With credit to Mark Gatiss for the Doctor Who episode The Idiot's Lantern and thanks to http://who-transcripts.atspace.com/ for their amazing transcripts. Story title taken from Jason Mraz's song of the same name.
"normal speech" *telepathy*
I won't hesitate no more, no more It cannot wait, I'm yours Well open up your mind and see like me Look into your heart and you'll find love love love love - "I'm Yours," Jason Mraz
The Rhinarian guard surveyed her with distaste, or it could have been his enormous pouty lips that made him look like he was displeased. She wanted to fidget, pace, twiddle her thumbs, something, anything, but the Doctor had suggested she aim for ice queen rather than impatient Human. How long had she been waiting here anyway? The Doctor had promised her he would come for her as soon as he could, but it had to have been several hours since she'd last spoken to him. Worst of all, the depths of the Rhinarian dungeon she was currently stranded in were impervious to telepathic communications, so she couldn't even tell if he was still on the surface of the planet.
Then... it was just the tiniest tickle in the back of her mind, but it was something and when the door to the dungeon opened a moment later her mind was flooded with the warmth of the Doctor, seeking her out, checking on her health, her well-being. *I'm fine,* she replied. *Can you get me out of --*
One word floated back to her, *Chocolate.*
Confused, she jumped when the door was slammed shut once again, severing the connection, and a new Rhinarian descended the steps into the holding area where she stood. "Dame Rose Marion Tyler of the Powell Estates, London, United Kingdom, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy?"
Ice queen."Yes? And you are?"
"I am Stt Maso Zema of Rhina Zone Two, Rhina, Rhina System, Loari Galaxy."
Rose debated whether to curtsy but the ice queen won out. She extended her hand and then glared at the Rhinarian until he finally he raised his own hand and wiggled her fingers ineffectually. Stifling the urge to giggle she nodded regally and put her hand back down at her side. "Have you come to release me?"
"Dame Rose Marion Tyler of the Powell Estates, London --"
"I asked if you had come to release me. I did not ask for yet another recitation of my name." He gaped at her, though it was kind of hard to tell with those pouty lips.
"Dame Rose Marion Tyler of the --" he started again, but Rose cut him off.
"Dame Rose will do and it will save us quite a bit of time." Not knowing what had come over her, she slipped into the royal 'we', "And our time is very precious." A part of her wanted to add, "And we are not amused," but she felt that might be pushing it.
He seemed to cough, though she couldn't be sure what that noise was, but he started yet again. "Dame Rose Marion Tyler of the Powell Estates, London, United Kingdom, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy," this time he got it all out in a rush and continued without giving Rose a chance to stop him again. "The Doctor, Time Lord of the House of Lungbarrow, southern mountain range, Gallifrey, Constellation of Kasterborous, has made certain assertions in his demand for your release. I have come to verify those assertions."
He hesitated and Rose jumped at the opportunity to regain the upper hand. She was still confused what assertions the Doctor could have made. "Yes? So, get on with it."
"There is to be a word, Dame Rose Marion Tyler of the Powell Estates, London, United --"
Suddenly it made sense. "Chocolate."
Hours later, she would still be wondering how it was possible for a being to trip on his own feet while standing perfectly still, but the Rhinarian gave a tiny hop and righted himself. "Thank you, Dame Rose Marion Tyler of the Powell Estates, London, United Kingdom, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy."
He hesitated again, but this time seemed to be even more uncertain than before.
"Is that all?"
"No, Dame --" he caught the look in her eyes and correctly interpreted it, speeding through the remainder of her name even faster than before, "Rose-Marion-Tyler-of-the-Powell-Estates,London,United-Kingdom,Earth,Sol-System,Milky-Way-Galaxy. There is to be a sign."
The ice queen persona slipped, "A sign? What d'you mean a sign, then?"
Without another word, the Rhinarian stepped forward and slipped what passed for his thumb under the sleeve of her t-shirt. He pressed gently and then immediately stepped back.
A chill started at Rose's elbow and climbed up to her shoulder, "Ow!" Raising the sleeve she stared in wonder as a beautiful swirling tattoo began to take shape. She didn't even notice the Rhinarians scrambling around her, murmuring apologies and urgently gesturing her towards the door.
Circles within spirals within circles, some of them so small they appeared to be just dots. The Doctor filled her mind again, reeking of chagrin, but still concerned for her. *Move, Rose.*
His voice drawing her from the still expanding tattoo on her arm, Rose looked up and saw that the door to the dungeon was open and the two Rhinarians were both locked in deep bows. Rushing blindly up the stairs, she bathed in the feeling of having the Doctor back in her mind and allowed the strength of their bond to lead her unerringly back to him.
*Ice queen,* he reminded her at the last second, stopping her before she was about to throw herself into his arms.
Rose slowed and stopped at the Doctor's side with what little grace she could muster in such a short distance. "Doctor." She nodded haughtily at him.
He nodded back at her and gently lowered the sleeve of her shirt, his hand lingering over the part of the tattoo that was still exposed. Then, he cocked his eyebrow ever so slightly to his left before she had a chance to question him about it.
A Rhinarian emerged from the shadows in the direction the Doctor had indicated. "As you can see, The Doctor, Time Lord of the House of Lungbarrow, southern mountain range, Gallifrey, Constellation of Kasterborous, Dame Rose Marion Tyler of the Powell Estates, London, United Kingdom, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy has been returned to you unharmed."
"Thank you, Naa Errom Umi of Rhina Zone One, Rhina, Rhina System, Loari Galaxy. If there will be nothing further?" The Rhinarian seemed to retreat as the Doctor took a step forward, his hand still holding Rose's arm.
They walked, neither hurrying nor tarrying to the TARDIS. When the doors closed behind them, he enveloped her in his arms and breathed deeply of her scent. "I'm so sorry you were down there for so long. As you probably guessed, the Rhinarians are sticklers for formalities. It took me forever to find the right authority, and don't even get me started on the paperwork." Rose giggled and he smiled, "Are you really all right?"
She knew he only asked because it made her more comfortable than him rooting around in her mind for the information, but in this case, she also knew he already had the answer and was only looking for reassurance. "Yeah, I'm fine. Really."
"You're brilliant, you are, Dame Rose Marion Tyler of the Powell Estates --" She glared at him and he giggled. "'We are not amused,' really, you should have said that, it would have been perfect."
"You could hear me?"
"Yeah, one way telepathic wall. I could hear you, but you couldn't sense me unless the door was open." His hands shifted at her waist and she could tell he still needed reassurance.
"I'm fine, Doctor, really."
"Really? You're not just - oh, all right. Enough of that. I'll get us out of here." He turned and headed up the ramp to the control panel.
"And don't think I'm gonna forget about this," Rose said as she lifted her shirt sleeve again, but she revealed only her bare arm. "Hey! Where's it gone, then?"
The Doctor tugged at his ear - guiltily, Rose thought - but continued pushing buttons and spinning devices she still didn't know the names of, until the familiar grinding of the TARDIS taking off filled the chamber. He was a second too late to prevent her from pressing her thumb against her arm.
Rose gasped as the coldness settled into her arm and she watched again as the tattoo drew itself on her skin. "It's beautiful."
"It should be, took me hours to draw it."
He curled into a defensive position as she raised her arm and smacked him. "Hey, watch it!"
"What is it?"
"It's Gallifreyan. I put a psychic sight shield over it, not that there's anyone in the universe except me who can still read it." Rose watched as he ran the backs of his fingers down the tattoo almost reverentially.
"Yeah, but what's it say?"
His hand cupped her cheek and turned her face up to him, his lips already lowering to cover hers in a tender kiss. Rose moaned but stopped him from deepening the kiss. "Don't try to change the subject. What's it say?"
"It's a pedigree. Both of our pedigrees, actually." He lifted her arm and pointed out a single large swirl with lots of smaller swirls and connecting lines inside of it. "This is me."
"All of that says, 'The Doctor'?"
"Yeah - no, not really. It's more complicated than that... doesn't say that at all, actually."
She laughed. "Then what does it say?"
"You couldn't even pronounce the first syllable."
Rose saw the pain in his eyes intensify for a moment. It had been constant when his eyes were blue but had lessened now that they were brown, especially since he'd bonded them. For this to affect him so powerfully, she had a strong suspicion what the image represented. "Is that your name? Your real name?"
"Have I ever told you that you're Brilliant, Rose Tyler? Brilliant with a capital B."
"Yeah, you may have." She smiled up at him and watched as some of his pain abated, "So, if that one's you, then this one's me?" Situated below the one that was his name, the swirl was smaller and less complicated.
"Right. Dame Rose Marion Tyler of the Powell Estates, London, United Kingdom, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy, daughter of Jacqueline Andrea Suzette Prentice and Peter Alan Tyler."
"All that then?"
He shrugged. "Pedigree," he said simply. "Of course, I could have mucked it all up. It could be 'Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers' for all I know."
But he was joking, trying to relieve some of the tension that was building between them. She could tell that he knew exactly what it said. "All right. Pedigree. So what does it mean?"
"Doesn't matter," he muttered, trying to kiss her again.
But Rose saw that it did matter, at least to him. She dodged the kiss, her face ending up centimetres from his. "I'm the one wearing this thing. I think deserve an answer, yeah?"
He sighed, "Yes, you do." But he didn't explain and her suspicions began to grow.
"Doctor? It can't be just a pedigree, you don't draw something like this on someone if it doesn't mean something."
He cocked an eyebrow at her as if to say, 'oh, yeah?' but again she felt that wave of chagrin wash over her through the bond. Taking that as an invitation she prodded his mind. In it, she saw a vision of him as he drew the symbols on her arm while she slept, was conscious of the painstaking care he'd put in to get it exactly right.
"Your walls are up," she said when she realized that he wouldn't let her go any farther.
"I need to know. You said it yourself, I deserve to know."
As always, the feeling of his walls falling, even just the few of them he dropped this time, was enough to send a shiver through her body. It was just so much information at once, so much pain. But this time, also joy. A vision came to the fore, many people milling around a couple who stood with their hands joined by a length of cloth. The cloth separated their hands by only inches, but neither of them touched as the whole assembly watched on. The woman's right arm was bare and on it was a tattoo very similar to Rose's.
A man to the right of the couple said, "I consent and gladly give." A woman standing beside him repeated the words. The woman with the tattoo smiled at them then turned her gaze to the man she was joined to. They each took a second to whisper something in the other's ear then as one they moved together, their lips meeting in a restrained, formal kiss that hinted at so much more.
Rose pulled herself back from the image and the Doctor's mind. She waited while he rebuilt the walls, assimilating what she had just seen.
"So, that --"
"Gallifreyan wedding. The last few minutes of one, at least."
"And this," she gestured to her arm, "means that we're married?"
"No! No, no, no, no, no!"
"But that's a part of it, yeah?" She sorted through the memories she'd received while his walls were down. "It's the second step, after the bonding. It means..."
"It means that you're mine. And I'm yours. We're each other's, really."
"Is that a problem?"
"No mad Rose? No smacking? No 'I can't believe you did this without asking'?"
"No. Just okay."
Obviously off balance, he put his arms around her again, "Okay it is, then."
* * *
Two weeks earlier
The tattoo had begun the first night they'd returned from the parallel universe in the hours after Rose had cried herself to sleep over the loss of both her father (for the third time) and her former boyfriend. His fingers had created the pattern without him even thinking about it, tracing her name and lineage in Gallifreyan while she slept. Adding himself had occurred mostly because he got bored easily while waiting for her to wake. It had just been his finger upon her skin the first few times, the actual ink had occurred several days later.
Each time his finger would follow the pattern it became a little more right to him, a little more real. The time he'd caught himself doing it while she was awake and standing beside him had made the Doctor realize he wanted it to be permanent. He'd given up a regeneration for this woman and had told her things that he hadn't shared with another living soul. He'd been healed by her and was amazed over and over again by her selflessness and love for an ancient battered alien. They were already bonded for life in one way, but this second way would be recognized by outsiders and that had unexpectedly become very important to him.
By the time he leaned over her in the bed they shared holding a pot of ink in one hand and a brush in the other, he had already traced it on her skin so many times he felt there should have been an outline there for him to follow. Then he'd hidden the tattoo, mostly to keep it secret from Rose until he had a chance to talk to her about it.
Of course, the next time they'd stepped out of the TARDIS together it was into London, 1953.
"Found another one, sir."
"Oh, er - good man, Crabtree. Here we are, Doctor..."
No. He dropped the files he was holding. That skirt. Those shoes. Not Rose. Please let it not be Rose. He slowly approached the blanket-covered figure.
"Take a good look. See what you can deduce."
The policeman pulled the blanket off of her head and the Doctor wanted to scream. He probed at their bond and got nothing. Nothing, which should have been impossible given that her body was right here. All neural function was gone.
"Do you know her?"
"Know her? She..." She's everything. And I never told her. His hand moved to the tattoo so recently finished, so lovingly crafted, but he ghosted over it, not willing to accidentally touch it and have it spring to life in this moment where it would make things so horribly, horrifically real. "They did what?"
The detective inspector hadn't realized he'd been paying attention. "I'm sorry?"
The Doctor forced himself to remain calm. D.I. Bishop was not the enemy, nor was he a bumbling cop. He was simply operating within the boundaries that had been imposed on him and he had no way of knowing exactly what he was now dealing with. "They left her where?"
"Just... in the street."
"In the street. They left her in the street. They took her face and just chucked her out and left her in the street. And as a result, that makes things... simple. Very, very simple. Do you know why?" He finally tore his gaze away from Rose's face and, taking his glasses off, turned to the two men.
"Because NOW, Detective Inspector Bishop," he shouted, "there is no power on this Earth that can stop me. Come on!"