Of Love and Waffles by rallalon
Summary: For the love of a waffle, a breakfast was lost; for the love of a breakfast, a flower was lost; and all for the love of a waffle.
Characters: Rose Tyler, Rose Tyler, Rose Tyler, The Doctor (10th), The Doctor (10th), The Doctor (9th), The Doctor (9th)
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Het, Humor, Romance
Of Love and Waffles by rallalon
Chapter 1: Fit the First: In Which Rose is Most Certainly Not Suffering From Waffle-PoisoningAuthor's Notes:
Waking up takes a while. She snuggles into her pillow, rolls over, and eventually reaches blindly for him, her eyes closed to the dark. Her hand finds nothing but air and she wakes up a little faster at that. Propping herself up on one elbow, she gradually figures out that she's literally woken up on the wrong side of the bed, thus explaining the whole grab-and-miss. There's nothing there to grab; the intended target isn't even in the room any longer.
Rose rubs her eyes a little, thinks of twenty perfectly good reasons why he's gone and then seriously considers going back to sleep. She aches in all the right ways and the simple act of closing her eyes is enough to make her smile contentedly. Still, something feels like it's missing, something besides the obvious, so Rose feels around some more, getting further away from that deliciously groggy state she wants to stay in. When she can't find his shirt in the mess of blankets, she sighs, sits up and looks for it. The TARDIS lights blink on and she groans with a hand over her eyes.
The TARDIS lights blink off.
Rose mumbles either a curse or a thank-you and thinks of two possible reasons for his shirt not being there either. One: something almost blew up in the middle of the night and he had to run off for a bit. Two: he doesn't want her to wander into the kitchen wearing nothing but his very rumpled shirt from the day before. Seeing as she can't find the daring substitute that is his tie, option number two doesn't seem to cut it.
Stretching a bit and letting a few contented noises fall from her lips, she gets up and pulls on the first thing that comes to hand, which is surprisingly the blue Trust Me, I'm a Doctor t-shirt she got for him years ago, the one he's never worn once. Alternatively rubbing at her eyes and scratching at the stiff tag tickling her neck, she pads down to the kitchen.
It's dark, which is weird. Peering into the empty room, something clicks: she hasn't woken up without the smell of breakfast in the air in a few weeks now and she realizes that she'd gotten used to it. When the lights come on, Rose notes with a strange sort of mixed regret that the waffle iron her mum gave them is gone. Ever since they'd got it, he'd been playing with it and Rose had been quick to discover that there are certain ingredients that don't go in waffles, no matter how much whipped cream — or in his case, jam — they put on them.
Two mysteries solved: that's probably what blew up last night. He'd gone on about it not being TARDIS-compatible when her mum had foisted the third-hand appliance off on them, but both Tyler woman had assumed he was just being the Doctor. Apparently not.
Still, he cleaned the mess up really well and his continued absence is completely explained when she opens up the fridge to find that they're out of jam again. She rolls her shoulders and shifts a bit, reminding herself purposefully of the pleasant ache that's still with her, even if he isn't. She puts the kettle on and smiles when she opens the cupboard, giving the counter a fond pat. Her old favorite mug is on the shelf, the one with the good handle and a better rim, the one that fits just right in her hands when she wants to warm them up, the one that’s been missing literally for years. The purple tinge of the cup changes with contact from her hand, reacting beautifully to any heat. She smiles at the wall and gives it a pat too.
With both men and sentient timeships, it can be the small gestures that mean the most.
She feels a slight nudge on her mind only because she's waiting for it. Looking up at the ceiling curiously, Rose blinks a little. The TARDIS sounds almost apologetic and Rose shakes her head. "Got it now," she says, lifting the mug, but the feeling doesn't go away. She shakes her head again because she's just being a bit paranoid, because she's just a little cold in a waffle-less kitchen without socks or bottoms or even her knickers.
He comes when the kettle whistles and she keeps her back to the door because he's staying quiet, because she can feel his eyes following her thighs up to where they disappear under a shirt that he doesn't wear but that is nevertheless his. She smiles because she knows that silence and the knowledge that she can do this to him will make up for any delay between her waking and her laying eyes on him. Well, mostly.
She fills her mug and says "Want some?" in a way that's clearly an invitation, even if she doesn't turn around yet. He'll walk up behind her and wrap his arms around her waist the way he always does before he murmurs into her ear, a poor innuendo based on tea. He'll be cold and his joke won't be funny, but she'll smile anyway and kiss him, morning breath and all.
He doesn't move from the door.
She turns around.
He's standing in the doorway and he's staring at her with an expression she's seen once before, exactly once, this exact expression. He'd looked up and gaped a little and called her beautiful for the first time. This exact expression.
Rose fumbles her mug and it hits the floor with a neat and final crack. She jumps back automatically from shards of alien ceramics and hot spilt tea, but she's not paying attention, not to that. He's moving, crossing the kitchen in a few long strides and then they're both speaking at the same time.
"You changed back!"
Blue eyes blink and narrow, and a voice Rose hasn't heard in seven years asks in an irritable and confused Northern accent, "Changed back from what?"
At that very instant or slightly over seven years ago, depending upon how one counted, Rose woke up. She yawned. She rolled over. Her fingers brushed something unfamiliar on the duvet and she woke up a little more. She pulled the object to her, along with the attached cloth.
Buttons. Buttons on a man's dress shirt. Buttons on a man's dress shirt on her bed.
Blinking, she looked a bit closer, the ceiling lights turning on slowly in a way she hadn't known they could do. She could see, and there was still a man's dress shirt on her bed. With a tie on it, still tied, making a loose loop of swirling blue. She picked the tie up. She put the tie down. After an awful thought, she checked to make sure she was still in her nightclothes. She thought about it for a little longer and came up with exactly zero good reasons for why her bed looked and smelled like someone — a pair of someones — had shagged in it the night before without her noticing.
She hadn't planned on being this paranoid or this awake at this relative time in the not-morning. She hadn't planned on it, but something about the sight of a definitely used condom in the rubbish bin had a way of changing plans. For what felt like a good five minutes — probably closer to twenty seconds — Rose panicked.
Then she smelled waffles.
The only other option being to yell for the Doctor to come and explain whatever was going on, Rose climbed out of her bed before pulling on a pair of socks and her trainers. She proceeded to look around for something heavy. The cricket bat was gone as mysteriously as it had appeared three months ago on the night after Adam had come aboard. No help there. No help anywhere, she slowly realized. All her stuff had been moved about. Had the TARDIS...?
She felt a tickle behind her ear and scratched at it absently.
Her journey to the kitchen took longer than it usually did, the teenager walking slowly and cautiously towards the smell of breakfast food. Reaching the door, she peeked around the frame carefully, hearing the man before she saw him. He was working on something at the counter, his back to her.
Brown — pinstripes. A suit. The dress shirt?
The dress shirt.
She didn't think she made a noise, but the man started talking, addressing her by name in a London accent without turning to look at her, instead fighting with some sort of dinged-up appliance. "'Morning, Rose, hope you're hungry. I had this idea last night, just a thought: bananas and satsumas. What d'you think? We're out of jam again, so you might want to dig in before it congeals."
Rose looked at the man.
Rose looked at the plate of things that might have been in some way related to breakfast food.
Rose looked at the man who was still talking.
The man stopped talking and looked at Rose.
Rose looked at the man.
They looked at the plate of congealing things.
They looked at each other.
The man smiled, a slightly nervous look in his eyes. His smile faded when she didn't return it. "Rose, are you..." He stopped talking again and Rose had the sudden feeling that this was rare. It wasn't a feeling she thought about for long, as he frowned shortly after. "Wasn't your hair shorter last night?"
She was halfway down the hall and yelling for the Doctor before the man started after her, calling her name. She yelled some more and she ran faster, legs pumping and heart shuddering. The TARDIS was safe. The TARDIS was supposed to be safe. Nothing could get inside, nothing like the bloke chasing her could get inside.
("Doctor!" she very nearly screamed.
"Rose!" the man running after her kept calling.)
But he had. He had gotten in, and there was no avenging Time Lord descending upon him. There was no hero in leather barreling around a corner to put himself bodily between her and the unknown alien.
("Doctor, where are you?" she continued to very nearly scream.
"Behind you!" the man reminded her, sounding even closer now.)
Rose turned the corner, yelling less so she could keep running. The hand not pushing off the wall for balance went to her neck, went to the chain of her key. Dashing into the console room, Rose didn't stop to think, didn't pause, didn't hesitate in running over the grating and down the ramp to the door, not losing even half a second in turning around to see how far behind he was. He was there and that was more than close enough.
Trusting her instincts, Rose lunged out of the TARDIS, slammed the door shut and flung herself around behind the time machine's blue fašade. She'd been right about the ship's hum; they were on a habitable planet.
Not thinking about what might have happened to her if they hadn't been, Rose held her breath as the man ran out of the TARDIS at full tilt. She peeked once, then went for it, darting back around to the doors with her key in hand. The man noticed and reversed direction, just as she'd hoped he wouldn't, and yelled "Rose, don't-"
She slammed the door in his face and locked it as securely as she knew how.
The man yelled a bit more.
Rose sat down. She didn't mean to, it just sort of happened. One leg wobbled and the rest of her sort of followed until she was on the grating with her back against the door and shaking and gulping down air. She breathed and she gasped and she rubbed her eyes just to make sure she wasn't crying, because, really, just because the TARDIS — just because her home had been impossibly broken into, she wasn't about to cry. A few more deep breaths and she was pushing herself to her feet, bracing herself and getting ready to venture back into the hallways. Whatever was happening in the kitchen probably needed to be stopped — weirder alien plots had happened after all, and she still needed to find the Doctor. He wasn't there. He hadn't come and...
Her home had been impossibly broken into, and the Doctor wasn't there.
Rose couldn't breathe.
When air finally returned to her lungs, she stood and put her mouth near to where normal doors would have had a slight gap between them. "What've you done?" she demanded, voice shaking just a little, not that much. "Tell me what you've done."
She waited, kept her hand on the lock, holding it in place, just in case of.... Just in case.
"I don't know," the man said after a pause, speaking in a tone that was at once annoyed, confused and far too personal. "I honestly have no idea, but if it helps, I'm probably sorry? And what was all that running and screaming about? There are easier ways of locking me outside of the TARDIS, done it to myself plenty of times."
She didn't listen to his somewhat muffled questions, shaking her head. "Tell me what you've done with the Doctor," she told him, willing to get as specific as she needed to be.
There was a very long pause.
"What?" the man asked.
"Tell me what you've done with the Doctor," she repeated. "Tell me right now." Whatever he'd done, he wasn't about to get away with it. If he'd stowed away and done anything, anything at all, she could strand him here. She could threaten to, at any rate. Impressive words flew through her mind. Shadow Proclamation. Last of the Time Lords. Writs of Rascal Sons or something.
She could do this, was almost very sure she could do this, and then the man replied, "That's what I thought you said."
"Then you'd better answer," she told him, no questions about it.
There was another very long pause.
"I'm right here, Rose Tyler," the man said quietly, so softly she had to press her ear to the door to hear. "I'm right here," he continued, voice controlled, carefully patient. "Let me in."
She didn't hesitate in her response: "No."
"Rose, it's me." It almost sounded like a plea. "Let's not do this again. It's me. It's all right. You've probably been... Have you been exposed to anything odd recently? Odder than usual? Pollen, dust, purple rodents, that sort of thing? Please don't say you have waffle-poisoning."
"I don't have waffle-poisoning." He was either crazy or crazy and trying something. "And I'm not letting you back in." It occurred to her to ask: "Who are you?"
"I'm the Doctor," the man lied, but he lied so gently. "Let me take care of you, Rose Tyler. Let me in. Please."
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