Show Me Some Spock

"Show me some Spock, for once, would it kill ya?"

The Doctor throws his hands into the air, suddenly aware that Rose has lost her sanity and therefore willingly surrendering his. What the hell, he thinks, might as well go mad. Save our sanity for later if we need it. Douglas always did have the very best advice. "Yeah, 'spect it would," he says cheerfully. "For starters, my ears get me in enough trouble without bein' too pointy ta be seen on Earth..."

"Could grow your hair out to cover 'em," Rose suggests.

"Could dye it green, too," he says. "Then nobody'd notice the elf ears!"

Rose giggles. "Gonna dye your blood, too?" she wonders.

"Oi!" he complains, taking her arm and leading her firmly back to the TARDIS. "I'll have you know you're the only person ta see me bleed in more'n two centuries, so I don't think anyone'll find that one out."

"All right," Rose allows, "so what sorta Spock you gonna show me, then?"

The Doctor shoves the TARDIS door open. "This is an alien space ship," he tells her, mocking every ounce of the pompus grandiosity of his dead race. Sometimes he's aware that they were still pretentious and sanctimonious, for all that they are dead. Even then, though, the silence in his mind means he misses them like he never did when they were alive. "I realize you might've been fooled by the outside, but it's a real, honest to Elvis space ship. Generally, if the inside looks like a Gallifreyan space ship an' the outside looks like whatever bit of architecture happens ta be lyin' around, it's more likely to be a Gallifreyan space ship than some weird sort of design flaw."

"Yeah, but you didn't build it!" Rose points out, then hastily amends, "her."

"Pointy-eared whatshisface didn't build his ship!" the Doctor says indignantly. "But I'd like ta see him put her back together with his bare hands." Then, to avoid having to explain that singularly painful remark, he adds, "Besides, my one can think for herself, yeah?"

"Tell me about it!" Rose says and puts a hand on the console. It makes the Doctor smile - he sometimes thinks Rose and the ship are almost friends.

He reaches over and releases the parking brake. "I can make her do this," he announces proudly. The TARDIS gives a little lurch that surprises the Doctor a lot, as he rather expected to be thrown through a bulkhead for this stunt. Sometimes, he thinks she might like him after all. "We are all now hovering in the Vortex in temporal abeyance." He taps Rose's adorably pert little nose. "I have a time machine. Mister Spock can't say that. Well, not 'til the remake."

"The what?"

"Never you mind. Point is, anything he can do, I can do better."

"So why not scan for alien tech?" Rose demands.

"'Cuz it's cheating!" he explains. "It's overkill, an' it takes half the fun an' all."

"And there we come to it," Rose announces, as if she's revealing one of life's great mysteries. Her eyes are laughing, and her smile owns him. "You're just playing! What about mauve and dangerous, then?"

He waves it off, watches her eyes dance, feels his hearts singing to her tune. "Eh, it's a trap," he says. "Decided ta do somethin' different for once an' not walk right into it. Whadd'ya think?"

"Oh, wow!" Rose exclaims, almost falling over laughing at this. "Are you sure you're feelin' ok, Doctor? Not comin' down with somethin'?"

He smirks, folding his arms over his chest and one leg over the other while he leans against the console. "S'not that. Just, even I've got limits. Can only do 'bout six impossible things at once, me, an' sortin' you out's startin' to look like four or five all by itself. Didn't wanna risk goin' over quota!"

Rose's mock glower is almost disconcertingly fetching, and when she leans in to prod at his chest with teasing accusation, he feels the usual tingles start. The problem is, this time he can't seem to stop them. Well, no, just that he can't seem to want to stop them.

Right, he'd decided to go mad. Might as well go for broke while he's at it. "Ya still haven't told me what sorta Spock you wanna see, you know," he points out while she fumes silently and hunts for words. Rose is amused and indignant all at once, if her laughing eyes and cross expression are any sort of indicator. No idea why he's gotten hung up on this particular line of thought, but it won't let him go.

"Well, I don't know, do I?" she says, snickering because amusement seems to have won her emotional confusion for the moment. "I know you're a genius an' all, and fantastic's pretty close to fascinating, really. And you definitely talk with your eyes, even if not your eyebrows..."

"I do?" he says, genuinely surprised.

"Oh yeah," Rose agrees, and leans up against him. "Your eyes talk more'n you do, an' trust me that's sayin' a bit!"

"Oi!" he exclaims.

"Oi, yourself," she says, and the Doctor lets one of his arms wrap around her shoulders to keep her comfortably against him while they lean.

They both drift into a moment of calm quietude, and then Rose changes the universe for all eternity with a single, simple question. "Hey, can you do that mind meld thing?"

The Doctor has always been able to feel time move around and through him. It's part of the nature of a Time Lord, the awareness of temporal reality like humans are aware of light or ambient temperature. It sometimes makes it difficult for him to understand how awkward a lack of time sense might be, just as a human might have difficulty comprehending what it's like to be blind. His time sense says that the entire Universe has tilted at a ninety degree angle and resurrected some forgotten firebird from a cold and scattered pile of ashes.

In this moment, he's suddenly aware of what it's like to be several things he's never been before, all at once. He feels like he knows what it means to be human and caught breathless by a glimpse of true reality. He feels like he knows what it's like to be a child, and want something so badly that you can't shut up about it until you get it. He feels blind, feels deaf (though he's felt both of those a bit since the War ended, anyway). He feels like he can't breathe, can't think, wants to sing, all at once.

It's more than a little bit insane, really, which just goes to show exactly how effective he can be when he decides something.

"Was that rude?" Rose asks in a very tiny voice.

The Doctor realizes then that he's holding her closer than he should, that she has no idea what she's just done, that nothing's actually going to happen, and he's gotten all flustered and ecstatic for nothing. He looks down at her, and worlds end in her darkened eyes.

"Hey," she says, softly, soothingly, and he wonders what he must look like for her to be so tender. She reaches up a hand to stroke his face.

"Hey, I'm sorry, yeah? Didn't know that was a big taboo or whatever. Just a stupid ape, me, is all, an'..."

"Wait," he says, and puts his hands over her hands, the one on his cheek, and the one that's been inching nervously toward his shoulder. He brings them down between their bodies, to hover just below his hearts. "S'not taboo," he allows. "Just... sounded like an invite for a moment there, an'..."

"Well, you can, sure," she says casually, as if she's not offering whispers of miraculousness.

He tilts his head, suddenly thoroughly annoyed. She gets closer, and the damn tingles start again, and maybe it wasn't such a good idea to go mad after all. Should just pull the parking brake and solve the mauve and dangerousness and forget about all this. "Rose, ya don't even like the ship in your head..."

"It's fine now!" she exclaims. He flinches, and she takes a deep breath, then smiles up at him. "Doctor, I was confused, no idea what I was doing, couldn't even imagine what I was thinking being there, ordinary shop girl at the biggest blow out party the Earth'll ever see. And then you tell me your ship's in my head. It scared me, made me think I might've... you know... not chosen to be there. But I know you now, an' I know I can always trust you. If you wanted inside my head, I know it'd be for a good reason, an' I know you'd never hurt me..."

He stops her, can't let her have that sweet delusion. Madness is one thing; believing in him goes well beyond simple insanity. "I would though," he admits. "If I looked inside your head, Rose Tyler, I'd wanna stay. I'd move in, set up camp, you'd never be rid of me. For all the rest of your life, there'd be me hovering at the edge of... of everything."

Rose's smile turns blinding and tender at once. "You're gonna do that, anyway." He must be staring because she tightens the hold of their joined hands. "I told you I lied, right? You're always the most important man in my life." She stops, chews her lip, and gazes up at him apprehensively. "I mean... assuming it's ok to think you're a man and everything..."

He nods slowly, finds his respiratory bypass kicking in, and realizes he'd been periodically forgetting to breathe. He drops her hands, pinches the bridge of his nose. "I mean, yeah, if you want... I..." He's staggered and baffled and suddenly his fight or flight urge kicks in, but he's always gone defensive on adrenaline, always. His voice is stern, his tone unforgiving as he grinds out an explanation. "What you're suggesting, it's permanent. It's got no ending, Rose Tyler, not one, 'cept death, and even that may not be properly final. Time Lords can put whole new definitions on the word 'forever', you know. And that's what this'd be - you, me, together inside our heads, forever."

Rose blinks at him incredulously, but she'd not be Rose Tyler if she knew when to back down, or was ever willing to give him the slightest quarter. She'll apparently give him everything else, though. "So?" she says. She glares at him and her beauty strikes him so much in that moment that he can't understand why he's the first to find her, why the whole Universe isn't falling at her feet. She grins his favorite grin suddenly, tilts her head, lets her voice tease him like the rest of her. "Didn't know I was proposing marriage to you, Doctor."

He feels his face heat up and, lost and charmed and so in love the space between his hearts feels painfully empty, he gives her a daft, simple little grin. "Sort of, yeah," he admits, sheepishly.

And because the world hasn't run out of miracles yet, after all, she doesn't run. She forces him to meet her eyes, studies his face, considers him like she's never quite done before. "Well, all right, then," she says, and her expression becomes expectant.

He blinks hard, trying to get rid of the astonishment or the day dream, whichever this is. "What, just like that?" he says, because the Universe hasn't been this kind to him in his memory. Surely it won't start now?

"Why not?" she wonders. "I mean... you want to, right? I mean, that's what you said, isn't it..." She frowns, moves to look away. "Oh, you meant if..."

He could nod and let this end. They'll walk on eggshells for awhile and then gradually patch themselves back together, slowly make what they'll have broken in these careless moments into reasonable facsimiles of what they've always been.

Instead, he hands her his excuses, because she had a right to accept them, even though he needs her to refute them, oh so very much. "Rose, you're so young," he says.

"Oh," she exclaims, as if she'd never noticed. "Oh, my God! You're right! I'm only nineteen! I'm agreeing to put up with one bloke for the rest of my life!! Oh, wow, who does that?"

He rolls his eyes and loves her like stars. "You're impossible," he tells her.

"Look who's talking!" she exclaims, throwing her hands up into the air. "C'mon, Doctor, what're you objecting to, then?"

He sighs, "Well, don't you humans have rules about this stuff? Hugs, kisses, holding hands, chocolates... I'm sure there's chocolate in there, somewhere."

"You bring me chocolate," she reminds him. He has done, on more than one occasion, actually. There's nothing better for some of her human hormonal imbalances, after all, than medicinal-grade chocolate from Amsterdam - the city, not the planet, but in the 34th century.

He grins, remembering how that last visit there very nearly got completely out of hand, mostly because a great deal of innuendo and flirting got involved. "Yeah, but there's s'posed to be some sort of hierarchy of intimacies or some such. Pretty sure of that."

She lets her head drop into her hands. "We did everything out of order!" she exclaims. "We always do, we always have. It's the way we are, Doctor - most people don't go to the end of the earth for their first date, or talk about their future in an alien museum, and they definitely don't move in together before they even get a snog in, but that's us! It's not like the rules hold hard and fast for humans any more, anyways. One of my friends is married to this bloke, right, and they shagged twice before she ever remembered to ask his name. Dunno if she remembers it yet, actually, she mostly calls him some cute nickname..." She shakes her head, looks utterly disturbed.

He grins so wide it feels like it's going to escape his face. "I'll put up with anything from you, 'cept that," he says.

"Why would I give you a nickname?" she asks with an exasperated sigh. "You already got one, yeah?"

He chuckles and shakes his head and moves to end the conversation, now. They're content enough, comfortable enough, and he can use this as an excuse when he gives in to impulse the very next time he has the urge to snog her. He reaches around her for the parking brake.

Rose's hand covers his before he touches it. "Just tell me this. Do you have any idea how much I love you?"

They never count the time from that moment until they stop the temporal orbit and go back to resolve what it is that brought them to that place. They are time travelers who live together in a Gallifreyan spaceship - they don't have to count what the world would be like.

What they count, instead, are breaths, touches, heartbeats, kisses. They count whispers and secrets and sighs. They count truths that are not spoken for the public, words they keep between them, like his name, like her heart. They count the moments and movements and the slick glide of heated skin against heated skin and sweat-damp sheets.

And they lose count of everything in the maelstrom between together and complete, as is their right and their glory. They know only what they are, just two lovers, just in love.

This much has to be admitted, however: mauve alerts have almost completely slipped their minds by the time they admit the world outside their ship back into their reality. As a result, they're no more prepared for this problem than they were the first time they met it.

However, there are things in the Universe that are required to happen and the events here, wrong and backward though they are, are also necessary. They unravel as they would have done. The Doctor blunders his way into half of the solution; Rose disasters herself into the other half. They find one bad thing and one good thing and one Captain Jack Harkness. Rose flirts, the Doctor dances, Jack signs on, and everybody lives.

Yet there is a difference. They are together in mind, body, and hearts, her Doctor and his Rose, for as long as they both shall live. Forever may not be defined in a way that any of them understands, but it will be spent together. Somehow, they will make it theirs and it will be enough.