A/N: Thanks to DonnaForPresident, who kindly donated the first 500 words or so of this to me with the request that I complete the lovely little idea that she thought up :D I hope you approve, my dear x

The Gift

Part 1

-:-

"Don't look."

The Doctor stands at the TARDIS console and tries not to show amazement at the fact that Rose has just managed to sneak up on him. How'd she done that?

"Eh, Rose I can't see anything." He means he can't see her. She stands right behind him, hands in front of his eyes, her sleeves brushing his neck, and he guesses she must be straining because of the height difference.

"That's the point. Turn around, but don't look."

He obeys; how can he not?

Turning around with his eyes squeezed shut, he leans back against the console and crosses his arms in front of his chest, pretending to be annoyed, with a slight huff and sagging shoulders, but in truth he's fairly happy for the distraction, any distraction really, as long it's from her.

"Okay, open them," Rose says.

He's greeted by the strangest sight. Rose grinning, with her hands stretched in front of her, cupping a small, pink frosted cake with a single candle on it.

"Why, wha-?" he splutters. The tiny flame dances in front of his eyes, winking.

It even has ball-bearings!

"It's your birthday," Rose announces, and her grin manages to become even wider.

"But Rose, I'm a Time Lord. I don't have a birthday…"

"Do now. And look," she nods at the solitary candle, "it's your first!"

He still doesn't comprehend, but suddenly feels a strange warmth run through him.

"September 23. The day we were on Satellite 5. When you became, well... you," she adds, less sure now. Apparently his outward response is somewhat lacking, for Rose's grin falls a little and her enthusiasm does likewise.

She must have put some effort in working that out, he thinks. Unless she keeps some secret calendar he hasn't found yet. His earlier self scowled at her habit of keeping time, saying she didn't need to keep track of time, with him near.

"Erm, not to rain on your parade, but you've been with me for 627 days," 17 hours and 23 seconds, 24, 25… no, no, too obvious, "and 267 of those where with my, erm… 'other' self, so technically, if you insist on being precise about it, my 'birthday' is not for another 5 days."

"But I got you a present…" Rose protests, a little downtrodden.

Present? Since when did Time Lords receive presents?

"Well, maybe we can be less than precise. What is it?" Eagerness drips from his voice like honey.

Her face takes on that distinct 'Rose' look, that way only she can do, and he knows he's outnumbered by one.

"Nah, I got it wrong. So let's say we come back to this later. Five days, you said?" She puts the cupcake down on the console, and looking over her shoulder, throws him a mischievous smile.

He shrugs. He's nine hundred, after all. How hard can five days be?

-:-

Turns out five days is a loooong time. He's basing this conclusion on the fact that it's only day two, and it already feels like an eternity. Day one? Piece of cake. Literally. He blew out his candle, ate his cupcake, and got back to tinkering, Rose having disappeared off someplace on the TARDIS for the remainder of the afternoon. Yes, yesterday had been fine, and he'd coped. Weeelll. True, he had gotten a bit restless in the evening, and went to hunt Rose down. After many subtle hints and a bit of reverse psychology-manipulation-trick thingy, though, he hadn't been able to coerce her into telling him what his present was.

Hence why he hadn't slept a wink last night, due to thinking about what it could be. Not that he sleeps much anyway, really - nightmares and all that - but still.

He's sitting on the jumpseat now, his leg jiggling restlessly as he waits for an appropriate time to wake Rose up. It's nearly seven, and he knows he'll only incur the wrath of a sleep-deprived non-morning-person if he wakes her up at any point before eight o'clock.

Sooooo. What to do, what to do...

His eyes light up as an idea strikes him. If Rose Tyler will not tell him what his present is, he'll just have to find it! He knows every nook and cranny of this ship; she can't have hidden it somewhere he wouldn't possibly be able to find it. No chance. He grins excitedly.

Of course, the most obvious and unadventurous place Rose will have hidden his gift would be her bedroom. Which either means it definitely isn't in there, for Rose is a very imaginative and adventurous person, or that it definitely is in there, for Rose is so imaginative and adventurous that she is using a double bluff. Hmmm.

Walking down the corridor, he decides that if he's very, very quiet, he'll be able to search her bedroom without her waking up. Yes. Easy-peasy. After all, Rose sleeps through anything. He's tested this very matter in the past, by playing Elvis really loudly in the room next to hers. And when he wakes her up of a morning, he usually bounces on the bottom of the bed to see if it'll to the job. But nope, not a stir! He literally has to shake her shoulder and repeat her name in her ear a few times. In hindsight, he probably shouldn't've discouraged her when she suggested bringing her alarm clock along all that time ago, because now she's gotten out of the habit of having to get up at a particular time for work via that particular device, hence why she sleeps like a baby. He frowns. That's a silly saying; don't babies cry all night instead of sleep? Humans are very odd sometimes.

He chuckles to himself as he eases her door open slowly and quietly, fondly watches his pink and yellow human sleeping for a moment, sprawled out across the bed as she is, arms and legs in every direction. He ponders over the fact that someone so petite should not be able to fill up a huge double bed in such a way. Goodness knows how two people are supposed to fit into that bed –

Not that two people will ever need to fit in that bed, he hastily amends in his head. No, no. Never ever. Not at all. Nope. So it doesn't matter in the slightest that Rose covers most of it with her lithe, flexible –

Okay, stop it, he chastises himself.

He does reckon she'll hog the duvet, though. You know. If they ever have the need to share one.

Anyway! Back to business. Operation Find the Doctor's Gift, ready to commence.

He glances around her room, looking for clues.

He notices that one of her cupboard doors is open a tad, and decides to start there. Slowly and quietly, he opens the door fully and sticks his head in, rummaging through her things to see if he can find his gift. He spots a drawer at the bottom of the cupboard that seems to be filled to the brim with fabric, and he finally manages to tug it open. And then he stares. He swallows thickly and his hand half-reaches forward before he withdraws it sharply and shakes his head at himself. No, he tells himself sternly, rummaging around in her underwear drawer is most definitely not appropriate...

"What are you doing?" asks a sleepy, confused Rose, and the Doctor jumps away from the cupboard in surprise, managing to jerk her knicker-drawer shut with his knee before she can notice he's opened it.

"Oh!" he exclaims, and tugs his ear guiltily. "I was just...closing this cupboard door for you," he improvises, and closes it. "It was open a bit. It was...creaking. I thought I'd shut it for you."

She raises a dubious eyebrow but strangely lets it slide. "What time is it?"

"Oh, it's nearly time for you to get up," he replies. "That's why I came to your room. To wake you. So! Places to see, people to go!" His brow furrows. "I mean, places to go, people to see!"

She smiles tiredly and rubs at her eyes to get herself more awake. "Okay, then. Let me get dressed and I'll meet you in the console room."

He grins, pleased that she's getting up, and nods happily before exiting her room.

Once he's out of sight, Rose rolls her eyes and mutters to herself, "As if I'd hide his present there."

-:-

"Rose..." he murmurs into her ear from behind the sofa. She doesn't even jump in surprise; just carries on reading her book with an absent, "Hmm?" as her reply.

He huffs a bit and jumps over the back of the sofa to land beside her with a bounce. "Can you give me a clue?"

"Sorry?" she responds, still in that distracted tone. It's infuriating, and the Doctor has half a mind to remove that book right from between her hands and fling it over her head. But, it is a special edition Dickens novel, and he doesn't really want to harm it, so he settles for nudging her with his elbow instead, trying to get her attention that way.

"About my present," he clarifies calmly.

"What present's that?" she asks, turning over a page.

He gapes at her. "My birthday present!" he exclaims.

"Oh, that!" she realises, slapping her hand to her head. He narrows his eyes at her when he sees her lips twitch. He thinks she's doing this on purpose.

"Yes, that," he says. "So can you give me a clue as to what it is?"

"Why?" she asks, bemused, finally putting down her book to look at him.

"Weelll..." He scratches the back of his neck, embarrassed.

"Aww, you're like a little kid," she smiles, fondly ruffling his hair. "So impatient and excited."

"I am not!" he retorts indignantly. "I just...it can be like a game!" he announces brightly, as the idea pops into his head. "I like games. You like games. Let's play this game. You give me clues, and I'll try and guess what it is. Yes?"

Rose arches an eyebrow slowly, watching him watch her in contemplation. "No," she answers. "No deal. You'll just have to wait and see."

He folds his arms in frustration and stares at his shoes.

She shakes her head at him, muttering, "Such a little boy," and turns back to her book. In his peripheral vision, he sees this, and abruptly does not like not being the centre of her attention again.

"Okay!" he declares, gently taking the novel from her hands and placing it on the coffee table in front of them. He replaces it with his own hands, and squeezes hers tightly. "I admit it; I'm getting impatient. Can't we just pretend my birthday is today? Please?" He uses his puppy dog eyes on her, wide and brown and beseeching, hoping to win her over.

He should know by now that Rose is not easily tempted by this expression, or any of its variants. After all, how often has he given her his best, sexiest grin, and not received a snog? Very often, that's how often. She is very stubborn. And un-temptable. And completely un-seducible.

Not that he tries to seduce her or anything. Definitely not. Although...

No.

"No, Doctor. You were the one who wanted to be accurate about this. Deal with it." She tugs her hands free from his and reaches for her book.

The Doctor sighs heavily, then goes off in a sulk for an hour or so.