Warnings: Language, sexual situations, spoilers for just about anything with Ten and Rose—that's right, it's gonna be a party!
Disclaimer: Not mine, not ever.
He's standing in the kitchen when she finally stumbles downstairs in search of a good cup of tea. The kitchen itself bustles around him with all the jiggery-pokery he's soniced together over the years, just to make domestic life a little more palatable. There's the teapot with an automatic feed of tea bags and water that starts brewing at exactly 7:39 every morning. And the dishwasher outfitted with wheels and a three clawed arm for convenient loading and unloading. There's the vacuum that not only motors itself around, but empties itself into the trash and then, just for good measure, takes the trash out and all. He's got the toaster wired to shoot the toast into the air at the perfect angle to meet the jam fired from the fridge in mid flight, and the force of their collision is perfectly calibrated to halt all forward momentum, causing gravity to take over, dropping the toast onto a conveniently placed plate. It lands jam side up every time.
And of course, there's the blender. He spent hours on the blasted thing. It's not special, per se. It doesn't move; it hasn't got extra appendages or anything, no handy conveyor belts or important blinky buttons, but he still swears it makes the best banana daiquiri in this universe. He'd say any universe, but humanity's humbled him—just a little.
She leans against the door frame with a yawn, enjoying the show before her. He whistles to himself as he dances around the kitchen. She's not sure, but it sounds like "Burnin' Love." When his air guitar practice gives way to the iconic Elvis hip move she's sure, and then he spins on the soles of his trainers and freezes, pointer fingers extended in her direction, and for one moment he looks a little embarrassed to be caught impersonating the King.
Then he grins—that patented, trouble's coming, let's-go-watch grin—and she bites her lip to keep from laughing as he shimmies toward her in time to the music. He catches her around the waist and twirls her around, singing out right now and grinning manically down into her sparkling hazel eyes.
"Your kisses lift me higher
Like the sweet song of a choir
And you light my morning sky
With burning love…"
She laughs as he dips her in the middle of the kitchen, narrowly avoiding the flight of toast and jam overhead and tripping over the free-wheeling vacuum cleaner instead. They tumble down onto the checked linoleum floor, howling with laughter while the morning sun streams through the window above the sink and onto the floor around them. He props himself up on one elbow to gaze down at her, grin slightly less manic but still brighter than the sunshine. On impulse he ducks his head down to steal a kiss and when he tries to pull away she runs her fingers up to stroke the back of his neck, keeping him close.
"All right there, love?" he asks, eyes tender. "Bit of a fall, that. Hope we didn't knock anything loose. Brain still functioning and all that?"
"It'll do." She smiles up at him, the picture of innocence. "Nothing a Doctor can't handle."
He grins again. "Should I do an exam?" he asks, giving her his best roguish wink.
She snorts with amusement. "Flirt."
"Oh—but you love it," he says, kissing her again while the kitchen buzzes with its own activity around them and the toast flies and the vacuum dances and the dishwasher sulks in the corner.
And she does love it. She loves him—in all his manic genius and infinite quirks. In a way, it was inexorable. She never really stood a chance. She knew that truth years ago, miles away—stuck, once again, on that godforsaken stretch of beach in Norway—stranded again as the tide turned and started to come in.
She'd wanted to hate him then—both of him, all of him; every him that'd ever existed in every universe in every regeneration. In that moment, as the TARDIS whomp-whomp-whomped its way out of existence for the last time, she'd held every one of them responsible—hated them all equally. And that's when she knew—knew they were all the same.
Including the man standing beside her, palm warm against her own for the first time.
She turned to meet the gaze of the Doctor she'd been stuck with. The Demi-Doctor. The Pretender. The man she loved and didn't know and hated all the same. She was supposed to be his keeper—a glorified baby-sitter while his creator went gallivanting across the universe and left her here. In exile. Again.
She dropped his hand and looked away, eyes hard as she took in her all too familiar surroundings. She was stuck in a parallel world, again, standing on a beach in bloody Norway—again. Miles of sand before civilization and miles of ocean between them and home—well, home away from home. And no easy way back. What was it about rips in time that they always turned up in the most inconvenient places?
Behind her, Jackie echoed the thought. "Fucking Norway. Again! Do you know it's the one sodding country in Europe my Pete can't get air-clearance for? 'Course you do," she muttered, scowling at the Doctor's answering grin. "Prat," she grumbled, turning away so he wouldn't see her own small smile. God but it was good to have him back. She looked out at Bad Wolf Bay with a resigned sigh. "It's gonna take ages to get home. Tony's gonna be a right mess. Makes millions, my Pete. Runs Torchwood, protects the planet, sure. But change his son's pajamas every once in awhile? Ha! The concept escapes the man."
The Demi-Doctor laughed, for once glad to be listening to Jackie complain and almost looking forward to hearing it for a considerable number of years to come. He was probably going to end up living next door to her; he'd hear her from at least a block away. But Rose would be there, too, and that wouldn't be so bad. They could buy earplugs together.
He glanced over at Rose who was still staring at the bay out of blank eyes and realized the assumption that they would be doing anything together after getting back to London might be a bit of a stretch. He stuck his hands in his pockets and swiveled at the hips a bit, taking in the beach around him with pleasure. He hadn't paid much attention the last time; the scenery was brilliant. He turned around to eye up the cliffs and let out a whistle at the sheer height of them. Well, bright sides first: at least Rose wouldn't be ditching him anytime soon. It was going to take both of their considerable brain power to get out of this one. Plenty of time to remind her why she'd traveled across the multi-dimensions to find him. Well, one of him, anyway.
He turned back to look out over the water, shading his eyes with one hand. "Still," he said, "it's not Norway's fault. Beautiful country, this—simply gorgeous. And the fjords—this place is lousy with them. Tons of little crinkly bits. No other planet in the galaxy with fjords like this. Well, in the rest of your galaxy—former galaxy—some galaxy…I dunno. Can't speak for this one though."
Rose glared at him, but had to give up when it had no discernible effect. He just smiled back at her, so sweetly she had to look away to prevent herself from smiling back. She considered the cliffs instead. If you had a little imagination and enough desperation, you might just be able to scale your way up them. Last time she'd been left here they had to drive miles out of their way to get back to the road, and the most frustrating part was that there was a tiny village just over the lip of the cliff where they could find a meal and transportation if they were lucky. All she needed was desperate imagination, and she already had one better. She had the Doctor.
The Demi-Doctor, she corrected herself as the anger began to swell again—this time directed inward because she was already being to mix the two Doctors in her mind, and because she felt warm just knowing he was standing there behind her, watching her every move.
The fake Doctor, she thought. Her consolation prize. She looked back and caught his blinding grin full on—the one she'd missed for so long.
His gift. For Her.
Bet no one else's got their very own human-Time Lord meta-crisis. She almost asked him, but then his grin grew even wider, and she bit her tongue. If he didn't already know what she was thinking, she sure as hell wasn't going to enlighten him and that obnoxiously charming grin of his.
She looked back at the cliffs, galvanized by the desire to get away from him and his tempting smile before she forgot all together and jumped him. Like I want to, whispered a traitorous part of her brain. She stamped down on the thought and reconsidered the edifice before her. So climbing... He can do that.
And then Jackie broke into her thoughts with another long suffering sigh, and Rose amended her plans. But Mum can't.
Rose turned back to her mother and the Doctor and shrugged. "So, walking, yeah?"
He tilted his head, considering. "Well, it's too far to run."
Rose felt flames of rage kick up in her chest, and for one moment she truly did hate him—for bringing up the past, for not being her Doctor, for leaving her here on this abdominal beach once again. And in the heat of her hate the man before her melted—his image and memory running into another in her mind until they were one and the same before her eyes. And when the anger cooled and the hate died away, there he was: her Doctor. Standing on the same goddamned beach, smiling at her like the brilliant idiot he was.
And then she knew. It was inexorable. She'd love him forever; he was hers. Her gift: himself. She would never be able to separate the two again.
She smiled at him shyly. "Nowhere to run," she said softly.
He swallowed nervously and nodded. "Nowhere to hide."
"And nothing to eat," Jackie added, always the pragmatist. "I'm starving. Walk or run, are we going to stand here all day?"
The Doctor grinned at her. "Now that's what I love about you, Jackie. Always keeping us on our toes. The slapping you can keep though. I've had enough slaps for ten lifetimes, thank you very much. And as for walking, I don't think that will be entirely necessary."
Rose raised her eyebrows. "Oh no?"
"Nope. If my eyes are working properly, then there's a little motor boat hiding out behind that rock just there."
Rose followed his finger with her eyes and was just able to make out an anchor line leading up to the prow of a boat barely sticking out behind a boulder fifty meters away. "That's tiny! How did you ever notice that?"
"And without the brainy specs," he agreed. "I amaze myself sometimes."
She simply shook her head. "Humble as ever, I see."
"Did you miss me?" he asked, trying to hide the vulnerability in the question with a smile and failing.
She nodded, biting her lip and wiping her eyes against the tears getting ready to fall. "Yeah. I really did."
"And so did I," Jackie said as she passed them on her way to the boat. "You're a magnet for trouble, Doctor, but things do seem to work their way out in the end. And there's always less walking when you're about." She smiled back at them. "Well com'on, then. You can do the tearful reunions later; I've got a toddler to rescue."
The Doctor chuckled quietly as he followed Jackie up the beach, pleasantly surprised when Rose's hand slipped into his after a few steps.
"You think the motor will start?" she asked. "There's got to be some reason they left it out here on its own."
He dug around in his pocket and grinned as he pulled out a sonic screwdriver with a flourish. "Not a problem. We're ready for any occasion. Dalek invasion, fancy dinner party, Bad Wolf Bay—you name it, we'll escape it."
"Did you steal that?"
"Can you steal from yourself? Anyway, he's got the whole universe to find another one. My traveling days are over."
She looked away, worry, guilt, and fear seeping into her mind as she considered how torturous being trapped on one world must surely be for him.
But then he raised her hand up to his lips and brushed her knuckles with a soft kiss. "Quite right, too," he whispered, meeting her eyes with a smile.
And she knew. Being stuck with him—it was inexorable.
Like the night of their first date, weeks later, when the world had been saved for the third time and they'd finally sorted out their living arrangements in a sweet, little two bedroom flat above a tiny Polish bakery. The yeasty smell of rising dough filled the place at night, preparing for the next day when the warm scent of mouth watering breads and pastries floated up to their window. When he'd brought her the newspaper clipping about the place, she'd warned him he'd better start liking plus-size women. He didn't seem too daunted by the prospect.
Now that they had moved in and unpacked most of their boxes, they were taking the night to celebrate at home. A house-warming for two, he'd called it, inexplicably thrilled by the idea.
She checked her reflection in the mirror, straightening her tiny purple top and checking her teeth just one more time. Tonight would be perfect, she was sure of it. A lovely dinner, a little dancing, a charming evening—it wasn't a tall order. The universe could save itself, just for one evening, right?
"Gifts!" he called out as he came through the door bearing bags. She stepped out of the bedroom and rushed to take one before it fell from his precarious grip.
"What's all this?" she asked, heading for the kitchen to investigate.
"Presents," he said, obviously pleased with himself. "I'm courting. You get gifts."
"Really?" Rose sounded intrigued. "Do I get my very own sonic screwdriver?"
"Someday," he assured her. "I'm still tracking down all the parts."
"And in the mean time?"
"Food. Lots of it. I hope you're in the mood for Chinese."
"I'm always in the mood for Chinese. What's this?" She pulled a small square package out of a bag. "Can I open it?" He nodded and she tore into the wrapping paper with glee. He grinned at the shock on her face as she held up a CD for a closer look.
"Elvis Presley. Only one in the shop, so be careful with that. Apparently he wasn't such a hit in this universe. No accounting for taste."
She laughed in delight and went to dig out her CD player from one of the boxes. "This is fantastic! We never did get to see him. Help me find an outlet for this, yeah?"
When the CD player was plugged in and the King was serenading them as only he could, Rose returned to the bags, suddenly famished. But the first bag she went for held another surprise.
"Mm?" He looked up from a carton of fried rice and swallowed. "What?"
She pulled out the ugliest plant she'd ever seen, complete with spikes, of all things—honest to God spikes. "Aren't you supposed to bring me flowers or something?"
He shrugged. "Aloe plant. I figured you might be thick enough to try cooking. Didn't want the burns to spoil your evening." He went back to eating while she stared between him and the aloe plant.
"It probably thinks the same thing about you."
"It has spikes."
"Are you going to hold that against it?"
"I don't burn myself."
"You burn everything else."
She glared at him. "Aren't you the charmer this evening?"
He grinned. "Did I say it was a bad thing? I like feeding you. You're very grateful when you're full. Good things happen to me."
She narrowed her eyes at him, and he began to see bad things in his future.
"Eat something," he said, handing her a carton of dumplings. "You're making me nervous."
"You should be," she muttered, taking the plant over to the window sill and picking up a fork on the way. She sat on the counter and opened her carton, stabbing her fork into a dumpling and ripping off a chunk with her teeth. It was delicious. The dough was crispy and light and the meat was sweet and the gravy dribbled down her chin so that she had to grab a dish towel to wipe it away, licking her lips. He watched her, grin growing several inches as pleasure flooded her face and her eyes fluttered closed.
"Oh," she said, trying and failing to keep the moan out of her voice. "Oh, that's good."
His grin transformed into a satisfied smirk as he settled back into his seat and picked up his own carton again. "And that is why I intend to keep you well fed from now on. That look right there. You are gorgeous when you eat—well, you're always gorgeous, but food is definitely your best accessory."
She stared at him in disbelief for a moment while he went back to stuffing his face. She took another bite, and when she opened her eyes again she blushed because his eyes were riveted on her face.
"Gorgeous," he whispered. And she knew.
Loving him was inexorable.
Like the first time they'd shared a bed together, and he'd looked so nervous she could help but voice her concern.
"Are you all right?"
He swallowed thickly and nodded. "Yeah, I—"
And he had to stop because his voice had cracked and the new octave he hit was undecipherable. He swallowed again. "It's just—I, um—I've never done this with just one heart. I'm a little worried about how it's going to hold up…"
Rose giggled into his shoulder. "About as well as the rest of you, I should think," she said, palming him through his jeans and making him gasp against her neck.
But when his fingers fumbled at the button of her jeans and his eyes met hers with a look of pure panic, she pulled away gently. "We don't have to do this yet, you know. We've waiting what? Four—four and a half years? And not all of those in the same universe. Waiting a little longer won't kill us. It's not like it's going to fall off or anything."
Even as she moved away, he kept his grip on the top of her jeans, hooking his fingers underneath the band and sending shivers up her spine. He noticed, and suddenly his look of terror turned ravenous.
He grinned down at her, taunting. "Never know. Humans—shoddy workmanship."
"Oi—" She began to protest, but the words got lost somewhere along the way as he pressed soft butterfly kisses down her neck and over her bare stomach. They came out as a low moan.
He slid off her jeans, and Rose watched with growing alarm as his mouth moved even lower still.
"Oi—you sure you know what you're doing?"
He flashed her his best man-of-danger, jump-into-my-time-machine, allons-y smirk and licked into her belly button. It tickled, and she let out an involuntary giggle as she curled up into him.
He captured her lips for one searing, sweet kiss and then ducked back down to the task at hand. She felt rather than heard his next words, but she was pretty sure he mumbled, "Well, if I get into trouble, there's always my sonic screwdriver, yeah?"
And she knew. It was inexorable.
Like the day she stepped through the ornate church doors on Pete's arm and faced the gauntlet of their friends and her family. She looked up to the altar. It was empty.
And the bottom fell out of her stomach and chaos descended as the need to run conflicted with the desire to kill, and she swore to herself the bastard would pay.
Then the organ began to play, and the church was filled with the low, soft strains of "Love Me Tender." And then her groom was there in front of her, sliding his sonic screwdriver back into his tux pocket and looking very pleased with himself.
She didn't know whether to kill him or kiss him, but she went to him all the same.
He took her hand and pulled her close enough to whispering into her ear, "Love me tender, Love me sweet…" while the minister droned on about love and commitment and Rose thought, what do you know about it? Because the only person she really wanted to listen to was singing into her ear, his lips barely grazing her hairline.
And she knew. Inexorable.
Like their second wedding anniversary, when he arrived home in a suit made entirely out of paper and blinked at her owlishly behind the brainy specs, straightening his tie while she laughed and laughed and laughed.
"What?" he asked, slightly perturbed. "Second is paper, yeah? If it was our twenty-fifth I'd buy you a silver bracelet or something, but we're full up on stationary and I thought—well, I thought…"
"What?" she gasped out, still giggling as his voice trailed off. "You thought what?"
He blushed, looking down and playing with his lapel. He ripped it gently and then met her eyes, grin back in evidence. "I thought you might like to literally rip the clothes right off me," he said, raising one eyebrow suggestively.
She looked at him for one long, hot moment before his mouth ran away with him again.
"Or I could do it, I suppose. Always had a bit of a thing for the Hulk. Pity I've never regenerated green—"
She took the most direct method of silencing him: she stopped his lips with hers. And it was every bit as good as Shakespeare made it sound.
As it turned out, the suit was tissue paper. It ripped brilliantly.
And she knew. He would always surprise her. It was inexorable.
Like the day their first child was delivered into her arms and he sat beside her on the hospital bed to look down at them both in absolute wonder. The kind she hadn't seen since traveling with him all those years ago, discovering all the infinite surprises of the universe. Even then he'd never looked this captivated.
"'Ello," he whispered in awe. "Look at you. Rose, look what we made. Oh, she's brilliant. And look at that—ten little toes and ten little toe nails—toe nails, of all things…"
She grinned as his exclamations of awe quickly became outright cooing. Domestic, she thought, and giggled to herself while he kissed their daughter's head.
And she knew. Naming her Donna Presley was kind of inexorable.
Like today, when Pres walks into the kitchen for orange juice before heading off for her first day of high school and finds her parents sprawled on the floor giggling and kissing like teenagers themselves.
She steps around them, ducking to avoid the flying toast as she makes her way toward the fridge. "Grandma Jax is coming to pick me up in ten. You guys might want to move this party out of the line of fire."
Rose laughs and picks herself off the floor, going kiss her daughter on the head. "Your grandma's used to us by now."
Pres gives her mother a disgruntled look. "That's great for her. I'm going to need massive amounts of therapy."
The Doctor grins up at her from the floor, his hands clasped and resting on his chest. "Your mother can take care of that. Wonderful therapy, your mother."
"I'd love to see Mum's face if walks in here and sees you on the floor."
Just then Jackie's voice echoes through the house. "Hello? Everyone up?"
"We are now," he mutters as she appears in the doorway.
Jackie grins down at him, not daring to step into the kitchen full of whirling appliances. "Look at you. Do you do windows as well?"
He rolls his eyes. "You are in fine form this morning. Pete slip brainy juice in your frosted flakes?"
Rose looks at her daughter and sighs sympathetically. "I really don't know where you got all your maturity from. It definitely wasn't us. You have your lunch?"
Pres laughs, nodding. "Yeah, Mum. Good luck with the aliens today."
"Luck has nothing to do with it," says her father, displaying an awful lot of dignity for a man flat on his back.
Rose shakes her head disparagingly. "Says the man who trips through time rifts and once saved the universe with a kettle and some string."
"Pure skill," he assures her, still prone on the floor.
Jackie checks her watch. "Time to go, dear. Don't want to be late."
Pres kisses her mother goodbye and picks her way across the kitchen carefully, waving down at her father as she passes.
When they're gone, Rose sips her cup of tea hot off the conveyor belt. She closes her eyes to let the steam and wonderful smell seep into her brain and press all the right buttons. She takes another sip and opens her eyes in time to watch her husband push himself off the floor and finally stand.
Jam and toast collide with either side of his head. She bursts into laughter, even as he advances on her with a wicked glint in his molten, brown eyes.
And she knows. Really, it was just inexorable.
Yes, I know—yet another Rose/10.5 fic… Just had to get it out of my system. Review anyway, and I'll set my brain to work on something original… And, as an American, I apologize for what I'm sure must be appalling use of British slang. I also invite you to try using the phrases "wicked good" and "y'all" in a sentence (not necessarily the same one) and see how you fare. Pretty well? Good for you :)
Thank you for reviewing!