A/N: A Ten/Rose oneshot. Hope you like XD
Oh, and I've been working on 'Don't Let Go' - more chapters up in the next few days, I promise.
The Day When Everything Changed
Wherein she nearly leaves and he tells her not to be so ridiculous.
The Doctor was sitting at the table in the kitchen, happily sipping a hot mug of tea and waiting for Rose. He'd made them a pot to share using the teapot she'd picked up at a bazaar on Bantaya, assuming that she would soon find her way to him. After all, when they were at home on the TARDIS, they were never far from each other.
It was funny; the Doctor rather liked this co-dependency thing he and Rose had going. He was immensely looking forward to seeing her again, and she'd only been gone a couple of hours, wandering off while he was doing some repairs. And now, sipping his tea and waiting for her, he started thinking about what they would do upon her arrival. Careful analysis of previous events led the Doctor to the hypothesis that he would a) take her hand across the table and entwine their fingers; b) say something to make her laugh; and c) lean closer to her, flashing her his most charming smile, and ask her what she wanted to do today.
If Rose was feeling particularly adventurous, she would ask for somewhere exciting, somewhere brand new. If she was feeling somewhat curious, she'd ask him to take her to one of his favourite places. If she was feeling a little tired, she'd ask for somewhere peaceful, somewhere where they could just be together without trouble finding them. If she was feeling a bit mischievous, she'd simply ask him to take her back to bed.
Perhaps that would be today's agenda. They could have a playful day spent giggling and exploring beneath the covers...yes, that sounded...heavenly. Exploring. They loved exploring, did the Doctor and Rose. And he found it hugely exhilarating that he could often find more enjoyment from exploring Rose Tyler than he did a brand new planet.
He smiled to himself as he took another sip of tea. He supposed it could be seen as odd, what with him being a Time Lord – he shouldn't really feel the way he did. But then, he had always been a bit of an outcast, so maybe this was why – maybe this was what he'd been heading for all along. Maybe she was his purpose.
What he felt for her was...well, he couldn't think of a word epic enough to describe it. Not in Gallifreyan; certainly not in English. And okay, fine, so it wasn't like she'd told him she loved him yet, but he knew she felt it too. He knew she did. Plus, she'd promised him forever, which was a strong declaration in itself.
No one else had promised him forever. Or even if they had, he couldn't remember it, so they evidently hadn't meant it.
Rose meant it. He knew she did. They didn't need to say anything out loud; they both knew that it was a deeply emotional, intense, passionate love they had between them. And he'd do anything to keep her with him for as long as possible. Their lifespans might have been vastly different in length, but that was not going to stop him trying to make this last longer than the five or six decades she had to offer him. Of course, if he couldn't, well, he'd just have to treasure every moment of those sixty years or so to make sure he had plenty of amazing memories of a life lived together once she'd eventually...gone.
Right, he thought, shaking his head at himself. Time to stop dwelling over the distant future and start thinking about finding her right now so that he could implement his delicious plan of spending a day in bed...
He drained his mug, stood up, and began his search.
She stared at her reflection in the mirror.
The usual cheeriness and adventure in her eyes had faded, and instead, she was left with a fearful expression and a few blotchy patches on her cheeks, ugly evidence of her tears.
Her hands gripped the sink so tightly that her knuckles were white. Never had she felt so terrified. She'd faced the worst creatures that the universe had to offer with less trembling apprehension than what she now felt. It was as if, if she let go of her hold on the porcelain, her shaky legs would result in her crumbling to the cool tiles of the bathroom floor.
Every time she thought about the reason for her sadness, she'd feel the bubbling up of emotion in her throat, the swirling of butterflies in her stomach. She blinked furiously, trying to hold off imminent tears. She'd get through this. She'd have to.
She was going to leave the most important, most wonderful man she'd ever had in her life. But she'd be okay. And if she wasn't okay, she'd at least survive. That was all that mattered.
She heard him, then. His voice, his lovely voice, calling her from down the corridor. She didn't reply. She didn't want him to see her like this. When she told him that she was leaving, she would have to be cool, calm and collected. And she was exactly none of that old cliché right now. So she ignored him.
As a result, she registered that his voice was getting less childishly, impatiently whiny because he couldn't find her, and more urgent as his irrational concern kicked in. She hastily wiped at her cheeks with a flannel, towelled it dry, then reached for her make-up. She knew that any minute now he'd dash around all the rooms.
Sure enough, and fortunately just as she'd finished applying her foundation to her reddened cheeks, disguising the fact she'd been crying, the bathroom doorknob started rattling.
"Rose?" he called. There was a tinge of relief and triumph in his tone, now that he'd found her. Still...he sounded a little uncertain. Probably because she'd locked the door. She never locked the door, unless they were having some sort of silly argument that would be forgotten an hour later anyway because neither of them could stay mad at the other for very long.
But from his perspective, everything was fine between them at the moment. More than fine; amazing. No wonder his voice sounded suspicious and tentative as he continued to call her – he was racking his brains trying to think of something he'd done wrong in the last day or so. "Rose? Rose? You alright? Why've you locked the door? Rose? Is something wrong?" He paused. "Is this about me eating the last of the Jammy Dodgers?"
Rose couldn't help but smile at the tender concern in his voice, even as tears filled her eyes again. She blinked quickly. He'd never say so, but she knew that he loved her. He loved her so much. So she knew that today was the day that she was going to break his hearts.
She cleared her throat quickly. "It's okay, I'm just doing my make-up."
"Oh." She could tell he was frowning. "Then...why have you locked the door?"
She managed a shaky giggle to try and reassure him. "Blimey, you're paranoid." She turned around and unlocked the door. "Come in if you want," she offered, shrugging as she turned to face the mirror again. "Dunno why I locked it – probably just got into the habit of it 'cos of our week-long stay at Mum's."
"Ah yes," he agreed as he entered. "Didn't want Jackie walking in on us mid-dance, did we?" He grinned cheekily at her in the mirror, stepping directly behind her so he could wrap his arms around her waist in a backwards hug. Rose swallowed thickly as his hands linked to rest on her lower abdomen; her mascara wand almost poked her in the eye as she tried to control her shaky hand.
And then, because he noticed everything (or at least, mostly everything) the Doctor kissed the shell of her ear and murmured, "What's wrong?"
She stiffened instantly. "Nothing's wrong."
He gave her a playful squeeze around her middle. "I disagree. Are you feeling alright? You don't look yourself. In fact, and please don't take massive offense to this, but...well, you sort of...smell as though you've been sick," he told her hurriedly, trying to be as tactful as possible.
Her eyebrows raised. "Oh. Um. Guess I do, er..."
"Have you been sick?"
"A bit," Rose shrugged, trying to seem indifferent. "Probably just a bit of food poisoning from Mum's cooking."
"I rather thought she did well this time. I do like her Shepherd's pie. Maybe you ought to get the recipe off her and learn to cook it for me," he grinned.
"And be a good little housewife? Pfft, like you'd like that," she dismissed, trying to swallow against the lump in her throat.
His hands drifted to her hips and he pulled her back against him, whispering, "I'd like you in many situations, really..." He watched for her reaction in the reflection, expecting a suggestive retort or a flirty wink or something. But she just glanced away, refusing to meet his gaze, and didn't say anything. "Rose...?" he prompted. "Come on, you go back to bed. I'll make you some soup or toast or something, you're obviously not well."
"I'm fine," she insisted, shifting out of his embrace. "I just...need some space right now."
She chanced a look up at him and instantly regretted it, seeing the hurt expression on his face.
"I've been too...clingy, haven't I?" the Doctor guessed quietly, taking a step back.
"No! Don't be silly, it's just - "
"I knew I should've let you have your week at Jackie's without me tagging along - "
"I asked you to come," she protested.
"And I wanted to come; doesn't mean I should've." He put his hands in his pockets, his posture stiff. "I ought to have realised that you need your own space still. Maybe...maybe we spend too much time together, I..."
"No!" she exclaimed, not wanting him to think any of this was his fault. "No, I..."
Oh god, she thought. How on Earth am I going to tell him I'm going for good, if I can't even bear his sorrowful eyes looking at me now, when he thinks I just need a bit of alone time?
"It's okay," he shrugged. "I'm somewhat inexperienced with this whole...relationship-thing. You should have told me that I'm being too..." he floundered for the right word, couldn't think of one, so abandoned his sentence and started another, "It's just..." he offered her a sheepish smile. "You know, there was a time when I never thought I'd be happy again. But since I met you? I'm the happiest I've ever been. I suppose I sort of get caught up in you, in us, and don't realise that it's okay to be apart for a little while, now and then - "
"Stop it," Rose murmured.
"Thing is, I hate not being near you, 'cos I start thinking about how lonely I'd be if I ever lost you - "
"Stop it!" she repeated, this time loud enough to make him flinch.
"What is it?" he asked, seeming completely baffled at her abrupt outburst.
Rose took in a deep breath. "You have to take me home."
He gave a nervous chuckle. "What do you mean? You are home..."
"Yeah, but I mean...back to Earth. Back to Mum."
"We've only just visited her - "
"Not a visit. And not 'we.'"
The colour drained from his face. "No," he whispered, his voice hoarse. "No, don't be ridiculous."
"I'm sorry," she told him honestly, lowering her eyes. "But you...you have to."
"Why are you saying this?" he asked her desperately. "What is it? What's happened?"
"Just..." She sighed. "Take me back. Just take me back."
"Rose, stop it. This isn't funny. Stop saying that," he ground out harshly.
"I'm not trying to be funny. This isn't some sort of sick joke. You have to take me back." She swallowed. "Now."
The Doctor felt tears prick the back of his eyes as he acknowledged how serious she sounded. "Rose...you're not...you can't...you're not going to leave me, you wouldn't - "
"Wouldn't I?" she replied coolly, hating herself for it.
"No!" he retorted. "You and me, we're..."
"Happy!" he shouted. His shoulders sagged. "Aren't we?"
She sighed heavily. "Yes. We are. Of course we are. But...but I can't stay here."
"Why not?" he demanded, grabbing her roughly by the shoulders. "Why? What is it? Has someone threatened you? Rose, tell me, whatever it is! I'll protect you, I promise. Just tell me why. You said that you'd never leave – you said you'd stay with me forever – you can't just, all of a sudden, with absolutely no reason at all, decide to go!"
"I'm sorry," she whispered brokenly, choking back tears.
"Rose, this isn't like you at all," he said, shaking her shoulders. "You love travelling with me. You love me, I know you do, you...you..." he trailed off hesitantly, less sure of something he'd thought of as irrefutable fact until now. "You do, don't you? Rose?"
Her eyes were filled with tears, her vision blurry; but she could tell from the emotional cracking of his voice that he was speaking through his own tears. Her heart squeezed painfully in her chest at the knowledge that she'd made him, the strongest man she'd ever known, cry.
"Tell me what to do, Rose. Tell me what to do to make you stay with me. I'll do anything, please just.." He cupped her face with his hands. "Please don't leave me." The pads of his thumbs gently stroked her cheeks, wiping away the black smudges of mascara and tear tracks. "Rose?" he urged.
She couldn't reply. What could she say? She couldn't tell him the truth. She had to leave, she had to break his hearts, before he forced her out and broke hers. This was all necessary for her self-preservation. If it was her decision to leave, she'd get through it – that was her reasoning.
Except the pain she was feeling right then didn't exactly scream 'self-preservation' itself, if she was honest.
It wasn't like she was to blame for all this, anyway. After all, it takes two to tango – and he'd been the one to assure her that there was absolutely no chance of this happening. Well, okay, so maybe he'd not said 'absolutely no chance' so much as 'probably no chance...' in which case, her and her 'I don't even care just shag me now' comment are probably somewhat at fault, too. But still. He should've been more insistent. And she should've been more sensible in all the gazillion times since that hurried questioning before their first time...
"Rose, please, come on – tell me. Why do you want to leave? Why really? Rose? Rose. Rose, seriously, answer me. You can't leave me, I...I love you, you can't just..." He paused as her breath hitched. It was silly, really – she'd already known – but hearing him actually say the words aloud solidified their relationship in a way it hadn't been before.
She coughed slightly, trying to find her voice. "If I...if I tell you, do you promise not to freak out?"
"Do you promise to stay?" he countered.
Rose sighed. "You won't want me to stay, that's the whole point!"
"I will always want you. Always. Don't you dare tell me I won't," he whispered furiously. "Do you know how hard it is to have to think about the prospect of you not being here? And I mean, that was before today – that was me thinking I'd get at least the rest of your life! And now, what? You spring it on me that you're leaving now, after all we've been through, when we've got such a fantastic few decades ahead of us? I don't get how you can possibly think that you've got something to say that will make me send you away, because - "
"I'm pregnant!" she exclaimed loudly, interrupting him. She swallowed hard as she faced his blank look.
He opened his mouth a few times and closed it just as swiftly.
"Say something," she begged, her voice tight with emotion.
"I...I don't understand," he finally started to murmur. "Why would that make me - " His eyes widened suddenly as realisation apparently hit. "Hang on. Are you saying that...that I'm not..."
"The family type? Yeah. Exactly," Rose muttered.
His frown deepened. "No, wait – I'm confused...so, the baby...it's...it's...mine?"
Then she slapped him across the face. "I don't bloody believe you!" she shouted. "How could you even think that I would ever do that?"
"Do what?" he exclaimed, rubbing his cheek.
"Cheat on you! Don't you trust me?"
"I trust you more than anyone – more than myself, even! But I don't understand – if the baby's mine then why were you so adamant that I'd send you back to Jackie? Weren't you even going to tell me? You'd make me lose you – the woman I love with everything I am – and then deprive me of having a family, too? That's not...that's not fair! And that's not Rose Tyler."
She let out a shaky breath. "Are you saying that you want this baby?"
"Are you saying that you don't?" he shot back.
They were silent for a few moments. Then, "I could never give this baby up," she whispered. "But you can't exactly give all this up, can you? And you can't seriously believe we can go on as we do when we've got a baby to be responsible for."
"Do you think I am utterly stupid? Of course I wouldn't put our child at risk! I can hardly bear putting you at risk, and I only ever do because you're so bloody stubborn and compassionate that you want to help everyone we meet!"
"But my point still stands – you could never settle down! That's why I've got to go back to Earth. On my own. To live the 'one adventure you could never have' – isn't that right?"
"I've never had it before, but you could at least let me try! You could at least give me the option!" he shouted.
"Alright then!" she shouted back. "Here I am, standing right in front of you, giving you the option: you want to be a proper dad to this baby?"
"You know what? Yes! Yes, I do. I'll do my very best to look after this child and do all the fatherly things humans do that you'll have to teach me about. You know why? Because this is something brilliant, Rose, something so beautiful that you and me – you and me – have created."
"Right," she gulped.
"You know what else?" he asked her next, feeling breathless.
"What?" she replied meekly.
"I can't even fathom the depths of which I love you, so you'd better bloody say it back before I regenerate from anticipation!"
Rose couldn't help but burst into disbelieving, delirious laughter. The Doctor, suddenly suppressing his own chuckles, grabbed hold of her and hauled her closer to him, seizing her mouth with his own and abruptly ceasing all the laughter, beginning something much more intense and wonderful than ever before. After just a few moments, Rose pulled away, gasping apologetically, "Doctor, earlier, you said I smelled as though- "
"Don't care," he muttered, pulling her flush against him and pressing his lips back to hers.
After another few moments, she was yanking herself back and grasping his hands in hers, leading him backwards out of the bathroom and towards their bed.
"Doctor," she whispered, as they stumbled onto their destination.
"Yeah?" he smiled slowly, hopeful.
She beamed at him, giggled a bit, then said, "I love you too."