A Triumph of Necessity
Warning: Spoilers for "Dalek."
Author's Note: Thanks to jayjay47 for beta reading.
Summary: The Ninth Doctor cheers up his dear friend Rose using only his innate talents, a small laboratory, and The Scientific Method.
Rose wasn't difficult to amuse. Things that had long since lost their luster for him amazed her, but what surprised him was the wonder she had in things he didn't even consider. He could plan a journey down to the detail, with spectacle in mind, and never expect everything she could find to be excited about.
Awhile after her Adam legged it, he noted a growing discontent in her. She got snappish. She paid more attention than he liked to the attractive males they met. Teasing didn't always go over. The Tolon Nebula was a "great big lot of dust," and the aliens who worshipped it were "nutters." He'd forgotten how limited human vision was; she hadn't been able to see the colors fluctuating across the sky. With a proper set of eyes, it was a great big lot of colorful, sparkly dust.
Nutters or not, they were pleasant, and a bit pretty. She went off with one of the humanoid aliens, only to come back a few minutes later looking annoyed and disheveled. He thought to talk to her about groping the locals, but she wasn't hurt, so he let it be.
When they got back, he pulled a panel up and made adjustments, delicate and otherwise. The TARDIS had to be maintained if it wasn't going to miscalculate and drop them in a sun next trip.
Rose sat on the edge of the platform, watching him work. She swung her legs listlessly, kicking her trainer-clad heels against the grillwork now and then.
"Are all of you lot so," her nose wrinkled, "freaky?"
"My lot?" he said, mildly offended at the idea that all alien life was "his lot," and a bit concerned, too. Was it their religion that was "freaky," or something that had happened with the one she'd gone off with?
His expression must have given him away.
"Sorry," she said, looking contrite. "Never mind me, yeah? Just a bad day, is all -- where're we off to when you're done there?"
"Haven't decided yet. You've been up, ah," he made a show of looking at his wristwatch, "twenty-six hours. How about a bath and a lie down first?"
"Mmm," she said, getting up, "bath sounds lovely."
"Right," he agreed, "off you go. Night, night."
The human body wasn't quite up to snuff, he thought, tinkering with the console's wiring. It wasted resources madly. Rose's body needed food and rest in enormous quantities. And, due to some evolutionary silliness, the human reproductive system cycled constantly. It responded to anything, from genetically incompatible aliens to inanimate objects.
It was a wonder they got anything done.
He supposed he was lucky Gallifreyan reproductive hormones didn't fluctuate regardless of circumstance; sensibly, they responded only to the pheromones of another Gallifreyan. He had never been held back by that, however. Hormones were easily synthesized. He simply had more freedom of choice, since his physiology didn't dictate to him.
Truth, he didn't often feel like bothering with it.
He frowned, crawling out from beneath the console and replacing the panel. He didn't recall ever having to consider this aspect of his other companions' needs before. If her boy Mickey had come along, he wouldn't have to worry about it. He wouldn't have had to spend two interminable weeks trying to play nice with that miserable pup Adam, either.
Well, he didn't suppose there was anything else for it; she'd certainly be better off with him than propositioning random humanoid blokes. It was safer, and she could spend more time enjoying the sights.
Mind made up, he went to the ship's lab and synthesized enough reproductive hormone to get started. He gave himself an injection and retired to his room to rest for a couple hours.
When she woke, he took her to a nice planet: snow-covered mountain peaks, lush green tropical areas, volcanoes. They saved a city. During the ensuing celebration, he took the first opportunity, and kissed her lightly, judging her reaction. It was lovely. She reached up and cupped the back of his head, and drew him back down for a snog.
They happily clutched, kissed and groped their way back to the TARDIS.
There wasn't much intelligible exchange until after. They laid together, legs entwined. Rose's arms were around him, and her fingers trailed lightly down his back. She was smiling -- practically glowing. He grinned back and leaned down to kiss her neck. She gave his bum a pinch. He grunted in surprise, and looked up.
"Why didn't we do this sooner?"
"Uh. I dunno. Beneath the bluster, we're both shy creatures who don't know our own minds?"
She rolled her eyes and laughed. "That so?" she said mischievously, wiggling her hips. "We do fine for a couple of blushing virgins then, eh?"
"Just 'fine'?" he asked, putting on a wounded expression.
She bit her lip, "How about 'impressive'?"
"Better," he conceded.
"Wait! I've got it," she said, stifling her laughter, "'fantastic!'"
He smirked and leaned closer to give her earlobe a quick nip and a lick.
She found him in the console room the next day. She came in holding two cups of tea. She handed him his tea and barely lifted the corners of her lips when he smiled his thanks. She looked pensive.
After a minute, she blurted, "What are we now?"
He set down his tea. "Companions," he said, "same as always."
"But what's that?" She lifted her eyebrows, "Some kind of sex thing?"
"It's whatever you want it to be."
"What if I said, 'let's just be friends'?"
"We'd just be friends," he said calmly.
She gave him an ironic smile. "And if I said that what I really wanted was a father figure, you'd, what...?"
"Really wish you'd told me before we had sex."
She laughed. "Companions," she said, and suddenly her smile was genuine. "All right. What's the schedule for today then?"