"And you're sure that's going to work?" Rose peered at the little soil filled pot, a tiny piece of TARDIS coral peeking out of the top. She was tired and still half asleep having just been woken by a hyperactive Time Lord brandishing a plant pot.
"Yup." The Doctor grinned, twiddling the pot between his fingers. "We're going to grow our very own TARDIS."
"In a tiny plant pot?" She eyed him suspiciously. "Where on earth did you find that thing anyway? Are you telling me that while I was sleeping you went to an all night gardening centre just to find a pot for our TARDIS?"
"Yup! No, I raided the garden shed. Plenty of unused plant pots in there, and no we aren't going to grow it all in this tiny pot."
She rolled her eyes at him, flopping back onto the bed. "Come back to bed already." He placed the pot on the bedside table and slipped under the covers beside her, smiling as Rose curled up to him. "Now explain to me exactly how this is going to work."
"Well, first the TARDIS coral needs to grow acclimatised to the soil it'll have to grow in; it's very adaptive so with a bit of jiggery-pokery it should grow brilliantly in Earth's soil."
"You haven't done this before, have you?"
"Time Lords didn't sit around all day with a watering can and a trowel tending to baby TARDISes, Rose!" He laughed at the idea. "So no I haven't, but I know the theory and together we'll make it work. She just needs a bit of tender loving care, that's all."
"And what exactly will this 'jiggery-pokery' involve?" She teased.
"Poking it with a stick." He grinned. "But seriously we'll need to supplement her soil, and obviously when she's bigger she'll need a larger pot and then putting into the ground."
"We'll have to put her here then, in my parents' garden. I can't believe you've already started nicking things from them."
"It's just a pot!" He cut in defensively. "They can have it back when we're done with it!"
She laughed. "Oh relax; you are so easy to wind up! As for the TARDIS, what does she need? In the soil I mean."
"Well, mostly just banana. Lots and lots of bananas."
"You think you're so funny."
"It's true! Good source of potassium which is very important; she needs the potassium because it's a little bit metallic and pretty reactive too. Oi, I am funny!"
"'Kay." She grinned up at him.
"Oh very good." He grinned back.
Rose watched with amusement as the Doctor pressed his ear to the floor in the hallway of her flat. "What are you doing?" He stood and held a finger up to his lips for a moment, pressing a hand to the wall before leaning forward and licking it. "Did you just lick my wall?!" She laughed. "Really, what are you doing? Seeing if it tastes like home?"
"I was actually checking that everything's okay with this place, need to know it's safe to leave you in its care. Here's how I would check if it tastes like home." He pulled her to him, kissing her cheek, nose and lips. "Yup, definitely home."
"Yeah." She smiled up at him. "It is now. But only 'til we've grown the TARDIS."
He suddenly sprung away from her, fumbling in his pockets. "I need a new sonic screwdriver!"
"I can't sonic things without a sonic screwdriver and I have to sonic things! How am I going to get us out of tight jams without one? Plus I need it to shatterfry the plasmic shell of the TARDIS coral and modify the dimensional stabiliser, otherwise we'll be waiting thousands of years for it to grow. We can't have that, can we? But I should be able to make myself one if I have the right parts. I need a TV and a DVD player and what's that little music player? Oh yes an iPod! And a toaster, yes the toaster has some very important parts in it."
"You are not destroying my toaster! Or anything else in the flat for that matter." She prodded him in the chest.
"But I need my sonic screwdriver, Rose. No TARDIS for thousands of years without it! And…"
"I know!" Rose cut in. "I wasn't saying no! You just aren't using my stuff to make it." She stepped into the bedroom, calling back to him. "I should have a credit card here somewhere; you can go and buy whatever you need." She opened the handbag on her desk, rummaging through it in search of her purse. "And I'm sorry to break this to you but I'm gonna have to make you go clothes shopping later." She smirked despite the fact he couldn't see it. "You can't just wear the same thing all the time; people will think you're weird and really unclean."
His hands gripped her waist as he spun her round to face him. "Later." He bent down to kiss her. "There's plenty of time for all that later." He pressed his lips back against hers, frowning when she pulled away.
"I don't think you realise quite how much we…"
He cut her off with a kiss, pressing his forehead against hers. "We have time."
He went to kiss her once more but she held a finger up to his lips. "What time is it? Is this why you wouldn't let me look at a clock?" She laughed. "I bet it's actually about eight o'clock and you woke me up at a ridiculous hour."
The Doctor smiled and nodded. "So we have time. Now would you relax and come here?" He pulled her flush against him, arms wrapping tightly around her as he gazed into her eyes. "I love you. My beautiful, impossible Rose Tyler."
"Oh shh." She pressed her ear to his chest, closing her eyes as she listened for his heartbeats. There was still a bit of her that believed it was all a dream but that familiar, comforting sound soon drowned out those thoughts. It was finally sinking in that it was all real. "I love you too." She leant back a little, a smile forming on her lips as she glanced up at him.
"I mean it." He tilted her chin up, fingers tracing her jaw line. "You are beautiful in every way."
She brushed his hand away, holding his face between her hands. "So are you." She knew he wouldn't believe her, especially not with Davros' words so fresh in his mind, but she vowed that one day he would, she had all the time she needed to show him it was true.
He drew her closer, too lost in the moment to even think about objecting. This moment was all for her; he'd show her just how much he loved her and give her his all just as she deserved, but with Rose kissing him with so much fervour, he wondered if she was doing the same. He could feel her there in his mind, right back where she used to be, as if she was pouring her love into him in the hope of kissing away the pain. He hoped she knew that it was working.
From her desk Rose heard the front door click shut, accompanied by the rustling of plastic bags and the Doctor's happy voice. "Honey, I'm home!" He laughed at his poor attempt to make her smile. He wondered if anyone ever really spoke like that.
Rose shut her laptop lid. "You say that like I didn't have to buzz you in."
"Shh! Don't ruin this for me!" The bags rustled as he put his shopping down; she wondered quite how much he'd bought. With a smile she got up and walked into the hallway to meet him, finding him stood with his hands thrust into his pockets, deliberately showing off his new suit. Her face lit up as she closed the gap between them and flung her arms around his neck. He lifted her off the ground as she pressed her face into his shoulder. "What's this for? Not that I'm complaining."
As she loosened her grip he lowered her back onto the floor, smiling as she ran her hands over his shoulders and down the front of the brown suit, fingers tracing along the pinstripes. "Where did you find this?!" She gripped his lapels between her fingers and thumbs, drawing him in for a kiss. "Seriously it's practically the same as your old one."
"It's amazing what tailors can do if you find them the right material, unfortunately they can't make pockets that are bigger on the inside, but that's okay I can fix them myself once the TARDIS is grown. Couldn't find anywhere that would make me a coat though." He frowned. "That's okay, I'm sure we'll find a suitable one." Rose nodded. "I loved that coat."
She grinned. "You only loved it because it billowed out around your ankles."
"Now that's not fair, but you have got to admit that the billowing swishiness was brilliant! Is 'swishiness' even a word? I don't think so but that's not the point. Point is that the billowing coat was brilliant! We should get you a billowing coat, Rose." His expression dropped a little. "You're staring." She continued to grin at him. "What?"
"Nothing." She shook her head. "Just you, everything about you. Honestly I love you so much."
He grinned, tilting his head at her. "Are you going soppy on me in your old age?" She raised an eyebrow at him. "Did I say 'old age'? I meant 'young age', definitely 'young age'." He nodded decisively, still beaming at her. "Should I just stop talking?"
"Probably." Rose leant into him, wrapping her arms around his middle. He quickly took the hint, happily cuddling her closer. He knew she was feeling emotional and understood completely, the heightened emotions were getting to him too.
"Come help me make a new sonic." He pulled away from her, grabbing a bag from the floor and holding it out to her.
"I'll be through in a couple of minutes. I've just gotta finish this report for Torchwood, oh and I told them we'd be in to visit them in a couple of days but they're to call me if they need me for anything." She leant up to kiss his cheek, heading back into the bedroom and flipping her laptop lid open.
"Report?" He followed after, peering at the screen from across the room.
"Yeah, about the last trip with the Dimension Cannon."
He smiled to himself, a hundred thoughts running through his head about how she'd found her way back to him. She'd fought so hard and for so long, even built a machine to jump between universes, and all because she loved him. She was more than Rose Tyler: Defender of the Earth, she was Rose Tyler that made the impossible possible. He should have always known that they'd find each other again, it was only ever a matter of time and believing in their love; Rose had known that. "Oh, of course." He stepped closer, leaning down and pressing a kiss to the side of her head. "Finish the report then, I'll be in the living room, probably dismantling a TV." He stepped away before turning back and wiggling a finger at her. "Not too much work though; you've done far too much already. You get five minutes before I'm dragging you away."
Rose added the last few sentences to her report and emailed it to Torchwood. She found her eagerness to help him amusing; she didn't even know how to make a sonic screwdriver and guessed she wouldn't be much use but to just sit with him meant so much. She grabbed the last bag left in the hallway and carried it into the living room, immediately bursting into laughter. "Oh my god, look at this place!"
He looked up at her from his place on the floor; he was surrounded by pieces of the dismantled devices. "Good, one more minute and I was going to come and pull you out of there."
"How can you make so much mess in four minutes?" She didn't expect an answer. "You could've at least left me somewhere to sit. I don't want to sit on half a TV."
"Actually that's half a DVD player." He pushed the pile of metal and plastic out of the way, leaving a space beside him. He reached up to take the bag off her. "Sit down."
"I see you found my tools." She did as he suggested, plucking a screwdriver off his lap. "Won't this do? Or isn't it sonic enough for you?"
"Could be a bit more sonic." He nodded, biting his lip as he looked at the pieces around them, wondering where to start. "Can you pass that silvery bit by your foot? The tiny bit, right, left a little bit, yeah that one. Thanks." He lost concentration for a moment as she looked up at him; he suddenly didn't care about the sonic screwdriver, not with her so beautiful and smiling at him like that.
"Go on then, get started."
Rose gently rested her hand over the Doctor's, thumb stroking the back of his hand as she watched him. They were lying side by side on an island of grass that was halfway between the mansion and their flat. On the way home he had insisted they stop there, laid his brand new coat out on the ground and pulled her down with him, saying they needed to see how comfortable this coat was. She was glad they had found such a suitable replacement; he had been agitated all afternoon, hating having to shop for anything other than shirts and ties to match his suits, even when he seemed to be having fun with her. The tuxedo had been the final straw; he said he hated black tie because it never meant anything good, with the exception of nibbles, Rose had immediately objected, claiming weddings were good too and Pete's parties weren't so bad if you had someone to hide with. His irritation had worried her but it seemed to disappear when he'd spotted the coat and insisted on buying it, he'd been smiling again which turned into laughter as he played with Tony for the sake of Jackie's sanity, convincing the little boy that he was here for good. But now as she looked at him he seemed to have lost that joy, he was distant and staring up at the stars, he hadn't said a word from the moment he'd pulled her down beside him. "You miss being up there don't you?" She felt him flex and turn his hand, fingers searching for hers to grip onto. "I know you miss the TARDIS." She knew what it was like to be ripped from your home, a home that you can feel in your mind and know loves you. It must be a thousand times worse for him.
He turned his head to look at her, there were tears in his eyes and the moonlight made them glisten. "Of course I miss her."
Rose squeezed his hand. "You get used to it. But we'll have our TARDIS soon; she'll be just the same, yeah? How long will she take to grow?"
"A year, maybe a bit more."
"A year's not so bad. We can still have adventures and it'll hardly seem like any time before we're back amongst the stars."
A smile touched his lips. "But this is good too."
"Life with Rose Tyler? Yeah."
She shifted closer, pressing a kiss to his shoulder. "So much for 'the one adventure I can never have'."
His breath tickled her face as he exhaled with a laugh. "Never thought I'd be this lucky." She couldn't keep the smile off her face as she kissed his forehead. "You know it wasn't that I doubted you. I believe in you more than anything. I just doubted myself and I didn't think I deserved you and I thought that losing you was the Universe's way of telling me I was right but I should have focussed on that faith in you instead of doubting myself." The words came pouring out before he'd really made sense of them, he couldn't even begin to cover why he'd been so sure that their reunion would be impossible. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. My self-loathing could have cost us this happiness. I almost cost you your happiness."
"None of that." She pressed her thumb to his lips, fingers curling under his chin as she kissed him. "You are my happiness." They deliberately held the silence that followed, both forgetting the world around them. Her eyes were fixed on his, watching as he slowly ran his gaze over her features then back up to meet hers. A smile graced her lips; she could feel her heart fluttering in her chest and her breath hitched the moment he met her gaze, like so many times before he was looking into her soul. He brought a hand up to her face as hers fell to the ground below them. "How much of what you said on the beach was true?" She wasn't entirely sure if she'd spoken the words or just mouthed them. "He said you need me, that I made him better and I can do the same for you."
He kissed the bridge of her nose, smiling as the crease in her brow disappeared. "He was right, Rose. You've made me better but I still need you and I don't know why he doesn't, maybe that's the human part again. This is still one life though, I really only have one life and I can spend it all with you, if you want." She nodded with conviction, there was nothing she wanted more and surely he knew that. "And I know I can't give you a completely normal life but we can have whatever life you want, anything, Rose." Tears were forming in his eyes again. He swallowed the lump in his throat and pressed his forehead against hers. "I need you." He felt like breaking down there and then, telling her how broken he still is and that he needs her more than his words can express. He wished he could describe how her love makes him feel, how she's changing him for the better and healing him with every moment she gives him. But he's a stupid old man that never has the words when it matters.
"I want a life with you, Doctor." She swept his hair away from his face, pressing soft kisses to his damp cheeks, her breath ghosting over closed eyelids. "I want adventures and the TARDIS and exploring all of time and space. I want us to be domestic and not be domestic at the same time. I don't want a normal life but I want a life that's normal for us. I want you and me forever. I just want a life with you."
He was almost smiling when his earlier words crossed his mind again. "I'm sorry that we'll never grow old together."
"The growing old isn't what matters. The important part is spending the rest of our lives together and that's the bit we have. The only thing you need to worry about is Mum." She smiled as his eyes widened.
"No no, I can't face the wrath of Jackie Tyler, not yet, anything but that, Rose! What have I done? Tell me what I can do to make it right."
"Relax." She reached a hand out and ran it through his hair. "I just meant that we have to tell Mum about me, that I'm not ageing anymore."
His expression softened. "She's gonna kill me. I'll regenerate and then she'll kill me again." Rose failed to stifle her laughter. "I'm serious! You have no idea how angry she's gonna be, she'll start yelling that her little girl isn't even human anymore and she'll blame me! I'm actually going to die, of all the ways to go it had to be at the hand of Jackie Tyler!"
"Would you relax? Doctor, she loves you to bits. She'll be so happy for you, for us both. It might take a while to sink in and maybe she'll be annoyed that we didn't tell her sooner, but she's not gonna get angry at you. I wouldn't let her hit you anyway, although you might have to put up with a Jackie Tyler hug."
He grimaced. "Well that I can deal with."
Rose continued to beam at him, scooting closer and resting her head on his shoulder as he rolled onto his back to accommodate her. "You know I'm sorry about Mum, the past couple of days she's just been so pushy and her hinting is far from subtle. But it's just because she wants me to be happy; she loves me and wants me to spend the rest of my life with you, you're the love of my life, this is what I was working for. And when my parents renewed their vows she just gave me the bouquet, 'cause she was certain that we'd find each other again, she told me I'd get to marry you. Knowing she was pregnant, and then having Tony, just reinforced all of those feelings, not just from her wanting him to know you and vice versa. Her marriage has made her so happy, she just wants the same for me."
"I know, well, and she wants to be mother of the bride. She's never gonna let it drop is she?"
She couldn't stop herself grinning. "Oh I'm so sorry; you have no idea what you've let yourself in for. I've put up with enough of it the past few years; I can only see it getting worse now. You'd think she'd stop for just one second to ask what we want but no." She pressed her face into him more. "But it's only because she loves you so much. She might not want to admit it to you but she's missed you."
He smiled. "Now why do I doubt that?"
"It's true!" She curled into him a little more, tracing patterns between the stripes of his suit with her finger. "You're part of her family. Our little family has had a big Doctor shaped hole in it for far too long. But she's seen you as part of her family for a lot longer." He pulled her closer, mumbling into her hair; Rose suspected he was contradicting her. "Oh shh, you know it's true! And I mean even with blue eyes, big ears and a leather jacket. She's Jackie Tyler, she's never gonna stop fussing about either of us, but the day you gave me my TARDIS key was the day she accepted you."
"The day she called the police on me and slapped me?" He pouted, remembering how much it had hurt. "If that's acceptance I'd hate to be on her bad side."
Rose laughed. "Give her some slack, I'd been missing for a year! But I meant after we'd defeated the Slitheen. She was gonna cook dinner for you, she'd accepted that you were a big part of my life and she wanted to get to know you. She'd probably already sussed how important we were to each other, actually considering this is Mum she'd probably placed a bet that we'd fall in love."
He kissed the top of her head, chuckling at the idea. "Well don't tell her I said this but I've got a bit of a soft spot for her too."