Author's Note: Doctor Who is BBC Wales, obviously.

Cover Note: Stock by PannaHerbatka on deviantART.


23 December

as it should be

This, the Doctor is sure, is how the world is supposed to be.

The radio plays cheery Christmas carols and Jenny dances a little while she builds a model Christmas tree out of Lego blocks. Rose wraps gifts and laughs at the Doctor, who alternates between changing the way the tree lights flash and calculating how many times Santa Claus would need to loop through Christmas night in order to reach every house. The house they've lived in for the past two months is finally starting to feel like home, and today it smells like fresh fir tree and gingerbread. It hasn't snowed yet, but it might be cold enough outside and the sky is promisingly dark. The three of them will celebrate Christmas a day early, when Rose is not on call, though Rose assures the Doctor that aliens in this universe prefer to invade the Earth on New Year's Eve.

The radio station begins a swing edition of "Jingle Bells" and the Doctor gets to his feet. He coaxes Rose up as well, and the two of them dance a quick step around the sofa. When the song ends, Jenny claps and asks the Doctor to dance with her, too. He obliges and swings her up in his arms, twirling her around the living room while "Let It Snow" plays through the house.

The doorbell rings and the Doctor and Jenny dance to answer it. They've ordered takeaway from the little Italian place around the corner because neither the Doctor nor Rose feels like cooking, and Jenny giggles because the delivery kid is wearing a Santa hat. The kid grins and gives her his best Santa laugh, making her laugh harder, and the Doctor gives the kid a few quid extra as a tip for his Christmas spirit.

After dinner, they let Jenny open one gift before bed. The gift they give her is a set of flannel pyjamas that look like they were cut out of the night sky. Jenny squeals and flings herself first on the Doctor and then on Rose.

"Can I wear them right now?" she asks quickly, as if she can't get the words out fast enough to express her excitement.

Rose laughs. She took the tags off before she wrapped it, knowing this would be exactly Jenny's reaction. "Of course. That's what they're for."

Jenny squeals excitedly and sprints into the downstairs bathroom to change.

"I bet she won't take those off all day tomorrow," the Doctor comments.

"I never did," Rose tells him. "My mum bought me Christmas jims one year and I loved them so much I wore them for two and a half days."

"Maybe I shouldn't give you your present till tomorrow, then," he mutters.

Rose opens her mouth to make a comeback, but Jenny skips back into the room and crawls up on the Doctor's lap.

"Are we going to leave biscuits for Santa?" she asks him. "Tony said he's leaving biscuits for Santa."

"We can leave some if you like." Rose and the Doctor are both well aware that Tony Tyler has educated Jenny in all of his favourite parts of the holiday, namely, Christmas trees and Santa Claus.

Jenny picks out some chocolate biscuits and puts them out on a plate on the coffee table. When she's done, she asks if it's time for bed yet.

"We can do bedtime now," Rose tells her, "but you'll still have to wait until seven tomorrow to wake us up."

"I know," Jenny says. "But Tony says Santa won't come if all the children aren't asleep, and all the other kids have to go to bed."

The Doctor carries Jenny upstairs and Rose follows, picking Jenny's usual bedtime books out of her bookshelf. Rose sits on the edge of Jenny's bed and Jenny snuggles under her dark blue comforter. "Ready?" Rose asks as the Doctor pulls up the chair from Jenny's desk.

Jenny nods and Rose opens up Dr. Seuss's Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!. Jenny stops her after the first page and asks if they can just read Goodnight Moon. Rose accedes, deferring to Jenny's Christmas excitement. At the end, Jenny recites the last bit with Rose.

"Good night stars. Good night air. Good night noises everywhere." The Doctor and Rose leave as silently as they can manage, just as they always do. By the time they get to the bottom of the stairs, they know Jenny is already asleep.

Rose links her hand in his and kisses him. His fingers tangle in her hair, but she pushes him away before he gets too intense. "Come on, Santa. All the little children are asleep."

"I can put the presents out before she comes downstairs. She knows the rules."

"You don't want any help from your favourite elf?" Rose teases.

"The only elf I know is asleep upstairs."

"What am I, then? A reindeer?"

"Of course not!" His brown eyes twinkle, reflecting the lights of the Christmas tree like stars, and Rose can see the ancient Time Lord within the eager young human. "You'd look terrible in antlers. Besides, I always thought you looked much more like the missus to my Claus."

Rose laughs. "Nine more days," she says—not that either of them need the reminder. They've been officially engaged for just over a month and have planned a small but elegant wedding for the first day of the new year, all at Jackie's insistence. She wanted something big and extravagant, but Rose and the Doctor talked her into just a small affair, since they agreed to refrain from just going to the registrar and doing the paperwork. Even the engagement is a result of Jackie's hounding, and while the Doctor's "proposal" was the standard one-knee procedure, there's no engagement ring.

"I'm looking forward to it," he says with a hint of sarcasm. "A party in our honour by Jackie Tyler? I can't wait."

"Mm, and then five days in the Scottish countryside without your daughter."

"What will we do without her?"

"Well, you'll call my mum twice a day at least to make sure Jenny hasn't driven her spare, and in between, I'll do my best to distract you."

"Distract me?" he asks, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her to him.

Rose gives him her cheekiest grin. "No sneaking peeks, Doctor. It's not Christmas yet, and Santa hasn't stopped by."

"Oh, right. Santa. Almost forgot about him." The Doctor takes a Santa hat that's stashed on the top shelf of the book case behind a couple of dictionaries and puts it on. "Santa's here now. First order of business is the biscuits here. Santa needs fuel to carry all the presents." He only eats two of the chocolate biscuits and leaves the rest. When Rose gives him a questioning look, he answers, "You don't honestly think Santa eats all those biscuits, do you? He takes most of them home for Mrs. Claus."

Rose laughs and eats a couple herself before they carry out the gifts and pile them under and, thanks to some clever jiggery-pokery on the Doctor's part, in between the branches of the tree. They step back when they're done and Rose says, "Looks like Santa's been here."

It's almost midnight now—the present-stacking took longer than expected—and Rose yawns, the Doctor's cue to shut off the tree lights and go with her into the bathroom to do their nightly his-and-hers dance before they curl up in bed together and drop off to sleep.

A/N: A bit short, I know, but I'm going to try to post a chapter a day until the story is finished (if you'll notice the date of this story and today's date... wink-wink). Hugs and thanks and cookies and milk chocolate frogs to my beta and bestie, EnoughToTemptMe.

Additionally, this is a working title. Better title suggestions would be much appreciated (even as the story progresses).