Pairing : Nine/Rose
Universe : AU
Rating : Teen - with non graphic sex
Rose was sitting on a workbench, swinging her legs in time with the ticking of the clock on the wall, while eyeing it with a determined gaze as it edged ever closer to 6.00pm. The basement storeroom, although strewn with toys, ribbons, gift tags, wrapping paper and tinsel, was empty of people. Everyone else was in the canteen enjoying a staff Christmas party; eating chocolates, mince pies, cookies, gingerbread and other assorted festive 'nibbles'. Rose had mingled for a little while, before escaping to the storeroom in an effort to savour some solitude in what had otherwise been an exhausting day of wrapping gifts, handing out gifts and evading the wandering hands of a Santa who clearly had an 'Elf fetish'.
With a heavy sigh, Rose glanced down at her aching feet and asked herself for the hundredth time, why she had insisted this year, on getting her mum's Christmas presents the hard way – by working ridiculous hours and wearing a ridiculous uniform.
When she'd first told the Doctor about her Christmas plan, his lack of enthusiasm for her 'leave of absence' from the TARDIS had only made her more determined. He'd told her that she'd hate it, and she had been adamant that she wouldn't. Of course she did hate it. She really did. But she had no intention of telling the Doctor that. She wouldn't give him the satisfaction. No, as far as the Doctor was concerned, she loved being an Elf. LOVED IT.
She continued to stare at the uncomfortable Elf shoes she wore. They were bright green, with a shiny golden bell hanging from the curved tip of the toes. Every step she took, all shift long, she jingled. Her tights (uncomfortable, hot and itchy) were red and white broad horizontal stripes. Her short, tunic dress exactly matched the green shade of her shoes, and had large black as coal wooden buttons on the front. Topping off her outfit was a 'jaunty' red elf hat, which was finished with a large, shiny, golden bell that jingled even louder than her shoes. Rose particularly hated the hat.
Working a temporary job in Henrik's (completely refurbished) department store in the run-up to Christmas was always going to be busy, but being one of the Elves in 'Santa's Christmas Workshop' was on another level entirely.
Truth be told, being one of Santa's Elves had never been one of Rose's life ambitions, but she'd remembered a time, pre-Doctor, when she'd seen a poster on the staff room notice board, asking for Elf volunteers. She'd seen this time too that it paid more than shop floor work, and as she needed the extra money for Christmas, she'd quickly decided that becoming an Elf was a career move that made financial sense.
And, despite the long hours, children throwing tantrums, parents having melt-downs, and... jingling everywhere she went, Rose had worked her little elf-socks off, and she'd made enough money to buy her Mum a few really lovely Christmas presents. In fact, thanks to her staff discount, (meagre though it was) Rose thought she'd even be able to treat herself to a top she'd had her eye on for a while. So all in all, her time as an Elf had been worthwhile.
Still... she was glad that it was finally coming to an end, as tonight, her last shift, was Christmas Eve. She couldn't wait to (metaphorically) throw her Elf hat to the wind and be a normal girl again – or as normal as she could be while travelling through time and space in a TARDIS, with a nine hundred year old alien.
Rose glanced up at the clock on the wall and grinned – it was 6.03pm – she was officially free! She jumped down from the workbench and... jingled, but somehow she didn't mind it so much now.
The storeroom door swung open, and Rose glanced over as Joy, a fellow Elf, walked in carrying a paper plate heavy with snacks and nibbles, and what looked like a glass of cider.
"Hi, Rose!" Joy said as she approached somewhat unsteadily. "I thought you'd be in here. I brought you a couple of sausage rolls and a gingerbread man."
"Oh," Rose said. "That was nice of you, but you really shouldn't have bothered..."
"And some cider!" Joy continued, thrusting the glass toward Rose.
"No, really. It was a lovely thought, but..."
"And sausage rolls an' a gingerbread man!"
Rose managed to contain her smile. "Yeah, you did mention that before."
"Did I?" Joy asked, sounding taken aback. She took a sip of the cider. "What about the gingerbread man? Did I mention the gingerbread man?" She waved the paper plate in Rose's direction. "'Cos, look – it's a man made out of gingerbread."
Rose's brow furrowed. "How much have you had to drink?"
Joy took another sip of her cider. "Not enough."
"I think maybe you have."
Joy shook her head. "Nope" She smiled broadly. "We're all going to the pub. Oh, come with us Rose. Us Elves have to stick together, especially at Christmas." She drained her glass of cider then contemplated it mournfully.
"I think I'm gonna have to pass," Rose said. "I'm not an Elf any more – I'm off the clock."
"Off the cock!" Joy said loudly, and spluttered with laughter. Then she sighed. "I know the feeling. I've been off the cock for weeks." She paused and leaned in closer to Rose. "I have a feeling that's all going to change tonight, though." She giggled as if she had a secret. "Between you and me... Santa might be getting a special present before he cocks, clocks... before he clocks out tonight." She gave Rose a wink. "An' by special present I mean..."
"I know what you mean!" Rose interrupted quickly.
Joy eyed the sausage rolls on the plate she still held. After a minute, she looked over at Rose."Maybe I'll just have a sausage roll instead."
"I think that's the smart choice," Rose said with a smile. "Come on – let's get you back to the others. You don't want them to leave without you, do you?"
"You sure I can't convince you to come to the pub with us?"
Rose shook her head resolutely. "I just want to go home and put my feet up. Maybe watch a Christmas film."
"Elf?" Joy suggested brightly.
Rose glanced at her uniform. "Anything but Elf."
Joy nodded her acceptance. "I can't let you leave with nothing though, can I? Wouldn't be right." And then she smiled. "Oh, I know!" She reached into her pocket, withdrew something and held it out to Rose. "I was saving it for later, but now I want you to have it." She opened her hand.
"A satsuma?" Rose said.
"Wouldn't be Christmas without a satsuma," Joy said wisely.
"I suppose not." Rose smiled and took the satsuma.
Together, Rose and Joy walked out of the storeroom, down the corridor and into the staff room where the rest of the ex-Elves were clearing up the party things, pulling on coats and grabbing their bags to head off to the pub.
Rose wished all her Elf friends a Merry Christmas, then made her way back out into the long basement corridor, and headed toward the staff locker room to change out of her Elf uniform for the last time.
The locker room was empty – as the other girls had either gone home, or were among those clearing up the last of the party bits. Rose headed to her locker, opened it, pulled out her hoodie, jeans and jacket, and quickly changed clothes. Walking across to a wooden bench that ran along one wall, she sat down and put on her trainers. Then, leaning back she closed her eyes and sighed. It had been an extremely long day and she was more tired than she'd realised. She could hear the distant sound of Christmas songs coming from the staff room along the other end of the corridor, and then silence, a door opening and closing, and the sound of hurried feet. Then more silence.
She yawned. She meant to open her eyes, but somehow she couldn't quite. She yawned again. And really there was no harm in just keeping her eyes closed for a couple more minutes, no harm at all in losing herself for just a little while longer in the peaceful calm. No harm in...
Rose's eyes snapped open. At first she didn't know where she was, but then almost at the same time she found she could smell a subtle undertone of wet umbrellas and deodorant, and she quickly realised she was in the locker room.
A second later she realised that she had been asleep.
She reached into her jacket pocket for her phone to check the time, as of course she'd probably missed her bus home by now.
With a groan she saw that her phone was dead. Disgruntled, Rose pushed her phone back into her jacket and left the locker room, heading down the corridor and back to the staff room, hoping to catch one of the girls and beg a lift off someone.
Even before Rose pushed open the staff room door she had a sinking feeling that luck was not on her side. It was far too quiet for a start. And once she was inside the staff room she found it to be completely empty.
Disheartened, she glanced up at the clock on the wall, and as she did so her heart sank even further.
Unbelievably it was 9.18pm – she'd been asleep for hours!
Turning on her heel Rose sped out of the staff room and along the corridor to the staircase door that led up from the basement to the ground floor and the exit doors.
Reaching it she grabbed the handle, but it wouldn't turn. It was locked.
"Hello!" she called out. "Hello, is anyone there?"
Of course there was no reply. It was Christmas Eve night and the store had long since closed. Rose's heart sank just that little bit further at the hopelessness of her situation.
She couldn't help but get a sense of déjà vu. Getting trapped in Henrik's basement one time was bad luck – but twice was seriously pushing it. She could only hope that the store wasn't about to be blown up... again.
Infuriated, she hit the door a couple of times with her hand, despite knowing that it was useless. She let out a growl of frustration and kicked the door. This was not how she wanted to spend Christmas Eve!
She turned around, leaned back against the metal door and contemplated her predicament.
And then she heard it. A sound. A sound she recognised. It was the service lift!
She pushed away from the locked door and ran as fast as she could in the direction of the lift. Her thoughts whirred with the possibilities of who might be in it at this time of night, especially on Christmas Eve. Only a handful of people had access to that particular lift, as it needed a security code to use it. Maybe it was Kelvin the electrician, or Maureen the cleaner, or Derek the security guard. Maybe it was... never mind, she thought; it didn't matter who it was, it was someone, and that was good enough for her.
She skidded to a halt just as the dark grey metal lift doors began to open. She took a moment to catch her breath as the gap in the lift doors widened.
Maybe it was a serial killer.
She glanced around for something weapony – just in case – but all she could see was a mannequin's arm sticking out of a nearby cart. She grabbed it and held it up as menacingly as she could as the lift doors parted to reveal... the Doctor.
"Hello," he said, and waved at her.
Rose was momentarily dumfounded. "What are you doing here?"
"I'm responding to an emergency call from a frantic woman."
Rose frowned. "What emergency call? What frantic woman?"
"Your mum," the Doctor stated dryly. "According to Jackie, you should have been home hours ago. She was worried you might be in danger."
"Why would she think I'd be in danger?"
"If I had to hazard a guess... because you're jeopardy friendly, and it's Christmas and well, we do have a bit of a track record really."
Rose gave an exasperated sigh. "I got locked in, that's all."
"Well, it's a good job I dropped by, isn't it?" He looked Rose up and down. "By the way, why are you holding a dummy's arm? Feeling nostalgic for the old days, are you?"
Rose looked at the mannequin's arm she was still holding. Deciding not to dignify the Doctor's question with a response, she instead threw the arm back into the cart she'd pulled it out of, and charged into the lift to stand next to the Doctor.
"Can we just go?"
"Where to?" the Doctor asked.
Rose set him with a sullen glare. "Home," she said insistently.
The Doctor pointed his sonic screwdriver at the lift's control panel. "Your wish is my command," he said, as the metal doors closed with a creak, and the lift juddered into life. The Doctor glanced at Rose. "Ground floor, perfumery,stationery and leather goods, wigs and haberdashery, kitchenware and food. Going up."
Rose struggled to suppress a smile. "Ground floor exit doors – that's all I'm interested in."
The Doctor nodded. "I suppose you want to put your feet up and watch a Christmas film."
"As long as it isn't..." The lift jerked, and at the exact same moment there was a loud 'bang' from the control panel as the lift stopped abruptly.
Rose saw that both the basement button and the ground floor button were lit up, which she assumed meant they were stuck between floors.
She looked accusingly at the Doctor. "What did you do?"
"What makes you think I did something?" the Doctor asked, sounding somewhat affronted.
"Because I didn't do anything, and by process of elimination that means you did something!"
"Let me have a look," the Doctor blustered, as he approached the control panel and hovered his sonic screwdriver over the buttons.
"Do you think you should be doing that?" Rose asked.
The Doctor glanced over his shoulder at Rose. "Are you casting aspersions on my screwdriver?"
"Yes," Rose said firmly.
The Doctor's mouth narrowed. "I'll have you know that my sonic screwdriver is a multi-functional, highly complex analytical tool."
"Oh," Rose said in feigned surprise, "so it's not just for resonating concrete then?"
"Resonating concrete is just one of..." he stopped, took a calming breath, and began again. "It's a technological wonder of my own making – a pocket-sized phenomenon, if you will."
"Then maybe you should be more careful what you wave it at," Rose grumbled.
"I don't wave it," the Doctor corrected witheringly, "It's not a wand."
"Maybe it'd be more use if it was a wand. Maybe if it was a wand we wouldn't be stuck in a broken-down lift on Christmas Eve!"
The Doctor turned his attention back to the control panel. "And maybe if I didn't keep getting interrupted I'd find out what's wrong with the lift," he muttered under his breath.
Rose leaned back against the metal wall of the lift and allowed herself the luxury of watching the Doctor as he scanned the control panel with the screwdriver. His face was intent, his eyes steely, his jaw clenched. His hands were large and his fingers were long, his body athletic in build. His muscles were taut and lean. She couldn't help but imagine...
No, no, no. She couldn't, shouldn't and wouldn't let her imagination wander off on its own like that. Especially not in enclosed spaces. No good would come of that.
The Doctor stepped away from the control panel and Rose forced herself to derail her train of thought and get back to the right here right now.
"Well," she asked hopefully, "do you know what's wrong with it?"
The Doctor slipped his screwdriver into his jacket pocket."Yes," he said. "It's broken down."
Rose wanted to contain her smile, but she really couldn't. "Assets?" she suggested.
"Not even a banana," the Doctor replied mournfully, all the while mirroring Rose's grin.
"I've got a satsuma," Rose said, reaching into her pocket and throwing it to the Doctor.
"Fantastic," the Doctor said as he caught the satsuma and put it into his pocket. "Not as good as a banana but fantastic all the same."
Rose closed the distance between them and looked up into his eyes. "You're an idiot," she said fondly.
"An idiot with a satsuma," the Doctor corrected, his eyes sparkling. "And a plan."
"You have a plan?"
"Rose Tyler, when have you ever known me not to have a plan?"
Rose shrugged. "I dunno... I always get the impression you kind of make it up as you go."
"Yeah well," the Doctor conceded, "I do that too – but only when I don't have a plan."
Rose smiled. "Ok, so what's the plan?"
The Doctor looked up at the lift ceiling, and its square shaped plastic panel. Then he looked back to Rose. "We go up."
"Up?" Rose echoed doubtfully.
"Your plan is that we climb up the lift shaft?"
"Yes." The Doctor grinned.
"To the ground floor?"
"To the third floor."
"No," Rose said.
"We have to climb to the third floor because that's the only way we can get to the roof."
"Why do we have to get to the roof?" Rose asked.
"That's where the TARDIS is."
Rose was silent.
"Well?" the Doctor pressed.
Rose frowned. "Is it safe?"
"Perfectly safe." The Doctor held Rose's gaze for a moment. "Probably safe," he corrected. He sighed. "It's safe-ish."
Rose waved her hand to stop him from digging a bigger hole. "Fine," she said.
"Really?" he sounded surprised.
"It's not like I have much of a choice, is it?" She shook her head. "Ok, so how are we doing this?"
"Ladies first," the Doctor said emphatically.
Rose lifted a sceptical eyebrow. "Seriously? Ladies first? This isn't the sinking of the Titanic, Doctor."
"Ladies first, because you're going to have to stand on my shoulders to get through the hatch," the Doctor explained.
Rose looked up at the ceiling of the lift, and then back at the Doctor. "Oh," she said.
Rose stood on the top of the service lift, carefully balanced to avoid the open hatch as the Doctor climbed up to join her. She peered dubiously upward, silently contemplating the wisdom (or stupidity) of what they were about to do. The shaft was dark, aside from the light that came from the lift below, and it had an oily odour that reminded her of a car engine. She wrinkled her nose in disapproval. After a second, she looked at the Doctor, only to find him grinning like a schoolboy.
"You're enjoying this," she said accusingly.
"Whatever gave you that idea?"
"Your gormless grin for a start."
The Doctor glanced around the lift shaft. "I don't know what you're so worried about. This is going to be a doddle. Look," he said, pointing to something behind Rose. "There's a maintenance ladder running the entire length of the shaft. What more could we ask for?"
"A safety harness?" Rose suggested.
The Doctor gave Rose an earnest look. "You don't need a safety harness; you've got me. Do you really think I'd let anything happen to you?"
"No," Rose conceded, "I don't."
"Glad to hear it," the Doctor said as he stepped over the open hatch, so that he was standing next to Rose. "Because that's not the kind of man I am."
"Ladies first then," Rose said briskly as she turned, grabbed hold of the ladder and took a step up.
A couple of seconds later, the Doctor stepped up onto the ladder too and each began their climb.
They made steady progress, and in very little time, they had almost reached the second floor lift doors. It was then that they heard a metallic creaking noise reverberate through the shaft.
Rose abruptly stopped climbing and glanced over her shoulder to the Doctor.
"What was that?"
The Doctor looked down the shaft then back to Rose as another, louder creak echoed from below them.
"We might have a slight problem," the Doctor admitted.
"What kind of problem?"
There was a noisy grinding sound beneath them, as the lift below shuddered into life, moving slowly up the shaft toward them.
"Looks like the lift is working again," the Doctor said somewhat unnecessarily.
"How can it be working?" Rose asked as she climbed another couple of steps higher on the ladder. "You said it was broken-down!"
"Yes, well..." the Doctor glanced back to gauge the lift's progress. "It might not have been as broken-down as I first thought."
"You think?" Rose climbed another three ladder rungs.
"I suppose there could have been a slight delay when I tried to repair the control panel with the sonic screwdriver," the Doctor mused, and then he grinned to himself. "So you can take back all that wand rubbish now can't you?"
"Never mind that!" Rose interrupted. "What are we going to do now?"
The rumbling noise was becoming louder and both Rose and the Doctor could clearly see the lift getting closer and closer.
"We're going to have to jump," the Doctor said decisively. "I'll go first and I'll tell you when it's safe for you to jump down after me."
He smiled at Rose, then let go of the ladder and jumped. Rose heard a thud as he landed on top of the approaching lift.
Rose waited a second, her wide eyes watching the lift move steadily closer and the Doctor balancing on its top.
"Doctor?" As a precautionary measure, she climbed another two rungs of the ladder. "Doctor?"
"Now, Rose!" the Doctor shouted from below. "Jump now!"
Immediately Rose let go of the ladder and, aiming as best she could she jumped down. As soon as she landed, the Doctor swept her into his arms, holding her tightly against him; making certain that she didn't stumble.
Rose held onto the Doctor too, instinctively wrapping her arms around his neck as the lift shuddered beneath them. She looked up and found herself staring into such intense, dark eyes that for a moment the entire world fell away, and they were all that existed. But then, only a second later, the moment was gone as the Doctor scrambled for the open hatch, and Rose followed, lowering herself through the gap as the Doctor reached up to help. She was halfway through, when the lift gave a sudden jolt and she and the Doctor fell into a heap on the floor.
After a moment, Rose pushed herself up onto her hands, realising as she did so that she was straddling the Doctor, who was lying beneath her; having softened her landing as they'd fallen. He looked a little winded and his eyes were closed.
"Doctor?" she asked. "Are you ok?"
"Never better," he replied, then groaned. "On second thoughts, remind me to book an appointment with a chiropractor when we get back to the TARDIS."
Rose bit back a smile then leant in close and dropped a kiss to the Doctor's cheek. "My hero," she teased.
The Doctor opened his eyes and looked at Rose as his hand slid to her hip. Rose held her breath for a heartbeat or three and stared at him. It would be easy to lean in again, to kiss him the way she'd always imagined doing. All she would have to do was...
In one swift, easy movement, the Doctor rolled Rose over so that he was above her. Before Rose even realised what was happening, he had pushed himself up onto his feet and held out his hand to her as the lift shuddered once more, but this time, the metal doors opened.
The Doctor shot Rose a broad grin as he took her hand in his and helped her to her feet. "Run!"
The third floor of Henriks was mainly offices and storage space. There was also a canteen and a locker room, but both were strictly for senior staff and managers.
However, one of the rooms had a plaque on the door that read 'CCTV SECURITY'. Upon seeing it, Rose stopped suddenly, let go the Doctor's hand and gestured to the door.
"Doctor, what about the security cameras? The police are going to turn up at my door on Christmas Day! My mum's gonna go mental!"
The Doctor shook his head. "This isn't my first rodeo, Rose. I took care of the cameras when I came in from the roof. I don't want to go viral on YouTube any more than you do."
Rose let out a sigh of relief. "Well, that's ok then."
"Did it with my sonic screwdriver if you're interested."
Rose struggled to contain her smile. "Ok," she conceded, "I take back everything I ever said about your screwdriver. Now, how do we get onto the rooftop?"
"This way," the Doctor said as they continued down the hallway, passing office after office, each one decorated with garlands, tinsel and shiny Christmas ornaments. "It's the door at the end."
The door at the end of the hallway was an unassuming white metal door. The Doctor turned the handle easily, and the door opened without a sound. Rose and the Doctor walked through, closed it behind them and walked up a set of seven metal steps that brought them out onto the rooftop itself.
Rose looked up at the night sky, which was a deep midnight blue, scattered with a thousand bright stars.
"Wow," she said softly, "it's beautiful." She looked at the Doctor and saw that his eyes shone just as brightly, except that he was looking at her and not the stars.
"Never gets old, does it?"
Rose shook her head. "Never," she agreed.
The Doctor looked up at the night sky. "Look," he said, and pointed. "It's a shooting star! Make a wish!"
Rose looked up and wrinkled her nose in consideration. "It's probably not a shooting star, it's probably just space junk, or a satellite," she reasoned, then she shook her head. "Actually with my luck, it's more likely to be the first ship of an invading alien fleet."
"Or it's a shooting star," the Doctor countered. "Do you really want to take the chance?" He leaned in close to Rose and gently brushed a lock of her hair behind her ear as she stared up into his eyes. "Make a wish," he said softly.
Rose's eyes fluttered closed and she held her breath for a moment. She imagined that she could feel the turn of the Earth, she imagined she could feel the Doctor draw her into his arms, and despite her previous misgivings she made her wish with all her heart.
A shrill noise broke the moment, and Rose opened her eyes to see the Doctor rummaging through the pockets of his leather jacket for his phone. The expression on his face when he looked at the screen, told Rose exactly who was calling.
"Hello Jackie," the Doctor said as he answered the phone. "Yes, yes of course I found her. She's here with me now. No, she wasn't abducted by aliens..."
Rose took the phone from the Doctor. "Hi Mum, it's me. Yes, of course I'm ok. Yes, I'm sure." Rose rolled her eyes. "I just got a bit delayed at work, that's all. Nothing to worry about. I would have rung you, but my phone's dead." She hesitated for a moment. "But I thought we were gonna watch a Christmas film and..." She shook her head. "No, it's fine. Really. I don't mind. No, really I don't. You have a good time. Yeah. Love you too. Bye." She hung up and handed the phone back to the Doctor.
"Everything ok?" he asked.
"Yeah, everything's fine," Rose said. "She's off out with her mates now that she knows I'm not in mortal danger. There's an ugly jumper contest on at 'The Grapes' an' she thinks she's in with a chance of winning." She shrugged. "She's going to stay the night at Karen's."
"Come on," the Doctor said gently, as he took Rose's hand in his. "Let's get you home."
And hand in hand they walked together toward the TARDIS, which was standing on the far side of the rooftop.
The door to flat 48 Bucknall House on the Powell Estate, boasted a large Christmas wreath trimmed with red tinsel, holly and tiny silver bells. The bells jingled slightly as Rose put her key into the lock and pushed the door open. She stepped inside the flat, switched on the lights and glanced back at the Doctor.
"You really didn't have to walk me home you know."
"I couldn't risk you being abducted by aliens, could I?" the Doctor teased as he closed the door and followed Rose inside.
Rose shrugged off her jacket and hung it up. "Well in that case, the least I can do is make you a cup of tea."
"I've never been one to refuse a cup of tea," the Doctor said, "especially if it comes with a biscuit," he hinted.
Rose laughed. "Well you're in luck – mum bought a tin of posh biscuits yesterday. In fact, I might even be able to stretch to a mince pie. It is Christmas after all."
"Rose Tyler, are you trying to tempt me with Christmas pastries?" the Doctor asked, as he followed Rose into the sitting room.
Rose glanced over her shoulder, her tongue slipping to the corner of her mouth as she smiled. "Might be."
As Rose went into the kitchen the Doctor looked around the sitting room, which was heavily decorated with tinsel. Two stuffed Christmas stockings hung on the fireplace, and festive cushions were on the settee. He walked over to the Christmas tree, which was decked out with multi-coloured fairy lights, baubles and red and white peppermint candy canes. He looked at the pile of gifts laid under the tree, all wrapped in bright, colourful paper and ribbon.
"Kettle's on," Rose said as she returned to the sitting room.
The Doctor smiled at Rose, then glanced back to the Christmas tree. "It's not hard to tell if you've been naughty or nice this year."
Rose shook her head. "They're not all mine! Some are mum's, and there's a few there for Mickey an' a couple for you."
"Me?" the Doctor said, sounding genuinely surprised. "Why do I have Christmas presents?"
"Because Christmas is a time to celebrate. To spend time with family, with friends, with people you... love. Gift giving is a tradition," Rose explained. "It's part of Christmas, like crackers and chestnuts and mince pies and eggnog."
"You have eggnog?"
Rose stared at him. "No," she said after a moment. "We're out of eggs... and nogs."
"Oh," the Doctor said.
"Doctor," Rose continued, "You are coming tomorrow aren't you?"
"Tomorrow?" the Doctor echoed.
He shrugged. "I didn't think I was invited."
"Of course you're..." Rose stopped and began again. "It wouldn't be Christmas without you."
"You said Christmas was a time for family and..."
Rose took a step closer to him. "You are family." She smiled up at him. "Weird, alien, nine hundred times removed family, but family all the same."
"Well, when you put it like that." The Doctor grinned.
"I almost forgot," Rose said as she beamed at him. "You get to open one Christmas gift on Christmas Eve."
Rose reached under the tree, and picked up a box wrapped in shiny blue paper and a silver ribbon. "It's tradition," she said, as she handed it to the Doctor.
"What is it?" the Doctor asked as he shook the box experimentally.
"Open it an' see." Rose laughed. "Do you have any idea how hard you are to buy for? I mean, what do you get the man who has everything?"
The Doctor unwrapped the box as Rose watched. Wrapping paper and ribbon fluttered down to the carpet, revealing a plain cardboard box. The Doctor opened the box to reveal a pair of fluffy earmuffs in baby pink.
He looked at Rose and bit back a smile. "Very amusing."
"Put them on!"
"But pink might be your colour."
"I'm making an effort not to be insulted."
"They were mums idea, not mine," Rose confessed as she swallowed down her laughter. "I like your ears."
The Doctor stared at Rose for a moment then put the earmuffs back into their box, and set them down onto an armchair. "I think maybe I should go."
"You're not staying for a cup of tea? The kettle should be boiled now..."
The Doctor shook his head. "It's late."
"I suppose it is." She held his gaze for a moment. "You will come over tomorrow though, yeah? For Christmas."
The corner of the Doctor's mouth tugged up into a crooked smile. "Wouldn't miss it for the world."
Rose smiled back at him. "I'll see you out then," she said, and they walked together the short distance from the sitting room, out into the hall to the front door of the flat.
At the door they hesitated and the Doctor glanced up to see a spring of mistletoe hanging from a red ribbon.
"Another Christmas tradition?" he asked quietly.
"Oh," Rose said a little awkwardly. "Yeah, I suppose so."
The Doctor stepped closer, put one hand on Rose's hip and leaned in to press a slow, soft kiss to her lips, before drawing back slightly to look into her eyes.
"You're wrong, you know," he said quietly.
"Wrong about what?" Rose asked.
"I'm not the man who has everything." He let out a breath of confession. "And... all I want for Christmas, is you."
Wide-eyed, Rose stared at the Doctor for a moment, half convinced that she'd imagined... and then impulsively, she slipped her arms up and around his neck. Drawing him closer, she finally kissed him the way she'd always wanted to.
What started out so innocently, so gentle and tentative, quickly became hungry, passionate and desperate. They clung to each other, their hands frantically pulling their bodies closer, but somehow failing to reach the singular intimacy they needed.
Their kiss broke and Rose gasped for breath as she felt herself being lifted up, turned, her back pressed against the wall. She wrapped her legs around the Doctor's hips, raked her fingernails through his cropped hair, sought the ferocity of his kiss.
She had dreamed of this so many times, night after night, but even her wildest dreams hadn't come close to what it felt like to know that this was real.
They moved again, this time she was pushed up against a door as the Doctor lifted her higher, pushing into her body, tasting and seeking and learning with a desire he had never before allowed such freedom.
Again they broke the kiss. The Doctor found the secret hollow at the base of Rose's neck and pressed his lips to the pulse that raced beneath her skin. Rose's eyes closed and she felt her blood burn.
"I want you," he confessed, the words falling through kisses against her fevered skin.
Rose felt her smile grow wide with satisfaction. "Want you too."
She reached behind her, her hand searching for the door handle. Frustration and desire and need made her clumsy, and she groaned because of it. Eventually she found the handle and her fingers wrapped around it, pushing down.
They stumbled into the bedroom, but clung together, finding the bed in the shadows of the room, and falling into its soft welcome.
The Doctor pulled back, his eyes intently searching Rose's. She stared back at him, instinctively understanding the reason behind his sudden hesitation. She knew that he was certain, even now, that if he looked close enough, deep enough, he would see doubt in her eyes. A reason to walk away.
Her hand cupped his face and she smiled, wanting so much for him to see everything that was in her heart.
She watched his doubts fade away; seeing them disappear before her eyes. Her heart filled with her love for him, and she drew him close to her as he moved toward her body, seeking and finding his place there.
They pushed at their clothes, and between caress and kiss and trembled breath, they revealed their bodies, naked skin to naked skin. They moved together, breathless, restless and desperate for the completion they both needed.
Their bodies arched together. The Doctor pushed inside Rose and as she cried out his name they began to move into a rhythm as old as time. Bliss came quickly for them; as everything they had ever hoped and dreamed, they found in one another. Together they burned in a fire brighter than any sun.
Afterwards, tangled and breathless, the peace of perfect oblivion claimed them both.
"Rose?" Jackie called as she closed the front door and walked into the flat.
"I'm in the kitchen, mum!" Rose reached for a mug and set about making a strong coffee.
Jackie walked through the sitting room and into the kitchen, where she wrapped Rose up into a hug. "Merry Christmas, sweetheart."
"Merry Christmas, mum."
Jackie picked up the mug of coffee and took a sip, before letting out a long slow sigh of satisfaction. "You're a mind-reader Rose, you really are. Coffee's just what I need to make me feel human again."
"Thought it might be," Rose said as she walked into the sitting room with Jackie following behind. "Did you have a good night?"
"Yes, it was brilliant," Jackie enthused. "You should have come down. You would have enjoyed yourself."
Rose shook her head. "I wanted a quiet night."
"I won the ugly jumper contest!" Jackie announced, as if she'd only just remembered, and took another sip of coffee.
Rose looked at her mum's garish red, green and white Christmas jumper. "I'm not surprised."
"So how was your quiet night then?"
Rose smiled to herself for a moment. "I saw a shooting star and made a wish."
"Shooting star," Jackie said with a not so subtle roll of her eyes. "It was probably a satellite."
"No, it was definitely a shooting star."
"Oh yeah?" Jackie said sceptically. "Wish come true did it?"
Rose said nothing, she just took a sip of her tea.
"I'm gonna have a lie down for a half an hour. Then we'll do presents," Jackie announced. "You don't mind do you, sweetheart?"
"'Course I don't mind," Rose said as she sat down in the armchair and picked up the TV remote.
Jackie dropped a kiss to Rose's head, then she took her coffee through to her bedroom as Rose started flicking through channels until she found what she wanted to watch.
A minute or so later Jackie walked back into the sitting room. "Rose?" she began, sounding somewhat confused.
Rose glanced up and immediately bit back a smile of surprise. "Yeah?" she said, as innocently as she could.
"Why is there a satsuma in my bed?" Jackie asked as she held up the offending fruit.
Rose struggled to contain her smile. "Wouldn't be Christmas without a satsuma."
Jackie hesitated a moment as if thinking over Rose's reasoning, then she shrugged. "I suppose not," she said, and headed back to bed.
Rose allowed herself a broad, secret smile and, wrapped up in her fluffy pink dressing gown, she settled down to watch 'Elf'.