Questions and Reassurance and Unexpected Plans

"You gave up so much for me," she murmured into her pillow, completely out of nowhere.

The Doctor sighed into her hair. "No I didn't."

"Yes you did," she argued, twisting her head around to look him in the eye. "You gave up a life of whizzing about time and space to end up stuck on some parallel Earth."

"I wanted to," he shrugged, trailing his hand up and down her bare arm.

"Why, though?" she asked, in a small, quiet voice.

"Because I want to spend the rest of my life with the woman I love," he told her softly. "I can do that here. We can have our forever." He sniffed, glancing away. "Besides, you've given up everything for me in the past."

Rose settled her head back on her pillow and stared up at the ceiling. "I did?"

"Of course you did. You chose to come back and save me when you could've stayed away and safe. You came back and chose me over your Mum." He looked at her steadily, and insisted, "We're even."

"I've still got all that, though. More so. Mum, and now Pete, Tony...you..."

"And I have all that too," he replied, eyebrows furrowed in confusion.

"It's not the same though, is it?" Rose countered sadly. She plucked at the duvet despondently. "Your whole way of life, it's just...gone."

"Well, don't go on about it," he chuckled. "I didn't have you down as a moper, Rose Tyler."

"I'm not moping," she sighed.

He shifted closer, slipping his arm beneath the covers to wrap around her waist. "You are," he murmured, sounding concerned. "I miss it, yes. I know you do, too. But Rose, I had centuries of all that. Centuries. Do you know how tired I was of it all, before I met you?"

She snuggled into him and he felt her shake her head as her hair tickled his neck. He chuckled again, and held her tighter. "Well, I was very tired," he told her seriously. "So very tired. You gave me life again, Rose Tyler. Not just a reason to live – though you were that, too – but also, a reason to enjoy living. You reminded me of all the good there is to see in the universe."

Rose lifted her head again to give him a pointed look. "All the good in the universe you can't see anymore," she said flatly.

He growled at her then, mostly in frustration, partly in amusement at her stubbornness. "Rose. Stop being so melodramatic."

"Me? You're the melodramatic one. You're the Chief Dramatist, you are. As if one little human girl managed to turn your life around," she scoffed, tucking her head back into the crook of his neck.

"Not just any human girl, Rose," he sighed. "And you did. You made me better, remember? And you were simply so irresistible that I was universally compelled to fall in love with you."

She giggled at that. "Universally compelled?"

"Yep. Forced, I was," he grinned into her hair. He kissed the top of her head, and lowered his voice to a whisper, "You're better."

"Better than what?" she retorted.

"Everything else," he shrugged simply.

"Now you're just being sappy."

"No. Uncharacteristically romantic," he corrected.

"Sappy."

"Romantic."

"Sappy."

"Romantic."

"Sappy!" she insisted.

"Romantic." The Doctor laughed when she groaned in annoyance. "You know I could keep that up all night," he smirked.

"You've told me that before," she teased right back, raising an eyebrow.

"Cheeky," he grinned, tickling her ribs. Then, he shifted down, rolling her slightly so that he could look at her face to face. "Rose, what's brought all this worrying on tonight?"

She closed her eyes from his curious, anxious gaze and took a steadying breath. "I'm worried that one day, you're going to wake up and decide you're bored of all this."

"All what?" he asked huffily. "You? Us? Don't be daft, Rose. I'm sticking around for the long haul."

"But what if you don't?" she snapped, opening her eyes.

He frowned at her, hurt by her implication. "I'm never going to leave you," he said firmly. "Why don't you believe me when I say that?"

"You never believed me when I used to tell you that."

"That was different," he protested. "That was when I knew that one day, you were going to – to..." he broke off, swallowing the word.

"Die," she finished for him, and he flinched. She bit her lip anxiously. "Look, I'm sorry," she murmured. "I just...I keep thinking about how happy I am, how happy I think we are, and it just seems like it's too good to be true. I s'pose I'm just way too paranoid."

"I'll say," he snorted.

"But can you blame me? Really? With what's happened to us in the past?"

"Rose, we haven't been separated by a void for a while, now. I think we're doing okay on the not getting split up side of things, relatively speaking. In fact, when was the last time we weren't together? Can you remember? Because I can't."

"S'pose," she grumbled. "But still. What if - "

"Stop it," he insisted quickly. "Stop saying what if this, what if that. Just...go with it. Go with the flow, isn't that what humans like to say? Live and let live. And all that. Stop analysing it all. That's what I do, not you. Just...be happy, and don't feel guilty or scared by it, yeah?" He watched her unblinkingly as she listened to him until she nodded her head in reluctant assent. "Good."

They were quiet for a few moments. Then:

"But - " she began.

" – no!" he interrupted. "No buts. I love you, you love me, we are going to grow old and grey and wrinkly together and take holidays in Eastbourne when you're eighty-four and we're going to eat chips by the sea, holding hands, even then. And we're going to have a little cottage in a nice little village somewhere that still has a library and a post office and our children and grandchildren will visit us at the weekends and you'll still not be able to cook a Sunday dinner for them, even then, because really, Rose, I'm sorry, but you are atrocious at cooking. But, even though you are atrocious at cooking, I still want to be with you until my very last breath. So there."

Rose stared at him, tears glistening in her eyes. "You..." she started, her voice cracking so much she had to let the rest of her sentence trail off.

"What do I have to do to prove to you how much I want this?" he asked her quickly, tenderly stroking her hair back from her eyes.

Rose cleared her throat to try and find her voice. "Nothing," she whispered. "Nothing, I'm sorry." She smiled, and cupped his cheek with her hand. "You just did. Thank you. And thank you for insulting my culinary skills, mister," she added, poking him in the chest playfully.

"No problem," he smiled back. He pressed his forehead into hers. "Are you sure there's nothing else you'd like?"

"Like what?"

"Weeellll...Jackie mentioned..." he began nervously.

"Mum mentioned what?" she asked curiously.

"Well, she mentioned..."

"What?"

"Weddings," he blurted. "Well. Wedding, singular. Not more than one, that would be going too far, I think."

Rose burst out laughing. "Has Mum been on at you to propose to me?"

He winced. "That's...not really how I wanted it to sound, no."

"But this is all her idea, right?" she grinned knowingly.

"No!" She narrowed her eyes at him sceptically and he relented. "Well. Well, maybe a little. Just a bit, though! I did, sort of, just, well...assume, really. I suppose I assumed we would, at some point. Your mother just sort of...brought the idea forward in my mind."

"Right," Rose smirked.

"What?" he asked defensively. "It's true! I've planned our whole lives out, remember? Holidays in Eastbourne and grandchildren? That kind of hints at marriage."

"Or just, long-term partnership," she pointed out.

"Yes, but with that, see, you don't get any cake and gifts and a nice sex-filled holiday and - " he paused when she raised her eyebrow at him. " – and of course, that's not the true meaning of a wedding, though. A, er, wife's for life, not just for the Wedding Cake and Honeymoon – isn't that how the saying goes?" he rambled nervously, tugging his ear.

Rose giggled helplessly, wrapping her arms tight around him. "Something like that," she agreed.

"Don't you want to marry me?" he asked her quietly.

"Now that's a pessimistic way of asking," she laughed. "You're s'posed to ask do I, or will you, you big banana."

"Do I or will you, you big banana?" he repeated, chuckling. "That's a very odd thing to ask. Anyway, you're avoiding the issue. Not answering my questions; now that's a bad habit to get into, we can't have that."

"Not particularly," she answered finally. She felt him tense up, and his hands abruptly left the place they'd previously wandered to; namely, her bottom. "Doctor?"

"Right. Well. Well, that's fine. Saves all the effort, I suppose."

"Are you okay?" she asked quietly. He sounded very sad all of a sudden.

"Yes, yeah, I'm fine. I don't mind. I just thought. Weelll. I just thought maybe you'd like to wear the dress and all that. You look beautiful in white. Well, in anything. Or nothing. Whichever. Anyway." He cleared his throat. He was still rigid in her arms, and his hands still hovered in the air rather than touching her.

"Doctor - " she began.

"It's just. Well. You say all that stuff and I tell you all that and you don't want to symbolise it? Not very human of you, is it? In fact, I'd go so far as to say you're denying your own heritage."

Her face crumpled up in confusion. "What?"

"And really, think about your mother. How sad is she going to be, hmm? That she can't plan a wedding for her only daughter. Hmph. Thought better of you than that, Rose Tyler. Denying your mother that sort of happiness." He tutted at her, and she stared at him in bafflement.

"Are you serious?" she exclaimed. "You seriously want to? I thought you were just joking around!"

He squinted at her. "Er..."

"Doctor?"

"Wait, I'm trying to think of the right answer to that."

"What?"

"Well, I need to know if you actually want to, first, otherwise things could get very awkward."

"I really don't care either way," she admitted. "I've never needed a ring from you to represent what we have."

"You doubted me, though. Earlier on, about the staying forever thing," he pointed out.

She waved her hand dismissively. "That's just me being hormonal or something. I know you'll stay, really. But. But...but if you want to, then yeah. Yeah, I'll marry you. But only if you want to. Not because anyone's pressured you into it, or you think I need it or whatever."

"You can't change your name, though," he said suddenly.

"What do you mean?"

"If we get married, you can't drop the Tyler. Because then I wouldn't be able to say: 'Rose Tyler' before or after every meaningful sentence. I do like saying 'Rose Tyler.' It really fits my tongue."

Rose bit back a smirk. "Right..." she replied slowly. "I promise I will not become Mrs Smith. That's just...eugh."

"Good. Bad enough that some people have to call me Mr Smith."

She scoffed. "Who actually does, though? I swear, it's proper weird how people just accept it when you say 'no, actually, I'm the Doctor, just the Doctor.'"

"The bank manager insists upon Mr Smith," he grumbled. "And I bet, at our wedding, the vicar will make me say: 'And I, John Smith, take thee, Rose Marion Tyler' - "

" – or we could just tell him not to. We can tell him to call you Doctor. He must've had weirder names to deal with, even in the House of God."

"Church wedding, then?"

"Yeah, I think so. I mean, I know neither of us have been very religious in the past, but I think I'd kind of like to believe in some aspects of it, now. Hope and all that. Eternal life. And stuff."

"What flowers do you want?" he asked playfully, twirling a strand of her hair around his finger.

"Not roses," she laughed. "Anything but roses."

"Ah, and more importantly: what food shall we have at the reception?"

"Fish and chips," she answered easily.

"Ooh, good choice."

"And we have to get a decent DJ. Not the one that Mum got for Pete's birthday last year. That was just horrendous."

"Very true."

They went silent for a few moments.

"Oh my god," Rose said suddenly.

"Yeah," the Doctor agreed, his lips quirking up in amusement.

"We just started planning our wedding without even realising!"

"Yep!" he grinned. "Aren't we just amazing?"

She laughed. The Doctor kissed her.

They spent the rest of their lazy Sunday morning in bed, thinking and giggling about the future they would most definitely share together.