The smell of crisp toast swirls around the Doctor’s bedroom as Rose emerges from the shower. Half decent in a set of pajamas meant for warm weather and the pair of the plush blue bedtime socks the Doctor bought her (on the third moon of Suik’ko, if she remembers correctly), she follows the scent down the hall.
Her nose leads her to the library, where the Doctor sits on the couch, shoveling a large bite of purple jam-slathered toast in his mouth with one hand and holding a thick volume open on his lap with the other, a faded green cover and wrinkled, yellowing pages she recognizes from the evening before. Something about color, chromophores, and quantum mechanical theory.
His coat and suit jacket lay sprawled on the arm of the couch, trainers next to his bare feet, leaving him in only today’s blue Henley messily un-tucked from his pinstriped trousers and of course, the thick-rimmed specs he won’t read without. Steam billows from his favorite mug where it sits on the end table, and he absently wipes at the book with his forearm to clear away the crumbs falling in sheets from the toast.
She can’t help but stand in the doorframe a moment and admire the sight a bit before she disturbs it.
“Oh, look, ‘s my beautiful boy.” She seals her lips together tightly as she walks into the room, swallowing down laughter.
He glances over at her in blatant disbelief, chewing the last gargantuan bite of toast as he closes his book and sets it on the table carefully next to his tea.
“You’re never gonna let me forget that, are you,” he grumbles, looping his fingers through the handle of his mug.
“I can’t believe you thought I was talkin’ to you.” She can barely make it through the sentence as she plods over to the couch, peals of giggles punctuating every word.
He sits back against the cushion, eyebrows scrunching together furiously as he glares up at her and then at the brown liquid in his hands, an angry pout forming in his bottom lip.
“Well, I always tell you when you look lovely,” he mumbles around a sip of tea. “Don’t see how it’s any different.”
“It’s fine. Joke all you want.” He shrugs and deliberately avoids eye contact, his tone curt.
“You’re really upset about this, aren’t you?”
“Nope,” he insists, shaking his head with pursed lips. “Now, ehm, if you don’t mind, I’ll be getting back to my… text.” With the book back on his lap and another gulp of tea in his throat, he does a very good job of pretending she doesn’t exist.
She lingers in front of the couch for several moments, waiting to see if he’ll break, but he flips quickly through pages of convoluted diagrams and equations with that look of steady concentration he gets when he’s working and doesn’t want to be interrupted.
“Hmm,” he hums absently, not looking up.
“You all right?”
“Yep,” he pops the ‘p’ as normal but the word is still terse.
“Comin’ to bed anytime soon?”
“I dunno. I’m not very tired tonight.”
She’s heard enough, then.
Carefully, she removes the book from his lap, keeping the page open and setting it on the other cushion. He’s inquisitive as he finally meets her eyes again but doesn’t protest as she takes the mug from his hand, too, setting it on the end table.
She knows he’s still trying his hardest to be upset and offended, but when she climbs onto the couch and straddles his thighs a little groan rumbles in his chest despite himself.
“You are my beautiful boy, though.” She places a hand on either shoulder, holding him fast.
“Rose, you really don’t have to—”
“Shut up.” She points a warning finger at him. “I didn’t mean to make fun of you, it was just… really funny,” she confesses with another chuckle. “Of course I fancy the pants off you, Doctor, you know that already.”
“Weeell.” The word always seems to linger deliciously on his tongue, and sitting on him like this it makes her stomach do little backflips in her gut. A hint of a smile plays on the corners of his lips, so she knows it's working. “You certainly did last night.” He tugs up on that emotive left eyebrow slightly.
Resolving not to comment on the rare bit of innuendo, she delicately removes his glasses and folds them up to set them next to the cooling tea before taking his face in her hands.
“Your eyes.” Her thumb traces over his left eyebrow and over his temple. “Your lips.” They part beneath her fingers as she traces the seam with gentle pressure. “Your freckles,” she chuckles, touching his nose. “Your hair.” He closes his eyes and practically purrs as she runs a hand through it, scratching her nails and tugging the strands.
“Mmm, what about them?” His voice is soft, a knowing, devious smirk on his lips now. He’s ridiculous, really, the way he can never get enough affirmation that he’s attractive to her. She really shouldn’t indulge him like this, but she knows he struggles with self-esteem in basically every other way, so she lets him have this one. Always has, really. Since the day he was born and he was already asking what she thought of his new look. If he was ‘sexy.’
“They’re gorgeous,” she adds without hesitation.
He hums, the deliriously happy, high-pitched, more than halfway to a giggle sort where she can hear his tongue against his teeth and the grin spreading across his face before she even sees it.
“Really?” he croons, beaming.
“Doctor, you stupid, alien g —” Her hand swats at his head (he leans out of its path) as she starts to scold him again, but he realizes his mistake.
Her last word is silenced by his lips.