here comes the sun
Rose sits at the kitchen counter, a cup of tea in her hands. It feels strange to have a cup of tea and a real breakfast—eggs and toast and a bit of bacon—after so many mornings running on nothing but coffee. But then, coffee isn't really Rose Tyler's cup of tea.
Something tugs on Rose's shirt; she looks down to see Jenny smiling up at her. "Good morning," Rose says, smiling.
"Morning," Jenny replies. "Are you going to come with us in the TARDIS?"
Rose nods. "I'm coming," she says, kissing the girl's forehead.
"We're going to leave soon," Jenny informs her. "I'm supposed to tell Tony. Have you seen him?"
"He's upstairs, I think," Rose says.
Jenny scurries away, leaving Rose to stare at the dregs in her cup once more. She had woken in the wee hours of the morning after troubled, confusing dreams in which she was with a man who was sometimes Noah and sometimes the Doctor. Her relationship with Noah had been her way of coping with a life she couldn't remember. Even now, she can pick out bits of her time with Noah where she made decisions that must have been influenced by a subconscious knowledge of the way things were supposed to be: the location of the wedding, Noah's status as a doctor of chemistry, a choice of restaurant on a particular date, her affection for a particular hair style of Noah's.
But that relationship is over. Rose Tyler is no longer the red and white heiress fuelled by caffeine; she is the pink and yellow human fuelled by alien cuisine and the winning smile of a mad man in a box. She could not have stayed in her busybody office-building board-of-directors life with Noah. Their year-long relationship seems paltry against her years with the Doctor.
Rose shakes herself out of her own thoughts and puts her cup in the sink before going to her parents' room to talk to her mother.
Jackie is hanging Pete's shirts in the closet, sorting by colour. Rose watches her as she moves on to the rest of the laundry: Pete's work pants, jeans, Jackie's own blouses and skirts. Jackie gives Rose no overt prompts, but her body language tells Rose she's listening.
"I'm going with them," Rose says simply.
Jackie doesn't seem surprised. She puts away the last pair of socks, smiling resignedly, and then hugs her daughter. "Be careful, Rose. And come round for dinner once in a while."
Rose nods. "I will, Mum. I promise." She blinks a few times, cursing her recent tendency for tears, and smiles. "Thank you."
"For putting up with me the last year."
"Well, it's not your fault you lost your memory, is it? Now go on. Don't want to keep them waiting." Jackie shoos Rose out of the room. Rose has to stifle a laugh at her mother's antics as she goes to her room to pick up the bags she packed that morning.
Rose rounds the corner to find that her bags have mysteriously vanished and been replaced by a skinny man in a suit. The Doctor's infectious grin spreads when he sees her. Rose grins with him before they both erupt into simultaneous, spontaneous laughter.
When they've finally sobered, the Doctor offers Rose his arm. Rose takes it, and he says "Allons-y!" as they walk out to the yard, the Doctor practically dragging Rose along in his excitement.
The TARDIS is hidden behind a couple of trees. The first thing that strikes Rose about this new TARDIS is its colour. The brick-red box is not the blue box she is so familiar with. "It's red," she says immediately.
The Doctor nods, his goofy grin never wavering. "Yep." He tugs on her arm a little, and Rose realises she's stopped moving. She stirs her feet into gear again and walks into the TARDIS behind the Doctor.
It looks the same inside, except that the Doctor's long, brown coat isn't thrown over the pillar, and there's a small brown jacket hanging on one of the railings. A small weight attacks Rose's leg as the door clicks shut. "Rooooose!" Jenny says, mimicking the way she called Rose's name when she was much smaller.
Rose smiles and ruffles Jenny's hair. The little girl makes a face and flattens her hair down exasperatedly, one arm still wrapped around Rose's leg. "Good to see you, too," Rose says.
"I missed you," Jenny mumbles. "Are you going to stay?"
Rose puts a hand on Jenny's head—the most affection she can manage in this awkward position, since Jenny is nearly cutting off the circulation to Rose's foot—and assures her she doesn't plan on going anywhere without them any time soon.
Jenny gives Rose's leg one last squeeze. "Good." She lets go, smiles up at Rose, and then dashes off, disappearing behind a pillar.
The Doctor leans up against the console, one foot crossed over the other. "Are you ready to go?" he asks, his grin momentarily set aside.
Rose looks around the room, and then nods, smiling.
His grin returns, as wide and unrestrained as ever. He whips around, throws a few levers and hits a few switches to send them into the Vortex.
Rose walks around the console while he works. His gaze follows her until she stops across the engine from him. "So," he says, "what do you think?"
"It's red," Rose repeats.
Her protests dampen his smile, and he seems a little offended. "What's it matter if she's red? She's the TARDIS." He runs a hand along the console, admiring the engine column.
Rose wrinkles her nose. "She's supposed to be blue."
The Doctor shrugs. "New universe. New TARDIS. Besides," he adds, pushing off from the console and walking toward Rose, "it could be worse. She could have been something other than a police box."
Rose frowns. "It's weird."
"You'll get used to it," he tells her. "Right now, I want to show you something." He takes Rose's hand and leads her through the corridors.
"You'll see." He leads her through the maze of corridors, past the wardrobe and the library and the swimming pool. He turns a corner and stops in the middle of an empty hallway. "I've never brought anyone here before," he says, touching the wall affectionately. "It's got a psychic lock on it; I'm the only one who can open it."
A door slides open in the wall. "What, it only opens for your mind?" Rose asks.
He blinks, affecting an appalled and offended air. "That would be totally inefficient!" He shakes his head, dropping the pretence. "No, it's just a password."
She follows him through the door, and it shuts behind them. "That doesn't seem very secure. I mean, I'm sure someone could guess it."
He gives her a mischievous smirk. "Only the most special of someones." At the other end of the short hallway, an elegantly carved door slides open, and he gestures for her to enter first. "These are my quarters."
The room is a mixture of medieval and space-age decoration. Shelves line the walls, stacked with a select few books and artefacts, but largely bare. The only places without shelves are the two doors on either side of the room. There is a low table in the middle of the room, along with a sofa and two armchairs.
"Your own private study. It's very... you."
"Well, I do live here," he says, before leading her across the room. "This door," he says, gesturing to the door they're standing next to "leads to everywhere else. Every door does, actually, except that one." He points to the door they entered through.
Rose frowns, confused. "What do you mean?"
"All the doors are the same door. It opens to whichever room you're looking for."
"You've got a magic door in your room?"
"It's not a magic door," he defends. "It's a psychic command multispace portal."
Rose arches an eyebrow. "So what's on the other side of this magic door?" she asks, a teasing lilt in her voice.
"Whatever I want, I think. I've got a work room, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a couple of walk-in closets, along with this study. I don't know what else. Never really needed anything more." He opens the door onto a small closet full of tools and gadgets. He closes the door and opens it again—a work room. The third time he opens the door, the room beyond looks like the luxury suite of a medieval-themed hotel on a vacation planet a hundred light years away. "After you," he says, giving her a little bow of his head.
Rose walks in ahead of him, admiring the blue carpet and wall hangings. "I like it," she says. "The colour's nice."
"She did a good job, don't you think?" He smiles, looking around. "Especially considering I wasn't in much of a state to give her any directions. It's designed to resemble the previous version, the one from the other TARDIS.
Rose sits on the bed, sinking into the thick comforter. "It's wonderful."
"She kept your room, too," he adds, sitting next to her. "It doesn't have any of your things in it. Just the décor."
"Am I going to need it?" she asks.
"Well, I thought you might—after yesterday and everything—you might want your own space for a while."
Rose bites her lip. She'd been doing so well at ignoring the and everything. "No," she says before she has a chance to think too much and change her mind. "I mean, if you want me to stay there, I will. I know this is your space, but—"
"Rose," he interjects. "You can stay wherever you like."
"Even in your top secret genius lair?" she teases.
He nods, clearly feeling the need to add something.
"I can't read your mind," Rose says impatiently.
He hesitates, then says cautiously, "I can't tell you the password."
"You'll let me stay here but you can't tell me how to get in?" It doesn't seem to add up. Rose is certain there's a further explanation. "Why can't you tell me the password?"
"Yet," he qualifies. "I can't tell you the password yet."
Rose nods slowly, but she's still not getting it. "Right. Doctor, this isn't making much sense to me. Have I got to win some contest or something first?"
He laughs. "Oh, Rose. You've already won the contest. It's more a matter of claiming the prize." He gives her a look that says we both know what I'm talking about.
Rose sighs impatiently; she has no idea what he's talking about. "Are you going to talk circles around it all day?"
He studies her intently for half a minute, his face betraying no clear emotion. "My name," he says finally. "My true name."
The puzzle falls together. It's perfect, really, the way he's made his chambers a fortress with a single key that cannot simply be plucked off a key ring. "It's brilliant," she remarks. She knows what he means about "claiming the prize": she's won his heart—and he hers—but he can only tell her his name if they are married by a Time Lord handfasting.
"Is it?" he asks, unsure if she understands yet.
"I think so," Rose says, smiling. "The key to the master suite, held only by the master and his mistress. Poetic, in a way."
He is getting no clear message from her. "So," he prompts.
"So," she repeats, leaning into him, "I think we've put it off long enough, don't you?"
He grins and kisses her forehead. "Rose Tyler," he says affectionately, her name a term of endearment more powerful than any pet name.
"My Doctor." She smiles and kisses him tenderly before getting up and tugging on his hand. He follows her to the door; it opens onto the study. They make their way back to the console room, where Jenny sits on the jumpseat, toying with a small, round gadget.
Jenny looks up when Rose comes in. She doesn't say anything, just gives Rose a smile and watches as the Doctor pilots the TARDIS. The little girl makes a face as the Doctor lands the ship, clearly displeased with his techniques.
"Here we are," the Doctor announces.
Jenny hops down from the jump seat and sets the gadget on the console. Rose walks out the front doors, and the Doctor follows. As he passes Jenny, her expression changes dramatically, and her eyes flash with annoyance. She follows him out, and he figures he should probably teach her the proper way to fly the TARDIS, but he doesn't dwell on that for long. He has a handfasting to complete.
A/N: Well, that's all for now (sorry about the obscenely long wait; at least I came through with the promised epilogue). I'll be back in a few weeks or possibly months. I hope you've all enjoyed the journey. Thank you all so much for reading and reviewing and adding things to your alerts.
Lots of hugs and scones and fuzzy socks to my beta, EnoughToTemptMe for her amazing help. I wouldn't be half as good a writer without her. Actually, I'd be worthless without her.