The Greatest Time of the Year
A Christmas Story
By RHHP Freak

Rose sipped her drink, looking at the guests crammed in the living room of the manor. Her mom had insisted to invite all the richest and most influential people in this London to a Christmas dinner. And she was bored. So bored it was boring. And to make things even worse, half the men in the room were practically drooling at the sight of her. Not because she looked good, but because she was the heiress of the Vitex fortune, the second in command at Torchwood. She was their golden ticket, and that made her very attractive.

Only one person could make it even worse and she was on her way over.

"Oh, there you are, Rose," Jackie said. "A lot of handsome guys have turned up tonight. Maybe you could-"

"No."

"But Rose-"

"No, mum. Half of those guys are only interested in me, because Pete's rich, and the other half's… just not my type."

Jackie sighed. "You can't keep pining for the Doctor for the rest of your life. He said he couldn't come back, right. The universes would collapse."

"Yeah, I know, I was there," Rose snapped. She hated being reminded of that day, it still hurt too much. Her doomsday, that was what she called it.

"Tommy Richards here, you know," Jackie said. "He's handsome and rich. He'll be good for you."

"Mom, I hate that guy."

"You went on a date with him."

"Because you forced me to!"

"No, I didn't."

"Yeah, you did."

"Good evening," a soft voice said. They turned around and saw a man with slick, blonde hair and green eyes looking at them. His teeth were practically blinding white.

"Oh, hello Tommy," Jackie said. "How are you? Is your dad with you?"

"Unfortunately, he is feeling under the weather," he said, never taking his eyes of Rose. She was feeling uneasy by his stare.

"Oh, at Christmas too. Well I hope he feels better soon. I mean with the big event coming up," Jackie winked at him, but he ignored her.

"Miss Tyler, I was hoping we could have a word," he said.

"Sure," Rose said. "Em, why don't go into the kitchen? There are only servants in there."

"I was thinking the garden would be a better place. Nobody's out there."

"Well, it is in the middle of the winter. It's very cold, so I would be more surprised if there were someone out there."

"I have something private to discuss with you," Tommy said. He grabbed her arm lightly, his stare as penetrating as ever. "Will you please come with me."

Rose sighed inwardly. "All right, let me just grab my coat." She moved away from him. Tommy Richards had always seemed rather creepy to her. Their date had been disastrous and she had tried to avoid him ever since, but he just popped up everywhere, and everywhere time he made her feel more and more uneasy.

She passed her mother on her way out and she beamed, giving her what she obviously thought was a very discreet thumb up. Rose smiled at her, before turning to Tommy who held out his hand, which she ignored. Yes, it was perhaps a bit childish, but she would not hold his hand, even if she got paid for it. Maybe if it would bring the Doctor back…

"So, what do you want to talk about?" she said, as he closed the door behind them.

"Not here," Tommy said. "I want to make sure nobody is listening. I want it to be special." He took her arm, not too tight, but it made a shiver pass down her spine. And not in a good way. Not like it had felt when the Doctor took her hand and smiled at her.

"I think this is far enough," he said. They were almost at the end of the garden; a place the guests in the house would never be able to hear them. He turned towards her, his green eyes locked with hers, as he got down on one knee. "Miss Tyler…Rose. Ever since I first looked into your beautiful hazel eyes, I have dreamed of them. Your golden hair lights up my world. I love everything about you… I love you. So, Rose Tyler, will you marry me?"

"WHAT?"

"Will you-"

"Yeah, I heard what you said," Rose said, not caring if she was rude. "Listen, Tommy, it's…sweet of you, very sweet, but no, I won't marry you."

"But… but I love you! You cannot turn me down… I mean, we went on a date, and I just could not stop thinking about you. Please, say yes."

"I can't. I don't love you and I am in love with someone else. I'm sorry."

"Yeah, your mother told me about this… this Doctor. But he is not here. I am. And I can give you so much more than he ever could. Marry me." It was no longer a question. It was an order.

"No!" Rose said loudly.

Tommy got to his feet and grabbed her arm, tightly. "I will not accept a no, Miss Tyler. If you will not marry me, then…"

"Then what?" Rose said.

"Then I will make you. How do you think you mother will look when she has been killed? How do you think your father will take it? Oh, he will probably blame you. 'Oh, Rosie, why didn't you just marry him? Then Jackie, my Jackie, would still be here'"

"You are a sick, sick man," Rose sneered. She raised her hand to slap him hard. A slap her mother would have been proud of, but Tommy dodged it and grabbed her wrist.

"Christmas always brings out the best in me. The best time of the year. A season of joy and love. So, back to where we started. Marry me, love."

"NO!" Rose yelled and struggled against him and finally managed to kick him in the shins. Tommy swore loudly and before she could react, he had lifted his fist and hit her on the side of her head. She saw stars, but forced herself to stay conscious. Suddenly, Tommy frowned and she heard what she had been longing to hear. The sounds of footsteps. Finally.

She didn't dare to turn her head around to look, but she could hear them come nearer and nearer. Maybe it was one of the guests. Her mom's best friend, a Sir Thomas, could probably help her, but with her luck it was probably one of the old women.

The steps stopped a few meters away and a voice said, "What is going on here?" Rose frowned. That voice… it was so familiar, but it couldn't possibly be… No, she was just being stupid.

"Oh, I was just proposing to this beautiful girl," Tommy said in that sleek voice she hated so much.

"It doesn't look like a proposal to me. Aren't you supposed to get down on one knee and deliver some speech about how much you love her and then she says yes and then you live happily ever after?" There was no doubt left in Rose's mind. It really was him. She turned her head and stared.

It was him. Her Doctor. Wearing a blue suit, red converses and that old trench coat, but it was him. She smiled at him, but he focused on Tommy, his eyes burning with anger and hatred.

"She just agreed to marry me," Tommy said. "We were celebrating."

"Sure didn't look like celebrating to me," the Doctor said. "And I thought I heard… but surely it must have been my imagination, that she yelled no. Twice. But if it wasn't, then I suggest you let go of her."

"Oh, she didn't yell no to that… I mean that was to a completely different thing." Tommy stared at him. "Who are you?"

"Oh, I'm the Doctor." Yes, he was. He was the Doctor.

"You mean Rose's Doctor. The one who left her behind?" Tommy said.

"He didn't leave me behind," Rose said. "We got separated." Their eyes met, and she saw a spark of warmth in them and the slightest of smiles played on his lips.

"And you are…?" The Doctor said and turned his attention back to Tommy.

"I am Tommy Richards, the heir to the Fortunex fortune, and this woman's future husband. You are too late, Doctor… whatever your name might be. Together we will be very, very happy."

"I still think she said no. But why don't we ask her. Rose, do you want to marry Timmy-"

"Tommy!"

"-whatever here?"

"No, definitely not."

"Well, there you are! Now, let go of her or else… well, I should say something like punching you in the face, but you are clearly not worth it. You are trying to make her marry you against her will and you are hurting her. All that show just how much of a bastard you are! And you are ugly, almost as ugly as that Abzorbaloff we met and…" The Doctor's speech was rudely interrupted as hit him and he fell to the ground unconscious.

"DOCTOR!" Rose yelled and jumped forward, but Tommy held her back. She screamed and struggled against his grip, until he shook her roughly.

"Rose Tyler!" Tommy said loudly. "You are going to marry me! We are going to have children and live and long and happy life. Now, SHUT UP!"

"HELP ME!" Rose yelled. Two years ago it had woken the Doctor up to save her, and she hoped it would do it again.

"I SAID SHUT UP!" Tommy yelled. Suddenly he felt someone poke his shoulder, and he spun around, his face as red as a tomato. "WHAT?" but his yelling was interrupted as a fist connected with his jaw and he slumped to the ground.

"Auch," the Doctor said and rubbed his knuckles. "No more hitting today." He looked at Rose who had tears in her eyes. "Hello, Rose." She let out a sob, before running into his arms. He held her tight as she cried, gently stroking her hair, his eyes closed as a part of him reveled in the feeling of her finally being in his arms again. He had missed this, her, so very much and to his surprise he felt tears running down his cheeks.

"I missed you," Rose murmured.

"I missed you more."

"Not possible."

Rose let out a short laugh and pulled away. For a moment they just stared at each other, before the Doctor grabbed her hand and they walked away from the unconscious Tommy, who would wake up to one hell of a headache and one very bad surprise as all his money suddenly vanished.

"I'm sorry Timmy did that to you," the Doctor said. "I should have known you were a trouble magnet, even without me."

"Yeah, I'm sorry he knocked you unconscious, but at least you saved me from him. And I got away from that boring dinner my mum arranged."

"What date is it, by the way?" the Doctor asked.

"It's the 24rd," Rose reached into a pocket in her dress and pulled out her cell phone," no, it's 0:37, 25th of December." She looked at the Doctor who smiled at her. "What?"

"You have pockets in your dress? Rose that's brilliant. Absolutely brilliant!"

"Well, if there is one thing I learned from travelling with you, then it's always have pockets. Dress, pants, underwear, it doesn't really matter."

"Well, at least I taught you that, but you have to learn rule numero uno: Don't wander off! Oh, hang on, it's Christmas morning! And I don't have anything to give you."

"You being her with me, is all I need," Rose said."Although, there is one thing I want to know. On Bad Wolf Bay, I told you that I loved you and I still do, but what were you going to say?"

"Does it really need saying?" the Doctor said.

"Yeah, it does. What were going to say after I said I loved you?"

"Well, I suppose if this is the first of many times I am going to say it… Rose Tyler, I love you, and I will love you through all of time and space, until your mother's slaps finally kill me."

Rose laughed and hugged him. He loved her! He really loved her! She felt like jumping up and down, yelling it to the world. The Doctor loved her, Rose Tyler!

"Oh, look," the Doctor "it's snowing."

Rose pulled away and looked at the sky. Little white flakes were dropping from it, and this time it wasn't a spaceship burning up in the atmosphere, but real snow.

"Merry Christmas, Rose," the Doctor said.

"Merry Christmas, Doctor."

They both leaned forward and their lips met in their first, real kiss. There was no Time Vortex threatening to kill either of them, no Cassandra. Just the Doctor and Rose Tyler, finally together, just as it was always meant to be.

The end

A/N: Wheew, that was one long story to write. I was going to publish it yesterday, but I didn't have time to finish it.

A very merry Christmas to all of you!