Author's Note: I used this style once in the Stargate realm and I thought it seemed appropriate for Ten/Rose. I hope you enjoy!
She Promised Forever
It would be days after the incident at Deffry Vale High School. She would take that time to stew over the presence of Sarah-Jane and his words. He would just let her decide, let her absorb the harshness of his lonely exclamations. Humans grew old and humans died, it was a simple, painful truth. One he wished he never had to admit to.
When she would finally come to him, ready to talk, he might be laying on his back fiddling with some unnameable device or he might be crouched down in some random hallway tinkering with the temperature that might be on the fritz again. Maybe she would be dressed in a pair of boxers she would never admit to stealing from him and a pale tank top, her hair mussed with sleep and her eyes tired, as if sleep had tormented her with the questions she longed to find answers to. Or maybe she would still be dressed, having never been tempted by sleep and instead roaming the TARDIS's never ending halls until she had stumbled upon him.
"Can we talk?"
He would readjust, moving his attention away from the TARDIS and concentrating on her instead. She would probably sigh, avoiding his eyes as she tried to gather her courage. And he would stay quiet, waiting, letting her begin and lead the conversation. She would probably bite her lip in that cute way that she did. She might just stand there, leaving her an exit on every side. Or maybe she would lean up against the wall or the console, giving herself an anchor. Maybe he would do the same, or maybe the opposite.
"Humans whiter and die, huh?"
Maybe he would wince at that, or maybe he would just stare, impassively waiting for her to elaborate.
"Why don't you ever talk about them? You must have had a lot after nine hundred years."
"Why do you want to know about them?"
"I can tell how much she meant to you. Was she the only one?"
"Will you just forget about me, like you have with all the others?"
Maybe he would looked up at her, stunned to find that she had even been thinking about such a thing. Maybe he would look away, embarrassed that she was so close to the truth.
"I've never forgotten about any of them."
"Why don't you talk about them then?"
He would look at her then, hold her wide, begging eyes, knowing that she needed to know.
"Because… because it hurts to remember them. It hurts to think of all the lives that I've touched… the lives that have touched mine… Of all the people I… I loved who have left."
She would take her time digesting that. He would watch her, taking in the way her eyes drifted off to the side, the way her tongue absently wetted her lips as she thought, the way her chest rose and fell in slow, deliberate motions.
"And how long until you ask me to leave?"
"Never. I've never once asked one of my companions to leave. It's always their choice… or time's."
She might look away, or she might shake her head a little.
"Have you… Have you ever been involved with one of your companions? Sexually, I mean."
And he would smirk at her then. Not because she would sound so nervous, so embarrassed to ask him. Not because he was embarrassed or even cocky at the answer.
"Never? In nine hundred years and all those companions, never once?"
He would laugh, at her ignorance maybe, or at her assumptions.
"Time Lords aren't like humans. We evolved past the need for sexual reproduction a long time ago. We don't need sex, our bodies don't crave it like humans' do."
Her tone would amuse him, making him smile at her. Making him wonder when this young little human managed to weasel her way into his heart. Maybe it would occur to him that it was a mixture of everything about her- her endless enthusiasm for life, the gleam of excitement in her eyes at the sight of every new place and alien and thing, the way her tongue snuck out over her teeth when she grinned, the way her face lit up when she laughed. Or maybe nothing would occur to him as he looked back at her.
"Have you ever even considered it?"
He would look away, thinking through the countless people that had travelled with him. "A few times. But nothing… nothing ever happened."
"And… what about me?"
Maybe he would answer her. Tell her how his tenth form had been the oddity of the lot. That this form was more… sensual. Every sense seemed to be heightened- he liked to touch and taste and smell, to experience through every sense possible. Maybe he would admit that he had, for the first time in his life, desired someone. Desired her.
He probably wouldn't though. He might reveal some of it, some thoughts, his new found senses.
And whatever it was that he had told her, she would take it in for a long while.
"But, if you'd thought about it before, why never act on it? You're a curious being."
He would nod at that.
"Yes, but… like I said before, Humans- like most life forms- have a short life span, too short to even compare to my own. When I invite people to travel with me, I intended for it to last only a matter of months or years. Sometimes longer, sometimes shorter, but it was never meant to be for long. I know they'll eventually find something else, something that they can grow and attach themselves to."
He would shrug and answer ominously, "That's up to you to decide."
It might take only a few moments for her to look up and catch his eye or it might take much longer, but she would eventually look at him and a shadow of a smile would settle on her features.
"I'd never want to leave."
"We'll have forever."
His face would fall but he would hide it from her, not letting her see the way her words crushed him.
She would promise him forever in those few words, but he would know better, because he would know that it was a promise she could never keep.
They wouldn't talk about it again for a while. Mickey would be travelling with them, because the Doctor would have invited him, hoping that maybe Mickey could remind Rose that she had a life and a home and a family waiting for her somewhere in time.
The Doctor would notice that, with Mickey around, Rose would become no less clingy to people, she would simply have another with whom to cling to. And, for a time, the Doctor would sense that she had found herself stuck between the two of them, swinging haphazardly between the safety of Mickey's friendship and the risk of the Doctor's rejection.
Mickey would leave, electing to remain behind in the alternate reality. And Rose, for the first time, would be brutally remained of her home back on Earth and of her mother. And yet she would remain with him.
Slowly, as the days passed and adventures unravelled, he would notice a change about her. She would seem moodier, always roaming the TARDIS, lost in thought. She would retreat from his company. And he would ignore her behaviour, allow it to fester. He would prepare himself for the day when she had collected her thoughts and her courage and finally tell him that she had grown bored of his company and of their travels. He would prepare himself for the day when she would ask him to take her home and he would be alone. Again.
But it would be better, he would think, and their story that had been carefully etched in time would end that day. But more likely that day would never come.
Instead, one day the Doctor would notice a change in the atmosphere. Maybe it would be the way she smiled more openly at him. Maybe it would be the way she began seeking him out and engaging him in conversation like she used to. Or maybe it would simply be an air about her, as if she had made up her mind about something.
Perhaps it would start out normal enough- just the two of them relaxing on the sofa in what Rose had titled the sitting room. They might be reading, each mind only half engaged in the fictional tale being weaved around them. Or they might be talking, recalling past adventures or simply talking as the topic flowed around their thoughts.
Or maybe they would be in the control room when it happened, the Doctor with his sonic screwdriver tinkering with his beloved machine and Rose standing off to the side watching.
Maybe it would be an accident, a moment of gaiety that would bring Rose closer to the Doctor. Or maybe it would have been a dangerous thought brewing in the back of her mind as she watched his lips- either moving in conversation or pursed in thought.
But, either way, the day would come when Rose would cup his face in her hands and bring his lips to hers.
It would start off slowly, their lips carefully meeting, her tongue nervously asking permission as it reached out to taste his lips. And he might, for a moment, allow himself to be lost in the nearly unknown sensation of kissing. And he might kiss her back; he might bring his hands to tangle in her hair and battle her tongue for control in a battle of unknown passion.
Or maybe, he might tense, nervous at the unfamiliar sensation, nervous about what his encouragement might lead her to believe. He might lean away from her, Rose having merely given him a shy kiss. And maybe he would smile softly at her and brush her hair behind her ear and they would go on with their conversation, able to nearly forget what just happened. Or maybe he would swallow nervously and the uncertainty in his eyes would scare her. Rose might stay then, allowing the awkwardness of the moment to permeate the room. Or she might bite her lip nervously, quickly excusing herself.
Maybe it would be a day later when the Doctor approached her or maybe it would be weeks of sorting through many turbulent thoughts. Maybe he would find her in the kitchen pouring them tea and maybe he would cradle the mug between his hands as he leaned against the counter. Or maybe he would knock gently on her bedroom door and she would invite him in. And maybe he would take the offered seat at the foot of her bed or maybe he would pull over another chair to set some space between them.
She would gaze at him, questions swarming through her eyes, as she waited. And finally he would sigh, ruffling his hair and inhaling the courage he needed to explain his thoughts.
"I don't get romantically involved with my companions for many reasons."
"Because we whither and die." Maybe she would say it, or maybe she would only think it. And maybe her words would hurt him and he would hesitate before continuing, or maybe he wouldn't and his next words wouldn't waver as he spoke.
"Humans have needs. You feel things more passionately and violently than I can ever imagine. You like to express them outward, through the physical. My people, we… we don't. What we feel, we express through telepathy, mostly. Brief contact is enough to satisfy that need…"
He would stop talking then, maybe because of the confusion masking the pounding of her heart or maybe because he had forgotten the reason why he was saying all that in the first place.
"I can love someone, feel just as strongly about that person as you might, but we would display that in two radically different ways. You would want to touch them, to kiss, to make love… I would rarely feel it necessary to do more than hold their hand or stroke their cheek."
"Why are you telling me all of this, Doctor?"
Maybe he would look away then, pulling on his ear as he waited for his courage to regroup. Or maybe he would have already been looking away and, at her words, he would look at her, a soft smile tugging at his lips.
"Because… because… It seemed like something you had the right to know… I don't get involved because it's complicated. Because my companions and I are too different when it comes to love for me to feel like it's fair for them. Because it hurts enough as it is when they leave without all the extra baggage of a relationship…"
He would begin to become frustrated as what came out of his mouth became more and more a mangled interpretation of what he had imagined he would say. After a few failed attempts to explain himself, he would just shake his head and sigh. If he was in the kitchen with his mug nursed between his hands, then he would set it down and push himself away from the counter, his legs leading him over to Rose. If he was in her room, he would either rise from his chair and pace the room for a moment before sitting on her bed, his thigh brushing against her knee, or he would look down at the colourful blanket before scooting his body closer to hers.
He might attempt to say something when he got closer or he might remain quiet, afraid to ruin the peaceful silence that had fallen around them. Gently his hand would brush a golden lock out of her eyes before cupping her cheek. And his lips would graze hers, his breath teasing her senses, and she would relax into the sensations that were suddenly flooding her mind. He would let her mind dip into his, allowing her to experience the storm of thoughts and emotions and concepts whirling around in his mind. She would have the vague sense that he was guilty- maybe even embarrassed- that he didn't feel he could meet a human's needs sexually. The corners of each thought would be laced with a pain, a deeply rooted sorrow that stemmed from the knowledge that any human would die long before the Doctor himself would. But there would be something more intense, something overpowering that coloured every thought and every emotion. And she would sigh against his lips, leaning in to taste them again, when she realized exactly what that concept was.
After a pause, the Doctor's hand would fall away, breaking the connection. He would just watch her for a moment and she would look down at her hands as they played with the hem of her shirt, her mind trying to take in what the Doctor had been trying to tell her.
Finally she would look up at him with her soft, intense eyes and her lips would curve up into a small, sad smile.
"I love you too, Doctor." He would light up with his big, goofy grin at her words; she might even laugh lightly at the sight. "I don't see what's so bad in letting those emotions free. Letting me know how you feel."
"Because it'll only hurt more when you do finally leave."
"I'm not going to leave you."
"You will eventually."
She would nod at that, eyes darting off to the side for a moment before finding his eyes again. "But not for a long time. Don't you think it's worth at least six decades of love and memories, than three centuries of regret?"
"Six decades of memories only lead to two and a half centuries of heartbreak."
Their conversation wouldn't change their relationship. They would still travel. He would still beam at her whenever some bit of history excited him. She would still bite her lip and smile at him from beneath her lashes. They would still cling to each other's hands as they ran- from death, from danger, towards excitement.
But he would still think about what she had said during the quiet hours while Rose slept. Since they had talked, he would have noticed that she touched him more now. He would have found it a little awkward, but eventually he would learn to grow more comfortable with it. Comfortable enough to start opening his mind to her.
It would startle her the first time, the first time that he let his amusement and excitement and just a hint of something unnameable seep into her mind. She would stare up into his eyes and they would probably sparkle with untamed amusement and she would smile back, letting him know that she was glad he had finally understood her gestures.
He would let that develop. He would stroke her cheek and hug her close and rest his temple against hers more often, sending a whirlwind of emotions that Rose would eventually identify as his love for her.
And, over the weeks and months as their attachment to each other grew, he would teach her to open her own mind to his. To let him see her thoughts and emotions, to let him soothe her mind with his own.
And, for a while, that would be enough for the both of them. But, as much as Rose would try to hide it from him, he would be able to see the frustration growing in her eyes and in her mind. She would want him in a way that he wouldn't be prepared for. But Rose is a Human and he would understand that, understand that their calm touches and intimate behaviour would be enough to satisfy most of her primal urges, but not all.
And eventually he would give in, letting her frustration and desire affect him. He wouldn't plan it; he would let the moment happen as it wished. They might be lounging on the couch, cuddled next to each other, as they watched a movie or read. Or they might be sitting in the kitchen, enjoying a cuppa before bed.
He would kiss her, his lips sucking on her bottom lip and his tongue darting out to taste her. And she would sigh into his caresses, allowing him to explore her mouth. Her hands would comb through his hair, pulling him closer, fighting to remain there in that moment of time for just a little longer.
Rose would be the one to end the kiss, her breathing uneven as her forehead rested against his. He would look at her, wondering why she had stopped him, and she would just shake her head and smile at him.
"You don't have to do this."
"I want to."
"You said yourself that you never want to do something like this."
Maybe he would smirk at that, or maybe he would pull away, insulted.
"I want to do this for you." He would pause, thinking of a way to convince her. "I'm a curious creature, as you said. Let's just say I'm curious."
She would bite her lip as she looked up at him under her long lashes and a coy grin would spread over her face. She would take his hands in hers and say, "Curious, eh?" He would just smile in return.
Their first time would be slow, a careful and deliberate exploration of skin on skin and lips on lips, a search for ticklish spots and sensitive nerves and breaking points. The first time they would come together, it would be a shattering of mind and body.
The second time would be more than that. It would be passionate and lustful and everything that the Doctor thought he couldn't experience or want. And it would open up lust to him.
He would be surprised by how much he actually enjoyed it, how easily he allowed himself to be lured to her bed. It was mostly Rose who would initiate their couplings, but he would very rarely complain.
Their trip to Harmony would scare him, for just a brief moment, because within an hour of their visit there, she would have fallen in love. Not with another person, but with the planet itself- with the beauty, and the tranquility, and the welcoming culture. And he would love it because he loved to see just how relaxed she would be as they strolled, hand in hand, down the quaint streets and through the open markets and in the empty valleys hiding them from view.
As the years passed, they would meet many who they felt made worthy companions. They would leave eventually, they always did. But never Rose. Because Rose had promised forever and she would mean it.
Avery would be one of Rose's favourites- she would be one of the few who were graced with a visit to the beautiful planet Harmony and one of the few who Rose liked to talk to about love and men and makeup and movies and whatever else girls liked to talk about. But they would leave her behind on a rainy day in 2013, three days after Avery's grandmother had died. Old age, the doctors would say. The Doctor would balk at that- seventy years is far from old age.
And that would spur a trip to the future, the year 500,000. Because, by then, doctors would be genius at extending life spans. A simple procedure that would cost practically nothing and for that small price Rose would have a hundred years more with him, at least.
They would continue on, laughing in the face of danger and running into the next adventure, always stopping just briefly enough to say hello to old friends and Jackie. And Rose would marvel at how slow she seemed to age and the Doctor would tell her that that was one of the miracles of the genetic alterations. She would hardly feel the years catch up to her until she neared the end. And that wouldn't bother her, not then, not when she was still young and exuberant and ready for anything that the Doctor was ready for.
And she would be like that until her mother called, the years catching up to her and age slowing her body down. They would stay in Jackie's flat for nearly three weeks as Rose stayed by her side. And the Doctor would surprise her by staying with her, carrying her to bed when exhaustion would leave her useless, cooking for the three of them, and always keeping the kettle warm.
He would hold her tightly to him, biting down the pain such a sight instilled in him as he shared his grief and love and memories with her, opening his mind to her just as naturally as she opened hers to him. Jackie would live a long life, dying perhaps when she was in her early seventies, or perhaps she might live into her eighties. She might even have lived until she was ninety.
They would travel back to Harmony while Rose came to terms with her grief. And the Doctor would surprise her again as he let her stay for two weeks, never rushing her or letting his wanderlust influence her.
And then they would be off again, traveling the stars and wandering through life. But they would never return to London of her time, because there would be nothing left to return to. No family, no real friends anymore. It was just the Doctor, the TARDIS, and their adventures.
Rose would be getting steadily older with every adventure and the Doctor would finally start to notice. She would be pushing one hundred and fifty and yet she would hardly look forty, still young and healthy and capable of keeping up with him. And that would be how old she was when they visited Earth in the thirty-ninth century and saved a girl named Marilyn. Rose would find in her a kindred spirit and invite her along. She would be too old to find a girlfriend in the woman, as she had with many of the ones before Marilyn. Instead she would find a daughter, something she would have always longed for.
Marilyn would grow equally as fond of the quaint villages of Harmony as Rose, a slight consolation for the amount of time they began to spend there. It would take almost a year after she joined them before they would show her their favourite world, but soon they would go more and more frequently, staying for longer and longer durations as Rose's age started to exhaust her. At first this wouldn't bother Marilyn, the allure of any and every planet still exciting her young mind.
The Doctor would be sure that it broke Rose's heart when the three agreed that Rose had grown too old for the fast paced world of space travel. They would agree that she needed to settle down and the Doctor and Rose would try to convince Marilyn to return home, rather than remain stuck on Harmony. But she wouldn't want to go and so she would stay there, all three of them living at first in the TARDIS and later in a cottage just outside the city.
For a couple of months, they would sit idly, passing their time by exploring the small details of every day life that they hadn't noticed before. But Rose would notice the insatiable gleam of wanderlust in his eyes and she would know that a stationary life with her was never something he would be able to stand. And so, eventually, she would try to convince him to leave, to go off and explore. He would refuse at first but some how would be tricked into taking Marilyn on one adventure. They would return, only to be sent away on a couple of adventures every month or so. Marilyn would never push to go off somewhere and the Doctor would surprise himself by never truly wanting to leave until he was back in the thick of things. Rose would always stroke his check and smile and tell him to go and have an adventure for her. And every night, when they returned, they would tell her what happened over a cup of tea and Rose would laugh or smack the Doctor's arm or give Marilyn a bit of advice for the future. She might tell one of them one day that she needed them to go off, that living vicariously through them kept her feeling alive. Or she might not, not wanting them to find more and more outlandish things to experience.
Marilyn would be there to hold his hand at the cemetery and she would hold him close, letting him cry into her hair. And she would be there to talk with him and share his grief. And they would recall adventures from years ago when Rose still travelled or of events that had occurred on Harmony. And he would tell her about before, about meeting Rose and Gallifrey and the war and how she had changed him and helped him. And he would tell his favourite stories about her and some of their grandest adventures- about Barcelona and the time they were mistaken for royalty.
Marilyn would have stayed with him for twenty years- through adventures and aliens and standing still with Rose- and on the day Rose died would be the first time he asked her how long she would stay with him. Maybe she would smile at him and say, "For as long as you want me around." Or maybe she would look away and shrug.
Or maybe he wouldn't ask, for fear of hearing a familiar phrase.
Because Rose had promised him forever and he had hoped because he hadn't wanted to accept that it was one promise she could never keep.