Rose still can’t quite believe her happiness while she’s lolling in the silk sheets of the bedroom they’ve stumbled upon in the crooks and nannies of the Tardis. It was like magic, the room appearing out of nowhere just as their relationship moved to another stage, a step higher.
God knows Rose has been waiting for that step for what seems like forever. She suspects now that the Doctor wanted more for the two of them, too, and it seems that he’s been on the same page ever since the day he claimed that he’d let the world face its demise if it meant saving her. Her, Rose Tyler of the Powell Estate, a shop girl from Henrick’s, a bottle blonde not-a-teenager anymore, a mere human from the 21st century.
Deep inside her soul Rose feels that no human is a ‘mere human’, that anyone deserves freedom, safety, love, respect and their feelings considered; still, Rose feels so insignificant sometimes standing next to her blue-eyed hero, her Doctor. It’s not his fault, oh no, the Doctor does and says things that continuously boost her self-esteem, that make her feel smart, resourceful, brave. Rose doesn’t want to sound silly or overly romantic but her life transformed its colour palette from dull dusty shades to the brilliant, radiant colours the moment she met the Doctor. It’s like Rose started looking at her life through the kaleidoscope directed at the rainbow: everything is so enhanced and dizzyingly exciting now.
Life with the Doctor seems more inviting than it was before.
Rose’s life found its meaning the first time she made a small difference while travelling with the Doctor. Surely, she felt special during the first days of their travelling; she felt chosen, seen, extraordinary. Still, the true understanding that she, Rose Tyler, human, 19, raised by a widow, treated with a firm hand, was now a constant companion to the brilliant Time Lord. Well, Rose says ‘treated with a firm hand’ but there were moments Rose was pampered in her life. There were times when Jackie’s heart was overdosed with love to her only offspring, her dear Rose, growing up fatherless, moneyless, coddle-less, and Rose would receive unexpected small gifts from her mum: a Barbie doll with two additional outfits to change the doll into, a new sequined dress for her birthday, a set of watercolour pencils little Rose had been eyeing for weeks while passing the Art and School Supplies Shop on her way to school. The gifts continued as the years went by, and later on when fifteen-year-old Rose started a summer job at the nail parlour as a receptionist, the first thing she bought from her first paycheck was a pearly-pink lipstick her mother had seen in the Avon catalogue. Jackie loved the shade and the texture of said lipstick but the free sample ran out after two weeks of using, and the woman didn’t deem it important to buy a full-sized tube when there were bills to be paid and food to be brought to the table.
Needless to say, Jackie Tyler thanked her daughter wholeheartedly, threw in a few “oh, Rose, you shouldn’t have”, cried a little before sleep at how good-hearted her Rose turned out to be and how proud her sweet husband would have been if he were alive to witness the person Rose grew up to become.
Jackie used the lipstick at any chance she got to, making it known to young Rose that the sentiment was very much appreciated. The tradition of Rose giving Jackie that particular shade and brand of lipstick continued on up to now, and Rose has already stocked up on said tube of make-up for the upcoming Christmas.
Now, however, there is someone else to admire the brilliance of Rose Tyler. A man, or an alien, or, better to say, a Time Lord, the last of the Time Lords, who knows the true value of a person like Rose.
Her bright, compassionate soul and borderless heart made it possible for the scale of the decision ‘to give into Rose or to stop at being best mates’ tip to the ‘love Rose Tyler unreservedly’ option. The Doctor couldn’t stand it anymore, he couldn’t live day after day, rejecting her timid attempts to love him, thwarting any flirty, tender gesture bestowed upon him.
For some unfathomable reason Rose chose to love him. She never left his side, even on his darkest days, she forgave him after he was behaving like a bastard, she stood up to him when she thought he was wrong and she never let him bully her or anyone else into submission.
The Doctor did just as much for Rose. The Time Lord indulged her human quirks and weaknesses, he forgave her hotheadedness when she was arguing with him until they were both blue in the face, he tried to find a compromise each time they hit a dead end, he wasn’t getting irritated when she craved his undivided attention and company on some days.
Even if he wasn’t much of a company man.
Yeah, right. That’s why he had a companion on board at almost all times.
Rose Tyler was quite the unusual companion, however, and had more privileges than any of his companions had ever had before in his time of travelling.
The Doctor treated her to relaxing and beautiful trips after the ones that were a tiny smidge too close to his understanding of ‘dangerous’, or after Rose was somewhat a victim on such travels (honestly, though, half the time it was her own fault, wandering off, not waiting for his explanations of rules and customs). He drank tea with Rose in the galley just before her sleep cycle and, Rassilon almighty, he cooked said tea and toasts in the morning when it was impossible to cajole Rose to leave her warm bed. The Time Lord followed her around the markets while shopping, whether for herself or for them both and the Tardis, too. Rose assured him that she was ‘perfectly fine’ on her own, and he believed her, letting her wander the shopping mall in 2518 alone. It was the first and the last time Rose Tyler shopped alone, really, because when his companion didn’t return after a negotiated period of three hours and her phone was unreachable, the Doctor turned over the whole marketplace, looking for her.
He found her on a spaceship, held against her will, because the Swerellian Prince from the Galaxy Ostro deemed Rose divinely beautiful and decided to take her as his lawfully wedded wife that instant.
Thankfully, the Doctor was just in time to interrupt the wedding vows. “The divorce would have been such a headache, Rose, I swear, you’d be thirty-five by the time the process was finished!” grinned the Doctor manically, hearts beating wildly: he almost lost her. Three more minutes, and even the best of the best lawyers of all time and space wouldn’t have been able to extricate Rose from the marriage in such a short time and peacefully.
That’s why even a perfunctory shopping trip for milk and biscuits were made in the Doctor’s company from there on.
Jeopardy friendly, Rose was.
After some time and particularly after the events in Utah in 2012, the Doctor became more open-minded towards Rose’s displays of affection. He nearly lost her, he let himself part with her again, and it resulted in Rose being held hostage (again) and witnessing the massive massacre by the Dalek. The moment they stepped into the Tardis, leaving Adam behind, the Doctor enfolded Rose in a crushing hug, not letting go of his companion.
It didn’t look like Rose minded being crushed in a hug, however.
The Doctor knows he’s spoling Rose sometimes but he honestly can’t find it in him to stop. Even though she never tells him about her woes of growing up with little money and no stable future at all times, he knows Rose was denied a lot by being brought up by a widowed mother on the council estate.
He sees it in the firm press of her lips when she encounters something pricey at the market, when she eyes the watercolours in the Art shop wistfully, when she savours each treat they buy for the dinner inside the Tardis.
That's why he's generous when it comes to physical objects and shopping. He knows she'll never overstep the line, she's not shallow, his Rose, she’s not greedy and manipulative, even if he said otherwise in a fit of a fiery jealousy and blood-freezing fear of Rose leaving him when she saved her father in 1987.
The Doctor is also generous while giving affection now, too. He knows it’s all Rose’s doing, it’s purely her grating on him, making him touchy-feely and fearless of showing tenderness out loud for Rose and the world to see. He is aware that he might be the very first man, well, an alien version of a man, who treats Rose kindly and respectfully at all times. The Doctor cringes, remembering a couple of his and Rose’s ugly fights. Okay, at almost all times. Still, he never advances on her in the way boys her age do (not that he doesn’t want to); he truly cares about Rose and what she feels, thinks and has to say on some matter; he is genuinely concerned about her well-being and happiness; he is enchanted by her character and he seeks her company more and more these days (not that he still doesn’t need his dose of solitude from time to time).
As days and weeks pass by, the Doctor becomes less reserved in the system of touch that he and Rose share. He tilts his head for Rose to kiss his cheek before chirping ‘goodnight!’, he envelops Rose’s smaller frame into his arms gladly at any possible time, he caresses the back of her hand with his thumb absent-mindedly and invades her bubble of personal space unashamedly when he realises that Rose doesn’t mind. To be honest, sometimes she does, but that’s usually linked to her menstrual cycle, and the Doctor would never be brave enough to tell Rose that he knows what happens to her even when she tries frantically to conceal her condition.
The Doctor supposes that Rose is aware that he understands what’s the whole emotional deal with since the trips are calmer during such days. Sometimes they even drift in the Vortex for a day or two, her hiding in the bedroom, him hiding under the console, and then they never discuss such ‘maintenance stops’.
It’s Rose’s initiative, not his. The Doctor can’t bloody understand why such a perfectly natural topic as menstruation has been heavily tabooed over millennia of human existence, and he half wants to take Rose to visit the year 2568 and the museum of menstruation. Yes, the whole museum, not even a single exhibition, covering the topic of menstrual cycle. How great is that? Maybe she’ll finally see that there’s nothing to be embarrassed about.
No, the Doctor stops elaborating on the idea. He imagines the way Rose would blush and stutter and try to disappear from feeling embarrassed - she’s only a 21st century female, after all, - and he doesn’t want Rose to ever feel inadequate and uncomfortable in his company and on their travels.
Exhaling softly, the Time Lord decides to acknowledge the fact that Rose is awake. The Doctor understands her wish to bask in the morning bliss, ride that addictive wave of washing gently to the shores of consciousness after finding peace in the dreamland. He knows well how Rose loves to stay in bed in the mornings for as long as possible, cuddling into the blankets (and his embrace now), he is also aware of the gesture that Rose loves receiving from him. Something she values deeply even if it costs him nothing.
The Doctor starts playing with Rose’s hair.
The change in the girl’s demeanour is immediate. Rose melts into his embrace, neck craning to follow his touch. He gives it freely. His fingers massage her scalp in circling motions, applying gentle pressure, and then proceed to stroke the locks of her hair to the ends, twirling the strands carefully, wrapping the blonde tresses around his fingers. He marvels at how soft her hair is after multiple bottles of bleach and extreme weather conditions they end up in. Rose’s head is resting in the hollow of his neck now, and although her slender fingers clutch the silken sheets fitfully, she is afraid to move. The Doctor smiles when he leans in to her ear and whispers smugly:
“Breathe, Rose. I understand that my technique must be breathtaking but, please, don’t stop breathing on my account. I won’t stop if you move a little, I promise,” he kisses the spot below her earlobe and chuckles when his lover gasps loudly, finally taking a good breath.
The Doctor still remembers the awkward request last night, right after he curled around her, the big spoon to her little one (he still wonders at the silliness of the term for that kind of hug), breathless and pleasantly winded after being together. He could tell there was something on her mind, something she felt embarrassed about, and he nudged her in-between the ribs playfully, telling her to spill.
“Could you, you know,” when Rose didn't continue the sentence and her cheeks went alarmingly red, the Doctor slid his open palm up and down her side slowly, encouragingly, “could you, um...play with my hair a little?” if he thought she was red before, he was mistaken. The blush spreaded from her cheeks to her neck and the tops of her breasts, and even though the Doctor didn't mind the show, he minded Rose being uncomfortable at voicing her wishes in their newly-found intimacy.
He kissed her flaming cheek and began stroking her hair tenderly.
She’s so unspoiled still, his Rose, unspoiled with anyone paying her attention carefully, taking time to take care of her and her needs, doing something for her without asking anything in return. Rose is unused to being on the receiving end of non-sexual affection, and the Doctor is willing to change that.
So, they are laying there, on a double bed with creme-coloured silk sheets, relishing in the warmth of each other’s bodies, breathing steadily, quietly. The Doctor marvels at the serene feeling that washes over them, that continues spreading over the walls and the halls of the Tardis, cocooning the world around them in warmth, tinging the air soft pink. The Doctor wants to scoff at the mushy feelings that he’s experiencing, he honestly wants to roll eyes at the sappiness of the picture he and Rose make. He doesn’t have it in him, however, to make fun of the gentle intimacy he and Rose share, of the trust running smoothly between their souls, of the acceptance and love their hearts feel for each other.
The glowing presence of Rose is enough to keep the ever-running Doctor by her side that morning, their adventures not forgotten but merely postponed, and Rose thanks the Universe again for sending the blue-eyed Doctor her way.