Originally written June 2005, after the series 1 finale, The Parting of the Ways, aired, and before we had any knowledge of the Tenth Doctor beyond his minute and a half screentime after regenerating, nor any knowledge about whether the Doctor knew Jack was alive or not (later we find out he did know.) This was a quick-fic I wrote to satisfy my creative impulse after the phenomenally romantic ending to series one and my own apprehension about how Rose and Ten would interact. I posted it on LJ but never remembered to post it here, oddly.
Because we knew nothing about Ten or Tennant, I had to create personal habits and style for the new Doctor, as well as his method of interacting with Rose. Rereading the fic two years later, having seen Ten and Rose one their many adventures before Doomsday, I'm amused to note that my version of Ten wasn't too far from the canon version Tennant chose to play. Except I made my Doctor somewhat more emotionally forthright, perhaps. Anyway, turn the clock in your minds back aaaaaaaalllll the waaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy to summer 2005, when Eccleston's Doctor has vanished leaving a stranger in his place, and leaving Rose with no memories of their final epic battle.
I have to warn you, my Britspeak is practically non-existent, having mainly come from Doctor Who, Spike's character on BTVS, James Bond, and movies with English butlers as supporting characters. Feel free to make suggestions in that regard. :) All other comments are welcome too, of course
Recommended listening: "This Modern Love" by Bloc Party
Tile: This Modern Love
Summary: Rose is troubled by dreams and memories she can't accurately separate from reality, which leads her and the Doctor toward a much-delayed confrontation.
SPOILERS: set 2 months post-The Parting Of The Ways, based on spoilers at the time
Rating: PG13 for some heavy petting.
This Modern Love
In tonight's dream, the latest of several this month, Rose stood just inside the door frame of the TARDIS. On the other side of the doorway, the worldside, stood the Doctor. It was the Doctor as she'd first met him, not the person she'd just come to know. His eyes met hers and her heart beat in her chest like an engine. She reached out to touch his cheek, and he tucked a lock of hair behind her ear.
He smiled his brilliant and insane smile, and she leaned forward, drawing him toward her with the hand on his cheek. Their lips met in the doorway of the TARDIS, and it was like kissing between worlds.
The kiss was innocent, gentle, sensuous. They lingered in that state as if suspended in a single moment of time, until slowly the kiss began to intensify. The sensuality of it increased as chaste beauty gave way to warm intimacy, then gradually lust. Things were beginning to heat up when the doorframe of the TARDIS rumbled around them, and Rose opened her eyes to see herself kissing a different man. Blue eyes had become soft brown.
The TARDIS shuddered again, knocking Rose and the Doctor apart. She fell backward into the ship. Gold light shone over everything, so fierce it made her cry. She tumbled to the floor as the TARDIS tumbled through space, until sensation of crashing pulled her out of mind and body.
Rose woke up by falling out of bed. She crouched on the floor and cradled her head in her hands. The pounding it was giving her was more for the dream than the undignified awakening. After a few minutes she groaned and stood, pushing the remnants of dream aside and forcing herself to get dressed for a new day of galactic adventuring.
By TARDIS time, two months had gone by since the last Dalek invasion in the history of time and space. In two months she had grieved for Jack, but had come to terms with his death. She couldn't be angry at him for dying because she was too proud of him, proud to have known him and called him friend. When she thought of him, she called him a hero in her mind. As Rose worked through her grief she knew the Doctor was working through his as well, though he was much less demonstrative of grief than she was. It bothered her that she couldn't remember details of how the battle ended, that she didn't have some kind of more personal, concrete assurance that her favorite Captain was gone, but she trusted the Doctor's belief that Jack had died bravely.
These last months had also been a new experience for the Doctor and herself, emotionally. He'd adjusted to his new body and new quirks, and she'd adjusted to the strikingly different persona juxtaposed over a familiar man. He was the same and not the same, but Rose was discovering that was something she could be okay with. It was rocky at first, but a few close calls, a few life and death situations, and she realized that some things changed but some things didn't. He was still the person she wanted to see the galaxy with: the person she'd happily give up a normal life for, with no regrets.
The dreams, however, were becoming a problem. A serious problem because they left too strong an impression to be baseless. They were confusing her emotionally, and were a nightly reminder that while Rose might think herself perfectly adaptable and adjusted, not everything was sunshine and daisies between herself and the Doctor. The reason for his regeneration, what happened to her that caused her to lose her memory of the battle...the feeling of his lips on hers. She couldn't reconcile them and she was getting frustrated that he was avoiding it too.
When Rose went into the control room that morning, she straightened her spine and decided to face the music.
"I need to ask you a question.""Why are you warning me ahead of time?" the Doctor replied, bemused. "That's not like you."
"Because it's probably a stupid question..."
"There are no stupid questions, only useless ones. And there are a lot of those."
"What about ones like 'why is water wet?' That's pretty stupid."
"The desire for knowledge in any form cannot be stupid in and of itself. Useless yes, stupid no. And now you're stalling, Rose Tyler. What's your not-so-stupid question?"
"Okay, it's not stupid I suppose, but it might be pointless and it's probably going to be awkward and I'm worried about anything changing for the worse because I asked it."
The Doctor finally stopped punching numbers into the TARDIS console, and stepped back, giving Rose his complete attention. For a second she was startled--she was still getting used to this Doctor and his unfamiliar gaze. One of the many things she'd loved about being his traveling companion was that when the Doctor concentrated on you, it felt as if you were the absolute center of the universe to the exclusion of anything and everything else. Finding herself the focus of the same such tunnel vision from a different face was still a trifle unsettling.
Gathering up her courage, Rose asked, "Have you ever kissed me?"
The Doctor blinked.
"I mean kissed me on the lips, not my hand or my forehead." The Doctor still looked surprised, but she noticed him shift his weight from one leg to another.
"Why do you ask? Wouldn't you know?"
At this second part, Rose narrowed her eyes. "No stupid questions, yeah? So of course I don't know or I wouldn't be asking. And you haven't answered me yet."
"Rose..." he began, then trailed off, looking away.
"I'm still missing my memory from the last battle on Satellite Five," she said. "And there have been other times that I've been unconscious or delirious from some trouble we've run into. But I'm getting flashes, sometimes, and more than that, strong moments of... intuition. Like déjà vu. I had a dream last night and I woke up with this... feeling that it was real. It's not the first dream, either."
An odd expression crossed the Doctor's face, but he still didn't look back at her. "You dream about me kissing you?"
"Have you ever kissed me?" She pulled on his shoulder roughly, trying to jerk him into facing her direction. "Look at me!"
"It's complicated!" he snapped, finally losing his patience.
"How complicated can it be? Have you kissed me or not? If so, why don't I remember it? Is this another thing the TARDIS is putting in my head? Why?"
"The TARDIS wouldn't do that! You dreamed it, after all. Maybe it's just your stupid human hormones influencing your subconscious."
"There you go, insulting my species again. Not so different after all, are you? And why would it be my hormones, huh? Because the mighty Doctor would never deign to kiss someone for real?"
"Don't put words in my mouth, Rose Tyler!"
"Or do you only kiss people when they won't remember it? That way you won't have to deal with the consequences!"
"It wasn't like that!"
She calmed immediately, and the Doctor realized he'd been played by someone far too many years his junior for it to be excusable.
"So you have kissed me. Why? When?"
He sighed, and drug his right hand through his hair. It was a habit he'd picked up since his regeneration. Face an uncooperative security guard immune to slightly psychic paper: sigh and run hand through hair. Face something sad he couldn't fix: sigh and run hand through hair. Face a problematic personal conversation: sigh and run hand through hair.
He realized what he was doing, and shook his hand distastefully. "It was on Satellite Five. I haven't brought it up because you don't remember anything of that day, and I thought you were probably better off not knowing."
"You have no right to make that decision for me."
"Well I'm not the one that made the initial decision," he pointed out, rather snidely. "You're the one who refuses to remember it.""Of course I want to remember but I can't!" she shrieked, and hit him in the arm. "I can't remember any of it! I was in the TARDIS trying to get it to take me back to you after you left me, and then I was waking up and you were babbling about dogs and then you bloody changed and I still don't know why!"
He caught her fisted hand before she could hit him a second time, and pulled her toward him for a hug. She resisted, then fell into it like a sinking ship. He wrapped his arms around her and didn't try to stop her oncoming sniffles.
"I'm sorry we haven't talked about this until now," he whispered into her hair, rubbing small circles on her back. "I'm sorry I've been avoiding the subject, and I'm sorry I can't make it easier for you to understand."
"Just tell me what happened," Rose said softly.
"You looked into the time vortex in the TARDIS," he began, resigning himself to the idea of telling her. Telling her everything.
"You used that power to return to Satellite Five, just before the Daleks were going to kill me. You erased the Dalek fleet one atom at a time, and saved the Earth. Saved me. But the power was too much for a human body and mind, and it was killing you. You were standing above me, glowing and powerful and the most amazing person I've ever seen, but you were dying.
"I couldn't stand to have that happen. Not after seeing you 'killed' in the games, after knowing what it felt like to live on after your death. So I kissed you, and I took the power of the vortex into myself. I filtered it back into the TARDIS through my body, and then I carried you inside. But the process was too damaging, and my body began to breakdown on a cellular level. So I regenerated."
She backed out of the Doctor's arms, and looked up at him.
"You regenerated because of me."
"No, Rose. You saved everyone, including me. I'm alive now because of what you did. When he--I--when I took the vortex into my own body I knew what it would mean and I was happy to do it. I have thirteen lives--you're worth all of them."
The finality of that statement slammed into Rose, and she almost physically stumbled. She opened her mouth, but she couldn't think of anything to say with it. The Doctor was looking at her with such intensity that she could almost feel the weight of truth in his words, as if it were a tangible thing. She was completely flabbergasted.
The Doctor noticed how stunned she looked, and stepped backward, suddenly shy. "Right...you probably weren't looking to hear that," he muttered, running his hand through his hair again. He looked nervously at Rose, then away, then back at Rose again. The action made his new face appear even younger.
"I..." Rose tried, but failed. She tried again.
"Look, Rose, just forget about it, yeah? Now you know what happen so you don't have to worry yourself over not knowing anymore. Mystery's answered. All this arguing with each other instead of other people is making me twitchy. I think we should go somewhere. What do you think about the planet Krik--"
Rose pounced on him, knocking him back toward the TARDIS console, her arms wrapped around his neck and legs curling up around his waist. He hastily moved to catch her, hands going to her thighs as she leaned into him, mouth covering his and body enfolding him like a blanket.
The kiss was completely different from their previous experience. That kiss had been sweet, pure, a kiss of life as much as a kiss of unfulfilled emotion. It was delicate and soft. It was the most romantic kiss of his long life.
This kiss was not delicate or soft. This kiss was hot and urgent, a rush of heady sensation and dancing tongues. He felt like she was trying to pull him into her until they were one person, and the strength of that feeling exhilarated him. He turned around so she was sitting on the console and he could lean against her instead. He squeezed her lower body closer against his, and Rose responded by running her hands over his neck and through his hair. He wondered if she wanted to consummate this right there in control room.
"Rose," he said breathlessly, pulling his lips away from hers long enough to attempt speech. She was still moving her hands all over his shoulders, neck and back, and it was driving him crazy.
"What?" she replied in a voice that indicated she was much more interested in kissing again than whatever he might have to say. Her hands had now found the edge of his shirt, and were pulling it up to touch the skin beneath.
"Are you--uh--" she interrupted him with another deep kiss, "--are you sure you won't regret this? Changing what we have?" Her hands slowed to a stop. "I'm not the same as before and I don't want you to regret that later."
Rose opened her eyes to stare into his, and took a deep breath. She steeled herself for what she was about to say. "Doctor, do you remember walking with me under gigantic waves of frozen ice?" she asked.
"Do you remember me taking you to eat chips after we visited the year five billion?"
"If you met me for the first time as you are now, would you still ask me twice to come with you?"
"I...yes. Yes I would."
"Good. Because I'm pretty bloody sure I'm in love with you just as much now as I was before. I don't think it's possible for me to fall out of love with you, Doctor." She took another deep breath, voice resolute. "You said I was worth all of your lives and if that's true then I want to be here for as much of them as I can, for as long as I can."
Rose grinned almost bashfully, adding, "Someone has to take care of you and make sure you don't waste 'em."
The Doctor's hearts pounded in his chest, and he wondered if the sensation sweeping over him was love, because it felt like everything good that he'd ever felt for anyone, multiplied by thousands and shot directly into his blood like adrenaline.
She loved him. She still loved him. She was offering to stay with him for as long as he would have her.
He would have her by his side forever, if he could.
And when he found his voice again, that was what he told her.