A Bit Domestic
As Jackie entered the Tyler Mansion, closely followed by the Doctor and Rose, an excited little boy came running down the hallway towards them. "Mummy! Rose!" He sped up at the sight of his sister, clamping his arms around her legs.
Rose let go of the Doctor's hand, prizing Tony's fingers off her as she bent down to pick him up. "Hello handsome."
She smiled as he pressed his face into her neck, mumbling incoherently about missing her. "Thought I'd never see you again." He looked up at her with tear-filled eyes and a huge grin on his face.
"No, neither did I." She looked at the Doctor, tears welling up in her own eyes. She was willing to give up her family for him but to have them both was just perfect. "Things worked out better than I thought."
Tony followed her line of sight, looking at this mysterious man with wonder, a man he had heard so much about and could identify purely from the way he looked at Rose. "You mean he's the Doctor?" He reached out towards him, eyes wide.
"Yeah." She stroked the little boy's hair, stepping closer to the Doctor. "Doctor, meet Tony."
Much to her surprise when Tony clung to him he took the child off her, hoisting him up so he was at eye-level. "Hello, Tiger." He grinned.
"Tiger?" He giggled.
"Like Tony the Tiger? Come on, off the Frosties advert? You must know the cereal!" He looked at the boy with concern, hoping for some sort of recognition but he still looked bewildered. "Oh Rose, please tell me they have Frosties here."
His horrified expression instantly made her laugh. "Yes."
He breathed a sigh of relief, returning his attention to Tony. "I think I need to show you the adverts, and you need to try the cereal! They're gr-r-reat!"
She rolled her eyes at him. "I can't believe you just said that."
"Rose was right about you." The four year old sounded extremely amused.
"Right about what?" He eyed them both suspiciously.
"She said you like to talk a lot."
"Oh I bet she did." He laughed and poked Rose. "Cheeky! What else has she been saying?"
"Erm…" He appeared to consider this for a moment. "That you're funny and clever and amazing!"
"Well I do try." The Doctor smiled.
The boy grinned. "I think you're a hero!"
"Oh I wouldn't say that."
Tony ignored his comment, continuing to look at him with amazement. "Mummy was right too!"
"Oh really? And what did she say?"
"She said you really, really, really, really, really love Rose." The concentration on his face was utterly endearing.
The Doctor smiled, nudging Rose with his elbow. "Well she's definitely got that right." He looked over at Jackie to see her mouthing an apology. "Now come on Tiger, you need to say hello to your mum properly. Go and give her a big kiss." He put Tony down and pointed him in Jackie's direction, laughing at his disgusted expression when she lifted him up, cuddling and kissing him.
"But Mummy I want to talk to the Doctor!"
Jackie smiled sympathetically; he had grown up to stories of the Doctor, in fact they were all he ever wanted to hear so she'd expected him to be enchanted by the man himself. "Calm down, you'll wear him out, wear them both out! You'll see him at tea time, and I'm sure he'll tell you a bed time story."
"Oh yeah, of course I will, best story you've ever heard." He glanced at Rose as she sniggered at him. "Oi!"
Jackie stifled a laugh. "Oh stop it you two. Rose, feel free to show him around if you like, just make sure you show him all that stuff in your room, yeah?"
She shifted her son to a more comfortable position on her hip and began to walk away. "Come on Tony; let's go find your daddy."
"What have you got to show me then?" The Doctor grinned, raising an eyebrow at Rose.
"Oh it's just a few bits of paper, she's exaggerating." She hoped he'd drop it. "But Tony has you wrapped around his little finger!" She laughed and prodded him.
"No changing the subject, Rose Tyler!" He grabbed her hand, tugging her upstairs and along the corridor.
She stopped him outside her room, knowing he wouldn't relent. "Okay, fine! Close your eyes and you'd better not laugh!"
He squeezed her hand. "Rose, you know I won't." She reached for the handle as he whispered in her ear. "Well maybe I will."
"Shut up." She pushed him into the room. "You can open your eyes."
His jaw dropped as he looked around the room. There were definitely more than a few pieces of paper; her entire desk was covered with notebooks and diaries, and the floor was practically carpeted with paper. The walls were decorated with drawings, some clearly done by Tony, others he suspected Rose herself had drawn but they all depicted something he recognised, a creature he'd faced with her or a place they'd been. There were drawings only of him and others seemed to capture a moment between him and Rose, they were all so beautiful and full of emotion. "Rose…" He turned to face her, completely lost for words.
She looked horrified, squeezing past him and hurriedly picking up the paper. "Oh it's such a mess in here! I forgot I'd left it like this!"
He knelt down to help her. "Forgot? How long have you been away? I thought you lived here."
"I have my own flat." She corrected him. "I've been living in a flat not too far from here. I needed my own space, but I kept this room for everything I wanted to show you." She stopped tidying when he pulled her closer and took the paper off her.
"What did you want to show me?"
"Loads of stuff. Most of this is just me writing down how I felt, I wrote about family life and work and just anything I wanted to tell you. I took up drawing, Tony started drawing from the stories we told him and I just filled this room with things for you in the hope that it would make me feel better." She closed her eyes and leant her head against him. "It didn't really work but I thought if you found your way back before I got to you then this would be the place you'd come. The funny thing is that even though I wanted my own space I ended up here at least twice a week, mostly when I had a lot to tell you or just needed to feel closer to you."
"Looks like you really had a lot to tell me. Tony's four right, so that makes it five years?"
"Yeah, I was stuck here for two but then I got the Dimension Cannon working, if anything that just meant I wrote more though. I mean I was finally getting through, I was so close but still so far, I just couldn't find you." Her voice cracked and there were tears in her eyes as she looked up at him.
"Oh my beautiful Rose." She curled into him and pressed her face into his chest, unintentionally pushing him flat onto the floor as she burst into tears. "Come here." He cradled her head against him, cuddling her closer. "You did it Rose, you found me. I'm here and I'm not going anywhere."
She pressed her ear to the middle of his chest, listening to his double heartbeat. "It was just so hard, I went through so much and then when I finally found you… you were… you were dead." Her muscles tensed at the memory, fingers gripping his suit.
He placed his hand over hers, thumb stroking across her knuckles until her grip relaxed and his fingers curled around hers. "That universe should never have existed, but you worked that out, you fixed it." He rubbed her back comfortingly. "And you were so clever, so strong. You were brilliant." He kissed the top of her head in an attempt to calm her. He knew that she needed this, needed to cry her heart out and let out all the pain and emotion she'd kept bottled up for so long, but he still wanted to kiss away every tear. "You'll never have to go through that again. I'll always be here, I promise."
"This is a dream isn't it?" She bit back a sob. "It's too perfect, I'm here with you and I still have my family. We even have forever, it's just too perfect. In a minute I'll wake up. Alone."
"Oh this is real, I promise." He wrapped his arm tighter around her. "Your imagination isn't this good." He let go of her hand, raising his own to point at himself.
She swatted his arm away, knowing exactly what he meant. "Shut up."
"So I don't need to pinch you then?"
She smiled through her tears. "I love you."
He kissed the top of her head, smiling into her hair. He would never get used to hearing those words; for her to feel the same was just so impossible, the Rose Tyler kind of impossible. "I love you, Rose." He relished in the fact he could freely say it, no longer burdened by the ticking clock and looming storm that would take her away from him; she could genuinely offer forever and he was free to take it in a universe that didn't need his protection.
As the tears subsided she stirred against him, looking at the floor around them. "I should finish tidying." She reluctantly propped herself up, making a half hearted attempt to move.
"No you shouldn't." He sat up and pulled her back into his arms. "You have done far too much already. You take a break and pamper yourself." He ran a hand through his hair. "Do I say 'pamper'? That just sounds ridiculous." She laughed. "What was I saying? Oh yes, you should pamper yourself." He grinned. "Have a nice long bath or shower, do your hair, indulge yourself for a bit. I'll tidy up the paper, deal?"
"That does sound good."
He pulled her to her feet, kissing her forehead. "Then it's settled. Go on, enjoy yourself."
She tiptoed across the room, grabbing some fresh clothes before stepping into the ensuite bathroom. After a moment the door opened again and she stuck her head out. "Thank you."
The Doctor smiled, tidying up the sheets of paper and adding them to the mess on Rose's desk. He took one of the notebooks and curled up on her bed with it, opening to the first page as he heard her turn the shower on. He bit his lip, preparing himself for the heartache in every word but before he could start reading Rose began to sing.
He immediately closed the book, shutting his eyes and concentrating on her voice as he rolled onto his back. It had been years since he'd heard her sing and her beautiful voice echoing through the TARDIS had always made it feel like home. As he listened he remembered exactly why he had never listened to the recordings she'd left him, as heartfelt as he knew the gesture was he had always known they would never match the real thing; they couldn't chase away his loneliness if she wasn't there too. He instantly recognised the song, it was the one she'd named their song, the same one that she used to sing in his face whenever he mock complained about her singing, something she knew he only did to hear that particular song.
"Hey." He turned his head towards Rose, drawn out of his thoughts when she stepped out of the bathroom. She looked beautiful with her hair curled and a smile on her face and she was evidently so much more relaxed. "What's wrong?"
He now realised there were tears in his eyes, and he smiled at just how sentimental he'd become. "I've missed your voice. I've missed that song."
She smiled, knowing exactly what he meant. "You are so soppy." She took the notebook off him and cuddled up to him. "You don't have to read this you know. I wasn't going to make you read them I just needed somewhere to put my feelings."
He took the notebook back and wrapped an arm around her. "No, I'm going to read every word in these books and on all that paper. I want to know what you went through to get back to me." He made a point of holding the diary up, opening it with his thumb and mouthing the words as he began to read.
She smiled and nestled into him, deciding that if he was content with reading then this was the perfect time to catch up on some much needed sleep.
At the dinner table that evening Jackie was unusually quiet, happily listening to her family talk about anything and everything. She could hardly believe the way her life had turned out with her perfect little family that she wouldn't change for the world. The smiles on their faces said it all, they were all so happy, every single one of them. The happiness in Rose's eyes had returned after so many years of absence and when the Doctor looked at her you could see just how much he loved her. Pete was laughing and joking with them both, helping his son with his meal as Tony giggled and enjoyed the happiness surrounding him. Her family was finally whole.
"Jacks? Jackie love?" Pete laid a hand on her arm, making her jump. "Are you alright?"
She leant against him, breathing heavily as she began to laugh. "Sorry, I was miles away." She looked up to see both Rose and the Doctor peering at her. "Oh stop staring!"
The Doctor quickly averted his gaze, pulling a face at Rose as he picked his fork up. "Better do as she says. Don't make her angry or she might slap me again."
"Shh." Rose grabbed her glass, failing to conceal her grin.
Jackie prodded Pete. "Look at them. So beautiful." She leant across the table towards the Doctor. "Honestly, when are you gonna put a ring on her finger? When's the wedding?"
Rose almost choked on her drink. "Mum! Would you stop?" Her voice was strained. "We've only just been reunited, and honestly I don't think we're going to do the domestic thing. We'll start growing our TARDIS and while we wait we'll go travelling or something. You know, have adventures. Right?" She nudged him with her elbow, picking the glass back up and taking a long sip to soothe her burning throat.
"I don't know, let's do domestic for a bit."
She nearly spat her drink out. "Are you two trying to make me choke to death? You? Domestic?"
He shrugged his shoulders. "I can do domestic."
"What happened to 'I don't do domestic' and 'don't make this place domestic'?" She laughed in disbelief.
"Oh come on, I've always been a bit domestic with you, haven't I?"
Rose felt a little hand on her arm as Tony grabbed her attention. He looked up at her with wide eyes. "Please don't die Rosie! I love you!"
"Please Tony; go to bed sweetheart, give me a break." Jackie was exhausted, and the four year old wasn't helping. No matter what she and Pete tried he refused to stay in bed and would soon come running down the stairs and into the living room. He was desperate to stay up just because he wanted to spend time with the Doctor; Jackie suspected that he thought the Time Lord would disappear by morning. She picked him up and he immediately burst into tears again. "Oh don't cry darling, please. You can see both the Doctor and Rose in the morning."
"But I don't wanna go!" He sobbed, hands wrapping round the back of her neck as he stared over her shoulder at his sister, hoping for some sympathy.
Rose took pity on her mother, deciding it was her turn to try to settle him and she had a secret weapon. "Give him to me." Jackie happily obliged, collapsing onto the sofa beside her husband. "How about I get the Doctor to tell you a bedtime story? Then will you go to bed?"
"I did promise you the best story you'd ever heard." The Doctor sat with his feet on the coffee table, thumbs twiddling in a manner that suggested he needed something to do.
Tony nodded enthusiastically. "Yeah!"
Rose smiled at the grin now on his face. "Come on then you, and say sorry to Mum."
His expression dropped as he saw the frown on Jackie's face. "Sorry Mummy!"
"That's okay. Goodnight, sweetheart." She smiled but made no attempt to move, contently curled up in Pete's arms and tempted to fall asleep at that very moment.
The Doctor sprung up from his seat, grabbing Tony from Rose. "Let's go, Tiger!" He took him out the room and ran up the stairs, roaring at the little boy with great enthusiasm. Rose followed after, leaning against the doorway as she watched the two boys. "What story do you want to hear?" He tucked him in. "How about the one with the werewolf? Well technically it was a lupine wavelength haemovariform." Tony grinned and nodded his head enthusiastically. "Or the Slitheen? I bet you love them, green with big eyes." He shook his head. "Has Rose ever told you about the living plastic? Moving shop dummies." He moved his arms like an Auton. "Bet that's scary."
"Nope!" The four year old grinned.
Rose walked over to them, perching on the edge of the bed beside the Doctor. "What's your favourite story?"
"I don't think I have one." He tried to recall all the stories she'd told him. "But I do like the one in ancient Rome! The one with the statue."
"The statue of Rose?" The Doctor raised an eyebrow, surprised that out of all the stories he could have chosen he picked this one. "Why that story? Why not big scary monsters and clever aliens, with spaceships and super technology?"
"Because it's clever and timey-wimey and Rose always used to tell it when she needed reminding that you still loved her."
The Doctor could see just how smart Tony really was, and he so evidently adored Rose. It was clear that this little boy was thoroughly convinced that their love would conquer everything. In his eyes the Doctor and Rose belonged together and their love was stronger than the walls of universes. "You want to hear me tell the story then?"
He shook his head. "Rose tells it the best, she tells the best stories."
"But you haven't heard mine yet!" He sounded offended, pointing his finger at Tony. "I'll show you I can tell it better than her."
Rose lowered the Doctor's hand. "How about we both tell it? That way you get to hear both sides. Then at the end you can tell us who was better."
"Yeah, me." The Doctor interjected with a grin. "Now, where shall we begin?"