A/N: Angsty romance-y Ten/Rose. First chapter is set a few adventures after The Age of Steel (because there are brief references to GitF, and Mickey isn't in this, but I think this would occur before the happy happy flirty are you goin' my way doll? Is there any other way to go, daddy-o? loveliness that is The Idiot's Lantern.) And the second chapter is a brief sort of...epilogue-ish thing, I suppose, which describes a couple of events after this.
Hope you like, please review and let me know :D This'll be the last thing I post until late next week, cos of me off camping tomorrow (Literally straight after I get my exam results in the morning, I hasten to add. I'm terrified. Therefore, a lovely review would mean the world to me, to distract me from dwelling on what'll happen if everything's failed school-wise :S Hehe, I'm not trying to emotionally blackmail you. But yeah. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this) Ciao for now! xxx
Let's Just Pretend?
They both knew what was happening. Along with all that had already happened. And what will inevitably happen in the future. For now, though, Rose wants him to forget the damn future, and the unfairness of the universe, and concentrate on now. Now's what matters. Now's what's important. Tomorrow is another day and they'll face it when it comes, whatever chaos it brings. Together.
Tonight, though? Tonight they have all the Time in the World.
And she knows. He is jealous and she is annoyed and they are both incredibly, incredibly in love. She knows that. And so what happens happens, and yes...they are powerless to stop it. But they enjoy what tonight brings, as if it is their last chance.
As if it is their last chance to dance.
"He was nice," commented the Doctor curtly.
"Yeah, he was," Rose agreed.
"You liked him, didn't you?"
She gave him a quizzical look. "He saved my life. Of course I liked him."
"Right," he said gruffly.
"What's wrong?" she sighed exasperatedly.
"Nothing," he denied.
"Doctor..." she said warningly.
"He was French!" the Doctor blurted out. "And pretty and charming and suave and French!"
Rose frowned. "And...?"
"And he was flirting with you," he muttered disdainfully.
"So what if he was?"
"You were flirting back."
"I wasn't! And even if I was...how is that any of your business?"
"Weellll..." he faltered then, at a loss of what to say. He cleared his throat. "Well, because, he could've been anyone! You walked with him down a dark alley, Rose, with no one else around. Anything could've happened!"
"Kinda had no choice at the time, what with you doing a disappearing act, to go and catch the alien without me."
"Yes. Well," he said dismissively.
"I don't see what you're so upset about."
"I'm not upset. I was just...concerned for your welfare."
"Right," retorted Rose sarcastically. "Look, there's no need to get jealous," she teased, bumping his shoulder with hers.
"I'm not jealous!" he cried indignantly.
"Not like I fancied him or anything," she continued.
"You didn't?" He sounded hopeful. He cursed his voice.
"No. Not all of us have an obsession with charismatic French people, you know," she muttered under her breath.
The Doctor paused mid-step, having heard every word. "What?"
She glanced at him warily. "Nothing." She continued to walk, but the Doctor pulled her back.
"No, hang on...what did you mean by that?" he asked, his brow furrowing.
"Well, you obviously did."
"Fine! Listen, right – how the hell can you have a go at me for flirting with Pierre, when - "
" - Ha! See, you just admitted it; you were flirting with him!" the Doctor interrupted triumphantly.
Rose continued as if he'd not said anything, "When you went off and bloody danced all night with the flipping uncrowned queen of flipping France?"
She started to storm off a few feet ahead of him, but he quickly caught up with her and grabbed her arm to pull her into a side street, out of the way of the crowds. Rose let him drag her along, and then glared at him when he gently pushed her against a wall and stood in front of her. "What?" she asked hotly, trying to ignore the scratch of the bricks on her back and the feel of the Doctor's body so close to her own.
He didn't loosen his grip on her arm; indeed, he brought his other hand up to enclose around her opposite shoulder. "Rose," he began. "I - "
"Let go," ordered Rose, breathing quickly.
He frowned at her. "No. I need to talk to you."
"Then talk to me. But first, let me go," she said, wriggling in his grasp.
"I need you to listen. If I let go then you'll wander off and I'll never get to say what I want to say and - "
"Wander off?" she scoffed. "Too right I will. Since when have you taken to pinning me against a wall?"
"Exactly," he said, which confused Rose even more. She noticed that the tips of his ears were pink, and briefly wondered how she looked right now, to him.
She was confused.
She raised her chin defiantly. "You know, if this were anyone else, this would be classed as GBH and I could have you arrested," she pointed out, her eyes darting around them. "You've kidnapped me and pulled me down a dark alley, and there's no one around. Anything could happen," she muttered, echoing his words from earlier.
"As if I'd hurt you," he scoffed. "Now listen."
Rose rolled her eyes but nodded slightly.
"Firstly, I didn't dance with her all night." He watched her shrug, before continuing. "Secondly, I wasn't having a go at you," he murmured. "I just - "
" – you were having a go!" she interrupted quickly. "And you've no right to!"
"Haven't I?" he exclaimed, as his eyebrows rose to his hairline.
"Of course you haven't," she said quietly.
He sighed, and looked at his feet for a few minutes. "I'm sorry," he murmured eventually.
"I'm sorry. It's just...I didn't want you to get hurt, and...weeelll, how can you trust a bloke with a name like Pierre?"
She half-smiled. "Um...Doctor, there's loads of blokes called Pierre in France."
"Exactly!" he replied.
Rose shook her head at his appalling logic. "And yet I can trust you, the man who's currently got me trapped between him and a wall?"
"Yes," he replied, in a tone that implied that was obvious.
"Yeah. Probably right," she mumbled. "Not like you would do anything more than this, right?"
"You know I would never hurt you," he said again.
"Not what I meant," she murmured.
He frowned, but otherwise didn't reply.
"Anything else you want to say?" she asked impatiently, and it was her staring at the floor now.
"Yes," he whispered. "I think you're..."
"What?" she asked, when he trailed off. She looked up at his face again.
He swallowed. "I think you're right."
"Course I am," she retorted easily. "About what? What are we talking about now?" she then questioned.
She watched him as his shoulders tensed up. "Earlier, when you said...when you as good as said that I was jealous," he admitted.
Rose's eyes widened. "Oh."
"Sorry about that," he apologised, grinning sheepishly. "It's like...it's like I can't help that, this time around."
She snorted. "Oh yeah, 'cos you never got jealous before - it's only an unexplainable quirk of this regeneration!" she said sarcastically.
"Damn. Thought I could get away with that excuse," he muttered, jokingly serious.
"Are you going to let go of me now?" she asked, tilting her head to one side.
"No," he answered absently. "See, the thing is, I've come to realise something," he paused hesitantly, and Rose took the opportunity to speak again.
"So, you've suddenly decided you like to manhandle women this time around?" she smirked.
He raised an eyebrow. "Not women, Rose." He sniffed. "Just you. When you're being particularly... well, like you always are. Very...Rose-ish. Anyway, the fact is - "
Rose's breath hitched at his words, even though she knew he was just joking. And then...well, she fought it with all her might, but her mouth inevitably went against her and she said something she was really, really trying hard not to say. " - well, I'm ok with that."
He looked at her dubiously. "Excuse me?"
She bit her lip anxiously. "Nothing," she answered quickly, internally cursing her treacherous lips.
"You're ok with what, exactly?" he asked her, surprised.
"Nothing! You just...carry on. With what you were saying," she insisted.
The Doctor's eyes narrowed to regard her suspiciously. "Are you suggesting that you like me manhandling you, Rose Tyler?" he teased, but he was trying to sound serious. Really, he sounded heavily amused. And a bit flirtatious, for which Rose was very wary of.
"No," she denied. "I just meant...well, I just meant that you're forgiven. For pinning me against the wall like this. It's not like you're hurting me or anything, so...so it's ok."
He smiled gently. "Right. Thanks. Well, I think you're listening to me now, so I might as well stop holding you against your will anyway." Then, he let go of her arm and shoulder, his own arms falling to his sides, and took a step back.
Strangely upset by his movement away from her, Rose tried to hide her disappointment, and straightened herself out. "Carry on with what you were saying, then," she requested, folding her arms defensively.
"Right." He paused, thinking. "What was I saying?" he asked her after a moment.
"You were saying that you were jealous of Pierre and me flirting, and then you said that you'd just realised something."
"Ah. Yes. So...so, this thing I've realised...well, ok, I haven't just realised it...sort of realised it a while back, actually, but...well..."
"Get on with it," she said, impatient to get this over with.
"Right, sorry. Um..." he began. Then he frowned. "I really upset you back then, didn't I?" he asked softly.
"What? No - I knew you weren't going to hurt me, Doctor. You didn't see anything wrong with your method of getting me to listen to you by trapping me against the wall. It's ok, I wasn't upset."
He blinked. "I wasn't talking about that. I was talking about what happened a few weeks ago." He paused, swallowing thickly. "With Reinette."
"Oh," she replied. "That's ok, too."
"Is it? I don't think it is."
"I'm sorry I brought it up, I didn't mean it. I was just annoyed at you, that's all. Let's just forget I said anything."
"No. Let's not," he suggested, reaching out to unfold her arms before pulling her into a hug. He shivered when she sighed into his neck, her arms wrapping securely around his waist. "I'm sorry I left you and Mickey there," he whispered into her hair. "I'm sorry I haven't apologised for that up 'til now. And most of all...I'm sorry I've never had the courage to tell you that...that I - " he broke off.
"What, Doctor?" she replied, tilting her head back and looking up at him with wide, innocent eyes.
He stared down at her, and started to smile. "You know, though. You know. You do know? You know, don't you?"
"Know what?" she asked, puzzled, even as her heart rate increased.
"That it's you. That it's always been you," he told her, his eyes imploring hers.
"What has always been me?" she asked, wrinkling her nose up in confusion. (She knew really. She just wanted to see if he'd ever get close to the words he was really meaning to say.)
The Doctor leaned forward and kissed her nose lightly, followed by the crease in her forehead where she was frowning. The lines smoothed out, and instinctively, her eyes fluttered closed.
"Doctor?" she prompted, her voice gentle but unsure.
"I've never been good at this sort of thing," he murmured, his breath ghosting over her face. "Talking about feelings and stuff."
Rose giggled quietly. "That's just 'cos you're a man." She opened her eyes. "So you don't need to use the excuse 'since I lost everyone I ever loved I've not been able to talk about stuff like that' or something equally melodramatic," she smiled.
"It's not either of those things this time," he smiled back.
"No?" She sounded dubious.
"No," the Doctor insisted. "It's just that I don't know where to begin," he confessed. "You're so..."
"Words don't even begin to describe what you mean to me. At least, not in English," he said.
Her heartbeat started to beat even faster. "Then tell me in Gallifreyan," she suggested nervously. "If you want," she added, biting her lip.
He raised an eyebrow. "But then you wouldn't be able to hear what I'm saying. The TARDIS doesn't translate Gallifreyan for you."
"I know, but...but I'll know," she explained. "You have this way of talking, yeah, where I can understand you perfectly even when you don't say the words you really mean. Like, the tone of voice you use. Even when you've been speaking English, I've heard the hidden depths of what you really mean when you say something."
He tried not to, but he felt a blush creeping its way over his features. "Yeah?" he croaked out, his throat suddenly dry with the nervousness he felt about the fact that all that he'd tried to keep hidden from her for so long...well, she could already tell.
"Yeah." There was a beat. "Doctor, are you blushing?"
"No! No, of course not," he lied.
She grinned. "Do you want me to give you some examples of what I mean?"
"No. Definitely not. What if you've got it wrong? Then you'll feel embarrassed or get upset or something."
Rose cocked an eyebrow. "See, what you mean there is: what if I've got it right and then you'll feel embarrassed that you haven't been hiding your feelings as well as you thought?"
He sighed, giving in. "Yeah. Alright. You got me."
She laughed, tilting her head to rest on his shoulder again, not wanting to risk looking into his eyes while she made her admission. "I think..." she began, and she felt him tense and hold his breath in anticipation. "That you say all you need to. You don't have to worry about saying more. I know that you care about me. Ever since 'I could save the world but lose you,' I've known that."
"Nah. It was before that. 'I'm so glad I met you,'" he whispered close to her ear, his voice cracking a little. He sniffed to try and regain some of his composure. "Weeelll...actually...possibly before that, even. Yes. Er. Yeah. Definitely."
She turned her head slightly and grinned into his neck. "Yeah," she breathed happily.
"More than that though, Rose," he said next, sounding frustrated with himself. "So much more." He held her tighter.
"I know," she assured him.
"No you don't. You don't know. I thought you did, but you don't," he muttered.
"I do," she insisted.
"What was I thinking, then, earlier? When I was holding you against that wall? What was I thinking about?" he asked her desperately.
Rose frowned, thinking over his words. Then her eyes widened. "Do you mean...were you thinking about...about kissing me?" she asked quietly. Hopefully.
"No," he answered honestly.
"Oh." She tried not to hit him. She failed.
"Oww!" he exclaimed, when he felt one of her hands whack him in the side. "What was that for?"
"For making me think you might have been contemplating doing something like that against the wall when really you were probably thinking about physics equations or something," she muttered, irritated that she'd let her imagination run so wild and so quickly.
The Doctor chuckled at that, low and deep, and it made Rose shiver. "I was not thinking about physics equations."
"What, then?" she sighed, already bored of guessing.
"Oh no, you said you could tell what I was thinking. You have to work it out."
"Didn't say that. I just said that I can hear the words you don't say amongst all those that you do. Said nothing about being able to read your mind. That's your forte, isn't it?"
"I can safely say that I have no idea what you are thinking, Rose Tyler."
"S'pose," Rose relented. "Otherwise you would've worked me out, by now."
"What do you mean?"
"You're not the only one who has feelings, Doctor."
"Oh, I know that."
"Really? Do you, though? Do you know how much you mean to me? Because all this...all this dancing around it and ignoring it and stopping when the flirting goes too far...that all suggests that you doubt how much I really want it," she argued, pressing her face into his neck again.
"I know you..." He paused, swallowing. "I know you love me," he said softly. "Don't know why, mind, but..."
Her eyes began to tear up. "Because you're the most wonderful man I've ever met. And the most annoying. You're mad, and you're funny, and you're compassionate and - "
" – and I'm an idiotic, evil bastard who left you with your ex-boyfriend on a spaceship in the 51st century."
A tear rolled down her cheek and down the inside of his collar. "That too," she agreed. "But you had your reasons."
"S'pose," he allowed. "But my reasoning was impaired."
She let out a small giggle at that. "Mmm. Yeah, she was very beautiful," she murmured.
The Doctor frowned. "No, no. That's...that's not what I meant," he assured her hurriedly. "I meant - "
" - I know," Rose interrupted. "It's ok," she repeated.
He sighed wearily. "I hope so." He pressed his lips into her hair. "I'm so sorry. For everything. For Mickey being...there, and not here. Gingerbread house, and I just...let him go. Let him stay there. Because I...I need you to be with me. It's selfish, but...well, he was right, wasn't he? It's just you and me? And I like that. I like it just being us. I don't want anyone else travelling with us. Getting...getting in the way," he whispered regretfully.
"I've never expected anything from you, you know," Rose said slowly, after a while of silence, running a hand up his back to rest on the nape of his neck. "I've never expected anything...more...to happen. I'm incredibly happy with you; with this life we lead...you know that, right?"
"Yeah. I know. But..."
"One day you'll want the things I can't give you. The getting married and having children together sort of things. The growing old together sort of things."
"I won't ever want that."
"Rose, one day you'll wake up and realise that you can't waste your life, or your youth, even, with me anymore."
"I won't. I'm staying with you. Forever."
His hearts clenched at her words. "But you can't. I mean, you can spend all your life with me, if that's really what you decide to do, but you can't be with me for as long as my forever."
"I know I can't. Let's just pretend, eh?" she whispered, her tears silently falling and wetting her cheeks and his neck.
The Doctor swallowed past the lump in his throat. "I don't know what I'm going to do without you," he whispered hoarsely. "That's what I was thinking. When I had you pressed against that wall. I was holding on so tight because I realised that you could leave. You could just leave me, at anytime. For so many reasons. Because of some other bloke that you decide you like, or because of me, being jealous and possessive when I've got no right to be, or - "
" – you have every right to be," Rose corrected. "I'm yours," she whispered, tightening her hold on him. "I'll be yours forever, even when I'm not here."
He sniffed. "Yeah. Mine. Like the sound of that. 'Rose Tyler is mine.' That's true," he conceded. "But still. I was frightened. When you said what you said and I...I had to hold you. Anchor you to me. Like right now, I suppose. I mean, there's no use in denying it, really, is there?"
She laughed. "Denying what? What are you mumbling about now?" she teased.
"We're clinging on to each other like we'll never get to hug again," he answered.
"Well, we always do this," she pointed out.
"Exactly," he said, and he sounded so sad that her heart ached for him and all that he'd ever lost. "And what happens when I can't do this anymore, hmm? What happens when I can't hold you close to me anymore? What happens when you're gone?"
Rose took a deep breath. "Then you find someone new," she answered bravely.
The sob that he let out took her by surprise, and the sound of it broke her heart. "But that's..." he began. He thrust his hands into her hair and pulled her head back to look at him. "But that's not fair," he whispered, his voice cracking and his eyes glistening. "Because I want you. I just...I just want you."
She tried to smile at him, even as her throat constricted and her head began to hurt through her refusal to let herself cry properly. "I love you," she told him sincerely, her hands mirroring his and reaching into his hair, leaning their heads closer together. "But we've always known we can't have forever. Star crossed lovers, much, eh?" she laughed. She choked on her own chuckle, and she couldn't stop the crying now. "But let's pretend. Please let's just pretend. I love you. I don't want to think about not being with you. I don't...I don't want to think about you being all on your own," she begged him, her sentences punctuated by her sobs.
The Doctor pressed his forehead into hers, and they stayed that way for several minutes, holding onto each other, silent but for their tears.
Then, he made himself get his act together.
"I'm not going to let you go. Not ever," he insisted.
"That's more like it," she smiled gently.
He inhaled a deep breath. "I've fallen in love with you, Rose Tyler. And that...those words...they don't even half cover it. But I have." He lent down and whispered in her ear something else. Something foreign, something ancient, something alien. Something in his own language, a sacred phrase that it in itself couldn't encompass all that he wanted to say because even his own, beautiful language was insufficient.
She hiccupped and her smile grew wider. "I know."
"Stay with me," he pleaded, before pulling back and pressing a tender kiss to her forehead.
Her arms locked around his neck. "Always," she promised.
"Need you," he whispered against her cheek.
"I know," she replied. Her fingers toyed with the hair at the nape of his neck. "And I think we should do something productive about that."
He raised an eyebrow. "Do you now?"
"Yeah." The Doctor smiled and turned his head to capture her mouth but she stopped him by pressing a finger to his lips. "Your people," she said slowly, trying to work up the courage to ask him something so incredibly personal.
"Yes?" he mumbled around her finger, confused that his quest to kiss her was cut short.
"Telepathic, right?" she whispered.
His eyes widened and he nodded.
"You told me once that it feels lonely inside your head. Because they're gone. And you can't feel their presence anymore."
He nodded again, a curious frown adorning his face.
"I know that I'm...um...well, I'm human, and so I'm like, inferior and all that, but is it possible...I mean, like, could you...could you be with me, inside my head? And vice versa? Could we do that? Would you...would you want that?" she asked tentatively, hoping and praying that he'd say yes.
"Rose," he began, and she removed her finger from his lips so that he could speak properly. "Are you...weeelll...are you sure?"
"It's possible?" she asked hopefully.
"Yeah, I think so. But...would you want that? Me inside your head? All the time?"
"Yes," she answered easily.
"It's a bit of a sudden decision, though," he reasoned. "You should think about it properly, before you decide..."
"I've been thinking about this for ages. Months. Before you regenerated, even. I read up on it..." she trailed off, embarrassed.
He beamed at her. "You read up on it?" he echoed in disbelief.
"Yeah, in the TARDIS library...there was some..." she began, averting her eyes awkwardly. "Books about Time Lords and...um...Time Lord...er, well other Time Lord...um...stuff."
"Stuff?" he teased, arching an eyebrow.
"Yeah, stuff." She looked him in the eye, unashamed of her reading material any longer. "Look, you're an alien, right? Wanted to know how it all works with you," she justified.
"You said that you never expected anything more from me," he pointed out smugly.
"Well, no. But it doesn't hurt to be prepared in case...well, in case the unexpected happens."
The Doctor grinned. "I like your way of thinking, Rose Tyler. Anything else on the unexpected spectrum that you've prepared yourself for?"
Rose lent forward and kissed him hard on the mouth. His lips parted almost instantly and he cupped her face in his hands as he kissed her back with equal ferocity, their tongues dancing together, exploring each other.
She pulled back, breathless. "Why don't we go back to the TARDIS and find out?" she suggested with a mock-nonchalant shrug of the shoulders.
"Excellent idea." He grabbed her hand.
"And we can try the telepathic stuff too, right?" she smiled impishly, her tongue in the corner of her mouth, caught between her teeth.
"Oh yes," he agreed fervently.