"She's not talking to me," the Doctor announced dramatically, as he let himself into Donna's flat. He bounded into her living room and flopped down on her sofa with a sigh, pocketing her spare keys.
Donna lifted her head up from her magazine and arched an eyebrow, choosing not to comment on why he'd stolen her spare keys rather than simply using his sonic screwdriver. "What did you do?"
"Nothing! Absolutely nothing!" he retorted, flinging his arm over his face in theatrical despair.
"Doctor..." she prompted.
"Not my fault," he mumbled.
"Doctor..." she repeated. He ignored her. She threw her magazine at him. "Oi! Dumbo! Out with it!"
He dropped his arm and met her eye. "I might've..."
"What? Forgotten an important anniversary? Blown up the kitchen? Run over her mother?"
He laughed despite the situation. "Nope, none of those things."
"Spent all her money on hair gel?"
The smile dropped off his face again. "Hey!"
"Had an affair?"
"How dare you suggest such a thing!" he exclaimed, looking very offended.
"Well, what? What have you done?"
He cleared his throat awkwardly. "I might've, maybe, perhaps...told her that she needed to retouch her hair with the hair dye 'cos I could see a few grey roots - but it was just a joke! I mean, she's barely thirty, no grey hairs yet!" He sniffed despondently and ran his hand through his own hair, tugging a strand of it down in front of his eyes. "Unlike moi," he huffed, glaring at the solitary grey hair he'd found yesterday.
Donna frowned, and chose to ignore his moping to tease him about his discovery later. "But, weird as it sounds, that's not something that Rose would find insulting," she replied, confused.
"Exactly!" he cried, waving his arms about theatrically. "That's what I thought! She's got a brilliant sense of humour, my Rose. She knows that I didn't actually mean it."
"So, did you have a row?"
"No, you see, that's just it," he informed her, leaning forward on the sofa. He demonstrated his point by counting off his fingers, "No insults back, no throwing things, no passionate shouting leading to a tremendously fun making-up session against the - "
"Oh, yuck! Do you mind?" Donna interrupted, wrinkling her nose up. She'd never understand why this man assumed he could blurt out random aspects of his and Rose's... private activities...to her.
"Sorry, sorry, got a bit ahead of myself there. But still! There was none of that! And that's usually how the arguments go, when we have them, which...isn't that often, really, to be honest."
"Tell me about it," she muttered under her breath. "Act like teenagers with your first crush, you two do. Giggling and flirting and eugh," she shuddered.
The Doctor grinned. "You're just jealous. Once you find your soul mate you'll be just the same," he assured her.
"You're actually now making me feel physically ill with the cheesiness," she replied.
"Don't you give me that," he retorted. He glanced down next to him and shouted a triumphant, "Aha!" as he picked up the magazine she threw at him earlier. "See, this is a wedding magazine, and as far as I'm aware you aren't engaged! Thus, I deduce that you want to be and are secretly planning your wedding already!"
She glared at him and snatched her magazine back with a purposeful sniff. "Just want to be prepared," she retorted.
"Of course, nothing wrong with that. Preparation is the key to success! Just don't marry a man who buys you coffee every day for six months."
"Right." Then she smirked, knowing precisely the way to get back at him for sussing her out. "Bet you don't wanna know where I got this magazine though, do you?"
He shrugged and leant back against the sofa, propping his feet up on her coffee table. "Why would it matter to me?"
"Because Rose gave it to me."
"So," she said emphatically. "She gave it to me because she'd finished reading it. She bought it, Doctor. Your Rose. She bought a wedding magazine and read it and then gave it to me. So! What do you think of that, hmm?" she grinned.
He stared at her silently for a few seconds, blushed a little pink, and tugged on his ear.
Confused by his odd reaction, she asked, "Doctor? What is it?"
He shifted in his seat awkwardly, refusing to look at her. "I've maybe, um. Been sort of...wanting to, uh..."
"Well, I want to ask you for some advice, see," he said hurriedly, rushing through his words.
Her eyes widened and a slow smile slid across her face. "Hold on, are you needing advice about what I think you're needing advice about?" she asked excitedly.
"You see, for a, um...a while, now, I've wanted to ask Rose...something...but I wasn't getting the impression that she wanted me to ask her that...something...because whenever anyone's brought the topic up she's sort of just brushed it aside and I didn't think she was interested in doing that something. But now that you've said this I'm thinking that maybe she kind of secretly is wanting to do that something, and - "
Donna winced, and interrupted him. "I lied. Sorry."
"I was just winding you up. Rose didn't really give me the wedding magazine, her mum did."
He deflated. "Oh."
"But that's not to say she doesn't want to," Donna tried to reassure him.
He perked back up. "Has she said something, then?"
"Er...well, no," Donna admitted. "But then, she keeps a lot of cards close to her chest, does Rose. Put it this way, she's never out-and-out expressed a feeling that she doesn't want to. She just hasn't said that she does, either."
"Right," he nodded. "Right..." He started to think of a plan. Donna could tell, because he ran his hand through his hair and tilted his head in that way he did when he was contemplating something. "Right!" he announced brightly, and she jumped slightly in surprise. "Donna! Oh, this is perfect, this! You can be my inside man! Woman, I mean, inside woman! You can spy for me, yeah? Yeah, course you can. Ask Rose some subtle questions. You know, about...uh, about...weddings and babies and things."
Donna's eyebrows hit her hairline. "Woah, hold on a second! Weddings and babies?! How am I supposed to ask subtle questions about potentially the most monumental aspects of a person's life?"
"I dunno, you'll think of something, you're clever like that. Just get me some info about whether Rose wants...those things...or not. Okay? Then I can be saved any embarrassing situations..."
"Doctor," Donna said gently, and he met her concerned gaze, surprised by her tone.
"What if I find out that she doesn't? Would you be disappointed about that?"
His jaw worked for a moment without any sound coming out, and then he cleared his throat. "No," he answered. "No, I wouldn't be disappointed. I just...want her to be happy. If she's happy with how things are, then that's fantastic."
"Yes, of course!" he smiled reassuringly.
"Right," she nodded, but she sounded doubtful.
"So will you do this for me?" he asked hopefully.
She let out a sigh. "Yeah, all right. Thing is, though," she added.
"She's not talking to you at the moment."
"Oh yeah," he grumbled, scratching his chin. "Problematic, that."
"Go home," Donna suggested softly. Then she pulled a face as she continued, "Do that...making-up thing you like to do."
He chuckled and stood up. "If she'll let me into the flat, that is."
"She didn't chuck you out, though."
"No, but I got the distinct impression that my presence wasn't wanted. I kept talking to her and she just ignored me! And then I told her that I'd go out without her if she didn't start speaking to me again, but she just turned on the radio and started humming along to it whilst doing the washing up."
"I'm sure she's forgiven you by now," Donna assured him. "She's a very forgiving woman, is Rose."
"Mmm," he agreed.
"She'd have to be, putting up with you," she added.
He mock-scowled at her and shoved his hands in his pockets. "Thanks."
Donna rolled her eyes and stood up as well. "I was only joking, Spaceman," she muttered.
He arched an eyebrow. "You weren't, and you're right, but I'm going to pretend you were and that you're not," he informed her wisely.
She chuckled and led him out of her living room, opening the front door and gesturing at it in a not-so-subtle way.
"I get the impression you're trying to get rid of me, too," he remarked, stepping out of the opened door.
"Well done," she smiled, nodding.
"Donna..." he murmured thoughtfully, remembering something he'd noticed earlier.
"Are you going on a date?"
"Why would you say that?" she retorted, fiddling with her hair nonchalantly.
"Because I couldn't help but see that you'd scrawled the name 'Shaun' with a time and a location on your calendar under today's date."
She folded her arms. "Nosy. Why were you looking at my calendar?"
"Donna, your calendar is hanging right by your front door and it's the first of May today. It also has pictures of desserts on it, which is, quite frankly, a brilliant idea, good choice. These factors, when combined together, mean that I always check your calendar at the start of every month to see whether banana pie is on it yet."
"Doctor, banana pie is never going to be on a calendar of pictures of desserts."
"Why not?" he demanded, his brows drawn together stubbornly.
"Banoffee pie, maybe, but not just plain old banana."
"You're wounding me," he told her, putting his hand over his single human heart.
"Good!" she laughed, and started shutting the door. "Bye now, have fun making up with Rose!"
He chuckled and replied, just before the door closed fully, "Have fun meeting up with Shaun..."
The Doctor arrived home to an empty flat. He frowned, confused, and called, "Rose? Rooooose?" but received no response. He went in a few rooms, still calling her name, and realised she was most definitely not here. "Hmm," he murmured to himself. "Where's she gone?"
He plodded into the kitchen and put the kettle on, then noticed that she'd abandoned the washing up half-way through. Which meant that she must've been waiting for him to leave earlier before sneaking out herself. "Curiouser and curiouser..."
Whilst he waited for the kettle to boil, he decided to try her phone. But she didn't answer that, either. He left a message instead. "Honestly, how am I supposed to make up with you in our very special way if you aren't even here, hmm?" he began light-heartedly, then lowered his voice to murmur sincerely, "I'm sorry if I really upset you, Rose. I was only teasing. You don't have any grey hair at all, I promise. Please don't be angry with me for too long, I don't like it. Can you ring me and let me know where you are, or at least what time you'll be back? I'm gonna make us dinner. Okay. Well. I'll see you soon, hopefully." He paused, then added a quiet, rare, "I love you," before hastily hanging up the phone, with a sheepish grin to himself, feeling silly and sappy and still far too besotted with her to even care about how un-Time Lord-y he acted occasionally.
He made his tea and looked through the fridge, pondering what to cook. He took out and sniffed a couple of lamb shanks, unsure whether they'd gone off or not. Remembering that he'd left his sonic screwdriver in the spare room – their makeshift office – he set his tea down on the kitchen counter and went to retrieve it, planning on assessing the lamb shanks' edibility with setting 43b.
But when he opened the door to their study, his eyes opened wide in surprise. Mouth hanging open, he stepped inside. The last time he'd been in the room was the previous evening, and at that point the room had been a mess; paperwork on the floor, books piled high, their laptops resting on storage boxes and their chairs simply bean bags. They were in the process of redecorating the flat, and the spare room was going to be the last to be done. As far as he was concerned, they'd make do with the messy mini-office until they'd finished painting the lounge. But unbeknownst to him, Rose had already started sorting this room out.
In fact, it looked lovely. Wonderful. Across the entirety of one wall she had put up a massive map of the world, and tacked each place they had been to so far together on Pete's World, complete with a photo of the pair of them in every location. On the other side of the room were two desks, next to each other, with their laptops and paperwork neatly placed on top. She'd even painted the three bare walls pale blue. When had she had time to do that without him noticing? He was completely baffled, but a huge grin came upon his face all the same. He stepped closer to the mapped wall, and traced his fingertips over a photo of a smiling Rose sitting on a safari truck, placed next to South Africa.
"Oh, you're back," she murmured from behind him. "Do you like it?"
He whirled around. "Rose Tyler," he breathed out roughly.
She smiled at him sheepishly and waved a bucket of TARDIS-blue paint at him. "Just popped out for this. Thought about stencilling a TARDIS on the map, over the Atlantic, maybe. What d'ya reckon?"
"I reckon that's a fabulous idea. Now when, pray tell, did you do all this?" he asked, gesturing around the room.
"Last night," she answered. "You fell asleep pretty early. Thought I'd utilise the unusual opportunity. Was up 'til four in the morning. Then I had to make sure you didn't go in there when you woke up, hence why I was trying to make hints about going out."
He frowned contemplatively. "Were you actually annoyed at me earlier? When you weren't talking to me?"
"Don't be daft," she laughed, placing the paint pot on the floor and coming to stand next to him. She leant against him when he wrapped an arm around her waist. "Better things to be mad at you about than that joke of yours. As if I have grey hair already! Pfft," she scoffed playfully.
"It was all just a ruse then, to get me out of the flat?"
"Yep," she beamed up at him, tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear. "Surprise!"
He laughed and pressed a lingering kiss to her forehead. "How did you manage to get those heavy desks in the flat all by yourself?"
"Got my mate Billy to help out once you'd left earlier," she replied, with her teasing grin.
The Doctor rolled his eyes. "You do realise that all this will be for nothing when we have to move tomorrow, to get away from our over-friendly next door neighbour?"
"Hey, don't get all jealous," she giggled, patting his chest fondly.
"Rose, we're either moving, or you're going back to being a brunette," he informed her ruefully. "He had the cheek to say, to my face, that he liked you because you're just his type."
"Blonde?" she asked, wrinkling her nose.
"Same as you then," she snorted.
"You have a thing for blondes, Doctor," she reminded him.
He rolled his eyes again and abruptly picked her up. She squealed in surprise and wrapped her arms around his neck. "I have a thing for you," he countered. He tilted his head forward and kissed her softly on the lips. "That's all," he added, in a whisper.
"Good to know," she smiled. "You gonna let me finish the room, then? Got my mini-TARDIS to paint. Also, I was thinking we could -"
He cut her off with another kiss, and started walking them out of the room and towards the bedroom.
"- or we could just do this instead," she murmured breathily, as she pulled her mouth from his to gasp in some air.
He dropped her onto their bed and climbed over her, pressing soft kisses down her neck. "Indeed," he agreed.
"Thank you for the surprise," he whispered, kissing her shoulder gently. "The room looks beautiful."