Shakespeareverse

Author's Note: Well, here we are, at the FINAL chapter of "Where are you Roaming?" I can't quite believe we've reached this point already. I'd like to offer an extra special thank you to everyone who's been reading this for all your lovely comments and support. Thank you also to those of you who are reading this but haven't said anything. You are all the reason I do this! Make sure you read the Author's Note at the end of the chapter for information on what's next for Shakespeareverse!

I would like to take a moment now to also thank meremoon and springhaze23 for their betaing skills that have helped immensely in this story. You can all thank springhaze23 for the extra 1500 words that I added to this chapter earlier this week as it was at her urging that I did so. Okay, enough babbling, you don't want to listen to me, you want to read the final chapter. Enjoy! :)

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Chapter 25

Viola fought and raged against her grounding in the days after her 8th birthday, but nothing she said or did would change her mother's mind. She tried appealing to the Doctor and Donna, hoping to get them on her side as allies against her mother, but they were both extremely unhelpful. Even the TARDIS was no help to her. In fact it was the opposite of helpful, hiding her bedroom door and refusing to let her leave until her mother said it was okay.

Her grounding lasted two miserable weeks, during which she was only allowed out of her room to eat meals and choose new books from the library. Viola couldn't remember ever being so unhappy, and she spent the first few days sulking about it. It didn't help that she'd had a persistent headache since she'd looked into the Untempered Schism and she was starting to think maybe she'd made a mistake by looking into it.

By the fourth day of her punishment, Viola's headache had reached the point where she couldn't bear to keep her eyes open, and for the first time she was actually grateful to be trapped in her room. Grabbing a stuffed elephant from the top of her bookshelf, she crawled into her bed and curled into a ball, hugging it to her chest as she blinked back tears and tried to will the pain away.

She was vaguely aware of someone entering her room a few minutes later and wasn't surprised when she opened her eyes to see the Doctor sitting gingerly on the foot of her bed, watching her with a look of extreme concern on his face.

"Go away," she muttered half-heartedly.

"I can't do that," he said softly. "Look, Viola, I know you're mad at all of us right now and you think that this is unfair, but what you did, it was wrong and it was dangerous. You could have been hurt and I— your mother wouldn't have been able to bear that."

"I know," she whispered, touched that he cared so much about her. "I'm sorry, I really didn't want to worry any of you, it's just that… well, I thought maybe if I looked into the vortex I'd feel closer to my Dad." Silent tears streamed down her face, "I miss him so much."

"I know you do." The Doctor surprised her then by scooping her up and gathering her into his arms the way her father used to. For the first time in a long time she felt safe and protected and as she buried her face against his chest she started to sob.

The Doctor held her, rocking gently as the torrent of emotions she'd been clinging to flooded out of her. When she was finally calm again, she looked up at him, trying not to cringe as the throbbing in her skull increased with the motion. "Thank you," she managed to whisper.

He ignored her gratitude and studied her carefully. "How long have you been in pain?"

"I haven't –" the lie died on her lips as he gave her a knowing look and she sighed. "It started when I looked into the Vortex, but it's getting worse. I was shielding it so you wouldn't be able to feel it, so how did you know?"

"It's difficult to keep shields in place when you're in pain. I felt it, just before I came in here. In fact, that's why I came."

"Does Mum know?"

The Doctor shook his head. "No, I didn't want to worry her." He gave her a quick hug then stood, perching Viola on the edge of the bed as he dug in his pocket and pulled out the sonic. "Okay, let's see exactly what's going on."

As he scanned her, she could feel a gentle vibration and the pain worsened causing her to cry out in pain. Immediately, the Doctor switched off the sonic and came to her, gently laying her back down on the bed.

"Your mind is working hard, trying to process all the information you've taken in. That's what's making your head hurt."

"Can I do anything to make it stop?"

The Doctor bit his bottom lip, thinking. "Well, your brain isn't used to having so much information all at once. It's like it's a computer being forced to process like 1000 different tasks all at the same time. Only in this case, it's trying to process everything you've just learned about the past, present and future and it's overloading."

"So what do I do?"

"We need to train your brain to store the information properly so you can access it when you need to. I'll help you. But the first thing you need to do is relax so that your brain can do the first part itself— that should help with the headache."

By the time the Doctor left her room half an hour later, Viola's head was no longer pounding and the barrage of information she'd been assaulted with for several days was starting to make sense. During the rest of her 2 week grounding, the Doctor came to work with Viola every afternoon and soon she was able to access any detail she wanted at will without feeling any pain at all.

When her punishment was over and she was finally allowed free reign again, the first thing she did was hug her mother and apologise. For which she was rewarded with a massive smile, a hug and a cup of tea.

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Days and months slipped by and before she knew it, Donna realized that an entire year had passed since she'd rejoined the Doctor, Rose and Viola on the TARDIS. She was having the time of her life and though she missed Granddad and her mum, she saw them often enough that she was happy. Viola had eventually forgiven her mother for punishing her, though Donna noticed that Rose still seemed nervous whenever her daughter went off on her own.

Although she had initially given him a hard time after the incident with the Vortex, Rose seemed to be getting along with the Doctor amazingly well again, and Donna was thrilled to see them growing closer as they both started to heal from their pasts and look toward a future. It was obvious that Rose still had bouts of guilt and confusion, but they were lessening, and Donna was beginning to suspect that she was nearly ready to open up her heart again. The Doctor also seemed to have his own reasons to hold back, and Donna was growing frustrated watching him yo-yo from hot to cold with Rose.

Finally, one afternoon, things reached a breaking point. The four residents of the TARDIS were in the kitchen baking cupcakes, each of them with a specific job. Rose mixed and poured the batter, Donna put the trays in the oven and took them out when they were done, the Doctor iced them, and Viola decorated them with edible ball bearings. After placing the final batch into the oven and setting the timer, Donna leaned against the counter and watched as Rose sat at the table next to the Doctor - extremely close to the Doctor, she noted.

"You're doing it wrong," Rose told the Doctor teasingly.

"I'm not," he insisted sulkily while trying to salvage the icing that was dripping down the sides of the cupcake in his hands.

Rose leaned across him to reach for the knife and the prickle of tension that filled the room gave Donna goose pimples. She watched in fascination as their eyes met and a spark passed between them.

Donna cast a quick glance in Viola's direction and was relieved to see that she was continuing to place ball bearings in intricate patterns atop each iced cupcake. She was concentrating so intently that it seemed she was complete oblivious to the events occurring across the table, a fact that Donna was thankful for.

Satisfied that Viola was fine, Donna shifted her attention back to the Doctor and Rose. They were still staring at each other silently. Rose swallowed audibly and, after taking a deep breath, started to swirl the knife over the mountain of icing on the cupcake that was still in the Doctor's hand.

In a voice shaking with unspent emotion, Rose said, "Here, like this," and demonstrated how to spread the sticky confection smoothly over the surface of the cake. She brushed her hair out of her eyes, unknowingly leaving a smear of icing across her nose before offering the knife back to the Doctor.

"Here, now you try."

Instead of taking the knife, the Doctor stared at her and Donna felt her heart dance at the intensity of his gaze. Maybe he was finally going to make a move and end this crazy yo-yoing once and for all.

Donna held her breath as the Doctor leaned forward and used his thumb to wipe the icing from Rose's nose. Their eyes met again, and Rose inched her face a little closer to his as he offered her his thumb to lick. She complied and when she was finished their lips were nearly touching.

Then, just when Donna was certain that he was finally going to get over himself and kiss Rose, the timer dinged and all three adults jumped.

The Doctor leaped up from the table, looking panicked as he seemed to become aware of what had almost happened. Donna sighed heavily as she saw him cast a guilty glance in Rose's direction then flee from the room.

"Bloody timer," Donna muttered, picking up the oven mitts and pulling the now-offensive cupcakes out of the oven.

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By the time the remaining cupcakes were decorated Donna had decided it was time to take matters into her own hands. As soon as she could, she marched into the library where she knew he was hiding.

"Listen, spaceman, this has got to stop," she told him, her hands on her hips as she glowered down on him.

He crumpled his nose, lips and brow in confusion. "What?"

"This tap dancing around Rose."

He looked down at his book nonchalantly and pretended to read. "I don't know what you're talking about."

Donna huffed and snatched the Dickens novel out of his hand. "That's not going to work with me, Doctor. Not anymore."

"Careful with that, it's a first edition!" the Doctor yelped.

Donna set the book carefully on the desk and turned back to the Doctor, folding her arms across her chest. "Now why don't you tell me why you keep pulling away from Rose every time the two of you get remotely close?"

"Donna, I don't have time for this right now." He tried to push past her but she placed a hand on his chest and shoved him back into his chair.

"You do have time, and you're going to sit there and listen to what I have to say."

"But—"

"Doctor, you love her, don't you?"

The question flustered him and he tried to avoid her gaze. "Donna, I really don't think this is… but really I… well it's just that…" he fumbled, tapping his fingers nervously on his other hand as he twitched in his seat.

Donna rolled her eyes. "Oh, ask him to calculate the phase variance of an integrated hemo-static thruster in the meso-temporal layer of the Vortex and he'll give you an answer in a matter of seconds, but a simple 'yes' or 'no' question has him blathering like a nincompoop. Just answer me. Do you love Rose?"

He sighed and looked her directly in the eyes. "Do you even have to ask?"

"Then why do you keep pushing her away?"

"I'm not —"

Donna gave him a pointed look.

"It's complicated, Donna."

"Only because you make it complicated."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"It means that it's time you stopped punishing yourself for every little thing you've ever done wrong in the past, and allowed yourself the chance to be happy."

"Oh, Donna, it's just not that easy." He scrubbed his hands over his eyes, stalling for time. When Donna didn't say anything else he continued. "The things I've done; they're not little. When I muck up, it's on an epic scale. How can I ask Rose - how could I ask anyone to trust me after what I nearly did to her and Viola?"

She jabbed him in the chest with a finger. "Because you're never going to do anything like that again."

"How do you know?"

"Because you're not that stupid."

He raised his eyebrows.

"Well, okay, you were that stupid, but things were different then. There were external factors. Besides, I won't let you. And neither will Rose, or Viola, or Jack."

"You didn't stop me before."

"That's because you were an idiot and cut yourself off from everyone who ever cared about you. And I know you're not going to do that again. I've told you before, Doctor, sometimes you need someone to stop you. You proved me right. But now you've got that. You just need to trust it, learn to trust yourself again."

He shoved his hands into his pockets and looked up at the ceiling "Oh Donna, I don't know."

"Why not?" Donna demanded. "You just admitted that you love her."

"Yes, but Donna, you're forgetting - she was married, to a man who was my double. She loved him and they had a child together."

"So?"

He looked away and shuffled his feet restlessly. "It's just… never mind, it's stupid."

"Tell me anyway."

"Were you always this big of a pain in th-"

"Yes. Now tell me."

For a second it looked as though he was contemplating trying to run past her again, but after a moment he relaxed and sighed. "I'm worried that she'd only be interested in me because I look like her husband."

Donna slapped him across the cheek so hard that it startled her as much as it startled him.

"Ow!"

"I'm sorry, but you're being an idiot again. She loved you embefore/em she loved your double. Besides, didn't you once tell her you were the same person? Sure, it's going to take a while for her to sort out her emotions but I'm pretty certain that she loves you for you."

A tiny flicker of hope twinkled in his eye. "You think so?"

"Only one way to know for sure," Donna said coyly, a small smile pursing the corners of her lips.

"And what's that?"

"Make her fall in love with you all over again."

"And how exactly do I do that?"

Donna sighed. He really was daft sometimes. "Take her out on a date."

"A date?" he scoffed, interrupting.

"It doesn't matter what you call it," she hissed in frustration. "Just show her how you feel about her, and remind her of all the things she loved about you in the first place."

"Do you really think that would work?"

"There's only one way to find out for sure."

"What's that?"

"Ask."

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Several days later, Rose was just rousing from a lovely afternoon nap when she heard the light tap on her door. Yawning, she languidly stretched her arms and legs and, after making sure she was decent, called for the visitor to enter.

Surprised to see the Doctor poke his head through door and step inside, Rose blushed and struggled to a sitting position, pulling the duvet more tightly around her sleep clothes.

"Oh, did I wake you?" the Doctor asked, his eyes shifting randomly around the room as though he were trying to look anywhere but at her.

"No, I was just getting up. You have perfect timing."

He finally met her gaze and she smiled at him.

"Oh, good." He looked away again and Rose was almost certain she saw a flush of pink rising on his cheeks. Was he blushing? She didn't think she'd ever seen him embarrassed before.

"Is something wrong? Is it Viola?" Rose asked as she reached for her robe, wrapping it tightly around herself before climbing out of the bed.

The Doctor flicked his eyes toward her, swallowed visibly and quickly looked away. "No, no, nothing is wrong. Everything's just fine actually. Viola and Donna are plotting some kind of adventure involving glitter or sparkles or something, I wasn't really paying attention… I uhhh…" He put his hands in the back pockets of his trousers and rode back on his heels. "I was wondering… I mean… well… I had a question."

Rose looked at him quizzically. It wasn't like him to be this uncertain about anything. He was usually the perfect picture of confidence. What was going on? "Okay, well go ahead. What did you want to know?"

The Doctor didn't answer, he was too busy staring at her. Rose followed his gaze and noticed her robe was gaping. She quickly tied it more tightly around her. At the movement, the Doctor looked away again.

"Why don't I just get dressed and then you can ask me whatever it is you came here for?"

The Doctor cleared his throat. "Good idea. Meet you in the library?"

Rose smiled. "Sure, I'll be there in about five minutes."

After the Doctor shuffled from the room, Rose frowned speculatively at the space where he'd been standing. His behaviour was odd, even for him. It was unsettling seeing him this uncertain and hesitant.

As she contemplated her wardrobe options, she wondered what could have possibly got into him. Her favourite pink jumper caught her eye and, as she pulled it on, she remembered the way the Doctor had looked at her when her robe had slipped. Is that why he'd been blushing? Fleetingly, she wondered if it had anything to do with their almost-kiss in the kitchen the other day.

The thought sent a sudden flurry of butterflies soaring through her stomach and, feeling bold, Rose pulled off the jumper and looked for her favourite short green wrap dress instead. It had been one of her favorites to wear for a night out with her husband. The dress tied around her waist, leaving a perfect v down her collarbone. The skirt ended just above her knees, making her legs look long and slim. She completed the outfit with a simple pair of black pumps and took a little more time than usual styling her hair.

Satisfied, Rose cast one last glance at herself in the mirror, took a deep breath and made her way to the library.

She felt the Doctor's eyes on her the instant she entered the room and the sensation caused her chest to tighten and her heart to thud deafeningly. Could he hear it, she wondered?

Their eyes met and the heat in his gaze made her entire body start to tingle. What was going on? And what was it about him that was suddenly making her act and feel like a hormone-ridden teenager?

The Doctor started to speak but the sound that came out was garbled. He cleared his throat and tried again.

"Rose, you look stunning."

She felt her cheeks grow hot. "Thank you." She took a deep breath, willing herself to calm down. "You wanted to ask me something?"

"Oh, yes, um…" he shuffled his feet and looked down at the ground.

"Just spit it out already!" Donna called from the other room.

They both jumped at the unexpected sound then began to laugh. Their laughter eased the tension between them and by the time they were both calm again, the Doctor seemed more relaxed.

"Have you ever heard of privacy?" the Doctor called to Donna.

"Well, if you'd stop dilly dallying, and just did what we talked about, I wouldn't have to resort to eavesdropping." Donna popped her head into the room. "Hi, Rose." She winked at her then grabbed the door handle. "Also, Doctor, next time, it might help if you closed the door." She pulled the door shut and her laughter rang through the TARDIS as she walked back to the control room.

"Sorry about that," the Doctor said softly taking a few steps toward Rose. "Donna never seems to know when to keep her nose out."

"She means well," Rose insisted, her eyes locked on his.

"I know she does, but this is hard enough already." He took another step.

"What is?" Rose whispered, moving closer to him, having a fair idea what this was about.

The Doctor stopped about a foot away from her. He was so close she could see his Adam's apple move as he swallowed, could hear the sharp intake of breath as he prepared to speak.

"?" he finally said in one quick, gasping breath.

She blinked. "What? I didn't quite catch that."

He nodded, took another deep breath and reached for her hands. "Rose," he said more slowly. "Will you go on an adventure with me tonight?"

She frowned, trying to hide her disappointment. She'd clearly read more into his actions than what was actually there. "I guess. I mean, if you think it's not too soon after our adventure today."

His eyes widened slightly and worry shone through his enlarged pupils. "Oh, um…" He scuffed his toe against the floor. "Actually, I didn't mean that sort of adventure. I was thinking of something more private, where it's just us, and less running. Maybe something involving a meal and perhaps even some," he swallowed nervously, "dancing."

The final word was spoken so softly that Rose had to strain to hear him. Dancing? What was he… Suddenly, it all clicked into place and she gaped at him, stunned. "Doctor, is this your way of asking me out on a… a date?" she asked incredulously.

"If you want to use a term that belongs to Earth in the 20th and 21st centuries… Personally I prefer to - " His cheeks flushed as he spoke and Rose finally put him out of his misery by pressing her finger over his lips, effectively shushing him.

"Doctor, it doesn't matter what we call it." Their eyes locked and Rose pulled her hand away. Suddenly her heart was beating a lot more rapidly.

There was silence for a long moment while they stared at each other. Finally the Doctor started to shuffle his feet restlessly. "Ummm, so…"

"So?"

"You never gave me an answer."

Rose kicked herself mentally. He was right, she hadn't. "Oh! I'm sorry."

His face fell and she realized that he'd thought her apology was a negative answer. Quickly she closed the distance between them again and gently touched his cheek, forcing him to look directly at her.

"Yes, Doctor. I would love to go on an adventure with you."

FIN

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Authors Note: This is NOT really the end because I have much more planned for Shakespeareverse. In fact, I am going to try to continue posting something ShakespeareVerse related every Friday. For the time being, these will mostly be short stories, either one shots - or 2-3 chapters, but there's another long story in the works as well. I'm planning to write the third, long instalment in this universe during NaNo this November so you can expect that to be appearing on your Flists probably in January. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, all stories posted to this universe will be tagged series: shakespeareverse.

I'm still accepting prompt ideas for future Shakespeareverse shorts on Live Journal, but I will accept prompts in the comments or by PM here at as well. Here are the guidelines:

I'd like to give you an opportunity to have some input into what short stories you might like to see within this 'verse'.

Your prompts can be anything - missing scenes, expanded scenes, further adventures, canon tie-ins/rewrites, alternate POV's, higher rated scenes... etc. There are no guarantees I'll write the story, but here's your chance to give me ideas I'd never have otherwise! You can leave as many prompts as you like. There are no limits!

Happy brainstorming! I can't wait to see what you all come up with!

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