Disclaimer: Dr. Who (the show and everything in it) is not mine, so neither is anything in this story. I think it belongs to the BBC. I only wrote it down to get it out of my head.
Author's Note: This one requires some kind of explanation, I think. I was reading some of the response to "The Doctor Dances" on the message boards and what-not and it seemed to me that people were being pretty unfair to poor Rose.
I mean, sure we know he likes her, but how is she supposed to know he's being any different with her than he has been with anyone else?
Anyways, I wrote this before I read any of the similar thingsthat other people have already posted, so any similarities are purely coincidental.
It had started, as these things sometimes do, with a simple question; a rhetorical one at that.
"Okay, so he's vanished into thin air. Why is it always the great looking ones who do that?" Rose Tyler asked the alien she thought of as a best friend.
She'd have asked Shireen the same question, with as little thought, not long ago. Though Shireen would have sighed with her and commiserated, and she expected some kind of snarky comment about her taste in men from the Doctor.
"I'm making an effort not to be insulted," he said instead.
That had her at a loss for words. He hated pretty boys, and he was insulted because she hadn't included him in the category?
"I mean...men," she tried to explain. That only made it worse, apparently; or at least that's what his sarcastic come-back implied. What exactly was his problem? Did he want her to think of him…as a man?
Not that she hadn't entertained the occasional thought in that direction, but for all his hand-holding and snippiness about her 'boyfriends,' he'd never actually flirted with her. The last person she'd seen him flirt with was that tree, Jabe, who'd died. And it wasn't like he made any secret of his…not so much contempt as disdain, of the human race in general. If she'd thought about it at all, she would have expected him to be insulted if he'd found out she saw him as a man.
She was grateful to Jack for his interruption of their conversation, because it focused the Doctor back on the situation and gave her time to think. It also proved that there was more to Jack than just a conman.
With Glen Miller playing in the background Rose had sat down in the old Bath chair, an early form of wheelchair, and tried to think.
So…the Doctor had invited her along on his spaceship, but he'd said himself a while back that she wasn't the first. What else? He held her hand a lot of the time, but he was an alien and for all she knew that was normal behaviour for a Time Lord. He got narky about her taste in men, but with Mickey and Adam both that was understandable…
He'd nearly sacrificed the entire human race so that her dad could stay alive when he should have been dead… alright so that was probably a genuine clue, there. Ditto not wanting to fire a missile at Downing Street with them inside; well, with her inside. Farther back, the way he'd held her in 1869 Cardiff, not holding her hand but with his arm around her waist…
But then he refused to stay for tea with her mother (even though his ship is also a time machine), repeatedly insults her species (and others to be fair) and never so much as flirts with her, at least not any kind of flirting she'd recognize. And then there was his statement that he wouldn't allow the TARDIS to be made domestic…which, as far as she could tell, meant any kind of long-term romantic relationships, with him or anyone else. Although…
She sat up slightly as the thought struck her. Was it possible he'd just meant 'with anyone else'? It was just so confusing! All the information she had was contradicting itself…
She swings the chair around when the noise of the sonic screwdriver becomes too irritating to bear anymore.
"What you doing?" she asks. If he's going to disturb her train of thought, he can at least add something to it.
"Trying to set up a resonation pattern in the concrete, loosen the bars," he explains.
"You don't think he's coming back, do you?" Not like that comes as much of a surprise but it's time to have this out.
"Wouldn't bet my life," he answers. His tone has actually gotten more sarky since she brought up Jack.
"Why don't you trust him?"
"Why do you?"
"He saved my life," she answers without thinking, then tries to make it into a joke. "Bloke-wise, that's right up there with flossing."
His silence says he's not amused and she wonders if he remembers that he's saved her life any number times. It was only half a joke anyway, because it's mostly true.
She decides to go for a little more truth in hopes of getting a reaction. "…I trust him because he's like you…only with dating and dancing."
The reaction she does get isn't quite what she hoped for. He looks at her like he thinks she's hopeless, shaking his head as he turns back to the wall.
"What?" she prods him.
"You just assume I'm –" he cuts himself off before he finishes.
"What?" she demands again, determined to make him admit…whatever it is, out loud.
"You just assume I don't…dance," he grumbles.
She wonders what word he'd been going to use. The choices were dating and dancing and he had hesitated long enough to make it clear that he hadn't meant dancing.
"What, you telling me you do…dance?" Her own hesitation is deliberate and teasing. She's finally getting somewhere.
"Nine hundred years old, me, I've been around a bit. I think you can assume at some point I've…danced."
"You?" She laughs.
"Problems?" he asks, definitely offended now.
"Doesn't the world implode or something if you…dance?" she teases, grinning.
"Well, I've got the moves but I wouldn't wanna boast," he says back. He doesn't sound offended anymore, instead he's teasing her back.
That's it, she decides, talk is getting her nowhere. The proof is in the pudding. He says he can dance, let's see if he actually can. Or if it wasn't dancing he was talking about.
She gets up to turn the radio's volume up, forgetting that it isn't a working radio and so not surprised when it actually works. She notices him twitch as she walks back towards where he's working next to the window.
Nervous, she thinks, is good. It means she's getting somewhere and she wasn't totally off-base about his earlier reaction.
"You've got the moves," she challenges, holding her hand out. "Show me your moves."
"Rose, I'm- I'm trying to resonate concrete," he says defensively. He's trying to wriggle out of it. She's not about to let him. If the concrete was going to come loose, it already would have.
"Jack'll be back, he'll get us out," she says dismissively. "So, come on. The world doesn't end cos the Doctor dances."
Finally, a reaction, as he turns off the sonic screwdriver and turns around. The look on his face is intense as he steps off the ledge he's standing on and moves in front of her. It's actually just a little frightening and she's nervous for the first time since she started this.
He grabs her hands, one in each of his, and begins turning them over, examining them closely. Maybe this is the Time Lord version of dancing? In which case they definitely weren't talking about the same thing just now.
"Barrage balloon," he says, confusing her further, attention still on her hands.
"You were hanging from a barrage balloon," he clarifies. He's certainly taking a long time examining her hands, turning them over and over in his own. Now he's making her nervous, so she begins to babble.
"Oh, yeah. About two minutes after you left me. Thousands of feet above London, middle of a German air raid, Union Jack all over my chest…" She moves her hands to make the point and he lets them move but doesn't let go.
"I've travelled with a lot of people," he comments, finally looking up from her hands. "But you're setting new records for jeopardy-friendly."
He doesn't sound upset about it, just resigned. Of course, it's not the first time he's said something similar. He's still got hold of her hands, is still examining them as though they're most interesting things he's seen in a long time.
Enough is enough. "Is this you dancing?" she asks a little sharply. "Cos I've got notes."
"Hanging from a rope, thousands of feet above London," he states, looking at her now instead of her hands. "Not a cut, not a bruise," he says, finally releasing her hands, sounding pissed about it. His eyes demand an explanation.
Well, if he's not going to cooperate and dance with her, then she can at least needle him some.
"Yeah, I know. Captain Jack fixed me up," she says casually, examining her nails.
"Oh, we're calling him Captain Jack now?" he asks with that snippy tone back in his voice. How did this turn into a fight?
"Well, his name's Jack and he's a Captain," she explains. Actually, she thought it would bug the hell out of the Doctor. Apparently it's working.
"He's not really a Captain, Rose," he points out, patronizingly.
"D'you know what I think? I think you're experiencing Captain envy," she challenges him.
He nods, pressing his lips together tightly, and moves a couple of steps forward, taking her right hand in his left, as though preparing to dance.
"You'll find your feet at the end of your legs," she hints. "You may care to move 'em."
Another step and his right hand is on her waist, holding her against him. This doesn't feel like dancing, it feels like it could become something else. He pulls her even closer as he says in a low voice, "If ever he was a Captain, he's been defrocked."
"Yeah?" she teases. "Shame I missed that."
He just smirks a little, dips his head, begins to move them to the music.
"Actually I quit," Jack's voice interrupts them. "Nobody takes my frock."
Startled, Rose pulls away, looking around at Jack's ship. She's a little disappointed, at first, because she was finally getting somewhere with her experiment in flirting with the Doctor.
"Most people notice when they've been teleported," Jack comments with a teasing smile. "You guys are so sweet."
She grins widely. Not only has Jack come through, which means she was right about him, but it's the first time she's been teleported and she's delighted. Whatever had started to happen with the Doctor would just have to wait. But not for long, if she had anything to say about it.