The Dress

Jackie wakes up craving a nice full English breakfast. On her way to the kitchen, she looks in on her visitors in the living room; both of them sound asleep and wrapped up in each other on her sofa. She smiles to herself, wondering if the pair of them will ever realise how in love they are, before retreating to the kitchen, to busy herself cooking breakfast.

The Doctor wakes up craving a blonde in a Union Ja – wait, no, he just wakes up craving Rose in anything, really. Or nothing. Whichever. Then he shakes his head to clear away the remnants of that very nice dream he'd been dreaming, and looks down at the lump of Rose Tyler laying on top of him. There are so many worse ways to wake up, he thinks absently, stroking her hair. He vaguely registers the sound of Jackie humming to herself, and pots and pans clattering about in the kitchen, but is content to just lie here and watch his...friend, sleeping peacefully. Well, that's until the aroma of bacon hits the air, and then he's trying to jostle said friend awake.

"Rose," he murmurs softly, shaking her shoulder. And if he accidently strokes her collar bone with his thumb as he does so, then that's absolutely not on purpose. "Breakfast time, come on. Wakey, wakey."

"Mmph," she grunts, shifting off of him. She rubs her eyes wearily, and he thinks that he might adore her in the mornings. "What?" she asks, aware of him staring at her.

"I smell bacon," he grins. "Your mother is surprisingly good at breakfasts, I recall."

Rose rakes a hand through her messy hair, trying to smooth out the tangles. Then she smiles widely. "It's Christmas Eve!"

He chuckles at her child-like enthusiasm. "Yep! And I've literally just realised something," he realises suddenly. He lowers his voice in case her mother can hear, "We've come empty-handed. We haven't got Jackie a present."

She bites her lip. "Oh, yeah. Oops. Well, we'll just have to go shopping today, then, won't we?"

A look of horror flits across his face. "Shopping? On Christmas Eve? In London? Are you mad?"

"Well we can't go anywhere else, it'll have to do."

"We have a spaceship standing over there!" he argues, pointing at the TARDIS. "We could go anywhere – somewhere less busy – and be back in time!"

"Except we might not be 'back in time,' mightn't we? I know what you're like; we'll end up in Belarus in 1850 or something."

He rolls his eyes. "Of course we wouldn't. Technically, Belarus didn't exist as Belarus until it gained indepe- "

"Well, I'm not taking any chances," she interrupts. "Mum'll kill you if we abandon her on Christmas Eve and return eight months later."

The Doctor sighs, conceding to her point. "Fine. But how about you go shopping, and I'll just - "

" – woah, woah, woah," Rose stops him right there. "No way! You're not leaving this to me."

"Why not? She's your mother!" he argues, but he knows it's fruitless. She always wins their fights.

And if he kind of sort of likes that, he's clearly not thinking straight, and it doesn't mean a thing.

"So? She's your..." Rose pauses, considering that. "Well, she's your best friend's mother, and I'm entitled your help."

"Are you now."

"Yes," Rose nods.

The Doctor sighs again. "Right, okay. After breakfast, we'll go shopping for a gift for your mum. Happy?"

"Very," she grins, leaning over to peck his cheek. And then she's jumping up and rushing to the kitchen before he can process what she's done.

(And he most certainly does not sit there for nigh on three minutes, staring after her like some sort of lovesick teenager.)

It's sometime later, arms linked and chatting aimlessly about nothing in particular but something exceedingly funny to them, that they end up walking miles searching for the perfect present for her mum. In the end, they simply find her a couple of CDs and some bubble bath stuff, and have it all gift-wrapped as part of the shop's service.

They're standing at the till when he suggests it.

"Um, Rose..." he begins tentatively, his eyes on the floor.

"Yeah?" she replies, handing over a couple of crumpled up notes to the cashier.

"Can we split up for a bit?" he asks, tugging at his ear.

She turns her head, very, very slowly towards him, a lump in her throat. "What?" she whispers.

"Weeelll, thing is, I haven't got you a present, and - " he pauses when she sighs in relief, then continues with a confused look on his face, wondering what she had just thought he'd meant, "- and I don't want you to see what I get for you, so..." he trails off.

Rose takes her shopping bags from the woman, thanks her kindly, and ushers the Doctor out of the way of the other shoppers. "Okay," she smiles, walking towards the escalators.

He beams at her, gesturing widely with his arms as he speaks. "Brilliant! Right, you go upstairs then, and I'll have a nose around down here - " he cuts himself off as he glances around them and his eyes widen.

Right. This is – this is just –

Who – who, in their actual right mind - decided it would be a good idea to have the gift section located right next to the women's lingerie section? The very lingerie section that the Doctor's arm is currently extended towards in a pointing fashion?

He abruptly drops his arm and jerks his thumb over his shoulder to the direction they've just been in, with the gift-sets and the like. A much, much safer territory.

"I mean, over there, um, obviously," he stutters, and Rose has to hold in laughter.

"What, no new underwear for Christmas?" she pouts teasingly. "Shame, that. I was running out as well."

The Doctor distinctly cannot help it when his mouth falls open. "Uh..."

Rose can't help but giggle at that, and then she's turning around and riding the escalator away from him. "Have fun!" she calls out. "Nothing too racy," she adds as an afterthought, winking at him and delighting in the embarrassed flush that creeps across his face when he realises people are looking at them both curiously with amused smiles.

-x-

Turns out that Rose has bought herself a present (and if he accidently wishes that it's for his benefit, really, so technically it's his present, then that's just preposterous and certainly not rational thinking. What is becoming of him?) Anyway, she must have done so after they'd split up in that department store, because if he had seen her buying this, he reckons his hearts might not be having such an attack at the shock of it now. Because, to quite simply put it, he'd already be dead.

She looks...

Oh, she looks divine.

"So?" she prompts, standing with her hands on her hips and giving him a quick twirl. "What do you think?"

He sniffs nonchalantly. "Nice," he answers, and shrugs a shoulder.

She rolls her eyes and turns to look at herself in the mirror. They're in her room in the flat. She'd just called him in to get his opinion on what she's going to wear this evening. At the risk of sounding vain, she personally thinks the silky black dress looks more than nice; that was why she bought it, after all. To shock him with.

"Nice," she repeats, sliding her hands across her bum to smooth the fabric out.

He gulps, but takes the opportunity to let his gaze lower while she's facing the other direction. "Mmhmm," he agrees.

That's when she catches the path his eyes are taking in the reflection of the mirror, and realises that he shares her view that it's slightly nicer than nice. She grins, and can't resist teasing him.

She spins around so quickly that he doesn't have time to raise his eyes again before she's looking at him. And now he's blushing. She thinks it's adorable. He thinks it's ridiculous; Time Lords don't blush.

"Right, er, I'll just be out there, yeah, right," he stutters, backing out of her bedroom.

And if Rose beams in satisfaction at the reaction she'd gotten out of him, it's absolutely because she's delighted. She can't deny it. She is secretly, utterly thrilled.

A/N: Sorry this has been a long time coming. Hope you like it so far. Also, I'll quickly point out that somewhere, somewhen, I am pretty sure I've read the ' let's split up' confusion in someone else's fic. So credit to that person (I'm so sorry I can't remember who) who inspired that bit of the chapter - I hope you don't mind my borrowing it, it just fit so well with the Doctor and Rose in this instant, and I couldn't resist, despite the niggling voice in my mind saying it had been imagined by someone else :D x