"I didn't know there could be so many types of flowers," Rose murmured as she and the Doctor strolled through the most elaborate garden that Rose had ever seen. She was used to seeing new things, but never had she seen flowers that changed color or seemed to whistle whenever there was a breeze.
A breeze ruffled her hair as Rose closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She swore she could smell clean laundry then a salt-laden ocean breeze – which was odd considering they were walking close to neither.
Rose opened her eyes and saw the Doctor watching her amusedly. "The flowers?" she asked.
"The flowers," he nodded. "Scientifically engineered by trees to make them smell differently. You see they extract the very essence of the flower, making it without smell, then they determine what scent to use and…"
The two turned down another path. Rose listened to the Doctor talk about changing the scent of smells, smiling as she hooked her fingers with the Doctor's. This was a change from their usual "save the world" adventures. She loved those moments but she also enjoyed these too even though Rose only understood half of what the Doctor was saying. He seemed to know the name of every plant in the garden as well as where it came from and how it was made. The complicated names rolled off his tongue but when Rose attempted to repeat the names, she tripped over some of the words which were clearly foreign to her.
As they rounded another corner, Rose spoke up. "I know what those are," she said before the Doctor could say anything. "They're roses." She smiled when she saw how many colours there were. Each colour had a section, making the garden like a rainbow spread over the ground. "And I bet I can tell you about them. More than just their scientific name."
The Doctor looked amused. "Like what?"
"The colours," she answered.
He gave her a confused look. "Red, pink, white…" he started to point out the colours, but Rose shook her head.
"The meaning of them," she explained. "Each colour rose has a meaning. Mum told me about the colours of the flowers having meaning. And she dated a florist for a little while," she adds. "So I learned about what they meant. Fitting since that is my name.
"Then why don't you tell me?" the Doctor spoke up. There was a bit of a good-natured challenge in his tone, and Rose grinned back.
She walked to the closest colour which happened to be white. "White roses. They stand for purity and innocence mostly, but also reverence and humility." She smiled as she leaned over to gently touch the delicate petals. "They also stand for a new beginning. That's why brides carry them."
She looked up and smiled at the Doctor before she moved to the next colour, careful not to disturb the flowers as she did.
The next colour was black and Rose frowned. "Black roses are supposed to be impossible," she remarked, looking more closely at it.
"And everything else we have seen makes perfect sense?" the Doctor asked. Rose had seen aliens and taken it in stride. She had seen the destruction of Earth, animated plastic and beings from other dimensions. She had traveled to the past and the future, had met famous people from history such as Charles Dickens and Queen Victoria and had seen the Doctor regenerate right in front of her eyes. Yet, she couldn't believe the colours of the flowers represented in this garden.
"No," she answered. "But unlike everything else, roses aren't new to me."
"I suppose one rose would know another," the Doctor answered with a smile as Rose leaned over to sniff the black rose.
"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet," Rose spoke up then laughed. "I know that's Shakespeare. We should go see him sometime."
"Sounds fine by me," the Doctor answered. "But first, you said you were going to tell me about the colours."
"Well, black roses are not pleasant ones…death and loss," she explained, and then quickly moved to the next colour, which was peach. One by one, Rose went to each color, amazed that they had every combination, including roses with petals of one main colour tipped with another. With such a vast variety of colours and combinations, there were many for which she didn't know the meanings but she felt she did well. The Doctor listened to her and she was surprised. Usually she was learning from him, not the other way around.
Finally, they got to the last row which contained only red roses.
"Even if you aren't originally from Earth, you should know this one," Rose told him.
"Romance, passion, beauty and love," he answered. "Sometimes courage."
Rose gave him a confused look. He had stayed quiet while she explained things but it seemed he knew about roses and their colour meanings too. She knew about red roses meaning love and passion but not about courage. "How did you know that?" she asked. What if he knew more than the meaning of red roses? What if he knew all of them? If he did why would he just let her talk and carry on?
"Everyone knows about red roses," he answered with a smile, offering his hand to her again.
Rose smiled and linked her fingers with his.
"Now, ready to see some parrot trees?" the Doctor asked.
"Parrot trees?" Rose repeated as a question. "What are they?"
The Doctor grinned. "Why don't we find out?" He gave her hand a tug and they continued down the path, leaving the roses behind.
About half an hour later, they entered the TARDIS, both laughing. "…and it answered you!" Rose exclaimed. She had thought parrot trees would be colourful, hues of greens, reds, blues and yellows. She hadn't expected them to imitate sounds though.
"Just like a parrot," the Doctor smiled. Their laughter soon faded into a comfortable silence. "So where to next?" the Doctor asked Rose.
"Anyplace and anytime. Before any more adventures though, I think I'm going to shower, change and get some food," Rose answered, hoping they had chips. She enjoyed their travels, but more than once she was grateful for the water supply somewhere in the TARDIS.
"Anyplace and anytime…are you sure about that?" The Doctor raised an eyebrow, mischievousness in his eyes, though it was mixed with something else.
"Well, I wouldn't want to go through the Black Plague, but yes," she answered.
"I think I have something in mind," he said.
"And not the London Fire again. I couldn't get the smoke smell out of my hair for days and let's not even talk about the clothes," she scolded him jokingly. That had been an exciting adventure, but she didn't look forward to going through it again.
"You'll see what it is," he told her. "And I'll get the chips started."
Rose gave him a look. "Last time, you ate them all."
"I was hungry and there weren't any more bananas," he answered, his voice coming out as a whine.
"Because you ate all of them," she responded with a laugh. "Guess we should stop at a market," she added, and then started down the hall to her room. "I won't be long."
She heard the familiar swishing sound as the TARDIS took off, though she wasn't sure where the ship was headed. The allure of the shower was stronger than her curiousity regarding their destination, and she continued to her room. It wasn't anything fancy; there was a bed, a dresser, a desk, a good amount of floor space and an ensuite..
Unzipping her hoodie and tossing it onto the unmade bed, she continued into the bathroom, grabbing her towel in the process.
She quickly finished undressing and stepped under the warm water. The water relaxed her muscles, which sometimes were sore after a day of their adventures. It also woke her up and she smiled as she reached for her shampoo.
Humming to herself, she enjoyed the vigourous spray for a few minutes before stepping out and drying off. Wrapping herself in the towel, she re entered her bedroom. Walking to the dresser, she paused, seeing something there that hadn't been there before. A rose. A blue rose.
She picked it up and sniffed it, enjoying the gentle fragrance. Blue roses weren't supposed to exist in nature, but she and the Doctor had seen them in the garden.
The garden. She set down the rose, wondering why he had given it to her. Had he taken it from the garden? He must have given it to her, there couldn't have been anyone else. She thought back to the garden, remembering what she had told him about blue flowers. They were a symbol for mystery or something that was unattainable but still desired. Her heart leapt into her throat at that last thought.
Then she shook her head. She was enjoying her time with the Doctor and though she knew her heart raced whenever he took her hand, he gave no indication he felt the same way. There were times, like outside the chips bar that night of Sarah Jane, K-9 and the Krillatane, when it seemed like he might say it. Then the moment had been destroyed.
This meant the rose symbolized mystery, which was fitting since this was a mystery to her. What was the Doctor planning?
She quickly changed into different clothes, ran a brush through her hair a few times, picked up the rose and then went to investigate.
Stepping into the hallway, she didn't see any sign of the Doctor. However, she saw something different. There seemed to be some type of trail leading away from her door. Curious, she leaned down and picked up one of the small things scattered across the floor. She rubbed it between her thumb and forefinger. It was a petal of a rose. Her mouth dropped open. A path of rose petals. Didn't the Doctor know what that meant?
Then she realized it was a blue petal. Mystery. Though she felt some disappointment that he didn't feel the same way she did about him, she was intrigued.
She followed the petals and before she reached the kitchen, she saw a plastic arm and shuddered. She had had a problem with storefront dummies ever since that first adventure with her leather-clad Doctor. She reached out and took a single orange rose from the frozen hand.
"Orange…" she murmured. "New beginning." This made her smile. The incident with living plastic was a new beginning, a wonderful one of travel and seeing exciting new things. She saw a note and opened it. The Doctor's familiar script read iI just said one word to you that day. 'Run.'/i She remembered that was what he had said to her after he regenerated. That had been a chance, too.
Keeping that in her hand, she walked to the kitchen and her stomach growled as she smelled the chips.
"Those smell so good," she said as she entered the kitchen. At the small table, that they rarely seemed to use, there was a plate of chips along with a variety of condiments set out. But no sign of the Doctor.
"Doctor?" she called, but there was no answer.
Frowning, she knew she should wait to eat, but the smell was too tempting and she sat down in the chair. As she did, she saw another rose next to the plate. This time, it was a yellow one. Yellow roses symbolized friendship. She smiled, setting the other two flowers by it, before taking a bite of one of the chips. Perfect and still hot. It was just like their first date. After seeing the world end, they had had chips together.
As she ate, she realized that this was a trip, in a way. Down memory lane, with a sort of scavenger hunt mixed in. It was certainly new and she enjoyed it, even though she couldn't help wondering why he seemed to be hiding. She also wondered how he managed all this in such a short time.
After finishing the chips, and feeling much better because of it, she decided to see where she would end up next.
She picked up the three flowers and upon leaving the kitchen, she saw there was another trail of blue petals that hadn't been there before. The plastic arm was gone, too.
Following the newest trail, she found herself by the console. Sitting on the console, she saw a light pink rose. She knew the pink color, since pink was one of her favorite colors and knew light pink and dark pink had similar, yet different meanings. "Admiration, joy and sweetness?" she asked aloud, wondering what memory this stood for. They had a lot of time in the TARDIS together, so it was hard to tell which one he was thinking of, unless he meant all of them.
Then she saw another note. iThey say not to push the red button, but push it/i
She did as the note said and immediately Glen Miller started to play. Rose laughed at this, remembering the experience. She had attempted to get the Doctor to dance, and he had said he couldn't remember how, but just as she had offered a dance to Jack, he exclaimed that "he had the moves." The Doctor had proven he could dance. With a grin, she started to go through the same movements, though it was harder without another dance partner.
It was a fitting flower for that time. The song ended and the echoes slowly faded to silence. The TARDIS was still humming, but the silence felt too loud after the music. And she wasn't exactly certain where to go next. She walked in a circle around the console and then saw another rose. This one was dark pink. Appreciation and gratitude.
She tried to think of what the reason was. Then, she realized that it was where the hologram of the previous Doctor had told her that he was sending her home. Telling her to forget him and let the TARDIS just sit there and die. To go on with her life. She hadn't agreed to it.
No. Instead, she, with help from Mickey and her mum, had gone back to the Doctor. She had looked into the heart of the TARDIS and she had become Bad Wolf. She had destroyed the Daleks and saved the Doctor. In turn, he saved her and had to regenerate.
She remembered what he had said. That no one had ever come back for him. That had to be the reason he picked that colour. Picking it up to add to her collection she smiled slightly. He had to know Rose would do everything in her power to get back to him. Now, he looked different and seemed happier but he was still the Doctor. Her Doctor.
Rose shook her head. He wasn't ihers/i. She didn't have ownership over him. She didn't believe in ownership over another person. Yet, it wasn't that sort of title. It was almost like the way a person would use a title, like when Rose used to introduce Mickey as 'my boyfriend.' It was in that same sense that the Doctor was 'her Doctor.'
Shaking herself from these thoughts, she realized the Doctor still was not there. That meant this wasn't done.
Flowers in one hand, she walked down the other walkway and when she came to the stairs, she saw two very familiar pieces of clothing lying on the handrail. The first was a black leather jacket, similar to those found on German U-boats. Or maybe that is where he got it. She picked up the familiar jacket, the one the Doctor used to wear. It still felt as soft as she remembered and she hugged it for a moment.
Instinctively, she reached into the jacket pocket and found another rose, her sixth one. This one was so white, the colour almost hurt her eyes. Though it could have many meanings, she knew it meant remembrance this time. Remembering when the old Doctor regenerated into the new Doctor.
Then, she picked up the other coat. The familiar fabric that she had thrown her arms around on various occasions. As familiar, in fact even more familiar than the leather jacket.
As with the other jacket, she checked the pockets. The first one held nothing, but from the second one, she pulled out another flower. It was a beautiful purple, so light it was lavender. This made her heart skip a beat. Unlike with the other flowers, from what she knew, there was only one meaning. Love at first sight.
She had told the Doctor this. He didn't seem the sort to forget that. Was it possible then, somehow that he felt the same way as she felt? He seemed to hint at it, but he had never come out and said it. Could it have been love at first sight when he had changed? Was it possible he had loved her this long?
Heart hammering in her chest, she saw a flower on the stairs. Coral. It could mean desire, passion and excitement, everything she experienced with the Doctor. Desire to be with him and to continue to explore. To see the planets and go to places far in the future and see pasts only mentioned in history books. She had a passion to travel, but she also harbored feelings for the Doctor that she didn't think he shared. Until now. Excitement was something she felt everyday whether escaping a werewolf, being given the title of 'dame' or simply going to a garden where trees were like parrots. She loved every moment of it.
Coral also meant good fortune and when she saw the coral rose petals leading the way down the stairs, she felt her hopes rise. This had to be a sign of only better things to come.
Following the trail, holding the eight flowers, thankfully none with thorns and was surprised to find the trail led her in the wardrobe. There were clothes from ancient times and clothes that were so wild that they could only be from the future. There was no rhyme or reason to how the clothes were hanging, which was something that seemed perfect for the Doctor. She wondered what he thought of the shop where she worked before they met. Everything had to be folded correctly and put in its place. There was also space for it. While the TARDIS was large, it seemed that even with the various levels of the wardrobe, each rack of clothing had the maximum amount of clothing possible.
In the midst of all the colors, fabrics and styles, stood the Doctor in his usual brown suit, looking at an interesting white jacket and an unusually long multi colored scarf.
"Doctor?" Rose asked. He looked at her, not at all surprised to see her. He looked solemn and that worried her. "What's happening?"
"Oh, a trip of my own imagining," he answered and smiled at her. "What did you think?"
That smile helped ease some of her worry. "I liked it," she admitted. "Though…I have to ask…" she trailed off and held up the flowers.
He looked at the multi colored bouquet and Rose realized he wasn't solemn. He seemed nervous. His entire body seemed to almost be humming. She could tell he was tense, by trying to appear at ease. "Yes, the flowers. You know you told me all about their meanings and I thought I would leave you some messages."
There was a glass half filled with water on a small table and she put the flowers into it. "I think I understood them all," she answered, almost cautiously.
"Not yet you haven't. I'm not done yet."
Rose bit her lower lip for a moment, watching as he reached behind him and then held out another rose to her, this one cream coloured. Not as bright as the white one, but just as beautiful and delicate as the others. This was one meaning that Rose didn't know.
"Cream coloured roses represent perfection and the best qualities," the Doctor spoke as he handed her the flower. "I might be the best, but I would never have become like this without your help. Before you. I was cold, cynical, bitter. Not a happy sort," he added with a small smile and Rose smiled slightly in return. "But you made me better, Rose. My plus one." He offered his hand and she took it with her free hand, linking her fingers with his. This was the right place for them to be - in his hand. "I thought you were a breath of fresh air…at first. Then my plus one. Then my companion. Then…." He trailed off and Rose waited, hardly daring to breathe, wondering what he would say next.
Then she saw that he was holding another rose in his other hand. A yellow one with red tips. She looked from the rose to him then back at the rose. That meant a friendship that was turning into love.
"Doctor?" she asked, feeling the hand holding his start to shake and his fingers tightened around hers.
"I know what it means," he told her seriously, then reached behind his back again and this time, presented her with a perfect, red rose.
This time, Rose couldn't speak and just looked at him.
"We both know that I know what this means," he told her. Rose slowly released his hand from hers and reached for the flower. She took it and brought it to her face. She sniffed, inhaling the distinct rose smell and felt the soft, gentle petals brush against her skin as she lowered it.
"Courage," she said, remembering what he said before, her eyes locking with his.
"Beauty," he answered, not looking away from her.
Rose's cheeks grew warm, but she took a half step closer. "Passion." Her voice sounded breathless. "And romance."
He took a half step closer so they were directly in front each other. Rose's heart was pounding and she was surprised since he didn't seem to hear it.
"And love." His voice so quiet, it was almost a whisper. Yet, Rose heard it.
She wasn't certain what happened next. One moment, she was standing there, staring at the Doctor. The next, her lips were on his and he was returning the kiss. Or maybe he had started it and she was returning it. In the end, it didn't matter. She was kissing him and he was kissing her. One of her arms wrapped around his neck, flowers nearly forgotten still held in her hand. Her other arm grabbed onto the front of his shirt, not wanting this moment to end. One of his arms was wrapped around her waist, the other one the back of her head, tangling with her hair. To Rose, this was perfect. She was certain her racing heart was in sync with his, There was passion and longing in the kiss. And love. To hear him say it, it made her happier than she had been in a long time. There was only one thing that he could say that would make it better.
As they broke away from the kiss, both breathing heavily, they didn't pull back. Rose did release her grip on his shirt, but her hand stayed on his chest. The other slid to his shoulder. He had one arm still around her waist and the other moved to brush back hair from her face, tucking it behind her ear.
Rose was feeling shaky after such a kiss, mostly due to who it was with and how long she had wanted it. And it had been perfect. Like those kisses they show in movies.
Though he hadn't said it first, she couldn't hold back the words she had feared to tell him before. "I love you," she murmured. He didn't seem surprised by this. Instead of trying to say something about how it wasn't possible, that she would grow old and he would outlive her by many years, he gave her a smile.
He gently brushed her cheek with the back of his hand. "Rose Marion Tyler, I love you."
Rose was speechless. That was the thing that would make it better. This time, she knew she initiated the kiss. She kissed him back to show how she felt about him, knowing words would never be enough.
He returned it and though it was probably only a minute, Rose felt it could have been a second or an eternity. When they pulled back, both were grinning. The Doctor wrapped his other arm around her and Rose rested her head on his shoulder, both arms around him. It was familiar, yet at the same time, exciting and new.
"This is perfect," she murmured.
"Not yet," he answered and Rose pulled back, wondering what he meant, immediately concerned.
"There are a few things. First…Rose, you are not just human. You are, but there is more. By looking into the heart of the TARDIS, you took in so much and you still hold some of that in you. You were the bad wolf. You still are."
She shook her head and if not for the Doctor's hand still resting on her waist, she would have pulled back even more. "I don't understand."
"You're like me. In a way. You can't regenerate and you have just one heart, but you are going to live a very long life. You can heal yourself to a point. All due to that part of the TARDIS still inside you."
Rose felt her legs start to shake and allowed the Doctor to lead her to the stairs. She slowly sat down, trying to digest all of this. "I what?" she managed to ask. She felt the Doctor take the flowers that she was still clenching out of her hand. She was shaking and cold. "I'm going to live as long as you?"
He nodded, crouching down in front of her so they were at the same height. "Yes. Well, I'm over nine hundred years old. So, there will always be that age gap."
Rose swatted his arm, but was starting to smile. She told the Doctor that she wanted to travel with him forever. This meant she could. The only hard part would be losing others as they got older, her mum especially. Though, wasn't that the natural order of things? Eventually she would lose her mum no matter how long she lived.
"This…this is a lot to take in," she murmured.
The Doctor nodded. "It is, but you have time to get used to it," he smiled and this made her smile back.
"Will I grow older?" Rose asked.
"I don't know about aging. I've never heard of a human or anyone doing what you did," the Doctor admitted.
Rose nodded slightly. She might age or she might not. She might always be this age. Was that bad or good? "So…I could live forever."
"Well…you're not immortal. You could be killed, but nearest I can tell, yes," he answered.
Rose nodded slowly, still finding this news shocking. In fact, she could barely wrap her mind around it, let alone believe it was true. Yet, he wouldn't have told her unless he was sure. "Why are you just telling me now?
"I had to make sure," he answered. "And I didn't really know how to tell you. They don't make greeting cards for that sort of thing," he answered. "And trust me; I've seen a lot of things. A lot of greeting cards, too. You should see some of them. Well, you will now," he grinned.
This made Rose smile a little. The Doctor was still the Doctor. No matter what changed, the Doctor was still her Doctor.
"And there is more," he added after a brief pause.
Rose shook her head. "Doctor, I don't know if I can handle any more surprises."
"I don't think you will consider it as intense as living for so long," he responded. Rose knew that though she didn't feel ready, she wanted to know what else there was. She had just learned she could live forever and that the Doctor loved her. Yet, there was still more?
She gave a nod, motioning for him to continue, still sitting on the steps. She felt like she might need to stay there for what he was going to tell her next.
The Doctor looked at her for a moment then leaned over and whispered something to her, his lips almost brushing her ear. She turned her head to give him a questioning look when he pulled back a few inches. It wasn't in a language she knew, and she was used to the TARDIS translating things.
Again, he whispered to her. It was the same word, but she still didn't know what it meant. He pulled back; face just inches from her, looking for a reaction. She attempted to repeat it to him. The first time, her tongue tripped over the vowels. She frowned then tried again. This time, the word seemed to come to her naturally and when she saw the look on the Doctor's face, she was grateful that she had said it right.
"You can't share that," he told her. She opened her mouth to ask what it was, but he placed a finger over her lips. "I will always be the Doctor. You can keep calling me that if you'd rather. But I wanted you to know who I truly am. That is my name."
Rose was glad she was sitting. She had wondered what his real name was, but had only asked once. He had easily skirted around the issue so she decided to wait awhile before asking again. Now she knew it. He had willingly told her without her needing to ask once more. She murmured his name again and smiled, running the fingers of her right hand through his tousled hair, making it stand up even more than usual, making him smile.
"That's a lot of surprises at once," Rose admitted after a minute.
The Doctor paused. "Well…." He dragged out the word. "There is one more."
Rose shook her head. "Doctor, I don't know if I can handle another surprise like that." First, she found out he loved her. Then, she was told that she was almost immortal. Now, she knew his real name, which was not something he had shared before, to her knowledge.
"It's nothing as life changing as that," he laughed quietly and offered her another rose. This was silver rose and instead of just being silver in colour, the petals appeared to be made of actual silver. Curious, she touched it gently, her fingers brushing lightly over it. It felt like a real flower, the petals soft. Turning her hand over to look at her fingers, she saw a light shimmer of silver dust on them.
"Gold is to celebrate absolute achievement," the Doctor told her.
"Then what is silver?" she asked. She couldn't remember if there was meaning to it. She had never seen or heard of a silver rose before.
He shrugged and then grinned. "Why don't you decide? Only fitting, being the most beautiful rose here."
Rose laughed quietly, feeling her cheeks grow warm. "I think it should represent something absolute as well, like gold." She thought for a moment then she slowly started to smile. "How about happiness? Absolute happiness."
The Doctor smiled and nodded. "That sounds perfect. And fitting for the twelfth rose."
Rose realized that is was the twelfth and was surprised that he knew.
"I know that it's supposed to be a dozen red roses, but I rather liked this," he told her.
Rose smiled and flung her arms around him. He caught her and stood so that her feet were a few inches off the ground. "I love it. It's absolutely brilliant."
And it was. Rose wasn't certain what would happen next or where their travels would take her. It didn't matter though. She had the Doctor. Not just the Doctor, but also his love, just like he had hers. Whatever happened next, they could face it together. Over the Doctor's shoulder, she saw the flowers she had collected. Though a wide array of colours, she knew what each one meant and she was grateful for the language of flowers.