A/N: Sorry for the delay. I’m a bad author sometimes. *blush*. In my defense, I’ve been having a rough time recently with family/personal issues. Forgive me?

CHAPTER TWELVE

“Wake up, sleepyhead.”

Rose hummed a sleepy question in response to the teasing rumble that whispered over her ear. Then she scrunched her eyes together and did her best to ignore the closeness, the movements of the bed, and the voice asking her to wake up. It was too early. Or late. One or the other, she’d bet just about anything on it. Was hard to tell in the TARDIS, and she wasn’t going to give up her hold on sleep just to open her eyes and look at the clock. She lived in a time machine, right? If she wanted to sleep in a bit, then she could. It even sort of made sense.

‘Course, everything made sense when she was tired. Except for those things that didn’t.

Maybe she was already too awake to fall back asleep, if she was arguing with her own logic.

“C’mon, Rose. Up and at ‘em.”

Jack, Rose thought tiredly, a small smile playing on her lips nonetheless as she kept trying to ignore him. It was partly his fault she was so tired. He’d kept her up too late. Again.

Not that she’d minded at the time. And there it was — she’d gone from not wanting to lose her heart to being absolutely insatiable for how he made her feel. What he could do to her with just a look, a touch. Being with Jack was everything she’d never dared to let herself dream it would be. He was sweet and attentive, talented and giving. It made her a little sad to know that she’d missed out on this in her own universe, but she was past worrying herself over it. She had the here and now, and that would have to be enough because it was all that there was.

A hand landed on her bare shoulder, shaking her gently, and Rose consciously gave up on sleep and blinked open her eyes. She rolled onto her back, trying to look irritated, but knew she failed miserably when Jack just huffed a laugh. It was too hard to get upset with Jack when he was grinning at her like that. All wide and bright, like he hadn’t seen things in his life that should’ve made him want to run and hide. With a smile like that, she couldn’t help but grin right back.

Even if she was tired and he had woken her up. She just hoped it was for a good reason.

“Morni-,” she mumbled, the end of the word cut off as Jack’s lips found hers, pressing against her mouth for a kiss that stole her breath and left her gasping when he finally pulled back. Before him, no one had kissed her like that. She’d never had the kind of kisses that made her feel like she was burning alive, melting from the inside out, flying apart. He did that. Jack.
The heat in his eyes was enough to wake her up fully, completely. And when his hands slid under the blankets, warming her up even more, she wondered why she’d wanted to stay asleep to begin with. Even if he didn’t have a good reason to wake her up, she supposed this might make up for it.

An hour later she was showered and dressed, sore in places that made her blush and wriggle in her seat if she thought about them too long, and was sitting in the captain’s chair in the control room, watching as the Doctor and Jack worked on the Tardis.

It blew her mind sometimes, the way that they all had their routines as they lazed about in the void. That there were days like today set aside just for repairs — and for the Doctor to use his superior skills at jiggery-pokery to make improvements— when they could be only seconds from the next great adventure, was something she’d never gotten used to with her old Doctor, and didn’t think she’d ever quite wrap her mind around with this one, either.

And yet it was the routineness of some days that she craved the most. Lounging about in the TARDIS, listening to him talk to her about things he’d seen and done. And him listening to her, though his previous self had done it with a look of long-suffering and his second self had done it with rapt fascination, asking questions and making interruptions, going on and on about this topic and that until she couldn’t really remember what it was that had set him off, made his run on so. But she’d loved it. And when Jack had been around there’d been no night that wasn’t filled with the kind of warm glow of family and love that she’d always gotten around them.

She’d expected things to be different here.

They weren’t.

Not really, she thought as she leaned back in the chair and just watched them work, talking with each other about this and that, things that went over her head, but she was happy to keep them there. It was enough for her to be able to push a button or pull a lever from time to time; she didn’t need to know how to muck around with the inner workings of the TARDIS.

Her gaze swept over where Jack lay on the metal grate floor of the TARDIS, one leg bent at the knee, foot on the floor, the other sticking out in front of him as he worked with some wires under the console. She felt a warm flush heat her cheeks and…other places. Her tongue darted out, wetting lips gone dry, and she wished — really hard, too — that the repairs would just hurry up already. Or that Jack would get up off of the floor and quit flashing little bits of skin. Or, well, neither. Jack moved and another inch of stomach was exposed, the shirt riding up.

Yeah, ‘neither’ was sounding really good right about then.

Sleeping with Jack had changed almost nothing, really, as far as Rose could see. Nothing that mattered, anyway. He was still a flirt, still a gentleman. He still made her feel special, just maybe a little more than he had in the past. But that was saying something, because he’d always done a wonderful job of leaving her feeling like she was the most important girl in the universe. He and her old Doctor had had that in common. They’d made her feel like she was more than just a shop girl that hadn’t bothered with her A levels.

It wasn’t as if nothing had changed, though. Just…that the changes were little ones. They went back to the same room to sleep, showered together, spent time together outside of just exploring and making trouble around the universe. And if Jack looked at her a little more softly, more affectionately, than before, sometimes when he thought she wasn’t looking, then that was fine by her. She felt the same way.

The Doctor hadn’t said anything one way or the other. Not a single spoken word to confirm that he knew that she and Jack were together. It was like he was ignoring the subject entirely, aside from the too-quick half-smile he’d given her that first morning when she woke up. It was the closest he’d come to acknowledging that his companions were sleeping with each other.

She didn’t know why that made her just a little sad, though a part of her wanted — no, needed - to believe that it was just because she wanted him to be happy for her. Maybe he was. Maybe he wasn’t. But until he said something, Rose really couldn’t tell. Sure, he’d encouraged her to follow her heart, to not lock herself away and live a lonely life if she thought that Jack might be the one for her, but had he expected her to actually follow through with it? The Doctor she’d known had never said something just for the sake of saying it — but this Doctor wasn’t that Doctor. He was completely different, even while being utterly alike.

It was enough to give her a headache sometimes.

The Doctor slid out from beneath his own section of console, dusting his hands off on his pants, eyes on the controls in front of him. He didn’t spare her a glance.

But that was nothing new, right? He always got like this when he was fixated on tinkering with the Tardis. It wasn’t like he was deliberately ignoring her.

Oh, hell. Something had changed.

Rose winced at the realization, even as her cheeks flushed a pink that she was happy Jack was still too occupied to notice.

She wanted the Doctor, just like she wanted Jack. So much for not making the same mistakes she had in the past, hmm? So much for being happy — very, very happy — with what she had? No, she had to go and fall for the Doctor, too. And the fact that he didn’t seem to mind her being with Jack was driving her up a wall.

Why was her life so bloody complicated?

It was almost enough to make her miss those days when she’d been just Rose Tyler — shop worker, girlfriend of Mickey Smith, nothing more, nothing less. At least then it had been easy. Hardest thing to do was decide what pub they were going to on their nights out.

She was ecstatic to be with Jack, but something was missing. The same thing that was always missing. Here and now or there and then, she’d never had the Doctor the way that she wanted him.

Rose sighed softly. Not soft enough. The Doctor turned his head and Rose was quick to look away, staring down at her nails like she was contemplating the lack of polish or whether or not she needed a trim. She definitely didn’t look up at him, because he would see it in her face. He’d know.

And there was no point in him knowing. Maybe then he would want to take her home, and then where would she be? She’d lose him and Jack, all in one swoop.

Not going to happen. Maybe she’d wanted off the Tardis a week ago, but not now.

Never again, she hoped. Vain longing, that, knowing what she knew about the Doctor. He didn’t keep his companions around forever. One day she’d be getting off the Tardis for good.

She just didn’t want it to be anytime soon.

“Bored, Rose?”

Jerking her head around fast enough to make her neck wince in displeasure, Rose latched onto the excuse like a lifeline. “A little, yeah.”

The Doctor’s grin was lightning quick and manic. “No worries. Hour, maybe two, and then I’ve got just the place.”

From under the console came Jack’s snort. Part amusement, part mockery. “What’s it going to be this time. Revolution? Military coup? Some intrigue that will have us running for our lives less than an hour after we walk out the door?”

The look on the Doctor’s face said it all.

Why not all three?

END CHAPTER