Five Conversations the Doctor and Rose Had (And One They Didn't)
Spoilers: Journey's End
Summary: Cohabitating a cozy house in Chelsea isn't quite the same as cohabitating a TARDIS. As they adjust to an old/new Doctor, linear time and wallpaper, there are a few things Rose and the Doctor need to discuss.
Rose wanted to scream. She wanted to tear her hair out, tear his hair out, and throw around some good china, preferably at his presently to-be plucked head. Nothing would please her more than to upend the table and send scalding tea pouring into his lap. Ruin those ridiculous jimjams, the light blue ones with dancing monkeys clutching half-peeled bananas. When she was in a good mood, she loved that a grown man possessed the security to wear dancing monkeys to bed, but at times like these, she despised them. They actually matched a pair her little brother owned.
Instead of screaming, Rose forced her mouth into a tight smile as her fingers came dangerously close the crushing the handle of the mug she held. "Doctor, I am not smuggling a Tradisian discombobulater out of the Torchwood vaults because you think you remember that it contains a circuit you could use in your sonic screwdriver!"
He just smiled back at her. He managed a better semblance of contentment than she did – shocking, considering his Donna heritage – but she could see that his knuckles were white around the handle of his own mug. It was yellow and matched the bananas. "I understand that you don't want another row with your boss, dear, but I need that discombobulater to reconstruct my sonic screwdriver. It's not like Torchwood has the least idea of how to use the thing."
Rose's nostrils flared, and she felt blood rushing to her face. "What, are you calling us stupid?!" A vase from Pete balanced on a nice stand in the adjoining kitchen caught her. It had been a house-warming gift. It would smash very well, she thought.
The Doctor's lips thinned, and he drew in a quick rush of breath. Finally, she thought. Finally they'd have it out. She'd been waiting for this, for their first big fight, but he'd always slipped out of them. Till now. She was sure they'd be screaming before ten.
Instead, he gritted his teeth and maintained his smile. She could tell he was gritting his teeth; his jaw jutted out a bit when he did. "Of course not, Rose. I'm the stupid one." He pushed himself jerkily to his feet and left the flood of golden summer light for the cool shadows of the kitchen.
Rose took a breath, then another. That almost sounded like an apology – but it was not an apology she wanted. She wanted a fight from him. Not for the sake of fighting but for the sake of their relationship. God, she'd fought enough with him in his first two incarnations, especially the first. Hardly a week when by when she didn't find something to shout about, and he wasn't shy about shouting back. Her blue-eyed Doctor had been so shut-off then, trying to nurse the wounds of the Time War in private, and when she refused to let him cut himself off from her, he sometimes lashed out.
This was different, though. This Doctor, whom she privately thought of as her blue-suited Doctor, was born in battle, just as her brown-suited Doctor has said, but it wasn't rage or grief simmering beneath the surface. It was something else, and Rose was determined to tear through his excuses and find out what it was. But this Doctor was a lot of better at bottling it up than her first Doctor had been.
In a split second, she made her decision. The vase was too posh to go throwing about, but the dimestore mug in her hand was a different story. She grabbed it around the middle and heaved it to the cabinets just left of her Doctor's head. It hit with a satisfying crash that echoed through the kitchen and sent tea and shrapnel flying in all directions. The tea splashed his jams, not blue, and bits of mug ended up in his hair.
He made a noise that was almost a screech and jumped a foot in the area. When he had recovered, he spun around to face her, brown eyes wide with shock. "What was that?!" he shouted.
"That was me," Rose replied, just as loudly. "That was me wishing you would stay around and yell, just this once! You haven't raised your voice since we stepped out of the TARDIS, and I think I'm going to go mad if I have to see that forced smile on your face one more time!"
He threw his hands up. "Rose, I love you! I'm not going to yell at you like your mother does at the dog." He took a deep breath and wiped gingerly at the damp spots on the dancing monkeys. "When you're ready to talk about this like an adult, I'll be in my study."
"Don't you dare, mister!" she shouted. "Take one more step, and the yellow mug gets it!" She realized as soon as it came out that the threat had sounded much more ominous and much less hilarious before she said it.
He stared at her. She stared back. She grabbed the yellow mug and raised her arm menacingly, but ultimately, she cracked first. After another tense moment, a smile began twitching at her lips. He sort of snorted, and then she choked out a laugh and set down the mug.
"Okay," she said grudgingly after her giggles subsided. "That sounded much better in my head. But I'm still mad at you." She fell heavily back into her chair. "I'm not made of porcelain, Doctor. We used to fight all the time. If we had neighbors, they could have set their VCRs or whatever by it." She looked up at him imploringly. "What's changed?"
He sighed. His long fringe, still mussed after sleep, flopped in his face as he slumped, and something tightened in Rose's chest. She didn't want to hurt him, but fighting – regular fighting, over who drank the last of the milk and put the bottle back, over smuggling alien artefacts out of their place of employment – wasn't about hurting each other. It was a healthy outlet of those myriad emotions that can't help being stirred when two sentient beings shared a space. Not everyone fought, of course, and not everyone had to – but Rose and the Doctor did. It was an unmalleable truth of not just one, but every universe in existence.
He crossed back to where she sat and knelt in front of her. "I've changed, Rose. This…" he waved his hand around the breakfast nook. "It's not the TARDIS. It's our house. It's nine-fifty on a Saturday morning, and I'm so aware of it. There was never any Saturday in the TARDIS, never nine-fifty in the morning. It was tea time or laundry time or dethrone the despot time, but never nine-fifty." He heaved another deep breath and let his head rest against Rose's knee. She stroked his mussed hair and kept silent.
"Thing is, I knew we didn't have forever. I knew that better than you. Better than any of you humans, with your promises and your happily-ever-afters. But we had time. I had a machine that could travel in space and time and take you to the edge of an exploding supernova. I was never going to leave you behind, and you were never going to leave me. Now, I… I don't know."
Rose shook her head. So that's what he was worried about. She felt her anger draining away as she continued to run her fingers through his hair. "Doctor, I shot myself through countless dimensions to find you, not just for the whole of creation but for myself. You and me, we got a chance we shouldn't have. We had amazing adventures together… and then we got a house. Together." She wished she could explain herself better. Getting the house had been an adventure in itself, and their life together now was far from dull. She hoped he knew what she meant. "This was the one impossible thing, even for you. I'm not going to leave you behind because you always put the empty milk bottle back in the fridge."
He jerked his head up to meet her eyes. "Oi! Do not!" His eyes dropped and studied her slippers. "Not always."
She nodded emphatically. "Do so. Always. I'm keeping track."
He rolled his eyes, but the expression passed briefly over his face. "Not even when I ask you to break the law to smuggle me a device known to have caused the destruction of at least three cities… and one picturesque hamlet?" His blinked his wide, brown eyes at her, the very picture of innocence – but beneath his habitual silliness was a thread of fear. He wasn't kidding, not entirely.
"I take it you've never been shot through a dimensional canon. It's hell on the knees. Scuffed up a very nice pair of boots, too, trudging through all those whens and wheres." She smiled down at him. This time, it was genuine.
He took hold of her hand, stroked it gently with his thumb, then kissed it. After a long, silent moment passed between them, he stood and stretched out a hand. She took it, and he pulled her up into a crushing hug.
"Now then," he said, slightly muffled by her hair in his face, "about that discombobulater. It's pronounced Tradi-chan. Could you have it by Wednesday?"
(AN: Yes, I know I misspelled "cannon". I've had a wicked urge to do so since I finally saw Journey's End and read some fic. Sorry for the distraction.)