The smell of baking drifts through the corridors, a warm scent of sugar and chocolate, and Jack follows his nose to the kitchen where he finds Rose leaning against the counter and eating something off of a spoon. She doesn't notice him, her eyes trained on the book in her hand, and he stands a moment, watching her.
He's seen many women in his time, glamorous and wild and exotic, but Rose is something new to him, something entirely different. Her hair is held loosely in a clip, tendrils hanging around her face, and she's dressed simply in jeans and a t-shirt. Her feet are bare and her toenails are painted a brilliant pink. He grins as she absently raises one foot to scratch her leg and clears his throat, stepping into the kitchen. She looks up at him and smiles, setting her book down on the counter.
"What're you doing?" he asks as he walks towards her.
"Making chocolate chip cookies. He's in a mood, so I figured I'd make some to cheer him up. You know how much he likes sweets."
Jack peers into the bowl and pinches a bit of dough in his fingers.
"Oi, fingers out of the bowl! I've still got more biscuits to bake!" Rose says, smacking his arm with her book.
He laughs, ducking away from her. "And how many spoonfuls have you had?"
"S'different," she says, her cheeks flushing pink as she lays her spoon down on the counter.
The oven dings and she steps over to it, pulling the door open and carefully taking the baking sheet out. Jack appears next to her, reaching towards the cookies with one hand and she smacks him again, this time with an oven mitt.
"You could at least wait until I get them onto a plate," she says, shaking her head as she elbows him.
He steps back, watching as she opens the cupboard and pulls out a large plate and smiling a little as her shirt rises slightly, offering him a glimpse of the smooth skin of her lower back. He resists the urge to reach out and touch that bit of skin, and instead hands her a spatula. She thanks him and piles the cookies onto the plate.
"Let me get the next batch in the oven and then you can have one," she says, pointing at him with the spatula as she turns to get the bowl of dough. He nods and dips a finger into the bowl, stealing some more dough as it passes in front of him. She giggles and sets to placing little mounds of dough on the sheet, using her fingers to measure and he's more than a little mesmerized at the way she licks the dough from her fingers after she slips the new batch into the oven.
"Okay, you can have one now," she says, picking up the plate and holding it out to him.
He selects one from the top and takes a bite, loving that the edges are just crispy enough while the inside is still slightly gooey. He savors the warm chocolate that melts on his tongue and smiles down at her.
"Yeah?" She grins and picks a cookie for herself, setting the plate down as she bites into it. She groans happily and nods. "Yeah. My best batch yet, I think."
"So modest," he says and she laughs.
"You know my biscuits are fantastic."
He shrugs and nods, popping the last bit of his biscuit into his mouth. "I think fantastic is an apt description."
She grins smugly and finishes her cookie, licking her fingers once again.
"You've got a bit of chocolate on your lip," he says, laughing slightly.
She raises a hand to wipe it off but he grips her wrist gently, stopping the motion of her arm.
"Let me," he murmurs and leans forward, pausing for just a moment to allow her time to stop him if she wants, but she doesn't, and his lips touch hers, his tongue rolling across her lower lip and tasting the chocolate there. He releases her wrist and his hand drops to her waist, pulling her closer. Her hand rises to the back of his neck and her fingers twist in his hair and her body rises to meet his, and she's so warm in his arms and it's almost absurd how well she fits against him.
His hand slides up under her shirt, his fingers fluttering over her soft skin, and his other hand buries itself in her hair, already loose and now falling out of the clip holding it up.
The kiss breaks and neither of them move, their foreheads touching, and the moment is frozen, crystallized between them, and they don't speak. Her breath is warm against his lips, smelling vaguely of chocolate, and her fingers still caress the back of his neck, and this is one of the few times in his life that he doesn't know what will happen next. He can visualize all of the possibilities, almost all of them ending in sex, and still he hesitates because there's something so different about Rose. She's beautiful, to be sure, and he wants to sleep with her, has imagined more than once what it would be like, but he realizes that it's not the only thing he wants from her. He wants her love, and he wants her friendship, and he wants to spend nights with her where all they do is talk and stare up at the stars, and he doesn't want to hurt her, and so he moves his hand from under her shirt, resting it on her hip. He opens his eyes and stares into hers, recognizes lust there and for once doesn't allow it to rule his actions because he also recognizes love there, but it is not meant for him. It's for the man in the worn leather jacket, the man she's baking cookies for because she wants him to be happy, the man who makes her glow just by taking her hand.
The moment shatters with his sigh, and he strokes her cheek with his thumb, pressing his lips to her forehead as they hear the familiar creak of the TARDIS door opening, the familiar footsteps crossing the grating and the familiar voice calling out to them.
She looks up at him and he thinks she must know how he feels, can almost see it in the curve of her lips as she smiles gently at him, can feel it in the way her hand moves down his arm, the way her fingers linger over his before she moves away.
She'll never love him the way she loves the man in the leather jacket, but he thinks that's okay because he loves the man too and when they eventually fall into bed together, his lips tracing fire on her skin and her fingers tightly gripping his sides, it is with the understanding that they are getting from each other what they can't get from him, and this is the love that they share, even on the quiet nights where all they do is talk and stare up at the stars.