Disclaimer: Doctor Who isn't mine. If it was things would be quite different. The BBC owns all and I bow before them.
Written for doctorroseprompts on tumblr and their prompt: Tentoo/Rose, Valentine's Day in between Bad Wolf Bay 2 and their relationship really getting starte
Rose Tyler watched the Doctor walk away towards his study immediately following dinner for the fifth time in as many days. She was beyond concerned now, his insistence that not only was nothing wrong, but that he was always all right no more convincing to her than it had ever been.
It was the the February following their lives being forever changed at Bad Wolf Bay. Other than the brilliant snog they had shared on the beach, their relationship seemed to be in a constant holding pattern. Cuddles and handing holding were a daily occurrence (as they had been since the beginning), but nothing more. Yet she'd been patient. It had taken her a good six months to adjust to living on Pete's World when she was first stranded here, and even then she clung to the belief it wasn't going to be permanent.
The Doctor didn't have that. Not only could he never return (they had checked at Torchwood, the universes were most definitely sealed off from one another) to the prime universe, he'd lost his home and friend of a millennia in the TARDIS, and his physiology had irrevocably changed. They had one growing, yes, but it wasn't the same and she knew he was mourning the bond. Add in the adjustment of living a linear life to someone who hadn't done that in centuries, and she constantly reminded herself to be patient. They were together and they'd get to the next step.
Or so Rose had thought. Up until this week she had believed he was happy. Happy being with her and living this life. It had taken some trial and error, but the Doctor had finally found what he wanted to do with his time until the TARDIS coral was ready. He worked part time at the Royal London Planetarium (not just sharing his knowledge but also soaking up the differences between the universe he was familiar with and this one), consulted with Torchwood when they needed his expertise, and also tutored physics at a local school (the one thing that was absolutely the same). Then in their evenings and weekends, they were together. Cuddling on the couch watching shows and movies after dinner, exploring London or taking short trips around the world for a few days on the weekends or when they took short vacations, and falling back into the routine they had lived together on the TARDIS.
But as the Doctor's retreating back turned a corner and he was out of sight, Rose was no longer so sure. They had crossed the six month mark last month and it seemed they were on the cusp of moving forward, if the lingering gazes she caught out of the corner of her eye were any indication (she would wait for him to act because she didn't want to push him before he was ready). Now though it was February and not only had those gazes and the affection stopped, he was pulling away. Spending almost every free moment with the TARDIS coral, his hands running through his hair and muttering to himself.
Rose couldn't take it anymore. She was making herself sick with worry over what this might mean. Did he feel stuck here? Sentenced to a life he didn't want by his former self? And if he did, where did that leave the them? She would follow him anywhere he went, but if he truly didn't want to be here or with her (she shuddered at that thought) then there might not be a future for them together after all.
She stood up slowly and took a deep breath, bracing herself for what might happen next. Then she proceeded to the Doctor's study. The door was open a crack and as she peered inside she saw him leaning over the TARDIS's tank. She watched him for several moments, but he never turned her way. She'd never been able to watch him unobserved for long before, he always seemed to sense her presence, even when she didn't make a sound and turn to her with a smile. Not this time.
Rose cleared her throat and the Doctor finally set down what he was doing and looked up at her.
"How is she?" she asked, choosing to inquire about the TARDIS before she moved on to him.
The Doctor's shoulders slumped a bit. "Not as far along as I hoped she'd be."
"You said it'd take about two years. There's still plenty of time."
He nodded. "I've been trying to speed it up."
Rose took another deep breath. Here was the perfect opening.
"You're not happy here, are you?"
The Doctor blinked at her. "What?"
"This isn't what you wanted. Him abandoning you on the beach, taking your home away from you. You must hate him. I get it Doctor, I do. I wanted to leave so badly when I first got here too."
"Oh, Rose, no! He gave me everything I ever wanted." The Doctor rushed over to her and wrapped her in his arms. "He gave me the chance of a life with you."
"Then why are you pulling away? Telling me you're fine when clearly you're not. Working on the TARDIS at every moment and barely sleeping this past week." She couldn't help the way her voice cracked. "You want to leave."
"Never." The Doctor shook his head adamantly. "It's because it's almost Valentine's Day, Rose!"
She gaped. "What?"
"Valentine's Day. I don't know what I'm doing." He motioned between the two of them.
"You deserve everything and I'm so limited now! I can't take us to the Shining Waterfalls of Fenix Prime or the Marmolutha Caves on Palaria. If the TARDIS was ready there are so many places I could take you to woo you and ask to court you and I can't because she's not ready. I thought maybe I could accelerate her growth so it wouldn't take so long and I have, but it's not enough. I want to give you the whole universe but this is all I have!" The Doctor gestured to himself as finished with a deep sigh.
Rose blinked at him, speechless for a moment. Of all the scenarios she'd had running through her head, this hadn't been one of them. "That's what this was all about?"
The Doctor nodded. "You deserve the very best."
Rose gave a breathless chuckle as her worry left her. "C'mon," she said as she led him out of his study to the living room and then settled on the couch. The Doctor sat down beside her.
"I need you to listen, Doctor. On that beach, you promised me we could grow old together. You did that before he gave us the coral. You promised to live your life on the slow path with me, right?"
He nodded, and opened his mouth to speak, but she continued and he closed it.
"Remember Krop Tor? You thought the TARDIS might be lost forever. I said we'd find a planet, get a job, live a life. That we could share."
He nodded again and this time he let her go on without trying to interrupt her.
"When I promised you forever, that's all I really wanted. A life with you. Yes, if we couldn't travel space and time together again, I would miss it. But you were what I wanted. All I ever wanted, since you wore leather. I love you, Doctor, no matter the circumstances."
"Really?" His eyes were soft and almost pleading as he gazed at her.
"Really," Rose confirmed. "I wouldn't change anything." She linked their fingers together and gave a gentle squeeze.
"Nothing?" The Doctor's doubt was evident in his voice.
"Well," Rose considered with a pause. "I wish he wasn't alone, and I don't agree with the way he handled things, but I get why he did it. He never has to see me wither and die, and this way he knows we're together and happy."
"Are you, Rose, are you really?"
"Other than worrying you were miserable, I've never been better. This is the forever I always wanted." She released his hand and instead moved under his arm to cuddle up against his side.
The Doctor pressed a kiss to the crown of her head. "I'm sorry I worried you."
"No apologies. You have my permission to woo and court me, always. On Valentine's Day and every day. Just be yourself. You've always been impressive to me." Rose looked up and gave him a tongue touched grin.
"That I am, Rose Tyler," the Doctor agreed, waggling his eyebrows as he lifted her chin. "But you are so much more."
With that, the Doctor kissed her, long and deep.