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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 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..
A/N: for kelkat9 =)
Rating: Teen

Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3

John wakes up early – well, early for him at any rate – to sunlight streaming in through a gap where the curtains of his room haven’t completely closed. Rising slowly, he realizes he hadn’t even changed out of his clothes from last night. He sighs, stretches, and shuffles over to the window. Parting the curtains slowly, his sleep-bleary eyes blink rapidly, adjusting to the light.

It’s almost breathtaking, he thinks. Now that it’s daylight, he can see all the way to the horizon. The land here stretches out flat and static for what looks like several kilometers, then sweeps down into sudden valleys and back up into gently rolling hillside. There are barely any trees, and the few leafless ones he does see dot the landscape sparsely. It’s a cloudy day, with the sun peeking out, and it glistens off the snow-covered earth like diamonds.

It’s clearly not the Alps, he thinks, but it’s lovely all the same.

However, he can’t help but note with a small grimace, as far as the eye can see, everything is coated in a thick blanket of snow high enough to come up to the bumper of his car. He can’t even see where the road is, as neither it nor the parking lot has been plowed. In fact, as far as the eye can see, nothing has been plowed, he notes with a sinking feeling. There appear to be multiple sets of twin parallel lines in the snow, which he assumes to be ski tracks, headed from the front door of the B&B in various directions. Other than that the snow is pristine, and completely undisturbed. This does not bode well for getting to his ski lesson: he can hardly ski his way out of here as others appear to have done, since he has no idea how to ski in the first place.

With another sigh he ambles over to the en-suite, strips off his clothes, and steps into the shower. The water is mercifully hot, kneading out the last of the kinks in his muscles from the long car ride yesterday. It feels fantastic. He chocks it up to his imagination, but the water almost feels different here than in London. It’s not the water pressure, or the showerhead, it’s something that feels almost energizing about the way the water hits and pings off his body like tiny little starbursts, and then evaporates, misting hazily in the air around him. He can’t put his finger on it, but it feels like anticipation, like adventure. He shakes his head, knowing exactly how daft that sounds even in his own head. Must be just his excitement at finally learning how to ski for Chamonix.

After getting dressed in jeans and a jumper (what the hell are you supposed to wear to a ski lesson?) he saunters downstairs for breakfast.

Arriving in the front hall, John looks around briefly but doesn’t see Rose anywhere, doesn’t see anyone anywhere. He hears some rattling noises that appear to be coming from the kitchen, so he heads that way. Ducking his head through an open doorway, he sees a white-haired man in an apron scrubbing busily at a pile of dishes over a sink.

“Hello! Sorry to disturb you but I heard someone in here –“ John says apologetically with a wave.

The man turns suddenly with a big smile.

“Well hello! My name’s Wilf, welcome to the Prentice B&B,” the white-haired man says, rinsing off his soapy fingers, striding over to John and reaching out to shake his hand. “You must be John Smith, Rose was telling me we got a surprise guest in last night! Would you like some breakfast?”

“Yes, wonderful, thank you,”

“Banana pancakes with whipped cream and buttermilk, right?” Wilf says, taking a dishrag and drying off a freshly washed pancake pan.

John starts a little, surprised that Wilf would know about his breakfast of choice, then quickly remembers he’d answered a question about his favorite foods on the paperwork he’d filled out the night before. He smiles, finding this gesture a bit touching, even though he’d only just met these people. Still... he’s seems to be the only guest here now, and although he is paying to stay here, he truly doesn’t want to impose on this man’s generosity. Something about seeing the older man go out of his way like that for him, completely unnecessarily, just to provide him with a breakfast he’d ordered on a whim, makes John feel like a bit of an ass for writing it down in the first place.

“You don’t need to cook anything special for me,” John says. “Tea and cereal would do just fine, that’s what I usually have.”

Wilf shakes his head and continues gathering ingredients: bananas and eggs and flour and sugar and baking powder and begins making the breakfast from scratch. It smells delicious.

“Oh it’s no bother. Most of our guests get up at daybreak for skiing, they’re long gone so it’s only you and me here for now. Besides, we were out of bananas so I took the snowmobile out to the general store first thing this morning, so you might as well eat!" Wilf says with a laugh.

Now he really feels like an ass for writing it down in the first place. He’s all of a sudden struck with the thought that he should be helping.

After a moment, Wilf adds, "Rose’ll be back in a bit, she went out to arrange about your lesson. Might as well eat up for it, you’ll need the energy.”

John raises his eyebrows, grateful that Rose had seen fit to look after him this way, but it surprises him even more than the offer of banana pancakes: his ski lessons would seem to be no concern of hers at all.

“Well … that’s very kind of her. My lesson is supposed to be at Swinhope Moor, I’m just not sure how I’ll get there with the snow this deep,” John says. He doesn’t want to complain, can’t complain – Wilf is far too kind already – but the drive up here was brutal and he’d hate for it to be all for naught.

Wilf shrugs and gives him a smile as the grill begins to sizzle.

“You’ll be fine, it’s still early. Rose’ll get you sorted,” Wilf says, unconcerned. “Rodrigo will be by later today with the lorry, he’ll get it plowed.”

Soon thereafter, John digs in to the delicious pancakes, the first home-cooked breakfast he’s had in years.


Later, as he gratefully helps Wilf clear the plates from the table – which he had to do rather insistently, mind, as Wilf was intent on doing it himself and not letting John lift a finger – the bell on the front door rings, signaling an arrival. Soon Rose’s voice rings out: “Gramps, I’m back, I’ve got the ski – “

She enters the kitchen, trussed out in a hot pink snowsuit, snowflakes sprinkled across her hat and hair.

She raises an eyebrow and gives a big grin to the sight she sees, John and Wilf standing side by side by the sink, Wilf washing while John dries.

“You have a new employee, hmm?” she teases.

Wilf turns to face her with a look of faux accusation on his face.

“See now Rose, this young man has only been here for 1 day –“

“Not even, Wilf, twelve hours more like – “

“Twelve hours, Rose!” Wilf nods emphatically. “And he’s already spending more time with me here in the kitchen than you do in a month!”

“That’s because I can’t cook, Gramps. One meal from me, and all our guests would leave us and go stay at Swinhope Lodge,” Rose laughs, leaning up against the doorframe.

Wilf laughs along with her, and John suddenly feels a little bad about his initial plan to stay here just for the night then move to the Lodge today. Not that he even could, with his car still buried, but even so, he likes these people. It may be old here, but it’s comfortable, and they’re kind, and he doesn’t want to take business away from them.

“Now dishes I'm good at – even I can’t burn dishwater!” Rose says, stripping off her coat and hat and donning an apron. She playfully swats Wilf and motions that he should go sit down, then she takes his place at the sink.

“You wash, I dry?” John asks her, and she responds by smiling up at him, surprised.

“Sure – can’t say guests here help out often, but that would be great,” she says, still holding his gaze a moment longer and smiling.

John can’t help returning a smile back at her. He nods and continues drying the dishes at her side, having almost worked off his twinge of guilt over causing Wilf to make a special trip on his behalf. As he and Rose work in sync together, he decides this is the oddest yet most enjoyable hotel stay he’s had in a long time.


As the last plates are washed, dried, and put away on the shelf, Rose leans back against the counter and begins to untie her apron.

“So,” she says, brushing a few strands of stray hair out of her eyes, “are you ready for your ski lesson?”

John frowns, a little puzzled. “Well, I would be, but there’s no getting to Swinhope Moor yet, is there?”

She grins up at him, that bright megawatt grin he’s been seeing so regularly all morning, except this time there's something almost mischievous about the look in her eyes.

“Well, you’re lucky then, because the ski instructor you were assigned to at Swinhope Moor just so happens to be here at the Prentice B&B.”

He brightens visibly – perhaps he can still make some progress skiing today after all!

“Really?” he smiles. “Who would that be?”

Her impossibly big smile gets even bigger.

“Me!” she says.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 2nd, 2013 02:59 am (UTC)
It's only as I picture Ten (well, John) flailing around with skis strapped to his feet while Rose watches that I realize how brilliant this is going to be!!
Aug. 4th, 2013 12:00 am (UTC)
Awww thanks! =)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )