What's In a Name?
(four names that were wrong and one that was right)
Disclaimer: Doctor Who is not mine, I've just borrowed them for the very first time.
Genre: General, Romance, Friendship, Fluff, Teeny-weeny bit of Angst
Warnings: SPOILERS for Journey's End
Summary: The first time it came up, it had been two hours, ten minutes and thirty-two seconds since they had left Dårlig ulv stranden. Post Journey's End. 10.5/Rose.
A/N Okay, so, this is my first Doctor Who fic and my first non-NCIS fic in about three years. I apologise in advance for any dodgy characterisations; I am a rather new convert. Let me know if anything is off so I can make changes (seriously, I mean it – concrit is my bestest friend). That said, I am not a huge fan of Rose Tyler, or of Doctor/Rose, but this little plot splat came to me while I was at work and I just had to write it. Anyways, enjoy.
The first time it came up, it had been two hours, ten minutes and thirty-two seconds since they had left Dårlig ulv stranden. Pete was driving with Jackie up front, leaving Rose and the newly half-human Doctor is the back seat.
It was silent, and had been silent for all of the two hours, ten minutes and thirty-two seconds. It wasn't as if they wanted the silence; they would have been very grateful for some senseless chatter. But the fact was that the events of the last couple of days were weighing heavily on all their minds, even Pete's and he had been safe and waiting anxiously in the parallel world.
Then suddenly, making Rose jump as he did so, the Doctor spoke, "What about John Smith?"
"What about him?" Jackie piped up from the front seat, grateful that someone had broken the silence. She twisted in her seat and looked at the Doctor and Rose in the backseat. "John Smith?"
"Yeah," the Doctor replied enthusiastically, "John Smith. I need a name, don't I? If I am going to do the whole human thing, I need a name other than 'the Doctor'. I can hardly go around signing things as 'the Doctor', now can I? That would be just the slightest bit pretentious . . ." He paused and Rose made a noise that was cross between a huff and a giggle. This made the human Doctor smile widely.
"John Smith," Jackie mused, looking thoughtful. "It could work. What do you think, Pete? Rose?"
Pete shrugged. "It's a good a name as any."
"Rose, darling?" Jackie turned to her only daughter, a small look of concern on her face.
Rose looked at her mother before looking back at the Doctor and saying slowly, "It's a bit ordinary, isn't it?"
The Doctor gaped at her. "Ordinary?"
"Well, yeah," Rose replied. "John. Smith. Two of the most common names, even here in the parallel world. It's just a bit, yeah . . ."
"Oi, what's wrong with John Smith?" the Doctor huffed, looking a bit put out. "I like that name."
Rose rolled her eyes. "You would."
"But I thought you wanted ordinary," the Doctor continued to argue. "You know, domestics and all that."
"I do," Rose said, a very slight waver in her voice. "But I don't want that ordinary. Besides, Rose Smith sounds worse than Rose Tyler . . ." She trailed off and blushed just a little bit as she realised what she'd just said.
This stoped in the Doctor in his tracks; Jackie's head shifted back and forth between Rose and Doctor, while Pete blinked twice.
"Uh, well, you know," Rose muttered, turning her head to look out the window. "You never know. It could, I mean, not now, but maybe. But not too maybe, maybe . . ." She trailed off as she felt a larger hand slip itself around hers.
"Well then, Rose Tyler," the Doctor said cheerfully, giving her hand a little squeeze, "I guess John Smith's off the short list."
The second time it came up, it had been thirty one hours, nineteen minutes and eight seconds since they had left Dårlig ulv stranden. The Doctor was settled on a couch in one of Pete Tyler's many spacious lounge rooms and was staring intently at the large television screen.
"Tea?" Rose announced as she pushed open the door with her back before swinging around to revel a tray with a pot of tea and two mugs on it.
The Doctor's eyes lit up. "I can never say no to a good cuppa." He bounced to his feet, knocking the television remote to the floor as he did so. It clattered to the ground and laid still.
"Opps," the Doctor grinned sheepishly.
Rose shook her head and offered a small smile. "Honesty, you are like a small child sometimes. No wonder you get on with Tony so well," she said, referring to her toddler brother.
He flashed Rose another grin and clambered over to where Rose had placed the tea tray. "Ooh, he's a good kid, that one. I think he'll be brilliant."
Rose sighed with amusement. "You want some tea or not?"
"Oh, let me," the Doctor volunteered, eager to help.
He reached out to pick up the teapot, but knocked one of the mugs as he did so. It tottered precariously on the spot before going back to its original position.
"Ah . . ." he said slowly, withdrawing his hand.
"Maybe I'll do the teas, yeah?" Rose suggested lightly. "You just sit down and relax, Doctor."
The Doctor bounced back to his seat in front of the television. "That reminds me, Rose," he said, looking up at her, "I have thought of another name."
"Oh, really? And what might that be?" Rose asked with a smile as she poured the tea into the mugs.
Rose choked on a gasp and the mug wobbled in her hand. She carefully put it down. "Devon? Seriously?"
"Yeah, why not?" the Doctor said happily, ignoring Rose's reaction. "It's catchy, modern and definitely not ordinary or at least I think its not."
Rose looked pained. "Devon," she muttered, "where have I heard that . . ." She trailed off and looked horrified. "You're not, are you?"
She turned quickly and shifted her eyes to the television the Doctor was watching. She groaned as the familiar theme tune of the parallel world's version EastEnders started on the screen. "Please tell me you're not . . ."
The Doctor tore his eyes away from the television and met Rose's amused stare. "What?" he said, defensive. "I happen to like the show."
"You haven't even been here a day and you're already turning into a soap junkie." Rose shook her head. "Fine, whatever. But you are not being called Devon, got it!"
The Doctor nodded and waved his hand distractedly. "Whatever you want, Rose." He was too distracted by the television show to bother arguing.
Rose palmed her head. And to think the other Doctor though this one was a genocide manic.
The third time it came up, it had been fifty-one hours, twenty-seven minutes and twelve seconds since they had left Dårlig ulv stranden. Rose and the Doctor were taking a short walk around the block.
"It's a bit chilly, isn't it?" the Doctor muttered, pulling his suit jacket closer to his body.
"Just a bit," Rose replied shivering, and the Doctor looked a little concerned. Rose sighed. "It's just a bit of cold, nothing I can't handle."
"Okay, if you're sure . . ." The Doctor still looked a little worried.
"I just said I was fine," Rose snapped and immediately looked apologetic. "Sorry."
"Nah, it's okay," the Doctor smiled gently. "Everyone is allowed a snippity-snap-snap-snappity moment every now and again."
"Please tell me you didn't just say 'snippity-snap-snap-snappity'," Rose laughed.
"I like that."
"No, your laugh, I like that." The Doctor looked unsure of himself. "I don't hear it nearly as much as I should."
"I laugh," Rose murmured, quickening her pace.
"Not around me," the Doctor replied quietly, speeding up to match Rose's pace.
Rose didn't answer, even when the Doctor caught up to her and placed a hand on her shoulder. She shrugged it off and then said with false cheer, "We still haven't come up with a good name for you, yet." It was clear Rose was changing the topic so the Doctor left well enough alone and allowed the subject to be changed.
"I have come up with names," the Doctor reminded her.
"I said 'good' name, Doctor," Rose replied with a hint of a smile.
"My ideas were good."
"Sure they were," Rose said sarcastically and the Doctor harrumphed.
"What's wrong with John or Devon," the Doctor challenged.
"More like, what isn't wrong with John or Devon." Rose shivered and so the Doctor placed an arm round her shoulders. She flinched almost unnoticeably, but didn't push him away.
"Well, then, oh-great-one, what do you suggest?" the Doctor asked jollily, enjoying the feel of Rose's shoulders in his arm.
"Hmmmm . . ." Rose looked thoughtful. "What about . . . I know . . . Harry. After Harry Potter, you know. I mean, give you a wand and you could be him . . . kinda."
The Doctor stopped abruptly and his arm fell from Rose's shoulders. His face paled and it was Rose's turn to look worried.
"Doctor?" He didn't reply, so Rose said again, "Doctor?"
"What? Huh. Oh, Rose. Sorry, I was momentarily somewhere else." The Doctor shook himself from his memories.
"Is something wrong?" Rose asked, concerned.
"Oh, no, nothing to worry about," the Doctor tried to say cheerfully, but failed.
Rose glared. "Don't lie to me. What's wrong with the name . . ."
"Don't, just don't," the Doctor cut her off before she could say the name again. "Just . . . no."
"It's just a name," Rose muttered. "What's so bad about it?"
"It's . . ." The Doctor faltered. "I . . . Never mind."
Rose looked annoyed. "You either tell me what you have against the name Harry, or shut up about it."
"It's nothing." The Doctor gave her a confident, 'everything is perfectly fine' look.
"It's clearly not nothing." Rose started walking again and quickened her pace. She threw a look over her shoulder. "If this thing is gonna work, you've gotta start being straight with me, Doctor."
The Doctor hurried after Rose. "It's a long story."
"It's a long street," Rose countered and slowed her pace to allow the Doctor to catch up. "Please?"
The Doctor relented a little. "It's not a very nice story, Rose," he sighed.
Rose squeezed his arm. "I can handle it. I've seen my share of not so nice things, too."
The Doctor took a deep breath. "You remember the Face of Boe, don't you? From the end of the world and New New York . . ."
The fourth time it came up, it had been seventy-three hours, fifty-one minutes and forty seconds since they had left Dårlig ulv stranden. The Doctor and Rose, along with Jackie, Pete and Tony were seated around the dining table.
"This is fantastic, Jackie," the Doctor complemented, smiling charmingly at Jackie. He swirled the pasta around his fork.
Pete snorted in his food and stifled a laugh.
Jackie glared at her husband and then grinned. "You can thank the cook later."
"Really, Doctor, mum cooking?" Rose echoed Jackie's grin. "And just wait 'til you try her banana cheesecake, you'll love it."
"Bananas? I love bananas," the Doctor grinned. "Great source of potassium."
"'Nanas, 'nanas," Tony chanted from his toddler seat, grinning lopsidedly at the Doctor. "'Nanas, 'nanas . . ."
Pete made a move to hush the little boy, but the Doctor shook his head and grinned at the family. "Didn't I tell you he's fantastic? Great taste, too. Tell me, Tony Tyler, can you say 'time and relative dimension in space'?"
Jackie shook her head in amusement. "You're a bad influence on him, Doctor."
"What?" The Doctor shrugged. "I'm expanding his vocabulary."
"He's two, his vocabulary doesn't need expanding yet," Rose retorted.
"It's never too young to start, Rose," the Doctor defended.
"Go back to your pasta, Doctor," Rose grinned.
The Doctor faked hurt look and turned back to the delicious pasta in front of him. The family was silent for a moment before Pete spoke up.
"Have you decided on a name yet?" he asked. "I need to know so I can get all the proper documents made up."
"Isn't that illegal?" the Doctor questioned, and Pete shrugged.
"It's not hurting anyone. And how else are we supposed to explain your sudden appearance with absolutely no history or paperwork. We can hardly say you grew out of a hand and came from an alternative universe."
"Good point," the Doctor conceded. "But no, no name yet."
"We could just call him 'the Doctor'," Rose suggested, shrugging.
"Really? That wouldn't look out of place here?" The Doctor looked rather sceptical.
"Well, yeah, it would be, but we haven't come up with anything else better, have we?" Rose replied.
"No, we haven't." The Doctor looked dejected. "I guess 'the Doctor' is better than nothing. It just doesn't feel . . ."
"Right," Rose finished and looked a little sad. "I know."
"I am sure we can come up with a name," Jackie announced brightly, trying to lighten the mood. "How hard can it be?"
And as the family found out, it could be very hard indeed.
The fifth time it came up, it had been ninety-nine hours, nine minutes and nineteen seconds since they had left Dårlig ulv stranden. For the first time since they had returned home, the Doctor and Rose were curled up in a bed together.
"What will happen to the others?" Rose asked softly as the Doctor absentmindedly stroked Rose's blonde hair.
"Yeah, Jack, Donna, Sarah Jane, you know, all of them who fought the Daleks," Rose answered.
The Doctor was silent for a moment before saying, "Sarah Jane will go back to her son and have a happy, happy life. I assume Jack will go back to Torchwood, maybe take Martha and Mickey with him . . ."
Rose stiffened at the mention of Mickey's name. She sighed. "I really destroyed that relationship, didn't I."
"Perhaps." The Doctor waited for Rose to elaborate.
"I guess we just drifted apart. Or I pushed him away. I had so much to deal with. Torchwood. The stars going out. Building the dimension cannon. Finding you . . ." Rose's voice had gotten softer and softer as she continued.
"But I never thought it would happen to me and Mickey."
"No one ever does," the Doctor responded wisely. "What's done is done. Mickey will be happy in the other world . . . though I don't know what he'll be like working with Captain Jack."
Rose chuckled. "That would be a sight."
"I bet it would be." The Doctor grinned and then said, "I like hearing you laugh."
"I know," Rose replied and fell silent. She shifted and moved closer into the Doctor's embrace.
"What about Donna?" she said after a moment of silence. "She did save the universe, after all. I bet she's having a good ol' time with the Doctor in the TARDIS. Can you imagine? The DoctorDonna." Rose grinned, but the Doctor did not return the sentiment.
"Doctor, Donna is still travelling in the TARDIS, isn't she?" Rose questioned. "I mean, she could hardly go home with all that knowledge." The Doctor remained silent. "Doctor?"
"I don't think so," he said sadly. He may be living in a parallel world away from the real Doctor, but he still had all the Time Lord knowledge and knew Donna could never survived with a Time Lord brain.
"Well then, what?"
"There has never been a Human-Time Lord Metacrisis before . . . because there can't be," the Doctor murmured.
"What happened to her?" Rose pressed quietly. "She didn't . . . she didn't . . ." She couldn't bring herself to finish the sentence.
"I don't know. I wasn't there."
"Then what do you know? You're him, aren't you? What would he have done?" Rose all but exploded. She had become quite fond of Donna Noble, despite the limited interactions they had had.
The Doctor closed his eyes. "I would have wiped her mind, getting rid of the Time Lord consciousness," he said slowly and quietly.
"She wouldn't remember?"
"She wouldn't remember," the Doctor confirmed sadly. "If she did, it would kill her."
"Oh," was all Rose could manage. "So-so she wouldn't remember saving the universe, being half-human, half-Time Lord, any of it?" The Doctor nodded his head and pulled Rose into a tighter embrace.
"But, maybe, you know, he found a way to . . ." Rose faltered.
"Well, that sucks," Rose huffed. "Donna saved the universe and nothing. Nobody, besides us on the Crucible, knows what she did, and if they did know, she'd die. That really sucks. She should at least have a statue, or something."
"At least she won't be dead," the Doctor offered.
"I guess." Rose fell silent.
The Doctor untangled his hand from Rose's hair and rubbed her arm. "It'll be okay."
Rose nodded, but then sat up suddenly, startling the Doctor. "I've got it!"
"Got what?" The Doctor looked confused.
"The answer to our problems," she smiled, almost happily.
Rose bent over and whispered something in the Doctor's ear that made him smile so widely that Rose thought his face might crack.
"That, Rose Tyler, is absolutely fantastically brilliant," the Doctor grinned enthusiastically.
"I am surer than sure. I am so fantastically sure that I could shout it from the rooftops. Perhaps I will." Rose couldn't help but grin at the Doctor's enthusiasm.
"Don Tyler," the Doctor mused, as if he were testing it out. "Perfect. Don and Rose Tyler."
"I'll tell dad tomorrow, he'll be please."
"Oh, does that mean we'll have to have the big white wedding and all that?" the Doctor asked suddenly, looking a little horrified. "I am rubbish at weddings, especially my own."
"I think that's a long way off, mister," Rose chided, good-naturedly. "Let's just take one step at a time, Don." She smiled cheekily.
"Mmmm, I like how that sounds coming out of your mouth." The Doctor pulled Rose back into his embrace and kissed her passionately.
He finally broke the kiss and murmured, "Rose Tyler, I love you."
"Yeah, I love you too, Doctor."