Planted

Rose looked around the crowded room with interest. She'd finally got used to seeing barely a half dozen human or humanoid faces at parties. She could even identify three or four of the species present; mostly, though, she was simply glad she no longer flinched when grey oozing bat-like things walked up and asked her if she wanted a fresh drink.

She couldn't exactly tell if she was enjoying the party or not, but she wasn't hating it, and, beside her, the Doctor was clearly having a grand time. And since no one was shooting at them or dropping dead at their feet, Rose figured she was happy to stay awhile.

She caught sight of Jack, halfway across the room, and frowned.
"Doctor?"

"Yeah, Rose?"

She looked at the Doctor, aware that it was entirely possible that she was seeing things. "Is Jack... flirting with a potted plant?"

He looked, then grinned and nodded. "Yeah."

Rose waited, then when there was no elaboration, asked, "It's... a plant person? With its body hidden in the dirt?"

The Doctor shook his head. "Nope. Just a regular sentient fern. In a pot."

Rose blinked at him for a moment, well used to the Doctor saying ridiculous things -- and to his saying things which sounded ridiculous but were perfectly true. She couldn't tell which this one was.

She wrinkled her nose and looked at Jack again. She couldn't hear what he was saying, but she'd seen this routine of his often enough that she knew, without a doubt, what he was saying right at the moment. From the way his grin had just widened, and the gestures of his hands, he was at the bit where he would be complimenting the plant's homeworld, and making up stories about having been there before.

The Doctor's interest had already wandered, but she had to know. "Doctor..."

"Yes?"

"How... I mean... It's a *plant*, right? How is he going to...?" She looked at the Doctor. "Assuming it says yes, how would..." She shook her head, unable to even picture what she was thinking. "It's a *plant*."

It didn't even have any bits that a person could have sex with, as far as she could tell. Rose had learnt enough about the universe to know that just being sentient didn't give a person hands or mouth or anything that would, well, make Jack's flirting anything but pointless.

Rose asked, "Are its fronds prehensile, then?"

"Nope." The Doctor grinned like he was waiting for her to figure out the joke. Only she knew by now, that there usually was no joke other than 'let's watch the Earth ape encounter weird aliens and weird alien cultures.' Finally the Doctor winked at her. "You really want to know?"

Rose opened her mouth, then realised -- "No. No, I do not want to know. I want another drink, and I want to not think about it." She took a long swallow of the orange and pink striped drink in her hand.

There was a moment, then the Doctor's cheery grin faded a bit and he leaned in. "You know he's not going to do anything."

She smiled. "I know. I'm not worried about it. I just... It's a *fern*. I don't see how he could have sex with it even if we let him." She took another drink and sighed. "And I've been traveling with you too long, because that statement did not sound nearly as odd as it should have."

"Wait 'til we go to Mafrian Tenbuc," the Doctor said. Rose gave him a querying glance, not really prepared to ask outright. The Doctor grinned. "Rocks. Sentient rocks. No arms, legs, faces. Nothing but big, rock-shaped stones." He grinned, and Rose stared at him.

Suddenly the penny dropped. "You brought us here to watch Jack flirt with a plant, didn't you?"

"It's amazing," the Doctor said. "He's completely incapable of not flirting with anything that has enough brain power to respond."

Rose laughed, and peeked over her shoulder. Jack was still chatting away, and the fern was... apparently just sitting there. Which meant it was going well, or else Jack would have gone after the cute Jebian woman who'd been giving him the eye earlier.

She thought about watching Jack trying to chat up a rock, and grinned. "What else is there?"

"There's a club on Nanto, which is quite popular with vats of green ooze. The smell is a bit rank, but you tie a potato around your neck; does wonders. And if we can find a Franeen... They're round sheets of gel paper. Rather shy, but there are places we can look. Or the Toriam Shatun -- completely gaseous." The Doctor grinned at her, and Rose laughed.

"Do you think he'll catch on?"

"Does it matter?" He gave Rose a wink, and they simply stood there and watched for several moments. Jack was winding up his pitch. If the plant had any way of accepting a proposal, now would almost be the time. She knew Jack would extract himself before he went too far -- they didn't care about his flirting, but Rose had told him, quite simply, that if he took it any farther he would no longer have anything to have sex with.

They both knew Jack wasn't the sort to cheat; but, as the Doctor said, he was incapable of not flirting. It was as reflexive for him as breathing, and Rose found that, like the Doctor, she rather enjoyed watching him.

"Rocks, you say?"

"Rocks. Big ones, about the size of a Japanese automobile."

She exchanged a glance with the Doctor, and they shared another smile. Rose nodded. "That one next, then. We'll save the green smelly ooze for later, all right?"

The Doctor gave her a nod. "Sounds like a plan."