What had happened to him? Had he gone soft? No, don't answer that. He definitely had. Why? What had done this to him? No, don't answer that either. He knew what it was. A blond from London. Nineteen years old and so human. She was full of life and smiles. He loved to see the universe through her eyes. Yes, Rose Tyler was exactly what the Doctor ordered.
Still, that didn't explain why the Oncoming Storm was running about the TARDIS like a madman. Sure, she was his best mate. Well, she was more than that. He saw a spark in her the second he took her hand and told her to run. That spark ignited both of his hearts and made them beat again. He almost forgot what it was like to feel the pitter-patter in his chest and those butterflies in his stomach.
Now, where did he keep the gift wrap supplies?
Silently, after getting everything in order, he crept towards her room. He carefully cracked the door and gazed inside with his bright blue eyes, smiling at her quiet snoring.
"Stay asleep, Rose…" he whispered quietly. "Nothing to see here."
He took one lingering glance at his companion's sleeping form, and then he wandered into his wardrobe room. After digging through all of his old outfits, he found it. Why he had it, he didn't even know. But, it was perfect for the occasion. He went back into the console room and set the course, quickly shedding his leather jacket and pulling the other clothes atop his jumper.
"Do Time Lords celebrate Christmas? Wait, don't answer that…" Rose chuckled as they sat around in the console room early that morning.
"Well, we celebrate anything we'd like. Why do you ask?"
"It's silly, really. Just wondering. I talked to my mum yesterday. She likes to remember old holidays. They were always the best in our family. Almost always."
He studied her carefully. "Almost?"
"When I was twelve, Mum didn't make as much money that year. We didn't get to see the family and we didn't exchange gifts. I think I gave my mum a picture I drew in class and she got me some clothes from the neighbor. She was so depressed all day. Going on about how she'd failed to give us a good Christmas. I hated to see her like that."
She had a forlorn expression on her face and he hated it. He absolutely hated it.
Cautiously, he stuck his head out of the TARDIS. No one was awake. It was much too late for that. There was snow on the ground and more falling from the sky. He went back inside and to a room that only he knew about. As quietly as he could, he picked up the special item and hurried outside. He snuck over to the Powell Estate and used his sonic screwdriver on the front door of Jackie's flat.
The lights were all turned off and everything was silent. He couldn't believe that he was doing this. It was unethical on so many levels. Timelines and all that. But, he couldn't get that sad look in her eyes out of his mind. There was no way that Rose was going to have a bad Christmas. Not ever.
Everything went smoothly. He placed the gift by the tiny tree and prepared to leave. However, he couldn't. He knew that he should, but he wanted to have a quick look. Like a ghost, he floated towards her bedroom. As quietly as possible, he opened the door a bit and peered inside. The moonlight came through the window and caught her face. She was just twelve and looked as peaceful as her nineteen year old self on the TARDIS.
"Happy Christmas, Rose…" he murmured, shutting the door and heading for the front.
His foot miscalculated, accidentally bumping the coffee table. He shuffled quickly to the door and opened it, freezing when the light flicked on behind him.
"Who's that?" Jackie Tyler inquired, holding a shoe like a weapon. "Who's breaking into my flat?"
He put on a different voice, hoping that his disguise was good enough to keep his identity hidden. Turning, he grinned brightly. "Father Christmas."
Jackie lowered the shoe and leapt at the sight by the tree. Her hand went to her mouth. "Did you bring this red bike?"
"For my daughter?"
"Oh. The tag…" he muttered. He handed over the tag and big red bow to match, though both were crumbled from being shoved into a pocket.
She took them both and placed them on the bike. "Thank you so much. Honestly, I have no idea why you'd do this, but I really don't care. It's perfect. Who are you? I can't even tell with that Santa suit."
"I'm a friend."
He went out, leaving Jackie stunned. As he walked back to his TARDIS, he ripped the Santa hat from his head. "Last of the Time Lords. Dressed as Father Christmas. Delivering bicycles to human girls. Bet this would terrify a Dalek."
Once he got into the TARDIS, he felt twitchy. He should set the TARDIS to drift, leave the past behind. Instead, he figured that there were just a few hours until morning. He'd like to see if she enjoyed her new bike, especially since that was the only thing he could find for a twelve year old on the TARDIS. After waiting for a few hours, he made sure that his companion was still asleep. Against his better judgment, he replaced the hat on his head and made sure that the beard was still glued on.
The sun was out and he would have a harder time blending in. Luck was on his side, as the moment he popped his head out he heard her laughter. He'd know that sound anywhere. He watched as Jackie and young Rose appeared up ahead. Jackie stayed on the sidelines as Rose rode away on her new bike. He grinned at the sight, quickly getting back inside and setting the TARDIS to drift.
When he arrived in the console room later, Rose was already there and had his leather jacket. "I found the jacket. Didn't find the Doctor."
He smiled and took it from her, sliding it on. "How was your night?"
"Great. How about yours?"
"That's good," she smiled and then motioned to her face. "You've got something on your jaw. It looks like…glue."
He felt it and smirked at the sticky substance. "Probably just shaving gel."
"Shaving gel? But you haven't shaved."
"I was going to, but I changed my mind. Now, where would you like to go next? We can go anywhere you'd like."
She grinned excitedly. "Anywhere?"
"Your wish is my command."
"Well, I kind of have the urge to ride bikes today for some reason. I had one as kid, but I haven't thought about it in a long time. It was my best mate. Mum had to pry me off it most nights."
His hearts surged with warmth. "Bicycle riding it is."
They started chitchatted as he set a course. She laughed at something he said and he had to grin. That smile on her face kept him going. It even made him cross into timelines and throw on Santa suits. Yeah…he had definitely gone soft. Oddly enough, he didn't mind. For Rose Tyler, it was worth it.
A/N: Happy Christmas!