It was a while before the Doctor realised that Rose had started chronicling their adventures via sketches and paintings. It wasn't so much that she intentionally kept it a secret from him, she just forgot to mention it.
He came in to wake her up one morning with a mug of tea, as he usually did, only to find her already awake, chewing on the end of her pencil with a sketchpad propped up on her bent legs.
"Morning!" she smiled up at him as he entered.
"Hello," he replied, matching her grin with one of his own. "What are you up to?"
"Oh, just drawing," she said, holding her pad up for him to see.
He placed her tea on her bedside table and took the pad from her to look. The page she was working on was a collection of little drawings resembling the landscapes of a few of the planets they had visited recently. His eyes widened at the detail. "Rose, these are lovely. How do you do that all from memory? I mean, you're human!"
Rose rolled her eyes. "I's not that difficult, we were only at these places this week. I do need to start bringing my camera out with us though, 'cos you're right, my human brain can't remember all the details and the perspective on that one's all wonky because I forgot about that other mountain at first…"
He started flipping back through the book. "When did you start doing this?" he asked, finding pages filled with drawings of various places and people and a few of the TARDIS console.
She shrugged, almost self-consciously, and tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear. "Dunno, couple of months back? Found some art stuff in my room at Mum's when I was sorting out what to bring, and decided to get back into it. Used to draw and paint all the time when I was younger."
The Doctor stared at her drawings in awe. "Rose, you are really, really good."
"Do you think so?" she asked, biting her lip hesitantly.
"Yeah!" He sat down beside her on the bed, bouncing slightly in his enthusiasm. "Are you gonna do some in colour?" he asked. "Because I have the best place to take you today - absolutely breathtaking views and a brilliant festival where these creatures light up the sky in different colours as they search for a mate! You could bring your stuff and we could sit in one of the local restaurant's viewing pods and - "
Rose laughed, and placed a hand over his. "Hey, slow down! That does sound great, Doctor…but I dunno, wouldn't you get bored?"
"Bored? Nah, course not. It'll be fun! We can wander about during the day and enjoy the part of the festival where all the stalls come out selling pointless trinkets and try to make us sample the local food, then pop along to the restaurant pods in time for the light show in the evening. I think you'd capture it brilliantly. What do you say?"
"Yeah, sounds good," she smiled.
"Excellent! You drink your tea and get ready; I'll go set the coordinates."
They laughed all day exploring the markets, and by the evening, they were famished. The Doctor flashed his psychic paper around to get them into one of the exclusive eating pods and they had a three course meal whilst watching the light show. In between taking bites of her food, Rose drew and coloured and smudged, using her pastels. The Doctor was intrigued by her process, and couldn't stop standing up to take a peek over her shoulder. Eventually, once she'd had enough food, she shifted her chair around the table to sit beside him so that he would sit still. He wrapped his arm around her shoulders and watched as she brought her paper to life with the show they were watching.
The whole event had been perfect, and Rose, though shy about it, was delighted by the Doctor's encouragement with her artwork. She promised him she'd bring her sketchpad along on their trips to picturesque planets, and when she went to bed, she couldn't stop smiling.
Over the next few months, Rose ended up setting up a couple of easels in the Doctor's workshop room on the TARDIS, so that they could chat to one another whilst they got on with their own tasks; Rose with her painting, the Doctor with his tinkering. Soon, half the workshop seemed to convert into her studio, her artwork and materials scattered amidst his collection of tools and technical thingamabobs. He didn't mind; on the contrary, it made him smile to see their stuff intertwined in such a way. Made her presence with him feel more real, more substantial, more permanent. He loved that.
Something else he loved about sharing this space with her was that he got to watch her work, watch the way her forehead crinkled and her tongue poked out of the corner of her mouth in concentration. Watch the way she'd scratch an itch on her face and end up smudging paint or charcoal there and not realise. She looked adorable when she got more paint on her face and her long shirt than she did on the canvas.
He had realised by now, of course, that he was quite in love with her. Well, he'd realised a long time ago, fairly quickly into their friendship, if he were honest. She embodied everything he needed, really, and was an emblem of what he wanted, too. Watching her pursue something she enjoyed with such enthusiasm - and with the subject matter of her artwork being so firmly linked to their life together - it warmed his hearts and made him want to better each location they'd been to so that she had some truly amazing sights to recreate.
Then, one day, out of the blue, she stole his breath away with a single, tentative question.
"Mmm?" he replied, as he shuffled into the workshop-studio with a tray of toast and tea for them to share. She was biting her bottom lip nervously and fiddling with her earring. He set the tray down on the only clear space on the table and pulled up a stool in front of her, sitting down carefully. "Everything okay?" he prompted.
"I have a…request, sort of. But I don't want you to - I'm a bit - I don't want to offend you or anything…"
His lips twitched. "What on Earth is it? Just say it, Rose."
She swallowed heavily and asked her question, "I was wondering if maybe you could, someday, when you're ready…if you could describe your planet to me?"
He stared at her, not blinking for a while, in utter silence, his mouth hanging open.
"Sorry," she mumbled, rushing to correct what she perceived to be a mistake, "I didn't mean - I'm sorry, Doctor, just forget I ever said anything, it's okay - "
"No, I - " he said, finally finding his voice, or just about, anyway. "It's all right, I just… Were you thinking of…?" he gestured to her blank canvas.
She nodded slowly. "I thought maybe…l mean, I've been around for a while so I've seen a lot of the rooms in the TARDIS, and nowhere is there a picture or painting of - of your home, and I thought…"
"And you thought you'd try to depict it for me, from what you can imagine, from what I tell you," he whispered, finishing for her.
Rose flinched slightly. "I didn't mean to assume - "
"No, Rose, wait, I wasn't - I'm being serious. I wasn't being sarcastic or anything, I…you could probably do a good likeness of it if I described it, to be honest, despite having never - " his voice croaked slightly on the word, "- never seen it yourself. And you'd easily get the colours right…"
He looked thoughtful, and Rose relaxed slightly, taking his hand in both of hers. "So…will you be able to, do you think? Describe it for me, I mean? Someday?"
The Doctor nodded absently. "I think…yeah, you'd…I'd like to. I trust you with it, obviously, that's not a problem, and I don't doubt your artistic ability regarding depicting it, I just…it might be difficult for me to - to get the words out."
"I understand," she smiled sadly.
"But I want us to try it."
"Yeah." He looked down. "You're right, there's nothing in the TARDIS left of the planet, except for the odd bit of furniture and a collection of Gallifreyan books. Possibly some clothes. But nothing - no photos, no paintings, nothing like that."
"And a human painting a landscape or something wouldn't…devalue it, for you? I mean, it wouldn't be offensive or anything?"
Tears inexplicably filled his eyes as he looked back up at her. "Rose, don't be daft. You're - " He blinked a few times and swallowed before continuing, "You're more than worthy of painting a picture of Gallifrey."
"Was it very beautiful?"
"Some of it, yeah. Other areas were quite barren and dull to look at. But the Mountains…the forests, the Citadel…those were beautiful, I wish - I wish you could see it for real. Of course, even if it were still around you probably wouldn't want to go there - "
"I would," she protested, squeezing his hand.
"You wouldn't like the people, though. My people weren't - they weren't like you. Most of them weren't, anyway. I had some friends there who were kind and warm and wonderful, but mostly the Time Lords weren't the sort of people you'd be happy sharing a TARDIS with," he said ruefully.
"You mean they were worse than you?" she teased, sending him a cheeky grin.
He chuckled and nodded. "If you can believe it, yeah. Far more pompous. They sort of…they descended into this power-hungry thing near the end. It wasn't…it wasn't good. So whilst the landscapes you'll paint will turn out looking lovely, the real places…beautiful, but rotten, inside."
They ate their tea and toast, and the Doctor promised that he'd tell her about Gallifrey soon.
A few days later he felt a bit more ready to talk. They settled in the library, on their favourite comfy sofa, and he began to open up.
The Doctor helped her with the initial sketches, describing certain places on his home planet in as much detail as he could and drawing a rough lined layout himself, so that she could determine the scale.
"I think I've got enough to go on, now," she smiled after a while, seeing that he could probably use a break.
It had taken its toll on him, a bit, telling her all that, so he was grateful when she said she could do the rest on her own. "I'll head to the console room to tinker for a bit, then," he smiled back. "Let me know when you fancy some dinner."
"Chips tonight?" she called after him as he walked out of the room.
He poked his head back around the doorframe and grinned, "I like the way you think, Rose Tyler."
She didn't bring up her work on the Gallifrey painting for a few days; she wanted to get it as perfect as she could, and she didn't want to talk about it until she was done in case he either changed his mind about her project or sneaked an early peek.
They went about their adventuring as normal, and in the evenings, after dinner, she'd sequester herself in the studio to paint whilst he was relegated to the console room.
When she'd finally completed her painting of the Citadel, she wrapped it in silver paper, handing it to him over breakfast one morning in the galley. He opened it, drew in a harsh breath, and looked at it for the longest time. Rose excused herself after a while, leaving him with his thoughts, and when she was dressed she went to search for him. It took a while; he'd seemed to have disappeared. He wasn't in the galley any longer, nor the console room. She checked his bedroom to no avail, poked her head around the doorway of their workshop-studio, and then made for the library.
She stopped still when she entered. There, hanging above the mantlepiece was her painting, pride of place. Rose smiled. She had been worrying recently over whether it was the right thing to do, her Gallifrey project. But she thought it was, now, seeing it hanging up, carefully framed, in full view of the sofas on which the Doctor and Rose sat nearly everyday.
She was just about to turn around and continue her search for the Time Lord, when she felt his arms sneak around her waist from behind, pulling her into his front for a backwards cuddle. He buried his face in her neck and breathed her name, and it was all the thank-you she needed.
Months later, they were visiting Mary Shelley, whom the Doctor had met, and once travelled with, before. Deciding to stay overnight after getting a bit tipsy, they made their way up to bed, sharing a room like they sometimes did when they stayed at places other than the TARDIS.
That night changed things a bit, however. Not in a drastic way - there was no, as Rose would call it, progression, in terms of their relationship, not really. They just sort of spooned. Which was more than anything they had done previously, granted, but it certainly wasn't anything staggeringly life-changing.
Well, it was life-changing in the sense that the Doctor got a bit of a glimpse of her in her underwear in the candlelight, but that was something he was most definitely going to keep to himself.
She got in next to him and turned on her side, facing away, and he automatically curled around her, without a second thought. Until, that was, he realised what he'd done; then he was a bit trepidatious.
He cleared his throat gently, lifting his palm off her midsection when he realised he was brushing the waistband of her knickers with his little finger. "Is this all right?" he murmured to the back of her neck.
"Course," she said shakily, grabbing his hand and pressing it back down to rest on her stomach. He relaxed, moulding his body more definitively towards hers, his legs bending at the same angle as hers to feel the backs of her thighs against his.
The next morning, the Doctor awoke feeling a little disappointed. In the night, one or both of them had rolled away from the other, and she was star-fished out on her front on the other side of the bed, nowhere near his arms. She was a wriggler, though, so he acknowledged that he couldn't really expect them to stay put in the same position all night long.
He gently shook Rose awake and they got dressed, heading down for breakfast with Mary before taking their leave.
Sharing a bed though…it played on their minds all day. They both privately realised that they sort of liked it. That was why it quickly became something of a routine upon their return to the TARDIS, though neither one commented on it. It just felt like a natural step. Every few nights or so the Doctor would come to her bedroom in his pjs and they would lie atop the covers chatting until Rose was close to nodding off, and then he'd just…stay. And slip under the duvet with her. Rose loved it, loved his presence there. He was often gone when she woke up, because he needed less sleep than she did, but all the same, it was a tradition she was quite keen on them upholding.
One evening, Rose began working on a self-portrait, sitting at her dressing table mirror. It was the longest she'd spent looking at herself for ages, and halfway through she found some of her old insecurities from her teenage years creeping back up on her. When she was finished, though, she was really pleased with it, and she reckoned she'd done a decent job. The following morning, she showed her portrait to the Doctor to see what he thought.
The Doctor took one look at it, muttered that it was great, then looked away for a moment, considering. Then, he shook his head a bit, grabbing another of her sketchpads and a stick of charcoal.
"What are you doing?" she asked curiously.
"Drawing what I see," he answered.
When he was finished, he handed the pad to her with a shy smile.
She blushed immediately. It was beautiful. She looked -
Rose was proud of her own work, but she couldn't deny that it felt lovely to have a portrait of herself drawn by someone who loved her. And it was obvious, looking at it, that it was drawn by such a person; adoration oozed out of every stroke of the charcoal stick.
"Thank you," she whispered. She met his eyes and felt a bit overwhelmed by his expression.
He grinned at her suddenly, then leant forwards and gave her a surprise peck on the cheek. "Tea?" he asked.
"Please," she replied. She put his sketch somewhere safe, then followed him to the TARDIS galley to start their day.
They slept in the same bed that night, because it was something they did these days. Nothing ever happened, nothing other than sleepy cuddles, and Rose was kind of okay with that. Whilst she felt frustrated sometimes that nothing more seemed to be on the Doctor's radar, she couldn't deny how nice it felt to be in a relationship, of sorts, where there wasn't a pressure to jump straight into sex. It was a change of pace from her previous relationships, and though she sometimes ached for him to make a move, she cherished the quietly intimate moments they had when it was just them, curled up together, listening to one another's heartbeats.
A lot happened in their lives over the next few months. There was some difficult stuff to get through, like vanquishing Beasts and repeatedly nearly losing each other. Their time in 2012 visiting the Olympics was a bit tough, because their troubles there put Rose off drawing for several weeks. Their increasingly close relationship, however, was something Rose treasured, and when she did get back to her art, her first sketch was of the Doctor.
She'd composed many drawings of the Doctor over the course of her time on the TARDIS, and she'd never shown them to him, always preferring to draw him when he wasn't around to see. This time, however, she couldn't resist. He was half-under the TARDIS console and singing along to a Disney soundtrack when she walked into the room, and she giggled to herself before sitting down on the jumpseat, her drawing implements in hand.
"Are you laughing at me, Rose Tyler?" he asked, pausing in his sing-along.
"Nooo, wouldn't dream of it," she replied promptly, and began to sketch his legs. Shame he wasn't on his front, she thought, then sat there idly daydreaming about his squeezable bum for a few seconds.
He pushed himself out from under the console and raised his eyebrows at her.
Snapping herself out of her reverie, she glanced over at him and pouted. "Oh, you moved. I was just gonna draw you and the console."
His eyebrows climbed even higher. "What would you want to draw me, for?"
Rose shrugged a shoulder. "Just do. Come on, strike a pose, be my model, yeah?" she said, smiling her tongue-touched smile.
"No way," the Doctor replied, rolling his eyes.
She stood up and wandered over to him, tugging on his arm and looking at him in that way she did to get what she wanted. He sighed heavily, instantly won over. "Oh, all right."
"Yes!" she grinned, standing on tiptoes to give him a kiss on the cheek. "Come on, let's go to the studio so that I can arrange you on a plinth," she joked.
He sighed again, but followed her.
She didn't make him pose nude, for which he was thankful.
Four days later he realised that she'd drawn him before. He'd woken up that morning and rolled over to be closer to Rose, when he suddenly realised that she wasn't even in the bed. Sitting up in confusion, he yawned and glanced around the room. The light was on in the bathroom, the door open just a crack, so he assumed she'd got up early and was getting ready. To pass the time, the Doctor fumbled for his glasses and book that were on the bedside table by his side of the bed. What he picked up instead, though, was one of her sketchpads. He remembered nearly treading on it last night as he'd made his way to bed, and realised that he'd put it on there without looking at what it was. Always keen to see what she was working on, the Doctor flipped open the sketchbook.
And he let out a small gasp. It was him - lots of him. About a dozen pages, some of the old him, some of him as he was now, with his really great hair and pinstripes. He swallowed thickly, wondering when she did them. She didn't ever draw him in his presence, apart from that one time a few days previously when he'd been persuaded into modelling for her by her fluttering eyelashes. She must have drawn them from photographs, or maybe even from memory. His spine tingled. He wondered if this was how she felt when he'd revealed that the statue they'd found of her was actually sculpted by him.
Rose stepped into the room then, casually wearing just a towel around her body, one hand running through her wet hair. He thought once more of Rome, of Rose in her toga, of the time he'd been a bit too exuberant about surviving being turned to stone and spontaneously kissed her.
He was quite unwittingly feeling a similar exuberance and spontaneity right at that moment, and he fought to quickly tamp it down.
"You all right?" Rose asked, wandering over to her dressing table and sitting down. She ran a brush through her hair and he watched the droplets of water drip drop down the bit of bare back on show.
"Mm, fine, fine," he mumbled hurriedly, when he realised he hadn't said anything for a few seconds. "Um…"
She looked at him in the reflection of her mirror. "What you got there?"
"Some of your drawings."
Rose's eyes suddenly widened. "Hold on -" She span around and stood up, rushing forwards to see which collection he was holding. He smiled at her, amused. "Where did you find that one?" she demanded, her hands on her hips.
"It was on the floor."
"Where was it supposed to be?"
"Under my bed."
Pink tinged her cheeks. "Sorry…I, er. I didn't mean for you to see them."
"No, that's - why were you hiding them?"
"Because…" she shrugged. "It's a bit - weird? I don't know."
"It's not weird. You drew me the other day."
"Yeah but that was with your knowledge and consent."
"I don't mind, Rose. In fact…"
"They are really good."
"Well, I was inspired," she teased, relief in her voice as she echoed his words from months ago.
He chuckled and just looked at her for a few moments.
"What?" she asked self-consciously, tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear.
"What about me?"
His eyes, he realised, were betraying him as she met his gaze, because her breath hitched. "You know," he murmured.
She nodded so very slightly.
He set aside her sketches and pushed the duvet back, swinging his legs round to sit on the edge of the bed. "Rose - " he began, reaching a hand forward to ghost up her side. She moved closer. His hand settled on her hip, his thumb stroking the towelling material, feeling the warmth from her skin radiate through it. Her eyes were darker than he'd ever seen them when he looked back up at her, and he shivered, feeling a little like the prey to her predator. Though her eyes were not shining gold, she was, in this moment, the very wolf she'd named herself to be such a long time ago. When she'd saved him. Blimey, all those ways she'd saved him. "Rose, I - "
A ringing sound startled him out of his sentence, and when Rose heaved a sigh and crawled across the bed to get her phone, he crossed his fingers that she would end the call quickly, or better yet, not answer it at all. She could always call her mother back. Right now, there were more pressing matters to pay heed to, such as the way Rose didn't seem to mind the fact she'd almost flashed him in her hurry to stop the obtrusive ringing sound. Leaning an arm over to grab her phone, she balanced herself on her knees with her other hand, and he concentrated his gaze on her calves rather than any higher up.
Unfortunately, Rose answered the phone call. And it was indeed Jackie. She shuffled around and sat down properly, ensuring she was covered up a bit more as she continued talking to her mum, propped up against the pillows. The Doctor smiled sadly and Rose mouthed 'Sorry' before answering Jackie's questions.
He whispered back, "It's fine," and stood up, entering the bathroom to get ready for the day. He looked into the mirror and, for once, instead of seeing the eyes of an old soldier who had seen too much, he just saw the eyes of a man in love with a woman. The way she'd drawn him in the last sketch in her sketchbook.
No guilt, no pain, no paralysing grief. Just love.
He steadied himself with a hand against the sink. Once he'd regained his balance, he started to unbutton his pyjama shirt, wondering if he'd always feel the overwhelming sense of forgiveness he felt in her presence, or if it would dwindle slowly away if, when, he lost her.
He really didn't want to find out, because he was content in this life he shared with her, this life where she made him happy just by breathing and smiling and saying his name.
They were in Moscow that night, having to stay in a hotel because of the outrageous amount of snow piling up between them and where they'd parked the TARDIS several miles away.
"Thanks for taking me to the ballet, it was great," Rose said, as they entered their room.
"Glad you liked it," he smiled. He wondered if she'd realised that this evening he'd taken her on what he was tentatively calling a date in his head.
Rose dove under the duvet as soon as she spied the bed, as she was frozen to the bone. The Doctor sat down in the chair in the corner of the room, watching her as she tried to settle. He could tell she was knackered; he'd seen her eyes drooping when she'd leant against him coming up the stairs to their floor.
"It's so cold," she mumbled, her teeth chattering.
The Doctor took off his shoes then got up from his chair and walked over to the bed, removing his jacket and flinging it behind him.
"What good's your jacket gonna do over there?" she asked, arching an eyebrow.
He rolled his eyes and lifted the duvet, slipping in beside her and gathering her into his arms. "Body heat, Rose. Much better than just giving you my jacket."
She grinned against his shirt. "Definitely. Get a nice cuddle out of it."
He chuckled and dropped a kiss to the top of her head. "Night, Rose."
"Night," she murmured happily, snuggling even closer.
He tried again with the maybe-date thing. Two attempts landed them in the midst of a revolution and an alien invasion respectively. Another attempt was a trip to the cinema to see the opening night of Disney's Mary Poppins…which went well until the Doctor spotted some people of non-Earth origins trying to sneak in without tickets; chaos ensued, naturally. A few days later he took her on a picnic but she got food poisoning from a dodgy Felpusian dish. He was just about ready to give up; she hadn't even noticed his quiet efforts at romance anyway. He decided to hold off his deliberate attempts for a bit, and wait and see if their normal lives led them naturally towards the path of admitting their feelings instead.
Their workshop-studio was soon filled to the brim with her paintings, along with several other walls in several other rooms around the TARDIS. She was a very quick and efficient artist, innovative and prolific in equal measure. He knew exactly what she should do with some of her art - although of course, he wanted her to keep most of them on board.
"Rose…" he said to her one morning, as he looked over her shoulder as she worked. He bit into a piece of toast and she tilted her head when he got crumbs in her hair.
"Oi!" she said, then asked, "Wait, what were you gonna say?"
"Sorry," he said sheepishly, brushing aside the crumbs from her shoulder and finishing off his slice. "I reckon you should see if some galleries will hang all these."
Startled, Rose dropped her brush and stared up at him from her seat on the stool. "What? No! No chance. They aren't that good."
"Yes they are," he disagreed, putting his hand on her shoulder. His thumb rubbed at the tension in her muscles absently. "I can think of loads of places that would be happy to house your work. Perhaps even sell it to some private collectors. You could make a mint. Not that you need to make a mint, what with your free bed and board here," he added, squeezing her shoulder and grinning down at her. "But still. The fame, the fortune!" he teased. "Your Mum would be very proud."
"I don't know…"
It took a few days' worth of persuasion before she would even seriously entertain the idea.
"I mean, I s'pose it would be…I'd like to give it a go, maybe, but - I dunno, I'm not sure I can really do it."
"Of course you can do it," he said, wrapping his arm around her shoulders and giving her a squeeze. "You're brilliant."
"Isn't it a bit dangerous, though, hanging up all my alien landscapes in a 21st century London gallery?"
"Nah, they'll just think you're really inventive!" he grinned. "And, who says we're talking about hanging your art exclusively on Earth? I can take you to lots of art galleries, Rose Tyler, all across the universe. There are whole space stations of art out there! Universe your oyster, and all that."
A slow smile crept onto her face. "You really believe I'm that good?"
"Oh, Rose," he breathed. "I believe you are fantastic."
By the time three months had passed, several of Rose's pieces of art were hanging in some of the most prestigious art galleries in the galaxy, and she had a dozen people vying for her to paint their personal commissions. She was making a very tidy sum in her spare time from adventuring. She loved travelling with the Doctor for all the obvious reasons of seeing the amazing places, meeting the amazing people of the universe, and helping those people along the way, but she would always be grateful to him for this, especially; enabling her to pursue something she was good at, on her own terms, free from the worries of financing her lifestyle, cultivating a sort-of-profession and a name for herself amidst the stars. She was proud of herself, for what she could achieve, and that was something she hadn't felt for a very long time.
"At least I'll have a bit of money in the bank now, in case -" she cut herself off abruptly.
The Doctor looked up from his tinkering. "In case what?"
"Well, in case…I dunno, if I get stranded or something."
He waved his hand dismissively. "Oh, no, that's okay, I've got millions accruing interest in the bank anyway."
She blinked at him, astounded. "You what?"
"From when I was employed at UNIT in the seventies…I made some very wise investments."
"Blimey," Rose mumbled, shaking her head in disbelief. She sighed. "Anyway, that wouldn't do me any good if we weren't stranded together."
"Actually I changed the account details so that you could access it," he said casually, turning back to his tinkering.
Rose stood up, slowly walking over to him. She looped her arms around his neck from behind, leant down and whispered in his ear, "Really?"
"Yep," he replied, popping the 'p.' He brought a hand up to hold one of Rose's.
He shrugged, and sniffed nonchalantly. "Nah. Just thought it was…pragmatic."
"Now you've told me this I could run away and steal all your cash," she grinned.
"But you wouldn't do that," he said confidently. "You're staying right here with me. Right?"
"Right," she agreed, pressing a quick kiss to his ear. He shivered and she did it again, before asking, "So, where are we off to today?"
He turned in his seat and Rose adjusted her hold on him accordingly. She really wanted to just sit in his lap and see what he would do, but he was already standing and giving her a hug. "Thought we'd go to the Bela peninsula on Radisha Four. Excellent smoothies, there."
"Radish?" she said, pulling back from their hug so that he could see her wrinkling her nose.
"Radisha," he chuckled. "No relation to the vegetable you so despise."
"Okay, phew, that's good."
After some careful observation, Rose realised what he was doing - what he had been doing, the last couple of months. There was a pattern forming, she could tell. Without fail, each week there would be about four days of their usual style of adventuring - usually some sort of trouble, some sort of saving, or some sort of hopping or running for their lives (or all three) - and each Sunday was their lazy day in when Rose would paint to her heart's content whilst the Doctor tinkered. But very, very often, the two days left over were ones in which he managed to steer them away from trouble and more towards the touristy side of things. He'd pilot the TARDIS to places where they could sightsee, where Rose could snap photos or sketch - and where they could dine in nice places or watch a show or two. Dates, really. Dates. The Doctor - and dates.
Oh, she knew he'd tried them before, of course, on and off for the few years she'd been travelling with him. A concert interrupted by a werewolf adventure in Scotland here, an attempt to see Elvis switched to saving a threatened coronation there. But recently, he'd been upping the ante, and Rose knew, though she didn't remark on it. She thought he ought to be the one who mentioned it first, considering he was the one in the driving seat - both literally with the TARDIS and in terms of setting the pace of the progression of their relationship.
But he didn't. He never said, "So, Rose, you might've noticed that I've been attempting to woo you, how's that going?" or bestow her with a kiss to convey his romantic intent. It was sort of frustrating her, but she was determined that he would talk about it with her at some point. The weird dates-but-not, the push-retreat, the not-talking-about-it… all that could only last so long, right?
They had been to see the pyramids the day that things heated up a bit. The Doctor's plans had gone a little awry when they'd encountered a couple of Lanahangs secretly living in one of the tombs, but it turned out that they were only hiding there because they were worried about moving too far away from their invisible, broken-down ship which they'd accidentally crashed. Whilst Rose sat on the sand - in the nearest shade she could find outside - chatting with the pair, the Doctor fixed their small ship. After waving them on their way, the Doctor and Rose linked arms and continued their perusal of the area.
By the time it came to the end of the day, Rose was knackered, so she persuaded the Doctor that they ought to just find a hotel for the night rather than traipsing miles back to the TARDIS. She'd enjoyed their trip - Egypt was beautiful, and she'd been having a great time exploring the sights with the Doctor, saving the day with the Doctor, and now, sharing a bed with the Doctor. But by half-midnight, she still couldn't sleep, and it was all because she was absolutely sweltering.
"I'm gonna have to take this off…close your eyes," she said into the silent room, wriggling around in the bed as she removed her pyjama shorts, knowing he was still awake by the sound of his breathing. Next came her vest top; she flung both garments to the floor. "You're peeking, aren't you," she said knowingly, turning on her side to face him. The moonlight peeked through their window; neither of them had remembered to draw the curtains closed, and Rose quite liked it like this, able to see the bits and pieces of him that weren't obscured by shadows. She imagined he felt the same way about the bits and pieces he could see of her.
The Doctor chuckled, the low sound emanating from deep in his chest. "A little bit." Her hand was resting on the pillow between them and he reached up and linked their fingers together. "You're beautiful," he whispered, before pressing a soft kiss to the inside of her wrist.
His eyes twinkled at her in the half-light. "You're welcome."
She smiled, and wished him goodnight, finally falling asleep shortly after pondering where she could've taken things if only she hadn't been so bloody hot and sticky.
Things were starting to change, Rose knew. She could tell. Ever since that night, exactly one week ago, when she'd stripped off and lain beside him in bed with only Egyptian cotton covering her from his gaze. And he'd caught a glimpse before that, of her, naked. She shivered at the memory of his dark eyes and his earnest compliment.
All week, he'd been looking at her in the same way, as though he would lean in and kiss her at any given moment. It thrilled Rose, never knowing if, when, would be the moment he'd give in, but she was getting impatient. She finally realised that it was about time she took control of the situation and gave in for him.
"You've got paint on my shirt now!" complained the Doctor, untucking his shirt and staring at the splodge of white on the pale blue material.
Rose pressed her lips together to hold in a giggle. "Oh, it'll be fine!" she said, rolling her eyes at his melodrama. "I'll get it out, come here." She beckoned him closer and her hands reached for his tie, untying it and sliding it from his collar.
"Don't get paint on that - " he began, a frown creasing his forehead worriedly. "That's practically bespoke, that is."
"A bespoke tie?" Rose scoffed, eyebrow raised as she started to unbutton his shirt without a second thought.
"Yes. Hold on, what are you undressing me for?"
Her fingers paused, halfway through undoing the buttons. "Oh. I just — I was going to wash out the paint quickly before it dries." She swallowed thickly as she realised he didn't have another shirt on underneath, like he sometimes did. Her fingers twitched, wanting to run through the smattering of hair she could see on his bare chest.
She met his gaze and saw he was looking at her curiously. But then he shrugged, and she continued to unbutton his shirt, her hands shaking slightly now that she was all too aware of his eyes watching her movements. She pushed the shirt from his shoulders and, without looking at him this time, she moved over to the sink, before attempting to get the paint off the fabric. Before she applied any water to the material, however, the Doctor called over, "Oh, wait, if that's the Ackloidian paint I got you, then it won't come off."
She paused and turned around. "Ah. Sorry, then."
"It is the Ackloidian paint?"
"Yep." She pulled a face. "Oops."
"It's all right," he smiled, waving his hand around to dismiss her concern. "I have a dozen blue shirts anyway. Don't worry. You can keep that one to paint in, if you want."
Her eyes widened. "Yeah?"
"Thanks," she murmured. Her eyes wandered down his torso and she bit her lip.
The Doctor shifted awkwardly under her scrutiny, putting his hands in his pockets. "What?" he asked.
Her eyes snapped back up to his. "Nothing." And then she took her vest top off.
His eyebrows leapt up his forehead. "What are you - " he cut himself off as he watched her slip on his shirt, buttoning a couple of the buttons but leaving a gap near the top. He wondered if she was doing this on purpose, and then realised that she couldn't not be. His gaze lingered on the glimpse of lacy black bra, then travelled lower to stare at where the hem of the shirt brushed the tops of her thighs, all but covering her tiny pyjama shorts from his view. Until, that was, she slid those very shorts down her legs, leaving them in a pile with her vest top on the floor. He gaped at her confident manoeuvre in astonishment.
Rose tucked a few loose strands of her hair behind her ears and adjusted her ponytail, then walked over to the stool in front of her easel, as casual as anything. She picked up her paintbrush, dipped it in some purple paint, then stared at her blank canvas thoughtfully. Before she could put the brush to the canvas, however, the Doctor moved briskly to stand behind her, deliberately hovering close enough for his chest to press against her back. She tilted her head back to rest on his shoulder and gave him a funny look. "All right there, Doctor?" she asked, her lips quirking up.
"Very all right," he answered, then trailed his hand down her arm to hold her right wrist loosely. "Paint," he encouraged, moving her hand towards the canvas again. She began to move her head to look at what she was doing but he wrapped his free arm around her waist and shook his head. "Close your eyes," he whispered. "Just…paint whatever."
"Doctor, I can't just - "
"Relax," he said, pressing a soft kiss to her temple. "Close your eyes. Paint."
She huffed in confusion but did as he asked, willing to experiment in this fashion if he thought it was worthwhile. "Fine." For a minute or two, all was silent apart from the soft swipe of her brush, the Doctor occasionally guiding her hand into the pots beneath the easel to top up on paint. "This is daft," she giggled softly. "Why are we…"
"If you don't keep your eyes shut I'll use my tie to blindfold you," he said. Her eyes popped open in surprise and he tutted. "Right, there we go then. Hop up a sec."
"You're sitting on it." She got to her feet in a daze and he let go of her wrist for a few moments, grinning at her as he picked up his tie. He tutted again at how she'd creased it, muttering something about it being bespoke again, to which Rose rolled her eyes. Then, he tied the silky fabric around her head. "This okay?" he asked.
"Mmhmm. Kind of feels a bit déjà vu - "
"Perhaps you've dreamt of this," he smirked.
"Think I did, yeah," she admitted, biting her lip to hold in a giggle. He smoothed a hand down her side and Rose bit down on her lip harder, settling into her stool properly and crossing her legs.
After a few moments of Rose painting without her vision, the Doctor started pressing soft kisses to her skin. He started out close-mouthed at her temple, moved across her cheek, along her jaw, then, parting his lips, down her neck, nosing aside the collar of the shirt she was wearing. One hand was guiding her own with the painting, but his other crept down to her leg, his fingers dancing over her bare skin. Rose started to smile, delighted by this strange turn of events. He gently lifted her leg beneath her right knee, uncrossing it from its partner so that he could touch her inner thigh. She moaned softly and abruptly shifted her hips, scooting forwards on the stool so that the new angle forced his wandering fingers closer to her centre.
"Rose…do you…" he murmured, his mouth at her ear now.
"Please," she whispered back.
The Doctor trailed his forefinger across the damp fabric of her knickers, humming in a pleased fashion at the discovery that she was already wet. He hooked her knickers to the side to touch her directly, listening to her pant in anticipation as he slowly explored her folds, before sliding a finger inside her. Her paintbrush fell to the floor when she distractedly released her grip on it. As he sucked her earlobe into his mouth, he dropped the hand that was holding her wrist to the buttons of her borrowed shirt, swiftly undoing them, and her newly freed hand moved backwards to sink into his hair.
Managing to find her voice somehow, Rose breathlessly asked, "Not that this isn't great, but where's this coming from?"
"I realised that I think we're both tired of waiting," he answered, before tracing the shell of her ear with his teeth.
"Finally, he gets it," Rose grinned to herself, inhaling sharply when his thumb began to rub tight circles over her clit.
"I've been…working up to it," he said quietly. "Was a bit nervous."
"Well. You look really sexy in my shirt," he admitted, chuckling as he nuzzled her neck. "Couldn't help but give in. Perhaps you licking your lips as you looked at me half-naked gave me a burst of courage."
"And the blindfold?" she pointed out teasingly.
"Oh, sometimes, you know, I can be a bit impulsive."
"I want to look at you, now, though."
"Go on then."
She took off his tie and carelessly flung it out of reach; it hooked over her easel and the ends dipped into the wet paint on the canvas. "Oops," she murmured, turning her head to look at him with a sheepish expression.
"Bespoke," he sighed.
"Sorry," she giggled.
"To be honest, Rose, I really couldn't care less right now," he winked at her. He spun her around on the stool, easing his fingers out of her and seizing her into a snog. She lifted her legs and pulled him closer, wrapping them around him. She sucked on his tongue and his hips bucked into hers, nearly toppling them both over; it wasn't long before they realised they ought to move to less precarious location, though they couldn't quite make it out of the room in their eagerness.
This was, therefore, how it came to be that the first time the Doctor made love to Rose Tyler was quite adventurously on the desk he used for tinkering, his tools and recent projects hastily swept to the floor, Rose's artwork surrounding them…in a room he'd already loved, but now would forever associate with the sounds Rose Tyler made when she came, which made it all the more fantastic in his view.
Months passed, and Rose had never been happier. She had a part-time career as an artist, a wonderful home in a spaceship travelling the universe, and she fell in love with the man she was sharing it all with a little more everyday.
This, she thought, was the life she wanted to lead forever. She told him so one day, when he asked her how long she was going to stay with him. And when she answered, he smiled. Oh, he smiled.
He opened his eyes and smiled lazily at the sight before him. Rose was sitting up, dressed in her pjs, sketchpad in hand, her new glasses on her face. "What're you doing?" he asked groggily. He was on his side, head a few inches away from the nearest pillow, and, as she was sitting cross-legged, her bare knee was right by his face. He pressed his lips to it, kissing her skin softly.
"Drawing you," she replied, with her tongue-touched grin.
"I'm naked," he realised, looking down at himself.
"Your fault; you kicked the duvet off us earlier. I woke up 'cos I was so cold."
"Oops, sorry. Why didn't you just pick the duvet back up?" he asked, craning his neck to see where it was on the floor.
"Because I realised that I had to take the opportunity of drawing you nude. It's going marvellously. Might be my best work," she giggled.
"Let me see," he said, stealing her sketchpad. His eyebrows lifted. "I see you've gone for lots of detail."
"Yeah, well, it's necessary when I've got such a lovely subject matter."
He laughed and handed it back to her. "Just don't go hanging this one up in a gallery. Save it for in here, yeah?"
"Oooh, I dunno, I think the universe could do with seeing this," she winked, then jumped quickly out of bed, legging it out of their room. He followed her, chasing her down the corridor with a sheet hastily wrapped around his waist, and when he caught her in his arms, he gave her a thorough kiss. He then dragged her back to bed for three hours, thoroughly distracting her from her drawing, which was entirely his intention.