a/n: Nothing you recognize belongs to me! This fic also written for the doctor_rose_fix Spring Fling Fixathon on livejournal. The prompt was from Kelkat9!
A Proper House with Doors and Things
Maybe he was feeling his age (nine hundred and two was being generous), or maybe he was feeling his mortality (he had just destroyed his home planet and killed off his entire species), or maybe he just wanted to make her smile (so she would forget about all the ugliness in the universe, so she would stay)—but for whatever reason the Doctor decided that he and Rose were in desperate need of a vacation. To that end, he found a house. An actual, proper house with doors and things. And carpets! Can't forget the carpets, and drapes too. Because humans lived in houses, or at least Rose did before she lived on the TARDIS and even though Time Lords definitely did not live in houses he figured that he could deal with it for a few days. It was for Rose, after all, and he'd do just about anything for her, including tea with her mum (who was more than a little terrifying and not just because he'd never met a companion's mum before).
Of course, as he was the Doctor, it was not a normal house and it was not on Earth. He loved Rose (he did and he could admit it in the silence of his mind even if he couldn't say it out loud) but he didn't want to tempt her with close proximity to her mother. This was supposed to be a vacation from the constant running interspersed with world-and-occasionally-universe saving, not the beginning of a torture session. Because if Jackie was there she'd inevitably slap him. Or kiss him! He wasn't quite sure which was worse yet. And he realized that he was babbling in his own head and Rose was staring at him, one dark eyebrow cocked and a small smile playing about her lips.
"What?" he asked.
Her smile widened. "Nothing," she replied in a tone that made him nervous. It hinted that something important had happened while he was absent and he hated it when important things passed him by. "Doctor, my face is up here," she said rather pointedly and gestured towards her head.
He blinked. "Yes, Rose, I'm well aware of that."
"Then d'you mind not staring at my chest?" she asked.
"I most certainly was not!" he objected, but he was blushing and really, Time Lords didn't blush! Nor did their voices get squeaky when they shouted! She really was a bad influence on him—all humans were.
She laughed and gave him a tongue-touched smile, the kind she reserved for him and only him and he wanted to frame her beautiful face with his hands and kiss that smile off of her lips. "Oh, but your face is red!"
He pouted. This body was spectacular at pouting. He blamed the whole thing on her clothes, of course. If she hadn't worn a dress that clung to her body in a way that made him jealous of cotton he wouldn't be in this predicament. Of course, if he hadn't decided to take a week off and land them in a planet that had the climate of England in the summer she wouldn't have worn the dress, so really it was his fault (like almost everything). He was strangely okay with that. Or maybe not strangely. He'd been in love with her for ages—practically since they'd met—but she was a human and terribly fragile. He'd left her alone just for a moment and the Wire stole her face. If he hadn't been exceptionally brilliant (and wearing rubber-soled shoes) she might have been lost forever and a universe without Rose Tyler was not one he wished to inhabit.
She lifted her hand to cup his cheek gently. "Oh, I was just kidding," she told him, and even if she wasn't, her eyes were sparkling and he couldn't stay angry at her, not when she looked at him like that. He was the Last of the Time Lords and he was wrapped around the finger of a human girl from London—except that she wasn't just a human girl. She was Rose Tyler. She looked into the heart of the TARDIS and absorbed the Time Vortex to save him. She left her comfortable world of beans on toast and telly and chips behind for the wonder and terror of a universe that was far more vast than anyone on Earth knew (excepting, of course, his previous companions). She was brilliant and he was kidding himself.
There was a storm coming. He could feel it—disaster looming in the time lines. Hers were intertwined with his so tightly that, like his own immediate future, they were invisible but he knew: something was coming.
"Doctor?" her voice pulled him out of his head and blimey, he really needed to stop doing that. Rose was looking at him with something like amusement and concern warring for expression on her face. He pulled a smooth plastic card—their house key—out of his dimensionally transcendent pocket and pressed it into her hand.
"Why don't you go on in and get changed?" he suggested. "I'll bring the TARDIS up and then we can go to a party! You wouldn't believe the parties here, Rose. There's at least one every night and they've got these lights that are slightly psychic—brilliant for playing shadow puppets—the lights just reshape themselves and cast their shadows as what you want to see!"
She frowned. "But Doctor, my clothes are all in the TARDIS," she pointed out.
He scratched the back of his neck. "Yes, well, I took the liberty of having something sent over."
There went the eyebrow again. "Sent over from where?"
He shrugged. "Just a little shop. Now go on or I'll never leave!"
Rose sighed. "I wish you wouldn't," she murmured as she flashed the keycard in front of the black screen next to the door. A little green light flickered on and the door opened. The Doctor gave her a cheery wave and headed back towards the TARDIS, which was parked down the street. She stepped inside, closed the door behind her, and turned to see just what the Doctor had gotten them into.
Her jaw just about hit the floor. The house was two stories. The first floor was completely open, no walls at all. The space was divided into a sunken living room, a foyer (where she was standing), a dining area, and a huge, shiny kitchen. The centerpiece was a gold spiral staircase that twisted up to the second story around what appeared to be a large tree. She approached it slowly and laid a hand on the trunk. Yes, definitely a tree. The bark was cool and rough beneath her hand and the air smelled like damp earth and growing things. The floor was a rich brown wood that was polished so highly that it practically glowed.
Couches lined the edges of the sunken living room. A long, low coffee table sat in the middle of the room and a screen that was taller than she was stretched across the wall. At the moment it displayed an aquarium scene and brightly colored fish were frolicking amidst strands of kelp. Brass was everywhere: outlining the windows, gleaming as door handles and fixtures, supporting lamps and the chandelier that dangled from the ceiling in the dining room. The walls, she realized, were TARDIS blue and a smile broke across her face. Of course the Doctor would pick this house. It was mad and brilliant and chaotic, just like him.
She left the first story behind and climbed the stairs to the second, trailing one hand along the rough bark of the living tree. She blinked when she reached the top of the stairs. The tree continued straight on through the roof of the building. A screen surrounded the top of the trunk to keep critters and insects out and she was profoundly grateful for that. She loved the outdoors but she wasn't keen to discover if this lovely planet had anything like the mosquito.
There were only two rooms on the second story. The first was a bathroom with a gorgeous tub—deep and wide enough for at least three people. She grinned. Oh, the comments Jack would make if he were here. She pushed away the pang of sorrow that thought caused. He was rebuilding the Earth, the Doctor said, and she knew that he had no problem lying to her if he thought he must, but she hoped that he hadn't. The second room on the second story was the bedroom. Yes. One bedroom with one large, four-poster bed. Like everything else in the house it had a slightly outdoors feel—the bed frame was brass and intricately wrought in the shape of climbing vines. Towards the tops of the posts tea lights sat in built-in holders. Brass sconces, complete with ivory tapers, decorated the walls and the bed was positioned directly below a skylight. If she lay on her back she could see the stars through the spreading branches of the tree.
It was a decidedly romantic room. Had the Doctor planned this? Or had he taken one look at the first story and decided that it was perfect? She hoped that he'd known, that he'd finally managed to work past his issues. She supposed it was a little unfair of her to want him so desperately, but she did. She loved him and she wanted to be with him, forever. She sighed and slid off of the bed. That was a melancholy thought, and such thoughts weren't allowed. They were on vacation, after all. She turned back to the single chair that was tucked into the corner. Lying on top of the seat was a paper-wrapped package marked 'Rose.'
The Doctor was halfway to the TARDIS when something small and blonde barreled into him. He laughed and swept the pink and yellow menace up in an exuberant hug. "Miss me already?" he asked when he set her down. "I've only been gone less than five minutes." Rose didn't answer. If anything she burrowed closer to him. He laid his cheek against the top of her hair, breathed in, and paused. Rose usually smelled like vanilla, almonds, and apple grass (he'd found a shampoo on New Earth that she'd fallen in love with and although it was a bit of a chore to run back to the year five billion and three to get more, he didn't complain). This Rose smelled like burning—like smoke and ashes and heartbreak, like fear and longing and—the Void. He stiffened and pushed her away, holding her at arm's length. She looked up at him solemnly.
"Rose," he asked, slowly and carefully. "What have you done?"
Her laugh was short and harsh. "No, 'nice to see you Rose?'" she suggested. "No, 'how brilliant are you to figure out how to get back?'" His eyebrows pulled together and his face stilled and suddenly she was looking at the Oncoming Storm—but she was Rose Tyler, damn it; she crossed the Void and found her way back to him again and again and she was not afraid, not of him, not ever. She sent him a look of her own and he flinched away from the golden fire that ringed her pupils.
The fight seemed to go out of him, and he sagged, suddenly looking exhausted. "You can't tell me anything, Rose," he reminded her. "You shouldn't have even let me see you."
"I had to," she told him softly. "There are things you need to know."
"This is a paradox," he reminded her. "I've got one of you up there!" he said and gestured to the house.
Her eyes softened and a small smile curved her lips. "I remember this place." She sighed, and then the steel seemed to flow back into her. She took his face in her hands and held him still, forcing him to look into her eyes. "When you go back to 2006 do not take her with you." She was deadly serious. "Drop her off in Cardiff with Jack, take her to that ABBA concert she's been asking for, lock her in the TARDIS if you have to, but do not let her out."
She was standing in front of him, so strong and broken and fierce, and it pulled at him. He wanted to gather her close, to promise her that he could fix it, that he could do anything—but he knew better than most that no one was a slave to time like a Time Lord. No one was more bound to it, more constrained by its rules. "I have to forget this, Rose," he told her.
"It's not a fixed point," she argued. "I've checked."
"You're manipulating time!" he snapped back. "And how do you know Jack's in Cardiff?"
She grinned at him then, the same grin that she'd given him earlier with her little pink tongue teasing him from the corner of her mouth. "Who d'you think's helping me?"
He shook his head. "You're mad, the pair of you, and every minute you talk to me is one minute too many. You've seen what Reapers can do, Rose. What could possibly posses you to take that risk, to attempt to rearrange time to suit you?" His expression darkened. "I thought you were better than that."
"You're dead!" she blurted. Her eyes were burning and red and wet and he knew that she was going to cry, knew that she had already—for him. "I came back, fought my way through hell itself and when I got here you were dead. Kaput, as you say. No regenerating." She took a deep breath and turned her face away for a moment. When she looked at him again the tears were under control but the blaze of gold was back. "An' that's wrong, Doctor. Time was unraveling—because there are fixed events in the future, your future, and they can't happen if you die. So remember what I said, an' remember this." Her hands fisted in his lapels, pulled him down so that her lips were on the level of his ear and she whispered something that had his brain buzzing. Then she shifted her grip and brought her lips firmly against his.
At first he was too surprised to react. Rose Tyler was kissing him. Rose Tyler was kissing him. Rose Tyler was kissing him. He managed to wrench his mind out of that perpetually shocked loop and back into the moment. He meant to push her away but then one hand released his suit jacket and wound itself into his hair and he gasped. That, apparently, was all that she needed because then her tongue was in his mouth and blimey where had she learned to do that? His hands moved to her hips, slid around the rough denim to grasp smooth leather and pull her closer. They stayed locked together, lips and tongues and teeth moving in cadence like old friends (or old lovers) until she pulled away, breathless. He watched her with slightly wild eyes and opened his mouth to speak, but she pressed her fingers against his lips. Obediently he closed his mouth and her hand shifted to cup his face gently.
"I've always been yours, you know," she told him, her eyes shining. "Ever since the beginning, even when you had big ears and wore leather—and I always will be, Doctor." She let her hand fall. "Now fix this, Time Lord." She took a step back and disappeared.
The Doctor knew that if he pulled out the Sonic Screwdriver he could bring her back, and if he went to the TARDIS he could track her and find out where exactly she came from and when—but he didn't. Her words and her kiss were playing merry havoc with his brain, but one idea stood out in double-bold mauve print: a storm is coming. It was coming and it was going to rip her away from him.
Let the universe try. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say, and he wasn't about to let it happen. She was Rose Tyler and he loved her and he would not be parted from her. Time, it seemed, agreed with him, if future Rose could be trusted—and he knew that she could. She'd never lied to him before and she knew the consequences of what she'd done. That Rose, the Rose who crossed the Void for him, would cease to exist once the time line changed. She'd given herself up to save him, to save the universe, really. A sad smile crossed his face. It was very her. He turned away from the place where she disappeared and back toward the TARDIS. He had work to do, and one Rose Tyler was waiting for him.
The package was a dress and the dress was gorgeous, Rose thought as she twirled in front of the mirror. It was a dusky pink that managed to set off both her hair and eyes, and that was quite impressive as they were quite different colors. The bodice was snug and held up by a single strap that ran halter-style behind her neck, leaving her back exposed. The skirt was long and full and fantastic for dancing, really. She had a pair of black suede flats in the TARDIS that would be perfect, and maybe some bangles for her wrists. Although the Doctor had promised her no running for her life on this stay, she thought it was better to be prepared, and thus her stiletto heels would be staying where they were—in her closet.
The grinding moan that heralded the appearance of the TARDIS put an end to her musings. She stopped her spinning and turned to face the doors. She was giddy and nervous and hopeful and she was sure that it showed on her face, that she was blushing. The TARDIS doors swung open and the Doctor stepped out.
He knew the dress would suit her, wouldn't have picked it out if it didn't, but he hadn't known just how well it would highlight her smooth skin and the soft curves that had been pressed against him so recently. He couldn't stop himself from staring at her. He knew she noticed because a bit of pink spread from her cheeks down her neck to disappear into the sweetheart neckline of the dress. She bit her lip.
"Well?" she asked. "What d'you think?"
He moved closer. "You look lovely," he told her.
A corner of her mouth twitched. "For a human, yeah?"
He took her hand. "Never should have said that, but I could be a right bastard when I wanted to in that body." He smiled at her. "You look lovely, Rose, full stop. None of this 'for a human' nonsense." Her alternate's words were running around his head, bouncing off the walls of his frankly spectacular Time Lord brain. "What do you say we forget the party for tonight and just stay in?" he asked.
Her eyebrows crinkled as she frowned, and then she reached up and tapped his head. "What's going on in that great big brain of yours?"
He flashed her a grin. "Oh, lots of things. Genius, me, but mostly I'm thinking about something someone very wise told me, and something I'd rather like to do."
She met his grin with one of her own. "An' what would that be, then?"
He brought his free hand up to cradle the back of her head and then he was kissing her. It was gentle and slow and a bit hesitant and wonderful. It was also entirely too short, as he pulled away to rest his forehead against hers. He was smiling, she noticed, not the manic grin that all too often hid worry or stress, but a proper, easy smile. She couldn't help but give him one back.
"What did your friend say?," she asked after a moment. "Cause I'd have said it ages ago if I knew it'd get you to do that."
He laughed and kissed her again, just a brief press of lips. "She's the wisest person I know, and she said one thing, just one. She said 'time can be rewritten.'"