Part one: Rose

by The Valiant Child

How the heart bends,

And summer she sends

A sky that refuses to die.

With weeds of the sea

That wrap round our knees,

And a sun too hot to go down.

You come around, you come around,

You come around, you come around.

~Stars: What the Snowman Learned About Love

He is supposed to be blowing up the place, but how can he possibly let all these gorgeous hats burn to ashes? They call out for help, he feels. They call out for him to rescue them and take them away with him to see the stars. Especially that handsome red fez. He can just tell that they are meant to be. And you don't just burn your soul mate, just because you can't spare a moment to delay an impending explosion. The Autons can wait, he convinces himself; his fez beacons him.

He hears her before he sees her, the wandering sole human in the building. She's calling for someone named "Wilson" and ends up being surrounded by the Autons. That's his cue, he decides. Saving the universe, being sentenced to execution, running and saving damsels in distress, that's his job, after all.

He takes her hand and grins brilliantly, and for a second he sees a world of potential in her, but then he's said the magic word ("Run!") and they're hurtling through the corridors and all they can feel is the adrenaline.

Her name is Rose, she says and he immediately likes the sound of it. But there isn't much time to stay and chat. There's a building to blow.

It is only later, after she's long gone and he's making his way to the TARDIS that he's noticed that he's forgotten his lovely fez. His fez that is now no more, left where it was, in the basement of Henrick's.

He starts to pout but remembers the new pink and yellow attraction and he doesn't mind the fiery demise of his new soul mate. Maybe the fez wasn't "The One" after all.

Sure enough, after another day of running, chasing, more running and finding the pink human from the other night and then running some more and finally saving the world by defeating the alien threat (just another day's work of course...although, she's the one who'd done the "saving the world by defeating the alien threat" part...oh well, same difference) that he starts wondering if he should invite her with him. He hasn't done that in a while though so he prolongs the asking for as long as he can.

But when she lifts a hand to straighten his bowtie and with a cheeky smile declares that even though it's slightly singed, it's a "nice bowtie," he immediately thinks that he might just love Rose Tyler. LIKE Rose Tyler.

So, of course there was only one thing to be done...

"You could come with me...?"

She does. Though, not immediately. He has to ask a second time. He's never done that before. But he's seen a lot in all his years and he knows that some things are worth fighting for, and his pink and yellow human is one of them.

Oh, did he say "his"? He didn't mean his. She's not his. No, of course not. They've only just met!

...give it some time.

And he does.

They travel to the future, and then to the past and back to the present (when he gets slapped by her mother), and then again to the future (where she picks up a pretty boy whom he wishes he could throw out of the airlock) and then they dump him off after another adventure when he proves that he doesn't deserve the opportunity of time and space travel (something which the Doctor had known all along, but you try resisting the pleading look in Rose's hazel eyes and see how that works out).

They go back to the past again after that. To 1987, 7th of November, the day Pete Tyler died, and that adventure ends up an even bigger mess than the splattered cake batter in the TARDIS kitchen walls from that time the Doctor and Rose tried to bake.

She messes up, they fight, he gets eaten by a Reaper and comes back in time to see her father get hit and run over.

He's unsure how to deal with the unrelenting waterworks display after they go back to the TARDIS, so he merely hugs her without saying anything because he doesn't know what to say. She doesn't mind though; and later, they make themselves tea and blow up the toaster, then fly off for another adventure.

He thinks that he might definitely be in love with her now. It's been long enough, and he just doesn't know how he'll ever cope without her. She's just so brilliant and smart and funny and kind and compassionate and beautiful and wonderful and adventurous and just so very...human!

In the weeks to come, they go back into the same routine: saving words, enraging local authorities, running from things with multiple limbs and bad breath, being incarcerated, breaking out, forming last minute escape plans and foiling nefarious plots by evil aliens with some duct tape and a banana.

And most importantly, falling more and more in love.

He buys a fez at one point and glows like the sun when she tells him that it makes him look "cute". Well, her actual words are that he looks "cute...but slightly weird". He doesn't care though. Nobody can rain on his parade.

That is, until a certain Captain Jack Harkness.

Oh, how his jealousy grows. And in a fit he goes as far as to declare that he can dance. He can't. He could once. Not in this regeneration though. It's all tripping and embarrassing gyrating motions this time around but she doesn't mind. She's not any better either. Or maybe, she's just faking it for his sake. He can't really tell but he loves her for it anyway.

A week later, they're in Hop, running for their lives with a naked Captain Jack Harkness. No one is surprised though. It's only surprising when he isn't naked. They hop, skip and trip all the way to the TARDIS and fall down laughing on the floor. Well, he falls down laughing on the floor. Jack doesn't have bad motor skills. Rose, however, trips as well. Though not onto the floor, but on top of him. He doesn't mind one bit. Rose doesn't either because she's still laughing.

"You two are so sweet," Jack comments as he always does.

"I know," the Doctor says with a smirk and she hits him playfully but doesn't get up. He's not one to complain but then Jack throws himself on top of them, declaring that if there is to be further floor hugging, he wants in on the action as well.

They break away after that and race to the kitchen for some tea and Jammie Dodgers...and maybe a banana or two. Bananas are good.

"Get married," Jack suggests.

"We already are," they answer.

Jack chokes on his tea.

They then proceed to explain how one time they accidentally got married in this planet called Voicha while running from a dinosaur type thing.

(It's called a Blaarcheesh, Rose. Not a dinosaur type thing. Dinosaur-type-thing is not a very cool name. Blaarcheesh, on the other hand, is.)

However, the ritual involving the marriage (crossing a river holding hands and being blessed by the local god or in other words being almost trampled by a Blaarcheesh) is only applicable to that region. In other words, they are not really married. Only just a little bit. Around 12 percent married.

(And even so, Rose, you are never ever to tell your mother of this.)

Jack sighs and tells them they should be more than just 12 percent married.

The Doctor and Rose just blush and change the topic.

A month passes with more shenanigans and occasional visits to Jackie. The Doctor thinks that she might have warmed up to him a bit. The thought is both comforting and revolting at the same time. She definitely likes Jack though.

In one such visit, they end up paying hide and seek while Jackie is out shopping for dinner. Jack wants it to be naked hide and seek but then again, he wants everything to be naked. They play it the normal way and the disappointed Captain goes forth to find the giggling Time Lord and his equally loud companion after counting to hundred.

Much to his surprise they are extremely good at it. Too good. And before he can find them, Jackie is back. It takes him another hour and Jack smiles when he finds his friends fast asleep inside the closet, huddled close with their heads pressed together. Jackie just sighs exasperatedly and covers the two with a blanket so that they don't get cold.

They have to be woken up for dinner and the Doctor and Rose find that they have both drooled on each other. Rose giggles as she washes her face. The Doctor joins her.

Jack wishes that they'd be married more than just 12 percent married.

The Doctor and Rose secretly wish the same.

He knows that what they have is too good to last. He's known all along but kept running from it. However, you can only run so far and the world catches up soon enough. And just like that so do the words: Bad Wolf.

He only sees the name of the Corporation in the Game Station after he sends her back home. Oh, to lose her, find her and then lose her again. But he had to do it. He couldn't let her die. She needs to live the fantastic life that she deserves. And it's not like he'll have to spend long without her. He'll die here anyway.

The delta wave is complete when the Daleks come for him. Jack is dead. He's the only one left. Left on his own to be the executioner again.

But he can't do it. Not after Gallifrey. So, he closes his eyes and waits for the pain and the darkness. But it doesn't come. Instead the TARDIS's grating noise of materialisation greets his ears and he sees her. For a moment, he believes that it's just a hallucination of a dying man but then she's standing by his side, no longer pink and yellow but bathed in a glow of gold that swirls protectively around her.

"I am the Bad Wolf. I create myself."

Come to save him again...she's never been a "damsel in distress," he realises; it's always been he.

"I want you safe, my Doctor."

But she's burning...and it's his fault. He pleads her to let go. He can't lose her. He'll never survive without her.

"But how can I let go? I bring life."

He can tell that she's done something wrong. He pleads again. Please. Please. Please. Please. Let go.

"I can't. I haven't found you yet."

He doesn't understand. He's right here. She shakes her head, closes her eyes and the gold swirling around her envelopes her entire being and she's gone. He stares at the empty spot for a full minute before snapping up and running inside the TARDIS. He has to find her.

He decides to start at the Powell Estate even though he thinks that he won't find her there. He has to start somewhere.

When he opens the door and steps out of the TARDIS he immediately sees her. She's just as shocked to see him and that renders them both immobile for a moment. It isn't a long moment though and almost simultaneously they run towards each other, splitting smiles in each of their faces. They collide into each other and he wraps his arms around her without a second's waste. Her grip on him is just as tight. They're laughing and crying at the same time.

"You came back," she whispers against his chest.

"Of course I came back," he says.

She pulls away and slaps him.

"What was that for?" he screeches.

"You sent me back!" she accuses.

"And you absorbed the bloody the time vortex!" he shoots back.


It is then that he notices this Rose's timeline is slightly different from that of the Rose who had come to save him.

"Oh," he wheezes.

"What?" she asks gently.

He looks at her and relief and sadness at the same time. She's safe for now. She's safe. But for how long? Because somewhere out there there's a Rose who's burning up for him. And he, in his future, without a doubt is looking for her but what if he doesn't find her in time? What if she's gone and he's left alone again.

He can't imagine what he's to do then. Especially without having her ever know how special she is and how much he needs her.

"Doctor?" she asks again, laying a hand on his bruised cheek.

She needs to know. She needs to know how much she means to him, how her smile makes him smile, how he loves holding her hand, how even her fantastically irreparable burnt cupcakes are the best, how she always says the right things, how everyday he becomes a little less lonely with her beside him, how wonderfully brilliant she is and how much he loves her.

So he cups her face and leans down and kisses her.

Because she might be safe now and they will run again but not forever and she needs to know how important she is before the universe catches up again.

She kisses him back and he knows that he was right that day when they'd first met: that fez wasn't "The One."

A/N: I'm experimenting with writing in present tense and this is what I came up with. The plot kind of started forming around a phrase I found while reading another Doctor/Rose fanfiction. Anyway, this little fic will be divided into four parts. So, keep a lookout for the other three if you liked this part.

Oh, and to the readers of They Dream of the Stars, I'm terribly sorry for starting a new fic before finishing the other one but this plot just wouldn't let go. It begged and nagged and screamed to be written and I, sadly am a hopeless slave to my muse's every whim. I had no choice.

I would very much appreciate any feedback. Let me know if I've done anything wrong so I can correct my mistakes. See you next chapter. :)