emeraldem: (quillpen with name)
[personal profile] emeraldem
Title: Identity
Author: [livejournal.com profile] gracewillow
Character/Pairing: Rose/TenII
Rating:PG-13 (for mild sexual innuendo)
Summary: The Doctor struggles with his new identity.
Spoilers: Spoilers for 4.13, Journey's End
Disclaimer: If only I owned them... but I don't.
Author's Notes: This is the sequel to "First Night," which you can find here. Many thanks to my fab beta, [livejournal.com profile] cowgrrl!



As they yawned over cups of tea late the next morning, Rose said, “Did you mean what you said last night?”

“Did I mean what?” the Doctor said, yawning again.

“About… practicing.”

“We did practice,” he said wickedly. “We practiced a lot of things.”

“That’s not what I meant,” she said, and to his utter delight she blushed. “I meant about what I said, about after weddings.”

“Can’t remember what you said,” he told her mildly, teasing. “What happens after weddings?”

“Who said weddings?” Jackie arrived inconveniently in the kitchen at that moment. “Finally getting on with it, are you? Took you long enough.”

“Mum!” Rose said, outraged. “Mind your own business.”

“Who, me?”

“Yes, you! We were having a private conversation.”

“In a public part of the house, sweetheart. You want privacy, you should go somewhere private.”

“I think we will,” Rose muttered, standing and dragging the Doctor up with her. “Let’s go out in the garden. If you can keep yourself away from us, Mum.”

“Really!” Jackie said. “All right, all right, I’ll keep me nose out of it, what do I know, I’m only your mother…”

Her voice trailed off behind them as Rose pulled the Doctor out into the mansion’s back garden. He made a last-second grab for his teacup, and just caught it. He wanted his tea. He liked his tea. Tea was important.

Rose apologized.

“I’m sorry. She’s terrifically tactless at times. You may have noticed.”

He decided not to say anything like I certainly have or Oh, is she? or even just Yes. He was in enough trouble as it was. Instead he chose a bench under an arbor of flowering vines and said, “Sit down, will you, Rose? I can’t do this with tea in my hand and you standing over me like a… like a… I don’t know like what, but will you please just come sit with me?”

She started to glare, then seemed to change her mind and took a deep breath and joined him on the bench. She had left her tea in the kitchen; she took a sip of his, made a face at the amount of sugar he liked, and let him have it back. She snuggled up close to him, and he put the cup down and put his arms around her.

“This is nice,” she said after a while. “Don’t you think it’s nice?”

“Yes,” the Doctor said, “but never mind that. Your mother upset you. Do you want to talk about it?”

“I’m not upset for me. She was pushing you.”

“And you don’t think she should have.”

“She hasn’t got the right. Me, she can push around—well, she can try, anyway.” Rose smiled slightly. “I don’t let her do it as much, not since I came home from travelling with you. But you don’t belong to her, Doctor. She oughtn’t even try.”

“I’m afraid your mother may be the sort of person who shows love by pushing people around. Or shows that she cares, at any rate. I don’t know that she loves me, exactly.”

“She will,” Rose said, diverted, which was just as well. “I’ll make her.”

“Just as she wants to ‘make’ us get married?” he said.

The silence was resounding. Damn. There it was, out in the open, and not with good results. Rose scowled, back on target. “None of her business!”

“Then let’s make it ours.”

She fidgeted, holding his hand, but looking down, not at him. A bad sign, that. “What—what do you want to do?”

“I want to marry you.”

“Why? Because Mum thinks we should? And because it’s the obvious thing?”

“Don’t be silly.”

“Oh, now I’m silly?” Her beautiful eyes filled with tears and she pulled her hand away. “Thank you so much.”

“Rose.” He lifted her chin gently toward him. “I don’t think you’re silly. It was just a figure of speech.”

“Then what do you think?”

“I think I’ve made you cry. And I’m very, very sorry. Come here.” He kissed her hair and wrapped his arms around her. She burrowed into the front of his bathrobe, borrowed from Pete.

“Sorry,” she mumbled after a while. “Maybe I am a little silly.”

“If you are, then I am too, and for the same reason. I love you.”

“I love you, Doctor.” She wiped her sniffly nose and he kissed it.

“Feel better?”

“I feel hungry. Let’s have breakfast. And then I’m taking you shopping. You can’t wear Dad’s clothes and that blue suit forever.”

*********
Hand in hand, they strolled the streets and the shopping malls, picking out some clothes Rose said he had to have and others that were more to his taste. But she wasn’t really talking to him, and at last, when he had had enough shopping for one day and they had settled down in a teashop for a cup and a scone each, he said, “Rose, look, if it’s something I’ve done, please tell me.”

“Dunno what you mean,” she said, toying with her spoon.

“Contrary to what you seem to think, I can’t actually read your mind. So please tell me what’s wrong.”

Still she wouldn’t look at him. “ ’S nothing.”

“It’s not nothing. You’ve hardly said a word since your mother—”

“Nothing to do with her.”

“Ah-ha. There is something there.”

She fidgeted again.

“Something I said?”

“Well—”

“I’m sorry, Rose, honestly, I am, whatever it is, but you have to tell me.”

“You didn’t do it,” she said. “It’s just— I’m going to miss him.”

No need to ask who she was talking about. He felt his single, human heart go cold. He swallowed. “But last night you said…”

She looked up swiftly. “I know I did. And I meant every word of it. You’ve nothing to fear on that count. It’s only—oh, look, I don’t know…”

“Well, I do. He’s the original, I’m only the copy, I’m not good enough, is that it?” he said sharply. Despite what she had said the night before, during one of his frantic moments…

She reached out and seized his hands. “Stop it! That’s not it. Sit back down and let me finish.”

“What is it, then? You miss him, but I’m good enough? Just barely?”

Rose looked frustrated. “Give me a moment, I’m just working this out now, all right? And hard as it is for me, I can only imagine how hard it must be for you.”

He sank back down into his chair, glad that the teashop was relatively empty and only a few people were staring at them. “What do you imagine is hard for me, Rose?”

“I have a name. I have a place, even if it’s not my home universe. I have my mum, and my dad—” she broke out in a luminous smile—“which you’re responsible for, and don’t say you’re not—and I even have a baby brother—and I have you. All you have is an identity you feel is stolen, and me, and some people you hardly know who are now claiming you as family, and don’t you go saying Mum won’t.” She took a deep breath. “And you were saying last night, or implying, that you don’t even have your own name. Am I getting any of this right?”

“A great deal of it,” he said, feeling pale. “A very great deal.”

“Maybe I really should start calling you something else.”

He tried to think. He didn’t do it very well.

“Your idea,” she said, smiling a little. Which heartened him, but didn’t solve the problem.

“Yes, it was,” he said. “But what was your original point? If you have me, and I’m so very important, how can you miss him?”

He hadn’t meant to sound so jealous, but he had. But Rose just stroked his face with her hand and said quietly, “Won’t you?”

Anything for her to touch me like that

He didn’t know what to say. He didn’t know what he thought.

*********
He was quiet at dinner that night, and it was noticed.

“Never known you not talk before, Doctor,” Jackie remarked. “Everything all right?”

Rose, dear wonderful Rose, supplied a reason before he had to think of one. “He’s just a bit tired, Mum. We did a lot of walking in town today.”

“I expect you’ll want to get to bed early, then,” Pete said, suppressing a smile.

“I expect we will,” Rose said tartly. “What’s for pudding?”

It seemed, nonetheless, that bed would be a long time coming. He was tired; but bed with Rose… and he wanted some quiet talk, too… a man would give up anything for that.

The man he had come from had given up everything—had given up Rose—so that he, himself, here and now, could have Rose.

He put his spoon down, leaving the custard untasted, and left the table without a word, barely avoiding the appearance of fleeing. Rose ran after him and caught up to him in their bedroom. Theirs. Should by rights have been his, not his...

“Doctor, what’s wrong?”

“Don’t call me that. I’m not him.”

“No, you’re you,” she said firmly. “And I like you that way, and all I meant earlier about missing him was that we both owe him a great deal—we owe him each other. I said it badly before, and I’m sorry.”

“Oh, Rose,” he whispered. “There’s so much I’ll never see again.”

“No,” she said, “but I won’t either, and we can miss it together.”

That would have to be good enough. And he did have her. Which was all he’d ever wanted, ever since he’d laid eyes on her.

“About your name,” she said, a long time later.

“Umm?”

“Stop that and pay attention. You’ll have to have some sort of official identity here anyway. Handy of you to keep spare copies of the psychic paper in all your suits, but that won’t cover everything. You may as well use a name you’ve used before, as you suggested last night. You’re used to it, I’m used to it…”

“Would you be comfortable calling me that?” he said somberly. “Would you be willing to marry plain John Smith?”

“You’re not plain. You’re extraordinary.”

It made him smile, however briefly. “But Rose,” he said. “The marrying. You haven’t answered.”

“Ask me properly and find out,” she said.

“I haven’t asked?”

“No.” Her eyes twinkled. “Go on, ask me.”

“That’s what’s been the matter?”

“A great many things have been the matter, but it hasn’t been your fault, and I don’t mind anyway, as long as we end up here at the end of the day.”

“Oh, that’s my intent,” he said breathlessly. “Rose, will you marry me?”

“Oh, yes.”

“Right, then, Mrs. Smith, let’s go to bed.”

“Yes, Mr. Smith, let’s.”

Date: 2008-08-19 08:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] electrictoes.livejournal.com
Oh, that was beyond wonderful.

Date: 2008-08-19 08:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] catsfiction.livejournal.com
Beautifully done, tender and touching and honest about the adjustments they'd both have to make.

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