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December Drabbles

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"What is it with you and fezzes, anyway?" Clara asks.

"They're... cool."

"But that one, there." She points to a particularly dusty corner of the antique shop. "You were staring at it for half an hour. It's just a hat."

"No fez is just a hat!" The Doctor sounds personally offended. "And some aren't really hats at all. That one there happens to be an old friend."

"It's... an alien?" Clara ventures.

"She is."

"And you speak Fez, I suppose?"

"I do." He straightens his bow tie.

"And you...?"

"I just had a very enlightening conversation with a hat, yes."

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When the Doctor finally falls, when he indulges in what he promised he never would, lets his hands slip over her naked curves, and drives them both to ecstasy, he swears it will be the only time.

He'll love her always; he'll fuck her only once. Any more and he'll never be able to let go.

But when he wakes, his Rose is perched beside him, perusing a book she can't hope to understand, wearing nothing but a small smile and his old green jumper that they earlier tossed aside in haste and passion.

And there goes all his resolve.

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He debates, staring at the plain book on the counter like it may bite. Rose is nowhere about. Sleeping, probably. He really shouldn't. But if she will just leave her things about...

Slowly, he stretches his arm out, fingertips just prying up an edge.

Rose Tyler's Journal of Things, he reads. Barely. He pulls his hand back and darts his eyes around, listens carefully for any sign of movement nearby.

Assured all is still, he steps closer, flips past the title page.

Doctor, if you're reading this, you should know: My best secrets aren't written down.

He closes the book.

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"I'm not wearing those," he says, pointing at what Rose laid out for him.

"The long underwear? But it's freezing outside."

"I'm a Time Lord."

"These jeans I got you don't have Time Lord warming tech. It's 21st century, Canadian ice skating. I could have made you take us to ancient Greece, see you kitted up in a toga again."

"But it's un—"

"You lost the bet," she says, pressing jeans, jumper, and underthings into his arms. "And you promised you'd dress like a local."

"Who's going to look under my clothes?"

She raises an eyebrow.

"You promise?" he asks.

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"And then what?" she asks, exasperatedly. He's unlocked their cell, but she still doesn't know how they'll get out of the jail, or expose the conspiracy. "We can't exactly walk up to the Prime Minister of America and hand him a note."

"Ah, and that's where these come in. The coup de grâce to this corruption! Our plan's pièce de résistance! And other... useful... French... phrases."

The Doctor pulls out what can only be handmade, cobbled together... roller skates. How long had she been napping?

His eyes are wide, expectant, waiting for her approval.

Rose sighs, and grumbles affectionately, "Allons-y."

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"What are you still doing here with me, Doc?" Jack asks. "I've got the lay of the land. Go on already."

"Go where?"

"To her. You know you want to. You don't look at a lady like that, unless you want to."

"Goodnight Jack."

Jack salutes, and the Doctor heads deep into his ship to think.

Rose. He doesn't just want to. He needs her, with a force that scares him. Decided, he finds himself at her door, half-hard already. UNdecided, he whirls around and heads to his bedroom, intending to dance solo.

It's not ten minutes before Rose knocks.

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"So... that's your plasmavore problem sorted. What's next for Peter Vincent?"

"There will always be more vampires, Doctor. I'll somehow carry on without you."

"Well then, I suppose it's time for me to be heading off. Big bad universe to explore, places to go, things to see, et cetera."

"Right, okay. Bye then. But..."

"But... what, Peter?"

"It's just... Are we really not going to fuck?"

"We're really not."

"Seriously? I know you're an alien, and you've seen and done things even I can't imagine, but when do you get the opportunity to, practically, fuck yourself?"

"Actually, you'd be surprised."

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She finds him sprawled on a bed with a tray. "You're meant to be downstairs. And you stole pastries."

"Downstairs is boring, Rose. Have you tried these? Buttery, herby... deLIcious." He stands and offers one.

"You had three plates already. It's not like you'll—"

"What?"

"Regenerate if you explode," she says softly.

He drops the nibble, pulls her into his arms. "Is that what's got you worried? I know my limits. But with one life—"

"You don't have to live it all at once."

"You're saying... leftovers are nice?"

She smiles up at him. "Or there're other things worth tasting."

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"You know the TARDIS can do that," he says as she's packing her washing.

"She does. Three times out of four. But this way Mum still feels connected, and all that."

"You can't give her these!" He snatches something lacy from the pile.

"Oi! Give me my knickers back. Mum's seen it all, anyway."

"Not this, Rose." He holds them behind his back. "You wore these at the... Where we..."

"What are you on about?"

"When we didn't have time to—, but I—." He was actually blushing.

"Oh, right. Let's keep the ones with Time Lord DNA on them, then."

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"Do you miss it?" she asks, because every few years, she wonders. "You know, the stars. Travelling."

"We travel plenty," he answers, and she knows he's trying to keep her from getting maudlin. "Never a dull moment in Pete's World."

"Yeah, but all... domestically."

"Rose..."

"I'd just hate to have..." She sniffs, getting maudlin anyway. "Taken you away from all that, what was important."

"Rose, listen. One. You didn't take me away from anything."

"Yeah, he did."

"Hush," he chides. "Two. I have what I need right here. You, the kids..."

"Doctor..."

"You sparkle brighter than the stars ever could."

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"Why banana custard filling, though?" The Doctor asks his counterpart in brown pinstripes, who is bent over the cooker.

"You don't think Rose will like it?" the other asks.

"I think she might think it's a bit cliché."

"A Time Lord can have a favourite fruit without it being a cliché."

"But it's her birthday."

"Just taste this."

Being part human hadn't seemed to affect his tastebuds, and he can't help licking every bit off the offered spoon, and the bit that's got on the other Doctor's wrist.

"That's... good."

The other adjusts himself, clears his throat. "Obscenely so, apparently."

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She appears. Right inside his TARDIS, and his world tilts. "No. No, you can't be here."

She's not deterred. Well, she wouldn't be. "But this is the TARDIS, yeah? She looks different..."

"Yes, but—"

"And you... Doctor?"

"You can't be here, please." He tries to usher her outside.

"I've got the wrong time," she says so sadly he almost wants to let her stay. "The future?"

"Please, Rose, you have to go."

Her face lights up. "You know me? You remember? Can you help?"

"I can't help." He shakes his head and pulls open the doors. "But I'll always remember."

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Midwinter night on a deserted street, twinkling with Christmas lights; she burrows beneath his coat, ostensibly for warmth. It makes walking awkward, so they stop where they are, cuddling beneath the faint whispers of beginning snowfall.

"Don't think I've ever seen you shiver," she says, though she actually feels it more than sees. With his warm breath and cold nose against her neck, maybe she shivers too.

"It's... snowing," he points out.

"Don't you do something impressive and alien, like self-regulate your temperature."

"Of course I do. "

"Not cold then?" She blinks a snowflake away.

"Never been warmer," he says.

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"Oh my god." Rose giggles when the Doctor enters the console room with a flourish. A Santa hat, ugly Christmas jumper, those brilliant tight black jeans he favours now and...

"What?" he asks. "It's Christmas."

Rose only laughs more, pointing to the bit of greenery adorning his belt buckle.

The other Doctor pokes his head up from the grating. He sighs, rolls his eyes. "You sure it wasn't Jack on the other end of that Metacrisis?" he says wearily, though he's hiding a smile.

"Doctor," Rose says when she's recovered, "That's really not what you're meant to do with mistletoe."

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He texts at 2:32am.

You awake?

Yeah

Do you mind if I...?

Even half-asleep, and frightened, he can’t say what he needs.

No, it’s fine, she replies.

Seconds later, her bedroom door opens. She lifts her duvet.

He’s the little spoon as he whispers about his nightmare. Fire and falling and so much rage.

When she wakes, they’re reversed. He’s warm and hard at her back and it feels so normal she almost cries.

“Shit,” he says, realizing, and rolls away. Cursing, he’s got from Donna.

It’s okay to be human, to be loved, she wants to scream. She doesn’t.