Written for then_theres_us challenge 9 "Music"


There is music playing the first time Rose and the Doctor dance, old-fashioned music full of the imagined beauty of another time, another world. When the music slows the Doctor allows Jack to take over and he holds her much closer where it means much less. Rose shares a look with him as they find the rhythm, steady and ordinary. Beneath the swelling strings they acknowledge together the wish to feel worn leather under their hands, the armour of a man who carries another world inside himself, its music the beating of double hearts.

***

There is music playing the last time she sees that body alive, but it's the music of every atom and it's in her head and Rose will only remember it as pain. The Doctor with his new face never tells her the exact details of what happened, but she has a vague certainty that she heard him in the tumult, and his was the sound of fire in space.

***

There is music playing the night he spends Christmas with Rose and her family, indulgently clich├ęd songs written in time to all the same themes of friendship, love, and yes, domesticity. They pull a cracker between them and it explodes like a beginning. The Doctor wears the paper crown for the rest of the night, and hums snatches of "All I Want For Christmas Is You" for the rest of the week.

***

There is no music playing the first time he kisses her, open-mouthed and achingly slow. Inside that moment, in TARDIS in the Vortex, the silence is so complete Rose is pretty sure she's hearing the sound time makes when it stops.

***

There is music playing the second time they dance, alien notes that swirl and jangle, strange to hear but easy to follow. They dance later that night in the TARDIS to the rhythm of each other's bodies, arching and entwining in building synchronisation. It feels as new as the music to both of them, but the strangeness is part of the grace and they make their own steps that blaze and sparkle like stars.

***

There is music playing the night lost things are found, bright loud music of celebration that hits Rose in the chest like stabs from a knife until she spots the Doctor and it becomes the soundtrack of her joy. They hug and snack and kiss and stroll along to the beat in the shining potential of the present future, both of them pretending not to hear the discordant notes that lurk on the edge of every song.

***

There is music playing in Jackie's flat the next time they make a visit, an obnoxiously catchy pop song that the Doctor pulls a face at straight away. Rose spends the rest of their stay tapping out the main rhythm on his arm or chest any chance she gets, and laughs at his attempts of retaliation, tempered as they are by the confines of the flat and her ever-watchful mother. In frustration he asks if she wants him to take her to a real concert, if that will make her happy by which he means shut her up. She tells him anywhere with him makes her happy, and reminds him of their previous attempts at seeing concerts. Then she breaks into the chorus.

***

There is no music playing when he fades in front of her eyes like a dream torn away by morning's brutal light. She is left standing on a beach with nothing but the echo of her own name and the hopeless beating of her shattered heart.


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