THE YEAR THAT WAS
- Zeppelin Skies, Part One -
A/N: I'm shocked that there were no edits required for this.
Restless Goddess: Beats "Closing Time" by a MILE...
Waking up this morning was difficult. Lethargic in the extreme, Rose rolled out of bed with a blank look on her face. Still despondent over how things turned out, she wasn't sure how to go about it all – now that her goal in life was ripped away from her. Still though, thinking over last night's dinner put a slight grin on her face.
The new Doctor, or John as her mother and stepfather had started calling him, completely melted when he saw Tony. And surprisingly, her brother actually allowed him to hold him. He never took to anyone that fast before, and it was startling to see the Doctor doting on the boy. He even got him to eat while sitting in his lap, which was really something. Normally, the toddler would put up a fuss and make a mess of damn near everything. Not last night though. He even ate that horrid smelling purée of asparagus and carrots, both without the fuss and mess... much.
The most ridiculous part was when he laughed over the bit of goop that ended up in his hair.
All the same, Rose spent a good hour making herself presentable. Most of the time was spent going in slow motion though. While the Doctor – John – would be interesting to shop for, her heart just wasn't in it. She froze at the bottom of the stairs when she saw him in one of the sitting chairs in the living room, though; head lolled to the side and lightly snoring.
Stifling a snickering snort at what must have been her mother placing a blanket over him, she walked over intending to wake him. She came up short however, when she realized that she'd never just looked at him – especially with him asleep like that. Even though she knew he was different, seeing him sleep like this was somehow cathartic. The calm before the storm, she thought ruefully, then blanched over the irony.
He had to have felt her watching him though, because his eyes popped open. She frowned when he started searching himself with an abrupt and somewhat panicked sounding 'Tony?' coming out of his mouth. Hearing that made her grin though, and she came into the room smirking. "What, did you fall asleep with him? Mum must've loved that."
Blinking rapidly, the Doctor turned to look at her. "Oh, hello! I, uhm, yeah." He rubbed the back of his neck and stood up with a bit of a grunt. "Something like that. The lad wanted a story, but to be honest I think he just liked being paid attention to and hearing my voice."
Looking at him incredulously, Rose had her eyebrows nearly to the top of her forehead. "I have never seen him take to someone like that before. Usually, he's fit to be tied if someone he doesn't know even looks at him."
"I'm good with kids," he said with a bit of a prideful pout. "Just have to pay attention to what they're doing and what their limits are. They get to blinking and pouting, it's time to do something else for a while. When the amount of time the eyes are closed during said blinking increases to a few seconds, then it's time to get quiet or they'll start fussing up a storm."
Mouth open now, Rose just gaped at him for a bit before the left corner of her mouth lifted up slightly. "Fraud!" she blurted. "Mister anti-domestic?" she said a bit loudly. "What was that you said about how rubbish it all was?"
His lips pursed at being caught out. "Couldn't afford it before," he said quietly, not looking at her and doing his damnedest not to smirk.
Blinking at that, Rose turned towards the kitchen. "Right. Coffee." No, that wasn't awkward at all there, Miss Tyler, she thought to herself.
Watching the kitchen door close behind her, John rubbed the back of his neck a bit more forcibly. "Can now though," he whispered. Turning round, he headed upstairs to freshen up.
Breakfast was more with the oddness that happened the previous evening. Being a Sunday, the mansion's staff had returned and done up a rather large morning meal for everyone. John had actually pouted with a small whine when Jackie took over feeding Tony, but she looked pleased over it. Rose wasn't sure if it was her succeeding in nabbing her son, or how he'd been family wired...
Nearly dropping her fork over that epiphany, she openly stared at the Doctor, John, Doctor John? Okay, her mind was going to have a cow over names, apparently. Regardless, it finally clicked in her head as to the possibilities of his actions. He either lied about not doing domestic, or something happened with Donna's memories. Possibly both. It was definitely worth investigating.
"You're fidgeting," Rose said, glancing over from behind the wheel of the car. Honestly, that was a bit of an understatement. The Doctor was drumming his fingers on his knee, and looked to be trying to stifle a fit of nerves or something. "Penny?"
He gave her a sheepish look. "Yeah, sorry. Was always uncomfortable in this universe before. Gingerbread house, remember? All fluff and bits of string in pockets. Interesting to look at, but not something you'd want to spend all your time with. But now..." he trailed off.
Glancing at him quickly, she came to a stop at one of the lights. "What?"
Looking out the window, he stared up to watch one of the Zeppelins floating about. "Bit... I dunno... more real somehow." Glancing at a bank clock, he frowned and turned to look at Rose. "Does time really move this slowly?"
Smirking at him, Rose stifled a snicker. "Time's faster over here, remember?"
"Somehow, that's not making me feel better," he muttered, turning her smirk into an outright smile.
After parking the car in the underground garage, the Doctor was busy being annoyed by the lift music. "Is that... Eric Clapton?" he asked, completely appalled.
Snorting over his reaction to that, Rose didn't have a chance to reply before her mobile started chirping. Glancing at it, she held it to her ear. "Yeah, dad? Oh... okay." She handed it to the Doctor. "Wants to talk to you."
"Yeah, Pete?" he asked, leaning on the lift rail. "Oh! Uhm. Right. No, no, that's fine. Just do me a favour and use Johnathon instead." Noting Rose's quizzical look, he held his other hand over the mic and mouthed, "Identification." Letting go, his face twisted in confusion. "How's that?" He blinked. "Oh! Never thought about that. Uh... Why don't we go with Donald on that? Yeah? Okay." His face pursed into annoyance and rolled his eyes. "Yes, Jackie, I'll stay out of trouble. We're shopping. Only trouble I'm in for, is dealing with a tape measure."
Tossing the phone back at Rose, he looked put out. "Honestly," he muttered, "you think I go looking for trouble."
Doing her best to hold in her giggles, Rose put her mobile away. "She remembers what happened to my old job."
His head snapped to her with big eyes. "I am not going to blow up Henrik's!" he half shouted.
The lift stopped with a bell ding and opened. Rose took him by the arm, still snickering. "Best not."
The only bit of real oddness that happened, was when they passed a ringing phone. That wasn't the odd part, but the man answering it sounded like he was affecting a false baritone when he answered, 'Menswear.' Pausing, the Doctor and Rose glanced at each other, then looked over their shoulders at the skinny elderly fellow. They then shook their heads and both said, 'Nah.'
Seeing him be fitted for new suits, Rose had a thought from something he said when they were coming from Norway. Standing, she caught herself before speaking up. "John? I need to go pick something up. You okay here?"
Looking over his shoulder, his arms out and being measured, the Doctor nodded. "Yep. Shouldn't be too long."
Giving him a half grin, she turned and headed for another department on the same floor. Stopping suddenly, she turned around at the feeling of being watched. Not seeing anyone right off, she noticed that the Doctor wasn't in her immediate field of vision. Not liking it, she turned and continued her quest.
Coming to a stop at a display case, she looked things over for a bit before her eyes landed on something she liked. Grinning, she called to the attendant and had her box up her purchase.
She was almost back to menswear when she heard him protesting over something. What she heard him say though, got her feet moving quicker. It also got familiar pangs of jealousy started.
"Look, I'm flattered," the Doctor said to the raven haired seamstress, "Really, I am. But get this through your thick head. I. Am. Taken. Do you understand?"
The 'lady' in question was about to turn up her wiles when she saw Rose scowling at her. Faltering, she stuttered. "Yes, sir. Sorry sir."
Satisfied that he could take care of himself, Rose spotted a floor manager and headed over with a clacking of her heels on the floor. "Excuse me," she said, getting his attention.
Hearing the rather loud conversation starter, the Doctor turned to see Rose having a bit of a to do with a manager. Cringing at her more than obvious angry, if quiet, inflections, he pitied the woman that was sizing him up for clothes. And a bit more, apparently, he thought to himself.
A bit later, Rose had him by the arm while they walked. Not to say that it was unwarranted from what happened earlier, but the Doctor was still pleased over it. However, his attention got derailed when he spied something. "Oooh."
"What?" Rose asked, when he dropped her arm to take her hand.
He came to a stop in front of a display. "Oh, that's gorgeous," he mumbled.
Turning from his grin, Rose studied the brown leather jacket that seemed to be calling the man. She raised her eyebrows on seeing him rub the leather sleeve. "What, going backwards with the wardrobe a bit?"
Her eyes went round when he turned a more than puppy dog expression at her. "Don't do that," she said quietly. That only seemed to make him turn that expression up several notches, and she kicked herself over having that particular trick being turned on her. Closing her eyes with a wince, she began to babble. "Yes, okay, fiiiiine, we can get it. Just don't do that," she said far too rapidly.
Grinning in triumph, the Doctor went about finding the right size. He chuckled when she smacked his arm over it though. "Fair play and all that, turnabout."
"Shut it," Rose snickered. Seeing something else further down made her bite her lip though. Thinking about seeing him in a pair of denim trousers set her to blinking. Not going there, she thought to herself.
She cringed again when he came to the same thought a bit later. "Gonna have to have something to wear with it. Not like it'll look all that good with a suit after all."
Purchases in hand, the Doctor said "Hi Jake," when they passed a support pillar.
Eyes wide, Rose turned around and saw a rather sheepish look on Jake's face. "What the hell are you doing here?"
"Doctor, Rose," Jake said a bit meekly.
The Doctor snickered. "Keeping an eye on us, are we?"
Rose shoved a finger in Jake's face and growled. "Deal with you later."
"Wasn't my idea!" Jake protested, watching Rose drag the Doctor out of the store.