Sometimes, Rose had her doubts about whether the Doctor was really cut out for a typical human relationship.
Not that they weren't compatible. Quite the opposite.
(Doesn't the universe implode or something if you dance? Oh, yes, she'd thought as she'd collapsed back onto their shared bed, his mouth still on her sweat-damp skin. Yes, indeed.)
It was just that when it came to…dancing, sometimes it seemed like he was moving to a rhythm that she couldn't quite follow. When he'd pressed her up against the door jamb in the kitchen, their bodies aligning, his hands tenderly cupping her face, and proceeded to kiss her, soft and slow as though she were the most precious thing in the universe, she'd melted. And when he'd pulled back, smiled at her, and told her that they were out of juice, and would she pick some up at the store when she went out?—well, it was just a little confusing.
Then there'd been that whole thing with the towels. She'd been trying to reach the top shelf in the linen cupboard to get the spare ones down. Not being particularly tall, she'd been struggling to get a foothold on a lower shelf when the Doctor suddenly pulled her away as though the cupboard concealed some sort of alien menace. (Which, given the evidence of their past history, was entirely possible.) He'd sort of spun her around and pulled her in to his side, one hand wrapped around her waist.
"Hi," he'd said before leaning over to snog her with enthusiasm. Then, just when she started to feel her knees give out, he'd pulled away and offered to get the towels down himself, being that he was so impressive (and tall).
So all in all, the Doctor was being just a teensy bit weird. Which was hardly something new, but still. It was…weird. In her darker moments, Rose wondered if the physical aspects of their relationship were just some sort of compromise he was making. Maybe Time Lords didn't do that sort of thing, but humans did, so biological metacrises with Time Lord brains and human hormones just cobbled together a list of acceptable mating behaviors and got on with it, where necessary, with the net result being the occasionally awkward moment.
She hoped that wasn't it. Really, really hoped. And surely it wasn't. 'Cause he sure hadn't been complaining when they'd… But still…
Of course, being that he was the Doctor and she was Rose, they never discussed it.
That would be cheating. Or something.
Things didn't come to a head until she took him for his first tour of Torchwood.
"We should head back downstairs; I've arranged a meeting with David from R & D. Thought it might be good for you to talk to him—he's the one to go to for all the really good alien gear. Might need some of that for growing the TARDIS, and…" she said, turning as she spoke, only to find him directly behind her, and all the space between them melted away. "What're you do…"
He kissed her.
No, thought Rose, more like he was devouring her. His lips were hot on hers, firm, insistent, and just a little bit desperate. One of his hands slid around the back of her neck, tilting her head back, making her mouth open under his, his tongue taking full advantage. His other hand was holding her waist, shifting her back until her bum hit the conference table.
Rose made a noise somewhere between a squeak and a moan as he bit her lower lip. She put out one arm to brace herself against the table, but the Doctor put a hand on her elbow and tugged it loose. Still cupping her head, he pressed her onto her back, leaning into her as she hitched a leg up to his hip.
A small bit of common sense flitted through Rose's mind, commenting on how this wasn't exactly a private room. Then he did something unspeakably wonderful with his tongue, and she decided that common sense could sod off. But just as she was reaching up to push his jacket off his shoulder, he broke the kiss.
"So you were saying," he said, propping himself up above her, "about going to meet some bloke from R & D?"
"What?" Rose jerked her head up, trying to look at him properly.
"David? R & D? Shall we get going?"
"But, but, but…" Rose trailed off. "But we're kissing."
"Yes," he said with a grin, like he was laughing at her for stating the obvious. "But I had the impression we were on a schedule."
He started to straighten up, but Rose decided that she had frankly had enough. She grabbed him by the tie. "You just hold it," she growled.
"Problem?" he asked lightly, still smiling.
"It's like you keep kissing me, but, I mean, it's…it's like irrational snogging!" she said, frustrated.
The Doctor looked amused. "Irrational snogging? That's sort of a redundant term, don't you think? I mean, really, what's so rational about rubbing our mouths together, eh?"
She scowled at him. "You know what I mean. You snog me out of the blue and then just go on like nothing happened. Doctor, you can't kiss me breathless on the Torchwood conference table and then act like you're not…I dunno, up to something."
He sighed as though she was being the very height of unreasonable. "All right. If you must know, I'm working from a list."
Her eyebrows rose up. "A kissing list?" She KNEW there was a list involved somewhere.
He nodded like that was perfectly clear. "Exactly."
"So, what, it's like the fifty best kisses or something?" She wasn't sure if she should be amused, or maybe insulted, by this. "You find that on the Internet?"
He rolled his eyes. "No, of course not. It's my own personal list."
Rose tried to give him a Look, the kind that would clearly indicate that this was not really a sufficient explanation, but it lacked some punch, what with him still half on top of her. "Well? You gonna elaborate on that?" she asked.
The Doctor looked a little embarrassed. "It's the list of all the times I wanted to kiss you but didn't. Obviously," he added.
Her mouth popped open. "You mean when we were…"
"Traveling together, yes," he said a little curtly. "So it's more like timey-wimey kissing, not irrational snogging."
Rose thought about that for a moment. She decided that she liked it. No, that she bloody well loved it. At last, this—THIS—was confirmation that she hadn't been crazy all those times when she thought she'd seen that wanting in his eyes.
Her face broke out in a huge smile. "Are you doing them in order?" she asked. "Chronologically speaking?"
He nodded. "Of course."
"So where and when are we right now? For kissing purposes, I mean."
He had a little smile on his face. "What, can't you guess?"
Rose bit her lip and thought about it. The desperation, the table… a missing TARDIS and a black hole looming overhead. "Krop Tor?" she finally ventured.
"Krop Tor? Krop Tor? Don't be ridiculous, that's way in the future," he scoffed. "No, we're in 10 Downing Street, of course. Look, conference table and everything."
Rose raised an eyebrow. "We're giving Harriet Jones quite a show, though," she said with a grin. "Wait, Downing Street…that can't be right."
"Of course it is," said the Doctor, adjusting his grip on her hands and leaning in to trace the side of her face and around the shell of her ear with the tip of his nose. "I could save the world but lose you," he whispered into her ear in an accent that was just barely drifting toward Northern.
Rose closed her eyes as his lips found the angle of her jaw, the pulse of her throat. She could see the man that he once was, in that moment of shivering intensity, when the act of weighing her life against the fate the world had stripped him bare.
Her first Doctor was lost long ago, and her second Doctor left her behind, but they were both wrapped up inside the man whose lips were at her throat. She opened her eyes as he rose up to look down at her, and she thought she could see, for a moment, his other eyes, could smell the leather of his jacket along with the wool of his suit. He'd never felt quite so alien, and it was possibly the most deliciously erotic thing she'd ever experienced. She felt a flush rising up from her chest to her face.
"Rose Tyler, why are you blushing?" he asked, rolling the words slowly out of his mouth. He looked far too pleased with himself.
Rose pressed her lips together, not sure if she wanted to share these thoughts. Fortunately, when it came to the art of deflection, she'd been trained by a master. She raised an eyebrow at him. "You wanted me on my back on the table in Downing Street? Y'know, we'd only known each other for a few days by then."
"Oh, I don't know," said the Doctor. "By then, I'd seen you laugh and I'd seen you cry. I'd seen you risk your life to save someone else. You had a key to my home in your pocket. We'd shared chips. Seems like we knew each other well enough."
"Good enough for an oh-god-we're-all-gonna-die leg over?" she asked with a teasing smirk as she shifted suggestively under him.
He looked slightly affronted. "Rose Tyler, that's not it at all, and there certainly wasn't going to be any…well. Besides, Harriet is still in the room with us," he sniffed.
"Fair point. You know," she said, glancing at the door, "other people might be joining us in the room as well. Present-day people. Y'know, people that I actually have to work with."
"Well, I was the one who said we ought to get going, you know." He straightened and extended a hand to help her up. "So? On to R & D?"
When she hesitated and bit her lip, he frowned. "Is this OK? I suppose it's a little unconventional. It's just…well, I think I've had enough of living with regrets."
Rose shook her head. "It's brilliant. But you might want to add a little where-and-when plot exposition. Help me get in the mood."
"Done." He smiled and laced his fingers through hers.
"So," she said still leaning against the table, not quite willing to leave the topic just yet. "What's the next one on the list?"
"Right after the missile hit," he said. "Obviously."
"Is it a yay!-we-didn't-die snog?" She grinned at him.
He didn't say anything, just reached up his free hand to cup her cheek. He looked into her eyes for a long moment and then leaned forward to press a kiss to her forehead.
"My precious girl," he murmured, and Rose closed her eyes against the wave of love that seemed to wash over her skin. This, she thought, was the truth of it—that the tension that they had lived with for so long, never acknowledging, hadn't been just about her lust or his loneliness; it had been love and wonderment and adoration.
When she opened her eyes again, he was smiling down at her.
"There, now don't be greedy," he admonished as he tapped her on the nose. "We'll get to all of them."
"Good," she said. "And, um. Some of our own, too?"
His smile grew as bright as the sun. "Oh, yes," he agreed. "Plenty of those, too."