A sequel to "Once Upon a Time", an AU "Human Nature" with Rose rather than Martha, by Luna Lovegood5

Please read that story first!

(The backstory I created for this ended up heavily influencing my own series of stories, but they are completely unrelated. Meaning, this story will not fit in to my series, it is simply a sequel to Luna's story.)

Disclaimer: Surprise, surprise, I don't own Doctor Who. Nor do I get anything from writing these stories-except wonderful, constructive reviews! Wink, wink; nudge, nudge ;)

Ever since the Doctor had supe'd up Rose's phone, and Jackie had learned the truth about their travels, Rose had kept a calendar in her room on the TARDIS. After all, her mum was prone to fits if Rose let several weeks slide by without a phone call. And even though Jackie was now cut off from phone calls, living in Pete's world, Rose kept up the practice of marking off the days on her calendar.

So it was that Rose lay on her bed, looking at said calendar, after a rather interesting stint marooned in 1969. It had only lasted a few weeks, but following hard upon several months as a maid, working in a shop again had left her yearning for the TARDIS' return. Granted, it was fantastic just having the Doctor back, rather than "John Smith," even if he did go by the pseudonym while working to fulfill the clues left to them by one Sally Sparrow. It was even a bit enlightening to see him relegated to the domestics of their shared apartment. However, it frequently hit a little too close to home whenever the Doctor would help with the groceries, or other little things that reminded Rose of their previous adventure.

They hadn't spoken of anything that had happened while hiding from the Family, except for the Doctor's sincerest gratitude for all Rose had done for him. The way he had phrased it, she couldn't tell if he actually had John Smith's memories, or if it was just a general acknowledgement of what she must have gone through while he was out of his mind. So, Rose found herself stashing away all of the memories that it would not do to confuse with the Doctor. Every little chivalrous gesture; every notation and drawing of her in his journal; every nervous, surprising kiss; and especially the night before the Family had arrived, when John had gone so far as to propose marriage. "Ask me again in a month," she'd told him, because by then he'd be the Doctor again, and would be the last person in the universe to suggest something so human, so binding as marriage.

Rose flipped back a page on her calendar to look at the date. 12 May 2007. The date was innocently enough circled in pencil. No bright colors, or hearts, or heavy outlining, not even a few words scribbled within the square; nothing to make it seem particularly interesting. Turning to the month of June, Rose looked at today's date: 12 June 2007. She'd done the tally in her head about ten times, and was fairly certain that it was correct according to her subjective timeline. She rolled onto her back, staring at the ceiling and listening to the gentle hum of the TARDIS. "Today's the day, old girl," she said aloud to the ship. No, she certainly wasn't expecting a proposal, or even any sort of mention of it from the Doctor. But after today, she could stop thinking and dreaming about the "what if's". Consciously, she told herself she didn't want any changes in their relationship. But her subconscious sometimes had a mind of its own, and images of her being carried over the threshold of the TARDIS weren't very helpful.

With a sigh, Rose rolled out of bed and put on her best "ready to tackle the universe" outfit and face, and headed out of her room to find out what the Doctor had in store for them today.

Little did Rose know that ever since she'd gone to bed the previous evening, the Doctor had been a flurry of nervous activity. He'd narrowed down the list of planets he wanted to take her to, so now he only had only about twelve thousand two hundred fifty destinations to choose from. These actually consisted of only about three hundred worlds, but then there were the different time periods and surface locations to consider.

Of course, the Doctor knew what day it was. He had every single memory from his time as John Smith, and wished he could go back and slap himself for every time he'd opened his gob and nearly spoiled everything with Rose. He couldn't believe the twit had actually proposed. And with the Doctor's ring! He should never have left it in his pocket when he went under the Chameleon Arch.

The Doctor had been carrying the ring since just before they'd visited the 2012 Olympics. He'd taken Rose to a world with graceful rock arches, flying stingrays, and a sunset that almost made him think he was on Gallifrey. He'd meant to be leading up to a proposal when he'd asked her how long she was going to stay with him. But her casual "forever" had left him speechless, and for some reason that he still couldn't grasp he'd chickened out and kept his mouth shut. He didn't try again after Jackie ended up trapped in Pete's world, lest she suspect he just felt sorry for her (and trying to send Rose away hadn't helped his cause any), but he found himself burning up a sun just so that Rose could say goodbye to her family. Since then, although he had the whole of time and space at his disposal, his every attempt seemed to go awry. He'd even tried taking her back to New Earth—what a fiasco. In the end, the Face of Boe had given him a perfect opening, but he stubbornly waited to try and set up the perfect proposal on his own terms. Then, between the Daleks and everything else, he just couldn't find the right moment. And suddenly the Family were upon them.

Rose's reaction to John's proposal was etched in his brain, along with every kiss she'd politely returned as they'd grown closer. If he'd had cold feet earlier from any doubts as to her intentions, he had no hesitation now. It was heartbreaking for him to remember her face, her thoughts so clear to him now, "If only you were the Doctor saying these things." The only reason he was holding back was Rose's "one month" request. As much as it was killing him to wait now that he was ready, he didn't want her to think he was proposing out of duty or guilt from his actions as John. It might be a bit cruel to let her think he had no memory of their time together, but he'd make it up to her.

To be continued. . . .