On Day One, he knows the TARDIS is leaving before Rose does. She’s entirely captivated by this kiss, and he wants to be too (and is…mostly), but it’s his TARDIS, and his mind is big enough to think of both things at once—the love of his life re-entering it and the companion he’s not sure he can live without fading from it. He hates the thought but knows it’s true. He’s lived without Rose, knows he can do it…but he’s not sure if he can live without his ship. When Rose breaks the kiss with a gasp and bolts toward his disappearing girl, he’s certain he can’t.
He takes the few strides to Rose, interlaces his fingers with hers because it’s the only thing he’s sure it’s okay to do. When they turn to look at each other, he wonders what he’ll be sure of tomorrow.
On Day Two, he wakes to a soft whirring sound—an electric toothbrush, he realizes. Rose is awake and coming out of the en suite. He doesn’t know what to do with himself, so he flings the covers aside and hops out of the bed to meet her.
“Oh,” she says, and she won’t meet his eyes.”Um. Hi. You’re awake.”
“Yes,” he confirms. “And you have a bit of toothpaste just…there.” Without thinking and before she can stop him, he licks the pad of his thumb and swipes the corner of her mouth.
“Um. Thanks,” she says, and she still won’t look at him properly. “Um…I thought…I thought I’d pick up your suit from dry-cleaning. And then we could go shopping, get you some things. I won’t be long.” She hurries from the room with her head down, not even pausing to wait for an answer.
He’s puzzled, but when he’s certain she’s gone, he sucks his thumb. He can’t taste every component of the toothpaste, can’t determine the exact structure of the methylcellulose like he used to. What he can taste is Rose, and that, he thinks, could merit a full day’s worth of analysis.
It isn’t until he goes into the bathroom to relieve himself that he realizes why Rose did her best not to see him.
He wonders if this is a problem human males have every morning.
If so, he wonders how he could possibly bear this every morning—this heat that’s spreading across his face, down his neck, and to his shoulders that makes him feel like he could disintegrate on the spot and like he wouldn’t mind if he did, because at least he wouldn’t have to face Rose again.
On Day Three, she catches him in the kitchen with two fingers in a jar of raspberry jam. He freezes, smiles sheepishly, grows nervous when she doesn’t say anything.
“You know,” she finally says, taking the jar from him and replacing his fingers with her own, “this is an awful habit to get yourself into.” Her tongue darts out to clean the messy glob on her fingers.
“Dreadful,” he agrees, when can finally speak. “Terribly rude.” He takes the jar back to help himself to more jam.
They pass the jar between them a few times before she stops and places it on the counter.
Sticky fingers weave through his hair as she pulls his mouth to her and he wants to whine about it, but his brain shorts out as she swipes her tongue along his bottom lip and oh. Okay.
On Day Nine, they’re okay. They’ve fallen into a routine: she cooks breakfast and he cleans the dishes; they share the bathroom (and it’s not long before they decide it isn’t big enough for the two of them); they reach together for two Torchwood IDs hanging near the door; she drives and he changes the radio fifteen times before they arrive.
Neither of them takes any risks with the other, but it’s good. They’re good together.
On Day Twenty-Eight, he cooks breakfast and doesn’t burn the toast. It earns him a proud hug from Rose. He thinks back to a day when a shop girl from the Powell Estate pronounces a word correctly and elicits the same response from him. He wonders what happened to that girl, but marvels at the woman before him who has all of herself pressed up against all of him.
On Day Forty-One, he goes on his third date with Rose. He’s not sure why she keeps referring to it that way but she does and has more than once—to her mum on the phone and even to Jake at Torchwood.
He doesn’t understand why she emerges from the en suite in a dress he’s never seen before and strappy heels that couldn’t possibly be designed for comfort (and definitely not for running) or why she smells flowery and certainly good but not quite like herself.
When they return to the flat, he doesn’t understand her frustrated sounds when he kisses her, when he tries to slow their snogging back down to just that, just like always, just like normal. She finally relents and succumbs to his pace. When they’re both breathless, she snuggles close to him…until she can’t anymore.
He’s utterly baffled when he’s suddenly asked to sleep on the couch, but for the first time since he came to live with Rose—the first time in his existence—he does.
On Day Fifty-Five, he understands why they call it “getting lucky.” His brain is shrouded in a blissful haze, yet singularly focused on one thing: he has just had sex with Rose Tyler. He’s done the deed, gotten busy, mattress mamboed, knocked boots—he doesn’t have boots; maybe he should get some—and he feels a little bit like whooping…but his bones are liquid and he’s melting into the soft down of the bed. His hair is in a state of permanent shock, his eyelids droop half-mast, and his mouth is set in a goofy sort of half-grin that doesn’t seem to want to fade, but he doesn’t mind. He fights to keep his eyes open just to keep looking down at an equally happy Rose falling asleep with one arm across his chest, her hand above his single heart, and her legs tangled with his.
On Day Seventy-Seven, they spend the entire day in bed. He moans loudly.
She tells him through a stuffed-up nose to “shu’ ub.”
“‘Shut up’? Really? These could be my last words, Rose Tyler. I’m going to die!”
“No, you’re not.”
“Yes, I am.”
“It’s just a cold.”
“Is not. It’s swine flu, bird flu, SARS—No.” He gasps. “The Plague!”
“It’s not the Plague. They didn’t even have that here.”
He whines and moans and groans and “But Roooooose”s, and even though she’s miserable herself, she brings him soup, blows on it when it’s too hot, and patiently cleans him up when he sneezes in her face and half the bowl goes down his front.
On Day One-Hundred Twelve, they’re not okay. Neither of them knows how they got to this point, but hurtful things are being flung carelessly to the air between them. Things like maybe if he came back, she’d leave with him—back to her own universe, back home. Things like maybe if the wanker did come back, he’d just steal his TARDIS, and he could be the one stuck on this planet.
He pulls at the doorknob, tries to flee with some dignity, but the jamb sticks. He twists and pulls and jiggles the lock and finally it breaks free. Tears prickle in his eyes, and he wants to know why this stupid body has his tear ducts hardwired to his frustration. It’s a dumb design; he doesn’t feel like crying, he feels like running.
He winces when he hears the door slam behind him—he didn’t really mean that—but it’s done. He can’t take it back. He runs.
On Day One-Hundred Fourteen, he runs home. She’s ready for him when he walks in, and he isn’t expecting that. He’s expecting to at least be able to change out of the clothes he left in, the ones that are soaked through and clinging to his cold skin. Maybe even a shave and a steaming cup of tea. He doesn’t get those things; they’re going to have it out right now.
She unfurls herself from the blankets, rises from the couch with an un-drunk, already-cold mug of tea in her hand and strides toward him. They’re toe-to-toe before he can find his voice.
She leans in close and he’s nervous. “Yes,” she says against his temple. “Definitely,” against his jaw.
He shivers, swallows thickly, and thinks—knows—they should solve this with words, but when she pulls back to look at him like that, he thinks the words can wait.
They’re both sorry, and that’s enough for now.
They’re a mess of tangled limbs and warm breath as they fall to the bed. His wet clothes are left on the carpet and oh, she’s not going to like that later. He wonders why—how—he has room for that thought when he’s got a half-naked Rose Tyler in his arms, then he knows: he never wants to make her mad at him again.
Right now, he decides, he’s going to make her very, very happy with him.
On Day One-Hundred Fifty, he thinks Rose might be pregnant. He wants to believe it’s his superior Time Lord brain counting thirty days to the millisecond. He knows it’s his human brain and his human something else.
He’s not sure if she thinks that—that there might soon be three heartbeats between them again—but he thinks he’s scared, delighted, anxious, proud, reckless, loving, loved.
He wonders if it’s a human trick, to feel all these things at once and not explode into light. If so, it’s better than any trick any Time Lord ever had.
On Day One-Hundred Fifty-Two, he finds out he’s wrong when she throws a pillow at him and demands toffee and a backrub.
He’s not sure why he isn’t relieved, or of the reasons he should be.
On Day Two-Hundred Two, he drops a ring—the ring—down the garbage disposal and panics. He stares down the dark void of the drain in horror.
Neither of them are ready for the question to be asked, but that ring….It’s The Ring, and he’s not going to find a replacement. When his own hand fails him (as does chewing-gum-on-a-wire and the vacuum hose with a bit of nylon over the top) he admits defeat and calls a plumber.
When Rose asks what happened, he has to tell her he finally finished that sonic prototype, and it was rather less successful than one might have hoped—and by that he means it was a complete failure.
She rolls her eyes and asks him what’s for supper.
On Day Three-Hundred Ninety-Eight, he thinks they are ready, but she comes home with two zeppelin tickets.
“Fancy a trip?”
“Yes!” he exclaims too loudly. He’s done so well so far. He’s only had a few freak-outs—no, they weren’t freak-outs. Slips, lapses, tiny episodes, he thinks. But oh, would he love to travel. He doesn’t have the universe at his fingertips anymore, but this world is still different, still has a lot to offer. Maybe the Sphinx still has a nose because he wasn’t there to meddle, and maybe the sand feels different under his feet there because the silicon dioxide content isn’t the same in this universe. Maybe the Great Wall of China wasn’t built, but there’s one in Mexico, and maybe the view is still spectacular. Maybe the best chips on the planet aren’t at their old haunt at the hole-in-the-wall on Baker and Twenty-Fourth. Maybe they’re across the globe in Sydney, and maybe they can find them.
“Yes,” he says quieter, and then, “Where?”
And they go.
On Day Four-Hundred and Twelve, they’re running for their lives from a hunter-gatherer group in the Amazon that he’s managed to insult.
They run, and the humidity gives them an endless supply of sweat. Huge droplets pool from every pore making their hair stick close to their scalps and their clothes stick to their skin as though they’d just emerged from a swimming hole fully-clothed and a muddy one at that, the way the forest wants to cling to them and never let go.
He knows it’s just something in the way this adrenal-cortical system works that makes him think that maybe they’re going to die this time, something about these rubbish—wonderful—human hormones, but he says the words anyway.
“Will you marry me?”
“What?” she says between tight gasps for air.
Her answer doesn’t come immediately. He doesn’t know if she’s thinking or trying to find the air for the words or both, but he’s dying every second.
“Okay,” she says, then looks over her shoulder to the group gaining on them. “Can it wait?”
“Yes!” he exclaims. He hollers an indecipherable word, grabs her hand, and they run faster.