Title: The Script (1/?)
Disclaimer: This story about Billie Piper and David Tennant
is entirely fictional and is in no way meant to
Summary: As the first Doctor Who series sans Billie begins
filming, she is intrigued by an unexpected parcel....
The package arrived by special courier.
Billie was surprised by the knock on her flat door, having prepared herself for a peaceful evening's lounging about, but she managed to lever herself off of the couch with a minimum of internal complaint.
The messenger boy blushed red as soon as he laid eyes on her, and stammered, "P-package f-f-for a Miss P-Piper."
"Thanks, mate," she said smoothly, giving him a winning smile. Ignoring the puddle of goo he seemed to be melting into, Billie took the outstretched clipboard from his trembling fingers and signed her name perfunctorily.
"Huh-huhhh....Here ya go, then," the boy forced out, handing her a padded manila envelope plastered from stem to stern with packing tape.
"Thanks," she said again faintly and closed the door, her brow furrowing dubiously over the mysterious package. She was quite famous, after all, and it would certainly be within the realm of possibility for her to receive something dangerous or disgusting from a fan, well meaning or otherwise.
There was no return address, as it hadn't been sent through the post, but her own address was written out in a cramped sort of script she knew quite well. And if that familiarity hadn't clinched it, there was also a small caricature drawn next to her name picturing a small man in a trench coat holding a banana.
Billie grinned hugely at the sight, an irrepressible giggle bubbling up in her throat. She couldn't quite help hugging the package to her chest and wriggling about a bit on the spot, like an excited puppy.
"Tra la la," she trilled, skipping away from the door after locking it and plopping herself down on her lumpy and infinitely comfortable couch. Muting the episode of "House" she'd been watching, she murmured, "What's this, then, Davy?" Retrieving a pocketknife from the end-table drawer, Billie slit open the envelope's fastenings with ease, allowing its contents to spill out into her lap.
The first thing she noticed was the script. Plucking the bundled sheaf from among the slew of items, Billie saw immediately that it was the Extremely Top-Secret Script for the new "Doctor Who" Christmas special, its title "The Runaway Bride" emblazoned across the top of the page. Her tongue peeked out from between her lips, and she was tempted to simply plunge into this, the first "Doctor Who" script that would not include her.
But, she sternly reminded herself, there must be priorities.
Shifting through the pile of other papers, she noted a business card from a massage parlor in Cardiff, with the same familiar handwriting on the back exclaiming, "Bloody fantastic!" Also, there was a Sunday morning cartoon snipped from The Times, which had her guffawing before she'd got half way through it. Stifling giggles, Billie moved on to the next stack, which proved to be several computer printouts of photographs. They were, of course, mostly of her former co-star and best mate, David Tennant, predominantly with his tongue out or bug eyes or casually picking his nose. There were a few of Russell and the rest of the crew who'd survived the series changeover. It was good to see all of them, obviously.
But Billie couldn't stop her eyes from returning to one snap of David resolutely trying to shove his own tongue up his nose. He had mad hair, and crossed eyes, and the determined set of his brow increased the comicality infinitely.
Billie collapsed against the arm of the couch, laughing helplessly and trying to wipe the tears from her eyes. He was so ridiculous and daft and endearing, it was impossible not to give in.
After several long moments, Billie regained control of herself and was able to pull the last sheet of paper from the stack. This proved to be a message scrawled in David's tight hand, saying:
"How's my best mate, then? Thought you'd
like these few things from Cardiff. Please
be gentle; Russell will kill me if he finds
out. Missing you sumfink turrible. ;-)
Billie felt tears pushing against her lids as she closed her eyes against the memories. It was hard enough getting through every day Post-Doctor-Who without receiving specific information about what David was getting up to onset without her.
And it wasn't as if she didn't see him all the time when they were both in London. It was only three days gone, in fact, since she'd met him for a delicious breakfast at a corner bakery, and then spent a long day together wandering through a street bazaar, each of them sporting dark glasses and bushy mustaches as a disguise. They'd fingered the colorful shawls, marveled at the shiny bangles, and exclaimed over the unlikely but tasty foods they'd found. There had been a constant stream of banter flowing easily between them, and laughter had been their frequent companion.
As the sun was sinking into the horizon, they'd consciously stretched the outing out as long as possible, even going so far as to make David slightly late for his studio car to Cardiff. They couldn't help it, though. It had been so nice to simply be in one another's company, without any scheduling pressure cutting their long talks short.
They'd strolled hand-in-hand along an unnaturally deserted stretch of the Thames, joking and reminiscing as if they didn't have a care in the world. Of course, there were myriad cares to be thought of, but that didn't stop them from pausing near Tower Bridge and leaning over the parapet to watch the murky water flowing beneath them.
"Ya still gonna have fun without me?" she'd asked, leaning her head against his shoulder and batting her eyelashes at him.
He'd grinned down at her, and insisted, "Of course not, Bill, it'll be sheer drudgery, as you know!" Sighing then, he'd squeezed her hand, and the humor had leaked out of his expression. "Seriously, lass, I don't know what I'll do without you there to jolly me along. I feel like I've been given the best at the beginning, and it's only downhill from there." He'd sighed tiredly again, bringing the long fingers of his free hand up to rub at his eyes.
Worry had creased her brow momentarily, but she'd forced a grin to mask her sadness and said, "Oh, come on, Teninch, you'll be just fine! You're too much of a flirt not to win over the new girls instantly, and you'll have all the same crew there to make you feel at home. An' I'm sure you'll get to mourn Rose a bit, so there's a place for any sad stuff." Pushing back her regrets, she'd nudged him playfully with her shoulder, trying desperately to cheer him up, if only to cheer herself. "You'll be just fine," she'd repeated firmly, bringing her other hand over to rub soothingly along the back of the one she'd already clasped so tightly.
He'd turned his head, his eyes looking unnaturally bright, and whispered, "I'll miss you, Billie."
And she'd understood.
Billie opened her eyes slowly, and was slightly surprised to find herself alone in her own flat. She'd been so sure she could hear David's lilting Scots accent just next to her, sure that she could hear the echoes of his contagious laughter fading into the suddenly oppressive silence.
"Call me," was his final order, and she sat staring down at his note for a moment of indecision, chewing on her lower lip furiously. Glancing at the wall clock, which was emblazoned with the phrase "Mind The Gap," Billie saw that it was not quite half seven. So, provided he wasn't embroiled in a long night shoot, David should probably be free as a bird and even anxious to hear from her. And he shouldn't even have many lines to learn this early in the shoot; it was normally Running About Shots that held sway during the first few days.
Having made her decision, Billie grinned happily and launched herself over the arm of the sofa to retrieve her cell-phone from her handbag. Fishing it out, she righted herself, pressed his speed-dial number, and waited with bated breath for her best mate to pick up. The phone rang for a long time, and Billie had just about given up hope, when there was a fumbling noise from the other end and a mumbled, " 'ello?"
Billie smiled fondly at the familiar tones, and tried to stifle her snort of laughter. "Too much already, is it, Davy?" she asked cheekily. "Poor, ickle Teninch, is that meanie Russell overworking you?" she cooed over his sleepy grunts, her voice slightly singsong.
She heard David cough and clear his throat noisily, then, "Bill? That you, love?"
"'Course it is, David," she said lightly, a broad grin stretching her face. "Just got your parcel, an' had to hear your silly voice."
"Ach, aye," he said heartily, sounding rather better at it than she'd been oh, so long ago.
"Hoot, mon," Billie chirped in reply, feeling herself relax at their little ritual.
"How's my Billie doin' this fine morning?" he drawled, sleep still clouding his voice. She could hear him moving about in the kitchen, taking down a mug and rummaging among his collection of teas in search of the perfect wake-up-call.
"Morning?!" she asked incredulously, his appellation startling a bark of laughter from her lips. "It's half seven at night, you twit!"
She heard him chuckling lowly. "Wellllll, yes, that may be true, but it's a dark and late morning tonight for the poor, poor crew of 'Doctor Who.'" He paused. "Oi, that rhymed!" he exclaimed happily. "Talented, that's me, isn't it Billie?"
"Mmm-hmmm," she hummed, propping her feet up on the coffee table, and gazing again at the photos David had sent her. "Don't pat yourself on the back too hard. You'll knock yourself over, scrawny," she warned him, smirking.
"Hey, now! I'll have you know that women all over the world covet my hot bod!" he insisted, his Scots accent thickening with his indignation.
"Oh, David, that reminds me," Billie interjected, her free hand waving in the air as if to shush her absent friend. "I heard something on Radio Four yesterday, an' I wanted you to say it for me in your best Scottish-ese, please," she asked, giggling madly in anticipation.
"Oh, God, what is it?" The trepidation was palpable in his voice, as if he expected to be required to say something unbelievably dirty or embarrassingly silly or both at the same time. One never knew with Billie Piper, after all.
"Brace yourself, now, Teninch. Are you ready?"
David grunted dubiously as he stirred sugar into his tea.
"Okay," she said, clearing her throat. "I want you to say, 'I am a hot Scot.' An' in your best Scottish burr, remember!" Her happy grin was beginning to make her cheeks ache.
Billie heard the tinkle of the teaspoon stop abruptly as her former co-star laughed incredulously. Then he was silent again for a moment, as if considering the matter, and Billie could easily picture his Thinking Pout and furrowed brow. "Well," he said slowly with some amusement, "I suppose it's only the whole truth."
"Wanker," she scolded fondly. "Come on, now, say it! I've been thinkin' about this all day!"
David sighed. "And not because my mellifluous rendering of it will make you all melty in your loins, either," he said ruefully, gratified to hear the startled burst of laughter she let out at his phrasing. He smirked, taking a preparatory sip of his Chai tea and clearing his throat again. "Alright, my darling girl, you may laugh at me to your heart's content. I make sacrifices for those I love," he said, his voice as mournful as a martyr's. One more slurp of tea, and he was ready. Dredging up memories of the old men at the pub in his hometown, whose accents were so dense as to make them unintelligible, David announced clearly and crisply, "I am a hot Scot."
Billie collapsed helplessly on the sofa, as uncontrollable belly laughter seized her and tears of mirth sprang into her eyes. David had sounded so silly and so perfect. Of course, she'd chosen the phrase purposefully for the short, deep "O" sounds and the back-of-the-throat sort of way he would pronounce the "H." And, of course, he'd known just what she wanted and given it to her freely and generously. David really was an excellent friend to take all of her ribbing so good-naturedly, and she truly did love his accent.
"Hot Scot," he said again with emphasis, joining in her childish laughter and grinning widely as he leaned back against his kitchen counter, tea in hand.
Billie had to force herself to stop laughing and relax, trying to avoid the muscle cramps she could feel forming in her abdomen. She couldn't silence her continued chuckling, however, so she leaned her head against the back of the sofa and wiped her streaming eyes, trying to breathe deeply. "Oh, David, that was absolutely priceless!" she insisted, her voice hoarse. "Really, spectacular! Even better than I imagined it." The giggles attacked her again, and she clutched convulsively at her middle.
David rolled his eyes, still smiling, and breathed in the fragrant steam rising out of his mug, hoping it would wake him up properly. "You're undeniably daft, lass. Should be carted off to Bedlam straight away."
Subsiding into chuckles again, Billie knew that she was reveling in their exchange rather more than she ought. But she simply couldn't help herself. He was just so wonderful, her David, and she had never been able to help the laughter that he induced in her. They'd spent the nine months of the shoot giggling madly, and she had found it very trying to give that kind of constant joy up. It was sort of an elixir of life that had infused her for so long, and she'd felt rather dead without it. The fact was that, after such a long exposure to his manic energy, she needed him. She needed to talk with him and be in his presence as she'd never needed another human being before. It was rather alarming, but Billie chose not to question it too deeply. It was a fact, an undeniable and bold-faced fact, and she was not in any mood to dispute it.
"Mmmm," he hummed, sipping his spicy tea. "So, what are you up to without me there, Bill? Ye getting into trouble already?" he asked, a smile stretching his lips.
" 'Course not, Davy, just sitting around, doing nothin' mostly. I don't start shooting 'til next week, so I'm just being selfish an' watching telly."
"Ah," he intoned wisely. " 'House,' I deduce."
Billie rolled her eyes and smirked. "Come on, David, you know Hugh Laurie's a hottie. Even with the American accent," she insisted, settling back more comfortably against the couch cushions.
"Yes, yes, I fancy him mightily, I do," he said sarcastically, a smile playing over his lips.
"Mmm, yes," she agreed, her eyes focused momentarily on the television. "I just want to kiss him to shut up his bitchy ranting!"
David's eyebrows rose, and he took another fortifying sip of tea. "My, my, Bill, you are predatory, aren't ye?"
"A bit, yeah," she conceded, grinning widely.
"Well, I'm glad I'm safely in Cardiff, then," he said.
Billie's smile dropped away abruptly, and she suddenly felt very alone, even in the midst of the bustling metropolis that was London. "I'm not," she whispered, then froze, afraid she'd sounded entirely too clingy.
David sighed quietly and allowed his eyes to slide shut. This was not unexpected, but he'd hoped that his friend wouldn't notice his absence quite so keenly. He'd also hoped the opposite, of course, but he'd been willing to pull back a little from their months-long intimacy, for his own sanity as well as for hers. If they couldn't be constantly in one another's presence, he'd reasoned, then it was probably better to take deep, calming breaths and think about something else for a while, until they **could** have some real form of contact. They had to learn to live without one another, or their lives would be rather hellish for the foreseeable future.
He heard her slap her hand over her mouth and knew she felt embarrassingly like an annoying barnacle stuck to the hull of a ship. David smiled indulgently, and a little sadly. "It's alright," he soothed, "I miss you, too, darlin'. Catherine Tate's a right laugh, but I find myself wishing you were here to hold my hand and bat your eyelashes at me."
Billie smiled, her eyes tearing up just a bit, and retorted, "Oi! You sayin' I'm not funny, as well?"
"No! No, o' course not!" David insisted quickly, his eyes widening in alarm at his gaffe. "My Billie is top notch funny. Hilarious, even. Side-splittingly, uproariously fun--"
"Alright, alright, you can stop now!" Billie exclaimed, giggling at his overreaction to her tease.
"Crikey!" he said quietly, and only just stopped himself from attempting to wipe his brow when he remembered his cooling cup of tea. "Don't scare me, Bills, I'm a poor, fragile thing," he ordered, his accent lengthening the "Ooo" sound pleasantly. Propping the phone between his shoulder and ear, David pulled his microwave door open and settled his mug on the revolving tray to be heated back up. As he poked the bleeping buttons, he searched mentally for some safer topic of conversation to introduce. Then he remembered the package he'd sent to her before retiring at noon. "So you got my wee parcel, then? I thought you'd appreciate it, love, an' I've got to say that tha' massage place was really phenomenal! I was reduced to a mere lump of satiation very quickly," David sighed, longing tingeing his voice rather heavily.
Billie smiled fondly, remembering. "But you always were such a whore for a massage, David! I could make you moan so loudly, you'd think we were doing a bleeding sex scene!" she declared, and giggled as he groaned dramatically for her benefit. "You wouldn't turn anyone down who ventured their hands in the direction of your shoulders."
"But it's sooooo good, Bill," he sighed, the lust for having his tense muscles squished about evident in his voice.
"I know, sweetheart, I know," she obliged him, knowing that he suffered from constant discomfort in the neck-and-shoulders area. "An' those daft snaps, David!" she interjected, "I mean, do you ever do anything serious on that 'Doctor Who' program, eh?"
"I'm a whore for the camera, as well," he claimed, unashamed. "Especially when my Billie is the intended recipient. I've got to do something to make-believe you're there with me, and pulling barmy faces seemed the most efficient way."
Gazing down at the stack and smirking, Billie said, "You're such a loon, David! As if you could *really* get your tongue up your nose! Reminds me of the Doctor's line about the elbow. Bet if the fangirls got hold of that one, they'd manage to make it into something kinky," she crowed, laughing delightedly.
"My mind is pure, Bill, an' I have no notion of which you speak," he intoned piously, and moved to retrieve his re-heated tea from his microwave.
"The script, David!" she exclaimed suddenly, only just remembering its lumbering presence amongst the precious gifts from her friend. "The script! I can't believe you had the bollocks to copy your Super Top-Secret Script and send it across hundreds of miles of countryside! If Russell found out, he'd make sure you had no more bollocks to pass around, mate," she said, pursing her lips.
"I know," he moaned with some trepidation. "It took me two days to even decide whether to do it or not. I've bitten my poor nails practically to the quick, and my hair is standing up on end rather more than usual from the stress!"
Billie couldn't help laughing at the picture he painted in her mind, though she did hope that he was exaggerating. He had enough to think about and be worried about just with his day-to-day job; she was already determined that she wouldn't add to it, if she could help it. "Shut up, you cheeky bastard!" she ordered with a smirk, trying to divert her darker thoughts. "So, is there anything good in the script--apart from Russell's usual brilliance, of course. Any choice tidbits?"
David knew exactly what his friend was asking, even if she wasn't quite aware of it herself: what she really wanted to know was how many times she--Rose--had been mentioned in the script, and with what emphasis. "Ehmm, I'm a bit surprised you didn't simply fling my other offerings aside and devour the script as soon as it was in your possession," he murmured as he padded with bare feet out of his small kitchen, tea in hand, and into the living room where his well-thumbed script lay sprawled on the coffee table.
"I thought about it," she admitted.
"I'm sure you did, you ungrateful minx," he replied, seating himself on the edge of his ugly sofa with his tea and flipping through the script in question. Knowing that this conversation would be coming, David had taken it upon himself to mark the text at the appropriate Rose-related intervals, bright pink tape sticking up from the top edge of the bundled sheaf. It wasn't really necessary, he knew, deep down. He'd known the relevant sections by heart almost from his first reading of the text, and had no real need of reference. He could quote them verbatim. But there was no sense in fumbling about when things came to a head, he'd decided. Better to be prepared. They both knew what they wanted.
"I'll read it all, God knows how many times," she admitted ruefully, "but I would like to hear where the good bits are from the pro himself."
David glanced at the clock hanging on his wall, which reminded him to "Mind the Gap"; it was a gift from Billie, a joint present, really, something they could share and be connected with. He had approximately forty-five minutes until he was due on-set for make-up and costuming. And what better way to spend that time than in chatting away with his favorite person in the world. Was there anyone better than his Billie, he wondered? David didn't think so.
Shaking his head slightly against his fancy, David turned to the first pink tab. "Page seven, the Doctor and Donna are in the TARDIS," he read slowly, his voice measured. "Donna discovers a purple top draped over a railing. She picks it up and thrusts it toward the Doctor accusingly. 'I'm not the first, am I? How many women have you abducted?' she asks with some force. The Doctor's eyes fix on the top. It is Rose's top. 'That's my friend's,' he says quietly. 'Where is she, popped out for a space walk?' Donna asks sarcastically. 'She's gone,' the Doctor says flatly, his eyes dead."
Author's Note: Well, what did you think? I do like to focus on their obvious close friendship when I write, and I hope I've captured it adequately here.
I am forced into making this two posts due to length, apparently.
Should I write about the commentary, or not?
I appreciate all comments!