"Right, mate, she's all yours." The giant dark-skinned police officer uncoded and opened the sealed glass door, then nudged his former prisoner through the opening. "Off you go. Make sure she's back for her court date with her attorney."
"Mm hmm," the Doctor responded, then flashed a grin at one recently sprung Rose Tyler. "Shall we be off then?" He offered her his arm.
"Oh, don't even start," Rose groaned, pushing past the Doctor and storming out of the police precinct.
"Well... Right then!" The Doctor gave the stern-looking police officer a wink and a mock salute, then hurried out after his fuming companion.
"Aw, come on," he said as he rushed to join Rose on the sidewalk. "It wasn't that bad now, was it?"
"Wasn't that... Wasn't that bad?" Rose rounded on the Doctor, jabbing a finger in his face. "You weren't the one just hauled out of Torchwood during a major press conference on grand theft charges! Your face won't be plastered over every tabloid front in the morning, and that's not even counting having to deal with Mum! In fact, you didn't do a damn thing! You stood in the back with that slight grin tugging at the corner of your mouth as if the entire thing was one big amusement. You could have helped me, you know!"
"I paid your bail now, didn't I?"
Rose threw up her hands. "You paid my bail. Nice show of support there, Doctor."
The Doctor shoved his hands in his pocket and rocked back on his heels. "You've got no idea how expensive bail is these days. It's a good thing I still had the sonic screwdriver and..."
"You did it again?" Rose moaned. The Doctor had used tools at Torchwood to build his own screwdriver not long after the battle against Davros. Rose didn't realize the Doctor could build - and rebuild - his screwdriver as needed, but it didn't surprise her either. He wound up telling her how the one he used when she'd been around previously had burned out on his first adventure with Martha Jones. "How many times have I told you not to use the sonic screwdriver to take money from the ATMs? It's not like we can get off scot-free like in the past."
"Ah, but the day is getting closer when we can! Besides, it's for that mission that you propose we go on our ... how did you term it, scavenger expedition? Oh, brilliant one that was, Rose Tyler. Just like old times!"
"Just like old times," Rose mimicked and started down the sidewalk. She had a craving for a nice, greasy batch of chips - which was far more appealing than the dreck known as jail food. "It was my idea, yes," she conceded, "but you were still the one to initially go - 'we can just pop into the junkyard, grab what we need and they'll never miss it.' Yes, we were going after junk parts, but we still could have done it the proper ... "
The Doctor tilted his head, grinning widely before interrupting her tirade. "You're just upset because the security cameras caught you snagging that circuit-board and not me."
Rose didn't say a word.
Rose made a strangled sound that was somewhere between a scream and a groan and the Doctor was satisfied. He scooted around in front of her and placed his hands on her arms, stopping her in her tracks. "Rose Tyler, I just want you to know that after your conviction is handed down, I will wait for you to finish your jail sentence. I'll even hang out yellow handkerchiefs for you."
Rose quirked an eyebrow, fighting back a laugh. "Seriously?"
He cocked an eyebrow. "Well, considering you won't make it to jail to begin with after we're done oh ... doctoring the evidence, it's up to you."
Rose's anger broke and she laughed. She gave the Doctor a playful slug in the arm and they fell into step as they made tracks for a fast food restaurant.
"You know," the Doctor said as they consumed two large orders of chips, "it's actually not a bad thing, stealing that part for the baby TARDIS the way you did."
"Hmm...," Rose absently responded as she chewed on a couple of chips.
"Really. Some parts of Gallifrey even considered it part of bridal training."
Rose nearly choked. She coughed, thumped on her chest, then coughed again. "Excuse me?" she managed.
"Helping to build a TARDIS." The Doctor extracted a small fragment of the original piece of coral that the original Doctor had slipped him before leaving them behind in the parallel universe. It glowed, indicating the status of the growing circuitry. "Or contributing to one if it's already built. It's a way of showing the future spouse the commitment to the relationship. After all, it's not an easy thing to build a TARDIS."
Rose laughed. "So, by nicking that ancient control panel, I've proved myself to you as a potential bride?"
"Oh, you did that a long time ago," the Doctor said casually and dredged a chip through ketchup.
Rose blinked, shook her head, then blinked again. Hard. "Wait a minute," she said, holding up her hands. "Wait a minute, are you saying you want to marry me?"
"Hmm? Thought I made that clear a year ago."
Rose thought back to the conversation at Bad Wolf Bay, when the Doctor - the new incarnation - had told her that he wanted a life with her, to grow old with her as the original Doctor and Donna and her mum watched. "You meant that as a proposal?" she squeaked.
"Yeah... What else did you think it was?"
Rose wanted to bang her head on the table, then pushed her hand through her hair and laughed. With everything going on in her head with the two Doctors, that had honestly been the last thing on her mind - even as she faced down them and forced them to finish out what the original Doctor had tried to say a few years prior to that. "So, we've been engaged and I just now learned this fact?"
"Well, I always assumed we'd get married eventually." The Doctor popped another chip in his mouth. "Isn't that what you wanted? To spend the rest of our lives together? That's normally how humans do it, isn't it?"
She nearly pelted him with the rest of the chips. "There you go again, always assuming what I want rather than just asking me." It was a row they had constantly gotten into in the year since everything happened. Rose reached across and grabbed the Doctor's wrist. "Do you want to get married?" she asked seriously.
The Doctor gazed at her soberly for a moment, then smiled and nodded. "Yeah. Yeah, I do."
"Then so do I." Satisfied, Rose sat back, then tapped a finger to her chin. "That makes us really engaged now."
Because it didn't change the status of their relationship in the Doctor's mind, he always knew they would spend the rest of their lives together, he simply grinned and kept eating.
Rose didn't say a word. She was engaged, yet she didn't have the urge to go rushing out in the street and screaming out the news. Maybe, deep down inside, she had always recognized what the Doctor had asked her a year ago really was a formal proposal. It just took her brain a good while to catch up. "Means we're going to have to start planning a wedding now."
"White dress ... big church ..."
"My mum's going to be all over this."
The Doctor went pale and Rose laughed. "Ever fancy eloping?" he managed.
Rose thought of a formal wedding, of her mum obsessing over every last detail the way she had when she renewed her vows with Pete. "Sounds like a plan!"
"Great! Let's put that bridal training to good use and get the TARDIS finished!" The Doctor quickly tossed a few pounds on the table to cover their bill and pulled Rose to her feet. He gave her a quick kiss on the forehead, then waggled his eyebrows. "How about a trip to this universe's New New York for our first voyage? Some lovely chapels there."
Rose laughed. "Just as long as we don't run into this universe's version of Cassandra."
The Doctor groaned and pushed her toward the door. "Don't even suggest it!"
Author's Note: This fic is an homage to the anime Slayers. In episode 2 of the new anime, Slayers Revolution, Lina Inverse is accused of using her signature Dragon Slave to destroy a bunch of mage-tanks. Lina shoots back that the Dragon Slave is part of required bridal training, but her accuser pretty much manages to convince her partner (and love interest), Gourry Gabriev, and the rest of their friends that Lina is going to jail. Gourry becomes teary-eyed and vows to Lina that he will wait for her no matter how long she's in jail, and even hang out a yellow handkerchief for her - a sign that a loved one who has either been incarcerated or has served in the military will be accepted back at home by their lover or family with open arms.
Lina's response? To kick Gourry and remind him that she's innocent in the first place. But many aspects of their relationship mirror the Doctor/Rose relationship for me, and musing over the Doctor joking about Rose going through bridal training spawned this fic.