A/N: Revised 30/6/13
"You reminded me of the Beast, you know," Rose announced suddenly.
"I beg your pardon?" the Doctor demanded, although the words were slightly muffled by his blocked nose.
"I said, you reminded me of the Beast. You know, from Beauty and the Beast?" Rose repeated, looking down at the Doctor.
He was looking rather adorable, with his dark blue duvet tucked up under his chin so just his pale, freckled face could be seen. His usually wild, dark brown hair was flat against his forehead from where he'd been in bed for the past thirteen hours. In a surprising twist of events, an adventure involving a rather unceremonious dunking in cold water had left the Doctor with a chest cold (cueing much angry yelling from the Doctor, who insisted that "Time Lords do not get chest colds, Rose!" and that "such an illness is for humans!"), and so Rose was caring for him. Doctors (alien or not), as it turned out, really did make the worst patients, and for the best part of two hours, the Doctor had continually tried to get out of bed despite running a slight fever and having an awful cough.
"I heard what you said. And I know who the Beast is, thank you." The Doctor ground out, pouting.
The stern look, however, was quickly ruined when he sneezed five times in quick succession. Sighing, Rose reached for the box of tissues on the bedside table, and helped the Doctor wipe his nose.
"What I meant," the Doctor continued as if he hadn't just had a sneezing fit "was how on Earth do I remind you of the Beast?"
"I did say reminded." Rose pointed out, emphasising the last two letters of the word "And I meant your last body. You know, all Northern and leather. Big ears, short hair."
"I am aware of what I looked like, Rose." The Doctor replied haughtily. Again, his blocked sinuses rather ruined the effect of his condescending tone.
Rose rolled her eyes; it appeared that Time Lords- or maybe just the Doctor- were rather grouchy when they were ill. Eventually, curiosity got the better of the Time Lord, and he spoke again.
"How did I remind you of the Beast?"
"How about I just put the film on, and we'll see if you can work it out for yourself?" Rose suggested, standing up.
"Disney film time!" the Doctor chimed, chuckling.
Rose grinned, but quickly became concerned when the Doctor began coughing instead. She quickly fetched him a glass of water before putting the film on.
"I still don't get it." The Doctor admitted quietly once the film had finished.
"Well, you did keep falling asleep!" Rose teased as she put the DVD back in its case.
"Yeah, sorry abou' that." The Doctor told her, smiling weakly.
"Don't worry," Rose assured the Time Lord, smiling "you're ill. Besides, I didn't mind."
By now, she was at the Doctor's bedside again, and she reached for a bottle of TARDIS-approved medicine. Eying it distastefully, the Doctor managed to push himself up to a semi-sitting position as Rose poured some of the mixture onto a spoon. As the spoon entered his mouth, the Doctor grimaced, forcing himself to swallow the medicine.
"Tastes like pears!" he complained tiredly.
Rose giggled at that, and shook her head.
"Well, your fever's down, and you don't seem to be coughing as much, so hopefully you won't need much more of this," Rose told him, kissing him on the forehead.
The Doctor hummed in agreement, and patted the duvet beside him. It had been a good four or five weeks since they'd admitted that they both 'really liked' each other (although, the Doctor had since told Rose several times that he loved her), and they'd been sharing a room- and, consequently- a bed for the past two or three weeks.
"Are you sure?" Rose asked in concern "You're still not a hundred percent."
"Rose," the Doctor told her, laughing slightly "us two cuddling is not going to make me any more ill than I am now, nor is it going to make you ill."
Rose smiled, and slipped under the duvet. She gently pulled the Doctor closer to her, and she could tell by his contented sigh and deep breathing that it wouldn't be long until he was asleep.
"You still haven't explained it." The Doctor murmured suddenly.
"Sorry?" Rose asked, confused.
"You still haven't explained how my previous body reminded you of the Beast." The Doctor explained sleepily.
Rose thought hard for several seconds before speaking.
"When you're better, could you…Could you take us back? To see him? I… It sounds stupid, but I think if you saw him, you'd… You'd understand. Any way you could do that? Take us to see Nine?"
"Well, I could, but I'm not sure it's a good idea. What've you got planned, Rose?" the Doctor looked at his companion in confusion, trying to work out what she was thinking.
Rose merely grinned.
"You'll see." She replied.
The Doctor sighed, and flopped back onto the bed.
"You're sure you got the times right, yeah?" Rose asked cautiously as she hovered at the TARDIS' doors "He'll know who I am, right?"
The Doctor rolled his eyes and nodded.
"Yes," he replied "my driving's not that bad!"
Rose snorted and opened the TARDIS doors, stepping straight out… Into an alien bar. She blinked, and looked round at the Doctor, frowning.
"This is where I came," the Doctor explained as he followed her out "after you said no the first time. Came here to wallow in self-pity…"
He then trailed off, eyes going wide.
"Doctor?" Rose prompted, immediately becoming concerned "What's wrong?"
"We have to talk to him." The Doctor murmured.
Rose frowned in confusion.
"Rose, we have to talk to him, me, Nine!" the Doctor clarified quickly "We… It's us- well, you- that make him go back, ask the second time."
"But, isn't that against the rules, or something? Reapers?" Rose asked.
The Doctor shrugged.
"We both still seem to be here." He responded "Besides, I remember it."
"Right," Rose murmured, still confused.
She then spotted the brooding past incarnation of the Doctor sat a little way away in a booth, alone. Dark and depressed, he seemed to be glaring at his glass of whiskey as if it had personally offended him. Ten took a deep breath, standing a little straighter before leading Rose across the bar. They passed Slitheen, Blathereen, humans and various other strange-looking creatures of various heights, builds and colours until they finally reached Nine's booth. Ten cleared his throat purposefully, and Nine looked up, glowering. However, his expression quickly changed to one of shock at seeing Rose.
"Rose? H- How did you get here?" he asked, brow furrowing.
"Hitched a ride." She responded, nodding towards Ten as she slid into the booth to sit opposite Nine.
Nine blinked and looked the Doctor up and down.
"Oh, what is he? A Time Agent? Hopping through the Universe on his space hopper Vortex Manipulator and just happened to stumble across you? Is that why you went with him and not me? Better looking? Pretty boy? Well, I hope you said goodbye to Rickey before you left, because I doubt he can get you back to your right time. Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to be alone. So run along, I'm sure he can drop you off near a chippy."
Nine then grinned and gave a sarcastic wave. Ten's eyes narrowed.
"Really?" Ten spluttered "Did I really sound like that?"
He looked away from his leather-clad former self to Rose, who nodded back.
"'I'?" Nine echoed, frowning "Oh, great! So, not only do I turn into a pretty boy when I regenerate, but I also become an idiot!"
The Doctor sniffed and straightened his tie, drawing himself to his full height. Certainly not intimidated, Nine only cocked an eyebrow.
"And why exactly are you here?" Nine asked Ten.
"Rose told me that you- we- reminded her of the Beast." Ten announced.
"From Beauty and the Beast." Rose added quickly.
Nine frowned, and turned to look at Rose, who just smiled.
"Really?" Nine asked, slightly disgusted.
"Yeah, all that secretive, brooding, dark thing going on. Pushing people away because you don't want to hurt them. Looking all scary and intimidating when inside you're just lonely." Rose nodded.
Nine snorted, and went back to his drink.
"I'm not secretive or brooding." He muttered darkly.
"You're not doing a very good job of convincing me otherwise at the moment," Rose told him seriously.
Nine glowered and turned back to Ten.
"And you decided to risk Reapers for that?" Nine asked.
"I didn't realise until we actually stepped foot in this place, and then all the memories came back and I had to go through with it!" Ten protested.
Nine turned back to Rose at that.
"Care to explain?" he asked Rose.
Instead of replying, Rose smiled sweetly, and began to sing softly, just loud enough to be heard over the steady chatter of the other bar patrons.
"There's something sweet, and almost kind. But he was mean, and he was coarse and unrefined. But now he's dear, and so unsure. I wonder why I didn't see it there before."
Both Doctors looked up, brows furrowed slightly. Almost subconsciously, Nine began to sing the next verse, thinking back to how Rose hadn't run when he'd told her about feeling the Earth turning beneath his feet, hadn't flinched when he grabbed her hand, hadn't declared him crazy and run as fast as possible back to the safety of her flat, had risked her own life to save him from the Autons…
"She glanced this way, I thought I saw. And when we touched, she didn't shudder at my paw. No, it can't be, I'll just ignore…But then she's never looked at me that way before."
Ten's eyes widened, as did Nine's, almost in unison as they realised the significance of the lyrics.
"Oh." they murmured.
"Yeah." Rose agreed quietly.
The three fell into an uncomfortable silence, watching the other patrons of the bar mill around, laugh, drink, chat and dance.
"And I guess my regeneration was the thing that made you see I wasn't a monster?" Nine asked after a few moments, glancing at Ten again.
Rose, however, shook her head, a small smile on her lips.
"No," she replied "I saw it long before that."
Nine blinked, and Ten smirked.
"We'd better be going," Ten told Rose suddenly "don't want to stay here too long in case of reapers."
Rose nodded, getting to her feet. She hesitated, before darting forward and kissing Nine's cheek. Then, she headed back towards the TARDIS. Nine and Ten both watched her go.
"She said no. Said she had to stay in 2005 London. Why did she change her mind?" Nine asked Ten quietly.
"We asked again." Ten responded.
"We never ask again."
"We do for Rose. She's… special. We need her. Not just for friendship, but, well, she plays a big part in our regeneration." Ten told Nine calmly.
"Let me guess," Nine sighed "that's all you can say? Can't tell me any more?"
"Yeah, the time lines are already blurring slightly as it is." Ten grimaced "But I can tell you what to say."
"And what's that? What magical words get Rose Tyler to step inside the TARDIS even after she'd already said no?" Nine asked dryly.
"'Did I mention it also travels in time?'." Ten announced with a grin.
"That's it?" Nine asked, dubious "Eight words?"
"Eight words." Ten nodded, a small smile on his lips "Eight words that saved our life."
Nine frowned slightly at that, and quickly downed the last of his whiskey. Then, he opened his mouth to speak. And froze. They were gone.