Disclaimer: Don't own Doctor Who, as much asI wishI did. The Song "If I Ain't Got You" Is by Alicia Key, soI obviously don't own that either...
The Doctor ambled along the dimly lit corridor, reacquainting himself with the familiar planes and corridors of the great ship he called home. The ever-present humming of the engines was a soothing balm to his troubled mind. Then again, that was how it always was after regeneration, sorting out the changes, adjusting to being someone new…
Turning randomly down a corridor, he thought he heard a snatch of jazz weaving through the air. Curiosity perked, he turned to investigate, his ears leading him to Rose's door. Uncertainly, he scrutinized the handle, debating the merits of invading her space. The old him would have had no qualms, preferring simply barging in. On the other hand, the new him felt a queer sense of inappropriateness at going into her sanctuary. Eventually he settled for halfway, rapping gently on her door
"Come in!" she called.
Running his hands through his already messy hair, he pried open the door, his mouth instantly going dry at the sight of her.
"You all right?" She asked, leaning languidly over her leg, stretching to reach her toes as the candlelight flickered across her arms.
His eyes widened in shock, "Uhm…yeah…I was just-" He trailed off.
"No point standing out in the corridor." She invited.
Still waiting to regain proper function to his mouth, he nodded, perching on her bed. His gaze followed her as she pulled her feet together, leaning lazily over to place her palms on the ground in front of her, hair falling like a curtain around her face as her back flattened.
Slowly she came up, her eyes gazing directly into his, "There's obviously a reason you're wandering around the TARDIS in the middle of the night."
He swallowed, "Just thinking…"
She smiled ruefully, "Been doing that myself. That's why I was stretching."
"Oh?" he asked curiously, his previous unease dispersed instantly.
"Helps me think." She commented, flipping over and arching backwards, "This entire regeneration thing…"
"You want to talk about it?" he asked, a mixture of apprehension and relief coursing through him.
She nodded, "Yeah, if you don't mind. But if it's too soon-"
"No!" He interjected, sliding down to the ground, "Not in the slightest!"
"Right, what is it? I mean, I know you explained it before, but you were a bit unclear about it, and I wasn't in much of a state to remember it…"
He smiled, leaning back against the duvet, "Time Lord's trick of cheating death. When we're dying, our bodies are pulled apart, atom by atom and the shoved back together. Not the nicest thing in the universe, and the post-regeneration sickness' murder, but it serves its purpose."
"And you can do this…" She prompted.
He sighed, "Thirteen times. This would be ten."
Her brows knitted in concentration, "So there are nine other yous out in the universe…but at the same time, they're not you…"
"Pretty much, yeah. You met me in my ninth, so you know him… Some of the others…" He shook his head, "I can't believe I was ever that foolish! Their outfits!"
She smiled wickedly, "Got photos?"
A look of mock horror crossed his face, "You have got to be kidding me!" He paused momentarily, "As a matter of fact, I do. Not to mention some of the companions they took on…" he drifted off, face after face coming over his mind's eye.
Rose looked at him, an unreadable conglomeration of emotions flashing over her features, "I suppose. I hope none of you ever wore that blasted twenty foot scarf I'm forever tripping over in the wardrobe!"
He pretended to look wounded, "My fourth." He sighed as she began to shake with laughter, "I swear, it was the height of fashion at the time!"
"I'll pretend to believe you." She scoffed, and they lapsed into a comfortable silence.
"I'm sorry about not telling you." He murmured suddenly.
At his downcast look, she placed a hand against his arm, "It's all right. Everything turned out for the best eventually. We're alive, aren't we?"
"And we're talking about it," She shrugged, "So I don't see what the trouble is. You were brilliant today."
He smiled bashfully, "Sheer dumb luck, or so I thought. Tea spilt by Ricky the idiot, who'd've thought?"
Playfully she slapped his arm, "Oi! You made it through the entire day without calling him that once! Don't spoil your record."
"My shoulders are still aching from that fight! I think I'm entitled to a slip or two." He complained, "Those blasted swords are heavier then they look!"
She shrugged, "Do you want me to show you some of the ones I used to do for gym? They'll work wonders."
"Might as well. But I've got no clue how flexible this body is."
"Always a time to find out." She commented.
"Right about that. Who knows?" He grinned wickedly, "I could be Houdini!"
She snorted, "You're certainly gangly enough for it. Now shoulder stretches…"
He laughed, the sound warming her heart as they idly chatted, mutually running through a range of moments, as the songs filed one after the other.
"Hang about," He commented as the stereo changed once more, "What's this song?"
"…Some people are sure that the visible things define what's within…And I've been there before but that life's a bore so full of the superficial…"
Rose paused, listing to the strains of chords, "Alicia Keys 'If I Ain't Got You."
"Never picked you as a Jazz lover." He noted.
She shrugged, "It's something that mum used to listen to on the radio."
"Some people want it all, but I don't want nothin' at all, if it ain't you baby, if I ain't got you baby."
He smiled, standing up, "It's interesting. Care to dance?"
"Some people want diamond rings, some just want everything. But everything means nothin' if I ain't got you…"
"I thought you didn't slow dance?" She answered cheekily.
He shrugged, holding his hand out to her, "This new me seems to like it."
Rolling her eyes, marveling how it still fit around hers like a glove as she took it. Instinctively, his hand snaked around her waist.
"Hand me the world on a silver platter and what good would it be? With no one to share, with no one who truly care for me?"
Slowly they spun about the room, laughing as the Doctor tripped over his feet, mumbling "I'm still getting used to them!" as he stumbled, leaning against her as his legs once more became entangled.
"Said, nothing in this whole wide world don't mean a thing if I ain't got you…"
Reluctantly they broke apart as the final chords drifted from the speakers and only the sound of the CD finishing remained.
"I guess I'd-" The Doctor stumbled, feeling like a teenager after a first date.
"-Yeah. So I'll-?" Rose replied, her cheeks turning the color of her namesake.
He nodded, "Yeah, See you in the morning…"
And with that, he left, the door shutting gently behind him.
Exhaling the breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding, she flopped back on the bed, thoughts tumbling through her head and all clamoring to be heard. The man was infuriating, to say the least, but so...loveable? Could she really consider using the 'L' word with the Doctor, the man who was to all intents and purposes her best friend? Especially after he'd changed his face?
Today, facing the Sycorax had shown her nothing if not that he was still the same man, the same spirit she'd originally come along with. The same man she'd fallen in love with.
Even Mickey, more brother now than boyfriend had noticed it.
"You really love him, don't you?" He had said. Not angry, not offended, just…accepting. As much as she hadn't been able to say it, she knew he, and nearly everyone else they had met along their travels had been right in their speculation.
That didn't change the fact it was complicated. After all, nineteen going on twenty and nine hundred going on nine… A pretty big gap in anyone's language. Then of course there was his entire Non-domestic policy. On the other hand, that had gone out the window today. Of course then there was the entire question of her even liking her in 'that' way. Was she just a person to share and show time and space to? If so why did he bristle like a hedgehog the microsecond any other male, regardless of species even looked her way?
Sighing in frustration, she turned over, and tried to fall asleep.
Why did you have to ask her to dance, you fool! His mind howled at him as he paced the length of his room, What conceivable reason could exist for dancing with a woman whom is your companion? He sighed, knowing the answer to that question. She was far more than your average, run-of-the-mill companion. She was Rose. She defined herself. She defied definition. Every aspect of her was amazing, alive and made him want to fall down at her feet and proclaim his undying love for her.
And he had thought his old self was whipped.
Then of course there was the question of her returning his feelings. So many barriers, so many 'if's that made him want to scream out blue murder.
Finally he collapsed onto his bed, alternating between blessing and cursing fate. After all, fate had brought him and her together, forcing them to collide so many times that it could only be described as serendipity. Then fate had brought the Daleks and the bad wolf into play and thrown them for six.
Resignedly he lay back, his body complaining of the exhaustion that followed being ripped apart. Maybe this time, fate might give them a shot at more.
With that in mind, he lay down to sleep once more.
It doesn't take long for it to become routine. Every night, she puts on a CD, not always jazz, and not always from her time or planet. He comes in, sometimes with tea or hot chocolate, sometimes in his pajamas, and they stretch out the kinks and bruises accumulated from that day's adventures. Most nights, they end up talking, of her friends, of his old companions, or of her family. Some nights they end up dancing to nameless pieces of music that mingle in the air, blending with the scent of roses and chocolate, as the dim light plays over their skin, their bodies so close they seem to meld into one. Yet every night, as the CD finishes the last song, he says goodnight to her and walks out. They both fall to their separate beds, unable to rest for the tumultuous thoughts that race through their minds and plague their spirits, cursing themselves over and over for their inability to ease the tension that has begun building once more. Every night he comes.
And every night he says goodnight and closes the door.
A.N: So what do you think?