A/N: Okay. So. I'm sorry, first of all, to all the followers who are waiting on The Paper Angel. My computer was taken in because apparently it's broken so I haven't had it for a week, and the chapter is finished, just half of it is on that computer, and I have no idea when I'll be getting it back. This is something I just wrote on a whim. I started it in class because I was bored and finished it today because I'm sick and bored. Mind you, I have a god awful migraine, so it's all a bit rubbish, but I just wanted to put it up because I feel bad about not updating the other story yet. Hope you like it and don't think it's too terrible. Review! And also, I changed my tumblr URL, so it's now stolenbyasexytardis. I post updates and sneak peeks and stuff for my stories there, so follow me :) Thanks! Enjoy.
The Doctor paced back and forth across the main level of the TARDIS. All of his nine hundred and some years fighting aliens and saving civilizations and not once did he ever remember being this nervous; over something as trivial as a birthday, no less. Not his, though. Rose's. Time passed differently on the TARDIS than on Earth, but Rose was still aging like a normal human. After an angry phone call from Jackie on Rose's mobile about missing her twentieth birthday, the Doctor made sure to start keeping track of Earth days. He could take Rose to any one of her birthdays, of course, but… spoilers.
For the past few weeks he had been checking his TARDIS-programmed Earth calendar, noticing that it was approaching that date. Rose had no idea, though. Her sense of time was still way off. Anyway, he had phoned Jackie, warning her of their upcoming visit, and immediately started planning as best as he could. He was never the best at planning. Spontaneous, that's what he was. But he wanted to make this perfect for Rose.
He was trying as hard as he could not to consider the reason why he was so nervous. It was a little bit difficult when he had thousands of voices inside his head screaming "You love her, idiot!" That's what he was doing now: pacing, and trying to quiet the voices. "Shut up, shut up, shut up…" he whispered to himself, pressing his hands to his head and squeezing his eyes shut.
"Who are you telling to shut up?" a soft voice inquired. The Doctor jumped. He had been so busy trying to calm his nerves that he hadn't noticed Rose enter the room, the light padding of her bare feet down the hall lost beneath the white noise of his thoughts. She was sitting cross-legged on the captain's chair, still in her cotton pajama pants and a white tank top. Her hair had been thrown messily into a ponytail atop her head, in what he knew was an attempt to make it look as if she had not just gotten out of bed. He smiled at the sight of her, head cocked to the side curiously, eyebrows raised.
"Oh, nobody," he replied, sticking his hands into the pockets of his blue trousers. He nodded at her attire. "Go get dressed. We've got a full day."
She stood, trying to rub the sleep from her eyes. "What've you got planned?" she asked innocently.
The Doctor grinned, sincerely this time. "You'll see." Rose smacked his arm playfully, turning on her heel to go change clothes. Well, the Doctor thought, trying to tame his hair in the reflection from the monitor, at least this would be interesting.
When Rose emerged from her room, hair properly brushed and hanging loose, and dressed in a pair of tight, dark jeans and a blue t-shirt (he loved that color on her, she must have somehow figured that out), the Doctor was waiting, arms crossed, by the door. "Ready?" he asked with a smiled, reaching for her hand.
She grasped his hand firmly in hers, grinning back. "Ready." He pushed open the door and together they stepped out into the open.
"Rose Tyler, welcome to 2007. February the twelfth, to be exact. Approximately… 5:20 PM. Happy 21st birthday!"
She looked up at him, eyes wide. "Are you serious? It's really my birthday?" The Doctor nodded. She surveyed the place where the TARDIS had landed, peeking around the corner of the alleyway. "This… this is London! You brought me home for my birthday?" He nodded again. She squealed, throwing herself into him and hugging him tightly. "Oh my god, Doctor, thank you!" Immediately she turned and began to jog off in what he assumed was the direction of her home, blonde hair swishing behind her. He followed, glad she had missed the blush that appeared on his cheeks from her unexpected embrace.
The alleyway he had parked in was only about a block away from the Tyler's flat. By the time he arrived, Rose had already gone inside and was in the middle of greeting her family with hellos and hugs. He strolled in, hands stuffed into his trouser pockets, and leaned against the doorframe, watching. Rose was being transferred from Jackie's arms to Mickey's, who squeezed her tightly around the middle. Feeling a slight pang of jealousy, the Doctor averted his eyes, instead opting to observe the room.
There were streamers and balloons hanging haphazardly around the sitting room, and he could just imagine Jackie asking Mickey to hang them and then reprimanding him when he did it wrong. He chucked to himself. Oh, the domestic life was never one he could picture himself living.
"Still travelling with this one, I see." That was Jackie, her voice coming from behind him. "Haven't changed your face again, huh?" The Doctor turned back to shrug at her while the other two laughed. Rose turned away to keep talking to Mickey, but Jackie was approaching the Doctor. She crossed her arms, voice dropping to a whisper. "You're still taking care of her, then? Keeping her safe?"
"Of course," he nodded, his volume coming down to match hers. "I made a promise to you, Jackie. Your daughter won't get hurt." Also, I'm in love with her, he thought.
Jackie nodded sternly, and then her mouth turned up into a smile. "Oh, come here, you," she said, tugging him into a big bear hug. "Still look a bit scrawny, though, don't you? My god. Well, come eat then, I've made dinner and Mickey's brought cake…"
"Bye Mickey! Bye mum! Love you!" Rose shouted, closing the apartment door behind her. She sighed happily. "Wow. Thank you so much for bringing her home, Doctor." Her hand had slipped into his somehow as they began to walk.
"Well, I kind of had to. I missed your last one; you should have heard the phone call I got. Your mum's got quite the vocabulary when she's angry." Rose laughed loudly, making the Doctor smirk. "She would have had my head if I didn't bring you back this time!" Rose giggled, pink tongue sticking out between her teeth the way she always did when she was happy or amused. Swinging their hands back and forth between them, she continued to pull him back towards the TARDIS.
It was getting dark as they arrived in front of the blue box. Rose's key hung on a chain around her neck, and she pulled it out from under her shirt to unlock the door. Since he had given her the key, she had not let him open the door once. Somehow, the novelty of it had not worn off yet. She grinned, as she always did when the lock clicked and the knob turned. Swinging the door open, she strode in, arms flung wide and smiling madly. "TARDIS sweet TARDIS," she laughed, dropping the new leather bag and shedding the black pea coat that were presents from her mother and Mickey. Placing herself in the captain's chair, she spun around to face him. "Welcome home, Doctor!" He smiled, flicking a couple switches on the console and checking the state of his hair in the mirror. Suddenly, Rose was standing next to him, her back resting against the console. "Where are we going next?" she asked, bumping against him with her hip. Her hand was resting next to his, almost touching, but not quite. He turned to look at her.
"Someone's in a good mood," he said, and she smiled, tongue slipping out between her teeth again.
"Well, yeah! It's my birthday and I've just got back after visiting my family, why shouldn't I be?" He laughed, moving to the other side of the console and acting as if he were doing something impressive, when actually he was just trying to keep his composure. There was still one thing left to do tonight, and it was the scariest. He subconsciously patted the inside pocket of his jacket just to make sure it was still there.
Rose peeked back around to try to catch his eye, but he wasn't looking at her. He had flipped on his brainy specs; he found that often when he wanted to appear like he knew what he was doing, his glasses made him look significantly more important and busy. "Um, you didn't answer my question yet," Rose finally said, walking towards him slowly around the center of the TARDIS.
"Hmmm?" he murmured, still pulling levers and reading numbers on screens. They didn't mean anything, but Rose didn't know that. Or maybe she did.
He glanced up, and there she was, eyebrows furrowed and standing with her arms crossed. "I asked where we were going and you didn't answer, and we haven't moved anywhere yet. You're just hitting random buttons with your glasses on to make you look smart!" The Doctor sighed. So she did know. "What's going on, Doctor? You've been acting funny all day long and I'm worried. Is there something you're not telling me?" He slipped his glasses off and rubbed the bridge of his nose. No point in procrastinating any longer, he thought.
"I'm sorry," he finally said, looking up at Rose. "I know. We're not going anywhere tonight. No, no, no, nothing's wrong, I promise!" he added when she started looking even more worried. "Just taking a break for tonight. Trust me. The TARDIS is fine, I'm fine, you're fine, we're all just fine." He leaned back against the railing behind him. "It's still your birthday, you know." Rose smiled at that, and the Doctor felt slightly better. They were quiet for a moment as the Doctor contemplated words and timing and all those things, before finally deciding that he wasn't going to get out of this without looking like a bumbling idiot, so he might as well go on and get it over with. "I have… there's still another… I got you a gift."
Rose stared at him. The Doctor could see her turning over his words in her mind. Finally, she spoke, looking confused. "You… got me a gift? For my birthday?" He nodded nervously. Did she not want a gift from him? Oh no, she didn't want it, he never should have even told her. How stupid of him to think that she would want something from him. But suddenly, something hit him hard in the chest, and he was engulfed in a hug, arms flung around his neck and a head pressed against his shoulder. Rose stepped back, beaming. "Doctor! You got me a present, you shouldn't have done that, you crazy man, you didn't need to get me something! If it weren't for you I wouldn't have even known it was my birthday!" She smacked him on the chest lightly, the way she always did, and he smiled wider than he had all day. "You didn't steal it, did you? Because I know that you don't carry money with you, and I would feel terrible if you had to steal a gift just because you wanted to get me something for my birthday—"
The Doctor shushed her, pressing his finger to her lips. "Do you want to see it or not?" She nodded.
He reached into the chest pocket of his blue jacket and pulled out a small box, which he had tried to wrap in TARDIS blue paper, although the paper had not wanted to cooperate and he ended up with a couple of paper cuts, an hour spent muttering angrily under his breath, and a very messily wrapped gift tied up with a curly blue ribbon. Rose laughed loudly. "Oi, don't laugh, I don't wrap gifts very often! You're lucky I even wrapped it at all!" he exclaimed. Rose tried to hide her smile.
"Yes, sorry, you're right. I should be very grateful," she tried to say calmly, still laughing a little bit. He grinned at her and placed the box in her hands.
She stared at it for a moment. The Doctor fidgeted, finally deciding to stick his hands in his pockets so he didn't do anything stupid with them. Rose looked up, as if asking permission. He merely smiled in response. Her lips turned up slightly at the corner as she slipped a finger under the paper and slit the tape open. He tapped his foot impatiently; even with the awful wrapping job, she still unwrapped the package gingerly, as if the paper were precious. Once the ribbon came off, as well as the paper (surprisingly all in one piece), she was left holding the small, velvet box. She glanced up again, and the Doctor just laughed. "Open it!"
Smiling, Rose flipped open the lid, and her eyes widened when she saw what was inside. The Doctor bit his lip nervously. "I mean, if you don't like it that's okay, I can take it back… well… no, I can't actually, but you don't have to wear it if you don't want—"
This time it was Rose pressing a finger to the Doctor's lips. His eyes met hers, and he saw that they were glimmering, full of unshed tears. "Doctor, it's beautiful," she whispered. The pendant that hung from the thin chain was a tiny, silver wolf. She carefully lifted it from its resting place inside the box to look at it. "Where did you… how much did it cost? You must have paid a fortune for this!"
"Actually, I didn't. You know that mining planet with the reptile-human-creatures that we went to? Yeah, I have a friend there who made it. She owed me a favor, and I needed a birthday gift. If you look, on the back, it's engraved." Rose did just that, studying the careful marks on the back, brow furrowed.
"Doctor? I can't read it. Shouldn't the TARDIS be translating it for me?"
The Doctor smiled. "The TARDIS doesn't translate Gallifreyan. "
Rose gasped. "It's really in your language?" She went back to looking at the strange carvings of circles and lines. "What does it say?"
"Bad Wolf," the Doctor replied, "what else?" Rose laughed, holding it out for the Doctor to take. He just stared at her. "What?"
Rose grabbed his arm, pulling it out of his pocket and placing the necklace on his palm. "Will you put it on for me?" His fingers folded over the chain as Rose turned around, her back to him. He unhooked the clasp on the back, reaching over her shoulders and chaining it around her neck. A bit of her hair had gotten caught under the necklace, so the Doctor instinctively lifted it out, brushing his fingers across the soft skin of her neck. He felt Rose's shoulders stiffen under his hand, and he moved away, backing up against the railing again. Rose turned around, worrying the small pendant between her fingers. "Thank you, Doctor, it's lovely."
"O-of course," he stuttered, surveying Rose thoroughly. How was he only now realizing how absolutely, truly beautiful she was? The way her blonde hair framed her face, her perfect lips (that the Doctor was suddenly longing to feel pressed up against his) pressed into a tight smile, how something as simple as her jeans and t-shirt could accent all the soft curves of her body, the way the pale skin of her neck dipped into her collarbone where his necklace was now hanging. Gorgeous. Lovely. His beautiful Rose.
In the midst of all of his internal monologue, the Doctor's hand had come up, just about to caress the side of her face, but he quickly shoved his hand back in his pocket. Stupid hands, always doing stupid things. No more stupid things. "Um," he said, brain whirring in a rather futile attempt to not stumble over any more words.
"Yeah," Rose said, apparently in the same state of mind as the Doctor. "I'll, um, I'll just be off to bed. Long day, you know." She stepped back a few steps uncertainly, towards the hallway.
The Doctor merely nodded, watching her back away. The tension in the air was tangible. "Yes, long day. Uh, sleep well, Rose." She smiled slightly, turning to leave.
The Doctor sighed, flipping his glasses back on to his face, and pulling a lever to cloak the TARDIS for the night. Stupid, stupid, stupid. He was a genius, he was brilliant, yet right now he was being so stupid, all because of this one silly girl. He glanced up at Rose's receding form, pursing his lips. What happened to all those realizations? Before he knew it, he called out. "Rose! Wait!"
She spun around, a glimmer of hope in her eyes. After taking a couple tentative steps in his direction, she paused. "Yes?"
"There's something I forgot." Steeling himself for what he was about to do, her approached her slowly. "Another surprise of sorts, I guess. Do you want me to give it to you?"
"If you'd like."
Rose looked wary; for good reason, the Doctor supposed. Taking the final steps to where she stood, the Doctor reached for her and gently gripped her forearms, holding her only inches away from him. He leaned down to whisper in her ear. "I would like to, very, very much."
She knew what would come next. He could almost imagine the smirk on her face as she whispered back, her breath hitting his neck and sending a chill up his spine. "Why don't you, then?"
He chuckled softly. "Oh, I will." And then, miraculously, his lips were pressed to hers, and every synapse in his body went off at once, reacting to the incredible feeling that was kissing Rose Tyler. Her reaction was immediate; it was not tentative or hesitant, and every single bit of tension that had existed between them before this moment had dissipated. She wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him closer, and his hands had drifted to her waist, holding her the way he had only dreamed of until now. Her breath was in his lungs, and it was the most brilliant thing he had ever felt. He could stay like this for an eternity.
Finally, when oxygen was starting to become a necessity, the two broke apart, their foreheads pressed against each other as they breathed, still holding each other tightly. Rose still had her eyes closed, but the Doctor watched her smile. "I'd tell you that was my favorite gift today, but I wouldn't want to boost your ego too much," Rose said before collapsing against his chest in a fit of giggles. The Doctor buried his face in her hair, laughing right along with her.
A couple minutes later, when both had stopped gasping for breath and clutching their sides from laughing too hard, they looked at each other, grinning. "Best birthday yet," Rose whispered. The Doctor kissed her forehead, hugging her. He heard a little noise and looked down to catch Rose in the middle of trying to hide a yawn. He chuckled at the sweetness of it all. Despite how much she had changed while with him, she was still quite human, and needed her sleep. "Sorry," she laughed tiredly, and the Doctor noticed her eyes drooping a little bit.
"Come on, you," he told her, stepping back a little bit. "Off to bed!"
She eyed him flirtatiously. "Only if you come with me," she said, backing away with hips swinging and one finger beckoning him towards her. He rolled his eyes, although he had no intention of declining the offer.
"Well, since it is your birthday…" He ran to her, swinging her up into his arms bridal style. Rose gave a shout as she was lifted off the ground and within seconds she had her arms wrapped around his neck and was kissing him hard. He obliged her for a moment before laughing and pulling away. "Oi! Bed time, stop distracting me!" Their banter continued all the way down the hall and into Rose's bedroom.
Minutes later, they were both wrapped up under the covers, Rose nuzzling into the space under the Doctor's arm. She sighed contentedly, eyes shut, and it was only seconds before her breathing steadied and he knew that she was asleep. Stroking her cheek lightly, he watched her fall into a dream, thinking how lucky he was to have found this girl in the basement of a shop about to get killed by aliens almost two years ago. What would he do without his beautiful Rose? That was a question he didn't want to find out the answer to for a very, very long time. There was, of course, the question of her mortality, but that could wait for another day. Right now, he was content, with the girl he loved sleeping in his arms, loving him back. As drowsiness began to kick in, he kissed her forehead and whispered to her one last time before shutting his eyes.
"Happy birthday, Rose Tyler."