Return to Bad Wolf Bay

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Rose meets Dr John Smith at a dinner party held by her stepfather and no-one can believe he is not the Doctor. He's funny, he's brilliant and asks Rose to go travelling with him. Rose thought she had learned her lesson but decides to go with him as his assistant until they end up on a beach in Norway and Rose can't stand it any more when he never says he loves her.

Rose meets Dr John Smith at a dinner party held by her stepfather and no-one can believe he is not the Doctor. He's funny, he's brilliant and asks Rose to go travelling with him. Rose thought she had learned her lesson but decides to go with him as his assistant until they end up on a beach in Norway and Rose can't stand it any more when he never says he loves her.

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Chapter 1
Doctor John Smith is a tenth Doctor-type character who may or may not be the Doctor in human form!

Rose had been in the alternate universe exactly one year, her mother Jackie had immediately taken to Pete Tyler and they were married within 3 months of their arrival, a baby on the way.

Rose had been woken one night, Jackie was 6 months pregnant and to appease her daughter, had made the long journey by road and sea to Norway so Rose could see the Doctor one last time. Rose had come away heartbroken, somehow having believed he would be actually waiting for her where the gap between universes had come out – the Norwegian name for Bad Wolf Bay and take her back with him. It wasn't meant to be.

What had started out in the realization that those two words – 'Bad Wolf' had been a way of getting her back to the games station, causing the regeneration of the Doctor into the face of the man she had grown even more in love with had dashed all her hopes over ever seeing the man she loved ever again. He had told her the two universes would collapse if she even tried to touch him. She would have done it too, never mind the damn universes, she wanted to be with him.

As his image had faded away, Rose had been filled with tears, her mother comforting her and she still didn't know if he loved her or not. She had at least been hoping to find that much out but all he had said was her name. It had been the same the time that the Tardis had fallen down the pit and he had gone after it, not knowing if he would ever see her again, all he had said was her name and that she knew.

Maybe she did know, maybe that was his way of saying her loved her but it would have been nice to actually hear him saying it to her, even if he was only a hologram. They had made the long journey back to London, staying overnight in Bergen, Rose sharing a room with her mother as the hotels were fairly booked up, Pete sharing a twin room with Mickey.

That had been a month ago, Jackie didn't have long to go now and they were going to celebrate being in this world exactly a year with a big party, Jackie's first attempt at organising one. Everyone had accepted Rose and Jackie, Rose went to work at Torchwood when she had completed her training and everyone there liked her and she was settling down as head of scientific research, giving her chance to examine ways of possibly crossing dimensions without disturbing the fabric of space. One project was coming along well, a dimension cannon and some successful results were being recorded but no-one had actually dared to use it yet.

It was like they were all afraid to use it, fearing they would never come back and Rose had been forbidden to try to use it. All it was doing was recording timelines in different dimensions and Rose was only interested in getting back to her own world and so far, non of the readings indicated they had found it.

Rose was in her room at the Tyler mansion, getting ready for the party. Why she wasn't looking forward to it she didn't know. Maybe it was the memory of the last big party in that house, the Cyberman attack and all the deaths that had occurred in front of her eyes. She didn't know why she had stayed there, she was planning on moving out as soon as she could, after she had gained the confidence to live in this world on her own.

Mickey knew she was unhappy. He had been outside while the events of that night had taken place but she had told him over the past year what had happened inside and had asked him what had finally made him decide to stay here when she went back. He had just replied he was not going to remain the tin dog when it was obvious Rose had been in love with the Doctor and his gran had needed him.

Downstairs, Rose could hear lively music playing, some songs were the same here as back on her own world, her favourite recording artists existed and she had found new ones. It was the same as TV and films, a lot of actors were also famous in this world, including her favourite Scottish actor who to her dismay had recently got married. She wished she had stayed in her own world after she found that out.

Descending down the stairs, everyone watched her in her pale blue ankle length dress with diamond sequins and a low neckline. To compliment it she wore a black choker with a pink stone in the middle and had curled her hair into twists. Mickey was the first one to come over to her, he had been hoping she would agree to start dating him again, nothing serious, just to get her to start going out again. He earned a decent wage now, he wouldn't have to get her to pay like he used to and not just taking her to the pub to watch the football.

Pete saw her coming down and begged everyone's attention. He was just waiting for Jackie to come downstairs as he crossed over to where Rose was, on the last to bottom step.

"Ladies and gentlemen, if I may have a moment please."

Pete paused, looking around and then seeing Jackie at the top of the stairs.

He went up to escort her down, Rose thought it was a far cry from when she had seen the first Jackie Tyler descend the stairs at her 40th (39th, the woman had insisted back then) and Rose's mother walked down arm in arm with her husband, joining Rose and Pete linked arms with hers and made the announcement.

"I know a lot of you remember my first wife, how she was taken that night and it's now exactly one year since Rose and my present wife came to live here. So if you'll all lift your glasses to join me in a toast to my lovely wife Jackie Tyler and my stepdaughter Rose, I would just like to say to them both how empty my life was until they came along."

Pete was handed a glass of champagne and raised it up.

"To Jackie and Rose, happy first anniversary in this world."

Everyone raised their glasses and repeated "To Jackie and Rose."

Rose and Jackie both blushed, Pete had moved forward and both women had linked arms and were smiling. Now it all seemed worthwhile, being accepted for who they were. Rose never would have believed when she came here the first time she would ever be back living here. She had been a waitress the first time around and now serving staff were handing her and her mother glasses of champagne, Jackie being allowed one glass for the occasion.

As Rose sipped on her drink, taking nibbles from the food trays, she wandered around the house, saying hello to people she knew from Torchwood and people she had seen at meetings, backers and those interested in the work they were doing, all prominent people as Pete had been when he had just been an observer back in the days before he had taken control after its downfall, having been infiltrated by the Cybermen and people who had plotted to bring it down.

Rose stopped to talk to Gwen and Tosh, women she saw most days at work, sharing a few jokes with them. Rose couldn't get over the fact that Gwen looked like a serving girl she had met in the 1800's. Everyone invited knew how Rose and her mother had got there, knew about Rose's heroic attempts to bring down John Lumic and they all knew of the legendary Doctor but non of them talked about him in front of Rose.

Walking around the room also was Mickey, hoping to get chance to talk to her, to get her in a quiet corner and ask her out, if she said no, he wouldn't try to make a big deal out of it and would keep trying. What neither he or Rose knew was that someone had been late for the party and had brought an uninvited guest.

Rose had been horrified to find that her co-workers had included a few faces she recognised from her own world's version of Torchwood, including Yvonne Hartman and a few she didn't know the names of but had seen them on the monitor when she had been found out. It was Miss Hartman who was late, waiting for the man she had invited to the party. Not as a date but because Professor Jonathan Smith wanted to meet the famous Pete Tyler and was hoping he could get Torchwood's backing for a research project he was planning in a few month's time. The museum he worked for was a bit low on funds and he was going to have to find a sponsor himself if he wanted to find new artefacts for a display he was planning.

As Yvonne showed her invitation to the two hefty security men on the main door, saying that John Smith was her plus one and showing her Torchwood ID, they were let in. John had stood in awe at the entranceway to the mansion. Yvonne still couldn't work out how she had managed to have him tag along with her, it was only because he was her cousin on her mother's side and she only ever saw him at family gatherings but he knew she was well respected at Torchwood so he had thought her the perfect person to go to. So she had finally given in and had thought the party was the best way to introduce him to her boss and the best way for John to meet him informally rather than get him into Torchwood.

John was still in the doorway. Yvonne just wanted to get him introduced so she could enjoy herself without him following her around. She had never understood how the gangly mad professor had managed to even get as far as he had. John was tall, slim, had hair that had a mind of its own, he had a tendency to ramble on about nothing yet he could captivate any size audience and keep them that way for hours. As she liked to put it, he could stand reading the London telephone directory and people would listen to him.

He seemed to mesmerise everyone who came across him and if that wasn't bad enough in her mind, he insisted everyone called him Doctor, saying anyone can be called John Smith.

Yvonne realised he was not following her so she turned around and called him.

"Come along Doctor, if you want to meet Pete Tyler, we haven't got all night."

John managed to stop staring at his surroundings and turned to answer her.

"Right, yes, brilliant. Thanks for getting me in Cous, I really appreciate it. So, Allons-y, lead the way."

Yvonne led the way into the main reception room, some people were just talking, others were sitting at tables eating and drinking, music was playing and some people were dancing in one of the rooms that had been cleared for the purpose and Yvonne spotted her boss, with his wife and stepdaughter. Noticing he wasn't behind her again, she called him from a few feet away.

"Doctor, this way," Yvonne called.

John followed her voice.

Just at that moment, Rose had told her mother she was going to go get some food and asked her if she wanted anything.

"No, I'm okay thanks, you go get something Sweetheart. Why don't you go mingle again with your friends?"

"They're not really friends Mum."

"Well it's about time you started making them again, you can't stay in all the time. Why don't you start by going out with Mickey, just as a friend? At least it would get you out. You only ever go out with us."

"I'm fine Mum, really and I'm not going out with Mickey."

Rose walked off to the food table at the other end of the reception room and could have sworn she heard someone say 'Doctor' but they could have been talking to or about anyone who worked at Torchwood, there were scientists and medical staff, so she took no notice. She put some food on a plate and was about to go back to her mother when Doctor Owen Harper, Torchwood's version of Casanova cornered her. She had been trying to avoid him.

"Rose, you've been avoiding me, why?" Owen asked, taking a swipe at some of her food and Rose slapping his hand so he withdrew.

"Go get your own food Owen, it's just behind you or are you just too lazy?"

"Now now Rose, it's your party so be the perfect hostess."

He tried again and got another slap on the wrist.

"Go away Owen, I'm not going out with you so stop asking."

"You haven't got a boyfriend, you could do a lot worse than me."

"Yeah, well tell that to your last girlfriend, oh I forgot – you still have one. Where is Lucy tonight?"

"You know I would ditch her for you Rose, she's not like you."

"No, I actually have some taste and that doesn't include you."

She finally slipped round him and made her way back to where her mother and Pete were sitting, she couldn't quite come to terms with calling him 'dad' yet but she would have to when the baby came along and was old enough to notice. She saw that Yvonne, head of R&D was talking to him and a man was standing at her side with his back to her, shaking Pete's hand. For a moment, she pictured how energetically the Doctor used to shake hands. The man was in a black suit and was wearing what looked like black and white converse shoes.

Rose walked slowly towards the table, unsure as how to approach this. From the back she could have sworn she was looking at the Doctor, she had seen him in a black suit the night of the Cyberman attack when he had taken a suit from the kitchen and put it on to get into the party because she wanted to see how this world's Pete Tyler lived. Just as she reached the table, Pete looked across at her. She saw the look on his face and her mother's and wondered what was wrong, they both looked like they had seen a ghost.

Pete found his voice.

"Rose, Sweetheart, I want you to meet Professor Jonathan Smith from the Metropolitan Museum. Doctor Smith – my stepdaughter, Rose Tyler."

John turned to Rose and she dropped the contents of her plate onto the floor, the plate crashing down to join it. People nearby turned to see what had happened as Rose saw his face.

He extended both hands, grabbing her right hand and shaking it vigorously.

"Hello, nice to meet you – I'm The Doctor."

Chapter 2

Rose had to sit down before she fell down, her mother thought she was fainting and called a servant to fetch a medic but Rose waved her away, recovering slightly.

"I'm fine Mum, really." Then she looked up at the man who had caused her to nearly pass out. "Sorry, I don't know what came over me."

"It's ok, culture shock, happens to the best of us." He held out his hand to help her up.

A servant was clearing the mess up from around her, Rose having realised it was her that had made it by dropping a plateful of food on the carpet, her mother would have her for that. He talked and acted just like The Doctor, even said the same thing her first Doctor had said the first time she had stepped into the Tardis, oh so long ago now, in another universe.

John was talking to her. "Miss Tyler, are you alright?"

She realised she was still holding onto his arm and pulled hers away. "Yeah, I'm ok, sorry."

"Then allow me to fetch you some more food."

"We have serving people to do that," Jackie chirped in and Rose thinking she had stepped back in time all by herself and it was the first Jackie talking.

"No, I could just use some air, it's just stuffy in here. Excuse me Doctor."

"It's John, John Smith, I just prefer to be called The Doctor, or just Doctor but never just Doc, I hate being called Doc, makes it sounds like Bugs Bunny, you know, 'What's up Doc'," he smiled.

His cousin was scowling at him, as if to say he never knew when to quit working that gob of his.

"You'll have to excuse my cousin, Rose, he never knows to quit while he's ahead," Yvonne said, rolling her eyes and pulling on his arm. "Come on Doctor, let's leave Rose to recover."

John was not wanting to leave, not without making sure it hadn't been him that had caused her to to feel faint in the first place though he couldn't understand why Pete Tyler and his wife had stared at him like they had seen a ghost, not that he believed in such things, even being a man of science, having got his doctorate in the subject and in the field of archaeology and artefacts.

"Miss Tyler, would you at least allow me to escort you out to get some fresh air then, I feel rather responsible for your distress just now."

He held out his arm for her to take it. Rose looked at Pete, who just nodded.

"Go ahead Rose, get some air, it has got rather warm in here, Dr Smith, I entrust my stepdaughter to your company, we'll talk when you return her safely. I'm very interested in your work, I've read about your former discoveries. So you're looking for a backer to fund your next expedition? I dare say myself and other parties may be interested."

John's face lit up, this was going to be easier than he thought and this Rose Tyler had literally fallen at his feet. If he could get her on his side, the funding would be his.

"We-elll," he prolonged the word to emphasise it for effect, "It's not really an expedition as such, more like travelling the world looking for artefacts for my next big exhibition next year, I want to take a year off and travel to different countries and gather two items from each place I visit, sort of a marathon you might say."

Rose still couldn't believe what she was hearing. A Doctor, travelling the world. This had to be someone's idea of a joke, a cruel one at that but apart from her family, Jake and Mickey, no-one knew what the Doctor looked like. The security footage from the time of their first visit that showed he and Rose at the party had been sealed and placed under Torchwood encryption codes that only Pete knew, it was impenetrable. Pete showed that video to no-one, not even Rose or Jackie had seen it, only Jake who had helped him secure it.

"So, may I escort you outside Miss Tyler?" John was asking her, looking worried since she had taken his arm but wasn't moving.

Rose shook her head to clear it. "Yes, fine, let's go."

John led the way towards the patio window at the far end of the vast hallway. "Avante!" he said as they reached the doors, leading onto a paved seating area with a round glass table and cushioned chairs surrounded by potted palm trees and other tall plants.

It was autumn and was getting a bit chilly in the evenings and Rose was wearing a sleeveless dress so John took his jacket off and put it around her shoulders.

"Did I say or do something to upset you?" he asked, withdrawing his hands as she held his jacket around her shoulders.

"Oh no, sorry, it wasn't your fault, it was mine, entirely," Rose answered, trying to cover up her initial shock. "Please, call me Rose. It's John, isn't it?"

"Actually, everyone calls me Doctor," he grinned, wishing she had been paying attention earlier when his cousin had been trying to shut him up again.

He'd only asked her because she was the best way of getting his funding for the next year. The museum had a limited budget and his last outing had gone slightly over what he had been allocated so this year, it was practically nothing, it might just get him to France and back if he was lucky. They would still pay him his basic salary though, which was something but his grand plan couldn't become reality without funding on a massive scale, enough to get him and maybe a researcher around the world. He would have to pick someone he could get along with, preferably male so they could share a twin room in various hotels to keep costs down.

He'd considered a female assistant but his last one hadn't quite gone down well, she had developed a crush on him, despite him telling her from the outset that it was strictly business and she had assured him she only went for her own kind, that being Afro-Caribbean, she had almost crossed the line several times. He had just got out of a long relationship with a woman called Sophia, who had been the museum curator's niece but she had left him to go work in America and he'd failed to get her to reconsider. He'd had to keep himself in check, Martha really wasn't his type, she was a bit bossy and had developed a jealous streak if he had talked to any females where they were staying and had put several of them off him asking them for a date. No, he was having no more of that, it was either a male assistant or someone like his cousin and she wouldn't go with him in a million years.

Maybe he would consider a female assistant, if she wasn't interested in him they could be best mates. He'd mentioned it to Yvonne, who had said she had a friend who worked as a secretary at some security firm he couldn't remember the name of, something to do with fancy locksmiths or suchlike, he thought her name was Donna or something. Anyway Yvonne had said this Donna wanted to travel and since she was very particular about her male friends and had a mind of her own, they should get on well together and a meeting was being set up, once he got the funding.

He turned his attention back to Rose, who had been staring up at the stars, miles away. John thought she probably was. "Anything interesting up there?" he asked, sitting next to her and looking up himself.

"What? Oh yeah, I love looking at the stars, they make me wish I was out there amongst them, you know, travelling to different worlds and galaxies. A girl's got to have a dream," she sighed.

Rose knew that she couldn't tell anyone outside the organisation about where her and her mother had come from and she knew this John Smith wasn't from Torchwood, he had come with Yvonne, her cousin or something.

"Well no harm in that. Just imagine what a life that would be, no schedules to keep, go where you like and stay as long as you like. That would be cool."

Wouldn't it just? Rose was thinking. She was getting cold now, despite the jacket wrapped around her shoulders.

"I should get back inside, I'm cold and I'm starving now," she smiled.

John was liking how she was smiling, even if it wasn't necessarily about him. He helped her up from her chair and led her back indoors, Rose handing his jacket back to him. She noticed how slim he was, just like the Doctor, not that she should be looking and he even had the same messy hairstyle and the sideburns. Life was being unfair to her or at least this universe was.

Getting a plate and handing one to Rose, John walked down the table of various party foods and began filling his plate, piling it high that Rose wondered how he manage to stay so slim, it wasn't like he was likely to have superior biology or something. Rose saw Owen eyeing her again but this time he was sat with his blonde haired girlfriend Lucy, who if John thought she had her head in the stars then Lucy certainly did, she always looked a bit spaced out whenever Rose had seen her and wondered what the woman had seen in Owen Harper.

Rose had heard rumours that Owen had lured her away from non other than Harold Saxon, a junior cabinet minister for communications and he had not been pleased about it apparently and tried to get Owen dismissed but Pete had somehow defended him and he had stayed, much to Rose's annoyance. She followed John down the table and caught up with him.

"Shall we go sit at that table over there John?" she asked, grabbing his free arm with hers and steering him towards a recently vacated table.

She purposely passed Owen giving him her best 'Who hasn't got a boyfriend and who needs you' look as they sat down, Rose turning her back on him.

Owen knew she was doing it on purpose, oh well, it was her loss so he turned his attention back to poor Lucy, who was totally unaware her boyfriend was a letch.

"So John, tell me about this plan of yours to travel the world," Rose said, picking at a egg and watercress sandwich and not so politely pulling the piece of disgusting what she called grass out of it and placing it on the side of her plate. Whoever decided that putting grass in a sandwich was the 'in' thing wanted shooting in her books.

"Well, like I said to your stepfather, my plan is to travel the world over twelve months, stopping in twelve different countries and in each country, stay in two cities for two weeks at a time, digging around markets, antiques shops and if there are any, archaeological digs that will allow me to join in and then have everything shipped back to the museum as I find them, to be stored for when I get back. Then my idea really comes into it – get ready for this Rose – I plan to present the ultimate exhibition called 'The twelve month tour presented by Dr Jonathan Smith' featuring everything I've found in twelve months. The museum curator thinks it's a great idea."

Rose wondered where he got his ideas and his enthusiasm for such things from. "So what exactly will you be looking for on your travels, anything or just certain things?"

"No Rose, not just any old thing. It has to be ancient, no-one ever hearing of it before, unusual but not particularly expensive, I will be on a budget, so markets are the best places, you know, haggling over prices and the vendor not really knowing what he's selling and glad to get it off his hands."

He stopped to take a bite out of his food, which relieved Rose so she had time to eat, he had a gob just like the Doctor's. It was raising her interest though, better than being in a stuffy museum or even stuffy Torchwood. Still, the last thing she ever wanted was to go travelling with a Doctor and never knowing where they would end up. She had left that life behind, albeit not out of choice.

John looked up from his food. "Have you ever visited the Metropolitan Museum Rose? It's right in the middle of London, surely you've passed it? Never been tempted to call in and have a look around?" He could see she hadn't. "Mmn… not even once, not a tiny bit interested?" He indicated a small gap between his finger and thumb as he said the word 'tiny.' Then he added, "Not the teeniest bit," he smiled, closing the gap.

Rose smiled, he was just as daft too. "No, I've never been. Had enough of that sort of thing at school though we went to the other museum, the one with all the.." She trailed off, suddenly remembering not to mention dinosaurs, she hadn't researched all this universe's history yet and was always putting her foot in it, which was ok at Torchwood but she had to learn to keep quiet about some things.

"Sorry, shouldn't mention a rival museum to you."

"It's ok, don't worry about it, no problemo Rose."

Rose was getting upset every time he said the exact same things as the Doctor had said, some of it only days before they had been parted. She wanted to run away and never lay her eyes on this John Smith again, hell, he even had the same name. She needed to talk to Pete about this, she couldn't cope.

"Would you excuse me John?" she asked, putting her empty plate down, she really needed to get away right now.

He got up as she did. "It was nice talking to you Rose, very nice, brilliant," he grinned. Then he went all serious. "Do you really have to go?" he asked, looking at her with the same brown eyes she used to imagine looking into and falling into them.

"I should get back to our guests and my mother will wonder where I got to."

"Well, your stepfather entrusted you to my care so I am obligated to at least walk you back to him. Come on, let's go find him and I can see if he is prepared to back my latest venture."

He held his arm out for her again and she took it, walking past Owen Harper again who had his girlfriend backed into a corner and was snogging the life out her. Rose thought better Lucy than her, he was getting more repulsive by the minute.

Reaching Pete and Jackie, who were talking about the very man who was now approaching them, debating how this was even possible, Jackie was recovering from the shock.

"But Pete, how can it be him? He's in the other universe and this is going to upset Rose even more. She's just got over seeing him on the beach in bloody Norway and now his double or clone or whatever has just walked off with her. I tell you Pete, she can't go through that again. You have to make him leave her alone. Give him that money he wanted for his travelling and leave Rose in peace, with him gone for a year, she'll forget about him. Tell him the money is his if he leaves tonight and doesn't come back, I can't go through all that with her again, not now."

"Jaks, I will back him but I can't justify telling him to leave her alone, he's done nothing except be polite to us and to Rose, she has to make her own mind up."

"She's 20 years old Pete you're now her legal guardian until she's 25, that's what we agreed when you adopted her."

"Jackie, she may be 20 where you came from but we are three years ahead of your world, here, she's officially 23, you know I got all her papers to give her a new date of birth and everything to go with it."

"Yes, I know but you have to do something, you can at least agree it's not good for her."

Pete saw Rose and John approaching them, Rose had her arm linked with his. "Oh I don't know Jackie, they seem to have made friends. I don't think you need to worry about Rose getting upset."

Chapter 3

While Rose had been outside with John Smith, Mickey had been watching as they walked through the patio door. Just when Rose had been settling down, his rival had come back or had he? There was no way he could have got back, he'd seen the man walking around with Yvonne, talking to Pete and Jackie. Still, he was going to keep a eye on him but what was Rose thinking of? Walking off with the Doctor's double? He knew she was a wreck after Norway.

Rose was walking back towards her mother, John had made a joke about he had twisted his cousin's arm to get him here tonight and she probably had disowned him by now.

"Mr Tyler," John said as they approached. "Here she is, safe and sound, as promised." He turned to Jackie. "Mrs Tyler, you're looking quite lovely tonight." He took her hand and kissed the back of it. "You have a very lovely daughter, you must be very proud of her."

Jackie was trying to pick herself up of the floor, this version of the mad alien was certainly charming. Pete saw he was still attached to Rose.

"Please John, call me Pete. Now let's go to my study and talk about your funding shall we?"

John reluctantly let go of Rose's arm. He turned towards her and took her hand, again kissing the back of it. "Rose, would you dance with me later, after my discussion with your stepfather? I'd be most honoured if you said yes."

How could she refuse? He'd been polite and she knew deep inside he was not the Doctor, unless he was in some sort of disguise or he'd lost his memory but he was Yvonne's cousin so that was out.

"Yes, I'd like that, I'll be around somewhere."

With that, Pete led him off to his study and Jackie rounded on her daughter.

"Rose, what on earth are you thinking about?" she asked, as she pulled her into a corner so they could talk freely. She might be new to all this alternate universe lark but she knew not to mention the Timelord.

"Mum, it's ok, I know it's not him, it couldn't be, he came with Yvonne, I've heard her talking about him before."

"I still can't believe how much he looks and acts like him, I mean what are the chances of that happening? We've been here a year and now he turns up, at this party? You need to be very careful Rose, you're still vulnerable after losing you know who."

"It's ok Mum, people here know about him, they just don't know what he looks like. I find it strange that Yvonne failed to mention that her cousin's nickname was 'Doctor' though. She knows about our Doctor. I suppose she didn't think it was unusual, anyone could be called that."

Jackie still wasn't sure. "Have you seen Mickey or Jake around? Surely they've seen this John Smith walking about?"

"I haven't seen Mickey since I came downstairs and I've not seen Jake at all, he's probably doing some security stuff, you know how paranoid he gets. He's just a little bit over-protective sometimes, especially with what happened here that night."

Jackie had been told certain things but not in great detail, Pete figured it would be too upsetting for her. She knew about the first Jackie Tyler, even felt sorry for her demise but had also thought she was a proper cow the way she used to treat Pete since she herself had been without her Pete for 20 years.

As if on cue, Mickey made an appearance, spotting Rose and Jackie were on their own. "So, what's all that about then Rose? Who's that bloke who looks like The Doctor? I know it's not him, saw him come in with Yvonne."

"It's Yvonne's cousin, he's called John Smith," Rose replied, getting tired of this game everyone seemed to be playing.

The game of 'is he or isn't he the original Doctor?' A game she didn't want to play. The universe had taken him away from her and was now trying to compensate her for her loss but she didn't want compensation, she wanted her own Doctor back. She should end this now, before John got any ideas, hell, before she got any ideas. She had promised him a dance, just one and that would be it. Pete would give him the money for his travels and he would be gone, for a year and he hopefully would find someone and maybe she would, one day.

Her thoughts were interrupted by Mickey. "You're kidding? He's actually called Dr John Smith?" he was saying to Jackie, who could see Rose's mind was wandering and had told Mickey the man's name.

"I know, tell me about it. Poor Rose doesn't know which way to turn, do you Sweetheart?"

"What?" Rose asked, not sure where the conversation was going. "I'm going for a walk around, ask a few of the girls if they've met him before, him being Yvonne's cousin." She took off before either of them could object.

She went to find Gwen and Tosh, two of what she considered friends from work, not that she saw them socially apart from office parties and such like. She found Gwen with her other half, Rhys, sitting at a table, laughing. They always looked happy, despite their move from Cardiff.

"Hi Gwen, have you got a minute?" Rose asked, taking a vacant chair. She motioned for Rhys to stay as he got up.

"Just wondered if you'd met Yvonne's cousin before, the one she was with earlier?"

"No Rose, I saw him with her earlier though, she was calling him Doctor, which is a bit strange if she's related to him."

"He's called John Smith, that's his title, some archaeologist or something, not a medical one. Never mind. He's after getting my stepfather to fund his latest outing to find new artefacts. See you later."

Rose got up and went to find Tosh who was grateful for the rescue as one of the Vitex board of directors was trying to corner her.

"Tosh, there you are!" Rose exclaimed, grabbing the woman by the arm. "Gwen and I have been looking all over for you. Oh, excuse us, girly talk, wouldn't interest you in the slightest." She managed to steer the woman away.

"Thanks Rose, I don't know how I got into that one. Who was that I saw you with just a while ago, he looked kind of fit, who was he?"

"Yvonne's cousin, John Smith, trying to get my stepfather to fund him, he works for a museum."

"Right, he's a geek then, just my type," Tosh smiled.

"Hands off, I saw him first," Rose quipped. They both laughed.

Rose did not normally try to hog all the males at Torchwood and though Rose liked the woman, she felt sorry for her because she had a thing for Owen, who being pig-headed, didn't even acknowledge she existed. Pity he didn't think of her in the same light though what she had done to attract his attention, she had no idea, she hadn't gone out of her way to attract his unwanted innuendos. He gave her the creeps. She thought he must have a thing for blondes, since Lucy was blonde.

She had just taken a glass of champagne from a tray that was passing, remembering to thank the waitress since she had posed as one that fateful night. She was never going to get over that and was surprised Pete was holding such a big party there again. He had come to terms with what had happened and it had taken a long time to get over it but having another Jackie and having Rose back had lifted him out of his seclusion and now he had a son or daughter on the way, they had opted not to find out.

Suddenly, she felt a hand on her shoulder and prayed it wasn't Owen. It wasn't, it was John.

"There you are Rose, you owe me a dance, remember?" He took the glass from her hand and put it on a table, leading her towards the room where everyone was dancing.

Ironically, they were playing 'I want to dance with somebody' which made her smile, followed by a slower tune Rose had never heard before, something from this world and she held onto John as they danced slowly across the room, John was making her laugh by bumping into people and she finally convinced him to wait for the faster tunes. They went to sit down and he went to get them some drinks and asked her a question.

"So, you work at Torchwood then do you? Isn't that rather boring?"

Rose laughed. "Probably not as boring as working in a museum. What do you do all day? Do you go around cataloguing things?"

It was his turn to laugh. "Well, not exactly, there's research to do, give a few lectures to university students, non of that kid's stuff and then sourcing artefacts on the internet that look interesting. Keeps me on my toes."

He finished his glass of champagne. "I could murder a cup of tea right now," he laughed, putting the glass down.

Rose put her glass down and got up, holding her hand out. "Then come with me."

He got up and followed Rose to the kitchen, which was out of bounds to guests. One of the Torchwood security staff was on duty, as they were throughout the house in private areas but he stepped aside as he saw Rose approach, looking at John.

"He's with me," Rose told the man and she led him into the kitchen, bypassing the staff and switching the kettle on.

"So, the heart of the Tyler household," John laughed, looking around him as staff were filling glasses and trays.

"I did this job once, before we met Pete Tyler." She hesitated to say it was actually in this house though, that would cause him to ask a lot of questions.

"Really? The Vitex heiress was a waitress, I never would have guessed," he smiled as Rose poured two cups of tea and got milk from the fridge, handing one to him.

"Yeah, me and mum, we didn't always have money. Come on, let's get out of their way."

John thought they were going back to the party but Rose bypassed the main area and led him across the back of the hallway into a small sitting room, again passing another guard. She didn't sit down though, at the other end there was a conservatory, lit up with blue and lights around the windows and Rose sat in one of the wicker chairs. John sat across from her.

It was one of her favourite places in the house, Pete had it added on so she could sit indoors and look up at the sky.

"So this is your hiding place? What's your fascination with the sky Rose, apart from wanting to travel amongst them?"

"Oh you have no idea John. I've been to places you could never imagine but not here."

"So are you an Egyptian princess who has come back to live another life then?" he laughed, careful not to let his cup stain the glass table.

He moved his chair closer and took her hand.

"I once saw a film about that, about an Egyptian princess, came back to life as a shop window dummy and married the store manager. Or was he the store manager? I never could remember. It was something like that. Anyway, she only came to life when he was around, oh wait a minute, he was the window dresser, that's right. Did a different display all the time and…." He broke off.

"Sorry, I tend to ramble a bit, Yvonne's always telling me about it, says my gob doesn't stop for anything."

Rose laughed, putting her cup down. His cousin was probably right but she didn't want to be rude.

"No, I used to be shop girl, at a store in London, just an ordinary shop girl until someone came along and took me away from it. We travelled together, for what seemed like forever until it all ended one day." She faded off, looking at the night sky. "Never mind me, where are you planning on travelling?"

"Oh, all sorts of places. Two towns or cities in each country, I've never done that before. Kind of like around the world in 80 days but I'll be doing it in 365 days. I'm not trying to break any records here."

"Don't think you have to worry about that John," Rose laughed.

"Please, call me Doctor."

"Sorry, it's just that the man I used to travel with, that was his nickname too, I can't bring myself to call you that yet."

"Yet? Does that mean we may get to meet again Rose?" he asked, taking her hand and stroking it.

"Well maybe, if Pete's going to fund your little shopping trip."

"Shopping trip? It's hardly like going the supermarket, walking down the aisles and saying I'll take one of those and one of those and paying for them at the checkout. It takes skill and patience, knowing what to look for, I studied for years before earning my title of professor, I was the youngest in my class. I'll have you know they used to make fun of me but I showed them all when I graduated at the top. Ha!"

Rose laughed, she could just imagine.

"So, how about you come and visit the museum, say on Saturday. I'll give you a personal tour."

"You work on Saturdays?"

"Not usually but I'll make an exception, just for you."

"I'm honoured and I accept your invitation."

"Great, brilliant, molto bene. I'll meet you at ten, on the steps. We'll have lunch there, I get a discount."


"What do you mean?"

Rose laughed, remembering the first time she had chips with the Doctor and she'd had to pay.

"I'm just winding you up you plum," she smiled whacking his other arm.

He took hold of her other hand as well.

"So it's a date then?"

"No, it's not a date sort of date, just a museum tour, don't get excited."

"Oh, well in that case, if you enjoy the tour, maybe I could take you out to dinner later?"

"We'll see, I'm not making any promises. Depends if you bore me to death on the tour."

"I do not bore people I'll have you know. Yvonne says I could read the London telephone directory and people would listen," he said proudly.

Rose let out a giggle. "I'd like to see that."

"Well maybe if I don't bore you to death on Saturday with my museum tour, you may actually get to hear me reading it."

"Maybe I'll look forward to it, if I survive and you don't have to carry me out of the museum."

"Well, I wouldn't mind if I had to."

"You might regret that."

"Maybe I will but hopefully you'll survive the ordeal."

"I'll certainly try."

By this time, they had found themselves leaning even closer as John moved his chair around bit by bit, keeping hold of her hands so he was at her side. Leaning over one last time, their lips were a fraction apart but Rose backed off, she was not ready for this, not ready to start properly dating the double of the man she had loved in another world.

John sensed something was wrong and backed off, thinking he was moving too fast for her. They had only met a few hours ago. She could have a boyfriend, she could think he had a girlfriend, there was a dozen reason why he should not push this on her. She was Pete Tyler's stepdaughter, the man who was going to fund his trip and if he messed up, he would have to find another sponsor.

Rose got up but he didn't let her hand go. Just then, the door to the sitting room opened and Pete came in and their hands dropped just before he saw them.

"Rose, the guests are leaving, your mother's looking for you. What are you doing in here?"

"It was my fault Mr Tyler, Rose made me a cup of tea and we just came in to get out of the way of the kitchen staff."

"Look John, you're a nice enough man but Rose has had a rough time over the past year, so take my advice and don't start anything you can't finish, she's had enough of that."

"Pete, don't say things like that to him, we were just talking, I swear we were. He invited me to the museum on Saturday and I'm going. You and mum wanted me to start going out so I'm going out, on a date with John."

Both Pete and John looked at her then at each other. John for once was lost for words, a first for him. She had accepted it was a date then or was she saying it for her stepfather's benefit? He wasn't going to take any chances.

"Mr Tyler, may I have your permission to date your stepdaughter?" he beamed.

Chapter 4

Pete was speechless for a change. Yes, he and Jackie had been pestering Rose to start going out again and under different circumstances he would have been delighted with the idea but with a man who looked like the Doctor, who called himself by the same name? Rose had told him that he used to go by the name John Smith when he was cornered and had to explain himself, which according to her, was quite often. What could he say though? He saw the look in Rose's eyes, she had been unhappy since her arrival, unlike her mother who had taken to it quite easily, having had it rough for 20 years.

"Well, I suppose, if that's what Rose wants. Do you Rose?"

Rose nodded though she still wasn't entirely sure and at this rate she never would. Maybe she should take the plunge so to speak. John would be gone in a few weeks anyway, it wasn't like it was going to be long term, just a few dates, there would be no harm and considering the alternative was that letch Owen or her old boyfriend from the other universe Mickey, it seemed quite appealing.

"Yes, that's what I want, thanks." Rose had agreed to living under Pete's rules until she was 25 in this world, another two years since she had somehow gained three years since being here.

"Well ok then John, you have my permission but don't you dare hurt her, it's not me you should be worried about. You'll have to answer to her mother if you step out of line." Pete grinned at that thought, this Jackie had a temper even his last wife would have envied but there again, she had never had a daughter.

John gave a mock salute with two fingers to his forehead. "Yes Sir, you have my word I will take great care of her." He was not going to mess this up, even if he would be leaving in a few weeks. He would have to think about that very carefully.

"Right, that's settled. Rose, come and say goodnight to your guests if you will?"

Rose followed Pete out of the sitting room, she was followed by John who took hold of her hand, which made Rose smile. She was never going to live this down now and she wasn't going to get rid of him, not until he went away and she had a feeling even then he would want to stay in touch.

Rose shook hands with most of the guests. Tosh had a disgruntled look on her face when she saw that Yvonne's cousin was with Rose but smiled and said goodnight. Gwen had a wicked smile on her face when she saw the two of them, she knew Rose had not been happy since her arrival and was glad she seemed to have made a friend from outside work.

Just a few guests remained and John had not seen his cousin leave, unless she had sneaked out earlier, which left him without a ride home since Yvonne had picked him up. It was going to cost a small fortune to get back to Ealing. He would have to have words with his cousin but just then she emerged from the staircase, apparently having been to use the bathroom.

"Come on Doctor, I thought you'd already left. Rose, has he been bothering you?" Yvonne asked, seeing the two were holding hands, something they seemed totally unaware of and smiling to herself.

It was something she never thought she would see, her cousin and Rose Tyler, an unlikely pairing if ever she had seen one. She had thought that the stuck-up Sophia had been no good for him anyway, she had too many ideas and then she had dumped him and after his disastrous last trip and that Martha Jones lusting after him, she was surprised John would ever want to chase after a woman again.

"No Yvonne, he's not been bothering me. He's taking me on a tour of the museum on Saturday."

This was news to her mother, who had been so busy thanking guests for coming, she had failed to see that John was still with Rose and was holding her hand.

"Oh, he is, is he?" Jackie piped up after turning from the last of the guests to depart. "When's that happened then? And where did you disappear to Madam? Your stepfather was looking all over for you."

"Mum, I didn't 'disappear' as you put it. I went to make some tea and we went into the conservatory, that's all. Join invited me on a tour of the museum and I accepted."

"Pete, did you know about this?" Jackie questioned her husband.

Pete knew there was going to be trouble now. He had just got Jackie calmed down over the initial shock of the prospects of Rose taking up with this John Smith, now it seemed more of a certainty than a probability.

"Jackie, she's not a child, she can make her own mind up who she wants to go out with. It's only a tour of the museum."

Jackie was about to give him one of her smart replies when Rose declared she was going outside, to say goodnight to John, leaving Pete and Jackie staring after her.

"Now look what you've done," Pete retorted. "Don't get in her way Jackie, she's found herself a boyfriend, isn't that what you've wanted since she got here?"

Jackie pouted. It was – just not with a Doctor look-alike who shared the same name. Still holding hands, Rose walked with John to the main entrance where a few people were still waiting for cars and taxis and braved the cool night air, following Yvonne to her car.

"Yvonne, give us a few moments will you?" John asked his cousin.

Yvonne smiled and said, "Take your time."

He led Rose around the corner, away from people who had just come out to get into a taxi. "So, I'll see you on Saturday, 10 am sharp. Rose, did you just say it was a date for the benefit of your stepfather?"

Rose smiled. She was going to keep him guessing. "Well, you'll find out on Saturday, won't you." She reached up and kissed his cheek. "Goodnight John."

John was slightly stunned yet just a short while ago, he was about to kiss her when she pulled back. If he lived to be 900 years old, he told himself he would never understand women. He decided to be modest and blushed slightly, not that Rose could see since it was dark.

"Goodnight Rose, I'm glad I finally got to meet you. Yvonne talks about you sometimes, just work stuff." He leaned down and kissed her cheek.

He drove off with his cousin, grinning like a Cheshire cat. He was never going to live this down now. Yvonne was older than he was and she always bossed him around to a certain extent although they didn't see a lot of each other now. She had to have her arm twisted to do him this huge favour and it had got him a bonus – a date with Rose Tyler. He couldn't wait for Saturday to come around. He also had an appointment to see Peter Tyler on Monday, at his Torchwood office and Yvonne was going to take him and get him in, then he would get a decision by the following Friday.

After that, he would start making all the travel arrangements, depending if things worked out with this Donna, who according to his cousin was ginger and sassy and took nothing from no-one. It would make a difference from someone like Martha who had followed him around like a love-sick puppy when he had made it plain he wasn't interested. He had done nothing to encourage her affections, she had said it was because he wore tight t-shirts and jeans but he wasn't going to change his dress style just to please her. No, Donna sounded just like the person he needed.

Yvonne pulled up outside his apartment block. "Here we are. So, you're going to take Rose to the museum are you?" she said with a bit of a smirk. "Hope you're not going to bore her to tears. So is that a proper date then?"

John didn't know if it was or not. "I suppose it is. What can you tell me about her?"

"Find out for yourself, you can look her up online. Goodnight Doctor and good luck. I'll meet you on Monday for your meeting with Pete Tyler."

"Thanks Cous."

He walked upstairs to his flat, thinking where he could take Rose in the evening, if she didn't object. At least he knew where she lived now.

Rose had just gone to her room after yet another debate about the newly introduced John Smith. She was having trouble wrapping her head around it as it was. Jackie was still of the opinion that he was the original, somehow deposited here just to annoy her, that he had lost his memory but Pete had argued that he was Yvonne's cousin so how could that be right?

"Well how do you explain how he sounds and dresses like him with the same trainers?" Jackie had asked.

"Just a coincidence, that's all Mum, I told you, I know it can't be him, it's impossible. Even if it was, how do you explain he has a whole life here? He as a cousin, maybe more than one even, he has a proper job, he's a professor and he was polite to you."

"Well, it's still weird, he can babble on just like that alien used to."

"Well, maybe he's just this universe's version of him and it just so happens that's how he's supposed to be. Almost everyone from our universe has a counterpart here, all except me."

She still hadn't come to terms with the fact she never existed here but if she had, she wouldn't be here today and Pete would never have married her mother or adopted her. She had to accept that not everyone was the same and there were people still alive here who she knew had died in her own universe, Pete being one of them. Famous people were still around and people who hadn't made it there were ultra famous here. It was all swings and roundabouts and the world had compensated. Just like it was trying to give her back her Doctor. Maybe she should be grateful and not slap it in the face.

Three days later

Having spent the last two days at work avoiding questioning from Gwen and Tosh about her impending date with John, Saturday morning soon came around. Rose opted for a fluffy pink sweater, black trousers and flat shoes, if she was walking around a museum for hours on end, she would need them. She still had not passed her driving test yet, she had only got up the courage a few months previously and Pete had promised her any car she wanted when she passed it.

So after breakfast, she waited for Pete's driver, Simon, to bring the family car around and he was going to drive her to the museum. Pete and Jackie were then going to be dropped off at the shopping mall, buying last minutes things for the baby before Jackie got too tired to go get anything. Rose was pacing up and down the hallway, waiting for her mother and thinking she was going to be late, even though there were 45 minutes to go and it was only a 20 minute drive. Maybe she should be late, it was supposed to be fashionable to be late but he might think she had changed her mind.

Just over 35 minutes later, Rose was stuck in traffic, cursing her mother for delaying her, they were near the museum but still 5 minutes out and she had no way of contacting John. She knew she should have got his number before he left or got it from Yvonne. Then she got the idea to call Yvonne and ask her to give him a message but the traffic cleared and she arrived with two minutes to spare. Bounding out of the car after shouting 'Bye' after her, she saw John looking up at the museum clock then checking his watch. Then he saw her and waved, relieved she had not changed her mind.

He had been pacing up and down for half an hour, not wanting to be late. The two museum doormen had been taking bets between them that the mad professor was meeting a woman, one of them saying that would never happen in a million years after his last girlfriend had ditched him and the other one betting him twenty quid he was. One of them was now out of pocket as Rose and John greeted each other, John leaning down to kiss her cheek.

"Hello Rose, just made it then? Got stuck in traffic?"

"Yeah, it was horrendous around Piccadilly Circus. Glad I'm not late, we had to wait for mum, they're going shopping for baby things."

"Well, you're here now. I gave up trying to drive to work, nowhere to park or high priced parking. I get the underground now. So – Allons-y Rose Tyler, let's make a start."

He sprang up the steps two at a time pulling her after him. He waved to the two doormen who were settling their bet and went up to the reception desk.

"Hi Miranda, can I have a visitor's badge for my friend here?"

The woman looked at Rose, then at John. "What are you doing here today John? We don't usually see you on a Saturday." Miranda was another in a long line of hopefuls trying to get John's attention but he never seemed to notice her even though she was here five days a week.

"Special tour, the personal touch," he replied cheerfully, taking the badge and handing it to Rose. "This is Rose Tyler, of Vitex fame. Had to twist her arm to get her to come and visit today, didn't I Rose?" he asked.

Rose tried not to laugh, she hadn't taken much persuasion but it seemed this Doctor liked showing off as much as the other one had. She was happy to play along.

"Well, I thought it would be a boring place to work so he's going to show me otherwise."

John grabbed her hand, much to Miranda's dismay and the two of them strolled off together, climbing the stairs to the first floor galleries. Three hours later, after being dragged into every corner of the exhibition rooms, they stopped for lunch. Rose was glad she was wearing flat shoes, John's enthusiasm was boundless and so was his talking. He was like a walking encyclopaedia. Whoever's idea it was in this universe to create John Smith had done a fine job, right down from the non-stop talking to the way he dashed around, pulling on her arm and giving her no time to rest.

They were sitting in the museum cafeteria, Rose munching on a tuna sandwich and chips and John, having finished his meal, was leaning across trying to steal her chips. She playfully kept tapping his hand, sometimes letting him take one, John looking pleased with himself.

"So is there much else to see or are we nearly finished?" Rose asked, finishing her second cup of coffee.

"Oh, you're not quitting on me are you? I'm disappointed Rose."

"No, I'm not quitting, just wondered how much longer you were going to drag me around."

"I'm not dragging you around am I? 'Cos if I am, I didn't mean to just drag you around, you were keeping up with me and if you are going to get bored before we've finished my magnificent tour, at least come and see the star exhibit, my exhibit. I mean, you can't go leaving before you've seen my masterpiece, my best exhibit to date, well except for the one I'm planning. Did I tell you what my next exhibit was going to be?"

Rose pretended to yawn. John looked at her, dismayed, then Rose burst out laughing and hit his arm. "Yes John, you told me what your next exhibit is going to be. Let's get going then."

John let go of her hand he had suddenly noticed he had taken hold of during the conversation. He put on his best grin. "Well don't just sit there Rose – Avante!"

He leapt to his feet, pulling Rose up with him. She just wished he'd stop saying all the things the Doctor used to say. One of the last things he had said before they went to Canary Wharf had been 'Allons-y' and it should upset her but it wasn't. She was trying to keep up with him again as he pulled her along the walkway into a room they had avoided earlier, John having steered her away but this time he stopped.

"Rose, welcome to my presentation entitled 'All that glitters.'

Rose entered the room to see an assortment of items, all glittering in the sunlight coming through the window, it looked amazing with all the different colours and John was beaming with pride as she saw it. She let go of his hand and began wandering around the room, looking at each one. They were all unique items and must have taken some time to gather, probably from his last trip. She wondered just how much time he spent at home if he was always away getting more pieces.

"So, what do you think? Clever eh? Do you get the title?" He nudged her arm playfully. "It's sort of my take on all that glitters is not gold because it doesn't have to gold for it to glitter. I mean, it took some time to get all these items, I was away for nine months."

"Are you never at home?" Rose asked, looking at what one of the items was, some sort of decorative plate, very old by the look of it.

John stopped. "Yes, sometimes, I've been home for the last 4 months but I get the bug to go travelling again, can't stay in one place me," he joked, bumping her arm again that she rubbed it.

Just her luck to find a Doctor with a need to travel and couldn't stay still for five minutes.

Chapter 5

The tour finally over, they made their way back to reception but before going out, John led her to his study, a large room at the rear of the ground floor, lined with bookshelves on one wall, charts and framed photos on another and one with various diplomas displayed. Rose went over to look at them as John went to sit at his desk, putting his feet up and leaning back in the large leather chair, his arms behind his head, smirking. His tour had been a complete success, if her mood was anything to go by and he'd managed not to bore her. He thought now it was a shame he wouldn't have to carry her out.

Rose crossed over to sit opposite him. "So Rose, did you enjoy your tour? More importantly, you're walking out on your own which means I didn't bore you to tears. Yvonne more or less bet me that I would."

Rose smiled. "I admit, it might not be as boring as I thought it would be, there's some interesting stuff in here. I love your special display."

He beamed and sat up. "You did? Cool. So does this mean you'll let me take you out tonight?"

Rose made him wait for her answer. She got up and leaned on the corner of his desk, bumping his knee with hers on purpose. John had that smirk still on his face, rolling his tongue around and sticking it out in one corner of his mouth. His hair was all stuck up at different angles, something the other Doctor probably spent hours in front of a mirror doing but all John had to do was flick his fingers through it.

"Well? How about I come and pick you up at 7.30, there's a place I wanted to try."

Rose got up and looked around his office and noticed there were some photos of him. He was thankful he had removed any containing his ex girlfriend. They were mostly of him at university, in his gown and mortar, one had him and Yvonne, John holding a diploma.

"Yvonne must be very proud of you, you being a professor and all."

John got up to join her in front of the photos. "Yeah, I suppose she is although we hardly see each other these days. What with me being away and her working at Torchwood. Still, she's really all the family I have now, lost my parents in a car crash, five years ago. At least they weren't around when those Cybermen attacked, I was away luckily and Yvonne found out three years later what they were doing and left Torchwood."

Rose was well aware a lot of staff had left when this Torchwood was infiltrated. It had taken the Cybermen three years to cross the void, all 5 million of them. She had learned Yvonne's parents and brother had been taken in the first Cyberman attack, the one she had helped stop but that was a tale for another day. One she may or may not end up telling John.

John went quiet, the first time all day. Rose struck up the conversation again. "Ok, you can take me out tonight if you want. Nothing fancy though."

His face lit up and he got up so fast his chair spun around. "Brilliant! No, nowhere posh, just a new Chinese restaurant not far from me, it's about a twenty minute drive from where you live. I'll have you home before midnight, promise!"

"Well you can take me home now then, if the tour's finished. I have to get ready."

He grabbed her hand and led her back to reception, reaching for her visitors badge as she took it off. John handed it back to Miranda, who wished it had been her on the tour, looking at the two of them holding hands. Oh well, seemed like the professor was off the market again, better luck next time then. She might not be there much longer anyway, if she passed her exams to become an architect.

Rose followed him down the front steps, one of the doormen smirking he had won another bet, that they would come out holding hands and the other saying she would slap his face and storm out on her own. They could keep this going for quite a while, until he went off on one of his jaunts again, then they would have to find another form of entertainment.

"I told you Rose, I don't have my car with me, can't you get picked up again?"

"I'll have to ring Pete, see if they're still out or get the driver to come back out for me."

She called Pete who said he would send Simon back out for her and it would take about 25 minutes and to wait where she was dropped off. It was now just after 3pm and there was a coffee stand just next to the museum so John bought her a latte and they sat on the museum steps. It was late in September, leaves had already fallen but there were a few still clinging to the trees. Rose loved autumn time, she used to walk along kicking up leaves when she was younger.

"Rose, are you still with it?" John asked, noticing she was wandering again. He had noticed she had a tendency to do that.

"What? Sorry, I'm doing it again, aren't I?"

John took the empty paper cup from her and crossed to the litter bin. "So, I think I remember where you live, give me your address again."

Rose tapped it into his phone memo pad and got up, seeing her car approaching and it was a no waiting area. She reached up and kissed John's cheek. "See ya at 7.30 then?"

Before he could answer, she was opening the rear passenger door and was waving goodbye to him. He stayed in the same spot for goodness knows how long, staring after the car and possibly the most amazing woman he had ever met. She was far too good for him, her stepfather was a well respected businessman, rich, powerful and the head of an organisation that could make him disappear if necessary. Well that was according to Yvonne, who had given him several lectures on not messing about with Pete Tyler's stepdaughter and not to upset her. He knew how to treat women but they apparently didn't always know how to treat him but he knew Rose seemed different.

Rose reached home and went to get changed, figuring it was going to take her ages to find the right outfit, not too daring but just enough since she didn't know where he was taking her. Just on time, John picked her up, whisking her away to where he had in mind and they talked over their meal.

"Rose, would you like to spend the day with me tomorrow perhaps?" he asked as they finished.

"Oh sorry, I can't, I promised that I'd help Pete decorate the nursery. Mum's only got a few weeks to go now and she wants everything ready. She never had money to spend on me, she brought me up on her own so she wants to make this special. We're putting murals on the walls and sorting out baby clothes."

She saw the disappointed look on his face but she was only meaning to go on dates with him, she'd not intended to be spending days out with him. She supposed he was making up for going away soon, probably in two or three weeks at the most. The more they saw each other, the more difficult it was going to be to say goodbye.

"Why don't you come round for Sunday lunch?" she asked as he was getting his wallet out to pay for the meals and trying badly to hide his disappointment.

His face lit up again. "Are you sure I won't be intruding?"

"No, it'll be fine, we always have too much to eat anyway. Don't get dressed up though, it's informal, we usually watch a film or something afterwards."

He jumped up with enthusiasm and bounded off to pay the cashier. "Come on then Rose, let's go have a drink before I take you home."

There he was, two sides of the coin and being able to flip from one to the other with ease. It was uncanny, Rose could be out with the Doctor's clone or something. There was no way this was a mere coincidence, people from her own world who had a counterpart here had some differences but John had none. Well maybe one or two. He only had one heart and he definitely was not a Timelord.

Once back at the Tyler residence, John quickly got out to assist Rose getting out of his car, one that seemed far too small for his long legs but he seemed to like it. It was metallic blue though Rose could hardly tell but his was called a Ford Tigra and she was sure another car manufacturer had made it in her world but she liked it, it suited him.

He walked her to the front door, lights coming from the entranceway but he backed her around the corner in case her mother or Pete Tyler were around, he was going to try his luck at kissing her again. That was if she didn't back away again but that had been three days ago, she'd had time to think about it. He didn't want to scare her off though.

He put on his best smile and had her against the wall, just at the side of a large outdoor plant. "I hope you enjoyed yourself today Rose? I told you museums were not boring, didn't I?"

Rose had to agree, it had not been a bad day and the evening had been pleasant enough. She knew he was going to try and kiss her, the way he had her backed up to the wall so she couldn't escape. Perhaps she should let him try, it was further than she had got with the Timelord.

"Yes, I had a great day, thanks John, you were most attentive towards me and your job is certainly not boring. So I'll see you tomorrow then?"

John leaned over, putting his hands on the wall above her. "Well you were a pleasure to show around, you actually listened to me. Unlike those students I usually show around," he grinned.

Rose smiled. "Goodnight then John."

She waited for him to try and kiss her, he was watching that mouth of hers. "I wish you would call me Doctor." He moved closer so there was only a fraction of an inch between them.

"Maybe one day, it's just that it's kind of difficult for me to call you that yet."

"Then I live in hope of that, Rose Tyler."

He pressed his lips gently onto hers, waiting to see if she kissed him back. She did but only lightly but he thought it was a start, she hadn't backed off or slapped his face.

"Goodnight Rose, it was more than just nice and so was that kiss."

He backed away from her, she moved towards him and kissed his cheek, he let her go and took her hand, kissing the back of it. After watching her walk towards the door, she let herself in and he went back to his car. He smiled all the way home, Rose was definitely interested in him but what then? He was going away in a few weeks, contemplating travelling around the world with what Yvonne described as a temp from Chiswick who had a loud mouth. If that was the case, why had she even suggested her? Did his cousin think he'd given up on women?

The next day, Rose was busy putting up pictures and murals in the nursery, the kitchen staff were making dinner and Jackie was having a restful morning. Rose had announced at breakfast she had invited John for lunch so they could get to know him a bit better but Jackie still hadn't been won over entirely.

"Well if he comes for lunch, you can get to know him and see just how different he is."

"Yeah, that was going to help, well done Rose," she told herself. He sounded and acted exactly the same, they were not going to see a difference but he made her laugh and she wanted him to be accepted by her mother and Pete.

John arrived at two, sitting through lunch and talking about his work at the museum, rather enthusiastically Rose thought and never once asking Pete if he had decided whether to back him or not. They had a meeting tomorrow when Pete would make his decision. After lunch, John asked her to go for a drive with him and they drove down to the Embankment, John easily parking his car and they took a boat ride.

After dropping Rose back home and kissing her again, a bit more fervently this time, they arranged to meet on Wednesday evening and go see a film. They decided they would choose one when they got there and dead on seven, John was waiting outside the cinema in Leicester Square. Rose giggled that there was over 30 minutes before the film they wanted to see started so he bought them hotdogs and French fries and they found some seating.

Sitting with his arm around her, Rose flinched a few times into his arm at key moments in the film, making him smile and causing her to lean onto his shoulder. Outside the cinema, Rose was waiting for her driver to come and collect her, John had arrived by public transport again and Rose was worried about him getting home on his own and insisted it wouldn't take long to drop him off. Once outside his apartment, Rose asked the driver to wait for her and they walked into the courtyard and said goodnight.

"I get my decision from your stepfather on Friday Rose. Then I can make my arrangements and hire an assistant. He told me on Monday he had several of his friends interested, he was just waiting for them all to get back to him. How about we go out and celebrate or I could make dinner for you?"

Rose wasn't sure about being alone with him just yet.

"Why don't we just go out? We could go to that Chinese restaurant again, I remember where it is. I'll meet you there at 7.30."

She kissed him first this time, which surprised him. Rose went off, leaving John wondering now if he was making the right decision about hiring Donna. He had a meeting with her on Monday, Yvonne was coming with her then he would start making travel arrangements using the same company as last time, they had done a good job.

Yvonne contacted John the next day to tell him Donna was keen to meet with him as she needed to make arrangements if she was to leave her job as she had been offered another temp position at a small photo copying business, a personal secretary's job no less and she had to let them know by the following Tuesday so rather than cancel his dinner with Rose, he saw no harm in them all meeting. Rose already knew Yvonne and she would want to see who he was going to be travelling with.

He had thought it was going to be easy as he waited outside the restaurant for Rose on the Friday night. Yvonne and Donna had gone in five minutes before, he told Donna he was waiting for his girlfriend but she hadn't believed him when she got inside with Yvonne.

"Has that mad professor even got a girlfriend? Come on, I mean, look at him, he's like a bean pole. I think he's got someone else lined up for the job and he wants to see which one of us to choose. What other reason would there be?"

Yvonne smiled to herself. If that was what her friend thought, who was she to argue? She knew he was meeting Rose, he had said he wasn't going to cancel his date with her because Donna wanted to bring their appointment forward. She hadn't even asked how much he had secured for his little trip.

John was anxiously awaiting Rose's arrival, smiling when he had declared Rose was his girlfriend and hoping she wouldn't object to being called that. Her car pulled up and she got out, she was wearing a clinging red jersey dress and jacket. He greeted her with a kiss on the cheek.

"Rose, you looked really lovely tonight. Before we go inside I should warn you, Yvonne's in there with Donna, she's a friend of hers and I may be employing her as my travel assistant."

Rose looked surprised. "But you told me you had a meeting on Monday. Are you looking for my approval or something?" He had told her he wouldn't be going on his travels on his own but she had expected it to be a man.

"No, of course not but she had to bring our meeting forward. I thought though that you might want to know who's coming with me."

Rose had not wanted to think about it. He was going away for a year, travelling with another woman. She was about to lose another Doctor unless she did something about it.

Chapter 6

It was Yvonne that did the introductions since she knew everyone and Donna was already giving funny looks to Rose as she approached the table, holding hands with John.

"Ah, Rose, John, meet Donna Noble, the friend who I told you about. Donna, this is my cousin, John Smith and his girlfriend Rose Tyler." Well she had assumed Rose was now his girlfriend since he hadn't stopped talking about her.

John leaped forward to greet Donna, though he was now having second thoughts about contemplating spending a year travelling with the redhead who was giving Rose the evil eye.

"Hello Donna, nice to meet you. Yvonne's told me all about you. Well when I say told me all about you I mean that you want to go travelling, as my assistant, not about you personally, well not too much, anyway this is my girlfriend, Rose. Say hello Rose." He beamed at Rose, who had been stunned he now considered her to be his girlfriend, how long had that been going on?

Rose decided to be the bigger person and just accept it, it was probably just for show, considering if this Donna was going to go with him on his travels for a year and it would appear better if the woman knew he was spoken for. Not that she now thought she had anything to worry about, since Donna was sat opened mouthed looking like she was dying to get started saying something. Rose didn't have long to wait.

Donna held her hand out to John, shook his then held back from Rose. "Yeah, Yvonne's told me all about you, you're a professor or something. What sort of doctor are you? Not of medicine surely, you're a bit young to be a professor aren't you? Did you start when you were twelve?"

Rose tried to suppress a giggle, not entirely successfully. John gave her a sideways look. Rose stopped. There was no way he would go travelling with the ditsy redhead.

John held out a chair for Rose, putting his hands on her shoulders and pulling her jacket off and putting it on the back of her chair, casually touching the back of her neck with his fingers and making her shiver. What was he trying to do to her? He had boldly got familiar with her and not made any more steps other than to kiss her goodnight.

They ordered their meals, Rose staying quiet and glancing at John who was trying to keep up with Donna and if Rose thought John could talk, he was nothing compared to Yvonne's friend though Rose couldn't figure out how the two had made friends.

Rose went off to the ladies room, Donna followed.

"You've been quiet all night, nothing to say for yourself?" Donna remarked, looking at herself in the mirror.

Rose was about to say she hadn't been able to get a word in between her and John, who she thought was over-compensating just to keep up.

"So are you really his girlfriend or are you after the job as well? My friend Rita's travelled the world, I just want to outdo her, she's always going on about how she went to Bahrain and had to have all these injections. He's not going there is he? Don't mind going to Turkey though but you have to watch out there."

Rose was ready to throw the towel in. If John wanted to go travelling with this woman, he was not going to get her blessing if that's what he wanted. He would never last five minutes with her but Rose didn't think she had anything to be jealous over, not that she had decided he was her boyfriend, he had sprung that one on her unannounced and without establishing they were actually going out with each other. He had presumed a good deal but she had played along - for now.

While Rose and Donna had been away, Yvonne asked John what he thought about her friend and asked if Rose really was his girlfriend or if that was for Donna's benefit.

"Well, Donna can certainly talk and states her opinions, she'd be good in a crisis, she could talk her way out of things, a bit like me but travelling with her for a year? I don't know about that but I don't have time to look for anyone else, I want to get all the arrangements made. I'll tell her I'll let her know by Monday."

Yvonne laughed. "She already thinks Rose is lined up for the job and you can't make your mind up. She doesn't believe Rose is your girlfriend. Does Rose know you're contemplating travelling with Donna?"

"Well, I told her I wasn't going alone but she expected me to go with a male companion. I'm not interested in Donna, not in that way but the way things turned out with Martha, I don't want it to turn that way. Donna might take things the wrong way like she did. Maybe I should look for a male companion."

"Maybe you should just ask Rose to go with you, that way she won't get the wrong idea, she's crazy about you."

John blushed. "No, she's just met me."

"Oh come on Doctor, I saw the way she was looking at you, the way you took her jacket. She didn't know she was your girlfriend though, did she?"

John kept quiet. "Weeell, not exactly, I may have neglected to ask her about that point but I didn't want Donna to think I hadn't got one."

Rose and Donna chose that moment to come back. John got up to help Rose with her seat, Yvonne was thinking her cousin was clueless, they were crazy about each other.

"Are you nearly ready to leave Rose?" John asked, sitting beside her and finishing his drink.

"Yeah, I suppose so. Are we going back to your place, it's nearer than mine." Rose was determined to prove to Donna wrong and she wasn't after the job but there again, she didn't want her to get it either.

John recovered from the question. "Well I walked here, we could get a taxi back then I'll take you home."

He got up and helped Rose with her jacket. Donna decided to challenge him.

"So Prof, you gonna let me know now about this job or what? If you are, do we need injections? My friend Rita needed injections. Are we going anywhere dangerous? I hear Turkey can be dangerous, especially for women. How much is the pay?"

"Well the pay is all expenses paid plus you get spending money each month."

"Oh, is that all?" I can get £23.000 a year from the other job."

He didn't know how to explain the concept of 'All expenses paid' to the woman. "Donna, you get all your travel, hotels and food paid for plus we can negotiate how much money you get paid on top of that when I find out how much the trip is going to cost. There are other things to be taken into consideration such as the cost of the items I'm going to be buying for the museum. That is rather the point of going on this trip but if you want to take that other job, it's up to you."

"I didn't say I didn't want to go, did I?"

Rose was dying to laugh. It sounded very much like she didn't get the reason why they were going in the first place.

"I'll let you know by Monday Donna, I'll get your number from Yvonne."

"I was right, wasn't I? I'm not the only one up for it. I knew that she wasn't your girlfriend, I mean come on, no offence but you weren't very convincing at being his girlfriend Rose or whatever your name is."

That did it. Rose had enough as she put her arm around John. "Yes I am his girlfriend, we just didn't want to make a fuss while we were out."

She grabbed his jacket lapels and pulled him close, John thought she was going to snog him senseless. "I thought I was staying at your place tonight? Not changed your mind have you? Or you can come back to mine, makes no difference." She reached up and kissed his lips lightly.

Donna stood with her mouth open. Who would want to kiss him? Honestly, some women just had no taste.

John quickly recovered from Rose's sudden display of affection and they said goodnight to Donna and Yvonne. As they walked back to John's apartment, him saying he needed the fresh air, Rose was giggling and holding his hand, dying to say something.

They got up to John's apartment, him glad he had the mind to tidy it instead of leaving t-shirts and a mess all over the place, Rose couldn't contain her amusement any more and burst out laughing.

"Please tell me you're not serious about travelling with Donna?"

John saw the funny side and grabbed hold of her arms, pulling her close.

"She can talk even more than you, you'll never get a word in. You should have heard her in the ladies room. You need to find someone else."

"I don't have time to find someone else Rose or I'll get delayed, unless?"

"Unless what?"

"Well I don't suppose you'd want to come with me, would you?"

"I have a job, at Torchwood."

"Well isn't that kind of boring? Come on Rose, it will be great. Wait until you hear all the places I was planning to visit. No stars though, sorry, just good old planet Earth. What do you think?"

Rose didn't know what to think. Another Doctor was asking her to go travelling with him. This one however was grounded and he may not come back and ask her twice but her mother would be having the baby in a few weeks, she had been looking forward to having a baby brother or sister to fuss over, having grown up on her own.

"I don't know, I was planning helping mum with the baby, she's not had to cope with one for quite a while. Do you need my answer right away?"

He moved closer to her, taking her jacket off her shoulders and this time, kissing her neck. "Am I assuming too much Rose? I should have asked you, if you considered yourself to be my girlfriend. I just didn't want Donna to get the wrong idea about travelling with me. The last time, I had this companion, her name was Martha and she got the wrong idea and it wasn't my fault. I told her from the start it was strictly business but she fancied me."

Rose let out a laugh. "She fancied you? Was she mad?"

John stepped back and saw the look on her face. She was winding him up. "Well who could blame her? I mean just look at me, who wouldn't fancy me?"

"Seriously? Well Donna for a start." She was still giggling.

"A bloke could get upset by that remark Rose Tyler."

He moved to face her. "What about you Rose, do you find me irresistible?"

Rose put her hands on his shoulders. "Oh definitely, you've captivated me with you boyish charms." She pretending to swoon into his arms but it was too late.

He took the opportunity to put his arms around her and moved in to kiss her, properly, not just the light kisses they had shared previously until Rose melted into him. When they finally parted, Rose was breathless.

"Wow, that was some kiss. Are you sure you did nothing to encourage that Martha?"

"Absolutely not. I'd just split from my last girlfriend and I wasn't looking for a replacement. I told her that. She just wasn't my type, I wasn't interested but I thought I had made myself clear on that but she was a bit clingy."

"What about now? Are you in the market for a new girlfriend?"

He looked at her and cupped her face in his hands. "Oh yes!" He kissed her again passionately, Rose kissed him back with the same passion.

It had been a long time since Rose had been kissed like that, in fact she couldn't recall being kissed senseless before. All coherent thoughts went out of her mind as they continued the kiss, coming up for breath now and then.

"Well I suppose you may just have got yourself a new girlfriend, for however long you remain here but I don't know about coming with you. I'll let you know on Monday, unless you insist on hiring Donna?"

John smiled. "I don't think so. Now maybe I should take you home?"

Rose put her arms around his waist and snuggled up against him. Maybe she should give this a go. "So you don't want me to stay then?"

"Oh Rose, I would love for you to stay, if you're sure? I thought it would be too soon, that I was moving too quickly for you."

She was moving too quickly for herself but she had to pull herself together. Where else was she going to find another Doctor who was clearly crazy about her? Maybe she should just accept what this universe had to offer.

"I'd best let Pete know I'm staying out or he'll be out looking for me." Pete was still concerned about her since she hadn't been here all that long.

She called Pete and said she was staying out and not to worry. "I'll be fine, you've been pestering me to start dating so I'm dating. Anyway, he's sleeping on the sofa. I'll be back sometime in the morning. How's mum?"

"She's fine, it was a bit of a false alarm earlier, just indigestion. It's going to be like that for the next few weeks I reckon. Not that I know what to expect. We have the hospital on speed dial, they'll tell me when to take her in."

Jackie had been booked into a private clinic because Pete wanted the best care for her and privacy, with her suddenly becoming his wife, she had drawn a lot of media attention, as had Rose. Pete had things well in hand and was not acting the nervous expectant father.

John came out of the bedroom with a white t-shirt and a pair of pyjama shorts and offered them to Rose. "You need something to wear, why don't you get changed in the bathroom?"

Rose took the nightclothes and kissed his cheek. Then while she was getting changed, he told her there was a spare new toothbrush in the cabinet she could use but when she came out, he had put a duvet and pillow on the sofa.

"Are you expecting me to sleep here or are you?"

"Well I was going to sleep there, I wanted to play the gentleman. I didn't mean for you to sleep there."

Rose came up to him and put her arms around him. John smiled. "I heard you telling your stepfather I was sleeping on the sofa and I thought that was what you wanted."

"You are a plum John, I was only saying that for his benefit. I couldn't very well tell him we were going to sleep together, could I?"

"You mean you don't want me to sleep on the sofa?" His face lit up. "Guess I won't be needing those then?" he asked, pointing to the duvet.

Rose closed the distance, John's t-shirt was too big for her and it sagged around the top, John caught a glimpse of what was underneath. Was she teasing him?

"Why don't you get into bed and I'll get changed then I'll make us some hot chocolate and we can talk for a while? We need to establish a few things."

"Sounds great. I meant it, I do want to stay with you. It's just I've not had a boyfriend for a while and I don't want you to think I'm pushing myself onto you."

"No, of course you're not, I never expected you to want to stay over with me, we've only seen each other a couple of times, I didn't think you'd be ready to stay over."

"I'm just a bit nervous about it."

He put his arms around her. "Oh Rose, there's no need to be nervous, I'm nervous too. My bad experience with Martha made me step back from asking anyone out but when I met you at your party, you actually made me change my mind and take the plunge again. You are so worthwhile taking a chance with."

He leaned down to kiss her. "Just exactly why were you having a party anyway?"

"It was a year since my mother married Pete and adopted me." That wasn't the real reason but she could hardly tell him. Maybe she would have to, if she was thinking about travelling with him.

John suspected it was something else though and he was going to get her to tell him – one way or another.

He went to make the hot chocolate, Rose said with cream which luckily he had a milk frother and was able to get away with it, saying he would get her some cream for next time, if there was going to be a next time. Rose said if he got the cream, there would definitely be a next time. After they had their drinks, Rose lay down on the pillow and John decided to see how far he could get, risking taking his own t-shirt off and when she didn't object, lay on top of her and gently kissed her neck then moving the t-shirt, kissed her shoulders.

By the end of the weekend, Rose had stayed over on Saturday night, having got John to take her to see a play she wanted to go to and they got a taxi back to his apartment since taking him home was out of the question in her mother's state. On Sunday evening, they had got back from another boat trip down to Greenwich and he had driven her back to his place again, Rose insisting she couldn't stay as she had to go back to work the next day.

"But Rose, I can take you back in the morning," he pleaded, kissing her tummy as he had now decided to up the stakes in their relationship.

Rose was giggling, he was enthusiastic but he'd never asked her if she had decided to go travel with him or not.

"Well it will have to be early then and I'll have some explaining to do to my mother so don't let her catch you."

"I'll leave you at the door, I wouldn't want to be the one who's responsible for setting her off into a early labour by her chasing me out of the door with a stick," John laughed.

Rose thought he didn't know just how accurately he had described her mother. She would have done, pregnant or not. He would certainly get a slap on the face for daring to get her daughter to stay overnight with him - three nights in a row. What would she say when Rose told her she had decided to go on his travels with him?

The Doctor and Rose – travelling again. Who would have thought it?

Chapter 7

When Rose told him the following morning after they woke up, John was over the moon that she had decided to go with him.

"I'll have to get a leave of absence from Torchwood but I don't think Pete will object, since he's part funding you. Plus it will save you some money, you won't have to pay me and it will save on hotel expenses."

"How do you work that out? I still have to pay for the hotel rooms."

"Hotel room John, we can share, if you want. If not, I'll pay for my own room."

"Oh Rose, of course I want to share, if you're sure about this?"

"Yeah John, I'm sure and working at Torchwood is boring, at least at the moment it is. The project I'm working on is far from near completion, it might be nearly ready when I get back. I just have a few conditions though."

John was just happy she was going and would agree to anything. "Whatever you need Rose. Do you want to delay our departure until your mother's had the baby?"

"Yes, if you don't object. Just a few more weeks and she might be early anyway. As soon as I know she's ok and I've seen the baby, we'll set off."

"I can live with that. What's the other condition?"

"That wherever we are, we'll come home for Christmas, spend it with my family, it's a tradition." Rose thought back to the last Christmas in her own world, with the other Doctor and how he'd regenerated in front of her eyes and now, she was staring at the same face but a different man. She was going to accept the compensation this world had given her because she deserved it. She had spent over a year mourning the Doctor's loss and she wasn't going to do it any more. She had a version of him lying at her side and he wasn't shy at showing her his feelings though he hadn't said yet that he loved her but they could work on that.

He leaned over onto his side and stroked her cheek. "I can live with that too. So you are now officially my research assistant, ok?"

Rose nodded. All she had to do now was convince Pete to hold her job at Torchwood and hope her mother would have the baby sooner rather than later.

After fooling around for a while, John turning into the tickle monster, he took Rose back home after he prepared them a quick breakfast and said he would call Donna and tell her he had given the job to someone else and they would go through the places they wanted to visit so he could get the specialist travel agents on to it to plan their route and book all the hotels and transport. Rose had one more request, just as she was getting out of the car.

"I want to travel on The Orient Express. You know, to or from Istanbul." She had done her research and it still existed here.

"Oh I'd love to go on that. Imagine what it was like back when it first started, meeting Agatha Christie, bet that would have been brilliant."

"How do you know she actually travelled on it?" Rose laughed as she walked up to the door.

"Stands to reason, she knew all about it. Anyway, it will be fun. I have to work late tonight but I'll come and pick you up tomorrow night, we'll go out somewhere then you can stay over again if you want? Bring a bag with you. We'll have to get used to sharing," he chuckled, stopping her for one more kiss just as Pete was passing the front door.

He opened it. "Morning you two, why are you sneaking about here exactly?"

"Ah, Mr Tyler, I was just returning your stepdaughter, safe and sound. I wasn't trying to sneak around Sir, no not at all."

Rose giggled.

"Well ok and I told you, call me Pete. I'll make the final arrangements to get your funding together and I'll send you a cheque or I can transfer the funds to your bank. When will you be leaving?"

"Ah! About that. Rose has something to tell you, haven't you Rose? I have to go now, got to get to work on time or I won't have a job to back to and then there would be no point in my trip, would there?" He gave Rose a quick peck on her cheek. Then he called, "See you tomorrow night Sweetheart."

Rose blushed at him calling her that in front of Pete. She wished John would have told him. Pete was waiting for her to tell him what it was.

"Well, can we go inside? I have to get changed for work, I've had breakfast and I don't want to keep you waiting. Maybe I can tell you on our way in?"

"Tell him what on the way in to where?" her mother asked as she reached the bottom of the stairs.

Pete rushed to her side. "Jackie, I've told you not to come down the stairs on your own on a morning, you should have called me."

"I might be pregnant but I'm not an invalid Pete Tyler," Jackie laughed as he took her arm. "Well Rose, what were you going to tell him?"

Rose was hoping to delay telling her mother but she would find out sooner or later anyway.

"That I've decided to go with John on his travels."

Jackie opened her mouth but nothing came out. Pete was slightly taken aback but considering she was seeing John on a more regular basis, he wasn't that surprised.

"Well Rose, I half expected it," Pete managed.

Jackie turned to her husband. "You knew about this?"

"Not exactly but I thought you would be pleased Rose was seeing someone again."

"Well I would be if he didn't look exactly like that daft alien she used to travel with. You don't think it really is him do you Rose? Please say you don't. It's only a few weeks since that day you went up to Norway, don't you think it's a bit soon?"

"Mum, if I don't get over it now I never will. Don't you see it? I've been given another chance, whether it's fate or this universe's way of paying me back for what I lost but I've decided to take it. For all I know, it may be his way of making it up to me but John has a whole life here, he had a family that he lost before the first Cyberman attack, he has cousins, Yvonne's one of them, even the Doctor couldn't invent a whole life story."

Then it struck her – he had once told her that in extreme danger, the Tardis could hide him but he'd never gone into details except to say it could change him without regenerating if he had to hide from a mortal enemy. Was it true? If so, had the Tardis deposited him exactly where he needed to be and made sure he found her? Where was the Tardis then, still in the other universe and she got him through the last crack in the universe just after they had left Norway? But if that were true, what about Yvonne? Had she just accepted she was his cousin when he'd told her he was? There were photos of him from his graduation, diplomas. No, she was letting her imagination run away with her, it was impossible. She should dismiss any further thoughts about it.

Pete and her mother were looking at her. "Come on Rose, we'll be late if you don't get changed now, unless you're going to work like that?"

He pointed to her red dress she had worn yesterday. Rose laughed and headed to her room. She tried to remember exactly what he had said about it, she'd not been paying particular attention, thinking he was joking. She remembered something about a fob watch though but couldn't remember what he'd said, it wasn't like he had given her any instructions but the way John acted, the way he talked made her wonder.

Once at work, her current project was getting nowhere as usual so she made her way to Pete's office to discuss going with John.

"You know your mother's dead set against you going but I think it will do you good, you can get to know this universe a lot better by travelling around. It's the perfect opportunity plus going with someone you seem to be rather fond of. I think your mother is just shocked that you'll be travelling with a Doctor again. I must admit I find it rather strange that out of all the billions of people on this planet, you manage to find the Doctor's double."

"Do you think I don't know that? I was going to walk away, I really was but after I set my anger aside I realised that this world took someone I cared about away from me, it owes me. Who's to say that this is how the Doctor is supposed to be in this world? In every other dimension there must be some form of him. I know there are no Timelords here, he would have sensed them unless they were hiding, he would have known even if they weren't on earth, if their planet still existed here. I guess it's a mystery I'll never solve and it's ok, I accept John for what and who he is, it doesn't matter any more, I'm not going to fight it."

"Good, I'm glad you've come to your senses. Now about you going with him. I suppose you want me to keep your job open for you and you want a year's paid leave?"

Rose smiled. She knew she was asking a lot. They made an agreement and Rose told him they would delay their departure until the baby was born and come home for Christmas.

"Then why don't you invite him for dinner one night and we can make the final arrangements or has he got that covered?"

"I think he's using the same travel company as he did last time. We'll give them a list of places we want to go and they can work out an itinerary, with a gap for Christmas or we go back to wherever we end up at that time."

"Well invite him anyway and I'll hand him his cheque over, make it formal. If you're getting paid from Torchwood, it will give him more money for the travel arrangements and secure the items he wants to buy. My business partners think of it as an investment in the museum so I'm going to keep you on full pay to ensure he keeps to the deal, two items from every place you visit. It will be up to you to keep him on track, if he's anything like his counterpart, you'll have your work cut out for you."

Rose laughed. She was going to make sure Pete and his friends faith in John was fulfilled. Since he had told her he was working late, she thought she would take a taxi to the museum and surprise him and they could go get something to eat later. She looked up the museum's opening times and wondered why he was working late but she supposed he had work in preparation for his absence but she would get there before it closed.

Paying the taxi driver, she saw the two doormen outside and nodded to them. One spoke up. "Excuse me Miss but the museum closes in half an hour, there's a private tour taking place. Are you with the university?"

Rose knew the two men had seen her with John but they must see hundreds of people a day. The other man did recognise he though, she had made him some money.

"It's ok Bob, she was with the professor the other Saturday, remember?"

His colleague looked at him. How could he forget? She had caused him to lose two bets. "Sorry Miss, go ahead, I've not seen Doctor Smith leave yet."


Rose went up to the reception, not seeing the woman that was there on her last visit but an older woman was there. She waited to get her attention.

"If you're here for the student tour, you're early and you need your student pass to get in. If you're here to visit the museum on your own, it's still full price but we close soon so you won't see much."

Rose wondered if she looked like a student. Maybe but she had no student pass. "Sorry, I'm not a student, I'm here to see Dr John Smith."

"Oh. Well do you have an appointment?"

"No. Do I need one? I'm his girlfriend, he'll see me. I know where his office is."

Rose walked off before the woman could stop her. She paused outside his office door, it was slightly ajar and she could hear voices, one was John's and the other female, it sounded like that Miranda she had met the other Saturday. Rose tapped on the door and entered to see John sat with his feet up, arms behind his head and Miranda sat closer than Rose herself had been when she had been flirting with him on their first date.

John nearly tipped the chair over trying to get up, toppling Miranda off the edge of the desk. He dashed forward and nearly knocked Rose over. Rose looked at him, then at Miranda.

"What's she doing in here, sitting on your desk?" Rose asked John. Then to Miranda she said, "Chair not near enough for you? You do know he has a girlfriend – me."

John put his arm around her and motioned for Miranda to leave before Rose sank claws into her. "Now now Rose, no fighting, I can't abide fighting. We were just talking, I was telling her all the places we were going to visit. No need get jealous honey bear."

That was new one on her, when had he started calling her that? Rose let him put his arms around her and snuggle her neck, mainly for the purpose of proving to the not yet departed Miranda she was indeed his girlfriend. Rose was enjoying feeling him kiss her neck and his hand on her back.

"This is a nice surprise but I'm afraid I have students to show around in less than half an hour. Did you come all this way just to see me?" He let go of her and closed the door, then going back up to her, he leaned down to kiss her.

"Don't worry about Miranda we were talking about you actually, then there you were, brilliant! Let's go grab a quick cup of coffee upstairs and you can tell me why you're here, or did you just miss me?" He kissed her again.

Leading Rose out of his office and up to the café which was still serving, they sat at one of the tables and Rose told him Pete had agreed to keep her on full pay until she returned, one of the perks of being the boss's stepdaughter.

"So you'll have more money to spend on the items you find. Have you really made a list of places you want to go?"

"Well I have some ideas but you get to choose as well, although I think Istanbul is on the agenda since you want to go on that train journey. Why don't we start the furthest away and work our way around?"

"Sounds great. Oh, Pete wants you to come to dinner to hand you that cheque over. How about tomorrow night?"

"Great but I really do have to go now, I can hear the students arriving. They get the cut-down tour, not like the one I gave you."

He got up and kissed her cheek. "See you tomorrow night then?"

Rose followed him downstairs and saw John bound up to the group of students awaiting his arrival. He was so full of energy, she hoped she was going to be able to keep up with him.

Over dinner the following night, Jackie grilled John about how he was going to look after her daughter on their travels, Jackie was still recovering from when she used to travel before but at least this time they were earthbound, for which she was eternally grateful. Afterwards, John was just going to take Rose out onto the patio when Pete called him over and Rose knew John was going to get the traditional father-boyfriend talk but she had no idea the extent to what he was going to say. She just hoped it didn't include that she was from another world.

Chapter 8

The next few weeks were hectic, John had given the travel agency a list of places they wanted to visit, including a trip on the orient express and that it was a must and they wanted to include Australia and South America and finally ending up in Norway, him neglecting to tell Rose it was in their itinerary. He was leaving it to them to work out the best route but they were going to start in Egypt, then to Turkey, then to Vienna, then take their Christmas break.

All in all, they would visit ten countries with travel time to allow two weeks in two destinations in each country, taking extra hotels if needed but it was all worked out for them, all their tickets would be reserved for them, they would just have to pick them up and maybe get taxis to the hotels from airports. Rose was disappointed not to be able to get a ride on the famous train but the alternative would mean a lot of train changes.

Rose was getting excited the week before they were to set off. Pete had insisted that Jackie be taken into hospital if she went over her due date and as soon as the baby arrived, Rose and John would leave. She was having trouble with her baggage allowance, saying to John they might have to pay for extra weight.

"Rose, relax," John was saying one night as she phoned him. "How much are you actually wanting to take?"

"Well it's going to be cold in some countries and hot in others. I need a balance of each," she tried to explain to him as she sat on the lid of her largest suitcase and knowing she would not get it closed.

"Well bring some of your stuff round at the weekend and put it in one on my cases, I can fit all my stuff in one. You can have the extra room."

"Aw, I knew there was a reason I liked you so much. Just how much room have you got?"

John went quiet. That was the problem – did she only like him or was it deeper than that? Did she actually love him? Was he falling in love with Rose but she didn't feel the same?

"Don't get any ideas about bringing your entire wardrobe Rose Tyler," he laughed, bringing himself out of it. "Anyway, it will give you an excuse to stay the weekend. Any news about the baby yet or is your mother going to stick it out until the end? We only have five days leeway, we leave on the 15th, whether she's had it or not. I thought they were going to take her in?"

"They will if nothing's happened by Sunday night. It will still give us a few days. So if I use one of your cases, should I leave it there or bring it back? If you stay over here the night before we leave, we can get driven to the airport from here."

"That might be best then, we'll do that. I finish at the museum on Friday anyway, you can stay with me until the day before we leave. You're not going to back on this are you?"

Rose laughed. "No chance, you're not getting rid of me that easily. I signed up, remember?"

John laughed back. "What am I letting myself in for Rose?"

"You'll just have to wait and find out, Doctor."

"You called me Doctor!" he exclaimed.

"Just a slip of the tongue," Rose remarked, regretting it instantly, she would have to keep calling him that now and she had been determined that she wasn't going to.

They had been dating almost four weeks, Rose staying over the last few weekends and seeing each other two or three times a week with John working late on Mondays. In a few days time though, they were going to see each other non-stop and she just hoped she would be able to cope. She knew at any time if things got out of control, she could hop on a plane or a zeppelin and go home, not like having to wait for the Tardis to land like she used to have to. While John had been out of the room on numerous occasions, she had searched to see if she could find a fob watch without making it look like she had searched but she found nothing. Maybe she had been completely wrong.

Rose got the driver to take her over to John's on Friday evening, narrowly escaping a leaving party Gwen was trying to organise at a local trendy bar and greeted John with a passionate kiss. She had been to the medical department to get the appropriate injections for her travels, John had already had his and while she was there, she got an extra injection instead of taking a year's supply of the pill with her. John still hadn't expressed his feelings for her but they had got closer and Rose thought he would say something sooner or later.

They spent the weekend shopping for a few last minute things and on Sunday evening, Rose got a phone call to go the hospital, her mother had gone into labour. Rose was anxious since her mother was older and John drove her to the hospital. Both Rose and John were pacing the hospital corridor while Pete was in with Jackie and just before midnight, Pete came out to say it was a boy.

Rose was just relieved her mother was ok and wanted to see the baby as soon as she could but were told to leave it until morning, Jackie was exhausted so John drove Rose back to the mansion and he stayed with her overnight. They were due to leave on Wednesday morning so the next day, Rose went to see her new baby brother, taking loads of photos. Rose went back to see them one last time on Tuesday evening, John was waiting outside for her.

"I still wish you weren't going Rose," her mother said.

How many times in the past had Rose heard that? She had lost count but this was different, they were travelling the planet, not the universe this time. She still had a Doctor with a face she loved though she hadn't been able to bring herself to tell him and Pete had thought best she should leave it if it wasn't getting in the way of anything.

They made their way to the airport the next morning, Pete insisting on seeing them off and Rose assuring him if things didn't work out she would be on the first flight home. After the long flight, all Rose wanted to do was sleep when they got to Cairo but they soon made up for it, Rose ensuring she did her research as to the best places to find unusual items, places like local markets and shops, getting two items in just over a week and shipping them back to the museum that had been ready to start storing them.

A few weeks later, after visiting Turkey, they arrived in Vienna and they were going to leave the bulk of their luggage to go back home for Christmas. Rose wanted something special for her mother and for the baby and what better place than to do their Christmas shopping? They arrived back in London early on the 22nd of December and Rose couldn't wait to see the baby and the way she fussed over him, John thought he wouldn't be able to get her to leave again.

As they got to bed on Christmas Eve, John had something to ask her. "You're thinking of staying behind aren't you Rose?"

Rose shook her head. "Why do you say that?"

"You told me that you grew up on your own and now, you have a baby brother who you're not going to see for the best part of a year. How can I expect you to carry on?"

Rose took his hands. "John, I know this is important to you, I'm not backing out of this. It's tempting, I know that but I made my choice. I'm going back with you. Look, I promised my friend, the other Doctor I would stay with him but I had that choice taken away from me. Now I'm making that promise to you, if you still want me to go back with you?"

He gave her his answer, kissing her gently. "Of course I want you to come back with me. It would be a shame to let the rest of the tour go to waste. You mean a lot to me, you know that?"

Rose did but he never said anything else, not once had he said he loved her but had she said it? No, she was scared of chasing him away, just like she had been afraid before and it was happening all over again. She was allowing herself to fall in love again without knowing how the man she loved felt the same. All the Doctor had said was her name as he fell into the pit and when she had faced his hologram that it was right that she loved him. A girl could only take so much before knowing if the man she slept with felt the same about her. Maybe they were more alike than she had thought and John expressed his feelings through his actions, not with mere words or maybe he was also scared of saying it.

Back in Vienna for the new year, they celebrated it local style, Rose loved joining in all the activities. Then it was on to Innsbruck, Italy, Spain, China and finally reached their last leg of their journey starting with Australia, then on to South America and since they had some time to spare, they had added a stay in Ireland. It was only while they were in Mexico, Rose sweltering with the heat, she asked where they were finishing their tour. He apparently had been saving their last destination, totally unaware of it being the last place Rose had visited before he had met her. Of all the places they could have ended up, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, he had to choose Norway.

During their travels, Rose had kept him on track, they had hired cars in some place to get around or had fun riding on the local transport systems. They had accomplished their tasks in each country, Rose had fun sampling all the local cuisine and John had fun looking at all the artefacts he knew he could never take back with him. All the time, they had been crazy about each other but still had not declared their love for each other. There had been times when Rose just wanted to scream it out at him and never mind the consequences but she had bitten back the words as they made love every night, sometimes during the day when they were unable to contain themselves, Rose was longing to hear those words.

On their final night at their shorter than usual stopover in Dublin, they lay in bed after making love, John was stroking her back as he held her, Rose was falling asleep, still heady from their love-making and still giddy from all the sensations he had been making her feel, John asked her to guess where they were going next.

"I'm tired John, why don't you just tell me huh?" she asked, kissing his bare chest.

"Oh go on Rose, it's somewhere north of Scotland."

"Ok, is it Denmark or Sweden?"

John said no and that didn't leave a lot.

"Iceland maybe or Greenland or Finland?"

As he said no to them, Rose pulled away from him. She had been avoiding the word 'Norway' hoping it would have been one of those she mentioned but it clearly wasn't. With realization she said, "Norway" with a hint of disappointment in her voice.

John noticed the change in her mood, he had been enjoying her kissing her way across his chest and was waiting for her to move down and kiss her way back across his belly like she always did after they had sex. It was their way of winding down and Rose would finally settle somewhere on him and fall asleep though he never knew where that was going to be but they always both put their underwear and Rose a cotton vest back on since they were in hotels and it wouldn't be good if they had to dress hurriedly in an emergency.

"Rosepetal, what's wrong? Is there something I should know about Norway that you don't seem keen on visiting?"

Rose looked up at him. She couldn't tell him, it would break his single heart if she told him they had been together almost a year and he looked like the man she had lost.

"I went there, just before I met you, that's all."

He didn't believe her. "Come on Rose, it's more than that. If you can't tell me now, maybe you'll tell me when we get there. We have an early flight tomorrow, let's get some sleep. You know how much you mean to me, I wouldn't take you anywhere you'll be unhappy, we can get there then go on to Sweden or Denmark if you want?"

"No, it's ok I'll go with you."

He kissed her forehead. "Get some sleep then Rose, we can talk about it tomorrow. I know there's something more to it and if you can't talk about it, it's fine, really. I know it hurts to talk about the past and it can be painful but I'm here with you, I'm not going anywhere. You can trust me on that Rose. I care deeply for you."

He was talking to himself as Rose had fallen asleep on him. He smiled to himself. He always did have a problem expressing his feelings, he preferred to show them rather than speak the actual words but maybe that was why his last girlfriend had left him, because he couldn't say it. Would he lose Rose either way? If he said it and she didn't want that sort of commitment and if he didn't say anything she might leave anyway. He couldn't win and he would never understand the mind of a woman, what they needed. He could shower her with affection and show his love but in the end it was down to her.

After an early breakfast, they arrived at the port for their zeppelin ride to Norway. They had chosen that rather than a plane to pass a bit of time and since they flew lower, to take in the spectacular view as it approached their next destination. John thought up to now, their trip had been a complete success having accomplished his task in each place and when he got back to the museum he would have fun arranging his latest display but he was deeply troubled by the latest situation with Rose.

Rose had been quiet all morning, looking out of the window at the sight below, just wishing John would say something, show some indication he felt the same way after a year. They had been together exactly one year and travelling the best part of eleven months together. They had dared each other to snog where they might be discovered and laughed when they almost got caught a few times, having to stay silent until the coast was clear when John had sneaked into the ladies room in a restaurant they were in when he suddenly got the urge and he had her pinned in one of the cubicles and pulled her onto him as he sat down, his feet resting on the door. He had smirked for a week about that. He had almost got caught leaving, grunting some excuse about checking on his girlfriend because she was taking her time probably fixing her make-up. Rose had not let him forget it.

As they approached the zeppelin port just outside Bergen, John nudged her from her daydreams. She had been thinking back to the worst day of her life in this world.

"We're here Rose, can't wait to look around the place, it's going to be great." He saw the look on her face. "Oh come on Rose, I know you've been here before but I haven't. There are places we visited that I'd been to before but I still enjoyed going back and do you know why?" John asked as he took their hand luggage from the overhead rack.

Rose asked why.

"Because this time, I was with you and that made it extra special. The last time, travelling with Martha, it was a strain because I didn't share the same with her like I have with you. Everywhere we went, she was watching me and now, honestly, I don't why I just didn't send her home. We were both miserable but this time Rose, you made it all worthwhile." He reached over to give her a quick kiss on her cheek and took her hand.

"This has been the best trip I've ever taken Rose because I shared it with you."

Rose smiled and took his other hand. "Yeah? Well this is the best time I've ever had in this…." She stopped before she said 'In this universe' but it was too late.

They were interrupted by the flight attendant announcing for passengers to remain seated while the airship docked. They both remained quiet but John was determined they were going to finish their conversation when they got to their hotel. Rose had other ideas about that.

When they settled in their room, John wanted to go pick up the hire car so Rose unpacked for both of them. She had already searched through all his pockets and other likely hiding places for signs of a fob watch and had not come across it. She figured if indeed he was hiding, he would have been aware enough to keep it close by and not risk leaving it back home. She was curious this time though, she searched the lining of the case she had been using but there was nothing so she searched the other cases and the lining of his shoulder bag he took on flights but again there was nothing and she couldn't make it look like they had been searched, there were some limits as to where she could look.

She had to accept it, there was absolutely no way he was her Doctor in human form, he was not hiding.

Chapter 9

When John got back after picking up the hire car, he was determined he was going to get the truth out of Rose. She had become the love of his life, the way he felt about her, he had not felt before about his last girlfriend. Rose gave as much back in their relationship as he did but he had always sensed she was holding a part of herself back from him and that some of her still belonged to the other Doctor, the one who had left her. In his opinion, the man had been an idiot to go off and leave someone like Rose. She still didn't want to talk about it but he was just as guilty, he'd never mentioned his sometimes rocky relationship with Sophia. He had learned never to mention an ex to his current girlfriend and never let the two of them meet under any circumstances.

He thought back to the day Rose had walked into his office when he had been talking to Miranda, who to him was just a work colleague. He had been excited about his upcoming trip with Rose and wanted to tell someone though he suspected Miranda fancied him, he didn't feel the same, even before he had met Rose. Meeting Rose had been the best day of his life and although he hadn't been able to say it to her, he knew he was indeed in love with her.

He decided he was going to finally do something about it so tomorrow, he would drive them to a beach he had read about, just 15 miles outside Bergen and he was going to ask her to marry him. If that didn't get her to admit she loved him, nothing would. He would first actually tell her he loved her and if she said it back, then he would get down on both knees and beg her to marry him because now, he had never been more sure of anything in his life than to make Rose his wife. First though, he had a phone call to make, to do this properly he was going to get Pete Tyler's permission to ask her.

Before he got out of the hire car, he dialled Pete Tyler's number and asked him if it was convenient to talk.

"Of course John, what is it? Is Rose ok? There's nothing wrong with her is there?"

"No, she's fine except I have a few questions for you?"

"Go ahead, I'll try and answer them if I can."

"Is there some reason why Rose hates Norway?"

Pete hesitated before he answered. It was not up to him to tell. "Sorry John, you'll have to ask Rose that." He genuinely was sorry but Rose had made it clear she did not want him to know about it or she would have already told him.

"I tried asking her before we came here but she wouldn't say anything. I don't know Pete, I thought she would like it here but she said she had been here before. I thought you may be able to help me out."

"John, if Rose wanted you to know, she would tell you. She hadn't had an easy time before she met you. She tells her mother more than me but I know she cares deeply about you but you may just have to accept there are some things she can't let go of."

"It has to do with the other Doctor, doesn't it? Something happened in Norway, something bad. Did he leave her here?"

Pete wanted to tell him and the man had already guessed as much. "Yes, he did. The place has bad memories for her. That's all I can tell you."

John felt like the wind had been knocked out of him. Rose was still sad because the other Doctor had left her here and she couldn't let go of it. He'd been stupid enough to bring her to the same place but she had never said where they had parted company. If he had only known, he would have avoided the place. He was aware Pete was still on the other end of the phone.

"Pete, I was going to ask for your permission to ask Rose if she would marry me but I think I may have chosen the wrong place to do that, now that I know."

"Well John, if you want to ask her, you have my blessing but I can't tell you her answer. You do know how old she is don't you? She's only 24."

Pete knew that wasn't entirely true, in her own world she would have been 21 back in May but somehow, being here had caused her to age differently and she did actually look 24 now. They had flown home for a few days to celebrate her birthday with her mother and her new baby brother who had started taking notice of everything and Rose was looking forward to his first real Christmas when she got back from her world tour.

"I'm well aware of that Pete, she knows how old I am as well and we're both ok with it. Do you think I'm too old for her?"

"No, not really, I'm older than Jackie but that's different. We had both been married before and you two are younger than us anyway. Rose needs someone like you. Someone older who will look after her and treat her properly and so far, she only says good things about you. All you can do is ask her but if she turns you down I will say this. Don't give up, don't just walk away because I'm sure she will come around eventually."

"But Pete, what if she rejects me and says she never wants to see me again? What do I do then? Do I still wait for her?"

"John, some things are worth waiting for and if you think Rose is one of them, then don't give up on her. Keep your distance but tell her you're not giving up on her."

"He gave upon her, didn't he? He went off and left her either because she was more in love with him than he was with her and he got scared. I'm not scared Pete but I'm scared she is, that she's the one who can't forget being rejected and she thinks I'm the same. I've never told her I love her, goodness knows why, I always thought that actions speak louder than words, I thought I had shown her a thousand times that I love her but I know now it's not enough so I'm going to tell her then ask her to marry me."

"Well in that case, good luck John, if she's anything like her mother. Seriously though, you made her happy again when she had just got over her last relationship, her mother and I never thought that would be possible. If things don't turn out, call me again, I'll get Jackie to talk to her. It's plain she's completely crazy about you."

"Well I hope you're right."

John said goodbye and went back inside before Rose realised he had been gone far too long. Over dinner that night, Rose said she had found a few places they might look for items for the museum but John said before they did that, he wanted to take her somewhere the next day.

"So where do you want to take me? Are we going to take a trip over to Denmark and Sweden while we're here? I read about the markets in Gothenburg, they're supposed to be amazing, especially at this time of year."

"Yeah, we could take a trip over if you want but I've got somewhere very special to take you. I'm not telling you even if you resort to torturing me, which you're quite welcome to try."

Rose smiled, the first time since their arrival. John thought maybe he was finally getting somewhere. After breakfast the next morning though, he was very soon to change his mind. They set off, John putting the destination into the satnav that came with the car and carefully angling the display screen so Rose couldn't see it.

He was oblivious to the fact that when they turned onto a road, Rose knew exactly where she was. How could he have possibly known? Not unless he had talked to Pete and she didn't think he would have told him, not when he knew what heartbreak it had caused her. She kept quiet until sure enough, John drove the car onto the beach at Bad Wolf Bay. He got out of the car and went to open the passenger door for Rose, holding his hand out for her to take it. She remained where she was.

"Rose, welcome to Dårlig Ulv-Stranden. It's Norwegian for 'Bad Wolf Bay' isn't it spectacular? I mean just look at the coastline, it's amazing. It has to be one of the most beautiful places we've visited and it looks even better than it does on the internet."

Rose remained where she was. "Come on Rose, at least get out of car for a bit. I know it's cold, that's why I told you to get wrapped up nice and warm." Rose still didn't budge. "I know it's warmer in the car but we'll go for a walk, that will warm you up."

He was so busy trying to get her out of the car he had failed to see the look on her face until he tried changing positions to get a look at why she wanted to remain there rather than take in the view. Then it struck him like lightening. This was the exact place she had parted from the other Doctor.

How could he have been so blind? She had been reluctant to even come here. Now he was competing with another man from her past who shared the same name but he reckoned he had always been in competition for Rose's heart since they first met. If that was the case, why had she stayed with him, shared a bed and much more with him? He had begun to think she might have forgotten what had happened to her but no, he had to go drag it all up again, bring her to the one place in the world that gave her bad memories then have the nerve to ask her to marry him in the same spot she had parted from her last boyfriend. Just how dumb could his ideas get?

Rose looked up at him, trying to hide her tears. She allowed John to help her out of the car, the wind was picking up, just like the last time she had been here.

"Well I'm here now, might as well get out I suppose. Why did you bring me here? You talked to Pete, didn't you? Was this his idea? Did he say oh while you're in Norway, take her to Bad Wolf Bay, she'll enjoy that?"

She walked away from John, facing out at the sea. She would be having strong words with Pete over this and soon. She knew she couldn't stay with John now, not after this. John came up behind her and put his arms around her neck.

"Please, just talk to me Rose. No, I knew nothing about this until you said that you didn't want to come here, I swear Rose. I brought you here because I wanted to talk to you, to tell you how I feel about you."

He was making marks in the sand with his trainer as Rose had shrugged him off. Remembering Pete's advice, he wasn't about to give up any time soon. He walked in front of her, she did her best to avoid his look. He saw the tears in her eyes.

"I'm sorry Rose, I really, truly did not know about this place. Rose, you know how much you mean to me, you know I adore you and I know how much you care about me but sometimes, words are never enough."

Rose knew he had hit the nail on the head. Too right, he never said anything, the one thing she was longing to hear, from John and the Doctor, who had faded from view before he could finish his sentence. Yes, the Doctor had shown her he loved her but never said it and John had been exactly the same. Nothing was ever going to change and she had to just accept it, he was not going to say it or it wouldn't have taken him a year to do it. The two men were from the same mould and John may not be the Doctor in human form like she had thought since meeting him but he was the same.

No matter how many universes she visited, no matter how many men looked like him, they were all the same and she was destined to never hear any of them tell her they loved her. Even if she went back to work on the dimension cannon, if she found him again, would he even say it to her then?

Rose looked up at John, his hair all over the place, his sad brown eyes that truly regretted bringing her here where she had spent the worst day of her life and she knew if she had to stay here, she would have chosen to do so with the man standing in front of her but she could never let go and it would be always in the way.

"Please say something Rose, even if it's only to tell me I'm a complete idiot, which I am or to tell me you never want to see me again. If you don't want to see me again then I won't give up on you, I'll respect you may be angry with me, for bringing you here and upsetting you. You might even get your mother to slap me and I'll deserve it because she did warn me not to break your heart and I have done, haven't I?"

Rose remained silent, wiping the tears that were stinging her eyes. Then quietly she said, "I want to go back to the hotel John, I can't stand being here."

"OK but before we leave, I want to say something to you. Rose Tyler – I love you."

That was all she could take as she turned and ran back to the car. If he had left the keys in the ignition, she would have driven off and left him, just like the Doctor had faded away but she had to wait for him walking back. She had not passed her driving test anyway. He got into the driver's seat, dejected and resigned she was never going to get over this. He had put his big feet in it again, even he had never messed up on this scale before. He drove back to the hotel, just glancing at Rose occasionally and he knew he had lost her, maybe he had never really had her in the first place, not all of her.

When they got back to the hotel, Rose had the room key before he was even out of the car and had locked the door behind her, flinging herself on the bed and crying. John tried knocking once on the door asking her to open it.

"Please let me in and talk to me Rose, I'm not shouting through the door." He looked around and saw a maid approaching and smiled. "Girlfriend trouble!" He tried to laugh off. He could have asked the woman to open the door but he respected Rose maybe wanted to be on her own. He just hoped she wasn't in there packing.

He decided to go back out to reception and call Pete, ask him to get her mother to ring her and he would see if she tried to leave. He got through to Pete.

"I blew it Pete. I took her to the place where she must have last been with the other Doctor and she ran off back to the car when I told her I loved her. What have I done?"

Pete did feel sorry for him, how was he supposed to know that he had taken her to the place where the Doctor had never been able to say those three words. "I'll get her mother to call her now, hang on for a moment." John heard him telling Jackie to call her daughter.

Rose was sat on the bed, her clothes all laid out ready to repack. She thought back to last night. They had made love again but she had held back and told John it was because she was tired but he hadn't believed her. Her phone rang, it was her mother and somehow, Jackie Tyler always seemed to know when her daughter needed her.

"What's wrong Rose? Did that John upset you? I did warn him what would happen if he did. Wait until I get my hands on him."

"It wasn't his fault. He took me to Bad Wolf Bay."

"What did he do that for?"

"He wanted to show me it and I never told him what happened there. He told me he loved me Mum but all I could do was think it was the other Doctor who had said it and I didn't believe him. I locked him out of the hotel room and now I think he's going to leave me."

"Listen to me Rose, you know I hated that alien at one time and I hated him even more when he left you crying on that beach but John loves you, you know he does or he wouldn't have travelled with you for almost a year. Yes I know, another Doctor took you travelling, tell me about it. Do you know how ironic that is? You two are meant to be together in any universe and maybe you were right, John is this universe's version of him and you'd be a fool not to see that. Go to him Rose, before it's too late, if you love him."

"I do love him Mum, that's the trouble. How do I stop seeing the other Doctor in him though?"

"I can't answer that. Perhaps you will, in time but you have to let John help you. You have to tell him what happened that day and let him know that it's not his fault."

"How can I tell him he looks exactly like him? He'll leave me, I know he will, it's why I never told him."

"Rose, if he really loves you, he'll understand. Don't throw it way."

John was sitting in the bar, a cup of coffee in front of him when Rose found him. She was going to call him, tell him to come up but decided to go personally. She sat opposite him, John looked thoroughly miserable. He was at his lowest point. He had a pink sapphire diamond ring in a pink box in his jacket pocket that he was going to give to her when she had told him she loved him and now she was probably packing. He looked up and managed a weak smile as she sat opposite him.

"Rose. Are you ok? I'm so sorry, I should have told you before we set off we were coming here and I never would have brought you. I know I should have told you it before, that I loved you but mere words just didn't seem enough, I wanted to show you how much I loved you and when I realised Norway was the last place we were going to visit and I read about that place, I thought it would be the perfect place to tell you and if you had said that you loved me I was going to ask you an important question, a very important question, the most important question I've ever asked anyone in my entire life." He finally stopped for breath when Rose got up and pulled him up.

If he had thought that he was scared of Jackie Tyler slapping his face then he was half afraid Rose was going to do it for her so he braced himself for the impact of the back of her hand colliding with his face. He knew he deserved it, for not telling her sooner. He knew he loved her, he adored her and would do anything for her to make her happy but he knew now that actions couldn't beat those three little words.

He got a surprise when she stood a fraction away from him and looked into his eyes. She could see he loved her, why had she doubted him? His sincerity and his actions, they should have been enough but they hadn't been. She was waiting for the Doctor to come back but he was standing here, right in front of her and she hadn't seen it.

John was about to start rambling again as she took hold of his jacket lapels. "Rose? If you're going to slap my face, do it now and get it over with but know this, I'll wait for you, no matter how long it takes because I do love you and I was an idiot not to see that my actions weren't enough."

Rose just put her finger on his lips. "Doctor."

"Yes Rose?"

"Shut up!" She grabbed hold of him as her lips crashed into his as they held onto each other, totally unaware of their surroundings until they heard some people gasping and some people clapping and cheering.

Then she whispered into his ear, "I love you too Doctor. We have some talking to do."

John took her hand into his and whispered back, "That can wait" and took the ring box out of his jacket. "I wanted to do this back on the beach but you ran away."

"I wasn't running away from you, it was just the place you had chosen. I said goodbye to the other Doctor at that exact same spot and you weren't to know. Take me back and ask me there then I have things to tell you."

John's face lit up. "Give me the key and I'll go get your jacket."

Rose handed him the key and he kissed her cheek. He didn't mind travelling another 30 miles to get Rose to say she would marry him.

They drove back to Bad Wolf Bay and this time Rose got out of the car when John offered her his hand. She was going to get this over and done with and tell him the truth then see if he was still so keen. She walked to the spot by the edge of the water where she remembered almost two years ago now she had been in tears. Maybe the exact same spot could finally bring her to terms with what had happened and accept she was here to stay and that somehow, the other Doctor would know she was happy. This universe owed her that much.

John was about to get down on both knees to ask her to marry him when she asked him to wait.

"You deserve to know John and then see if you still want to ask me."

John agreed, it was the least he could do. They stood face to face on the windswept beach, holding hands and when Rose had finished telling him, what had happened on that day in the same spot, his heart broke for her.

"I'm so sorry Rose but why did you insist we came back?"

"Because I didn't tell you that I loved you here."

"Oh. Then why don't you tell me Rose?"

"Doctor. I love you."

"Rose Tyler, I love you, will you marry me?"

He dropped down to both knees as he took the ring from the box and slid it onto her ring finger. He got up and put his arms around her and kissed her, waiting for her answer.

"Yes Doctor, I will marry you but you know my true age now that I've told you everything."

"No wonder you wanted to go home for your birthday, it was your 21st and we never celebrated it properly."

"It doesn't matter John, everyone except you knew it was and now you do."

"Well why are we still hanging about on this freezing cold beach? Let's get back to our nice cosy hotel room and have your 21st birthday party. Allons-y Rose Tyler."


It was the social event of the year - the engagement of Miss Rose Tyler to Doctor John Smith of the Metropolitan Museum of London when they arrived back home, it had been in all the papers. Jackie insisted on a proper engagement party of course and also insisted they held it on Christmas Eve since they didn't stay long last time.

Rose had moved in with John and they were looking for a house and had taken up driving lessons again, already choosing a car. So on Christmas Eve, having spent most of the day getting ready and banning John from what was now their room at the Tyler residence when they stayed over, Rose made her way downstairs to be greeted by John waiting for her. He took her hand and Pete made the formal announcement.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, I am happy to announce the formal engagement of my stepdaughter Rose Tyler to Doctor John Smith so please raise your glasses to toast the happy couple."

Everyone raised their glasses as the two of them linked arms and drank from each others. They got married the following May, on Rose's birthday and honeymooned in Paris and continued for the next two years to travel around on different trips John came up with until they had been together three years and Rose was expecting their first child.


Yvonne Hartman knew her cousin John was a scatterbrain sometimes. When he had left to go on his latest adventures of gathering artefacts for the museum, he had asked her to look after his apartment for him so she popped in once a month to check his mail and forward anything important to him by courier where he was staying. When he had showed up asking for her help to get him to see Peter Tyler, she had not seen him in a long time but she never remembered seeing him that much when they were younger, not until his parents had died in a car crash. Even then they had not seen each other a great deal but after he met Rose, she saw them both lots of times so the day before they were going away, Rose had been visiting her mother in hospital and she had met him for coffee nearby.

He had handed her a family heirloom, so he said, from his father and asked her to keep it safe and not to give him it back until Rose asked her for it and she was not to tell him about it or ask him if he wanted it back or even mention it. Yvonne had to promise him she would do as he asked, he was her cousin but try as she might, she couldn't remember him or his parents when she was growing up – curious.

The End!