Author: weirdgirl42 PM
John and Rose talk about before. 10.5/Rose. Sequel to Protect Thyself, but can be read alone.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance/Drama - 10th Doctor Duplicate & Rose T. - Words: 1,227 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 8 - Follows: 1 - Published: 11-04-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7523712
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: This is technically a sequel to Protect Thyself, but you probably don't have to read that first.
Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who, I know this must come as a huge shock…
"Does it bother you when I ask about before?"
John had been nearly asleep when Rose's soft voice invaded his senses. He turned onto his side. Even in the darkness of their bedroom he could make out the contours of her face, the way her hair fanned across her pillow.
"You can ask me anything Rose. Always."
Rose reached out and gently touched his forehead with the tips of her fingers. Even though it had been six months since Bad Wolf Bay and almost five since he'd moved from the Tyler mansion into Rose's small cottage on the back of the property, every once in a while he would say something to remind her how lucky she was.
From the moment they had made the decision to be together, John had made it clear that he wouldn't hold things back from her the way he had before becoming part-human. That first night, sitting in his boxers and t-shirt while his sweatshirt and jeans were in the dryer, curled up together under a blanket on her couch, he promised to answer any question she had. And so far, he had been as good as his word. He told her about the two years he'd spent without her, about the months after the time war before he'd met her, even about his life before the time war.
She hadn't yet asked him about the war itself, she didn't think either of them was ready for that.
Now, she shifted under the covers, close enough to feel his warmth through both of their pajamas. John smiled and reached out to place a hand on her hip, rubbing small circles over the cotton of the boxer shorts she had stolen from him.
"Are you sure?" she asked. "I don't want you to think…I mean, you know I want you right? Not him."
John kissed her temple. "I know. What's the question?"
Rose chewed on her bottom lip for a moment and John had to stop himself from kissing her. He knew she wanted to ask him something, so now was not the time.
"Did you love me?" she asked. "Before changing I mean."
John tightened his grip on her hip. "Rose we've been over this. I wanted to say it that day on the beach but the transmission stopped. And when I was born into this body I was born loving you, so I must have loved you before."
Rose shook her head. "No that's not what I meant. I mean before you changed the first time. Before the trainers and the hair."
John's forehead crinkled, "You mean did I love you when I was big ears?"
Rose slapped his shoulder playfully. "I liked your ears." Fiddling with a loose thread on his t-shirt she avoided his eyes and repeated the question. "Did you?"
"Not at first," John admitted. "At first, it was mostly loneliness. I had been alone for years. And you seemed good under pressure, plus you had saved my life."
"Quite right," Rose said.
John leaned forward and rested his forehead against she shoulder. For a moment he was overcome with memories. An observation deck overlooking the end of the world, her warm hand in the cold of a Welsh Christmas, a union jack t-shirt and a toothy grin. Then the memories were replaced by feelings of fear and sadness. Cowering in a closet as the building came down around them, a door closing a second too soon, the look of pain on her face as she watched her father die for the last time.
For her part, Rose understood the weight of the memories. So she remained silent, keeping her breathing even and gently running her fingers through his hair.
"I hated myself," he whispered against her body. "For so long. And you can't love someone else when you hate yourself that much." Then he pulled back and his eyes locked with hers. "You saved me Rose. But more than that, you chose me. Over and over again. You chose me instead of Mickey, instead of Adam, and then you chose me instead of Jack. And that's when I realized that a person as good as you wouldn't choose someone as bad as I thought I was."
"That's because you weren't bad," Rose said. "You were brilliant."
John smiled. "After that," he continued, "there was no fighting it. I was under water before I even realized I'd jumped in the pool."
Rose chuckled at the analogy.
"So I guess my answer is actually the same," John concluded. "I was born loving you. This face, this voice, this…form. When I regenerated all my thoughts were of you, and I don't think it's really changed since."
Rose knew there was no real answer to this statement. So she settled for brushing her nose against his and kissing cheek.
John closed his eyes and relished the contact. For so long he had believed he could never be with her like this. It was hard, even after so many months, to feel anything less than joy each time she touched him.
"And you?" he asked at last.
"Did you love me when I was big ears?"
At once, Rose was flooded with images that seemed both a hundred miles away and at the same time, right next to her. She saw leather coats and soft cotton jumpers, Slitheen in London, a day when everyone lived, a huge smile with a northern accent. If she closed her eyes, she could almost see the ancient eyes that held so much pain, but looked at her with such compassion, such gentleness.
"Do you remember," Rose said, "when you told me who you were?"
John's forehead crinkled slightly. "About the Earth turning?"
Rose nodded. "You told me you could feel it." Reaching down she took John's hand in her own and entwined their fingers. "And for a moment, when you held my hand, I could feel it too. It was like all of time and space was inside you, and for one second it was a part of me too. Then you let go, and told me to forget you."
"I was trying to protect you," John interjected. "You were so young."
Rose smiled at him. "You made me love you instead. From that moment on. I knew that for the first time in my life I felt like there was something to hope for. A life to hope for. With you."
They were silent for a long time then. Until John looked down at her face and realized she had drifted off. He pulled the blanket a little more snugly around her and softly kissed her closed eyes.
"All of time and space," he whispered, his words ghosting over her face. "The whole universe. Multiple universes even. So many regenerations. And then me. There is no version of reality where the Doctor doesn't love his Rose."
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