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The Replacement

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“Mistletoe," said Luna dreamily, pointing at a large clump of white berries placed almost over Harry's head. He jumped out from under it.
"Good thinking," said Luna seriously. "It's often infested with nargles.”

-J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

 

“What’re you reading?”

“Re-reading,” Rose corrected. Without looking away from the page, she held up the battered paperback so he could see the cover.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix ,” he read. He winced. “Ooo, not my favorite. Umbrige. Makes me feel all…” He shuddered.

“It’s got some good bits too. I like Luna. And the D.A.”

“True,” he agreed. “But the end is pretty rough.”

This made Rose look up at last. “Doctor, an emotional ending does not make a book bad . It just makes it emotional .”

“I didn’t say it was bad! I just said it’s not my favorite! I’d rather read The Goblet of Fire , or The Prisoner of Azkaban . Yeah, give me dragons, or Lupin!”

Rose rolled her eyes. “Can I get back to my book please?”

“Yes, Rose. I just came in to ask if you wanted to decorate the TARDIS for Christmas. We’re coming up on it, in your timeline anyway.”

This made her put down her book again. “Already? Seems like we just did that.”

“Time gets funny on a time ship,” he quipped.

“Thanks ever so,” she said drily. She began to read again.

“Decorations?” he asked, not deterred in the slightest.

She sighed, an over-dramatic, drawn out sigh that made him laugh. She grinned. “Just give me a few. After this chapter.”


 

In no time at all the TARDIS was bedecked with evergreens and holly, fairy lights and mistletoe. There was a magnificent tree in the library; not giant, but exactly the right size for the space. They had the oddest assortment of ornaments, collected on their travels to alien planets and throughout earth’s history. It was a riot of color and sparkles and light, and Rose loved every bit of it.

Putting the last few ornaments on, Rose glanced at the Doctor. He’d given up decorating and was sprawled on the sofa, just watching. She asked, “Do you have an angel for the top?”

The Doctor nearly choked on his hot cocoa. “I’m actually not too fond of angels,” he said. “I have  a couple stars, though. One silver, one TARDIS blue.”

“Oh, the blue one, definitely.” She filed away the angels comment for a later date.

The Doctor handed her the star, then went back to his cocoa. Surveying the room he commented, “Looks brilliant, Rose. Lots of mistletoe, though. Was that you or the TARDIS?”

“The TARDIS. But I’d avoid it if I were you.”

“What?” He sat up so fast he nearly spilled his drink.

“It’s probably full of nargles,” she said absently.

“I think it’s worth the risk,” he mumbled.


 

“Uh, Rose?”

She was in their bathroom, getting ready for bed. Already in her pajamas, she was brushing her teeth. And he was calling to her from... not their bedroom. The corridor? She quickly rinsed out her mouth and yelled, “Yeah?”

“What is, uh, can you just come out here?”

Curious, she followed his voice into the corridor. He stood just outside their bedroom door, a puzzled look on his face. He pointed upward. “Did you put that there?”

Rose looked up. Hanging above their doorway, where the mistletoe had been a few hours earlier, was a curious looking...something. It looked a bit like a radish, but it was bright orange. “I’ve never seen--” she started to say, and then she got the joke. She began to laugh, and soon her eyes were blurry with tears from laughing so hard. She grabbed onto the Doctor to keep from falling, but ended up pulling him down with her, and they both tumbled to the floor.

“Care to share?” he asked.

Still giggling, Rose said, “The TARDIS is having a little joke. She heard my comment about nargles in the mistletoe, so she replaced it with her idea of a dirigible plum. Luna Lovegood would be pleased.”

The Doctor grinned, then tried to be serious when he said, “I don’t know if I approve. Why a dirigible plum? And do I still get a kiss?”

“Well…” Rose looked thoughtful. “If I remember correctly, a dirigible plum is supposed to enhance your ability to accept the extraordinary.” Putting her arms around his neck, she said, “As far as I’m concerned, having you in my life is the most extraordinary thing in the universe. Everything else is just icing on the cake.”

Rising on her toes, until her lips were just a breath from his, she said, her voice low, “As for kisses, you can have as many as you’d like, my Doctor.”