Author's Note: PMT is the British version of PMS. Also, my husband can't remember if there were any Sears stores when he left England, so for those who don't know what Sears is, it's a department store in America. He does assure me though, that a belfry is an annex to an attic in England.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything in relation to Dr. Who or Star Wars.
Rose's head jerks up at the sound of the hotel's front doors slamming shut. "The nerve of that woman!" shouts the Doctor as he stands in the entryway wearing his 'Sonic, Been There, Done That' t-shirt and carrying a box under one arm. "Who does she think she is?"
Rose looks back at him perplexed as she wipes her hands on her pants and rises off the floor. "What woman? You mean, Mum? Is she here?"
"No, not your mum! Some completely ignorant WPC that tried to have my car towed away because she thought it was an abandoned wreck!" He gives a snort of disgust at the memory. "Officer Pond! Perfect name for someone so wet behind the ears! She'd be better off as a kiss-o-gram!"
Seeing that his tirade would only continue if she didn't intervene, Rose soothes him by saying, "She obviously doesn't recognize a classic when she sees one." Watching his features soften, she seeks to distract him further and asks, "What's in the box?"
The argument with Officer Pond immediately forgotten, the Doctor's face lights up with pride to announce, "It's our baby TARDIS!"
"What?" gasps Rose in shock. "How on Earth…?" She peers into the box. "What is that?"
"I told you," declares the Doctor as he pulls a twelve inch replica of the actual TARDIS out of the box, "it's our baby TARDIS! We needed a mailbox so I carved this one out of coral with the sonic screwdriver. The ones in the stores are so boring."
Rose picks up the mailbox, admiring his handiwork from all sides and notices deep set concentric circles and swirly patterns etched around the top of the lid's trim. "Doctor, what are all of these symbols?"
"That," he explains as he traces each marking with his finger, "is Gallifreyan for our names and address."
"That's lovely, Doctor," replies Rose as she smiles indulgently. "Maybe it's just not quite right for our mailbox? We will want to receive mail. Unless, are you planning to add a feature that sounds like the TARDIS engines when we receive mail?" she questions teasingly.
She's afraid that she's offended him as he becomes very quiet and merely gives her a blank stare in response. Then suddenly without warning, he explodes. "What a brilliant concept, Rose! Why didn't I think of that? It wouldn't be difficult at all!"
He lifts the lid off of the mailbox and starts studying the interior. "Right here, I could…"
Rose simply rolls her eyes and shakes her head in response. She's about to return to her work when the Doctor glances over at her and inquires, "What are you doing?"
Rose lets out a sigh as she surveys the mess around her. "I'm trying to clean up the rest of the water from the leak upstairs," as she looks at him rather pointedly.
Finding the baby TARDIS incredibly fascinating at the moment, he asks rather distractedly, "Do you think we can persuade the plumber to come back? Perhaps, if I beg?"
Rose stares at him in total disbelief. "After the way you attacked him?" she retorts in exasperation. "I'll be grateful if he decides not to come after us in court!"
"Well, what do you expect, Rose? It's not entirely my fault! I've traveled through time and space for centuries saving countless races and civilizations by counteracting immediate threats! So when I see what I surmise to be the shadow of a Dalek plunger, I react accordingly!"
Having heard all of this before, Rose chooses to ignore his rant and comments, "Well, the library is completely flooded, it looks more like a swimming pool."
The Doctor smiles wistfully and says, "Yeah, it'll be nice to have a touch of the old homestead."
Rose pushes aside her confusion and continues, "The leak caused more damage than just a wet floor, it shorted out some of the wiring as well." She gazes at him hopefully and asks, "Are you sure that you don't want me to call an electrician?"
The Doctor shoots Rose an affronted glance before sniffing the air in disdain. "After working on the TARDIS, I think I can handle a bit of Earth wiring. Besides, with the prices that electricians charge, it would cost us an arm and a leg."
"How is your arm and leg, by the way?" inquires Rose with a faint trace of smugness.
"Oh, much better," replies the Doctor while inspecting both appendages. "Just a bit of singed hair. Who knew humans made such great conductors?"
A knock on the door brings a reprieve for the Doctor from yet another lecture on the hazards of electricity. The Doctor opens the door to a delivery man holding a large flat box. "Hello, my good man!" greets the Doctor. "And what brings you here today?"
The delivery man looks wearily at the Doctor and then down at the box. He presents the box to the Doctor and says, "This. It's for you."
The Doctor lights up when he sees the sender's name and off-handedly remarks, "Ah, yes, thank you. A man of few words. I like that. Very efficient."
The delivery man continues to wait expectantly as Rose walks over to stand alongside the Doctor, who is busy inspecting the package for any damage. Rose offers the man a smile before tugging on the Doctor's arm and whispering, "Doctor, it's customary to give a tip."
The Doctor's head pops up immediately in realization and embarrassment and he rambles, "Oh! Why, yes, of course. Please excuse my bad manners."
He hands Rose the package as he begins to dig around in his pockets. His expression and tone are both serious as he advises, "Stay away from Officer Pond!" before shutting the door in the man's still smiling face.
"Aha! Here it is!" exclaims the Doctor as he pulls the sonic screwdriver out of his pocket and spins back around to find a speechless Rose still staring at the closed door. He waves his hand in front of her face and says, "Hello," to draw her attention back to him.
He takes the package from her and starts opening it with the sonic. "Just wait until you see this, Rose! I can't believe it's finally here! I've been waiting for this ever since I ordered it off of the website!"
Rose is caught up in the Doctor's enthusiasm and eagerly asks, "What is it?"
"A custom made doormat. A one of a kind, unique original, just like us," he answers with a smile aimed straight at her. He finally makes his way through the protective wrapping to claim his prize and she watches as his jaw goes slack just before hints of The Oncoming Storm appear in his eyes.
Rose automatically takes a step back from his burning gaze, even though it's never once wavered from the doormat. "Doctor," she questions tentatively, "what's wrong?"
"They've misspelled it," he grinds out between clenched teeth. He turns it around to show her the inaccurate welcome phrase 'HELL COME TO THE TYLER – SMITHS'.
The Doctor's shoulders slump in defeat as he lets out a sigh. "At least I hope it's a misspelling. The way this place is turning out, it could be a premonition."
"Depends," says Rose as she looks down at the floor. "Did you buy it at Seers?"
"Rose Tyler," growls the Doctor as he tosses aside the doormat. "That joke is so beneath you."
Rose glances at the doormat and deadpans, "Better that joke than that doormat."
The Doctor tugs at his hair and throws his arms out to his sides. "I'm serious, Rose! This place is a shambles! What are we going to do?"
Rose looks up at him with her tongue poking out from between her teeth and responds, "Check into a hotel?"
"Rose!" shouts the Doctor, completely exasperated at the sight of her doubled over with laughter.
With one final giggle, Rose manages to compose herself and says, "Okay, okay, I'm sorry. Just calm down. Remember, you're the one who wanted to move in before the renovation was complete because you felt trapped back at the mansion."
The Doctor crosses his arms and sulks at this reminder until Rose gives him a shrewd look and declares, "So either we're going to have to stay and tough it out or go running back home to my mother."
The Doctor looks horror-stricken at the very thought and quickly changes tact. He slowly approaches her as if she were a skittish foal and pleads, "Now, Rose, there's no need to be hasty. We just need to take a step back, take a deep calming breath and review the situation."
Rose is stunned as she watches him pace agitatedly around the room waving his arms around in an attempt to calm her down. "It's probably just the paint fumes causing all of this hysteria. I'll open a few windows, we can settle down, and everything will be just fine."
The window is stuck and the Doctor throws Rose a placating smile as she watches him struggle with it. He grunts, "I simply need to apply a little more of my weight in order to counteract the window's resistance and…"
The window promptly slides up with just enough force to pop the pane out of it's frame and shatter against the Doctor's feet. Rose's look of bemusement quickly turns to annoyance when he needlessly continues to try to pacify her with gentle tones. "No worries! Just relax and take a deep breath. It's going to be okay. I can fix this."
He starts flicking through various settings on the sonic when Rose stops him by placing her hand over his and tugging him away from the broken glass. He looks up at her worriedly as she places her other hand on his cheek to force him to meet her gaze.
"Doctor," she begins kindly, "you need to take your own advice. Everything is fine. This is not a problem. I'll call David in the morning and let him know that we'll need a few extra repairs."
"You mean McDonald, the construction supervisor?" His eyes narrow sharply and blaze with anger. "Oh, I don't think so. I don't want him here any more than necessary," he finishes in a cold tone.
Rose is completely taken aback by his change in attitude and asks, "Why? What's wrong with David?"
The Doctor gives her a look of utter disbelief and practically growls out his reply. "I've heard him flirting with you, Rose. You two and your little private discussions."
Rose's expression reflects her bewilderment as she questions, "Excuse me? What on Earth are you talking about?"
"Oh, you know exactly what I'm talking about, Rose Tyler," he answers in a tone laced with accusation. "I overheard the two of you yesterday when he said that he wanted to check out your pipes. How he's an expert at handling massive equipment, that he could envision sparks between you and that he'd do his best to ensure it was just the way you liked it."
At first, Rose's only response is to blink twice at his statement before shaking her head slightly and telling him, "Doctor, we were discussing the placement of the generator in the basement. He doesn't want it to be installed too close to the plumbing. You know, the water pipes?"
"Is that what they're calling it these days? Generator placement?" he asks, completely unfazed by her explanation. "I may not be able to regenerate anymore, Rose, but I can still generate just fine. He's not coming near you as long as I have breath in this body."
Rose stares at him and says, "Right. Now what's really going on? Is this part Donna? Because I don't remember you being this weird."
The Doctor sighs and rubs his hands over his face and replies, "No. It's just all the human hormones. They tend to hit me all at once like a freight train and I'm still having trouble adjusting to them. It's a bit like PMT."
Seeing Rose's incredulous look, the Doctor explains, "Not that PMT. Post Metacrisis Tension. I have all of the aggression but none of the bloating."
Rose's smile belies her apprehension and she nervously inquires, "Are you sure that's all it is? Are you sure that you're not regretting this? Staying here, with me?"
The Doctor is shocked and appalled at this assumption. "No, Rose," he denies vehemently. "No, no, no, no, no, no! I will never regret staying here with you! The only regret that I will always carry is all of the times that I held back what I felt for you. If I had only been honest with myself and you, we could have had this life together much sooner."
He grips her arms tightly seeking to reinforce every word. "I want this life with you, Rose Tyler. I need this life with you. I crave it so much that I will do anything that I need to do to make it possible. Even if it means living in this world's London version of the Winchester Mansion."
Rose's worries immediately dissipate into peals of laughter as she clutches the Doctor's hands in hers. "Oh, come on, Doctor," she says laughingly, "it's not that bad."
The Doctor puts on his famous puppy dog eyes and pouts, "It feels like it."
Rose loops her arms around the Doctor's neck and rests her forehead against his own. "Doctor, this can't just be," she bites her lip to keep from laughing, "PMT. If it's not our life together, then what is it?"
She pulls back as realization dawns on her. "Doctor! Is it homeowner's anxiety?"
The Doctor is only half listening through his worry and rambles in response. "No, I think I'm just worried about buying the hotel. This is a huge purchase, Rose! And unlike the car, this didn't cost me a song! It cost a lot of money and a mortgage! Do you realize how many years that we're going to have to work to pay that off? We might as well start sucking up to Tony now because I'm pretty sure that he's going to end up being our boss!"
Rose's eyes close in relief as she rocks the Doctor back and forth in a tight embrace. Finally understanding the real problem, she speaks softly into his ear, "Doctor, that's pretty much the definition of homeowner's anxiety."
She leans back and gazes up at him with an impish grin. "Well, except for the Tony thing and don't worry about that. Tony practically worships the ground that you walk on. Besides, even thirty or forty years from now, I'll still be able to kick his butt."
At the Doctor's slight smile, Rose continues, "And we're not doing this all on our own, you know. We have an entire construction crew helping us. We're going to be fine."
The Doctor's smile begins to widen a little more. Rose tilts her head to the side and queries, "Is that a smile?" His grin grows even wider. "I think that's a smile," she teases.
The Doctor's bad mood vanishes with a laugh and he concedes, "Oh, fine, alright. We'll have some help, but not that McDonald fellow. Surely there must be someone else that we can call."
Rose thinks to herself, MacGuyver? She looks at him curiously and asks instead, "Is this how you feel when you work on the Citreon?"
The Doctor stares at her in obvious confusion. "I'm not seeing the comparison, Rose."
Of course not, Rose mentally concludes, the hotel's in better shape.
"Rose," the Doctor warns, "we've had this discussion before. Even though you're only thinking at me, I can still hear you."
"I know," replies Rose. "I just thought it would sound less snarky if I used my inside voice."
The Doctor rolls his eyes before pulling her hard against him, squeezing her tight. "Oh, Rose," he breathes out. "My precious Rose. What would I do without you? You've saved me yet again."
Rose tugs herself away from his grasp to declare proudly, "You know, it's kind of nice to be the one saving you for a change."
The Doctor cradles her face with his hand and strokes his thumb across her cheek. An expression mixed with awe and love meets her gaze as he murmurs, "You've been saving me for much longer than that, Rose Tyler. You simply haven't realized it yet."
A gentle kiss is shared before the Doctor's bum receives a swat from Rose. "Now," she says as she grabs his arms and pushes him away from her, "it's time to go back to work."
The Doctor's eyes smolder as his voice grows husky. "Are you sure that you don't want to play instead? We could christen the lobby and…" He glances down at the floor and his voice trails off into a frustrated sigh.
"Oh, never mind. I'm afraid that if I even think about ravishing you on the floor that we'll both fall straight through." He waggles his eyebrows and says, "You'll just have to wait until I set up the Zero Room."
Rose laughs and shakes her head. Pushing him further away from her, she gestures towards the radio sitting on the concierge desk. "Can you do me a favor and turn on the radio before you go upstairs? Bits of the Hits should be coming on any minute."
"Bits of the Hits? What's that?" inquires the Doctor.
"It's this world's radio version of Top of the Pops," answers Rose as she kneels down to resume her work.
The Doctor turns on the radio and reaches for something behind the concierge. "By the way, Rose, I found this old registrar earlier and I'm beginning to think that I've picked too common a name."
Rose shifts to look at the Doctor curiously. "I always thought you were aware that Smith was a very common surname. Take Mickey and Sarah Jane for instance."
The Doctor continues flipping through the guest book as he explains, "No, not just the surname, I mean the entire name. You would not believe how many John Smiths have registered here!"
Rose bites the inside of her cheek to prevent any laughter as she watches him put down the registrar. "Oh, well." He suddenly claps his hands together and announces with great enthusiasm, "Time to start setting up my new lab!"
Rose, hesitant to quash his excitement, tentatively asks, "Doctor, are you sure that you want to set up your lab in the belfry? It's going to take a lot of work to haul all of your equipment way up there."
"I know," he replies with unbridled glee, "but it's just too perfect! It's the closest room to the stars! Besides, what's my other option? The basement? There's no way that I'm keeping such delicate equipment down there. Not to mention, it's so stereotypical."
Rose merely looks at him quizzically and he gives her a slight look of disbelief. "A lab in a basement?" he questions. "Really, Rose? That's for characters like Dr. Frankenstein and Grandpa Munster. I'm not a mad scientist!"
Rose considers this statement while tapping her fingers against her mouth until she comes to a conclusion. "That's true, I suppose. You do tend to exhibit more of the mad and not so much of the scientist."
"Oi!" shouts the Doctor in an offended tone.
Rose giggles as he shoos him away. "Go on. Go work on your lab so that I can finish up here. And remember, "she says more gently, "just take it one step at a time and you'll be fine."
They share a smile before Rose returns to her unfinished task. She's interrupted mere moments later when her head swings around in response to a loud crack.
The Doctor is struggling on the stairway, his foot having crashed straight through a step. He looks over at Rose with an expression resembling a kicked puppy and she is quite chagrined as she offers, "Okay…so, maybe not that step?"
She gives him an encouraging smile and nods her head in the direction of the belfry. He returns her smile with one of his own and wears a look of brave acceptance as he makes his way up the stairs, albeit treading carefully.
To be continued…