A/N: Beta'd by the fantastic Olfactory_Ventriloquism – thank you, dearest! Written for emraldeyedauter who won one of five 1000 word fics for the April Support Stacie Author Auction. Her prompt was "Rose steals the Doctors jacket for a night out as it secretly makes her feel like a bit of a rebel/bad girl. The Doctor wants his jacket back." I was a bit surprised, but pleased with what happened. I hope you will be, too.

Theft of Symbols

Rose Tyler peeks around the bathroom door, searching diligently for her goal. Her thoughts are focused, her eyes intent. She scans the entire room…

The entire room, Rose, keep it together.

There, draped over the hamper, is her prize, dark against the whites and silvers of the steam-filled room. She represses even her grin, almost afraid that it might be heard and announce her intentions.

At the moment, the only sounds are the steady, hissing rain of water in the glass-fronted shower, and the dark, moody song coming from the other side of the glass. "'Cuz my body's tired of travelin' and my heart don't wish to roam. So reel me in, my precious girl…"

OK, so not so moody for once.

Sneaking as stealthily as she can, hoping the music will cover for her, Rose darts across the room, snatches up the highly coveted dark leather jacket, and legs it for the door. She can't suppress her laugh of triumph, but she's pretty sure the door closed before she surrendered to it.

She's quite proud of herself. She managed to not stare at the sculpted, muted shadow concealed by the warped shower glass. She didn't let her eyes wander all over the long, lithe, perfect lines, didn't imagine her hands taking a similar path, didn't contemplate opening the shower door to see what would happen. The Doctor's her friend, and she would never dream of peeking.

Fibbing is still lying, Rose Tyler, and you know it.

What she didn't know was that burning blue eyes could see quite clearly through glass that was only warped one way. Besides, the genius behind the eyes knew full well that only one other person lived there anyway.

Men's jackets are all the rage on Meriffa, the fashion for girls and women of all ages. There were plenty of men's coats in the wardrobe room, all the same, but Rose wants to wear this one. It's heavy and a bit daring, smells of leather and time and wonder and Doctor. Having stolen it makes her feel adventurous, and wearing it outside without the Doctor to babysit her and it makes her feel like a rebel.

Funny how a nine hundred year old man can own things that make a nineteen year old feel reckless, but there it is.

She steps into the club her new friend, Tida, said they'd meet at. It seems nice to Rose, more than nice if she's honest. She grins gleefully when Tida comes bouncing up to her, reminding Rose so much of Shireen and Keisha and home and crazy, brilliant nights. They grab drinks and a table with a half-dozen other girls, and Rose feels right at home and completely outside at once.

It's not that she wants to go back to this life. Most of the time, she's not even homesick for it. It's just that she wants to catch a handful of the girl she used to be, just for tonight, and sift it through her fingers with the woman she's become.

Therefore, she needs young, giggly girl friends, and the Doctor's jacket at the same time. There's yesterday and now in the girls, because they are like her old friends, but they're aliens who've never set foot on Earth. There's two opposite feelings in the Doctor's coat, too – wicked rebellion, and absolute safety. The dichotomy is complete in that the girls and the club and the drinks and the raucous laughter represent the world she's left behind, and the coat represents every thing she wants for now and her future.

Whatever they do to the alcohol here, it makes Rose Tyler wax philosophical.

Teased and nearly giddy about having the Doctor's coat, Rose joins the group of girls on the dance floor, almost ecstatic to find that the moves are completely familiar. The pace and the heat and the excitement wear the alcohol out of her system really quickly, but Rose only ever has enough to be sociable anyway. She's slightly disappointed that the native boys aren't inclined to ask her to dance, but not really. There's only one alien she wants to dance with, after all.

When he turns up, no longer spattered with alien goo, he doesn't ask her to dance. Rose isn't too disappointed, though, because he grins at the sight of her and, beyond straightening the lapels of his coat, says nothing about her theft. He settles in with them, and floors the natives by shining brightly at them, and dazzles her young friends just by being himself. It's times like this, Rose thinks, that being in love with him doesn't seem so crazy.

He takes her arm firmly in his only after it's gotten very late, after she's said her goodbyes and gotten ready to go home. They won't be back here for a long time, if ever, but it feels to Rose like the story of her life now. It's comforting, somehow, to get to tell these girls goodbye, to walk, as she does every day, confidently into her new world, with the Doctor's hand, coat, and scent enfolding her.

Rose realizes then that she really has left her old life behind her. Her whole world is caught up in the leather coat that drapes her shoulders, in the hand that holds hers tight, in the blue eyes that are peering deeply into her own dark ones. She's a time traveler, now and forever, and a time traveler she chooses to love.

"That looks just like my coat," the Doctor says, grinning like mischief personified. "Shouldn'ta stole it, if you wanted boys to dance with you."

Rose blinks in surprise at this, as one doesn't follow the other in Rose's experience and she's not sure how it does in the Doctor's. "Sorry?" she says.

"I'm not," the Doctor replies. He's all puckish and gleaming, the aura of being more alive than anyone radiating out from him to encompass her like everything else he is. "Why I let you have it."

Rose can't help it, or at least that's what she's going to claim for the world. He's temptation and promise, wickedness and joy, all at once, and she is so in love with him it makes her heart feel too big for her chest just to think about it sometimes. He's living free with her, her Doctor, and she will swear forever that she can't help what happens next.

"Don't you want it back?" she says, in a voice she's always wanted to let him hear, its sound a promise she's been waiting all her life to keep.

The Doctor's eyes go indigo on midnight as he matches his stare to hers. "I intend to get it," he says. His eyes and his voice are making it hard to breathe. "But keep it for now. Wanted you to wear it here." He adds a smirk to everything else that's got Rose feeling like she's poised on a tightrope between so much joy and so very much heartache. She can't help but fall further under his thrall. "Sends the right message."

Rose feels like she's melting and soaring at once, and yet her mouth knows the right words, plays their game, laughs their love. "I like to think so," she says and hugs herself in the wild safety of his armor. "If it says we're this close. If it says I'm s'posed to be this close to you."

A moment passes, a heartbeat, while they stare honest and unhidden into each other. The very air seems to catch the heat. Rose tries to draw a shaky, longing breath, but before she can catch it well, something breaks.

The Doctor's lips are over hers, his kiss like a comet's tail, burning ice and made of stars. She tries with her answering passion to show him at least a hint of what she feels for him, down to her toes and so deep inside it's become part of who she is.

Rose Tyler? She's the woman who loves the Doctor; Jackie and Pete's daughter, travels in the TARDIS.

"What does wearing your coat really say?" Rose asks, as she and the Doctor make their way to the TARDIS.

"Here and now?" he asks, tucking his hand into the back pocket of her jeans. "Says you're mine."

Rose nods and shrugs, leaning her head against his shoulder. "Didn't need your coat to know that."

When the Doctor later reclaims his coat – and borrows the rest of what she's wearing to decorate his floor – Rose doesn't feel like they're a pair of first time lovers. It's like they've been lovers all along, and this is just the culmination of a long and strange and beautiful courtship ritual she's only half understood at times.

The next time she decides to sneak while the Doctor's in the shower, it isn't to steal his coat.