I'm going to be brutally honest and say this is my favourite thing I've ever written. I adore human!AUs, and I suppose the story bug just hit me hard. Plus I couldn't find any 11/Rose, which saddened me. So I wrote one instead!
A quick note. This story is, yes, a human AU, therefore is gonna be a tad grittier. I don't mean in terms of angst, but look guys, this contains mature concepts.
Nothing explicit, but it definitely implies or mentions it. As I said before, it's not exactly straight up porn or anything, but yeah-sex. Also swearing.
If you're uncomfortable with that, then you might not want to read(or just skip over the questionable bits)
Mr Room-33-Across-The-Hall is shagging his wife and Rose knows because the walls are way too thin for South London, and he's also left his door open a bit so she can see it as well, which she could do without. She's seen more of him over the last three months than she saw of Mickey over the last one and a half years.
All Mr Room-33 Across-The-Hall does is shag his wife. Or his girlfriend. Or the Hooker-From The-Floor-Down, whose name is actually Alison and she's a very nice girl even though she screams very loudly and makes it hard to sleep.
"Oh, harder Harry!" says Mrs Room-33-Across-The-Hall.
Rose makes a face at her cat, who stares back with an inscrutable look on her face. Slowly, she jumps off Rose's belly and pads across the carpet, avoiding the worn bits with a practiced disdain.
Sighing, she flips over on the couch and frowns into the armrest. The leather is warm and sticky, clinging to the skin left bare by her shorts. It'll sting when she finds the energy to rip herself off of the couch and into the shower.
A spider wanders over the floor, a really large one with huge legs and a misshapen thorax, and Rose apologizes profusely before squishing it with the Oxford Dictionary.
Then a car speeds past; lights dapple the ceiling and a loud screech splits the air. Mr and Mrs Room 33 finish shagging and start arguing and Old Man Room 35 yells at them to shut the bloody fuck up before he comes over and strangles them.
"I think," Rose muses as doors slam and derogatory insults are hurled like smashing plates, "that this isn't a very nice place to live."
"Meow," says Mrs Norris.
"Have you heard?" Shireen from Down-The-Hall asks. She'd tell Rose even if she says yes, so Rose just shakes her head and folds another pair of jeans with really hideous stitching.
"There's a bloke come into Mr Davidson's old flat, the one next to yours." Shireeen bumps Rose's hip and gives her a raised eyebrow and a side dish of heavy innuendo with a dash of leering.
"So," Shireen explains, "he might be fit. And available."
Rose considers this while she dresses the mannequin and moves its fingers back to the correct position, away from the crotch. A couple of pre-teen boys snigger around the corner as she does.
"He might be fifty with a criminal record and a beer gut," Rose suggests eventually, and Shireen gives her The Look.
It's the same Look that forced Rose to go slut-dancing in one of the dirtiest clubs she'd ever seen and also the one which forced her to go and chat up Jimmy Stones in a pair of hot pants and no knickers.
Considering how those turned out-a concussion from pole dancing on the table without a pole from one, and two broken bones and a heart from the other- it's best not to trust The Look.
"Just give him a go."
And with that, a man walks by in need of a personal shopper and Rose and Shireen cease to be best friends and start being violently competitive.
(He goes to that bitch Stephanie anyway, because she wore a short skirt and no bra)
Her new neighbor is not fifty or fat, and if he has a criminal record it's probably for something like...repeated jaywalking.
He's...sort of...tweedy. Professory. Like her English teacher when she was sixteen except without the cane and heroin which he kept in the cane.
It was a bit of a dodgy area.
"Hi," says Rose, leaning against the doorframe. He pauses in lugging his suitcase around and stares at her. Green eyes, she notes, and a pale face. His hair is messily flopping over his forehead.
"Hello," he says eventually, slowly dragging out the word like he's tasting it. He swallows, almost imperceptibly, and drops his suitcase, the silver of his key shining in the dim light.
"I'm Rose. I live next door. Thought I'd introduce myself." She smiles at him, holds out her hand for him to shake it.
After looking at it for a moment in a befuddled sort of way he presses a kiss to her knuckles, quick and dry, and then stares at her, horrified. Her cheeks flush and she withdraws her hand carefully, biting her lip.
"Sorry, sorry. I-um. John. My name is, I mean. That was terribly rude-stupid, I just-I mean...er..." he stutters, going red and pulling at the bowtie around his neck.
She finds his incoherency endearing, but puts him out of his misery anyway.
"That's alright," she says, waving a hand. "The bloke who lives in Room 40 tried to feel me up when we first met. You're fine."
"Did he really?" He seems astonished, and a bit indignant.
"Yeah. Dirty old git." Rose pauses, thoughtful. "Makes a great apple crumble though. I reckon he spikes it, so be careful if he ever invites you round."
John shoots a wary glance at the wooden door at the end of the hallway, edging a bit closer. He's tall and angular, a bit lanky. His smile is warm and kind.
"Well, I'm right next door if you need anything. Nice meeting you, John. See you." Rose grins at him, a wide, tongue in teeth one, and shuts the door, considering.
She likes her new neighbor much better than Mr Davidson, mainly because she doubts John plays the 's not amazingly attractive, but her hand is still tingling, and she wonders if he likes coffee more than tea.
"So, how long have you lived here?" he asks as they climb the stairs.
"Three months. I moved here after a massive row with Mum. She.." Rose trails off. "Well, she said some things that weren't very nice and we've not worked things out yet."
A quick shake of her head, a muttered 'it's fine'. It's not really, but the poor man hardly knows her, it's hardly fair to pour out her life story.
She misses the last step, foot scraping the concrete, and has the heart thudding sensation of falling backward before he catches her, arm around her waist, fingers brushing her stomach. He lingers long after she's caught her balance.
"Thanks," she puffs, and his eyes crinkle up, not really a smile, but a happy face. He doesn't let go of her until she coughs, and even then he walks close.
"See!" screeches Mrs McKinley, who's deaf as Old Man Room 35. "I knew he was sweet on her!"
John bolts away like a scared mouse, stammering, stumbling over the floor. Rose watches him go with regret and a fair bit of affection.
He's a bit cute when he's ruffled.
Alison and Mr Room 33 are at it again, and it's loud. Rose thinks the penguins in Antarctica are begging them to shut up and untie themselves.
She pulls a pillow over her face, threads tickling her nose. There's a phone in one hand and a pair of pink fluffy earmuffs in the other. Neither of them are working.
"Rose," comes a hiss at the door. It's John; he's already done this twice when he's lost his key and wanted help looking. They found it almost immediately, outside his door.
"The lock's busted," she calls cheerfully. "Come on in." He opens the door, and the sound level increases for a brief, sickening moment.
"Please do it again, Mistress!"
John slams the door shut so quickly her bones rattle. He looks queasy, but then there's good reason for that.
"That's not safe," he comments seriously, staring at the lock. "What about criminals? Think of the nasty sorts who could just open up and come right in! You should fix it. No, hang on, I'll fix it for you."
"Think any criminals would be scared off by Casanova over there," says Rose lightly, standing up with the help of the coffee table. Mrs Norris winds her way through John's legs and purrs. The tramp.
He's been living here for a week now. She sees a lot of him, and most of the things he needs to talk to her about seem a little fake. She thinks it's kind of sweet, the way he thinks she needs excuses to be around him.
"Does this always happen?" he asks, looking at the photos on the walls. There's a great one of her when she was five, and she hopes it's that one he's studying and not the slut/table dancing in that skirt. "The...enthusiastic coupling."
"Yeah, f'raid so," she answers. "Anything I can help you with? Lost your key?"
He starts, drags his gaze guiltily to hers. A moment passes, then another. He squares his shoulders and steps foward into the room, displacing the cat, who attacks his shoes viciously.
"Er, no. Not particularly. I just, thought...if you were not occupied...you could perhaps, if you wanted...grabacoffeewithme?"
He looks painfully as though he's set himself up for a rejection, but she stands and takes her coat. His face lights up.
"Great," she says. "I'd love to."
She's not even lying.
His full name is John Sigma Smith, and this he explains by saying his parents were Ancient Greek enthusiasts. Rose laughs at him and eats his croissant when he's not looking, flakes sticking to her mouth. She catches the way his eyes stick there too and feels her stomach fill with butterflies.
He teaches at a local high school and looks puzzled when she snorts. Her assumptions were right, she teases him, waggling her eyebrows. She tells him about her job at Henrik's and he tells her about his least favourite student who knocked over his fishtank and killed Jim the goldfish.
The appropriate sympathies are conveyed, and then they just sit there, rain pattering outside and warn steaming mugs in their hands. He nudges her foot under the table by-accident-on-purpose, and gives her a slight smile when she nudges back.
Rose remembers the fairy princes in all those leather-bound books, the ones who fought dragons for their princesses, or defeated evil and bought flowers on the way home for good measure.
John defeats the wayward umbrella, and that's quite enough for her, especially when he holds her hand all the way home, fingers twisting into each other tightly.
The wood of her door is cool beneath her back, and he's too shy to kiss her. He tries, several times, leaning in towards her close, only to burst back when the loud noises from Room 32 interrupt them.
She dreams of him, and they eat croissants again, only this time he reaches across to brush the flakes of pastry away, fingers slipping in between her lips.
Mr Room 40 invites her for dinner.
She can't remember half of it.
"Ever thought of taking your A-Levels?" John asks on a park bench. The chips burn her hands, she nearly drops them in surprise. "I could help," he interjects before she can reply. Suddenly he looks panicked. "I don't want to butt in of course, I don't mean to be rude but it only seems as if you might...be happier..."
"I dunno. Don't reckon I'd be much use, really," she says in between bites. The salt burns her tongue, and she wipes the grease from her chin.
"You'd be brilliant," he says quietly, hands twisted on his lap. "At whatever you wanted."
It's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to her, so she hugs him impulsively and then doesn't let go, humming contentedly as he wraps an arm around her, shielding against the biting wind and sighing.
"Thanks," she whispers, and the rough-soft rasp of his jacket rubbing her cheek is familiar like she's known it forever. For a moment she feels as if everything is completely perfect, from the faint pressure of his lips on her hair to the way his heart thuds steadily, a drumbeat, a lullaby.
"I think," he murmurs against the top of her head, "that the chips are getting cold."
So he grabs the packet and feeds her, only occasionally stealing one himself. The weather passes them by, huddled together like they are.
It takes precisely 47 seconds after that for her to fall in love with him, and another three minutes to realise it.
He comes to Henrik's and buys all the bowties he can fit into four bags, sending her winks that are misinterpreted severely by Shireen.
"Told ya so, didn't I?" she clucks.
Rose stays silent, re-adjusts the mannequins and gives him smiles whenever he looks at her, strangely shy.
He looks at her a lot.
Shireen nods, pokes Rose in the shoulder and asks very loudly when she's going to shag him. The clothes thud on the tiles, Rose is as red as the flower she was named after and John is spluttering over by the Menswear.
When they walk back after her shift, her second-hand apology is waved off with a mercurial twinke, and Rose's head whirls a bit.
He does have a nice mouth.
He kisses her for the first time in his flat. She's helping to help assemble furniture from IKEA, a dinky little plastic chair that clashes horribly with the wallpaper but which he insists has 'artistic merit'.
It really, really doesn't.
Leaning over him, she breathes out criticism against his neck, pointing out the instructions are backwards and then taking the mickey when he believes her. They get it eventually, and he lets out a whoop of triumph as the second to last piece is assembled. Her hand is brushing his as they slide Tab A into Slot B and she giggles at the stupidity of it, her chest rising and falling, pressed tight to his.
"Well done," she breathes against his neck and he shudders.
Then suddenly he spins her around, cups her head and snogs her fiercely, leaning her against the couch, fingers twining in her hair. His tongue slides in her mouth, his teeth tug at her bottom lip and it all seems so simple.
Eventually, as his urgency wanes, the press of mouths turns into something else, something sweet and tender. She's never felt cherished before, but he's stroking her hair and holding her like she'll break and it hurts in a delicious kind of way.
"Do you mind?" he asks as she pulls back for air. He looks guilty, ruffled hair and red lips and pleading eyes.
And this time she's the one who leans up and in, pulls at the jacket around his shoulders and tries to melt into him, hands sliding in the hair at the back of his neck.
They stay like that for a very long time, until the chair collapses and they have to start all over again.
John and Rose.
Rose and John.
It becomes sort of a thing, around the estate. He holds her coat and is from about two centuries ago, which she won't admit she loves. Pays for dinner and holds her hand and is absolutely wonderful and everything he does just makes her more infatuated, falling so far it seems impossible to hit the ground.
She adores the stupidest things about him, the wild hand gestures, the rambling monologues about things she's never heard of, even the way he hasn't shagged her yet because he's nervous, she can tell, and it's frustrating and sweet.
She's a bit mad, she thinks, to have fallen in love with the teacher next door. It sounds like a bad romance novel.
Or a porno.
Mostly the novel.
Mr Room 40 invites them over.
She has a vague memory of table dancing and making out on the kitchen floor, with John's hand up her skirt and all inhibitions momentarily washed away by the 'special blend'.
When it happens, which it does, because it's always going to happen, it's a bit unexpected.
She could blame the rain. Or the white shirt she was wearing or the fact her umbrella is molested and destroyed by the howling wind halfway through the storm and she's lost her key (honest she has)
But she doesn't. In all truth, it probably has more to do with the fact that she was the one who straddled him and then took her shirt off, rain scattering on the floor, breath hot and suggestive in his ear.
He's still a man, even though he seems not to be. He's even got a car, albeit a battered and beat up blue Ford he's affectionately nick-named Sexy. He's a man, and his self control breaks, snaps, all his little excuses and turned heads defeated by a bra and a cheeky smile, her fingers exploring over clothing and his clearing her hair from her forehead, kissing the hollow of her throat.
He's gentle. It's never been gentle for her. Rough, yeah, but this? It really feels like she's making love rather than shagging or fucking or whatever other people think up.
Mrs Norris flicks her tail in disgust and pads away to the bathroom to sulk. John's hands are pulling down her jeans, hers are having trouble with the fastening of his trousers. He gasps into her mouth and his hands tremble and she can't ever remember feeling anything like this.
"I...do you-want?" he pants, halting the movement of his fingers.
It's all very un-textbook romance. Mrs Norris interrupts halfway through the proceedings, he cracks terrible jokes about cat-blocking that make them giggle hysterically, and his smile only fades when he pushes into her, bony hips aligned perfectly with hers and a soft gasp escaping him.
A heavy kiss to her forehead, another to the tip of her nose, feathering along the corners of her mouth. He sighs softly at the shell of her ear, and begins to move.
After, he sprawls over her, warm and soft and male, lean limbs tangled with hers, and a stupid grin on both their faces.
"Let's do it again," they say at the same time, and this time she's on top and they topple off the bed when she brings back a move from her table dancing days.
The stars from her climax mix with the ones from her head injury and he insists on treating her there and then, not a stitch on. He plasters on a bandaid and then brushes his lips across it lightly.
That, of course, invariably turns into a game of Doctor and Nurses.
Which is also brilliant.
Mr Room 33 approaches them the next morning with a leer, a congratulations and an R-rated hand gesture.
It's a picnic on a liquid clear night. The moon is nowhere to be seen, stars tiny pinpricks in the dark blue fabric. He twines his arm with hers and points at each one, naming them and then skates over the constellations, using astronomy as a cheap excuse to press against her.
At some point in the night she's drunk too many beers and he's not exactly hard to get pissed. A bit of a lightweight, tending towards philosophical musings when he's smashed. Or star-gazing.
"I reckon," she slurs, "you're making all this up."
"I-I really, really am not."
"You think you're so impressive."
At that he grins down at her. "Don't think," he says and taps her nose. "I know."
"But..." she continues, braving the fog of inebriation, "don't you wish you could just...go? Anywhere you like. No worrying about jobs or mortgages and all that shit."
He hums, tossing an empty plastic cup around, crinkling the blanket when he leans in to whisper his answer in her ear.
"Would you like to?" he breathes.
The stars seem to swim around, swirling and dipping like that painting, and it's hard to make her mouth move the way it should, the way she wants it to.
"Only with you," she manages eventually, and passes out on his chest, hand curled into a fist above his heart.
She dreams of comets and quasars and the way he sounds when he comes, mouth open and breath harsh, rasping in and out of his lungs.
It's a routine morning, her trying in vain to rescue the eggs and the toast is burning, almost black. She tries, she really does, but her cooking skills are on par with her mother's.
He walks in and sees her barefoot in his shirt with a spatula in her hand and a sheepish look on her face. The eggs start bubbling.
"Crumpets?" she suggests.
"I love you," he replies.
They never do get to breakfast.
One day, he promises her, they'll get into his car and drive and drive and drive. They'll keep going and going, finding adventure and getting into trouble and having sex in semi-public places.
They'll do it all.