John and Rose’s May/December Romance!
How John and Rose Found Love on the Set!
John Noble threw the rag down with a loud curse, then leaned his head backward and pinched the bridge of his nose. He’d been in this business for fifteen years and mostly escaped tabloid attention. Then Rose Tyler, Britain’s sweetheart, was cast to star alongside him as the heroine to his villain and that streak had been shot all to hell.
They’d gotten close over the months of filming. Incredibly close. Closer than John had ever been to anyone else, when you got right down to it. John had lived a quiet life, out of the spotlight despite being a well-known actor, being cast over and over again as the villain who was vanquished at the end of every film he made. On set, he was known for being intense; a dark cloud on otherwise happy proceedings. “The Oncoming Storm,” they called him. He was serious, studious, a professional. He had no use for young girls and their shenanigans. He did his job and retreated to his trailer.
He’d been completely unprepared for Rose Tyler.
He’d expected a bubblehead worried only about looking good, being admired, scoring freebies from designers, and getting into the best hot spots around town. He’d expected her to be flighty, just another blonde starlet out to make it, whatever it takes. She was his junior by damn near two decades and he had no tolerance for the stupidity of youth. Beyond all that, him.
She’d been absolutely nothing like he expected, and had frankly blown him away with her generosity, kindness and compassion.
The two of them bonded quickly on-set, which led to a close friendship off-set. They shared a love of classic literature and philosophy, and both enjoyed travelling - just for pleasure, not work. He was amazed to find her well-versed in a variety of topics that interested him, and when she didn’t know something, she asked him. He provided her answers, and she drank them up. She brought tea to his trailer every morning prepared just the way he liked it - two sugars, no milk - and took her morning tea with him.
Touching had been natural for them: they were required to be in close proximity on the set and touch each other frequently. He had been puzzled but just gone along with it the first time they were walking along and she took his hand. The same night, she hugged him before leaving him outside the door to her trailer. Done once to break the ice, she started grabbing his hand any old time and hugging him for no reason at all. He was surprised the first time he reached for her hand and she gave him a shy smile. He was even more surprised the first time she curled up next to him on his couch while they watched telly together.
It wasn’t long before he began to crave the contact with her, to long for the feeling of her hand in his, to wish for the smell of her shampoo and perfume he got when they were wrapped up in each other’s arms. He cursed his leather jacket for not retaining her scent the way cloth would.
When John realized he was in love with her, the knowledge staggered him and he didn’t sleep all night.
He chastised himself, telling himself that surely this young flower of a human couldn’t possibly ever feel that way about him. It was pointless for him to attempt to win her. He could be her friend and nothing more. It was just an infatuation he had, John told himself. A little crush. A midlife crisis. It’d work itself out over time.
Then she gave him that tongue-touched smile and truth crashed all around him, destroying the careful wall of lies he’d built.
Still, though, he couldn’t have her. She was beauty made flesh. She was kindness in human form. She was good - much too good for him. He could never have her.
But that didn’t stop him from wanting. It didn’t stop him from taking her hand in his when they went to grab coffee together, or on a stroll to get ice cream after they had lunch together. It had never occurred to him that the paps would follow them, take pictures and publish them all over every available format.
People scoffed in blogs and articles, saying that the poor girl had been blinded. What did she see in him? some wondered. John Noble was nobody’s heartthrob, hence his casting in all the bad-guy roles and being permitted by the paps to live a quiet life (until now). But the gossip columns were saying he never had never looked happier in his life, but it was a shame that the Oncoming Storm, the bitter old man, had corrupted someone so young and obviously full of light as Rose. He could almost feel the shake of people’s heads in his general direction. People were laughing at her for her poor taste in men. It was unbearable.
And he’d done this to her. He’d put her in this position. It was entirely his fault.
His door opened without preamble and Jack Harkness, his other co-star, strode in like it was his own trailer. John scowled at the American prettyboy with real movie-star good looks as he took a seat across from him at the small table.
“Ah,” he said, picking up the magazine and looking at it. “You’ve seen the latest gossip.”
John grunted in reply.
“Don’t pay any attention to it. They don’t know anything, not really.”
John leveled his gaze at him. “There’s nothing to know.”
Jack leaned back and laced his fingers behind his head. “Sure there’s not.”
John looked away, picked up a tabloid and pretended to study it. Really, he just wanted to see the photo of he and Rose together, even if it was taken by a pap five hundred feet away, and even if he was weak for wanting such a thing. He’d likely never see her again anyway, not like they were in the photo. They were smiling at each other in it, and her smile twisted him in knots, just as it did at that moment a week ago.
“She’s my co-star. We’re friends. We laugh and joke together on set. That’s all.”
“That’s not all, and you know it,” Jack retorted. “I’ve seen the way you look at each other. I’ve seen you at her trailer and her at yours. There’s something there, John.”
John shook his head, denying the accusation more to himself than to Jack. “There’s not. There’s really not.”
“Oh for fuck’s sake,” Jack burst out. “Just get over yourself. She likes you, dumbass.”
“Alright then,” John said, irritation leaving his words rough. He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned back in his seat. “Let’s say you’re right. Alright? Let’s all delude ourselves and say you’re right and there’s something there. There’s not, mind you, but I can play the hypothetical game.”
“The gentleman doth protest too much, methinks.”
John ignored him. “What’d it do to her reputation to take up with the likes of me? A dark, broody old man. The tabs will have a field day with this, Jack, and you know it.”
“The hell do you mean, ‘so’?” he sputtered, outraged.
“Just what I said. So what?”
“This is her career, Harkness. She’s bound to be absolutely furious with me.”
“I don’t think she cares, to be honest.”
“The entire world expects her - wants her - to take up with some young prettyboy. Look at her last bloke, Adam something-or-other.”
“Mitchell,” Jack supplied.
“That’s the one.”
“He’s a prick, and she ditched him as soon as she figured that out,” Jack informed him.
“She didn’t ditch that other prettyboy, Rickey.”
“Mickey,” Jack said, amused. “And she did ditch him. Ages ago.”
John rolled his eyes. “Whatever. Doesn’t matter. The boy was a good-looking idiot. That’s what she’s attracted to, not an old, big-eared curmudgeon who plays daft men or villains because he’s so damned ...sour. She’d be better off with that Rory bloke, or with you. You’re much more her type.”
“Rory is married and she’s not my type.”
John snorted. “Everyone is your type.”
Jack threw up his hands. “Have it your way. Go ahead and sulk here, alone, telling yourself that you can’t have her. Meanwhile, she’s waiting and wishing for you. Not some prettyboy, you dumbshit, you. And if you let a girl like that slip away because you’re too damned dumb to see what’s right there in front of you, then you don’t deserve her.”
Jack stood to go, turning back one last time. “Make your move. I promise she’ll say yes.”
“Go away, Jack. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Jack threw up his hands and left without another word.
He passed her trailer six times in less than an hour. He didn’t need to visit the set, filming was done for the day. He didn’t need to go to hair and makeup, he didn’t need to go to catering. He needed to talk to Rose. He needed the absolution only she could give for being old and broken and tainting her with his darkness.
But he couldn’t, he simply couldn’t. She was bound to be livid, and he couldn’t stand even the thought of her hatred.
On the seventh pass, she opened the door and called out to him. “Oi! You tryin’ to wear a groove into the pavement in front of my trailer? Get your arse in here!”
He looked up at her, noting the irritation in her voice, a sharp blade of fear stabbing him in the chest. She sounded angry, annoyed, and that could only mean one thing.
Like a man condemned, he turned and went where the lady wanted him to go.
She held the door open for him until he got there and grabbed it himself, then she went inside and had a seat on the little sofa. He climbed the stairs and turned to shut the door behind them.
“Lock it,” she commanded.
John blinked up at her, but his wrist turned and the lock snicked into place.
“Come sit with me.” She patted the seat next to her, entirely too close to her and not nearly as close as he wanted to be.
Rose kissed him.
It took him half a second before he realized what was happening, then his lips were rolling against hers. He felt her tongue breach the seam of his lips and opened, shocked in spite of himself when she took the invitation and deepened the kiss.
It occurred to him that he should probably do something with his hands, but he had no idea what. Experimentally, he put one hand on her cheek and let his thumb glide against the soft skin he found there. She made a little sound in his mouth, and his control strained the leash. He became the aggressor, leaning forward to press his mouth more firmly to her and sending his tongue on a chase after hers.
It had been so long, so very long since John had felt anything like this, and even when he had, it hadn’t been like this. This was heat. This was fire. This was right. And by God, he wanted more.
Rose began to pull away and he fought down a moan of disappointment. She nibbled his bottom lip and suckled it as she drew back, and he failed to bite back a whimper. She smiled, releasing him and pressing her forehead against his, biting her own lip.
“You better now?” she asked in a voice that was a little out of breath.
“I...yes?” he stammered. “Been wanting to do that for a while now, me. But I don’t understand...why - ?”
She shut him up with her own mouth, but this time he was ready. He pulled her across his lap, one arm around her waist and the other hand on her thigh. There was no hesitation in the kiss; it was possessive, demanding. Teeth clacked and tongues dueled and John knew, suddenly, why there were so many love songs. But none of them could ever do this - her - justice. This was bliss. Her lips were nirvana. Her mouth was heaven. John was certain that Rose Tyler, sitting on his lap and snogging the fool out of him was paradise.
I’m lost, he thought. I’m a goner. If ever there was any hope for him it had dissipated, taken away by the soft pillows of Rose Tyler’s lips on his.
They broke for air, and Rose snuggled her head onto his shoulder. John put his arms around her and held her, noting that his heart seemed thudding a double-beat and trying to control it with sheer force of will. Rose sighed in his arms and he closed his eyes. He was terrified and utterly content at the same time.
“Did you see the papers?” she asked in a soft voice.
He stiffened, and she brought her hand up to his face, sliding it back towards his hair just as he had done a few minutes ago, stroking her thumb along his jawline, soothing him. “Hey, it’s okay.” She twisted her head just enough to kiss his neck, then settled back into his shoulder.
“Yeah. I saw it.”
“There was a leak,” she said, and brought her hand down to rest in the center of his chest, the light pressure calming him despite her words. “Someone on set went to the tabs and sold the story.”
“I’m so sorry, Rose, I-”
She raised his head from his shoulder and put her finger over his lips, halting the Oncoming Babbling Apology.
“Do I seem sorry? Because I’m not.”
She removed her finger and replaced it with her lips for just a second before she lay her head on his shoulder again. He instinctively pulled her closer and slid his cheek along her soft hair.
“Everyone is wanting to know what you’re doing with me,” he said, expecting to be shut down again. Of course, if she kissed him again, it would be worth it. “They think we’re some kind of...of lovers.”
“Want to put some truth to that?” she replied, and he could hear the grin in her voice.
He chuckled in response; surely she must be joking.
“They just don’t know you like I do,” she assured him, stroking his chest gently. “You’re wonderful.”
“M’really not, Rose,” he said, closing his eyes.
“You are. Nobody else understands me like you do. Nobody else makes me feel this way.”
“M’too old for you -”
“Hush, John,” she admonished. “It doesn’t matter how old you are or how old I am. We match each other. We fit. That’s what matters, yeah?”
He nodded, mute. He’d certainly felt matched with her, like two bits of a puzzle that fit together just so. He’d never expected to feel...complete. But now that he did, he didn’t want to let her go. For this moment, this shining moment, he held her and nothing could get him to release her if she didn’t want to go. He’d let go for only one word from her... that she didn’t seem to want to give. She seemed to want this.
She must be mad.
“There’s nobody to please but me and you,” she said.
“You know that’s not true. We’re being tried in the court of public opinion.”
She sat up to look at him. “And you feel like a criminal, yeah?”
He nodded. “A bit. The tabs are painting me in that light. S’hard not to feel like maybe they’re right.”
“You’re not a criminal. We - you and I - we’re the victims here. If anyone is to blame, they are.”
John grinned. “That’s not how they feel about it. The rest of the world thinks you’ve been blinded.”
“Sod the rest of the world.”
“Rose, seriously. I should probably stay away from you for a while.”
“No.” She lowered her head to his shoulder and put her arms around his neck.
Bloody hell. She was making it difficult to think, much less reason with her.
“If you’re seen with me -”
“Good.” Her voice was firm, stubborn. “I like being seen with you.”
He scoffed. “You’re daft.”
“M’not. M’proud to be seen with you, John Noble. I’m proud of those pictures.”
“How could you possibly -”
She sat up straight in his lap, looking him dead in the eye. He tried hard to pay attention to her words and not the dancing fire in her amber eyes.
“Look, I wish they’d leave us alone, too, yeah? But they’re not going to. We can’t put up a fight, it’d be pointless. All we can do is live our lives. They’re going to write their stories and take their pictures and say all kinds of things about us. They can’t fathom what we mean to each other, so they won’t leave us be. So let them write what they want to write. Let them say what they want. In a few months, we won’t matter to them at all. In the meantime, they’re going to do everything in their power to make us miserable, but they can’t keep us apart unless you want them to.” She peered at him. “Do you want them to?”
He shook his head a little. “I want to protect you.”
“You can’t. You can only be with me or not. Those are your options.” John opened his mouth to speak, but she talked over him. “And I want to be with you.”
Mad hope seized him. The kissing, the cuddling, her words...all of it made him believe that she wanted the same thing he did, but he was afraid. He didn’t dare believe. It occurred to him to kiss her, to try to gauge her intent by her response, but if he did that and she didn’t want what he hoped she did, he would have ruined everything and be crushed in the process.
The only other way was to ask. “Rose, what do you mean?”
“I mean that I want you, John. In my life. I want dinner out and dinner in and the two of us hand in hand on red carpets and all that jazz. I want one or the other of our trailers to become almost completely disused. I want the next batch of pictures the paps get to be of us snogging each other senseless. I want to roll over in the morning and see you lying there. All of it. I want to be with you, John Noble, in every sense of the word.”
He didn’t answer, just kissed her instead: his mouth claiming hers, his tongue planting its flag in hers and declaring it as his. She responded enthusiastically, clutching his face and holding it to hers. Teeth clacked as their lips bruised each other and tongues dueled. She turned in his arms to straddle his legs, and he wrapped his arms around her, splaying his hands on her back to pull her body close to his, as close as he could get her. She moaned into his mouth and rolled her hips, mimicking the act that had tortured his dreams for two solid months.
She broke for air and he immediately began to trail kisses down her chin, her jawline, ending with her earlobe between his teeth. She rolled her hips again, grinding down on him, and he clutched her bum reflexively, guiding her movements.
“My bedroom is…hnnng...it’s five feet that way.”
He didn’t answer right away; his mouth was busy sucking her neck, marking her. When he released her skin with a pop, he soothed the red area with his tongue and teeth.
“Is that what you want, Rose?”
He stood, wrapped her legs around his waist and carried her where the lady wanted him to go.
Rose lay beside him, both of them gloriously nude and pressed tightly together. He had one arm around her, tugging her close to him and his other hand played with her fingers lazily. She had one leg comfortably tossed across his.
“For what?” he asked, puzzled.
“I thought you were just bragging when you said you had the moves.”
He gave her a goofy grin. “Told you so. Came first in jiggery-pokery, me.”
She touched her tongue to the corner of her mouth. “Actually, I think I came first.”
“Too right you did,” he said, smug.
Rose giggled and relaxed against him for a few minutes. Then she asked, “What are we going to tell people?”
“I thought you didn’t care,” he grinned, then kissed her hair.
“I don’t. Our love is none of their business.”
She didn’t remark on the tension she suddenly felt in the shoulder she lay on or the arm surrounding her.
“No, it’s not,” he agreed after a minute.
“Penny for ‘em.”
John contemplated for a minute. “I like to think that I know what I’m doing with my life. Like to have a plan, me. I like to know what’s coming, best I can.” He chuckled. “Never saw you coming, though.”
She smiled against his chest, then propped herself up on an elbow to look at him. “So you like to tell the future, eh? Go on, then. Tell me what’s in our future.”
“It’s bright. It’s happy. I don’t exactly have the words to describe it, but it’s way beyond what the rest of the world calls ‘love’.”
She smiled brilliantly up at him. “Yeah?”
“Yeah.” He kissed her, just a soft brushing of the lips. “That’s why I’m here, and I’ll still be here tomorrow.”