A/N: This is a series of drabbled I wrote a while ago; eight of them plus another hundred-word stretch for an 'epilogue'. It was an experiment of sorts, fairly early in my drabbling days, so some of the wording is still awkward. I was just musing one night about the way Rose's relationship with the Doctor progresses, and got to wondering how it might have continued if it weren't for Doomsday. Barring some jarring, traumatic confession (which, really, is the only way it could have happened with the two of them), this is how I see it happening. The most mundane way possible.
I had to fight to urge to edit these, as editing drabbles is a headache and I haven't done any in a while. I'm quite fond of most of them, though.
It wasn't something Rose thought about; taking his hand. It was how things started out, and there was never reason to stop. All Rose knew was that it felt right, far more right than any other man's hand had ever felt in hers, and she didn't dare question it. She quickly learned that the Doctor was a man of action, saving his words for when the universe needed them. And that was fine. The Doctor could speak without words, and Rose gleaned all the comfort she needed from his hand's gentle touch. She knew they spoke truth; fingertips don't lie.
He thought it began with "You look beautiful." Though, really, one could argue the first was "My planet's gone," or "Did I mention it travels in time?" Honestly, he couldn't say it hadn't begun with "run." All the Doctor knew was that this regeneration wasn't good with words, and he kept slipping up around Rose Tyler. It just felt so natural; talking to her. He never realized what he'd said until it was out in the open, reaching the part of his brain that remembered why not the same time it reached Rose's ears. Problem was… he always meant it.
She had no idea when they'd started hugging, and she didn't care. Like holding his hand, she fell into it naturally. The contact was a comfort that she craved. As the hugging inched towards commonplace, their hands were rarely void of each other. It wasn't just when they ran, or when they faced danger. It was because they could. That's what every touch was; laughing in the face of the impossible odds that said they shouldn't be. Because, when you face danger and loneliness as much as they do, all you can do is laugh and hold on tight.
It just felt like a natural thing to do: He wasn't sure if he'd done it before, because he couldn't think of particulars, but he was fairly sure he had. Things with Rose were like that; he never noticed he'd taken a step closer until he was in the middle of the next. Not particularly caring, he pressed his lips to her forehead, trying not to whisper goodbye. Really, he wanted to kiss her full on right then and there, but she would have noticed. All their steps so far had gone slowly. This one could be no different.
Their first kiss, she didn't remember. Their second, she didn't want to. Their third, she barely noticed. It was in the midst of a 'we saved the universe from destruction and insanity' hug, she was fairly sure. It wasn't that she didn't enjoy it; it was just so very brief. The only difference between it and his kisses to her forehead was that it landed about three inches lower. With how quickly it was over, she almost could have imagined it. Almost. It was the way he immediately began to ramble about moving forward that let her know she hadn't.
It didn't stop. Hugs and intertwined fingers didn't speak loudly enough anymore. Things like what they shared just grew, not content to be ignored. At first, the Doctor would always rush to cover up, leaving nobody's mind enough time to catch up. Inevitably, it soon became as natural as breathing. In the quiet of long nights, they relished the moments that the unspoken pact kept from being spoken of. Come morning, though, realization was gone. As they slid further down the path, neither truly realized the intimacy or the frequency of their sweet, brief brushes of lips. Their ignorance was bliss.
You would imagine it would only get so far before they would notice. But, as the Doctor is quick to point out, humans have a tendency to block out things they don't want to face. He doesn't realize Time Lords are no more immune. If neither of them notices; if neither says a word, then it doesn't end. Of course they notice, eventually, the steps closer to their unspeakable fantasies, but they pretend not to. They've got acting practice already; they already skillfully pretend friendship is all they want. Each façade just keeps the other acting. It's a vicious cycle, but, with their lives, one that's bound to break.
It takes a third party to notice. Jackie catches a glimpse of the Doctor, on his way out the door, catching Rose's lips in a not-entirely-chaste kiss.
"Oi! What're you doing kissing my daughter?"
Wide eyes rest atop red cheeks and dumbstruck mouths.
"Um, well…" the Doctor begins.
"It's just kinda… been going on," Rose finishes.
Words breached with neither protesting, they both smile. They clasp hands with a shared glance.
"Think I'm gonna walk with him, mum. We have a little to talk about."
Biting back smiles, they leave. Their next step is bound to be a little bigger.
And such is the love story of Rose and the Doctor; of the relationship that never should have progressed beyond friends. But it did, stolen touches turning to stolen kisses until they came to see that the savored moments were gifts exchanged. Subtlety exposed by it's foil.
Progressing exponentially from there, as years of suppression were bound to lead into, they find another wonderful coincidence. For ever so long, they were drawing closer like a planetary dance; slowly but steadily. After the inevitable collision, they discover that their baby steps beget more baby steps of an even more unlikely variety.