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The Lodgers

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Why couldn't he just tell her? Craig Owens had been friends with Sophie Campbell since she had started working at the call centre and they'd hit it off almost immediately. Now, a year later, he was finally ready to do it. Craig was going to tell Sophie how he truly felt. He knew that he wasn't much to look at, but even if she didn't return his feelings, at least he'd been brave enough to tell her. He had been in love with her since what seemed like forever and if he didn't tell her soon, he would regret it for the rest of his life.

The doorbell rang and he turned around to notice the keys set on a pink, fluffy key ring. He sighed; she always did that. Suddenly, he straightened his posture. This was it, this was his moment. Grabbing the keys, he opened the two other doors before finally reaching the front one. Craig opened it and declared his love to her. Instead of Sophie, a squabbling pair stopped as soon as the word "you" escaped his lips and gawked at him for a moment.

A blonde woman (another blonde, not his blonde) recovered first and gave him a cheeky smile. "Sorry mate, but he's taken. Though the way he's going right now, I may just let you borrow him."

"Oi!" the floppy haired man exclaimed, pouting in her direction and she laughed, shaking her head. Turning back to Craig, he said, "We're your new lodgers!" Spotting the keys, he snatched them. "Look Rose, this is going to be easier than I expected."

The woman, Rose, sighed and rolled her eyes. "You're being rude. Again."

"Well, that's me, rude and-"

"Not ginger. I know." She gave him an indulgent smile before turning her attention back at Craig. "I'm sorry about him; he can be a bit…eccentric."

"I'm sorry, who are you?"

"I'm Rose, Rose Tyler, and this here's the Doctor. Well, Doctor Michael Smith. He just likes to be called the Doctor, fancies himself the Doctor, really, and it's just easier if we all let him believe that." She grinned at him and Craig couldn't help but blush. He was in love with Sophie, of course, but he wasn't blind; she was very pretty. "We saw your advert at the shop and hoped to see the bedroom for rent. What's your name again?"

"I- uh. Craig Owens." He blinked. "I only put the advert out today - didn't even put my address." What was going on here?

At that, Rose bit her lip and looked at…the Doctor. Funny how easy he accepted the man's nickname.

"Well, you're lucky we came along! More lucky than you know." He looked up to the second floor. "We may not be young professionals," at Rose's 'ahem', he rectified, "well, Rose is certainly young. I'm more of an ancient amateur. Frankly, we're an absolute dream. The stuff of legend, even." He winked at the blonde.

Shaking his head, Craig snatched the keys back. "You can't have those! They're…" He paused, before continuing, "Anyway. Don't even know if I want you staying."

"I know you might have not been looking for a pair," Rose finally inputted, "but I promise we won't be in the way. We'll be-" Before she could finish, the Doctor suddenly made his way through the door.

"Excuse me!" he exclaimed.

"Rose, be a dear and handle the rent, would you?"

Craig watched as Rose rolled her eyes. "I'm sorry about him; he tends to get carried away when he's excited and doesn't think things through. I hope we can come to an arrangement, though; no other places around here to rent."

"Well, I-" He was cut off by the noises coming from the kitchen and heard Rose groan.

"Come on, let's go see what he's doing before he burns the place down and you have no home as well."

----

When they entered the kitchen, Rose smelled something cooking and grinned when she saw the Doctor was stirring eggs, ham, and cheese in a pan. She hadn't realised she was hungry until now. He looked up and grinned. "Are you two hungry? I'm hungry. Who's that girl on the fridge?"

Rose took a peek at the photo and smiled as she saw 'CRAIG ROCKS' spelled out from the letter magnets. She had a feeling that it was the woman in the photo who had done that, but she let the Doctor question Craig for now. Sure, they were here to investigate; that didn't mean they had to go in blind and live with someone they didn't know. Though if their future selves had asked Amy to leave them a note then things should be fine. Eventually. She leaned against the counter next to the sink when she was done with her observation of the fridge.

"My friend. Sophie."

"Girlfriend?"

"A friend who is a girl. There's nothing going on."

"Ah, that's completely normal. Didn't quite work for me, but I'm not complaining." The Doctor turned to Rose and gave her a wink and she couldn't help but giggle.

Unlike the Doctor, however, she could hear the longing in Craig's voice and wondered if the woman, Sophie, felt the same for him. Judging by what the letters spelled out on the fridge, she was sure he at least had a chance.

"We met at work about a year ago at the call centre," he continued.

"Oh really, a call centre? That could be handy." It was just like the Doctor to get a scoop on the resources available, but this early? Well, it wasn't too much of a surprise; it'd shock her more if he actually came up with a plan rather than just let things happen. Guess that was up to her. She looked around the room, humming in amusement when, after Craig had told the Doctor about his job's rubbish business model, her Time Lord had responded with, "I've got one of those faces. People never stop blurting out their plans while I'm around." It was true, sometimes. He seemed completely harmless until you looked him straight in the eyes and saw the leashed storm within.

"So, Craig," she finally interrupted before the Doctor had the poor man spill all his secrets. "Mind showing me around while the Doctor sets up? I mean, if you do decide to let us rent, I'd like to know where we'd be staying." She reached into her satchel and took out a leather wallet filled with a few leaflets she knew were blank, but would look like credentials to him, along with a couple of their many fake IDs.

"Right! Well, this is the parlour-"

"And what a beautiful parlour it is! Clearly you're a man of impeccable taste." He shut up when Rose shot him a look.

"The kitchen, of course, which will be shared like it said in the advert and here's the room…" His voice trailed off as he exited the kitchen/parlour to the main hallway.

This time, the Doctor gave Rose a worried glance and she simply presented him with a smile.

"It's a bit small for two," Craig told Rose when she came into the bedroom. "This is Mark's old room. He owns the place - moved out about a month ago. An uncle he'd never even heard of died and left him a load of money."

"How convenient," she mumbled under her breath. That would be something else she and the Doctor would take care of when they were done here, then. "Well, here are our National Insurance Numbers, NHS numbers, and references."

"Is that a reference form the Archbishop of Canterbury?" He stared in astonishment.

"Yeah, the Doctor's a favourite of his, did him a favour and the Bishop does love his cricket."

"Are you two done yet?" the Doctor called out. "Dinner is served."

"Right, let's go." Before they could enter the kitchen again, however, Craig turned to Rose. "Where's your stuff?"

Rose looked down at her bag. "Um, well, we kind of came here a bit impromptu, but we'll get that sorted eventually. Does that mean you'll let us stay?"

"We're staying?" The Doctor's head popped out the door. "Awesome!" he exclaimed, before wincing. "Rose, how many times to I have to tell you not to ever let me say that again."

She simply stuck her tongue out at him.

As they settled down in the parlour, Owen on the single couch and the pair on the sofa, they tucked in. Rose continued her cursory search of the room and pointed at a black spot on a corner of the ceiling. Her fork halfway to her mouth, she paused. "What's that?"

"Ah! I suppose that's…dry rot?" Craig said after swallowing down his mouthful of omelette, though it sounded more like guesswork. "Or damp. Or mildew." She was right.

The Doctor craned his neck towards where she was pointing and Rose didn't like the look on his face. "Or none of the above.

"I'll get someone to fix it."

"No, I'll fix it. I'm good at fixing rot. Call me the Rotmeister." He furrowed his brow. "No, I'm the Doctor, don't call me the Rotmeister. Really, Rose, you need to stop me when I say things like this. Anyway, until then, I have the strangest feeling we shouldn't touch it."

She raised a brow at him and tried not to look at the stain. There was something about it that made her stomach turn.

"So, who lives upstairs?" the Doctor asked after a brief moment of silence.

"Just some bloke." Craig shrugged.

"What does he look like?" Rose asked curiously. Didn't he even know his name…? Craig seemed like the type of person who would be careful and not just let anyone in. Granted, they were in here against his will, mostly, but they'd done so with good reason (and the Doctor's impatience).

"Normal. He's very quiet." Suddenly there was a loud bang coming from above. "Usually." Polishing off the omelette, he praised the Doctor's culinary skills. "Where did you learn to cook?"

"Paris, in the eight-no, hang on. No, that's right, in the eighties," he corrected himself in a rush when she raised a brow at him again. Rose knew he usually didn't care about the propriety of time frames, but considering they'd be staying here for a week or so it'd be wise for them to fit in as much as possible (well, mostly him) and she was glad he'd thought that far ahead. Although it had been a while since she'd lived linearly (the same amount of time as the Doctor, really), she was still more aware of what terminology to use. The Doctor said it had to do with her 'human upbringing'.

"Has anyone ever told you that you're a bit weird?" Craig informed the Time Lord.

"Never stop," Rose said gaily. She noticed that Craig hadn't let go of the keys since they came in. He was keeping them close, keeping them safe. They must belong to someone very important to him. Perhaps Sophie… She saw that the Doctor had also zeroed in on them, but spoke up before he could say anything rude. "Is it really alright if we stay?"

Craig looked at both of them for a long while, before sighing. "If both of you are to stay here, it's going to have to be six hundred pounds rather than four."

"That seems fair." Rose nodded in agreement.

"And the Doctor here can cook, so it's good enough for me. Just… Mark and I had an arrangement? If you need me out of your hair, just give me a shout, okay? Otherwise, I'd appreciate it if you were…quiet." He seemed uncomfortable as he avoided Rose's eyes, his cheeks flushing red.

She had a feeling he wouldn't have been so bothered had it just been the Doctor. That was alright, though. She thought it was sweet.

"Why would we want that?" the Doctor asked, clueless.

Rose sighed and rolled her eyes (she'd been doing that a lot, recently). He was just so used to the TARDIS's walls blocking off sounds from their other companions, he didn't stop to think it wouldn't be the same here. "Don't worry, Craig," she directed herself at the young man. "We promise we won't be a bother. Thank you." Reaching into her bag again, she took out a few hundred pound notes. "Here's a six hundred deposit, and another six for this month." Picking up the plates, she took them to the sink to wash them. She heard Craig give the Doctor a set of keys, explaining which went to what door, and smirked when he exclaimed excitedly.

After settling in, Rose let the Doctor use the bathroom first before going in herself. As she was brushing her teeth, she stopped when she began feeling nauseated. Spitting out saliva and paste, she took deep breaths. Her vision tunneled and her heartbeat sped up. Rose gripped the sink tightly, hoping the feeling would go away soon. The room spun around her and she tried to call out to the Doctor, but she couldn't find her voice, and then… Then it just stopped. The world stood still, she could see clearly again, and the overwhelming urge to retch went away, but the sick feeling in her stomach still lingered. Why was she feeling like this? What happened?

Rinsing her mouth and splashing water on her face, Rose dried herself up and walked to her room. Entering, she heard the Doctor speaking with Amy and telling her he needed to pick up a few things. He whirled around and greeted her with a grin that soon slipped off when he saw the look on her face.

"What's wrong, love?" He looked at her, his hand twitching and she knew he was resisting the urge to go for the sonic screwdriver.

"I, I don't know," she admitted. "I haven't been feeling well since we arrived here and while I was in the loo, everything was spinning and…" She shrugged.

The Doctor pulled her in for a hug. "There's a localised time loop going on. I don't know what's happening upstairs, but we need to find out soon. The TARDIS is being affected; I should have realised you would be too."

Rose shook her head, face buried in his chest. "It's not your fault. We don't know what's going on, but we'll figure it out, yeah?" She looked up at him, sighing as he leaned down and pressed his lips against hers.

"Yes," he murmured against her, promising, "Together."

Chapter Text

The Doctor laid next to Rose, her head tucked on his chest as he ran a hand soothingly through her blonde hair and the other held one of hers. He had just come back in from a quick run to a local junkyard. The guard there had been quite nice and, with a hundred pound note slipped his way, had allowed the Doctor to rummage through the place for a few items he needed. Sighing, he tried to ease his mind at the thought of taking the slow path. It was something the two hadn't had in centuries, but he didn't mind so much as long as he had Rose. They needed to solve whatever was going on upstairs so they could get back to the TARDIS and Amy. With already one very important mystery to solve, they needed to get this done on time.

----

They had plans today. He was taking Rose and their current companion, Amy Pond, somewhere beautiful to cheer her up. The redhead had been feeling rather down and she didn't know why, though the couple certainly did. It was something that had the Doctor and Rose arguing about constantly, though they usually made sure Amy was never around. She heard them shouting at each other in the galley the night before, however, and had been shocked enough that tears welled in her eyes. The two of them apologised to her and each other, and he'd promised to take them somewhere magnificent.

Today, as he danced around the console, Amy began to tease him, trying to dispel some of the tension that was still between him and Rose.

"Bet you won't land us where you mean to."

He'd taken that bet of course, but immediately regretted it when he started having difficulty landing. When they finally did land, he was wary and went to confirm where they were. Before he could check the screen, however, Rose grabbed his hand and dragged him towards the door.

Today, hand-in-hand, the blonde and the Time Lord made their way out of the TARDIS as soon as they landed. Rose stepped out while the Doctor looked around.

"No, Amy, it's definitely the fifth moon of Sinda Callista." Damn that girl for being right.

"I think I can see a Ryman's," came Rose's teasing voice and the Doctor sulked. Sometimes having two women on the TARDIS was A Very Not Good Idea.

Suddenly, there was a loud blast, and the Doctor and Rose were knocked off their feet, landing on the grass littered with fallen leaves. Rolling onto their backs to look at what happened, they were astonished to see the TARDIS gone. "Amy!" they cried out in worry before turning to one another. The sounds of the time machine could still be heard until it disappeared completely a minute later.

"Doctor, what's going on?"

"I don't know, Rose, I don't know." He looked to where the TARDIS was meant to be. He could still feel her, so that was a good sign at least.

"Amy," Rose whispered and, faintly, he could feel the whirl of worry for their friend. The younger woman had already been through enough in the past month without needing whatever the hell was going on to happen to her. He offered a hand to help pull her up and she took it, burrowing into his embrace and sighing as his arms wrapped around her.

"We need to figure out what it is about this place that isn't letting the TARDIS land." He moved to hold her by her arms and look straight into her eyes. "We will figure this out and Amy will be just fine, okay?"

Rose nodded, taking a breath to begin to compose herself.

"That's my Rose." He kissed the top of her head before digging into his pockets for the mobile phone Rose made him carry. He dialed the TARDIS and frowned when the call didn't go through. Though he'd expected it, it was still rather inconvenient. The Doctor sighed and searched through his pockets again. He was sure he had something he could rig up into a communication device to get into contact with their companion.

----

While the Doctor began rigging up a doohickey for long-and-temporal-wavelength radio transmission, Rose wandered into town, looking for an ATM to use the psychic paper on. They needed to find a place to stay and, in order to do that, they needed money. Thankfully, they were both technically still employed with UNIT and rarely use the money anyhow. After taking out a few hundred pounds from their joint account for a hotel, food, and in case of emergency, she slipped it into the bag that she'd prepared for their anticipated trip to the fifth moon.

Once she had a room settled for the night, she walked around the shops and restaurants, looking for something for her and the Doctor to eat. The concern for Amy weighing over her, she finally decided on a quick meal so she could get back to the Doctor and solve this as soon as possible. Entering a paper shop, she selected a couple of bags of crisps, water bottles, and a few cold sandwiches. She wrinkled her nose at a tuna sandwich she picked up before putting it back down.

Exiting the shop, she thought of how odd it was that she wasn't in the mood for tuna when it was one of her favourites, but she was then distracted by a little note taped to the display window, a very familiar symbol written on it. Making sure that the clerk wasn't looking outside, she grabbed it, pocketed it, and walked towards the park. When she was sure no one was paying attention, she pulled out the slip of paper and realised that it's her name written in Gallifreyan. How…? Flipping it open, she recognised the red letters as Amy's handwriting.

Dear Doctor and Rose,

It can never be a normal day with you two around, can it? Being trapped in the TARDIS was no fun, you know! But it only felt like a few hours for me, so don't worry, Rose; I'm fine - a bit scared and worried for both of you as well, but fine.

Unfortunately, it's a few days long for you. Something about the place you'll be staying at wasn't - isn't, or whatever, letting the TARDIS land. You two of you didn't really explain. The Doctor just asked me to write what I felt needed to be said so you two could 'do things right'. He built a communication device before you get this, I think, and he doesn't even mention it until you get back. I'm sure you already found a place for the night, Rose, so all you have to do is come back tomorrow to the shop I'll leave - left, this note at and Craig will have put an advert for a room in his place. He sounded like a nice enough bloke and he'll let both of you stay even if he was hesitant at first.

Look, I hope whatever has been causing tension between you two got/gets solved in this time. You didn't say much, Rose, when you got back. Just went to your room. The Doctor followed soon after he told me to write this.

Take care of each other like you always do and everything will be fine.

Love,

Amy

An address was scribbled at the bottom. Rose nibbled on her bottom lip as she thought about being stuck in one time with the Doctor for a lot longer than she'd first anticipated. Not that she minded being with him. She was just afraid of how he'd react.

"Oh, you brought snacks!"

She looked up to see the Doctor beaming at her, as if he hadn't seen her all day (really, it'd taken her an hour at most). She couldn't help but think how adorable he looked, sitting on the ground, tweed jacket off, the bench he'd taken residence on earlier now covered with bits and bobs. She shook her head and focused on the matter at hand.

"Forget the snacks. I found this note outside the shop. It's from Amy-"

The Doctor snatched it as soon as she was within his reach. He scanned the note quickly, frowned, sighed, and nodded. She knew he wouldn't like what the note said about being without the TARDIS for a few days. She didn't like it. Sitting next to him, the plastic bag with their meal rustling, she gave him a smile that he returned. At least they knew it would turn out alright in the end. Things could definitely much, much worse.

"It's definitely Amy from the future, yeah? Our future, when we get back to her?" Rose questioned him as she brought out their meal.

"Yes," he confirmed. "I promise, Rose, everything's going to be alright."

Rose's worry was eased somewhat by this. She knew, of course, with the Doctor anything was possible, even the bad, but she trusted him like no one else. Nibbling on her sandwich, she asked him about the communicator, which looked just like a bluetooth to her.

"It has power, but it's not connected yet. Need to figure out the proper transmission first. Well transmissions, since we're not just talking about communicating from here to Nevada. We're talking about communicating from here to…Reno, from the year…twenty-ten?" He guessed and she nodded, having seen the date on the paper. "To the year two hundred thousand and ten." She could sense a more complicated tangent approaching, but when none came, she saw him staring at the Gallifreyan symbol.

----

The Doctor's hearts fluttered when he saw the symbol on the other side of the note. It may have been Amy who wrote it, but obviously he had also left himself a message.

He thought about the first time Rose caught him writing this particular symbol. They had been undercover for a couple of days as students at a famous university in Nimbus II. An old acquaintance had asked for his help, so he and Rose had pretended to be exchange students for Professor Oiju's class, interested in literature. There had been some students missing and all of them had one thing in common: Oiju's class. The Doctor had been pretending to pay attention while all he was really doing was focusing on Rose and how utterly bored he knew she was. His blonde mate was always up for learning something new, but Oiju's lectures were completely dull.

At the end of class, she had asked to see his notes, curious as to what the Doctor had taken from it, but he'd refused. She'd simply fluttered her lashes and given him a tongue-and-teeth smile before he handed the notebook over. Looking at the same Gallifreyan symbol doodled over and over again, she frowned, asking him what he'd written. He'd stammered and stuttered the way he hadn't, even as an adolescent at the Academy, before finally confessing that it was her name. She'd dragged him to the TARDIS and straight to their room after that. What he hadn't told her was that it was actually a little more complicated than that. It's her name as she is now, was, and will be.

Of course, soon after their quick - but not too quick, break, it had been back to business, and they'd found it was actually one of Ouji's students who had been kidnapping students who were 'better' than him.

Bringing his thoughts back to the present, he finished eating his own meal and gathered the items he'd left on the bench. Helping Rose stand, he wondered, "So, what are we going to do while we wait for tomorrow?" Grabbing their waste, they threw it into a nearby trash bin.

Rose pondered this. It had been morning for her and the Doctor when they were thrown out of the TARDIS and into Colchester in the late afternoon. It was now early evening, but she wasn't anywhere near being tired. "How about we do a little exploring?"

He grinned at her as if she'd just suggested clay could be made into gold, his green eyes sparkling brightly. "Genius plan, Rose Tyler! Would you care lead the way?" He bowed at her elegantly, before offering her his arm.

They didn't arrive to their hotel room until almost 3:00am and they entered the room, laughing loudly, hushing one another to keep quiet. The two hadn't done much, really, just walked around, scoping the area, and finding the place of their future, if temporary, residence. The Doctor had felt something odd and mumbled how glad he was that he hadn't used his sonic screwdriver at all since arriving. "It's best to have the element of surprise," he'd told her.

Rose was too wired up to sleep, adrenaline rushing through her while she went to the bathroom to complete her nightly ritual.

The Doctor's eyes raked over her body when she came back into the room in nothing but her knickers, vest, and socks. It was a rather chilly night; the thermostat in the room was broken and the bedding wasn't all that warm, but he knew she hated sleeping in her jeans. He could see the gooseflesh rising on her arms. Without a thought, he pulled off his jacket, slid down his braces, undid his bowtie, and quickly unbuttoned his shirt. "Here, love. At least get an extra layer on."

She smiled at him, a slow, gentle smile. "Thank you." Rose looked at the thermostat. "Nothing you can do about that, is there?" She shrugged into his shirt, bringing a sleeve up her nose as she took in his scent surrounding her.

"'Fraid not. I don't want to let whatever is here know that there are advanced lifeforms onto it. So no using the screwdriver at all while we're here." He waggled a finger at her, but realised she's no longer looking anywhere near his face or even his neck. No, she's looking straight at his bare chest. He smirked, bending down to remove his shoes before laying on the bed and patting the spot next to him.

She rolled her eyes and sat down, an arm automatically coming around her waist and pulling her closer until she collapsed on top of him. Her breasts pressed against him through her thin vest, nipples growing taut. When she looked up to glare at him, it was washed away by the intensity of his gaze. "Doctor…"

"Rose, I promise everything will work out."

The Doctor was many things. He'd kept things from her, pushed her away, sent her away 'for her own good', thought himself above all things at times before she brought him down a peg or three, thought he was no good, thought he was better off on his own, and was a horrible driver a lot of the time. However, he never, ever broke a promise. Especially not to her.

She sighed and nodded, releasing the tension she'd been feeling. He knew she still wasn't happy they were keeping important things from their companion, but for now, he hoped she would focus on the problem at hand. "Did you have any luck with the com?"

"I did!"

She sighed in exasperation when he didn't continue. "Well? Did you talk with Amy? Is she okay?"

"Thought you might want to talk to her first." He smiled indulgently and completely innocent. Perhaps a little too innocent, but a man had to try.

"You're just afraid she'll blame you and shout your ear off," she teased.

"Me, afraid of Amelia Pond?" He paused. "Maybe."

Rose laughed and shook her head. "Alright then, give it here."

He sighed in relief.

For the next hour or so, Rose explained to their redheaded friend what was going on and what they had to do. Rose had flinched at the panic she first heard in Amy's voice, but was able to calm her down. In turn, he watched his mate relax at the knowledge that Amy was safe, probably safer than they were. The TARDIS would make sure she was okay, he was sure. Though she frowned when she turned off the communicator. Turning to him, she told the Doctor that the TARDIS sounded sick.

He frowned as well. They weren't quite sure what was going on, just that it had something to do with the place they'd be staying at. Was it something living in the walls? Did it have anything to do with the cracks?

"You're shouting."

He startled out of his thoughts when he felt fingers twining through his and he heard her. "Sorry." He dragged her back to him, kissing her temple as he spooned behind her. He felt her mind graze his, soothing his thoughts and he was overwhelmed by the love he felt for her so he passed it on for her to feel. Their minds were connected, hands wandering almost chastely. Throughout the rest of the night and all the way until the sun had finally risen fully over the town, they had comforted one another, sharing feelings and memories.

After a quick shower and slipping back into the same clothes with a frown, Rose let the Doctor know they were going to go buy some clothes for her.

"What, why?" He turned away from the mirror where he'd been using the reflection to fix his bowtie.

Rose sighed and came up to him, practiced hands finishing the job. Once she straightened up his bowtie, she told him matter-of-factly. "I can't very well wear the same thing every day."

The Doctor pouted. "What's wrong with wearing the same thing every day?"

She stroked his ego. "It all may be very well for you. You always look gorgeous, but I need a change of clothes."

He sulked, whinged, and pouted, but of course gave in.

After a quick stop to an ATM, where the Doctor took out three thousand pounds (a startled Rose quickly put the bills into her bag and hoped no one else had been close enough to see how much money they were now carrying), they entered a second hand shop. Rose took her time, looking for a few jeans, some blouses, a jumper, and even socks in her appropriate size. The Doctor saw her hovering over some underthings and he told her not to worry.

Rose raised a brow. "Why not?"

He blushed and simply led her to the front to pay for the items she'd selected.

Before they arrived at the front door of where they were meant to stay, she rounded up on him. "Why don't I have to worry about my underthings, Doctor?"

He mumbled. "I may have a few extra sets in my pocket."

She stared at him. "Dare I ask why you have extra knickers and bras in your pocket?"

"In case of emergencies," he continued to mumble, eyes darting to look at anything but her, trying not to think of the times they had…impromptu moments during their adventures and she would end up with missing knickers, or a bra cast aside somewhere she didn't want to pick it up from. He watched her cheeks colour and he thought she'd go off on him again, but Rose simply giggled and kissed his cheek. She then took his hand in hers and they continued walking down the street, towards their next adventure.

"Just let me do the talking, alright?"

----

"What, why? I can-"

He felt Rose shift, feeling the warm of their hand on his chest spread through him. It had been awhile since he got some sleep. Maybe if he just shut his eyes for a little bit…

Chapter Text

Rose sat on the bed, towel-drying her hair before running a comb through it to undo the tangles. She laughed when she heard the Doctor singing, Veri's Caro Nome. One day, before the Doctor had regenerated into this current body, they had found an old record player with hundreds of records in various boxes. She fondly recalled his enjoyment of opera a few bodies back. When Caro Nome began playing, he finally gave in and asked her to dance. It was their song. The first song they had danced to when they'd been stuck on Earth in his third life. The translation circuit hadn't been working at that time and the TARDIS had refused to translate it then as well. Now, she couldn't hear it in English either, with the time and space ship stuck in a time loop. Still, she derived that, while it was a lovely, it was a sad song.

The Doctor might not have the best of singing voices in this body (his previous body had a more decent one), but what he lacked in talent, he made up with enthusiasm. She just started humming along when she heard a series of knocks followed by a shout. "Doctor!"

"Hello?!" the Time Lord shouted back.

"How long are you going to be in there?" Craig asked.

"Oh, sorry! I like a good soak."

Rose sighed, shaking her head in amusement. It was true. Even in his last body, when he would opt out of taking a sonic shower, he would take even longer than she did! Each body loved to bathe as well and she had taken advantage of that on several occasions. Before she could delve further into that train of thought, she suddenly heard a loud bang coming from upstairs and opened the bedroom door immediately. "Morning, Craig! Sorry about himself," she greeted just as he looked up.

"Oh, morning Rose," he responded, distracted, before wondering aloud, "What the hell was that?"

She also looked up, biting her lip. She heard the Doctor shout, "What was that?" She thought to respond, but Craig started moving to the door leading to the main hallway.

"I'm just going to go upstairs, see if he's okay."

Rose wondered whether she should stop the man, follow him, or wait for the Doctor to come out. Rolling her eyes at herself, she followed Craig up the stairs.

Inside the shower, the Doctor worried when he didn't hear a response from his flatmate. He called out Rose's name and frowned when he didn't hear an answer from her either. He waited twenty point four seconds before he finally pushed the shower curtain aside and grabbed a towel. Stepping out, he slipped and dragged the curtain down with him. Cursing, he tried to wipe the soap he didn't manage to wash off before exiting and did his best to push away the panic he was feeling. He didn't know what they were dealing with here and if Rose… There was no choice then. He felt around the sink for his sonic screwdriver. If Rose or Craig got hurt in any way, it would be his fault, and if Rose was harmed… Well, there was no telling what he'd do.

Upstairs, Craig had knocked on the door and Rose tried to peek over his shoulder, but didn't get a good look when the door opened the door a crack. He'd dismissed Craig's help, though Rose had the strangest feeling something had looked right at her before closing the door. She shuddered and went back down, making sure Craig was following close behind. She felt a millisecond of panic enter her mind and knew it wasn't coming from her. Immediately, she quickened her steps. Whatever had caused the Doctor to feel this way was strong if she felt it without his touch.

Just as she reached the final step, the Doctor came rushing into the main hallway in nothing but a towel and a…

"What happened? What's going on?" The Time Lord was blinking repeatedly, still trying to remove the sting the soap was causing, brandishing…

Was that? Yep, it was. Rose didn't know whether to be amused or frustrated with him.

"Is that my toothbrush?" Craig looked at the object, baffled.

The Doctor was just as confused once he realised what he had at hand. "Correct." He'd been aiming for his screwdriver, but obviously had missed. It was a good thing too; if he had used the sonic screwdriver instead of a simple electric toothbrush, who knew what kind of advantage he could have given whatever was hiding here. He handed it back. "You spoke to the man upstairs?"

"Yeah."

"What did he look like?" He invaded the human man's personal space.

"More normal than you do at the moment, mate. What are you doing?" Craig stared at the odd man as he looked upstairs.

A giggle finally escaped Rose's lips and she pressed them together when he turned around and finally focused his green eyes on her. She observed his hair standing on end, her eyes wandering down his back where droplets of water were drifting down to the blue towel, the only thing still covering his dignity.

The Doctor turned back to the young man. "I thought you might be in trouble."

"Thanks. Well if I ever am in trouble, you can come and save me with my toothbrush." Sighing, Craig went to pick up the ringing phone in the kitchen.

When the door closed, the Doctor turned right around to Rose and caught her looking at him from head to toe. "See something you like, Tyler?"

Before she could answer, the front door opened.

"Ooh! Hello?"

The two turned their heads simultaneously and came face-to-face with a slightly older looking blonde woman.

"Ah!" The Doctor looked at Rose, brows knit together.

Rose sighed, shaking her head and went to greet the newcomer. "Hello! You must be Sophie." She stuck her hand out to shake her hand. "Rose Tyler."

"Mmm hmm." Sophie's eyes darted back and forth between them, eyeing them suspiciously, as she shook the apparently-young blonde's hand. They looked nothing like how she'd imagined them.

Rose felt the tension of the woman and tried to ease it. "This here's the Doctor, err, Doctor…" Shit, she'd forgotten what alias she'd given him. She hadn't done that in years; it was always him who forgot.

"Doctor Michael Smith, at your service, Ms Sophie. Just call me the Doctor." He took her hand as well, kissing the back of it instead. Turning, he found Rose looking at his towel-covered bum, unconsciously licking her lips. His desire for her, which was always simmering just below the surface, threatened to boil over. He shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts, and made his way to the kitchen to find something to cool him down before he gave into the urge to sweep his blonde off her feet to bring her to their temporary room.

"Uh huh…" She stared at the odd couple, trailing after them, where she heard Craig talking on the phone.

"No, Dom's in Malta. There's nobody around. Hang on a sec." Craig covered the phone's mouthpiece and directed himself to the Doctor. "We've got a match today, pub league, we're one down if you fancy it?"

Grabbing a bottle of juice from the fridge and making sure it didn't contain any pears in it, he took a gulp before responding. "Pub league? A drinking competition?"

"No…" He frowned. "Football… play football?"

He wondered if Rose fancied a shag later. Maybe they could get Craig to go out with Sophie tonight; it'd been three day, seven hours, and forty-three seconds, Earth time… "Football." What? OH! "Football! Yes, blokes play football!" They had to fit in, right? What was more normal than football? "I'm good at football. I think." He heard Rose snort and turned to see her leaning against the doorframe, arms crossed, and looking quite gorgeous in her fitted jeans. The green jumper she wore made her eyes look more hazel-green than golden-brown and he thought about working her up into a frenzy to bring them to the warm gold they sometimes became when he brought her over the edge. The Doctor finally snapped out of his thoughts when he felt Craig pat him on the cheek for saving his life.

"Hey, Soph," the human man greeted cheerfully, glad that they didn't have to forfeit today's match.

"Hey, I thought I'd come early and meet your new flatmates." She smiled. Sophie had been worried for Craig since he had called her to tell her about the couple. They knew nothing about them. For all they knew, they could be drug dealers! Why else would a couple come here with little to no luggage and no plan for jobs? The young blonde looked like she'd just up and left home while her partner seemed unconcerned with his state of dress. Either he was really comfortable with his body or he wanted to make sure to keep the blonde's attention on him at all times. She was young, could still find someone else. What if he'd corrupted her? What if they, in turn, corrupted her sweet and loveable Craig? Sophie mentally shook her head. Craig wasn't hers.

"Do you play, Sophie?" the Doctor asked, curiously, drinking some more juice. It was interesting to see how this couple acted around each other. He'd seen many humans dance around their feelings for one another and it always seemed silly to him. Of course, he couldn't talk. How long had he danced around his feelings for Rose? No, bad Time Lord. No thinking about Rose right now as it'd just lead him to think about… Wasn't he supposed to be mad at her, anyway? Well, maybe mad was too harsh. Definitely upset, though. Yes, he was upset with her.

"No, Soph just stands on the sidelines; she's my mascot."

Rose winced from the doorway. Utterly the wrong thing to say.

"I'm your…" Sophie's smile fell from her face, "mascot. Mascot?!" She looked at Craig, sharply.

He fidgeted and smiled nervously, wondering how he was going to get out of that one. "Well, not my mascot. It's a football match, I can't take a date." Now why did he have to go on and say that?

"I didn't say I was your date!" she exclaimed.

"Neither did I," he muttered, keeping a stiff smile on his face as he just stared at the Doctor.

Green eyes darted back and forth; the Doctor felt the tension choke everyone inside except Rose, he noticed. She simply shook her head and sighed.

"Come on, Doctor," Rose broke the silence. "Let's get you dressed up so you can join Craig and his team." She turned around to head back to their room.

"Oh, the spare kit's just in the bottom drawer," Craig told the Doctor as he followed Rose.

"Thanks." He'd already exited, when he realised something. Walking backwards, he shot Sophie a look. "You unlocked the door. How did you do that? Those are your keys, you must have left them last time you came here."

"Yeah, but I… How do you know these are my keys?"

Rose sighed as she heard the conversation. So much for stopping him before he said something to embarrass the other, would-be, couple. "Come on, Doctor. Don't want to make Craig late, now do we?" She tried to keep the frustration out of her voice. Though he'd been quite distracting, half-naked as he was, it didn't tamper down the annoyance she felt at his carelessness. She waited until they were both in before she closed the door and rounded off on him. "Really, Doctor? We're supposed to be fitting in. You're not helping by grabbing Craig's toothbrush and kissing hands."

"It was just an automatic response. I was trying to keep you safe!" He knew it'd been stupid to even think about using his sonic screwdriver, but he'd worried when he couldn't hear either Rose or Craig. "You shouldn't have allowed Craig to go upstairs and you shouldn't have followed him!" He was upset that she'd willingly put herself in danger. While their life was never safe, he hated any time she put herself in the front lines. One would think after over a millenium with her, he'd be used to it, but he would always worry about her. He looked through the bottom drawer and, just as Craig had said, found a uniform set.

"Safe is relative! I couldn't have let Craig go on his own. He thinks that it's some older gentleman who lives upstairs and he was worried. What was I supposed to say? 'No, Craig, it's just some alien who's been causing some freak time loop; it's best we just leave him be'? Look, it turned out alright in the end, yeah? Nothing happened and I think this thing might be some shapeshifter of some sort."

Not hearing a word she was saying, he growled, throwing the towel on the ground and grabbing his pants before slipping the shorts on. This was an old argument, one neither could ever let go of, one he was certain they would continue to have for the rest of their very long lives. It didn't make things any less frustrating. Didn't she understand the risk they were taking this time around? They were stuck here on Earth, during a time where there were very little technological advances that could help them even with the gadgets he was building. He couldn't use the sonic without being detected and there was no TARDIS to help him fix the problem in a snap, no TARDIS to whisk them away at a moment's notice. She took a dangerous chance. "Anything would have been better than putting yourself and Craig at risk! You could come to get me and-"

"Doctor, if I hadn't gone up with Craig, who knows what would have happened to him!" Rose breathed in, trying to calm herself. "I'm going to tell you something I told the Brigadier and Doris a long time ago. With you, it's a better life. I don't mean all the travelling or seeing aliens, spaceship, experiencing different times and cultures. That doesn't matter. Don't give me that look," she chided. "You know I love travelling with you. But you showed me a better way of living when you saved me from what could have been an otherwise mundane life. You showed me that you don't just let things happen, that you don't just give up. You taught me to take a stand and to say no. It's because of you that I have the guts to do what's right instead of just running away." She spoke just as passionately as she had all those years ago. "You've done that for me just as you've done that for others. We've done it. Together. I wouldn't change any of it for the world."

The Doctor quickly pulled on the blue uniform shirt before staring at her. Green eyes glowed with an intensity one tended to accumulate after living over a thousand years. They'd shared a lot, verbally and mentally, throughout the years, but she had never shared this with him. Not like this, not in so many words all at once. Part of him was fascinated that this pure-hearted woman could speak so passionately about him when all he felt was that he had ruined her utterly. It didn't matter how long they had been together; sometimes he wondered if she would have been better off in her original universe. He told her as much. "What have I turned you into?" He was reverted back to a time where they had been working to save the universe for the umpteenth time and Davros had said, "This is the truth, Doctor: You take ordinary people and you fashion them into weapons. Behold your Children of Time transformed into murderers. I made the Daleks, Doctor. You made this." Rose had then rid the universe of the Daleks. Not the last, or first, difficult decision she'd have to make. If it weren't for him, she would be leading a normal life.

"You've turned me into nothing!" she exclaimed. "I thought we were over this already. You've shown me the universe and it's wonderful. But with all that beauty, there is just as much horror out there, Doctor. You taught me a better way of living. And it may not always be safe, but, when it counts, I know I can make the right choices, whether it's me or the universe. Whether it's you or the universe. Whether it's…" Her voice choked here. "I grew up, I learned, and I did it with you. This is who I've become, who we've become. We're not children anymore, just looking for another thrill. This is us, right here, right now. Alright?" She breathed heavily, trying to catch her breath and hold in the tears. If he couldn't understand that after all this time… Her heartbeat increased as the silence stretched on.

The Doctor kept his eyes shut, her words resonating and he took notice of the words she'd echoed back at him. Finally, he let out a little shuddering breath and simply said, "Okay."

Rose blinked, mouth gaping slightly in astonishment. That's all he was going to say? 'Okay?' An arm wrapped around her waist while the other went to weave its fingers through her hair, bringing her close to him. Their foreheads pressed together and she felt an almost overwhelming wave of love course through her. It reassured her that he never wanted anyone but her, that he loved her just the way she was. She also felt a hint of his fear, a fear that he would lose her, a fear that had never quite left him even after all this time. In return, she showed him her own unease. That he would one day realise that there really was nothing special about her, that he would leave her, that she would lose him, that he would lose her, that she would go too far one day to keep him with her forever. Those feelings were quickly followed by the love she held for him, the joy he brought to her life, the excitement she felt during every adventure, the tranquility that settled when they had their quiet times (domestics, though he'd never call them that) in the TARDIS. It helped lessen the burden and reassure one another that they were here now.

"Let's go," he said after what had felt like a conundrum of an eternity and a millisecond, when only twenty seconds had past. He took her hand in his and led her out the bedroom door.

Rose stood still, their hands tugged when she refused to move.

He turned to her, confused. "What?"

She looked at him.

He looked down at himself, then back at her. "What?"

She directed her eyes to his chest and he looked down, still not sure what she was getting at. Finally, she sighed in exasperation coloured with amusement. "Trying to create a new footie style?"

He checked himself once again and she could practically see the light bulb glow. "Ah." He'd accidentally put the shirt on backwards.

Chapter Text

If she were being honest, Rose was nervous that the Doctor agreed to sub for Craig's football team. Did he even know how to play? No doubt he understood the game, remembering when she'd caught him watching a match or two with a previous companion, Mickey Smith… However, the Doctor had never been one for sports unless it was running, leaping, hopping, swimming, fucking… She shook her head. Now was not the time to be thinking about their extracurricular activities.

"Do I really have to introduce you as the Doctor?" Craig asked as they made their way towards the pitch.

"Well, yeah. Everyone calls me that." The Doctor shrugged; he would never understand what the big deal was.

"I can't go up to these guys and say, 'Hey, these are my new flatmates, Rose Tyler, and this one calls himself the Doctor'."

"Why not?" the man in question asked, perturbed.

"Because it's weird!"

Rose shared a grin with Sophie and they rolled their eyes, amused at their antics.

"All right, Craig. Soph." One of Craig's friends greeted, and looked at the two strangers before nodding at them.

"Hello! We're Craig's new flatmates. I'm called the Doctor, she's called Rose. Rose Tyler, technically, but Rose will just do, I think."

The man eyed the Doctor warily before shrugging. "All right, Doctor. Rose. I'm Sean." He paid Rose almost no mind, his focus fully to the Doctor and what he could bring to the team. "Where are you strongest?"

Rose raised a brow when the Doctor confidently replied, "Centre midfield, attacking. I like to be where the action is." She had to hold in a groan at that and she stuck her tongue out at him when he winked at her.

"Are you any good, though?" Sean shot back.

"Let's find out."

"Mickey would be so proud!" she teased before he headed off with the rest of the team.

The Doctor pouted. "We will not be telling Rickey the Idiot about my epic fail at footie, okay?" He shook his finger at her and she simply grinned, fluttering her eyelashes at him.

She leaned forward, but then stopped, unsure of what to do. While never conservative in their public displays of affection towards one another, this was a different situation altogether and Rose wasn't quite sure how to act. Was she the clingy girlfriend or the cool, collected one?

Never one to play by society's rules, human or Time Lord, the Doctor took the decision out of her hands and swooped in for a thorough snog. "For good luck, yeah?" He winked before heading off into the field, grinning like a loon at the whooping and whistling of the other men.

He played like a star! Rose grinned widely at his exuberant expression. The Doctor was always good at just about anything and everything he tried, but for the first time she saw him really enjoy himself. He maneuvered and dodged the players flawlessly. When he used his head quite a number of times, her grin widened. Hard head, that one. She was glad he was using it for something useful. Sophie cheered beside her, along with the crowd that had gathered.

As the game dragged on and the smile that Rose had thought stuck permanently began to fade as the Doctor continued keeping the ball to himself, throwing the other team smug smiles. After he stole Craig's turn, it took all she had in her to resist the urge to slap him when he came to kiss her. He had never been much of a team player, but this was a bit much, even for him. It became worse when the crowd began cheering his name.

Finally, the game ended and Craig's team gathered around the Doctor, cheering loudly and giving him pats on the back and shoulder.

The Doctor finally broke away and came towards Rose, a large grin on his face. "Did you see that, Rose? I did it!" He had gotten the hang of it quickly, if he did say so himself. Though it wasn't all that surprising, genius that he was.

Rose crossed her arms. "Yes, you did, didn't you?"

His smile faded. Why was she cross? Before either of them could say anything, however, Sean and the rest of the team crowded them.

"You are so on the team. Next week we've got the Crown and Anchor. We're going to annihilate them," Sean declared.

The Doctor, alarmed at what the young human male had said, turned to him swiftly. "Annihilate? No. No violence, do you understand me? Not while I'm around. Not today, not ever. I'm the Doctor, the Oncoming Storm and…" he trailed off when he realised what utter nonsense he was uttering. "...you basically meant beat them in a football match, didn't you?"

"Yeah." Sean looked at him oddly.

"Lovely. What sort of-?" He was cut off when Craig opened up a can of pop and got sprayed with foam. Everyone exclaimed in surprised, pointing and teasing. It wouldn't have been odd had Rose not suddenly bent over, heaving, and the humans began repeating their actions.

The Doctor cursed, bending down to help Rose around the bench to sit down. "Just breathe, love? Breathe. Is this like before?" She began to nod, then shook her head instead, shutting her eyes and clenching her fists. It was nothing like before. "Is it worse?" he asked, almost afraid of the answer.

It was worse and she didn't want to tell him that, but she had no choice so, when she was able to gather energy, she nodded slowly, once

He cursed internally, trying to push his fear aside, diving into his pocket, and grabbing the communicator he built. "Amy?"

"It's happening again. Worse."

The Doctor tried his best to stay calm. "So I figured. What does the scanner say?"

Amy looked at the screen, gripping the handle. "A lot of nines. Is it good that they're nines? Tell me it's good that they're all nines."

"Yes, yes, it's… It's good." Oh, he was such a liar in this body. It just came so easily. He felt Rose grip his hand and he looked up at her face, contorted in pain. He could never lie to her, though. He had, of course; it was a given, but she always saw through his fibs. Reminding Amy of the zigzag plotter, his hearts almost stopped beating when he heard the young woman screaming. "Amy, are you there?" 'Please be there, please,' he thought, 'please don't have gotten flung into the vortex.' Rose was still conscious, though, so he took that as a positive sign. Still, he sighed in relief when the redhead answered him back.

Once he made sure his companion was alright, he asked her about the numbers and at the same time, Rose sagged forward. He caught her before she could topple him down and carried her to lay on the bench, her head on his lap. "I've got some rewiring to do, but I'll be in contact soon." Ignoring Amy's demand for him to hold on, the Doctor shut down the communicator and shoved it back into his pocket just as the loop broke.

"What happened? Is she alright?" Sophie came around and asked, wondering how the hell the two had gotten on the bench without anyone noticing.

"Yeah, yeah, she's fine. She's just been feeling a little ill the past couple of days. I'll make a stop at the store and pick something up for her and she'll be right as rain! Though how rain is right, I'm not quite sure."

While the team wanted to go out and celebrate today's victory at the local pub, the Doctor declined, stating he had to take care of Rose. He was thankful when Craig and Sophie stayed with them. When Rose was conscious again, he sighed in relief as she blinked up at him.

"What, what happened?" she asked.

"Here." He made her sit up and then opened up a water bottle Sophie handed him, helping her drink.

When she had enough, Rose pushed the bottle back and gave the Doctor a look.

He sighed. "You were dry-heaving and then you just collapsed." He tucked a stray blonde strand behind her ear and touched her temple, letting his memories of the past few minutes slip into her mind. He felt her start. It's because of the TARDIS and this time loop, love.

It was rare when they shared memories now, much less actual thoughts. They'd been married for over nine hundred years by now, in a fit of rebellion and in the first stages of love, but he wouldn't change it for the world as she'd once told him. In those nine centuries, they used to revel in their bond, but ever since the war… They had lost everything but each other in those years and it had changed them both. It was hard when they knew they would never ever have anyone else to share a telepathic bond with. Though Rose wasn't a telepathic being by nature, her connection to himself and the TARDIS made her especially vulnerable. Two beings with time and power at their hands with no one but the other to share it with, were dangerous. They could easily lose themselves, tie themselves so utterly that they could spiral down and there would be no stopping them.

He broke the connection before these dark thoughts could taint the utter goodness that Rose was, but he knew he was too late when she put her hands over his and kissed the palm of his hand. The understanding shining in her eyes almost broke the Doctor then and there. It was only Craig, awkwardly clearing his throat, that broke the spell and reminded him where they were and why they were here.

"Right! Good. Shall we get going, then?" He jumped up, hauled Rose with him, and began the trek back to Craig's place.

When they finally arrived, Sophie promising to be back tomorrow so they could all get to know each other a little better, the Doctor and Rose closed the door to their room.

"What do we need to do?" she asked.

"You are going to rest and I'm going to build a whozeewhatsit that will scan for any advanced technology. We need to know what we're up against."

"And you think I'm just going to sleep while you build a scanner?" She crossed her arms and stared.

"Yes, I do. Rose, we don't know what being caught in the time loops will do to your body. You need to relax and have a kip. I'm sure I'll be done soon." He put his hands on her shoulders and looked at her pleadingly. He had tried to hide how worried he truly was, but it was no use. If it meant that Rose would listen to him for once in their very long lives, so be it. He knew he succeeded when her shoulders slumped and she nodded. It also worried him further because it meant that she truly was tired, but he wouldn't let her feel or see the renewal this time.

"Fine. But if you're having trouble, you wake me up, okay?" She poked his chest and looked up at him sternly.

Giving her a chaste kiss, he promised he would.

Two hours later, the Doctor was holding in growls of frustration. He'd been hoping to build something small, but even with the bits and bobs he'd recovered, he knew it wouldn't be enough, so he began going bigger. And bigger. His brow furrowed as he looked around and tried to find a place to put it. If he left it on the floor, they wouldn't be able to reach the door and on this corner of the room, it wouldn't fit with all that was sticking out… He glared at an oar he'd used. His gaze softened when he took in the blonde laying on the bed, facing the inside, her hand reaching out. Though he didn't stay in bed as much as he knew Rose would like, he almost always fell asleep with her and stayed for a few hours before getting up.

Reaching the third hour, he finally gave up and carefully set the enormous scanner on the foot of the bed. After making sure she wouldn't accidentally kick it in her sleep or that it would hit her when activated, the Doctor continued working on it, finally getting an idea on how to make it more compact.

----

When Rose finally awoke, she felt the comforting weight of an arm around her and the solid chest pressing against her back. If she held her breath for a few moments, she could feel the twin heartsbeats that comfort her so. When she exhaled and inhaled again, she felt the calmest she had in quite some time. Definitely since losing… She lost her train of thought when the Doctor pressed himself into her more firmly and she could feel him hard against her bum. She grinned and though she really wanted to do something about that, she had more pressing matters to take care of first.

Wiggling carefully, she slid out from underneath the Doctor's arm. She stood up and watched him mumble incoherently before stretching out, taking over the entire bed. Rose snickered to herself and quietly collected her small bag of toiletries, glad for its bigger-on-the-inside properties. She paused when she saw… something made up entirely of spare bits. An umbrella, a lamp shade, a bicycle wheel and pedals, a rake and broom, an oar, and a clothes line looping through. Right on top stood a bright orange traffic cone. How he was able to build that without waking her up, she wasn't quite sure, but she held in another giggle when she saw how he adapted the clotheslines to push everything upwards so it wouldn't take up much space. She wondered how long it took him to come up with that idea.

After brushing her teeth and showering, she went into the kitchen and looked under the sink where she found a mix of cleaning products. Though she had never actually had the necessity to clean something in quite some time - at times she would usually just clean up after the Doctor, she felt like the least she could do was help tidy the place.

A couple of hours later, Rose had finished cleaning up the kitchen and bathroom, and was just about to check on the Doctor when she heard a great big sneeze followed by a loud, "Rose!"

She ran to the bathroom and almost bumped into her Time Lord rushing out. "What's wrong?" she asked, looking him over.

"Something stinks in there. It's horrible," he said, all the while holding his nose and sounding very frumpy.

Going in, she gave a quick whiff and while it was a pretty strong smell, she could only imagine how it must smell to the Doctor with his 'superior biology'. Rose heard him sneeze repeatedly before she went back out. "I'm sorry, love. I should have thought to use something more mild."

"What did you use?" he questioned, wiping his nose on a red handkerchief.

She led him into the kitchen and showed him; he sighed.

"Love, you need to dilute the ammonia before using it. Please tell me you at least used gloves." He put the bottle down and took her hands in his, checking them over to make sure she hadn't burned herself.

"Well, of course I did! And I didn't know! It's not like we ever do much cleaning in the TARDIS and I never had to back when…" Rose crossed her arms and looked to the side, feeling quite cross all of a sudden. "I just wanted to do something nice for Craig…" Tears prickled in her eyes and she didn't understand why. It was really rather ridiculous.

The Doctor wrapped his arms around her, waiting until she relaxed, uncrossed her arms, and hugged him back. He kissed the top of her head and pushed back slightly with that lopsided grin of his. "Tell you what, I think we're low on a few things in the fridge and if we really want to thank our host, then I'm going to need a few things. I'll make you a list and then rinse out the tub, yeah?" He pulled out a paper face mask from his pocket.

Rose stood on her toes and gave his chin a peck. "I love you." She felt one of his hands slip away from her waist and she pressed her face against his palm when it reached up. The tender look in his eyes told her everything she needed, but her heart still sped up when he replied in turn, kissing her slowly and gently, and whispered the three words on her lips.

Hearing them and feeling them send a rush through her. Rose couldn't help but deepen the kiss, darting her tongue between his lips and enticing him to play. The hand still on her waist slid down and groped her arse, pressing her to him. She rubbed against him firmly, walking him backwards until he was against the counter.

"You know, you were pretty sexy in the field yesterday, in that uniform, kicking the ball around," she murmured, her hands trailing over his chest. His legs parted of their own accord as Rose's fingers danced at the waistband of his trousers. "Your legs looked amazing in those shorts. Not many men, human or otherwise, can pull off shorts like that, you know?" Slowly, she cupped him and began a steady gripping motion, her other hand reaching up to dive between his long, brown locks to bring him down for a bruising snog. He groaned into her mouth and just when it felt like he was about to grab onto her instead of the edge of the counter, she let him go. "Would have been nicer if you had been a team player though." With one last grope, she left him, nearly collapsing. She turned around and smirked. "I think I know what I want for dinner. I'll be back."

He gawked at her retreating back before groaning, running a hand over his face. That's what he got for showing off. He mumbled incoherently as he put the mask over his mouth and nose, ready to wash up the strong smell from the tub.

Chapter Text

How Rose had not killed him yet, the Doctor wasn't sure. It had been too long since they'd been together, intimately. While Rose was at the local grocery, picking up ingredients for tonight's dinner, the Doctor put the scanner he made onto the bed. (After rinsing off the awful chemicals and taking a very cold shower.) Unfolding it, he fiddled with it, putting a rudimentary shield up, and began scanning. He watched it spin, pouting as he realised he should have waited for Rose to come back so she could watch him be brilliant. She hadn't even asked him about his newest creation! Granted, they'd been a little…busy…

He shook his head and focussed on the task at hand. Her hands… 'Focus!' he berated himself. The Doctor frowned when he read the numbers. "No traces of high technology. Totally… normal?! No, no, no, no, no, it can't be. It's too normal."

He sighed in frustration, running a hand over his face. He couldn't just go upstairs. What if whatever was up there was too dangerous for him to handle? He couldn't risk getting captured, killed, or regenerated while Amy was trapped in the TARDIS. Walking out of the room to make himself a light meal, he called up on his companion to check up on her and ask her - well, more like demanded, she use the data bank to get him the plans for the building. "I want to know its history, the layout, everything." He really should have thought of that sooner, but with Rose feeling unwell, he'd gotten a little sidetracked. Balancing two plates and a mug of tea, the Doctor encountered the greyish and black cat that used to belong to Mike. Well… He did need a spy.

Finally, Rose came back and she handed him the plastic bags with a grin. "I'm gonna take a shower. Ta." She shut the door before he could get one word in.

Setting the bags on the kitchen counter and taking everything out, he sighed when the Doctor realised what she wanted him to make. "Pizza!" He sighed. This was going to take a while…

Almost an hour later, the Doctor finally had finally kneaded the dough enough for his liking. It was pliable, but firm and perfect for rolling out. Checking the saucepan simmering on the stove, he dabbed a little of the tomato sauce onto the palm of his hand and licked it clean. Perfect! After preparing the dough, he spread it just right and smeared the sauce over it. From nearby bowls, he sprinkled copious amounts of Rose's favourite toppings. He had a lot to make up for he might as well start with dinner.

Rose and Sophie suddenly entered through the kitchen, talking with each other in low voices as the Doctor made sure he put the appropriate time for the pizza to bake.

"Hello, Doctor," the human woman greeted him.

"Hi, Sophie."

"So Rose tells me you have a special treat for us tonight."

He glanced at Rose who gave him an angelic smile. Oh, but she was going to pay for that. She always was a tease and even after all these centuries, that hadn't changed one bit. "Yeah, just one of Rose's favourites."

"A man who can cook and caters to your whim. Where can I get me one of those?" Sophie teased.

Right on time, Craig entered and Sophie couldn't help but blush as Rose giggled, the Doctor grinning.

After greeting Craig, Rose motioned to the Doctor. "I need some help with something. Won't be more than a minute." With that, she dragged him to their room, trying not to wince at her pathetic excuse.

Craig and Sophie looked at the couple before staring at each other.

"Hey, how was work?" Sophie asked. She'd left on time and promised to bring the booze since Craig had had to stay a little later at the call centre.

"Fine. Just fine. I think I'm ready for tomorrow's meeting."

"I'm sure it'll go great!" she encouraged.

"Yeah, yeah…" Craig looked around, not really knowing what else to say. He rarely had that problem around her; it was one of the many things he lo- liked about her. "Let me just put stuff away and…"

"Sure! And I'll turn off my mobile. No interruptions tonight." She smiled at him.

"Great." After putting his stuff down, he turned to Sophie, determined to clear things between them.

"Where's this going?" "I think that we should-" They began at the same time, laughing awkwardly.

Before anything more could be said, however, the oven beeped and the Doctor burst in.

His bowtie was undone and he looked quite flushed, with a couple of buttons slipped from their place in the middle of his shirt. He went straight for the oven, shouted in pain when he reached out for the pan inside of it, grabbed a pair of oven mitts Rose suddenly appeared with - Rose, who looked quite put together, and finally laid out a gorgeous-smelling pizza out.

The Doctor turned to the pseudo couple and grinned. "Let's eat!"

Craig and Sophie sighed, but helped grab plates and cups for their dinner.

After waiting for the pizza to cool off, the four friends finally settled down in the parlour. At first, there was small talk, with Sophie and Craig awkwardly getting around the other when reaching for another slice or their bottle of lager. The Doctor leaned into the one-seater, Rose perched up on the sofa arm. Then, their topic of conversation became a little more serious.

"Because life can seem pointless, you know, Doctor. Work, weekend, work, weekend. And there's six billion people on the planet doing pretty much the same." Sophie sighed.

"Six billion people. Watching you two at work, I'm starting to wonder where they all come from," the Doctor muttered while Rose jabbed him on the shoulder with her elbow. He pouted up at her and she rolled her eyes, her tongue peeking out teasingly.

"Huh? What do you mean by that?" Sophie asked.

The Doctor shook his head. "So, then, the call centre. That's no good then. What do you really want to do?"

Sophie looked at Craig, then back to the Doctor and Rose, blushing faintly. "Don't laugh. I only ever told Craig about it. I want to work looking after animals. Maybe abroad? I saw this orangutan sanctuary on telly."

"What's stopping you?" prodded the Doctor

"She can't. You need loads of qualifications," Craig offered.

"Yeah, true. Plus it's scary. Everyone I know lives round here. Like, Craig got offered a job in London. Better money. He didn't take it." She shrugged, feeling bad that she was glad he hadn't.

Craig laughed nervously. "What's wrong with staying here? I can't see the point of London."

"Well, perhaps that's you then. Perhaps you'll just have to stay here, secure and a little bit miserable, till the day you drop. Better than trying and failing, eh?" the Doctor said dismissively. He could feel Rose's eyes boring in him, but he ignored her, knowing exactly what he was doing.

"You think I'd fail?" Sophie looked at him sharply

"Everybody's got dreams, Sophie. Very few are going to achieve them, so why pretend?" He hid a smirk behind his cup, spitting out the liquid as soon as it touched his taste buds. That was awful lager; he needed to remember to take Rose to Ehui for some proper alcoholic beverages. "Perhaps, in the whole wide universe, a call centre about is where you should be," he continued once he felt he could continue, doing his best not to wince when Rose sent him a mental tap, displeased.

"Why are you saying that? That's horrible!" Sophie exclaimed, getting angry and feeling hurt.

"Is it true?" He cocked a brow.

"Of course it's not true. I'm not staying in a call centre all my life. I can do anything I want!"

The Doctor smiled and Rose, who had jumped off the sofa arm to scold him, gawked at him.

Sophie, too, stared at him. "Oh, yeah. Right. Oh, my god. Did you see what he just did?" The Doctor was more than a little mad, but he was a bloody genius! She turned to Craig, grinning.

"No, sorry, what's happening? Are you going to live with monkeys now?" He looked at her, confused.

"It's a big old world, Sophie. Work out what's really keeping you here, eh?" With that, he stuffed his last slice of pizza into his mouth, feeling quite pleased with himself.

Sophie looked at Craig from the corner of her eye before looking anywhere but at the man next to her. "I don't know. I don't know," she mumbled.

After dinner had been finished and Sophie volunteered to wash the dishes as thanks, the Doctor and Rose went to their room to give the other couple some privacy.

The two humans were silent as Sophie washed and Craig dried.

"So, are you going to be taking off then? Seeing the world?" Craig finally asked her while she put on her coat.

"What, do you think I should?" she asked, wishing he would say something, tell her he didn't want her to leave. Ever.

"Yeah. Like the Doctor says, what, what's keeping you here?" He shrugged, unsure of what else to say.

Sophie was disappointed. "Yeah, exactly. What." She paused for a second, wanting to say something else, but unable to find the courage. Instead, she just told him, "Bye."

"See you."

The shared a hug, as they often did, but the tension between them was thick.

"See you in a bit," he said awkwardly.

"Yeah." With that, she left.

Once the door closed, Craig sighed in frustration. He wanted to be encouraging, knew that if this was what she truly wanted, he would support her all the way, but for once Craig wished he could be a little more selfish. He grumbled, entering the parlour to watch some telly before going to bed. As he stated tidying up a bit, he suddenly turned and spotted the stain on the ceiling. He looked at it curiously and, without conscious thought, stepped on one of the sofas to reach it. He hesitated for a second before shaking his head. It was silly to be afraid; it was just mildew or something. Craig reached out and just barely touched the stain when he curled his arm back. "Ow!" That burned. What the hell was that stain? Feeling a little dizzy, he decided it was best to get some sleep. Washing his hands thoroughly and brushing his teeth, he stumbled to his bedroom and fell asleep almost immediately.

----

The next morning, the Doctor was humming to himself as he made breakfast. A proper fry-up, Rose insisted, as an apology. When he asked what in the world he had to apologise for, she simply gave him a look and he pouted. It's not like he meant to be harsh! He just wanted the two to wake up and see what was in front of them. It had taken him some time to do the same with Rose and he knew directly bringing up the subject never helped. At least, with him it didn't. Maybe he shouldn't have tried so hard… Grumbling, he put a portion of what he cooked onto a plate, gathered some utensils, and a jar of jam and walked towards Craig's room. He knocked once, then opened the door. As soon as he stepped in, he knew the man wasn't breathing.

"Craig!" he shouted, practically throwing the tray he was carrying and immediately checked the human man's pulse, then checking his wrist. "Oh, you just had to go and touch it, didn't you?" he muttered. "Rose!" the Doctor hollered. "Craig's been poisoned!"

Rose, who had been brushing her hair, jumped up as soon as she heard and felt his panic. The word 'poison' registered in her mind and she ran to the kitchen, grabbing an entire package of tea leaves and sticking them into a ceramic teapot. Turning the hot water on, she waited for the cool water to run its course before letting it soak the leaves. She grabbed a wooden ladle and pressed it against the leaves. Usually the tea-and-tannins trick didn't work with humans, but if she mashed them just right and if they had… Right! Sprinkling some salt in the brew, she skipped finding a mug and hurried to Craig's room. "Help him up!" When the Doctor had sat Craig up as much as possible, she climbed onto the other side of him and carefully put the spout against his mouth, the Doctor massaging his throat so he would swallow.

The two held their breath and what felt like an eternity passed until finally Craig began coughing and spluttering; the two sighed simultaneously.

A few sips later and the Doctor moved from his position, taking the tray to the kitchen, his hands clenching around the edges tightly. That was a close call. If he had arrived a minute later… He shook his head and tried not to think about it. They saved him and soon they would figure out what was upstairs. He glared at the stain. "I will stop you."

Arms wrapped around his waist, a cheek pressed against his back. "We'll stop it," Rose whispered.

He turned around and gathered her to him, holding her tightly.

After a few moments, she stepped back. "Doctor, Craig has a meeting today, the planning meeting he was talking about last night. I'm going to go in his place. I made him show me where his notes were, though I don't think he quite understood what I wanted them for."

The Doctor smiled, kissing her forehead. That was his Rose, always caring for others. "Alright then, off you go. I'll stay here and make sure he's well taken care of. You go be the breadwinner." He winked, laughing when she swatted his chest.

Rose went to their room and frowned. She didn't have any slacks… Oh! Grabbing her mobile from the nightstand, she dialed Sophie's number, glad she had thought to ask for it the night before. After letting Sophie know about Craig and assuring the woman that he would be just fine under the Doctor's care, Rose agreed to meet her at the office where Sophie would bring an extra set of clothes. After waving to the Doctor from Craig's doorway, she left.

----

Craig awoke a few hours later, feeling someone wiping his brow. When he turned his head, he came face to face with the Doctor and immediately scooted back. "What are you doing, mate?"

"Taking care of you," the Doctor replied, matter-of-factly. "You were in a bad way this morning. I stayed to take care of you and-"

"What?" Craig looked at the clock and noticed it was almost noon. "No, no! I had that meeting today and my plans…" This was his shot at getting a promotion at the local office instead of London and he missed it. He shoved the Doctor out, ignoring his baffled look and began taking his clothes off to change. He paused, sniffed himself and wrinkled his nose. Pulling his sleep shirt back on, he gathered his work clothes and made his way to the bathroom.

"Craig, what are you doing?"

"I have to get to work and apologise for not being at the meeting."

"You were dy- ill, Craig. Just call them."

"No, I'm going to shower and get ready." With that he slammed the door.

The Doctor scowled. Idiot human. He had almost died and he wants to go to work. Not that Craig knew he had almost died. Aggravated, he went into the kitchen and opened the fridge without really knowing what he was going to do until he spotted a few slices of ham.

Half an hour later, Craig was running to the door and was surprised when the Doctor was waiting for him just outside, carrying a large pack.

"Ready to go?" the Doctor asked cheerfully.

"What are you talking about?"

"I'm going with you. Rose is there and I thought she could do with some lunch. Made some for you, Sophie, and I too. And your manager."

Craig shook his head, opening his car. "Where is Rose anyway?" he questioned as he started the engine and began the short drive to the call centre.

"Well, she knew this was an important meeting for you, so she went in your place. Sophie promised to help."

Even with that, and thinking about how much better it was that Rose went in his place instead of the Doctor, Craig was still panicking. What if his supervisor, Michael, didn't like his plan, what if Rose said the wrong thing, couldn't explain it all? Sophie was there and knew the plan almost as well as he did. He tried to calm himself down as he parked and made his way to the elevator, the Doctor right behind him.

"Oh, afternoon," Michael greeted him.

"I'm so sorry," he apologised to his boss. "I was-"

"Well, that's not what the numbers say, Mr Lang," Rose's voice came.

At hearing one of his best client's names, Craig turned to her sharply. There she was sitting as his desk, informing Mr Lang that if he didn't clean up his attitude, he could take his custom elsewhere.

"No, no, no, what are you doing?" He stared at Rose.

"Craig! What are you doing here? How are you feeling?" She stood, but the phone rang again and she grinned, holding up a finger to ask him wait. "Hello? Yes, Mr Lang. There we are. Much better."

The Doctor grinned proudly at her and waved from behind Craig, pouting when she only gave him a small wave before concentrating on the computer.

"She's brilliant, isn't she? Rose presented your plan at the meeting, by the way. I really like what she did with all the…" Michael wrapped an arm around him and began talking animatedly.

When Rose was done talking on the phone with Mr Lang and getting a better deal, she beamed at the Doctor. "Hello."

"Hello, love. Everyone treating you alright?" It hadn't escaped his notice that there were quite a few people glancing her way every few minutes. He placed the bag he'd been carrying on the desk.

"It's been great! Craig's plan is fantastic and Michael wants to implement it right away. Sophie was so proud and a few of her coworkers invited me for drinks later."

"I'm glad." And he was. Rose's best element was when she was surrounded by people. She never did well alone, much like him, but for her it had more to do that she was a people-person. He went insane if he wasn't around someone, namely Rose.

She walked around the desk and gave him a quick hug. "You'll be coming too, yeah? Can't very well go without my dancing partner." She smiled innocently at him, though he knew her thoughts were anything but. It was the look in her eyes, the dark, challenging stare that gave her away.

"Like I would let you leave me with all these hormonal youngsters about," he teased, leaning against the desk.

Rose leaned in and whispered in his ear. "You're one to talk, old man. You can't tell me you haven't been thinking about shagging me rotten for days now."

It was true. The only reason he hadn't was because he respected her wishes of not wanting to be overheard by Craig otherwise he would have gladly done so already. "Tease," he murmured, an arm coming around her waist, his hand gripping her hip.

"Not when I promise we'll get a chance soon." With that, she reached behind him and stuck a hand into the bag he'd brought. "Lunch?" she asked, eyes bright.

He nodded and smiled silly when she pecked him on the lips before she went over to Sophie and Craig, who were speaking at her desk. He couldn't wait to have her alone.

Chapter Text

Rose laughed, moving to the beat of the music. She loved dancing. It was one of the few things she looked forward to with all the parties her mother used to throw, before running away with the Doctor. The only thing that made it painful was the men that used to ask her to dance. Most couldn't keep their hands to themselves and she got scolded by her parents, her mum especially, a number of times when she would reject some of them - even got 'grounded' once when she kneaded one who wouldn't take no for an answer. She'd wondered at times if her parents would have loved her more if they had been poor, but then she never would have met the Doctor. Sometimes the loss of her family, of her universe, hurt, but she wouldn't trade her life with the Doctor for anything. It had made her a better, stronger person, someone who stood up for what was right, and she knew she never would have discovered this without his help.

Another fast, hip-hop song began playing and her hips automatically began swaying just a little more exaggeratingly. The Doctor was looking, she knew, and she had worn a nice pair of jeans she'd purchased at the secondhand store. They fit her well, showing off one of his favourite assets and she grinned mischievously, wiggling her bum. 'Apple bottom jeans' was the phrase Sophie used with a knowing look. Rose had simply smiled innocently, though it didn't affect her new friend; Sophie knew what she was up to, had even offered to let Craig crash at her place so she and the Doctor could have some alone time.

Two hands grabbed her by the waist and she frowned, knowing immediately that this wasn't the Doctor. Turning around, she came face to face with a stranger who was smirking at her and eyeing the low cut of her shirt. "Hands off, mate," she told him plainly.

"Aw, come on sweetheart, don't be like that."

"I'm not interested." She shook her head at Sophie who was about to come to her defence; she could handle this.

"Sure you are. Dressed like that." He continued to leer and she simply rolled her eyes.

"How I'm dressed is of no concern to you. I'm out here with my mates and my partner who looks about ready to introduce his fist to your face, and he's not usually one to resort to violence. Neither am I, but I'll gladly introduce your sorry excuse for a dick to my knee if you don't bugger off. Now."

Luckily, the man decided he was after easy bait, even if he tended to like the mouthy ones. Without even looking back to see who her partner was, he scoffed and left to find someone else for tonight.

Rose turned back to Sophie. "Sorry about that. Usually I'm not so irritable."

"Are you kidding? That was fantastic. Though I'm sure I know why you're a tad bit frustrated," Sophie teased.

"Oi! I never said, that doesn't mean…"

"So you didn't ask me to take Craig home with me tonight so you two could," and the human woman made a crude gesture here, having already had a couple of drinks.

Rose blushed. She might be almost a thousand years old, but sex was a topic she would never be comfortable speaking about with anyone but the Doctor. Especially not with someone she barely knew, though Sophie had become a good friend despite only knowing each other a few days. The Doctor wasn't the only one who 'collected' people. "You think it's too early if we leave now?" she asked, not wanting to offend her new friend.

"Yeah," Sophie said bluntly, "but I think you should leave anyway." She nudged Rose. "Go have fun."

With a hug, Rose headed towards the Doctor who was glaring at the other side of the room. Turning to look, she saw it was the same bloke who had come up to her. She rolled her eyes and slipped two fingers into his belt loop and tugged. "You're coming with me!" she declared and giggled when the few coworkers that had been sitting with him by the bar cheered and whistled.

----

Thankfully, it was a short walk from the pub to Craig's place. How they managed to keep their hands to themselves, neither were quite sure, but they did. Once they reached the front door and entered, it was a different matter altogether.

Who reached for whom, neither were quite sure. All they knew were lips, teeth, tongue, and bodies pressing against one another. Hands travelled over backs, arms, waists, hips, bums, sides, chest, and anywhere else they could reach while still being pressed together. They were frantic, barely managing to pull at their trousers, Rose growling when she realised she hadn't removed her boots.

She bent down and pulled at them. She gasped when cool hands touched her bare arse, pushing her gently against the wall, before they trailed down her thighs, tugging her jeans and knickers off completely. Rose tried to turn around, but he stopped her, hands travelling back up, this time her inner thighs. Rose thrust her hips down when he reached between her legs and groaned, the Doctor following in chorus.

"You're so wet, love." He hummed in approval. "How long have you been wet for me? Since I left the call centre? Since you came home and were all secretive, fluttering your lashes?" Instead of penetrating, he simply caressed her, teased her as she'd been teasing him.

Oh, she knew what game he was playing and any other time she would be quite willing to prolong the inevitable, but not tonight. "Since this morning, since yesterday." She gasped when he thrust one finger into her. "Take your pick. I'm always ready for you, Doctor."

"I know you are. I can smell you, remember? Each and every time. If I were a lesser man, I'd have you against every available surface."

She choked on a giggle when he added a second finger. "You have had me against multiple surfaces."

"Yes," he growled, adding a third finger and reveling in the noises she made. "And I plan to have you right here on this very wall. Then on the bed we've been sleeping on the past few nights. I've had dreams about taking you there, even the kitchen."

"The kitchen?" she whimpered, thinking about wrapping her legs around his waist as he took her on the small counter. Or perhaps the fridge, the magnets clacking as they hit the floor… "Doctor?"

"Yes, love?"

"Fuck me. Now," she demanded more than pleaded.

Resisting the urge to say 'as you wish', he tugged on his trousers and pants, pulling them down just over his arse and rubbed himself against Rose's arse. "Push up." He wrapped an arm around her to help and bent down a little, lifting her another couple of inches before finally, finally entering her. She clenched around him perfectly and the Doctor wondered how in the universe they'd been able to wait this long. He was never one to be known for his patience and when he wanted something, he took it. The fact that Rose gave herself to him so willingly made his hearts sing (and caused his cock to harden).

Making sure she could hold on to the wall for support, but was far away enough so she wouldn't get hurt, he let her feet touch the ground and slid back out, only to push in once more, hard. It brought the exact sound he was looking for. His name wrapped up in a moan, followed by a Gallifreyan curse when he grazed her clit on the next thrust.

They were both too far gone for gentleness this time and his thrusts became shorter, deeper. The Doctor somehow managed to bring a hand to her clit, fingers rubbing firmly. If he was coming, he was taking Rose down with him. Soon, he felt her tense and she clenched tighter around him. That's when he let himself break, when she broke him, taking him with her.

Nothing but harsh pants could be heard through the empty house. Rose's legs wobbled a bit when the Doctor slumped behind her, pushing her towards the wall. Still, the arm around her waist kept her from collapsing on it completely. She sighed, feeling his lips trail up the back of her neck. She wrinkled her nose when he licked her a bit. "Doctor, I'm all sweaty."

"And still taste delicious. Maybe even more so, all that estrogen." He smiled on her neck, giving her one last kiss.

Rose laughed. "Don't try that, buster. This body's oral fixation isn't as prominent as it was with your last one."

"But my taste buds are still just as good. And I'll always have a fixation when it comes to you."

"Sweet talker." She turned her head and captured his lips in a slow, steaming kiss, one that grew more passionate when she faced him fully and he pushed her back against the wall. Breaking the kiss, she suggested, "Let's take this to the bedroom now, yeah?"

"Of course!" He took out a handkerchief to clean Rose up first, knowing she didn't like the feel of putting on her knickers after shagging, before frantically pulling up his trousers and tucking himself in. Eck. He didn't much like the wet feeling in his pants either, but it couldn't be helped. Distracted as he watched Rose pick up her boots, he couldn't help but comment on how well those jeans fit her.

"I thought you might like them," she said, playfully wiggling her bum at him and yelping shortly when he smacked her lightly. "Oi!" she exclaimed, dashing away from him and to the short distance of their room.

He laughed, running after her and didn't realise when the handkerchief he'd been tucking back in his pocket floated towards the floor instead. The Doctor groaned when he saw that he still had the scanner on the bed, but quickly silenced Rose's giggles by pushing her to lie down on the head of the bed, tugged down on her trousers and knickers quickly, burying his face between her legs.

After that, there was hardly room for laughter. Though there was quite a bit of cursing when one of them would accidentally bump into the scanner.

----

Craig came back home the next day, annoyed. Last night all Sophie could talk about was how adorable the Doctor and Rose were, and how brilliant the Doctor was, using reverse psychology on her to make her realise she really wanted to go live with monkeys. Coward that he was, he wouldn't give her a reason to stay.

A white scrap caught his eye when he closed the door and he picked up the square, cotton cloth, brow furrowed as he saw it was stiff with some type of substance. He tried to figure out what it was and without thought he sniffed it, dropping it immediately when he realised what it was. His jaw dropped and his face became beat red. He had just… What. The. Hell. Embarrassment quickly turned to anger and he stomped his way towards the end of the hall. Just before he was about to knock, though, he paused. What if they were…? He shook his head. It didn't matter. He wanted them gone. He'd give them back their money if he had to, he just wanted them out.

Knocking determinately, he was thrown off when the Doctor stuck his head out and greeted him with a cheerful, "Good morning, Craig! Lovely day, isn't it? Breakfast will be ready soon. Rose is cooking this time; don't worry, I taught her well and it's the only meal she won't poison anyone with," he said the last bit in a quiet whisper.

Anything Craig might have thought to say vanished when, just behind the Doctor, he saw an orange traffic cone.

"What the hell?"

"Craig, I can explain."

"How the hell can you explain this?"

The Doctor frowned. "You're right. I can't." He looked seriously pained, wringing his hands together, but finally he stared at Craig determinately. "Okay, this is going to hurt. A lot. Maybe even me more than you, but I don't have time to explain." He breathed in and his hands shot to Craig's head, his fingers resting at his temples, bringing a few random, but important, memories to the forefront of his mind and pushing them into the human's mind. The Doctor winced as he did this. It had been a long time since he had shared anything with anyone mentally, besides Rose of course. If he weren't worried about how much time they had, he wouldn't have done it. Nor would it have happened had he not just figured out Craig was slightly telepathic. Just a smidge, but it made the human man capable of holding some of the Time Lord's memories without messing with his head.

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, but was really only a few minutes, the Doctor let go, gasping for breath and hearing Craig do the same.

"You're a-"

"Yes."

"And she's-" Craig turned, Rose standing at the doorway and gawking at them.

"Yes."

"And you two still did it in-"

"Ye- wait, hold on! I didn't give you those memories, did I?" the Doctor asked, panicked.

"No, but I found a, ah, handkerchief with…" He fidgeted nervously, suddenly uncomfortable with telling off an alien who was more or less a thousand years old.

"What?!" Rose exclaimed at the same time that the Doctor muttered, "Shit."

"We can figure that out later! What about the TARDIS and Amy?" Craig interrupted what was sure to be a long shouting match. His emotions were all a jumble, worry, panic, and excitement warring within. "That, that's a scanner. You used non-technological technology of Lammasteen!"

"Craig, breathe." Rose finally entered the room and came towards him when Craig bent over, holding his head, just as Sophie was entering the house.

Meanwhile, the Doctor's communicator rang and he picked it up from the bed. "Amy?"

"That's Amy Pond!" Craig exclaimed

"Doctor? Who was that?"

"That's not important right now. I spoke with my spy. He said there are people who never came back down. Did you get the plans?"

"A spy, what spy?"

"Psychic help form a cat?"

"A cat?" Amy and Rose asked simultaneously.

"What? It's easier to communicate with a cat than actual humanoids." He winced when Rose shot him a look. "Anyway, he's got a time engine in the flat upstairs. He's using innocent people to try and launch it. Whenever he does, they get burnt up, hence the stain on your ceiling."

Craig suddenly felt nauseous and the Doctor shared a pained look with his beloved.

"People are dying up there? People are dying. People are dying."

"Yes, Craig, I believe I just-" The Doctor was at Rose's side in two, long strides, uncaring that he tipped over the scanner as he reached for her, pulling her to sit on the bed as she bent over, trying to breathe. Another time loop. Brilliant.

"Doctor?" Amy asked.

"Hang on." He turned to Craig. "Craig, come on. Someone's dying up there. Snap out of it."

The time loop stopped for a second. "They're being killed." Craig exited the room and stared at the door that led to the parlour. Sophie's pink key ring was hanging from there. "Sophie. It's Sophie that's dying up there! It's Sophie!" Without a thought, he ran upstairs.

"Wait, wait!" He turned to Rose and cursed when he saw she was doing no better than before. The time loop was still in happening then, but somehow Craig had broken through its effect where he hadn't before… That's it! Carefully, but quickly, the Doctor pressed his fingers to Rose's temples and reached for their bond. Their hearts beat in unison and she finally inhaled sharply, her eyes fluttering open.

"Doctor?" she whispered, both aloud and in her mind, in his mind as well. A rush of emotions flooded through her, not all of them hers and she reveled in the sudden connection.

"We'll talk later, love. Right now, we need to get upstairs. Sophie and Craig are in danger." He took her hand and, together, they hurried up the stairs.

"Are you upstairs?" came Amy's voice and he jumped slightly, having forgotten he still had the communicator active.

"Just going in."

"But you can't be upstairs," the girl said exasperatingly.

"Of course I can be upstairs," he shot back.

"No, I've got the plans. You didn't let me say earlier. You cannot be upstairs; it's a one-story building. There is no upstairs."

"What? What?" Craig, who hadn't been able to open the door, suddenly turned to the couple and he stared at the Doctor.

The Doctor stared back until he smacked his hand against his forehead, his other tightening around Rose's smaller hand. "Oh. Oh, of course. The time engine isn't in the flat-"

"The time engine is the flat," Rose finished, unable to help the wide grin that spread across her face, feeling his thoughts and feelings course through her. It was euphoric, no matter the panic they were both feeling as they simultaneously realised.

"Someone's trying to build a TARDIS!" they said together.

Craig looked at the two like they were insane. Well, more so than usual. "No, there's always been an upstairs."

As soon as he said so, however, the door in front of them suddenly flickered.

"Has there? Think about it."

"Yes. No. I don't…" Craig became frustrated as he tried to recall.

"Perception filter. It's more than a disguise. It tricks your memory," Rose told him, trying to get him to see past the deception. She had a feeling that was the only way they would be able to get through.

Suddenly there was a scream.

"Sophie!" Craig shouted and, finally, the door disappeared completely. "Sophie! Oh my god, Sophie!"

The three rushed inside and Rose's stomach churned when she looked at the macabre TARDIS. It was beautiful and horrible all at once. A reminder of a home she had built with the Doctor during their first years together and a reminder of all they had lost. She felt his grip on her hand tighten further.

Craig finally reached Sophie and tried to pull her away from one of the controls that was pulling at her with an electrical charge that had a mental suggestion.

"It's controlling her," the Doctor told Craig, almost needlessly. "It's willing her to touch the activator."

"That's not going to have her," he said determinately, continuing to pull.

The Doctor finally let go of Rose's hand and dug into the inside pocket of his jacket to take out his sonic screwdriver now that he could finally use it. Or not. "Ah, deadlock seal." He cursed mentally. He really needed to find a way around that one of these days.

Rose dove into her pockets, realising belatedly that she didn't have any of her clothes on with transdimensional pockets. "Doctor, we've got to do something."

Suddenly, the impulse stopped and Sophie fell back, Craig barely catching her on time.

"What? Why's it let her go? So, okay-" Before he could work it out, however, a man appeared.

"You will help," the man said.

"Right. Stop. Crashed ship, let's see. Hello, I'm Captain Troy Handsome of International Rescue. Please state the nature of your emergency." He winced mentally as Rose's giggle floated in his head. Oh, he was going to have to talk her out of mentioning that alias to Jack.

"The ship has crashed. The crew are dead. A pilot is required."

Oh. "You're the emergency crash program. A hologram. What, you've been luring people up here so you can try them out?" Hologram or not, the Doctor's anger brewed, barely held together by the bond with Rose.

The autopilot suddenly flickered, the old man becoming a young man, then becoming a little girl.

"Craig, what is this? Where am I?" a suddenly conscious Sophie asked.

"Hush," the Doctor said immediately. He needed to concentrate. "Human brains aren't strong enough; they just burn. But you're stupid, though. You just keep trying." Stupid machine, stupid people. That's the way it worked. Whoever built this machine was really stupid and if they weren't already dead, he'd unleash his rage against them next. Rose was suddenly standing next to him, holding his hand once more and he shoved his feelings back into the dark corner of his mind.

"Seventeen people have been tried. Six billion, four hundred thousand, and twenty-six remain," the autopilot continued.

"Seriously, what is going on?" Sophie asked.

The Doctor snapped. "Oh, for goodness sake. The top floor of Craig's building is in reality an alien spaceship intent on slaughtering the population of this planet? Any questions? No? Good."

"Yes, I have questions."

Rose bit her lip, holding in the automatic scolding that tried to rise out of her, knowing he was just worried.

What the Doctor really cared about was getting the whole lot of them out. Right now.

"The correct pilot has now been found."

"Yes, I was a bit worried that you were going to say that."

"It means you, doesn't it?" Rose squeezed his hand.

An electrical flow shot towards the Doctor and Rose, but it ignored her and grabbed solely onto the Doctor.

"What's happening?" Amy asked, more than a little worried. She hated not knowing.

The Doctor wished he'd had the foresight to turn off the communicator before entering this sorry excuse for a TARDIS. "It's pulling me in. I'm the new pilot."

"Could you do it? Could you fly the ship safely?" the redhead couldn't help but inquire.

"No, I'm way too much for this ship. My hand touches that panel, the planet doesn't blow up: the whole solar system does." He looked towards Rose, at her wide and worried eyes. Worried for him, worried for Craig and Sophie and Amy, worried for the solar system, but not for herself. Never for herself. Sometimes he wished she were a little more selfish.

"The correct pilot has been found," the hologram spoke.

"No. Worst choice ever, I promise you. Stop this," he ordered, afraid, not for himself, not for Sophie and Craig, not even for - heavens help him, Amy. No, he was afraid that taking down the entire solar system would mean killing Rose and maybe even… He stared at Rose and he knew she felt it. The darkness he tried too hard to hide from her, but never once did he feel the golden glow that represented her love for him fade.

"Doctor? It's getting worse." The TARDIS was in a frenzy and she was more frightened than ever.

His mind was working quickly. "It doesn't want everyone. Craig, it didn't want you."

"I spoke to him, once, and he said I couldn't help him."

"It didn't want Sophie either, until now," Rose spoke up.

The Doctor nodded. "What's changed?" Then it hit him. Fuck. "No, I gave her the idea of leaving. It's a machine that needs to leave. It wants people who want to escape. And you don't want to leave, Craig. You're Mr Sofa Man," he said, a little unkindly, but he wasn't thinking about niceties right now. "Me, I have wanderlust ingrained in me. Of course it thinks I'm the right pilot."

"Doctor!" Amy hollered.

"Craig, you can shut down the engine. Put your hand on the panel and concentrate on why you want to stay."

"Craig, no," Sophie stepped in, pleading.

"Will it work?" Craig looked from Sophie, who was the love of his life, to the Doctor, whom he'd only known a few days.

"Yes," the Doctor said, believingly.

"Are you sure?" Craig insisted.

"Yes." Oh, damn. Now Rose knew he was lying, but there was nothing more to do. Either Craig could shut down the ship or he couldn't and the solar system would blow up anyway.

"Is that a lie?" Craig asked.

"Of course it's a lie!" Wasn't that all he was made up of in this body? Lies upon lies upon lies? Rose tried her best to keep him honest and she could see through deceits, but that didn't stop him from lying. To his astonishment, Craig nodded.

"It's good enough for me. Geronimo!" he exclaimed, before groaning in pain as the electrical impulses shot through him when he placed his hand on the control panel.

Almost immediately, the Doctor was released.

"Craig!" Sophie looked on, unable to figure out what to do. This was out of her element. She wanted to help, but could hardly wrap her mind on what was going on.

Smoke began to rise from the control panel Craig was pressed against.

Rose had had enough of standing still and being quiet. If the universe was going to disappear, then she had to get these two to at least figure out what they meant to one another. She was also hoping that the revelation would help. "Craig, what's keeping you here? Think about everything that makes you want to stay here. Why don't you want to leave?"

"Sophie. I don't want to leave Sophie," he spoke through gritted teeth. "I can't leave Sophie. I love Sophie."

Sophie gasped at hearing this. "I love you, too. Craig, you idiot." She smiled fondly and put her hand over his - the one on the panel.

Craig stared up at her. "Honestly, do you mean that?"

"Of course I mean it." How could she not? "Do you mean it?"

"I've always meant it. Seriously though, do you mean it?" He almost couldn't believe it. Out of everything that had just occurred he couldn't believe this.

"Yes."

"What about the monkeys?" He just needed to be sure.

"Oh, not now, not again." The Doctor groaned. "Craig, the planet - the solar system is about to burn. For god's sake, kiss the girl." He shot Rose a look when an image of an animated crab popped into his head.

Amy also shouted through, "Kiss the girl!"

Finally, finally Sophie and Craig kiss. His hand slipped from the panel as his arms came to wrap around Sophie.

"You've done it!" Amy laughed in relief. "Oh, you've done it, all of you. The screen's just zeroes. Now it's minus ones, minus twos, minus threes."

"Help me. Help me. Help me," the autopilot began saying, stuck in its own time loop.

"Doctor, shouldn't we get out of here?" Rose asked just as the newly-made couple parted and Craig asked if they'd switched it off.

"Emergency shutdown. It's imploding. Rose is right. Everybody out, out, out!"

"Help me. Help me. Help me," it continued.

The four friends run downstairs and burst out through the open door. They turned to look up and the top floor suddenly becomes a time ship, flying away. Craig's house turning into the one-story building it was meant to be.

The Doctor frowned, pulling out his screwdriver and scanning the air. "It flew up as high as it could and burnt out from a safe distance. UNIT and Torchwood will probably have had a high-energy reading somewhere in the south."

A man, carrying a child, walked by as if nothing had happened and Craig commented on that.

"Look at them. Didn't they see that? The whole top floor just vanished."

Rose shook her head. "Perception filter. There never was a top floor. I'll call Kate and Jack to let them know it was nothing."

"Oh, come on. Let them get in a frenzy for at least a little while," the Doctor whinged.

The two began bickering as they went back inside while Craig and Sophie looked at one another and grinned.

Chapter Text

The next day found the newly formed couple on Craig's sofa, snogging.

"So have we spoiled our friendship, then?" he asked when they parted for air, bringing up a previous conversation they'd had.

Sophie grinned, looking quite pleased. "Totally ruined it."

"And what about the monkeys? We could save them together, you know. Do whatever we want." He didn't want her to give up her dream just for him, but he would help her fulfill it. He'd never been one for travelling, but thanks to the peek he'd been given of the Doctor's mind, he felt he understood the meaning of a hand to hold. "I could see the point of Paris if you were there with me."

She loved Craig, but he needed to learn priorities. "First, let's destroy our friendship completely."

Craig was definitely amenable to that and he showed her so by pulling her in for another snog.

----

Rose had just finished packing the last of their things (not that there was much to pack as they had never really unpacked) when the Doctor came up behind her, wrapping his arms around her, his hands resting on her stomach. She sighed and leaned into him.

"Ready to go, love?" He kissed her cheek and let go.

"Ready." She was so ready to go home, but she would miss Craig and Sophie.

"Come on, then. I'll just leave the keys on the hooks and we'll leave." He entered through the kitchen quietly, trying not to interrupt the snogging couple, and hung the keys on the empty hook, but before he could leave, he was stopped.

"Oi," came Craig's exclamation.

"What, you're trying to sneak off?"

Rose entered the kitchen, having heard them, and smiled sheepishly.

"Yes, well, you were sort of busy.

Craig and Sophie stood, walking around the sofa, and came up to the other couple.

"I want you to keep these." He grabbed the keys back and pressed them to the Doctor's hand.

The Time Lord was touched. He and Rose had made many friends along their travels, but he could count on one hand how many of them had actually given them keys to their home. "Thank you. Because we might pop back soon, have another little stay."

"No, you won't," Craig retorted. "Because I've been in your head, remember. Or you've been in mine. But Rose will make sure you at least come for a visit. Won't you?" He turned to the seemingly-younger blonde, still having a hard time thinking of her as a hundreds of years old part-time machine. Or goddess, as the Doctor liked to think of her sometimes.

"I will," she promised. "Thank you, Craig."

"Thank you, Rose. Doctor." He smiled when Rose hugged him and Sophie, surprised when the Doctor did the same.

Craig and Sophie watched as the two left, hand in hand, for their next greatest adventure.

----

The Doctor and Rose laughed in relief when the TARDIS sat on the patch of grass they'd first landed on almost a week ago. She'd been there all night, but Sophie and Craig had insisted they stay one more day.

They entered and were attacked by a frantic redhead. "Oh, I'm so glad you two are alright." She squeezed them tightly.

"We're glad you're okay, too," Rose remarked and the Doctor kissed Amy's forehead affectionately.

Rose placed her bag underneath the captain's chair and the Doctor shucked off his jacket, throwing it on top of the seat.

"Back in time, you two. You need to go to the paper shop and leave that note for me," he told Amy. "Probably have to land a distance away so we won't get caught in the time loop again." He checked the screen, running the scanners to find a proper place to land and confirming that the spaceship had indeed imploded. His sonic screwdriver was brilliant, but this was one of those times where he couldn't make room for error.

"Right little matchmaker, aren't you? Both of you. Can't you find me a fellow?"

The Doctor felt Rose's pain as if it were her own. They'd never closed down their bond after yesterday. He tried to ignore his own feelings as he told Amy, "I'll give you spending money if you want to stop by a little shop. Oh, rectifier's playing up again. Hold on. You write the note and I'll change that."

"Can I take Rose with me?" she wondered, hoping to make it a girl's day.

"No!" he said sharply, and then continued a little more calmly, "No. Rose needs to stay here. We can't have anyone see her and remember her. Could damage the timeline." 'And we already have enough of that,' he thought.

"Alright, alright. You got a pen?"

"Make sure it's a red pen."

"Just write whatever you think is important, Amy."

Amy nodded absentmindedly and went to the Doctor's jacket. Going through his pockets, she paused when she found a ring box. Opening it, she frowned at the ring. Why would…? Suddenly, she recalled the crack on her wall.

"Amy?" Rose touched her shoulder.

Quickly, she pushed the box in and, miraculously, came back up with a red pen and paper.

"Sorry, I just… Sorry." She shook her head.

"It's fine," Rose said, carefully. "I'm going to go make some tea. Would you like some?"

"Nah. I'm alright. I'm just going to head to my room and write this letter, then have a kip while the Doctor's fixing the recepto-whatever. Let me know when everything's ready?"

"Sure." Rose nodded and let the girl go.

"What's wrong?" the Doctor asked, head popping from beneath the glass floor.

"Doctor, we have to tell her. It's tearing her inside and she doesn't even know why."

The Doctor sighed, pulling of his goggles. "Rose, we've talked about this. She can't know. What will that achieve?"

"Besides knowing why she has a gaping hole in her chest?" she shot, coming to sit at the stairs leading to the underside of the console.

"Rose, you're being dra-"

"Remember the beginning of your eighth life? When you couldn't remember me?"

That shut him right up and he sighed, resting his head on her knees. Finally, he looked up. "Alright. We'll tell her after she leaves the note, okay?"

The smile she presented him with, along with the rush of warmth and love in his mind, gave him the courage necessary to face whatever their future held head-on. Whatever was after them, after the universe, they would figure it out and win. Together.

"Now, come on. A little lady told me that her rectifier is doing just fine. You owe me a good shagging on a bed, mister."

"Oi, I thought our shagging was just fine, brilliant really."

"Are you saying you can't do better?" she teased.

"Oh, Rose Tyler, you asked for it!" He scooped her up in his arms and brought them to their room, with the soundproof walls, and reminded her just how much better he could be without anything taking over their bed.

"Ow." Rose turned to her side after the Doctor had dropped her on the bed and brought her hand around the offending item. She raised a brow as she looked from the regular screwdriver to him. "No more projects on the bed."

"None that don't require nudity," he promised before beginning to shed her clothes, peppering kisses over her belly.

And because it was Rose, it was a promise he kept.