*Author's Note: The Doctor and Rose were all over each other during "Tooth and Claw" so I just had to fill in the gaps. Don't worry, smut is to come. Please forgive some very minor plot changes I made to make things a bit smoother. Enjoy and please share your thoughts!*
Rose tugged at the sheets on her bed in the TARDIS. Pulling the light pink fabric up toward the head of the bed, she smoothed out a few wrinkles and folded the top of the sheet just below the pillows. She tucked the bit of the sheet hanging over the side of the bed underneath the mattress - "hospital style" her mum had told her once. Chuckling at the thought of remembering such a trivial fact taught to her by her effervescent parent who was god-knows-how-many light-years away, Rose walked around the bed to tuck in the sheet in the other side.
That job done, she fluffed the white down comforter at the edge of the bed. Holding the two bottom corners securely, she thrust her arms upward, floating the light blanket outward over the bed. The soft light of the room illuminated the comforter while it was in the air and Rose could make out the outlines of the feathers it held inside. The blanket gently landed in place atop the crisply tucked sheets and Rose absently wondered if those feathers were from an Earth goose or some feathered alien. The corner of her mouth twitched up toward a smile. Knowing the Doctor, the latter was probably the case.
The Doctor. Her thoughts drifted back to him, as they so often did ever since he took her and and yelled "run!" If it was possible, she contemplated the Time Lord even more since his regeneration. She didn't doubt he was the same man - he had convinced her of that at Christmas - but in so many ways he was entirely different. She wasn't sure if he was still her Doctor.
Therefore, however unintentionally, Rose had taken to spending more time in her room while aboard the TARDIS. And unfortunately the most successful tactic for taking her mind off of things was cleaning. Rose had always prided herself in not minding the untidiness of her room back home - "It feels lived in this way," she'd retorted when Mickey scolded her once. Cut to now, when her room aboard the spaceship didn't have any crumpled jeans on the floor, bras looped over the bedpost, or dust bunnies under the dresser.
Rose ran a hand through her hair, looked around, and sighed. She literally couldn't think of another thing to dust, polish, or tidy and she certainly wasn't going to organize her sock drawer again. But she knew she couldn't go out to face him. Not just yet.
With a groan, she threw herself down on her just made bed, crossing her legs and folding her arms over her face. Eyes closed, she saw him. Both his old and new self, simultaneously. They blended together until she couldn't differentiate one from another. She panicked, trying to envision her Doctor, terrified that she would forget his face. That lovely big-eared face. She groaned again, more softly this time, sounding closer to a whimper.
She feels a hand on her knee and a weight on the edge of the bed.
"What's wrong?" he asks softly, failing to mask his concern. He knows this change has been hard for her. He curses his old self for not preparing her, for not warning her that something like this might happen, for not explaining the ins and outs of regeneration. She had risked everything to save him, taking the vortex into her without a second thought. His Rose did that for him and all he did was tell her she was brilliant.
They had started to get back to their old selves (or in his case, their old-new selves) during their visit to New Earth, but she still had a palpable wall up. He hadn't yet figured out how to tear it down.
So he raised his other hand to one of the arms covering her eyes, grabbed her wrist, and gently pulled it down away from her face. Her hand landed on the mattress, brushing against his knee, and he held it there. She let her other arm fall down to the bed, too.
She opens her eyes and the hazy image of her last Doctor scatters as his new face encompasses her view. She can't help but feel the heat coming from the spot where his hand rests on her knee, unsure of whether the heat is being generated by her or him. The thumb on his other hand subconsciously strokes the inside of her wrist, sparking the vein beneath it, shooting fire up her arm and into her flushing face.
She's not sure if he asks her what's wrong a second time or if his emotive brown eyes simply implore it.
"'S nothing," she lies, rousing a smile. He knows it's forced, but seeing her face light up a bit elicits a toothy grin from him. He decides to take her somewhere familiar, to help them get back on track. Earth, definitely, but not the 21st century - that'd be too obvious. Nah, the 1970s. Rose would fit right in and, based on the little he's seen of her dancing, he was sure she'd be amazing at a disco.
He moved his hand downward from her wrist, intertwining his fingers with hers. "Ready for our next stop?"
She truly smiled this time, her face opening, tongue pressing against the back of her teeth. "Course I am! Where and when are we going then?" She was always keen on a new adventure, and besides, nothing was better at taking her mind off the concerning matters at hand.
"Earth, 1970s," her chirped. "That's all you'll get out of me for now. Go on, find a lovely era-appropriate outfit in the wardrobe room. Just try to avoid polyester, if you can. And peace signs, those are more '60s. Wellllllll, there was some peace sign overlappage into the 70s, but not the bit of the 70s we're traveling to!"
With that, he grabbed her other hand and yanked her upward. He seemingly misjudged the force needed to pull her into a sitting position and she continued moving forward, chin coming to rest on his shoulder. While she was wondering if he had actually miscalculated the needed force - confusing anything related to physics was highly unlike him - he drew his arms around her back and lightly rested his cheek atop her blonde head. Her question answered, she froze for a minute before bringing her arms up toward his shoulders. His grip on her, tentative before, tightened when he felt her reciprocate. He hoped this conveyed at least a small part of everything he felt, everything even his new gob couldn't quite express.
They sat there, hip to hip on her bed, in silence for a few moments.
Rose was more confused than ever when she pulled away, fighting back the sting of tears. She felt like she was betraying him, and yet this was him. Something her brain could not yet reconcile. So instead, she scooted herself forward off the bed.
"Right then," she said, her voice sounding stronger than she felt. "I hope the wardrobe has go-go boots!" she exclaimed, half-jogging out of the room.
As he heard her footsteps echoing down the halls of the TARDIS, the Doctor pulled at the hair at the back of his head, hoping they didn't just take a step back.
In the wardrobe room, Rose moped about as she threw on pretty much whatever she could find that wasn't polyester. Why didn't I ask what time of year it will be? she thought, annoyed. She slipped on black thigh-high nylons, thinking they'd keep her warm if it was winter and could easily be discarded if it was summer. Next, her eyes landed on a denim overall skirt, which she quickly threw on over the pink graphic tee she was already wearing. Ah-ha! There were, in fact, black knee-high leather boots in just her size. She whispered her thanks to the TARDIS before skipping out to meet the Doctor in the console room. With the right footwear and the promise of a new adventure, her mood was brightening.
"What do you think of this, will it do?" she asked by way of greeting, attempting to clear the air of any lingering awkwardness.
He stole a quick look at her, glancing from top to bottom. It lasted a second but he cataloged it all, the boots, the tights, the slight wave to her hair, the reapplied mascara.
"For the late 1970s you'll be better off in a bin bag."
What on Gallifrey did he say that for? Before he could inwardly scold himself the TARDIS jolted, and he had to bang on the nitrogen compressor with a hammer to get her back on track. Finally she landed with a thud, sending he and Rose tumbling to the grated floor in hysterics. Now this is more like it, he thought. Not wanting to let the moment get away, he jumped to his feet and pulled her up by her hands, mirroring the movement he had done less than an hour ago. He couldn't help curling an arm around her waist as he continued to propel her forward.
Still laughing, he threw open the TARDIS door and pulled her out with him. But instead of landing in the midst of 1970s smoke and synthetic fibers, the Doctor and Rose found themselves standing on a windswept hillside, face to face with the barrel of an English soldier's gun.
"1879," the Doctor said, cringing. "Same difference."