book being a bit soulless. And about me being blocked. Guess I’m the bigger loser.”

“I’m definitely the bigger loser,” replied Rose, feeling like she’d earned the right to that title what with working in a shop, single and living with her mum.

Why he felt the need to argue, the Doctor wasn’t sure, but for some reason, he felt like he should. “No, no. Not by a long shot.”

Rose almost rolled her eyes and instead of arguing just asked, “Why d’you have to be so competitive?”

___________________________________________________________

Back at the B and B, the Master sat at his computer, listening to the bug he’d placed on the Doctor’s phone, hoping to find out Reinette’s whereabouts. As he heard part of the Doctor’s voice mail message, he was rather saddened by the fact that someone as wonderful as Reinette would choose to marry someone whose best excuse for not writing was computer issues. It wasn’t exactly original.

Skipping forwards, he reached Reinette’s message and listened intently. “Doctor, I am sorry. I cannot get into the castle. That moment in your book, that place where they kiss? Meet me there. Bring the priest and the rings. I love you, I do lo…”

Before he had to listen to her affirm her love, the Master hit the stop button and shut his laptop. He went to pick up Jackie’s copy of the Doctor’s book to find the place Reinette was talking about. If he could find it, then he could beat the Doctor there and win the love of his life.

___________________________________________________________

“You know this is very kind of you, but there’s really no need,” said Jackie.

While she sounded much like her normal self, Jackie was a little worried as Reinette Poisson was pushing her wheelchair rather rapidly down the hill towards a cliff. She might not have been thrilled with life and was still hoping to be thrown into a volcano, but Jackie wasn’t sure she wanted to be pushed over a cliff on Hegg.

Reinette, still angry at Jackie for the part she played in ruining her wedding, said, “I insist!”

Trying to calm Reinette down a little bit, Jackie said, “I thought you were wonderful in ‘The Wolf and the Moon’.”

As she removed the glasses and scarf she’d used as part of her disguise, Reinette sighed. “Thank you for spreading the word about my wedding.”

Jackie briefly struggled for a response before she simply asked, “How’d it go?”

“It did not, thanks to you,” replied Reinette.

Jackie sighed and looked away, wondering how she would have felt if it was Rose.

___________________________________________________________

Sitting on the front bench of the B and B was a note from Jackie, ‘Gone to get rich and drunk. Back perhaps. Mum x’, that Rose didn’t see as she ran through to find some towels for her and the Doctor.

The Doctor followed Rose into the kitchen, amazed that this woman, who almost drowned thanks to him, was worried about him as well as herself. Rose grabbed some towels from the linen closet and walked back over to where the Doctor was waiting. They stood there for a moment, just staring at each other. Though neither would admit it, they both felt oddly nervous and while Rose knew why she was nervous, the Doctor was a little unsure. But they did shortly realise that they needed some sort of barrier to be able to get changed in privacy.

As one they noted the inside clothes line just above them and Rose quickly went and lowered it, letting the sheet that was hanging from it create a screen. When she passed the Doctor some towels, she gave a small smile as an attempt at reassurance. In all honesty, the Doctor wasn’t sure who she was trying to reassure more, him or herself.

Placing the towels down, the Doctor started to undress. He could hear Rose doing the same on the other side of the sheet that hung between.  Taking the first real opportunity he’d had all day, the Doctor began to think about what a day he was having. At the start of the day, he was prepared to get married to Reinette. Instead he had ended up married to Rose.

While he would never cheat on Reinette, he had to admit to himself, that the idea that on the other side of the sheet Rose was getting undressed was more tempting than he would have thought. The Doctor would never deny that Rose was attractive. Maybe not in the same way Reinette was, that almost statuesque beauty, but in more lively way. Despite being obviously a bit down, Rose seemed to embody life.

The Doctor loved Reinette, he didn’t doubt that, but as the day went on and he spent more time around the, admittedly infuriating but very attractive, woman on the other side of the sheet he had been wondering. Was he marrying Reinette because he loved her and couldn’t stand the idea of being without her or was he marrying her because it seemed to be expected of him, as the one she chose?

“Knock, knock,” said Rose, distracting the Doctor from his thoughts.

And her from her own, most of which had been Rose trying to tell herself that, despite her attraction, and that had been hard to admit, to the Doctor, she really needed to control herself. This was a man who was engaged to another woman, and not just any woman, but Reinette Poisson. She knew the lecture wasn’t working when she accepted the fact that she hadn’t felt so alive in years and only a small part of that had to do with almost drowning and the vast majority had to do with the company she was keeping.

The Doctor slid the sheet to the side and gave Rose an enquiring look. She bit her lip and turned to face away from him, hoping he’d understand that she needed help with the buttons that ran down the back of the dress.

As Rose tried to avoid giving any outward sign of how it felt to have the Doctor unbutton the dress, he was in the process of telling himself that it was wrong to want to run his fingers down her back to see if she would shiver.

The dress was opened and the Doctor helped it fall the floor as Rose let out a tiny gasp. Watching as she lifted the straps on her bra and slip, he tried to remind himself that he was meant to have taken that dress off Reinette, but couldn’t help imagining he was helping push those straps down.

Rose turned to face the Doctor and gave him the once over, taking in his wet, floppy hair, his lean body, which was under a currently see through undershirt and his long legs.

She couldn’t keep quiet when she reached the top of his legs and had to ask. “Quills?”

The Doctor glanced down at his boxers and sort of smiled, more at the fact that Rose had been looking than the memory, and explained, “Christmas present from Reinette,” he laughed in a self-depreciating manner, “she thought it might help with the writing.”

Simultaneously they turned away from each other and started towelling themselves off.  While the Doctor was doing that, he noticed a poster of a bagpiper, from 1980 on the wall. The reason it really caught his notice was the numerous darts sticking out of it.

He always was curious, so he had to ask. “Must’ve been a terrible concert.”

“Dad. Gone. We don’t talk about him,” replied Rose, with a brief look at the poster. It had been hard for her and her mum, after her dad had run off and Jackie needed some way to deal with her anger.

The Doctor felt slightly uncomfortable. “Oh, okay.”

___________________________________________________________

Reinette and Jackie had reached the edge of the cliff, which overlooked a small cove and numerous large rocks.

“Throw the money over. The money, or the wheelchair, with you in it still,” threatened Reinette; she waited a moment, surprised when Jackie didn’t immediately throw the money over.“Go on!”

Jackie held the money tightly for a moment. In her hands was her escape from Hegg. Could she really let it go?

Reinette felt she had waited long enough, getting angrier and slightly confused, asked, “Did you hear me?”

“Yes,” said Jackie, while she didn’t believe Reinette would actually push her over, there was still a slight chance. “I’m thinking about it.”

When it came down to it, Jackie thought about Rose, realised she couldn’t take the risk and threw the money over, watching it fall and spread across the rocks of the cove.

___________________________________________________________

Carrying mugs of tea back to the lounge room for the Doctor and herself; Rose looked at him wrapped in towels, in front of the fireplace, and couldn’t help thinking that he might look better like that than in his wedding suit.

She knelt, resting back on her heels and, to break the silence, said, “It needs… everything.”

“I like it,” the Doctor replied, glancing around the room as he sipped his tea, though he noted, “April, really is the cruellest month.”

Rose looked at what the Doctor was referring to, the calendar with of Hegg men, currently showing, “Poor Mickey.”

Worried he’d said something wrong and though he’d deny it, slightly jealous, the Doctor asked, “Sorry, is he your…?”

“No, should’ve been probably, but I only go for arty types with monster commitment issues,” replied Rose, as she thought that maybe it was too much information but continuing anyway, “My ex-fiancé was in a band. They just had a top forty hit with the song ‘Bed hopper’.”

“So, the clues were there,” said the Doctor, trying to make light of it; he wanted to see Rose look less hurt.

Rose, knowing that the time with Jimmy wasn’t her best, sighed. “I thought it was ironic. Stupid. But then I also thought he liked girls who, you know, give intelligent feedback.” She paused and the Doctor grimaced in sympathy.

Taking a moment Rose, gathered herself and continued, “And so he told me I was just one song, not a whole album. I’m finished with relationships.”

The Doctor tried to comfort Rose and said, “They say it’s when you stop looking that you…”

“Get married?” interrupted Rose, a comment which elicited a small laugh from them both.

She wasn’t sure why she added anything, but Rose was warm and comfortable, enjoying the company and wanting to enjoy the light mood. “Actually, marriage is becoming surprisingly bearable. At least the fact you are going to leave me for another woman has been agreed in advance.”

The Doctor smiled, amazed that someone could find the bright side of situation, but glad Rose could.

Rose let her curiosity get the best of her and questioned, “What’s she like? I s’pose she’s just like anybody else. Just a normal girl?”

Reminded that he was meant to be spending this time finding Reinette and not entertaining thoughts about Rose, the Doctor was hit with a bit of guilt and replied, “No, she’s rare, and fine, and peculiar, and modest, and generous, and really, really nice. And brilliant.”

Rose rolled her eyes.

“At everything,” the Doctor finished without having noticed Rose’s response.

Knowing there was nothing real she could offer in comparison to the achievements and attributes of Reinette Poisson, Rose decided to have a bit of fun. “But! Can she do this?” she asked, as she blew on her spoon and balanced it on the end of her nose before grinning proudly.

In the face of Rose’s tongue-touched grin, the Doctor couldn’t help but respond with his own as he replied, “Nooo, I don’t believe she can.”

The Doctor watched as Rose leaned forward and let the spoon fall off her nose as she giggled. He realised there was something to be said for someone who could be through so much, but still take the time to make a joke and grin like she’d never been hurt.

___________________________________________________________

Jackie was impressed, something that did not happen often, as she asked Reinette, “So you did all that with just candle wax and powder?”

“Yes, is it all off?” Reinette asked, glad to finally be free of the mask she had been wearing to hide herself.

“Yes. You’re so beautiful. I’m sorry I sold your story,” said Jackie, hopeful that should could explain why she’d done it. “I need to get off this island you see, and soon. And I need to see the world and be thrown into a volcano. It is my destiny!”

Reinette had a moment of revelation. “Oh my, I have just realised who you are. You’re Maggie, the ornithologist’s wife.”

Jackie wasn’t sure what she was on about, though she did wonder if it had to do with that rather dull book.

“The Doctor based her on you. Maggie! Who would not bend, who turns on her oppressors!” Reinette enthusiastically explained.

Jackie, not sure how to explain she didn’t have the faintest clue what Reinette was talking about, decided instead to agree, “Yes, that’s me.”

Reinette couldn’t believe it; she was meeting the real life version of her hero. “You have been such an inspiration to me.”

“Thanks,” said Jackie, trying to shrug it off. She was actually pleased when Reinette offered her a hug, but who was this Maggie anyway?

___________________________________________________________

Over in the Hegg Media Centre, the editor of ‘Stars Today’ had gathered all the photographers he could find to make an offer.

“I’ve just been kicked in the face by the most beautiful woman in the world, who is now walking around outside dressed as my old boarding school matron. I will pay two hundred grand for that cover shot. Go and get it.”

He smiled as he watched them scramble from the tent.

___________________________________________________________

Rose was packing some things into a bag when the Doctor walked back into the kitchen and cleared his throat to gain her attention. She turned to face him and struggled to keep from bursting into laughter.

Before her stood the Doctor in the only dry men’s clothes they had. Her father’s from the last time he’d been seen, rather tight, high waisted tartan pants, a shirt that would have barely past as fashionable in the seventies, and a fur vest over it.

“Retro classic! One hundred percent pure new wool in a stylish man’s cut, untouched since nineteen-eighty,” said Rose, a little amazed that she still thought he was attractive. There was something wrong with her, she was sure of it.

Taking the shoes Rose offered, the Doctor asked, “What would I do without you?”

“Rose, there’s money on Whale Beach, enough for us to go away!” yelled Jackie before Rose had a chance to respond. As she wheeled herself towards the kitchen Jackie continued, “But we have to get down there before the tide comes in.”

Jackie reached the kitchen stopped in shock, feeling like she was seeing a ghost and whispered, “Pete?”

Rose shook her head, “No, Mum. This is,” she glanced back at the Doctor, “my… husband.”

“Husband?” laughed Jackie, as she struggled to understand what had happened.

The Doctor felt like he should say something, to stop Rose from getting completely overwhelmed, and said, “It’s, it’s been a bit crazy. Hi, the Doc…”

“Why’s he dressed as your father?” Jackie interrupted.

Rose wasn’t entirely sure where to begin, but tried to explain, “Well, his girlfriend’s missing…”

“He has a girlfriend?” interrupted Jackie again, then realized. “Is this toilet man?”

“What?” said Rose, embarrassed and tried to signal to her mother not to continue.

Jackie didn’t notice or chose not to see as she said, “The man you made a pass at in the toilet.”

The Doctor watched the interaction between Rose and her mother with great curiosity. They were obviously close, if Rose had told her mother about that incident.

“No,” said Rose, hurriedly, trying to ignore that, before she asked the more pressing question. “Why is there money on Whale Beach?”

“Reinette Poisson made me throw the cash I got from selling her wedding over the cliff. She’s not married. She’s on her way to cathedral Cove to meet the Doctor,” Jackie paused; she noticed how uncomfortable Rose looked and glanced to the man beside her .“Doc… Doctor?”

“Indeed,” said the Doctor as his anger rose. He found it hard to believe, but the evidence was there. “Very clever. So you manufactured this whole situation. Big sack of cash for telling the press, another for playing the decoy and when it’s all over, the same again to set the record straight. That’s quite an industry you made out of ruining other people’s happiness.”

Rose tried to defend herself. “That is so not…”

However, the Doctor was not prepared to listen and talked over her. “Making cow eyes at me for hours, add a little spice to the story.”

“Cow eyes?” Rose yelled, as she got both offended and angry when she wasn’t allowed to defend herself.

“Let me tell you, for a honey trap to work, there needs to be honey,” said the Doctor before he stormed out of the B and B.

Storming out, while dramatic and made him feel slightly better, might not have been the wisest course of action, especially given the sudden rain, but the Doctor had to get out of there. Despite what he had said, he struggled to believe that Rose would have set him up in such a way. From what little he’d seen of her, she did not strike him as the type to intentionally hurt anyone. However, he wasn’t entirely sure about her mother, but the Doctor recalled Jackie saying something about getting off the island and it appeared that mother and daughter would do everything for each other. It was possible he’d judged rashly, but it was his wedding day and it couldn’t have gone more wrong.

Of course, he realised the effectiveness of his storming out was ruined when he concluded he didn’t have a clue where he was going, nor was he watching, evidenced by the fact he tripped over a hedgehog.

___________________________________________________________

Jackie had watched her daughter for a few minutes before she asked a question she was sure she already knew the answer to, “Do you like him?”

“He’s an emotionally retarded arty boy who’s in love with another woman,” Rose said flatly before she sighed. “Of course I like him.”

“Did you tell him?” asked Jackie.

Rose looked down at the table they sat at and Jackie knew that she hadn’t.

While she was the first to admit she didn’t know everything, Jackie was wise enough about some things to be able to offer her daughter some, she felt, much needed advice. “A life spent making mistakes is so much better than a life spent doing nothing. Falling for your father was the best mistake I ever made. I got you.” Jackie stopped talking for a moment to look at Rose, to watch her smile in that way that said she didn’t believe her, but she wouldn’t argue. There were times when Jackie wished she could show her daughter that she had something special to offer, but for now, maybe she could get Rose to take a chance. “My worst mistake was not going after him.”

“No,” said Rose, tired of feeling like the fool when it came to men. “I would rather die.”

At this point, Jackie realised that Rose needed some tough love. “Really? Then we’ll get a big photograph of him and put it on the wall and you can throw darts at it for the rest of your life.”

___________________________________________________________

As the Master sat on the beach, he was trying to read the Doctor’s book. The problem was it was putting him to sleep. He needed to know so he could find Reinette, but the book was not making it easy. Right at that point in time, he had one thought. “Where do these stupid people kiss?”

___________________________________________________________

The Doctor approached a small house, hopeful that one of the residents would be able to help him because he was truly lost. Some small voice inside told him he probably shouldn’t have stormed off without first figuring out where he was going.

“Hello, I’m wondering if you can help me. Um, thank you,” said the Doctor as the old man who answered the door pulled him inside. “Is there a cathedral nearby or any other of coves? I’ve become rather lost.”

Rather than answer, the happily smiling old man turned back out the door and brought his wife inside, whom, the instant she saw the Doctor, started smiling as well.

“Oh great, now I’ve been recognised,” mumbled the Doctor, before he continued loudly. “Yes, I am the Doctor, I am marrying Reinette Poisson. Well, probably. If you could try not to mention it to anyone and please don’t call the press.” He smiled, slightly uncomfortably, but wasn’t sure what to make of it when the old, smiling couple turned around to get something out of an old wooden box. When they came over to him carrying a pen he assumed they wanted him to sign a book. “All right, yes.”

The record he was given instead confused him for a moment, until the Doctor noticed that on the slip cover was a picture of man he’d seen on a poster full of darts back at the B and B. The man whose clothes he happened to be wearing.

“Oh, no no no. No, that’s not me,” he said, but the smiling old couple continued to smile and gesture to the record.

In the face of their smiles, the Doctor found he didn’t have the heart to break it to them . “Okay, who to?” After no response, he added, “I’ll just leave it blank for eBay.”

The Doctor signed the record ‘Peter T’, amazed at the joy these two seemed to take from the signed record. Unsure of what else he could do, he said, “I’ll be getting along in a moment, you’ve been very kind. But if, if you have a map of Hegg I could possibly borrow?”

The smiling old man walked round behind him to open a large wooden chest that sat beneath the window. The Doctor’s confusion grew as bagpipes were pulled out.

“Oh, no no no. No no, no. No,” he said to the old man as he was handed the bagpipes; he seemed to be getting ignored though. “Umm, I might be a bit rusty.”

The smiling woman looked at her husband and opened her arms, her husband rushed into them and, while the Doctor muttered, they started dancing. Not to the non-existent music of the bagpipes, but to a tune they seemed to know by heart.

“Beautiful,” the Doctor muttered as he realised what he’d missed in his single minded focus. “Both deaf.”

He couldn’t help but watch them as they danced. They seemed to be beyond the world around them, completely lost in the other person, with looks of adoration in their eyes and smiles. The Doctor had a small smile on his face as well and could have stayed watching them, but the couple turned in their dance to face him and the woman smiled and gestured for him to play.

“Okay, one more,” said the Doctor, as he then attempted to play the bagpipes. It was a good thing they couldn’t hear him.

___________________________________________________________

On the other hand, Rose who had decided to take her mum’s advice, heard a very badly played bagpipe and followed the noise. She glanced in the window of Caleb and Mairhead’s cottage and saw them dancing while the Doctor tried to play the bagpipes.

Rose smiled softly; he may be emotionally retarded she thought, but he wasn’t a complete lost cause if he could take the time from his search to play the bagpipes for a deaf couple to dance too. She watched for a moment longer before she pulled the door knocker.

Caleb and Mairhead saw the flag move and hurried to their door, where Rose signed to them, ‘Hello Mairhead. Caleb.’ As she finished saying hello, she saw the Doctor pop his head around the corner of the door and watch her.

‘Mild out isn’t it?’ signed Rose, to the smiling couple.

Caleb responded enthusiastically, ‘It’s this global warming.’

Not sure how to refer to the Doctor, Rose went with the truth and signed, ‘I heard my  husband playing the bagpipes,’ and almost laughed when, as one, Mairhead and Caleb turned to look at the Doctor and back at Rose in confusion before she continued, ‘It’s a long story.’

The Doctor didn’t know sign language, but he knew when he was being referred to and placed the bagpipes on the chest and walked over to the old couple. He kissed Mairhead’s hand and shook Caleb’s before he exited the cottage. “Thank you,” he said to Rose, who smiled a little. “I was just coming back to find you.”

Rose, surprised and slightly hopeful, asked, “Really?”

“Yeah, we need to get divorced,” said the Doctor.

Covering her hurt, Rose thought for a moment, remembered Reverend Harriet Jones and replied, “Yes! Yes, of course. We should go and find Reverend Jones; she’ll know what to do.”


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