Rose opened the door and stepped from the chilly hallway of the rocket's interior into the warm familiarity of the TARDIS. She heard Ida's voice over the intercom, "Really, though, Doctor, who are you?"
"Oh," the Doctor looked up at Rose and grinned at her from the control panel, already having changed back into his favorite suit. He winked at her as he continued, "The stuff of legends."
As he switched off the intercom, Rose ran up the ramp and jumped into his arms, held open for her. She held on tightly as he swung her back and forth, ecstatic to see him again after what she had been sure was a permanent separation. Every flimsy excuse she'd ever concocted dropped away at that moment, and she failed to restrain herself. The instant she regained her feet, she kissed him.
She heard his sharp intake of breath and felt his lips move under hers, and all thoughts of the planet, the pit, the black hole, and the consequences of her actions dropped away. She was wrenched back to reality two seconds later when the Doctor abruptly placed his hands on her shoulders and pulled back, a look of shock on his face.
"Hold on, we can't do this." The Doctor glanced briefly at the control panel, shock transforming into horror. He gulped. "Oh, this is not good. This is very, very not good."
Rose flushed, embarrassed with herself and horrified at his reaction. "S-sorry, " she choked out. "I was, I mean…" One kiss, and now he wouldn't even look at her. He was going to take her home and leave her there. She squeezed her eyes shut for a moment, steeling herself against the harsh emotions that pounded against her. Taking a deep breath, she lifted her chin and set her shoulders. "Just… forget about it," she said, trying to sound casual. "Won't happen again."
The Doctor's look was one of total confusion–mouth open and one eyebrow cocked as he said, "What? Why not?" The second eyebrow joined the first, now in comprehension. "Oh. Oh! No, Rose, you misunderstand." He beamed at her again and cupped her cheek, leaning in to give her another quick kiss. He gazed at her for a few seconds before giving a small hum of contentment and tracing her cheekbone with his thumb. "No, no, no, no, no, we can do this," he said as he gestured between them, pointing at the two of them in turn. "We just can't do this," he clarified, waving at the control panel and motioning to the room at large. "No snogging in the control room, that's me. Come on, into the corridor."
And with that, he grabbed her hand as he had so many times before and began walking towards the TARDIS's interior. He only made it a few steps before Rose pulled him up short.
She hadn't moved.
Rose was completely baffled by his behavior. She closed her eyes and held up her free hand. "Hold on. You're saying you just want to leave the control room?"
He nodded once. "Yes."
"And go into the corridor," she continued, motioning in that direction.
"Yes," he repeated encouragingly.
"Then snog in the corridor."
"Oh yes!" He flashed her an almost feral smile. "Problem?" he asked, an eyebrow raised once again in polite inquiry.
She was still trying to make sense of him. "Why the corridor?"
He shrugged. "Doesn't have to be the corridor. Could be the kitchen. Or the living room, I'm not fussed." His face lit up. "Oh, or the library! And there's a lovely tea room upstairs, have I shown you?" As he was talking, he'd started towards the TARDIS's interior again. Rose, still holding his hand and so intent on sorting out this bizarre alien response, followed him without thinking. When he'd reached 'tea room' in his listing of possible snogging sites, Rose noticed they had passed through the inner doors. She felt him release her hand and saw him lean casually up against a support strut. "Now, Rose Tyler. Where were we?"
Between Jimmy and Mickey and the rest of her previous boyfriends, Rose had learned quite a few tricks about simple seduction. The dropping hints, the flirting, the courting dance that always took place before the first real kiss. That was little league–Rose was way out of her depth. Standing in the middle of a hallway unsure of how to react, the Doctor (who seemed completely comfortable with the situation) waiting for her to make a move, Rose felt thirteen again. Thirteen with a crush.
"Um…" No, she was not going to blush again. Absolutely not. "Somewhere around 'No snogging in the control room'?" She scuffed the toe of her trainer against the floor and tried to figure out what to do with her arms. She ended up clasping her hands behind her. "Was it a problem, the snogging, that you had to make a rule of it?"
"Not a problem, no, not really." The Doctor crossed his arms and looked up as though reminiscing. "Almost had an incident once and realized it'd be a very bad idea to continue."
Rose scoffed and did not deny the jealousy behind it, not even to herself. "When was this jolly little holiday?"
"About forty-six seconds ago." He motioned with a jerk of his head through the door at the control room. "You were there, you don't remember? Shame, it was quite nice."
"Hold on, what incident?" Her nerves were gone, leaving behind only confusion and a slight irritation at the Doctor for not explaining himself properly. "And why's it a bad idea?"
The Doctor looked at her questioningly. "Weeelllll, it's obvious, isn't it?"
"Oh. No, I suppose it wouldn't be. See, it's like this–if we start snogging in the control room, then the only thing I'll be able to think about in the control room is snogging. Now that's a very pleasant thought and I'll want to continue thinking it, which will lead to some very distracted piloting on my part. Very dangerous, distracted TARDIS piloting, might end up running into ourselves or crashing into Apollo 13 again, and we wouldn't want that. The only solution would be to engage in said distracting activity away from the thing that doesn't need distracting, therefore: no snogging in the control room. Does that make sense to you?"
Rose's mind whirled as she tried to keep up with his rapidfire speech. It did make sense as far as his reasoning went. "I s'pose so."
"Good, because I lost myself. I was thinking about snogging." She glared at him, trying to decide if he was having her on or not. "What? Like I said, it's very distracting. Now," he said, pushing himself off the wall and looking seriously at Rose, "I believe we were in the middle of something."
She stood in the corridor, stomach attempting backflips as her nervousness returned. "Kind of, I dunno, lost the moment, didn't we, Doctor?" As far as she could figure, he wanted her to kiss him again, but she didn't feel that a logical, business-like approach was the way to go about doing that. Maybe the next time their lives were in jeopardy, or a subsequent run-in with another hostile alien government.
"Well, we are in a time machine. What's it for but reviving lost moments? Piece of cake, here we go. I was standing here." He motioned to his feet and held his hands as though on the control panel. "Then you walked in, and I smiled at you like this." He beamed at her. Not artificially, but truly–exactly like he had when she'd returned on board. "And I held my arms out like this, and you came running up the ramp!" His arms were open, but she didn't move. "Come on, Rose, your turn," he motioned her to approach with his hands. When she did so, smiling in amusement, he reached down and lifted her off the floor. "Then I scooped you up just like this and spun you about." Rose was laughing now, and wrapped her arms tightly around his neck as she'd done before. Slightly out of breath from the exertion, he kept on, "and when I set you down," he did, gently. "Oh, this is my favorite bit. You looked up at me. Just like that, Rose, very good. You looked up at me and I was so happy to see you, I couldn't help myself. I leaned down, like this," he was whispering now. His breath ghosted across her skin and she could barely feel the brush of his lips as he spoke. "There's your moment, Rose Tyler. Shall we continue?"
Rose didn't need asking twice. She pressed against him, once again feeling his lips, soft and cool on hers. Standing on tiptoe, she flung her arms about his neck again, adding to the pressure she was already applying. When she pulled away slightly for breath, she licked her own chapped lips, unintentionally grazing his with her tongue.
Dear God, no human male had ever tasted like that in the history of the universe.
Rose delved into her new favorite flavor with an intensity that surprised both of them. (Her eyes were closed, but she'd have bet ten quid that the Doctor's eyebrows shot up.) If he was shocked by her voracity, he didn't seem to mind it. She explored him with her tongue, and he returned in kind, favoring her lower lip and making Rose moan appreciatively. She felt him shudder when she traced the tip of her tongue along the roof of his mouth, and vowed to draw that reaction from him again.
They stopped when logistics demanded they breathe. Panting, propped against the wall, the Doctor held Rose to him by the small of her back, resting a cheek on her hair as she leaned against his chest. She let her thoughts drift for a few moments, and giggled.
"What's that for?" the Doctor asked her.
Rose grinned up at him, her tongue poking out from between her teeth. "Mum's not gonna be happy with you."
"Thinking about your mother at a time like this! And you could do worse. Mind you, I'm quite a bit older, but I'm very good looking."
"No arguments from me," she said, smiling. "Just that you had a tea room all this time and never showed her, that's all."
"Rose Tyler, I would go with you to the ends of the Earth. In fact I have, we had chips. But bring your mother on board for tea? That's basically asking permission to court her daughter, and I certainly wasn't going to bring that up with her before finding out what you think."
"I think," Rose responded, taking hold of his tie and pulling him towards her again, "that you need to ask Mum 'round for tea and have that little chat."
Her nonverbal response told him it could wait a while.