A/N: Wrote this straight after The Impossible Astronaut aired (so, spoiler alert for that), but before I saw Day of the Moon. I've tweaked a couple of bits since I saw it, so spoiler alert for that, too. Assume this takes place after the two-parter. Basically, with all this suspicion and theorising about who River is, I thought I'd get the Doctor to ask Rose for advice on one of his frequent trips back to see her in the past. Hope you like xx
Tell Me What You Think, Rose
They flopped onto their backs side by side, panting.
"Well," she began. It was as far as she got; she was too speechless to continue.
"Indeed," he agreed, chuckling as he caught his breath back. "You are..." he trailed off. Words were superfluous.
"Oh, you too."
He grinned up at the ceiling. "I've missed this."
"Sex with me or sex in general?" she questioned, raising an eyebrow.
"Both, considering both include you."
"Thought you said you had a dalliance with Queen Lizzie, too," she pointed out, smiling her teasing smile.
"Yes, well. Least said about that the better," he laughed. He turned his head to observe her flushed face and happy grin. "You're all that matters, though." He kissed her bare shoulder then rolled on top of her to kiss her lips. "Just you. Always."
"Mmmm," she murmured appreciatively. "That's lovely, but can you get off me? I'm sweltering."
"Alright," he laughed and rolled back over. "Too knackered to do another round?"
"Only because of you!" he countered. "All your fault, this awakened sex drive thing."
"Really?" Rose was very pleased with this news.
"Yes, really. The torture you've put me through, honestly!" he exclaimed dramatically, prompting Rose to have a bout of hysterical laughter. "What? It's true! Torture, absolute torture, it was, before we got together properly - having to be with you every day and not...ahem." He coughed pointedly.
"You could've made a move way before you did, you know."
"I believe it was you that seduced me on that beach, anyway."
"Exactly! I had to do all the hard work! Scary, that was. I thought you might..."
"What? Reject you? No chance. Head over heels, me, and way too turned on at the sight of you in the tiny white bikini. And everything else, actually." He extended his arm across the pillow and stroked her hair softly. "You really have no idea how gorgeous you are, do you?"
"Give me half hour and I'm going to reward you for saying that," she smiled happily. She turned her head and watched him quietly.
"What?" he asked, feeling her eyes on him.
"You want to tell me something. I can tell."
His eyes widened. "How do you do that?"
"Read me so well! It's...it's..."
"Nice, actually. I like it."
"You like it?" she repeated, baffled.
"Yeah. You know me so well. I like that."
"Come on then, out with it. What've you done, now?"
"What do you mean, what've I done!" he exclaimed.
She arched her eyebrow. "Doctor, last time you looked like this it was because you wanted to tell me that Amy came onto you."
"Exactly! I didn't do anything! Completely all her."
"Come on then, tell me."
He sighed. "It's..."
"What?" she urged gently.
"Ohhhh," she said knowingly. "Right."
"Listen, I just...she's really..." His point trailed off. "I don't know what to do. I think she...I think she, you know. Likes me. In, you know, that way. She keeps flirting with me. Well. I suppose I did sort of flirt back, last time. Oh, and I might have accidently kissed her goodbye. Sorry." He bit his lip and looked at her sheepishly.
"Oh, lovely pillow talk, this is," Rose giggled. "How many more women are going to succumb to the Doctor's charm, eh?"
"I'm sorry, it's just...I'm so scared, and you're the only one I can talk to about it."
She frowned and reached for his hand, instantly in comfort mode. "What do you mean? You just said you were flirting back! And you flipping kissed her - what are you scared of?"
"Who she is."
"But she sounds friendly enough," replied Rose, puzzled. "From all what you've told me about her, she doesn't sound, you know, hostile or anything. And if she likes you, then so what? Plenty of other people have done."
"I don't mean that I think she's dangerous. Although, there is something about her I don't quite trust yet. But no, I just mean...I'm scared of who she is, to me, in the future."
"Don't be scared about it, just let it happen."
"I don't want to."
She laughed. "Well, you going to sort of have to."
"I feel like I'm betraying you by even entertaining the notion that she might mean something to me in the future," he confessed quietly.
She tightened her hold on his hand. "Don't feel bad about it, Doctor. I want you to be happy."
"And if she makes you happy then that's good, alright? I don't want you to be alone when I'm...gone."
"But I've told you before," he protested. "I've never needed anyone like that, not until you. I'm quite the 'fall in love once' kind of guy. That's for you and I don't want to feel that for anyone else. Couldn't ever feel what I feel for you for her, I just couldn't. And yet she talks about herself as if she's everything."
Rose swallowed past the lump in her throat. "Doctor, you don't know what's going to happen in the future. Maybe she and you have something special."
He scoffed and rolled onto his side to stare at Rose quizzically. "Why are you being so..."
"I don't know, just...you're being so good about it."
"Like I said. I want you to be happy," she answered quietly.
"I'd rather you be jealous," he sniffed, rolling away from her again.
"Would you though?" she countered. He didn't answer, so she flung her leg over his and twisted herself up to sit astride his lap, looking down at him. "Would you? Because I think you need me to tell you it's alright. I think that's why you came today."
He looked up at her and shook his head furiously. "No. No, that's not why I come back to you, you know that."
"Still. You think you need my permission or whatever. But you don't. I don't own you, especially not in the future."
"I remember you being way more possessive in the past," he huffed, glancing away.
"I'm growing up, Doctor," she murmured. She cupped his face with her hands to draw his gaze back to hers. "I'm realising that as much as I want to, I'm not going to be here for you for the rest of your life. And that's okay, if you've got someone there to look out for you in the future." She paused, her hands sliding to his bare chest, resting one over each heart. "Someone to look after these."
He placed his hands atop hers. "Rose, you've got them. You've always had them. No one else."
"But there's room enough in your life to love someone else. And you deserve to always have someone loving you."
His expression was pained and she leaned forward to kiss his forehead, to smooth out his frown.
"She knows my name, Rose," he murmured.
She pulled back quickly. "Right." He stared into her eyes deeply and she let out a long breath. "I'm guessing that I don't ever find that out."
She probably does, he reasoned to himself. He's probably told her, now. But he couldn't exactly tell her that, when she didn't know what was to happen to her, where she was going to end up. And who with.
He shook his head gently. "No. But Rose, I didn't mean to not tell you. It just...it would've had to have been during certain...circumstances...that didn't arise with you."
"Well, perhaps it was a life or death situation. Names have power, especially the last of the Time Lord's one."
"Or maybe," she pointed out wisely. "It was at a wedding."
The Doctor raised his eyebrow. "She does keep hinting that a wedding will take place."
"Well there you go then," she said brightly. Too brightly, considering the topic of conversation.
"She's so elusive about it though, so I don't know exactly whose it is."
"Yes, but that would be spoilers," she reminded him.
He sighed heavily and closed his eyes. "I'm getting sick of it."
"What, not knowing?"
"Now you know how we all feel, with you and your enigmatic self!" she giggled, poking him lightly in the chest.
"It's not funny!" he protested, opening one eye to glare at her reproachfully. It didn't really have the same effect as with two eyes, so she giggled harder.
She stopped laughing when he added, "I tell you everything I can."
He slid his hands up her thighs to rest on her hips, where he let his thumbs trace circles over the sensitive skin there. He smiled as she shivered. "I said, I tell you everything I can. Over the years we're together, I tell you as much as I possibly can. But nine-hundred years of life is a lot to get through. And now, well. I can't tell you much else now, because of the risks of paradoxes and that. Believe me, it takes an awful lot of restraint not to blurt out everything about our future." He lifted his hand to stroke her cheek tenderly with the back of his hand. "About how I lose you."
Her eyes glistened and she blinked quickly. "Right," she exhaled roughly.
They remained silent for a few moments, both staring at their hands where they lightly touched the person's skin. The Doctor's hand had dropped from her cheek back to her hip. Rose was running her hands across his chest, searching for something to say.
"You know what really annoys me about her?" he said suddenly.
Rose smiled softly. "Now, now, Doctor. Don't start bitching behind her back."
He rolled his eyes. "She keeps shooting my hats off!"
"She did it again?"
"Yep! And it...it was..." he swallowed thickly and closed his eyes again. "I mean, the fez was bad enough, but this...! It was inexcusable, this time."
"Why's that?" Rose asked quietly, taking in his sombre expression.
"It was my Stetson," he answered.
She started giggling again. "Oh no! I'm so sorry, that must have been such a great tragedy for you!"
The Doctor didn't crack a smile. "Do you know who bought me that Stetson?"
Rose's giggles faded a bit. "Who? Butch Cassidy?"
He opened his eyes and she startled at the unshed tears she saw in them. "You. When we go to the Wild West. You. Because I say how cool they are, you sneak off and buy one for me. And she shot it clean off my head!"
Rose offered him a wry smile. "Well, maybe she's tired of seeing you wearing gifts your ex-girlfriend's given you."
"Stop it," he snapped.
"You're not ex anything. You could never be an ex. Time's relative, remember. All wibbly-wobbly. You're mine and I'm yours and that extends both backwards and forwards in time, alright? Forever."
"Doctor, you're going to have to move on at some point."
"Would you be able to, then? Is that what you're saying? If I left you now, would you be able to move on and fall for someone else?"
His questions came quick and harsh. "No, of course not," she answered carefully. "But you've got centuries to live without me, Doctor, so you're going to have to, or it'll hurt too much."
"But Rose, don't you see? Don't you understand?" He sighed heavily. "I'm in love with you. I will always be in love with you." Her breath hitched at his words and he tugged her forward to fall against his chest, so that he could wrap his arms around her. "River could bring as much mystery and teasing into my life as she likes, but she won't ever replace you, and I can never love her like I love you, not even close. I don't know how she knows my name. I don't know how she knows how to fly the TARDIS. I don't know why she has a sonic screwdriver. I don't why she keeps talking in innuendo about handcuffs and screaming - "
Rose lifted her head and arched her eyebrow at this and he scowled at her. She muffled a giggle and dutifully put her head back down to listen to his racing double heartbeat.
" – I don't know why she thinks she can shoot my headwear off. I don't know why I keep meeting her. I don't know why we're going in different time-directions. I don't know how she first meets me. And I don't like it. I don't like this non-linear thing she and I seem to have, because I feel like I'm being forced into things and feelings I wouldn't normally do or feel. She's imposing her so-called knowledge of our future on me, making me feel like I've got to trust her because from all those clues she must be important to me, but..." he trailed off in frustration.
"So, what you're saying is, how do you know she isn't just saying all of that so that you trust her?"
"Exactly!" he answered. "She's making me think that she's my future wife or whatever, but then, because she's doing that, my thoughts from now on are always going to be biased, right?"
"You think you're looking for something that isn't there?"
"Yes, exactly!" he exclaimed, pleased she understood where he was coming from. He knew she would. "If – and I repeat if very, very assertively – I somehow find myself falling for her, it won't be genuine. It couldn't ever be genuine, not like the pure honest love I feel for you, because she's telling me to. It's like it could be a big paradoxical romance that has to happen, but I have no say in it. Do you get what I mean?"
"Yeah," Rose answered. "Yeah, I understand." She pushed herself up into sitting position again. "When did she first start all this? When did you first meet her?"
He winced. "I can't really tell you – timey-wimey, lumpy-bumpy and all that. But remember, I told you it was in a library, with the - "
"- Vashta Nerada, yeah, I remember. And she's an archaeologist, right?"
"And that was the last time she ever meets you, because she gets 'saved' with that computer thing?"
He nodded again.
Rose bit her lip thoughtfully. He sat up eagerly and leant against the headboard, drawing her more firmly into his lap. "What are you thinking?" he asked her, watching her eyes twinkling.
She shrugged. "Just wondering who she could really be."
His eyes lit up in hope that his Rose would help him work it all out. "Any suggestions?" he asked hopefully, his hands travelling up and down her back in a teasing touch. "Because right now, a naked Rose straddling me whilst being so very clever is..." He let out a rush of breath, indicating that there were no words to describe the brilliance of such a thing.
She shivered distractedly at his touch but did not let it deter her from the mystery he was so keen for her to help him solve. "Well, it could either be that she's someone we already – or rather, you already – know."
"It could?" His eyebrows rose.
"Yeah, like in a different form. Or she could be working for someone that you know."
"You think it could be some sort of conspiracy? A trap?" he enthused. He adored Rose even more when she had clever ideas. His fingertip traced circles in the small of her back as he waited for her to answer.
"But then again, the way she talks to you...nah, it sounds like she really feels something, to be honest."
He deflated again, and let his hands wander to her bum to console himself. "Oh."
"But that doesn't mean there isn't some other thing going on," she continued, lifting herself up instinctively so that he could grope to his hearts' content. "Some higher purpose. Maybe things start out genuine and then there's an ulterior motive that arises. Or maybe there's an ulterior motive to begin with, but then she develops actual feelings."
He shrugged. "Maybe. But what?"
Rose lifted her hands and ran them through his hair absently as she carried on postulating. "Maybe she's linked in with this business about the silence will fall thing, or..." She paused suddenly, and stared at him, eyes wide.
"What?" he prompted.
"Wait a minute. Earlier on, before you distracted me with sex, did you say Amy had kept a big secret from you? That she finally told you in that warehouse? What was it?"
"Oh!" he exclaimed. "Yes, I forgot to tell you! She said she was pregnant!"
"Oh, that's brilliant!" Rose beamed.
"Ah. Well, no, actually – later, she told me she'd made a mistake. But, when I ran the scan of her without her knowing, it was all confusy-woosy and - "
Rose squeezed her eyes shut. "Please tell me you did not just say 'confusy-woosy.'"
He winced. "That holds the title as worst phrase I've ever said, doesn't it?"
"Yes. Yes it does," she agreed, nodding sagely. "Anyway! Scanner?"
"Ah yes. So the scanner can't seem to decide whether she is or not."
Her brow furrowed. "Have you spoken to her about this?"
He looked away sheepishly.
"I'll take that as a no. Doctor, you have to talk to her about it! Soon as you get back, alright?"
"But...but how awkward is that conversation going to be?"
"Very, I should imagine. Especially as you seem to have no idea why it's not giving you a clear answer. But she deserves to know what's going on in her own body!"
"Fine, fine. I'll talk to her."
"Good," she said, sounding satisfied, but the Doctor could tell she was anxious about something. He could see it in her eyes.
"What is it?" he asked her.
"Nothing!" she denied, perhaps too quickly. She tried to smile reassuringly and then went to change the subject, "So anyway - "
"No, come on. Tell me what you're thinking."
She shook her head. "It's nothing."
He leant closer to her, their noses almost brushing. "I know that face. That's your I'm not going to worry him just because I've got a gut instinct that all is not as it seems, because my gut instinct might not be correct face." He paused to tickle her ribs and she squealed. "Well let me tell you, Rose Tyler. Your gut instinct is very important to me, because it is, very often, correct. I love your gut instinct. So please, tell me."
She let out a shaky breath. "I don't want to put even more of a downer on the entire situation, but don't you think something's a bit strange?"
"If she is pregnant? Nah. They're in the honeymoon faze. They're bound to forget to use condoms at least once."
Rose rolled her eyes at him. "That's not what I meant, you daft idiot. I just think...well, maybe there's something else she isn't telling you. Being pregnant can't just be it, there must be something else."
"Because she was evidently scared of telling you – I mean, when she thought she was, when she told you the first time."
"Well, maybe she didn't want to give up the travelling..."
"Or maybe something's going on. She told you suddenly, right? In the middle of that place. Why so sudden? Why did it have to be then, right at that specific moment? Something bigger is going on. What if it's all linked?"
"No, seriously, listen. What if all this...this stuff that's been happening to you recently is all linked together?"
"Time can be rewritten, that's what you told me."
"Well. Theoretically, yes."
"So...something's happening. Something's happening." She nodded decisively.
He squinted at her in bafflement, and wrapped his arms around her waist, squeezing tightly. "You're so..."
She shifted slightly, a little self-conscious in his intent gaze. "What?"
"Brilliant, really. The way your mind works. You're not even there, seeing this stuff, and yet just from what I tell you..."
"Well, you are a very good story-teller," she smiled, looping her arms around his neck. She looked at him steadily. "Doctor, I think you should be careful."
"I'm always careful!"
She sent him a disbelieving look. "I mean it. Keep your eyes open for every little thing."
"I always do!" he exclaimed.
"Sometimes you miss things that are obvious."
"London Eye, anyone?" she pointed out with a triumphant grin.
"Oh alright, you can have that one," he relented, smiling at the memory.
"And sometimes you miss things that are really subtle. Don't forget anything you see. Treat everything as if it means something, that's what you've taught me. No one says anything that isn't important. Amy's throwaway lines might not seem to mean anything, but later on...they might be as important as what sounds important. If you know what I mean. I wonder what..." she trailed off.
"What do you think she knows?" he asked her quietly.
"I don't know," Rose answered, sounding apologetic. "But you'll find out."
"Yeah," he breathed out roughly. "I suppose I will." She smiled at him gently and he tilted his head to the side. "I wish..." he broke off, swallowing hard. He wishes Rose could find out with him. He wishes she could hold his hand.
"I know," she pre-empted for him. "Me too." She leaned closer and pressed a soft, comforting kiss to his lips. "How long have we got left before you come back?"
"About forty minutes. I sort of..." His nose wrinkled as he tried to think of an excuse.
"You got lost, didn't you," she stated blankly.
"No!" he retorted defensively. "Of course not."
"You did," she persisted. "Again."
"Well, maybe just a little bit," he relented.
"Let's make the most of it, then," she suggested, running her hands down his torso invitingly. "You never know; you might get an epiphany at just that moment - "
He cut her off with a kiss, and their laughter was muffled in each other's mouths.
A/N: Just another quick thing: for the perceptive among you, I'm aware I made an error within this, as in, it was the 1000-odd Doctor not the 900-odd Doctor who had his stetson shot off his head. But I wrote it before I remembered that – in the haze of midnight-writing lol - and upon read-through and realisation, I decided I still liked the banter around the issue so left it in. Please forgive my non-canonical slip-up :D (after all, I'm sure there have been many continuity errors overlooked in the actual show over the years lol) As always, thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed it! xxx