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The Best, Bar None

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James Noble was a simple man, more or less. He had a one bedroom flat with just the bare necessities, no car, few friends, and a job as a barman at a place called TARDIS–a fairly popular pub near the centre of London. Everyday, he would roll out of bed at around noon–sometimes sooner, sometimes later–take care of whatever needed doing around his flat or with the classes he took online, then head to work for his shift at six. Well, everyday except Sunday, his day off–though, it never felt like it was Sunday because really, he got the night from Sunday going into Monday off, as his shift didn't end until the pub closed at two in the morning, but that was just semantics.

He wasn't one to put himself out there, though there were many female–and a few male–regular patrons who were forever trying to change that. He was an expert at inadvertent flirting which got him more tips than most of his co-workers, but also far more phone numbers scribbled on cardboard coasters and flimsy paper napkins than he ever wanted. Every now and again, he would have to break up a scuffle or cut someone off, and, more often he would call people a taxi so they didn't run themselves off the road. But other than that, not much ever really happened during his shifts.

That was until TARDIS got a new crew member by the name of the Bad Wolf–the workers never used their real names at work, mostly for their own safety, after one of the waitresses was stalked relentlessly for almost a year long before James ever started. Though it was an isolated incident that was resolved as quick as the law would allow, the owner insisted that all employees refer to each other by nicknames. And so, from six until two he was the Doctor, and their newest recruit was the Bad Wolf.

She was fascinating, if you asked him. She was a fellow bartender, but barely looked old enough to be allowed. Her hair was bleached blonde–he could tell because her darker roots were starting to poke out–and her eyes were like honey. Her smiles lit up the bar right from the beginning, especially the one where her tongue poked out between her teeth. The male patrons practically drooled over her, often staring at her chest, but she was good about redirecting their attention. James was shocked the first time she managed to shake of a particularly randy regular. She was kind to everyone, even the ones that everyone wanted to throttle. Not to mention the fact that she could make a mean cocktail. The Bad Wolf was, quite frankly, amazing.

At first, her shift barely intersected with his. She started off with the slower shift from opening at eleven until he got there to take over, which was usually around six. They were polite, nodding and smiling in greeting, but they hardly spoke until the boss decided she was ready for the night shift with him.

She switched to his shift on a Wednesday night. Wednesdays are hardly ever crowded, but that particular Wednesday, he was glad for the extra help. She was efficient and good at what she did, facts that didn't go unnoticed by the patrons, as the loud ones made apparent. Some even left behind a little extra money for her, though tips weren't something anyone but the regulars did. Around nine o'clock there was a lull, and he threw her a soft smile. “I'm the Doctor, by the way,” he said, extending a hand.

“Bad Wolf,” she replied, shaking his hand and sharing her own smile.

“I know.” She raised her eyebrows, but didn't comment, instead turning to finish wiping down the bar where one of their more sloshed customers had knocked over his pint when cheering for the footie match on the television behind the bar.

“Why 'the Doctor'?” she asked, a few hours later.

“Why 'Bad Wolf'?” he returned with a challenging smirk.

“I asked you first.”

“I fix people...drinks.” He winked, making her giggle behind her hand. “And I'm taking classes to get my doctorate.”

“Oh? What of?”

“Astrophysics.”

Her brows furrowed at that. “What do you plan to do with a doctorate in astrophysics?”

James shrugged, picking up a tip left for him and putting it in his jar. “Dunno. But you can never stop learning.”

They bantered and slowly got to know each other over a few weeks working the same shift, though she never did answer his question. He learned a lot about her–her father had died when she was a baby, but her mother remarried when she was nineteen and she now had a little brother, her favourite colour was pink, she'd dropped out of school just before she could get her A-levels, she loved dogs, EastEnders was her guilty pleasure. It was all quite comfortable and rather enjoyable, in his opinion, working with her. They didn't exchange phone numbers or real identities, but it was still nice to talk to and joke with someone as wonderful as the Bad Wolf. She could always make him smile, regardless of how the night went. Once, he even thought he felt something stir in him he hadn't felt in a long while, but he quickly brushed that off as just a passing loneliness.

On a Friday night, a month after the Bad Wolf started working there, he met Jimmy Stone, her apparent boyfriend. Jimmy was the type of customer the employees referred to as “possers”–passing tossers who came and went in binges every few weeks. Jimmy Stone was one he recognized. He was a few inches shorter, had darker hair, and lighter eyes than James, but obviously the Bad Wolf saw something in him that James clearly did not. He sauntered into the bar like he owned it that night and immediately sat down in someone else's seat while they were at the loo. “Pint, now,” he demanded, shortly, shoving the daiquiri in front of him away in disgust. James watched from the other end of the bar as his partner hastily filled a glass for him and sat it in front of him. When she glanced around to see if anyone was watching, he averted his gaze, pretending to wipe down the wood in front of him while covertly keeping half an eye on them. He clenched a fist around the rag in his hand as she leaned across the bar and Jimmy practically stuck his tongue down her throat. It made him sick.

Over the course of the hour Jimmy sat there, he snapped at her eight times–James had been counting. Each time, the Bad Wolf looked as though she'd been slapped, an indignant albeit slightly embarrassed look briefly crossing her face before she would step away to do something else. It nearly made the Doctor's blood boil that anyone would treat her that way when she clearly had done nothing wrong. More than once he had to go to the kitchen to stop himself from punching the sod. The cook, the Tin Dog, sympathized with him. “Went to school with 'im,” the darker man explained. “Well, until he dropped out. He's always been a right prick, always playing games with people. Called himself a musician in school just so he could get girls to sleep with him. Tossed most of 'em, but sometimes he'd let them follow him around like puppies if they were really good shags. Almost did that to Martha. If I hadn't stopped him...” The other man shuddered at the thought. “Anyway, if you care about her at all, you're gonna wanna get her the hell outta there. Who knows what he's into now.”

He wished that conversation had gone differently so it could make him feel better, but instead it made him even angrier. Rage bubbled deep in the pit of his stomach as he ventured back out to the bar, but Jimmy the Tosser had disappeared and there was a fresh, long line of impatient drunks wanting more to drink. The Bad Wolf was trying her hardest to keep up, but let out a clear breath of relief when he appeared at her side. They worked like a well-oiled machine and soon enough the patrons were back to watching the rugby match on the telly or playing darts in the back. The Doctor rearranged the bottles of rum while his partner hung the wine glasses from the rack next to his head. “Jimmy leave, then?” he asked, trying to sound casual.

She glanced at him out of the corner of her eye, a faint pink blush staining her cheeks. “Yeah, he's picking me up at the end of my shift. How d'you–?”

“He's a posser,” he responded, automatically, barely thinking about his words.

“Oh.”

The slightly sad tone in her voice made him look over at her. She looked distant, if that were possible–as if she weren't all there in the moment. “Sorry, that's just what he is. How do you know him?”

She stacked the clean beer glasses hastily, not looking at him. “He's my boyfriend.”

“Boyfriend? Didn't look too friendly to me.”

“He's not a very cuddly person, Doctor,” she snapped.

“That doesn't give him the right to be a prat to you, does it?” She didn't respond. He finished moving the rum bottles and turned to the bar to help a customer. When he was finished, she still hadn't turned back. “It's just– you're my friend and I don't want to see you hurt, all right? Who else is gonna help me back here when it gets busy? You wouldn't want to force me to deal with the Captain for eight hours a day, would you?” he tried to joke, hoping against hope it would work.

She smiled and he let out a breath he couldn't remember holding. “Nah, you'd have to do a lot worse to make me do that.”

They were quiet for the rest of the night. When the doors were locked and everyone else had gone home, James stepped out the back door to go as well, only to find that Jimmy and the Bad Wolf hadn't quite left yet.

“The fuck is you're problem, Rose!” James' hands curled into fists as he watched her flinch. “I told you meet me out here right at close and it's almost half two!”

“Sorry I have an actual job that I have to actually work at!”

Jimmy's hand shot out and connected with her cheek in a slap that sounded more like a whip crack than anything else. Her hand flew to her offended cheek and James could just barely see colour flooding her face in the dim light of the floodlight over the back door. “Don't fucking hit me, Jimmy,” she snapped.

“I'll do whatever I damn well please, ya bloody chav.” The fist Jimmy was raising was all James needed to see before he sprang into action, ramming into Jimmy just as his fist hit her jaw. He vaguely heard her cry out as he wrestled with the other man on the pavement. “Get off me!”

Finally getting a hold on his collar, James hauled the both of them off the ground and shoved him against the bricks. “I'm going to give you three seconds to get the hell out of here,” he growled. “No second chances.” He let go and took a step back. “One–” Jimmy glared at him, “two–” And then he took off.

Turning back to the Bad Wolf–Rose, he remembered–he let his anger fade into nothing. She was cradling her jaw in her hands, tears tracking down her face, though they looked more like a natural reaction than her releasing emotions. “Are you all right?” he asked, softly, lifting a hand to check her jaw himself.

She let him, moving her hand out of the way and nodding slowly. “Yeah, 's just a bit... Just hurts.”

Her cheeks were scarlet and there were outlines from Jimmy's fingers that James knew would bruise fairly badly, but nothing was broken, thankfully. “Let's go in and get you some ice, yeah?” She nodded, cupping her jaw again when his hand dropped.

She sat on one of the prep tables as he got a bag of ice and wrapped it in a clean cloth. When it was resting on her injured jaw, he leaned against the refrigerator across from her. “Does this happen a lot?”

She glared at him. “Shut up.”

“It was just a question, but I'll take that as a 'yes'. So then, Rose, why don't you just get out? It can't feel good to get tossed around like that.” You deserve better.

“I can't,” she whispered after a few minuets of scary silence.

The Doctor frowned, crossing his arms over his chest. “Why? Did he threaten you?”

After a slight hesitation, she nodded, looking anywhere but at him, though he could see the tears welling up in her eyes. In a flash he was there, pulling her into an embrace–territory that, though still was uncharted, seemed oddly right. It didn't take long for her to choke out sobs into his light blue oxford. He said nothing as she sobbed, only made soothing circles in her back with one hand while the other slowly stroked up and down. He wasn't sure how much time passed before she pulled back from him just enough for them to look each other in the eyes, even though she kept her eyes on her hands in her lap. “He said... my family. He said he'd– hurt them, somehow. Said he would end it when he wanted it to 'nd that I could– couldn't... or else.”

It was a miracle the Doctor managed to stay calm enough to hug her again. Even the thought of Jimmy controlling her that much was enough to bring back the rage he thought he'd sent off with the wanker himself. “Have you gone to the police?” She looked horrified, and he sighed. “You really should, before you or someone else gets hurt worse than this.” He gestured to her face.

“I know,” she said, softly, dropping her gaze again. “I will. I just need... time.”

Time, it seemed, meant far longer than the Doctor had first guessed. Rose–the Bad Wolf, he now had to remind himself–had returned to work the next morning with make-up hiding most of the black and blue bruising on her jawline, avoiding his gaze at all costs. She was extra sweet to the customers as if it would make up for what Jimmy did to her the night before, and smiled far more than usual, though James could tell that it never quite reached her eyes. All night he wanted to wrap her in his arms and never let her go, especially not back to that wanker, but when it was time to go for the night, they parted ways at the street corner, Jimmy nowhere in sight, thankfully.

“Have you talked to Jimmy yet?” he asked a little over a week later as they're cleaning up just after closing. They'd hardly spoken since she'd sobbed into his shirt, and not only was he desperate to know whether or not she was still in danger, but he found he had actually started to crave and need her attention. Perhaps that feeling he'd gotten in the first few weeks her of her employment wasn't so fleeting after all.

“No.”

He was disappointed, however unfair it was to feel that way. He knew it wasn't easy for her no matter how you looked at it, but he couldn't stop himself from wishing there were some way he could just get her out. “Has he hit you again?”

She froze. “Doctor–”

“Has he?”

She hesitated. “Yeah.”

He swore on an exhale. “Christ, Rose.”

“Well what do you expect me to do? Just go up and tell him we're done and just hope that my family makes it out alright? Yeah, no ta.”

“That's not what I– I just–” He growled at his own stupid choice of words. “I just want you safe. I hate that he has this power over you. I'm sorry.”

She sighed, leaning against the bar, facing him. “I'm sorry. It's all my fault.”

“What are you talking about?”

“All of this. Everything. I got myself into it, and now I've dragged you in as well. I'm sorry. I've disrupted your life. It's my fault.”

“Rose,” he breathed, closing the distance between them a little. “This is not your fault, none of it. You couldn't have possibly known what he was going to be like. People project who they want others to see.”

She scoffed. “No, people see what they want to see, and I wanted to see him as a good person. God, I'm so stupid.”

He gently placed his hands on her shoulders. “Look at me. You're not stupid and this isn't your fault. You haven't dragged me into anything and you certainly haven't disrupted my life. To tell you the truth, you've made me better.” She started to shake her head, mouth open to protest, but he shushed her. “I'm trying to give you a speech, here. Could you at least let me finish?” he teased, eyes twinkling. She blushed, but nodded. “You've made me so much better in so many ways. I've always been quite rude–or at least so my sister says–but even she's seen the change. You and your kindness and your smile have made me better, Rose. I can't have you going around thinking that you've somehow corrupted and ruined me, because nothing could be further from the truth. Do you believe me?”

Eyes shining with unshed tears, she searched his face. “I– I want to,” she whispered. His heart practically fluttered inside his chest. “I want to believe you so bad, but–” He felt it drop past his stomach.

His left hand drifted up to her uninjured cheek and cupped it, tenderly. “But what, Rose? Jimmy is the only human being–and I use that term very, very loosely–on this earth who doesn't believe that you are a fantastic person. I'm not Jimmy, and you have to believe that you're not a burden.”

He wasn't sure who leaned first, but then again, it didn't really matter all that much, for the next second, their lips were pressed against each other in a sweet, chaste kiss. She jumped back with a small gasp and he squeezed his eyes shut, afraid she may shatter if he opened them. But moments later, her lips returned and asked for more. Lips soon gave way to tongues asking to explore and hands started to wander. His hand slipped from her cheek into her hair and gripped it, the other finding her waist and pulling her closer, while hers fisted in his shirt for a second, then dropped to his hips. It quickly became sloppy, someone using too much tongue, the other losing focus as hands dropped to bums in their exploration, and they broke apart heaving for breath. The only thought he could manage was how absolutely beautiful she was, hair rumpled from his hands playing in it, her lips slightly swollen from his kiss, her eyes so open and honest. “God you're gorgeous,” he muttered, leaning his forehead against hers, placing a kiss on the tip of her nose. She smiled, but he didn't miss the slight wince. He practically flew backwards. “Did I hurt you? I'm so sorry! I didn't think– I wasn't–”

She put her fingers over her mouth to silence him. “You didn't hurt me,” she murmured, “it's just sore, is all. I promise.”

He pressed a kiss to her fingers, then drew closer again. “Good. Not good that you're sore, good that I didn't hurt you. More than you already– I'll stop talking now, eh?” She giggled. “So, do you believe me now?”

Her smile faded slightly and a pensive look crossed her soft features. “I think... I'm not sure I can right at this second, but... I think I'll get there. I will believe you, just give me time.”

“Promise me it won't be like the time you're giving Jimmy?” She flinched backwards, glaring at him. “No, nono, no that's not what I meant! I mean, let me help you with that time. Wait, no! I mean, let me help you speed up that time. Oh god, I've cocked this up, haven't I?”

For her part, Rose didn't look as angry. That was a good sign, at least. “A bit, yeah. But I think I understand. And yes.”

“Yes?”

“I'll let you help me.”

He wanted to leap for joy, but instead, he stepped forward, grasped her waist and pulled her in for another toe-curling kiss. It was much like the last, but teeth came out to play this time and by the time they broke apart, the Doctor was slightly uncomfortable in his trousers and her hair was hopelessly ruffled. She gave him her famous tongue-in-teeth grin as they rested their foreheads together again. “Stealing bananas again, Doctor?” she teased.

He looked away, bashfully. “Sorry. Can't help it.”

She brought his focus back to her face with an index finger on his stubbly jaw. “Never apologize for that.”

He took a deep breath. “Rose, when you–”

“Yes.”

He furrowed his brows. “Yes? You don't even know what I was going to ask.”

“Yes, I do. You were going to ask me to be with you. And I might need some time, but if you still want me by then, then yes. My answer is yes.”

His heart skipped at least three beats. “I will always want you,” he murmured seriously. “Always.”

Before she could speak another word, he pulled her to him for a long and amorous embrace. She tucked her face into the crook of his neck while he inhaled her unique scent and kissed her neck through the curtain of blonde hair guarding it. It was too soon that they parted and agreed that they needed to finish up so they both could get home at a somewhat reasonable hour. At the street corner where they usually parted, he called her a cab and sent her home with one last chaste kiss and a promise to see her the next morning, and then he walked on air the whole way back to his own flat.

Only, he didn't see her the next day.

“Have you see Bad Wolf?” the Tin Dog asked him when he breezed through the kitchen at the beginning of his shift.

He froze, mid-step. Rose was always there before him. “No, why? Where is she?”

“That's why I'm asking you. Martha was asking after her, something about girls night. I was gonna ask her when she got here, but she hasn't come through yet.”

Not good. Very not good. “Have you rang the MP yet?”

“What, and risk Harriet taking my head off? No, ta, that's all you mate.”

Very, very not good.

He waited fifteen minutes before ringing the MP, also known as Harriet Jones, owner and boss lady of TARDIS. She was a genuinely wonderful woman, but could be downright terrifyingly ruthless when need be. “Bad Wolf hasn't shown up yet,” he blurted before she could even get a 'hello' out.

“What do you mean, she hasn't shown up yet?”

“I mean she's not here. The Tin Dog said he hasn't seen her. I put her in a cab to go home last night, H–MP. I haven't seen or heard from her since. I rang her three times and they all went straight to voicemail. It's not like her.”

She sighed over the line. “I'll put in a call to the police station, see if they know anything. I'll see if Sarah Jane can find anything too.”

“Thank you.”

“Of course. And Doctor?”

“Hm?”

“We'll find her.”

“I know.”



Harriet was true to her word. Halfway through his shift, she rang.

“They found her,” she announced without preamble.

“Oh thank god,” he breathed, running a hand through his hair.

“Hold on a moment, Doctor, you're going to want to hear the rest of this.” He knew that couldn't mean good news. “They found her unconscious in her apartment. Doctor... she'd been beaten pretty badly. They took her to the hospital, but as far as I'm told, she's still out cold.”

All air left his lungs and all strength left his legs as he stumbled back and caught himself on the wall in the back hall of the pub. At the bar, the Captain, who had graciously filled in last minute for Rose, shot him a worried look that he couldn't respond to at the second. It was all too much.

“Doctor?”

“I'm here. I'm still here. Does her family know? Has anyone called them? What hospital?”

“Royal Hope. Her family was notified first thing, they should be with her by now.”

“Good... Good.”

“Go.”

“What?”

“You're obviously going to be too distracted to do your job tonight, so go. Be with her.”

“Are you–”

“Yes, now go before I make Jack throw you out the door.”

“Yes, ma'am.”

With a quick word to the Captain, the Doctor dashed out into the night. He didn't bother calling himself a taxi, instead he sprinted towards Royal Hope Hospital. It was more than a few blocks away, but there was no way he could've sat in a car for that long. No, he needed to run. He had to make sure that the bastard hadn't–

He couldn't think about that. It only filled him with rage that simply couldn't occupy the same space that his concern for Rose did. He would burst.

He was practically heaving by the time he reached the front doors. Upon getting to the front desk, he realized he hadn't a clue what her last name was. The nurse looked concerned as he frantically tugged at his hair and paced, racking his brains to try to remember if she'd ever told him her last name, but he came up dry–that would've been something he remembered.

After a few minutes of hurried pacing, he felt a hand on his arm. He practically jumped out of his skin, but looked up to see a blonde woman who looked faintly like Rose standing there, mascara lines down her cheeks showing him that she'd been crying recently. “Are you the Doctor?” she asked. He could only nod. “Come on.”

He silently followed her down the hall off to the right of the front desk. “Rose's told me all about you. Said you've helped her a lot. I have to believe her because you're all she talked about when she first rang me.” He opened his mouth to ask, but she must've sensed his question. “She hasn't talked to us in a long time. I'm glad Tony's so young, otherwise it would've broken his little heart. Anyway, she hadn't rang in months and we didn't know how to reach her, but then out of the blue she called us. Just the other week or so. Said she missed us and she was sorry. I don't know what you said or did, but she says it's you we have to thank for getting our Rose back.” The woman sniffled. “We'd just gotten her back and now this. I knew that Jimmy Stone was trouble.”

“I'm sorry,” he said, at a loss for what else to say.

She waved him off as they rounded a corner to the elevators. “That woman, Sarah Jane, told us that you'd probably be coming. I'm glad you did. Maybe you can bring her back again.”

He hoped she was right.

They stopped at a room on the third floor with enough windows to the hall that the nurse at the corner desk could see in it with just a glance upwards. Through the glass, he could see her, pale and bruised and broken, swimming in the ivory sheets. His breath caught in his throat and, for a moment, he didn't think he could do it. Oh, don't be such a twat. She'd want you there, now go be with her you dumbo, his conscious demanded, taking on an uncanny resemblance to his sister. He took a deep breath and stepped through the door the woman had just gone through. On the other side was the bed, Rose still out like a light, a tall, strawberry blond man sitting in a chair underneath the window to the outside across the room, and a small boy with shaggy blond hair sleeping next to him. The Doctor nodded to the man before taking a seat next to Rose's bed.



Harriet gave him the next day off upon finding out that Rose still wasn't awake. The man, whom he learned was her step-father Pete, took Rose's little brother Tony home to get some proper sleep, while the Doctor had stuck around with her mother, Jackie. They didn't speak much, but when they did, it was usually her asking a question or telling a story about a younger Rose. Those made him smile, but they did nothing to take away the gravity of the situation. No one had told him just how bad she was, but he wasn't stupid. He knew it was pretty bad.

He fell asleep with his head on the bed, his hand covering hers, and when he woke up, it was to Jackie telling him that he should go home and get cleaned up, that she would call him if anything changed. He raised an eyebrow at her and told her the same, and after that, they had a silent agreement that they would both stay until she woke up. Pete later brought a change of clothes for both of them later that day.

The second full day she was in the hospital, he changed the side of the bed he sat at, taking her other hand in his and watching her as she slept. Sometimes he spoke, but mostly he was quiet, saving the words for Jackie, who seemed more than content to spew them. Every few minutes, he would squeeze her hand, just to reassure himself that she hadn't just up and disappeared, and at eight forty-two in the evening, she squeezed back. His eyes snapped up from the book he'd been trying–and failing–to read. Her eyes were still shut, but he could see she was slowly coming to. They called for a nurse and waited with bated breath as they examined her. By the time Rose fully came around, the nurses had gone to get the doctor–her proper doctor–to just double check that everything was okay.

“Hey,” he murmured, carefully cupping the side of her head that wasn't bruised.

She smiled, though it looked almost more like a grimace. “Hey,” she croaked. He fed her an ice chip before she spoke again. “How did you–?”

“He's the one who knew you were missing,” Jackie piped up from across the bed. “Saved your life, he did.”

Rose flicked her eyes back to him. “'s it true?” His cheeks tinted pink, but he nodded, nevertheless.

Before anyone could get any more words out, the doctor came back with the nurse and did a full examination. “You'll be in for another day or so, just so we can monitor your progress, but after that you'll be free to go. Do you have somewhere you can stay? Somewhere people will be there to take care of you during your recovery?” She nodded, confidently. “Good. I'm glad you're awake. I'll let you all get back to it.”

“I did it,” she said, the minute the doctor left.

“Did what?”

“I left him.”

James' eyes grew wide. “That's why you're here. Because you ended it.” It was meant to be a question, but he couldn't seem to phrase it that way.

She glanced from her mother to him. “Er, yeah. He didn't take it so well.” He stood up in a flash, clenching and unclenching his fists as he paced from one end of the bed to the other. “But Doctor, it's done, it's over. We never have to see him again, yeah? I'm free. Well, as soon as I give my statement, I suppose. But, either way.”

“I'm so proud of you, Rose,” Jackie said, squeezing her daughter's hand, encouragingly. “What you did was brave and not many can say they had the guts. And I say to hell with 'im. Nothin' but trouble, that one. I just wish he'd stuck 'round long enough for me to give 'im a good slap.”

“I think the Doctor took care of that for you, Mum. He scared the daylights out of Jimmy a few weeks ago.”

“Good for him. I'm going to go get some tea, I'll be right back.”

Rose watched him pace for another minute before she got tired of it. “Alright, that's enough. Sit.” He stopped, staring at her, but complied. “This isn't your fault any more than it is mine.” He opened his mouth to protest, but she pushed on. “Remember how you asked if I believed you? I think I do now. I get it. And now you have to do the same. Believe me, this isn't your fault.”

He ran a hand through his hair. “I... I know. It's just... Oh, I don't know. I wish I'd really hit him last week.”

She chuckled. “Yeah, me too. But he's gone, so we don't have to worry any more, yeah?”

He smiled, the corners of his eyes crinkling slightly. “Yeah.”



The next afternoon she was released to Pete and Jackie's house–well, it was more like a mansion; Pete was the CEO of Torchwood Enterprises. The Doctor returned to work, but always spent the day with Rose during her recuperation. There were no labels, other than the labels on the outside of the bags he would bring chips in, but that was fine for the both of them. It was still early and she was still dealing with the physical and mental side effects of Jimmy Stone, so they were both content to let it rest there. There were snogs–oh were there snogs–but it was mostly cuddling and he attending her physical therapy sessions for her broken leg and a few regular therapy for moral support. It worked well.

When she was cleared for work, Rose and the Doctor took a day to clear out the flat she'd had with Jimmy, packing everything she wanted to keep in Pete's Range Rover and tossing the rest. She passed her keys in to the landlord and never looked back. Neither had brought up the subject of where her stuff was going to go, but somehow they ended up at his flat and no one protested, so he moved his things aside to make room for hers. By the end of the day, she had half the dresser and half the closet at her disposal, their respective trainers sat side by side at the front door, and they snogged on the sofa. She fell asleep on him before they could get anywhere, but that was okay.

They walked to work together everyday after that, rain or shine, good mood or bad. Sometimes they talked, other times it was quiet, but every time, they would hold hands, or she would hold on to his arm, or he would have his arm draped around her shoulders or waist, and it was wonderful.

He learned she could cook–not quite as good as he, mind you, but still–yet she couldn't make toast to save her life. She learned his parents died in a fire when he was young, but he still had his sister, Donna, and his grandfather, Wilf. He learned she moved a lot in her sleep; she learned he was a blanket hog. He learned she loved to run; she learned that he did too. She finally learned that his real name was James.

He learned she was fiercely independent, despite what she'd just gone through. She learned he could be more over protective than her mother. She learned, too, that he honestly thought he knew what was best for her–which wasn't an excuse, but an explanation–and that his jealous streak was a mile wide. He learned she often didn't know how to express her emotions, while she learned that he held back a lot of his. They learned how to deal together.

Rose quickly learned exactly how to get him excited. A few touches there, a few well-placed moans, and a few nips here would have him pressing closer to her within seconds. And by the same token, he figured out precisely how to get her all hot and bothered in record time. A few nips of her lower lip with a hand massaging her scalp and a few touches a little further south was exactly it, and the bastard knew it.

By the end of the first month in the same flat, the sexual tension between them was palpable. He woke up with a knob-on on a very regular basis, often sneaking out of bed before she woke up to take care of it, while she found herself rubbing her thighs together whenever he wasn't looking. Sundays, both of their free day, thanks to Harriet were spent mostly on the sofa when they weren't out and about in London, doing whatever they pleased–though they both secretly preferred the former.

One such Sunday found Rose with the small of her back pressed against the arm of the sofa, legs splayed wide enough that the Doctor fit. He half-leaned on the back cushion so he could support the upper half of her back as they snogged, though his muscles quickly began to tremble with the exertion. He sunk back down between her legs, letting his mouth wander down her jawline and then her neck until finally finding the v in her shirt that gave him access to her chest. She scraped her nails against his scalp, holding him there as he nipped and sucked. She let out small noises of approval that he rather liked, as well.

“Bed?” he suggested. She only nodded.

Wordlessly, he scooped her up, legs wrapped around his waist and carried her to the bedroom at the back of the flat, trying hard not to drop her as her mouth latched onto his neck. He was past relieved when his knees hit the end of their bed. He debated tossing her there for a second, only to shove that fleeting thought away and place her gently on the edge. Immediately, he knelt in front of her, his mouth seeking hers out like magnets. He cupped her breasts through her–his, technically–vest, squeezing and pinching until she had to break their kiss to moan loudly. Smiling in triumph, he grasped the hem of the v-neck and pulled it over her head. His lips latched on to a nipple while his fingers played with the other, her fingers once again tangling in his hair, holding him to her breast like a lifeline.

Gently, he urged her to lean backwards. She seemed reluctant for a moment, only because he let her breast go in order to do so, but was content again when he switch the nipple he sucked and rested his hands at the top of her sweatpants. He slipped his fingers just underneath the elastic and stroked it gently, making her moan even more. Emboldened by her noises, he took a firm hold and dragged the offending pants down her legs, knickers going along for the ride. When they were clear of her feet, he detached himself from her breast and spread her legs with hands on either knee. She propped herself on her elbows to watch him. “This alright?” he breathed, moving closer to her centre. Eyes dark and clouded with lust, she bit her lip, nodding.

She let herself fall back onto the mattress as his mouth finally met her sex. He took a long lick from bottom to top before going back to nip and tease every crevasse he could find. He nuzzled her clit as he shallowly dipped his tongue into her. She keened at that, trying in vane to squeeze her legs together, only to be stopped by his shoulders and hands. He smiled into her. He took several more long swipes before thrusting his tongue more fully into her, making her whimper above him. Though she seemed to enjoy it, he knew he could do her one better, so he drew back his mouth–much to her dismay–and replaced his tongue with a finger. His lips found her clit to tease as his finger set to work pumping in and out of her. She writhed on the bed, detached words flowing out of her mouth–fuck, yes, more, please. Happy to oblige, he added a second finger and found her inner spot, stroking it. It only took a few seconds of that before she cried out in ecstasy.

He brought her down gently before extracting his fingers and licking them clean. Her eyes went wide and he couldn't help but kiss her. The taste of herself on his tongue seemed to confuse her slightly, as she pulled back a few times, only to return a second or two later. “Alright?” he asked, concerned.

“Yeah,” she said, hastily, “'s just– No one's ever done that for me before. 's kinda strange.”

“Bad strange?”

“No! No, no, good strange. Very, good, strange,” she punctuated each word with a kiss until he finally returned it.

She ground her hips into his clothed ones, clearly ready for more. He grinned into her mouth. “Shut up,” she muttered, one hand sliding down to cup his erection through his jeans, effectively silencing him.

It was in record speed that they got his jeans and vest off, leaving him only in his tented boxer briefs. “Bananas?” she asked, tongue sticking out between her teeth.

“Oi!” He meant to sound indignant, but when she giggled, he knew he missed the mark. With a low growl, he leans back down to kiss her, then makes her move back further onto the bed.

When satisfied that her head was sufficiently on the pillows, he licked, nipped, and sucked his way up and down her body until she's hooking a leg around his waist and grinding into his erection. He stilled for a moment, then let her pull his boxer briefs down his legs and fling them across the room. One of her hot little hands explored his most masculine part, but when his hand snaked its way between them to tease her opening, she let it drop and began to thrust her hips to get more friction. “Eager, are we?” She let out a few breathy sound that screamed just do it already to him. “Protection?”

“Pill,” she managed after a minute of his teasing.

And then his cock was at her entrance, slipping in the slick that coats her sex, but his hand was there to guide it. He must've been thicker than him, he thought when she stopped him every few centimetres. That thought alone gave him confidence, though it didn't do him much good at that particular moment, not with Rose being so tight and him being so embarrassingly close already. He shut his eyes tightly as he slid the last bit that he could into her, making her moan from the below. He waited for her cue before he started to move, not wanting to cause her any more discomfort than was necessary. She leaned up and kissed him, messy and wet, and rocked her hips against his, creating delicious friction that had them both moaning into each other.

They went slow at first, but it quickly became apparent that neither could handle slow right then, so the Doctor quickened his pace and Rose eagerly met him, thrust for thrust until she toppled over the edge. He peaked not moments later. Completely spent, he withdrew and lowered himself to the space next to her, careful not to jar her. Her injuries may have healed, but he didn't want to take any chances. She rolled into him, one arm thrown over his torso, her cheek resting on his chest.

“That was–”

“Yeah.”

“Are you–”

“Fine, good. Brilliant, actually.”

“Good, that's good.”

They were quiet for a minute, both sets of eyes drooping, both drifting slowly off to sleep. And just before they reached the tipping point, he spoke. “How long are you going to stay with me?”

“Forever.”