Notes: Written for a prompt at eleventy_kink, the Eleventh Doctor-era kinkmeme on Live Journal.
Features angst, time-line crossing and light smut.
Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who.
Paradoxes in London
It's November the sixth, 2004.
The moment the TARDIS doors swing shut behind him, cold, London night air hitting his face and the raucous noise of the city hitting his ears, the Doctor suspects that somehow, he's messed up the timing. Amy shivers and hugs her jacket tighter about herself, whilst Rory glances around, still for all the world looking slightly bemused. The Doctor had promised them a date, a proper one, in London, Earth, because the last alien planet they'd landed on for a romantic evening for two had ended in mayhem – despite all his best intentions, he'd parked the TARDIS the very year of the revolution, and, well.
"So, Doctor," Amy says, coming to stand beside him, "where's this restaurant you were raving about?"
"It's –" he cuts off and turns in a circle, before striding confidently towards the main road out of their conveniently placed little back street. "It's this way. Come along, Pond and Pond."
He walks alongside the two of them, Rory taking Amy's hand, and continues talking, as together they cut a path through London's Friday rush. "Little Italian place, run by a lovely middle-aged man, owes me a favour actually – this way!"
"Owes you a favour – how d'you mean?" Amy asks, curious.
"Well," the Doctor begins, winding himself up for the story, and then realises his two Ponds are no longer on side. Instead, as he turns, he sees Rory clutching a newspaper in hand, staring with slightly wide eyes at the date. Amy looks a little peeved, her pout exaggerated and eyebrows raised the way they only are when he's done something wrong. So – "Did I do something wrong?" he asks, fidgeting a little.
Amy rolls her eyes at him and grabs the newspaper from her husband, brandishing it at the Doctor.
"It's 2004, Doctor," Rory cuts in before she can start. "Not quite twelve years, but still a fair way off 2010."
2004, he repeats dully inside his head. There's a furious, sudden roiling in his gut: longing and guilt and want and hurt and R—
"No, I'm missing another half-dozen," he agrees before he can continue to explore that particular line of thought, and Amy's eyebrows climb that little bit higher. "Come on, then," he tries. "It's not all bad – restaurant's still open!" A hand on her hip. "Oh, Pond." Which was probably the wrong thing to say. He backpedals in a hurry, walking up to them and slinging an arm around each of their shoulders as he starts talking. "In fact, their first chef, much better than their second. Does gnocchi like no-one else I know. And I know a lot of people. Well, I say people…"
Rory chuckles and Amy rolls her eyes again, but this time it's coloured with affection. She slaps him on the chest, and the Doctor lets go of them to clap his hands together, striding in front. He keeps ups a steady stream of chatter as they walk, refusing to listen to the little voice at the back of his mind repeating 2004 over and over again like a damning, self-fulfilling mantra.
The Doctor leaves them in the restaurant.
He tries to tell himself it's because it's a date, and they'll be happy without him there. He tells himself that what he's going to do is wrong, is so wrong and he'd already risked it once – that in a month, month and a half, his past self would cross her timeline to risk one last moment. It doesn't work, and he rests his head against the cold, unforgiving glass of the chip shop window before he pushes his way in, into the warmth.
There's many, many reasons for him not to be here, and no reason at all for her to come here. He slides onto a bench, clasps and unclasps his hands. Glances around at the few other people there, talking and laughing and happy. A wry, humourless little smile twists his mouth.
Some date you are.
He squeezes his eyes tight shut, tries to think of Amy and Rory and paradoxes and River. Grinds the heels of his hands against his eyelids. Time can be re-written. Hello, sweetie. Flashes of memory before his eyes, could have beens and will never bes and goodbyes that happened too soon. Does it really need saying? A blue suit and one heart, and—
"You alright, mate?"
"I'm always alright," he replies without thinking, and then snaps his head up, eyes flying wide open.
The Doctor lets out a long, slow breath and smiles up at her, schooling his face as quickly as he can into as calm an expression as he can muster. From where she's leaning against the chair opposite him, Rose Tyler looks down at him, eighteen and young and very much here. She's got her bright pink hoodie draped over one arm, the shoulder of her grey, simple tee slipping down. Absent-mindedly, she pulls it back up and waits for him to elaborate, wearing the same expression he's seen on her multitudes of times, concern and a huge, huge heart, out in the open for all to see.
He's overwhelmed by the urge to enfold her in a hug, to cling and never, ever let her go. Run his fingers through her hair, press a kiss to her forehead, her temple, her lips, make up for all the times they should have had together.
"Thanks," he says instead, and hits himself over the head internally.
"For what?" she replies, tongue between her teeth in a playful half-grin. It's so familiar that a fresh surge of longing shoots up through him and he bites his lip, has to glance away. When he looks back up, she looks amused, but as if she might leave, as if she could, and so he doesn't reply, but instead says, "Can I get you something to eat?"
"Sure," Rose says, then seems a little surprised that she's agreed so readily. She slides into the seat opposite him, her knees brushing lightly against his under the table. It's almost like a long-lost piece of the puzzle has finally slotted into place, and he swallows heavily. "Rose Tyler, by the way," she adds.
"Nice to meet you, Rose," the Doctor says honestly, voice slightly hoarse, and run for your life hangs unspoken in the air between them.
Her skin is soft, smooth as he slides a hand underneath her top, backing her against the bed in the hotel room he's booked them into for the night. Rose kisses him like it's something new and exciting and forbidden, but the Doctor kisses her like she's a lifeline, like he never, ever wants to let her go. One of her hands goes to fist in his shirt; he grabs it with his own, plants wet kisses over her palm and down her wrist to distract her. Mustn't find out, she mustn't know, he thinks, and nips lightly at her skin to help him swallow the emotion that surges up.
Rose has her other hand tangled in his hair; when he flicks his gaze up to hers and grins, he sees her eyes coloured over with lust, with the knowledge that this – this fling, one-night stand, that it's wrong. Only, she doesn't know quite how wrong – can't ever know, won't ever tell. There's none of the love that he used to see when he met her eyes, and he fervently hopes that none of it is coming through in his own. Just a shag, just a shag, the Doctor repeats over and over to himself, breath coming out in a moan when she slides a hand down to palm him through his trousers.
"You're something, you are, Rose," he tells her, pushing forward into her hand almost involuntarily. His voice cracks on her name, and she laughs at him, catching her tongue between her teeth. Rose's lips are a little bruised, a little swollen, and as she opens her mouth to reply he lunges forward with a growl at the back of his throat, capturing her mouth with his again. There's nothing chaste about it, about the harsh, hot, need of it.
As he pushes her backward onto the bed, her hands moving over his buttons – his tweed and bowtie lie scattered, forgotten on the floor – he mouths her name against the skin of her neck, a promise and a filthy lie all at once.
She's beautiful and heart-breaking as she comes undone beneath him, back arching and hands grasping at the sweat-slicked skin of his shoulders. Her eyes flutter closed, but he can't bring himself to look away, drinking in the sight of her the way he never has before (never will again), yet at the same time, not truly seeing her, for all the—
I love you.
Wind, whipping her hair around her face, whisking her tears away as they fall, mascara smearing around blood-shot eyes. The sand under her feet and the stupid gaping hole she left behind, two minutes and not a fucking chance to say it—
Quite right, too.
"Rose," he moans, her legs wrapping themselves around him as he moves in and out of her.
All of time and space, and all it took was him, one heart, one life-time, able to say it, able to tell her, share it with her, all of it, the things she wanted and the things that mattered, when he had to walk away.
He needs you. That's very me.
There's nothing to be done for it now, nothing to be – time can be re-written.
I've only got one life, Rose Tyler. I could spend it with you, if you want.
The Doctor reaches down a hand between them, drags a thumb across her clit. Rose writhes against him, gasping. Though it's already mussed, she reaches up a hand and tangles it in her own hair, the other dragging a line down his chest with one nail.
He's not you.
No, he's not, the Doctor thinks savagely, and I fucking love you, want you, need you. She doesn't last long after that, when he starts thrusting into her faster, rougher, very much fucking her, very much the opposite of the way he wants to savour every moment, every touch and moan and please, god, yes, the way he wants to make love to her and then curl his body around her, kiss her softly, tuck her against him where she belongs.
But when she tumbles over the edge, it's John, not Doctor, that gets dragged from her lips on a heady groan. The Doctor follows shortly after, finally squeezing his eyes shut as for one hot, white moment everything goes blank, and then he collapses, pulling out of her and falling onto the bed beside her.
Rose laughs, and flashes him a grin, before leaning over and planting a chaste kiss on his lips.
Somehow, to him, it's more intimate than the sex.
"I should go," she says, but flops back down beside him nonetheless, looking as if she has absolutely no intention of leaving.
The Doctor props himself up on one elbow, dragging his eyes up her body before settling on her face. He smiles, just a tug of his lips. "You don't have to. I did book us a hotel room, after all."
Rose quirks an eyebrow at him. "Oh?" A hot rush of emotion pours into his gut, and the Doctor swallows. Then she smiles, slow and lazy. "Yeah, alright. Maybe I will."
He waits until Rose has fallen asleep, curled on her side with her hand resting on his arm, before he stands and goes to find his clothes, placing her hand gently back on the bed. The blankets shift as she curls her fingers around them in sleep, mumbling something incoherent that tugs at his heartstrings. He stands there, then, braces hanging around his waist and shirt half unbuttoned, a lump rapidly forming in his throat.
How long are you going to stay with me?
"Forever," the Doctor whispers, and picks his jacket and bowtie off the floor.
Rose shifts and rolls onto her back, chest rising and fall with the deep breaths of sated, natural sleep. She looks so innocent, so peaceful, and he feels a fierce swell of pride as he thinks of everything that she'll accomplish, of the man she'll make of him.
Unable to help himself, the Doctor kneels beside the bed, brushes the hair off her forehead tenderly. "My bad wolf," he says thickly, and finds he has to clear his throat, his vision blurring ever so slightly. He rests his hand on her chest, feeling the vibrant, alive beat of her single heart. "I love you, Rose Tyler," the Doctor breathes, letting his head drop forward onto the bed beside her. "I love you so much, and don't you ever forget it, you brilliant, brilliant –"
The Doctor cuts off, lifts his head and presses a chaste kiss to her cheek. Lips lingering against her skin, he mouths a goodbye, and all but runs from the room before he can give in to the urge to stay.
Amy pads down the stairs to the console room on quiet feet, worried eyes on the Doctor, his back to her and hands busy at the controls. Tinkering, he called it. Keeping his mind off whatever the hell happened in London last night, Amy thinks is closer to the truth.
"You alright, Doctor?" she says quietly, walking down to stand beside him.
The Doctor's hands still. She thinks she hears a little sigh. "I'm always…" he begins, and shakes his head. Amy puts a hand on his shoulder. "Parallel universes," he finishes, and after a moment he covers her hand with his own.
Amy waits for him to explain, squeezing his shoulder once. He tightens his grip on her hand and Amy feels a stab of worry and concern.
"I lost someone to a parallel universe, once."
Something awful twists in her gut. "What happened?" she says gently. The Doctor flashes her a small, tired smile.
"She came back here to find me. And I sent her back, with a half-human half-Time Lord version of me." He's trying to conceal it, Amy knows, but his voice is bitter and guilty and almost broken, in a way, and she knows instantly.
"You went back to see her, didn't you? 2004 wasn't an accident at all."
To her surprise, the Doctor huffs a laugh. "I didn't mean it," he insists. "The old girl knows me too well, that's all." Fondly, he runs his fingers down over the console.
"Tell me about her," Amy invites, simultaneously wondering if she's somehow crossed a line.
The Doctor takes his hand off hers, and twists around so that he's leaning against the console. He doesn't look at her, instead casting his eyes about the ceiling. "Her name was Rose," he tells her, smiling fondly and sadly all at once. "Rose Tyler, defender of the Earth…"