wishiknewwho: (NE squee)
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Title: Best of All
Author: wishiknewwho
Rating: G
Characters: Ten / Rose
Dislcaimer: I don't own Doctor Who and it's probably just as well that I don't because it'd be nothing but hugs and hair ruffling for the foreseeable future.  Story is based on Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, not the adaptation by Spike Jonze. 
Spoilers: None 
Summary: Everyone has to go home eventually.
Beta:  Just Word Spellcheck and me on this one.  Not sure which of us is worse.
Author Notes: This is my first ever attempt at a crossover, and I'm honestly not even sure that I've done it properly. Written for the crossover challenge at [livejournal.com profile] then_theres_us.

“Go on, Rose,” the Doctor said as he stuck his arms in the sleeves of his coat and pulled them through so that it was right-side out. “I’ll catch you up.”

Rose gave a little nod and skipped up the ramp, stopping short when she opened the door. “Um, Doctor?” she asked tentatively.

“Yes,” he said, still distracted by his tangled coat.

“Are you sure we landed all right?” Rose asked, leaning out the door so that she could get a look around.

He frowned as his hand got stuck. “Of course,” he said.

“Then how do you explain this?” she said, throwing the door open wide.

The Doctor finally looked up to see what Rose was making such a fuss about. At the sight of water, he let his coat fall to the floor, forgotten as he raced up the ramp. “What?” he asked, holding onto the doorframe as he looked out. They were floating in the middle of a midnight blue ocean, the crescent moon above casting a sliver shimmering light on the water.

“I’m guessing this isn’t what you had in mind then,” Rose said, moving to stand next to him, her arm brushing his.

“Not at all,” he said, mesmerised by the gracefully rolling waves just centimetres below his feet. “I can see the shore a bit that ways.” He pointed towards a place in the distance.

“Want to check it out?” Rose asked, bumping his shoulder with hers as her lips stretched into that wide smile that never failed to draw his attention.

“Of course,” he said, matching her grin with one of his own. “I know that I’ve got a boat around here somewhere.”

It took them twenty minutes to find it, a blue wooden rowboat with two seats and one set of oars. They dragged it through the corridors and to the door where they struggled to get it out and upright in the water.

The Doctor held Rose’s hands tightly as she eased herself down into the boat and then made his own mad jump, laughing at Rose as she cursed about the wild rocking of the boat. He pulled the doors of the TARDIS closed, then sat down at the back of the boat.

“Well then,” he said, cocking an eyebrow at her, “shall you row or shall I?”

Rose dipped her hand in the warm ocean water and splashed him in the face as they set off.

“TARDIS travel really spoils you,” the Doctor groused after a little while of brisk rowing and little distance covered.

“Budge up,” Rose said, standing carefully, and then turning around to sit down next to him. “I’ll help you.”

Working together, they finally got the boat to the shoreline. They pulled it onto the sand, the bottoms of their trousers wet and their shoes full of water, making loud squelching noises as they walked.

The Doctor glanced out over the water again, taking note of the TARDIS gently bobbing in the distance. It would be fine until they were ready to return.

A little ways from their boat was another boat, the name MAX painted in messy letters on the side. It was turned over in the sand, like whoever had sailed in on it couldn’t wait to get where he was going.

A hundred metres or so from the shore was a line of trees. The Doctor reached for Rose’s hand, smiling when she took it without hesitation, and then towed her toward the forest.

“This is amazing,” Rose breathed, her neck craned back as she took in the tall trees surrounding them. “Like something I imagined when I was a kid or something.”

The Doctor hummed his agreement. He loved this, travelling with Rose, seeing new things and seeing the way new things lit her up like fireworks. She’d told him once that it was better with two, and he was quite sure that truer words had never been spoken.

Everything was perfect until they ran into something large and soft and warm.

“Doctor, is that?” Rose asked, fear in her voice as they backed away.

The Doctor pushed her behind him, shielding her as best he could. “Yes, it is,” he said.

The only word to describe what was before them was a monster. He was easily a few feet taller than the Doctor, with a striped torso and scaly legs. His face was framed with a dark mane, topped off with a set of fierce horns. Still, despite his ferocious appearance, something magic and amiable twinkled in his yellow eyes and Rose and the Doctor found that they were not afraid.

“Who are you?” the monster asked, angling his head and crouching a bit so he could see them better.

“I’m the Doctor and this is Rose Tyler,” the Doctor said.

Rose stepped around the Doctor and put out her hand. “Hello,” she said. “What’s your name?”

The monster took Rose’s hand in his, his fingers swallowing most of her arm as he gave her hand a gentle shake. “Moishe,” he said. His voice was a low rumble.

“Moishe,” the Doctor said, letting the name roll over his tongue as he enunciated the shhh. “Good name. So can you tell us, Moishe, what is this place?”

Moishe frowned. “This is home. You are new here, yes?”

Rose nodded. “We came by boat.”

The monster nodded. “I will take you to our king. He will decide what to do with you.” He turned and set off, motioning for them to follow him.

“What do you mean, ‘do with us?’” the Doctor asked as he and Rose hurried to keep up with Moishe’s longer stride.

“He’ll decide whether we will keep you or eat you up,” Moishe said matter-of-factly.

Rose edged closer to the Doctor, her hand working its way into his again. “He’s joking, isn’t he, Doctor?” she asked, worry creeping into her voice.

“Of course he is,” the Doctor said, but he didn’t sound all that sure.

They followed Moishe as he cut a path through the forest, pushing aside large branches and sometimes small trees that dared to get in his way.

“Do you think we should make a run for it?” Rose whispered, glancing at Moishe and then behind them. Moishe had barely looked at them, and with any luck they could sneak away and be halfway back to the TARDIS before he realised they were gone.

The Doctor shook his head. “I want to meet this king,” he said. “We can always run later.”

Rose sighed but didn’t argue.

Moishe led them to a small clearing. There were other monsters there; they looked like him, but at the same time they didn’t. They stopped and stared at the two newcomers. Like Moishe, they carried an aura of mystery and magic. Near the centre of the clearing was a throne made of sticks and vines, built as high as the monsters’ heads, with a rickety ladder tacked onto the side. A small boy sat atop it, wearing a dirty monster suit, tufts of dark hair poking out from under the hood. A faded gold crown perched crookedly on his head, tipped to the side in a casual manner. Like Moishe’s, his dark eyes twinkled with mischief, but there was something regal about him as well.

Moishe gave a deep bow before the boy, then motioned for Rose and the Doctor to do the same. Rose felt a little silly, bowing before a little boy that reminded her of one of the neighbour’s kids she used to look after, but the Doctor gave her a pointed look and she bent her knees in an awkward curtsy.

The boy gave a wave of his hand and they rose. “Who are you?” he asked.

“The Doctor and Rose Tyler,” Moishe answered for them. “They are outsiders like you, my king.”

The boy regarded them for a few long moments, something shifting in his eyes as he gave a little nod. “You may join us,” he said.

“What are you called?” the Doctor asked.

“King Max,” the boy said. “I’m the king of the wild things.” He stood up. “And now we will start.” He carelessly swung himself down the rungs of the ladder, skipping the last three and landing on his feet.

“Start what?” Rose asked, still a little nervous about getting eaten, despite their acceptance.

“The wild rumpus, of course,” Max said, letting out a mad scream as he led the wild things into the forest.

Rose and the Doctor looked at each other for a moment, and then with identical grins they shrugged at each other and followed off.

By the end of the night, Rose felt like a wild thing herself. They had swung through trees, run rampant through the forest, and danced under the full moon. She was sweaty and dirty and tired, but she couldn’t remember the last time she’d had a more perfect night.

As the first light of dawn was breaking, the monsters were still restless, but Max had disappeared. Rose waved to the Doctor, who was deep in conversation with Bernard, who strongly resembled a bull, but who had so carefully helped her down from a tree that the comparison didn’t seem to suit him.

She followed a narrow path through the trees, and eventually she found Max sitting on a rock, staring out at the ocean. His crown sat on the ground before him and his hood had fallen from his head. “Mind if I sit with you?” she asked.

Max gave her a sad smile and shifted over. “I’m not really a king, you know,” he said seriously. “The wild things made me their king, but before I came here, I was just a boy.”

“Do you like being their king?” Rose asked, pulling her knees up to her chest and wrapping her arms tightly around them.

“Sometimes,” Max said thoughtfully. “When I first came here, it was all I wanted.”

“You’re missing home, aren’t you?” Rose said, reaching over to put a hand on his shoulder.

Max closed his eyes for a moment. “I can smell it sometimes,” he said. “Just for a moment, on the wind, and then it’s gone. But it’s calling me back, I know it is. It’ll be time for me to leave soon.”

Rose nodded. “I’m a long way from home, too,” she said. “I miss it all the time.”

“But you have the Doctor,” Max said. “And you don’t seem lonely.”

Rose tucked her hair behind her ear. “In a way, he’s become my home,” she confided.

Max stood up and gave the ocean one last longing look before turning away. “You’ll want to go home someday, Rose Tyler,” he said softly. “Everyone has to go home eventually.” With a tired motion he pulled the hood back up and fitted the crown on his head.

He left Rose and she sat watching the ocean for a long time, thinking about her time with the Doctor and how he’d told her not long ago that he felt a storm coming, something that threatened them. Sucking in a deep breath, she vowed that they would fight it. She was going to stay with him forever and she was willing to give up whatever she must to make that possible.

As she got up to return to the clearing to find the Doctor, she saw him sitting casually on a low branch not far from where she’d sat with Max.

“Hello,” he said, not bothered at all that he’d been caught eavesdropping.

“He’s going to return home soon,” Rose said, pulling herself up to sit next to the Doctor.

“It’s time,” the Doctor said. “He’s just a boy, and he needs more than this.”

Rose slipped her hand in his, taking comfort in the press of his palm against hers. “But what will the wild things do without him?” she asked.

“They’ll manage,” the Doctor said. “It will be hard, but they will get by. They made it without him before.”

Rose leaned her head against his shoulder. “Still, it makes me said to think about it, their time coming to an end.”

The Doctor brushed her hair back behind her ear and pressed his cheek to her forehead. “Yeah,” he agreed. “But they’ve had a brilliant time, haven’t they.”

Rose didn’t need to look up to know he was smiling his sad smile. “Yes, they have,” she said.

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January 2012

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