"I've decided on a Halloween costume," he told her as he plopped down onto the sofa beside her, close enough that her level of comfort shifted from 'snugly nestled' to 'really quite wedged'. The tiny bubble of personal space they had always maintained on the TARDIS seemed to have popped completely now that they were stuck in one place (specifically, now that the Doctor had to deal with "ridiculously overzealous human hormones"). While as a general rule she didn't mind – rather the opposite – she also rather liked the ability to breathe.

She squirmed, and he leaned into her even further.

Git, she thought, without much malice.

She tossed the file she'd been reading (Important Torchwood Business, which of course the Doctor refused to read, only to be indignant later when he violated some Important Torchwood Protocol stated in the aforementioned Important Torchwood Business) onto the coffee table.

"Your… what?"

"Halloween costume!" he repeated proudly, leaning in far closer than was generally appropriate for casual conversation. "The clever disguise I shall don for All Hallow's Eve." He pulled back, granting her at least enough room to breathe, and grinned. "Fascinating ritual, Halloween – put on a costume and go begging door-to-door." A pensive look crossed his face and he scratched his chin. "You lot, you spend so much time telling kids not to take candy from strangers, then once a year you turn around and practically force them to -- well, not force, I don't suppose the kids mind much, I mean, free candy, but still. Very contradictory message there."

Rose stared, and temporarily considered what it might be like to be in a relationship with someone who accepted trivial human rituals at face value.

She supposed it'd be a good deal less entertaining, at any rate, if less exhausting.

"…right," she said. She wondered for a second what could have brought on such a seemingly odd statement, then realized: "You've been talking to Tony."

The Doctor beamed. "Yep. Clever boy, that Tony Tyler."

Rose snorted, wriggling her shoulders to carve out more room between the Doctor's side and the arm of the sofa. "So what's your great costume, then?"

He wiggled his eyebrows in his aren't I a genius? way that was typically reserved for things like growing a new TARDIS, building a new sonic screwdriver or figuring out the most efficient way to peel oranges.

"I," said the Doctor in his (rather practiced) voice of self-importance, "am going to be Superman."

Rose laughed; the Doctor did not, and that left her with a rather terrifying conclusion.

"Sorry, are you serious?"

"Of course I am!" he proclaimed, apparently unawares of her rather obvious and well-placed skepticism. "Isn't it brilliant? Got quite a lot in common with Clark Kent."

Rose stared. Her mind had rather unhelpfully crafted an image of the Doctor flying around in a cape while dodging zeppelins, and she swallowed down the laughter that was threatening to resurface.

"Er…. how, exactly?"

He looked at her as though she had just asked if the sky was always such a blue colour. "Everything! Well, not everything – can't fly, for instance. Not that I want to, really, flying's overrated; gets you into all sorts of trouble, there are loads of different intergalactic laws to regulate flying, not to mention all sorts of ones per planet -- it's practically impossible to keep them all straight, even if you do happen to be very clever, and I am – "

Rose raised her eyebrows, and it seemed to occur to him suddenly that he was supposed to be telling her why he was a kindred spirit of the Man of Steel.

"Anyway," he continued, "flying is hardly the point. The point is we're really very alike – planet gone, last of our kind, end up on Earth, save the world a few dozen times, fall in love with a human…" He winked at Rose and she grinned despite herself. "See? Practically the same."

Admittedly, he had a point. Still, the theory behind it did not make it sound like all that much better of a plan.

"Oh," was the most reaction she managed. "Well, yeah, there is that, I s'pose."

The Doctor widened his eyes incredulously. "I believe this is the part where you say why Doctor, you're absolutely right, that's such a clever idea, how ever do you manage to be so fantastic?"

Rose snorted. "Think you read the script wrong, then," she quipped, elbowing him in the ribs. She ran a tongue over her teeth, considering the best way to discourage this latest idea. It was bad enough picturing the Doctor dressed as Superman; she couldn't imagine spending an entire night seeing it in flesh-and-blood without… well, probably without exploding from the force of her own hysterics.

"It's just…" She trailed off and he looked at her inquisitively. "… I mean, you don't really…. look like Superman."

The Doctor shrugged, quirking an eyebrow. "It's not as though he's got a lot of distinguishing features – glasses, no glasses, that's pretty much the height of his disguise." He seemed to consider this. "He doesn't really try very hard, does he? The citizens of Metropolis must be exceptionally unobservant."

She nodded, getting the creeping feeling he was going to make this absolutely as hard as it could be. "I just meant that… Superman's sort of…." She waved one hand uselessly, hoping it might suddenly gift her with tact. "…y'know…"

He gave her a look that told her very plainly that no, he didn't know.

"Well… built," she said finally, hunching her shoulders and flexing her arms as she did so.

The Doctor stared at her so blankly that for a second she thought perhaps "built" had been lost somewhere in his vast mental dictionary, so she said, quite helpfully:

"Like Jack."

The Doctor's mouth dropped open into possibly the most scandalized expression she'd ever seen him wear, and she wondered if there wasn't just a little bit of Donna at work.

"Like Jack?" he exclaimed when he had relocated his voice. "Like Jack?" It was practically a squeak.

Rose giggled. The giggle did nothing to quell the indignity he was virtually radiating.

"Rose Tyler! I am wounded! That is rude!"

She didn't quite manage to hold back her grin. "Well, I have been spending a lot of time with you."

"Oi!" He pulled back even further, somehow managing to rearrange his features to look even more offended. "First you say I don't look enough like Jack and now you're having a go at my personality? Rose Tyler, you are cruel."

"Sorry," she managed, still smiling in a way that belied her apology. "It's not that – I just mean spandex… probably isn't a good look for you."

The insulted look left his face long enough for an incredulous one to replace it. "Is spandex really a good look for anyone?"

Rose blinked. It was a fair point. Then she laughed, and he was back to looking offended.

"Honestly," he muttered, folding his arms and reminding her far too much of Tony. "I come up with a brilliant costume – you could even be Lois! Lois! – and you shoot me down with the accuracy of an Olympic marksman. And anyway, the entire point of Halloween is to look ridiculous, so I hardly see how your criticism is valid."

She shrugged innocently. "Just warnin' you, spandex … s'not the most comfortable thing to wear." Particularly around important government figureheads, she didn't add; being in the public eye had failed to influence the Doctor's behavior in the slightest, and she rather doubted he'd make an exception for her father's Halloween party. "Anyway, Superman's sort of… boring, yeah? I've met more interesting aliens."

His mouth twisted into a decidedly self-satisfied smile. "Yeah?"

"Yeah." She bit her lip, scrunching her face up in consideration. "Well -- Jack counts as sort of an alien, right?"


She laughed again, leaning her head back against the sofa and grinning sideways at him. She supposed she ought to stop; it was just terribly entertaining to wind him up. "You could be James Bond. I could be your Bond girl."

He wrinkled his nose. "James Bond? I'm nothing like James Bond. And those girls, they're--"

"I think you're missing the point of Halloween."

"He's licensed to kill, Rose, what sort of license is that? He—"

"Looks dashing in a suit, though," she interjected, and his smug smile returned.

"Dashing? Really?" He seemed to think about this for a moment. "You know, Martha said something like that once. I was wearing that tux. Bad luck, that tux, always got in trouble in that –"

Regrettably the Doctor was cut off, as Rose -- evidently disinterested in the dangers of tuxedo-wearing -- punctured their bubble of personal space by pressing her lips to his.