The Series 3 AU with Rose continues! This is a sequel to my stories from "The Girl in the Stalking Spaceship", to "Doomsday Averted", all the way through the AU Series 3 up until "The Family of Blood".
Beta'd by maven13 and SamiWami (If any of my old betas are still interested in this Doctor Who stuff, lemme know and I'll forward my next chapters to you. Thanks!)
LOOK! I'm still alive, and I actually wrote something! I hope it's okay...
Disclaimer: Surprise, surprise, I don't own Doctor Who. Nor do I get anything from writing these stories - except wonderful, constructive reviews! Wink, wink; nudge, nudge ;)
Chapter 1 - Well Laid Plans
Rose woke with a start, her mattress bouncing crazily, and an even crazier grin on the face of the Time Lord in front of her - about six inches in front of her. "What?" she demanded, rolling onto her back. She'd tried to sound sleepy and stern, but she could hear the reluctant amusement in her own voice.
"All rested up, then?" the Doctor asked, head propped up on his hand as he lay on his side to face her, apparently oblivious to her righteous indignation.
Rose pushed herself up to a half-sitting position. The Doctor courteously swept her hair out of her face, but didn't give any sign of noticing the goose bumps that formed on Rose's arms at the gesture. She blinked a few times, then managed to tear her eyes away from the mischievous glint in his. "You've got your trainers on my duvet," she told him with as much grumpiness as she could muster.
He neither got up, nor kicked off the offending Converses. He just rolled back, hands now behind his head, letting one foot fall to the floor and crossing the other over his knee. "The TARDIS was monitoring your REM cycles," he told her, still smiling at her and ignoring her ignoring his original question.
It was then that Rose finally made out what the little voice in her head had been repeating for the last half a minute: "The Doctor's in your bed..." She blinked again, and swallowed, taking in the picture he made. He was lying in her bed in his shirtsleeves, pinstriped trousers, and trainers, just as comfortable as could be, his face all happy and relaxed, with - was that flour on his cheek?
Rose leaned over him to brush the substance off with her thumb, then rested her arm on his chest to examine it. She figured she could always claim she was half asleep if he questioned her, but for now she'd decided to just thoroughly enjoying his closeness and the feel of his heartsbeats. "S'what's this?" she asked him, scrunching up her eyes to focus, as if she weren't fully awake. It seemed more like confectioner's sugar, up close.
She let out a startled gasp as he wrapped an arm around her waist - when had he moved it? - and pulled her closer. "I made breakfast," he answered simply, as if her lying half on top of him was an everyday sort of occurrence. Maybe it could be, she thought. He'd been in an incredibly good mood ever since they'd left Tharnadur, and this cuddly sort of closeness seemed to go along with it.
Rose figured she must be more asleep than she'd thought, because she suddenly realized that she had neither replied to his breakfast comment, nor taken advantage of his proximity in any way. She shook her head, hoping to clear whatever must be fogging up her brain. Her hair fell in the Doctor's face as a result, and he spluttered and blew at the strands. "Sorry," she said, trying to flick her hair back without actually sitting up and moving away from him.
"Hmm," he replied with a smirk, brushing the hair back over her shoulder for her. Then he raised himself to gently kiss her lips. "I forgive you," he said, beaming at her as he let his head fall back to the bed.
Before Rose's brain could tell her body to return the gesture, the Doctor had flipped her over onto her pillow.
With another kiss - this one to her nose - he hopped off of the bed and stood, straightening his tie and making an attempt at blindly fixing his hair. "I'll put the coffee on, and just a few finishing touches. See you in a bit," he said, and practically bounced out of her bedroom.
Rose licked her lips as she lay, still a bit stunned. "Life with the Doctor," she said, grinning to herself.
After her whirlwind of a wake-up, Rose washed and dressed then tracked the Doctor down in the kitchen. He was back in his full suit, and had their meal all prepared and served up on the table. "Smells delicious," she told him as he held her chair out for her at the table. "What's with the full English, then?" she asked, looking over the assortment of familiar breakfast items piled on the plates.
"Why's there got to be a reason?" he asked, as he poured the coffee. "There is a reason," he immediately admitted, "but I don't need one just to make something you like."
"Alright," Rose allowed, "but if ya don't want me to ask, then there's gonna have to not be a reason at least once."
The Doctor sat heavily in his seat. "Touché. Now, eat up." He followed his own instruction, shoveling in at least three forkfuls before continuing. "We are in for a nice, peaceful day of fun and frivolity," he told her between bites. "The Relqine Protectorate has been at peace for one hundred years, exactly. Zog's moratorium on monarchy is about to be officially ended, and the hereditary king is due to be crowned by their version of a parliament at noon." He went on to describe the years of anticipation, the months of preparations, and the planned, weeks-long festivities.
"Zog, why's that familiar?" Rose asked. The Doctor gave a shrug and a poorly hidden grin as he continued to eat. She sighed, smiling, deciding to let him keep his secrets. It's not like she could pry anything out of him that he didn't want to share. "You been there before, then?" she asked, instead.
The Doctor shook his head then gulped down some coffee. "Here, not there," he corrected her. "We landed before you got up. And no, not just now," he told her. "Years and years later. But it's the start of their golden age. It's in all the history books."
Rose grinned as she scraped up the last of her breakfast. "So, we're goin' to see what really happened?"
"Rose, please." The Doctor sat back from his empty plate, looking mildly offended. "I've told you what happened. Fun and frivolity. Now, go get yourself changed while I clean up."
Whatever was really going on here, Rose could see it certainly had the Doctor excited. She saved her coffee from his clearing of the table, and headed straight to the wardrobe room.
She was definitely going to wear her running shoes.
The Doctor quickly tossed the breakfast plates into the sink and headed for the console room. The TARDIS was in about as good a mood as he was, and she said she'd do the washing up. This time.
Rose's engagement ring was burning a hole in his breast pocket, but the Doctor's mind was made up. Rose had asked for two weeks, and two weeks it would be. That left just eleven days, fourteen hours, and twenty-three minutes (and seventeen-point-two seconds, but who was counting?) until he could propose. And he was going to spend that time implementing the most ingenious and impressive courtship the universe had ever seen.
This wasn't just a matter of taking Rose to amazing places and events. That would just be showing off. No, he had a plan to make every stop significant and special to the two of them. Rose might not recognize it, and he hoped he could pull this off without her even realizing she was being wooed, but it would all have a meaning to him.
Take Zog, for instance. He had first thought of bringing Rose here while they were at Stonehenge. That they had ended up trying - and failing - to see Elvis and that Rose had gotten her face stolen instead wasn't the point. The point was that he had wanted to bring her here after they had accidentally gotten married and Rose had teasingly demanded a honeymoon. Their actual honeymoon was going to far surpass this, he'd make sure of it, but Zog should certainly suffice for a date.
The Doctor opened the TARDIS doors, just for a peek. He wanted to make absolutely sure they were at the right coordinates, and the console readout just wasn't always as reliable as he'd like. Fortunately, they were in perfect position, both temporally and spatially, and he closed the doors again, satisfied that Rose was going to love it.
As if on cue, he heard Rose's approaching footsteps, and the Doctor sprung around the console to meet her. She had changed into a lovely off-white, summery, knee-length dress with matching pumps. It would be perfect for the festivities on Zog, where most of the old pomp had been replaced by good, clean, sumptuous partying.
Rose gave a little half-twirl of her skirts, smiling at him, and the Doctor realized he'd been staring. "Perfect," he told her, extending a hand.
"Thanks," Rose said, accepting the hand and entwining their fingers with a grin.
The Doctor thought he could definitely get used to a permanent smile on his face, as he led her to the TARDIS' doors and opened them for a second time that morning.
"Do ya ever get used to this?" Rose asked as she took in the purplish-tinged noon sky. "'Cause I don't ever wanna," she added, squeezing the Doctor's hand.
"You never would," he assured her.
She looked up at his fond smile, and shifted her grip to hold his arm as they began walking down the paved street. "Why's that?" Rose asked.
"Well," the Doctor replied, looking around them, "you're you. Even if it all looked like London, you'd still see something unique. Maybe just one person in a crowd, or a flower or a rock that caught your eye."
Rose bit her lip, a little embarrassed by his compliment. She decided to shift the focus, pleased as she was with his opinion of her. "An' there's always somethin' unexpected with you around," she observed. "So, c'mon," she wheedled, "when are we, really?"
"Right when we're supposed to be," he answered. "Don't you believe me?"
"We on Zog?" Rose asked.
"Are we on - Rose, I told you, it's the coronation of King Jesteen XXIII. That," he pointed to a large, white building a little ways up the hill they had begun climbing, "is the Relqine Palace. It's been the Congressional Seat for the past century, but the soon-to-be-king's got some lavish accommodations in there," he said as an aside. "That is a portrait of Jesteen," he said, indicating a large banner hanging from a building that might have been an inn. "And this," he pulled her close as a large group of pedestrians jostled them as they passed, "is a group of locals hurrying on their way to the coronation." He slipped his arm free from her grip to wrap it around her waist. "We are on Zog, and we are on time. The weather's pleasant, there are no wars about to break out, and we are going to a party." He glanced sidelong at her. "And don't sound so surprised."
Rose watched as the group ahead of them disappeared around the bend in the road, most of them dressed in attire similar to her own. For the first time that morning, she realized that they really were on their way to a party. The Doctor was taking her to an honest-to-goodness party, fun and frivolity and all that, and she was allowed to relax and enjoy it. The revelation actually brought her to a standstill, and consequently brought the Doctor along with her.
"What's wrong?" he asked, obviously concerned.
"I just - I guess I really am surprised," she admitted.
The Doctor's mouth dropped open a bit before he admonished her. "Rose Tyler. My driving is not that bad." Despite his apparently being right, she couldn't help but scoff at the claim. "It's not!" he defended.
"So, you were aiming for Tharnadur five hundred years after the Family'd left," she said, smiling again.
The Doctor frowned, but she could tell he was at least a little amused. "They still remembered them," he said, trying to justify himself. "Genetic memory."
Rose was not about to let Mister Cardiff, not Venice off the hook that easily. "An' the banana grove on Villengard?" she challenged.
"We were that close," he told her, holding his thumb and index finger apart - no, she was pretty sure they were together. "And it wasn't just me driving, if you'd care to recall," he added, eyes twinkling.
Ah, yes, she recalled his hands-on TARDIS-driving instruction... but still. "Spaceship crashin' into a sun."
"Distress call," he shot back. "Following on, might I remind you, from a perfectly-navigated trip back to a certain chippy in order to successfully close a circular paradox."
Okay, so he had done a rather spectacular job of landing them just at the right spot to steal his Ninth self a snog... and now he was grinning at her, probably guessing quite accurately that she was thinking of their kiss, and leaning in just so, giving her the perfect opportunity for a little reenactment...
For the briefest moment, she didn't know why, but she suddenly thought of John Smith. The Doctor as John Smith, about to try and kiss her for the supposedly first time...
Rose blinked and it was gone, and she found herself right back in their little tete-a-tete. "So, 's a matter of motivation?" she asked, smacking the Doctor in the face with the proverbially turned tables. Rose almost regretted her comeback. As endearing as his goldfish look was, it was much less kissable than most of his other faces.
He expertly avoided the issue, and only rarely at a loss for words asked, "Why the heels, then, if you were planning on running?"
"They're my runnin' heels," she answered simply. "From the thirty-somethingth century? Thirty-fourth, I think." She was pretty sure that was right.
He was pouting. "Still, then why'd you bother with the dress at all, if you didn't think I could possibly get us here?" he asked.
Rose hadn't meant to hurt his feelings, and still hoped she hadn't. She gave him a small nudge and a grin to try and lighten things up. "'S half the fun," she told him. "Like meetin' Queen Victoria in dungarees. Why, don't ya like it?" She gave her dress another little twirl.
"Don't change the subject. I'm trying to be mad at you," he grumbled, watching her skirts settle. Which, of course, was the surest way to tell Rose that he was most certainly failing at the alleged attempt.
"You do like it," she observed with a smile and stepped closer to him.
"Of course I do," he said, rolling his eyes as he took her hands. "But it would be much more appropriate at the coronation in the Grand Hall," he looked off in the direction of the palace, attempting to tug her into motion, "for which - by some freak accident, it seems - we have arrived precisely on time and in the ideal location."
Rose feigned reluctance as the Doctor began walking backwards, pulling her along the road. Now that she'd gotten her head around it, she was really looking forward to a peaceful, alien party.
"There'll be dancing," the Doctor sing-songed cajolingly.
Rose raised her eyebrow as if unconvinced, even though her heart did a little flip.
"Even... chips," he drawled.
"They've really got chips?" she asked.
"Some... form of chips. Yeah, of course they have chips," he insisted.
She pursed her lips. "It has been a while," she allowed.
"That's my Rose," the Doctor said happily, pulling her once again into step beside him.
"Yeah, alright," Rose smiled back at him, "but if the chips are no good, it's twenty-first century London, next stop."
"This... is good!" Rose panted as they ran through the trees, taking a short cut back to the TARDIS. "I was thinkin'... between breakfast.. an' nice, peaceful trips... I'd haveta start exercisin' or somethin'."
"Har, har," the Doctor replied, pulling her along behind him as he picked out their path.
"I mean, you were right... about Zog," she admitted. "No wars, no... secret plots or... anythin' to prove... the hist'ry books wrong."
The Doctor shot her a nasty look, and she was sure he knew where she was going with this.
"Just some stupid rule... 'bout spittin' out a mouthful of... those blue chips things... all over... Princess Cartara's shoes."
"I have a very developed sense of taste," he defended, looking studiously ahead as they ran.
"Not so much smell, though," Rose answered. "I told ya... they were off."
Rose glanced back at another shout from the guards, just as they broke out of the trees. They ran quickly across the road and crashed against the TARDIS. The Doctor opened the doors in just the nick of time, and they closed the doors together, catching a glimpse of one of the guards raising his weapon to aim.
Rose saw the Doctor look her over as she leaned against the door catching her breath. "Alright?" he asked.
"Not even... a twisted ankle," she answered, pointing her toe to show off her handy-dandy running pumps. She really loved these shoes.
"Excellent, so..." the Doctor clapped his hands and hopped to the console. "Enough of Zog. Next stop, as promised, London..." He began the dematerialization sequence, then started inputting coordinates. "Oh, let's make it Saturday the 2nd of June, 2007?"
That is to say, next stop, "Blink" as you've never seen it before!
To be continued...