Rose twirled and looked at herself in the mirror. The peachy pink dress was flowing down her legs, caressing her knees, her feet. The fabric was sheer but layered, slightly heavy but a pleasant weight all the same. It was lovely.
Rose was lovely.
This thought, however, brought a sudden wave of hopelessness that washed over Rose, dimming her eyes from warm amber to dull brown.
How long will she be able to pull off this youthful and glowing look? How long will she look attractive? Was it wrong and unhealthy that Rose wanted to prolong her beauty, to freeze her sweetness and softness for centuries to come?
Oh, if only she could, she would do it.
Rose gasped loudly and shuddered violently as she realised what she was thinking about.
What the hell was she turning into?! This was Cassandra all over again. Rose was acting like those women who had enough money to nip and tuck anything that was evidence to their true age, to lift and erase any possible wrinkles on their sagging faces.
Rose fingered the nearly translucent skin around her eyes. No wrinkles, save the laugh ones, yet. The small lines that mapped the area around her lids were less prominent than the Doctor’s even. Her cheeks were round, too round for her liking a year ago but so appreciated now. The fullness of her cheeks reminded Rose that she was still young, still fresh and beautiful and attractive, and with the help of certain techniques and cosmetics she could continue looking so long after being barely over twenty.
Rose traced the contour of her lips and scowled in irritation. Too big. And too chapped (her lips still weren’t able to recover after spending two days in the desert without her favourite lipstick that, much to her delight, went from transparent to warm pink after making contact with her skin). She considered asking the Doctor for something to deal with the dehydration and roughness but decided that it was uncalled for to bother him about something so silly and unimportant.
Rose sighed tiredly and closed her eyes, irritated at her own stupid and illogical behaviour.
And this day started out nicely, too...everything was fine and spectacular and slightly crazy (just as Rose loved it!) until the Doctor and Rose dashingly rescued a seventeen-year-old princess who was abducted by the royalty of the neighbouring kingdom. The beautiful Princess, Princess May, wasn’t like any spoiled little thing you would expect to see in a royal woman, no. On the contrary, Rose couldn’t remember anyone so gentle and sweet (save Gwyneth from Cardiff) in her travelling experience. And May was a Princess. The whole of the Kingdom was at her feet, the most exquisite and amazing things were catered to her if she wanted them. Princess May could turn out spoiled, snotty, fussy and capricious – but she didn't.
Rose was amazed by the young Princess.
Where did it come from, this forlorn, slightly broken feeling, you’d ask?
Well, it was simple. The Princess had her Prince. The royals were to be married soon. Rose grinned slightly. Prince August was exactly what someone reading a fairy tale book would imagine a Prince to be. Tall. Strong. With proud profile and perfect manners. Soft, kind eyes. Gentle voice.
The all-encompassing love for the Princess.
That, and the fact that the Prince was only three years senior the Princess.
August and May had their whole life before them. Full of parades and ceremonies, happy moments and sorrowful moments, domestics and exciting journeys, yes, but...
They would age together. Slow down in unison. Wouldn’t be so young and beautiful anymore. Stop going on adventures. Maybe they would even die one day, like all blissfully married couples in fairy tales do.
Rose thought that, of course, some kings search for consolation in arms of young and blooming mistresses, and queens become cold-hearted and dull after the prime of their life passes away...
Rose scoffed. Look at her, being petty and pessimistic! August and May deserved the best the world could give them. The most beautiful wedding in the history of their kingdom, the prettiest and the most talented babies, the most exciting and thrilling adventures, the kindest people in their lands...
Rose flicked her hands, irritated, and turned away from the mirror. What was the point in her being young and relatively pretty if all of it would go to waste in fifteen, twenty years? What will she do when the time of her old age inevitably comes? Rose will stop being agile, flexible, fast; the neuron transmission in her brain will slow, her cheeks will hollow out, her hair will need to be dyed ashy blonde instead of yellowish blonde she favoured so much because of them turning grey.
But, most importantly, Rose won’t be able to discover and save new words and planets with the Doctor without being a burden to him. Old, achy, barely able to walk let alone run. Wrinkled. Small.
Oh, she says “forever” all the time, scattering the almost sacred word in time and space, trying to assuage and assure him (and her) that she will not let go easily. That she will stay.
Whatever it takes. However long it takes. She doesn’t want the Doctor to suffer losing her but she can’t deny the pull of the life with him, the pull of him...
Her reverie is broken like a crystal glass when the main character of her thoughts (and dreams, and daydreams) all but falls into her room after pushing the door too forcefully.
“Rose! There you are! Human women, honestly, you spend so much time on primping and dolling up – now, that’s the funny collocation, that, to doll up. I wonder if it’s because all dolls look pretty and perfect, although, mind, the blue-eyed and curly-haired china dolls are cute on Earth, however, in the galaxy Tramortina, on the second planet to the left of their Blue Sun, the dolls are the stuff of nightmares, I’m telling you. Saw them in the bad dreams two weeks after visiting the shop in the hospital. It is considered good luck to give scary dolls to patients in hospitals, go figure, the natives believe that these dolls scare away the sickness and people get well sooner. Where was I? Ah, Rose, my beautiful Rose, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet...oh, I was meaning to ask, would you be so kind so as to share your perfume with me? I do like the smell of cotton candy, Rose, and I want the console room to...to...”
Rose rolled her eyes and shook her head at the Doctor’s mad antics. And at the stupid expression on his face. He looked...pleasantly surprised. Shocked, even. Rose racked her brain to as why he did look so. Not the first time he sees her in a dress, is it? Oh! Maybe she’s chosen something inappropriate for the celebratory ball? The Princess wore a dress of a similar fashion but maybe it was forbidden to share the style with the royals or something.
The Doctor came to his senses.
“Blimey, Rose, - the man stuttered, - you...you look incredible!” he tugged on his ear after saying so and blushed a little, averting his eyes. The Doctor added “You look brilliant but we are late, Rose, my beautiful companion, and don’t think I forgot about the cotton candy perfume for a moment, I know what a meanie you can be when you don’t want to share something you like!”
The Doctor smiled enthusiastically, not noticing the sadness in his friend’s eyes because all the melancholy evaporated the moment he stuttered and called her “beautiful”.
Rose squinted her eyes mischievously and accepted the proffered hand to steady her while she was putting on peach-coloured flat shoes. Never heels, not with the Doctor. Who knows what they could get themselves into?
The Doctor and Rose hurried out into the lantern-lit courtyard, wishing good evening to the Tardis. The wonderful time ship hummed happily at her favourite duo’s antics.
That evening, Rose Tyler decided that she would not take her life with the Doctor for granted. She would, however, take it one step at a time, one adventure after another, never looking too far into her future. Why think about old age and slow life now when she is so young and full of life energy now?
The Universe accepted Rose Tyler’s decision and twisted the time lines and the worlds in order to never make Rose Tyler think about being left behind alone, to never make her face the slow path, the domestics, the gradual quieting of her life alone.
That day, on the second worst day of her life, on the beach she despised more than her humanity, Rose Tyler made a promise by accepting the hand of the part-human Doctor.
That night, she sealed the given promise with a kiss while she listened to the beating of a single, human heart in the Doctor’s chest, and thanked the Universe for letting Rose stay human.