The Doctor had tricked her, telling her to watch the Tardis console and aimed his sonic screwdriver – sending Rose Tyler back home. It was too late as she realised what he was actually doing and screamed at the console – "Take me back, take me back right now!"
She ran to the doors but they were locked tight and she stood there. Clinging hold of the rail on the ramp, the ship bounced its way back to what she supposed was her home planet. She rushed to the console again, remembering how Margaret the Slitheen had gazed into the heart of the Tardis and been turned into an egg. Rose didn't want to be turned into an egg specifically but if the Tardis could tap into her mind and know she wanted to get back to Jack and the Doctor, who both now would be knee-deep in Daleks, she could communicate her wishes to be returned.
The emergency program one had given her a message, telling her not to make a fuss over it and just have a fantastic life and she had fussed, of course she had. The message had blinked out after the Doctor turned to her and asked her to do that one thing for him.
She flopped onto the jumpseat just as the Tardis landed with a thud then just as suddenly got back up and ran for the doors. The Doctor had said to let the Tardis gather dust on a street corner but she had no intentions of doing so. She saw Mickey running towards her as she slumped against a concrete post.
"I knew it Rose, I heard the sound of the Tardis engines all the way down Kingston Parade. Where is he? Where's the Doctor?"
Rose flung her arms around her on/off boyfriend. "He's gone Mickey, I left him on a space station and I can't get back. He's 1000s of years in the future, he sent me back home and now the Tardis is dead."
"What? There must be a way, I'm not having you sitting around being a complete misery. I know I hate that man for taking you away from us but nevertheless we can't just leave him there. So, what can we do?"
"Nothing Mickey, the Tardis is dead, caput and if there was a way, believe me, I'd take it. Remember Margaret, the Slitheen in Cardiff? The Doctor opened the Tardis console and granted her wish, to have another chance. If I could get it open, I could tell the Tardis to take me back to him, simple."
"Yeah great Rose, how do we do that?"
"I have an idea on that, go get your car and a strong chain."
Mickey grinned. He returned twenty minutes later but in the meantime, Jackie Tyler had also heard the sound of the Tardis engines and had tracked down her daughter. After she tried to console Rose, she watched with amusement as Mickey attached one end of the strong chain to the bumper of his mini and the other to the part of the Tardis Rose had directed him to. Despite his best efforts though, they had no joy, the chain snapping.
They all retired to a local diner, Jackie chatting about the local deli store and Rose just staring out of the window.
"What do I do now?" Rose asked no-one in particular.
"Get a job just like the rest of us. I know you had all these airs and graces, travelling with that man and I really hated him but he did the sensible thing, he sent you home to me."
Rose looked at her mother. "I can't do this, get a job and do what the rest of the world does."
"Get over it Rose, he sent you back for a reason, just give up."
"No. Dad wouldn't have given up."
"Well, we'll never know, will we? What's wrong with getting another job? I've worked in shops."
"I know dad wouldn't have given up, he would have told me to try anything."
"Stop it Rose."
"But he wouldn't, I know because I met him. The Doctor took me back in time and I spent some time with him."
Jackie lost it and got up. "I said stop it Rose." She ran out of the diner.
Mickey and Rose walked back to the Tardis. "So, what do we do now?"
"Do what mum said, get a job, same as the rest of the universe. If they've rebuilt Hendrik's I might get my old job back. What month is it anyway?"
"Rose, you missed a year, remember? Hendrik's has re-opened but you were missing."
Rose locked the Tardis door and got into Mickey's car.
Six months later, Rose was folding cardigans on the display stand in the middle on the women's department at Hendrik's. She had successfully applied for her old job back and the store didn't look that much different, being asked why she hadn't come back before. It was two days until Christmas Day and Rose didn't have a clue what she was getting her mother or Mickey. They had decided to remain friends, Rose had said she wasn't ready for anything else even after six months and Mickey had to be content because if she had still been travelling, that was all they could have ever been.
Back on Satellite 5, the Doctor had almost finished building the delta wave. He looked at where the Tardis had been standing, thinking of Rose Tyler, the human girl who had meant so much to him and whom he had fallen in love with but he couldn't allow that to get in the way. No matter how his feeling were, he couldn't have let her die, 1000s had already died on the station, billions on the dying planet below, he had just heard the screams of Lynda with a 'Y' as the Daleks found her and Jack was the last man standing on the floor below.
Jack was being backed into a corner, throwing the machine gun down and getting his revolver from its holster then as he ran out of bullets, he suddenly remembered the device on his wrist and just as the nearest Dalek uttered 'Exterminate' he pressed a button, any button and hoped where it was taking him was better than facing certain death.
Jack could not have been any happier where he landed, seeing a figure in a leather jacket holding the ends of two cable together.
"What did I miss?"
The Doctor turned around. "I thought you'd got out of here?"
"I sent her home. Now get out of here Jack, I complete this and everything gets wiped out."
"You will also be wiped out – Doctor," the Dalek emperor gloated.
"Oh yeah? Doctor, do it now, there are more of them on the way up here."
The Doctor grinned. There was no getting out of this and maybe there would be no way to regenerate but he was going to take his enemy with him again. He thought he had taken them out in the Time War but he had been wrong but this time he would finish the job once and for all and it didn't matter about him. Maybe he would survive providing the space station did.
"What are you Doctor? Killer or coward?"
The cable ends got closer, he looked at Jack, who was pressing settings on his vortex manipulator, thanking everything he knew that he had repaired it while the Doctor and Rose had been swanning around Cardiff city centre.
"Coward, any day but I don't know so much about my friend over there."
Jack grabbed the Doctor's arm. "Now Doctor."
The Doctor made the connection and then vanished, wiping every last Dalek out of the cosmos, the planet below was already finished but in making that connection for just a few seconds before grabbing hold of Jack's arm, it was already taking its toll on him. They landed in an alleyway in what looked to the pair of them like London but Jack couldn't be sure when it was. He looked at the Doctor.
"You ok Doc?"
"Jack, I've told you not to call me that. Where are we?"
"How the hell do I know?"
The Doctor dusted himself down. "And you talk about my driving being off," he huffed. He got his sonic screwdriver out of his pocket and the blue tip glowed.
Jack was picking himself up, holding out his hand. "Come on Doc, let's get out of here." He noticed a faint yellow glow coming from the Doctor's hand. "'Erm I hate to say this but your sonic's not the only thing that's glowing around here."
"I picked up a signal, from the Tardis. She's not far away, somewhere near where Rose lived. She's going to be surprised to see us."
"Yeah and I bet she's also furious with you for sending her away. Maybe you should let me talk to her first?"
"No Jack, I have to face her on my own."
"You ok? How far ahead to you think we've come?"
"Not too far I hope. How did you even get your vortex manipulator to work?"
"I sort of repaired it when we were in Cardiff."
"You Humans, you're obsessed with technology and time-travel."
Jack just grinned and followed the Doctor out of the alleyway. He led them through the streets, following the signal on the sonic until finally, he found himself in a familiar area. They had landed nearby back in 1987 when he had brought Rose back to see Pete Tyler and there around the corner next to some concrete posts, was the Tardis. Jack got his key out and they entered, the Tardis interior had been powered down but suddenly sprang to life but there on the ramp was the remains of a chain.
"We've had visitors Doctor, do you think this was Rose's doing?" He pointed to the chain.
"More like Mickey the idiot I'd say," the Doctor replied, going to the controls.
Everything seemed to be in order but he was becoming more aware of what was happening to him.
"Right then Jack, you've got your vortex manipulator working, you can go anywhere you want now."
"Do you like my company that much?"
"I'm going to find Rose and if she doesn't want to come with me, I'm leaving the earth, for good, not coming back – ever."
"Even for the odd alien invasion?"
"No and I don't want any company – thanks and thanks for getting me back but this is something I have to do on my own."
"Have it your way Doc but I'll be back, I'll be watching out for you and if you change your mind, I think I might just make my way back to Cardiff. That delta wave though, it did something to you, didn't it?"
"Yes and I really don't want you observing this. Timelords, Jack, they don't die, they regenerate and change, we cheat death. I'm about to change and I don't know what in to. You might not recognise me the next time we meet."
"The Police Box is a bit of a giveaway," Jack grinned, picking up the jacket he'd left before they had been transmatted out of the Tardis and onto Satellite 5. "Like I said, I wish I'd never met you but it was good that we didn't die back there and I owed you for saving me from the World War 2 bomb going off so consider us as even and if you see Rosie, tell her it was fun and not to forget me."
"I will. Bye Jack Harkness."
As Jack closed the door on the Tardis for the last time, the Doctor could not hold back the regeneration process any longer. He staggered as it stopped, taking stock of himself.
"New teeth, that's weird. Hair, hope I'm ginger this time. Now where was I? Oh yes – Rose Tyler. I was going to find a Rose Tyler. Who's Rose Tyler when she's out? Where did that name come from? I remember Jack, Jack just left, I was waiting for him to leave, wasn't I? Yes! No! Wait a minute, yes! Something about The Powell Estate. Where's The Powell Estate? Why am I even talking to myself?"
He ran his fingers through his hair. "I've got hair! My ears have gone, no wait a minute, they're smaller and I'm slim, very slim, blimey, I'm real proper skinny. Why do I look like a U-Boat Captain?" He looked down at himself to see his clothes were hanging off his slim frame.
He went to the console and began flipping switches and felt something coursing through him.
"No, not now, I don't have time for this."
He carried on but he knew what was happening to him, the process of regeneration was always a bit dodgy, every Timelord knew that. The Tardis set off for its next destination - The Powell Estate and he was glad at least the ship seemed to know where she was going, even if he didn't. He was getting worse, he knew he was but carried on the short distance but he was in a hurry and collided with several walls before crashing next to a dumpster in a corner, having appeared out of the sky and narrowly missing a confused postal worker in a van who wondered if he was seeing things as a blue old-fashioned Police Box almost made him crash into a bin.
It was Christmas Eve, Rose had finally got all her presents, she had finished work early and she and her mother had put up the tree and were arguing about which pub they were going to go celebrate in.
"No Mum, I'm not going down the Spinner's, it's too far to get back and I'm not relying on Jimbo again to give us a lift after that last New Year's Eve. When you went off when we got back, this drunk was in the corner, he'd had that much, he didn't even know what year it was."
"You never said anything Rose. Who was he then?"
"How do I know? He was just someone staggering home I expect. I didn't think I'd get home this early, the manager had a brainstorm and closed up early, hope we're still getting paid until closing time."
Jackie had gone into the kitchen and had just switched the kettle on.
"'Ere, Rose, we could see where Bev's going if you want?" She stopped as she heard the front door slam. "Rose!"
Rose had been looking out of the bedroom window, for no particular reason as she tried to find an outfit to go out in amongst the clothes scattered around her room. She was thinking back to what she had said to her mother, about the weird bloke who didn't even know what year it had been. She had never even seen his face, he was hidden in the shadows. She heard a noise, a familiar noise and looked up into the sky to see a burst of blue and stood still.
It was impossible, she had left that blue box on the corner, Mickey had said it was still there but no-one had even touched it, not even written any graffiti on it so how could she have just seen it appear out of the sky? Unless, it had been stolen, by another Timelord but that was also impossible. She grabbed her keys and mobile and ran out of the door, just in time to see it narrowly miss a post van and crash next to a wall.
Mickey had heard it too, all the way down at the garage he worked at and now Jackie was curious as to why her daughter had gone running out. Rose was standing, in front of the Tardis doors, not knowing what to expect. The Doctor had somehow got off the space station and had found the Tardis.
"Rose, use your key to get in," Mickey encouraged her, panting to get his breath back.
"No way, it might not even be him and if it is, he'll come out, won't he?"
Jackie had caught up with them and they all stood back as the door creaked open and a tall, skinny man with hair all over the place staggered out.
"Ah! Where am I? Is this The Powell Estate? Good. I'm looking for Rose Tyler."
"Who are you, where's the Doctor?" Rose asked, staggering back.
"I'm here, it's me. Are you Rose?"
"You're not him, what have you done to him?"
"It is me, honestly, what do I look like?"
"No, you bring the Doctor out right now, I order you to bring him out."
"But I am the Doctor, why don't you believe me? Have I changed that much?"
"Actually, you have mate if you are him but I don't know who you are and why you're pretending to be him so why don't you just let us come in and find him?" Mickey ordered.
The new Doctor could see he wasn't going to win this one.
"I know you, it's all coming back to me. Mickey the idiot! And blimey, Jackie Tyler, that slap didn't half hurt!''
"What?" both Jackie and Mickey uttered at the same time.
"Then you must be Rose then?" The new Doctor whistled. Why had his other self never realised what a stunner she was? Why had he hidden his feelings so deep inside? Well he wasn't going to make the same mistake again, that was for sure.
"What day is it? No, wait a minute, don't tell me." He put his arms around Jackie and Mickey's shoulders. "Ssh, ssh, ssh, oh I know, Merry Christmas."
With that he slumped into a heap on the ground. Rose rushed over, whether he was the Doctor or not, they couldn't leave him lying there. Mickey looked down at the man who was claiming to be their friend.
"So who is he Rose and if he's really the Doctor, why didn't he know us? Did he ever say anything to you, about being able to change?"
"No, never but I left him on Satellite 5, 1000s of years in the future and no Tardis but it's here, we can see it."
Jackie was already looking inside the ship. "It's the same, I remember, it gave me a headache the last time I was in here. What are we gonna do with him?" She came out and the door closed behind her. "Well we can't leave him here, whoever he is so let's get him up to the flat and into bed," she stated.
Rose and Mickey carefully lifted the stranger and draped him over their shoulders but not until Rose had got a good look at the strangers bare belly where his t-shirt had ridden up, then getting a few stares from the neighbours as they waited for the lift, praying no-one had got it stuck on the top floor again by wedging the door.
"Been celebrating early," Jackie offered as Tina from next door popped her head out. "'Ere, Tina, your lodger in? Can we borrow that stethoscope?"
Tina nodded and went back inside, re-appearing a minute later. "You need some help Jackie?" Tina asked helpfully.
"No, we'll manage thanks," Rose replied, knowing that if this collapsed bloke was actually the Doctor, a medical student was the last thing they needed.
They got him inside and into Rose's room, Jackie insisted he was not going in hers since the other Doctor had turned her down.
"Mickey, we'll both get his outer clothes off but you'll have to put the pyjama bottoms on, I'm not doing it," Rose said.
"Oh don't be such a baby Rose, 'ere, I'll do it," Jackie offered, holding her bloke's clean pair in her hands. "Good job Howard's been staying over, see Rose and you were complaining about him wandering around at night."
"Yeah, well just tell him to put his dressing gown on next time. I hope he's not coming over tonight?"
"No. He's gone to his sister's in Bermondsey. Bleedin' cheek, swanning off and leaving me at Christmas, says it's a 'tradition', can you believe it?"
"Will you two pack it in?" Mickey piped up, pulling the jeans off the skinny bloke laid flat on the bed with no t-shirt on. "And you Rose Tyler, stop staring at him."
Too late, Rose was already admiring the stranger's hairy chest.
Mickey continued. "I'm gonna leave his boxer's on, this could be embarrassing when he does wake up otherwise. I mean, come on, he's an alien, he might be different, you know, in that department."
"That's not helping Rose. Now I'll sit him up, you put the pyjama jacket on him, I'll button it up, I don't trust you."
"Huh? Spoilsport, taking all the fun out of it."
"What if he wakes up? While you're doing it?" Jackie asked, still staring at he man on the bed like he was going to suddenly jump up and change back.
Rose thought about it. If this was actually him, this was a whole new can of worms. She had feelings for the other Doctor but now, he was very good looking, this was going to be awkward and if he didn't remember her, it would be so easy to convince him they had actually been a couple but she couldn't do that to him, well not unless he initiated it.
They finally got him into Rose's bed and Rose knelt beside him, putting the stethoscope to his chest, first where the normal human heart was, then the other side.
"What you doing that for Rose? Don't you know where his heart is?"
"Mum, he's got two hearts. Good, they're both working, it must be him or another Timelord but he told me he was the last of his kind. Something must have made him change."
"Really? Has he got two of anything else? Shame Mickey didn't take his boxer's off then."
"Mum, stop it."
"We should get him to hospital."
"And then what? No, if they get hold of him, they'll chop him up to see how he works, he's better off with us. Can you get some towels and soak them in cold water, he's a bit hot."
Rose was feeling his forehead. There were going to be no celebrations tonight, not for her, the only one would be if he came round and remembered her. The questions were running through her mind, why didn't he know her? He knew Mickey and her mother. Jackie came back in with some tea towels soaked in cold water and Rose put one on his forehead. Jackie came back in again with a mug of tea and some sandwiches.
"Eat something love, it's going to be a long night. We'll take it in turns to watch him."
It was now dark outside as Rose sat in the chair beside her bed. If she wanted to sleep tonight, it was going to have to be on the sofa. Mickey had gone back to work to finish off and was coming back later. Jackie was watching TV, fascinated that the UK had actually sent a probe into space to explore Mars, a bit ironic since she thought the alien in Rose's room had come from there.
"Mum, can you watch him a minute?" Rose asked as she popped her head around the open door.
Rose looked at the TV as they swapped places.
"That Harriet Jones, who does she think she is?" Jackie asked.
"Saved us from World War Three she did," Rose mused. "Has that probed landed yet?"
"No, they say it'll be tomorrow now, our time. Any change in him?"
Rose disappeared into the bathroom, coming out to a commotion from her bedroom.
"What's going on?" Rose shouted, just in time to see the Doctor put on the dressing gown hanging over the chair.
"Thanks for looking after me, I'll be off now."
"What? Don't be daft, get back into bed this minute," Jackie demanded.
"Rose! Good. Where have you been? Come on, let's be off. What are we doing here?"
"You collapsed, don't you remember?"
"Not exactly. You, Rose Tyler, you didn't know me?"
"Well you look different, we had a hard time believing it was you, until I listened to your hearts beat."
"And now, you know it's me?"
"Well yeah, now I do."
"Good, at least one of us knows but there's one thing."
He put his hand in the dressing gown pocket and pulled out an apple.
"What?" He held it up.
"It's Howard's, he gets hungry." Jackie took it from him.
Suddenly, he bent over, clutching his stomach. Rose dashed to hold him.
"No, keep back, I'm still suffering from post regeneration symptoms, I need..."
He stopped, breathing heavily.
"Get me back into bed."
"Well who had to get up?" Jackie asked.
"I need…." He trailed off again as Jackie held onto him while Rose took his dressing gown off.
"What do you need Sweetheart? Painkillers? Aspirin? I don't know? A sandwich, nice bowl of soup?"
Rose was trying to get him into bed. Jackie continued as the Doctor protested.
"I need you to…"
"Oh I don't know then, vitamin A, vitamin C? A ham sandwich and a cup of tea?" Jackie asked hopefully.
"Jackie, I need you to shut up."
"Charming, he's not changed that much then?"
Rose smiled. The smile disappeared when she found she was trapped by his arm over her leg as she propped him up with the intention of getting him to lie down.
Jackie shrugged her shoulders and went out to make more tea. Mickey let himself in and saw the way Rose had got trapped and was convinced it was intentional. Jackie tried to get Rose free from the new Doctor but all he did was make himself even more comfortable so she had to settle for a pillow her mother brought her in, mopping his brow from time to time as she could just reach the bedside table and had managed to kick off her shoes and put her legs on the bed.
The new Doctor was making funny little noises, it was now after midnight, Christmas Day. Mickey had gone home, not happy with seeing this new man get so personal with his ex-girlfriend. Well he supposed she was his ex since they no longer actually went out as a couple. Jackie had gone to bed and told Rose she would check on her when she got up. So just after seven, Rose had managed to doze off, the new Doctor had finally moved and was lying on his side so Rose hastily got up to ease the cramp and went to the bathroom then to make a cup of tea.
Jackie was still in bed and Rose left the tea at the side the Doctor was facing, wafting the aroma towards his nose. When Rose came back, he was sitting up in the bed, drinking it.
"Hi Rose, that's all I needed, a nice cup of tea!"
"So you really are the Doctor then?"
He patted the bed and she sat down, putting the mug on the bedside table.
"Thanks for looking after me but I really hate to say this. You gave up on me, you thought I wasn't the Doctor any more, didn't you?"
Rose got up and closed the bedroom door so as not to disturb her mother. She sat down again.
"Can you blame me? How did you even get back?"
"Jack. He mended his vortex manipulator."
"I should have known. So he's ok?"
"Yeah, last he told me was he was going back to Cardiff though I can't think why." He held out his hand and took hers. "Come here Rose. What do I look like, honestly?"
"Good different or bad different? What about my hair, am I ginger?"
"No, just brown."
"Oh, I always wanted to be ginger."
Rose got her hand back and got up, picking up a make-up mirror.
"Here, take a look."
"Oh, blimey, that is a bit different then, just a bit. Rose Tyler, you do like your pretty boys but before I changed, well it didn't matter, did it?"
"You don't remember me?"
"Of course I remember you, you're brilliant you are and the love of my life. I admit and I'm sorry, I'm really sorry, when I first saw you, well my head was a bit scrambled and I'd forgotten how much you mean to me. I must have got you worried though."
"Well yeah, just a bit. I mean I leave you 1000s of years in the future when you sent me home, which is going to take some forgiving, then you crash-land the Tardis and stagger out looking different."
He took her hand again and kissed the back of it. "Sorry love. This doesn't mean you don't want to travel with me any more, does it?"
"You still want me to?"
"Yeah, of course I do. I love travelling with you but I thought, because I changed, you wouldn't want to."
"Yeah, I thought because you changed, you wouldn't want me to go with you."
"Oh Rose, come here."
He leaned forward and put his finger on her chin.
"Just because I changed, my feelings for you haven't changed. I still love you."
Rose couldn't believe what she was hearing. Was he still suffering from his regeneration?
Just to make sure, she queried it. "You do?"
"Oh Rose, I've always loved you, from the moment I took your hand and told you to run, though it took a bit longer for you but it was worth the wait. That first kiss, when you'd just watched your dad die then we went back to WW2 and I got jealous of Jack but we laughed about it afterwards and Mickey's face, in Cardiff, when he realised we were together. Then we got separated and I thought the Daleks were going to kill you even though I found out you'd not been disintegrated."
Rose was stunned, she never knew and now, he thought they were together, he'd let his guard down with her.
"Do you still love me Rose?" He stroked her cheek with his finger, sending a shiver down her back. He noticed and smiled. "You do, don't you? Come on, admit it Rose, you do."
"This is gonna take some getting used to yeah? I mean it's not every day you go changing your face."
"Well, ok, if it helps, we can take it slowly again, if you want. We never told your mum, do you think she'll slap me again?"
Rose giggled. "Well you weren't even my boyfriend then, I can't say she won't think about it."
"Then come here Rose."
He leaned forward and kissed her lightly on the lips. It was the best kiss she had ever had. She kissed him back and he pulled her further onto the bed. They finally parted, mainly so Rose could breathe again.
"Wow, that was some kiss Doctor."
"New me. I'm the new new Doctor."
Rose ruffled his hair. "Mmn, aren't you just?"
She dived in to meet his lips again as they deepened the kiss. He pulled her closer and suddenly flipped her onto her back, leaning over her.
"Rose, why did we never take it any further?"
That was a bit of a relief to her, at least they'd not actually had sex.
"I suppose it was because either Jack or Mickey were around." She hoped he thought the same.
He did. "Yeah, I suppose so too. So what about now? Jack's gone, we don't have to invite Mickey along do we?"
"We were going to take it slowly, remember?"
The new Doctor smiled, something that was beginning to make her melt and forget that this wasn't real, at least not in her mind and he was under the delusion they were actually a couple but would he be annoyed if he remembered they weren't and she had gone along with it? She could put up with snogging him, he was certainly different and quite snoggable as long as it didn't get too awkward. She could stall him and he might dump her if she didn't play along. She made a split second decision.
"Ok Rose, if that's you want, I can go for the slow path. We have all of time and space. Now come here gorgeous."
After another few minutes of the new Doctor showing off his new-found snogging skills, Rose managed to get free.
"Doctor, you should get dressed and I've had these clothes on almost 24 hrs. I think you'll find yours are too big for you now."
The Doctor smiled. "Yeah, I'm quite slim and maybe just a little bit foxy, what do you think? You can tell me, I know you've been looking while I've been sleeping."
Rose blushed, he was quite 'Foxy', as he put it. He leaned over her and began kissing her neck, something she was finding more than enjoyable and she really shouldn't be enjoying it so much but she could get used to it. Someone had to be his girlfriend, if not her, some woman would snap him up in the blink of an eye, he wouldn't stay single for long. She could be his girlfriend.
He thankfully was still under the bedclothes, Rose was on top of them but he leaned over and her hand strayed to the buttons on his pyjama top.
"Did you undress me Rose?" he teased, kissing her jaw line.
"Me and Mickey but he left your boxers on."
"Mmm. I bet you were tempted though. Does he know, about us? Do you think he guessed when he came to Cardiff?"
"Maybe. My mum will slap you into another regeneration if you don't get dressed and let me out of here while you're doing it."
He smiled and kissed her neck again. "You worry too much Rose, she's going to have to get used to us being together."
Rose pulled him down for another kiss. "I'd best go, let you get dressed then I'll make some breakfast. We can tell her later, lover boy."
The Doctor smiled. He could bide his time. Why when he was out of it earlier had he thought his previous self hadn't told her how he felt about her? He would have an idiot not to have but it was quite obvious to him the way she had just kissed him that they had forged a personal relationship and now he didn't have to worry about it. He just hoped her mother would take the news well.
Rose got up after they kissed again, she was still trying to get over the initial shock.
"You get dressed then you can go to the Tardis, park it properly and get changed then we'll watch some telly and help mum get Christmas dinner ready and no, I'm not leaving her on Christmas day."
"I wouldn't dream of asking you to love, I know better than to cross your mother. I hope she doesn't cook us nut cutlet!"
With another quick kiss, he let Rose get up and pulled the covers back. Rose picked up the mug of now cold tea and opened the bedroom door.
"Come into the kitchen when you're dressed, don't you go sneaking off anywhere Mister."
"Wouldn't dream of it."
Rose went out, a big smile on her face and walked slap bang into her mother.
"What you grinning at?"
"Nothing. He's awake."
"Good, then maybe I can get Howards' pyjamas back before he misses them? Is his nibs staying for Christmas dinner?"
"Yeah, he's just gonna go park the Tardis properly and get changed first."
Rose's bedroom door opened.
"Jackie! Tea, I just needed tea, a superheated infusion of free radicals and tannin, good for the synapses."
Jackie was gobsmacked.
The Doctor quickly gave Rose a kiss after breakfast when Jackie wasn't looking and went off to the Tardis. Stepping inside, he felt pleased with himself. He went to the wardrobe and began looking through the vast amount of clothes, spying some of his past outfits but finally decided on a brown pinstriped suit, a white shirt and tie and a long brown flowing coat that Janis Joplin gave him. He finished the outfit off with a pair of off-white converse. Getting a good look in the mirror, he could see why Rose had taken to him and accepted his new persona. Why she had loved him before he changed, he didn't know, he just accepted it and he was happy she wanted to continue being his girlfriend.
Rose was helping Jackie then went to put the TV on, Mickey knocked on the door and was let in by Jackie.
"So is he ok then?" Mickey asked, spying Rose's empty room.
How was she going to break this to him?
"Yeah, he's just getting changed."
"He'd better not land that Tardis of his in my living room," Jackie shouted through the open hatch. "'Ere Rose, come and help me will you?"
Rose got up but Mickey stopped her. "You going off with him then?"
"Yeah, why wouldn't I? I'd be mad not to."
"But Rose, I didn't mind you hanging out with big ears but this one, he's a bit pretty."
"Hadn't noticed Micks." She moved past him just as another knock came on the door.
As she opened it, there stood the most gorgeous man she had ever seen in her life, smiling at her and he wanted her to be his girlfriend. He smiled at her and she almost fainted but put her arms around him and kissed him, just in time for Jackie coming out of the kitchen to see why Rose was so long at the door.
"Hmm, what's going on 'ere? You two, break it up, no snogging in the doorway thanks very much. Keep that for when you're back in that ship of yours you Martian."
Rose smiled and let him go. She grabbed his hand and led him into the living room, Mickey was slouched on the chair watching some cartoons as the Doctor took off his coat and handed it to Jackie, who was tapping her feet and looking daggers at him with her arms crossed.
"Don't you get no funny ideas Doctor, Mickey's here now and I'll be keeping a close eye on you."
Mickey looked up. "What? Who's getting ideas?"
"Go back to your cartoons Mickey, it's nothing." Rose panicked.
"You call snoggin' in the door way nothing Madam?"
"They were snogging? Since when?"
The Doctor crossed to the sofa and sat down, pulling Rose along with him.
"Oh come on Mickey boy, don't tell me you never noticed, back in the Tardis?"
"You were snogging him, back then?" asked a bewildered Mickey.
"Well don't sound so surprised, it's not impossible you know and besides that, I got an upgrade, shall we say? You'd have worked it out, sooner or later, probably much later," the Doctor grinned, grabbing the TV remote and putting on an old black and white movie.
"I love this movie, sad ending though."
Rose nudged him playfully as she put his arm around her shoulders.
"Oi, don't spoil it Doctor."
He smiled and kissed her cheek. "Sorry love. So now you two know, though I admit we could have broken it to you a bit more gently I suppose."
"Well don't you two think I won't be keeping an eye on you. You Doctor, no snogging my daughter when I'm around, no making out on the sofa while I'm watching TV and no sleepovers."
The Doctor gave a mock salute as an answer and Rose giggled, curling up her legs onto the sofa and leaning on her newly acquired boyfriend.
"And don't think because you've changed you won't still get a slap if I catch you doing any of them," Jackie added going off with his coat.
Rose eventually got up to help her mother serve up dinner, having persuaded Mickey to stay since he was only going to be opening a tin of baked beans and have them on toast. He didn't enjoy it much though, watching his ex girlfriend making eyes at the new Doctor and smiling at him, hanging on his every word and laughing at his bad jokes. The Doctor had even pulled a Christmas cracker and won the pink paper hat and had got up, opened it and placed it on Rose's head, kissing her hair then her ear and wouldn't have stopped there if Jackie hadn't have been glaring at him.
He had just sat back down again next to her and squeezed her hand. Just after the Queen's speech, Harriet Jones had been back on TV saying the mission to Mars had been a complete success and showing again the pictures that had been relayed back.
"That Harriet Jones?" the Doctor asked, getting a pair of glasses out of his top pocket.
Rose looked at him and smiled as he put them on and instantly vowed to call them his sexy specs every time he put them on from now on.
"We stopped WW3 with her, remember Rose?"
Rose slid her arms around his shoulders from behind the chair he moved on to. Then he grabbed her arm and pulled her around, she landed in his lap and she giggled and he smiled. Mickey thought he was going to throw up.
"Well I'm of now, I'll see you all later, maybe see you two before you set off again?"
"Yeah Mickey, come and say goodbye when we leave but it won't be until after Boxing Day, he promised I could have Christmas at home."
She kissed the Doctor's cheek. Just then, the phone rang and Jackie answered.
"What? Really?" She put her hand over the phone.
"Oi you lot, get your coats on and go outside."
The Doctor was already trying to get Rose off his lap though he only did it half-heartedly.
"What is it Mum?" Rose asked as she felt the Doctor's hand on her bum trying to get her up. She was in no hurry, he could keep it there as long as he wanted.
"Get up and go and find out."
They all got their coats on and went outside, Rose let out an exclamation, "It's snowing!"
She grabbed hold of the Doctor's neck and hugged him as he pulled her in for a kiss. They all went downstairs, all the neighbours were already out, grabbing bits of snow and throwing it. The Doctor scooped some up and pretended to attempt to put it down Rose's back as she tried to dodge it but he let it fall and pulled her in for a kiss instead, since Jackie had said he was only banned from snogging Rose in the living room.
Then someone noticed some shooting stars and everyone gasped.
"Look Doctor, let's make a wish," Rose cried, kissing him again and closing her eyes.
He took her hand. "What did you wish for Rose?"
"Can't tell you but it was something good."
"So was mine, bet it was the same as yours?"
"Betcha it wasn't. Anyway, after the holidays, where are we going first?"
They crossed over to stand in front of the newly parked Tardis. The Doctor still held her hand and kissed her cheek. "Look up there Rose, choose a star."
Rose looked at him, smiling and with her hand still holding his pointed to one. "That one there?" She was pointing at a large bright one.
"That one?" he smiled lovingly at her.
"No, wait a minute, that one there." She pointed again.
"Well how about that one?" the Doctor pointed, kissing her cheek and running his finger on it, making her shiver and not from the cold.
Rose nodded again and looked at him, she would go anywhere with him, she simply adored him. "Yeah, that one."
Jackie butted in. "I reckon you're mad, both of you, it's like you go looking for trouble."
"Ah, trouble's only the bits inbetween Jackie, it's all out there waiting for us, me and Rose."
Rose pulled him down for another kiss as a disappointed Mickey slipped away and Jackie Tyler finally had to admit defeat and be stuck with her daughter's alien boyfriend though he was quite an improvement on the last version and wondered if Rose would have been enthusiastically snogging the Doctor who was all ears and leather and a deplorable northern accent.
The Doctor looked lovingly at his girlfriend and knew. Rose had not been in love with his old self, not like this but she was totally gone on him now he had changed and he could live with that, pretend for her sake they had been together before he changed but she knew they hadn't and was only going along with it to make him feel wanted but it would make travelling together so much better as she always said it was better with two.
So he looked at her again, seeing the love in her eyes.
"You know what Rose?"
"It's gonna be fantastic!"