Well here's the last of 'The Christmas Drabbles'. I hope you enjoyed.
I have a reunion story that's almost complete, just waiting on editing. It'll be up before too long. (I tell you the name of the story that I have come up with one yet).
Three More Christmases
He's a little over three when the itch of standing still for so long has begun to truly burn her. When Rose admits this to her father, he just smiles and offers her all the time and all the money she needs to run off and explore.
And so they do.
They take maps and point to random countries and cities and head off. Everything is unplanned and unpredictable. Random and exciting. It's almost like it was. No danger. No aliens. Just adventure. And they both absolutely love it.
It becomes a game for them to learn as much as they can about the city they're visiting, to see who can recall the most facts on their way somewhere else. Jon usually wins- that's what she gets for competing with a Time Lord who has a photographic memory.
Sometimes, just to amuse him, they pretend that they're in a different time.
When they visit Rome, they pretend to be ancient Roman citizens, strolling leisurely through the Forum, picking up much needed dormice and casually looking over the slaves just captured. Jon decides that his father is a senator and soon they will be heading off for the country where their expansive villa resides.
When they find themselves in Barcelona, they pretend they're no longer on Earth, but the planet. And when a curious dog sniffs at Jon's feet, they both pretend that it's a true Barcelonan dog- a noseless creature.
When they go to France, they pretend they're in the future- the year 23,009. They pretend that the cars fly and sidewalks move and all the people around them are wearing the awkward looking technicoloured jumpsuits that will be popular in a couple thousands of years. Jon even points out the holographic adverts hanging over their heads, popping out at them.
Sometimes, Rose notices that Jon goes quiet and his eyes become wise and his voice grows older and he'll tell her things that he can't possibly know, and yet he does. She knows that he's seeing bits of the past or the future.
It's Christmas now. Jon's three months over four and they've been travelling for over a year. As much as he loves travelling and learning and exploring, he's ready to go home. So she's promised that they'll spend the holiday in Germany and then head for London.
But for tonight, they play with Nutcrackers and explore the Christmas market and laugh as they play in the falling snow. And then it happens, just as it always does, his happy little body grows serious and the light falls away from his face. She just waits for him. Sometimes he tells her what he noticed in the streams of time and sometimes he pretends as if it never happened.
He pretends this time and clutches her hand with sudden fervour, his face glowing and his eyes as bright as the Christmas lights.
"It's Christmas! It's Christmas! It's Christmas! Wake up!"
She's been expecting such a rude awakening for the past fifteen minutes, just letting herself drift between sleep and awareness, listening for his pattering feet.
"What time is it?" she mutters through hair and pillows.
"Six o'clock sharp. Just like you said."
He's a child sized clock and she doesn't doubt his accuracy, nor his assurance that she had declared six o'clock late enough to be woken. She groans and forces her eyes open.
"Come on! It's time to open presents!"
"Give me five minutes to wake up and get ready."
"But mum!" he whines and she just glares at him, making sure to stop the rest of his complaints. He sits back on his heels and lets her find her way out of the sheets.
She works quickly as she washes her face and brushes her hair. She knows him well enough to know that he's counting every second with an accuracy a Swiss watch would be jealous of.
It's Christmas again. Christmas number seven since she's been stuck there. She still hates the holiday, but it's growing on her every year that Jon finds more excitement in the tradition. There's only one thing that would make her look forward to this morning. And it's not going to happen.
She knows that there are a few presents under the tree for her. A few from her mum and dad and one crisply wrapped present from Jon but she knows without ripping them open that none of them is the present she's been asking for for years. What she wouldn't give to walk down those stairs and see the TARDIS standing excitedly next to the tree, a huge blue bow on her front door.
She wouldn't bother to wait her turn, just rush down the last three stairs, tugging on the chain beneath her shirt as she went. The lock would come open and she'd push open the door and there he'd be. Her Doctor.
He'd be running into her arms, pulling her to him, spinning her around and they'd be laughing, just like they used to. It would be their old victory hug, their "we didn't die" moment.
Only it would be better than that. It would be perfect. The perfect reunion.
And Jon would stand off to the side, watching with that normal look of curious investigation. He'd know the face- she's shown him every picture she has of him. He would know that it was his father and his father's time ship right there in his living room.
Sometimes she pictures his reaction to their son differently. She likes to imagine that he never had any clue. That he had taken her at her word and moved past the thought without ever realizing she had lied to him. It seemed easier that way, that he hadn't lived with the pain and guilt and that, in that moment, he was too excited to care.
Sometimes he would know exactly who he was looking at. He would take the boy in, examining his thin build and seeing the same lanky teenager in the future. He would notice the unruly brown hair and the deep brown eyes and the light smattering of freckles. She would watch the pain and the guilt lift off his shoulders.
Either way, she imagined that he would pick the boy up, tossing him in the air and hugging the life out of him and Jon would return the favour. It would be perfect. The perfect Christmas. The two of them would curl up on the couch and watch as Jon meticulously opened every present and handed her whichever one had her name scrawled on it.
And later, after the living room was slightly picked up and brunch had been thoroughly enjoyed and mother and son had caught up the Doctor with every detail of their lives, he would take them outside and make it snow. Real snow. Big, fluffy flakes that Jon would run amuck through. He would hold her and the two would laugh and smile as they watched their son together.
But it's just a dream. A fantasy she knows better than to hope for.
So she doesn't hope for it, just takes a deep breath and moves on, joining her son by the tree and watching him meticulously open each present.