Title: The Night Before
Show: Doctor Who
Rating: FRM (light)
Timeline: A little over a month after Out in the Open.
Synopsis: There are better ways to spend a night than tinkering.
Author’s Note: Part IX of the Unlocking Secrets series. Thanks to fairygothmum for the beta!
“What are you doing?”
“Going over the coordinates one more time...” The Doctor replied, giving a knob on the side of the dimension cannon a quarter of a turn. “I’d hate for us to end up in a parallel version of – ”
“How many times are you going to go over coordinates?” Rose interrupted, amusement tinging her voice.
“As many times as...” He trailed off as he looked up at her. “Oh...”
She grinned as she slowly twirled around. “You like it?”
“Yes...” He whispered, nodding before the word even tumbled from his lips. “Oh, yes...”
She stopped when she was facing him again and brushed her hand down the side of the blue dress. “I was thinking...maybe we could go out for dinner tonight?”
“Where, uh...” He cleared his throat as he stood up. “Where would you like to go?”
“Didn’t buy a pretty blue dress to go out for chips.” She stated with a bright smile.
“I should go change...” He glanced down at his clothes and frowned. “I should probably have a shower first.”
Rose nodded and laughed softly, gesturing to the side of his face. “My greasy Time Lord...”
“Greasy?” He lifted his hand and wiped at his cheek...succeeding only in spreading the grease smudge. He smiled as Rose laughed harder. “Is this a suit or a tux night? I mean...how special of an occasion is this?”
“Suit’s fine.” She answered, reaching out to run her fingers along his tie. “Maybe with the swirly tie I love so much?”
He gave her a quick nod and darted his eyes to her stomach, brushing his fingertips along her abdomen as he sighed. “You’re starting to show. Not much...and most people wouldn’t even notice, I guess, but...”
“You notice.” She finished for him, covering his hand with hers. “I noticed too.”
He stepped closer to her, glancing at her lips. “If I weren’t so...greasy...I’d ask for a kiss.”
“A kiss would lead to more than a kiss...” Rose replied, her eyes sparkling. “And you’re...filthy. And we have reservations.”
He arched an eyebrow at her. “We do?”
“Mm-hm...” She exhaled softly and took a step back from him. “We have time for you to take a shower, but we don’t have time for what’s going through your mind right now.”
He grinned and tugged his tie loose. “Reading my mind now, are you?”
“It’s really not all that hard.” She stated with an answering grin.
“No?” He chuckled, flicking the top button of his shirt open.
She rolled her eyes and gestured towards the hallway with a tilt of her head. “Go...”
“Going...” He laughed and backed away from her. “But, when we get back from dinner?” He gave her a wink and waved his hand in her direction. “That’s coming off. Hopefully in one piece, but I can’t make any promises...”
She shook her head in amusement as he turned and ran down the hall. With a soft sigh, the amusement faded from her eyes as she looked down at the dimension cannon...or the interdimensional teleporter, as he had taken to calling it.
Tomorrow was the day. They’d either succeed or fail...and tomorrow she’d either hug her mum or wipe her tears onto the front of the Doctor’s shirt as he held her.
But, tonight was something to take their minds off of tomorrow. She’d made a decision...and couldn’t wait to see his face when she let him in on it.
She was glad that they were alone...with Martha visiting her family and Jack doing whatever, or whoever, he was doing. They’d both promised to be back for the launch. But, that wasn’t going to be until tomorrow afternoon.
Hopefully, she’d be able to keep the Doctor from spending most of that time tinkering with something that was already as finished as it was going to be.
* * *
Three hours later, they walked into the restaurant...hand in hand as his eyes slowly roamed over the room. She looked up at him and grinned as his mouth dropped open.
“This is...quite posh, isn’t it?” He met her eyes as he nervously played with a button on his jacket. “Should’ve worn the tux...”
Rose snorted as she shook her head. “No...you wear that tux and we end up running for our lives at some point during the evening. Besides...you look sexy in that.”
He visibly relaxed...just a little...and scratched the back of his head. “Yeah? Sexy, huh?”
“Mm-hm...” She murmured as she let go of his hand and slipped her arm through his. “But, that’s nothing new...my sexy Doctor.”
“Rose, I – ”
“Good evening!” The maitre d’ interrupted with a bright smile. “Your name?”
The Doctor narrowed
his eyes slightly and stared at the overly jovial man. “I’m the Doctor.”
Rose chuckled and shook her head. “Two for Tyler.”
The Doctor leaned into Rose as he watched the man check the bookings. “Is he supposed to be this...happy?”
Rose nudged him as she stifled a laugh. “Stop it!”
“Follow me, please!” The maitre d’ announced before leading them through the dining area.
The Doctor arched an eyebrow and lowered his voice to a whisper. “Rose, he’s...bouncing.”
“He’s friendly.” Rose countered, sliding her hand back into his and lacing their fingers together.
“No, he’s bouncing. It’s like watching Tigger from the Pooh books...bounce, bounce, bounce. ‘Tee-eye-double guh-er’...”
Rose coughed in an effort to disguise her laughter as the maitre d’ did indeed bounce around a table and pull one of the chairs out. The Doctor grinned and gave the man a slight nod.
“I think I can take care of it from here, thanks.”
“Of course, sir. Should you need anything at all, please do not hesitate to let me know. My name is Teague and I’ll send Ricardo over in a few minutes.”
The Doctor chuckled as he watched the maitre d’ bounce back to his station before turning his attention to Rose. He gave her a bright grin and placed his hand on the back of the chair.
“Tiggers are wonderful things.”
Rose laughed lightly as she sat down, lifting her eyes to his. “Their heads are made of rubber, their tails are made of springs.”
“It’s the wonderful thing about tiggers...” He whispered softly, leaning down to brush his lips across hers.
He smiled at her soft sigh as he pulled away and sat down next to her, instead of across the table from her. “So...what are we celebrating tonight, Rose?”
“No celebrations...just...” She reached over and placed her hand on his thigh, feeling her heart skip a beat with the realization that she had his complete and undivided attention. “A nice dinner with the man I love...the man I’m planning on spending the rest of my life with.”
“That’d be me, yeah?” He asked softly, his smile shining brightly in his dark eyes.
“Would you care to peruse the wine list?”
“Peruse?” The Doctor chuckled and looked up at the man he presumed to be Ricardo. “Yes, I would like to...peruse. Thanks.”
Rose lightly kicked his shin, letting him know that he was being rude. The Doctor flinched slightly and took the list from Ricardo, offering the man a bright smile.
“Sorry...didn’t mean to be rude. My mind is somewhat preoccupied...”
Ricardo glanced at Rose and then gave the Doctor a nearly imperceptible nod of appreciation...a small grin playing on his lips. “Quite alright, sir.”
The Doctor turned his smile to Rose. “What would you like?”
Rose arched an eyebrow at him as she rested her left hand against her abdomen. “Nothing for us...”
“Oh? Oh! Right. I really can be quite daft at times.” The Doctor shook his head and handed the list back to Ricardo. “I’m sorry, no wine for us tonight. Water’ll be fine.”
Ricardo opened his mouth, but then closed it as understanding hit him. With a quick nod, he backed away from the table...more than slightly amused by the strange couple.
* * *
They were halfway through their dessert when the words tumbled from Rose’s lips. The Doctor lowered his fork, eyes wide as he stared at her.
“What?” He asked around a mouthful of chocolate fondant.
Rose looked at him, partly amused and partly extremely nervous. “Chew and swallow...”
He swallowed with some difficulty and she wondered if he’d forgotten the ‘chewing’ part of her request. He dropped his fork and lifted his glass of water, taking a long drink. He licked his lips as he swallowed again and cleared his throat.
“Did I, uh...misunderstand you?” He asked before wiping his mouth with the linen serviette.
She chuckled softly and shook her head. “Not sure how you could misunderstand ‘let’s get married Friday’. It’s pretty much straight-forward and all...even though that’s not exactly how I meant to say it...”
“But...this Friday? As in...” He glanced at the watch he was wearing. “...three days from now?”
The fact that he occasionally wore a watch amused her. What amused her even more was the fact that he consistently used it to tell him what day it was...and not the time.
“Yeah...” She ran her thumb along the band of her engagement ring and bit her bottom lip. “You don’t want to?”
“What? Yeah, of course I do...yes.” He tilted his head slightly when he realized just how nervous she was. He smiled as he reached over and covered her hand with his. “Yes, Rose...you know I want to marry you. It’s just...we haven’t planned anything.”
Her eyes widened slightly. “Planned?”
“Yeah, well...don’t you want a proper wedding? Flowers and a church and...” He paused as her eyes glistened. “Rose?”
“Is that what you want? A church wedding?”
He shook his head gently and sighed. “Not particularly, but...everything I’ve read is about the ‘perfect wedding’ that all brides want and – ”
“You’ve...read? What have you been reading? Bride Magazine or something?” She interrupted, smiling as he blushed. “Oh my God! You have!”
His blush deepened as he glanced around the room, somewhat surprised that no one was watching them. “I just wanted it to be perfect for you, Rose.”
She squeezed his hand and leaned over to press a warm kiss to his cheek. “Do you want to know what I think would make our wedding perfect?”
He nodded silently, turning his hand enough to lace their fingers together. She looked into his eyes and rubbed her thumb over the back of his hand.
“Hearing you say ‘I do’. That’s all I need, Doctor.”
His brow furrowed. “What about flowers and a dress with a twenty-foot train? Or a church full of people smiling and crying and...why would anyone want a twenty-foot train?”
“I want you...looking at me like you were looking at me earlier, like there’s no one else around. I want you in your suit...your hair all spiky and perfectly unruly, your eyes all sparkly and brown...” She sighed and reached up with her free hand to run her fingers through his hair. “I don’t want what those magazines claim to be the end all and be all of weddings. Those aren’t us, Doctor.”
He exhaled a soft breath as his brow smoothed. “Good. Because...I just want to marry you. The other stuff is just too confusing...even for a clever Time Lord.”
Rose chuckled and gave him a wink. “Are you free Friday?”
He nodded, eyes sparkling as glanced at her lips. “Why Friday?”
“Oh...well...” She shrugged and picked up her fork. “If your cannon works...”
“Teleporter.” He corrected absently, watching her slide the edge of her fork through a strawberry on her plate.
She gave a soft huff of laughter, but continued.
“Mum will insist on organizing something...a party or something. She loves parties. And...that would give her a couple of days to get something together.” She sighed and shrugged her shoulder again. “And if it doesn’t work...then there’s no reason to wait. Because the only reason I’ve waited this long is because I want Mum there.”
“Rose...” He started, stopping when she lifted her watery eyes to his.
“Marry me?” She whispered, a tear threatening to slip from her eye.
Letting go of her hand, he pressed his palm to her cheek and smiled as he gazed into her eyes. “What time?”
He caught the tear with his thumb, her smile threatening to blind him.
He could think of worse ways to lose his sight.
* * *
“Recharlelaxtrissius...” He murmured against her neck as she pushed his jacket off his shoulders.
She pulled back just enough to look at him. “Huh?”
“If the baby is a boy...” He licked his lips as his fingers found the zip at the side of her dress. “Recharlelaxtrissius.”
She arched an eyebrow at him as he slowly pulled the zipper down. “A little long, isn’t it?”
“Not as long as mine.” He replied softly and then cleared his throat. “We could call him ‘Charlie’...”
Rose smiled as she pulled his shirt out of his trousers. “How long is your name? I mean...if it’s longer than...Recharlel...um...we can’t name a child something that I can’t pronounce. Besides, what if we’re having a girl?”
A sad smile played at his lips. “We probably shouldn’t give our child a Gallifreyan name anyway.”
“It wouldn’t be safe...now that I think about it.” He glanced down at her hands, paused on the fourth button of his shirt. “Why have you stopped?”
“I...you’re a Time Lord. The last of the Time Lords...the last of the Gallifreyans, for that matter...” She whispered, lightly rubbing her fingertips against his chest as he met her eyes. “This baby...our baby...”
“Rose, don’t do this...not now.” He whispered back, pushing the dress down her body. “A human name will suit our child just fine...after all, he...or she...is a Gallihu.”
“Hulord.” She responded automatically as he reached behind her and unclasped her bra.
He chuckled softly, giving her a wink as he removed her bra and dropped it to the floor. “Aren’t you supposed to be undressing me?”
“We could still call him ‘Charlie’...”
“Rose, just...” He slid his hand to her cheek and gently tilted her head back slightly. “Just take my clothes off, okay?”
“Names later?” She asked, smiling as his eyes darkened a shade.
He gave her a brief nod, running his thumb over her bottom lip. “Later. Right now...I want you.”
“God, yes...” She murmured, fingers pulling at his buttons as his mouth covered hers.
* * *
An hour and a half later, the Doctor was sprawled out across the bed...gasping for breath and drenched in sweat. Rose was next to him...on her stomach, fingers still curled in the sheets beneath her, skin glistening and pink from exertion.
“Holy hell...” She mumbled breathlessly.
He looked over at her, grinning as she met his eyes. “Well...that was just...spectacular!”
Rose snorted and licked her dry lips. “You do think highly of yourself sometimes, don’t ya?”
“I was actually talking about you.” He ran his hand over his chest and chuckled. “But...I was pretty impressive too, yeah?”
“Oh yeah...” She sighed in contentment, uncurling her fingers and scooting closer to him. “And you growled...”
“I did not growl...” He stated firmly. “I...rumbled...”
“Whatever...” She laughed and draped her arm over his stomach, brushing her lips over his jaw before lowering her head to his shoulder. “It was hot...growl or rumble...fuck, it was hot.”
“Much like you answering me when I speak to you in Gallifreyan while I’m inside of you...” He murmured, grazing his fingertips along her spine. “There are times when I get frustrated that she’s translating for you now, but...most of the time, it just...”
He paused when she lifted her head and stared at him. “What is it, Rose?”
“When do you get frustrated?”
“Oh...” He chuckled and ran his fingers through her sweat-dampened hair. “When I’m grumbling about whatever is grumble-worthy at the time. I used to enjoy the freedom of being able to say whatever I wanted and no one knowing...”
A slow grin appeared on her lips. “And now when you tell Jack to just shut the fuck up and I laugh...”
“It’s beautiful.” He finished for her, licking his lips as he rolled her onto her back and leaned over her. “Hearing you laugh is beautiful, Rose.”
“And the frustrating part?” She asked, tracing a scratch on his shoulder with her fingertip.
“It’s nothing specific...it’s just...well...sometimes I’d like to lust after you without you knowing.” He glanced at the light bruise on her collarbone. “She trusts you, Rose. She trusts you as much as I do...and that’s never happened.”
“Not even Sarah Jane?” She whispered, biting her lip when his eyes snapped to hers.
“It’s never happened before. She’s never translated Gallifreyan for anyone. It’s quite remarkable, really.” He stated softly, leaning down for a kiss.
He stopped millimetres from her lips when he heard her quiet observation.
“No other companion has been pregnant with your baby before.”
“No, but...I think it’s more about the fact that I’ve never been this much in love with anyone since I’ve been travelling. I’ve never...well, I’ve never considered marrying again. And here we are.” He smiled softly and pressed a kiss to her bottom lip. “A ring on your finger, a child growing inside of you, and me...forgetting how to breathe when I’m not with you.”
“Rings!” Rose exclaimed suddenly, startling him.
He pushed himself up and stared down at her. “What?”
“God...I didn’t even think about the wedding rings!”
“I can’t believe I forgot something so...” She scrambled out from under him, stopping when she reached the edge of the bed, and looked back at him through eyes wide with panic. “I don’t even know your ring size!”
He chuckled softly and wrapped his fingers around her wrist, tugging her back towards him. “Rose...calm down...”
“We can’t get married without rings...”
“We can. Rings aren’t what make a marriage, you know.”
Hearing the lightness in his tone, she narrowed her eyes. “You think this is funny? Rings are important, Doctor! They’re important to me!”
“They’re important to me too, Rose. Even though the exchanging of rings wasn’t a Gallifreyan custom, it is a human one...and if it’s important to you, it’s important to me.” His smile grew as he let go of her wrist and tilted his head towards the bedside table. “Top drawer.”
“Top drawer.” He repeated as he leaned back against the headboard and rubbed the side of his neck. “Just look, Rose.”
She opened the drawer slowly and furrowed her brow as she looked inside. She raised an eyebrow at him as she carefully pulled out a clear cylindrical tube with five different colored wires attached to the base of it.
“Do I even want to know what this is?”
“A miniature rotor for the baby’s room. Well...the beginnings of one, anyway. It’s a bit more fiddly than I was expecting it to be, but it gives me something to work on when I come back to bed to wait for you to wake up in the mornings.”
“A miniature rotor?” She asked softly. “Like...a miniature TARDIS rotor?”
“Yeah...” He smiled brightly as he nodded. “I thought maybe it would help comfort the baby at night...I mean, the real one helps me at night when I’m the only one awake on the ship.”
She lowered the tube and turned her gaze to him. “You need comforting at night?”
“Oh, I wouldn’t say I need comforting. I mean...well...no, not really. Sometimes my mind wanders when I’m alone, you know? Thoughts and things...most of the time they’re good thoughts. Happy and wonderful and exciting. But...sometimes, not often, but...once in a while...I remember that I’ll never be able to show our child where I came from.”
“Doctor...” Rose gasped, reaching out to take hold of his hand.
He offered her a smile and shrugged a shoulder. “The rotor reminds me of home. So...well...maybe I do need comforting once in a while.”
He cleared his throat and gently pulled the cylinder from her hand. “I’ve got the light working, but...the sound isn’t quite right. And the mechanism gets a little stuck for half a second on each rise. But, I’ll have it finished before it needs to be used.”
“I love you so much.” Rose whispered after a few beats of silence.
“I love you too.” He answered warmly and leaned over to place the miniature rotor onto the bedside table. “This was not what I was wanting you to look at though...so, have another look, yeah?”
She narrowed her eyes when she saw the black velvet box in the corner of the drawer.
“This?” She asked, turning her gaze back to him as she lifted it.
The Doctor took a deep breath and gave her a silent nod as a reply.
Rose’s fingers trembled as she opened the lid, suddenly nervous. She had an idea of what was in the box, but –
“Oh my God...” She breathed, lifting the smaller of the two rings out of the box. “How did you know?”
He blushed lightly and coughed. “I, uh...I accidentally saw it one night.”
When a flash of confusion shone in her eyes, he lifted his hand and ran his fingertips over her temple. “I wasn’t trying to read...or see. I was just going to brush the hair back from your face while I was watching you sleep...and there it was...just a flash. I, uh...did I get it right?”
“It’s perfect, Doctor.” She nodded as she inhaled a shaky breath, looking down at the larger ring still nestled protectively in the box. “Yours matches.”
“It’s supposed to, isn’t it?”
She looked up quickly, smiling at the uncertainty showing in his eyes. “Yeah, it is.”
“So...I did okay then?”
Her smile brightened as she returned her wedding ring to the box and closed the lid. “You did better than okay...you always do better than okay.”
His eyes followed her hand as she slipped the box back into the drawer. “I’ve never worn a ring before. Well...not for any length of time. There was the Academy ring...but, I lost it years ago. Centuries ago, even.”
“You don’t have to wear one, Doctor.”
His eyes darted back to hers. He shook his head as he pulled her to him, licking his lips as she climbed on top of him...draping her arms over his shoulders as she sat on his thighs.
“I want to.” He leaned forward and brushed his lips across hers. “Besides...Jackie’d kill me if I didn’t.”
Rose chuckled as she nodded in agreement. “Probably, yeah.”
Her chuckle ebbed as she stroked his sideburn with her thumb. “Have you thought about what would happen if it doesn’t work?”
“Nope.” He answered quickly.
When she arched an eyebrow at him, the corner of his mouth curved slightly.
“You’d be incredibly sad...and I’d apologize profusely until you told me to stop. And I’d hold you while you cry. And then you’d take a deep breath and give me a smile that was mostly fake and tell me that it was okay...that you knew I’d done everything I could to make it possible. You’d never hold it against me...and you’d never blame me for not giving you the chance to see your mum again. But, I’d feel bad about it...and I’d keep trying, hoping that one day I’d be able to reunite you with your family. But, I wouldn’t tell you that I was still trying...because I’d want you to concentrate on the baby. And maybe by the time the baby was born, I’d have figured something out...and Jackie would be able to meet her grandson. Or...granddaughter. But, I really think that it’s a boy...you should probably know that. I was always really good at predicting the sex of an unborn child...and...”
He glanced at her chest and smiled.
“Male Gallifreyan babies cause a small reddish patch of skin to appear on the underside of the mother’s breast. No one ever knew why...hormones or something, I’m sure. It was always a mystery...but, it was always a sure sign. And you have a small reddish patch of skin...in the shape of a jakrenberry. Anyway...you’d hand the baby to Jackie...before she’d have the chance to smack me. So she wouldn’t smack me. And then we’d show her the pictures of the wedding and Jack would tease Mickey about the old days. Later, after we’d put the baby down for a nap...Jackie’d finally smack me...and then hug me and make me promise that I’d always take care of you and our child.”
He cleared his throat and ran his fingers through her hair.
“Or...something like that.”
Rose studied him for a long moment before shaking her head and smiling. “But you haven’t given it any thought?”
“Nope. None at all.” He answered with a grin.
She carefully moved to his side and kissed his cheek. “We should probably get some sleep. Big day tomorrow and all.”
“Mm-hm.” He murmured, stretching out on the bed and resting his head on the pillow. “Long, exciting day...”
She smiled and lay down next to him, resting her head on his chest as he curled his arm around her. “What’s a jakrenberry?”
“Oh, it’s a beautiful fruit. I’ll take you to Anald Point after we come back...that’s where the jakrenberry plants are. They’re shaped a bit like a pineapple. But, little...like...the size of a cherry. But, they’re blue...not the purple-blue of a blueberry, but not TARDIS blue either. They’re kinda...midnight blue, almost black but still blue. And they taste...”
Rose yawned and closed her eyes as he continued his long, flowing description of the fruit in question. She smiled as she allowed the sounds of his voice and the gentle, rhythmic thumping of his twin hearts lull her to sleep.
Ten minutes later, he chuckled when he realized that she had fallen asleep. He lifted her hand and pressed a soft kiss to her palm before lacing their fingers together. And then he closed his eyes and listened to her soft breathing.
He had a good feeling about tomorrow. He wasn’t sure if it was a prediction that all would go well, but...it was a strong feeling.
If his feeling was wrong, he’d keep trying...just like he said he would. But, he wished a silent wish that he wasn’t wrong.
Jackie’s hand across the side of his face would be worth the smile in Rose’s eyes.