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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..
A/N: inspired by a prompt from kelkat9
Rating: Teen

After tea (and a change of clothes), John is eager to get back outside and continue their lesson. There’s still so much he wants to learn: simply learning the proper way to fall while on skis is all fine and good, but Rose had promised him he could try a real, genuine hill this time, and he's not about to miss it for the world. He still doesn't enjoy feeling like a novice, but he finds he quite likes the idea of skiing, especially how Rose has described it. There's something that feels a little wild about this, not only braving the harsh elements, but indeed laughing in Mother Nature’s face a bit, by strapping on skis to make the slick snow even slicker, racing down a slope and making the chill winds cut even colder against his skin.

It feels free and exhilarating, even – both of which are certainly lacking in his day-to-day life back in the city, as he plods from office to flat to office, occasionally with some beans on toast thrown in there for good measure. Oh he loves London, always has, but this - this­ - is a little bit of danger, a little bit of risk - and it lights something inside him he didn't know existed.

"I gotta say, it's been a long time since I've met a new skier who's been so dedicated - 4 hours of lessons, in one day!" Rose says with a smile, casting a coy sidelong glance at him as they get their gear and go back outside, traisping side by side through the snow.

It's even colder now than it was earlier in the day, and when they exhale their breath mists into tiny, cool crystals. Although the sun is still out, the shadows of the leafless trees outside are lengthening, almost reaching the base of the small hill. They won’t have much time together out here, but John means to make the most of it.

"Wellll, I've always been a star pupil, especially when I have an excellent teacher," he quips back with a wink.

She just laughs, a small, almost self-deprecating chortle, but a small blush colors her cheeks, and John chocks it up to the biting cold weather.

For the next hour, she teaches him the wedge position with his skis. It feels terribly awkward and he feels like a gangly pigeon, pointing his feet inwards and squatting slightly, but Rose seems pleased with his progress, he learns how to stop while skiing, and he even makes it down the hill once without falling. Granted, it takes him ten tries, but Rose cheers and gives him a big hug in congratulations – which surprises him slightly, but he hugs her back, happy and proud of his own progress.

After an hour outside, he's flushed and sweaty yet freezing, his clothes once again caked with snow that is slowly melting and turning his jeans stiff with wet, slushy frost. At this point, after sizing up his appearance with a frown, Rose insists they go back inside.

"Best not overdo it on your first day," she advises. "You'll be sore enough as is, and you've got that long car ride back tomorrow. Besides, Gramps will have dinner ready soon!"

John is disappointed, oddly enough he's having the time of his life, but he doesn’t argue – much. He fancies himself brilliant, mind, and generally in circumstances such as this he’d press on regardless of what an 'instructor' would say - John would prove his point, show his superior intellect and get his way. But … there’s something about Rose. He barely knows her, but somehow, almost instinctively, he trusts her judgment.

John’s clothes are completely drenched by the time he gets indoors, the frost quickly melting on his jeans, making them heavy and wet. When he goes back upstairs, he’s annoyed to find that his jeans from earlier today still aren’t dry, either. He hadn’t thought to pack more than 2 changes of clothes, and all he has is his pajamas... with a sigh, he puts them on and heads down to dinner.

Rose quirks an eyebrow as he sheepishly descends the staircase for dinner in just a pair of thin, striped pajama pants and a plain tee shirt, then offers to toss his jeans in the clothes dryer, an offer to which John gladly agrees. As she darts to the laundry room with his jeans, he attempts to suavely take his place at the dinner table in his pajamas.

Dinner is a small affair, just John, Wilf, Rose and two other guests, a husband-and-wife skiing couple from the city of Durham, close to an hour’s car ride away from Weardale.

“So how long have you owned this place, Wilf?” the husband asks.

“Oh, let’s see,” says Wilf with a sigh, drawing his hand over his face as he considers the question. “This land goes farther back in my family than I can remember, generations really. It was a farm first, corn I think, back in the 1700s – we were all Prentices back then, mind! That’s how the farm got its name. Then, mining started to bring more people into town, and that made a better living for folks, so most of the young men started to work the mines. We’ve been a B&B now for about 50 years, give or take, since the mines closed. But you know about that I’m sure,” Wilf says with a small chuckle, although he doesn’t seem to be trying to be funny.

Wilf looks back and forth towards the man and the woman, eyes bright, as if he is happy to answer any questions and perhaps even would welcome them. But the couple both nod pleasantly, and go back to concentrating on their dinner. It strikes John that they might have not been interested in the question at all in the first place, really, and might have been just trying to make polite conversation. But Wilf’s silence leaves a void at the table, like there’s a question waiting to be asked, a story waiting to be told. John looks back towards the other room, towards the mining paraphernalia on the walls, the “bonnie bits” (whatever the hell those were) for sale at the front desk, the old portraits of mining families still hanging on the walls, decades after they’d left town for god-knows-where, and his curiosity is piqued.

“I actually don’t know – what happened to the mines?” John asks, not even sure why he cares. Twenty-four hours ago he's pretty sure he wouldn't have given a damn either.

"They shut down," Rose says. "Too expensive to keep them open, especially when people could get fluorite and lead for cheaper from other places. At least, that's what my dad always said."

He means to ask her about that, especially about her father, as it just seems to be Rose and Wilf here now - but the wife from Durham soon asks for a glass of sparkling water, and Rose excuses herself from the table to get it for her.


After dinner, Wilf offers the guests a drink in the sitting room. There’s a distillery near Consett, a relatively short ride from Weardale, and Wilf has an array of locally-made beers and ciders. The couple from Durham decline and head upstairs, eager to get to bed early to maximize their ski time tomorrow. John knows he needs to head back to London early in the morning as well, but he gladly accepts Wilf’s offer, and he heads to the sitting room with Wilf and Rose.

It’s not a large room, but it’s impressive nonetheless. The floors are old-style wooden planks, polished to a satiny amber, and the original thick wooden wall beams have been left exposed. A comfortable-looking blue sofa, and a slightly worn-looking brown easy chair are the main furnishings in the room. There’s a large, antique clock prominently tick-tocking against the wall opposite the fireplace, which is fantastic in and of itself.

“The only rule we have is that the easy chair belongs to Gramps!” Rose laughs, as Wilf hands the cold glasses of beer around and nestles in to what is clearly his favorite place to sit.

“That’s a lovely fireplace,” John says, partly because he means it – it is lovely, made of rugged, mixed stones, and is extraordinarily wide and deep – and partly because it’s an excuse for him to scoot closer to it. He’s cold, and the beer is cold, which is only making him shiver more. His thin pajama pants are meant for summer weather, and his body still remembers the chill from earlier outdoors. He declines a seat on the sofa and instead sits cross-legged on the floor a respectable distance from the flames, holding the chilled beverage in his hands.

“It’s the original,” Rose says, plopping herself down on the floor as well and smiling at the impressed look on his face. “Used to be used for cooking, back in the 1700s when the farm was first built. It’s still functional, even – never know when someone will ask for a genuine roast.”
John nods, staring wonderingly at the hearth, and gathers his knees closer up towards his chest.

Rose laughs softly, “You look like you’re freezing,” she says.

“Me?” he knits his eyebrows together and feigns surprise, and doesn’t manage to suppress a small shiver.

“You can use this, if you want,” she says – and there’s that smile again! It’s the one with the tongue, and he knows, even this soon after meeting her, that it’s the smile she gives him when she’s quite enjoying a laugh at him. “I do, when I’m cold…”

She leans over and opens up a small, antique-looking chest next to the sofa, then tosses something fluffy and pink at him.

A. Hot. Pink. Snuggie.

He rolls his eyes, but her eyes are mirthful and he finds he very much likes making her laugh, so he grins and puts it on anyway as they finish their beverages.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 9th, 2013 01:28 am (UTC)
Oh, poor John! Snow+denim= ridiculously uncomfortable. But hey! He got a hot-pink Snuggie out of it! :P
Aug. 11th, 2013 02:24 pm (UTC)
That he did, my friend, that he did XD
Aug. 9th, 2013 01:49 am (UTC)
Someone is totally clueless, and it's not Rose...
Aug. 11th, 2013 02:23 pm (UTC)
Sheesh, fogs, what on earth do you have against poor Wilf??? =(
Aug. 11th, 2013 08:29 pm (UTC)
Wilf? Nothing, I was referring to John. Like all smart men, he's a bit oblivious ;)
Aug. 18th, 2013 02:09 pm (UTC)
Haha I know I was just teasing XD
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )