A/N: Happy New Year :) Thank you very much for the reviews this year, you're all so kind and lovely. I hope 2012 brings you much laughter and happiness. Love, Laura x
"Do we have to?" the Doctor complained, once Paul had closed the doors again.
"Doctor, it's New Year's Eve," Rose pointed out. "We should stick around to see the New Year in with everyone, sing Auld Lang Syne and all that."
"I'd rather celebrate the dawning of a New Year in our own very special way - "
"Doctor," she laughed, playfully swatting him on the arm.
He laughed with her for a moment, squeezing her into a tight hug. "So," he murmured close to her ear. "Are we sorted, then?"
"S'pose," she murmured back. "It's just..."
"What now?" he asked, running his cold nose down the side of her face in retaliation.
"If you didn't mean it as a bad thing, why'd you say it? What did you mean by it?" He didn't reply for a few seconds and Rose tilted her head back and clutched his face between both her hands, forcing him to meet her eyes. His jacket slipped from her shoulders and landed on the floor but neither of them noticed, simply staring at each other until - "Please, I just want to know," she requested softly.
"Can't you just trust me?" he replied, speaking just as softly.
She was taken aback by this unexpected response. "I do trust you."
"But it's just - "
"Ohhhh, for Rassilon's sake," the Doctor groaned loudly, then startled her by hoisting her up into his arms.
"Doctor, what -!" she exclaimed, holding onto his shoulders tightly, scared he was going to drop her. "Put me down!"
"Nope," he replied, walking towards the doors to the party. "Because apparently I can no longer keep secrets from you."
Rose glared at him and, as he opened the doors and carried her through the room, she demanded – in front of their astounded friends and acquaintances – the following: "Firstly, I did not say that, secondly, how many secrets do you have that you keep from me, and why don't you trust me? And thirdly, what has that got to do with picking me up and carrying me bridal-style through my Mum's party and embarrassing me in front of everyone we know in this universe?"
He raised his eyebrows and glanced down at her as he came to a stop at the foot of the staircase. She was giving him one of those angry looks she usually reserved for evil dictators and nasty aliens trying to take over the world. Her cheeks were flushed and her chest was heaving and she was still the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen and blimey, he loved her more than anything, even when she was being utterly, utterly silly.
He looked up and saw that everyone was staring at them, each of their conversations ceased and the music turned down in favour of watching this scene play out.
No pressure, then, he thought to himself, feeling more nervous than he'd felt since, well, ever.
"Rose, I hereby declare in front of 'everyone we know in this universe' that this particular secret I wanted to keep from you was due to it being a surprise – and a romantic one, at that. But seeing as you've ruined it by nagging me about it all evening - " He gulped when her look darkened, somehow seeming even angrier, and then cleared his throat before continuing, "I suppose I'd better just announce it here and now and have done with it."
He paused. Rose raised an eyebrow, apparently unimpressed. "Well go on then," she said, folding her arms defiantly. "At the risk of ordering you about; get on with it."
The Doctor winced at her abrupt words. "You really have absolutely no idea what I am about to say, do you?" he realised.
This situation was supposed to be entirely different. It was supposed to have Glenn Miller playing in the background and a big fluffy bed and chocolate and a smiling Rose Tyler knowing exactly what he was about to say due to him being down on one knee and everything. Things were certainly not going to plan, and he suddenly felt sick because he realised that there may be the possibility that she'd say no.
"You're right, I don't," she replied. She shifted uncomfortably in his arms, aware of everyone watching them have a domestic and distinctly not liking it. "By the way, do you reckon you could put me down?"
"Yeah," he said slowly, swallowing against the lump his throat as he set her down on her feet. The atmosphere felt heavy and awkward and awful, and he wished he'd just stayed outside with her on the terrace to ask her, because really, this was not at all what she'd want, him asking her in front of everyone like in some sort of soap opera. He glanced at the crowd of people watching them, and met Pete's questioning gaze with his own helpless one. Something unspoken passed between them, and Pete (thank everything for Pete Tyler) coughed loudly to get everyone's attention and quickly grabbed Jackie towards him.
"The truth is," Pete improvised quickly, and everyone turned their attention to him rather than Rose and the Doctor. "The truth is that I asked the Doctor to, uh, do something for me. And, erm...what that was, was..." He looked at Jackie and was seized by a fit of inspiration. "Was that he plan a special anniversary trip for Jackie and me – because, well, you know me, Jacks; I'm rubbish at romance - "
Jackie laughed and raised her eyebrows. "And the Doctor's any better, is he?"
"Maybe not, but he knows good travel destinations," Pete continued, and everyone dutifully laughed and things, and blimey, that was a close one.
The Doctor felt Rose's burning gaze on his face without looking at her. He had the feeling she wasn't buying this like the rest of the congregation were.
"Doctor," she murmured slowly. "What's Dad going on about?"
"Apparently I organised a trip to Hawaii for them, didn't you hear?" he laughed nervously. "That's the, er, romantic surprise, you see. The, um, secret."
She narrowed her eyes at him. "I don't believe you."
"Good, 'cos it's a bunch of lies," he admitted on a rush of breath. He sent a silent thanks to Pete for distracting the guests, grabbed Rose's hand, and yanked her upstairs, taking two steps at a time.
"What the hell!" she hissed, trying to keep up with him in her high heels. "Doctor, what on Earth is going on? Will you slow down?"
They reached the top of the stairs and he gently pushed her in front of him, urging her forwards until they got to the guest bedroom they'd been staying in over Christmas. Once inside, with the door firmly shut, he leant back against it and let out a sigh of relief. She stared at him, utterly baffled and a little bit angry.
"That," she declared. "Was kind of mortifying. Please can you tell me what is going on because I don't get it,Doctor, I don't get it - "
"I want to marry you," he whispered, shocking her into silence. He raised his voice to explain, "And I was going to ask you, in front of everyone, but - well, no, not originally – it was going to be just us, at midnight, in bed, with Glenn Miller – well, not in bed with Glenn Miller, I mean, you know, the music, our song, playing in the background; that sort of thing. But it turned out like this and I nearly asked just now, at the party, but then, well, you were angry, and I knew you wouldn't want that, so I kind of didn't know what to do, but then your dad, your brilliant dad, well he knows, you see, so he knew, when I looked at him, and so he spun that story about Hawaii and your mother and now he's got to actually book a holiday to Hawaii for him and your mother and it's all a bit of a mess and Rose, I'm sorry, I'm completely rubbish at all this, at being human, at being a boyfriend, but I love you so much and I thought, maybe, we could..." He gulped. "Get married. Perhaps." He paused again, watching her stare at him open-mouthed. "You're staring at me. Ah. Not...not good," he concluded.
Rose grabbed hold of the bedpost and he dashed forwards as she swayed on her feet.
"Are you okay?" he asked her quickly, scared she was about to faint or something.
"She told me that if I nag you already, you definitely wouldn't want to marry me," she murmured.
His brows furrowed deeply in confusion. "What?"
"Sandra," Rose clarified absently. "That's what she said, that was the end of her sentence. She thought someone like you wouldn't want that. A nagging wife."
"Someone like me? She doesn't know me!" he protested. "And for goodness' sake, how many times do I have to say this! The only nagging you've done is tonight, keep going on about how you nag all the time when you don't!" He shook his head ruefully. "Honestly, I don't know why what she said to you has affected you so much, because you never usually care about what people think about us."
"I care about what you think about us!" she blurted out loudly.
"Well, yeah, and I care about what you think about us," he replied, unsure of her point.
"You don't get it," she sighed.
"No, I don't. I'm sorry," he murmured.
She took in a deep breath. "I thought that maybe you were starting to see the, um. The downsides of a long-term relationship."
"Because, well, I s'pose we've been here a year and a bit, now, and I guess the excitement of being back together has waned slightly - "
"Has it?" he asked her, an unpleasant ache settling somewhere inside his chest. He rubbed at it absently, but it didn't ease.
"I don't know, has it?" she replied.
"Well has it for you?" he asked. "Are you bored with me already?"
"I didn't say that," she said, shaking her head. "I just meant that we've settled in, now, right? We've got our little domestic lives and our little domestic routines and, well. I've had time to get used to it; I've been a human all my life and lived this lifestyle before. Of course I miss the TARDIS and the stars and everything but it must be a hell of a lot easier for me to cope with going without all of that than it is for you. And it scares me so much, Doctor. God, it scares me so much, because what if one day it all gets a bit too – too familiar, too humdrum, and what if then you just..."
"Please don't say that you actually think I could leave you," he said, his voice sounding strained. They were standing close to each other but he hadn't felt so far away from her since over a year ago. "Please don't think that I could walk one single step out of bloody London if you weren't walking with me."
She didn't reply because her throat was too choked up, but the tears running down her cheeks said it all. He grasped her arms and pulled her tight against him, needing to touch her, hold her, to stop her breaking his heart by thinking him capable of living somewhere without her beside him. "You know what scares me?" he whispered into her hair.
"What?" she whispered back, clutching his shirt in her hands.
"That perhaps there's a day ahead of us where I don't make you smile." His voice cracked near the end of his sentence and he lifted a hand to his face to rub his eyes, clearing his blurry vision.
"Nah," she disagreed quietly, tilting her head back to look at him. "As long as you stay, I reckon you'll always make me smile."
"I'm staying," he promised, cupping her cheeks in his hands. "In fact, you couldn't keep me away if you tried."
"Good," she replied, beaming up at him in relief. "You know what, I feel better now that's all out in the open," she laughed, clearing her throat.
He arched an eyebrow and dropped his hands to her waist. "Got our New Year's resolutions sorted, then?" he suggested, and she giggled in response, looping her arms around his neck.
"Ask me," she whispered.
His eyes widened. "But I've left Glenn Miller in the car," he protested.
"I don't care."
"And we aren't naked in bed and it isn't midnight," he said next.
"I don't care," she repeated, giving him a beautiful smile. Then she frowned, a thought occurring to her. "Hold on," she mumbled. "Did you say, earlier, in that massive long ramble of yours when I just stared at you, that Dad knew you were going to ask me?"
"Well, yes," replied the Doctor, shifting awkwardly. "I mean, that's – that's tradition, right? Thought I'd do something properly for once. Asked him for his blessing."
"You...you asked him for his blessing?" she whispered, staring at him in awe.
"Um. Yes. I mean, really, I'd planned on asking your Mum, because – well, you know. But she was busy organising the catering and Pete was in his study hiding from all the last minute party preparations so I took the opportunity then."
"Is that...is that why you were a little late to the party?"
"Well, yes," he admitted, tugging ear. "We had a nice long chat about how in love with you I am."
"You're not rubbish, you know."
"You're not a rubbish human, and you're not a rubbish boyfriend. I mean, you're not perfect..." she teased, wrinkling her nose up; he poked her in the side in indignation, and she giggled. "But you're perfect for me," she grudgingly admitted.
His grin nearly left his face, it was so wide. "Yeah?"
The Doctor sighed happily and reached his hand up to where his jacket pocket usually was. Then the smile slipped off his face and he realised he'd left his jacket on the terrace.
"I don't even have the ring on me, now," he complained.
"You bought me a ring?"
"Blimey. Don't sound so surprised. Doing this properly, remember? Was gonna get down on one knee and everything."
"Thought you said we'd be naked and in bed?" she laughed.
"Well alright, I'd kneel above you instead," he relented, rolling his eyes. "Point is, none of the necessary components for the perfect proposal are present – ooh, nice alliteration if I do say so myself - "
"Doctor, stop distracting yourself with your verbosity."
His eyes widened at her word choice and he sent her a sexy grin.
"Doctor, stop getting distracted by my unexpectedly intelligent vocabulary."
He shook his head to clear his thoughts. "You're right, sorry. Where was I?"
"Something about how this can't be the perfect proposal because you don't have Glenn Miller, nakedness, or a ring. But you're wrong. As usual." He pouted at her and she grinned before continuing, "Me and you. It's all we've ever needed. Why would that change now? Just ask me."
"Are you sure?"
His heart thudded in his chest, though he knew, realistically, that she would never be so cruel as to say no after all this. "Rose Tyler." He paused dramatically, then asked her, very quietly, "Will you marry me?"
"Yes," Rose smiled. "I will."
He let out a joyous laugh and wrapped his arms around her, swinging her in a circle. "I'm glad," he replied, his eyes shining happily.
"I'm glad you're glad," she replied, sinking her hands into his hair to bring his mouth to hers.
They kissed long and hard for awhile, the Doctor slowly tilting her backwards until her back touched the bed and he sprawled atop her, lifting her legs out of his way and around his waist as he got comfortable. Her dress hitched up slightly with their movements, and he pulled away from their kiss to get a nice glimpse of leg. "Soooo," he drawled, his eyes alight with mischief. "Are we going to return to the party, or shall we – as I suggested earlier – celebrate the coming of the New Year here, on our own?"
Rose giggled and looped her arms around his neck again, dragging him down for another kiss. "I think I'd like to stay right here," she murmured. She bumped her nose against his playfully. "I can't believe we're going to get married."
He smiled softly. "Jackie is going to be insufferable after we tell her, isn't she?"
"Oh yes. Be prepared for her to try and take over. But don't worry; if it all gets too much, you can run away with me and elope," she suggested.
"I really, really love you," he answered, and kissed her again.