A Rose Forever After
Amy, who had her head ducked inside her closet digging around in her old jumpers, jumped and smacked her head on the underside of the shelf. Swearing loudly, she turned to her husband who was lounged out on the bed watching her with amusement.
“Excuse me?” she frowned, rubbing her head.
“Were you even listening?” Rory said, wiggling off the bed and pressing a kiss on her head to make it all better.
“Nope, all I heard was the shagging part.” Amy looked at him pointedly. “If you think just because it’s Christmas that I’m gonna fulfil that fantasy of shagging you in the console room—”
“But with mistletoe?” Rory finished, grinning. “Nah, I know you’re too scared of the Doctor walking in on us and throwing a fit to do that. What I said,” he said with emphasis and a stern look, “was we have a bigger responsibility this Christmas, now that we’re travelling with the Doctor, and we’ll have to get him a gift. A really mind-blowing gift, mind you, not like those bottles of cheap cognac you give to your mates. ‘Cos this is the Doctor we’re talking about.”
Amy considered Rory’s words for a moment and nodded. “What do you get a bloke who’s got everything and nothing at the
same time? A bloke that has the ability to show you the universe?”
“Dunno, but s’not gonna be a cakewalk,” Rory said thoughtfully. “Not like last Christmas. Ten minutes of shopping, running back home, gulping down some turkey and pudding…” Rory’s eyebrows quirked up at her, “and shagging under the mistletoe.”
Amy blushed but turned back to her closet so Rory couldn’t see. “Speaking of the bloody raggedy man, where is the Doctor?”
Rory paused for a moment, eyebrows furrowing together with each passing second. “Y’know, I haven’t seen him since he took us to that planet— Woman Wept. Was running his gob about the place for ages, then when he finally took us he got all moody.”
“Really? I didn’t notice that.”
“That’s ‘cos you were too busy screaming about how you could skate on the waves.”
Amy turned her nose up. “Well, ‘scuse me for thinking an ocean freezing in an instant is cool!”
“Anyway,” Rory said delicately, “the Doctor did his whole lecture thing, then when you ran off and fell on your arse—”
“— and I had to valiantly come to your rescue, the Doctor’s face got all upset and he ran into the TARDIS to ‘tinker’. Never did come back out, I think.” Rory frowned. “Reckon it brought up memories or something?”
“Dunno.” Amy bit her lip. “We could… ask?”
Rory’s face lit up and fell in a span of ten seconds. “He’d probably just deflect. What we should really be asking is what to get him for Christmas.”
“Worth a shot, though he’ll probably ask for some mechanical part that we can never get our hands on or afford,” Amy sighed, hoisting herself off the floor and taking Rory’s outstretched hand.
They found the Doctor underneath the console, naturally, tinkering at the console wiring with his sonic. Usually he would have beamed at them, but instead he merely glanced at them and said almost dully, “Ah. Good day, Ponds.”
“Up you go then, Doctor— we’re staging an intervention,” Amy said briskly, wrapping her free hand around the Doctor’s arm and hoisting him out from underneath the console.
“I do not have a problem— eating a jar of jam a day with your fingers is a healthy practise,” the Doctor said immediately, eyebrows shooting upward into his floppy bangs.
“S’not that. Although how you say it’s healthy… s’a wonder you still got all your teeth, Doctor.”
“Yes, yes, Time Lord superiority.” Rory waved off his protest and the subject. “Point is it’s almost Christmas.”
Amy tried not to gape when a shadow flickered over the Doctor’s face before it was schooled into a mask of joviality. “Ah, indeed! Father Christmas, mistletoe and Christmas pudding— the likes! I ought to bring out my festive bowtie, don’t you agree?” Before they could answer the Time Lord who could talk for England abruptly changed the subject again. “Don’t suppose you want to go to Tinselton? It’s a whole planet dedicated to Christmas. The people there are always so jolly, and making puddings and cakes all year round! And they worship Kris Kringle, imagine that!”
“Ooh, is there really—?”
Amy elbowed Rory in the ribs and said, “No, Doctor, actually we want to know what to get you for Christmas.”
The couple had never seen the Doctor look more shocked in the time they’d known him. His mouth open and closed a couple of times, making him look rather like a floppy-haired fish, before he all but beamed at them. “Nothing at all!”
Rory was unabashedly staring at the Doctor with a look that suggested he thought the Time Lord was barking— Amy thought so too, though she had the discrepancy to brush it off, roll her eyes and say, “Go on then, Doctor, you must want something. S’Christmas! We could get you… um… something timey-wimey, yeah?”
“Very well then, Ponds, I’d like an isolinear subprocessor compatible with the TARDIS’s matrix that can hold two hundred and nineteen kiloquads of stored data.”
Once again Rory gaped at the Time Lord with the discretion of a child while Amy brushed it off and said irritably, “Something us randy apes can actually get, yeah?”
“I don’t want anything, Amy.” Now his head was ducked and the cloud hanging over him was apparent.
Rory closed his mouth and looked away, blushing in shame, while Amy looked at the Doctor pityingly. The ginger leaned over and whispered to her husband, “Go make us a cuppa, alright, love?”
Rory shrugged, glanced empathetically at the defeated-looking Doctor one last before sidling out of the console room. Amy gripped the Doctor’s arm and led him to the jump seat; he obediently let her gently push him down before sitting next to him and folding her hands in her lap.
“Now,” she began in an abnormally soft voice, “tell me what’s the matter.”
The Doctor smiled at her a bit sadly. “Why would you think anything’s the matter?”
“Those sad, sad eyes… and the frowny wrinkles right here.” She poked him between his eyebrows. “Go on, Doctor, s’just me here. You can tell me.”
Amy huffed. “S’obviously something, Doctor. You’ve been all mopey ever since Woman Wept.” He visibly flinched at the name of the planet, and Amy narrowed her eyes. “Have you… got bad memories of that place or something?”
“No, no, no.” He grinned, waving his hand for emphasis, “all the memories I’ve got are… fantastic.” His grin faded.
“Then why the frowny wrinkles?” Amy smiled at him and gripped his hand tightly. “Alright then, Doctor. If it bothers you that much, we won’t get you anything for Christmas.”
He smiled back, barely. “Not even an isolinear subprocessor?”
“Especially not that.” Amy chuckled. “Thought saying that was just a deflection tactic.”
“It was.” He beamed, patting her on the hand. “Bravo, Pond!”
Amy grinned back before letting go of his hand. “Knew it. Well, if you want something, tell us.”
She got up off the jump seat, noticing out of the corner of her eye the Doctor’s big smile had faded yet again and his head was bowed. She started out of the console room to meet Rory in the kitchen when she heard the Doctor say, very, very softly, “Rose. I want Rose.”
Amy frowned, pausing in the doorway. She wasn’t entirely sure if what she had heard was correct, and opened her mouth to inquire, but remembering his look of pain she decided otherwise and headed over to the kitchen. As the ginger walked down the corridor she realised that the lights, which the TARDIS usually kept bright, were dim, almost as if the ship were also feeling sorrowful. Amy ran her hand over the wall, trying to comfort the ship a bit as she spotted Rory in the corner of the kitchen stirring two mugs of tea simultaneously.
“What happened?” Rory asked immediately, letting go of the teaspoons when she walked in. “Did you find out why the Doctor’s suddenly emo?”
“No, but I s’pose some things, when it comes to the Doctor, are better left a mystery,” Amy said, sighing and plopping down on a chair in front of the dining table. She accepted her mug with a grateful ‘thanks’ and wrapped her hands around the mug, suddenly feeling cold. “I told him, if it really irked him that much, that we wouldn’t get him anything for Christmas. But…”
“But?” Rory inquired, sitting down adjacent to her.
“Well, s’just that I accepted he didn’t want anything, but when I was walking out the door he kind of whispered what he wanted.”
“And that is…?”
Amy was silent for a moment, staring at her teacup, before raising her eyes to look at her husband with a confused frown. “I think he said he wants a rose.”
Rory, who’d been on the edge of his seat in suspense, snorted loudly, now bristling where he sat. “He wants a rose? From us, or just from you, eh?”
“Oh, quit being such a jealous git,” Amy sniffed, but she smiled a bit. “Not from me. I mean, that’s just what it sounded like. Maybe roses are symbolic to him?”
Rory glared moodily at his cup. “We’ll pick up a rose for the bloody git, then.”
“Oi, Mister, tantrum time is over, else you’re going in the corner,” Amy said sharply. “We’ll ask the Doctor to bring us to London and we’ll go Christmas shopping after our cuppas.”
Rory nodded, obediently wiping his possessive look off his face as Amy began talking about what to get her aunt.
They finished their tea and asked the Doctor to land them in twenty first century London, two days before Christmas. The Doctor, who was looking forcedly cheerful now, obediently did the signature dance around the console, whacking things with the hammer and pressing a faraway button with his foot. Once the TARDIS safely landed (while, of course, tossing them all onto the floor) the couple, clad in coats, scarves and mittens, grasped hands and stepped outside.
“Erm, Doctor?” Rory called, as his wife frowned at their surroundings. “This isn’t London.”
The Doctor popped his head out, peering with interest at the sky. “Ah! No, Ponds, it is not. This is Cardiff.”
“Any particular reason why we’re in Cardiff instead of London?” Amy asked.
The Doctor paused for a moment before answering, “The TARDIS’s doing. Claims she needs to fuel up. There’s a rift here that emits radiation, s’good for the TARDIS’s engines.” He beamed at them. “Off you trot, now!”
Amy and Rory watched as the Doctor, reminiscent to a meerkat, popped himself back into the TARDIS, closing its doors with a bang. The couple sighed to themselves, shrugging and heading off into Cardiff.
They hit plenty of shops, picking up baby clothes and a box of nappies for Amy’s cousin’s new baby, the new EastEnders season for her aunt and yes, several bottles of cheap cognac for their friends. As the sun began to set, signalling the short days of winter and the afternoon drawing to a close, the couple headed over to a flower shop to pick up a rose for their silly alien friend.
“How about this one?” Amy said, holding up a scarlet rose.
Rory, who had his face buried amongst a crop of begonias, scowled at it. “Why red? Are you trying to tell him something?”
She swatted her husband over the head with her purse. “I like the petals, is all. Feel like velvet, they do.”
“No red roses,” Rory scowled. “How ‘bout… one of those?” He pointed to a cluster of yellow ones. “They look like bananas. You know how the Doctor loves bananas.”
“Those are all wilted, see?” Amy said. “Won’t last a day, them. Why not this red one? S’perfect. Besides, the Doctor can enjoy the rose while you and I enjoy the mistletoe.”
She grinned suavely at her husband, who looked pleased. “Alright then, Mrs. Pond-Williams. We’ll get him the ruddy red one.”
Amy beamed at him and turned to head over to the cash only to smack into someone carrying a wrapped bouquet of assorted flowers. She stumbled back, stuttering out apologies to a tall, good-looking black man.
He laughed. “S’nothing, mate. Don’t worry about it.” The man glanced down at her rose. “Heading over to a date?”
“Actually this is for my friend, and this,” Amy added, when Rory grabbed her hand and glared daggers at the man, “is my husband, Rory. I’m Amy, Amy Pond.”
“Mickey Smith,” he said, holding out his free hand for the two of them to shake. “These are for my wife. Newlywed, me.”
“Us too,” Amy smiled.
“That’s lovely,” Mickey smiled back. “Who’s your friend, then? A girl, I’m guessing?”
Rory snorted and Amy elbowed him in the ribs for the second time that day. “No, actually, he’s a bloke. He’s a bit weird like that, actually. Spent a bit trying to figure out what he wanted for Christmas, and he says a rose. Well actually, first he said something in jittery techno babble. An isolinear processor or something— subprocessor, that was it. He’s a bit of a science freak.”
Mickey’s eyes narrowed a bit. “I used to have a friend like that. Bloody nutcase, he was, always tinkering with bits and bobs. Used to go to faraway places just to get science-y parts nobody’s ever heard of.”
“That sounds like our friend.” Rory chuckled. “All he does is tinker, and takes us to the most bizarre places just to get parts. We’re travelling with him, see.”
Mickey actually frowned at this. “Yeah… I travelled with my friend too.” There was silence amongst them all, before Mickey finally grinned and added, “You’re friends with the Doctor, aren’t you?”
Rory’s jaw dropped to the floor and the rose fell out of Amy’s hand. “You—?”
“Listen, I’m on my way to meet my mates right now, and we’ve all travelled with the bloody Time Lord git,” Mickey said. “We’re gonna have Christmas dinner. How about you come with, yeah?”
Swallowing her shock, Amy smiled at him and said graciously, “Sounds fantastic.”
After Amy paid for the rose, the three of them headed off down the crowded Cardiff street together. Rory still look perturbed, so he turned to Mickey and said, “How d’you know the Doctor?”
“Knew him ages ago,” Mickey explained, his breath turning to fog in the cool air. “See, I used to live with my friend in
London a good few years back. She meets the Doctor and takes off with him. I joined the crew a year and a half later. You?”
“S’a really long story,” Amy laughed. “I met him when I was seven years old. There was a crack in space and time on my bedroom wall.”
“I think we’re gonna have a lot of stories to tell,” Mickey said delightedly, before holding his arm behind his back so the flowers were concealed and waving with his free hand to a couple of people sitting around a round table on the patio of a café.
Amy and Rory watched with grins as an attractive black woman rose from her seat, beaming at Mickey, and gasped with delight as Mickey revealed the bouquet with a flourished gesture.
“Martha, these are my new friends Amy and Rory,” Mickey introduced after Martha had flung her arms around his neck and kissed him. “This is m’beautiful wife, Martha Jones-Smith.”
“Nice to meet you,” Martha said, smiling dazzlingly at them and shaking both of their hands.
“That’s my friend Jack Harkness,” Mickey added, nodded his head to the man who was lounging in his chair and cradling a glass of whiskey.
“Hello, gorgeous,” Jack grinned, his accent thickly American. “And yes, I’m talking to both of you.”
The two of them blushed as Mickey rolled his eyes and said, “They’re married to each other, ya bleedin’ lothario. They’re gonna be joinin’ us, and you’ll be thrilled to know why.”
Jack shrugged pulled up a couple more chairs and Amy and Rory sat down next to Martha and Mickey, their shopping bags tucked underneath the table by their legs.
“Where’s Rosie?” Jack asked Mickey, downing half of the contents of his glass in one shot.
“She rang me earlier; gonna be a bit late, she said,” Mickey said, before turning to the ginger and her husband. “Ladies and gentleman, I ran into them at the flower shop. Turns out they’re companions of the Doctor.”
Everyone’s reactions were almost comical; Jack slopped the rest of his whiskey down his front and Martha’s head snapped up so violently her ponytail smacked Mickey in the face. Amy and Rory both smiled nervously, both wondering just how many companions the Doctor has had.
“You’re kidding,” Martha gaped.
“Doc does have a habit of picking up the pretty ones,” Jack whistled.
“Yeah, and apparently he asked for a rose for Christmas,” Mickey snorted. “Bloody messed up alien.”
At this point it was all too much for Amy. She frowned and said, “Forgive me if I sound rude, but what the sodden hell is going on here? You’ve all been companions of the Doctor? As in, the Doctor?”
“Yep.” Mickey waved a waitress over, who took out her notepad. She took all of their orders — Amy and Rory ordering small things, since they were expected back at the TARDIS — and, upon leaving, Mickey added, “I’m assuming you two are his present companions?”
The two of them nodded, and Rory piped up, “Evidently, two in a very long line.”
Mickey snorted. “That’s an understatement. Since Rose, that we know of, he’s had…” he paused to count, “… four companions in a spawn of two years. Rose was the first, then Jack, then me, then Martha, and lastly Donna.”
“The Doctor’s never mentioned former companions,” Rory said.
“Never does, does he?” Mickey scowled. “I remember when Rose found out. Upset, she was, really upset. ‘Cos, like, he made
her feel special, and then we run into one of his old companions, Sarah Jane Smith. Brilliant, she is, though, which is why I’m surprised the Doctor never mentioned her.”
“He hasn’t mentioned any of us, either, has he?” Jack piped in, nodded when the couple shook their heads. “Didn’t think so.”
Amy’s grip on the stem of the Doctor’s rose tightened as she felt a pang of annoyance. “Why not? You lot seem brilliant.”
The group all smiled in thanks, and Martha chimed in, “He just doesn’t. S’not that were bad, s’just that’s how he is. Always needs a hand to hold.”
“Yeah, when he invited me on board and I asked why, he said he was lonely,” Amy said.
Martha nodded. “He’s not one of those blokes who reminisce on the past— he just moves on. Keeps on running. Well,” she sniffed, “except when it came to Rose.”
“Your friend?” Rory asked.
The three of them nodded. “Ex-girlfriend and oldest mate for me,” Mickey added.
“See, I was studying to be a doctor around four years ago,” Martha explained. “You remember that incident where the Royal Hope hospital just disappeared and then reappeared?” When the two nodded, she continued, “Well, I was in the hospital at the time. The hospital had been beamed onto the moon by this intergalactic police force — the Judoon — because there was a blood-sucking alien called a plasmavore running around. The Doctor and I saved the day then, and he invited me onto the TARDIS. Told me about Rose directly after.”
“What makes her so special?” Rory said, not rudely.
“Oh, nothing really, ‘cept the Doctor was head-over-heels in love with her,” Mickey snorted.
Amy and Rory both gasped out, “No!”
Martha nodded. “Yep. Told me about her the first day. Said that they were together.”
“W-were they?” Amy stammered, heart thudding a mile a minute.
The trio sent each other half-smiles, half-grimaces and Jack said, “We’re still trying to figure that out.”
“You shoulda seen the way they acted with each other,” Mickey sighed. “Could give you cavities, how sweet the two of ‘em were. Like, this one time I was in the media room watching telly, and the two of ‘em come in bantering about something or other, tickling each other and flirting up a bloody storm. Didn't even notice I was in the room, and didn't even hear me when I said real loud that I was gonna go off to bed. And yet Rose insists he never even snogged her.”
“Seriously?” Rory gawked.
“Yeah. Still, it was bloody obvious he was obnoxiously in love with her. He did this thing, right, where Rose would turn away to talk to me or her mum or do something, and the Doctor would look at her when her back was turned. Gave her puppy eyes, soppy smiles, the lot. Always pretended he wasn’t looking, though, whenever Rose’d turn away. Same thing vice versa.”
“Yep. Still, they acted like an old married couple— came into the kitchen holding hands one Saturday morning yelling at me for being in my boxers,” Jack said with a smirk.
“As I recall, Harkness, you go commando on Saturday mornings,” came a cheerful female voice from behind them, and Rory and Amy turned to see a pretty blonde woman approaching them wearing a pair of tight-fitting jeans and a knee-long designer jacket.
“Not while I was in the TARDIS— you and the Doc would have wrung my neck,” Jack replied with a beam. “Nice to see you, Rosie.”
“S’been a while,” Rose grinned, before her eyes settled on Amy and Rory. “Um, hello there.”
“Rose, meet my new friends and newlyweds Rory and Amy,” Mickey introduced, as Rose leaned over the table and shook both of their hands.
“Rose Tyler,” she introduced, smiling at them.
“You’re gonna want to sit down for this— they’re the Doctor’s present companions.”
Rose almost dropped her purse, her glossy lips falling open into the shape of an ‘o’. “You’re kidding.”
“I said the same thing.” Martha grinned, patting the empty seat next to her, which Rose took gratefully. “We were just talking about you, actually.”
“I thought you were talking about Jack in his boxers,” Rose said, and the group laughed. “Anyway, s’nice to meet you two. Newlyweds, huh?”
“Yep.” Amy smiled, as Rory squeezed her hand and gave her a soppy look.
“So, how’d you meet the Doctor, then?” Mickey asked.
“Well, like I said, there was a crack in time and space on my bedroom wall,” Amy started. “And there was an Atraxi prison on the other side. So the Doctor goes ‘I’ll be back in five minutes’, only he comes back twelve years in the future.”
Rose let out a giggle at that. “Oh he’s notorious for being a bad driver. The first time I travelled with him, he was supposed to take me twelve hours after I left, but he took me twelve months later. Everyone thought Mickey’d murdered me.”
The group shared a laugh before Amy proceeded to tell them about Prisoner Zero, about his offer for her to join him in travelling and about her request to bring her back one day later in time for their wedding.
“Except that part didn’t work out,” Rory added, the two of them sharing a frown. “Took ages to get that bloody ring on her finger.”
“Anyway, what about you guys?” Amy said quickly.
“He blew up my job,” Rose said lightly, as if it were an everyday thing. “Used to work at Henrik’s, I did. So one day I’m in the basement, and all the bloody dummies came to life and start chasing me! Then the Doctor shows up, all big ears and leather.”
“Wait, what?” Amy cut in. “That’s not how he looks now.”
“Lemme guess, he didn’t tell you?” Rose scoffed. “When he gets fatally hurt, he does this things called regenerating— changes every cell in his body, but keeps his memories and things. My first Doctor preferred leather jackets, and my second Doctor had fantastic hair and liked his pinstriped suits.”
“That’s not him now,” Rory frowned. “Now he’s bowties and floppy hair.”
“Musta regenerated then,” Rose said quietly, looking thoroughly put out now.
“I met Rose and the Doctor during the Blitz,” Jack added quickly, noticing Rose suddenly looking downcast. “I valiantly rescued Rose from certain death and charmed my way into the TARDIS.”
“You were a right flirt, and you only came aboard the TARDIS because your ship was about to blow up,” Rose teased, considerably more cheerful.
“I called the two of them after the Doctor’s regeneration to investigate wonky goings-on at a school,” Mickey said proudly. “He invited me on after that.”
Martha sighed happily. “Look at us. All bonded together because of one bloody alien.”
“Yeah,” Rose mumbled, a soft smile on her mouth before her mobile began to ring. “Oh, that’s Mum. ‘Scuse me a mo’.”
She got up and stepped away upon answering her mobile. Amy eyed her warily before saying, “I don’t mean to pry, but why didn’t she and the Doctor…?”
“Stop being idiots and shag each other already?” Mickey chuckled. “Rose made her intentions clear, but the Doctor pushed her away every time. We have several possible theories as to why. One was that he was protecting himself, ‘cos she would die centuries before he did. Another is something along the lines of he doesn’t want to ‘poison her with his darkness’. But he and Rose got separated before anything happened.”
“Rose got trapped in a parallel universe,” Mickey explained. “I was there too, but it was my choice. She spent years building this dimension cannon at parallel Torchwood — that’s a secret organisation that defends the Earth from alien stuff
— to jump across universes to get back to him. Then shit happened, and a metacrisis copy of the Doctor was born.”
“A metacrisis copy. He was identical to the Doctor in ever way, except he was part human, and would age. The Doctor left the copy and Rose in the parallel universe so they could grow old together.”
Rory frowned. “Then what happened?”
They all exchanged looks before Mickey leaned in close. “See, the Doctor copy went on a mission to Barcelona — the planet, not the city — only he didn’t come back. The whole planet imploded, and he was one of the ones that didn’t make it out. Rose and her family ended up coming back to our universe using the cannon. It was too painful to be in that universe anymore. Nearly killed Rose. So they took all their cash and came back.”
“This is the happiest we’ve seen her in half a year,” Jack added glumly.
“But the Doctor’s here, in Cardiff right now!” Amy exclaimed excitedly. “They could see each other!”
“Rose’d never go,” Martha said quietly. “Not now that he’s regenerated. See, Rose thinks the Doctor left her repeatedly. First he sent her to the parallel universe. She came back only to end up there again, and then when she finally makes it back to this universe, he sends her straight back to take care of a copy of himself.”
Amy was thinking about the wallop she was going to give the Doctor when they got back as Rory added, “But they were in love. Rose and the copy, yeah?”
“Well yeah, but like I said, it was an exact copy of the Doctor,” Mickey said. “So it was like, the copy’s death was the Doctor leaving her all over again.”
They all looked at each other sadly as Rose returned, looking winded. “Tony’s sick. Ear infection. Dad’s going mad trying to get him ahead on the waiting list at the hospital.”
Their food arrived, steaming billowing from their meals in the cool winter air. Amy’s grip was tightening even further on the rose, and her mind was alternating between being angry with the Doctor and wondering why he was sad at the moment.
“So what’re you all doing for Christmas?” Rose asked, digging into her plate and sipping her martini.
“Martha and I are gonna take a holiday,” Mickey grinned, giving Martha a chaste kiss. “Going to Tahiti, us.”
“Sounds brilliant.” Rose beamed.
“I’m going to get laid,” Jack said happily, raising his glass in cheers to them all. “How ‘bout you Rosie?”
“I’m gonna watch Tony so Mum and Dad can go out,” Rose replied through a mouthful. “S’worth playing Candyland nine million times if the two of them can finally have some alone time. They deserve it.”
“Hear, hear,” Mickey said, raising his glass as well. “You two?”
“Oh, we’re not entirely certain,” Rory answered, as Amy seemed to be zoned out, staring hard at the rose in her hands. “S’been up and down, really— the Doctor’s being moody ever since he took us to Woman Wept—”
Rose choked and spilled her martini into her lap, coughing. “He took you to Woman Wept?”
“Yeah, you know it?”
Rose’s whole face slackened into something akin to devastation before she schooled herself quickly and grabbed a couple of napkins to clean herself up. “Yeah the… Doctor took me there. A-ages ago.”
Amy’s head suddenly snapped up and she burst out, “THAT’S IT!” loud enough to startle them all into knocking each and every one of their drinks off the table. “Sorry,” she whispered, though she beamed at them.
“I’m guessing ‘it’ is a heart attack,” Jack said, panting and clutching his heart dramatically.
Amy flat-out beamed at the lot of them, her cheeks bright pink, and held out the rose. “No, this is it! Remember when I said the Doctor had asked for a rose for Christmas?” Mickey nodded, but the others merely frowned with confusion. “I don’t think that’s what he said at all!”
“Ooooh,” Rory breathed, catching on, his eyes lighting up with delight.
The others continued to frown, and Amy hastened to explain. “See, I was asking him what he wanted for Christmas, yeah? Only he did that deflection thing—”
“Oh, we all know that,” Rose muttered.
“— and when I was walking away he said really, really quietly, ‘rose, I want a rose’. At least, that’s what I gathered. Except that isn’t what he said at all!”
One by one it dawned on everybody, and smiles began on their faces, all except Rose. When they all looked expectantly at her, she frowned at them. “Well, is anyone gonna—?” She stopped talking immediately, her eyes going wide and her cheeks flaming red. “No.”
“Yep,” Jack said, beaming with pure glee.
“He didn’t!” Rose burst out, now blushing to the end of her hair. “He wouldn’t! Why would he?”
“Because he still loves you,” Martha said, grinning hugely. “Oh, my God, this is too cute! He wants you for his Christmas present!”
Martha and Amy clutched their hands to their chests and squealed with delight, while Rose’s face was reminiscent to tomato soup.
“The TARDIS knew that you were here, too!” Rory added, grinning. “We asked the Doctor to take us to London for shopping— the ship took us here instead, claimed she needed to ‘fuel up’.”
“The TARDIS always takes him where he needs to go,” Jack smiled.
“Guys, he’s not my Doctor,” Rose whispered, her lower lip trembling, and everyone’s smiles immediately dropped off their faces. “My Doctor died on parallel Barcelona.”
“Yes he did, Rosie,” Jack said quietly, slinging an arm around Rose’s shaking shoulders. “And you did all you could to make that Doctor better.”
“Now our Doctor needs you,” Amy added, still smiling even though tears were in her eyes. “He told me a little bit about Woman Wept. Said he had fantastic memories of it.” Rose smiled a bit through her tears, even as Amy held out the rose for her to take, which she did. “So come with us. Give him more fantastic memories. Give him the best bloody Christmas ever.”
Jack squeezed her shoulders, Martha and Mickey beaming at each other as Rose sniffled and smiled. “Alright then.”
Amy and Martha half-screamed with delight and the three men beamed at each other. Amy bounced over to Rose and gave her a huge hug, despite hardly knowing the woman. Hurriedly the ginger bade the others goodbye, their meals half-touched, leaving Rory to grab the dozen shopping bags as she tugged Rose in the direction of the TARDIS.
“Hold on, I’ve got an idea,” Amy said, leaving Rose with Rory as she popped into a shop quickly. She emerged a minute later with a cheap pink bow in her hand, like the ones Jackie stuck on presents.
“What’s that for?” Rory frowned.
Amy ignored him, peeling off the sticker at the bottom only to stick it on top of Rose’s head. The blonde frowned, inquiring,
“Why’d you do that?”
“You’re our present to the Doctor!” Amy said happily, linking arms with Rose and steering her down Roald Dahl Plass. “Was gonna get one with a tag so I could write ‘to the Doctor, from Amy and Rory’ but I couldn’t find one. This’ll do I s’pose.”
They rounded the corner, and Rose froze and gasped audibly, her chocolate coloured eyes seeking out the big blue dot in the distance among the crowd. Amy squeezed her arm tightly and gave her a little push toward the TARDIS.
“Go see him,” Rory murmured, smiling at the awestruck blonde. “He’s gonna be thrilled.”
“B-but what if—?” Rose started.
“No buts,” Amy interrupted, giving her another little push.
Rose inhaled deeply, before turning to the couple. “Are you coming?”
“Nah, we’re gonna check into a hotel for the night,” Rory grinned, wagging his eyebrows. “Don’t wanna walk in on the Doctor unwrapping his present.”
Rose blushed again but nodded, turning her head back to look at the TARDIS and beaming at it. Clenching her fists, she took another deep breath before sprinting towards the newly painted TARDIS.
The Doctor was glad when the Ponds went shopping. As much as he enjoyed their company, he’d been despondent ever since Woman Wept and wanted to be alone. Being back on the planet where he’d once taken Rose Tyler had pierced his hearts, brought up old wounds he’d thought had healed. Christmas wasn’t helping— he’d always think of his last regeneration’s Christmas, where he’d had Christmas dinner with Jackie Tyler and his Rose, paper crown perched on his head, beaming when there wasn't really anything to beam about except that Rose was beaming too. Then he’d think of the Christmases after that, of the loud-mouthed ginger Donna Noble’s wedding reception where the mere sight of some woman’s blonde hair had him nearly in tears, of Astrid Peth dying for him and of Jackson and Rosita. In the end, Christmas had never been a good day for him unless Rose was with him.
The only thing that ever made losing Rose bearable was knowing she was happy, was growing old with the metacrisis copy of him. When he’d regenerated, he’d hoped he’d turned into a man without Rose Tyler seared into his hearts. However there were always fleeting moments like the one on Woman Wept, where something would remind him of what he’d lost, what he could have had with her.
Now, the Time Lord was in her old bedroom, snuggled up to the unmade sheets and breathing in the faint trace of Rose’s scent clinging to the duvet. Stupid idiot, him, blurting out ‘Rose… I want Rose’ when Amy asked him what he wanted for Christmas. Stupid, stupid…
He heard the crashing of the TARDIS door, and he forced himself to get up off the bed, eyes and hearts feeling heavy. Evidently that was Amy and Rory, back from their shopping trip. He took another moment to simply sit on her bed before sighing, hoisting himself up and closing the door behind him. The first thing he noticed that was odd was the TARDIS flickering her lights excitedly in the console room.
The second was the fact that the woman of his imaginings was beaming and stroking the walls of his ship with her hands, a pink present bow on her head.
When Rose burst into the TARDIS for the first time in several years, it was a shock to her systems when the whole console room was different. It was no longer the coral grunge she was used to— it was more technological, more professional looking. The TARDIS immediately greeted her with rapid flickering of her lights, and Rose beamed at her. Upon taking off her coat and tossing it onto the jump seat she hummed happily, not realising how much she’d missed the ship.
“Oh, I missed you, old girl,” she sighed, stroking the walls with her hands. “You look different; you’re gorgeous.”
The TARDIS hummed happily as Rose placed the rose Amy had given her on the console, intent on seeking out the Doctor. Her heart nearly stopped when she spotted a ruffled looking man staring at her almost in horror, standing in the doorway and looking like he was itching to run. His hair was brown and floppy looking, his forehead high and nose and chin prominent, and he was dressed in a brown tweed jacket and Oxford complete with a scarlet bowtie and suspenders. His lips were thin and opened in a gape. Rose suddenly felt extremely self-conscious, hand flying up to play with her earring.
“Um… hello,” she whispered, granting him a small smile that he did not return.
He didn’t answer; he only rushed towards her as if intent on grabbing her shoulders, stopping himself a metre away. His outstretched hands closed into fists and suddenly he looked furious. “What are you really?”
“Why are you masquerading as her?” he snarled, pointing at her, now positively shaking. “Why her?”
“Doctor, s’me, s’Rose,” she said quietly, now a bit frightened.
“Nuh-uh, stupid alien,” the Doctor snapped. “’Cause Rose is gone. She’s where you can’t get her, ever. So what, did you scan my thoughts, saw who I was thinking of, masqueraded yourself as her? Well you can hurry up and reveal your true self, ‘cause I’m old and tired and I’m so sick of this shit.”
A tingle of delight at the Doctor admitting he was just thinking of her fluttered in her stomach, but she ignored it and grabbed his outstretched hand. “Doctor, it’s me.”
His whole posture slumped the moment her skin made contact with his, and Rose had never seen anything so broken in all of her life. “No it’s not. It can’t be. I’ve just finally gone mad, is all. Crazy old Time Lord, me.” He was rambling now.
Rose silenced him by tossing her arms around his neck, having to stand on tiptoe to reach, drawing him into an almost too-tight embrace. A tear slipped out of the corner of her eye; he seemed so broken now, and was shaking like a leaf and clenching his fists, ramrod stiff again.
“Not real, not real, not real…” he whispered into her hair.
“I am real, Doctor, I’m here,” Rose murmured. “I used the dimension cannon to come back, and my family too.”
Once again his whole body slumped with defeat and his arms wound their way around her form, pressing her into him almost painfully. He buried his face in her neck and gasped in deeply, trying not to sob when he inhaled her scent for the first time in years.
“What about… him?” he whispered, sounding choked.
Rose bit her lip, refusing to cry about her other Doctor. “He d-died. He’s gone. S’just me.”
He trembled a bit at her words and she held him tighter, trying to console him and herself.
“Rose Tyler,” he breathed out, voice shuddering.
They rocked back and forth on their feet, simply holding each other, the Doctor marvelling at his good fortune. This was almost too good to be true, which was why he had been so sceptical. But he could feel her, hold her, smell her… she was here. The universe was finally smiling on him.
“I-I regenerated,” he stammered.
Rose chuckled. “I noticed. Still not ginger, though. Better luck next time.”
He laughed mirthlessly into her neck. “D-do you… is that okay?”
“Yeah. I told you, no matter what you look like, you’re still the Doctor.”
He sighed with obvious relief, picking her up and spinning her around twice, letting himself finally feel the explosive joy that came with seeing his Rose once again. She giggled alongside his thrilled laughter, keeping her arms locked around his neck even as he set her down and pulled away to just look at her.
“Rose Tyler,” he whispered happily, beaming when she gave him her tongue-in-teeth grin. “Oh, I’ve missed that grin.” She blushed and ducked her head, drawing attention to the bow. “Why d’you have a bow on your head?”
“Oh, Amy put that there,” Rose giggled, reaching up with one hand to pull it off.
“You’ve met Amy?” he gaped.
“Yep. And Rory. Apparently I’m your Christmas present from them,” she added, giving him another tongue-touched
smile. “Well, first they got you that.” She pointed to the rose left on the console, before she blushed. “But then they… um, changed their minds.”
“Oooh,” he breathed, grinning goofily. “Brilliant Amy. Where are they, by the way?”
She tried to sound as casual as she could as she said, “They’re not coming back till tomorrow. Staying at a hotel, they said.”
He suddenly blanched. “A-are you staying?”
“Silly Doctor, of course I’m staying,” Rose grinned, placing her hand on his new new new cheek.
His beam returned and he leaned into her touch, dark olive eyes twinkling with delight and hiding an unasked question. She beamed back at him, keeping her eyes firmly locked on his, refusing to look at his mouth, wishing he’d kiss her and knowing he wouldn’t.
At least until it was his eyes that darted down to stare at her lips. Hands travelled up from her waist and the small of her back to slip over her cheeks, cradling her face as if she were a china doll. His gaze turned serious even as his smile stayed.
“Now you listen to me, ‘cos I need to say this before something stupid interrupts me again,” he said earnestly, and how he could do that while still grinning like a lunatic was beyond her. “Rose Marion Tyler, I love you.”
She beamed and laughed through her tears, which were now spilling over his thumb. Sniffling and ducking her head, she whispered, “Quite right, too.”
He made a whiny sound through his nose as Rose giggled and sniffled at the same time. “That’s not fair!” He pouted for a second, before regarding her again with the same serious stare fixated on her mouth. Instinctively her tongue darted out to lick her lips, feeling a swoop in her stomach when the tiniest of mewls vibrated in his chest. Slowly, giving her time to move if she wanted to, he lowered his face and her heart soared— is he really gonna—?
When his lips finally touched hers, it was feather-soft and unbelievably tentative, as if he was sure she’d turn and bolt if he was any rougher. Still, the brief contact sent a jolt down her stomach, and to show him there was no way in hell she was going to run, she grabbed the lapels of his tweed overcoat and yanked him downward so their lips mashed together. Had her mouth not been occupied she would have laughed at the way his arms suddenly flung out, flailing for a moment before clamping around her again and hugging her so hard he lifted her off her feet. He panted into her mouth and the sound sent another jolt downward, kissing her so deeply he was actually dipping her back and she had no choice but to release his lapels, weaving her arms around his neck so she wouldn’t fall to the ground. She slipped her fingers into his windswept hair and tugged gently on the locks at the base of his neck, like she knew he liked from her other Doctor. Just as expected he whimpered again, and then she wasn’t being dipped back but hoisted up by her bottom and plopped onto the console. The TARDIS, darling ship that she was, had cleared a spot for her without levers and knobs in the way.
Brilliant ship, you are, Rose thought briefly, since there was clearly no way the two of them were going to make it to a bedroom unless the TARDIS helped, not with years of unresolved sexual and emotional tension under their belts (pun most definitely intended). Even though it’d been he who had grabbed her by her arse and shoved her onto the nearest available leveraged surface, and even though he was kissing her like she’d disappear any second, she could feel his hesitation to take things further. Rose slipped her hands out of his hair, trailing over his neck comfortingly when he groaned in disappointment, and shoved her hands underneath the coat, slipping it off his shoulders. He let out another pant and obediently released her bottom one arm at a time so they could remove his coat, tossing it on the jump seat.
At once Rose burst into hysterical giggles, pulling away from his mouth. He blinked owlishly at her, lips pink, glistening and open in shock, hair sticking up in places, making him look like a bedraggled uni prof. “What’s so funny?”
“Suspenders!” she laughed, hooking her finger underneath one of the bright maroon suspenders and tugging on it slightly. “That’s bloody adorable!”
He grinned goofily, a grin that never changed between regenerations, and his babyish cheeks reddened a bit sheepishly. “You like?”
“I love,” Rose smirked, tugging on it again. “The bowtie too. Bowties are cool.”
Her last sentence seemed to trigger something, because he full out beamed at her, whispering, “Rose Tyler,” before gathering her up in his arms again. He was just about to claim her mouth again before a shrill alarm-like sound echoed through the console room.
Even his new frown was adorable, Rose couldn’t help but note as the Doctor did just that, glancing at the console. “Ah. We’re being told off. No hanky panky in the console room.” He shot her a grin that was possibly the filthiest thing Rose had ever seen. “Apparently I’m gonna havta unwrap my present somewhere else.”
“Fuck,” she hissed, both at his words and because his fingers had just flexed over her bottom.
“That too,” he said cheekily, allowing her to swat him once before carrying her (she tried not to think ‘across the threshold’) out of the console room and down the corridor. “Geronimo, Rose Tyler!”
Despite excitement exploding inside her with each step they took closer to his bedroom she raised her eyebrows at him. “‘Geronimo’, huh?”
“Was my first word,” he said, wagging his eyebrows at her. Yet another trait that never changed.
“Geronimo, then,” she grinned, tongue in teeth.
“Keep your tongue in your mouth, Tyler, else we won’t make it to the bedroom,” he growled, giving her neck a nip whilst he manoeuvred his way down the hall.
She opened her mouth to tell him she didn’t really give a flying fuck if he took her on the floor but didn’t get the chance to, as a sigh overlapped her words when his teeth scraped against her pulse point. He turned the corner, still latched onto her neck, and literally kicked the door open with his foot, making her giggle again even as he set her down on his enormous (unmade) bed. Her hands wandered back underneath his suspenders as he sucked on the skin, deliberately drawing blood vessels to the surface and breaking them. Rose wondered dimly whether or not she had any collared shirts before she decided she didn’t care, and pulled his suspenders down off his shoulders. His fingers rose up to her expensive blouse and began undoing the pearl buttons there, and she was glad he wasn’t hesitating anymore because directly after undoing less than five of the buttons his hand slipped inside and curled around her bra-covered breast.
She hummed in agreement, dragging his head back up to meet her mouth. He complied, but not before giving the red mark he’d just given her one last lick. Both of them struggled to get the other out of their shirts, and soon the Doctor’s Oxford had been thrown over his shoulder and was now draped over a bookcase and Rose’s blouse was nowhere in sight but that was okay, because they both didn’t really give a shit where it went. Upon unclipping her bra he used the elastic to shoot it across the room, giggling with delight, and she called him an overgrown child until he proved he wasn’t by diving down and slipping a nipple into his mouth. His hearts soared with every moan he coaxed out of her, nibbling on the tiny bud with fervour until Rose reached down, undid the buttons of his trousers and slipped a hand inside.
He had to release her nipple before he hurt her as her hand wrapped around him, finding him wonderfully hard. One embarrassingly long and loud groan echoed through the room and he was almost ashamed when he realised it came from him. Rose thought it was the music of the angels, though, and proved it so by stroking him in return. Hands now trembling violently, he yanked her jeans and knickers down her legs all at once, occasionally pausing to buck his hips into her hand and moan. Not dropping her pace, she used her free hand to manoeuvre his trousers off of him, giggling as he wiggled to get them off his legs. Now they were both deliciously naked, and they both took advantage of that by pressing their bodies together, both sighing with delight at the bare contact. His hand snaked downward and he slipped two fingers into her, shivering when he found her soaked. She sighed and ground herself onto his fingers, hips rising to meet him as his digits pistoned into her.
“Rose…” he whispered, when she wriggled herself so that he was positioned properly above her. “My sweet, clever, magnificent Rose. A-are you sure?” Because she had to be sure. They both did. He’d probably shatter if she grew to regret this.
“Yes,” she murmured breathily. “I want you. My Doctor.”
“Your Doctor,” he agreed, removing his fingers and pushing into her.
They both shuddered as he filled, stretched, sank into her and all he could think was finally. It was everything he had ever envisioned and more. The Doctor had always thought the universe was out to get him, ripping away everything he loved despite his constantly saving it from destruction, but it seemed like the universe had created Rose Tyler just for him. She had saved his life a hundred times, she had kept his sanity intact when he’d been mourning over the Time War, she had been the candle in the dark, trusted him without a shred of doubt, loved him despite him constantly failing her and now she gave herself to him like this. She was truly the epitome of sainthood.
He was faintly aware of her making sounds of distress and then he was really aware when she bucked her hips upward, and finally he started to move. His elbows gave out a bit but he caught himself before he fell on her completely, keeping his stroke soft and deep and languorous.
“Are you alright?” he panted, staring down at her and praying he wasn’t hurting her; humans were so fragile, after all and—
She whimpered in reply, digging her nails into his arse and shoving him into her roughly, so roughly they both cried out at how effing good it felt. Still he was terrified of hurting her, knowing that if he showed her exactly how much he was holding back it would be too much for her, so he rocked into her gently but sped up a bit, panting a symphony with her. They watched each other, chocolate brown meeting olive green. He shifted slightly, thrusting softly into her and hitting a spot that startled him with the loud moan she uttered.
“Did I hurt you?” he breathed, forcing himself to still completely and fighting with all his might the throbbing urge to move again.
She shook her head vehemently, golden hair dancing. “Harder. Faster.”
He sighed with relief, both at the knowledge he hadn’t caused her pain and at the fact that he could finally set an acceptably fast pace; it was nowhere near as hard as he wanted to go but it was satisfactory.
“Stop worrying about—” she keened and arched herself upward, “— hurting me. You can’t… mmm… hurt me.”
Still he held back, not once hundred per cent convinced, and surprisingly it was at that that Rose made a noise of distress. Finally giving in, he let himself be rough, hands fisting around her hips and slamming into her hard enough that his vision went white for a second. She cried out again, but not in anguish, and that broke his resolve completely. He pounded into her, both of them moaning loud enough to echo, and he felt her impeding climax draw nearer, knowing he wasn’t far behind at all. Releasing her hip one hand trailed down her stomach and found her clit, handling it just as roughly, wanting to see her fall apart first before he did. Her eyes slammed shut and her whole body arched off the bed, his name spilling from her mouth on a scream— a scream.
“Rose Tyler,” he shouted out in reply, the rapid spasming of her muscles around his cock enough to trigger his own orgasm. He emptied into her, screaming obscenities in Gallifreyan.
His arms suddenly too weak to hold him, the Doctor dropped heavily onto her, head nestled on the soft, heaving pillow of her breasts. He debated whether or not to apologise for collapsing on her before deciding to live up to his rude-and-not-ginger status and instead merely raising his head heavily to look at her. She flashed him a Cheshire grin, one he mimicked.
“You’re magnificent, Rose Tyler,” he breathed, delighting in the blush that swept over her cheeks. “And… you’re really here.”
He felt stupid saying it, but she merely smiled and tugged him up to her level so she could spoon him properly. “Yes, I’m really here.”
They talked for a bit more, mostly about her life and how exactly the Doctor landed himself with a couple, of all things. He complained of having a sore arm; she wasn’t sure if he meant because of propping his head up to listen to her or the other thing, so she called him rude just in case and never saw anyone positively beam as he did for being insulted. It wasn’t until Rose started to drop off that they fell silent, Rose half on top of him, her head pillowed on his chest and his hands running lazily through her hair. Almost idly he leaned over and placed his mouth next to her ear.
“How long are you gonna stay with me?”
“Forever,” she mumbled without even a second’s hesitation.
And as he watched her drift off, he realised it was official— he was going to spend the rest of his life paying Amy and Rory back.