A huge breath rushed out of the Doctor’s lungs and he flipped around to lean heavily against her door, sinking to the floor. That hadn’t gone exactly to plan but…blimey, she was amazing. He buried a hand in his hair, tugging at the chestnut strands and worrying his bottom lip between his teeth. The taste of her still lingered and a soft groan rumbled in his chest. He a was a terrible Time Lord, an even worse friend to her, and yet, he found himself smiling. He was the happiest he had been in days. He had missed her, her smile, her laugh, her wit. He wasn’t lying when he said that he missed his mate… that word had just taken on a different connotation, considering recent events.
He swallowed hard, feeling a flush creep up his neck. He hadn’t meant to kiss her; one thing had just led to another. She was so sad, her face all pink and puffy from tears. He wanted to comfort her, and he did it the best way he knew how, with a hug. After all, a hug wasn’t dangerous. They hugged all the time but this time, he could feel devastation clinging to her mind as tight as her sweaty shirt clung to her thin frame. She was insecure, still scared that he would leave her. The anxiety that was choking her mind had all but demanded his attention because soothing her fears was part of his job now that she was bonded to him. It was just instinct, an instinct that was near impossible to suppress.
When they had travelled together before, he could ignore her inner turmoil. Even if it was written on her face, he could claim ignorance. Now that he could feel each and every ounce of hurt, anxiety, and sorrow that he caused her, screaming out of her mind with sharp accusation, how could ignore her? How could he push it aside or push her away? He had to try and console her, open up to her, let her know that she wasn’t alone. However, allowing her past his mind’s defenses and having her pressed against him had created an irresistible temptation. In the heat of the moment, she was thinking about him, the pressure of his body, the feel of his skin, the taste of his kiss.
He loved kissing her, loved the softness of her lips, her taste, and the hushed little mewls that escaped her from time to time. She was so receptive to his touch. Rose responded to him with an enthusiasm that was intoxicating. She would cling to him, curling her fists into his hair and tugging until he felt the distinct urge to press her against the nearest hard surface. They were too desperate for each other and it seemed that ignoring the attraction was only intensifying the problem. He wasn’t sure how much longer he could endure. The Doctor thumped his head against the wood at his back in frustration.
Suddenly, the door opened and he flailed, falling back onto Rose’s carpet. She stood above him clad in only her t-shirt and black knickers, the long length of her creamy toned legs on full display. The Doctor swallowed hard and tried not to think about how it would feel to have those legs clutching his waist, heels digging into the globes of his arse as he thrust into the heat of her body again and again. Would she mewl then? Would she moan? Sigh? Scream out his name? Rose cleared her throat and his eyes snapped to hers, blushing when he realized that he had been caught staring. The Doctor hopped to his feet.
“Sorry,” he said with a shrug.
“What are you doing out here,” she asked.
“Nothing…I was just…erm…”
“Weren’t you getting food?”
“Yes, yes…ummm…I am on my way, Rose Tyler. And I will see you in the library.”
He started walking backwards down the corridor and her gaze followed him, brows raised in baffled amusement as she leaned against her doorjamb, looking edible in her barely clothed state. His hands were itching for her and he thanked his lucky stars -or perhaps the mercy of his ship- that the first turn toward the console room came faster than he remembered. He was able to block out her delectable figure by darting down it. She was seared into his brain though. He could recall her with perfect detail.
Growling to himself in frustration, the Doctor sprinted the remaining distance to the console room, working off some of his excess…vigor. His energy levels had increased in the last few days. He ran about like a puppy, only half-finishing one project before he was bouncing to the next. He wasn’t sure where this sudden burst of…and who was he kidding? He rubbed a hand down his face. He wasn’t filled with some new wind of vitality. He was horny, randy, turned on, hard up, whatever you wanted to call it. He was desperately, embarrassingly, sometimes painfully, aroused and, having spent the better part of the last millennia manipulating his body’s functions with little thought, it was difficult adjusting to this loss of control. He experienced this when he travelled with Rose before but never to this intensity. What was once a minor annoyance had developed into a full-blown problem.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t something that had an easy solution. Well, not to his mind anyway. He knew that part of this jump in his libido was due to the bond he shared with Rose. Biological urges weren’t always easy to fight, especially for telepaths. It didn’t help that any time she wasn’t wearing the dampener, he could feel her desire as a constant undercurrent to her thoughts. He was stuck in this emotional feedback loop where her lust triggered his and vice versa. It would help if they could find some stability in their relationship and reach a status quo but he didn’t foresee that happening any time soon.
You could always, ya know…fuck her. That crude thought popped into his head with the mental voice of his dear American friend. Of course, that was Jack’s solution…a very simple-minded solution. However, he couldn’t deny that a not insignificant part of him wanted to give in, to jump into the new intimacy feet first, consequences be damned.
Sighing, the Doctor jogged up the steps to the console and pulled the monitor toward him, typing out a quick question to Jack’s communicator. A less than genial reply followed, providing him with the name of the restaurant, directions, and a sharp reminder that he was busy. The Doctor rolled his eyes and grabbed up his coat from a nearby strut before stalking out into the humid Cardiff evening. He took extra care to ensure the doors were locked and patted the blue wood. Take care of her.
He felt the comforting brush of the TARDIS’ reassurance, even if it was accompanied by a metaphorical eye roll that implied his request was redundant.
Smirking, he turned toward the mouth of the alley and wandered onto the pavement. The night was quiet, hot, and heavy with anticipation. The Doctor flipped up the collar of his coat and made his way up the street, sticking to the shadows of the settled suburban neighborhood. There were few others wandering the city pathways which suited him fine but as he neared the main streets, more and more people began to filter out into the night. He huddled into his coat. The Doctor wasn’t in the mood to deal with crowds of humans and their competing scents of cloying cologne and perfume, masking the underlying stench of sweat and toxins. There was only one human scent that he wanted filling his nose tonight…or ever really.
He shook himself to cover a shudder of desire. The image of Rose in her half-clad state was still burned into his retinas. He saw it every time he closed his eyes: the point of that delicate toe tucked into the arch of her other foot; the sleek line of her toned legs. The black knickers that had clung to her hips were discarded by now, along with the remainder of her clothes. She would just be stepping under the hot spray of the shower where droplets of water would travel over the rise and fall of those shifting muscles and silken skin.
The Doctor huffed and ran a hand through his hair, trying to focus on his surroundings. He picked his way along a maze of streets and clusters of people, at last stopping before a sign indicating his destination. As he approached the entrance, his brows drew down in irritation as he was forced to sidestep two amorous women so wrapped up in each other that they didn’t even register his presence. The Doctor shook his head…typical humans. Rose called him oblivious in jest, but humans were shockingly unobservant, especially in times of arousal. A small rush of endorphins in their systems and any logic or reasoning flew out the window. Those two could be hit by a bus and never even notice.
Although that did say something kind of nice about their devotion to each other. It was sweet, endearing.
What? No! No, it wasn’t. They were vulnerable, out of control. That wasn’t sweet, that wasn’t nice. That was…
“What do you want,” the older woman at the counter asked. It was clear from her dark arched brow and sharp glare that she had asked more than once.
The Doctor swallowed and flushed, mumbling out the order. He paid and took the ticket from her outstretched hand before finding a suitable place to wait. Looking around at the scant number of open tables, he frowned before settling himself against the wall by the counter. His gaze drifted over the various humans laughing and smiling at each table, plodding through their mundane little lives of family dinners, friends’ birthdays, and first dates. His attention was snagged by a couple sitting in front of the arched window and as much as he tried to ignore them in favor of others, his eyes drifted back as if drawn by a magnet.
It was quite an intimate romantic scene. Even he, with his decided lack of expertise in all things romance, could recognize it. The young man and woman were cocooned in the soft light of the flickering candle on the table, talking in hushed tones as the woman’s fingers toyed with the black ribbon tied around a single red rose. A rose…he rolled his eyes. He had brought her a rose on their date, and it was a date. No one could mistake the way her heated gaze studied his face or her coy smile. The Doctor had been on the receiving end of that look. It was formidable and a second later her saw the man’s Adams apple bob in response. He almost laughed until his eyes landed on the rose once again. Rose. She held doctorates in that look.
His brow furrowed. Is this the type of thing she would expect on a ‘date’? The Doctor had never paid much attention to human courting customs. It always seemed like a lot of work for little reward but that was before Rose came into his life. She was worth the effort, the candles, the flowers. Although, she would never want a rose. She was given roses throughout her life by people who saw it as a clever play on her name instead of the tired and agonizing pun that it was. No, Rose would prefer a lily or jasmine or honey suckle. Something heavy with a sweet and intoxicating scent.
The Doctor jumped at the sharp sound of the angry woman’s voice behind the counter. Every eye snapped to him, including the couple he was staring at. He flushed, ducking further into his coat, and looked down at his ticket, as if it held all of the answers to the universe. A large 42 was printed on the top. He rolled his eyes…forty-two. If only it were that simple.
“You,” the woman with silver streaked black hair barked at him again with narrowed eyes. “Get your head out of the clouds and come get your food.” She stormed back through the door to the kitchen, muttering curses in Cantonese that he didn’t need the TARDIS to translate.
The Doctor swallowed, rubbing a hand over his neck as he snatched up the bag and made his way to the door. He dared a last glance to the couple he was watching and wished he hadn’t. They were still staring at him, brows drawn in confusion and irritation. Averting his gaze once more, the Doctor ducked out of the shop. Cardiff’s nightlife was in full swing and people now crowded the walkways, filtering steadily in and out of pubs and restaurants. He groaned and began to dart between the crowd of human bodies as quickly as he dared. When he was a couple streets away from home, the crowds thinned, and he released a breath that he hadn’t known he was holding. He slowed his pace and shook out his coat; if only it was that easy to shake off his embarrassment.
He liked to pretend that he was above such emotions but in truth, he was keenly vulnerable to them, even in his last body. It was something he had revealed to Rose in a moment of frustration when they were walking through New York in the 1970s and brows had raised at their age difference. Rose had frowned and directed a glare toward the onlookers who ducked their heads in shame.
Who cares? They don’t know us. They don’t know what we are. She only clung tighter to his arm in defiance and offered him a dazzling tongue touched grin, conveniently forgetting to mention that neither of them knew what they were either.
He turned down the alley where the TARDIS was parked and just avoided running straight into a couple locked in a passionate embrace. He darted around them at the last second with a superior huff of impatience. Of all the alleys in all of Cardiff, they had to choose this one?
He approached the TARDIS doors and took a deep breath to center his thoughts, trying to ignore the soft moans and sighs from the mouth of the alley. It was distracting and all too easy to picture he and Rose similarly occupied in one of the many backstreets, cupboards, alcoves or alleys that they found themselves in across the universe. It pained him in a way to think about all the wasted opportunities to hear her muffled keens of pleasure or feel the clutch of her hands on his shoulders.
He slipped inside the doors and slammed them shut behind him, blocking out the sounds. He only hoped that it stopped the images running rampant in his head. The Doctor stayed in place with his head resting against the doors until his hearts slowed and his breaths evened. The heavy weight of the bag in his hand at last prompted him into motion. Rose would be in the library soon and no matter how conflicted he was, he had promised to start training her. Rolling his shoulders, the Doctor straightened and made his way through the console room, determined to not let this evening end with him doing something stupid.
Rose checked her appearance in the mirror for the third time and smoothed a brush through her softly styled hair. The heat from her hair dryer had added a soft pink to her cheeks and she had brushed a light layer of mascara onto her eyelashes. She wasn’t sure why she was getting all ‘dolled up’ (as Jack would say) for a night in. It was just a way to put off the torrent of butterflies ready to take flight in her stomach. The routine tasks settled her shaking hands. She smoothed them down her soft cotton vest in a dark purple and her pajama pants in black silk.
Rose didn’t know what was making her so nervous about a simple invitation to supper. She knew The Doctor’s position on taking their relationship farther but there had been something in his eyes that made her knees weak. Eventually, she would have to put her foot down and stop this constant back and forth. The emotional rollercoaster would start to wear on her after a while but until then, she was going to soak up every stolen moment of affection that she could. Enough to make up for those twelve years without him.
Satisfied at her reflection, she straightened her shoulders and left her room, padding along the corridor to the library. As Rose crossed the threshold, her eyes widened. The library was lit by the soft glow of several candles scattered about the room and quiet music drifted through the space. On the table in front of the sofa, their food was laid out in a meticulous manner next to three lily stems tied together with a soft pink ribbon. Her cheeks flushed with heat. Was this a…date? Was he courting her? She didn’t know what else to assume. After all, it all felt so romantic.
She was startled out of her thoughts as the Time Lord in question strode into the room with a bottle of wine in one hand two glasses in the other. He stopped short when he saw her, his eyes skirting up and down the length of her body, leaving shivers in their wake.
The Doctor recovered first, shaking his head. “Uh…I was just…” He lifted the bottle and glasses in explanation before circling the table and setting them both down.
Rose settled on one end of the cushions. “Oh yeah, can’t forget that. It’s the whole reason I’m here after all.”
He straightened after he had filled her glass, with something akin to worry in his eyes.
“Oh! Well, that’s good to know, I guess.” He released a nervous chuckle and filled his own glass before sitting on the other end of the sofa.
Rose picked up the small bundle of flowers from the table running the ribbon between her finger and thumb. “Are these for me?”
He studied the liquid in his glass and cleared his throat. “Yes. They’re from the TARDIS gardens. I saw them blooming and thought you might like them.”
She lifted to her nose and inhaled the sweet scent deep into her lungs. “They smell amazing. Thank you. You know when you invited me to supper, I didn’t realize it would be so…”
She shrugged and ran the tip of her finger along the edge of the delicate petal. “Nothing…never mind. Just thank you.”
He seemed uncomfortable with her praise as he mumbled out a quick, “You’re welcome”, before snatching up his food and tucking in.
Rose followed suit and picked up her container, scooping a big bite of noodles into her mouth with her chopsticks. She groaned in delight.
“Hungry,” the Doctor asked, glancing up at her with a small smile playing on his lips.
Rose choked down the huge bite and wiped at the corner of her mouth with the back of her hand. “Starvin’”
“Good. You should eat up. You’ll need it later. Telepathy can be…draining.”
She raised a brow. “Yeah?”
He shrugged. “Just at first. Then you get used to it.”
“So, where do we start?”
“You start by eating,” he replied, and then looked down into his container. “And maybe answering a few questions I have.”
“What kind of questions,” she asked, eyes narrowed.
“Nothing invasive just…curious about you, your life over there. Things like that.”
They settled into a comfortable ebb and flow of chatter as they ate, squeaking out questions and answers between moans of delight and licking lips. When they had each eaten around a third of their meal, they reached out a hand, offering their container to the other. Rose paused at the familiar ritual. She accepted the Doctor’s take out container with a shy smile as he took hers.
“So, I guess we still share then,” he asked, a teasing sparkle in his eyes.
“Of course,” she replied with a smile, taking a large bite from his curry. “Why would that have changed?” The savory flavor exploded across her tongue, followed by a strong wave of heat. Rose almost coughed but managed to choke down the rest of the bite. She snatched up her wine glass, draining the contents. It didn’t help.
The Doctor quirked a brow at her antics. “You okay?”
She blew out breath, sure that she would see flames shooting from her mouth. “That is a lot of spice, Doctor.”
“Sorry,” he managed to mumble around the large bite of her noodles already working its way into his mouth. “D’yo wanna back?”
“No,” she replied, chuckling. “It’s fine. You seem to be enjoying it.”
He hummed in response and swallowed.
This was…nice. It was almost like a proper date with the candles, the flowers, the easy conversation. Their little Q&A was calming her nerves and they had settled into a relaxed back and forth. She had asked him about his time with Martha and listened happily as he regaled her with tales of Shakespeare, endless motorways, and being stuck in 1969. He had asked about Pete and Jackie. Rose explained the pros and cons of working with the man who had become her father in every way that mattered and tried to spice up stories of her mother’s endless charity balls or philanthropic dinners.
“Sounds like you were less than thrilled about your mother’s new hobbies.”
She shrugged. “I’m glad that she found something to make her happy. It was just boring for me.”
“What are you talking about? You love stuff like that. Dressing up in your finest clothes, dancing the night away? That’s right up your alley.”
She released a delicate snort. “Not when you don’t have anyone to dance with.”
“Oh, I’m sure Mr. Mickety-Mick would dance with you.”
“Oh, he was busy navigating the attention from all of the other girls.”
“You must have drawn your fair share of suitors. You’re a beautiful woman.”
“For a human you mean.”
“For anyone,” he replied, staring into her with those dark sincere eyes.
She cleared her throat and lifted a shoulder before placing her carton on the table. “I don’t know. Beauty doesn’t overcome everything. A lot the men in my circles were either intimidated by me or into me for all the wrong reasons. I think it had a lot to do with the way I projected myself. I was known for being an ice queen, not cruel just…robotic. I made friends. My team and I were close but…I was always separated from them, like I didn’t quite fit. It was like being outside, looking in on a really great party.”
He followed suit, placing the white carton on the table and leaning toward her. “Honesty is the foundation of a good relationship. It’s part of what makes me so bad at them. How could you build a relationship with anyone when you were hiding this large part of yourself?”
She shook her head and looked up at him with a wry grin. “That wasn’t the whole problem because I felt the same way toward Mickey and even Mum to some extent. They were happy to go back to life as usual and that irritated me. I didn’t understand that. After everything that I had seen and done. How could I go back to a fairly normal life? Even working with Torchwood, I was home for dinner a lot of nights. There were bills, food shopping, staff meetings, performance reviews, all those average, ordinary things that are suffocating in their monotony. I never stopped feeling…trapped.”
His brows knit and he swallowed hard before he could no longer bear to hold her gaze. The Doctor slipped off the sofa and began to gather their rubbish and empty glasses together.
Rose cleared her throat and stood. “I can help.”
He motioned her back down with a soft, sad, smile. “Sit, I’ve got it.”
She shifted from foot to foot as she watched his retreating back, twisting the material of her pants between her thumb and forefinger. “Do you want me to go?”
He spun around brows furrowed. “No, why would I want that?”
“I just thought…”
“We still have work to do, Rose.”