aibhinn_fics: (DW Ten2/Rose snog)
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Title: Threshold (3/4)
Author: [ profile] aibhinn
Pairing: Ten II / Rose
Rating: PG for this chapter
Betas: [ profile] dameruth, [ profile] wendymr. All remaining mistakes are mine alone.
Summary: Rose and the Doctor cross the third major threshold of their life together.
Spoilers: Through JE.
Author's Note: Part one of my (very late) Support Stacie fic for Lori, who was pretty open as to what I should write. I owe the bunny for this to [ profile] azriona, who in her (incredibly wonderful, detailed, and overall awesome) reviews of the nominees for the Children of Time Awards asked me to add post-JE stuff to this story. The bunny bit hard, and I wrote this whole thing with a furry, long-eared rodent firmly attached to my ankle. I hope this meets with the approval of both of you! :) Part 2 will be up shortly after Christmas, I hope.

Part 1: Between Night and Daybreak, Nine/Rose
Part 2: If the Fates Allow, Ten/Rose
Part 4: For Auld Lang Syne, pt. 2, Ten II/Rose

Part III: For Auld Lang Syne

The remnants of Christmas wrapping have been tidied away, Christmas dinner has been eaten and cleared, and little Tony has been put to bed, still clutching the toy zeppelin the Doctor gave him. The Tyler mansion is oddly quiet, the Doctor thinks as he wanders into the lounge, hands in his pockets. He hasn't heard it this silent since he got here, three months ago.

Three months in the same place, the same time. The longest he's ever done something like this was right after he'd regenerated, when they stayed with her mum for just over a week. This is . . . domestic. Doors and carpets and all.

And yet, this is now his life, forever. Or at least until they can grow their own TARDIS. If they can—though Donna's idea really should work. Which isn't really surprising; she'd been as brilliant as he for that short time.

No, not only for that short time, he corrects himself. Donna was always brilliant, in her own inimitable Donna-ish style.

He sits down on the sofa and looks at the tree. It's a real tree, seven feet tall and decorated in a tasteful fashion that surprised him at first, given that it was Jackie Tyler who'd done the decorating. But he's come to the conclusion that the tackiness he's associated with her for so long was more a product of financial need than it is her actual taste. Now that she has the money to do so, she can be elegant when she chooses.

The word elegant brings to mind the memory of Rose at the Vitex Christmas Eve party last night. He's always known she can look utterly beautiful in the right gown—has known that since their second adventure travelling together, way back when, that time they encountered the Gelth and Charles Dickens in Cardiff. The man he'd been then had had to qualify his compliment, but the truth of the matter is that she did look beautiful, human or no. But that was nothing compared to the way she looked last night, gracefully descending the stairs in a strapless red gown and high-heeled shoes, her hair up and her eyes shining. He'd not been able to take his eyes off her all night, had in fact been drawn to the stairs to offer his hand as she stepped down.

He raises his hand now, looks at it, turns it over to see the back. It looks exactly the same as the other Doctor's. It is the same, in fact; his right hand is the other Doctor's original right hand, before the Sycorax leader chopped it off. But there's something missing every time he takes Rose's hand, touches her arm, hugs her.

The link.

Ever since that memorable night when they first made love, way back before his regeneration, their link was in place: they could read each other's emotions whenever they touched, could communicate silently through emotions alone. But it takes a Time Lord to keep that connection alive—and he's not one any more.

Is that why she hasn't ever come to him? he wonders. Is it because it's not good enough without the link? Or because the lack of connection only serves to remind her that she's stuck with him, the metacrisis, the half-human one who was willing to commit genocide, not the proper Doctor at all?

Every minute since she became trapped in the other universe, he's dreamed of seeing her again, of saying the things he couldn't say, of doing the things he'd wished he could do. Now he can: he can spend the rest of his life with her, can have a family, be a proper partner for her, live an ordinary human life. But except for that emotion-packed kiss on the beach, she's hardly touched him in three months.

He feels a sudden, unreasoning anger at the Doctor who'd left them here. Did he know that the link would be gone? Did he even consider what that might mean for them? Did he have any clue what it would be like to be stuck here on Earth with a Rose who could hardly stand to be in the same room with him?

He sighs and leans back against the sofa cushions, closing his eyes. Patience, he tells himself. She'll come to you. Give her time.

But it's been three months already
, a little part of him replies. How much time do you give her?


He opens his eyes to see her standing there in her dressing gown, face scrubbed clean of makeup and hair hanging loose. She's always been able to sneak up on him; apparently, his being half-human hasn't changed that. "Are you all right?" she asks.

He forces a smile. "I'm always all right." The lie tastes like ashes in his mouth, and he goes on, "I was just thinking, this is the quietest Christmas I've spent in a long time."

"Yeah, I s'pose so." She sits down on the other end of the sofa, staring at the tree. Despite himself, his heart sinks a bit. Some little part of him had hoped she'd sit beside him. "Must be boring, after nine hundred years of travelling."

Startled, he laughs. "Boring? Who could be bored with a child on Christmas day?"

Her eyes flicker towards him, and he can see the surprise in them. "Really?"

"Rose, this is the most magical day of the year when you're a child," he reminds her. "Who could be bored watching that?"

A small smile quirks a corner of her mouth. "Yeah," she says. "You're right. But it's only one day a year. There are still three hundred sixty-four others looming." She gives a small, humourless laugh and looks away again. "Can't imagine you'll stay in one place all that time."

A suspicion begins to form—one that paradoxically causes hope to begin rising in his chest. "Rose," he says quietly, "you don't think I'm going to decide to just leave you behind, do you?"

Her head whips around, and he knows he's got it right. A little voice sings happily in the back of his mind. "I—" she stammers. "I don't—I never thought you—did domestic."

A smile spreads across his face as the little voice morphs into multi-part harmony. If this is why she was holding back…. "He doesn't do domestic," he corrects. "Though he was more willing to do it for you than I think you know. Just as willing as I am…and I'm far, far better able to than he ever could have been." Daring, he shifts closer to her. "Is that why you've been staying away?" he asks gently, holding her gaze. "Because you've been afraid I would disappear and leave you here?"

Her gaze shifts guiltily away—all the answer he needed. He takes her hand. "Listen to me," he says firmly. "I told you on the beach what I—what he—honestly meant to tell you in the first place: I love you, just as much as I ever did, and now I can, I want to make this work, Rose. I want to have a go at being a real partner to you, at giving you the fantastic human life you deserve. With a few additions," he adds, to be perfectly honest and in the hopes of making her laugh.

He succeeds. "Not many humans growing TARDISes out of bits of coral shaped like a chicken leg," she agrees, grinning.

"Oi!" he protests, and she laughs again. His heart swells. He wants to do that for her every day, to hear her laugh and know that it was because of him, that he put that smile on her face.

She looks down at their twined hands, her right and his left, and sobers. "'S a bit weird, isn't it?" she says quietly. "Just holding hands like ordinary people. Not—not knowing."

She means the link, he knows. "Yeah." He sobers too, wondering what she's thinking. "Is that…okay?" he asks hesitantly, not sure he wants to know but completely certain that he can't bear not to.

"Yeah," she says quickly. A little too quickly? "Yeah, 'course, 's fine." She squeezes his hand, meets his gaze again. "Not something you can do any more?"

"Takes a Time Lord to create an empathic link," he explains.

"Yeah, but you're still a Time Lord, aren't you? Half one, at least."

He frowns. He hadn't thought of it that way; he's been working so hard to remind himself that he's part human now, with one heart and one lifespan, that he'd forgotten there would be some things that remain from his Gallifreyan heritage. "I—I don't know," he admits, blushing furiously; he can feel his face heating. "I don't—I'm not properly telepathic any more, I couldn't read your mind the way I used to be able to, but I don't know if I could do…anything else." He looks away, tries not to let the rising disappointment ovewhelm him. She wants the link, and if he can't give it to her—

Her hand cups his cheek, turning his face back to her. "If you can't, then you can't," she says simply. "It doesn't change how I feel about you."

He was going to go round the bend with these violently cycling emotions. How did humans do it? "What do you mean?" he blurts.

She takes a deep breath. "I thought you were going to leave," she says bluntly. "Like you said, I thought you'd get fed up with an ordinary human life and just disappear one day, take off to travel wherever you could, by zeppelin or train or ship or on your own two feet if necessary. I kept…pushing you away, keeping myself back, because I didn't think I could bear it, to get close to you again and then lose you."

"But you won't lose me," he reminds her.

She smiles. "I know," she says. "Now. And I wish I'd asked weeks ago, Doctor, because we wouldn't have had to waste all this time." She strokes his cheek. "I love you," she says. "You, not the Doctor in the other universe. This you, with one heart and no link and no ability to shave without nicking yourself—the one who played with Tony nonstop all morning and helped Gerta cook dinner and then stood up to your elbows in soapy water afterwards. And it's you I want, not some image of the Doctor I used to have."

He can't think what to say, can't think of any words at all, but that's all right, because she leans forward and kisses him, and no words are necessary. He responds hesitantly at first, until she opens her mouth against his and her tongue flickers delicately against his lips. And then he isn't hesitant at all.


Rose moans as the Doctor wraps his arms around her and pulls her into his lap, taking control of the kiss in a way she'd never experienced from the other him. This isn't the tender, awe-filled lovemaking she'd known before Canary Wharf. This is needy and desperate and dominating: he's claiming her as his own, as surely as any human man might claim the woman he loves.

It ought to put her back up, she thinks; she ought to object to being claimed as though she were an inanimate object. But there's nothing objectifying about it: it's raw and intense and primal and God, he's good at that.

He pulls away abruptly, staring at her from only inches away. His eyes are wild and dark, his breath ragged. She rests a hand against his chest, feels his heart pounding just like hers. There's no doubt what he wants—or what she wants.

"Let's go upstairs," she says.

His eyes darken even further, and his hands go to her waist, helping her stand and then joining her. Unable to resist, she pulls his head down for another kiss, moaning in appreciation as he slides his arms around her and pulls her in tight against him, so she can feel his erection pressing into her belly. She rotates her hips against him and he arches into her, one hand sliding down to cup her bottom and pull her even closer. Someone whimpers; it might be her. She's throbbing for him, aching for friction, aching to have him inside her.

She breaks away again, afraid if she didn't they'd end up on the floor in front of the Christmas tree. "Upstairs," she gasps.

He leans his forehead against hers. "We'll have to go past your parents' room," he reminds her.

"We'll use the back stairs." She reaches back, takes one of his hands, steps away. "Come on."

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