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Title: Spring Conditions
Fandom: Doctor Who
strange_charmed aka kilodalton
Characters: AU Ten/Rose
Summary: AU Ten/Rose. John Smith is desperate to impress Jeanne Poisson - the girl of his dreams - by learning to ski, but his ski lessons at an out-of-the-way ski lodge change things in ways he never could have expected..
inspired by a skiing AU prompt from kelkat9.
Rating: Teen

It’s not a real race, of course – John knows that if she were trying, Rose would have beat him as effortlessly as she’d destroyed him in darts the previous night. Instead, it’s a friendly, brisk trek side-by-side back to the B&B, filled with banter and discussion about the multiple cross-country trails nearby. She tells him they can explore as many of these trails as he wants together, whenever he’d like, and he finds himself agreeing to it.

He reckons that he’s recently found himself agreeing to a lot of things around Rose that wouldn’t normally interest him at all – learning about Weardale, for one, and even taking a tour of the town and finding he actually liked it. And now cross-country skiing, which most certainly is also not on his intended list of things to do. After all, it would seem a waste to not learn more about this style of skiing – this part of the country seems quite suited to it, after all – the gentle slopes of the hills and shallow valleys seem almost made for it. And he loves learning new things.

But … brilliant as he is, he doesn’t usually let himself get sidetracked from the mission at hand so easily.

He shrugs off the momentary flicker of worry that every weekend spent not practicing his downhill skiing is a wasted opportunity to impress Jeanne during their upcoming trip, suddenly realizing that truly, he has no reason to panic at all. He’s brilliant, and he certainly has the ability to learn both downhill and cross-country skiing, doesn’t he? Even though he’s only been cross-country skiing for a handful of hours now, and hadn’t planned on liking it at all, he found that he does quite enjoy it – and he shouldn’t deny himself an activity he likes, should he? He doesn’t see the harm. Rose certainly has no objection to teaching him both, after all. Perhaps he just ought to relax about it all, and let things happen: Rose certainly hasn’t steered him wrong so far, and he finds he’s quite enjoying spending time with her and learning from her. He’s lucky to have found her, she’s truly an excellent instructor.

He glances over at Rose for a long moment, his eyes lingering on the healthy glow on her cheeks that suits her so well, and smiles at her, as she blushes back at him.


Dinner consists of Wilf’s hearty, steaming variation on Black Sheep Ale and Steak Pie. Once again, the other guests are out-of-towners, a family of four, including two quite active young boys and their parents, who had come up from Manchester to introduce their children to skiing. The boys, currently wriggling in their seats and fighting over who-gets-to-sit-next-to-mommy, have a lesson scheduled with Rose the next day, which disappoints John slightly, as he was hoping to have her to himself at least for a while before he drove back to London.

After dinner, the family declines Wilf’s offer of a drink in the sitting room. Instead, they quickly retire to their room for the night so that the boys can rest up for their ‘big day’ with Miss Rose, leaving a disastrous table in their wake. Peas are everywhere, lined up like little soldiers on the border of the placemats, while several are squashed into the seat, and a few rebels are spotted on the floor as well. Rose gets a broom as Wilf offers John a bottle of the ale he had enjoyed last week.

John feels a bit awkward standing around, ale in hand, watching on the sidelines as Wilf and Rose clean up. He’s their guest – their paying guest – but it feels a bit odd to just stand around doing nothing while the people with whom he is conversing are busy chasing rogue peas on the table. He momentarily puts down his ale in order to pick up his own plate and glass off the table, placing them into the kitchen sink, then returns to the dining area.

“Can I … help?” he asks, somewhat lamely.

“Nah, won’t take but a minute,” Rose says with a small grin. “But thank you.”

He nods and grabs his ale again, taking another sip. He could retire to the sitting room – a drink in the sitting room was what Wilf had offered him, after all – but it would seem overly rude somehow to walk away without them as they work.

“Want to watch something on the Sky box? We wouldn’t have it if it weren’t for you,” Rose asks as she finishes wiping up the last of the peas from the table.

He sees she’s left one straggling pea on the table, hiding behind the centerpiece, and he picks it up, rolling it between his thumb and forefinger. Rose breaks into a grin and takes it from him, dropping it into her napkin.

“You sure you don’t need to rest up extra for tomorrow?” he asks, raising an eyebrow questioningly and motioning his head towards the staircase the family had just climbed.

“Nah… kids might make a mess, but they aren’t much trouble to teach,” she says, biting back a laugh.

Suddenly her expression sobers a little, and she shrugs.

“Not as much as some of the adults, anyway.”

He’s ready to take this as a jest, a play insult, but there’s a frown in her eyes and something tells him that she’s serious, and that it’s not directed at him. He’s set to ask her about it, to find out what kinds of trouble she’s had in the past – she’s a pretty, young instructor and his eyes narrow slightly, almost protectively, as his mind races across a few potential scenarios he can imagine all too easily – when Wilf comes into the room and asks them if they’ve decided on what to watch yet.

They let John pick the show, which is well enough by him since – unbelievably – neither Wilf nor Rose has seen his favorite program, about an alien who travels through time and space. Wilf watches the first episode with them amiably enough, then retires to bed a bit early, even for him, John thinks to himself. Rose stays with John, curling up on the opposite end of the sofa and listening – really listening­, he marvels – as he tells her about plot points and arcs, and repeatedly pauses the second – and third – episodes of show to explain throwbacks to the bygone years of the show from decades before. It’s fun for him to rewatch these, to share them with a new viewer, and it’s even more fun when the viewer seems to have an intrinsic understanding of the feel of the show. He finds Rose is quite good at picking out characterization details, and he smiles at some of the insight she’s able to give, even after a single viewing of a handful of episodes.

After the fourth episode, even John can’t stifle a yawn.

It’s late, and he really should get an early start tomorrow to head back to London to prepare for Monday’s classes. He looks over at Rose to say good-night, only to find her eyes closed, her breathing even, with one of her hands tucked under her chin.

Something inside John softens at the sight, alternating with a small feeling of guilt that he may have kept her up too late, and he slowly rises from the sofa, cautious to not awaken her. He crouches next to the end of the sofa, by the same small antique chest Rose had opened last week, and quickly finds what he is looking for.

He carefully tucks the hot pink Snuggie around her, smiles gently, then tiptoes quietly up to bed.


On Wednesday, Clyde comes to John’s office to work on the project John had given them, geophysics research on modeling short-term changes in wind patterns. The boys have worked out a schedule where, depending on their class schedules, one of them comes in every day to download readings from the national weather service’s Met Office website, and upload them into a database John has created. It’s tedious work, hundreds of readings across dozens of British cities every day, but the resultant analysis will give both Clyde and Luke authorship credits and a publication to their name by the time they graduate, which they will need if either of them decides to pursue advanced education.

This arrangement suits John just fine: his new office is half the size of his old one, but contains just as many books and bits and bobs, shoved into corners and piled high on top of each other. He sets up a computer for the boys in one corner, a small workstation surrounded by a perilously stacked collection of textbooks, and has his own workstation across the small office.

Clyde is hard at work copying down data, and John knows he should be hard at work as well.

Instead, he minimizes the window for his grant proposal for additional funding on the project, and opens his web browser to the Cross Country Skier website where he’s been spending quite a lot of time this week. He’s learned a fascinating amount of information within just the past few days, about a style of skiing he’d been only peripherally aware of before Rose introduced him to it. She’d promised to take him out again if he wanted, and he wonders if perhaps he can split his time between both cross-country and downhill. He muses if there’s anywhere he might even be able to practice closer to London, then quickly dismisses the thought, as he’d quite like to keep Rose as an instructor.

A sudden knock at the door interrupts his thoughts, and he grins to see Jeanne standing there, the first time he’s seen her in more than a week.

“Hello, stranger,” she says playfully.

“Jeanne! Hello!” John says with a grin, rising to his feet and nearly knocking over several stacks of papers in the process.

“I feel like I’ve hardly seen you lately,” she says, a small pout forming on her lips. “So I thought I’d visit.”

She takes a step into the office and suddenly notices Clyde in the corner, staring up at her with wide eyes, doubtlessly never having seen one professor flirt so openly with another one before.

“Hello,” she says, smiling down at him. “I’m Dr. Poisson, French department.”

“Clyde,” he squeaks out. “Physics student.”

She nods politely then turns her attention back to John.

“I do have another reason for stopping by: I came by to ask you if you’ve booked your flight yet,” she says. “I was going to book a flight to Geneva, but there’s a one-day deal on British Airways for first-class seating on a flight to the Chambéry-Savoie aéroport.”

“Oooh that’s brilliant, and no, I hadn’t!” John says, turning to face his computer to search for the flight she’d mentioned. He navigates away from the Cross Country Skier website to look up flight prices for British Airways. He’s happy to see that the price for this flight is definitely within his budget (that would have been embarrassing), and he smiles at her.

“Perfect,” she says, coming to stand behind him as he types, something which normally would have annoyed him – he highly values his privacy, after all – but it’s Jeanne, and he finds he doesn’t mind at all. “Perhaps we can share a taxi to the resort?”

“Even more brilliant,” he replies, looking up at her fondly over his shoulder.

They don’t get a chance to share a moment, no lingering gaze passes between the two of them, before Clyde’s voice pops in almost out of nowhere.

“Are you going to a conference?” Clyde asks.

John’s head whips around and he begins to stutter out a response, but Jeanne beats him to it, smiling at the boy.

“No, for a weekend ski trip. Even your professors like to get away to have fun sometimes,” she tells Clyde with a wink.

Clyde blushes and looks back down at his workstation. John doesn’t miss the boy’s raised eyebrows. Jeanne apparently doesn’t miss it either, laughing quietly.

“I’ll book it then,” John says after a moment, filling the uncomfortable silence between Jeanne’s laughter and the tip-tapping of Clyde’s fingers on his keyboard.

“I’m glad,” she replies, her gaze soft, and there’s a long pause.

He gets the impression she would have said more had they been alone.

He suddenly feels slightly awkward and looks down at his desk – Clyde is still there, after all, no doubt listening with rapt attention to every word they are saying. And no doubt cataloging each word to report back to Luke.

“Don’t be a stranger,” she says after a moment, giving him a small wave and heading out the door.

He waves back at her, his hand remaining raised and his gaze staying focused on the door for a few moments after she steps out. He feels a pair of eyes on him and looks over at Clyde, whose eyes widen once again before diverting his full attention to intently focus on his work at the computer. John sighs and looks back at his own computer. He leaves the British Airways tab open to book his ticket later, but opens another tab on his web browser and once again navigates to the Cross Country Skier site.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 2nd, 2013 02:59 am (UTC)
Ah. I can already foresee the complications arising... Poor Clyde, as awkward as it would be for John, it would be worse for Clyde.

ALSO the fact that John's favorite show is DW is a brilliant bit of meta I don't think I've ever seen before! You did it so well that the joke is clear, but not overwrought.

Wonderful as ever! I always so look forward to updates!
Sep. 16th, 2013 12:11 am (UTC)
Awww thank you!!! And I'm so glad you like the meta aspect to it!! =D
Sep. 2nd, 2013 06:45 am (UTC)
He's a little distracted huh? I find it fascinating, and very believable, that he's so very focussed on Jeanne that he's missing the fact he's obviously thinking about Rose as more than just an instructor. I don't think even just friendship has really crossed his mind yet.

But Rose, I like the fact she's a little more aware.

More soon yes? :D
Sep. 16th, 2013 12:11 am (UTC)
Yeah I agree, I don't think he even quite considers her a friend yet ... and she's definitely slightly more aware (not that this helps really since he's so oblivious) =(
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )