It was another late night when Amy woke, stifling, as she pulled away from Rory's neck and rolled over, distance lessening the heat from his slender frame. "Loo..." she muttered when he stirred as she swung her feet onto the floor. Ridiculous bunk bed... Once more into the hall, she padded down the stretch, nearly falling as she scrabbled at the wall when she saw Bad Wolf leaning there casually around a corner. "Great. Thanks for that."
"Sorry," she said, the ethereal echo quality back in her voice. She seemed softer, bleeding into the background as if she belonged there.
"I don't think you are, but whatever. So...what are you?"
Bad Wolf cocked her head like the question confused her.
Pushing away from the wall, she was silent a moment before shrugging. "I dunno. I was. Once." She met Amy's eyes. "I don't think so anymore." Another half smile that didn't satisfy. "Now I'm just Bad Wolf."
"And you were?"
"I was Rose Tyler. Companion to the Doctor. Stuff of Legends," she said dreamily. "Defender of the Earth. And I was going to stay with him forever."
"Him. The Doctor?"
"And you travelled with him."
"Yeah. We travelled. Had fun. Faced the worlds. The universe. Saved the world. A couple of times. It was great."
"So why are you haunting him."
"Hau—" Rose laughed. "Haunting? No. No, I'm not haunting him. It's more..." She sighed. "It's more a... a game. I guess."
"A game. Oh really. Doesn't seem like a game to him." Amy folded her arms across her chest.
"Mm..." She hummed distantly. "I know. I'm sorry if... Well. It's hard to understand."
"Hard to understand? Bad Wo—Rose. You're making him crazy! This isn't okay! Not for him either. Both of you! You need to... Both of you are making each other miserable."
"Hm. Seems we can't help it, can we?" She smiled sweetly and turned away, pacing slowly.
Amy nodded. "Right. Well. The both of you are a bit messed up, aren'tcha."
Rose just smiled and faded back into the walls.
He hunched over on his bed, pressing his hands over his ears. And then she was there, dressed in flowing white, kneeling before him, hands pressed to his knees, eyes aglow.
"Doctor... My Doctor..." Her lips arched down, eyes large and suddenly brown as the gold bled away.
"We can't... This isn't..."
"No," he whispered hoarsely. "No, Rose, you don't know."
She smiled and cupped his cheek. "You look so young. I know you're trying to get away... I know I remind you of bad things. Things you don't want to remember. It's why you've gone so far away from me with this new body."
He shook his head.
"It's okay. Doctor, of all the people who know you, shouldn't I know you the best? We were going to stay to—"
"Don't say it..." He leaned into her hand. "Rose, you don't—I shouldn't... I shouldn't have let you become this. This isn't you. This isn't—"
"Oh, Doctor. Just as I will always love you, however you look, I will always be here for you. You only have to call."
He flinched and hunched in on himself further. "Rose..."
"That's..." He heaved a sigh and flopped back on the bed. "That's just it," he said in a small voice. "That's just it, Rose. You can't."
"You shouldn't have to."
"Doctor..." She said warmly, joining him up on the bed. "You always had my best interests at heart. And I have yours."
He threw her a wan smile. "It shouldn't have to be like this, you know."
"Of course. I'm Bad Wolf. I create myself."
"Yes... All that was and all that could be... I know, Rose. That wasn't... That was a mistake. You should never have done that."
"It allowed me to be with you. All these things that I've done. I built the dimension cannon. I followed you. I travelled worlds. I've seen so many things."
"Yes, but..." He rolled onto his side, propping his head up on an elbow. "You're a human—"
"Was a human." She leaned back on his pillow. "Now I'm like you. I can go wherever I want." She paused, tilted her head. "Is that what bothers you? That I..." She laughed. "Doctor, I chose this. I could have stopped at any moment. I wanted to be with you. I said 'forever,' didn't I? I meant it. I made my choices long ago. I meant it. You're not chasing me away, mister."
"You're chasing me away."
"They're concerned about...us."
"I know you know," she grinned mischievously. Her hand came out and brushed his collar, looking more human than he'd seen her look in years. "Amy. She's sharp. She cares for you. They both do."
"And I care for you."
"I know. Help me, I know."
"Don't say it like it's a bad thing."
"Say my name again."
"Rose." He smiled at her, mouth quirking up on one side the way his last body's never did.
"I'll stay whenever you want."
He reached out and cupped a hand around the back of her neck. "I know you would." Pulled her close. "I don't deserve you."
"Damn right you don't," she murmured.
Kissed her lips.
"But you've got me," she said when she had air.
Rolling over, he buried his lips against her neck. "I don't deserve you. I'm sorry—I'm so so sor—"
"Don't you dare. Don't you dare be sorry." She wrapped her arms around him. "I'm not. I'm not sorry at all..." She arched under his touch.
He pulled back and grinned at her. "I am sorry if I'm a little clumsy. This body still hasn't gotten used to..."
Giggling, she scooted down the bed and pulled the bow tie apart, flicking the buttons open on his shirt. "It's fine. You're fine... Come on..." And kissed him hard.
Rory woke early, stumbling down to the kitchen to get started on tea, maybe some breakfast for himself and Amy. Maybe some extra. The Doctor rarely ate with them. But sometimes he did, and when he did... well. Helpings for three people weren't hardly enough.
"AAH! YOU." He fell back against the door frame, throwing a finger out at the blonde at the table, nursing a mug of something.
She smiled. "Rory Pond. Good morning. Kettle's on. Feel free to help yourself. I made breakfast."
He narrowed her eyes.
"Don't worry. It's perfectly wholesome. I didn't poison it or anything."
"I... didn't think you would..." Rory muttered, dropping his eyes as his cheeks felt hot.
"I'm not a horrible person, you know."
"Are you a person?"
"Oh Rory. We've met before, you know."
He blinked. "We have?"
"Yes. Though I doubt you remember it. You were too busy with your precious box."
"Hey! That 'precious' box held—"
"Amy; I know. It's fine. You did good by her."
Rory shook his head and then sank into a chair across from Rose. "Why are you here? How do you know so much about us."
"I've been following you for a while. Which, I assume you know."
"How can you get here when the TARDIS is in space."
Rose smiled, like holding a secret in. "We're old friends. The TARDIS and I. We're...connected. Partially how I can always find the Doctor. Well. Now that I've learned how to recognise it, anyway. I started out bouncing all over the place—different planets, worlds, time periods. It was a mess. I met quite a lot of the the companions and Doctors. But I can always focus in on the old girl—sorry, sexy old girl—" Rose grinned, casting a glance around the room. "And come home."
"Interesting that you call it home."
"It's always been home. For years now. I've no one to go 'back' to except for the Doctor. Sorry, that makes me sound quite dependent, doesn't it..." She brushed her hair over her shoulder and tucked her robe around her more tightly. "I'm not. He asked me how long I was going to stay with him. I said forever. I meant it. So I'm following through on my promise. Because... Well. You know. I love him. And he needs me too."
"He's got us."
"Course he does. He needs you too. But I'm different."
"Oh you're different all right..." Rory muttered.
Rose only leaned back and laughed. "Don't you worry, Rory. I think the Doctor and I have it all sorted."
"Sorted. You say you're sorted? Listen, Bad Wolf—"
"Rose. Whoever you are. I don't think something like what's going on between the two of...you...can... Doctor...?" Rory stared over Rose's shoulder, eyes going wide, mouth slack.
Rose's brows went up and she swivelled to see what Rory was staring at. "Doctor, I think you've broken him!"
The Doctor wandered into the kitchen, bathrobe hanging open to the waist, hair sticking up wildly. The more obvious horror, to Rory, were probably the love bites all over the Doctor's chest. And neck. And what could be seen of the Doctor's thigh when the material swished and parted. He grinned, still looking a bit dazed. "Hullo..."
Rose ducked her head and turned her attentions back to her tea, flushed and smiling, really quite pleased with herself.
Things were quite while the Doctor puttered around before the stove and Rose's ready-made breakfast, Rory sat very quietly, avoiding looking at either the Doctor or Rose, and Rose drank her tea.
"Good morn—AAAH!" Amy yelled, catching an eyeful of the Doctor's war wounds.
"Just look at the floor, Amy," Rory said, voice strained. "Everything's normal on the floor."
"Right. This is. Weird. I'm weirded out. Very weirded out."
"What?" The Doctor protested. "You two do it all the time!"
"OH-kay. That's something we're not talking about!" Amy said, quickly grabbing herself a mug and making tea.
"Alright then." The Doctor sniffed and pulled up a chair next to Rose. "That's fine. So long as we're not talking about, let's not talk about it."
"You should stop bragging about it though!" Amy blurted.
"Bragging? I've said nothing. How could I be bragging?" The Doctor replied, confusion written in the crease of his brows, the purse of his lips.
Without turning around, Amy flapped a hand at him. "That. Your...dressing gown! Open like that."
"You're showing off," Rory added.
"Doctor, they mean cover up," Rose said, laughter in her voice. "You're showing off the results of last night."
"Last—ooh." He promptly flushed and jerked his collar up around his neck. "Sorry!" He jumped up, bumping the table, and flying back down the hallway. Rose's laughter followed him.
"So... ah... Is this going to be a thing?" Amy asked, finally joining them at the table.
"What do you me—"
"Oh don't play daft."
Rose shrugged. "Is it alright with you?"
The Ponds looked surprised.
Leaning forward on her elbows, Rose fixed them with a gold-tinged gaze. "I'm asking you now; I plan on being around. Is this going to get in your way? Am I going to throw a proverbial kink in the day-to-day."
"I think you did that the day you showed up," Amy said, sipping her tea.
"Well I don't care," Amy said, flopping back.
Rory looked at her with a small smile and folded his arms. "If it means he's happier, I don't care either."
"Great," Rose said, her tongue poking between her teeth as her lips spread. "Because I think we're going to have a shag. And he's much noisier than his last self."
"Oh God," Rory moaned. "Did not need to know that."
"We could make it a competition. Who's noisier?"
"That...is never going to happen..." Amy said.
Rose shrugged again and drained the last of her tea before setting the mug down in the sink. She sauntered from the kitchen, back the way the Doctor had fled, hands trailing along the TARDIS walls. She murmured something that Amy and Rory couldn't hear before laughing softly and vanishing.
"I think this is going to get very awkward."
"Yeah. Great. Nice job, Captain Obvious," Amy grumbled, hunching over her tea.
"Well. We could... you know."
He looked sidelong at his wife. "Make it uh...a competition."
Almost dropping her tea, Amy's eyes went wide. "You're mad."
Rory gave her a small sly smile.
Angled himself towards her.
"Augh! Fine!" Amy grabbed his hand and dragged him out of the kitchen, back to their bunk beds. "I hate our life."
"No you don't."
"No. Not even a little."