Title: Background Noise
Gift for: leighleighla
Characters: Ten, Rose, Jack and Donna
Prompt: Babies, and something to do with music.
"Oh, go on," Donna insists through the steam pouring from her mug of tea, seeing Rose beginning to sway. "Stop bein' Mrs Martian, just for one day. Enjoy yourself before the baby comes along. Because you," Donna adds, pointing a finger sternly in Rose's direction, "are never gonna go shopping for fun again."
"Oh, go on," Jack wheedles, slouched in the captain's chair with his feet on the console as the Doctor fiddles with wires that were never broken. "One day not being Mr Mom. You and Rose need some time on your own, if you know what I mean." He waggles his eyebrows just to make sure his point is clear. "Because once that baby is born, you, Doctor, are not gonna be getting any for a very long time."
And that is exactly how a heavily pregnant Rose Tyler finds herself curled up asleep on the floor of a New Look changing room, having literally shopped until she dropped with a now frantic Donna. She is hammering on the door and yelling about all the various ways the Doctor is going to kill her if she's let his unborn baby get kidnapped by the sock monsters.
They are banned from Cardiff Shopping Centre for five months and warned that, pregnant or not, they'll be arrested for disruptive behaviour if they show up again in that time.
"What were you sayin' about shopping for fun?" Rose grins as they're escorted out.
Donna leaves muttering rather loudly about how she prefers Primark anyway, and the two spend the afternoon giggling amongst the clothing racks of the vast TARDIS wardrobe, trying on everything from kilts to wedding dresses and trying not to think about what the periodic powercuts mean the two men could be doing.
It's almost 1am Earth time when Donna somehow manages to persuade Rose that a walk along Cardiff Bay in their newly-found dresses would be a good idea. It's not until Donna has ushered her out and quickly slammed the door behind her, leaving the younger blonde outside alone to stare apprehensively at the clubbers fighting off the seagulls after their chips, that Rose realises exactly why they've never gone for late-night walks in present-day England before.
It's something of a relief, then, when the door swings open and the Doctor is thrown out in a decidedly undignified fashion. Rose catches a quick glimpse of a triumphant looking Jack but only manages to open her mouth in confusion before the door slams, once again, in both of their faces.
The Doctor looks around in a panic, swinging back around to grab her by the shoulders and babble frantically. "Have you seen anything? Did Donna tell you anything? Did – " He looks her up and down, noticing her dress. "Are you... wearing a dress?"
"Oh, you noticed, did you?" Rose puts her hands over his and laughs. "What're you expecting to find out here? Killer seagulls?" She widens her eyes and grins.
"Jack said..." The Doctor looks around once again, realisation dawning. "Jack said there were aliens."
"And you believed him? Come off it, Doctor, you can't seriously think they'd lock us out here to deal with an invasion by ourselves?"
He tugs his ear in slight embarrassment. "Well, I – "
Rose laughs again, a little too comfortable with the situation for the Doctor's liking. "You did! You thought there was some sort of alien invasion. In Cardiff."
He raises his eyebrows in response, reminding her that such an idea really isn't that far-fetched at all. "That still doesn't explain why we're out here and they're in there. I hope," he says, sincerely, rubbing his neck and frowning at the TARDIS doors, "they're not doing anything... untoward in there." He pulls a face. "I won't be able to touch the console for weeks. Ianto used up all the bleach on the kitchen last time he came to visit Jack, remember?"
"How could I forget? He told me off for plannin' to bring a baby into a breeding ground for alien germs. And this is Jack and Donna we're talking about. Unless she gets herself a sex change and starts wearing a suit, it's not gonna – "
But the Doctor raises a finger, silencing her. Music has started up, a very different music from the various clubs and pubs within their hearing, and it seems to be coming from the TARDIS.
"Is that – ?" Rose begins, but she doesn't need to complete the question. The notes issuing from the big blue machine are clearly the beginnings of a Glenn Miller song they both know rather well.
Jack's head suddenly pokes around the door of the TARDIS, followed by Donna's a few centimetres lower. "Sorry, Doctor. No sex and no aliens," he reassures them, voice thick with amusement.
"Well, apart from Martian boy over there," Donna points out. The Doctor ignores her.
"Then what – ?"
"We wanted you to have some time to yourselves before the baby's born," she explains, slowly and clearly, evidently refraining from adding some comment such as "you great big dumbos" onto the end of her sentence.
Jack winks and Rose blushes as though, despite her pregnancy, no-one had ever acknowledged her sex life with the Doctor before.
"Here?" the Doctor asks incredulously, apparently not having noticed. "On a bridge next to a car park? In iCardiff/i?"
"Oi, don't knock it," Jack protests, reminding them that he chooses to largely live and work here even now he's found the Doctor again. "It may not be Bentel Fifteen, but you gotta make do with what you got."
The Doctor continues to stare. Quickly, wondering if the entire world has been scheduled to go insane and nobody's bothered to tell him, he looks at Rose then back to Jack and Donna. The latter tuts, strides out of the TARDIS and firmly takes the Doctor by the wrist.
"Do we have to do everything for you?" she asks, tugging him over to Rose and placing his hand on her waist. "Honestly, sometimes I wonder how you figured out where everything goes long enough to even get her pregnant," Donna continues and, having arranged them into a dancing position she is apparently satisfied with, retreats back to the doorway of the TARDIS with Jack.
They spent so much of her early pregnancy terrified of what might happen if their DNA was incompatible, worrying whether Rose and the baby would even survive if his Time Lord genes harmed her human pregnancy, and so many of the later months fretting about working a child into their unconventional lives that they haven't really had time to actually enjoy any of it. Jack and Donna are right – it's about time they took a step back and remembered how ecstatic they had been at the very beginning.
The door slams shut once again, but the music remains and the lights come on behind the TARDIS windows, filling the Bay with a soft glow that contrasts with the orange of the streetlamps. Rose tries to pretend that the water doesn't smell.
"I think," the Doctor says slowly, not having moved from the position Donna placed him in, "that they want us to dance."
"Gold star for the spaceman," Donna mutters a little too loudly, head poking out of the doors once again. She claps a hand over her mouth. "I wasn't here! You didn't see me," she tells them, diving back inside and shutting the doors for the final time.
It's clumsy and silly and full of giggles, and Rose's bump keeps getting in the way, but when he spins her out, kissing her thoroughly when she turns back again, seagulls skwarking, clubbers heckling and the light Glenn Miller mixing with the music from the clubs over the bridge, it sort of works.
When they finally go back inside, Jack and Donna are asleep on the captain's chair, Donna's forehead pressed to the viewing screen.
A little over a year ago, they'd arrived on 41st century Mars just in time to help stop the 82nd civil war of the aptly-named planet – but not quite in time to save the parents of a small Martian baby left crying in the smoking ruins of his pod-like home.
On her knees cradling the child, Rose had looked up at the Doctor with tearful and pleading eyes. "He's all on his own, Doctor."
But they'd left him at a refugee centre for children of missing and dead civilians, the Doctor carefully and sadly reminding her that the life they lead is entirely unsuitable for a child.
Besides, Donna had pointed out, the amount of wires in the TARDIS meant baby-proofing the ship would probably take Rose's entire lifetime to complete, and none of them could see the Doctor putting safety corners and cable ties all over his beloved console.
Next, Rose had been roped into babysitting for her old school friend Shireen. The little girl was dark-haired and wide-eyed and took to the Doctor like a duck to water while he tried to pretend that he wasn't delighted with the attention. "No, Rose," he'd said, before she could even open her mouth, as Shireen's daughter hung off his leg looking up at him adoringly.
Rose was unavailable for babysitting for rather a long time after that.
"No, Rose," he'd said again as she held out a tiny fluffball of a kitten to him, her eyes almost as wide and appealing as those of the feline's, and again (a little less quickly that time) when they'd bumped into a once-again pregnant Shireen in modern day London.
"D'you ever think," she'd quietly asked one day, "about... you know, maybe havin' a baby one day?"
"That isn't a rhetorical question, is it?" the Doctor had said carefully, looking her up and down as well he could from his position under the metal grating, a frown creasing at the corners of his eyes.
Rose had shook her head and he'd broken out into an unexpected grin, dropping his screwdriver and scrambling out from under the console to take both of her hands in his. She'd begun swinging them anxiously by the time he opened his mouth to say, "Right, then! No time like the present and all that." He'd wiggled his eyebrows. "We'd better start practising."
"You can at least wait 'till I've left the room," Donna had grimaced from the console chair behind them before hurrying out to the kitchen.
It's 2am on the 3rd of October. Neither of them are entirely sure of the year, the Doctor having landed the TARDIS in a blind panic as soon as Rose went into labour and relying on the TARDIS to take them somewhere clean and out of the Middle Ages.
Despite several of the nurses being large orange fish, the TARDIS seems to have done rather well. The bed is white, the walls that ubiquitous green that belongs in schools, offices or any place with medicine, and all the equipment Earth-looking (which is a definite advantage, considering Rose had actually screamed and then burst into apologetic tears when she'd realised her midwife had gills).
The next few hours had succeeded in proving Jack's reason for setting up the earlier dancing correct when Rose had continually threatened to castrate the Doctor in steadily more imaginative and more violent ways as her labour progressed. Clutching his fingers in a grip he hadn't known she possessed, she'd promised that if he ever as much as held her hand again, he'd find himself sleeping on the sofa minus several valued limbs.
It is with a certain amount of apprehension, then, that he sits down on the edge of her bed now and reaches out a tentative hand to the bundle of blankets in her arms. He's not entirely sure that there's even a baby in there at all.
Rose turns and beams at him, exhausted and pale but apparently having forgotten all the screaming she'd been doing just an hour or so earlier. She nudges him with her shoulder, clearly amused by his nerves. "Come and say hello."
Overwhelmed, the Doctor hesitates.
"He doesn't bite."
The Doctor looks up at her, tugging on his ear in an attempt at indifference. "I was more worried about you."
Dodging the pillow she throws his way, he clambers over the bed until he is sitting beside her. He rests his chin on her shoulder, peering into the blankets. There's a tiny pink person in there with a tuft of yellow hair, eyes screwed shut and blotchy fingers still on the edges of the blankets.
"Does he... ido/i anything?" the Doctor asks, as Rose turns her head towards him and nuzzles her nose sleepily into his cheek.
"He's gonna cry, and eat, and be sick, and gurgle at you," she informs him, voice muffled somewhere near his neck.
"Ah. No Advanced Physics for a while yet, then."
The Doctor tilts his head, regarding the baby from another angle, and frowns. "He looks like a monkey. A monkey with your nose," he amends quickly, feeling Rose stiffen beside him, but he's not entirely sure that addition will help. "I wanted him to have your nose," he says quietly, wrinkling his own.
"I bet he did, too," Rose laughs, raising her head and kissing the side of the Doctor's nose to stop him sulking.
The TARDIS, he thinks, as he hears crying and yelling and the happy singing of a forgotten radio in the background of the hospital, is meant to be filled with noise like this; running and shouting and laughing. She was never grown to be silent.
"Is this," he whispers, not looking up from the pink and yellow bundle, feeling an exhausted Rose drop into sleep at his side, "a bad time to say I want another one?"
Rose's light, sleepy smile turns into a gleeful laugh against his shoulder as she whispers back. "Me too."