"Doctor! Get out here now!"
Rose sounded angry, but from under the console the Doctor couldn't tell if it was "angry angry" or "scared angry". Either way, it was beyond him how she'd managed to get that angry in the seventy-eight minutes she'd been on her own, in the safety of the TARDIS. It had to be that damned Captain. If he'd hurt her, or even threatened to, the Doctor would make sure it could never happen again. Pulling himself out from under the console, he stood and grinned at her. "What's up?"
"How could you?" she shouted at him, smacking him in the shoulder. Hard. "You said he was welcome here; how could you do that to him?"
Not angry with the Captain, then, but angry for him. For no reason the Doctor could think of. Although he hadn't really said the man was welcome as such, but Rose, with her big heart, would have interpreted it that way. Still, he'd told the TARDIS to give the man a nice room, comfortable, but he didn't need to be in the lap of luxury. Jack hadn't complained or even made any pointed comments; he acted as if he'd been welcomed. The Doctor would even admit that he made a fine companion, although he'd be happier if the former Time Agent would leave his weapons behind. So, there was no apparent reason why Rose should be upset with him. "What did I do?"
"I'll show you!" Rose grabbed his elbow and started to drag him through the TARDIS. As they moved through the TARDIS, the Doctor reviewed everything he'd done since he'd picked up the Captain, trying to figure out what he'd done wrong. Oh, he'd called him a stupid ape a couple of times, but Rose was used to that from him; she wouldn't be this angry over that. She hadn't been present when he'd warned the Captain of the many ways to earn a trip through the airlock; he'd been very careful of that. It hadn't seemed to bother the other man that much, though; he'd still been a little subdued over his mistake with the nanogenes. And, whatever his faults, the Doctor didn't believe he'd be likely to go crying to Rose.
The Doctor wasn't surprised when they landed in front of the Captain's room. He felt a niggle of concern as they approached it; had the TARDIS picked up on his annoyance at bringing Rose's pretty boy along? Rose knocked, more gently than the Doctor had expected. From within the room, the Captain called out, "S'open."
Glaring at the Doctor, Rose led the way into the room. The Doctor looked around and was immediately relieved. Not the obvious den of iniquity he'd expected, but the room of a man who's used to making do with minimal space and needing to be able to leave at a moment's notice. The Doctor could see the touches that said the man liked his comforts—the bed and the rocking chair, at the least, were Shaker-made; the mattress and pillows were thick and covered with quality linens and the desk chair might look odd, but it was probably perfectly designed. He was impressed; the Captain clearly had a good eye.
"Well?" Rose demanded, still looking furious.
Before the Doctor could say anything, the Captain said, looking bewildered, "What's wrong?" He looked around the room.
"This!" Rose said. "It's, it's awful!"
It suddenly hit the Doctor what the problem was. He grinned, which got him an even angrier look from Rose and a relieved one from the Captain. "Can you leave that?" he asked the other man, indicating the blaster spread out across the desk. It increased the Doctor's opinion of the Captain that he clearly was careful with his weapons, if he had to have them.
Looking at the blaster, the Captain removed the power cell and stuck it in his pocket. "I can now," he said. "Where are we going?"
"After a little detour, to the kitchen. This needs tea," the Doctor stated as he led the way to Rose's room. "May I?" he asked her when they got there.
"Yeah," she said. "I'm sorry, Jack!" she wailed.
"Why?" Jack asked. The poor bloke looked lost. Once he'd realised what was going on, the Doctor thought he'd find it amusing, but he hadn't put the pieces together yet. That's why they were here.
The Doctor opened the door and gestured to the Captain to walk in, which he did. Looking around the room with curious eyes, he said, "Wow, it's . . . pink." The Doctor gave him credit for not finishing with some synonym of "mess". It wasn't really that bad, except in comparison.
"Yep, it is that. Now for tea." His two companions trailing behind, silent and confused, the Doctor walked to the kitchen. Once they were all sitting, he said, "I tell the TARDIS what kind of rooms to give my companions; she decides where to put them. Rose, what do you think I told her for you?"
"Just like home," Rose said confidently.
The Doctor nodded. "Close enough; I told her to make you feel at home. Now, and you don't say anything, Captain," he gave the other man a stern look, "what do you think I told her for him?"
Rose's eyes filled and her lower lip wobbled a bit. "It doesn't have to be an actual cell. Or something like that."
After a moment of confusion, the Doctor saw the other man "get" it. "What do you think, Captain?"
The Doctor was glad to see the Captain starting to relax; this was just a stupid misunderstanding. No, not stupid. Na´ve. "I'm guessing the word 'home' wasn't—" He thought about it. "Y'know, I'm not even sure about that. I'm guessing the word 'comfort' was in there, anyway. Rose," the Captain said, picking up her hands and trying to look into her eyes, "you are so sweet. Thank you, but you don't need to worry. It's nothing like what you're thinking."
"There's nothing there!" she said, practically wailing. "Just a bed, practically."
"Did you look at what I had on my ship?" Jack asked, smiling. "A bunk, with a very thin mattress, which covered the one place I could store personal items. Which weren't many, because I've never had the room."
"How old were you when you joined up?" the Doctor asked. If she really understood, she'd feel better about it.
"Almost sixteen," came the answer. "Yeah, you're right; it's been barracks or ships ever since. Rose, as far as I'm concerned, an actual room just for me is pure luxury."
"Hmph," the Doctor said, deciding a little humour might be a good idea right now, "I told her 'Make him comfortable, but he doesn't need luxury'. Doesn't sound like she listened."
"For her to have listened," Jack teased back, "she'd have had to put me in with the console." With one of his biggest grins, he continued with, "Or with one of you; that would have nicely satisfied both criteria."
"You really think that's comfortable?" Rose asked. She looked miserable, now, and embarrassed.
"Come on, Rose, and let me show you my room through my eyes." Jack held out his hands to Rose. When she stood, he wrapped her up in a tight hug. "The real luxury is having someone looking out for me. Thank you," he said, kissing her forehead.
"Mind if I come along?" the Doctor asked. He was inviting himself along even if they didn't want him, but it'd make Rose feel better if he asked.
"I don't know," Jack said with a grin. "You might not let me keep my 'luxuries'."
"Promise I will," the Doctor said. Rose was grinning now. If nothing else, she could tell that neither of the two men was at all upset.
Once they were back in Jack's room, Rose's face closed down again. "How can you call this comfortable?" she asked, looking around.
"Sit down, anywhere," Jack said.
Rose chose the rocker. Her face showed her surprise as she settled back into it. "This's more comfortable than I thought it'd be. It just looks hard."
"My mother had one like it," Jack said with a far-away look. After a minute, he shook himself. "Not only that, with the exception of the desk chair, all of this is Shaker-made." The Doctor was unsurprised when the other man continued, "Genuine, too; I checked. Curiosity more than anything else," he said to the Doctor, but his expression was unrepentant. "And look how much room I've got."
"I think my room is bigger," Rose said, hunching in on herself.
"Then I'm glad it's yours, because this is almost too big for me." When Rose looked at him as if he'd gone mad, he continued, "Really, I'm used to small spaces; it almost doesn't feel like I'm in a room at all here."
"Your quilt's thin. And frayed." Rose still looked troubled, but the Doctor didn't think it would take much more to convince her that Jack was really OK.
"Now you're just looking for problems. This quilt's—" To the Doctor's surprise, Jack's voice sounded choked. After a moment, he continued. "When I was little, my mother was looking through one of those high-end catalogues. You have those, right?" When Rose nodded, he said, "It had a quilt like this. Really expensive. My father would have bought it for her, but she said it was silly. She was sure she could make something just as nice. It took her a long time; I don't remember how long." He smiled at the memory. "The first one she made from scraps; clothes that were ripped or stained or something. "The next one she made from material she bought, in a million shades of blue. I felt wrapped up in the sky and the sea. When—" He broke off and shook himself. "This isn't identical, and I wouldn't want it to be, but it does remind me of it. Rose, this room is perfect. Really." Then he grinned, leaned forward and mock-whispered, "Don't let the Doctor see, but check out my bathroom if you're still worried."
"Having an en-suite at all is pretty luxurious, I think," the Doctor said as he followed Rose. Standing at the open doorway, he snorted while Rose giggled. In pride of place was a spa bath big enough for several people. "I know where I'm coming the next time m'muscles are sore," he said, "but I'm locking the door against certain people I know."
"I dunno," Rose said, with the Doctor's favourite grin. "The TARDIS might just interpret that as too luxurious and . . . do something. What d'you think, Jack?"
Jack didn't answer. He was too busy laughing at the expression on the Doctor's face.