Title: Sub Rosa (1/4)
Rating: Adult (M)
Genre: Angst, drama, hurt/comfort, smut
Summary: After Doomsday, Rose is living in Pete's World, but things aren't as great as the Doctor had hoped for her or her family.
Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who.
Author's Notes: Thanks to JennyLD for the beta. (This was posted most everywhere else a year ago for the TARDIS Big Bang. Somehow, I forgot to post it here.)
It was a simple matter of swirling the tongue just so and squeezing the cock at the base to make a man grunt and groan. They were like animals in that way. Women too, just in a softer voice and... slightly different anatomy.
Rose Tyler knew all the tricks by now; she'd been giving him head for well over a year.
She knew all the ways to make him lose control. To make him thrust forward, or grab her hair and hold her still while he rocked into her hand.
She knew how to make him stop too.
Fingers trailing down his thigh, she pressed her nails into his flesh and lightly, just very lightly scraped her teeth on him. Then she sucked hungrily on the head of his cock, using the heel of her hand to rub his balls.
Like putty in her hand. Every time.
Eyes lifting to his face, watching as he struggled with the urge to just pump his hips and fuck her mouth, she kept him still with a look and a touch, promising more with each suck and swirl of her tongue. His hand fisted in her hair, tightening as he groaned loudly. The long, blonde strands hung down, framing her face, just like he liked it, giving him something to grab onto, to grip in his fervent need.
And he did need her.
Needed her to make him come, just like he always did. Needed just the right look, the right touch, the right noises. The right smells, the right feel.
Everything had to be perfect. And it was. For now.
Popping him free, she sucked in a breath, pushing all thoughts of what came next to the back of her mind. It didn't matter right now and the trepidation only made her slower and clumsier in her movements. It was a distraction she didn't need.
Sliding him back into her mouth, she kept her eyes on him, making little noises in the back of her throat as she bobbed up and down on his length. He liked it when she was vocal. The deeper in her throat she voiced them, the more he tensed up and bucked against her hand.
It wouldn't be long now, the sounds he was making meant he was close, so close. When his fist tightened even more in her hair, pressing her further onto his cock, she began to count down.
Five seconds. He grunted rapidly, each one escalating, growing higher in volume.
Four. His balls drew up tight.
Three now. His skin flushed red, becoming a bit mottled over his chest and face as she moved more quickly on him.
Two. Head thrown back, he grunted out a loud exhale, straining against the fingers on his thighs.
One. Hips bucking wildly, he arched up off the bed.
She wanted to pull back, but resisted. His cock began to spasm, hips thrusting wildly even as she let him slip out a bit so he wouldn't choke her. Then, with one last powerful thrust of his hips, he buried himself deep inside her mouth, jerking uncontrollably, body warm and damp against hers.
Moving faster on him, licking and swirling her tongue around his cock, she tasted the odd flavor of his slowly softening erection. His body tensed in the arched position for a few breathless seconds, then he exhaled loudly, dropping to the bed below, eyes sliding closed, chest rising and falling rapidly.
"Now that," he panted, licking his lips with an exhausted smile, "was fantastic." He lazily patted the bed next to him, hand bouncing on the damp sheets just once before flopping uselessly back to the bed.
Pausing with a smile that she knew showed nothing of the discomfort beneath her cool, polished veneer, she settled herself carefully beside him. "Do you want me to--"
"No," he mumbled, "I've got it." He pushed himself up with a sigh, disturbing her, but she was fine with that. Occupying herself with staring at his back for a moment, she held herself still, knowing, dreading what was coming next. What always came next. "I wanna take care of you."
Forcing herself to relax, she drew in a few deep breaths, quickly sliding a smile onto her lips.
He laid back down beside her, wrapping his arms around her waist and drawing her to him, kissing her forehead, sending a warm shiver down her spine. A moment later, his lips pressed to her chin and she could feel the thinness of them. Closing her eyes, she arched into his touch as he moved to her shoulder. The soft feel of his mouth made her bite back a whimper.
The swell of her breasts was his next destination, tongue flicking out to take in her nipple, sucking it into his mouth. She fisted her fingers in the sweat-dampened sheets, straining closer. Her body was aroused. Not overly so, but every touch from him-- "Mmm," she moaned, deep in her throat, squirming when his hands slid down to her waist, pressing his body against hers.
Her stomach got the attention next, hipbone and belly button, his tongue sliding out to taste her skin, teeth nipping at her flesh.
Spreading her thighs open, he placed a kiss there, no doubt finding her only slightly damp, though it never seemed to register with him. Never seemed to bother him. Or maybe he was just too polite to say anything.
As his tongue and fingers slid into her, she stared up at the ornate ceiling, eyes tracing the patterns there that she'd memorized after her first few weeks. The cream-colored swirls and boxes of shadowed dips and filigrees trailed along gold etched edges. It was gaudy and she hated it.
Hated this room.
Lifting her hips from the bed, she moaned, then sucked in a few breaths, pressing her straining body closer to his mouth and hands. He'd learnt quite well from her. Learnt to hold her thighs down to keep her from thrusting too hard and dislodging his mouth. Learnt to like the sounds she made, to feel for her clenching muscles.
Voice rising higher, she glanced down at his brown hair, shorter than she liked. He'd got it cut recently. But it wasn't like she had a say in it. Concentrating solely on the man before her, she became more vocal, gasping and moaning, panting and grunting, putting on a good show for him. He always bought it.
What he didn't know was that each warm kiss left her feeling cold.
When she came, he bought that too. Just a few clenching muscles, an arched back. Heavy breathing. It didn't take much at all for him to believe she'd just come harder than she ever had before.
Lifting his eyes to hers as she slowly relaxed into the mattress, he smiled, slick mouth curling up at the corners in a proud display of male satisfaction.
She stretched languidly, arms over her head, smiling and moaning in contentment as her body, left unsatisfied, simmered lightly on its way to true arousal. Crawling down the bed toward him, she pressed a quick, pleasant kiss to his lips, smoothing her hand down his thigh to his cock. "Want to try again?"
Blue eyes fixing on hers, his mouth curved up, shaping a warm smile aimed at her. "Not tonight, I'm afraid. Gotta go early."
She planted a disappointed pout on her lips and sat back on her heels, hands in her lap. "Oh."
Grinning ruefully, he climbed from the bed and walked to the chair his trousers were folded over. Slipping them on quickly, he tossed her a look. "Sorry. But I'm sure you don't mind nearly as much as you pretend to." Pulling his shirt on with a wink, he buttoned it swiftly, then slipped his tie on, fingers moving assuredly over the knot. "It's all right." Tightening the tie with a quick tug, he dropped into the chair to slip his socks and shoes on. "I get it. Been doing this for a year, mind."
Rose had learnt early on that she shouldn't agree or disagree with him. Only if he wanted her to. And when he wanted that, wanted a fight, she gave him one, but that was a rare occurrence.
He headed into the bathroom and when she heard the water running, she let herself relax a bit, feeling better without his eyes on her. Watching her.
The toilet flushed a minute later and he appeared from the darkened bathroom.
Suit jacket on, he strode to the bed, cupping her cheek lightly. "I'll see you next week, Di." Leaning down, he pressed a light kiss to her lips, grabbed his briefcase and left the hotel room.
Once she was alone, Rose's sappy smile dropped from her face and she climbed from the bed. Grabbing her mobile from her purse, she speed dialed work. "Remy, Jarod's just left." Shoving the phone between her shoulder and ear, she reached over to the nightstand and slid the foil packet there into the bin with the used condom. "I haven't got another client until Larry tomorrow, have I?" Slipping her rings and bracelets from her hands, she dropped them into a small pouch. "Good. See you on Wednesday."
Snapping her phone shut, she shoved it back into her purse and gathered up all of her clothes, which were spread haphazardly throughout the room. Jarod really liked stripping her. A stocking here, a belt there. She folded them all up neatly, slipping them into her bag, and then slid the chain into place on the door before heading into the bathroom for a long, hot shower.
The TARDIS landed roughly, going still after a moment, but the Doctor stayed where he was, hands braced on the edge of the jump seat behind him, bum hanging midair. He felt a bit like a Jack-in-the-box pressed back into his toy home, finally coming to rest after too much play. Eyes darting around, he pushed himself up, standing unsteadily on wobbly legs.
He glanced around, taking in the smoke pouring out of the console, which was immediately sucked up by the atmospheric scrubbers. The small sparks that shot out from the auxiliary power banks. They were doused with an oxygen starving foam he'd installed a few weeks back.
Well, that had been a fun ride.
It took him a bit longer than usual to recover from the trip, but as soon as he did, he shook off the confusion and dashed toward the console. No fires, at least. None he could see anyway. No warning lights, no alarms, no cloister bells.
No holes in the fabric of the universe. Universes. Not even a tiny leak of void stuff into normal space.
All things told, not a bad trip. Not a bad trip at all.
Dashing about quickly, he took various readings and checked equipment. No failures; marvelous day!
With each new reading, each new sign that everything was indeed all right, his excitement grew, until he was running around the console, grinning like a fool, snapping switches, twisting dials and-- stopping in front of the red button by the monitor, he let his hand hover over it for a moment before slamming his hand down.
The TARDIS went silent, the lights cutting off until he was standing in complete darkness.
Still grinning like a fool.
It'd taken... a lot of years, but he'd done it; he'd finally got back to Rose.
Now he just had to find her, and there was no time like the present... oh. Smacking the red button again with a sheepish look at the monitor, he stroked the console. "Sorry. You can rest in a bit, old girl, but I need to find Rose first."
Checking the date--3 years her time--he connected quickly to the network, typing in Rose's name, thinking she'd probably be in her own flat by now.
But her name came up with nothing.
Well, then, she must be staying with Pete and Jackie. Big enough place they had, after all. Plenty of room.
Although, there was a little disappointment in him that she hadn't struck out on her own. He'd keep that to himself when he saw her though. Wouldn't want to start off on the wrong foot.
Seeing that Pete's house was still in the same place, he darted around the console again, petting bits of her here and there, soothing her after the tiring trip. She hadn't lost power--he'd been safer about coming through the void this time--but she was still exhausted.
He made the trip quickly and without preamble, excitement building in him with every setting. Once they'd landed, hearts pounding like dueling drummers, he took a deep breath and opened the door, peering into the foyer. Just feet from where he'd laughed at Rose being a dog in this universe.
Not his finest moment, no. But that was all in the past.
New memories and opportunities were stretching out before him. Them. Soon, as soon as he found her again and they were back in their proper universe--with Pete, Jackie, the baby, and whoever else wanted to tag along--they'd make new memories. Well, without Jackie and Pete and the baby. They'd stay on Earth.
He and Rose would travel together.
Slipping out of the TARDIS, he pulled the door shut behind him, stuck his hands in his pockets and started down the hallway, leaning through doorways and peeking into rooms as he went. Sniffing an older bouquet of flowers on an antique hutch, he wrinkled his nose at the faded, dead petals. Apparently Lucy wasn't doing her job.
Picking up a book by the vase, he frowned at the layer of dust coating it.
Eyes darting to the floor, he noted the smudges and marks upon it, the traces of muddy footprints heading toward the stairs. Panic settled in his hearts, forcing their beats to triple in time. "Rose," he whispered, then shouted as he ran through the first door he came to. "Rose!"
What if she were hurt?
The room was dark and cold, the small fire in the fireplace doing nothing to keep the winter chill from slipping in. The grey cloudy day was shut out by heavy drapes covering each window, the orange and yellow glow of the fire flickering on the dark canvases the only light in the room.
She could be dead.
There was a scrape of a boot on the marble floor and the Doctor spun around to see Pete, unshaven, standing in the doorway, a mess of papers in his hands. The thin line of his lips looked anything but friendly. He barely even glanced at the Doctor before drawing in a tired breath and walking past him. "Thought I heard your ship." Standing at a large wooden desk, he flipped the lamp on and began sorting through the papers in the dim light.
Pete's manner didn't reassure him any. It actually made the panic worse. "Where's Rose?"
Was he too late?
Sending the Doctor an expressionless look, Pete straightened a handful of papers with a shrug. "Couldn't tell you. She left."
Left? What did that mean? He hadn't found a flat or a house with her name attached to it. Hadn't found-- eyes widening on Pete, he realized that it wasn't just her home he hadn't been able to find. It was any and all traces of her. Clenching his fingers into fists, teeth grinding together until his jaw began to ache, he strode over to Pete. "Where is she?" he bit out.
Pete rubbed his forehead, eyes not quite meeting the Doctor's. "I don't know, Doctor. I really don't."
"And Jackie?" the Doctor insisted, knowing Jackie wouldn't just leave Rose to her own devices. She'd demand to know where her daughter was going, demand to know when she'd be back, who she was with... and though she may not have got the answers, she'd still have asked. Over and over again if needed. Glancing around the darkened room, the empty, disheveled house, he got a bad feeling. "Where's Jackie?" he asked, stepping closer, observing Pete with a critical eye.
He was just as disheveled as the house.
Pete's mouth thinned even more, eyes darting angrily to the Doctor's before turning fully toward him. "She's dead."
Dead. Jackie. He had a hard time reconciling the words and the idea behind them. Jackie Tyler could not be dead. It was just not possible. She was so full of life... so alive.
"Her and the baby," Pete continued, tossing the papers to the desk with a careless flick of his hand. "So, I'd like to thank you for giving her back to me, Doctor. Best year of my life." The bitterness and seething in his words chilled the Doctor to the bone, but not nearly as much as his still unanswered question.
"Where is Rose?" he bit out.
Pete shrugged again, not a care in the world as he turned back to his desk. "Told you I don't know and I meant it." Rubbing his forehead tiredly, letting a little of his old self show through, he admitted, "We had a row. Well, a few of them actually. Both said some things we didn't m-- probably shouldn't have said. Haven't seen her since."
"And Mickey," the Doctor growled, feeling anger well up in him, burning at his chest. He fisted his hands in his pockets, trying to look casual, but seething inside. Desperation was beginning to take root in him. He hadn't come all this way, after all this time, to lose her. "Where's he?"
Surely Mickey would know where Rose was. Was probably with her even. Jealousy crowded its way into his worry and concern, but he pushed it away impatiently. He didn't really care where he found her, or with whom, so long as she was safe.
"Mickey's in Paris, heading up a Torchwood team there."
Pacing away, the Doctor pulled at his hair, unable to contain his frustration any longer. "Work then," he suggested, grasping at any straws he could. He thought he heard Pete snort, but wasn't sure. Didn't understand it if he had.
"She quit Torchwood nearly 2 years ago."
Sinking feeling in his chest, the Doctor turned back to Pete. "How long has it been since you last saw her?" Swallowing past a dry throat, he pushed the words through stiff lips. "Since anyone's seen her?" he demanded.
"Almost two years," Pete said simply.
"Two years," he repeated, stunned at how uncaring Pete was being. "Two years. And, in all that time, did it never occur to you to, I don't know, check on her to make sure she was all right?" It was actually hurting his brain at the incompetence of her supposed father.
"She left, Doctor. Not a lot I could do to stop her--"
"Not a lot you tried to do to stop her it sounds like! She lost her mum, the woman who raised her single-handedly. Her sister or brother, and you, what? Did you kick her out of the house?"
Pete looked ashamed for a total of eight seconds before his face hardened, mouth thinning even more. "Brother," he said slowly, clearly. Teeth clenched, he bit out, "I lost... my son!" Slamming his hand down on the desk, he yelled, "Not to mention my wife. I hardly had the time to deal with Rose and her... petty claims about her coworkers!"
The Doctor stared at him, remembering another man, in another universe, who'd given up his life for the sake of the world.
"You're nothing like her father," he seethed, and then with one last, hard look at the man he'd given everything, he turned and left the room.
Shoving her sunglasses higher onto the bridge of her nose, Rose dropped into the chair across from her boss and slumped back with a yawn. "Well, this brings back memories," she told her, glancing around the outdoor café. Sunlight glinted off the white and glass tables, blinding her. Blinking to clear her vision, she tapped her nails on the tabletop, watching Melissa type unhurriedly on her laptop.
After a few moments, Melissa glanced at her in silence, brushing her long, dark hair over her shoulder, then went back to typing, perfect pink lips curving into a smile. "Rose."
"Don't call me that," Rose replied automatically, straightening as a waiter approached their table. He stopped with a smile, setting down a glass of water for her, his well-muscled body blocking out the sun, sending her into the gloom of shadows. She shivered in the chill morning air and gestured to Melissa's cup of tea. "Same, please."
"Anything else?" He paused, pencil poised over his pad, waiting. Smiling. He was cute, and she could tell he was interested; his eyes fell to her lips twice, her chest four times.
But she wasn't. Not... well, not anymore. When sex was a job, it sort of took the fun out of-- okay, she'd only had the single, one-night stand just after coming to this universe, so she wasn't the best judge of whether they were fun or not. But that's all this would be, all it ever could be, because she wasn't in the market for anything more, and she just didn't want that.
Pulling her sunglasses off, she tossed them to the table. "Just tea, thanks."
He nodded politely, tapped his pencil against the pad of paper, and dropped his gaze to her cleavage one more time before leaving.
When he was gone, she took a sip of water and went back to watching Melissa type. "New client?"
"He wants you." Melissa's glance was quick, but meaningful. It told her the same thing it always did; go out, have a social life, don't tie yourself to the job.
Rose wasn't in the mood to have this argument again. Not this week. "New client?" she repeated, wanting to end brunch as quickly as she could and go home to sleep. She'd been up for more hours than she cared to think about, had faked too many orgasms to count. Her body was exhausted, ready to drop at the slightest chance.
Melissa smiled at her, chuckling a little at her insistence. "Just brunch." Closing the screen on her laptop, she sat back and gave Rose a cursory inspection as she sipped at her tea. "You look tired, Di."
Rubbing her temples, Rose chuckled and heaved a sigh. "Had Darren last night."
"Ah." They shared a look, and Rose fought the urge to grin at the amusement dancing in Melissa's bright green eyes.
"Jungle lovin'," she sing-songed, snickering when Melissa's lips quirked up. "He asked about you, you know. Anytime you wanna go back into the field..." she removed her arms from the table as the waiter returned with her tea, "you'll have plenty of clients."
"Here you go, ma'am." Setting the rattling cup and saucer down in front of Rose, the waiter smiled wide, then stood there for a few seconds, watching her. She raised her eyebrows at him and he finally left, though she had the feeling he still hadn't got the hint that she wasn't interested.
Melissa watched him walk away, then set her cup on the table and opened her laptop again. "He could be good for you. Help you get your mind off of things."
That wasn't ever going to happen, Rose thought, watching the waiter walk away. She saw a male body, nicely shaped, made for one thing, and one thing only, and she really didn't need that one thing right now. In fact, she had more than enough of it at work. The waiter would be a mere shag. A fuck, nothing more. And she got that through her clients.
Besides, fucking her way out of this wasn't possible. She'd tried it last year, and that'd been a monumental failure. The alcohol hadn't helped either. Something she'd taken from Torchwood on her last day. A fermented something or other that perhaps hadn't been completely safe for humans. It'd certainly made her sicker than a dog for a few days.
"You're due a vacation," Melissa told her suddenly, eyes rising from the screen in front of her. She chuckled, tapping a French-tipped nail on the table. "Several actually. I like my girls to--"
"Take regular, relaxing vacations. I know." Sitting up straighter, she shrugged and brushed off the melancholy, fighting her way through the fog of sadness that was trying to descend on her again. "Well, happy days are here then because I'm taking tomorrow off."
"Friday?" Melissa asked in surprise, cultured voice rising as her forehead furrowed, "but that's Joseph's night. Like clockwork. You know he doesn't like changing schedules. Likes things in order, you know this."
"Yeah, I do. Doesn't matter. If he throws a hissy, set him up with one of the other girls." Going through a mental list, she snapped her fingers. "Jenna, she's exactly what he likes; sweet, innocent, girl next door."
Melissa shook her head. "He likes you, Rose--"
"Stop calling me that," she said curtly, her own accent, which she'd spent so long perfecting, getting just right--more cultured, less distinct--slipped away from her and she was once again Rose Marion Tyler, though she denied it in words. "I'm not her anymore." Sighing when Melissa merely raised a perfectly shaped brow in her direction, she fiddled with her sunglasses on the table. "Why are we really here?" Glancing around the outdoor café, a place she'd visited many times before during the year she'd first arrived, even with her mum a few times, she felt the long-buried grief trying to wash over her again.
Shoving it aside, she clothed herself in a shell of uncaring.
"It's been two years since we first met, I thought we'd have a little celebration. Familiar place. Good food--"
"All right, now I know something's up," Rose chuckled, twisting her lips up in a smirk.
"Not at all. Just wanted to talk. To see how you're doing." Melissa sat forward, crossing her arms on the table. When Rose remained silent, watching her knowingly, she sighed, drooping in her seat a little. "All right. We met two years ago, right here, in this very café."
"Yeah, I was there," Rose sighed, unhappy that Melissa was doing exactly what she'd thought she'd do, taking a trip down memory lane.
"You were so sad. There was just a... a halo of sadness and despair surrounding you. It was perfect timing for me to offer you a job. And yet, you turned me down without a second thought. Not many of my girls have done that." She twisted her lips up self-deprecatingly.
"Wow," Rose said softly, sitting back, eyes steady on her friend. "You make yourself sound like an opportunistic bitch. Not very flattering."
Melissa shrugged. "Also not very far from the truth. I can be both when I see opportunity." She frowned a little, fingernail tap-tap-tapping on the side of her laptop casing. "There's just something about you that's..." she ran her eyes over Rose with a frown, "striking. Didn't want to lose you. But you left here so adamant that you'd never work for me."
"Oh, it was flattering," Rose assured her sarcastically. "Woman comes up to me in a café, says I'd make a great hooker. Really, I was all atwitter. Something every little girl dreams of." Chuckling, she fiddled with her teacup. "And yet."
"Exactly. And yet." She spread her hands toward Rose. "Here you are. I thought I'd never see you again." Her full lips curved up into a pleased smile, and she lightly taunted, "You kept my card."
Rose sipped her tea before setting the cup down with a rattle and a scoff. "Did not. You slipped an extra one into my shopping bag. I found it--" pausing to clear her throat, pushing those days from her mind, she grabbed her cup and swallowed down another quick sip of the hot liquid. "I found it weeks later, tea-stained and all. Which, if I remember correctly, you were drinking when you tried to corral me into your harem."
Tossing a chastising look at Rose's description of her high-end call girl service, Melissa shook her head. "I didn't. I only ask once--"
No second chances.
"Offer the opportunity only once."
That's the sort of man I am.
Rose shrugged off the echo of words. "I threw your card away as I left here."
"Yes, I saw that. Which was why I was so surprised when you called. I thought maybe I was mistaken about what I saw you toss in the bin." She shrugged, continuing to observe Rose.
"You weren't mistaken." She wasn't fooled, she knew Melissa had slipped the card into her bag. She also knew Melissa hadn't sought her out merely to offer her a job. There was a clichéd story in Melissa's life; hooker, heart of gold and all that. She was a fair boss, a nice person, and a good friend.
That day, Rose had been feeling the loss of the Doctor more than usual. She wasn't even sure why, it'd just been something she woke up thinking about. Because of a dream. Something to do with her old mobile... though she still didn't quite remember the details. The entire day had consisted of seeing and hearing him everywhere she went. Silly, of course. It was just her imagination working in overdrive. Because of... well, it'd been 1 year since she'd last touched him, 6 months since she'd last seen his face and heard his voice.
She'd often wondered if it would've been better if he hadn't come to say goodbye. Hadn't given her that one, last hope, only to snatch it away with the cold, unintentional cruelty of an empty beach in Norway.
Life might've been simpler then. It might've been easier not knowing, with a finality that stung, that he was gone from her life forever. A certainty that bit. A cruelty that looked her in the face every morning in the mirror.
Mickey had just left a few weeks before Melissa approached her, and for some reason, Rose had been struck with the finality of everything.
The Doctor was gone. Her mum had a new baby and a new husband, a new life. Pete wasn't her real father. Torchwood was... well, Torchwood was in the past now.
She'd been alone that day.
And then came Melissa. She'd changed Rose's life without even knowing it. A few weeks later and Rose had found out what it was like to truly be alone. Her mum-- the baby.
Guilt washed through her again. It'd been her fault. She'd killed her mum. If she hadn't met the Doctor, hadn't stopped by Earth that fateful day-- well, no. That would've been even worse. Her entire Earth, and everyone on it, would've been destroyed by Daleks and Cybermen. It was no use thinking that way.
Still. She couldn't help but believe that she'd ultimately been responsible for her mum's death.
Sitting up with a sharp sniff, she looked up, startled to find Melissa watching her in concern.
"Don't," she cautioned the older woman, not in the mood for sympathy and handholding. That belonged to one man, and he wasn't here. And she was fine without him. She was okay. She'd made a life for herself, not with Pete's money, not with the job he'd provided for her. Not with a single bit of charity from him, had he cared to offer it.
Melissa blinked and her concern was gone. Rose knew it was still there, but she was keeping to Rose's wishes by not bringing up her previous life.
That was dead and gone.
Wasting no more of her time on memories and aliens who weren't within reach, she downed some of her tea, wincing at the now lukewarm liquid. "Share time over?"
Melissa's brows rose a bit, then settled lower. "Yes, share time's over. Although. I know it's a week early, but while I have you here, I'd like to go over client evaluations."
"Ah," Rose crowed, setting her teacup back down on the tabletop. "Knew there was a reason you'd called me here. Anniversary didn't quite cut it."
"I'm concerned about you, Ro-- Di."
"Don't be," Rose told her, voice harder than she'd intended. She didn't need Melissa's concern. There was nothing wrong with her or her life that a little time off wouldn't cure. A few days to get past the anniversary of the death of Jackie Tyler and she'd be fine. And Tony. Her little brother. A person she'd never got the chance to know.
That still hurt, despite his treatment of her after her mum's death.
Sliding her chair around beside Melissa's, she sat forward, elbow on the table, chin in hand. "Let's get started then."
"Okay, well, I noticed something earlier, when I was going through your clients, and I'm not even certain you're aware of it..."
Swaying back and forth from one leg to the other, the Doctor stared at the screen in frustration, hands shoved deep in his pockets. Nothing on Rose Tyler at all since Jackie's death.
Well, not his Rose Tyler.
How was that even possible? She was still here, of course, she still existed. She had to, didn't she? She hadn't died. And yet, two years ago, she'd disappeared. Just went up in smoke.
No job, no flat, no schooling. Rose Tyler wasn't-- oh. Rose Tyler wasn't Rose Tyler anymore. That had to be it.
Grinning widely, he darted back to the keyboard, standing with his fingers hovering over the keys. For some reason, she'd changed her name. Was she in hiding? Didn't want anyone to know who and where she was? That could make it more difficult to find her, and yet, not impossible.
What name would she use?
Mind whirling with a thousand different possibilities, he quickly dismissed them all, one-by-one.
Dropping his hands to the edge of the console with a sigh, he realized that he hadn't a single clue what name she'd use. But there was another way to find her. He could do a search on women of her height, relative weight, hair color-- no, she could've changed that as well. Age. He could cross-reference that list with names she might've chosen.
He knew her well, but he didn't know her well enough to say for sure what she'd use. He'd try all the usual suspects and then go from there. People they'd met, come across, known.
One name popped into mind and he tried it immediately.
There was one Jacqueline Harkness in London, but she was forty-two years old. And a baker's daughter.
Jabe maybe. Or Diana. Perhaps Gwyneth.
Closing his eyes with another sigh, he lowered his head. This was useless. It could take him years to find her this way. Maybe he should try calling Mickey. Could be she was staying with him. Living with him.
Sleeping with him.
That wasn't any of his business. If she and Mickey-- snapping open the phone case on the console, he quickly typed in Mickey's information on the keyboard, looking for his number. But then a thought occurred to him, and he nearly smacked his forehead at how stupid he was.
He could ring Rose's phone.
Dialing from memory, he held the handset to his ear and waited. A few clicks and a high-pitched screech later, it rang, once, slowly, drawing out in a lengthy, rundown noise that dribbled away to nothing. And then it went silent.
Pressing his finger down on the button a few times, he waited for a signal, but there was none.
Stroking the console, he set the handset back in its cradle. "That's all right, ole girl... oi, I sound like Harry." Shuddering, he dug into his pocket and pulled out the mobile Martha had given him.
Should be an easy enough thing to find her. He just needed to be clever enough. And he was always clever.
Popping off the back, he dug deep into his pocket, shoving his arm all the way inside, searching for... ah! Grabbing the adapter, he plugged one end into the mobile, set the phone down, and plugged the other end into the laptop.
Dialing Rose's number, he shoved the phone into the cradle between his ear and shoulder, typing out a long string of commands, hoping to trace her phone, and, by way of that, her. When he was done, he hit the Enter button and straightened up, watching the screen, catching the mobile as it slipped free and started to fall to the floor.
Images and words flew across the screen for milliseconds each, too rapid for him to take in completely, but he caught most of what was there. It was a lot of nonsense until one single image flashed on the screen and halted there, blinking.
With a sinking feeling, he tapped a button to take him to the website.
When the page loaded, that sinking feeling solidified into a tight knot in his stomach. Eyes darting over the images, he felt his anger at Pete resurface. He felt the urge to return to Pete's cold, lonely mansion, to show him what his uncaring actions had wrought.
She was calling herself Di Star now apparently. He never would've guessed that.
Realizing he was grasping the edge of the console so tightly that his nails were digging into the hard surface, he released it quickly, staring at the website, drinking in the sight of Rose.
She looked different. Her hair was longer, softly colored, professionally done, he'd wager.
Clothes, makeup, all of it was perfect. Of course, the photos were professionally done as well. Apparently Di Star was high end.
Closing his eyes for a moment, he backed up a step, stumbling at the sight of her, now imprinted on his mind. More flesh than he'd ever seen. Her flesh. Tastefully done, of course, more teasing than--
Eyes snapping open again to scan over her photos, he forced himself to look at her rationally. She was thinner. He didn't like that at all. She'd been perfect before. He'd always thought so anyway, wouldn't have changed a single thing about her, and yet, now, here she was completely changed. Completely different.
It wasn't right. This wasn't Rose Tyler. Not his Rose Tyler.
This was a stranger wearing her face. Rose Tyler would never, could never, be reduced to this, to selling her own body for....
Anger was rising in him again, this time aimed at himself. This was his fault. He'd caused it. All of it; Rose becoming a call girl, Jackie dying, Pete losing an entire family after only just gaining it back again.
On the heels of that, there was something dark and desperate rising in him.
All of those men.
She'd slept with so many by now. Almost two years since Pete had seen her. She was too polished not to have been at it for at least that long, and it made him fist his hands, dig his nails deep into his palms, needing that sharp bit of pain to help clear his mind of the anger and... yes, the jealousy.
Of course there was jealousy.
He may not have finished that sentence the last time he saw her, but the feelings were still there. Still bubbling inside of him, sending him recklessly into situations he had no business getting involved in in his state of mind. He'd nearly lost his current body a few times because of it.
Because the loss of Rose had hurt so much.
Now that he was within reach of her again, within grasping distance, his hearts were beginning to thaw.
Prostitution wasn't exactly a new thing to him. He'd been around the universe a few times, from the beginning--well, had actually sort of caused the big bang in a way, just a bit... not his fault at all... mostly--to the very end of it, which he hadn't caused. Unless you countered in the fact that he'd started the beginning, and since all things died, all things had an end, then that meant he'd had a hand in its demise as well.
But he didn't like to think that way, it was too destructive.
Pushing his fingers through his hair, he gripped the strands, staring at Rose's image; half-naked, pouty lips, skin partially covered in stockings, thighs and bum-- swallowing thickly, he pulled his glasses from his pocket and shoved them onto his nose, stepping back a little more, needing some distance. She was... a call girl. Sleeping with men--and women?--for money.
The profession didn't bother him. He'd met hookers, prostitutes, call girls, gigolos, all manner of sex-for-sale types. In the future it was a respected profession. At times. Men, women, creatures selling their bodies for money. Sex for money. It was the oldest profession, not just on Earth, but in the universe at large.
But Rose Tyler.
His jaw tightened, moving back and forth as he ground his teeth together.
She was from a time when sex for money wasn't a respectable job. She'd been abandoned, left alone by her best mate, lost her mum and brother, lost her father, and job, and this was what she'd fallen into.
Selling her body.
He stood halfway between the console and the jump seat, unable to tear his eyes from the sight of her... flesh, and he was ashamed.
Most of his anger was directed inward now, toward himself. Because he liked what he was seeing. More than liked. Oh, he wanted to touch all that flesh, kiss his way down her back to the swell of her arse and... shuddering, he squeezed his eyes closed and shoved his fingers under his glasses, rubbing his eyes.
Why was this affecting him so much? He wanted to be angry for Rose, and he was, but he was aroused as well.
And furiously jealous of all the men that'd come before him.
All of those nameless, faceless men who'd touched her for money. Been allowed to do everything he'd ever wanted to do to her without question. And now, he wanted to do them even more. Anger surged up again, aimed at Rose now. How dare she do this to herself? How dare she let them touch her?
The sound of his own harsh voice startled him, made him jump. He was losing control. But the sight of Rose, spread out before him, selling everything he held dear, everything he wanted in two universes, angered him, made him furious. She might not have expected him to ever come back, but that didn't excuse the fact that she was degrading herself.
She loved him.
She'd told him that. It was the last words he'd ever heard from her. Was this her way of honoring him? Barking out a harsh laugh, he shook his head. Is that what he expected of the people whose lives he touched? That they honor him? No. But Rose was different.
Rose, he'd... well, he thought he'd made her better. Gave her a new perspective on the universe. Broadened her horizons. She'd seen the universe, talked to aliens, flirted with them, flirted with him.
He was an alien.
And when he was gone from her life, she'd had so much, a full family with more members on the way, a best mate, an exciting job helping Torchwood identify aliens.
What had Pete said? Petty claims about her coworkers. What did that even mean?
Boss' daughter probably had a lot to do with it. Not to mention showing up out of the blue with no background whatsoever. He could imagine that conversation and how well it would've gone.
He hadn't really thought of any of that while playing matchmaker with Jackie and Pete, sending Rose with them to this universe that apparently didn't have space for her.
This was his fault. He'd done this to her just like he'd done it to so many others. Martha. Sarah Jane. Susan. So, if he'd turned Rose into a prostitute, did he have a right to be angry?
Didn't seem to matter. He was. Furious.
Stumbling back to the jump seat, he dropped onto it and rested his head in his hands, wondering if Rose would even want to see him now after he'd ruined her life.