Life As You Know It by avoria [Reviews - 72] Chapter or Story |
I’ve finally managed to get this one up. Wasn’t intending to do a series, but oh well, that’s the way it went. Reading the companion pieces to season one isn’t necessary to understand this, unless you want to see how the Doctor and Rose’s relationship has developed so far. My aim is to make this believable and what actually could have happened between episodes. I hope this covers all your needs (:
“Speaking of trouble – and change, come to that – er ...how did I end up in Howard’s pyjamas?”
Part the First — The Christmas Invasion
“Right, there we are then,” the Doctor chirps happily, slapping the side of the ship. “On the way to the coast of Orion’s Belt. Ladies and gentlemen, will you please keep your hands inside the TARDIS at all times. You’ll find the exit to your left and refreshments can be purchased down the corridor, up the stairs, three rights, once on the left. Any questions?”
He spins comically, looking Rose right in the eye and grinning. She has been standing watching him, entranced by the difference. The old Doctor would have taken things slowly, asked questions, welcomed her into the process. This one just shouts and laughs and does things she doesn’t understand.
His grin fades slowly as he watches her. “Okay ...detecting multiple hints of distaste from the corner with the young blonde.” The Doctor pulls one lever, right down, and the TARDIS stops. Just like that. He stands straight and folds his arms. “What’s the problem?”
Rose, startled, takes a moment or two to reply.
“Nothing. S’just ...you.”
“Oh. Just me, is it?” He doesn’t mean to sound insecure, but he can’t quite help it. “What about me?” He glances down the length of his body, then up again with a slightly worried face. “Too tall? I’m too tall, aren’t I? I knew there was something — ”
“No, it’s not that,” she answers quickly, tipping her chin upwards a little. “It’s not anything.”
“Well, it must be something. I’m not dragging you around the universe with that pouty face. It’s not half as much fun.”
She gives a cursory smile, but it’s neither warm nor real. The two consider each other for a half a minute or so, the only time they’ve been alone since he crashed the TARDIS, and even then, he wasn’t quite himself. Rose isn’t sure he’ll ever be himself again.
“I only changed,” he explains suddenly, surprising them both. She frowns at him.
“Oh yeah, ‘cause that’s not a big deal at all,” Rose mutters coldly.
His face drops. “But — but ...You were fine! Remember? We chatted! And ...and you were ...” His voice fades as he watches the steadily darkening expression on her face. “ ...Fine ...”
“Yeah, well, I’ve just had some time to think, yeah?”
He becomes more serious in an instant, and takes a step towards her. “So, not fine, then.”
It isn’t a question.
Rose breezily reaches to tuck her hair behind her ear, looking up but not quite seeing him. “You’re just ...not the same.”
And that hurts. He’s stunned a little, stands stock-still, hand half way towards her and face like it’s been frozen in the wind. It’s vulnerable, but he doesn’t mind. The fact that she doesn’t accept this — accept him — is shocking enough.
She continues on, a little shakily, and he can just stand and watch and take it. He’s that kind of a man.
“You ...you changed,” she says through teeth that are almost gritted, blinking back blinding tears now. He doesn’t respond. “You changed. You were there, standing there, and I saw you. And then ...then it was someone else, in your place. How can I ...? What am I supposed to think, Doctor? How can you be the same man when you’re just so ...not.”
He finally breaks out of his silence. Quietly, he answers, “But I’m here. I’m right here, Rose. Same man, new face. I don’t know what I’ve got to do to convince you — aside from what I’ve already done, and even that isn’t enough for you. So tell me. What do you want? Tell me what you want, Rose, because I’m at a loss. A complete loss.”
“I jus’ ...I dunno. I want you back. The you you. I don’t want all this ...” She waves her hand absently in the air, “...stuff. I just want you.”
“You’ve got me.”
She’s startled and he makes to continue on the point, then closes his mouth and smiles to himself. Her confusion really is quite charming.
“Look, Rose,” the Doctor chuckles gently, wanting to get this sorted once and for all. The sooner she comes to terms with it, the sooner he can start showing her the universe — again. “I’m not saying it’s not going to take some getting used to. I’m not saying it’s not going to be weird, or difficult, or embarrassing, or any other sort of adjective you want to throw in at the last minute. I don’t expect you to leap into acceptance right away, that’ll happen in your own time. I’m just asking you to give me a chance.” He has been edging towards her, closer to her, and even though she looks at him through pitiful eyes, he still reaches for her hand and holds it between their bodies. He looks down, right into her eyes, and sees her struggle against tears. “Let me prove I can be the same man for you. Because, let’s be honest — ” And he smiles that smirk, that gentle, side-on, ‘you-know-what-I’m-talking-about’ smirk that twinkles in his eyes. “If I can’t convince you, I can’t convince anyone.”
She glances to their hands, hers held in his so perfectly it makes her wonder how there was ever anyone else who she let hold her hand.
Then she looks up to his eyes, sees them watching her intently, waiting for the verdict. In a small, timid voice, she says, “I just don’t understand why you didn’t tell me.”
The expression she gets in response startles her, even if it’s only there for a second. A small, fleeting moment of shock. It’s hidden behind a blank mask, a look that’s so quiet she can’t even describe it.
“Tell you what?” he asks quietly, all too aware of how small the console room suddenly feels.
“That you could change.”
They look between each other for a second. When Rose can’t bear it any more, she pushes gently.
“That all you’re going to say?”
“Well, not much else to say, really. It’s not exactly something that comes up in conversation. ‘Oh, hello, I’m the Doctor. I can regenerate when I’m close to death’.”
Rose actually giggles, and he grins, if fleetingly. It’s good to hear that sound again; better to know that he’s the one behind it.
“So, it’s that simple, then?” she asks shyly, looking up at him through thick lashes. He tilts his head, having forgotten what they were talking about.
“The regenerate ...thing. You just change? Whenever you want?”
“Well ...” The Doctor puffs out his cheeks, thinking. “It’s a little more complicated than that. And it’s not unlimited, I only get thirteen tries.”
Rose frowns. “What happens after thirteen?”
The Doctor raises his eyebrows, holding her gaze but giving her the sort of look like she should know better.
“Oh, right,” she mumbles quickly, glancing downwards. “Sorry.” Then she looks at him again, an inquisitive frown staining her face. “Thirteen — what are you on now?”
They look at each other.
“Is there a problem with that?” he asks quietly, squeezing her hand.
Rose shakes her head. “No. It’s jus’ ...that’s not many left.”
“It’s more than you,” the Doctor points out good-naturedly.
“Yeah, I guess.”
He wants to keep her in this space forever, in this trusting, faithful, calm atmosphere. He tugs gently on her hand, almost forcing her to look at him again. He smiles gently, kindly. “Don’t worry. I don’t plan on changing again for ...ooh ...centuries yet.”
“Plan the last one?” Rose asks, raising an eyebrow.
“Ah. Yes, good point. Suppose that means we’ll have to stay out of trouble.”
He winks, dropping her hand but staying close to her. And then, just because he feels like it, he leans towards her and says quietly in her ear, “But then, when have you ever known me to stay out of trouble?”
He’s standing straight again before she even realises he was there in the first place, and it takes a moment or two to process the words he’s said. Then Rose blushes and the Doctor grins, stepping away while she tries to fumble for a response.
Suddenly, he’s whipping around again, face panicked and hair dishevelled.
“Speaking of trouble — and change, come to that — er ...how did I end up in Howard’s pyjamas?” Her eyes go wide with shock. The Doctor winces. “Because if your mother was in any way involved, I need to make a mental note on how long until I can see her again. The better part of never should just about do it.”
“Nah,” Rose answers, shaking her head. “Don’t think even Mum would stoop to that. She’d probably be scared you had ...I dunno ...tentacles. Or something.”
And to his complete and utter dismay, she gestures vaguely to his genitals with her hand. And then it suddenly becomes very clear to him quite how he woke up in Howard’s pyjamas, and who put him there. She probably got quite a good view of him. The minx. He can’t even retaliate.
So instead, with a very matter-of-fact voice, he looks her dead in the eye and answers, “I don’t have tentacles.” Then, regaining himself, he grins wickedly. “But then, I suppose you’d know all about that, wouldn’t you Rose? I’m just glad it wasn’t your mother.”
He physically recoils, an unpleasant shiver shooting right the way down his spine, like someone has just run a finger down the sensitive bones. He grimaces.
“I didn’t ...look, or anything,” Rose tries to correct, her blush taking away any leverage she has in the conversation. The Doctor, a cheeky eyebrow raised, sidles slowly over to her.
“No?” he presses, almost like he’s dejected she didn’t. “But you must have at least caught a glimpse. New Doctor, after all. Things need to be scrutinised.” He waggles his eyebrows flirtatiously. Rose doesn’t break, however, simply holding his gaze and giving him a slight, un-telling smirk that’s impossible to decipher. The Doctor frowns, and she has to stop herself from laughing.
This new man, new Doctor ...he’s so unlike who he used to be. Yet deep down, she can still see he’s there. She saw him today with the Sycorax, and her Mum, and Harriet Jones. There are whispers of him resonating from this new Doctor, and the fact that there are so many twists and turns to him now just makes the journey all the more exciting.
“You know,” Rose laughs, looping her arm through the Doctor’s and entwining their hands. He grins down at her adoringly. She takes just a second or two to notice the new curves of his face, before matching his grin and squeezing his hand. “I think you an’ me are going to be all right.”
“Yeah?” he questions, eyes sparkling with the promise of adventure.
“Yeah. In fact ...I’d say we’re gonna be fantastic.”