"This is so much better than the movies," Rose sighed, gazing happily around the rain-slicked New York City street. She laughed, adding over her shoulder, "You know, I half expected it to be in black and white!"
"Black and white?" The Doctor emerged from the TARDIS behind her, adjusting the bow tie of his tuxedo and running a hand over his smoothed and styled hair. "Someday I'll take you to Elacsyerg, the entire planet is black and white, not a speck of colour anywhere. Well, on holidays I think they might decorate in sepia—"
Rose was hardly paying attention, still too busy taking in the sights around them, walking forward until she was at the edge of the sidewalk, surprisingly steady in her high heels. "It's so beautiful," she said.
The Doctor came to stand next to her, hands in his pockets, following her gaze around with a slightly smug smile. "Proper Hollywood premiere in 1946," he announced to the street at large. "Hollywood's golden age."
"Everyone looks so glamourous," Rose observed, nodding to the crowd gathered in front of the building across the street. "D'you think I'll fit in?"
The Doctor looked her over carefully, pretending he hadn't before. The TARDIS had provided her with a floor-length gown of some sparkly silver material cut in the style of the time to highlight every curve. An hourglass figure, the Doctor thought it was rather ridiculously named, and though Rose was quite slim the dress did an excellent job of playing up all the parts of her that… weren't.
The Doctor cleared his throat and pulled his gaze from any and all of Rose's parts, flashing her a winning smile. "You look ten pounds heavier," he told her brightly.
Rose gave him one of her looks that immediately let him know he had said something wrong, a look that reminded him a little too much of Jackie.
"What?" she said, not really like a question, confirming that yes, he had said something very wrong indeed.
"Well, I just meant," he began hastily, trying to hitch his smile back in place, "That this time period, there's different standards, see… Women in the nineteen-forties were considered attractive if they had… and you certainly have—" He started to make a gesture towards her dress then stopped himself short, perturbed by his sudden lack of explanatory skills. He took a deep breath and tried again.
"You look beautiful," he said.
Rose rolled her eyes at him but he knew he was forgiven because a smile was playing around her lips.
"Beautiful for a human?" she asked.
"Just beautiful," the Doctor said quietly, then took her hand and pulled her across the street, effectively ending the conversation as they were forced to dodge cars and puddles, the city lights reflected beneath their feet.
The psychic paper allowed them to bypass the crowd and enter the opulent building where the more exclusive set of attendees were gathered. The Doctor had just launched into a nicely detailed explanation of the venue's capabilities when Rose suddenly let out a noise that could only be described as a squeal and seized his arm.
"Oh my god, it's Cary Grant," she breathed, directing his gaze toward the film star and hugging him even tighter to her body, which he was starting to realise wasn't really covered by the dress much at all. "Doctor, that's Cary Grant!"
"It is indeed," he said, grinning broadly at her wide-eyed delight. He extracted his arm from her grip to slip it around her shoulders— because surely she must be cold with that amount of skin exposed— and began subtly moving them closer to the actor, wondering what sort of noises Rose would make if he made it possible for her to meet him.
A poster caught his eye as they threaded through the crowd, its image of soldiers reminding him of the last time they were in this time period. He had been a different man then in more ways than one, wanting to show off, to shove Rose in danger just to prove he could save her from it. He had wanted her to fear him and he had wanted her to need him. And thus he hadn't liked any other males being around her.
But now he was taking her to movie premieres, to concerts, to Jackie's Christmas dinner, and doing all he could to introduce her to a man that made her voice actually rise several decibels.
He didn't know what sort of man that made him now. He wasn't sure he wanted to know.
"Doctor," Rose said as they paused behind a woman with a long train on her dress. "Last time we were here, in this time, it was the blitz." The Doctor looked at her sharply, wondering not for the first time if he had inadvertently established some sort of psychic connection and she could read his mind. The smile had disappeared from Rose's face, leaving her looking thoughtful. "World War Two, the child, the hospital."
She turned her head up to meet his gaze. "And we met Jack."
"Yes we did." The Doctor felt cold fear settle in his stomach as Rose looked at him, hoping she wasn't about to ask about Jack or any of the thousand other things he couldn't bring himself to tell her. Because if one thing about him hadn't changed, it was the need to keep certain parts tucked away in the dark where they couldn't reach the light Rose Tyler beamed into his life.
But Rose didn't ask. She just smiled a smile that was all for him, not for movie premieres or sparkling dresses or even stupid, bloody perfect Cary Grant.
"What are the chances Cary will be as friendly?" Rose asked, tongue poking out of her teeth in gleeful mischief. The Doctor laid his hand over hers where it still rested on his arm, and returned her smile.
"Let's go and find out," he said.
Written for a challenge which involved a word limit, which upon reflection I think may have been a good thing otherwise this might have seriously gotten away from me. Comments would be greatly appreciated.