The Doctor and Dickens
The Doctor leaned against the doorway to the library, watching Rose Tyler. Something had obviously frustrated his new companion, her furrowed brows and her slightly too large teeth biting into her bottom lip giving her away.
But what had the Doctor frustrated (with no tells, thank you very much) was how much he wanted to soothe away what was bothering her. He wanted to see her unique, tongue-touched smile, that absolutely gorgeous smile.
He decided to watch her a bit longer, if only so he could catalogue the differences in her appearance. She had long since changed out of her Victorian gown and, as she put it, “wash the Gelth outta my hair.”
The Doctor knew he had hurt her feelings when he’d added the ‘considering’ qualifier to his compliment, but he had needed to regain control of… he wasn’t sure what he needed to get control of because Rose Tyler had thrown him completely off kilter.
But if he thought her beautiful before, she was perfection made real now.
Rose’s bleached hair had dried in waves that looked softer than they should have been with all the chemicals she used, fringe falling over one eye. Her face was make-up free, showing her natural glow, and her eyes were almost luminous. If he were the sappy sort (which he most certainly was not), he would say she looked like a golden goddess.
The TARDIS’ hum turned into a tinkling of bells. The Doctor sent a telepathic inquiry but received nothing in return. He fondly rolled his eyes. His Ship had quite the sense of humor.
Back to Rose.
Different from the frock she’d worn earlier in the evening, she now sported an oversized powder blue hoodie and gray lounge pants. Curled up, angled away from him, in the corner of his favorite sofa, with just her fingertips poking out of her sleeves, holding onto a book, she looked, in a word, adorable.
Rose let loose a huff before snapping the book shut. “Don’t know why I even try.”
She was talking to herself, but that didn’t stop the Doctor; it was practically an open invitation. He shouldered himself away from the jamb and sauntered over to the sofa, crossing his arms as he spoke. “And what is it that you’re tryin’ to do?”
Rose gasped and turned her head, goggling at him. “Well, right now ‘m tryin’ to not die of a heart attack! Don’t you make any noise when you walk around? Jus’ gotta be all sneaky an-an-an’ alien.”
The Doctor raised his eyebrows during Rose’s rant. “You done?” His superior hearing picked up her whispered remark about him sounding too Northern for an alien, but he chose to let that one slide. “What’s got you all in a bother?”
Rose flicked her eyes down to the closed book in her hands before looking back up at him through her fringe. “‘S nothin’, yeah. Just me bein’ silly.”
“If you say so,” he replied, biding his time. He’d get to the bottom of it soon enough. Taking his beloved leather jacket off and tossing it over the wingback chair, he plopped down next to Rose and snatched the book from her grasp. “What ya readin’?” he spoke over her indignant cry. “A Christmas Carol. Missing Charlie boy already?”
“You are so rude!”
“Tell me something I don’t know.” The Doctor thumbed through the pages. “Like why this here story has you in a foul mood.” He gave her a side-eyed glance so he was able to see the exact moment her ire faded and morphed into resignation. “What’s wrong, Rose?”
Rose chewed on her thumbnail for three point eight seconds. “It really is silly, but so much happened an’ ‘m not sure how to… deal with it, so I thought I could read a bit. You know, like help take my mind off everythin’ and then I thought it would be cool to read something Charles wrote.” She shrugged and the Doctor loved how she used the literary genius’ name so casually. “But that turned out to be a bad idea, cuz I can’t wrap my head around the way he writes. Like, how they talk an’ all. I never could. Was always rubbish at school. Never even got my A-levels.”
“You rubbish at school? Nonsense. You’re way too intuitive for me to believe anythin’ of the sort.” He reached out and took her hand when she rolled her eyes. Now those whisky eyes were focused on their joined hands. “You are! Besides what good is a piece of paper from a school gonna prove?” He laced their fingers together. “Trust me. You are brilliant, Rose Tyler.”
“Yeah?” Her shy smile brought one to his lips too.
“Yeah.” He reluctantly let go of her hand. Not wanting their time together to end and recognizing that his human companion really had had an emotional day (which they would need to talk about soon so she could work everything out), he held up the book. “I can read it to you. If you want.”
And there was that tongue-touched smile he loved so much.
“Yeah? Alright, Doctor. Read to me.” Rose snuggled further down into the corner and tucked her toes under the Doctor’s thigh.
The Doctor cleared his throat. “Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that...”
EIGHTY YEARS LATER…
“Remember the first time I ever read to you?” The Doctor asked as he unceremoniously plopped down on the sofa. He held his arm out in invitation, which Rose, his beautiful wife, gladly accepted.
She wormed her way closer to his side, humming in contentment when he draped a multi-colored, striped blanket over her. “I do. That is one of my most favorite memories.”
The Doctor pressed a kiss to her head, smiling against her blonde hair when she nuzzled her face into his green jumper. “It was the first time I’d seen you without all that face paint you like to wear, and I thought you looked like a golden goddess. I remember the TARDIS laughed at me.”
“She did! Can you believe it?” The sentient time Ship sent the equivalent of a raspberry to her pilot and he smirked. “She knew that you would become a golden goddess.”
“Someone had to save your sorry arse.”
“Oi!” He enjoyed his wife’s giggle before his thoughts turned back to that fateful moment on the game station. Bad Wolf had saved him and his Rose, setting them on the path that led to changes to his human, their bonding, and subsequent forever.
A kiss between his hearts brought him out of his musings. “I love it when you read to me, and I think the little one will love it too.”
The Doctor settled his much larger hand over Rose’s smaller one where it rested on her swollen belly.
“No one will love it more than me.”
Rose smiled softly. “Better with three?”
The Doctor pressed a gentle kiss to his wife’s lips. “Better with you.”