Author's Note: Many thanks to Unseen Watcher because without that volleyball of emails, I never would have thought of this pairing that I now love so much. :)
And this is dedicated to my husband who recently was told by his oncologist that he is most definitely and officially still in REMISSION as he has passed his five year survival mark and after five more years, he will be pronounced cured! :D Okay, and now back I go to holding my breath. ;P
I hope that you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Happy Valentines Day! :)
Disclaimer: I do not own anything in relation to Dr. Who.
Another long and exhausting day at Henrik's department store has Rose Tyler removing her reading glasses and rubbing wearily at her eyes. She has worked at Henrik's for the past fifty years having started out as a shop girl when she left school and then slowly working her way up to bookkeeper once she obtained her A-levels.
Time to call it a day, she sighs inwardly, greatly relieved to be finished with updating the books after the huge sale that they had the day prior. She can't remember the last time she worked with so many figures. Rose chuckles softly to herself as she recalls that it was most likely back when she was a shop girl assisting the ladies with their garments whenever necessary.
She quickly straightens her desk and clocks out while saying her farewells to the departing shift and her greetings to the new arrivals. Her steady pace carries her
halfway out the front of the store while she searches her purse for her bus pass when something, or rather someone, catches her eye.
She stops mid-stride and turns to stare at the older gentleman who is standing in the women's department and sending offending glares at any of the shop girls who start to make their way over to assist him. He must be buying a gift for someone, muses Rose as she watches him go through the store's various selections with indecision.
He picks up each blouse, sweater and scarf to scrutinize them to the minutest detail, glance at them with firm disdain and then hurriedly discard them by tossing them aside and leaving a trail of chaos and fretful shop girls in his wake.
Rose offers the girls a sympathetic gaze as she knows how strict this section's manager is and how difficult male shoppers can be when they're looking for an ideal present, especially the older ones. Well, time to put a stop to that.
She walks over to him with a confident stride and politely inquires, "May I help you, Sir?"
Without even looking up from his latest choice of apparel, the Doctor gruffly replies, "What? No, no, I'm fine, just like I told all of your other cohorts…I mean colleagues earlier. Now please don't bother me again…"
His voice trails off when he finally takes a moment to glance at the most recent interloper and finds himself gazing at the smiling face of an older woman with the warmest brown eyes that he has ever seen.
He throws another sweater off to the side as he hastens to apologize to her. "Oh, I am sorry, my dear lady, please forgive me for my ill manners. It's simply that the young women who work here have been pestering me all afternoon and they insist on trying to force me into the men's section in a devious attempt to ply me with cardigans and fuzzy wool caps."
"That's quite, alright, Sir, I understand," accepts Rose graciously. "I know that some of our employees tend to be a trifle overzealous when a customer is searching so determinedly for something and just can't seem to find the right thing." She gestures to the trail of rumpled clothes littering the tables. "I was hoping that I could you offer my services instead, Mr…?"
"What?" he squeaks while pulling himself out of her gaze. What in Rassilon's name is wrong with me? "Oh yes, my name, it's Smith, Mr. John Smith, but you may call me the Doctor."
"The Doctor?" queries Rose in amusement.
"Yes, my dear. In fact, you might say that I'm the original." He offers a slight bow and kisses her hand in a more formal greeting.
Rose's eyebrows rise at both the man's gesture and his obvious conceit. With her tongue poking out between her teeth, she asks bluntly, "Are you saying that you've been around that long?"
"It feels like it, my dear lady. Yes, it most definitely feels like it sometimes," he admits with a sigh and a chuckle. He looks her over appraisingly from head to toe and with narrowed eyes and a tap of his finger against his lips he murmurs to himself, "Yes, quite right, quite right. Yes, perhaps you can help me after all."
Rose is almost starting to rethink her kind and generous offer of assistance, she's not sure if this old duffer is on the level or if perhaps if he's a very bad wolf on the prowl. Who kisses hands nowadays? And who does he think he is taking such liberties? He hasn't even bought me chips first!
"Exactly what is it that you're looking for?" questions Rose, her interest warring with her suspicion.
The Doctor grasps his lapels as he confides, "My granddaughter is going to a school dance and I wanted to buy her something special to wear. She is after all a very special child."
"I see," murmurs Rose while relaxing immensely at his declaration. After all, a man who goes to such great lengths to please his granddaughter can't be all bad. "Well, I would definitely want to find something appropriate for her age and coloring. How would you describe her?"
The Doctor's gaze travels far away as if he was actually seeing her across the room. "She's sixteen years old, dark hair, dark eyes and her features are…well, I guess you would describe them as elfish. Hmmph!" he notes in amusement. "Yes, that would be accurate as she's definitely a little pixie!" He withdraws a folded paper from his inner coat pocket and hands it to Rose. "I took the liberty of jotting down her size from one of the dresses in her closet. Pretty clever of me, wouldn't you say?"
"Yes, actually I would," comments Rose honestly. "There aren't that many shoppers that come in here quite so prepared." She flashes him the grin that literally made him speechless when he first saw her and she respectfully offers him her arm. "Shall we?"
He returns her smile wholeheartedly and with a slight twinkle in his eyes, he entwines his arm with hers and declares, "Let the adventure begin!"
Several pleasant hours later, Rose has helped the Doctor find everything that he needs to transform Susan into the belle of the ball. As one of the sales clerks just finishes ringing up the purchases, Rose happens to glance through the front glass doors in dismay. "Oh no, my bus, I completely forgot about it! And the last one for my street is leaving now!"
She turns to him with an apologetic smile and tells him, "I'm sorry but I really must be going. Good luck with your surprise, it was wonderful meeting you."
Caught off guard at the fact that he's about to lose contact with this woman, this magnificent, fantastically brilliant and charming woman, that he has come to care for in so short a time, he swiftly reaches out and grabs her hand. "No, wait, please! I'll come with you!" He hastily turns to the sales clerk and orders, "Never mind about any wrinkles, young lady, simply throw everything into a bag and be quick about it! We need to leave!"
She rapidly complies with his request and hands him the bag of garments and accessories. He turns to Rose with an impish smile but with a voice full of ancient authority as he urges, "Rose, when I say run, I want you to run. Ready?" She nods excitedly. "Run!"
And off they went hand in hand. They missed the bus though but neither of them minded very much for both of them had found someone who was looking for something, or possibly someone, to fill the void that separated them from truly feeling alive. It was something or someone that offered excitement and freedom and…companionship. And if they were lucky, and these two were about to become very, very lucky, then they would discover that they were about to find all of that and more in each other. They might have even realized it when they first took each other's hands.
They stand at the bus stop watching the driver offer a nice friendly wave as he leaves his two almost passengers behind and silently berate the cheek of the man as they try to catch their breath.
"I'm so sorry, Rose; it appears that we have missed your bus." His voice rises to angry pitch as he raises the arm carrying the bag and shakes an angry fist in the air. "And I shall be sure to inform the head of your company at this outrage!"
Rose giggles sweetly at the thought of this man, this slightly odd but amazing and awe-inspiring man, becoming so upset at the bus driver's shabby treatment of her. He really was so considerate and charming in his own daft way.
"I'm sorry," offers Rose when he stares at her with a slightly offended expression. "It's just that it's been a long day and I missed lunch. Low blood sugar always brings out the silliness in me."
"Well, if that's all, my dear, allow me to take you to out to tea. Susan is dining at a friend's house for a study session and I would be privileged to have the honor of your presence tonight." His eyes are expectant as he gazes at her, hoping that he can turn the tide of misfortune into an evening of entertainment.
Oh yes, considers Rose silently, he is definitely a smoothie. "Alright," asserts Rose, "I'd love to." When she reaches out and wiggles her fingers in invitation, he feels that he has no other choice than to take her hand, especially since his hand had felt so empty without hers. Odd that he'd never noticed that before now.
He escorts her to a nearby diner that Susan frequently visits with her friends and informs him that it is all the 'rage' and that he simply must try the food there sometime. Well, now is as good a time as any.
They find an empty booth and take seats directly across from each other and Rose peruses the menu while the waitress waits patiently on their order and the Doctor searches through his pockets for some Earth currency. Oh dear, I hope I didn't spend it all at the department store. Finding yet another empty pocket, he sighs in distress. At this rate, I can't even pay for a glass of water. Thank goodness that's free.
Noting the Doctor's plight out of the corner of her eye, Rose places her menu down on the table along with her order. "I would like a plate of chips, please, and after my friend orders whatever he'd like, I would appreciate it if you would make sure that the bill comes directly to me."
When the Doctor scoffs in protest, Rose lays her hand over his in a gesture of comfort and understanding. "You may have been expecting to pay for a new frock for your granddaughter's dance but you were definitely not expecting on taking me out to dinner. I'll pay for dinner tonight and you can cover the bill next time, alright? Now, please, go ahead and order whatever you want." Her tongue pokes out between her teeth again in that delightful smile as she teases, "I promise that I'm good for it."
You're good for a great deal more than that, my Rose. The Doctor shakes himself out of his musings and hands the menu back to the waitress and tells her, "I would also like a plate of chips, my good woman. I have it on excellent authority that they will make a sumptuous feast, although clearly everything will pale in comparison to my lady friend's astounding generosity and kindness."
"How sweet," remarks the waitress with a saccharine smile. Inwardly, she denotes, Cheapskate. I bet he never carries any money. Brightening her smile to one that promotes only the best customer service, she reports, "I'll be right back with your order."
The waitress makes good on her promise and soon returns with their food. "Mmmmm," hums Rose in appreciation when she pops a chip into her mouth. "I've been waiting for these all day. There's just nothing like a good hot, steaming plate of chips."
There's nothing quite like you either, Rose Tyler. And I have the strangest feeling that I've been waiting a great deal longer for you than just today, contemplates the Doctor as he watches her enjoy her meal.
"So, I was wondering," inquires Rose, "since you said that your granddaughter is out with friends tonight, would you like to go out and see a movie with me before heading home?" At his eager nod and grin, she beams at him and digs back into her chips.
"What movie will we be watching Rose?" asks the Doctor around a mouthful of chips.
Rose promptly swallows and takes a sip of her water before answering, "The End of the World."
And so it begins…To Be Continued…