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FIC: Dress For Your Cover (1/1)

Title: Dress For Your Cover

Rating: T (grown-up concepts discussed)

Genre: Doctor Who

Author: tkel_paris

Summary: The Doctor's reaction to Rose's costume in “The Unquiet Dead”, if he had been properly thinking about the historical connotations.

Disclaimer: So not mine. Far more historical details would've been accurate if I'd been in charge.

Dedication: cassikat and serenityslady, as a Christmas present. You two were the main reviewers of The Noble Girl series, so you'll know why.

Author's Note: A thought that's been floating in my mind for a while since getting a good look at Rose's dress. Seriously, 1869? Was that really something a lady of breeding would wear? I thought it looked – while very lovely – more like what a certain type of “lady” would wear. (And I'd love to let a historian have at the costumes shown in Doctor Who...) In a way, I can't believe I haven't written this before. Thanks to tardis_mole for the quick beta, even though we're in the midst of working on posting our Broadchurch fanfic.

Dress For Your Cover

Started December 26, 2014
Finished December 28, 2014

It had been too long since he'd had to order a companion to change their clothes so they wouldn't cause a riot. Of course, Rose was a teenager who so far didn't seem to have much interest in studying history the typical way on her planet, so he should give her some leeway.

He smirked as he worked on the TARDIS repairs that were never-ending now that he was cut off from the best sources for materials. Sometimes the Old Girl gave a companion the run of the Wardrobe, and sometimes she would present something to them. He wondered which it would be.

He heard footsteps after over an hour, so he knew that she had finally figured out the hooks and such. He looked up and his eyes went wide. “Blimey!”

Rose fought to not giggle. “Don't laugh.”

But she noticed what seemed to her to be a man – well, whatever kind of a man he was if he was an alien like he said he was – noticing that she looked well. So she wasn't about to say something that might ruin the effect.

But then the Doctor frowned. “Rose, you need to go back and change into something else.”

She lost her smile. “What? Isn't it lovely?”

“No, it does make you look beautiful – for a human, of course.”

"I think that's a compliment," she said uncertainly.

“But you really need to change into something else.”

“What's the problem if makes me beautiful?”

“Well, it runs a larger risk of attracting the wrong sort of attention to you, and I won't have a companion doing that.”

“What sort of attention?”

He had to stop to remember what the terms were that she might know. Trouble was that he was not certain which slang words to use. “I'm afraid people will think that you're a lady of the evening.”

She frowned. “Is it night out there?”

He blinked. “What's that got to do with anything?”

“I don't know. You said 'evening'.”

He groaned. “You really don't know what that means?”

“No, never heard it.”

He shook his head. “A prostitute, Rose.”


“No respectable lady in the 1860s went about with her shoulders uncovered. Not since Queen Victoria went into mourning after Prince Albert died. Exposing that much skin was seen as an open invitation.”

To say nothing of the color.

“So a girl can't dress how she wants?”

“No. Especially not in this era. If we were in the United States, you'd be instantly mistaken for a saloon girl. Although you do look much better than most of those women and girls did.” He shuddered. “You have to be from another planet to find some of those women the standard of beauty.”

Rose was dismayed. “But this was the outfit I found waiting for me.”

“I know there are more in there!”

“But where?”

Suddenly it dawned on him that the TARDIS had to have caused this. There were perfectly respectable outfits for her to wear, but why would the Old Girl only let her see this one? His ship couldn't be saying anything about what she thought of Rose as a person, could she? That Rose belonged in the social categories that her time put sex workers in?!

He liked to think she was better than that. Although she had not seemed so keen on having Rose onboard, if the sounds she was making in his head were any indication. Although he supposed that this might be a test instead, like she put Leela through. If you could handle having to be in a less than ideal cover, you were a fitting assistant.

He sighed. “Go back. There will be more options when you get there.”

Rose pouted.

“Go on! We're not going outside with you looking like you're going to turn tricks!”

Pout turning into a scowl, Rose grabbed her cape and snapped at him. “I didn't join you so you could insult me! There'd better be something better then!” And she stormed off.

The Doctor frowned. “That was a bit immature, wasn't it?” he whispered aloud.

She made a slight chime that in a biped would indicate shrugging.

He looked up at her. “Did you give you that outfit?”

The TARDIS chimed in confirmation.


She chimed some more.

“What? You're saying I should've taken the idiot?”

Her chiming turned harsh.

“Well, of course he had been through something frightening, but really-!”

Her chiming was higher pitched, like she was scolding him.

He sighed. “Fine. I'll apologise to him. And offer him a place here.”

His ship suddenly sounded much happier.

Not that it comforted him when Rose stormed back in. “A servant's dress! All I had to choose from were servants' clothes!”

He took a moment to confirm, and upon seeing the drab garments of a servant girl sighed. The TARDIS really didn't like Rose and was trying hard to convince her that travelling through time and space was not worth it.

And he might never know why.



( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 28th, 2014 04:21 pm (UTC)
Well, I did look up the history of Victorian era dresses, and it seems that evening wear for ladies did include short sleeve, off the shoulder bodices in 1869 and throughout the era. So it wasn't just "ladies of the evening" who wore those outfits. Fascinating how certain styles went in and out of fashion.

Still, it is an interesting thought that the TARDIS would pull a stunt like that and urge the Doctor to bring Mickey aboard.
Dec. 28th, 2014 05:03 pm (UTC)
I'd always thought her dress looked just a tad bit off for the times, too tight and not enough of a bushiness to it in the back, but there were other things about that episode that irked me more, to be honest.

First, her even chasing after Gwyneth and Mr. Sneed when the old woman collapsed. She hadn't seen it, not from what I could see watching closely, but when they are dragging her out Rose just assumed that they were hurting her. Then they put her in the undertakers carriage and she complains that the woman is dead. HELLO, it is an UNDERTAKERS carriage.

Later on she acts extremely condescending to Gwyneth and has to have it pointed out to her, from Gwyneth, that Rose thinks she's a moron. Not only did she tell Gwyneth outright that she didn't understand the situation, but then she acts like she does, when she clearly didn't. It infuriated me. Who is Rose to tell Gwyneth how to think or feel? She looked down on her for being a servant but she was only a shop girl, so...

Then at the end when she said that just a servant girl saved the world and nobody would know...UGH. She's already feeling entitled and showing her true colors of how she'd want recognition for saving the world.

I hadn't really liked Rose from the start but the End Of The World and then this one, the Unquiet Dead, really made my dislike for her skyrocket.

Edited at 2014-12-28 11:46 pm (UTC)
Dec. 28th, 2014 09:47 pm (UTC)
Ahh, you're talking about the bustle. That went in and out of fashion, so there were points during that era where the backs were not all puffed out. Still, as for the off the shoulder look, see my comment above; it was actually, believe it or not, acceptable women's wear.

I agree with your comments about Rose herself, though. She seemed so full of herself, and she brought out the worst in the Doctor (both Nine and Ten).
Dec. 28th, 2014 05:17 pm (UTC)
*giggles* indeed, the Doctor should've taken Mickey with him instead. Just imagine the first two seasons with Mickey instead of Rose!! This would've been a great bromance instead of a forced romance *sigh* if only~

Btw I think you did a good job writing Nine who always tried to think the best of Rose if possible x3
Dec. 29th, 2014 04:43 am (UTC)
Ah, I so needed to reread this comment after the night I just had. BLEW a winning position at the chess board. Bromance... *suppressing a snickerfit*

Thanks. And I still love that icon of yours. Awesome!
Carolyn Harrison
Dec. 28th, 2014 05:23 pm (UTC)
Rose has apparently forgotten that the Doctor met her when she was a "Shop Girl" so the idea of her thinking that a servants dress is beneath her is laughable. The only way that would be true is if by somehow traveling with the Doctor that gives you a higher social standing then you already have. The Doctor should take the clues from the TARDIS and Rose's own behavior and return Rose to Jackie so she can finish growing up, since she obviously needs it, and take Mickey with him instead. That would save everyone a ton of grief down the road if he'd do that.
Dec. 29th, 2014 04:44 am (UTC)
I like your way of putting it. But remember: she's also a teenager, and I can't tell you how many think the simple manual labor of cleaning is beneath them. (I should know, having worked with too many of them in F&B. Thank goodness not all were like that.)
Jan. 1st, 2015 07:03 pm (UTC)
Perfect. So the ship thinks that Rose should/would be a "lady of the evening". To bad she has no idea what that meant, the ding-bat! EVERYONE knows what that means, if you've done ANY studies in history!
This really SHOULD have happened. I agree that the dress was to "show-y".
Jan. 1st, 2015 10:35 pm (UTC)
Yes, but some don't exactly pay attention in school or life. Or are too hurt by their circumstances to think straight without someone reminding them. *points at icon* Rose needed a father figure to knock some sense into her. Glad it gave you a smile.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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