[Doctor Who] The Love Hotel
Wednesday 18th February 2015
Summary: Sarah drags Harry out on a story - where their hotel room only has one bed.
Harry followed Sarah into the room and frowned. The wallpaper was faded, the mirror had a crack across it and the lamp on the one bedside table there was space for had no bulb. Or lampshade. The cramped, draughty hotel reception had been a clue that this was not a luxury hotel.
It was the size of the room that bothered him most. The double bed took up most of the space and the rest was taken up by the wardrobe. There was barely enough space to get around everything. It would have been all right if he'd been sleeping here alone - he'd slept in smaller places after all - but Sarah had only reserved one room.
"I don't think this is right," he said to Sarah, who looked perfectly happy as she dumped her bag on the bed.
"All the rooms are like this, Harry."
He shook his head. "But there's only one bed."
She smiled at him, which he wasn't too sure he liked. "They think we're a married couple. Therefore we only need one bed." He gave her a look, but her smile didn't waver. "Whatever's going on in this hotel only happens to married couples. The best way to find out what it is, is to be married."
He sighed and let his bag drop to the floor. "And you didn't tell me this in case I'd say no."
"Well, you would have."
Of course he would have. Now it was too late and it didn't feel right to abandon her. "I'll sleep on the floor." He wouldn't able to stretch out, but it wouldn't be too bad if there was an extra blanket in that wardrobe.
"There's not enough room," Sarah protested.
And, it turned out, no extra blankets, when Harry looked.
"Look on the bright side," she said. "Maybe we'll be attacked before bedtime."
At dinner, Sarah tried putting her hand on Harry's, but he frowned at it. She took it back with a sigh.
"Even if we were married I wouldn't hold your hand in public," he pointed out, but it didn't improve her demeanour. He was glad when the waiter arrived after a minute of her pretending to study her menu intently.
When he noticed she'd ordered the cheapest thing on the menu, and just water to drink, he quickly adjusted his choices to match. Suspicious, he asked her, "Why didn't your paper get a real married couple to come here?"
Sarah played with her fork and didn't look at him. "I'm not with a paper at the moment," she admitted. "I didn't write much for a while and my editor thought it was all too fantastic." She bit her lip. "So I'm freelancing. It's fine, I know I can sell this story." She smiled at him, but it wasn't a convincing one.
He hoped for her sake the hotel's mystery wasn't aliens and this was a story she could sell. "I'll pay for dinner."
He put a hand on her arm. "Or I'll leave and you can tell the hotel we've had a blazing row." It was, he suspected, the only way he could get her to let him pay, even though he did have a steady income.
"All right." She smiled properly this time.
Their drinks arrived and he had a sip of his. "Why don't you tell me everything you know?" If he was going to help he wanted to be prepared.
Since some of the married couples had been attacked at night, it meant Sarah and Harry still had to pretend to be married even in their room. Which involved sleeping in the same bed. It wasn't that big a bed, so even though they were both as far away from each other as possible, there wasn't much of a gap between them. Although Harry had a feeling Sarah was taking up half of the bed, whereas he was on the edge.
"Some married couples sleep in separate beds," he pointed out, trying to get comfortable without actually falling off the bed, and accidentally stealing more of the blanket in the process.
"Maybe if they're rich or old or can't stand each other." Sarah wriggled and gave the blanket a tug. "Stop hogging all the covers, Harry."
He sighed and let them go. Then watched her pull the blanket off him. "Can I at least have enough of it to cover me?"
"You'd have more if you moved over."
He glared at her in the dark, then got up and fetched his coat. It covered most of him at least.
She was quiet for a while after that and he wondered if she'd gone to sleep. He wasn't likely to sleep himself, not with the knowledge that there was something or someone out there waiting to attack them.
"It's been a long time since I shared a bed with anyone."
He could hear the note of longing in her voice and turned onto his side, but it was too dark to see her expression. It didn't matter as it seemed like she wanted to talk.
"Everyone seems so dull in comparison to... to the Doctor."
So that's what this was about. He should have guessed - most things were about the Doctor these days. "It was a wonderful adventure," he told her, "and it was fun at the time. Now you're home and safe and doing a job you love. Even if it's not as often as you'd like. How many people can say that?"
"Not many." She rolled onto her side and there was just enough light for him to make out a small smile on her face. "Thank you for trying to cheer me up." She reached out to take his hand and this time he let her, giving it a squeeze.
That was when the alien attacked.
The dim light from the bulb not quite in the centre of the ceiling showed the alien to look a little like a baby. It was very pink and cherubic. Harry almost regretted tying it up, not least because it was his coat the alien was trussed up in.
Judging by her expression, Sarah didn't regret hitting it with a shoe at all. "It would be an alien, wouldn't it? How am I supposed to write an article about you?"
The alien shrank back from her, looking like it was trying to hide in the wall. Which it possibly could, given that it hadn't come out out of the wardrobe or through the door.
"I think you're scaring it," Harry said, looking between Sarah and the alien.
"Good." She folded her arms, but didn't drop the shoe. "Then maybe it will stop attacking people."
"I just want your love," the alien said in a small, tremulous, voice.
Harry gave it a suspicious look and really hoped it wasn't Cupid. He refused to ask because he didn't want to know.
"You can't take mine!"
Harry coughed. "Why don't you go downstairs and call UNIT?" One of them would have to go and he wasn't leaving Sarah here with the alien.
She hesitated before putting her shoes on, then put her coat over her pyjamas.
Once she was gone, Harry sat on the edge of the bed. "She's not all bad," he told the alien.
"I know," it replied, turning to face him. "I can feel her love for you."
Harry reddened, hoping it was talking about the love for a friend rather than anything more romantic. Perhaps it was best not to know that either.
"I need love to survive. A world without love is so small and terrible. This is what my world became." It was giving him a puppy dog eyes look. One that didn't work on him - Sarah had tried it enough times to make him immune to it.
"You can't just go around attacking people."
"I'm sorry." The alien hung its head.
On her return, Sarah said, "UNIT are on their way."
The alien shrunk back into a corner and refused to answer any more questions after that. Harry hoped the Brigadier could help it.
When UNIT arrived, what felt like an interminable twenty minutes later, Harry stayed as still as possible in a corner and hoped none of the soldiers noticed he was there. It only occurred to him later that he could have told them he was sleeping next door and just came to Sarah's room to help out. But it was a bit late by then, since he'd blushed when one of the corporals glanced over at him.
By the time they left, though, he was more concerned with sleep.
"We can go now, if you like," Sarah said, sitting back on the bed. "It won't take long to get home at this time of night."
Harry shook his head and yawned. "It's been a long night." They hadn't exactly been keen to get to bed in the first place. He'd certainly put it off for as long as possible, hoping the attack would come in the bar. "Let's stay until morning."
He waited until Sarah was under the covers before turning off the light and carefully making his way back to the bed. He put an arm round her and pressed a kiss to her forehead. "It'll all be all right. You're a good journalist and the Doctor hasn't changed that."
"Thank you, Harry. You're a good friend - I'm glad I can count on you."
"Always, old girl." He chuckled as she kicked him.
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