The Doctor landed the TARDIS with his usual flair, that is to say, causing himself and Rose to be flung to the floor. Laughing hysterically, Rose rolled onto her side in his direction, and the Doctor glanced at her and immediately started chuckling.
"Right, Rose Tyler," he said, getting to his feet and holding a hand out to her. She grabbed it and he yanked her up. "Off we go." He let go of her hand and bounded over to the doors, sticking his head out. "Ah."
"What is it?" she asked, coming up behind him and peering over his shoulder, a hand on his arm for balance, crinkling his leather jacket beneath her palm.
"Bit snowy out there. You'd better grab a coat."
"Oh my god, can you never take us anywhere warm?" Rose asked, eyebrows raised as he turned around to face her. "We were only at Woman Wept yesterday, and I still can't feel my toes."
"You loved it, though," he said smugly, folding his arms.
She tilted her head with a smile. "Yeah, I did. It was beautiful."
"Go on then, go and get ready. I'll meet you outside."
He watched her as she backed away, a fond expression on his face as she told him, "You'd better not disappear."
"I'll be just outside the doors. I'm not the one who wanders off."
"Right, course not," Rose scoffed, then span around and ran to get her coat and scarf from her room.
The Doctor smiled to himself and exited the TARDIS, glancing around their snow-covered location. About a mile up ahead, he could see a tall, tinselled tree surrounded by dozens of little huts decorated with lights.
"Oh, no," he sighed heavily. "Christmas."
Meanwhile, in the little town that the other Doctor had just been observing, an older, pinstriped Doctor sat on a bench, his arm around Rose as they watched the people of the town of Arullden on the planet Deskivos celebrate their version of the festive season. He dug into his coat pocket and pulled out a flask of tea, handing it to Rose.
"This is nice," she said quietly, taking a sip of warm tea.
"Mmm, lovely," he agreed, nuzzling the side of her head with his nose. "What are we going to get Jackie for Christmas, then?"
Rose hummed in thought. "Well, Tia and Jono have some nice bits and bobs on their craft stall over there. Noticed a lovely bracelet earlier. Could get that for her."
"Good idea. When do you want to go?"
"Let's just stay here for a bit," she said, handing him the flask and snuggling into his side. "This is cosy."
He put the flask away and wrapped his other arm around her too, interlinking his hands on her belly. He had just buried his face in her neck to give her a quick kiss there when something tingled in his mind.
"Oh. Oh, no," he mumbled, lifting his head and looking behind them.
"What's wrong?" she asked, turning her head. She stilled when she saw her old Doctor striding towards the square. "Oops," she murmured, licking her lips absently. "What are we gonna do? He can't see me like this."
The Doctor gulped. "Well, I don't remember what happens, so I think it's safe to assume that I block my memories of this event."
"He's not gonna believe this, anyway," she muttered.
"Probably not, no," he said lightly, unwrapping his arms from her and standing up. "Come on, better get this over with."
As soon as the younger Doctor got a bit closer to the town, he could feel the presence of another him in the vicinity, and he wanted to sort it out and get rid of him before Rose came out of the TARDIS. It was a small town, so there was little to no chance of him escaping without being noticed, and he didn't fancy having to explain a past-him's fashion sense to Rose; she would take the piss out of him for weeks.
When he reached the square where the town's inhabitants were dancing and singing, however, he realised that it wasn't a past-him at all. He gaped in shock at the bloke standing in front of a thirty-something year old Rose, hands in the pockets of his suit and stupid hair sticking up and fluttering in the breeze.
"Oh, great. I turn into a pretty boy," the younger Doctor huffed.
He shrugged. "She likes it," he countered, nodding his head towards Rose, who was wearing a suspiciously large tan coat and wrapping it around herself, arms across her stomach.
"I sort of do," Rose agreed. She took a step forward. "I like you too, though."
"You stayed with me through a regeneration, then?" he murmured, his voice strangely hoarse. "And — well, you look a bit older, and you're still…"
"Yeah," she smiled. "Got to make sure you stay out of trouble."
"You're the one who attracts trouble," the pinstriped Doctor said.
Both Doctors chuckled.
"Anyway, we'll just go and make a purchase, say goodbye to some people, and head off, leave you and your Rose to it," the older Doctor said, taking Rose's hand and leading her away.
"Hold on, wait," said the younger Doctor. He frowned at them . "Why are you in such a hurry? What's going on?"
The Doctor and Rose glanced at each other warily.
"He's gonna forget this anyway," she said softly. "Can't I at least give him a hug?"
The older Doctor nodded, but he looked a little reluctant to let go of her hand. "All right." He turned to his younger self. "But you — you've got to promise to wipe your memories of this when you get back to the TARDIS."
"Course I will. I'm not daft."
"Well, I don't know about that," the older him mumbled. "Okay, now when Rose comes over to you…don't, don't freak out."
"Why would I freak out?" said the Doctor in confusion. "Rose has hugged me loads of times." He sounded almost proud. Rose grinned and let go of her Doctor's hand, shrugging off his coat and handing it to him, revealing her small baby bump.
The younger Doctor stumbled backwards in shock.
"See, told you he wouldn't believe it," Rose said, before pressing her lips together to hold in a giggle.
"You — you — no — what — how - " His eyes were wide and his breath shaky. "This is - "
"Word of warning, don't say impossible," said the older Doctor. "Rose gets fed up with me saying that about all sorts of things that happen in our relationship, and she's likely to refuse to hug you for the rest of the day. Amongst other things."
Rose closed the distance between them and stopped his words with a soft kiss. "It's all right, Doctor. It all works out." She looped her arms around his neck and squeezed him tightly, as close as she could get with the bump in between them.
His hands floundered in the air for a few moments before landing on her back, fingers splaying and holding her to him. He looked over her shoulder at the older Doctor, who was watching them with a small smile on his face.
"You aren't supposed to do this," he told his older self sternly.
He rubbed at his neck. "Wellll, these things happen."
"Haven't happened before," the younger him snorted.
"Rose is different. You know that."
Rose pulled back from the hug but slid her hands down his arms, stroking the leather gently. "It was his fault, though."
"Two to tango," the older Doctor sing-songed.
The younger Doctor rolled his eyes. "Was it planned? The baby, I mean."
"God, no," Rose laughed. "Course not."
"But you are…happy?"
"Very. Now that we've calmed down a bit and stopped stressing."
"But the TARDIS is hardly - "
"Oh, she's got really into the idea, has the TARDIS," the older Doctor pitched in. "Think the console room is the only one she hasn't baby-proofed. Yet."
"Blimey," muttered the younger Doctor. Then he shuddered.
"Getting scared of all the domestics, eh?" Rose grinned. She patted his shoulder before stepping away from him. "Don't worry, you'll get used to it."
"We'd better go, before your Rose comes out," suggested the older Doctor.
"Right. Yeah. All right." He was still staring at them in bewilderment. Just as Rose started to back away, he reached out and grabbed her hand. "Just, just tell me one thing."
"Do you have any regrets?"
"Not about us or this one, no," she said, placing her free hand on her belly.
He swallowed hard. "And you?" he asked the older Doctor, who shook his head in response, a reassuring smile on his face. He breathed out roughly. "Right, then."
"Bye, Doctor," Rose said gently.
"Bye, Rose Tyler." He squeezed her hand and then let it go.
The two Doctors nodded at one another and then the younger one watched as his older self and Rose walked away. "Well. That was a surprise," he mumbled, running a hand over his head. "Blimey." He turned around and found his Rose walking over to him.
"You wandered off," she said, smile on her face as she pointed at him accusingly.
"Maybe a bit," he said.
Then she frowned in concern, and rubbed his arm comfortingly when she reached him. "Hey, you all right? You look like you've seen a ghost."
He exhaled a long breath and answered, "Something scarier."