My first Doctor Who plunny in a looong time. Leads on from a few minutes after the Doctor's last seen line in Love and Monsters ("Elton! Fetch a spade!"). It's very very slightly un-canon at the beginning, but easy to get over, then at the end it goes very much AU. Enjoy =)

-:-:-:-

Absorbaloff: "You'll surrender yourself to me, Doctor, or this one dies. You see, I've read about you, Doctor. I've studied you. So passionate, so sweet. You wouldn't let an innocent man die! And I'll absorb him, unless you give yourself to me."

Doctor: "Sweet, maybe. Passionate, I suppose; but don't ever mistake that for nice. Do what you want."

-:-:-:-

Elton watched as the TARDIS faded slowly from view, the whooshing, thrumming noise filling every cell and particle in his body. He tried to remember the wind blowing back his hair, the way he could feel the grinding engines in his chest as well as hear them with his ears; because he knew that he would never see them again. But that was okay. It was time he started living for himself, not some far-flung dream of closure over the death of his mother. Because he had that now.

--

"D'you think they'll be alright, the two of them?" Rose asked the Doctor as the time rotor rose and fell.

The Doctor flicked a switch, paused, hit the console. He looked up at her; his face was bathed in green-ish light, illuminating a sparkle in his eyes. "Elton and Ursula? I think they'll be…fantastic," he reassured her.

Rose grinned back; his enthusiasm was catching.

"Right!" he exclaimed suddenly. "Where to next?"

"Home," Rose said at once. "I wanna visit my mum."

The Doctor stilled at the console. Three thoughts whooshed through his head at high speed: a) he did not much like Jackie Tyler and therefore did not really want to go and visit her; b) he wished he had somewhere other than the TARDIS to call home; and 3), no, c) he rather wished Rose would see the TARDIS as home. That last thought in particular had been rather selfish, so he let the thoughts flee his mind and offered Rose a small smile. "Home," he agreed, and altered the coordinates accordingly.

He was concentrating on stabilising the neutrino feed when Rose burst out laughing. He looked up at her with wide, confused eyes. "What?" he asked, clearly bemused.

"His girlfriend…is…a paving slab!" she gasped out. The lunacy of it had suddenly hit her right in the stomach, forcing out an incredulous laugh, with which the Doctor soon joined in.

They were still laughing when they left the TARDIS some minutes later, though more through general friendly bonding than any real mirth. The moment Rose exited the TARDIS door she was accosted by a blue hoody and flash of yellow hair. The hoody and hair were, of course, attached to the body of her mother. Mother and daughter flung their arms around each other and hugged for dear life, the older woman chattering rapidly.

"Here you are Rose! Oh, I've missed you! Where've you been? I like your hair in plaits. Has the Doctor been taking care of you? Where've you been?"

"Been travelling," Rose replied with a grin as her mother relinquished her hold.

"And you!" she shot at the Doctor, who recoiled nervously. "You brought her back!" she finished enthusiastically.

The Doctor grinned, seeming relieved. Before he could say anything, Jackie carried on speaking.

"You two go into the living room, I'll get us a cup of tea."

Rose rolled her eyes as the Doctor seemed to immediately perk up at this suggestion. She grabbed him by the elbow and pulled him into the living room. "Come on, tea-addict."

"It's not my fault the pulverised, dissolved leaves of Camellia sinensis taste so good," he complained as he was manhandled into the living room. He stopped in the doorway as Rose went on to sit on the sofa and looked around suspiciously. "This room is different," he said in a low voice, as though it would hear that he had spotted the difference and leap out at him.

"Yeah, she painted it yellow and moved the sofa closer to the window. Wants the sun or something apparently," Rose replied, unconcerned. She picked up the TV remote and flicked through the channels as the Doctor came to sit next to her on the sofa. There was nothing on TV, she noted, and turned it off. Nothing ever changed.

She turned her body to face the Doctor, putting her head in her hand and leaning her elbow against the back of the sofa. For a few minutes she allowed herself just to watch him, a slight smile tugging at the corners of her lips.

He was looking around him warily, as though trying to commit this new colour and layout to memory. The flick of his hair bounced and wobbled as he turned his head, with barely time to still before his eyes and head were moving again. His eyes swept past Rose's face, noticed her scrutiny, and returned to meet her eyes. The two regarded one another.

Rose tried desperately to resist the urge to look at his lips. A small part of her found his unwavering stare unnerving, but the greater part of her rejoiced that he found her worth looking at.

His eyes narrowed. "Jackie's right," he stated.

"What?" she asked, bemused.

"You look nice with your hair up."

Rose blinked once, opened her mouth and waited for words to come out. "Um, thanks," was what her brain supplied. Genius. You'll be getting an award for that, she thought sarcastically.

"More practical, too. Running around, saving the world. Can't be worrying about your hair getting in your face." The Doctor's face split into a wide grin, which, again, she couldn't help but return. His happiness was very infectious. After a moment, the Doctor's face became more thoughtful. "What were you just thinking about?" he asked, sounding genuinely interested.

"Actually, I was thinking about what that Absorbaloff said," she replied honestly.

"You mean that the twin planet of Raxacoricofallapatorius is Clom? I was ever so disappointed about that. I thought it'd be something really good like Ganklefarpenblogenhex."

Rose burst out laughing again. "No!" she told him. "I meant the bit about when he was talking about you."

"Me?" he asked innocently, serious again now. Rose loved the way his brown eyes widened when he was surprised.

"Are you sweet?" she asked, more rhetorically than seriously.

The Doctor swept up his arm and all at once he was holding a bag of fudge. He unwrapped three from their clear plastic wrappers and put them in his mouth at the same time. "I am now," he said through a mouthful of fudge.

Rose stared, suitably impressed by the fudge trick. She hadn't known he could do magic tricks (not that she'd ever call it that to his face; he'd probably go into one of his rants about how magic wasn't real, and it was all science).

"What do you think? Am I sweet? I don't really know yet." He was staring at her intently as though the fate of the universe rested on her answer.

Rose tried nervously to avoid his eyes, uncomfortable with the question. "Um," she began, unconsciously delaying the moment of having to reply. "Yeah, I suppose." She waited to see if that would be the response he'd wanted.

Thankfully, he smiled gleefully. "I'm sweet!"

"You probably taste sweet as well, after all that fudge!" she pointed out. After a moment, the implications of the sentence sunk in and she felt her face getting hot. It didn't help that now all she could think about was trying it for real, finding out if he tasted as sweet as the fudge he had consumed moments before. Then a spark of courage ignited in her and she decided to see how far she could push him.

She scooted closer towards him across the sofa. "What about…passionate?" she asked in a low voice, making sure she half-glanced towards his lips as she said it. She felt a surge of irrational pleasure to see his Adam's apple bob as he swallowed nervously.

"Passionate?" he repeated, but there was no inflection on the word and she sensed he was speaking to fill a silence he found unnerving. That she could have this effect on him made her feel slightly light-headed.

She moved even closer towards him now, and he leant away a little, his eyes fixed on hers. "Yes, Doctor," she said quietly. "How passionate d'you think you can be?"

"I'm…passionate…about a lot of things," he replied, and his pause before the word was what really let her know that his hearts were beating as quickly as hers. "Saving planets. Helping people. Rice pudding."

He was slightly ruining the mood but he was nervous, she could tell. He was babbling because she was pushing him out of his comfort zone. His words dried up and she found herself staring into his eyes. She was breathing heavier, and so was he, as though his body had forgotten about his respiratory bypass system.

She wasn't sure how long they sat gazing wordlessly at each other, but Rose was aware that his reaction over the next few seconds could change everything. It could lead to fervent kissing right here in her mum's living room or it could all go back to how it had been before: two best friends sitting in a flat in London.

Time seemed to slow down. The world held its breath for one heartbeat, two, three.

Then his gaze dropped from her eyes to her lips.

And everything changed.

A surge of energy exploded in her chest, sending adrenaline rushing around her body. The Doctor tentatively reached up to cup her face with his right hand as though he wasn't sure if he was doing it right. Rose felt the insecure urge to laugh; she let her chaotic emotions form into a smile which reassured him everything was fine and he grinned; then he was leaning towards her but before their lips met he hesitated and for one heartstopping moment she thought he had changed his mind -

Then slowly, timidly, he covered her lips with his own. The fire in Rose's chest leapt up as though someone had thrown upon it a pint of petrol, and her hands raised of their own accord to hold the back of his neck. Joyfully, but gently, she returned his kiss, marvelling that this was really happening, that his lips were really moving softly on hers.

Unwillingly, their lips parted.

"You know what I was thinking just then?" the Doctor asked softly, gazing into her eyes closely.

Rose clutched at the back of his neck, praying he wasn't about to say, This was a mistake. I'm leaving you here. "What?"

"I was thinking" - he pressed a chaste kiss to her lips - "to hell with the Time Lords. I want to do that again."

Rose could make no reply but a grin.