develish1

Just a few random thoughts and pictures

A Better Man

A Better Man

They were stuck it seemed, at least for a while. The TARDIS had decided to make an emergency stop in the Midlands, in the 1990’s, and they were stuck there. They’d been heading for Haskorinia, which the Doctor had said would be fun, but hadn’t elaborated on as to why, as usual, when all of a sudden the ship had jerked sideways and simply stopped.

As the time rotor came slowly to a halt Rose looked around expecting the worst, but nothing seemed to be exploding or catching fire, or doing anything that would mean imminent danger.

“Doctor, what’s happening?” Rose asked.

“No idea,” he’d replied with his usual manic grin, indicating he thought whatever it was would probably be fun in any case. He’d then proceeded to stare intently at the monitor, while rapidly pressing buttons, which Rose decided meant he was probably doing some kind of diagnostic.

“Ah. Erm….sorry Rose, looks like we’re going to be here a while; well a few days at least,” advised the Doctor. “On the plus side though, there’s shops!” He tried another grin.

“Shops, huh? So where and when are we, exactly?” Rose asked, as she stared at him, and tried to decide whether to hug him for the shops, or throw something at him for getting them stuck, again.

“Yes, shops. A whole Earth city centre full to be precise, oh and it’s 1994. You weren’t in or around Nottingham in 1994 were you?” She shook her head. “No, I was still in school then, remember? With mum working two jobs we didn’t exactly travel a whole lot.”

“Well, that’s good then, not likely you’ll bump into yourself,” the Doctor replied. “You can go explore if you like, while I’m realigning the temporal stability coils, oh and I’ll probably need to replace the…”

“Doctor! How long?” Rose asked.

“Three days I think, maybe four?” He’d replied as he glanced up for a moment, then instantly returned his attention to the console and began removing a panel on the side.

********

Rose knew that if the Doctor said a repair would take three or four days, that generally meant a week at least, so there was no need to rush off to explore. So for the rest of that first day Rose had instead hovered around the control room, watching the Doctor. Well what she could see of him at least, since he was half buried under the console. She’d tried chatting to him, asked about the repairs, attempted to pass him tools and such, but didn’t get much in the way of replies. After a while he’d actually snapped at her a little. “Rose! If you keep distracting me, this will just take even longer.”

At that point she’d sullenly informed him, “I’ll be in my room then,” and stalked out. After detouring to the kitchen for a sandwich and some tea, she’d showered, changed into her favourite pyjamas, then settled on her bed and tried to read, then eventually fallen asleep with her magazine still in her hand.

********

The Doctor had raised his head slightly as she’d left, and watched her walk away. After a few minutes, he’d dragged himself out from under the console, wiped his hands on his jeans and started to go after her. Initially he’d intended to apologise, but on reaching her door he’d decided it might be best to leave her alone for a while and headed for his own room instead.

He was tired, he reasoned, that’s why he’d snapped at Rose. “Time for a nap then,” he’d decided, and lay back on his bed intending to do just that. The thing was though; sleep didn’t come, mainly because his head was full of thoughts of Rose, again. That had been happening rather a lot lately he realised, which was probably why he was tired now, as he hadn’t actually slept in weeks. Not that he needed much sleep of course, but he did need a little every now and then.

Lately though, every time he’d retreated to his room, intent on a little rest, he’d simply laid on his bed and replayed their latest adventure, remembered the look on Rose’s face when they’d arrived wherever it was, the feel of her hand in his as they’d explored, her excited grin as they’d run back to the TARDIS after getting into yet more trouble.

Lying there now, doing the same thing yet again, it suddenly occurred to him that this was virtually his only line of thought these days. How does Rose feel? Does she like it here? Is she having fun? And just when exactly had he decided that her comfort and pleasure were the only things that mattered? That’s when it hit him how very much he really did care, and that scared the hell out of him.

He quickly sat up, realising that sleep was clearly not an option right now, and headed back to the console and his repair efforts, in an attempt not to think any further about his feelings for Rose.

********

The following morning, after dressing, then eating breakfast opposite the Doctor in almost total silence, Rose had informed him she was going shopping. He’d tossed a credit card across the table to her and muttered something about not getting lost and she’d left.

On exiting the TARDIS, she’d discovered they were indeed in the middle of the city, and were parked just around the corner from a decent sized shopping centre. After purchasing a local newspaper from a street vendor, she’d discover it was in fact a Friday. Given his mood, and her own, she’d then decided that no matter what he thought, she was going to buy herself a new outfit and drag him out for a night on the town, whether he liked it or not.

After wandering around several clothing stores, she’d finally spotted what appeared, at first glance at least, to be the perfect pair of black jeans. While trying them on, and discovering that they were indeed a perfect fit, she’d also gotten chatting with a couple of girls in the changing area.

Andy (short for Andrea apparently) and Kathy seemed really nice, if a little more ‘rock chick’ in their fashion tastes than she was used to, and they were all soon wandering around the shops together, chatting as though they’d known each other for years.

When they finally said they had to head home to change for their night out, they’d insisted that she’d love Rock City, which apparently was the name of the club they were going to later, and that she simply must come with them. She’d agreed, set a time and place to meet, and headed off back to the TARDIS to change.

********

On entering the TARDIS Rose was totally unsurprised to see the Doctor half buried in the grating beneath the console. Feeling in a much better mood after her day out than she had earlier, she poked him in the ribs and said hello, then headed off to put the kettle on.

When the Doctor appeared in the kitchen a few moments later, she’d relayed the details of her day out to him as they’d had tea. She’d explained about her new friends and all the shopping she’d done. The Doctor for his part, had smiled at her renewed excitement, until she began explaining about the night out she’d agreed to.

“Are you sure that’s wise, Rose? You barely know these girls, and you certainly don’t know this city. Wandering around during the day is one thing, but at night? What if you get separated?” He’d asked.

“But, I thought….oh never mind,” Rose replied, hanging her head slightly.

He’d looked at her for a moment. “Thought what exactly?” He already had a strong suspicion what it was she’d been thinking though.

“Well, I thought…maybe you’d like to come with me, you know, protect me from all those hairy rockers and all that,” she’d replied with a smirk. “Besides, you’d fit right in wearing that jacket.”

The Doctor stared at her, weighing up his options. He could either sit around, waiting for her to come back, and worrying the whole time, or go with her and probably hate every minute of it. Neither seemed very appealing, but it was clear Rose was intent on going out, and the TARDIS repairs weren’t finished yet, so he couldn’t just drag her off on a new adventure instead. Despite his better judgement, he finally reached a decision. “OK, I’ll come with you, but I’m not dancing!”

Rose threw her arms around his neck and hugged him. “Thank you. I have to go get ready, I’ll see you in a bit,” and with that she was gone.

********

When she returned to the console room over an hour later, the Doctor was leaning back against the console, arms folded, and staring at the floor, putting on his best ‘I’ve been waiting forever’ stance. That soon changed however as he looked up and saw her outfit. She was wearing the new black jeans she’d described to him, and they did indeed fit very well. “A little too well perhaps,” he thought, as his eyes followed the curve of her hip upwards. That wasn’t what made his breath catch though, that was solely caused by the top she was wearing, or rather nearly wearing.

It seemed to consist, as far as he could tell, of a handkerchief and some shoelaces. The front, what there was of it, was a sort of triangular shape, black and shimmering. The top and sides of said triangle appeared to be held in place by thin black strings which tied around her neck and back, essentially leaving almost everything except her breasts, bare.

He swallowed, hard, and tried to speak. “That’s….you look….”

“Yeah, isn’t it great?” She asked, not noticing his discomfort. “It’s perfect for clubbing.” Then she grabbed his hand and dragged him towards the door. Since he was still too busy trying to breathe to even attempt to complain, the Doctor allowed himself to be dragged off into the night.

********

After meeting up with Rose’s new friends who, he noted, appeared to be wearing even less than she was, the Doctor was again dragged along as the girls giggled, then whispered something to Rose that made her blush.

Just as he was about to start seriously complaining though, the Doctor suddenly found himself dragged up some steps and through a door, into a rather dark night club. Once they’d handed over the entrance fee just inside the door, all three girls immediately dashed off towards the dance floor, with Rose throwing a little wave at him in the process.

After looking around a little, he finally ordered a pint of what turned out to be very weak beer, and settled in to drink it, leaning against the wall in a corner that gave him a good view of Rose. He noticed right away that he wasn’t the only one watching. Various men around the room seemed to be very distracted by the three girls who were currently gyrating happily to the pounding music.

One, who was standing quite near the Doctor, had apparently noticed his intent concentration on Rose, and moved to stand at his side. He leaned in towards the Doctor and muttered, rather drunkenly, while waving a hand in Rose’s direction, “That yours?” After taking a breath, and dismissing the idea of simply throttling the man where he stood, the Doctor turned to him, glared directly into his eyes, and simply growled. Clearly thinking life was still worth living, the other man vanished into the crowd, with the kind of speed someone that drunk can’t normally achieve.

********

After working his way slowly through two more drinks, and glaring at several other men, all of whom seemed to get the point very quickly thankfully, and watching Rose herself fend off a few while laughing loudly with her friends, the Doctor decided he really had had enough of this, and it was time to leave before he actually did start throttling people.

As he walked towards Rose though, the music changed to something far slower, and her two friends immediately turned to leave the dance floor. Rose herself turned in his direction, and seeing him standing right in front of her, smiled the largest smile he’d seen from her all evening and reached for his hand.

He tried to pull her away from the dance floor, but seeing her smile begin to slip, he realised something. He could dance with her, and keep seeing that smile, or drag her away and lose it. He’d seen so little of that smile in the last couple of days that it really was no choice at all, so he simply wrapped his arms around her waist and began to slowly sway to the music.

********

It really wasn’t much of a dance as such, more of a shuffle with the dance floor as packed as it was, but Rose seemed pleased that he was there, and was smiling up at him in a way she hadn’t for days. That’s when he realised how much he’d missed her smile recently. Then he realised something else, his hands were settled softly against her back, her bare back, and for the second time that night he was incredibly grateful for his respiratory bypass, because once again he seemed to have forgotten how to breathe.

Luckily Rose didn’t seem to have noticed, and as he slowly regained control, she settled her head against his shoulder, and at the same time, shifted even closer to him. For a moment he heard that voice in his head again, the one he’d been hearing so often lately, that prattled on about boundaries and lines that shouldn’t be crossed, and for once he decided to tell that little inner voice to go to hell. This just felt so right, and he really didn’t want it to end. So, having decided he wasn’t letting go, at least for now, he couldn’t resist dropping a small kiss to her hair.

Then the song changed, and when he didn’t pull away Rose pulled him closer and murmured something into the leather of his jacket. He knew she thought he wouldn’t hear what she’d said, and if he’d been human, with the music as loud as it was, he most certainly wouldn’t have, but his hearing was far better than a human’s. Which meant he did indeed, quite clearly in fact, hear Rose Tyler whisper, “I love you,” into his shoulder.

********

This time it wasn’t his breathing that stopped, well not only his breathing at least, because his hearts seemed to have stalled too for a second. He replayed the moment in his head, and yes, he was still sure of what he’d heard. He knew she meant it too, this wasn’t some drunken outburst, she’d drunk nothing but water all night; because she was so busy dancing.

And that’s when he realised; he wasn’t the only one struggling with their feelings. She’d said she loved him, but it seemed she too didn’t have the courage to say anything when she was certain he’d hear her, so instead she’d made the confession in a whisper, in a noisy, crowded place and just hoped he knew.

As the final slow song of the evening started, and he recognised it, he reached another decision, one he was half certain he would regret later, but right now he no longer cared. He lowered his head slightly, and began to sing along, just loudly enough that she would hear him…

Once in a while, I drift in time
To a place in my memory, that it still hurts to find
I was taking on the world with a see-through smile
But dying on the inside all the while
I was, dying on the inside all the while

As he continued to sing, she shifted against him, pulling him closer still and clearly listening intently. When he reached the chorus though, she finally lifted her head, looked into his eyes and smiled…

I believe in love,
You’re the reason why I can,
Cause when I look, at myself, in the mirror,
I see a better man

As he lowered his head towards her, and their lips finally met, he realised that for once, that little voice really had gone silent.

End

********

Disclaimer: All publicly recognisable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. Original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended. Please, do NOT reproduce this work in any format without the authors permission. Should you wish to share this, the author can be contacted here.

Authors notes:

Lyrics quoted are from the song A Better Man by the British band Thunder. A video clip is available here if anyone’s interested.

Huge thanks to Mme_de_Pompadour who, in a moment of madness, agreed to BETA for me and as a result has to suffer my ramblings before you all do..

The header image is a cropped version of a picture obtained from The Medusa Cascade. This story has also been archived over at A Teaspoon And An Open Mind, here.

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1 Comment »

  1. Excuse me while I do a little dance 😀

    Sorry, but when someone the likes of ThroughanAmberfocus thinks my story is good enough to go in her favourites, it’s likely to cause a little bit of excitement, lol.

    Comment by develish1 | September 20, 2010 | Reply


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