Proposal by LN29 [Reviews - 6] |
This is it! A year and a half after Bad Wolf Bay, John finally finds the courage to ask the big question, in his own unique way. I've had this proposal story in mind since I started plotting out John and Rose's history, and finally, I've gotten it down. I hope it does justice to these two amazing characters, and their epic romance.
And I personally think that Jake speaks for all of us in that last line. It's been a long time coming for these two.
The call came in at midday. Alien activity had been reported at a factory on the outskirts of London. Not an unusual call in and of itself, however, from reports, these aliens appeared to be hostile.
“All right, everyone,” Rose told her team. “They’re allegedly hostile, but we all know that eyewitness reports aren’t always the most accurate when it comes to determining the intentions of extraterrestrials. So keep your weapons close, but don’t fire unless provoked.”
They piled into their vehicle, heading for the reported location of the trouble. John sat up front with Rose, and the others sat in the back.
“Think they’re really hostile?” someone asked.
“Could be,” Rose replied.
“Last time we went to a supposedly hostile alien encounter,” Jake supplied, “we found a lost and terrified Tarnwat, which couldn’t have hurt anyone if it tried.”
“But,” Alice, the team medic, added, “the time before that we nearly got blown to pieces by a Rizan with a grudge.”
“You can never be sure,” Rose agreed. She glanced over at John, who was staring straight ahead. “What do you think, John?”
“I don’t know,” he said. “The descriptions weren’t enough for me to pinpoint a species, and without that, we have no way of knowing their motivation. But if they’re at a factory…I don’t like the sound of that.”
They pulled up in front of the factory. Fortunately, the area was out of the way, so there were minimal bystanders. Several police vehicles were already on the scene, and as the team jumped out of the van, one of their contacts in the police force, Brian, ran to meet them.
“What’s the situation?” John asked.
“We got some reports of shots fired within the factory,” Brian replied. “Possible casualties. But the shooters definitely aren’t human.”
“Did anyone say what provoked it?” Rose asked, scanning the crowd of what appeared to be factory workers.
“No,” Brian shook his head. “No one could tell.” John squinted up at the factory.
“What sort of factory is this?” he asked.
“Plastics, mostly,” Brian replied, but John was already shaking his head.
“No, there must be something more. They wouldn’t be willing to kill for something as benign as plastic.”
“What about that living plastic stuff you told us about?” Jake asked.
“No,” John shook his head. “Doesn’t fit. Not the Nestene consciousness's style.”
“Are all the workers out?” Rose asked.
“No. Some are still inside.”
“And the shooters?”
“As far as we know, still inside too. We’ve sealed off the exits as best we can.”
“Right,” Rose said. “We’ll take it from here.”
She turned to the team, who quickly gathered around her.
“All right,” she said, “we’ve got civilians still inside the factory, along with the shooters, who are extraterrestrial, according to descriptions. They are armed and presumably dangerous. We’re going to have to prepare to enter and sweep the building.”
The others nodded and went about making preparations. Rose caught John’s eye. He was frowning, his brow furrowed in worry.
“I don’t like the idea of you rushing in there,” he said.
“John, this is what we do…”
“They’ve already proved that they’re willing to shoot to kill…”
“So, what, you want me to wait outside? I’m the leader of this team, John, in case you’d forgotten.”
“I know,” John faltered helplessly. “I just…”
“I’m not helpless!”
“I know you’re not!”
Rose crossed her arms. They really didn’t have time for John to go all protective on her, which he still had a habit of doing.
“Look,” she said, “like I said, this is what we do. It’s just another mission, John. We protect civilians, just like always. And in case you’d forgotten, you’re just as vulnerable as I am now!” They’d had this conversation multiple times. John’s shoulders slumped, but he nodded grimly.
“I know.” He reached out to touch her face. “I just don’t want to see you get hurt.” Rose stepped forward to hug him. She knew that all of John’s attempts to shield her came out of his love, and she realized she couldn’t stay mad at him.
“I love you too,” she replied. He leaned down to kiss her.
“Oi!” Jake’s voice rang out. “Time and a place!” They both jumped guiltily and joined the rest of the team, who hid smirks.
“Right,” Rose said, refusing to be embarrassed. “Our main priority has to be getting the workers out safely. Avoid casualties, when possible. Keep on your guard, though. We know the shooters are still in there too. Stay in contact through the radios.”
As they entered the building and spread out, John stuck close to Rose. She saw that he had taken a gun, which he only did in situations where he suspected things might get unpleasant. He saw her looking and met her eyes seriously.
Rose drew her own weapon, holding it at the ready as they slowly swept each room. There was no sign of life, and the place seemed deserted. Unfortunately, it was quite a large factory, and appearances were often deceiving.
They rounded a corner, and Rose pulled up short. A lone form lay in the hallway, dressed in the uniform of a factory worker. Rose caught her breath as she saw the blood pooled around him.
“Cover me,” John said, moving to the man’s side. Rose kept alert, watching for any sign of movement. The killers had been here, as some point.
“He’s gone,” John said softly. He got to his feet. “And it wasn’t a terrestrial weapon either.”
“So we are definately looking for aliens?”
“I’d say so,” John agreed grimly.
Rose pulled out her radio.
“One civilian casualty,” she said. “No sign of the killers, but the weapons are non-terrestrial.”
“I’ve got a few survivors here,” she heard someone reporting.
“Get them out,” Jake ordered.
“We’re continuing the sweep,” Rose added, and they were on the move again.
As they entered another room, John suddenly stopped in his tracks.
“What?” Rose asked.
John held up a hand. He looked all around him, as though searching for a sight or sound he couldn’t quite place. He was tense and serious, and Rose felt her heartbeat quicken.
All in a moment, several things happened nearly at once.
“Rose, get down!” John screamed, hurling himself at her.
Even as he did, the entire world seemed to turn upside down. There was an earsplitting roar, a rush of blistering heat, and everything seemed to explode around them as John pinned her to the floor.
She struck her head on something, and everything went black.
Sensation slowly returned to Rose, but she found that waking was worse than being asleep, or unconscious, or whatever she was. A crushing weight pressed down on her, and she couldn’t move her body. Everything was dark, and she ached all over.
“John?” she croaked.
“JOHN!” she cried, louder this time. She tried to get up, but the weight on top of her wouldn’t yield.
She took stock. Despite her headache, and general aches and pains, she seemed to have gotten through whatever had just happened with minimal injury, thanks to John’s quick thinking…she gasped as she remembered him launching himself at her, slamming her to the floor and shielding her with his own body. With a stab of gut-wrenching horror, she realized that at least part of the weight pressing down on her was John’s motionless body.
“John?” she cried out again. She could feel something hot and wet on her shirt. Blood? But whose, hers or John’s? “John, please!”
“Rose?” a faint voice came from somewhere by her side. “Rose, John? For goodness sakes, answer!!!” Her radio!
Slowly, Rose maneuvered her hand through the debris surrounding her until she clasped the radio, and managed to force it up near her mouth.
“Jake?” she asked weakly.
“Rose! You’re all right!!!”
“Not exactly,” she replied. “I’m…I’m buried, and John…” her voice caught as her throat constricted. John wasn’t moving, wasn’t speaking. He’d thrown himself over her to protect her from the worst of the explosion. But at what cost to himself? “J...John’s hurt. Bad.”
“Hang in there, girl,” Jake’s voice came through loud and clear. “We’re coming for you. Our side of the factory was spared the explosion.”
“How…how will you find me?”
“Rose, there’s a tracker in your radio, you know that.” Rose closed her eyes, not that it made much difference. She obviously wasn’t thinking clearly. Her mind was reeling with shock, and the only thing she could feel was an overwhelming worry about John.
“Hurry, Jake,” she pleaded. “John’s not moving…”
She closed her eyes as the radio went silent.
"Come on, John," she murmured. "Come on, please..."
It seemed like lifetimes, but in reality, it was only another minute or so before she heard movement somewhere nearby.
“Here!” she shouted. “We’re here!”
“Hang in there, Rose! We’re coming!” She heard things shifting overhead as pieces of debris were moved off of them, and suddenly, John’s weight was lifted off of her. She coughed as the dust swirled past her, as the weight lifted off her chest, and Jake gently lifted her out.
“John…” Rose said, struggling to sit up, looking about frantically before finally spotting him. They’d laid him out on a relatively flat spot. He was covered in burns and cuts and blood, and his arm, at least, was definitely broken.
“You’re bleeding,” Jake said, gesturing to her shirt, which was soaked with blood. Rose shook her head.
“John’s blood,” she said, feeling ill, for it clearly was. He was bleeding profusely, and dimly, Rose could hear Alice frantically calling on the radio for a helicopter.
“Everyone else is fine,” Jake reassured her, dabbing her forehead with his shirt. Evidently she was bleeding there. “A couple of us got caught near the blast, but your section was the only one that collapsed.”
Rose barely heard him, struggling to reach John’s side. Jake let her go.
“John!” she pleaded, catching hold of his hand. It was cold and limp, and she couldn't see him breathing. He looked...he looked...
“Come on, John, please!”
“He’s alive, Rose,” Alice told her gently. But he didn’t look alive.
“He saved me,” Rose whispered, clutching his hand in hers and pressing it against her forehead. “Pushed me down as the explosion occurred.”
“Looks like he took the brunt of the impact,” Alice said quietly. She had pressed her jacket against John's side, keeping the pressure on the still-bleeding wound. “Probably saved your life.”
Rose couldn’t bear to see him so still, covered in his own blood. She knew that if he died, this would be it. There would be no regeneration. One heart, one life. That was it.
“No,” Rose cried out. “Not here, not now! Please, not now!” Her head was throbbing and spinning, and she was hardly aware of what she was saying. “You promised we’d grow old together! You promised! You can’t leave me like this!”
Then the world went black again.
She regained consciousness in what appeared to be a hospital.
“Welcome back, Miss Tyler,” a doctor said, bending over her. The whole room was abuzz with doctors and nurses.
“John…” Rose murmered.
“He’s alive,” the doctor reassured her. “He’s going into surgery now.”
“Surgery!” Rose tried to sit bolt upright, but a nurse held her down as pain shot through her head. “But, he can’t just go into surgery! He’s not…” she hesitated. “There are medicines he can’t have! Painkillers, things like that…”
“Your father has already brought over his medical records,” the doctor told her. "And he's been keeping a close eye on the doctors." Rose leaned back with a sigh of relief, reminding herself to hug Pete when she got out of here.
“You’ve got a concussion,” the doctor informed her. “And a nasty cut on your forehead. But other than those, and some minor burns and abrasions, you seem to have come through remarkably well.”
“It was John,” Rose said, blinking back tears. “He pushed me down, shielded me…”
“Yes. Your team told us. And if he hadn’t acted when he did, you both likely would have died. As it is, he protected you from any serious injury.”
“But what about him?” Rose asked. She saw the doctors exchange glances, and clenched her fists. “Tell me!”
“Don’t ‘Miss Tyler’ me." She was speaking firmly, loud and utterly serious. A tone that would not take no for an answer. "The man I love just saved my life and is apparently now in surgery! So don’t even try to deflect me. Tell me what’s going on!”
There was a long pause, and Rose’s heart sank.
“He took the majority of the impact,” the doctor said slowly. “He sustained severe burns, especially to his back, and he was struck with numerous pieces of debris. He broke several ribs, and his arm. He also received a severe penetrating impact in his side, which is why he is in surgery now.” Rose felt physically sick, and not just from the concussion.
“But...will he…” Rose couldn’t even ask the question. “He’s…he’s going to be okay, though, isn’t he?”
The momentary silence told her everything she needed to know.
“The doctors will do everything they can for him,” he told her gently. “We’ll give him the best possible chance of survival.”
Rose began to cry.
Rose lay alone in the room she’d been assigned, as she was being kept overnight for observation. Jackie and Pete had been by to see her, Jackie sobbing as she heard about what happened. Many of the Torchwood team had stopped by too. Rose appreciated all the visitors, but right now, she just wanted to be alone, and finally, they seemed to understand that, and they left, promising to return as soon as there was any news about John.
Rose fought back tears as the realization of their situation struck her. John had almost died. Almost died to save her life. He’d completely disregarded any concern for his own safety, as always, concentrating only on her.
They’d discussed the fact that he had a human body now, that he was incapable of regeneration, and Rose had thought that she’d fully understood the ramifications of that. But up until now, they’d never been faced with a situation where John’s mortality was fully exposed, and the reality of the truth struck Rose like a ton of bricks. John may look like the Doctor, and act like the Doctor, and think like the Doctor, but he was physically human, and he was mortal. He wouldn’t regenerate. If he died, that’d be it.
The thought of losing him paralyzed Rose. She couldn’t lose him, not now, and not like this! There was so much that still needed to be said, so much they still needed to do. They were meant to have a full human life together, not a mere year and a half. She loved him, and she needed him, and it wasn’t until she’d almost lost him that she realized just how much she truly did love him.
She’d known that she loved him, and he loved her, but this disaster struck home just how deep that connection ran. That she loved John, both for the man he used to be, and the man he became. She loved him, John Noble, and she couldn’t lose him.
It wasn’t until the next day that Rose was permitted to see John. He’d come through surgery, and now, the doctors said, it was just a matter of time.
Softly, Rose approached the room, choking back a sob as she saw him lying on the bed. He looked so weak and small and helpless, lying there. Pale and battered, covered in bruises and burns and small cuts. But she had to admit, as she drew closer, that he looked better than he did at the site of the explosion, which they now knew had been orchestrated by the aliens in the factory to attempt to destroy the evidence of whatever they’d been working on. They still weren’t sure what that was, but they had succeeded in capturing the aliens, and the team was hard at work trying to figure out what they’d been up to.
Rose pulled up a chair and sat down by John’s bedside. She gently took hold of his hand, on his unbroken arm, and pushed his hair out of his eyes. Even his face was cut and burned.
“Oh John,” she murmured. “You wonderful idiot. You’re not immortal anymore, remember?”
“I never forgot,” John replied suddenly, startling her. He opened his eyes and found her. “I knew what would happen, and I’d do it again.”
Rose caught her breath. He sounded strong and alert.
“Hey,” she said.
"Hey," he replied, squeezing her hand, his enormous eyes never leaving her face, as if he was afraid to take his eyes off of her.
“How are you feeling?”
“I’ve had better days,” he admitted. “But I’m alive.”
“You saved my life,” Rose told him. John smiled.
“So I see. Are you hurt?”
“A bit banged up, but healing fast.”
They sat in silence for a minute, the steady beep of the heart monitor the only sound in the room.
“They didn’t know if you’d survive,” Rose finally said.
“I know,” John nodded.
“I thought…” she swiped away tears. “I thought you’d…”
“So did I, for a bit there. But you know me. I’m too stubborn to take down that easily.”
“I was so scared!” she blurted out, unable to hold the words back anymore. “I thought I’d lost you, and…and…” she closed her eyes, trying to hold back the tears that were threatening to completely burst forth.
She felt his hand pull out of hers, and touch her face, tenderly brushing away the few tears that had managed to escape. She caught hold of it again, clutching it to her cheek, and opened her eyes to see him looking right at her, an expression of startling compassion and sorrow evident in his eyes.
“I’m sorry,” he said quietly. “I’m so sorry. I never meant to put you through that...”
"You saved my life," she whispered. "Don't apologize for that."
His face was odd, strong emotions clearly warring on his face. Usually Rose could read him so well, but she found herself unable to detect what he was thinking. Finally he took a deep breath, his face settling as he seemingly came to a decision.
“Rose, I need to ask you something.”
“All right,” she said, puzzled.
“But first, I need you to do something for me. The contents of my pockets, at the time of the explosion, did they save them?”
“What they could salvage, yes,” Rose replied, now more puzzled than ever. “They put them over on that dresser.”
“I need you to go see if there’s a small package there. It’d be wrapped in brown paper.”
Rose, still confused, but unable to deny him anything just now, got to her feet and headed over to the dresser, where she quickly spotted the package in question. The paper was torn and a little worse for the wear, but it seemed to have come through fine. She brought it to him, and he took it with a kind of eagerness.
Meticulously, he managed to get the paper off using his one good hand, and Rose’s heart nearly stopped as she recognized what had been wrapped up. It was a small, velvet box, the kind that might hold…
John took another deep breath, and the increased beeping of the monitor showed that his heart was pounding frantically.
“I love you, Rose,” John said. “I love you more than I can ever say. I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
He flipped open the box, revealing a beautiful diamond ring.
“Rose Marion Tyler, will you marry me?”
A thousand emotions flew through Rose’s mind, ranging from euphoria at the idea to astonishment that he’d actually asked her. She’d been wondering if he’d ever get around to asking her, but she hadn’t seen this coming at all. Here? Now?! She sat in stunned silence for a second, unable to form a coherent sentence.
“Is…is this the best time for you to ask?” she finally said.
He gazed at her, eyes wide.
“You’re on painkillers.”
“No I’m not,” he replied. “Wouldn’t let them give me any. Couldn’t be sure that they wouldn’t kill me by mistake.”
“You’ve got a concussion.”
“Well…yes, I do. But that’s beside the point."
He placed the ring on the bed and caught hold of her hand.
“Rose, I nearly died today. And all I could think of was how many regrets I had, and how much time I’d wasted because I was too afraid to speak up. I’d never have the chance to say all the things I wanted to say to you. I just kept thinking I’d missed so many chances, and I don’t want to let that chance pass me by again.” Tears filled Rose’s eyes again, but they weren’t from sadness this time. “Rose, you are the best thing that ever happened to me. I love you so much, and I don’t want to lose any more time. I don’t want to be a coward anymore.”
“You were never a coward,” Rose managed to choke out.
“I was. The biggest coward. But I don’t want to be one anymore. I want…” he hesitated only a moment, “I want you, Rose. I want to marry you, if you’ll…”
“Yes!” Rose finally managed to get out. “Yes, yes, yes! Of course I’ll marry you, John!”
John’s eyes lit up and his face broke into his widest grin.
“Of course! I love you!”
Never taking his eyes off her face, John removed the ring from its box. Rose was trembling all over as he took her hand, and slid the ring onto her finger.
It wasn’t the greatest kiss of all time. Neither of them could deny that. After all, John was still recovering from massive surgery, and Rose was nearly blinded by tears.
But it was a brilliant kiss all the same.
“Well, it appears you’re doing all right,” a familiar voice interrupted them, and they turned to see Jake grinning in the doorway.
“Better than all right,” John said, beaming more brightly than ever. “I just asked Rose to marry me, and she said yes.”
Jake raised an eyebrow, looking from one of them to the other. At first, he seemed to be searching for the joke in their faces, but quickly saw that they weren’t joking.
“Well, it’s about time!”