First of all, he’s a terrible cook.
He burns the baked beans, which she knows by experience isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do and is especially annoying because the toast came out perfect. A skill, she also knows by experience that isn’t the easiest to do — particularly with a broken toaster.
“At least the beans are all that’s burnt,” he tells her with a knowing lift of his finger as he tips what would be their dinner into the bin. “Kitchens and I have never got along particularly well.”
She already knows this, of course. Never let me into the kitchen unless you want it burnt down, had been #68 of ‘Rules to be obeyed when travelling with a Time Lord (who can be a lot of an idiot at times)’… or something along those lines (though admittedly, she had added that last bit on herself by #34).
She only remembers this because she knows she asked the other him, jokingly, why she would possibly want the kitchen burnt down, to which he gave her an odd, ‘aren’t you a simple baboon?’ look and told her that the TARDIS is very big and if, in fact, the water Heroh in the basement were ever to escape, then a fire in the kitchen would be most desirable unless she wanted to be licked to death (a death, he then told her, that is in no way as funny as it sounds). It was about then she had decided that this life she’d chosen was beyond mad, and her designated driver was even madder.
So he is a bad cook, and should not be allowed in any kitchen of any kind — even for hygiene reasons (yes, even if the bath is broken; flooding the entire lower floor is fun for a little while, perhaps, until you have to clean it up).
It wouldn’t be so bad, if it were not for the fact that she isn’t exactly the best cook in the world either.
“Is that supposed to be chilli?” He sounds very much like he is halfway between pouting and sulking (which with him, she has learned, is much less than the same thing).
She lifts her head from the pan only to glare at him in response. “Are you supposed to be funny?”
He wrinkles his nose. “No,” he says, “but I don’t think Chilli is supposed to turn into... that.”
“Different universes, Doctor —” she raises her eyebrow long enough to give him a knowing look, “— different coloured chilli.” She nods like she's wise and turns back to pan. There is a pause in which a frown lifts from the air and onto her face. “You shouldn’t be in here, anyway, it’s bad for the kitchenware.”
“I’m not a toddler,” he whines like a small child.
“No,” she agrees, “you were born three months ago. Not quite there yet — give it a few years or so. I hear the terrible twos are the worst.” She grins at him, and he turns away (perhaps to get an ice cream in compensation) but she stops him by tugging at the collar of his shirt.
He spins round to face her and she locks lips before he can open his mouth, tasting and then swallowing the rebuke he’d just come up with. When she pulls back he looks slightly startled and is mostly swooning, which isn’t bad she figures, on a day like today.
He looks devilish as his eyes wander over her, full of dark human hormones. He presses his forehead against her hair and makes a strange noise, somewhere between a growling bear and an angry cat. “You must stop doing this to me,” he tells her, “You’re killing me, slowly and a bit painfully at times.”
She breathes him in, (he’s vanilla, metal, that odd taste of time passed) and says softly, “I’m going right down with you.”
They order Indian later; Chilli really isn’t supposed to turn yellow anyway.
As it turns out, the nights can be bad. This in no way means he is bad at the sex — quite the opposite. He just has the hardest time sleeping.
It’s a fairly tiring ritual, in which she will wake up in the middle of the night to find him wide-awake, and staring. Staring at her. Staring at the ceiling. Staring at whatever passes his fancy. Staring with a look on his face that means he’s not looking at whatever it is his gaze is fixed upon. He’s staring inward and trying not to dream, because then come the nightmares.
She puts her hand on his chest to feel the heartbeat that races. He blinks then, every night, and he turns to her, looking like a little bambi caught in the headlights. She reaches across and strokes his neck, feels the pulse. “Bad?” is all she needs to say.
He shrugs like a nightmare that keeps him up all night doesn’t bother him in the slightest. He breathes through his nose and, “Same old,” he says as he leans into her shoulder.
She spends the next few hours kissing away the frown lines of his fears, trying to do as she was told one grey day and heal the blood lust of a broken man.
He’s rubbish at buses, too.
“You can catch the number 42 from Bridge Road at two, and be here for quarter past. It's only £1.50,” she said into her mobile, but she might as well have been speaking Swahili for all the good it did (though admittedly that was a bad analogy, because he probably could actually speak Swahili, what with him knowing 6 billion languages and everything — a trait he was absolutely ecstatic to realise he'd been able to keep).
Two-thirty came and went. Three o’clock came and went. Three thirty. At four, she is more than a little worried. If he doesn’t walk through the door right now she just might do something she’ll regret, like her mother. She has called his phone about twenty-three times, and no response. She is just considering giving in, ignoring everything the Doctor warned her of, and calling Jackie Tyler, when the phone begins to ring.
Of course it would be him now.
“I am going to kill you,” she says before he’s said a word.
“It wasn’t my fault,” she hears him insist with a sigh. “There were things… they got in the way.”
She is instantly worried. “What kind of things?” She pictures a lorry colliding with the #42 bus, while he is still on it… and all because she actually thought him food shopping alone would be a bloody good bloody idea.
“There were these plants,” he breaks her terrifying vision like glass, “and I swear they looked just like the Hekto Plant Species on Setop Planet 6 — you remember them —don't you? They tried to eat your tongue. Anyway, they’re a very dangerous species, Rose,” he says levelly. “I was helping.”
Mauve signs begin to flash in her brain. “Helping? Helping how exactly?”
There is a pause that feels distinctly awkward. “That’s… what I need to talk to you about,” he admits.
She closes her eyes and tries to think of happy things. “Why? What have you done?”
“Oh, I got rid of them, of course. They weren't any trouble — probably hibernating — but I may have, ah, misdirected myself.”
“You don't know where you are,” she puts it simply.
He is instantly insulted. “Of course I do! Margaret Street — outside number 98.”
“But that's miles away! How did you get down there?”
He sighs. “Rose,” he says quietly, with the air of someone admitting something stupid and embarrassing, “I might have forgot the milk.”
She rolls her eyes. “Give me an hour.”
Dancing is something he can do well. Very, very well. The dances he takes her to, though, are complete rubbish.
“Well, that was a waste of make-up,” she says, collapsing into the corner of the sofa.
“Oh I don’t know.” He tilts his head; leans against the doorframe like he’s trying to look impressive. “We did get to dance a little.”
“Yeah,” Rose gives a small smile. “Without any music.”
The Doctor shrugs it off with a wave of his hand. “Ah, there were only a few looks.” He slips down beside her. “Besides, you wanted to dance — it’s your fault.”
“Yeah, but that’s what I thought you were taking me to, Doctor — a dance. You know? Usually they have music, women in fancy, overpriced dresses and your favourite kind of nibbles… and they don’t take place in an underground warehouse.”
“Yes,” he says, suddenly animated, “and did you see all of those boxes in that place? Very suspicious if you ask me. I think it might call from a bit of investigating, you know.”
”Please,” Rose begins, “tell me that wasn’t the reason we went down there in the first place.”
He pulls a face. “Give me some credit, Rose. I only wanted to take you out for a bit of fun.”
“What?” he squeaks, apparently playing outraged, “Did you not have fun, Rose Tyler?”
She giggles. “Oh, yes, the most.” She reaches over to run a hand through his hair. “Almost as much as we’re about to have right now.”
“Why, Rose, could you be trying to seduce me?”
She grins and her tongue points through her teeth, but shakes her head. “I pulled you in years ago, mate.”
He leans in to swallow her laughter and they dance some more.
He forgets the milk, sets the house on fire and regularly forgets to put down the toilet seat.
Rose knows she wouldn’t have him any other way.
Are you as scared as me? I think you are.
Surrounded by glass, we're all surrounded.
Star! That's you. My gem, you shine like a star.
Abby Wall, Beautiful Captivity.