A/N: Right, I know. I know there are trillions of these. I'm not even sure why I'm posting this. I only wrote it because it literally was buzzing round my head until I finally snapped and typed it up on the night before my GCSEs at eleven and didn't finish until twenty to one. Anyway, I will not be in the slightest bit offended if you don't review, or favourite this, or whatever, because it was never really intended for public consumption in the first place. It's only here because I was uploading something else, and I thought I might as well...
Anyway, what's happened is there was no botched regeneration. Or maybe there was but the Human Doctor was never created. Or something. But they still managed to somehow defeat Davros and the hordes of marauding Daleks (don't ask me how because I don't know), and they've just tugged the Earth home.
The door closed once again. Jackie was back where she belonged, in her husband's universe (or world, since it was really called Pete's World), Sarah Jane had gone rushing off to be reunited with Luke, and Mickey, Martha and Jack were heading back off to Cardiff. Rose had a slight suspicion that Mickey and Martha was a phrase she was going to get quite used to saying in the future.
The last passengers onboard the TARDIS were Donna, Rose, and of course the Doctor, and despite the well-acclaimed ability that all three possessed, namely talking far too much, a rather tense silence had fallen on the ship. Donna, being an observant woman, couldn't help but notice that Rose and the Doctor couldn't keep their eyes off each other. At the same time, they were standing on totally opposite sides of the console, like they were afraid that if one got too close, the other would disappear. Or maybe they were afraid they wouldn't have much control of their actions if they got too close. With that last thought, Donna decided to use some good old fashioned common sense and take her leave.
"Right then, I reckon I should go and have a chat with Granddad then," she came out with abruptly. Rose and the Doctor jumped. "Bet Mum'll want a word, too," she added in a less enthusiastic mutter.
Reluctantly, the Doctor broke away from looking at Rose to focus on Donna. "Popping home for a visit again, yeah?"
Donna smiled, remembering the last time she'd tried to propose such an idea. "Yeah, you can pick me up tomorrow."
The Doctor beamed at her. "Okay then… London, Earth, the Solar System, here we come!"
With a few deft flicks of levers, a couple of wallops on some buttons and one hearty whack on the console, the TARDIS lurched off to Donna's home, spluttering and coughing a little. Donna thought the TARDIS was having a hard time getting used to only one pilot again. Her knees certainly were.
In contrast, Rose was grinning every bit as wildly as the Doctor was apt to do. She had missed this in her interminable exile.
Somehow (God only knows how) Donna managed to make her way over to where the younger woman was clutching on to the console. With a furtive glance to check the Doctor was sufficiently occupied operating about twelve gauges and meters at once, she bent her head closer to Rose, who leant towards her with a puzzled look.
"Right, just a heads up then, I'm telling you now that he blatantly loves you and please talk to him. If you two don't get it all out there in the open, I reckon the TARDIS might burst from the sexual tension," Donna whispered conspiratorially.
Rose blushed, but didn't answer as the TARDIS wheezed its way to a grinding halt. With a concerted effort, Donna managed to stay upright, and briskly made her way to the exit.
"See you," the Doctor said, now leaning casually against a coral pillar.
"Yep, but not too soon," Donna quipped.
He frowned. "What do you mean? I thought you said tomorrow?"
She smirked. "Tomorrow on my timeline. I'm not expecting you for months on yours, is that clear Mister?"
She struggled not to burst out laughing as both Rose and the Doctor looked at each other and then swiftly glanced away again. Unfortunately, her valiant efforts were in vain as a giggle escaped. Before she could completely lose her dignity, she yanked open the TARDIS door and shut it firmly behind her.
Rose and the Doctor listened to her departing howls of laughter in silence for a second. Then a small snigger emerged from Rose's throat.
"What?" the Doctor asked, looking personally offended.
"Oh come on," Rose said, laughing properly now. "We were a bit funny. Y'know, what with the whole pretending-not-to-be-looking-at-each-other thing."
The Doctor looked as though he were deciding whether or not to carry on with this blatant charade for a second, then gave up and let out some embarrassed laughter himself. Trying to distract himself, he tugged on the helmic regulator and a few more controls so they dematerialised safely into the Vortex. Nothing but nothing to harm them there. Or in any way distract them.
"Well then," he announced loudly. "First trip post reunion—I'm not counting Earth, that'd be boring—where d'you wanna go?"
Rose was torn between the desire to laugh again or to bite her lip nervously. It was just so like the Doctor, never stopping, and heaven forbid he'd have a meaningful conversation with her.
"Actually, is my room still around? I'd like to, y'know, get reacquainted. And I need to talk to you."
There, it was said. He couldn't avoid her now. She'd never have been so bold back before Canary Wharf, but she'd grown up a hell of a lot since.
The Doctor blinked, but otherwise didn't betray any emotion. "Sure. Uh, well, actually it's moved," he confessed. "The easiest way to get to it now, is… well, I'll show you."
Rose furrowed her brow slightly, but followed willingly enough. Why had her room moved? Was it out of the way, out of sight, out of mind? But why hadn't he just dismantled it then? Her confusion deepened as he led her down a corridor that was very familiar to her. Her room had been just through that door on the right… which had now disappeared. So her room hadn't been replaced then. Where were Martha and Donna's rooms, she wondered.
She was so caught up in this train of thought that she almost didn't notice when the Doctor took an immediate left turn. Turn left, God, that phrase might well haunt her forever. She'd never be able to live with a sat nav.
These inconsequential thoughts were just a sidetrack to what the majority of her brain was focussed on: why on earth was she following the Doctor into his own room?
She'd been in here thousands of times back in the day (cor, that made her sound old), the room with the ceiling that showed the galaxies as they appeared from La Rochelle in France ("best place to see the sixteenth nebula cluster of the seventy-sixth century") and the walls of deep blue velvet. It hadn't changed much since her last visit, though it was slightly neater, she thought, and there was a blue pair of trousers hanging crazily next to a brown jacket from the half-made bed. Wow, the Doctor was actually varying what he wore these days. But the major change was the door in the corner, opposite the one to his bathroom.
The door was nondescript, a very ordinary door-y sort of door, with a handle and hinges. It was exactly the same as the bathroom door, in fact. What made it a notable feature was the fact that it hadn't been here before.
It was to this door that the Doctor went now. It was this door that swung open on well-used hinges to reveal a very familiar pink and purple room.
Her room hadn't changed a huge amount either. At the same time, it wasn't like time had stood still or anything. It wasn't like Miss Havisham's creepy dressing room in Great Expectations where nothing had changed in years and nothing ever would. Nope, it had been tidied just slightly, all stray clothing removed and presumably returned to her little section of the Wardrobe (if that wardrobe didn't deserve a capital letter, nothing did), though a few things were out that she didn't remember leaving out. Her photograph albums were strewn across one half of her fluffy pink bed, and there was her collection of alien artefacts, heaped onto her bedside table. There was also a noticeable dent in her pillow, as though someone had sat there every night, leafing through her numerous photographs and examining all the possessions she'd picked up. As though someone had been reminiscing. As though someone had been trying his hardest not to forget her.
Suddenly, Rose was struggling to blink back tears as she stepped over the threshold after the Doctor. Her mouth hung open in an ungainly fashion as she processed the well-loved state of her room. Another thing came flooding back now: Martha's reaction to her appearance "you finally found her".
As though the Doctor was reading her mind, he said quietly, "You didn't want to be another Sarah Jane. I… didn't want that either."
Rose couldn't find the words. Forgetting their stilted state of non-contact, she flung her arms around him. For a moment, the Doctor was too stunned to respond, and then he was hugging her back, crushing her to him, rejoicing in the scent of her hair, the feeling of her arms locked around him, in the very there-ness of her. She was so very there in that moment that it was hard to believe she had ever been away.
"Thank you," she finally managed to say, and then discovered that a stray tear was streaking down her cheek. She pulled away to brush it off (and thank goodness for the truly waterproof mascara that was available in Pete's World) but the Doctor got there first. Gently, his fingers teased the moisture away from her skin, barely touching her. It was as though he had branded her with a scalding poker straight from a roaring fire.
He smiled. "You said you wanted to talk to me?" he prompted.
A slight feeling of trepidation crept into Rose's already shaky composure. "Yeah, about two things actually. And you gotta promise you won't interrupt until I've said them both."
"Sounds like you'll be talking at me rather than to me," the Doctor said.
"Only if you don't listen," she retorted with a teasing smile. It was so easy to fall back into the irreplaceable relationship they had shared.
"I'm listening," he assured her.
Rose took a deep breath. "Right, well, the first thing was that… what I said on the beach that day, that didn't change. And never will. And the second thing is…" she trailed off, unsure what to say. "Well, actually, it'd be easier to show you," she decided. "Come 'ere."
She reached out and took one of his hands in her own. He frowned at her now, uncertain of where she was going with this, but, as she had asked, he didn't interrupt. Rose swallowed nervously as she brought their intertwined hands up and rested them lightly on her chest, just below her left collarbone. She paused for a few seconds, then shifted their hands across to the opposite side of her torso. For a second there was silence, and then—
"No," the Doctor exclaimed, yanking his hand back. "No, no, no, that's impossible. Absolutely, indubitably, undeniably impossible."
"That's my middle name," Rose grinned.
"It would seem so."
The Doctor looked completely and utterly staggered. "How?" he asked, bewildered.
"I've only got theories," Rose said.
He came straight back with, "Theories are good. I like theories. Relativity, now that was a good theory… I'm rambling. Tell me."
"Well, I'm guessing it was on the GameStation. When you took the Time Vortex out of me—did you know I remembered all of that after twenty-four hours?—I reckon you missed a bit. It latched onto my DNA or something, and then you provided a bit of your DNA, and the Time Vortex and the Time Lord DNA mixed up and combined to make me like you."
"But why didn't it show before? I'd've noticed your heartbeats at some point, surely."
"You'd've noticed the two day coma, too," Rose frowned. "Mum nearly went insane with worry. Thought I was dying from exposure to some kind of radiation at Torchwood, but that wasn't it. I was down at Cardiff for a day to check out the rift—yes there's a parallel rift, probably how we got there in the first place—and there was a rift spike while I was there. I was absolutely fine until I got home and went to sleep, and then I just didn't wake up for forty-eight hours."
"Like with a regeneration," the Doctor interjected.
"Yeah, that's what I thought. And Mum said I was breathing out glowing air, like the energy that you were breathing out at Christmas, only she didn't make the connection 'til she tried to take my pulse."
The Doctor was flabbergasted into speechlessness. Rose smiled. "Curse of the Time Lords. It's gotta be better with two."
"But if you're a Time Lord, why can't I feel you? In my head, I mean," he added hurriedly when Rose raised an eyebrow. "I told you, that's how I knew I was the only one, cos I could feel the others in my head."
"Oh!" she realised. "That was the Flisk. Don't know if you know 'em, but a small group came to stay on Earth as refugees for a bit. They're telepathic, and I was having such a hard time with controlling the whole telepathy thing that they offered to teach me how to control it. I always keep the barriers up now, it's just easier if I run into anything telepathic. Hang on a sec," she said, her eyes screwing up and her face twisting as she strived to isolate a section of her brain.
Suddenly her brown eyes flew open again, mirroring the Doctor's exactly as they stared at each other in a strange cocktail of shock and relief.
"Oh!" Rose gasped. The sudden presence of the Doctor's mind just buzzing at the back of her consciousness felt like a release from a weight she hadn't known she'd been carrying, like a cross she'd been bearing since birth. "Oh, God, Doctor, were you always that…" she struggled to find a better word, but there wasn't one. "Lonely?" she finished lamely.
"Yes," he breathed. "All the time. Rose Tyler, I love you."
The sudden completion of the phrase she had dreamed of for years sent shockwaves through her long dormant heart and her newly awakened mind. Instinctively, she opened their connection further and he responded in kind as they both reached eagerly to explore the other's mind. There was no need for permission—they both craved the mental contact, starved of it literally for lifetimes. Tendrils of thought drifted from one to the other, caressed them, pressed against them, so caring and so wanton at the same time. There were no boundaries between them now. Age didn't matter—she had lived through too much for her few years. Species was no longer an issue. There was no difference in the emotion they felt, that they were swamped in: the love that both of them had known they could never indulge in, suddenly set free. They were swimming in pent-up passion, hidden adoration and it was nigh on impossible to tell what was Rose and what was the Doctor now.
Their physical forms remained staring at each other, unblinking for an immeasurable amount of time. It could have been seconds and it could have been centuries. Finally, at some unspoken agreement, they withdrew just slightly, just enough to regain control of their bodies and press their lips together desperately in their first proper kiss.
They didn't return for Donna for another two years, three months and six days.
A/N: Please don't feel you need to review. I don't mind, honestly I don't. And no, this isn't reverse psychology. And yes, the Flisk do exist in the Whoniverse, they come from the book Snowglobe 7 by Mike Tucker. And yes, I'm a Twilight fan, hence the 'long dormant heart' line. Oh, and I really don't own Doctor Who. I wish. No, it belongs to the BBC, who maltreat their characters so severely that they ought to be sent to prison for violating the Human/Alien Rights Act.