IMPORTANT: The first two stories in this series are Solutions and Sacrifices and Remembrance. Read them first!
Rose sat on the examination table trying to process what had just happened. This was the same table she sat on, what felt like a few minutes earlier when she took her Torchwood physical. The Doctor had said he would come in to explain everything. The Doctor... How was he here? It was really him wasn't it? He was human now. But how? There were so many things she didn't understand. She thought about what had transpired not thirty minutes ago.
She was naked in the vat of green slime and the Doctor was standing over her with a warm smile. She felt someone remove what she had felt hanging off her neck. She looked back, but the Torchwood agent had already dropped what ever it was back into the viscous liquid. The Doctor couldn't be here. He had said she could never see him again only five months ago. He said it was impossible. Granted, she didn't take impossible for an answer and had planned to find a way back to him. Maybe he had beat her to it. She looked back at him. Maybe he wasn't the Doctor. Maybe he was a shapeshifter. It was possible. Far more likely, in fact, than the Doctor having found a way back to her. She thought quickly about her situation. She was in a suspicious vat of goo, naked, with no memory of how she got there, and someone who looked like the Doctor, but wearing different clothes, was standing over her. Also, something had been on the back of her neck. What if it was something that induced illusions? As well as shapeshifting lifeforms, there were many aliens that used your memories and desires against you. She wasn't going to take any chances. Rose hauled herself out of the vat and ran to grab a lab coat that was hanging off the back of a chair across the room. She quickly slipped it on and, as a guard came over to her, she crouched down and swung her leg out to trip him. She grabbed his gun out of his holster and backed up against the wall raising the weapon to all in the room. "What's going on?!" she demanded.
"Miss Tyler, calm down." The guard who's gun she had was getting up and attempting to pacify her.
"Why are you going along with this?" she asked him. "Are you being controlled or are you not real either?"
"Not real?" asked the man who looked like the Doctor.
"Do you think I'm stupid?" she said, pointing the gun at him. "I work for Torchwood! I know of at least three shapeshifting alien species and fifteen that have illusionary abilities. Who are you and why are you trying to trick me?"
To her surprise, the impostor smiled. "Oh that's very clever! Completely wrong, but still, very clever! Torchwood trained you well, I see. Guns though, Rose? I thought I taught you better. For the Daleks, I understand, but this?"
"It's a stun gun," she replied. "But I don't have to defend myself to you! How dare you use his face against me!"
"Rose, it's me." He had his hands up in a gesture of surrender and was walking towards her slowly. "Really, it's me."
The look in his eyes made Rose's heart flutter in that familiar way. "But it can't be."
"Rose, when we met, the first word I said to you was-"
"Don't do that!" her grip on the gun tightened and he stopped dead. "If you're able to use his face, then you'd be able to reach into my head to pull up that memory, both of them!"
"True," he said sadly. "But then I'd be able to copy every detail, every sensation." He reached out and put his hand over one of hers on the gun. "So why wouldn't I?"
Rose's eyes widened. "You're warm."
He nodded. He was wearing a pair of blue suit trousers and a maroon t-shirt as well. Her doctor never dressed like that. If he wanted to trick her, why wouldn't he dress like her doctor? And why was he so warm?
"I'm part human now," he said.
This, more that anything else, threw her. "What?"
He took the gun from her hands and threw it to the side, then he took her right hand and laid over his chest. There was just one heartbeat.
"I'll explain everything in just a little bit," he said. "But first you have to calm down. Why don't you get cleaned up and dressed. Pete's gone back to the house to get you some clothes. They'll be waiting for you when you get out of the shower."
So, here she sat. Hair wet, in jeans and a dark pink half-sleeved jumper, and utterly confused.
The door opened and Rose looked up as the Doctor came in. He leaned against the counter next to the table where she sat. He was silent. They both were for a little while. Then she said, "Where's your suit?"
Perhaps it wasn't the best place to start, but it was the first thing that popped into her head.
"Oh," the Doctor looked down at himself. "I've got half of it on," he said, "But the jacket is missing a sleeve right now."
"Why is it blue?" asked Rose, looking at the trousers.
"That's a long story," he said. He rubbed the back of his neck. "But so is all of this, I suppose, so I'll start from the beginning." The Doctor ran a hand through his hair and took a deep breath. "After I lost you I sort of lost myself," he started. "I wandered the halls of the TARDIS, avoiding your room-except for the first night when I went in there to cry my hearts out. I didn't sleep, eat, drink, shave or bathe for...could have been months. Or weeks, I suppose, just felt like an eternity. My time sense was clouded. I was going a bit mad. I kept seeing you out of the corner of my eye, swore I could feel your touch. I kept talking to you and looking up to find you weren't there. Even had a few hallucinations.
"One day I sort of lost it after looking up to find you gone again. I crashed into a mirror, sliced my forearm and my palm open and I guess the pain must have brought me back to myself. I saw my reflection in the broken glass. I looked terrible. Emaciated and filthy with a beard and I thought, 'What have I become? What would Rose think if she could see me now? What happened to the man she loved; Am I just gonna let him disappear?' I knew you'd want me to take care of myself, that you'd want me to be happy. So I wrapped up my hand, took a shower, shaved and went to get dressed in a clean suit. I saw that brown suit lying on the bed, that bed where I'd never watch you wake up again, and I thought about when I picked out that suit. Christmas day," he smiled in remembrance. "I'd picked it out because I thought you'd like it on me and I'd gotten ready with all the nervousness of a man about to meet his fiance's parents for the first time. And when I saw you smile at me, I felt my hearts soar. I knew I'd never be able to look at myself in that suit without thinking of that day. So I went and picked out a new one. Sort of an inversion of the old one, blue with brown stripes. I felt sort of like my life had been inverted, so it felt appropriate.
"I started to ease myself back into my old life. Finding planets and people in trouble and saving them. But I kept getting into more and more trouble and caring less and less. I knew I needed to find a new companion or I'd lose myself again. It wasn't long before I met Martha Jones and I knew she was perfect companion material. Trouble is, once she started traveling with me, she fell in love with me. I tried to ignore it, hoped it would pass, but it didn't. Eventually she grew tired of living with unrequited love and she left. But she kept in touch and she got over me. She's engaged now. I never did get to meet him...," he trailed off for a second. "Anyway, after that I ran into Donna Noble. I'd met her before, pretty much immediately after I lost you. She started traveling with me. She was brilliant! We became very close. I never had a sister, but if I did, I'd like to think she'd have been like Donna," he smiled. "I never forgot about you," he said looking at her. "Never stopped loving you."
Rose's heart jumped. He'd never used the word before.
"But," he continued. "It got so that I could look back fondly on our life together. I could talk about you without wanting to scream at the universe for taking you away and I wasn't going into your room to drown in your scent as often. It hurt, but I managed. I even started to smile again, to genuinely have fun on my travels." He paused for a moment. "Then I found out you were coming back."
"I don't remember-" she started.
"I'll explain that in a minute," he cut her off. "You had used a device that launched you across universes and in your attempts you found out that the Daleks were taking planets and snuffing stars out. You met Donna in an alternate timeline and she told me. I felt so many things in that moment. Hope, fear, love, joy, more fear, confusion. And when I saw you, I swear I could fly! I can't remember ever feeling such sheer joy. But before I could get to you, I was shot by a Dalek. It just grazed me. If it had gotten me dead on, I wouldn't have been able to regenerate. But in this case I was, and I started to, but the regeneration energy was absorbed my spare hand, the one that was cut off at Christmas-why it was there is another story entirely-Anyway, it absorbed the energy and I was fine, still me. I'm not entirely clear on the details of what happened after that, because this is where I get to why I'm part human. At some point Donna touched the jar with my hand and the regeneration energy in it. That fed her DNA into the mix, filling in the gaps and creating a part human clone of me. Well, creating me to be precise. I'm the clone."
"But I'm still the Doctor!" he assured her. "Completely. Well, there's a little Donna in me, but I'm still the Doctor. Same memories, same face, same thoughts, same feelings."
"Where's the other one?" asked Rose.
"When the other me realized that I existed and that I was half human, he realized something else. I-meaning the other me as well as this me-have wanted to spend the rest of my life with you ever since I realized how hard I'd fallen for you. I knew I couldn't. I knew that the most I could hope for was the rest of your life. I was going to take what I could get and live that with you, but then Canary Wharf happened and then there was this me, who really could live that life with you. I thought you deserved that-the other me, I mean-he thought we deserved that, so he left us here in Pete's World and left with broken hearts, hoping you'd be happy. But, of course, you weren't having that. You couldn't be happy if you knew that there was a version of me that was alone and heartsbroken, so I sent you back to him. But since I'm also the Doctor, you didn't want this me to be without you either, so you...you um...you told me to...clone you."
For quite a while Rose just stared at him, processing everything he had just said. It was quite a lot. Why didn't she remember any of it? The last thing she did remember was giving her blood for... Giving her blood. Blood. DNA. Clone. She was...? No. No!
He could see it dawning on her. He put his hands on her shoulders. Keep contact, keep her with him, keep her from going into shock. "Rose believe me, I know that being a clone is an existential crisis of phenomenal proportions, but you have to listen to me okay?" he took her chin in his hand and forced her to look at him. "Listen to me! You are Rose Tyler, alright? One hundred percent! I improved the Sontaran system and got you perfect, down to the very last molecule! No one knows you better than me and you are without a doubt, Rose Marion Tyler!" He wasn't sure she heard him. Her eyes were brimming with tears and it seemed like she was looking right through him. "Rose? Rose!" She focused at his shout. "I know that growing up in this time period and culture with the very precise concept of the soul that humans have makes this harder on you than it was on me, but trust me when I say you are real and you are every bit Rose." She didn't answer. "Okay?" Finally, she nodded. "I'm going to go outside and get your mother, okay? We're all going to go back to the Tyler estate and you can sort this out in a more familiar environment. Is that alright?" Again, she nodded. "Are you going to be okay in here while I'm gone?" Rose nodded again, looking at the floor. "I'll be right back."
Jackie waited outside. She was just getting used to this clone Doctor and now her daughter had been cloned. She wasn't sure how to feel about this. The Doctor-this Doctor-had said that she would still be Rose, but Jackie wasn't so sure. Just then, the Doctor came out of the room looking wary.
"Okay, Jackie," he said. "Remember, she's still Rose. Treat her exactly the same. You have to know that she's still your daughter and she's going through something really difficult right now. She needs your support."
Jackie nodded and followed him into the room. Rose looked up. Tears were running down her face and she looked confused and vulnerable.
That was all it took. Jackie was across the room in a second and hugging her. This was her daughter. Clone or no, this was Rose. Her baby girl.
The Doctor watched Rose sobbing into her mother's shoulder and he wondered if he should have gone through with this at all.
Rose had sat next to her mother on the ride back. She hadn't even acknowledged the Doctor. She hadn't spoken either. The Doctor tried to help her up the steps to the house but she was clinging to Jackie and didn't even seem to notice his efforts. He stared at them climbing the stairs to Rose's room from the doorstep. Pete came up beside him. "She'll be okay," he said.
"Am I being selfish?" asked the Doctor without taking his eyes off the women, even as they disappeared onto the second floor.
"You mean in creating her? No." he paused. "Well, I suppose it depends on how you look at it. Love itself can be a selfish thing. People tell you that love is selfless, that it's all about giving to the other person, but that's because making them happy makes you happy, because sacrificing for them makes you feel like you're more sufficiently showing your love. It is selfless, but it's selfish in it's selflessness, if that makes sense. The other you leaving the other Rose on the beach with you is an example of that. So is the other Rose going back and telling you to clone her so you wouldn't be lonely. Love is half selfless and half selfish, most of the time in the same moment."
The Doctor stared at Pete. He had no idea he could be so insightful. He looked back at the stairs where he could no longer see Rose and Jackie. "Love is complicated," he said.
"Yeah," said Pete. "Duplicates make it even more so."
The Doctor had forgotten; Pete and Jackie had both been through a similar situation. They were both married to alternate versions of their dead spouses. My, this was a complicated household!
"Would you like to meet Tony?" asked Pete.
"Yeah," said the Doctor with a sigh. It didn't seem like Rose wanted to be with him right now anyway. "Yeah I would."
Tony looked up at the Doctor from his small bed. He looked so much like his father. His soft hair was just the ginger side of blond. Just shy of three years old and for some reason still wide awake at 10:46pm.
"He usually gets fussy when someone wakes him up," said Pete.
Tony had woken up while the Doctor looked down at him and slowly sat up to look at him. He was chewing on his fist and drooling while he stared at the Doctor. "Hi," said the Doctor. Tony continued to chew on his fist.
"Say hi, Tony," said Pete. "He's just shy."
Tony blew a spit bubble. It didn't appear to be on purpose. "I'm the Doctor," said the Doctor.
"Woah," said Tony.
The Doctor looked confused. "I'm sorry?"
"That's how he says Rose," said Pete.
Tony took his fist out of his mouth. "Wose," he said.
"Oh," the Doctor smiled.
"He idolizes her," said Pete. "He's heard her mention you before. That's probably why he said her name when you introduced yourself."
"I see," said the Doctor. "Well, your sister's right over there in her room," he said to Tony. "Let's not bother her right now. She..." He froze. She was a Rose from three years ago. Her mother was still pregnant when that blood sample was taken. She'd never met Tony. She'll have missed three years of her brother's life. And this little boy who loved her so much would be confused as to why she didn't remember him. He felt terrible again. "Pete," he walked with him into the hallway. "Rose won't know Tony. That blood sample was taken before he was born."
"I know," he said. "It's alright. She can pretend while she actually gets to know him and he's young enough that he won't remember."
"Is that really alright?"
"It's fine, Doctor. Just relax. We'll deal with this. You don't have to put the guilt of the world on your shoulders anymore."
The Doctor didn't know what to say. They were all so ready to take care of him and accept him into the family. Just then he saw Jackie coming out of Rose's room. He rushed over. "Is Rose alright?"
"She fell asleep."
The Doctor looked at her door. He wanted to be with her. He was worried and he'd missed her so much for so long.
"You need to sleep too," said Jackie.
"What? I don't sleep that much. You know that."
"You do now," she said. "You're human now. Eight hours a night just like everyone else. Off you go." She turned him around and pushed him gently toward the room across from Rose's.
"She'll be fine," said Jackie. "You can talk to her in the morning. You're no good to anyone if you're exhausted." She opened the door and nudged him in. "Goodnight, hon."
The room was simple. Hardwood floor, a Persian rug, a ceder wardrobe against the wall next to the door to the en suite, a trunk under the window which had dark blue curtains, a double bed with a matching duvet, and a nightstand. The Doctor sighed and went to the bed. He did need to let Rose sleep and sort out her thoughts. He might as well rest a bit. He slipped off his shoes and lay down. As soon as his head hit the pillow he realized Jackie had been right. He couldn't keep his eyes open. All he wanted to do was drift off and, in seconds, he did.
The next morning, the Doctor awoke from a dreamless sleep. He was groggy. He didn't want to leave the comfort of the bed. Why did he wake up if all he wanted to do was go back to sleep? Was this what waking up was like for humans? Was that why his companions were the way they were in the mornings? He looked at the clock on his bedside table. 9:15. He should get up. Then he thought of Rose. How was she doing? He was wide awake now. He got up and went across the hall. He paused outside her door. Maybe she was downstairs already. If she wasn't, perhaps she didn't want to be bothered. She certainly didn't seem too receptive to him last night. He thought about leaving, but he was too worried to let it go. He knocked. After a moment she said, "Come in."
He opened the door to find Rose sitting on her window bench in the sweater from last night and a pair of pajama pants. "How are you?" asked the Doctor.
She shrugged. "Good as I can be, I guess."
He sat down on the side of her bed. "Do you, uh, Do you want to talk?"
She looked at him. "About what?"
"I don't know. How you're feeling, what you've been up to in this universe."
"Nothing," she said, looking out the window again.
"I haven't had time to be up to anything. I was just created. I'm not Rose."
It hurt him to hear this. "Rose, I know you remember what life was like before yesterday. Tell me."
"They're just memories. They're not mine."
"Yes they are!" he insisted. He looked around the room, searching for anything he could use to convince her. Something she cared about, something sentimental. But she didn't have anything, did she? She came over to this universe with nothing but the clothes on her back. Anything truly meaningful was in the other universe. Then he spotted it. He ran over to the bookshelf. "What's this?" he said, holding up a book.
She looked. "'Pride and Prejudice'," she said.
"Is it? 'Pride and Prejudice' was first published 28 January 1813, but this," he opened it and looked at the first page, "says 'Printed in 1987'. In fact, the original manuscript was written in 1797. But isn't this still the same story? Doesn't it have all the same words? Doesn't it make you feel the same way? Don't you cry, laugh, and swoon in all the same places?"
Rose stared at the book. "...Yeah," she said.
"So isn't this still 'Pride and Prejudice' by Jane Austen?"
Rose smiled a bit and finally looked him in the eyes. "Yeah. It is."
The Doctor kneeled in front of her and held her shoulders. "And you are still Rose Marion Tyler, daughter of Jackie and Pete Tyler. Born in London, raised on the Powell Estates, saved the universe many times over, and you're still the love of my life."
Rose could swear her heart stopped. "Doctor..."
"Rose, I'm sorry to put you through all this. Really, I am." He got up and sat next to her on the bench. "I didn't think enough about how you would react to being a clone. I'm one too, but I have different philosophical concepts of existence than you. I was a bit confused, but I adjusted to it much more easily. Plus I had you. That makes everything easier."
Rose took his hand in hers. "And I have you."
He smiled at her, relived. "So you're okay?"
She nodded. "Give me time. I'll adjust."
"We'll adjust to this new life together. I'll help you accept yourself as Rose and you can help me adjust to being human. It'll be fantastic!"
She looked up at him and smiled. "I really missed you."
"I missed you too," he said sadly. "I missed you so much!" He hugged her and she hugged him back. He inhaled her scent. No soap, no perfume, no dirt, just 100% pure Rose. It was beautiful. "We can do this together," he said.
"I know," said Rose. She pulled back and looked at him. "I can do anything with you."
The Doctor smiled. He knew they'd get through this. He knew they'd be happy. So very happy.
"How about we go downstairs and have some breakfast?" the Doctor suggested.
"Sure," said Rose.
As the Doctor and Rose descended the stairs, the Doctor smelled the most wondrous thing. "Mmmm, what is that?" he asked, entering the kitchen.
"Banana bread," said Jackie, as she sat down with her tea.
The Doctor arched an eyebrow at her in disbelief. "Did...Did you...?"
"No, I didn't cook it, if that's what you're asking," she was aggravated at his implication that something so good couldn't have possibly been made by her. "Nora did. She's our cook."
"Oh, that makes more sense," the Doctor said without thinking. Rose giggled. Jackie glared.
He sat down as an older woman brought the breakfast to the table. "Hello," he said extending a hand to her after she set the bread down. "You must be Nora. I'm the Doctor."
"Um...Hello," she looked perplexed as she shook his hand.
"He'll be staying with us for a while," Pete informed her as he sat down with his paper. "Rose will be home for a few weeks too while she recuperates from an accident at work."
"Oh I'm so sorry, Miss Rose," said Nora, turning to her in concern. "What happened?"
Rose had no idea what to say. "Um-"
"She was attacked," said Pete. "She suffered a concussion and has a mild case of amnesia. She's lost about three years of her memory."
Rose looked at him in surprise.
"Oh that's terrible!" said Nora. "You just let me know if you need anything, luv."
"Okay," said Rose with a nervous smile.
"Why don't you take the rest of the day off, Nora," said Jackie. "Tell the rest of the staff that they can take a day or two off as well. We'd like to spend some time with just the family."
Nora looked at the Doctor for a moment, then she turned back to Jackie. "I will. Thank you Mrs. Tyler."
"Three whole years," said Rose after Nora left. "Were they good?"
"They were eventful," said Jackie. "You threw yourself into your work and were obsessed with getting back to the Doctor. Some parts of it were very good though."
"You'll have to fill me in," said Rose. Her original self had lived three whole years here. Three years more experience than she had. She looked up as Tony came running up to the table with a toy fire truck.
"Wose!" he squealed and hugged her around the waist. "You're back!"
"Hi Tony," she said. Her mum had told her about him last night. She was heartbroken that she had missed three years of her little brother's life. She felt so guilty with his little arms around her. He loved her so much and she didn't even know him. She felt a hand on her shoulder and looked over to see the Doctor with a sympathetic expression on his face. Rose looked back down at Tony and ruffled his hair. She would get to know him. She would love him and be every bit the big sister her other self was.
"Come 'ere you big boy," said Jackie picking him up and bringing him to the other side of the table. "You've got to eat your breakfast." She started cutting him a piece of banana bread and spooning porridge into a bowl.
"Hello, Tony," said the Doctor. "Do you remember me from last night?"
"Doctah!" he said, banging his fire truck on the table. He had apparently decided it was meant to hop rather than roll.
"That's right!" said the Doctor, grinning.
"You're Wose's pwince," he said.
"I'm sorry?" the Doctor asked.
"In vuh bedtime stowies Wose tells me," he said. "You fwy her away to vuh stars."
The Doctor looked at Rose surprised and clearly touched. "Your prince?"
Rose smiled and she was sure she was blushing. She had no memory of telling those stories, but she had no doubt she would have.
The Doctor smiled and kept his eyes on her as he took a bite of his bread. Suddenly his brow knit together like a boy who's just been told his dog has gone off to live on a 'very nice farm'.
"Doctor? What's wrong?" asked Rose, concerned.
"My tongue..." He seemed very distraught.
"What is it? Did you bite it?"
"Oh, don't tell me you don't like her cooking either!" Jackie whinged. "Nora's a professional!"
"No, it's good. It's delicious. It's just... I know I'd felt a lot of my senses...dulled since waking up in this body, but I thought...I mean, I'd hoped that my sense of taste would stay the same. It's almost at a human level now. I can't taste the nuanced layers of flavor or the atomic components. I almost taste it as a whole. I loved this tongue! It was my favorite part of my tenth body," he groaned.
Rose was half amused and half pitying. She tried to only show the pity. "I'm sorry, Doctor. I know how orally fixated you were."
"Oh, I sill am," he assured as if it were vitally important. "It just won't have quite so many benefits."
"Maybe not for you," Rose mumbled.
The Doctor cheekily raised his eyebrows at her.
"Well, you're human now," said Jackie. "There's a lot of things you're gonna have to get used to."
"Speaking of which," said Pete. "We're going to have to forge you some papers. Birth certificate, driver's license, that sort of thing. We can't just call you Doctor on those."
"John Smith," said the Doctor.
Pete stared at him. "You don't want to come up with anything more inventive than that? Anything less obviously fake?"
"What? What's wrong with John Smith?! It's always worked for me before."
"Fine," Pete conceded. "John Smith it is. You'll need a job too. I was thinking you could consult for Torchwood"
"That sounds perfect," said the Doctor. "I did the same thing for UNIT when I was exiled to Earth in the other universe."
"It's all settled then," said Pete. "I'll get started on your documentation today. You and Rose both need to recuperate for a while though, so we won't work on your employment until next week."
"What do we do 'till then?" asked Rose. She wasn't sure she wanted to be cooped up for a whole week. There was too much time to over analyze her current state of existence.
Pete shrugged. "Talk. Get reacquainted. Besides, you need to teach him how to be human." he indicated the Doctor.
"We can start by getting him some new clothes," said Jackie, eyeing him. "You can't wear that same outfit every day and your jacket is completely ruined."
The Doctor looked down at himself. He really couldn't wear this everyday, could he? No more TARDIS to mend his clothes and supply him with an endless amount of clean suits. How varied should he make his wardrobe? Would it be too odd to wear a similar suit everyday? "I guess I'll have to buy some new outfits." He smiled at Rose. "Would you care to accompany me to the store, Miss Tyler?"
Rose grinned and took his hand. "I'd love to."
It was a few hours later, after the Doctor had taken a shower and washed his only set of clothes, that he and Rose were walking down the street, hand in hand, looking for a place to shop. The Doctor saw a lot of people looking their way as they passed, but Rose seemed to take no notice. "Um, Rose," he said. "Why is everyone staring at us?"
Rose shrugged. "Well, a prominent billionaire has a daughter that shows up, fully grown, out of nowhere; There's gonna be some media attention."
"So everyone knows who you are, then?"
"Doesn't that bother you?"
"It does a bit," she admitted. "But I'm sure I got more used to it over the three years that the other me was here, so I will again."
"I'll never understand humans' obsession with other people's private lives," said the Doctor in distaste.
"This one looks good," said Rose, indicating a high end department store and pulling him inside.
When they got to the men's department they were immediately approached by an eager saleswoman. Of course they'd be tripping over themselves to help Rose. She was well known and had a lot of money.
"May I help you with anything, Miss Tyler?" asked the woman. The Doctor looked at her name tag. 'Chrissy'.
"Yes," said Rose. "My friend here needs some clothes." She turned to the Doctor. "Anything in particular you wanted, Doctor?"
"Um, Yes." he turned to Chrissy. "Do you have any suits that look like this?" He indicated his pants and held out his leg for her to see.
Chrissy raised an eyebrow and looked up at him. "Blue with brown pinstripes?"
"Well they're more rust coloured," he replied. "But yes."
She restrained a nervous laugh. "Um, no. We don't have anything like that. But we do have solid blue. And we may even have the reverse, brown with blue pinstripes. We also have a navy blue with white pinstripes in Armani."
"Alright," the Doctor sighed. "Lets look at those."
"You'll need some casual clothes too," said Rose, as they walked through the racks. "You can't wear suits all the time."
"I always used to," he said.
"Yeah, but we weren't living everyday in the same place then," she said. "You'll need some other stuff too. You don't want to be too conspicuous."
So they ended their shopping trip with the solid blue suit, a brown suit that looked like his old one, a couple pairs of jeans, several dress shirts, many ties, a tux, some t-shirts, and four pairs of chucks (white, black, red, and blue). Of course, Rose couldn't help herself and bought a few things as well.
As their driver took them home Rose and the Doctor reviewed their purchases. "I think these'll look great on you," said Rose, holding up a pair of blue jeans that they had bought for the Doctor.
"Really?" he said doubtfully.
"Are you kidding? With that bum? They'll be perfect!"
He chuckled at her brazen compliment. Clearly she was as comfortable with him as she'd ever been. He suddenly realized that despite the declarations and banter this Rose and this him had not been in any way physically intimate yet. They hadn't even kissed. How should he approach that? Should he assume it was all like it was before and pick up where they left off before Canary Wharf? No, it wasn't like it was before. Everything was new. Their bodies, their lifestyle. So should he start from square one? No. They were clearly already beyond friends. Maybe he should approach it like a new relationship. First dates, first kisses, and all. He looked at Rose. She was examining a new pair of earrings she'd bought. It would be nice, he thought, to fall for each other all over again. Rose looked out the window. "Pull over here please," she suddenly said to the driver.
"What is it?" asked the Doctor.
"My flat," she said. "In my memory, I only moved in a few weeks ago. But the other me has had it for three years. It must look different now. I want to check it out."
"Should I wait here, Miss?" the driver asked when they stepped out.
"No," said Rose. "I don't know how long we'll be. I'll take my car back. You can go home."
"Yes, Miss." The driver pulled away and Rose and the Doctor headed upstairs to the flat.
When they arrived on the top floor of the swanky apartment building, Rose opened the door to flat #810. It was a suite.
"Nice view," said the Doctor.
Rose had a wall of ceiling to floor windows in the living/dining area. The view of London was beautiful.
"Thanks," said Rose. "It's much more furnished than I remember. I like it."
"You should," said the Doctor. "You decorated it."
There was a plush white couch in the center of the den with a glass top coffee table in front of it. A large flat screen television hung on the wall across from it. The dining room table was black painted wood, all angles and no curves. The kitchen looked the same. Light wood cabinets and white marble. There were nice lamps, end tables, and carpet. She was still living out of boxes, last she remembered. Now she was all moved in. Rose went to the bedroom while the Doctor poked around. She had a new duvet. It was a deep dark pink. The pillows were light pink and the sheets were white. She had a new dresser too. It was tall and made of mahogany. The black wooden bedside table she remembered, but the lamp was new. No, at a second glance, it was just the lamp shade that was new. She looked through her clothes and discovered that she already had three of the shirts she had just bought. She heard something in the kitchen and realized she should probably be keeping an eye on the Doctor.
When she came out, she found the Doctor at the counter, beginning to take the toaster apart. "Doctor!"
He looked up and stepped away quickly. "Just making sure you have the best toaster you can!"
She tried to look stern. She fought very hard against the smile that threatened to show. "Were you trying to make it sonic?"
"It's so much more energy efficient!" he explained. "Trouble is, I'd need the sonic screwdriver for that and all you've got is...regular." He held up the item as if it were offending him.
Rose couldn't help it, she laughed. He was so cute. She came over and took the screwdriver from his hand. "Well, maybe we can find some things in the Torchwood archives to make you a new one."
"Really?" he brightened. "Because we really do need a proper toaster. I'm not making my breakfast in this. It'll never come out right."
Rose stared at him. "...We?"
The Doctor looked up. "I said 'we'? I did say 'we', didn't I?" he rubbed the back of his neck nervously. "I'm sorry. I really shouldn't have assumed you'd want...I mean, not right away...I just...I wanted...I mean, I thought..."
"You'd be moving in with me?"
"I'm sorry. It was presumptive of me."
"Do you...want to move in with me," Rose asked shyly.
"Yes," said the Doctor. "Very much."
"You'd have to help me pay the bills," Rose cautioned.
"Of course!" the Doctor assured. "That's what couples do when they live together." He looked at her hopefully. "Are we...Could we be a couple?"
Rose smiled. She almost wanted to cry, she loved him so much right now. She took his hands in hers. "Of course we are. I love you."
He grinned so hard his face might break and she kissed him. He hissed her back fervently, wrapping his arms around her and holding her tight. She tasted the same as she did on the beach, the same as she always had. He felt her hand in his hair and he shivered. She opened her mouth, inviting him in and he tasted her deeply. He felt his body heating up, felt a tingle down his spine and into his groin. This human body was much more quick to react than his Time Lord one. His single heart was beating maddeningly fast and it was getting harder to breathe. He reluctantly broke the kiss out of necessity. He leaned his forehead against hers, breathing hard. He was dizzy. It was scary, but it was wonderful and he just wanted more.
"Are you really okay with living this life," asked Rose.
"Yes," he answered sincerely. He pulled back to look at her properly. "To tell you the truth, I've always secretly longed for this sort of life. It's why I stayed away from it before. I didn't want reminders of what I couldn't truly have."
"You want it with me?" she asked.
He thought that was a silly question, but he answered her seriously. "More than anyone else."
"I'm glad," she said. "Because you're the only one I want to be with."
He smiled and kissed her again. They would live this brilliant domestic life together. Day after day for the rest of their lives. And he couldn't be happier.
The next story in this series is Love is Divine