Title: Same but Different
Show: Doctor Who
Timeline: Shortly after New Earth.
Synopsis: He’s a new new Doctor and she’s still Rose. But how different is he, really?
Author’s Note: Thanks to fairygothmum for the beta!
Rose glanced at the monitor as she walked into the console room, a pear in one hand and a knife in the other. “So...where did we end up?”
The Doctor sighed, but didn’t look up from the book held in his hands. “One galaxy to the left. I think she needs a bit of an adjustment.”
“What are you doing?” She asked, carefully cutting a perfect slice off the pear.
“Reading...” He looked up and gave her a shy smile. “About how to make the proper adjustment.”
“Huh...it comes with an instruction manual?” She grinned, offering the slice of pear to him.
“Yeah...well, no. This is the manual for the Mark II Type 27, not the 40 TT.” He glanced at her hand and smiled, obediently opening his mouth.
She rolled her eyes and popped the fruit into his mouth before cutting off another slice for herself. “Is the 27 very different than the 40 TT?”
“Well...” He started and then chewed once, a grimace taking over his features just a split second before spitting the fruit out and dropping the book onto the floor. “What the hell was that?”
Rose narrowed her eyes at him. “A pear...”
“Why would you do that to me?” He asked, looking around frantically for something to wash his mouth out with as he jumped off the seat.
“I always share my pears with you.” Rose stated, obviously confused by the Doctor’s reaction.
The Doctor grabbed a bottle of Coke that Rose had left on one of the struts. He drank half the bottle in one swallow and then swished another quarter of the bottle inside his mouth. He stared at her and shook his head as he swallowed again.
“Never again! That was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever tasted...not to mention the texture!”
He spat again and then ran his tongue along the sleeve of his jacket. He looked over to find her staring at him.
“Sorry, was that a bit over-dramatic?”
“Just a little...” She nodded, chuckling as she bit into her slice of pear.
He shuddered, quickly averting his eyes as she chewed and swallowed the fruit. “I can’t believe I liked those...”
Before she could respond, he pointed at the monitor and smiled. “We’re on Gladshine...home of the Caferians. Care to go on an excursion before I fix the TARDIS?”
Rose frowned at the pear in her hand, tossing it into the rubbish bin that the Doctor had installed in the console. The Doctor furrowed his brow at her.
“What’d you do that for? Just because I don’t like them anymore doesn’t mean you can’t have them.”
Rose shrugged a shoulder. “No fun eating them on my own. The best part of a pear was sharing it with you.”
She looked up quickly, not really having meant to divulge that to him. He was smiling softly at her, almost apologetically. She wiped her hands on her jeans and offered him a bright smile.
“So...how much trouble are we going to get into this time?”
The Doctor shook his head in amusement. “None, I’d say. The Caferians are a peaceful race...for the most part. We should be safe as houses.” He narrowed his eyes in thought. “How safe is a house anyway?”
Rose snorted a laugh and took his hand when he held it out to her.
* * *
Less than ten hours after they’d left for their excursion, Rose sat cross-legged on the grated floor of the TARDIS with an opened toolbox next to her. The Doctor was lying on his back, his upper body wedged into a narrow opening under the console.
She reached into the toolbox and scowled in his direction as he wiggled his fingers at her, his voice sounding like he was trapped in a metal box...which in a way, he kinda was.
“The quicker you hand it to me, the quicker I’ll have this fixed...and the quicker we’ll be on our way.”
“Because being stuck here is so bad?” She grumbled, shoving a tool into his hand.
“You’re the one who wanted to leave.” He replied, his hand disappearing into the innards of the console. “What the...”
“You’re the one who got all...I don’t know, rude and possessive or whatever.” She stated as he mumbled incoherently, flinching when she heard the distinct sound of metal clanging against metal. “You okay?”
He shimmied out from under the console and shoved the tool back at her. “What the hell is this?”
She looked down at it and raised an eyebrow. “A spanner.”
“Right!” He tossed the spanner back into the toolbox and reached over her to rummage through the other tools. “If I wanted a spanner, I would’ve asked for a spanner.”
“You did ask for a spanner.” Rose said in annoyance, moving out of his way.
He stopped rummaging and looked at her. “Did I?”
She nodded, rolling her eyes as she shifted to lean back against the nearest coral strut. He sighed heavily and stared at the toes of his shoes as he rubbed the side of his neck.
“Sorry.” He muttered, reaching back into the toolbox and pulling out a pair of pliers. “Meant these.”
“Pliers?” She asked, crossing her arms over her chest. “Yeah, I can see how you could mix those two up...”
He shot her a quick glare and narrowed his eyes. “And maybe I did get possessive...and a bit rude. But, that was because he was all over you!”
Her mouth dropped open as she stared at him. “You’re not serious? You’re jealous? That’s what this is all about? You’re stomping through here, slamming this and that around...because you’re jealous over that?”
“No...” He sighed and leaned back, lowering his gaze to the pliers in his hand.
“Doctor, you told me yourself that his actions were the common greeting of Caferians.”
“It is.” He replied. “And he meant absolutely nothing other than ‘nice to meet you’.”
Rose was quiet for a long moment, watching him toy with the pliers. Finally she took a deep breath and shook her head.
“I don’t understand.”
“I know.” He whispered, chancing a quick glance at her. Deciding not to elaborate any further, he cleared his throat and gestured behind him. “I should...it shouldn’t take long to fix. If I use the right tools...”
He offered her a gentle smile. His smile faltered when she merely stared at him in confusion before standing up and leaving the room.
He sighed heavily and scratched the back of his head. “Well...that could’ve gone better.”
He flinched at the sound of her slamming a door and sighed again. “Definitely could’ve gone better.”
With a shake of his head, he lifted one of the grated panels on the floor and jumped inside. He could probably reach the problem from underneath better than from above anyway.
* * *
Rose paced in her room, her annoyance growing with each step. She’d never seen him act like that before. He had even warned her before they entered the palace.
Caferians nuzzle in greeting.
She hadn’t even nuzzled back, merely given the alien a hug in return. But, she’d seen the darkness in the Doctor’s eyes when she’d stepped back. And she’d barely had time to say anything before he’d grabbed her arm and pulled her next to him.
Of course, then he’d gotten them both thrown out of the palace by insulting the alien, who was actually the Prince of the Caferian Rebellion. He’d said he hadn’t realized that they would consider his words an insult.
She wasn’t sure how else ‘Slitheen backwash’ could be taken.
Luckily, the Prince had actually found Rose charming and had simply ordered them banished from the realm. It could’ve been worse, she supposed. They could’ve been executed or imprisoned or something.
But, the fact that it could’ve been worse didn’t help her at all.
She was sure he’d been jealous. But, he was an all-mighty Time Lord. Apparently, Time Lords didn’t get jealous. She liked the fact that he had seemed jealous, but it annoyed her that he wouldn’t admit it. He was still warring with himself...whereas she had already surrendered to her heart.
She loved him. She was ninety-two percent sure he felt the same. But that remaining eight percent was enough to make her stand to the side...and wait.
She blew out a deep breath and stopped pacing. That’s what it all came down to...her waiting for him to either win his battle or surrender. Or...asking him to take her home and her moving on with her life. With Mickey.
She ran her fingers through her hair and shook her head. She’d never ask him to take her home...not to London. She actually thought of the TARDIS as home now, not that she could tell him that. And she’d never be able to make a life with Mickey. Not now. Maybe she never would’ve been able to.
Mickey was sweet and loved her, but...
The Doctor held her heart now. Probably from their first meeting...definitely from their first ‘date’. Watching the Earth die should’ve filled her with sadness. But, it hadn’t...it had filled her with hope.
And she had hope for him...for them. She just had to wait. And she would...for as long as she had to.
Because he was the Doctor.
A soft knock on her door startled her out of her thoughts.
She couldn’t stop the smile. Who else could it have been?
“Um...can I come in?”
She sat down on the bed and bit her lip, nodding before she found her voice.
There was a pause and then the door opened slowly. He poked his head in and met her eyes.
She nodded again and sighed. “Yeah, come in.”
He slipped inside and closed the door behind him, leaning against it with his hands behind his back. For a few seconds, he merely stood there...looking at her. Just when she was getting ready to question him, he licked his lips and exhaled slowly.
“I...may have been a little jealous. A little, not much...just...well...” He pushed away from the door and ran his right hand through his incredibly mussed hair. “Actually, maybe...quite a lot, in reality.”
“Oh?” She raised an eyebrow at him, afraid to say anything else...just in case it broke the flow of his words.
He nodded slowly and sat down next to her on the edge of the bed. “Jealousy is...kinda new for me. And it’s frustrating and confusing and...”
“And?” She prompted gently as he trailed off.
“I have all of these rules that I’ve given myself...and I’m dangerously close to breaking rule number five thousand four hundred and twelve. Actually, I probably already have...but, I don’t know what to do about it. I mean...the world could end if it’s broken.”
“Really?” Rose asked, her eyes widening.
The Doctor smiled and looked down at his hands. “I don’t know. Maybe. I mean, the last rule I made was because our lives could’ve ended...”
“What rule was that?”
“Rule number five thousand six hundred and twenty-two...never call a Caferian a puddle of Slitheen backwash.”
Despite the apparent seriousness of the discussion, Rose snorted. “Come up with that one recently, did you?”
“Seems to be an important one. Not all of my rules are, mind you...and I can easily make twenty rules a day.”
“The other one? It’s an important one though?” Rose asked, biting her lip as he nodded without looking at her. “What is it?”
The Doctor paused for a few seconds and then cleared his throat. “Never fall in love with your companion.”
Rose stared at him, her mouth dropping open in surprise. After a moment, she shook her head as if to clear it. “Um...when did you make that rule?”
His brow furrowed slightly as he finally turned to look at her. “When I watched the Earth die.”
“What?” She whispered in a bewildered tone.
“You...didn’t know?” He asked, obviously taken aback by her bewilderment. “I’m sorry, I just...I thought that...well, you’re perceptive and I just assumed that – ”
“You love me?” She interrupted, staring into his eyes.
He swallowed thickly and blew out a deep breath even as he nodded. “I’m fairly certain that I do. That I...have for quite some time.”
“I know you’re still getting used to me...the new new me. I mean, I look different...sound different. But...I’m still me. I’m still the Doctor and I have the same memories, the same thoughts, the same – ”
She interrupted him again...this time, with a kiss. His eyes widened as he started to pull away. But, she was quicker than that...and slid her right hand to the back of his head to hold him in place as she softened the kiss.
His immediate panic dissipated nearly as quickly as it had surfaced and he found himself responding to the kiss within seconds. Their lips moved together in a tender caress as his eyes finally closed, his arms embracing her as he tilted his head in an effort to deepen the kiss ever so slightly.
He groaned softly as her lips parted and her tongue flicked against his lip, requesting entry to his warm mouth. Her request was granted with no hesitation and he trembled as her tongue slid across his.
Convinced he’d stay if she let go of him, she moved her hand from the back of his head to the knot of his tie. He stroked her tongue with his as she pulled his tie loose and then unbuttoned his jacket. Realizing that he was completely lost in the kiss, she slowly leaned back across the bed and smiled inwardly as he instinctively followed her.
As soon as her back touched the mattress, he opened his eyes and gently ended the kiss. She could clearly see the arousal in his eyes...and a flash of uncertainty.
“Shh...” She whispered, shifting into a more comfortable position and stroking her fingers along the short hair covering the nape of his neck. “Just kiss me.”
He glanced at the bed and then at his right hand, which was curled around her hip. “I’m not sure this is just kissing...”
“Maybe it’s not.” She replied with a smile, sighing as he brushed his lips over her forehead. “But, it doesn’t have to go further...if you don’t want it to.”
“Didn’t say that...” He whispered in response, placing a soft kiss against her temple. “But...it shouldn’t. We should...we should stop now.”
“Why?” She asked, her smile fading as he moved to her side.
“Because...” He took a deep breath and tenderly brushed the hair back from her face. “Sometimes you look at me...and you see a stranger. Even though you know it’s me...and that look is only fleeting...for a brief moment, you’re not sure.”
“I need you to be sure, Rose.” He swallowed, eyes darting to her slightly kiss-swollen lips. “Before I throw away all rules concerning you...I need you to be sure about me. And despite the fact that I can taste your desire in your kisses...you still look for my prior appearance, if just for a second.”
“I see you now. Right now, I see you.” She pushed herself up as he sat up and shook his head. “Do you remember what Cassandra said while she was inside you?”
“Something about a samba...”
“No! The part where she knew I was looking and that I...”
He met her eyes as she stopped herself, a small smile playing on his lips. “Liked it?”
“Physical attraction is one thing, Rose...I’m talking about something completely different.”
Rose narrowed her eyes at him. “You don’t think I trust you. This you...because you look like this and not like that anymore.”
He sighed and shifted closer to the edge of the bed, raking his fingers through his hair. “I’m still learning about me, Rose. I’m a different man now...I like different things, I see things a different way, my political views are so overwhelming to me that I haven’t even bothered looking into them yet.”
“Nothing...” He stood up and pushed his hands into his pockets. “My point is...I can’t expect you to be completely sure about me when I don’t know about me. And...though I love you and...want you...I can’t allow us to take that step. Not until we both know...”
“You’re more confusing this time around.” Rose sighed, moving back to the edge of the bed. “And that’s saying a lot because you were really confusing then.”
He regarded her carefully for a moment and then knelt in front of her. “I don’t mean to confuse you.”
“That’s the frustrating part.” Rose replied with a gentle smile. “It’s just...you.”
Returning her smile, he reached out and took hold of her hand. He lifted his free hand to the side of her face, his smile growing as she leaned into his touch.
“Right now we know that I’m rude, not ginger, don’t give second chances, can still infuriate your mum without even trying, can end a Prime Minister’s career with six words, love the smell of applegrass, have a strange compulsion to double knot my shoelaces, abhor pears, and...” He paused, unable to stop the smile from forming on his lips as she grinned down at him. “What?”
“And you ramble...a lot. Adorably so, even.”
He straightened as his eyes sparkled. “Adorable, huh?”
“Yeah...brown eyes instead of blue, you spend more time on your hair than I do on mine, taller but skinnier...you’re so different.”
“I know.” He whispered, rubbing his thumb over her cheek.
“But, at the same time...you’re the same.” She continued, lifting her free hand to his chest. “Two hearts, scary clever, so very brave...”
“Oh, I don’t know about that.” He stated softly.
“I do.” Rose insisted, gazing into his eyes. “You get scared, but...you don’t let your fear consume you. You’re still fighting your own demons and barely keeping yourself in check, the Oncoming Storm and all...but, you still have that compassion for life that amazes me. You’re a contradiction...just like you’ve always been. Just like I’ve always admired and...”
“And?” He asked, wondering if she could feel his hearts pound underneath her hand.
Hoping she could.
She glanced at her hand on his chest and smiled nervously. “Loved.”
“Love.” She corrected as she met his eyes. “Present tense...and all.”
“And all...” He whispered, his thumb stopping its movement on her cheek as he leaned forward. “I’d like to...”
She closed the distance between them and covered his mouth with hers. He responded quickly, parting his lips and accepting her tongue back into his mouth. As they both melted into the kiss, a silent vow was made.
They’d learn about him...the new new him...together.
Because two people learning about one subject together was bound to take less time than two people learning about one subject separately. And besides...learning together was much more fun.