A/N: This idea has been with me for a long time, which is surprising considering I never thought I would ever write a fic with Rose Tyler. But, it's probably not what you think.
She was eating a wad of pink fluff from a white paper cone when she saw her. The noise had attracted her, as it had several others who had stopped to gawk. The woman - with a head of golden ringlets that belonged on a Christmas angel and a figure that hourglasses had probably been inspired by – stood at target practice game, with the mock gun aimed level with her eye, looking as seriously at the targets as if she were looking at a throng of burglars.
Rose ducked around a line of people waiting for the Ferris Wheel and took up next to the railing surrounding the house of mirrors. She shoved another wad of cotton candy into her opened mouth as she watched the curly blonde make her way down the length of the game table.
"Incredible!" one of the bystanders blurted out.
A rough estimation told her that there had to have been at least thirty targets pinned to the far wall. Not quite believing what she'd just seen, Rose inched closer, opting to toss her empty cotton candy cone into the bin as she passed. When she had finally weaseled her way through the crowd, she realized it was true: each and every bulls eye had been hit. A charge tickled her skin from the nape of her neck to the edge of her back. The sudden desire to know that woman was overwhelming, like a wave separating sand particles on a beach.
The woman collected an oversized plushie as her prize, the color of the sky, just after sunset, when the rainbows had faded but before the sky looked black. It was an odd choice, Rose thought, certainly not something she would've chosen: a Roswellian alien plushie. It wasn't even alien green! Somehow, that only made the woman more entrancing though.
Rose found herself hurrying after her, pushing through the crowds, but always keeping a fair distance behind so as to not be caught spying. It was crazy, ridiculous, mad! But the chase thrilled her and so did the secrecy. She stopped abruptly, however, when she saw a man approach the blonde. He was a funny little funny, in skinny black jeans and a tweed jacket with a blue bowtie, almost the color of the alien plushie the woman had won.
"I bought us ice cream!" he crooned, shoving a triple topped cone with three different colored globs at her.
The woman laughed as she accepted the cone and offered the giant plushie in return. "I got you something too, Sweetie."
The professor-like man bounced around. "What did you do?" he asked suspiciously.
"I held someone at gunpoint!"
"What?" she asked, batting her eyelashes. Then, quick as a flicker of lightning, she suddenly pressed her lips to the top scoop of ice cream and licked it slowly, all the while watching his eyes for a reaction.
"You know that's not fair," he chastised softly.
"I can't help that I'm a good shot." She fingered his bowtie. "Why don't you go put your new toy away?"
River pressed her finger to his lips. "Shhh. I'll make it worth your while. You, me, hand-"
His brown hair flopped about as he spun around, no doubt looking for people who were in the immediate vicinity who might be listening to them. His face looked a little flushed. When he finally deduced that they were in the clear he leaned in and added, "Or we could just go back now…"
River tapped his nose. "I want to get tickets for one more ride, Honey. So hurry," she added, winking as she slapped him across the bum before he trotted off. A moment later, River was in front of Rose, before she even had a chance to realize that the woman had taken a step towards her. "It seems I've developed a second shadow." She bent down. "Hello, Sweetie. What's your name?"
"R – Rose."
"Well, Rose, I'm River." She offered her hand. "Are you here with anyone?"
"My mum…" Rose said guiltily, looking down at her white sneakers.
"Mums are always good to go to the fairgrounds with," River nodded. "Do you know where she is?"
"Rose! Rose! Rose! Oh my God. Thank God! I can't believe you ran off like that! And who the 'ell ar' you?"
Rose cringed. "She's okay, Mum! River was – she was jus' helpin' me to find you. That's all."
Jackie looked River up and down skeptically, then plastered her hands to Rose's shoulders and pulled her in close. "You had no so worried!" she gasped. Then in the next breath added sharply, "Don't you ever do that to me again, you hear! Don't you ever run off without tellin' me first!"
Rose just twisted her head to look back at River as her mother squeezed her like a python would its prey.
River suddenly looked at her wrist and smiled. "Look at the time," she winked. "Nice meeting you, Rose."
Rose wormed her way out of her mother's death grip and smoothed her mussed clothing and hair. Briefly, she wondered where the man her mother had stopped to flirt with had gone off to, when suddenly her mother grabbed her hand tightly. "Ow!"
"I got you a free ride on the carousel, if it's still open," she huffed.
Rose dragged her feet as her mother tugged her along like a little red wagon. She looked back over her shoulder and saw River loop arms with the strange little professory man. They shared a kiss and she smiled briefly. That's what she wanted: someone whose arm fit as succinctly into hers as the little professor man's did into River's. She wanted someone who would bring her a triple topped ice cream and kiss her like she was the only girl in the world. River was lucky, she decided. Not only had she hit all thirty bulls eyes, but she'd hit the one bulls eye that really mattered.
And at that moment, the seed was planted: that was what she wanted to be when she grew up, River. The woman who could do it all and then go home to a silly little man who looked at her as if time just stopped in her presence.