Chances We Take

Chapter 4

Sorry these chapters still aren't the longest. I'm on a quarter system, so finals are about now. Anyhow, I love hearing from ya'll! Couldn't do it without ya! Thanks so much for any reviews, and I hope you like this chapter. Thanks for reading!

Chapter 4

Rose and the Doctor stumbled inside the Tardis and quickly slammed the doors. Both of them were out of breath and laughing.

"What a surprise—great visiting priest isn't really a priest at all," Rose huffed.

"Oh, absolutely. Big shocker, that one," the Doctor agreed in mock seriousness. "Especially with the two of us in town."

There was banging on the doors from outside, but of course Rose knew there was nothing to worry about. They'd never get in, and certainly not with no technology to speak of.

"You really shouldn't have made them that angry."

"What? They needed to know they were being put on by an alien! A relatively hostile one at that."

"Couldn't have done it a different way?"

"Might not have noticed, otherwise."

"You nearly got us killed! About two or three different times."

"Nothing unusual, unless you're out of practice. You loved every minute of it."

Rose opened her mouth, but she didn't have a protest to that. She smiled, and the Doctor grinned and dragged her up the ramp. "Where to next, then?"

"Somewhere quieter."

"Well that was supposed to be a quiet little village…but all right, you're right; what sort of quiet?" he asked, hands hovering over the controls.

"I dunno. Nice and quiet and pretty, or nice and quiet and fun. Either way, after I've had some sleep."

"Oh, now that's no fun."

"I'm just tired. That's not a crime, is it?" She started to retreat to her room, but had a thought and turned back to him for a moment. She touched his arm and leaned up to kiss his cheek. "Thanks, though. You're right; I've missed this. It was fun. Well, besides the being in danger for our lives and all, but that I'm used to."

As much as part of her wanted, to some extent, to just pretend this were the old days…it still needed to be said. He needed to know. She didn't tell him enough, back then. So she gave him a reassuring smile before she bounded down the opposite ramp and off toward her room, leaving him speechless in a way she felt was quite all right.

"You decide where! Wake me up in a few hours!" she called before she was around the corner.

The Doctor smiled to himself as Rose disappeared. He was glad she was happy, even if it was more on the surface than anything.

It had only been a few days, after all. A few days and a trip and a half, and three days before that she'd been widowed. He knew there would be so much more for her to work through. Well, for them to work through, he supposed, seeing as he planned to help her in any way he could.

Well…

The smile disappeared.

He'd do everything he could for her while he was still alive, anyway.

Parallel World, 2011

Rose wasn't really asleep, but the scuffling at the window would have woken her if she had been.

Either way, it wouldn't have frightened her. She knew what it was.

She sat up in bed and waited with her best what-are-you-doing face as the window was finally shoved open and her fiancé tumbled rather ungracefully inside and onto her floor.

"Ow…" He got to his feet, mumbling to himself and turning his makeshift sonic screwdriver over in his hands. "Took far too long to get that open; still some kinks to work out on this, then. Blasted primitive technology…"

He glanced over at her only briefly, didn't seem surprised she was already awake, and twisted to examine the offending window locks. "Wait. It was locked! Why was it locked? You never lock it."

"We do happen to be getting married tomorrow. You're not supposed to be here, you know," Rose sighed.

"Well I couldn't sleep!"

"You could have used the front door."

He twisted back around to face her again, making a face. "Are you daft? It's the night before the wedding! Jackie would have killed me. Really, what would have been wrong with a good elopement?"

"Nothing, but we'd have had to do a proper wedding when we came back anyway."

"Right. That mother of yours again…"

"Exactly. Now what are you doing crawling in my window?"

"I told you—couldn't sleep." Only now the answer sounded a little evasive.

"Right," she said skeptically. She climbed out of bed and went to him, and when she plucked the sonic from him he almost protested. She laid it out of the way on the nightstand, and took his hands and tried to look him in the eyes. "What is it?" He pulled her into a tight embrace instead, evading her gaze.

"John?" He didn't answer—just clung to her. Rose let out a small breath and gently coaxed him over to the edge of her bed. It took a moment, but she convinced him to release her enough for them to sit. When they settled he was still facing her, still clinging to her arms.

"Something's wrong. What's wrong?"

Her Doctor swallowed, and his hands ran up and down her arms a few times as if convincing himself she was there. "Are we doing the right thing?" he asked finally.

Her eyebrows went up. "About what? Getting married?"

"That. Everything else. I don't know…"

Rose stroked his cheek gently, worried because he still wouldn't quite look at her. "What is it? What's brought this on?"

"I'm…" he hesitated. He started to shiver, and Rose pulled him in close again. "I'm scared, Rose," he answered after a moment.

"Why?"

He huffed out a breath as if to compose himself, but he still sounded a bit unsteady when he continued.

"The last time I was human I broke someone's heart. Broke it badly. Nothing went all that well, really, and I certainly didn't mean for any of it to happen that way, but it did. Maybe I'm just rubbish at being human. I don't want to hurt you, Rose. That's the last thing I want. What if I do something stupid, or—"

"The last time? What are you talking about?"

So he told her. He told her everything, about the Family of Blood and the chameleon arch, and how he'd become human to hide so he wouldn't have to kill them. How Martha had looked after him because he'd had none of his memory then. How the human man he'd become had fallen in love with a nurse and the Doctor, when he was himself again, had left her behind. How the whole thing had gone badly.

He hadn't really been there, but it didn't matter. He had the memories. As far as he was concerned he'd been through all of it. He'd broken that poor woman's heart without meaning to.

"He loved her. That John Smith loved her, but it wasn't enough. What happened, happened anyway. "

Rose took his face in her hands and made him look at her. "That doesn't mean anything is goin' to happen to us. That was a different place…a different time…a different you. This John Smith loves me, and I think that's more than enough. He doesn't have to be perfect."

"No?"

"No. Hey…I know the last couplea years haven't been perfect, either. You had to get used to being human, and we had to get used to each other…Just because it was a bumpy ride sometimes doesn't mean we're not gonna make this work." She smiled a little, trying to cheer him. "You're not rubbish at being human. If you are, then we're all a little rubbish at it. Besides, if I didn't think it would work I wouldn't have said yes, would I?"

He laughed once in response, and the tension in his shoulders began to ease. She took the opportunity to kiss him with his face still in her hands, and for a few long, wonderful minutes there was nothing but each other.

"Can I stay?" her Doctor asked when he took a breath.

"As long as you're gone before Mum comes for me in the morning," she said, smiling against his lips.

Rose let her hands fall to their laps between them, and John took them and held on and his thumbs rubbed gentle circles into the back of them.

It was something they did. It meant something to them. Rose started it without meaning to, that first day on the beach. As the original Doctor disappeared in the Tardis and John came to her and took her hand. It was an absent motion; she did it because she could feel the fear in his grip, and even though he was a copy he was still the Doctor. She still wanted to reassure him. She still cared, though she didn't know how much yet.

They both held so tight that day; she because she'd lost the one thing she thought she wanted and he because he was afraid to lose the one thing he needed.

"He was right…I need you," he even admitted, the same day, once they were picked up and on the long journey back to London. They were sequestered in the back of Pete Tyler's truck, still locked together by those two hands because they had nothing else to hold on to. "I need you to know who I am."

She didn't kiss him again then. Not yet. It was a long time after that, before they kissed again. But even in that moment, she knew it would come to that. She needed him, too.

Original Universe, 2009

He waited twelve hours, and Rose still had not emerged from her room. Either she'd been more tired than she thought, or she was distracted. But she'd asked him to wake her up, so it seemed all right to at least find out which it was.

"Rose?" He knocked softly on the door. The lights were on, but she could always be asleep with them on. It had happened in the past.

"I'm up! You can come in."

He found her sitting on the bed with the coat she'd arrived in draped over her lap. There were a few things on the bed in front of her, and he remembered the coat had been heavy from the pockets when he'd gotten it off to move her to bed that first day.

"Sorry…I slept a lot longer than I thought I would." She scrubbed at her face subtly, and he realized her eyes were red. "Had a dream or two that set me off, I guess. I'm all right."

Her saying so negated the excuse to ask the question, so all the Doctor could do was sit on the edge of the bed and study her. "What have you got, then?" He supposed she likely wanted the subject to change, so he changed it.

"Not much. Could only bring what I could carry, and I didn't want to overload them. I knew they'd be strained as it was, bringing me with them…"

She was right; there wasn't much there—a small photo album open in her lap, two or three USB drives, a small box with a latch, and—

"Ooooh, is that what I think it is! May I?"

She smiled. "Sure."

He picked up the device and turned it over in his hands. "Oh, you are beautiful!" he told it in delight. It was a somewhat makeshift version of a sonic screwdriver; larger than his and less streamlined, but the light was still blue.

"Couldn't live without one, he said," Rose told him in amusement.

"Quite right, too! I agree completely. If I'd had a spare I'd have given him one before I left, but the chunk of Tardis was the best I could do at the time."

"It's a bit more clunky than yours, and it hasn't got as many settings. It's all he could do with Earth technology and a few things he borrowed from Torchwood's stockpiles."

"Aw, but it's brilliant! It really is. Certainly considering what he had to work with. 'Course, he started off as me; he had to be clever."

"It's broken." That bit came out sadly, and it made him look up in an instant. As soon as he had he was studying the device in his hands more closely, because he couldn't bear to see her that way and if he could fix it he would. Luckily enough right now that meant he only needed to literally fix something—which he was good at.

"It hasn't worked since that night. He'd have had it fixed by the next morning…" Rose was saying.

The Doctor pulled his own sonic screwdriver from his jacket. "Well, it's not too bad off—just got knocked about. A few loose connections. I think I can set it to rights easily enough. Hold on."

She watched him work at it—fiddling with a wire here and sonicing something there—and in a few minutes it was indeed working again.

"There! See? Good as new." He handed it over, and she took it gratefully. "It's yours now," he said, more seriously. "I'm sure he'd want you to use it."

"Thank you…" She trailed off, made a face and looked away.

"Do you want me to go?" he asked quietly.

"No." She scrubbed at her face again, and then stood quickly. She tucked her husband's sonic screwdriver into her jumper pocket and came around the bed. "I'm ready to get out of here now, actually. If you are."

The Doctor stood and shoved his hands in his pockets. "I'm always ready," he shrugged good-naturedly.

"So where are we going?"

"You might want another layer; I was thinking something with snow. Maybe we should ski. Or ice skating. That's an idea; haven't done that in a while."

"Ice skating?" Rose asked, a little incredulously.

"What?" She was right though; it did sound a little absurd at this particular moment, but he was warming to the idea all of sudden and he grinned. "Why not? It's been so long I'll probably fall quite a lot. All the more fun for you; you can laugh at me. And of course I don't mean Earth." She'd taken his arm at some point so he led her toward the control room, still rambling because that was what he was good at.

"Ice fields of Capriala VII! That's it. That's where we ought to go. Purple ice. Green skies. And the wildlife! Can't believe I didn't take you there before. Then again, so much see. Well, I'll fix that right now..."

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