It storms on Monday morning. Dark clouds gather and stop the sun from coming out, prompting Rose and, somehow, the Doctor to sleep past their alarms. Their non-routine gets even more jumbled, and the rain comes down in sheets as Rose rushes to Torchwood and the Doctor takes off to check on the TARDIS.
Rose barely makes it through the doors without getting soaked and finds one of the new recruits nervously waiting for her beside the lift doors.
“Mornin’, Alice!” Rose smiles at the young woman, thinking back to how nervous she’d been through her first days at Torchwood. “Can I help you with anything?”
Alice relaxes her stance, just a bit, and greets her in kind. “It’s just that Mr Tyler wants to see you in his office. Urgently.”
“Ah.” Rose frowns and checks her phone for messages but sees none. “Did he say if it was work or personal?”
Alice gulps. “He didn’t say, but there was yelling right before I got to his office.”
Rose nods. “I’ll go right up then. Thanks, Alice. Could you please tell the rest of the team that I’ll be in to see them later?”
“Of course. Is there anything else I can do for you?”
“Nope. Thanks. Just go get yourself a latte or tea or whatever you want from the café and tell them to put it on my tab. Not enough caffeine to get through a Monday.”
“Thank you!” Alice looks taken aback but smiles and turns towards the stairs.
“Good morning, Ms Tyler.”
“Mornin’, Eva. I hear I’ve been summoned.”
Eva gives her a small smile. “He isn’t in the best mood. He came in a stomp and he’s had quite a few calls since he arrived. I think he’s still on one now, but he said to send you in.”
Rose nods, wondering what could have happened. They hadn’t had any major alien incidents since the void had been sealed off, and it wasn’t often that her dad got worked up.
Straightening her jacket, she knocks on the office door and enters.
Pete’s on the phone, frowning, but motions for her to come in. She gives him a small smile and notices that the Doctor is sitting across from him.
Rose hurries over and sits down beside him.
“Why are we both here?” she whispers. “I thought you were going to the shed?”
The Doctor cringes. “Pete called me in as I was leaving the garage. Something about needing to speak with us urgently.”
“Did he say why?”
Pete clears his throat and glares at them.
“No,” the Doctor whispers, eyes wide and almost comically terrified.
Rose sits back in her chair and fiddles with a loose thread near the knee of her trousers, and they quietly wait for Pete to finish his phone call, consisting of little more than a few grunts and a resigned “Yes, I understand.” The Doctor fidgets beside her and moves to place his hand over her own. She shoots him a reassuring smile and turns just as Pete hangs up the phone.
“So, Dad, you wanted to speak to us?”
“I’ve been on the phone with the director of the Museum of Natural History.”
“Ah, we were just there!” the Doctor chimes in.
“Yes, I know.”
Rose bites down on her lip, thinking back on their two awkward visits of the weekend.
“Did they want us to complete a survey? I have a few suggestions on what they could do to improve security.”
“No, Doctor, they don’t want you to complete a survey! Apparently you broke into the museum after dark? And proceeded to set off multiple alarms and ran off before they could apprehend you? And then you went back the next day and used your badges to ‘investigate’ their new exhibit? As they happened to be giving a tour to the president? And then you accused them of trying to pass off alien remains as newly discovered fossils?”
The Doctor nods. “Because they are alien remains, Pete. There have fossils from Raptor 9 on display, as if they were nothing! Well. Not nothing, but they’re casually there, as if they weren’t from another planet. Just like I told Rose they would be. Didn’t I, Rose?”
“He did.” Rose frowns. “Since when is ignoring potential alien situations against Torchwood policy?”
“Of course it isn’t, but I would have appreciated it if you’d called for backup or at least informed me of your intentions!” Pete sighs. “Look. I know the two of you are the most competent agents we have, and if the Doctor says something is alien and needs to be looked at, it absolutely needs to be looked it, but the way you went about this puts me in a difficult position. This doesn’t look good.”
The Doctor frowns, and Rose can feel him stiffen beside her. The last thing he needs is to be reminded of the bureaucratic steps when he’s only recently agreed to consult with Torchwood. She squeezes his hand and opens her mouth to speak, but the Doctor does so before her.
“Are you saying appearance is more important than responsibility, Pete?!”
“No, I’m saying that it’ll be difficult for us to be able to do our jobs if the new government decides that we proceed unprofessionally! And your confronting the head of one of the most prestigious museums in the country without notifying me first was unprofessional!”
“We hardly confronted him, Pete! We just asked to have a discussion with him!”
Pete goes quiet, and Rose sees him struggling with his response. She knows he’s inclined to side with them and sees their logic, but she also knows the government has been watching him like a hawk lately.
"Look. Doctor, I think it would be best if you were to hand in your badge... just for a few days to appease everyone, and then you can go back to consulting with us as we discussed."
The Doctor splutters. Rose thinks he's going to speak up and protest, but instead, he pulls his badge out of his suit pocket, places it on Pete's desk, and quietly walks out of the room, jaw clenched and eyes slowly turning black.
Rose watches him go, stomach clenching when he doesn’t turn to give her a look before the door shuts behind him. She sighs and turns back to her father, eyebrows raised. “Well?”
“I’m sorry, Rose. You know what a pain the government has been lately - ”
“Yeah, and you know how difficult it was for me to get the Doctor to agree to even consult with us. How on earth does this help?”
Pete runs his hand through his shortly cropped hair. “He can come back in a week. Two tops.”
“Do you think he’s going to agree to come back that easily?” Rose lets out a sardonic puff of air and rises from her chair. “Dad, I love you, and I understand how difficult this must be, but I have to go be with the Doctor. I’ll call my team to say I won’t be in today, yeah?”
Pete nods. “Of course. I really am sorry, Rose.”
“I know.” She gives him a small smile and walks out.
She checks their flat first, hoping to find him in the space they’d created together, but the rooms are empty, their bed unmade and the dishes still soaking in the sink from their rushed breakfast. One of them had left their bedroom window open, and the cold had made its way in through the crack. She rushes to close it and pauses to grab her fluffy, green scarf before heading back outside to hail a cab.
There’s only one other logical place for him to be - working on the TARDIS in the shed at the back of her parents’ property. Climbing into the back of a black cab, Rose rummages through her bag and pulls out her phone, ringing the Doctor. The call goes straight to voicemail, again, and she growls. Taking a deep breath, she dials her mum and leans back into the seat.
Jackie answers almost immediately, "Well this is a nice surprise! You never ring me in the mornings anymore."
“Hi, Mum.” She knows she sounds exasperated, the frustrations of the meeting still with her.
"Is everything alright?"
"I'm not so sure." She scrunches up her face. "Dad called us in to his office. Didn’t go so well, and the Doctor stormed off. Is he there?"
“That was bound to happen sooner or later.” Jackie sighs. “He's here. He arrived a few minutes ago. Just thought he came by to check on the TARDIS. I did think it was strange that he didn't come in to say hello. I saw him stomp through the back garden to the shed. Normally comes in to have a cuppa before going out there, he does."
Rose calms down a bit at the image that comes to mind, and her tone softens. “He does?"
"Mhmm. Sometimes even brings little pastries he picked up on the way."
Rose smiles into the phone, and something flutters in her chest at the thought. "He never said."
"That's odd. He always seems to enjoy it. I bet he's just shy. Daft alien. Don't see what he has to feel ashamed about."
"He's not ashamed, Mum. He's still adjusting to the little things. I think he's afraid I’m going to think he isn't himself if he enjoys the domestics too much."
"He's always been like this though. Well not always. Your first Doctor was right difficult when it came to coming to tea, mind you, but ever since he changed to this face... He'd always bring you home for visits and he'd bring all those alien treats."
"It's different now though, Mum."
“Don’t see how it is.” Jackie sighs, and Rose hears a slight whoosh and knows she’s plopped down onto the sofa as she’s seen her do a million times before.
“Well that’s the Doctor for you. Look, Mum, I’m in a cab now, so I should be there in about half an hour. We’ll talk then, yeah?”
“Alright, Sweetheart. You be careful and don’t fret too much about the Doctor.”
“I won’t. Love you, Mum.”
Rose hangs up and fidgets with her phone, swiping from one window to another, before tossing back into her bag and turning to stare out the window. Calm washes over her as she watches the cityscape goes by. She knows where the Doctor is, and she has no doubt that some time with the TARDIS will help him remember Torchwood only has so much say in his actions in this world.
After she arrives at the Tyler estate, Rose hops out next to the blue, now mud-spattered car she shares with the Doctor and quickly lets herself in the back door of the house.
It’s no longer raining, but she has no trouble imagining the amount of mud at the bottom of the garden where the shed is located. Tony often ran off there and got drenched in rainy weather, causing Jackie to keep an extra pair of wellies in the back for each member of the household. Looking down at the pair of heels she’d donned that morning, expecting to spend the entire day in the office before briefly popping into at a Vitex function that evening, she kicks the shoes aside and tucks her trousers into the pair of bright yellow boots her mum had knowingly chosen for her.
Deciding there was no way the Doctor had grabbed an umbrella, she does and makes her way back outside. She catches a glimpse of Tony in the sitting room window and waves back at him before turning down the path that leads to the back.
She hopes to find the door to the shed unlocked when she arrives, but finds it open instead. She still knocks and, peering in, spots the Doctor facing away from her, buzzing the sonic at the little mound of dirt at the centre of the room, no doubt doing something or other to stimulate the TARDIS coral growing beneath it.
He twists around and looks at her sheepishly. "Hi."
"Should've known you'd come here."
"I wanted to check on the TARDIS." He pats the ground next to him.
She steps over and sits down, legs crossed. "Blimey, it’s cold in here. You should think about adding a carpet or something. This universe gets a good ten degrees cooler in the winters.”
“I’ll look at doing something with the sonic. Maybe I can make the floors give off heat. Might even be good for the coral if it’s a little warmer in here.”
“Thought the sonic didn’t work on wood?”
“It doesn’t. This isn’t wood.” The Doctor knocks on the floor and grins. “Much more efficient stuff - looks like wood, tastes like wood, but it keeps out water and it won’t catch the attention of anyone who wanders in who shouldn’t be here.”
Rose nods and runs her hand along the surface until it reaches the patch of dirt in front of her. “Hold on, did you say ‘tastes like wood’?”
She nudges him, drawing out a small smile, but they both go quiet. The rain starts to fall again, pitter-pattering on the tin roof of the shed, and thunder rolls in the background. Rose shivers, pulling her hands into the double cuffs of her jumper and trench, thankful that she’d kept the jacket on.
“I’m sorry, Rose.”
“It isn’t, though. You were worried and I didn’t think. I needed air, and I needed to feel in control. I didn’t want you to worry.”
"Honestly, I would've been more worried if you hadn't reacted strongly."
"Course. I’m just glad you didn’t go anywhere further than this.”
The Doctor leans into her, and she knows… understands that he wouldn’t.
“You know, I’ve quite felt like storming out of there before myself.”
The Doctor laughs, more puff of air than mirth. “I bet you haven’t though.”
“I did once. Had this horrible co-worker who kept ignoring my orders, and he had the gall to blame me after he sabotaged one of our missions. Reported me to Dad and everything. I told him off, but I walked out before Dad was finished with him.”
“He got sacked. Apparently he told Dad he wouldn’t listen to me because I was a woman. He was a right ass.”
“He sounds insufferable.”
Rose nods. “Yeah.”
“How’d you leave things with Pete?”
She sighs. “Didn’t stay long after you left. He’s on our side you know, Doctor. It’s just that the new government has been on our backs, far more so than I’d realised, and he’s afraid Torchwood’s going to need to go underground if we piss them off too many times.”
The Doctor nods almost imperceptibly and fiddles with a patch of grass. “I understand, Rose. I do, and you know I respect Pete, but it’s hard. I don’t...”
“I know.” Her response comes out as little more than a whisper and she scoots closer to lean her head against his shoulder.
He nuzzles her hair and wraps an arm around her shoulder.
“I know I said I was happy staying in London and just having adventures here, and I am, I really am, but I think that I’m ready to maybe go on a trip. If you want?”
Rose turns to face him. “‘Course I want to.”
“Yeah?” The Doctor’s countenance immediately relaxes, and he beams.
Rose smiles back, snaking her tongue over her upper lip. “Where do you want to go?”
“I don’t know… Everywhere, anywhere. Just want it to be us for a bit.”
“I’d like that.” She gives his arm a squeeze. “How about we go home and pack some clothes and just drive around the country? Go to whatever places catch our fancy?”
“Without any plans?”
“‘Course. Wouldn’t be much fun otherwise, would it?”
“Nope!” The Doctor jumps up and bounces in place, before extending an arm to help her up.
“Will the TARDIS be okay if we stay away for a while?”
“She should be. I can do a few things to make sure… add some defences. Should only take me a few minutes”
Rose nods. “I’ll go say hi to Mum then… tell her we’re going. Come in when you’re done?”
“I will.” He tugs on his ear and looks at her sheepishly. “I have some scones for her in the car. I’ll bring those in, too.”
Rose grins and reaches up to peck him on the lips before hurrying off and leaving him with a bemused yet endearingly complacent expression on his face.
"In here, Sweetheart!"
Rose pulls off her boots and follows her voice to the sitting room where Jackie is sitting across from Tony and a half built train set.
“Did you work everything out with the Doctor, then?”
Rose smiles and crouches down to kiss her mum on the cheek and sits next to her. “Yeah, I did.” She holds her arms out to Tony, and the four-year-old darts into them. “He’s still adjusting. You remember how reluctant I was to work with Torchwood at first.”
Jackie nods. “A right mess, you were. You know your dad wants things to be easy for both of you, though.”
“I know, and I know he’s under a lot of pressure right now, but it isn’t going to be easy.”
“Suppose not.” Jackie sighs. “Is himself coming inside then? A fat lot of good moping out in the rain is going to do him.”
Rose snorts. “He’s comin’, yeah, and he said something about pastries.”
“Oooh, I’ll go put the kettle on then.”
Rose runs a hand through Tony’s unruly curls and nudges him aside to stand up. “I’ll help you. In fact, I have something to tell you.”
“Oh my god.” Jackie starts tearing up. “Did the Doctor propose? I knew this was going to happen.”
“Oh, this’ll be just perfect.”
“What?! Mum! It’s not that.”
“Oh.” Jackie goes quiet and crosses her arms. “And why not then?”
Rose groans and leans against the kitchen counter. “It’s early, Mum.”
Jackie snorts at that and turns to rummage through the cabinet. “You two have been in love with each other for years. It’s far from early.”
“Early for what?”
Rose looks over her shoulder to see the Doctor in the kitchen doorway and gives him a small smile. “Mum was just trying to guess what I was about to tell her.”
“Ohhh, I love a good guessing game!” The Doctor bounces into the room and goes to greet Jackie. “There was a brilliant one on Moune. They gave you banana fudge if you managed to guess within the first three tries!”
“Of course it’d be bloomin’ banana,” Jackie mutters and rolls her eyes at the Doctor.
“And if you didn’t?” Rose prompts him to continue.
The Doctor cringes. “Wellll, you would get executed.”
“For making a wrong guess?!” Jackie’s voice turns shrill. “I don’t understand how you two traipse about from planet to planet with no care in the world. I reckon you’re both mad, with banana loving executioners out there. I’m glad you two are staying put for now.”
“Yeah about that, Mum.”
Jackie turns to face her. “You aren’t going back out there?”
“Not to planets where they execute you for making wrong guesses no.”
“The banana fudge though, Rose,” the Doctor whispers, as Rose turns to fix him with a glare.
Jackie looks between them, narrowing her eyes. “You’re going traveling though.”
“Yeah, we are. We’re just going to drive around for a bit.”
“Oh.” Jackie looks relieved. “You aren’t going to go jumping out of planes in South America then?”
Rose cocks her brow and the Doctor looks mildly excited.
“No?” Rose laughs, widening her eyes at the Doctor. “Not for now. We just need a change of space. We’ll only be gone for a couple of weeks, and I promise we’ll call.”
Jackie smiles, reaching for the kettle and turning to pour the water into a pot. “You don’t need to call me as long as you don’t leave the country. Or the planet, mind you.”
The Doctor chuckles and smirks at Rose.
“Just focus on yourselves for a bit, yeah?” Jackie continues, “You haven’t had that much time alone, and God knows Rose needs a holiday. She was a right mess before the dimension cannon business even began and I know those two weeks she took after you first got here weren’t enough to figure everything out.”
“Thanks, Mum. I knew you’d understand.”
“When are you leaving?”
“This afternoon, I think.” Rose looks at the Doctor to confirm and he nods, bumping her hip.
Jackie laughs and hands the Doctor the tea tray. “You can carry that in then, and I’ll go see if I have some more of that jam you like in the pantry.”
Tea goes smoothly, and Rose catches up with her mum, telling her about the impromptu picnic the Doctor had surprised her with on Friday night and the less dramatic moments of their weekend, while the Doctor sits on the floor, enthusiastically explaining locomotive engineering to Tony. They trade glances, wrapped up as they are in their respective stories, and it’s only after Jackie jokes about their inability to look away from one another that they get up to leave.
The pitter-pat of the rain against every surface of the car washes away the last of the morning’s stress as they drive home, and the Doctor babbles on about trains and barely processes that they’ve arrived when Rose parks in front of their building. She teases him as they go up hand in hand, and the Doctor races through the flat to pack the extra case she pulls out from underneath their bed. Jumpers, delicates, pinstripes, and jeans fly through the air as they alternate between filling their bags and setting the flat to rights again, and barely twenty minutes go by before they find themselves back in the car, laughing and struggling to catch their breath.
Rose leans back into the passenger seat, beaming at the Doctor. “Where do we go first, then?”
The Doctor stares out the window, eyes shining at all the possibilities, and then grins and asks for the fold out map of Great Britain that she keeps in the glove compartment.
“I thought we were being spontaneous?”
“Oh, we are.” He unfolds the map and places it between them, grabbing her hand. “Close your eyes.”
“Okay?” She complies, smiling as she sees his eyes screwed shut before hers flutter closed. “Now what?”
“We decide where to go.” He gently tugs on her hand, before letting her take the lead, and their joint fingers land on the page.