A/N: Written for ramblinsuze during the 2008 Secret Santa Exchange on the Livejournal community, oh_she_knows. The prompt was "The perfect gift" with a request for a babyfic, smut, or both. I apologize to ramblinsuze for the distinct lack of smut in this story.
The only gift is a portion of thyself. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Doctor crept up the stairs as quietly as he could, just in case the woman he was on his way to visit had finally succumbed to a much-needed sleep. He rolled each foot from heel to toe on the plush carpet, managing to balance the large box he held in both arms. The various objects he'd placed inside jostled a little as he turned the corner, but a quick adjustment saved him from spilling everything all over the floor.
The door at the end of the hall was slightly ajar, a sliver of dim light making an elongated triangle on the cream colored carpet. He entered backwards, pushing the door open with his back before quickly turning to make his way through the suite's small lounge. He placed the box on the oak desk in the corner, heedless of the unfinished Torchwood reports and various bits of alien tech scattered across the wooden surface. In the four years he'd been defending this particular universe, the Doctor had never quite got used to all the paperwork involved.
With one last glance to make certain the contents of the box were intact and in order, he turned the knob on the bedroom door and slowly made his way inside. A huge king-sized bed on the far wall dominated the large, understated room. In the center of that bed, curled into a tight fetal position, lay the most beautiful woman in any universe. As expected, she looked positively miserable.
"Rose?" He asked, his voice barely more than a whisper.
She rolled over to face him, her luminous eyes visibly damp despite the dim light. "Hi," She managed.
"How are you feeling?" It was a stupid question.
"Okay." The word broke on a little whimpering sob. Hurrying to the bed, he knelt by her side to smooth the tangled strands of damp, golden hair back behind her ear.
"Shhh, Love." he soothed, kissing her on the brow.
"I'm missing Christmas Dinner," she cried, abandoning all attempts to remain calm. "The turkey was cooking all day and I couldn't stand the smell and now I can't eat it and Tony was so upset I couldn't stay…" Her words trailed off into a few unintelligible sniffles.
"I'm so sorry you feel poorly."
Rose took the hankie he offered. "S'not your fault."
The Doctor couldn't help letting a small, rather smug, chuckle escape. "Well," he gestured towards her abdomen, "it sort of is."
"Doesn't matter what planet they come from does it?" She playfully chided him. "All blokes take iway/i too much pride in a basic biological function. Egg meets sperm, sperm fertilizes egg; it isn't exactly rocket science."
He flashed her a one sided smile. "True," he answered, "but I can do that too."
You married me."
"Yeah, well," Rose closed her eyes and snuggled deeper into the bedding, apparently losing interest in the conversation. "I never claimed to be brilliant."
The Doctor frowned, in feigned offense. "You might want to reconsider that in a moment."
One hazel eye popped open. "Yeah?"
"Oh, absolutely," he promised.
"Because," he drew the word out as he stood up. "I've brought you some Christmas presents. And you won't get them if you don't give me a little smile."
Rose closed her eye again. "Don't want 'em."
He frowned again, this time genuinely disappointed. "Now that's just not true, Rose Tyler. It's not like you to tell an outright lie. I've seen you tear into a package on Christmas morning faster than your little brother after I promised him a temporal bookmark."
Rose rolled over onto her back to look up at him. "I still can't believe you made my six year old brother a toy that can stop time. My mum just about lost it completely."
"Something new and different for your mother."
Rose just glared.
"It's a harmless toy," the Doctor protested, his voice rising slightly in pitch. "Only stops time for about ten minutes on a good day. The worst he could do is stare at someone's test answers or put a whoopee cushion on a teacher's chair."
"Right," Rose agreed, "until he gets older and uses it to sneak into the girl's shower room."
"You know," the Doctor looked genuinely taken aback. "I never thought of that."
Rose sighed and patted his hand as if he were a small child. "I know you didn't."
The pout he flashed her was epic. "Do you want the presents I painstakingly chose for you, or do I leave you to your misery and go help Tony play with his bookmark."
Rose seemed to consider this for a moment. "I suppose I wouldn't mind one or two presents."
"Brilliant!" With a flash he was out of the door and returning with the large box he'd brought upstairs. Rose seemed to sniff the air for a second, before turning a frightening shade of pale green. Covering her mouth with one hand, she scrambled out from under the bedcovers, before sprinting to the ensuite bathroom.
The Doctor winced at the unpleasant sounds coming from the little room. He retrieved a couple of items from the offending box and waited a few minutes before approaching. "Rose," he called tentatively, knocking a little on the door.
The words, "I hate you," were followed by a few more retching and coughing noises. "I can't believe you brought food into our room."
"I know," he apologized weakly. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." He heard the tap running, followed by the unmistakable sounds of someone brushing their teeth. Feeling it was at least relatively safe now, he peeked his head inside the door. "May I come in?"
Rose spat into the sink. "How about you go get rid of whatever's in that box and then we'll talk."
He walked in anyway. "I promise that very soon you will want absolutely everything in that box." Gently clasping her arm, he led Rose over to the toilet and encouraged her to sit on the lid. "Here," he said, handing her a bottle of water and holding up a small, blue pill. "Take this."
Rose eyed the tablet warily. "What is it?"
"Magic anti-nausea pill," he answered pleasantly. "Cooked it up myself this afternoon. I promise it is one hundred percent safe for any and all expectant mothers who are carrying a part human, part Time Lord child."
"What if I just puke it up?"
"Impossible," he said confidently, popping the tablet into her open mouth. "It's coated in a fast acting muscle relaxer, so it will desensitize your digestive tract on the way down."
Rose nearly choked on the gulp of water she'd just taken to wash down the pill. "Exactly how desensitized will I be?"
"What?" He watched in horror as Rose made desperate gestures towards her lap. "Oh! No, no, no, don't worry about that. The dosage is so mild you'll still retain control of all your….stuff."
Relaxing a bit, Rose chanced a few more sips of water. "How long should it take before I feel better?"
"About ten seconds."
"What, seriously?" A moment later, her lips spread into gorgeous grin. "I do feel better. It's not perfect, but a huge improvement."
"You see," he said triumphantly, his expression mirroring hers. "You'll be right as rain in no time at all." He pulled her to her feet. "What exactly does that mean, do you suppose? Right as rain? The expression must have been started by someone who certainly liked precipitation, like a farmer, or a Londoner…Whoah!" The Doctor caught Rose just in time as she suddenly swayed to the left.
"Sorry about that," she said weakly as he led her back to the bed, "I just feel completely exhausted all of a sudden."
The Doctor pulled back the sheets and helped tuck her in. "You were exhausted before, you just felt so sick you couldn't tell."
Rose patted the opposite side of the bed with one palm. "Climb in with me?"
Swiftly lifting the box from the floor, the Doctor rounded the mattress and climbed onto his designated side. "I still have a few more gifts to give you tonight before you can sleep."
"Okay." Rose let out a gigantic yawn, causing the Doctor to chuckle.
"I'll make it quick, I promise." Reaching into the box, he pulled out an assortment of plastic containers and laid them in a line on the duvet next to Rose. "A feast for someone with a delicate stomach; apple slices, grapes, crackers, salty crisps, and…" he reached back into the box to retrieve a small orange fruit. "It wouldn't be Christmas without a satsuma."
Rose frowned at the little fruit. She turned it round and round in her hands before looking up at him once more. "How am I going to help if the world needs saving?" She asked forlornly. "I can barely get out of this bed."
"You won't have to." He told her gently, before reaching into the box again. "You," he said firmly, "are going nowhere near any field missions for the next year or so."
"Uh, uh, uh, Rose Tyler," he quickly interrupted her. "You know Torchwood policy. There are absolutely no pregnant woman allowed in any situation that could potentially be dangerous, which for you means every single one of them." He ignored her evil stare and continued. "Besides, the Director, who is conveniently downstairs eating Christmas dinner with Tony and your mother, is most certainly going to back me up on this."
"You need me." She protested, just as firmly as he had been. "We're a team."
"I know," he said, showing her another item he'd retrieved from the box, "which is why I made you this. Now you can follow what's going on and keep in touch with me, without leaving your desk." He looped one small earpiece over one of her ears and the other over one of his. A little handheld box, about the size of a portable DVD player, showed her everything the Doctor was looking at."
"Uh," she exclaimed, flipping the little screen over. "I look awful."
The Doctor opened the first plastic container. "Eat some fruit. It will help bring your color back." Rose obediently munched on an apple slice while the Doctor retrieved her last two presents. Both were wrapped in shiny gold paper.
Popping the last bit of apple into her mouth, Rose reached eagerly for the packages. She tore into the first one and gasped in delight as a pair of pink, cotton pajamas were reveled. "Oh, they're beautiful and so soft!"
"And one size bigger than you wore before." Rose pulled a face. "You're already a little uncomfortable in the one's you're wearing now. Think of it as a transitional phase before you have to wear the really big clothes."
With a muttered "Thank you," she reached for the last package.
"This one's special," the Doctor told her. "I've been working on it since we found out about the baby."
Rose removed a flexible, rubber square from the decorative paper. She turned it this way and that, before gazing up at her husband in obvious confusion. "You got me a mouse mat?"
"No!" With exasperation, the Doctor took the square from her hands and began to pull down the covers a bit. "Budge up a bit, would you?" Rose slid up on the pillows as the Doctor reached for her pajama bottoms. He folded the elastic down a few times and then lifted up her shirt.
"You trying to get me naked?"
"Hmm," he gave her a wicked grin. "Not tonight, Love." The rubber mat was a little cold when he placed in on her belly, causing her to squirm a bit."
"Sorry about that." He said, reaching for the little screen he'd just given her for monitoring Torchwood field activity. "Now, just a few adjustments and…." nothing.
Rose let out a whooping laugh. "A mouse mat?"
With an irritated scowl, the Doctor pulled the sonic screwdriver out of his left pocket. "It worked an hour ago," he insisted, shining the blue light on the little screen. "I tested it on Tony's heart. Your little brother has a ticker that's going to last him at least a hundred years. I'll tell you….ooh! That's more like it."
A well of uncontainable emotion built up in his chest as the image of their child appeared for the first time. Rose grew instantly quiet, her fingers tracing little underdeveloped hands and feet now discernable at a bit over eight weeks gestation. "That's our baby," she whispered a few moments later, letting a single tear escape down her cheek.
"Do you want to know the sex?" She nodded emphatically, so the Doctor pushed a couple of options on the touch screen. Instantly a stream of information was running down the side of the image. "Here we go," he said jovially. "The embryo is measuring eight weeks and three days, just what we thought. Heart rate is a healthy 152 beats per minute and…." He touched the screen a couple more times before smiling brightly. "He's a boy."
Rose let out a little happy sob. "A boy."
"Yep." Curling into her side, the Doctor rested his head on her pillow. "Here's his head," he told her, reaching up to trace the largest part of the little body. "You can already tell he takes after me by the impressive size of his brain."
"Shut up," she said, but the words were full of love.
"You've already found his hands and feet," he continued. "The little fingers and toes are still webbed, because they've just been formed. In another week and a half or so they'll be individual digits, just like yours and mine."
Rose pointed out her son's large black eyes. "He looks like a little alien," she joked.
"Well Rose," the Doctor answered with a smile. "He is a little alien, at least partly."
"Ha, ha." She said dryly, but turned her head to kiss him anyway. "I love you, you know, so very much. And I know it took a lot for us to get to this point and I know sometimes you miss…well, things and so do I, but I wouldn't trade this for the world. I wouldn't trade you for the world."
The Doctor reached over to take her hand in his. He brought it to his lips and kissed the ring he'd put there two years ago, two years to the day since he'd come to live in this Universe. He glanced down at the image of their child once again, a child he'd never had thought possible, a child he'd always claimed to never want. Tears burned behind his eyelids making him suddenly she couldn't see his face too clearly from their position on the bed. "You are my world," he finally said, the words coming straight from his single, bursting heart. "And I wouldn't have it any other way."
Tears still shining in her eyes, Rose pulled the rubber mat off her skin and handed it to him. He placed it carefully on the bed stand with the little screen, before cleaning up the other items and placing them and the box on the floor. Climbing beneath the covers, he pulled her into his arms once again, pillowing her cheek on his shoulder.
"Merry Christmas, Doctor." She said sleepily, her whole body beginning to relax.
"Merry Christmas, My Rose," He answered, letting the sound of her even breathing lull him into a comfortable rest. "And to you too, little one," he whispered, trailing his fingers over his wife's slightly swollen belly. "I can't wait to meet you in July. There's a whole universe out there to show you. And I'll find a way to do it, just you wait and see."
And then, as was happening more and more frequently of late, instead of nightmares of the past, the Doctor dreamed of the future.