Five Times the Doctor Realizes that Rose Tyler is Dangerous, and One Time he doesn't give a Damn


She's a symbol of resistance, and she's holding on my heart like a hand grenade.

Is she dreaming what I'm thinking—is she the mother of all bombs, gonna detonate?

Is she troubled like I'm troubled? Make it a double-twist of fate.


1.

The first time the Doctor realizes that Rose Tyler might be dangerous he's staring at her across the Cabinet room of Ten Downing Street. They're trapped inside, safe and sound until the Slitheen get the Earth's nuclear launch codes and roast the planet for a quick buck. (And this is why he hates money and won't carry it—because in his almost twelve centuries he's seen so much death and pain for something that, in the grand scheme of things, in the endless list of what's important, means so little.) He's just finished explaining to her mother (her mother) why he can't keep her safe when she tells him to do it. She's nineteen years old and she's telling him to launch a missile at her to save the planet.

She's nineteen years old and she already knows something that his own race never seemed to learn—that there is something bigger out there, something so much larger than a person or a planet, and it's worth sacrificing for. He loves her a little for that and that's when it hits him, because everything he loves dies and anything he loves is a weakness that the universe is all too-willing to exploit. But she's nineteen years old and she's brave and she has a faith in him (after knowing him for less than a week, after his shoddy job of bringing her home for a visit with her mum) that very nearly brings him to his knees, very nearly leads to him blurting out his secret (that he loves her, maybe, or could in the future).

So he does it. Harriet Jones orders him to, but Rose Tyler is looking at him like he's a hero, like he's someone who deserves that kind of faith. Maybe he is. Maybe he could be—for her.


2.

He is jealous this time around. Jealous of the attention she gets from pretty boys, jealous of the attention she gives back, and occasionally jealous of inanimate objects (like that ice cream cone she's got her tongue wrapped around or the battered teddy-bear—Mr. Tedopolus—that gets to sleep in her bed every night). He forgets, you see, that she is young and human because he is old and not. And he knows that he has fallen when a Dalek calls her the woman he loves, when her eyes on anyone else send fury pulsing through his veins and when he's tempted to do terribly petty things to the boys who follow her around, hoping for a smile and a kiss (or maybe more, but he doesn't think about that, refuses to think about her touching anyone else).

He knows that she is dangerous when she causes a world-ending paradox and he forgives her because she says she's sorry and she means it. The reapers are waiting outside the church and she is inside with her mother and her father (and herself, as an infant and he thinks that things can't get worse). Pete Tyler is a clever man, but he doesn't expect anything less from Rose Tyler's father. He figures out what is going on and why. He is a good man, because after the reapers get the Doctor Pete Tyler steps out in front of the car that was supposed to kill him (the car that Rose saved him from) and negates the paradox.

He thinks that she will be the death of him.


3.

She is.

But not the way he expects. He sends her away because he watched her die and he will not do it again. When the Anne-Droid fires she is screaming his name and it's the war all over again—it's death and fire and madness behind his eyes, raging through his veins, setting his blood on fire. He has never touched a woman with these hands, hands that know the feel of a gun so well, that can rend and break and bruise, and now he thinks he never will.

Finding her alive was like rain in the desert and that's when he decides. Nothing is worth watching her die, because she will for him. She's brave and she's in love (and he knows it, even if he won't act on it) and she would give up her life for him. He isn't worth it. So he takes the two most important things in his world—the woman and the ship that he loves (and who love him) and sends them away. He can do what he needs to, knowing that they're safe. He forgets that she's stubborn and clever and never, ever does what she's told.

She comes back. But it's not just her, it's the words that have been following them since he went back and asked a second time, since she said yes. I am the Bad Wolf. I create myself. What she doesn't say, is that she creates him as well, molds him into the man she believes him to be. She wants him safe—but he wants her to live. That's why he takes the Vortex from her, knowing full-well that he will regenerate. It's fitting, he thinks, that this body, born in fire and death and warfare should die on the lips of the woman he loves, the woman who lifted him up out of the darkness.

She is dangerous because he is willing to die for her (when he is running dangerously low on regenerations), because he refuses to lose her, because he would rip apart the universe to get her back. Or so he thinks.


4.

This time around he's a no-second-chances sort of man. He's rude and not ginger and just a bit pretty, but he's okay with that because she seems to be. If he was any sort of decent he would have dropped her off at home but he's still selfish and she still loves him, so he doesn't. He was made for her and it shows. They fit together, palm to palm, thigh to thigh, chest to chest and he rather likes touching her. He likes it perhaps more than he should, but he can't bring himself to care. She still loves him and he feels young again.

Until someone hurts her, and then the rage and fire is back a thousand times stronger. It is hard to be merciful when she is in pain. When the Wire steals her face everything becomes simple, because, as he tells D.I. Bishop, there is nothing in the world that can stop him now. He is vengeance and death come to call and he will show the universe what happens to anyone who threatens the woman that he loves.

He lives so much closer to the madness, this time around, and she is the voice that pulls him back from the edge. She is dangerous because she is mortal and there will be a time when she isn't there.


5.

He loses her when he least expects it. It is a trip home, just a visit to her mother, and despite everything that has happened in London (the Slitheen and the Sycorax, most recently) he believes them to be safe. And then the ghosts appear and Torchwood rears its ugly head and suddenly he's left standing in front of a blank white wall—and she's on the other side.

She is dangerous because without her it is hard for him to remember why he cares anymore, because she makes him forget his rules (he never says goodbye, but he burns up a sun to see her one last time), because when their time runs out before he can tell her the most important three words he's ever had to say (Rose Tyler, I love you) he is a hairsbreadth away from ripping open the Void (because she has to know, if he's never going to see her again, she has to know how he feels).

Without her living is a chore and everything hurts.


And the one time he didn't give a damn.

He is standing on a beach, waiting. Jack and Jenny and River have gone off to get the guests—their family, as Sarah Jane said years ago (or years in the future, depending on where you're standing), because when you get married your family is around you, celebrating with you. It's a long time coming, this day, centuries for her and only a few years for him, but it feels like forever. He's even traded in his tweed jacket and bowtie for khaki trousers and a white cotton shirt. They're on a beach, because he needs some more good memories of beaches, memories that don't include saying goodbye to the woman he loves.

They've been married before, almost two dozen times now, but this is different. This is a blend of her customs and his—this means something. He's never been the marrying type (well, not since the first time) and he never really expected to actually be here, but he is and she is and it feels right. By the end of the day he'll be introducing them as "the Doctor, and my wife Rose." He knows that he is giving the universe one more thing it can take from him, but he learned the first time it tried that he would hurt no matter what.

She is beautiful and just a bit nervous in her TARDIS blue sundress. She's heard stories of so many of these people but she's never met them before and he knows that she wants to make a good impression. He cups her cheek with one hand and smiles at her, the soft smile that remains hers regardless of his regeneration. "You look lovely," he tells her and she smiles at him. She is dangerous because she refuses to be without him, because she always comes back, and she is close to giving him something to believe in. He finds that he really doesn't care.