recs :: about
For The Doctor
PG, romance. Rose gets on with her life. The Doctor gets
on with his.
She found another job in the end. Henrik’s proper had burned
down, but she wrote to their head office and got a nice reference which she
presented to every shop that was hiring. Eventually she was working nine to five
again in clothing and accessories, which suited her fine. Mickey said some
stuff, but even he had to admit that he’d only been without her for two days
and he’d had a bit of a shock, no wonder he was having funny turns all over
the place. Hallucinations and that.
Rose’s mum never asked questions that were too difficult to answer; she
thought Rose had been at Mickey’s and forgotten to tell her, and besides,
people all over London had been having funny turns that night.
The Doctor is far away, as far away as he can possibly be, in a muggy tropical
world where creatures with large, threatening eyes stare out of foliage. In the
caves at Lascaux, some figures, those creatures who will call themselves human,
are working in the firelight, not noticing a strange, heavy oblong shape in the
trees. They hold sharpened sticks, points dipped in powdered charcoal, and begin
to etch on the wall. Among the bulls, horns tipped in red, and sharp angular
figures that chase them up to the roof, one of the artists begins to draw
slowly, each stroke falling into place to make an abstract figure that the
Doctor alone can recognise as the first time anyone in this world has dreamed of
After six months, Rose got fed up. She could use a till and hang clothes on
racks and produce a clever sales pitch as easily as she could breathe; it
wasn’t the work that was difficult, but her mind wanted to wander. One evening
she went to the manager and told him she was going part-time and to adjust her
hours accordingly; he frowned but didn’t comment, filling in the forms without
complaint. She told her mum, who went mad before forgetting all about it, and
that night over dinner Mickey was doubtful, too, but he didn’t try to stop
At college, even she paused before filling in yet more forms, but they
couldn’t have been more encouraging and Rose could feel confidence bubbling in
her mind, like a sudden spring of fresh water. She picked three A-levels –
English Language, History and Physics – and took home some books to get
started right away.
The Doctor has always suspected the TARDIS can read his mind, and now he knows
it for sure. For no reason at all, the console has thorns growing out of it, and
although he tries to pull them out, tearing at his hands in the process, they
stick fast and put forth small red fruit. Through several centuries forwards
from the Palaeolithic, they grow. Eventually the rosehips burst and make way for
flowers, fragrant and incongruous, and the Doctor stops trying to uproot them.
Rose did her reading late at night when it was quiet. Sometimes she’d be so
bored she’d fall asleep after five minutes, and other times she’d be so
interested she’d stay up reading and only have two hours’ sleep before
rushing out to work. It took months and months and months – long enough for
Mickey to start getting restless and for her mum to start paying attention. In
the run-up to the exams, she gave up work altogether and sat in the garden in
the sunshine with her books, and when the results came, she laughed and cried
and her mum cracked open a bottle of champagne.
The Doctor is thinking. In the quiet of the rose-garden, John F. Kennedy sees a
glimpse of something blue, scarcely visible against the riot of colour and gone
almost immediately; out on the grass, his children are playing in the sunshine.
Mickey proposed. His hand shook as he put his glass down on the table and said
the words, and a few drops of wine tipped over the edge and stained the
tablecloth yellow-gold. Rose laughed before she realised he was serious, but she
took the ring from him in quiet wonderment and thought about it. Twenty-two was
too young, she told him, but he was so solemn, so earnest, so full of promises
of hard work and a good life ahead of them, that she couldn’t help but be
charmed. She slipped the ring on her finger and nodded shyly. Yes.
There was a brief scattering of applause; everyone in the restaurant had turned
to look at them, and Rose blushed scarlet and hid her face below her hair, but
she was happy all the same.
On the battlefields of England, the soldiers of Lancaster and York make war
below the spreading pennants of white and red. The colours are marred by
splattered mud and darkening bloodstains, and the roaring sound made by clanging
metal and the deaths of men drifts through the smoky air to the place behind the
treeline where the Doctor has hidden himself. He has never been here before,
despite the historical significance; why the TARDIS has brought him here now, he
is unsure, but is aware that at least he has no chance of meeting either himself
or his previous incarnations on the field of the Wars of the Roses.
Two years after the wedding (which Rose remembered fondly, even though her mum
did end up shagging the vicar) she was walking down the stairs when the world
started to go black and murky around her. Mickey heard her gasp, was quick
enough to stop her falling all the way, and half-dragged, half-carried her
safely into the kitchen and sat her down in a chair. He poured her a glass of
water while she insisted she was fine, but he put his foot down for perhaps the
only time. She went to the doctor’s.
The doctor was thoughtful, and took his time about it when she asked him anxious
questions. He wrote out a prescription for iron and folic acid tablets, and
said, finally – you’re pregnant.
Later, it was Mickey’s turn to faint.
The Doctor is in the gardens at Versailles; he is at the centre of the galaxy;
he is on the beach eating chips; he is at the end of the world; he is back on
Gallifrey on the day he was born. He is everywhere and everyone, at the
beginning and and at the end, he is the last of the Time Lords and he is lonely
The console room is in full bloom at this time of year.
The bloke with the website got in touch again. Rose wrote back to say she
wasn’t interested, and cradled in the baby in her left arm while she typed
with one hand. He kept up with reports of sightings, complete with the lurid
tale of the girl who could have gone with him but didn’t.
She finished typing the email, clicked “send”, and then paused. The baby had
fallen asleep on her shoulder; there was time for a quick nose round the site.
She didn’t have any regrets, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t look.
The Doctor was there in 1883, in that scrappy line drawing; he was there in
Southampton in 1912; he was there in Dallas when Kennedy was shot. She carried
on clicking. He was there in Cardiff in the nineteenth century and he was there
in modern London.
The girl in the picture stared out at Rose. Rose stared back. Then she turned
off the computer at the mains and sat back in her chair, not shaking at all.
Back in the quiet, darkened city street, the Doctor steps out. “Did I mention
it travels through time?”
In the TARDIS, the roses wither and die. This time he has her.