A/N: This is a short story – just a couple of chapters. Full of lovely, probably plot-less, fluff. Just how I like it. Set during series two, probably around Idiot's Lantern time-wise. Thanks to MentalMeander for a lovely word prompt: 'slush'.... ;P Yeah. I know. Odd. But bear with it :D I was intending this to be a short oneshot, but then ideas came flooding through to me and I just had to adjust it and make it longer. So, although it's just occurred to me that the word prompt isn't actually in the first chapter, it makes a definite appearance in chapter 2, which will therefore be up very soon. I hope you like it!
Enjoy, mon amies,
Chapter 1 - Photos
Rose is sitting in her room on the TARDIS looking through a few photo albums. It's funny, looking back; the first couple that she flicks through are filled with nothing in particular, just herself as a child and Jackie with a perm, or her and Mickey grinning at the camera, or her and her friends as teenagers, bunking off school and messing around in the park. There are a few photos of her and Jimmy Stone, from when he was doing that gig – the one that he swore would make him a famous rock star by the end of the week. It didn't. There are a couple of pictures of places in London that she'd visited, but nowhere else, really. She hadn't been able to afford to go travelling.
Back then. She smiles.
How life has changed, she thinks.
The next album she looks at makes her heart stop for a moment. She becomes lost in the pictures – nostalgia and a strange sense of wistfulness flooding through her.
There he is.
Her Doctor. But slightly different to how her Doctor looks now...the Old Doctor. Big ears and big grin and all.
And there's Jack.
Good old Captain Jack.
She misses him. She misses them both, really.
She remembers how surprised she was when the Doctor actually let her take a photo of him. She thought she'd have to do it sneakily, but oh no, he let her. It was such a fun day, that day. It was just after World War Two, but before Blon Fel Fotch in Cardiff, and the three of them were having so much fun. A planet called Zoomba - a fascinating place were the inhabitants only wore purple and the four suns were worshipped devoutly. The Doctor was showing them the Fountain of Ulo, when Rose splashed him as a distraction and brought out her camera to take her sneaky shot. He saw her, though, and he knew what was coming. And as the camera flashed he gave her a cheesy grin. And for that day, all the weight of the universe seemed to fall from his shoulders and he smiled through the whole adventure.
She took lots of pictures that day. And the day after that. And lots more days after that.
As she flips the pages of the album over, she smiles to herself. There are so many of the three of them together, lots of her and Jack, and some of just her and the Doctor. Him, smiling his wide, happy, smile, and her, matching his grin with her own. Him, with his arm wrapped tightly around her shoulders, her, with her arm around his waist. More and more of the same sorts of pictures...different adventures, different places in time and space, but with one constant: happy, smiling friends. Best friends.
She turns the next page and laughs out loud. Now that had been a funny occasion. The Doctor had been 'fixing' something under the TARDIS console, and Rose had wandered in with her camera, awaiting the next adventure. Calling out to him, she made him jump, and he wacked his head in surprise. He came out spluttering and moaning about his poor head and how a 'stupid ape' making him jump is really quite rude, and he had such a wounded, indignant look on his face that she couldn't resist. He looked like a little lost puppy. The camera went 'click.'
"That was really mean of you, you know," murmurs the Doctor, her present Doctor.
Now it's Rose's turn to jump in surprise. "What the...? " she shrieks, and the photo albums spill out of her lap and onto the floor by her bed.
"Oh, whoops, sorry. Didn't mean to startle you," apologises the Doctor, but from the grin on his face she can tell it's not that sincere. When he crouches down and picks her photos up for her, she finds she doesn't mind. Hmmm, is he bending over? Well. It's quite a nice view really, the Doctor bending over like that and...woah there! Did I just think that? Why did I just think that? she thinks.
She clears her throat purposefully.
"I didn't realise you were in here. Creeping into my room without knocking, Doctor; that's quite rude. Standing right behind me like that, without me even noticing. You do that a lot?" she asks cheekily, her tongue poking out between her teeth.
He stands up and gives her that look as he hands over her albums. The look that simultaneously makes her want to hit him and kiss him. His eyes narrow at her sceptically. His left eyebrow is raised. His lips are quirking up in amusement. And he is wearing his sexy glasses.
Rose holds his gaze for a moment, challenging him to answer her by giving him a look that says 'Ha. Gotcha.' And he stares back.
"Yes," he answers, surprising her once more.
"Oh yeah?" she asks, moving to sit in a cross-legged position to create space for the Doctor to join her.
"Yep," he replies, flopping down next to her on the bed. He flashes her a dazzling grin. "You do say some interesting things to yourself when you think no one's listening..."
"What? No I don't!" she says, panicking silently that the Doctor may have heard something he shouldn't have. Like her telling herself to get a grip, it's never going to happen, so stop fantasising about it.
'It' meaning him. And her. You know. Oh god...
"Yes. You really do. First sign of madness, that – talking to yourself," he continues. And she's mad if she thinks I don't want all that too. But it just...it just can't happen. I can't let it. I can't let myself lo -
"You can talk!" she retorts.
"Be careful though; the second sign of madness is when you start telling yourself off for talking to yourself. That's when you have to start worrying. Although, it's funny, really, because the - " he rambles.
"Doctor?" she interrupts.
"Hmmm?" He has forgotten what he was saying anyway. He'd been rambling without really knowing what he was saying, too busy being caught up in an internal debate about Rose and him, him and Rose, should they, could they, will they, won't they...for the last five minutes. Well, all the time actually. The things I must go on and on about without knowing, too lost in my own little world to really think. That's going to get me into trouble one day. Especially if I accidently say something that I'm thinking. Rassilon. That could be a bit - no, wait, a lot - of a disaster.
"Shut up," she replies. She loves it when he rambles, loves hearing his voice, his words not particularly registering in her mind. But right now, she was having trouble focusing on not kissing him, and if he kept talking in that way where he makes silly remarks that make her laugh and when he brings out that look - so confused about something so brilliantly human -she wants to kiss him, rather a lot, and she doesn't think she can hold back if he talks anymore, because he's already wearing the sexy glasses and oh god. I like it when he looks like this too. All astonished and insulted at something cheeky I've said to him. It's really quite cute. And now I still want to kiss him. Oh god...
"Oh. Well, that's a bit rude, Rose Tyler," he admonishes, pretending to be insulted and she looks down at him with an amused expression on her face.
"So is coming into my bedroom uninvited and staring over my shoulder at my photos." Not that I mind. I know he comes in here when I'm asleep sometimes. He sits in that chair and just watches. Sometimes I hear him, and wake up for a bit. And I know I should feel like he's invading my privacy and being completely inappropriate, but he's the Doctor, and I'd forgive him anything. He must get so bored, not sleeping, just waiting for her to wake up. Plus, it's really quite comforting, knowing that he's there, and I'm safe.
"My TARDIS," he says simply, resisting the urge to also say 'My Rose.' Because that would be weird. Obviously. But really, why shouldn't he be allowed to come into her room? She was his best friend, his companion, his tea-drinking buddy. He was bored, and a bit lonely, and he wanted to see if she fancied a cuppa before she went to bed. It wasn't his fault that he forgot about the human female desire for privacy, and barged right in without saying anything. She was an alien, after all. Well, from his perspective. And he couldn't see anything wrong in watching her look at her photos; most of them had him in them, anyway.
"Right," she says, shifting down to lie on her back, holding the final album. Before she can open it, the Doctor snatches out of her hand and begins to flick through, chuckling softly. "Oi, let me see..." she says, trying to grab it back off of him, but he just extends his arm out. She leans across him, reaching out for it, but he tickles her waist and she wriggles helplessly.
"My turn. Wow, this is a nice one of you. You look lovely," he compliments softly, without really realising that he said it out loud, before chuckling at the next few photos. He's amused that she's so ticklish – his left hand is still at her waist, tickling her diligently - but also by some photos in the album. Christmas. Just after he regenerated. He stops tickling her and brings the album down to look at it closely.
Rose considers making a grab for it, but then she notices his expression as he turns the page, and she leans closer into him instead. Just so that she can see what he's looking at so intently. Obviously. No other reason. Not at all.
However, she's delighted when he wraps his arm around her waist, unconsciously pulling her closer.
"Very domestic," Rose murmurs softly, as she looks at the picture of all the people she cares about sitting around the table, pulling crackers and laughing and smiling, their plates with bits of leftover Christmas dinner still in front of them. She doesn't just mean the picture, though. The two of them, snuggling like this on her bed. That's...that's a bit domestic...
He knows that too.
"Mmm," he says back, a troubled look flitting across his face.
"What's wrong?" asks Rose. "You can't be getting a complex about it all now, surely? You were having fun at the time."
"What? Oh, no, it's not that. I mean, yeah, it was brilliant. That day...it was brilliant."
"Then what is it?"
"Look at you," he declares, pointing at the photo.
"What about me?"
"You're different," he tells her, in a tone that suggests it's obvious.
"What do you mean? It's just my hair that's changed a bit, nothing else," she replies, feeling a little self-conscious.
He flicks through a few more pages.
"Look, there it is again. On Barcelona. I thought you...but you hadn't. I just assumed..." he says, a little sadly.
"I hadn't what? Doctor?"
"And here, on Rihti. And here, Sweden 1978. And here, Sydney Opera House, New Year's Eve 2000. And then back to Jackie's, for her New Year's Eve. I thought that it was over then, for sure..." he declares, pointing at various photos.
"What? What are you going on about?"
"Your doubt. I thought...It took longer than I thought, didn't it? Your acceptance."
"Not really," she says, shrugging. She grew accustomed to his new face surprisingly quickly, from her point of view. So much so that she felt somewhat guilty, as if she hadn't mourned the loss of her old Doctor for long enough before falling for her current Doctor. Except both are still him, the same mad old alien that she loves, so she couldn't feel that way for long. Not really. Not when he still did so many things that were so...Doctor-ish. And him being so...foxy this time around.
"But look – look at these photos of us; the other ones, the ones you were looking at earlier, with the me you first met...you looked at me...differently. These ones, it's like...it's like you don't know me. But you trusted me, didn't you? Even when I changed. After the Sycorax. I'm sure you trusted me."
"Of course I trusted you. I mean, yeah, it a bit weird, you changing your face and everything," she says, smiling at him cheekily. "You so should've told me you could do that beforehand, by the way."
He smiles at her sheepishly. "I know. I'm sorry." And he genuinely is.
"That's ok. But as for these photos...I suppose I was still a bit confused. You're so different now – the same in many ways, but so different in others. So it was confusing, seeing the man I thought I knew change so much. But I knew I still..." she pauses, before she can spoil the moment and say something stupid. Like 'I love you.'
"What?" he asks when her sentence trails off. He thinks he knows what she was going to say. He knows he shouldn't...because they are just friends, and that's all they ever could be...but he hopes that what he thinks he knows is right. But maybe he's already made too many assumptions when it comes to Rose and her feelings to truly knowfor sure.
"I got used to it quite quickly really, if you think about it, especially after our trip to Oss," she tells him, ignoring the unsaid end of her unfinished sentence. "Oss was...magical." She sighs happily, and turns her head to gaze at him again.
"Magical? Yeah. Yeah, it was." He forgets about the photos and just looks at her for a few moments, his hand unconsciously (he really doesn't realise) drawing patterns on her hip where he is holding her against him, taking in her big, chocolate eyes imploring his, her beautiful smile and the way she's adorably biting her lip. He thinks about how beautiful she is (but he really doesn't realise he is thinking it, so it's allowed.)
I want to kiss her. What? No. No, I don't. We're just friends. We've always been friends, nothing more. She looks so beautiful. No. No, no, no, no, no. No kissing. Friends. Friends don't do that. Weeelll, I haven't done that with any of my other friends. But Rose. Weeelll, she's different. Rassilon. Why is it so hard to resist her, when it's always been so easy to not get too attached to anyone else? Oh. Yeah. Rose. Rose is different. Rose is better. No, that's unfair. Except it's not, because she is. Rassilon, it's like I'm infatuated. I'm not. Definitely not. She just...helped me. Meeting her, it saved me. She saved me. After all that had happened, she made me better. And she never left me. Even after all the things I've done. And she never wants to leave me. But that doesn't mean anything. It could've been anyone in that shop basement that day. Except it couldn't. It could've been anyone who I asked to come with me. Twice. Except it couldn't have been, I know that. But surely anyone could have weaved their way into my life like that when I was so broken? Except they couldn't have. No. Just her. Only her. Only ever her.
Blimey, what's happening to me?
He loses track of his thoughts when he's around Rose.
TO BE CONTINUED...