That Photo of Them

by jer832 [Reviews - 3]

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  • All Ages
  • None
  • Humor, Romance

Author's Notes:
This was written for the Christmas ficathon at bad-wolf-rising over at livejournal. The manip prompt, shown below, is by bratflorida.

 photo loonapix_1323029402616487485-1-1_zps613eebb5.jpg


He and Rose Tyler were on their way to dismantle the cannons of the Zynaan revolutionaries when her cellphone played the Ride of the Valkyries, which was never good a good thing to hear unless he was in a box seat at a performance of The Ring Cycle. The call was brief. Rose mostly just listened and grunted; and when she rang off, she gave him her going up the steps to the guillotine look. So of course he had to drop everything in the middle of trying to keep the Zynaans' peaceful revolution peaceful in order to avert a Jackie Tyler bloodbath.

Jackie had made an appointment for Rose and her to get their annual Christmas photos taken and told Rose not to be late like usual. Rose pointed out to him that owning a time ship could be very helpful if he actually learned to fly it, then gave him that cheeky smile of hers, the one with just a hint of tongue at the corner. Where Jackie Tyler was concerned, the Doctor’s dictum was Better never than late, but he decided he'd be impressive and get them to Jackie's five minutes early. Turned out, the double joy of watching Jackie's gob drop and impressing Rose only slightly mitigated the unimaginable hell of being with Jackie five minutes longer than necessary.

He got them to the photo session with enough time for the women to "redo their faces", though it didn’t help Jackie's any and Rose's didn’t need it. They were finishing up their mother-daughter shots when Rose looked at him wistfully then turned her daughter-not-to-be-denied face to Jackie.

Jackie threw daughter-etcetera a look of complete disgust. “S'pose you want one picture with himself.”

He was about to protest forcefully when Rose threw her arms tightly around her mum in thanks and then around him, and the Doctor thought maybe being thanked by Rose Tyler wasn't such a bad trade-off for photographic evidence of his Yuletide association with Snow White’s step-mum.

"Just one," Rose said as she happily dragged him into place.

The photographer raised a digital camera from the bunch hanging around his neck. "Move in closer, Mr. Tyler, and put your arm around your daughter."

"That creature is NOT my husband!"

…. Oi, something invade Earth NOW, please!...

"The Doctor isn't my…." Rose gagged, "he's so much more…he's…"

"Yes, missy, what is himself, exactly?" Jackie demanded, suddenly looming over her daughter like some Disney mother-in-law, no, step-mum.

He took Jackie aside, set her on a stool away from Rose and the cowering photographer, and tried to talk her calm without offering the woman an answer to a question he didn't have an answer to.

"I'd like just a couple more, Doctor," the photographer said. "You two, smile and say Christmas goose."

"Oi!" he griped at Rose Tyler, "you said just one."

The photographer bounced around a bit more, taking photos and chattering on. "What would you two like? Christmas presents for the relatives and friends." He winked. "A set just for yourselves perhaps?"

The Doctor quietly cautioned the photographer not to pursue that particular subject–the enemy of mine enemy 'n all. Then he went over and eased the stool out of the madwoman's hands and set it back on the floor.

Jackie did finally get past what was stuck in her craw, which he knew of course was his association with her daughter. She picked out photos of Rose and her and four photo ornaments, plus a mug thrown in free on account of pain and suffering–though the Doctor had a different opinion on what the bloke meant by that than Jackie, and from the smile Rose gave him, so did she.

Rose purchased a photo ornament of her and him. He saw Jackie make a face behind her daughter's back, but he didn't stoop to her level. When the photographer asked him if he would like a picture of Rose and him for his wallet, Jackie actually growled. He smiled and said not at this time, thank you. He didn't let Jackie get to him; time was on his side.

Now here he was, about to hang the evidence of his latest disgrace on Jackie Tyler’s Christmas tree… holly-jolly evidence of the metamorphosis of the last Time Lord from The Oncoming Storm into the Easy to Manipulate, from the–

"Bollocks." As the Doctor stared at the picture of Rose and him that the soddin' photographer had chosen to put on Rose's ornament, he felt his stomach drop.

Rose looked fantastic as always. She wasn't smiling her big beautiful smile, which he put down to the Jackie factor; but she looked self-satisfied and confident and totally her own woman. He, on the other hand, looked like nothing so much as some stupid ape in the throes of testosterone overload.

No, he looked just exactly the way he felt whenever he was standing close to Rose Tyler–when her fragrance sent tendrils of desire throughout his brain; her touch seared his skin and ignited every cell in his body with a profound hunger; and her smile ravaged his mind and hearts until he had no clue where he was except with her, and the only coherent words he knew were need, love, yours forever, Rose Tyler. And that was so much worse.

Why did he ever agree to the photo, and why couldn’t the little sod have chosen a photo that wasn't raw like this, sign and symptom of something that terrified him to death to feel for someone after all this time on his own and alone.

“Rose,” Jackie's voice knocked against his preoccupation, “how about a round of eggnog for you, me, and himself?”

“No thanks, Jackie,” he said carefully. He felt physically unable to take his eyes off the ornament. "I have a headache, see, and staying for a round of eggnog would just exacerbate it.”

“I've got some aspirin I can put in it, and some bromo. That’ll fix you right and proper, Doctor.”

“No!" His head slammed around to look at the woman. "Thanks, Jackie; I have something at the TARDIS that’ll do the job.”

He was sure he heard the woman mumble darkly, "Better not be my daughter", but he didn't believe that Jackie Tyler was really capable of murder. Although she still hadn't forgiven him for the missing year.

“Mum,” Rose explained quickly, “the Doctor is allergic to aspirin.”

Jackie came over, wrestled the ornament out of his fossilized hand and hung it on a thickly-needled branch near the inside of the tree, backwards. “What happens? Does himself turn into a human then?” She glared at him. He glared at her.

“No, Jackie," he purred, like a lion purrs. For Rose's sake, he was trying to keep down his temper; but it was stronger than he. "I forget my good manners and my moral sense, and I become very capable of murder.”

“Thought that was you already.”

"I'll be back in a bit for you, Rose."

Rose followed him to the door. "A bit?" she asked fearfully.

He had been known to "forget" when to return. He cupped Rose's cheek and smiled down at her, a soft smile, an honest smile. “Twenty-five minutes, promise.”

He pretended he hadn’t seen the mistletoe in the doorway. He wished he'd never seen the ornament. He didn't slam the door on his way out only because he figured Jackie was expecting it.

~~

He stayed carefully out of sight in the shadows of the unused darkroom, watching Jackie, Rose, and him arrive for the photo shoot, and then the women's beautifying acrobatics that didn't make any difference. He grinned when Rose manipulated her mother into letting her pose with him for photos and grinned even wider when Rose gave him her thanks for doing it. He saw himself join Rose, awkwardly standing near her but not next to her. He saw Rose and him start at the photographer's faux pas, him going dark and silent at the allusion to his apparent age, her rushing to correct the bloke. Rose choked and her face went red; then her eyes sparked and he wished he knew what she had been about to say. He saw the bloke's eyes do a quick go-round of the three of them, return to Jackie Tyler, and send the him that was standing with Rose a silent plea for mercy. That him walked Jackie away, set her on a stool a safe distance from her daughter, and tried to gentle her. But he already knew how that had gone, so he focused his attention on Rose Tyler and the cowering…that is to say the not-so-cowering photographer, who leaned in with a conspiratorial shrug of one of his eyebrows and whispered to Rose.

"Don't let your mum get to you, Rose. It's obvious he would do anything for you, your gentleman friend."

What? Was it written across the back of his jacket?

"Oh, but the Doctor really doesn't– I mean, he isn't–"

"Seeing is my job, Rose." The photographer gestured with his camera to the others he was wearing.

That stopped Rose cold. It stopped him cold as well. Itching with new curiosity, he moved as close to the photographer and Rose as he could get without the earlier him sensing it.

"I'm telling you, Rose, it's obvious to me that your doctor loves you as much as you love him. I don't know if you want him that way, but he wants you. He'd do anything for you, and … " the photographer winked … "he'd do anything FOR you."

"Really?" Rose breathed.

Rose's smile burned out the sun, shamed the Big Bang, and stopped both his hearts. He moved back into the shadows of the darkroom, trying to figure a logical explanation for what he'd just seen.

"Gonna give you a present, Rose." The photographer spoke low and quickly as Rose's Doctor left Jackie and started back to them. "Just for you; slipped in the outside pocket of your purse, to open in private." He winked at her. "I'd like just a couple more, Doctor. You two, smile and say Christmas goose."

The Doctor closely watched everything that followed, straining to see with a Time Lord's perception what the photographer had said was obvious. He waited until Rose, Jackie, and he had left and the photographer had got himself busy then slipped out of the shadows and tapped the man on the shoulder. "Sorry to bother you again, but I've decided that I would like a photo after all."

"Of course, Doctor."

As the photographer walked to the printer, the Doctor called after him softly. "Same one you gave Rose." The bloke nodded knowingly.

~~

The Doctor knocked on Jackie’s door exactly twenty-five minutes after they saw him leave, with presents for Rose and Jackie, including three large bottles of the finest and oldest Meade on the planet. The presents he received were one beaming Rose Tyler, one incredulous Jackie Tyler, and a pair of boxer briefs decorated with mice in tights and tutus. Rose smiled and winked at him that way she had, and he figured maybe he would wear those boxer briefs from time to time.

As Rose and he were leaving Jackie's, he noticed there no longer was mistletoe above the front door. Jackie was taking no chances. Once they were back in the TARDIS, Rose kissed him on the cheek and thanked him for enduring an evening with her mum. Calling out to ask if he wanted tea, Rose headed to the kitchen. He saw her stop at the kitchen door, take out that missing sprig of mistletoe, then lose her nerve and stuff it back in her pocket.

“Smart, Rose Tyler,” he whispered. “that’s my girl. You stay very very smart.” Maybe he wasn't talking just to Rose; sometimes, he knew, he could be a fantastically stupid man.

~~

Back in his room, he set the photo of Rose and him on the table next to his reading chair then stripped and showered. Maybe half an hour later, wrapped in a thick towel and looking somewhat pruny, he eased himself into his chair, picked up a book, and stared at the photo of Rose and him. Figuring maybe his excursion with the wicked witch of the galaxy had left him drained and not in a reading frame of mind, he put down the book, picked up the photo, and headed to bed, setting the photo so he could see it once more before he went to sleep and then first thing when he woke up. He chucked his towel and sat down. Rose was looking directly at him from the photo. He flushed all over but met her stare. She knew something now, and her face showed it. He slipped his sad, blushing body beneath the sheet. Rose Tyler was still watching him knowingly. Patiently. He sighed. It was only a matter of time until the love-struck idiot standing behind her found the nerve to do something stupid. He turned off the light and rolled away, onto his other side. That did no good. Rose Tyler was smirking at his arse.

Sometime later, he found himself walking into Rose Tyler's room in his rodent ballerina boxer briefs. In a moment of conscience and clarity, or maybe it was cowardice and self-doubt, he stood just looking down at Rose. Their Christmas photograph was on her nightstand, framed in blue enamel and girded in mistletoe; Rose looked out at him, knowing yet still so patient. He wanted to shout to the bloke behind her, miserable and ecstatic and so obviously over the moon; lucky sod that he was, she wanted him. He slipped into bed behind Rose's still form.

Rose's warmth drew him like a tropism, and he found himself spooning her, gingerly snaking an arm around beneath her, carefully moving her so that her head rested against his shoulder. He held her, one arm lightly around her waist, a hand splayed below her breast. "Rose," he whispered, maybe soundlessly, into her hair, "Rose."

Rose mumbled herself awake. "Doctor… "

"Rose, I…"

"Shhh…" she said, melting into him, "me too."




~~~~



It was only because it was Christmastime and Jackie was so thankful her Rose was alive and safe that she'd suggested that that disgusting alien come with them for their annual photos. That, and the Doctor had made it clear despite the threat of another smack that he wasn't letting go of Rose's hand anytime soon. Uncharacteristically, Rose smiled shyly and said Please.

Gone back to see Dickens? Hah! More likely he'd taken Rose to Area 51, done unspeakable things to her body with his alien probes, and brainwashed her into being his sex thrall. And every Christmas from now on, the Doctor's smug face would grin down at her from her own tree, reminding her that he owned her Rose!

She should smash the bleedin' ornament now, she should! But it was her daughter's picture...

Disgusting alien bastard, his filthy hands all over Rose, claiming her as his! His inhuman eyes mocking her, him taunting her with a predatory-- grin? Controlling... triumphant...

"Hmmm."

Jackie studied the photo on the ornament. It was clear that someone was in thrall all right, and someone was smugly triumphant. Someone was head over heels in love. Jackie sighed. She needed another drink.