Becoming Alec Hardy


Rose has been left on Bad Wolf Bay – again, this time with the Doctor's clone and she's not happy and neither is he but she agrees to give him a chance and instead of going back to London, they go off to live in Glasgow and get a flat together.  The only thing is, neither of them know how to get romantic with each other until the human Doctor re-invents himself as Alec Hardy.

Chapter 1  Scroll down to read each chapter

A/N: Romantic comedy where Rose and the human Doctor are at loggerheads with each other, just sharing a flat until he decides what he wants to do – become a police detective and starts acting the part but keeps it secret from Rose, who just thinks he's got a job as a consultant in a police station.

During the day, he has faked his ID, become DI Alec Hardy and chases criminals but when he goes home to their shared two bedroom flat just outside Glasgow, he's plain John Smith. 

That is until a case of a missing boy hits the headlines and Rose puts two and two together, seeing him on the news and swears it's John but he denies it, saying it's just a coincidence and everyone mistakes him for the detective and that he's just a consultant and points out the detective has a Scottish accent, is divorced, with a daughter (which the human Doctor has invented, getting a photo of a girl from a magazine) and is just about as grumpy as you can get.

The Doctor had done it to her again – left her at Bad Wolf Bay but this time, with a copy of himself and neither Rose or the said 'Copy' or 'Clone' were very pleased about it.  Jackie had moaned about being left at the back of beyond and Pete had arranged for a car to pick them up and taken to a hotel for the night then a zeppelin back to London the next day.

They had watched the Tardis disappear and the Doctor had handed something to him at the last second as they were leaving the Tardis and the human Doctor had put it in his pocket without looking but now he brought it out – another fobwatch.

"Huh," the human Doctor said to himself.  "What does he expect me to do with this then?"  

He knew it wouldn't work without the chameleon arch so it was virtually useless.

Rose was staring at him.  He had declared he loved her, wanted to spend his one life with her yet they were standing opposite each other.  The other Doctor, the real one had backed out again and Rose was not happy.  

"Come on Rose, the car's here by the look of it.  Let's have some rest and decide what to do," the human Doctor declared, taking her hand.

She let him help her and Jackie into the car and without realising, Rose had checked them into the same hotel they had stayed the last time but there were only two doubles left and Jackie didn't want to share.  Jackie Tyler was overjoyed her daughter had finally got the Doctor back, no matter that he was a double or not, Rose would be happy and all that but now she wasn't so sure.  So forcing them to share a room and sort themselves out was quite appealing.

The human Doctor stood with his back to the bedroom door.

"I know you're not happy Rose, I can leave when we get back to civilisation, if you want.  I know you were just saying it back to me, on the beach.  You wanted him."

"That's not fair.  What was all that 'I'm him' crap then?"

"I am him, let's not go into that again.  Look Rose, he couldn't say it and I can't tell you the reason why, it's not up to me to say it but I meant it Rose, you've always been the one, since we first met and yes, you made me better.  I'll stay here then, let you go back to London and then I'll make my own way."

"You don't have to do that.  We can still be friends."

"Yeah?  I'd like that Rose, really I would and I can wait, however long it takes.  Still want to go back to London?  How about a change?"

"Such as?"

"How about Scotland?  You liked it when we met Queen Victoria.  Maybe you can run a branch of Torchwood there?"

"As long as it's not on some bleak moor and a house called The Torchwood Estate.  I think I can persuade Pete to let me open a branch in say Glasgow?  Care to join me?"

"No, I still don't trust them and I've nothing against you or Pete or even Jake but it's not for me.  Maybe I can do something else?"

"Yeah, we have to break the news to mum though but how are you going to settle down, you, being all domesticated?"

"Oi, I can do domesticated, thanks very much Rose Tyler.  So what do you make of this?"  

He got out the fobwatch and ran it through his long fingers. 

Rose took it from him.  

"What does it say?  It's written in your language isn't it?"

"Well yeah but it makes no sense.  It's telling me I can hide myself, it's what we do when we're in danger and we don't want to regenerate, we make ourselves human or whatever other species we happen to take a liking to and the Tardis takes care of all the details, makes up a story, plants us into a situation with a whole life history but without programming it, without putting the chameleon arch on our temple to make the transition, it's useless.

He sat down on the bed next to Rose.  He took it back from her and put it in his pocket.

"Well he must have given it to you for a reason then, we just have to figure it out and we will.  Let's go get something to eat and tell mum what we have planned."

He leaned forward and kissed her cheek.

"You're brilliant Rose, we'll figure it out, you and me, ha!"

Rose smiled.  They went to join her mother and broke the news to her.  She wasn't surprised.

"I knew you two would work it out but what about your things Rose?  Shall I have them packed and sent to you?"

"Yeah, when we find somewhere, I'll just buy what I need though I haven't got my card.  Can I use yours?''

"Well you could but I haven't got mine, Pete paid on the phone for everything.  Where are you going?"

"We'll stay here a few days, get Pete to send me my bank cards via courier and some clothes, I'll get them by tomorrow afternoon if you call him after dinner."

''Ok, I'll call him, good job I brought my phone though.  I'll have to tell him Mickey's not coming back, I'll miss him."  

She went off to call Pete.

"Yeah, shame about Mickey boy but I reckon he'll be ok, I think he had his eye on Martha."

"No way Doctor!" Rose laughed.  "She's way too serious for Mickey."

"Just what he needs, someone level-headed.  She did me a lot of good, when she travelled with me, I mean him, I mean both of us, oh you know what I mean."

Rose smiled and patted his arm.  

''Are you having an identity crisis already Doctor?"

"No, what makes you think that?  Anyway, as I was saying, Martha got me out of a few tight spots.  I even used that chameleon arch, she took care of me for three whole months and believe me, I didn't make it easy for her."

"I bet you didn't, you can tell me later."

"I should warn you, it did end up she fancied me," he retorted, messing up his hair that had suddenly seemed flat to him.

"Well who wouldn't, I can't really blame her but I take it by your attitude towards it, it wasn't a two-way street."

"No, I almost got her killed and her family.  Did I ever tell you about The Master?"

"No don't think so, enlighten me.  Was he another, you know?"

"Yeah, bit on the evil side he was, tried to take over the world, you know, all the usual stuff and would you believe it?  He was around when me and you were, even through Canary Wharf but he hid himself from me.  Then he stole the Tardis and used it to bring these creatures from the end of the universe."

"Best not tell me too much, just in case everyone here doesn't only speak Norwegian."

"Yeah, right.  So, we stay here tomorrow then hire a car and drive down to Glasgow, sounds like a plan to me.  Are you getting your phone sent up as well?"

Jackie had just got back from calling her husband.  

"Your things are on their way, everything will be here for you sometime tomorrow.  Your clothes are being packed along with your laptop and your phone so just wait for them.  I said you'd be calling him."

"Yeah, I will, thanks mum.  You'll be okay, going back on your own, won't you?"

"'course I will, I'll get plenty of magazines sent to the hotel in the morning, have them put on the bill.  You'd best go tell reception you're not leaving in the morning, I leave after breakfast, car's coming to take me to the nearest zeppelin port.  I'm off to my room, night, night you two and no noise, thanks very much, I'm in the next room."

"Mum!  What do you think's gonna happen?"

"Really Rose, you have to ask that question?  You've been apart for what seems like years to me, I don't have to be a genius to work it out."

Rose looked at The Doctor.  

''Guess we should get to our room then, we've got a lot to talk about."

They began making plans and Rose eventually fell asleep.  There were no kisses goodnight, no cuddles and the Doctor thought it was just the fact they had been literally thrown together by his twin and resolved himself he was going to have to work at this.

The next morning, after breakfast, Rose said goodbye to her mother and she gave them both a hug, speaking up to the Doctor.

"You look after her, I'm holding you responsible for her."

"Don't I always look after her Jackie?"

"Not for the last few years you haven't so you just watch out.  There was so much I wanted to say to you, for starters, you've been thrown into this as much as Rose has so you'll just have to muddle through the best you can but if anyone can, the two of you, well you know.  Promise you'll come down for visits, both of you?''

''Yeah Mum, of course we will,'' Rose replied, hoping she was speaking just as much for the new Doctor.

This was the second time she had to accept a new Doctor, the first had been bad enough until he'd walked into her mother's flat, dressed in that brown suit and his long coat and she had fallen head over heels for him, not that it had done her much good, he'd been a bit slow on the uptake to say the very least in that department.  She wondered now if he had meant what he'd said back on the beach and want to make a go of it.

Well she wasn't going to make it easy for him, that was for certain.  Her mother's car arrived, Rose thinking they should have offered to go to the zeppelin port with her but she hadn't seemed that fussed, Jackie just wanted to get back to Pete and her young son.

On her way to the zeppelin port, Jackie just hoped now there was yet another version of the daft alien they would get their acts together and tell each other how they felt.

The new Doctor looked at his friend, whom he hoped now would become his girlfriend, if they were contemplating living together or would Rose want her own place?  That was a thought, how would he cope, on another version of earth and alone, without his Rose?  The time she had been away from him had been torture, he'd tried to get on, picked up Martha and Donna, almost got talked in to taking Astrid with him until he'd let her die, well not actually die, her spirit was still roaming the stars, at least he'd done that much for her but there couldn't have been anything between them, that much he knew, she would have been disappointed and left, just like when he'd let Martha down, not so gently, she'd found out the hard way.

Turning back to Rose, he took her hand again.

''Come on Rose, we have a lot to do once your things get here.  Was your mother getting the same zeppelin your things were arriving on?''

''What?  Oh, dunno, she didn't say much about the arrangements she'd made with Pete.  Do you want your own room now?''

''Why, are you tired of me already Rose Tyler?'' he winked, nudging her.  ''You're not backing out already, are you?  If you are, say now and I'll leave you to it, if you want to call your mother and tell her to wait for you.''

''No, I'm not backing out Doctor, don't make my mind up for me though.  I spent all that time, trying to get back to you, seeing you and always failing to make you see me and landing in that version of the world Donna had created around her, it was horrible, a world without you but that's what I've had to put up with, living in a world I don't belong in, without you being here.''

He put his arms around her and led her back inside, given it wasn't exactly the height of summer in Norway, it was only just above freezing point though when they had kissed on the beach late yesterday afternoon, the other Doctor actually getting Rose and Jackie back to their adopted world where only a few hours had passed, something the new Doctor was surprised at, neither of them either knew or cared what the temperature was.

The new Doctor thought though that afterwards, Rose had cooled off somewhat, given her enthusiasm snogging him, she'd not attempted a repeat performance either when they had been left alone last night or this morning, both sleeping in the same bed to keep warm despite the supposed heating system which he thought had been switched off during the night and she had been clinging to him when he'd woken up. That was something he was going to have to get used to, not Rose clinging to him wearing just her t-shirt and underwear, something he had found rather pleasant but getting used to sleeping for seven or eight hours every night but with Rose there, it wouldn't be too bad.

Maybe if she wasn't so angry at being left and probably worn out with all the dimension hopping he imagined she had been doing in an attempt to locate him, especially the last few hours before she had appeared on the deserted street and had been running towards him then he'd been shot by a Dalek, she might let him get cosy tonight with her, maybe sneak in the odd kiss or two or three.

Rose had gone up to the bar area and ordered two large lattes and sat herself in a corner seat, looking up at him to join her.  He had been standing behind her in the doorway, like a lost puppy.  He was totally dependant on her for the time being, until they established her intentions towards him, he already knew what his were towards her, he had always loved her and now he intended to show her, if she would let him that was.  Only time would tell and now for him, the first time in all his lives, it was limited.  Now he knew how humans felt and he didn't want to waste any of it so the sooner he established if she was going to let him into her life, the better.  There was no time like the present so he strode over and sat beside her and took her hand.

''Right then Rose, what now eh?''

Chapter 2

Rose was just waiting for the couriers to arrive with her hastily packed suitcase, laptop case containing hopefully her mobile phone and an envelope with her personal effects, bank cards, passport and everything else Pete would have instructed one of the staff to pack for her.

Pete hadn't been surprised when Jackie had said Rose had found who she had gone looking for, not wanting to say much on an unsecured phone-line but he'd got the gist of it, Rose had been determined when she'd been sent finally to the right universe after reporting she'd found herself repeatedly missing seeing the Doctor then ending up in a made up world where he hadn't survived but it had been important enough to get everyone involved and putting things back on track since it involved every universe.

Now things had been put right and Rose was back even though it was unlikely Pete would see her for a good while since Jackie had tried to tell him Rose and the Doctor were staying up there, well somewhere in Scotland from what she had so far gathered but Jackie hadn't thought things were going that well considering Rose had spent all that time trying to get back to him and they had already cooled off towards each other but something Jackie had said disturbed him – the Doctor wasn't quite himself and wondered what she had meant.

Pete thought maybe while Rose had been unsuccessfully making jumps to find him, the Doctor had found someone else but doubted it after the last time he'd seen them together but now, he knew something had happened and hoped Rose would fill him in when she called him, Jake having already secured both their phones, unlike with Jackie's since they hadn't needed it.

So while Rose pondered what the Doctor meant by what he'd just said, she drank her latte and let him take hold of her hand.

''Come on Rose, talk to me?  What's wrong all of a sudden?  You started that kiss yesterday on the beach yet all you did was sleep last night and give me no idea what's wrong with you.  Have I done something to upset you maybe?''

''No, what makes you think that?  Look, like mum said, we've both been thrown into this, let's just get used to it yeah?  Just give me some time but we stay together, I'm not pushing you away so don't think I am okay?  We were good friends, let's just concentrate on that for the time being and see where it leads us.''

''I get it Rose, really I do, you're upset he left you again and I don't blame you really but he left me here too.  I expected he'd keep both of us with him but he couldn't and he wasn't punishing either of us by leaving us to get on with it.  Don't you get it Rose?''

''You're his way of saying he couldn't stay with me.''

''Yes, sort of I suppose but he'll keep on changing Rose, he knew that, he was given a prophecy by The Ood and it scared him he'd never see you again before he changed.  Now he's left us together, it's taken some of it away and although he'll fight to remain the same, it will catch up on him.  What if you hadn't found him this time and when you did, you didn't even recognise him?''

''I would have known him.''

''Maybe Rose but I'm not always agreeable, last time was a bonus that I let you stay.  I could be older and grumpy and you'd hate me and then what?  You'd have been stuck on your old world with no-one and never been able to get back here because they would have assumed you wanted to stay there and not return.''

''You would have still looked after me, you promised.''

''Maybe but you would have gone off on your own and you'd have still been alone, he couldn't let you go through that.  My coming into existence was a fluke Rose, a once in however many lifetimes chance for him to make sure you were happy and he wants you to be, I know.  So do I and if you want things to cool down then fine, we'll be friends and if you find someone else, I won't get in the way.''

''I don't want anyone else, I never got myself a boyfriend when I got here, I could have gone back to Mickey but all I wanted was you.  If that lever hadn't failed, I would have stayed, you know that.  I spent years thinking somehow you'd arranged it on purpose to get me to go back.''

''Rose, how could you even think that?  I was terrified when you were heading towards the void, you must have seen the look on my face as Pete grabbed hold of you?  Don't you think for one second I was going to try to send you back again Rose, I only did it in the first place to keep you safe.''

''Sorry but you have no idea what I thought when I got here and had to accept Pete's help, mainly for my mother's sake.  She was going to leave after a few days but Pete insisted we stayed, he said it was the least he could do for us since he'd brought us here and after a few days more, mum thought she was onto a good thing, getting her husband back.  I moved out, Pete set me up with my own place by the river, not far from where we first landed but I hated it and moved back when mum had Tony.  Then I buried myself in my work, getting back to you.''

''I know Rose, I'm sorry but you have to believe me, I thought I'd lost you too, I tried everything I could to get you back but it wasn't meant to be.  Let's just start again eh?  Let's go down to Scotland, Glasgow maybe or Edinburgh, get ourselves a place, two bedrooms and share for now.  You get Pete to open up a branch of Vitex and I'll get myself a job, I don't know, teaching or something, what do you say?''

Rose took his hand.  

''Yeah ok, just don't go pretending to be a policeman again, after last time.''

The Doctor smiled.  

''I did that a few more times after you left, once or twice with Donna, it got me out of a few messes.  Did I tell you we met Agatha Christie?''

Rose smiled back and said no.

''Well I've got so much to tell you then but not here though.  Look Rose, when I mean start again, I don't mean from the beginning, you know, maybe from where we left off?  I could go back to the hugs and the holding hands, if you want?  You even kissed my forehead before I went down into that pit, even though I was wearing a helmet at the time, we were getting closer, weren't we?''

''I suppose so.''

''I'm more human now Rose, I understand more than I used to do.  You said you didn't want another boyfriend so how about this?  You can tell everyone I'm your boyfriend, if you want, no strings attached and I'll say you're my girlfriend then neither of us will get jealous of each other, if you're sure you don't want to actually get yourself one?''

''No, I don't want to get myself one, we can have that arrangement, I'm happy with it if you are?''

He squeezed her hand.  

''That's settled then, brilliant!  I should warn you though, I think Donna's influence might just have changed me a bit, to how I used to be.''

''Oh?  Just how much by then?  Do I need to be worried?''  She raised her eyebrows.

The Doctor looked at her, not getting the meaning at first until she nudged him and told him to go get two more large lattes.  He came back, grinning.

''You tease, no, I didn't mean those sort of changes Rose Tyler, I see you haven't changed much.  No, I meant other things, being more adventurous for one, having a bit more fun and lightening up a bit, that sort of thing.  Donna taught me a lot of things but do you know what?''

''Go on the Doctor, what?''

''That I took things far too seriously and it did me no good.  I felt bad Rose, for what happened to my people but I've not got all that guilt the other me had, he used to give everyone a second chance and it nearly killed him for good with no chance of regeneration but now I've only got one life, I can't afford to give everyone a second chance, well except for you that is, that goes without saying because you were the one good thing I had Rose and I had to let you be taken away from me and I never tried to stop it.''

''Now who’s got no guilt?  Don't tear yourself up over it, it happened, I'm here, you're here, let it be Doctor, just forget it and don't go all gloomy on me, okay?''

''Okay, one other thing though, Donna, she was a good mate and she told me never to give up looking for you, she was different to Martha, she fancied me.''

''Huh, you've still got a big ego Doctor, still I hope you told her you were all broken up over me?''

''Yeah, fat lot of good that did, she left while she still could, after the Earth was taken over by an evil Timelord, one survived, we found him and well, he stole the Tardis, went back to Earth and plotted to capture me but that's a tale for another day.''

''You can tell me all about it later or just leave it, if it's too much.''

''Oh Rose, I'd love to tell you.  Look, I think your things have arrived.''

There at reception stood a grinning Jake Simmonds, who had volunteered to deliver Rose's things in person, having arrived on the zeppelin Rose's mother had just taken off in.

Rose and the new Doctor got up just as Jake turned towards them, having asked if Rose was around.  Rose threw her arms around her friend.

''Jake!  You didn't have to come up yourself you know.''

''Well after Pete called me to say you wanted your stuff and said he was back, I had to.  Hello Doctor, nice to see you again.''

''Jake!  Well it's nice to see you too.  Why don't you bring Rose's things up, there's something you need to know.''

Jake looked at Rose, who just shrugged her shoulders.

''I hope you brought everything, including my phone, mum will be trying to call me already and she's just left, did you see her?''

''Briefly as we passed at the zeppelin port.  I was gonna take a plane but Pete said she'd be getting one back this morning, I thought I'd save some money, planes cost twice as much.''

The Doctor was going to have to learn a few things.  Aircraft were getting more popular but only for those who could afford the high prices, Pete had his own company jet but wouldn't justify sending Jake up to Norway in it, even to collect his wife and he'd never been persuaded to buy his own zeppelin after the other Jackie had complained she'd wanted one for what she had insisted was her 39th birthday. 

They went up to the room Rose and the new Doctor had been sharing, Jake looking at the pair of them.

''You two been sharing already eh?''

''Stop it Jake, there were only two vacant rooms when we got here and my mum didn't want to share, there's nothing going on.''

''If you say so Rose.  So, what do you have to tell me that's so secretive then?  If it's not the two of you are shagging each other's brains out?''

The Doctor sat on the other chair as Jake plonked himself on one of the two.  

''I'm not him, I'm not the real Doctor, I'm his twin, a clone.''

''Crikey, you had me fooled.  Seriously?  Does Pete know Rose?''

''No, I've just got my phone, remember?  Mum knows but she couldn't say anything over her phone, it's not secure.  I'll set up my laptop and we'll do a conference call, that way he can speak directly to you, Doctor.''

''Yeah, about that Rose, I'd rather you not call me that all the time.  I'd rather be called John Smith, the name I used to sometimes go by, it's suited me so far.''

''Well if that's what you want, you can be Doctor John Smith then, unless you want to drop the 'Doctor' bit altogether?''

''We'll see, depends what I'm going to do, doesn't it?  There's lots of things I'd be good at really, teaching might be a good option I suppose, maybe history or science though this world's history's different I expect, eh Jakey-boy?''

''I expect so, Rose hadn't told me much, apart from royalty and her being given an honour by Queen Victoria over a hundred years ago but the monarchy ceased in the 70's when the Queen had been ruling for 25 years and no-one voted for a replacement since, well we won't go into that.  Are you through to Pete yet Rose?''

Rose had been placing the call to Pete, she still called him that except when her young stepbrother was around, then she would say it as 'your dad' to Tony, not hers.  She had always wanted him back but now it was a reality, it was hard to accept.

Rose placed the laptop where everyone could see as Pete greeted them.  

''Doctor, glad to have you back.''

''It's not really me Pete, Rose will explain but I'm his sort of twin, a clone and don't ask me to explain, something happened when we were back there and I was created but essentially, I'm the same, memories and everything.  I think Rose can fill you in.''

''Maybe another time.  You're both staying up there then?  Rose, if you're not coming back and I don't really blame you, your mission is complete, you got what you wanted and I never doubted you'd give up before you did so I suppose you want me to set you up with something, wherever you decide to settle?''

''Well that was the idea, if you can?  He won't be joining me though, will you John?''

John shook his head.  

''I see, so he's not going by that name any longer?''

''I'm not that much like him Pete, we share common ground but that part of my life is over now, it's been left behind when he left me here, with Rose and I promise you, I'll look after her, we're still good friends and I won't do anything to upset her.  We've decide to share a place, she's agreed to be officially my girlfriend to avoid any speculation of us living together and I expect her mother would have something to say otherwise.  Only you and Jake will know about us.''

''Yes, well Rose is quite famous as my stepdaughter and her name's associated with a lot of men, some famous, some not so famous so don't be surprised if you find yourself on the front page with her, even in Scotland.  Any ideas where you're going to live yet?  Jackie mentioned Glasgow.''

''We've not decided yet, we may just stay here a few days, I expect Rose will hire a car for us.  What do I do Pete?  I can't rely on Rose.''

''Jake, give the Doctor, sorry, John, the company credit card I gave you to pass on to him and don't worry, I'll get you some ID made up, just tell us where to send it.  I'll send you everything you need, Mickey said you go by the name of John Smith sometimes, I presume that's what you're going to be known as?''

''May as well, saves inventing another one.  There's just one thing though, I don't know how much Rose told you about me but that's all over with now, I'm grounded and I only have one shot at this.  I take it no-one else knows who I am?''

''No, they just know Rose was trying to get back to her boyfriend, they'll just be told she found you.''

Chapter 3

Rose was taking this very calmly, considering they'd only discussed their arrangements briefly over coffee and she had totally ignored him last night, having been exhausted from all that dimension hopping.  She should have at least given him another kiss and maybe a cuddle for his troubles, after all, it wasn't his fault that his twin had inadvertently created him and decided they should have their 'happily ever after' just because he couldn't do it himself.

Now the new Doctor, well John Smith was laying out his plans to her stepfather and Jake before he had even decided what he wanted to do with his new life, now he only had one, apparently.

''John, let me know where you're going to be living and why don't you and Rose take a vacation somewhere before you decide what job you're going to try?  Take a week or two somewhere, my treat and relax, Rose has had a tough time lately, since we got to know about the stars going out and it can't have been easy for you, getting thrown into this.  Rose, you're being very quiet love, are you ok?''

Rose nodded.  

''Yeah, I'm fine, don't worry about me.  Ask mum to call me, to let me know she got back and give Tony a hug for me will you?  John and me will take your advice, maybe we can just take a break in the Scottish Highlands for a week, in a hotel or something but I'll have to take him shopping first.''

Pete smiled.  

''Yeah well I don't expect he'll find Norwegian fashions to his liking but I dare say a few t-shirts and some jeans will be the same anywhere.''

John looked at his blue suit, thinking Donna had been enough in criticising his attire.  

''What's wrong with blue?''

''John, you can't keep wearing the same suit now, the Tardis isn't here to do your dry-cleaning for you and iron your shirts.  I'll order a car and we'll stay here tonight then get the ferry across to Scotland and find somewhere to relax for a few days, it's just a bit too cold here for my liking.  I'm glad someone packed my coat for me, I've been freezing in just my jacket.  Jake, are you staying?''

''Nah, going back on the afternoon flight, why don't you keep my rental car, just drop me at the port and transfer it to you?''

''Why, what you driving Jake, not a jeep I hope?''

They ended the call to Pete and went in search of an early lunch then Jake rang the car hire at the port and Rose gave her details, them jumping at the name Rose Tyler and all the arrangements were made for her to hand the car back wherever she found herself.  John thought just how far she had come in the few years she had been here and was amazed she had been here three years and it was 2012, it being the very beginning of 2009 back where he'd just come from, well he thought it was, he lost track sometimes, it could have been 2008, Donna hadn't mentioned it.

The car turned out to be a nice blue Renault similar to the one Rose had left back in London, wondering what Pete would do with it then decided to call him later and have it sent up to where she and John would be settling down, she liked that car.  Still, the hire one didn't have a retractable roof but who wanted that in freezing cold Norway?

They said goodbye to Jake after dropping him off and went back to the hotel, John keeping quiet as he still wasn't sure about his new relationship with Rose, perhaps all that talk to Pete about them sharing had been too much for her so a two bedroomed apartment was definitely on the cards.  He just hoped she wouldn't remain cold towards him but it was hardly surprising, she had expected to either come back with the real thing or stay on her old world with his twin.

They arrived back at the hotel, Rose wanted to go visit the free spa included in the price so John said he'd go and wander around the town and pick himself up a few things such as underwear and some toiletries, knowing Rose would complain if he used her things, not that he wanted to use women's things in particular or borrow her underwear, it was all a bit weird.  He smiled to himself as he set off with Pete's company credit card, having memorised the security number and was amused he'd be buying stuff without resorting to bluffing.  He was back two hours later with assorted carrier bags and wearing a big grin on his face that he'd had two women in the local stores trying to get his phone number, which he didn't have so he'd thought of buying himself a mobile phone to surprise Rose then thought better of it since it was a little known provider and thought he'd just wait until they got to Scotland.

Since two women had shown an interest in him, he thought Rose was just as well not knowing about it, this version of him had been a bit on the 'vain' side he supposed, which was why he'd not wanted to change when that Dalek had got lucky and shot at him, plus, he knew his twin had been running towards Rose and she would have been devastated to watch him regenerate yet again.  Watching Davros torment her though had been heartsbreaking for the other him but she had been strong and had given as much back at the creator of the Daleks.

He unpacked his purchases and noticed Rose had done her unpacking and used the spare hangers to hang up the three t-shirts and the two casual shirts and then the tweed jacket with the red collar and trim and elected to change into the black t-shirt with the Spiderman logo on it over a long sleeved white one and the pair of jeans he'd picked up at the last minute.  He'd also bought three pairs of Converse in off-white, red and black (for best he'd convinced himself) and had just put on the TV when Rose knocked on the door, her having left the room key in reception for him to collect after his impromptu shopping trip.

He stood up as she entered, she was now wearing black trousers still but a beige chiffon top with a white top underneath and her hair tied back.  His twin had been a fool in not expressing his feelings for her but now she was all grown up, it wasn't 2006 any more and she was a woman, not a 19 year old shop assistant from a London council estate.  She could probably have had any man she wanted, there would have been a long line clamouring to ask her out but she had readily agreed to take up with him, even after he had left her.

''Wow Rose you look great.  Enjoy your spa?''

''Yeah, just what I needed, wow yourself John, you've had a change in your usual dress sense, you're gonna have to fend off the women now but remember our agreement or do you want to back out?''

''No, I don't want to back out, there's no need to get jealous if women look at me, I'm not going to get tempted so don't worry.''

''Even when it's a French noblewoman?''

''That was different and you know it Rose.  Is this what it's all about, because Reinette took a fancy to me?''

''I don't know John, I think she took more than a fancy to you and there was I, humble London shop girl who was nothing to her, how do you think it made me feel when you went back to invite her to go with us?  Where would that have led to?''

''Oh, so it's all coming out now is it Rose?  You were totally jealous, if that's the case, how do you think I felt, seeing you with Mickey then?''

''What?  We were just friends, I stopped going out with him just after we met, he was the one that came chasing after me.''

''Yeah?  Well Reinette was the one chasing me, she might have had me executed if I'd refused her and I almost got trapped there, remember?  You can thank her I came back after five and a half hours, she had that fireplace taken there otherwise, that would have been it.''

''What about us?  Would the Tardis have just taken us home?''

''Yes but since then, I've programmed the ship to drop anyone off who's on board then come and find me.''

''Bit late now though but you're changing the subject.  So she'd have come along, then what?''

''It was just for one trip Rose, she couldn't have stayed, it would have changed history, I just wanted to show her things weren't that bad.  What about you?  You went off with Mickey when he came to Cardiff.''

''So, you were flirting with that Slitheen.''

''Huh?  Well what about you and Adam Mitchell?''

''Really?  There was no me and Adam Mitchell, he was a selfish jerk only there to help himself, he was a computer hacker and bragged about it.  So what about you and Sarah-Jane?  Bit old for you now ain't she?''

''Is that the best you can do Rose?  You were always flirting with Jack.''

''Jack's on the other bus, in case you'd not noticed and he flirted more with you than he did with me.  While we're at it, how much did that Martha fancy you?''

''I told her I wasn't looking to replace you and she chose to ignore the fact, it's not my fault.''

''Maybe you led her on a bit?  Showing off were you?''

''She saved the Earth, I was captured and I would have died or remained in captivity, the Master would have ruled forever, there was no-one to stop him.''

Rose hung her head.  

''Sorry, I didn't know.  So much for not getting jealous of each other huh?''

''That was all in the past, on another world, let's just forget it.  In case you're interested, Donna almost slapped me for suggesting such a thing, she said I was a long streak of alien nothing.''

Rose giggled.

''You think that's funny do you Rose Tyler?  I might just have to come over there and tickle you for that.''

Rose pretended she was running for the bathroom door but he caught her.  

''Okay, maybe I won't tickle you?  Come on Rose, forget it, we both needed to get that out of our systems.  Friends?''

''Yeah, 'course we are, a long streak of alien nothing?''

''Well afterwards she started calling me 'spaceman' so that was slightly better.''

"Spaceman, I like that, very apt.  Go on then, show me the rest of your new wardrobe, bet you've got some more new converse shoes?''

''But of course, old habits die hard.  Sorry, about that thing with Mickey, I encouraged him to come along, after the bats in the school, I thought you missed him.''

''No you idiot, not that much but it hurt, when he stayed here, the first time but he was so stupid at not believing I'd got over him, Pete said he couldn't wait to go over and warn me.  I followed him out of the basement at Torchwood and I never realised it was him and he wouldn't leave when he had the chance but I never wanted to get back with him, not like that and deep down, he knew that, he was jealous, of you.''

''Why?  It's not like anything ever happened between us, I mean you and the other me, he always thought you'd get back with Mickey, he didn't know how to react.''

''I'd noticed.  Okay, we're over the jealousy bit, right?''

''Right, so can we hug now?''

''Okay, just a hug then, don't go pushing your luck, John.  Are you sure you want to be called John Smith?''

''What's wrong with that?''

''You could be anyone you wanted, you know that.  Did you look any more at that fobwatch?''

''No and you're delaying that hug.''

She let him put his arms around her, how many nights had she replayed in her mind all the times they'd hugged, she'd kissed his cheek and walked around, hand in hand?  She had lost count, now they were hugging, the last time was only recently after they had found each other and she'd almost lost him when that Dalek had come out of hiding and shot him.  She had dreamt of more than them hugging but now, she wasn't sure if she still wanted it, with him.  How was she expected to cope, knowing it was the Doctor and yet he wasn't, he was an individual who looked and acted like him.

Rose broke away, John knew the reason, he wasn't the man she wanted, not really.  Why did it have to be so complicated?  Why couldn't she just accept him for who he now was?  He was more human now, he could love her back but on that beach, he had whispered he loved her but she'd never said it back, not this time.  Maybe that kiss should have been enough reply but until she said it again, he was going to do everything he could to win her back, to get her to want to say it and if being her friend was what it took, then he would be her friend.

They had found each other and that was what counted in the end, albeit Rose had done all the hard work but that was what she'd set out to do, finding a way where he had found it impossible to get through the void without unleashing everything within it but maybe he had Davros or even Dalek Caan to thank for that, for weakening the walls, enabling her to travel between realities until she had found Donna and made the connection.  That was Rose all over, never giving up, he had taught her well.  Maybe she wouldn't give up on him after all.  He just had to prove he was the same person who left her here in the first place, she must have forgiven him for that or she wouldn't have tried to get back to him.

Chapter 4

Ferry routes from Norway to Scotland are in Pete's world, there are none here, apparently so if you live in Scotland, move to the other universe!

Rose went back to face him.  

''I'm gonna get changed for dinner then we can have a drink in the bar, okay?  I suggest we look up places later and see where we can go in Scotland, as long as it's not Torchwood House, yeah?''

John smiled.  

''Oh I don't know Rose, I'd love to have had another look at that light scope.  I wonder if that house is still there?  Maybe not on this world though.  You'll have to fill me in with a few things, famous people and all that.  Is that actor who looks like me around in these parts?''

''Yeah, I met him once at a charity gala performance of a play, he's really nice but he got married last year, shame.''

''You mean you would have stopped looking for me and taken up with him?  Rose, I'm hurt by that.''

She went up to him and nudged him.  

''Gotcha!  I never even thought about it, he would have reminded me too much of you.  Do I need to get changed?  Are you?  I like the outfit, it's very you.  Did you get more t-shirts, let's have a look.''

She opened the wardrobe to see one of The Beatles and their yellow submarine, another black one with a star and one blue with yellow stripes, very him, Rose thought.  She liked his shirts though, one with faint brown stripes and a plain black one, his blue suit now hanging next to them all.

''Hope you didn't get any Superman shorts John?''

''Nah, I got some…. hang on, I'm not telling you what kind of shorts I got, I've not asked what colour your underwear is.''

''Only 'cos you never thought about it, ha!  Please tell me you didn't buy any striped socks?''

He looked down at his feet.  

''I might have done, only so you don't pinch them.''

Rose bent down and pulled at his jeans leg and spied the blue striped socks he'd put on before she had come back in the room.

'''Ew, I won't be wearing them thanks very much.  Afraid of losing them in the laundry, you know, when you can never match your socks and there's always an odd one?''

''I wouldn't know what you mean.''

''No because you used to get my mum to do your laundry, don't think I don't know, the Tardis does it indeed.  You're a rotten liar.''

''You used to take your things, I might had thrown a few of my things in your laundry bag, now and then but the Tardis used to provide me with enough clean shirts.  Do you think I should get some more?''

''Did you think about maybe buying a suitcase while you were out by any chance?  If not, mine's not bigger on the inside, sorry.''

''Oh, then I'll have to get one in the morning but maybe I can just squeeze a few things in yours for now and put the rest back in the bags?  Shall we look up the ferry times over to Scotland then?''

''Yeah, we have time before dinner, then I'm gonna get totalled tonight so don't get any funny ideas.''

''Wouldn't dream of it.''

He thought if only.

After dinner and three white wine and lemonades, Rose was ready for bed, forgoing looking up ferries over to Scotland.  John had no intentions of taking advantage of her but thought they might at least have some fun as Rose came out of the bathroom in her pyjama shorts and he had opted to wear shorts and a plain white t-shirt he'd left in the drawer.

''So, am I going to get a goodnight kiss tonight then?''

''Maybe I suppose.  Look John, this is all new, let's just get used to each other.  I'm not saying it's never gonna get beyond this but not right now and it's not because I'm disappointed, I'm not, I got you back after all this time.  Come here if you want a goodnight kiss then?''

''I know Rose, it will take some time, for both of us, I don't know how to get close to you, I didn't want to scare you away.  I promise, we can take this one step at a time but remember one thing, I can show you my feelings now, there's nothing to hold me back.  I've no guilt about allowing myself to be happy, not like he had, he thought why should he be happy after all he'd been through but me, I believe it happened and maybe he could have changed some things if he'd wanted to but you made him better Rose, that's what he wanted you to do for me.  He thought I was wrong destroying the Daleks but it would have been wrong to leave them to go on and find another way to slaughter everyone.  Do you think I was wrong?''

''No but it doesn't matter what I think about it and they would have got away and gone on to plan something else but they'll be back, one way or another, they always do.''

''Me and Martha found the cult of Skaro in 1930's Manhattan, Caan got away, he must have somehow got back into the timewar, which should have been impossible.  He saved Davros who then created the reality bomb, he always was a bit egotistical but he'd never attempted anything on that scale before, wiping out the entire cosmos and all other realities, how could I have left them with that power?''

Rose got into bed beside him and held her arms out to John.  

''Listen, we can debate this all night but it won't get us anywhere and I think you did the right thing, like you said, you don't see things the same way as he does.  Come on then, thought you wanted a goodnight kiss?''

''A proper one?  Like back on the beach?''

She couldn't quite stretch to that just yet.  

''Well maybe not quite the same, that was a bit spontaneous, it took me by surprise when you told me what I'd wanted to hear all those years ago.''

''It wasn't as long for me Rose but it was still far too long.  He was going to say it, before the transmission was lost, he just didn't say it in time for you to hear it and I'm sorry for that.  He'd waited a while for you to appear, if you'd got there sooner – well you may have heard him.''

''Yeah but then what?  I suppose at least I'd have known but what could I have done about it?''

John held her tighter and kissed her forehead.  

''I'm sorry you never got to hear it, just as sorry as he was, but you know now, I still love you Rose.''

''Yeah, I know, you said.  Just give me some time.  Can we hug before we go to sleep?''

''Yeah, after I've had my kiss and it's okay, if you want to go around holding hands like we used to do, nothing's changed, not for me it hasn't.  Do you still want to?  You know, go back to the hand holding and the hugs?''

''Yeah, 'course I do, you can kiss me if you want?''

They settled down to sleep, neither of them knowing that was going to be the last kiss they shared for a while at least.  They left the hotel after breakfast, Rose being up early and cramming some of John's new clothes into her already full suitcase but now her coat was out and she could put her jacket in the back of the car, there was a bit of extra space for his suit.  They drove to the ferry, Rose relieved to find they still ran in the world she was in now and once they arrived in Aberdeen, John remarked he'd once left Sarah-Jane there, mistaking it for Croydon.

Rose had smiled and patted his arm and said his driving always was off somewhat.  Driving from the ferry terminal, she looked up the distance to Fort William and decided to give it a miss and headed for Edinburgh instead, John saying they could go to the Highlands another time.  They found a top hotel, Rose was used to staying in such places and found they had an indoor swimming pool she intended on making good use of, plus they also had a spa, John wondering what she saw in laying down and being pampered.  She told him not to knock it until he'd tried it and he said he just might, if she let him join her.

Rose unpacked for the both of them while John found something to amuse him on the TV, pleased it was now at least in English, he missed the Tardis translating for him.

''Well you're just as stuck as everyone else is now John, best get used to it.  Maybe you should practice your best Scottish accent?  You fooled Queen Victoria.''

''Yeah but she caught me out though.  I used to be able to understand every language Rose, it's a bit of a loss really.  Maybe I could invent a universal translator?''

''Isn't that a bit Star Trek?  Besides, you can already get something similar, you have to type words or phrases into it though or use an online one.''

''Well there you go then, I could improve everyone's lives, it could make me famous, ha!''

''Just what I need.''

''Well you're famous aren't you or is it all a bit hushed?  How did you explain your sudden arrival, if there was never a Rose Tyler?''

''Well it's a good thing there wasn't, isn't it but Pete and Jake covered it all up, I just try and enjoy my new status, when I wasn't working at Torchwood.  If you're serious about that translator, talk to Pete, he can get a team on it and give you all the credit for it.''

''I'd rather build it myself, maybe I'll just leave it for now, I want it to benefit everyone, not a select few at Torchwood, it would probably get buried in the basement somewhere.''

''Hey, we're not like the last lot or those back in our old world, we share things that will help the general population, Pete just likes to keep tabs on things.  Did I tell you?  He's training Jake to take over from him, mum wants him to retire while he's still able to enjoy Tony growing up.  We all went on holiday last year, to this caravan park in this little seaside town, down in Dorset, it was lovely.  Tony was in his element, going to build sandcastles and catching crabs in the harbour, they made mum squirm.''

John laughed, he'd have loved to see Jackie Tyler running away at a bucketful of crabs, he'd have to remember that.  Rose's phone went, it was her mother who'd forgotten to call last night.

''Rose, are you okay?  I was so glad to see Pete and Tony again, I forgot all about calling you.  Where are you?''

''In one of the better hotels in Edinburgh.  We're gonna stay here for a week and take a tour around the area, can you ask Pete to call?  I'd like him to send someone up with my own car and maybe he could send John a driver's licence, I can teach him to drive properly.''

John made a face at her.  

''Oi, I know how to drive thanks very much.''

''So he's using the name John is he?  Pete told me and he said just tell him where to send everything, it'll all be ready tomorrow.''

''Great, I'll text him the name of the hotel.  We're gonna look at rental places or maybe we'll go to Glasgow, Edinburgh's probably full of tourist accommodation.  How's Tony?''

''Missing you so when you get settled, we'll come up and see you.  How's things with John then?''

Rose didn't want to answer that.  He'd gone back to flipping through the channels and muttering he couldn't get programmes from Sto and he wanted to watch 'By the light of the asteroids'.  Rose just smiled at him.

''We're good, we're still friends.  I suppose Pete told you we're gonna share a flat?''

''He mentioned it, is that a good idea?''

''I can't leave him to fend for himself, can I?  Just ask Pete to send my car up to the hotel.  I'd best go before John starts rewiring the TV to get his alien programmes.''

''Call me soon Rose, let me know where you're gonna live won't you?''

''We will.''

Rose hung up and went to the wardrobe to get changed to go eat after walking up behind John and putting her arms around his neck and kissing his cheek.   He knew he could get used to this again, maybe a bit more than they had shared before, if Rose was finally willing.  He thought though that it was never going to happen, she was very reluctant for some reason to get close to him again and he didn't know how to, he was completely out of his depth in human dating rituals.  He wished now he'd paid closer attention to how she used to react around Mickey the idiot or maybe he should flirt with her like Martha used to do with him.

He'd made it clear to Martha though that he wasn't interested and he thought now that she hadn't believed him about Rose but after meeting her, she'd had no choice but to believe and thankfully, apart from that kiss from Donna when he'd been given the drink containing cyanide, she wasn't interested in him that way but looking back, he'd encouraged both Astrid and Christina and he'd kissed them and never kissed Rose properly, apart from the other day on the beach and what a kiss that had been, finally, when it was actually her but he wasn't actually him and now it seemed likely at least for now, it wasn't going to happen again.

Even last night, they'd only kissed the once and Rose had fallen asleep on him, which had felt nice to say the least and when they'd woken up, they'd just had a cuddle until Rose was ready to get out of bed and then she'd retreated to the bathroom so he'd quickly got dressed before she came out and had been folding his new clothes back into their carrier bags ready to put into her rented car.  Now she had kissed his cheek and gone to get changed again and hopefully tonight he might get more than a goodnight kiss from her.

Chapter 5

Rose took advantage of the hotel swimming pool and spa the following day, having dragged poor John shopping again to get him some swim shorts and making him go with her.  They talked quietly, him saying he missed the pool in the Tardis and Rose saying she never even knew there'd been one.  Sitting on one of the chairs at the poolside, she asked why not.

''Sometimes the ship likes to play tricks on me, you know what she's like.  She got upset once and everything got re-arranged and she hid it from me though why she didn't reveal it to you, she liked you, more than Donna or Martha.  If you'd asked her, she might have let you find it.''

Rose reached her arm over towards him and took his hand.  

''It's okay, I'm sure she had a reason for hiding it but it would have been nice to relax after a long day running from monsters.''

John smiled and squeezed her hand.  

''Yeah, sorry.  Who knows what kind of fun we could have had in there eh?''

Rose giggled.  The next few days, they braved the cold to go sightseeing, visiting the castle, the art gallery and drove to a few nearby tourist spots.  In the evenings, they would dine and Rose would have a few drinks, John not quite being ready to drink more than a light lager but for the next three nights, they just hugged for a while, Rose would let him give her a goodnight kiss, which he tried to prolong as much as possible but nothing else, sometimes he'd feel her moving closer to him during the night but she always backed away from him but the day before they planned to leave, Rose having put their names down at a few rental agencies in the Glasgow area, John had woken first and Rose was facing him.

He smiled, thinking this was a first and wondered if he should risk touching her, he had to start somewhere but would it get him a slap for his troubles?  He supposed if he just touched her arm or her cheek, push a strand of her hair back over her face, anything to initiate some kind of intimate contact, she'd let him get away with it and not be mad at him.  He ran his finger very lightly down her cheek and she stirred slightly.

''Hi John.''

''Hi, did I tell you your hair shines like gold in the morning sunlight?''

Rose giggled.  

''No, does it?  I look a mess.''

''No you don't, you never looked a mess in the mornings, even when we'd woken up somewhere alien or in a prison cell and when you'd come and join me in the Tardis galley, sometimes you were just wearing your PJs.  You'd look good no matter what you were wearing and even if your hair looked a mess.''

''You're just saying that.  Your hair doesn't look any different you know, I don't know how you do it, especially now there aren't that many hair products in the bathroom.  Did the Tardis used to keep you supplied?''

''No, I don't need much to keep my hair like this but it's a bit flat these days, a bit like when I first regenerated I suppose.  Do you think I should keep it like that or spike it up again?''

Rose moved her arm and began ruffling his hair.  

''Perfect, keep it like that.''

''Very funny Rose.  I like it now you've changed yours again, it's longer but it suits you.''

''Nah, I'm gonna get it cut again, I've got an appointment in the salon at ten, you wanna come with me?''

''No thanks, I'm sure I can find something to do while you're gone.''

He moved to get out of bed and Rose caught his arm.  

''Not so fast Mister, can we have a hug?''

Rose kept her hairdresser appointment, John opting to lounge about for a while until she came out and he thought she looked just like when he'd first met her.  He knew time was different here, she was supposed to be around three years older but she didn't look it, certainly not now.  They went out for lunch and for Rose to get a few more things, a present for Tony when she saw him and some heather perfume for her mother and a genuine bottle of Scottish whiskey for Pete.  Once he had his own money, John was going to buy things for her but he thought that getting her something on Pete's credit card may be just a bit too much.

He still couldn't decide what he was going to do with his time.  Having a week to think about it didn't help much, he could be anything he wanted really, he'd turned his hand to lots of things but teaching was coming to mind time and time again so it was looking like that was going to be it.  He'd need something on paper but he thought Pete may be able to help him with that if needed.  The last time he'd been a professor of history, the Tardis had got him the job, even though it was back in 1913.

They went down to dinner, John saying they should go out somewhere the following night and Rose readily agreed though she thought John was now trying to show her off but she didn't mind, it wasn't before time really, they were playing a slow game of human dating rituals and John was clueless.  Rose knew she had to start giving him some indication she was remotely interested in him, she liked him, a lot and she had told the other him she loved him but not since they had arrived back although he had whispered in her ear that he loved her and she'd thought she'd heard him whispering in her ear as she fell asleep that he loved her plus he'd mentioned he still did a few times.

No matter how many times he said it though, she couldn't bring herself to say it back because she had said it originally to the other Doctor so was it fair she hadn't said it to him if he was the same?  Rose decided the next day, they would spend some time looking at accommodation online and go after a few properties.  She had registered with two rental agencies in Glasgow, stating the price was no object and one had already emailed her about three apartments in a nice residential area of Glasgow and she was waiting for videos to be sent to her, having already seen selected photos.

John couldn't wait to get out of the hotel, it was all too fancy for him and the apartments Rose had showed him were like smaller versions of Pete Tyler's house, with their own entrance-ways and underground car parks plus they were fully serviced and furnished and 24 hr surveillance.  Rose had agreed a conference call with the agency the following morning and if they both like one of the places, they would go ahead and sign, moving in on the Saturday morning, someone meeting them with the paperwork and keys.

So that night when they went to bed, Rose decided he should at least get a kiss and told him when they woke up, they could do the same, if he wanted.

''Oh yes Rose, of course I want to kiss you in the morning but do I really need to ask you or wait until you say?  I do know something about human relationships and I want us to be comfortable with each other but a bit of spontaneous kissing wouldn't go amiss, would it?''

''No, it wouldn't and I really am sorry, you keep doing nothing wrong and I just feel like I'm holding back from you and I don't know why.  I spent all that time trying to get back to you and now I don't know what to do about it.  It's me, not you, don't for a minute think it's something you've done, just give me some time, okay?''

''As long as you want Rose, I already told you.  Now about kissing, can we make it last a little bit longer?''

''Yeah, come here you and if you want a kiss, just say, okay?''

They kissed a few minutes longer and John felt like they were finally getting somewhere.  Talk about taking the slow path, he thought this was a dead crawl but he just needed to give her the time she'd asked for but now he didn't have quite as much as he used to have, he didn't want to have a complete turnaround and scare her off.  He would keep telling her he loved her and one day, she'd say it back to him hopefully.

The next morning though, John thought his luck had finally turned and Rose was warming up to him.  It had started simply enough but they were about to share a few tender moments starting with when Rose was woken by him touching her cheek and she had smiled at him and turned so she rested her head on his shoulder but she upped the stakes by moving his t-shirt sleeve up and laying with her cheek on his bare shoulder.

This made him smile and lean over to kiss her cheek.  

''Hey, I can take it off if you ask me nicely you know.''

''The edges were a bit rough, this is much better thanks, morning to you too.''

''Morning sunshine, I trust you slept okay?  I don't mind if you know, you want to sleep on me, my arm or whatever, just make yourself comfy you don't need to ask.''

''I'll try and remember that tonight.''

''I hope so.  Morning kiss?''

''Mmm, why not?''

They shared a few light kisses, nothing lasting for longer than a few seconds as John decided since she was on his bare shoulder, it was only fair he touched her bare shoulder.  She was wearing pyjama shorts and a t-shirt like pyjama top with four buttons, three already undone so ever so carefully, he dared to edge his fingers under the cuff of one sleeve, hoping she wouldn't slap his face and get of bed.  Rose smiled to herself and with her free hand, moved his t-shirt sleeve right up, John responding by placing his hand on her shoulder.  Rose reached over and they shared a few more short kisses then with her arm around him, she took the hem of his t-shirt and pulled it up with one finger, slowly touching his back.

John smiled again, leaning his chin on the top of her head, daring to move his hand from her shoulder down the gap in her pyjama top, touching her back.  

Rose allowed him, never trying to stop him but whispered, ''Watch it John, don't get too carried away with yourself.''

''Never and this is really nice Rose.''

He wriggled his hand further down but round at the same time, almost touching the side of her breast but she didn't stop him as she looked into his brown eyes and shuffled a bit closer until their hips were touching and his leg brushed against hers. They kissed a few more times and Rose decided to turn onto her back.  John leaned over her and touched her shoulder with his hand under her top, just above her left breast then daringly, leaned over and kissed her shoulder, holding back the top.  Rose had been ruffling his hair, something that had pleased him no end but as he was about to attempt to kiss above her breast, she pushed him away.

John felt like he'd been given the famous Jackie Tyler slap.  Rose looked at him, holding him away from her.

''I'm sorry John, I'm just not ready for this, it's just how I feel right now, it's not you, it was nice but you're moving too fast.  Just remember, I'm used to the shy side of you who only kissed me the once when I was being possessed.''

''I'm sorry Rose, I just got carried away and you just told me not to and yes, it was very nice.  Perhaps we should go get dressed and have breakfast.''

''There's over an hour yet before they stop serving, can we go back to just like we were before you made that move?''

''Yeah but you did turn onto your back so it's hardly surprising I took advantage but now I know you don't want to go that far yet, I won't, it's fine.''

''Please don't take it the wrong way, will you?  Can we just lie together for a bit longer?  You can take the t-shirt off, if you want to.''

He did – in 10 seconds flat and Rose had turned back onto her side, John sliding his arm under her and the other around her waist as she snuggled up to him.

He thought now he had blown any chance of more physical contact with his new girlfriend and thought the next time she went out and left him alone in the hotel room or if they moved to one of the apartments, he would go online and get some dating tips from the experts.  Rose was thinking that now, she'd put him completely off and if she didn't give some leeway and soon, he may get tired of their arrangement.

''Are you awake Rose?''

''Yeah, just thinking about my mum and Tony.  We had a great time away last year, we went to this caravan park down in Dorset, Tony loved it then a few months later, we went to The Isle of Wight for a week, they had a steam train and Tony went crazy.  You'll just love him when you meet him, mum says he reminds her of when I was that age.  We didn't think he'd ever want to go home, he would have rode on it all day.''

John smiled.  

''I'd love to meet your brother Rose.  Maybe we can go down sometimes?''

He leaned forward and kissed her cheek but she turned and he caught her lips briefly.

''We don't have to stop the kissing bit John, it's just I'm not sure about the rest, ok?''

''Yeah, okay Rose, we're still good then?''

''Yeah, 'course we are.''

Rose had convinced herself she wasn't getting too romantic with him just yet, she really wasn't ready to admit that even though he was the Doctor's identical twin, they had some issues such as why they'd never dared to get close before she came here.

''Did I tell you Rose?  About The Master?''

''Yeah, you mentioned him, was he really that bad?''

''He was hiding, at the end of the universe and I helped set him free, inadvertently, he was around when we were back on your own world but he was using a sort of perception filter and I never knew.''

''Then who was he?  You mean we could have come across him and never known?  We were all in danger back then?''

''Yeah but he was establishing himself, he stole my Tardis and turned it into a paradox machine, to bring future mankind to Earth and I didn't even know there were two ships on earth, my Tardis should have known but since he had made it beyond recognition, my Tardis couldn't sense it.  In the end, it was Martha who saved everyone.''

''I was so horrid towards her when you mentioned her, sorry.  So go on then, who was he?''

''He went by the name of Harold Saxon.''

Rose pushed John away.  

''You're kidding me, really?  Wasn't he the defence minister?  I remember he launched that mobile phone satellite, what was it?''

''Archangel but that wasn't the only thing, he designed the Valiant, an aircraft carrier, only it hovered above the clouds, not sailed in the sea.''

''Mum will go crazy, she said if he ever put his name forward as a leader, she'd vote for him no matter what party he stood for, I think she fancied him.''

John smiled, trust Jackie.  

''Best not tell her he turned out to be a egotistical maniac hell-bent on enslaving the earth's population, well those that were left, he ordered one tenth of the population to be killed by these machines that used to be human.''

''You mean like Cybermen?''

''Much worse, like black and silver orbs with sharp knives sticking out in all directions, not pretty.  He held me captive for a whole year but I used the phone network, tuned myself into it so everyone would join together at one specific time and when they did, I broke free.''

''What took you so long?'' she smiled.

Chapter 6

After spending their last day in Edinburgh, they had dinner in the hotel and decided on an early night after Rose had organised the packing, thankful John had now got his own suitcase since she'd picked up a few more things and collected most of the stuff from the bathroom.  They had a lot to talk about when they got to Glasgow, the first priority being John deciding what his career choices were and Rose getting back to work for Torchwood.  She had decided to work a few hours a day from the new apartment, Jake would send her reports to go through and she would send her input then eventually they would maybe set up an office in the city and a team would be put together.

John tried to get close to her again that night, daring to take off his t-shirt without being invited which made Rose smile.  She didn't know why she still felt that way, she shouldn't really, he was the same man she'd loved way back on the other world.  Did she think she was betraying the other Doctor?  There was only going to be one way of finding out, to talk to him about it but how was she possibly going to do that?  She'd had no time to ask him when he'd left her and John not that long ago, she'd had so many questions for him that now remained unanswered.

Then she had a thought and turned to John as he got into the bed they'd shared for the past week.

''Can I ask you something?''

''Sure, you know you can ask me anything Rose.  It's not about me being presumptuous and taking my t-shirt off is it?'' he grinned, trying to get his arm underneath her and wishing she'd stop wearing those pyjamas and wear a nightdress or maybe just a vest top.

''Nah, it's okay, it's nice, really but it wasn't that, can you still feel a connection to him?''

''Oh.  No, sorry, I only wish I could but I'd never even thought about it, it's just so quiet, in my head, no Tardis communicating with me.''

''Oh John, I'm so sorry, I never thought about that.  I miss her too, I could feel her in my mind sometimes.  Was that because I took the time vortex into me?''

''Yeah.  Hey, maybe, if we share our thoughts, we might help each other, what do you think?'' 

''I thought that was, you know, a bit intimate amongst your people, kind of like a Vulcan mind-meld.''

''You've been watching too much TV Rose Tyler.  No, maybe, eventually, we’ll get a strong enough connection and we'll be able to reach him but it can be tiring and a bit intrusive, I'd have to teach you to put up barriers so I don't go where I'm not wanted, in your thoughts.  It could get embarrassing, if you feel something about me that you don't want me to know or if you learn something I think about you that could make you run for the nearest zeppelin port back to your mother.''

''Yeah, I suppose it could get awkward, I'll think about it but you can teach me to put up barriers then maybe, I'll get used to the idea and we can try, yeah?''

''Yeah, I'd like that.  I just have to touch your temples, you don't have to do anything but I'll just skim the surface, you won't feel like I'm intruding, not like when Cassandra possessed you.  By the way, I let her take me over a bit too easily and I'm sorry she blurted out that I knew you fancied me.''

Rose smiled, feeling a bit embarrassed.  

''It happens to the best of us, welcome to being Human.  Go on then, let's get started and no asking about Mickey, right?''

''Right, don't want to go there.  Let's start with something simple, you let me feel something you like, such as a favourite song or a film or something then when you feel me in your mind, I'll look into something more personal and indicate for you to block me.''

''Okay but you might get a slap if you get too personal.''

''Wouldn't expect anything less from you Rose.''

John had been right, it was tiring for Rose, they gave up after ten minutes, he knew he was going too fast but she'd already blocked him twice when he'd tried to dig further and reckoned it was indeed the remnants of the bad wolf virus.

''You did well Rose, you need to go to sleep now, we'll do some more another time.  Don't forget my goodnight kiss.''

''What goodnight kiss?'' she teased, ruffling his hair with one hand and the other on his shoulder.

''Nice try Rose.  Kiss, now?''

Rose settled down, he had noticed she was lying on his shoulder and not attempted to move, getting comfy on him as he'd suggested previously and was quite pleased at the little progress they'd made the last few nights and that very morning, half expecting her to scurry across to the other side of the bed but she didn't.

They set off after breakfast the next morning, John glad the hotel bill had been sent to the accountants at Torchwood, someone would be having a few complaints about the cost to Pete but where Rose was concerned, he doubted they took any notice and just paid it.  They found the apartment block, it had its own gated access, which John had to press the buzzer and say the agents were meeting them and Rose drove through and parked in a space marked with the apartment number they were taking, John noticing there were a few unmarked ones for deliveries and probably visitors.

The block spread out a bit, it was a white building with balconies every other window and two glass door entrances, one double which looked like the main one, which had a keypad and call button to the left.  Another car followed them a few minutes later and a woman got out as they did, Rose being asked who she was.

They were let into the apartment, it was every bit as good as the video they'd seen and Rose loved it.  John thought it was a bit much but as long as Rose liked it, he supposed they could live there at a pinch and it wasn't far from a shopping centre, on the outskirts of the city.  John hadn't realised she had put his name on the agreement, he only knew when he was asked to sign and he noticed the finance details were registered to the accountants again.

This was going to take some getting used to in his opinion but would he though?  He was so used to getting by on his own, he knew he had to get a job and soon but now, he didn't even need to pay any rent.  They got their belongings in then went to the supermarket and went out for dinner to celebrate having their own place but as they took their cases out of the living room, being two bedrooms, John wasn't quite sure when Rose wanted him to go – to his own room, since Rose had just claimed the largest which had a view of the river or to follow her.

''Aren't you gonna unpack John?''

''Well, yeah but 'erm, where do I unpack?  Am I in the other room?''

''I don't know, are you?''

''Well that's why you got two bedrooms, isn't it?  One each?''

''If that's what you want?''

It wasn't, not at all.  

''Well not exactly, I might not be able to sleep on my own now you go to sleep on my arm.''

Rose stopped pulling her clothes out of the suitcase, knowing this was crunch time.  Did she still want him to share with her?  She'd enjoyed the last week or so, him being there when she woke up, telling her that her hair shone in the morning sun, the good morning kisses and the moments they'd shared, until she'd backed off.  Would he think she was totally rejecting any ideas they could get closer if she'd let him?

''Yeah, well I didn't mean to sleep all night on your arm, sorry.''

''Don't be sorry Rose.  I'll go unpack then shall I?''

''Hey, I never said you couldn't share, you just assumed 'cos there's two bedrooms, that I'd done it so we had a room each.''

''Well that's what I thought, you know, one each.''

''You 'nana.  I got two rooms so my mum could come and visit, you know she doesn't share.''

John grinned, wheeled his case in and the holdall got thrown on the empty chair and he stepped up to her, putting his arms around her neck, then gently kissing just below her ear.

''Thanks Rose, I didn't like the thought of sleeping on my own but if that's what you wanted, I would have done, as long as I still got a goodnight kiss.''

''Just a goodnight one, what about a morning one?''

''They're even better when you've slept on my arm all night but I thought you'd changed your mind, that it was only because we were sharing the one hotel room.''

''That's how it started I suppose but now, well I like sharing with you but we still have a long way to go yet.''

''I know that, it's just, well, I don't know what to do Rose, to get you to believe that I love you.''

''I do believe you, it's nothing you've done.  Maybe now we have our own place, I'll get over it.''

''It's okay Rose, take your time, I understand and thanks, for not leaving me.''

''Where would I have left you?''

Two weeks later

Rose had been doing her work for Torchwood, John had toyed with the idea of applying for a few teaching posts, Jake had agreed that all the necessary checks would come back and he'd finally got an interview at a local college.  He was to come back disappointed though and it showed as he entered the apartment, threw off his jacket of the new suit Rose had encouraged him to buy for interviews, a dark grey one he'd taken a strange liking to plus another light grey one as a more casual though he preferred the tweed jacket with the red collar and cuffs and he flopped down on the large plush sofa.

''I give up,'' he complained to Rose, who had stopped what she was doing to get up and go make some tea.  Instead, she went to sit beside him and kissed his cheek.

''Why, what's wrong?  Didn't you get the job?  There are plenty to choose from, maybe you should wait until a new term starts?''

''It was to start at the next term, I did get the job.''

''Well that's good, isn't it?'' 

She took his hand and squeezed it.

''Well yeah, it's just I didn't expect it to be taking a class of 14-15 year old teenage hormonal girls who would be gawking at me throughout lessons trying to give me their phone numbers, hitching up their skirts and unbuttoning their blouses.''

Rose burst out laughing.  

''It's not funny Rose, how was I supposed to know it was an all girls college?  It never mentioned that in the ad.''

''Well maybe because all the locals already know about it.  So you're not taking it then?'' she laughed.

''Very amusing.  No I'm not.  I don't think it's such a good idea to take up teaching.''

''Never mind, I was talking to Jake earlier, he said Pete was interested in sending a team up here now I've been here a few weeks and he was thinking of establishing a presence with local law enforcement.  Would you be interested?''

''Depends, what it's about.''  He leaned over and kissed her cheek. ''I'll talk to him about it then.''

Pete was only too happy to set John up as the Torchwood police liaison officer with the Glasgow police department, after sufficient training from Rose and Jake, he set off to start his new post, getting his own office and could work his own hours, much to Rose's annoyance since she was about to set up an office of her own with her own team of three others.  Jake had arrived in Glasgow, Jake undertaking training John in the Torchwood way of doing things while Rose set up the new office.

The night before John was to take up his new post, the three of them went out to dinner since Jake was going back to London and Jake sat next to Rose when John excused himself to go see what the dessert menu on the board consisted of.

''So are you two settling down then?'' Jake asked innocently.

''Yeah, we're fairly good though sometimes, I don't know why he stays with me, it's been difficult.  We're trying to get closer but we're not much nearer than we were when I came back here.  I don't know what to do Jake, really I don't.  I just can't get over he's so much like the other Doctor yet he's so different.''

''Just go with it Rose, it can't be that easy for him either, he's been thrown into this as well and personally, I think you're forgetting that Rose.  As your best friend, take my advice.  Don't crowd him, give him some space, which he'll get now you're both going to be working but let him show you how he feels about you and most of all, about him being, you know, just normal.  Think of the loss he's going through.''

''Yeah, I know, we talked about that and we're helping each other in that way, he's says it's too quiet in his mind, he's teaching me how to join our thoughts.  He thinks I'm nearly ready, we're gonna try contacting the other Doctor.''

''Well that's something then, give you more in common.  Take it from me Rose, don't let him slip away, not after all that trouble you went to, to find him again.  Look out, here he comes.''

Jake moved seats again and John sat back next to Rose, taking her hand.

''I've ordered us all the special.  We're you talking about me by any chance?'' he grinned.

''That would be telling, wouldn't it?  Yeah, okay, I was telling Jake about us sharing our memories and such.''

''Oh, right.  Yeah, I think Rose is ready to try more, it's going to be really good, did she tell you the advantages?''

''Yeah, good luck with it, it will mean a lot to both of you.  Take my advice both of you, stop taking your time around each other, you're on limited time now John.''

''You think I don't know that Jake?  You know what they say, some things are worth waiting for, Rose is one of them.  We'll work it out, won't we Rose?''

He squeezed her hand and smiled at her.  He knew she would come around sooner or later but Jake was right, his time was now just as limited as any other Humans' and it would take some getting used to.  He just hoped Rose would still want to promise him 'forever' but that was with the other him.

Chapter 7

So John went to start his new job, Rose sending him off with a kiss, the first time she had initiated it he'd thought.  That was his problem, he'd had to start most things between the two of them and he didn't have a clue if he was doing everything right and in what order things were supposed to go so if he was getting it wrong, it wasn't entirely his fault, Rose was supposed to be helping him to get used to being a normal human male.  He couldn't even go to Jake for any advice and he'd no other friends, he could hardly ask Pete how to date his stepdaughter and Jackie would probably slap him back to the other universe.

So he was definitely on his own on that score until Rose came around and showed him what she actually wanted, which he hoped would be fairly soon.  It had been the best part of a month since he'd got here and apart from kissing and hugging in bed and sometimes the odd spontaneous snogging session on the sofa, which he usually started, they'd got nowhere fast and he couldn't think what to do about it.  Maybe he should start by trying not to look like his twin, he'd stopped dressing the same at least when they didn't go out, which he liked since he could show her off and have everyone staring that he was with Rose Tyler.

He'd got up that morning, showered as usual and thinking of excuses to get Rose into the bathroom at the same time and maybe entice her to get in with him or at least be there when he came out wrapped only with a towel around his waist then get her onto the bed.  Where he was getting these ideas from, he could only guess it was Donna who had wanted to catch one of her boyfriends, it was a shame he'd not merged with a male instead of her, well except for it being Mickey of course.  If only he could get Rose interested in him to do more than a bit of snogging and cuddling.

He also wished she would ditch the pyjamas she still wore in bed but he'd noticed she left some of the buttons undone at least, not that he dare touch without an invitation but at least he didn't still have to ask her for a kiss, she was quite happy to give him free reign of that count. 

Rose watched him get into a taxi, she was taking her car, Jake had driven it up for her and had got the train back and she was debating adding John as a named driver since he'd proved he could drive the hire car but said he'd prefer a larger model, something a bit more 'Flash' as he called it and telling Rose about the little yellow car he'd had in his third regeneration and Rose laughing about it, saying it was very him.

Rose had noticed he must be getting tired of being the one to initiate a kiss so she thought with it being his first day at his new job as Torchwood police liaison officer at the Glasgow police headquarters, she would give him an incentive to want to come home on time.  She set off for the new offices, a first floor suite just outside the city centre consisting of two offices, the large one hers, a conference room, kitchen and restrooms and resumed the work she had been doing from home for the past few weeks.

John had decided he'd have an official birthday now he was part human and had decided he wanted to celebrate so he had randomly chosen a date coming up so he didn't miss out and wanted it to be before Rose's so he'd chosen the 18th of April and Pete had provided all his details for him and sent all the appropriate documents John would need and they had estimated how old he would be if he were really human, which was 38.  John said he could pass for younger if he wanted, Rose was now supposed to be older but she didn't look it and still couldn't come to terms with suddenly gaining three years.

So it was two weeks away from John's birthday and they planned on taking their first trip down to London, since Tony was missing his sister and Jackie was complaining about having to travel up to where they were, John saying it wasn't good to take a break upon starting a new job but it was pointed out to him that his position afforded him to work his own hours.  He didn't realise how boring his new job was going to be.  It was very similar in nature to what the Torchwood team under Rose were doing, monitoring strange reports from the public in the Scotland area in general and newspaper reports of unexplained activities and John was monitoring things actually reported to the police that they couldn't deal with.

John was then to pass anything of interest to Rose, he thought any excuse to go out and visit her and after a week, he was well and truly bored out of his mind and went to visit her the following Tuesday after he'd started, mainly to get a quick snog out of her after pulling all the window blinds and the partition ones closed.

''So, you bored already John?'' Rose asked, seeing that look in his eyes that told her the nature of his visit was not business.

''Me?  What makes you think that?  I've got plenty to do, some of the reports are crazy but nothing to send your team after though.  Really Rose, I don't know how you do it.''

Rose smiled and gave him a peck on the lips.  

''Welcome to the real world John, now you know how the rest of us get by.  Still regret not taking that teaching job at the all girls college?''

''Stop it Rose, that wasn't  funny.  Anyway, you'd have got jealous.''

''Really?  Of a load of flirty schoolgirls?  I used to be one, remember?''

He didn't, well he remembered the cheeky nineteen year old who had run into the Tardis at the words 'Time travel' and she'd never have left his side had they not been separated for over three years.

''Well, I'd best get back to my boring old job then but maybe I can combine it with something else?''

Rose put her arms around his neck, John sneakily kissed her neck, making her smile to herself, not that she wanted to make a big deal out of it but he was beginning to show a few signs he wanted to take things further and she sort of did but it still didn't feel right, not yet anyway.  How much longer would he wait though?

John went back to his office, thinking of ways to amuse himself and had an idea but he'd need some more help from Jake and possibly Pete and he couldn't let on to Rose what he was up to.  He was always good at pretending to be other people, he'd got away with it countless times, bluffing his way in and taking charge, well maybe not all the time, the planet Midnight and a bunch of strangers on a bus came eerily to mind, he didn't want to go through that again in a hurry, he'd barely escaped that one and no number of regenerations would have helped him.

So the pair of them continued their separate jobs for the next week or so, Rose decided she liked him kissing her neck so she stopped wearing the pyjama top and wore a vest top, which pleased John no end and by the end of the week, she was wanting her turn kissing his neck, with his arms wrapped around her back but not daring to put his hands any lower down, well not until she moved them for him.

By the time they were due to go down to London, opting for the train since it was a long way to drive, Jake had informed John that things had been arranged and when he got back to Glasgow, police headquarters wouldn't miss him that much and his absence was going to be covered by John going out following up lines of enquires.  Pete had to be brought in though, he was amused as to what John was up to but when he explained to Rose's stepfather it was for her benefit, he was all for it, agreeing that the pair of them both needed a shove in the right direction because Jackie was driving him crazy by repeatedly asking Rose if anything had happened in that department.

For his birthday, John had wanted to spend the afternoon first having a flight on the London Eye after lunch at one of Rose's favourite restaurants, then back for a birthday tea with a banana flavoured birthday cake, which was Rose's idea and had amused the cook that he also wanted bananas and ice-cream for dessert.  Then just after seven, Pete had his driver take them to a west-end theatre to see a show then a late dinner afterwards at a fancy Italian restaurant nearby.

Then they were driven to the hotel Pete had arranged for them, an overnight bag each already packed for them and they were shown to one of the best suites, John taking the baggage while Rose collected a special present she had been keeping for him.  So once they were alone in their room, a trolley with a bottle of champagne waiting for them, even though it was getting late, she made him open the box and waited for his reaction.  It wasn't what she expected as he opened it to find an exact copy of the long brown coat he'd had in the other universe.

John held it up in front of him.  Rose had already bought him a new watch, saying it all added to his new job as part of his image.

''Well, what do you think?  It took me ages to find that, do you like it?''

''I don't know what to say Rose, it's totally unexpected.  I was trying to begin looking less like him, dressing differently, getting two new suits, well except for the converse but I got some shoes for work.''

''You don't like it?''

''Oh Rose, it's not that, I do like it but I was trying to be different because I thought, you know, it was because I was too much like him that was making things difficult for you, reminding you of him all the time.''

''I'm sorry, I shouldn't have bought it for you but I didn't think about it, that it would remind me of him, I mean the other you.''

Rose ran into the bathroom, thinking she had well and truly spoilt what had been an amazing day, for both of them.  They had walked around holding hands like they used to, kissed at the top of the ride on the London Eye, Rose saying only because it was his birthday and not to get used to them kissing in public, otherwise the media would be all over them.

John realised what he'd done, she'd meant well, maybe she didn't see his twin every time she looked at him, maybe he was being paranoid but now, he knew more than ever he had to separate himself from his twin if ever he and Rose had a chance at any sort of life together because the longer he looked at acted like the other Doctor, she would always see him and not John Smith.

He gave her a few minutes but Rose was at the other side of the bathroom door crying, regretting she ever bought the item she'd seen on the auction site and got it on a 'Buy it now' deal and paid more but she'd thought it would be worth it to see his face but it had gone wrong on her, he didn't want it because he thought she was just wanting the other Doctor back.  She did but John was growing on her, slowly but she was seeing less of the Doctor in him and more the human side of him and now, he would surely want to go his own way, whether to go back to Glasgow or remain in London.

''Rose, are you okay in there love?''

She looked up.  He'd never called her that before.  

''Yeah, I'll be out in a minute.''

He knew he'd blown it now, she'd want to go back on her own or stay here, there was no chance now unless he did something drastic and if she came out of the bathroom and told him to leave, he'd put up a fight because he did love her and would show her, take Jake's advice and tell her what he wanted and somehow, hopefully, she'd want the same.

He heard the door opening and wished he still had two hearts because she was surely going to break the only one he now had.

''I'm sorry Rose, I didn't mean it to sound like it did.  I was trying so hard to stop sounding and acting like him and I didn't mean to infer you preferred him over me, I know it's not like that.  He was wrong, to leave us here together, to get on with it, he should have given you a choice, he gave everyone else one, all except us.''

''He didn't give you a choice either but if he had, would you have chosen to stay here, with me John?''

''Yes, without any hesitation because I can give you what he can't, I can give you all of me, no holding back.  What about you Rose?  Would you have chosen to stay here, with me?''

Chapter 8

Rose answered almost as quickly as John had done to her question although it wasn't quite the answer he was expecting and it still gave him no clues as to if she felt the same way as he did.

''Yes, I would have stayed, to make sure you were okay, he shouldn't have just assumed either of us was okay with it but since he didn't intend to take you with him, how could I have just left you here?''

''You wouldn't have gone with him, would you?  He knew that and took advantage of the fact you wanted to get back to him and you did, I'm supposed to be some sort of consolation prize for not getting the real thing.''

Rose got annoyed.  

''Really?  We're back to that again?  Why?  How could you even think you're the runner-up, a replacement?  You're no such thing, how I feel about you is totally different to how I felt about him.  Just because I didn't say that I love you doesn't mean I think any less of you as I do him.  It's just taking some getting used to, that's all.  All that time we spent together with no romance involved, now you can get romantic with me and it's no different than getting to know a human male and dating.  Why are you in such a hurry?''

''Maybe because I'm on a time limit now, I've not got forever, I'm on a level footing with you and you're younger than me.   Maybe I expected too much, you have Donna to thank for that, maybe I'm insecure and need the reassurance, I don't know that much about Donna's past before I met her, she may have a long line of failed relationships, her fiancĂ© did work with a giant red spider and almost got her killed.  I'm sorry Rose, I shouldn't have asked you.''

''No, we need to put this behind us John, we'll have to figure things out on our own but if you want to leave, then I won't stop you.''

''I don't want to leave you Rose, if you can put up with me, I've got a lot to learn about human males and being in a relationship.''

''Yeah, you have you plum.  No more talking about leaving.  It's not like I've had a string of boyfriends, I've only had two and neither of them were prime examples of what an actual boyfriend should be, I did grow up with Mickey, it was inevitable we'd get together.  I'm sorry John, if I've spoiled your birthday?''

''No you haven't, we would have talked about it sooner or later, now can we finish the evening off with some more champagne?''

''Yeah, go on then, one more glass and I packed a nightdress tonight, I thought maybe I'd ditch the pyjamas, if you want?''

''That would be really nice Rose, a birthday treat and I'm sorry over my reaction of the coat you bought me, I'd love to wear it when I'm out with you.  Actually, about me looking differently, I was thinking about maybe changing my hairstyle and maybe growing a bit of a beard, any objections?''

Rose stepped back up to him and put her arms around his neck.  

''No but as long as it's not itchy or it doesn't scratch my neck when you go to kiss it.''

''No, I'll try not to.  Thanks for the present, it was very thoughtful.  When we get back home, I'll stop finding excuses to visit your office all the time, I only come round for a snog when I get bored.''

''You think I didn’t know that?  It was rather obvious and the others thought it was kind of cute though they don't know exactly what you are but they know we haven't been together long and they were wondering how long it was going to last.''

''Right but don't let them think we broke up if I don't come around all the time, will you?''

''No.  I'll set them straight, don't worry.  I'll just tell them that I've convinced you I won't disappear through a wormhole or something if you don't keep calling to see me.  They know you're Torchwood's police liaison and I told them you're finding it a bit boring.  Maybe when we get back, you'll settle down and find it a bit more challenging?''

John thought she had no idea, if his plan worked he'd be detective by day and Torchwood liaison whenever she asked but it was going to mean he would need to practice his Scottish accent because he didn't think he would fit in being an English detective and would probably get lynched should he actually need to arrest someone.

The rest of the evening, Rose went back into the bathroom just before midnight and came out in a pale green low neck knee length nightdress, John whistled, making her smile.  He thought he may not have to wait much longer after all or maybe it was only a birthday treat.  He pulled back her side of the bedclothes and waited for her to lie on her back, leaning over and putting his arm across her, Rose putting her arms around his neck as he now had free access to her neck as opposed to the vest or pyjama top so he intended on taking advantage.

By the time they fell asleep, he'd progressed to kissing her shoulders and was more than pleased with himself and Rose had snuggled up, resting with his arm around her and her free one over his waist, a smile on her face.  She just wished she could get over this, why was she taking such a long time over this?  She thought it was maybe due to Jimmy Stone abusing her and Mickey not being the world's number one romantic and she was actually enjoying all the extra attention this version of the Doctor was giving her and when she thought back, this was exactly what she'd wanted him to do to her but never had the chance to tell him or maybe he would have still backed off when given the chance.

She would never know and could never bring herself to ask the man she was sleeping on, who was running his fingers on her arm, his other arm around her waist.  For the first time since they had been thrown together, they both felt they would finally get over this not knowing how to get close to each other.  Rose wasn't in a hurry but John was, something was telling him his twin had already wasted more than enough time by not treating her as his proper girlfriend and he wanted to make up for it but he knew now, he had to slow down and not rush her, Rose probably wanted to have been his twin's girlfriend if he'd actually let her be.  Would it have been so bad for the other him to have at least admitted his feelings for the woman now falling asleep in his arms?

No, it wouldn't have been a bad thing at all, they were virtually boyfriend and girlfriend in all but name anyway, the only difference there had been was they had never sealed the deal, never even kissed and now he had more than a chance of making up for that, they had already kissed and when Rose was ready to move on to the next stage, then so was he, he was more than ready and human instincts would take over when it was the right time.

The next morning, John woke to find Rose still nestled under his arm, which was totally numb and not minding in the least.  He leaned over to kiss her cheek, brushing a strand of hair back and making her twitch.

''Hey love, wake up, it's almost time for breakfast.  Did you sleep okay?''

She thought she was hearing things when he called her 'love' for the second time.  

''Hey, yeah, fine.  Do you need your arm back?''

She moved slightly and he took it back while he still could, trying to get some feeling back in it.  

''We should get ready to leave, the car picks up outside at ten then we'll have breakfast and I'll come back up for our things.  We still have a bit of time though, how about a morning kiss and maybe some more snuggling?''

They got back to the Tyler residence, Tony was at school, Rose regretting they were catching the train at one but promised they would come back soon and Pete wanted a quick word with John, to pass on the extra ID he was going to need in order to pull off his latest stunt – that of becoming a detective without having to go through all the usual channels and start from scratch.

''So John, you really want to do this?  Becoming a detective?''

''I need this Pete, I have to prove to Rose I'm not him, I'm nothing like my twin but she's always going to see him in me, no matter how hard she tries and this is the only thing I can think of, to become someone else.  Is there anything I need to know?''

''No, everything's been taken care of.  There's a station just outside the city centre that's been told they're getting a new DI, one has conveniently retired early and it's been suggested you're a suitable candidate, there's no interviews or anything.  You've got a full service history, you've only been in one other station which has since closed down so there won't be any questions asked, all the staff there have either retired or gone to other places.  I'll leave it to you to say where you're from originally, if you're ever asked that is but to add authenticity to your background, you're divorced with a twelve year old daughter called Daisy and she lives with her mother in the south of England, your ex having moved back there when you split.''

''Does it have to be that I'm divorced, or even been married?''

''It just makes it more believable, nothing else, if she's supposed to be hundreds of miles away, you won't be expected to produce either of them.  As for your accent, I suggest you don't try to have people guessing where you're from, maybe you should mumble a bit, try to sound a bit gruff and don't try to make friends otherwise Rose might get suspicious if you're always invited out.  Keep to yourself, how you do that is up to you, maybe if you shout at everyone and acted grumpy, people will easily stay out of your way but don't let Rose catch you acting any differently, you might have some explaining to do.''

''Well I want her to find out eventually, that's why I'm doing it but if we meet professionally during the course of an investigation that Rose's team have to take charge of, I don't want her easily guessing at first, I want her to find out gradually but not to the degree she'll leave me as John Smith and take up with my new persona, that would be counter-productive as she'll expect me to stay like that but if she sees I can be completely different, well I just hope she realises I'm not the Doctor any more.''

''I'm sure she will but don't make it too difficult, you should establish your new identity and let her find out as soon as you can.  Seek her out and get her team involved, make something up that requires her attention, maybe even tell her as John that you've been contacted by your new self and she'll never know until she realises it's you, like Superman and Clark Kent, you can't be seen together and if you act totally different than you do now, she'll maybe figure it out.  I just hope she takes it well John, for your sake as well as hers.  So, good luck then  -  Detective Inspector Alec Hardy.''

John pocketed his new ID with the name he had chosen carefully, having checked there wasn't already a police officer in Scotland with the same name, luckily, he had thought it sort of had a ring to it – it didn't sound too Scottish that he'd have to recite his heritage to anyone who was interested in his background, he would be an only child, his mother passed away and his father not talking to him.  He knew vaguely if asked which clan his surname was descended from but would claim it had long since died out, hoping no-one would want to dig so deep anyway.

He went to find Rose and saying goodbye to Jackie and Pete, the driver took them to the train station for the journey back up to Glasgow.  John was to take up his new post the following Monday and he was hoping that before he did, Rose would want to make something of their relationship without the need to begin deceiving her and taking such action to get her attention in the romance department.  He had been relying too much on taking the lead himself but if he slowed down, she would surely think he was backing out of their arrangement and he didn't want that, things were slow enough as they were.

The rest of the week, John spent his time looking for reports of something he could use once he became Alec Hardy that could use the expertise of the Torchwood team without arousing her suspicion and establishing with headquarters that he was going to be spending more time out of his office following leads and decided he would spend a couple of hours in his office each morning then drive to his new station, only a few miles away and he'd already lined up a rental car, much to Rose's amusement when she learned the model and wondered why he'd suddenly decided to drive himself to work and back instead of getting taxis.

So on the Friday night when he turned up at home in his newly rented dark blue SUV type car and dragged Rose down to take a look at it, he defended his decision to drive himself around instead of being dependant on her or the local taxi company.

''Come on Rose, I told you, I need to start getting out of the office more, it's boring sitting there all day and I thought I could follow up on a few things, before getting you and your team involved.''

''Yeah, there's no reason why you can't, just as long as they're not dangerous aliens or anything but unexplained occurrences that people have reported to the police and not been followed up on because they're strange or the police think are not worth investigating, you can take the lead and call us if you need to.  It could be quite interesting really.''

John thought she had no idea how interesting things were actually going to get.

Chapter 9

They had a fairly quiet weekend, John perfecting his new look consisting of letting his fringe grow and not shaving, Rose not being very amused by Saturday night when he'd proceeded to kiss her neck as usual and she complained it was rough on her skin.  Sunday afternoon, they had been out to lunch then settled down to watch a film Rose had picked up at the supermarket and lazed on the sofa, John absent-mindedly running his fingers on Rose's shoulder as she leaned against him, he began to initiate the neck kissing, something new during the day.

Rose didn't appear to mind, she let him carry on, knowing he was enjoying it more than watching the film but John decided he was going to up the game in a last ditch attempt to call off his plan for the following day and become Alec Hardy to the world, with the exception of Rose.  To everyone else, John Smith would fade quietly into the background, his new persona taking over and see how long it took her to discover it was him.

He just hoped it wouldn't have the opposite effect and drive her away, he was taking a big gamble she would be taken with the new side of him.  He wished he could practice his Scottish accent but it would give the game away too soon that he might as well just come out and tell her. He'd got away with the accent when they'd met Queen Victoria but if he talked like that when Rose was around, she would guess so he had to change it slightly and maybe take Pete's advice and 'mumble' a bit.  He thought he might take other advice Pete had given him, like not setting out to make friends because he'd been right, he didn't want to have to keep making up excuses to go out or Rose would think he was losing interest in her.

He had no intentions of driving her away, he loved her and not just because his twin had loved her and done nothing about it, no, it was a different kind of love, her determination of getting back to him, making something of herself since she'd been left on this world that attracted him to her but now, he was about to set out to deceive her and he was having second thoughts.  Driving her away was one doubt, getting so into character that he became separate from that of the other Doctor and literally becoming and living permanently as the Scottish detective.

Would he want to change back though?  He wished that he still had access to the chameleon arch, to change like when he'd become human, now he had to rely on how good Pete and Jake had changed his details and covered up for him.
So after the film had finished, Rose snuggled up to him, looping her free arm around him.

''Bit unusual for this time of the day John, are you up to something?''

He raised his eyebrows, a habit he'd been unable to shake off along with not being able to say no to his now girlfriend.

''No but there's no reason we can't do this late on a Sunday afternoon, is there?''

''No, not really.  I just wish I could get over this John, I really do but I can't be rushed, we'll just have to let things progress naturally and I'm really the wrong one to teach you.  It was never like this with me and Mickey, he wasn't the romantic type like that but I won't go into details.  You need to study people, see how other couples react around each other and I know you haven't made any friends yet, isn't there anyone you work with?''

''I work on my own Rose, no-one bothers me much, they hardly know I'm even there sometimes which is why I want to start going out investigating.  No-one would notice if I was out all day but I thought that was rather the point, it's covert operations after all, I don't want to tell them what my real job is, do I?''

He leaned over to kiss her neck, pushing her against the cushion, grinning at her.

''Maybe I should just move into your office Rose, why do I need to be situated at the police headquarters?''

''Don't blame me, it was Pete's idea, you being on hand if something came up.  You're supposed to be smoothing the way when we take over but nothing's happened yet, just be glad of that.''

''Don't you find it boring Rose?'' he asked as he sneaked another kiss to her shoulder and pushing her t-shirt sleeve out of the way, something else he was beginning to make a habit of.

''It's all part of the job though, we can't rely on the public calling us all the time with weird stories like their cat's talking or something.  Mind you, it wouldn't go amiss if we gave our number out to the public, save wasting police resources.  Why don't you mention it, to tell officers that if they're called out to something, to give our number out?  I'll get the ok from Pete and we'll have another phone line installed, recruit another team member to answer a hotline, it could actually work out for everyone.''

''Yes, then when you get the calls, you can pass some on to me.  Now, can we do some more kissing?''

Rose had no objections.  So John set off the next morning, driving first to his office at police headquarters then to anyone with a passing interest told them he was going out for the day and went to introduce himself to his new station, deciding that whatever accent he first came out with, he would have to stick with it.  He walked up to the front desk, the sergeant looking up at John, whose hair now was getting in his left eye and his beard having the look of about two or three days growth, something he was going to have to decide what length to keep it that Rose wouldn't stop him kissing her neck.

He got his ID card out that Pete had handed to him with 'Glasgow Police' on it, which covered the whole area and spoke up, surprised how easily he remembered to sound.

''I'm DI Alec Hardy, your chief is expecting me.''

''Yes Sir, I'll inform him you're here.''

''While I'm waiting, I need a parking space, I'm over in the public car park and I'm not paying for more than an hour, understood?''

The sergeant looked at him.  Good, he'd got off on the right footing, be grumpy and annoy everyone.  This was going to be a lot easier than he thought, he'd just failed to make friends with the desk sergeant, now to see how many others he could upset by the end of the day, just as long as he left his grumpy side here and not take it home to Rose with him, she'd probably kick him out.

He was issued a parking space in the yard behind the station and took a permit from the man, saying he also wanted a sign to put on the dashboard for parking in public spaces, that went down well too.  He was shown to the chief's office, not being asked too many awkward questions thankfully since the man had already received a copy of Alec Hardy's service record.

''So Alec, welcome to the West Glasgow Police Force, any questions?'' the chief superintendent asked after the welcome speech and checked 'Alec' had all he correct ID for his new station.

''Yes, I take it everyone in the squad room answers to me when the DCI is out of the office and I report only to him?''

''Actually it's a female DCI, her name is Maureen Chambers but she's on leave at present, she knows you're joining us though, she'll be back next Monday.  I should warn you, she doesn't work well with male officers but if you stay out of her way, you'll get on fine, she just leaves everyone to get on with it, no-one likes her that much and keep their distance.  It's not ideal of course but maybe you'll get on better with her.  Another warning, she's single.  You're divorced with a teenage daughter?''

''I don't talk about them, neither of them have anything to do with me, they're down in the south west of England, I just have the bare minimum contact with my daughter, her birthday and Christmas, it's been two years since the split.  I'm not worried about a single female DCI, I've already got a girlfriend.''

He just hoped the chief would spread the rumour but he thought once in his new office, he'd have to establish a few things but putting a photo of him and Rose on his desk or carrying one in his wallet wasn't such a good idea, someone would recognise her and the news would get around, maybe to Rose herself and certainly her mother, whom he knew for a fact never missed a trick and he'd find himself facing a very angry Jackie Tyler for daring to pose with her daughter when she already had a boyfriend, that was if Jackie didn't recognise him, which knowing her she would, blindfolded.

So now officially Alec Hardy, he went to move his car, meaning to see if he could get an allowance and get some of the cost paid if they couldn't provide him with a police vehicle then went to visit the personnel department, gave his details, Pete had opened a new bank account in the name of Alec Hardy and he had a credit and debit card in his new name, something that had been put on hold since Torchwood were paying him at the other job.  Now he thought he was earning his own keep and could start buying things for Rose to impress her, since he'd no rent to pay.   He was told he could claim a car for work or be driven around and since he didn't want to be the one driving around all day, opted to take them up on the offer and he was assigned a young female DS with bright long ginger hair and had a thicker accent than the one he was putting on and hoped she wouldn't either catch him out or wouldn't keep inferring she was attracted to him, like Martha had done despite telling her he wasn't over losing Rose at the time.

He hoped his new DC, Amy Pond, wouldn't go following him around with that certain look in her eye so he would have to fake a photo of his girlfriend and also one for his supposed daughter, Daisy and also hope no-one noticed he had a fondness for females with flowery names, since he didn't want to get caught out giving his made-up girlfriend a different name, it was complicated enough as it was.  He was going to have to be careful not to let Rose go catching him out at home.

He planned on getting some nice photo frames during his lunch break and decided instead of being caught looking at images on a police laptop, he'd just browse some sites on his personal phone, save them and go get them printed out at the photographic shop near where he lived using the self-service machines so no-one would know what he was up to.  After accomplishing his mission during his lunch break, resisting the urge to pay a visit to Rose's office or invite her out for lunch, since he wouldn't be able to explain what he was doing in the wrong part of the city, he quickly put the photos of a blonde woman and a dark-haired teenage girl in two matching frames, just in time as his new DC knocked on his office door.

''Sir, do you need showing around this afternoon?  The last DI liked to go out all the time and I hated driving him around all day, I hope you're not going to be the same?''

''Well Pond, I've got news for you, I don't intend sitting behind my desk all day but I'll only go out when I need to with you, I can find my own way around.  I wouldn't like to inconvenience you so I can get another driver to take me around.''

''Fine with me – Sir.  Wouldn't want you to go getting lost around here, are you from Glasgow?''

''Not originally, I've lived here a while with my girlfriend.''

''Oh, you've got a girlfriend?  Only everyone in the office reckoned you were single and never expected you to actually have one.''

Alec pulled a face and picked up the photo of Rose's substitute, still blonde but nowhere near as pretty as the real one and showed it to his DC.

''They didn't, did they?  Well looks are deceiving Pond, who do you think this is?''

''Oh, so what's her name then?''

''Her name is Rose and before you even ask, no, it's not Rose Tyler, as if she'd have anything to do with a police detective.''

Amy sniggered.  

''No, probably not but I heard she's in the Glasgow area, heading up a branch of Torchwood up here, covering the whole of Scotland, you might get to actually meet her, if something spooky happens around here but I hear she's already got a boyfriend, he's working at police headquarters as their liaison officer so I'd stay away from her, he might get jealous.''

John felt like saying something but remained quiet, thinking that would be a good way to get around it, casually running into Rose and enticing her away from his other self so as John Smith he could fade into the background and no-one would ever notice he'd slipped away, perfect!

Chapter 10

John's plan was coming together nicely a few days later.  He was just about getting used to being called Hardy, moaning when someone dared to call him Alec, saying he didn't like the name and refusing point blank to address anyone by their first name, saying he'd learned his lesson working with his ex wife and look where that had got him when asked by others of his rank in the other divisions.

He'd come up with an elaborate story that he'd caught his wife cheating with a fellow officer and she'd asked him for a divorce then moved back to where she came from, taking their daughter with her.  The girl had taken her mother's side and not wanted much contact with him but to make it more interesting, he was going to say that whilst cheating on him, his ex had lost vital evidence in a murder investigation but he had taken the blame.  That would keep people from asking him any more questions about it.  He was debating whether to feign some sort of illness, to make excuses up for being away from his desk for a few hours so he could go to his other job a couple of mornings a week.

If he did, he would have to fill Pete in so he wouldn't think there was something really wrong, that could get awkward if Pete got concerned and mentioned it to Rose.  At least if he was meant to be hiding an illness, he'd have an excuse to get grumpy and shout at everyone.  By Thursday, he was beginning to settle down at his second job, avoided his DC most of the time and ignored all the rumours going around the rest of the office that he'd be sorry when the DCI came back from leave, speculating the photo on his desk of a young blonde woman was a fake.

He decided that if he got some time, he'd play around at the photo printing shop and merge a photo of himself and the model he'd found on a free image website and buy another frame to try to convince everyone she was real so leaving early, he went to get a photo made and he was quite pleased with it, once the assistant in the shop had shown him how to do it and it was now on his desk, in full view of anyone who came in and wondered if it wouldn't be so bad if he put one of himself and Rose on his desk but first, Alec Hardy would have to meet her and find some reason to take a photo.  He was still debating how far to go with it all though, meeting Rose.

Still, she was clever, even if he denied it for a while and try to convince her she was wrong about it, how long before he'd give in and tell her?  Maybe he shouldn't leave it too long though and if she liked him being Alec Hardy, maybe he'd even stay that way, what better new start did they need, with him re-inventing himself, it was only like regenerating after all, just without the long lifespan and only have one life left.

Rose had not noticed anything different about John, except he'd kept his word and stayed away from the office, the others hinting that maybe the novelty had worn off but she'd laughed it off, saying it was only because she'd hinted to him they were talking about him.  She seemed to get away with it.  By Friday, he'd broken his promise and left for an early lunch, driving to where the Glasgow branch of Torchwood was situated and Rose buzzing him in.

They weren't exactly open to the public but at a pinch, in an emergency, people would be allowed into the meeting room but John made his way to Rose's office, having to pass the other one, the team watching him walk past the glass partition and entering Rose's without knocking.  She got up and greeted him with a kiss, asking him if there was any particular reason for the visit.

''Hi Rose, do I need a reason to visit you for a quick snog?  I managed to stay away all week, I was bound to give in sooner or later, have you got more than one kiss for me?''

Rose held on to him.  

''Since it's you and you almost kept your promise, I expected you'd give in by Wednesday, I thought you would have caved in by then.  How's the job going, still bored?''

When John had started work, they had both decided the subject stayed out of their apartment unless it was going to be something they would work on together or something interesting.

''I'll manage, now I'm getting out a bit more.  I keep meaning to ask you something, you don't think my beard is too much do you?''

Rose ran her fingertips over his chin.  

''Nope, it's quite soft really but don't let it grow any longer, will you?  Otherwise I might think you're trying to hide something.''

John thought if only she knew he was hiding the fact he was masquerading as a police detective.  Maybe he could introduce her to his new Scottish accent but he decided to save it, just in case they met on a job.  He put his arms around her and they hugged.  It was still as far as they were getting, even in bed, they just fell asleep after cuddling but the last two nights, Rose had draped herself over him during the night instead of moving away from him and he'd liked the feeling, especially now she wore a slightly shorter nightdress and he could feel her legs on his when he woke up.

Now he just had to find a way to introduce himself as Alec Hardy and hope she didn't come right out and confront him, it was going to be a fine balancing act and he hoped he was up to the task.  They went out for a quick lunch nearby and kissing her cheek, went back to his office.  Amy was waiting for him.

''Sir, we got a call from officers at a scene in some woods on the edge of the city, a dog walker found something.''

''What exactly did they find and why does it need a detective to go out there Pond?''

''Sir, a child's jacket was found, with blood stains on it and when a dog unit was taken out there, they followed the scent until they came to a stream.  They're waiting for a senior officer to see if they are to follow the trail across the stream, they need someone to take charge.''

''Why me?'' he thought, keeping his jacket on and indicating to his DC to lead the way.

She drove him out to the scene, dog-handlers gathering by the edge of the stream as there was only some stepping stones half a mile downstream Amy informed him. John was not expecting to have to actually take over an investigation when he'd only been pretending to be a DI for less than a week.  Still, he could muddle through, it was probably nothing.

He'd asked on the way if there had been any reports of a child going missing in the area but had been told none had been made.  He noticed a few more from his squad were at the scene, a few other DC's and a few DS's and he gathered everyone around.  Someone had a map and he told whom he knew as one of the lead DS's in the team to divide the area and split up into groups and for the dogs to be taken across the stream, which at the moment was fairly shallow and accessible and for them to radio in if they found anything.

Two hours later, it had turned into a missing persons enquiry as a distraught mother had reported her six year old son had gone missing on a trip to the woods with his older brother and a group of friends and they'd just phoned her to say they couldn't find him.  John thought it was strange they had not seen anyone searching but the woods spread out a fair distance.  He felt like calling Rose but this didn't justify calling in her team, he would just delegate and let them get on with it.

He had to keep quiet when he got home but Rose had heard it on the local news that a young boy had gone missing.

''Did you hear about that young boy John?  He's only around the same age as my stepbrother, I can't imagine what his family are going through right now.  I just wish there was something I could do.''

John had sneaked off on some pretence so Rose wouldn't wonder where he'd got to. He'd had to give a radio interview when the local news team from Radio Glasgow had come along and he hoped Rose didn't somehow recognise it was him.  Since Rose had fallen asleep on him the last few nights, he wondered if she was finally going to give in to him after all these weeks of not knowing where he actually stood with her.  Maybe she was feeling exactly the same but he had no way of knowing since they never talked about it to each other for fear of driving her away and that was the last thing he wanted when they may be getting somewhere.

Once in bed, Rose waiting for him to come out of the bathroom, he lay on his side, tracing his fingers down her arm as she lay on her back.

''Come over here Rose, come and lay on me?''

''You've never asked that before.''

''I know and holding you close is really nice but only if you want to, do you?''

''Mmm, maybe we can do some kissing first and it's my turn to start kissing your neck first.''

''Maybe you can extend that to my shoulders?''

Rose wondered how long they were going to both be satisfied with neck and shoulder kissing, it had been a good few weeks since they had started that and if John was getting bored at work after two weeks, how bored was he going to get only doing the same things in bed?  She had to get over this, he was part of the Doctor, the other one was never coming back now he thought Rose had what she'd wanted, a part of him.  He would have gone back and stopped worrying about her and expecting her to turn up at any time.  Did that mean he no longer wanted her if she did ever get back by some remote chance?

It wasn't like she was ever going to find out, anything Torchwood was working on to cross dimensions, Pete would have closed down now, even the dimension cannon, it had stopped working now anyway and Pete wouldn't start any more projects, he'd only started them for her.

After she kissed into his shoulder, he put his arms around her and pulled her on top of him, immediately knowing she was wearing nothing under her nightdress which could explain to him why she wasn't so keen.  She didn't seem to mind though as his hands rested on the small of her back, being tempted to move them further but not wanting her to suddenly get up and leave. Rose could feel him through the thin material of her nightdress, thankful it had remained in place but enjoying the sensations it was giving her.

The next few days were distressing for John, still masquerading as Alec Hardy, grunting orders at everyone from his office, declining to join in the search by saying he could do more good organising things from the station and sending Amy out to keep him informed as to what was going on at the scene.  The DCI came back but she just told Alec to get on with it since he'd started it and they had concluded the boy had been abducted after the second day and he could now be anywhere in the west Glasgow area or even beyond and by day three, the chief had called in other divisions to be on the lookout and Alec took her advice and just kept her informed.

The boy's parents had been interviewed several times by Alec and his DC, the house had been searched as had the neighbouring outhouses and garages in a desperate attempt to locate the young boy.  Posters were everywhere, local press were following the story closely and by the end of Monday, a press conference was called, the parents making a tearful plea for their son to be returned to them.  As John, he felt sorry for the family, the older brother was extremely affected since the boy had been in his care, stating they had been in the woods several times without incident and had initially thought his young brother was playing hide and seek with him and been fooling around.

John, as Alec, had assured the teenager it wasn't his fault and that everything was being done to find his brother so as they sat in the local school hall, packed with the members of the public as well as the press and film crews, the family were led in by Alec Hardy, the chief and the DCI already seated and the fun with Rose was about to begin as she watched on her laptop in her office just before 5pm, having decided to delay leaving or she would miss it.

Rose had found it equally distressing, considering her stepbrother was around the same age and couldn't imagine how frantic the family were.  She had spoken to her mother several times over the last few days, Jackie asking if Rose was going to get involved in finding the missing child and Rose saying she couldn't, not officially as she didn't think even with John being the police liaison, they would welcome getting the investigation taken over by Torchwood, especially as Rose had read the lead detective on the case, a DI Alec Hardy was a hard-ass and took nothing from nobody.

In his interviews with the local press, he'd dismissed any rumours there was very little chance of finding the young boy alive and well and said the investigation was progressing as it should and interviews were still taking place and also a lot was going on behind the scenes that the public were not aware of.  So as Rose watched the family take their seats next to whom she assumed was the chief superintendent who was next to a dark-haired woman in a business suit, she saw a tall man sit beside the father of the boy, keeping his head low since he didn't want Rose to recognise him, the chief spoke up, thanking everyone for attending and that the family would be making an appeal for their son's safe return and then they would be answering questions from the press and public.

The chief continued.  

''I will now hand over the rest of the meeting to our senior investigating officer, Detective Inspector Alec Hardy.  He will read a statement on behalf of the family then he will answer any questions in general from the press and the public.''

The chief sat down, gesturing past the family of the boy and John looked up, now knowing his little game was up with Rose, since she was as clever as he always thought she was and knowing this was the big test that his accent would hold up and just how good he'd pretended in the past to be a police detective, having conducted the investigation back in the 1920's of Agatha Christie's disappearance and discovered a giant wasp was really the local vicar.

This was the real deal, his chance to prove to Rose once and for all he was not his twin, he was a completely different person so as he read out a prepared statement from the family, answered questions from concerned parents as to if they should be worried for their children and fended off the local and national press, he stared into the camera, trying his best not to make it look like he was staring at his girlfriend, daring her to point out when he got home that he hadn't fooled her for one minute, he made his solemn promise.

''Wherever this child is, if someone is holding him or if you know of someone acting suspiciously the last few days and been seen with a young boy for the first time, call your local police station or the number on screen with any information, no matter how small.  We will find whoever has taken this boy from his family, you cannot hide him forever.''

Chapter 11

Rose sat disbelievingly staring at the screen at who she thought could easily pass for her boyfriend and shaking her head.  Ewan from the office next door was just tapping on her door to say goodnight.

''Bye Rose.  Oh, is that your boyfriend?''

''No, can't you read the name?  How can it be John anyway, he's our liaison officer, remember?  That detective just happens to look a bit like him, his hair's different anyway.''

''Well he could be his twin.''

''John doesn't have any brothers.''

Well technically he didn't, not any more.  John had got in the habit of restyling his hair as he got out of his car every morning, just in case he were to bump into Rose, not that he had any need and the previous Friday, he'd almost forgotten to get his comb out and style it back before getting out to press the buzzer to Rose's office.

The more Rose had stared at the screen, the more she had to shake off the feeling John was hiding something from her.  How could it possibly be him?  John had finally got away from the press conference but not before being confronted by the lead reporter from the Glasgow Herald, Kate Black.

''DI Hardy, have you got a moment?  Would you care to comment further on the investigation?  Isn't this similar to a case you worked on before?''

He wondered how she'd got to know about his made-up failed case, he could only guess the person he'd told had been spreading the word, which suited him just fine, it added credibility.

''This is nothing like my last case, that was two girls, cousins.  I don't talk to the press.''

''Well I can do a story without you, I thought you might want your say in it?''

He made his excuses and went back to the waiting car to take him back to the station.  He knew Rose would have been watching and wasn't going to bring up the subject unless she did, then he'd try to change the subject, not that she'd let go of it.  Rose made her way home, thinking about the detective she'd just seen on the news.  Surely John wasn't pretending to be the detective, why would he want to do that?  She started making dinner when she got in and waited for him to get home, not knowing how to bring up the subject.

The detective on the news had a different accent and his hair was different but as had been pointed out, they could be twins and she knew the only twin John had was in another universe.  She heard the door opening and shouted from the kitchen.  John went straight in, leaning on the door-frame, holding his arms out.

''Hi Rose, how was your day?''

''Same as always, nothing much going on really, if nothing happens soon, I think Pete will cut down on staff.  Did you see the news earlier?''

''I don't get chance to watch the news in the office Rose, was there anything special?  Have they found that missing boy yet?''

He crossed towards Rose, since she made no move to go to him, still holding his arms out.  Rose put the stirring spoon in the pan of pasta sauce and he folded his arms around her, kissing her forehead as she put her arms around his back.  This was something new for them, he'd never initiated such contact in the kitchen.  Sometimes they would begin kissing on the sofa while watching TV but that was about it apart from snogging in Rose's office.  Rose clung hold of him, wondering if he was going to admit he was the one who had just been on the news.

John decided since they were already hugging there was nothing wrong with a bit of on the spot kissing as he leaned his head down to meet her lips.  A few minutes later, they'd stopped for breath.

''Mmm, that was a nice surprise John, are you up to something?''

John smiled.  

''Do I need to be up to something to kiss my girlfriend now?''

''So, have you told everyone you work with yet that you're dating the famous Rose Tyler?''

''No, do I need to?  No-one comes in my office and I have plenty of photos of you on my phone though now you mention it, maybe I should put one on my desk.  Do you know I haven't got any of us together?  You've got them all.''

Keeping her arms around his neck but watching the pan on the stove, she reached up to kiss him again.  

''Well I'll just send some over to your phone then and you can take some the next time we go out.''

''Great but maybe I can take some of us later?''

''We'll see.''

John went into their bedroom, the other room definitely now the spare room, unless he decided to go overboard and she kicked him out that was and took his shirt and tie off and wished he could get her interested to want to unbutton his shirt and take it off for him.  He was always the one to take his t-shirt off either as he got into bed or just after, Rose would only put her hand on the hem to tell him she wanted him to take it off, she never offered but now at least she was wearing very low cut nightdresses and she was letting him kiss her a bit lower down but it was still a one-way street when it came to being the first to do something.

Just how could he get her more interested?  He had got the feeling with his other self that Rose had wanted to snog his face off after ripping his shirt open sometimes but she'd never shown such signs with him.  He crossed to the wardrobe and selected his favourite Beatles t-shirt, relieved to have found the group existed here and he'd grown rather fond of them, always playing their music in the car then went to the dresser drawer and spied the fobwatch the other Doctor had handed to him.

A fat lot of good the timepiece was, it wouldn't even open unless he struggled with it so why he'd been handed it on departing the Tardis, he had no idea.  His twin would have been better handing him a piece of the Tardis coral to try to grow his own if he'd really wanted to help him get together with the love of their lives and then it struck him that was exactly where the problem lie – he couldn't show Rose Tyler the stars any more, they were both stuck on a world they didn't belong in and he was grounded.

He knew he could never mean the same to Rose as he twin had and he felt immensely jealous of the fact he had Rose but not all of her, a part of her would always belong with his twin and there was nothing he could do about it – or was there?  Why had he been handed a useless piece of their home world?  What possible reason had his twin to rub in the fact he'd used it to become human to hide from hostile aliens and had to fend off Martha and fall in love with Joan Redfern? 

That was it though, he had fallen in love with a human and he'd already fallen in love with Rose, a long time ago and the watch had made him forget about her for a while, which had upset him afterwards and made him more determined not to return Martha's advances towards him, he'd already betrayed Rose's memory even though he'd had no control over his actions when he was completely human.

He tried to open the watch to see if it would at least talk to him again, to tell him what he was supposed to do to get Rose to love him the way she had loved his twin then it dawned on him – the watch was slowly turning him into Alec Hardy.  Where else had he got the idea from so easily?  It had to be the answer, maybe if he kept opening the watch more often, it would speed up the process somewhat and Rose would begin to notice and fall in love with him but he didn't like the fact being Alec Hardy came at a price – his grumpier side but at least it kept everyone away from him, well except DC Amy Pond who seemed to enjoy following him around a bit more than she should do the last few days.

If he wasn't careful, he'd have another Martha Jones situation on his hands and he didn't want Rose to get jealous under any circumstances so it was time to ditch his fake girlfriend and get to know Rose Tyler, Vitex heiress and socialite and convince everyone she was his new girlfriend before he'd actually got her to go along with it.  To make it work though, he had to at least let Pete in on his plan before Rose complained to her mother that he was cheating on her and pretending to be someone else or was that the other way around?

Would he be cheating if he became Alec Hardy full time and let Rose fall in love with his new persona?  If Rose learned more about Hardy, found out he had a girlfriend already she'd maybe get put off but if he spread the word he'd broken up recently and they happened to meet, well that wouldn't be too bad, would it?

Rose was standing in the doorway before he realised he wasn't alone.

''Whatcha doing holding that watch again for John?''

''Nothing, still can't figure out why he gave it to me.''

''Dinner's almost ready.  You look tired John, are you okay?''

He put the watch back in the drawer and went towards her, putting his arms around her waist, making Rose put her arms around his neck as he leaned down to kiss her.

''Forget the watch Rose, it's not important but you are.  Right now, you Rose Tyler are the most important thing in my life and I'm not too tired for you.  It's just it's still boring at work and I want to do more than follow a few leads so I'm going to see about applying to get the police to let me go out on investigations with them.''

Rose reached up to kiss him again.  

''That's a great idea, it will get you out a bit more, you can be a police consultant just as much as a Torchwood one.  Who knows, you may even get to work the missing boy case over the other side of the city.  Mind you, you'd have to be careful or everyone will think you're that detective's twin brother.''

John kissed her forehead and let go – she had no idea but this was maybe exactly what he needed.

After dinner, they messed around on the sofa when John got bored watching something on TV Rose liked and he decided to speed things up by taking his t-shirt off and getting Rose to lay on his bare chest while he played at twisting her hair around his little finger and making it curl.  Rose was smiling to herself, maybe little things like that wouldn't be upping the game by too much and would keep him amused.  He was kissing the top of her head now and then, pretending he was taking no notice of the TV but watching out of the corner of his eye but he was more interested in getting her full attention that she might, just might want to start kissing across his bare chest – now that would be making some progress. 

Maybe all she needed was an open invitation, whether she took it right away or not, the offer would still stand.  During the ad-break, Rose moved her head and looked up at him.

''Mmm, this is nice, can we do this again?''

''Yeah, 'course we can Rose, you don't have to ask do you?  Look Rose, I know you're still trying to get used to me, I understand that and your reluctance to take things further but any time you feel like you want to, you know, well, you don't have to ask, just show me, okay?''

''Yeah, I'll remember that, the next time then.''

She grabbed his free arm, the one that wasn't around her neck then grabbed that one and took his hand and turned to kiss it.

''I want to get closer to you John, really I do and I know you're relying on me to show you what I want but I'm still not sure what I do want, I've not had a lot of experience with this really, you can't really count Mickey, we weren't like this so it's all new to me too.  I'm not much help am I?''

''Oh Rose, it's okay, if you don't know what you want, maybe we can just discover it together eh?''

He squeezed her other hand and pulled it towards him and kissed the back of it. 

''I've always loved you Rose, even before I changed, you know that and I'll still wait for as long as it takes but I'll also show you, the best way I can what I want as well, is that okay?''

''Yeah, goes without saying but we both agree if we get uncomfortable with something, we both say so.''

''Deal.  Now are you really watching what's on the TV?''

She realised the programme had come back on and moved towards the screen then changed her mind and pulled him down for a snog instead.  John had a grin on his face then just muttered a 'guess not' as he moved her to get a better angle to stop his neck from aching, this was much more enjoyable than watching a TV series about crime scene investigators.

Nothing much had happened with the missing boy case over the weekend, a search of the woods was still being conducted, more dog units had been brought in and people had been turning up to volunteer on Sunday afternoon to help search the vast woods which was the second full day he had been missing and when the DCI had come back to a major incident on the Monday morning, she had let who she had been introduced to as Alec Hardy get on with it.  Maureen Chambers was single, the other side of forty and her current boyfriend had cheated on her whilst on holiday and they'd gone their separate ways at the airport so a good-looking in a scruffy beard sort of way newly arrived DI's presence didn't go unnoticed when she'd seen him sitting in his office.

Chapter 12

Maureen had only been in his office once and seen a photo of Alec and a blonde woman and one of a young girl on his desk, surmising the girl was from a previous relationship but she wasn't going to let that put her off, she could take her time with the new arrival, he'd be there at least six months, that was as standard.  She had noticed the ginger-haired DC he'd been assigned had given him a few looks and it didn't seem he was giving her any back so maybe he wasn't in the market to swap girlfriends any time soon.  She'd only get worried if the woman in the photo actually walked into the station and laid claim to him but in the meantime, she'd stay back and wait to see if he noticed her.  He did look a little younger than herself but the blonde in the photo looked  ten years Hardy's junior.

By Wednesday, a nationwide appeal had been made, DCI Chambers deciding she should maybe take a bit more notice and be seen to actually be doing something instead of leaving it to the even more appealing Hardy, since he'd grown his beard a bit more and his hair kept getting in his right eye and made him squint and when he'd got his rimless specs out of his top pocket, she almost collided with the door.  So later that afternoon, after Alec had sneaked over to see Rose during his lunch break, remembering his own accent and combing his hair back, pulling the blinds down and have a quick snogging session before Rose made coffee and they ate the sandwiches he'd stopped off for on the way, he was back in his office and Amy was filling him in on the latest reports from the search in the woods.

She had just finished when Maureen entered the office without knocking, something he wished she would stop doing even though she was his superior officer.

''Right Pond, keep me informed.  DCI Chambers, what can I do for you?'' he asked, trying not to sound too grumpy in view he'd had a thorough snogging from his girlfriend just over an hour ago and they had almost got his shirt off until they remembered the rest of the staff at the other side of the office partition.

Maureen crossed to his desk and picked up the photo of the young girl.  

''Your daughter Alec?'' 

He wondered if she was making some kind of point or if she was just out to annoy him or find out his marital status.

''She lives with her mother down south and before you ask, I see her twice a year.  She's a teenager, that's apparently what they do when their parents are divorced, so I've been told.  Are you here about the latest reports?''

''Yes and no Alec.  I know we've not had much time to talk, I come back to a full-scale missing child search and thought it best to leave you to get on with it but now, I think we should work together closely on this, don't you think?''

He hated being called by the first name he'd chosen but if Rose were to begin calling him that, he wouldn't mind in the least but was his new boss trying to say something?

''I prefer to work on my own, no disrespect DCI Chambers, I have Pond to work with, she's quite capable.''

Maureen put the photo down and looked at the one of him and his fake girlfriend.  

''Like younger women do you?  Don't you prefer women with more experience?''

He was out of his depth here, Rose was the only woman he had known, well this version of him and he wasn't sure where this was leading.

''Oh not at all, I prefer to take the lead.''  

He just hoped that would be enough to put her off.  It wasn't.

''Well if we're going to have to work together, we should get to know each other.  Why don't we go for a drink after work?''

''I think my girlfriend might object if I'm late home.''

''You live together?''

''Well yes and she's the possessive type and besides, I learned my lesson after my last marriage never to work with someone I'm involved with, my ex wife cheated on me with another male officer.''

Maureen sat on the edge of his desk, she preferred to wear skirts at work, especially when there was a new male senior officer around.

''That's okay Alec, I just dumped my boyfriend for cheating on me while we were on holiday.''

He could now see exactly where this was going, warning bells were already ringing in his head and the incident with Martha sprang to mind again.

''Yes, well, sorry to hear that but I love my girlfriend, it will take something to make me leave her.  Now, is there anything else, I'm rather busy.''

Maureen thought he was going to be a tough nut to crack but she could maybe wear him down eventually, only time would tell.  John thought he'd had a close call as she got up off the corner of his desk and pulled her skirt straight.  He just wished Rose would come in and do that but then she'd find out where he was working and the game would be over.

''Well I'll let you get on then.  Maybe we can have lunch instead, bring your girlfriend if you like.  What's her name?''

John stared at her, he'd never mentioned her name to anyone, no-one had asked who she was, he never gave them the chance.

''She works across the other side of the city so it's doubtful and I'd hate to go without her, maybe another time?''

Maureen was sure the detective was trying to avoid answering her question but let it go.  Maybe the others in the office were right and the photo was a fake one but the woman looked vaguely like Rose Tyler, if she didn't know any better and what would she be doing with someone like Alec Hardy?  She'd heard rumours the Vitex heiress was working in the city but she'd also heard Miss Tyler already had a boyfriend, some Police/Torchwood liaison so Hardy was out of luck if he thought anyone was going to believe it was her and he could get away with it.

Once on his own, John breathed a sigh of relief she seemed to let it go.  He wanted to keep the two of them as far away from each other as possible until he was ready for trying to get Rose interested in Alec Hardy and it was early days but she had given him the idea of people confusing the two of them so maybe he should start to work on his other job and try explaining his absence.  He'd talked to Pete the previous morning, Pete had laughed and wished him luck with getting Rose to go off with his new persona and said he wouldn't give the game away but if Rose rang her mother, he might be out of luck.

So before he left for the day, he decided to ring the police headquarters and say he was going to be absent from the Torchwood liaison job for a while since it was quiet and the director had thought his talents may fit in better helping the enquiry over in west Glasgow of the missing six year old boy.  Once he'd done that, it would be easy to fool any officers at the scene, still concentrating around the wooded area, that he wasn't Hardy but a police consultant, just as long as Chambers or Pond weren't around at the time.

He was quite pleased with himself on his way home that things were beginning to go according to his plan, that of getting Rose to open up to the idea that being with him wasn't like being with his twin and that he could be very different when he wanted to be, a whole new person in fact.  If Rose were to ask him again though, he'd have to be careful not to admit anything just yet then all he had to do was as Alec to start dropping hints that Torchwood may want to get involved, he would pretend he'd called the Torchwood liaison at headquarters and Rose and her team would be called in – then the fun would begin.

Rose had been shopping and had stopped by the women's department, having an internal debate as to get some new underwear and let John catch her in it.  She had been thinking about it since Monday night when they'd ended up on the sofa having a late snogging session and he'd taken his t-shirt off, something he didn't normally do until they got to bed.  It had been around six weeks now and she should be able to move on but she was finding it difficult so maybe if she bought some sexy underwear and the next time John started distracting her from watching the latest series of CSI, she'd give him something to think about and purposely wear a button down shirt and conveniently leave a few buttons undone and see if he took advantage and try to undo some more or peek down as she lay back on him.

Well at least she could start making more of an effort she supposed, it wasn't like she'd not paraded in front of Mickey in her underwear and John was just as deserving after six weeks to see her in something less than her nightdress although they were getting skimpier since she used to sleep in pyjama shorts not that long ago.  So she had picked out a black bra and knickers set, the very lacy type and an almost see-through white blouse that should be worn with a top underneath and raced home to get changed before John got back.

She just made it and was coming out of the bedroom when she heard John come in, having put dinner on the stove and the groceries away then put her new underwear on and the new blouse, glancing at herself in the mirror and thinking something might actually happen tonight and if it didn't, then it wouldn't be anything on her part that had prevented it, she had to get over this.  She had to admit since John grew the beard and styled his hair differently, he was even more attractive than when he'd first regenerated but after all that time of being apart, when she'd finally seen him on that deserted street and had run towards him, her heart had leapt at the sight of him and she knew she loved him so why was being with John any different?

He never noticed her coming out of the bedroom and going to check on dinner as he put his mobile phones and keys down and put his jacket on the back of the chair.

''Rose, I was thinking love, maybe we can go off next weekend, would you like that?''

Rose stopped what she was doing and stood in the doorway, waiting for him to turn.  He did and whistled.

''Wow, you look great Rose, new look?''

She had bunched her hair back, leaving some strands hanging loose and apart from the almost sheer white blouse, was wearing a short black skirt and no stockings and just flat black shoes.  John walked slowly towards her, holding out his arms.

''Very nice Rose, special occasion?''

She leaned into him and put her arms around his neck, reaching up to be the first to initiate a kiss, surprising him.

''No, does it have to be a special occasion to dress nicely for my boyfriend?'' she queried, since he'd said almost the same thing about kissing her in the kitchen the other evening.

''Well no, I don't suppose so.  Well this is nice, maybe we can do this every night when I get home then?''

He leaned down to kiss her again, waiting for her reply.

''I don't see why not, do you?  Unless we have company of course.  I was thinking maybe we should have people over from work, you could invite some from where you work and I can have Ewan and his girlfriend over then Grace and Mary with their boyfriends, not at the same time though.''

''Yes, well, I haven't exactly made any friends Rose, I'm getting out more to stop myself climbing the walls but you invite your work colleagues though, don't let that stop you.''

''Okay, maybe once a week then from next week.  Did you mean it, about going off?  We can go Friday night, maybe out into the countryside, find a little inn or something for a couple of nights?''

''Yeah, sounds great, shall I organise it then?''

She reached up to kiss him again, John noticing when she did her skirt went with her as he glanced over her shoulder.  Maybe he should stop leaning down and let her do all the reaching then in that case, it could be interesting.  He kissed her neck, making her shiver slightly as he breathed into it before kissing it.  John thought if something didn't give soon, he was going to go crazy.  He so wanted her but didn't know how she felt about it.  Maybe for the time being he should just let things progress on their own, she was showing more signs than she was six weeks ago that she was willing to try to get over her reluctance, maybe he should be just grateful for that and not spoil it, it could set them back if he tried to rush her.

She looked up at him, her arms still around his neck.  '

'Yeah, I'll leave it to you so don't forget.  I'd best go rescue dinner.  Did you see about going out with the police then?''

''Yeah, just the odd call or so, it's quite interesting but I've pretended to be the police before Rose, you already know that.''

''Yeah, I know, a few times and look where that used to get us?''

John laughed, remembering it had got them into a whole heap of trouble at times.  

''Remind me to tell you about when me and Donna met Agatha Christie.''  

He gave her neck one last kiss and moved her arms from around his neck.

While Rose went to start getting dinner out onto the plates, he went to get changed, choosing his casual white shirt with black stripes that Rose liked and left the top few buttons undone, sincerely hoping Rose might start the neck kissing off when they settled on the sofa after dinner to try to watch TV and be tempted to kiss his chest as well.  The way she was looking five minutes ago gave him the hope she might want to up their relationship slightly in this very slow game they seemed to be playing.

Maybe it was time to try to open the watch again and become Alec Hardy full time.

Chapter 13

John tried to keep calm during dinner, trying not to think about when they went to settle on the sofa and hoping he wouldn't do something completely stupid like unbutton her blouse or undo some more shirt buttons and send her running and locking herself in the bathroom or something equally as bad.  Rose went to get dessert, wondering if he'd been staring at her cleavage all through dinner and if she'd casually undone one button too many and it was a wonder his dinner wasn't all down his sexy white shirt with the black stripes.  She wondered what he'd look like wearing it along with a pair of sexy sunglasses with most of the buttons undone, maybe if they took a holiday somewhere warm and walked around hand in hand.

She knew she was having more of these thoughts, the same ones she'd had in the Tardis or on an adventure with the other Doctor, that of wishing she could have done something about it instead of leaving it until it was too late but she'd been given another chance so why was she throwing it all away again?  All throughout eating their dessert, John's favourite banana sundae with whipped cream on top, John was trying his best not to imagine even more buttons undone on Rose's see-through blouse where he could distinctly see her black bra and her cleavage and more cleavage than bra.

What was she trying to do to him?  This was something new, apart from catching a glimpse of her laid in bed before turning out the bedside lamp and her never offering to do any more than letting him pull the straps of her nightdress down and then lying on him after they had both kissed as much of each other as they dared, now, she was virtually showing herself off to him albeit there was a white blouse in the way and wearing the short black skirt with no tights was simply unfair of her, she either wore trousers or jeans and sometimes those sexy black tights like the ones she'd worn back when they'd encountered the werewolf and Queen Victoria, how his other self had kept his hands off her, he couldn't figure out.

He was thinking more and more the last few days that his twin had been a complete idiot in not making a play for her, she had practically been throwing herself at his feet and he'd not taken a blind bit of notice and almost getting caught up with Reinette and Martha, not to mention Astrid and that Lady Christina, well Donna had been a relief from it all.  Just what did women ever see in him anyway?  Now he'd made himself look scruffy, well at work, outside he didn't look that bad or Rose would have said something but both his DC and the DCI had looked at him more than once as a potential boyfriend and he was just not interested.

Maybe he did like to be in charge, he certainly didn't like the attention he was getting at work and Rose was playing hard to get.  Yes, he definitely liked to take the lead where a woman was concerned, he'd not been wrong there.  Rose cleared the dishes away and John went to the sofa after turning on the TV.  He was glad he'd not have to give any more interviews or press conferences, he didn't want Rose to keep seeing him on the news all the time or she would be starting to compare him. 

Maybe he should casually start talking about joining the investigation, offering his help and see what she said about it, judge her reaction.  Rose came back in and smiled at him as he patted for her to sit on his lap instead of at his side.  He put his arm around her back, getting his closest view yet of what was under the flimsy material of the blouse that had been spoiling his view of her chest all night.  He angled himself to kiss her, one of her arms around his neck and he took the chance to shuffle her up against the cushion and tilted her back.

Rose got the idea and relaxed into his arm and reached for a button on his shirt and she undid it to his surprise so he took the risk of going for one of hers until finally, she had reached his last one without realising, kissing between twisting the buttons through the buttonholes then as John reached the one of Rose's in the middle that was holding the garment in place that he'd purposely left until the last, he looked at her as if asking if he could or if she'd slap his face.

He thought she was doing it to tease him, to see if he'd actually do it.  He could see most of her exposed skin, the top of her lacy black bra and would she have let him go this far if she was going to run off if he attempted to undo the last button?  She was taunting him, he knew she was and she'd made no attempt yet to part his shirt even though it was now fully undone and already overhanging his jeans he'd gone to change into and he'd not tucked the shirt into.

She hung onto the edge of his shirt, fingering the material as if debating whether to pull it apart or not, it wasn't like she'd not seen his bare chest before but he'd always been the one to take his t-shirt or sometimes his shirt off, not her, now he was looking at her as if to say he wanted her to do it but dare she actually do it, dare she run her finger down his torso and across his slightly hairy chest?  John had one hand on the last of her buttons, being careful to only touch her skin with part of his hand and then only below the button, waiting for her to make the next move.

He knew he wanted to just do it, to part the blouse and see her in just her what now looked like a very skimpy bra and to lean over and kiss her exposed skin then take the bra off and take all of her beauty in at once.  Rose knew she wanted to pull his shirt apart and kiss her way across his chest so what was stopping her?  She wanted to cross the line she had never crossed with the other Doctor, why shouldn't she?  What was actually stopping her now?

She'd never been given this much attention before, Mickey had always been about what he wanted, not what she wanted and here was John, looking down at her and waiting for her to do something before he did, giving her the choice.  She took it and moved her hand, parting his shirt and placed her hand on his bare chest, giving a sigh as she touched and he let go of her blouse for a moment and placed his hand on top of hers and whispered her name.

''Rose, please allow me to finish unbuttoning your blouse?''

''I told you, you don't need to ask.''

''Oh Rose but I do because I want to look at you and touch you and I wouldn't dare do that without asking for your permission so please, may I?''

She moved his hand and steered it back to the last button stopping him from touching her.  It was only her top half, she could live with him seeing her topless, it was more than Mickey had ever seen, they were always in the dark, he never had really looked at her like John was looking at her now, his soft brown eyes almost pleading with her to let him see her.

''Yes John, you may undo the last button and I want you to touch me, please.''

That was all he needed, his Rose had said she wanted him to touch her and he was now halfway to winning her over completely and he could live with that.  As her last button came undone, Rose sighed again as he touched her bare skin just above her tummy then flinched as he touched her through her bra and then the top of her breasts and her cleavage.  He smiled at her as her hand moved on his chest and leaned down to kiss her, moving his shirt back out of the way so his chest touched her as he sought her lips. 

Rose's hand that had been on his arm went around his neck and she moved the other one to allow his chest to touch her as she caught the collar of his shirt and began trying to get it off.

''Oh Rose, allow me?'' he grinned down at her.

He helped her get his shirt off, they'd almost done it earlier in her office so why it was such an issue now, neither of them knew except Rose was now under him, smiling up at him with her blouse undone and her skimpy bra hardly covering anything then as his shirt was shrugged off, he leaned down as Rose ruffled his hair and pulled him towards her, his hands going around her back then as he found the clasp of her bra, he smiled, pleased he at least knew how to do that considering his lack of practice and hoped he could let human nature take charge and that now he was pulling her bra away, she wouldn't get scared and run off.

She didn't as the bra came away and he pulled it down, revealing her beauty and he took in the sight of her.

''You are so perfect Rose,'' he just managed to say before he dove down, Rose grabbing his head and pulling him towards her as she told him he had better take advantage now he'd got her bra off.

He did and then some.

Somehow, they managed to shuffle around after John kissed every centimetre of Rose's top half several times over, just a bit annoyed her bra was preventing him leaning his chest onto her but as they swapped places, Rose smiled, knowing he wanted the thing off and allowed him to pull the sleeves of her blouse off one arm and the bra slid off one side, then they repeated the process as it fell off the other side and he lay back against the cushion, pulling her on top of him as they kissed, deeper than they'd ever done before, leaving a breathless Rose and a smirking John looking at each other.

Pleased they'd got this far, John traced his finger between her breasts and Rose leaned down, debating whether to return the favour and kiss her way across his chest and gave in, John's hands now on her back and pulling her close so they were touching.

''Rose, you've made me very happy and now, I can wait until you're ready for more my love.  I know this has been difficult for you but it will get easier now, we're halfway there.''

They decided to take this to the bedroom, John never attempting to do any more when Rose was waiting for him and began by kissing his chest then he let the straps of her nightdress down and lowered the material.  The next morning, John decided it was time for Rose to meet his alter-ego Alec Hardy so he called her and said he'd been contacted and could she meet the detective at the makeshift command post at the edge of the woods?

Rose decided she was going to drag Ewan along for moral support and had asked John if he would care to join them.

''Nah, I think since I look a bit like him, I'd best stay away, well you say I look like him, can't say I've ever caught sight of him though.  Have fun love.''

''Yeah, I will, he needn't think he's gonna get all shirty with me and boss me around.''

John chuckled to himself.  Right, now to set off and get into the grumpiest of moods before she arrived.  He got Amy to drive him out to the scene and was dismayed to find Maureen was already there.  Great, just what he needed but maybe he could use it to his advantage since the woman had doubted the sincerity of the photo on his desk.  He would openly flirt with Rose to the extent he'd annoy the hell out of one of them and hope Rose would see the funny side when they got home.

Rose drove out to the scene and showed her Torchwood ID to the officer who was posted at the start of the police cordon.

''I'm supposed to be meeting with DI Hardy, I got a call from our liaison officer.''

She could see the command post and whom she supposed was Alec Hardy as opposed to her recently established lover, well almost lover, they'd got further in the last six or getting on for seven weeks last night than they had before, Rose just managing to retain her underwear she'd hastily added before John had got into bed since he seemed a lot keener last night than he had before when she'd been lying on him.  She'd noticed a few times he was stirring in the lower anatomy department and she was taking no chances last night just in case she was the one that got carried away.

Alec Hardy was pretending to be waiting for one Rose Tyler, head of Torchwood Scotland and would have to pretend he didn't know her.  He was arguing with the SOCO leader about scaling back resources, an argument he had started on purpose to justify supposedly calling the Torchwood liaison at headquarters to have them join the search.

Rose had reached the large tent and was standing in what passed as the doorway, two open tent flaps.

''Excuse me, I'm looking for Alec Hardy.''

Alec turned around, glad he'd remembered to change his shirt and tie and combed his hair right, he kept a spare shirt in his locker just in case the day ever came Rose would announce she wanted to meet his other persona and he'd changed his jacket, hoping he'd get away with the dark grey trousers.

''Who are you then?  Who let you through?  Someone get her out of here – NOW!''

Maureen was sat at a table filled with maps and charts, looking amused.

''Really Alec, don't you recognise her?''

Now she was convinced Hardy's desk photo was not of Rose Tyler, if it was, they were playing the game of pretending not to know each other but maybe they had an agreement not to mix business with pleasure, since Hardy had made that mistake with his ex wife.

Rose decided to be the bigger person and held out her hand. 

''Rose Tyler, deputy director of Torchwood and director of Torchwood Scotland.  I got a call to say you may need our help in finding the missing boy.''

''I wasn't expecting you to turn up here, who told you to come out to the scene?''

''Our police liaison officer who you contacted, it seemed only logical you'd want us to get a look at where the boy disappeared from.''

''Right, so, you've taken a look, now go do whatever it is you Torchwood people do, go look for spooks or whatever, maybe the odd alien and let me get on with conducting this investigation.''

Maureen was taking it all in, he had no chance with Rose Tyler.  

''Alec, don't be so rude.  Welcome Miss Tyler, thanks for coming out here.  I'm DCI Chambers and anything you need, just ask DI Hardy here, you'll get our full co-operation.''

Rose turned back to Alec, who was doing his best not to grab hold of his girlfriend, take her behind the tent and snog her senseless.

''Okay, right, just stay out of my way.  Are there only two of you?''

''For now, I've got a full team on standby, they can be here first thing tomorrow morning, we've just come to assess the situation.  Why don't you fill me in on what's been happening so far?''

''I've not got the time, Pond here will fill you in, just ask her for anything you might need, don't go bothering me with details.''

Rose thought charming, if this was John pretending to be Hardy, he should take up acting and give the Scottish actor she used to fancy a good run for his money.

Amy filled her in, Alec kept glaring at Rose, Rose kept glaring at him.  He'd hastily called Pete before he'd called Rose as John and told Pete he was going to have to reveal himself as the gruff Scottish detective because he and Rose were so close now, she was bound to guess and he wasn't prepared to let it spoil things by her catching him out.  Pete had agreed that if Rose called him about an irritating Scottish detective, he'd try to act surprised but couldn't promise he'd get the same sympathy if Rose called her mother.

For the next hour or so, Alec and Rose kept eyeing each other until he cornered her outside the tent as she was getting some much needed coffee.

''What's your problem Director Tyler?''

''Me?  I'm not the one with the problem and it's Agent Tyler when I'm on the job.''

''Oh, you're 'on the job' are you?  That of interrupting my investigation?  Well you're making an excellent 'job' of that so far.  Haven’t you got any aliens to harass?''

Rose thought it was more fun harassing the irritable detective, he was clearly bothered by her presence.  She wished now she'd bothered to look him up.

''Has anyone told you how annoying you are, detective inspector?''

''No, you're the first.  Just exactly what can Torchwood offer in the way of helping find a six year old boy eh?  Got some 'alien tech' tucked away on your person?''

He thought he'd given the game away – almost, that's what Rose had said to his previous form but she seemed to let it slide.

''You'd be surprised, Alec.''

''Don't call me that and don't keep staring at me either, it's annoying.''

''Huh?  You've been staring at my ass all morning, don't think I've not noticed, I'm a trained agent.''

''Yes, I can tell that.  What exactly are you 'trained' in then?  How to dress for work?''

Rose was about to storm off. 

''How I dress is none of your concern, my boyfriend appreciates it, he's the one you spoke to earlier.''

Alec raised his eyebrows, then realising he did that as John and stopped.  

''You mean he has to put up with you?''

''Well he's not as irritating as you are anyway, what's your problem?  Girlfriend problem as in you can't get one?''

''None of your business but I've got a girlfriend.''

''She blonde as well?  Poor her.''

''I've got better things to do than argue with you all morning, 'Agent' Tyler.''

''Yeah?  Like practising your manners?''

Rose huffed and walked back into the warmth of the tent, Scotland was cold at any time of the year in her book.

John watched his girlfriend walk off, he'd surely blown it now, maybe Alec Hardy should be the one to disappear.  Just how had he managed to act so grumpily to start with?  It was only supposed to be for his work colleagues benefit, to keep them away from him.  It wasn't meant to carry over but Rose had to see what to expect if he were to become the detective full time.

By lunchtime, Rose had decided she'd had enough of the gruff detective glaring at her.  Ewan had been talking to some officers and she called him over.

''Still think the hard-ass over there is John?''

Ewan grinned.  

''On the contrary, I think he's more your type than John is.''

''Very funny Ewan.  I'm going back to the office, are you staying here?''

''I thought you'd want to stay to kick his ass back into line?''

''No thanks, he may look like John but he's nothing like him, believe me, I've seen John's ass.''

She had, for the first time that morning when she'd turned over and he thought she was still asleep, she meant to get a closer look next time and hopefully by tomorrow morning she would have stopped hesitating and they would finally break down the last barrier and become lovers.  She was about to get into her car, Ewan had followed her in his but Rose spied Alec watching her and he noticed, crossing over to her as she stood by her car.

He was glad he'd got his DC to bring him out or Rose may have spotted his car.

''Leaving so soon?  I thought you were enjoying my company?''

''There's no point in hanging around here, I have a team to organise if we're going to get involved.  Besides, you keep insisting I'm getting in your way, thought you'd be glad to get rid of me.  By the way, your DCI has been looking daggers at me all morning, any particular reason?''

''She sees you as a rival, she fancies me.''

Rose sniggered.  

''Really?  Sounds like you have a problem then though she must be mad.''

''Thanks a lot, how does your boyfriend even put up with you?''

''I have my ways, detective inspector.''

He thought she certainly had, keeping him dangling for the best part of two months.  He decided he'd wind her up further.

''Well I have a photo of myself and my girlfriend on my desk and she's jealous, she thinks the photo is of you.''

Rose burst out laughing.  

''Not in a million years.  You can tell her from me she's got no competition in that department but maybe your girlfriend won't be so understanding if you're getting unwanted attention in the potential boyfriend category.  Maybe you should let her down gently?''

Chapter 14

It was happening to him again, memories of a love struck Martha Jones surfaced again, how had he gone wrong there?  He'd made it plain to Martha he wasn't interested in that way and he'd more or less told his boss he wasn't looking for a new girlfriend yet here he was, talking to Rose as she stood by her car and he was now leaning with one hand on the top of the door, pinning her down and being face to face with her.  He could almost feel the dagger going into his back that Maureen Chambers was plunging into him from twenty metres away.  He was so close to Rose he wanted to kiss her on the spot and probably half the people there would applaud him for daring to snog the Vitex heiress senseless.  All except Chambers and Pond of course.

Rose was trying to squirm her way from Alec Hardy's arm that was planted firmly on the top of her car and stopping her opening the door to escape from him.  She looked at him for any clues this may actually be her boyfriend trying to wind her up.  She knew John as the Doctor was extremely good at pretending to be someone else and he'd kept trying to tell her he was different from his twin, maybe this was his idea of doing it.

Well she thought it was remotely possible he was doing this to up the stakes in the bedroom department but why was he trying to irritate her in the worst possible way and he was succeeding.  He wasn't going to give up.

''Maybe I should give them both something to be jealous of?''

''Not a chance Alec Hardy, I've got a boyfriend thanks very much.''

''Well I'll ditch my girlfriend if you ditch him?''

''I should warn you, he's very possessive.''

He could have sworn he'd said exactly the same to his DCI.  Was he possessive? Maybe he was, he liked people to look at them when they went out anywhere and got slightly jealous if she wasn't giving him her full attention, which lately had been getting less and less.  Time to let her go and think about it but would she ditch John so easily if she didn't already suspect he was playing this game with her?

''Well think about it, if you want to get in on this investigation, Agent Tyler.''

''Are you always this grumpy when hitting on a woman?''

''They seem to like my gruff disposition, besides, I learned my lesson the hard way, maybe we should just forget it until this is over?''

''Agreed, it would never work detective inspector, mixing business with pleasure is a big mistake but I'm not backing down on this case just to suit you so you'd best get used to having me around.''

''Then I look forward to working with you, Agent Tyler.  Maybe you'll have dinner with me one evening?''

''Only if you bring your girlfriend and I bring my boyfriend?''

''You drive a hard bargain, Miss Tyler, maybe they'll take to each other?''

Rose smiled.  

''I doubt it, I'm rather unique, that's what he likes about me.''

''Well so am I, there's only one of me.''

He let go of the car door and Rose opened it but he stopped her getting in.

''It's a limited time offer, take it or leave it.''

''I'll keep that in mind, should I want to take you up on your offer.  See ya.''

He let her get in and watched her start up the car, then she opened the window and he leaned down.  

''Yes Miss Tyler?  Changed your mind already?''

''You wish and if your boss thinks the photo on your desk is me, tell her to get an eye test.  I hope I'm not going to be a substitute?''

''Nothing of the sort Miss Tyler.  Maybe I'll see you tomorrow?''

''Not if I see you first.  Bye Alec.''

He knew she was onto him, he couldn't keep up the pretence with her for long, she'd surely confront him when they got home.  Maureen had walked over to him.

''Won't your girlfriend get jealous, you chatting up the Vitex heiress?''

''She won't find out, will she?  You're not jealous are you Maureen?''

She wondered when he'd started calling her by her first name but knew he was being facetious.

''Why would I be jealous of one of the richest women in the country?''

''Maybe because I've just pulled one dagger out of my back already?''

Maureen huffed and walked back to the tent.  He was going to be insufferable now he'd talked to the Tyler woman and she didn't envy the man's girlfriend, if she happened to be real because there was no way Alec Hardy would let go of Rose Tyler now he'd looked like he was about to snog her face off and shag her senseless.

Rose went back to the office to finalise details with Jake, who was organising a team back in London with specialist equipment for locating people that were buried or hidden in underground caverns or in deep basements and she prepared to set off home, debating to go get some more new skimpy underwear and just wear another low cut shirt again or maybe one of John's.

She got in and began to prepare dinner, then went into the bedroom, wondering if she would finally give in to him tonight or not and maybe have her first real time with him.  She couldn't shake the image of Alec Hardy leaning so close to her like he was going to snog her in front of everyone but would she have let him or slap his face before he attempted?  Well she may have slapped him afterwards, for even trying or not trying hard enough but what about John?

No, she had to forget Alec Hardy, he was not as amicable as John but maybe John was trying too hard?  Well maybe not last night though, he'd seemed disappointed that she'd put some knickers on this time when he'd got into bed, otherwise something would have happened even if he'd kept his shorts on, which she'd noticed were not boxers but actual briefs and she could feel him wanting to make something of it.  Well if he tried tonight, maybe she shouldn't stop him trying to get her out of her underwear, if he kept his on.

John got back to the office, went to the locker room to change his shirt and tie back, leaving his hair until he pulled up outside their apartment in case anyone noticed as he drove off.  He'd retrieved his other shirt and had just unbuttoned the one he was wearing when he heard footsteps and an 'Hmm' from the doorway.  Maureen Chambers was standing there as he looked over, quite aware his hairy chest was showing through the gap in his shirt.

''Going somewhere Alec?  Why are you changing?''

''Got a date with my girlfriend, we're going straight out, I don't want to go in my work things.''

''Really?  Are you sure you're not just saying that and you're not meeting Rose Tyler?''

''What has that to do with you?  No, I'm meeting my girlfriend, Miss Tyler shot me down in flames.''

''Did she now?  It didn't look like it from where I was standing Alec, you looked like you were going to snog her senseless up against her car.''

''Jealous are you Maureen?''

''She's welcome to you, I can tell when I'm getting the brush-off, just how are you going to explain it to your girlfriend?  You never even told me her name, you've done everything you could to avoid telling me.  I bet you had those photos made up, didn't you?''

''No, I did no such thing.  Her name is Sarah-Jane Smith, if you must know.''

''Really?  Ok, I may believe you but she's no comparison with Rose Tyler, is she?''

As John he stopped for a moment, remembering when she and Rose had been fighting over him, back in that school.  There really had been no comparison between the two and Rose had got jealous of the fact Sarah-Jane had been his companion and looked like she wanted to pick up where they'd left off, not that anything was there to pick up, they had only really been friends but had his old companion had feelings for his fourth regeneration just like Rose had for his twin? He shuddered at the implications but he was now trying to put that right, even when his twin couldn't but constantly reminding Rose of his other self was now definitely not the way to do it.

Maureen had walked up to him, admiring his bare chest and was about to reach out when he gripped her arm.  He only wanted his Rose to touch him now, like she had done last night, he couldn't give in now they were so close to her giving in to him and they finally got to have sex.

''Forget it Maureen, I'm not interested and you're my superior officer.  I told you, I don't get involved with women I work with.''

Maureen snatched her arm away.  

''What about Rose Tyler?''

''Who says I'm going to be working with her or interested in her?''

Maureen tried again, Alec caught her and moved her hands away, he did not want anyone to be walking past and get the wrong idea but it seemed the DCI did.

''Oh come off it Alec, if you really had a girlfriend, you wouldn't go around the way you do, even your DC looks at you and so do half the female staff in the station. You're a very attractive man Alec Hardy and if you had a girlfriend, you'd make it more obvious and you wouldn't have been hitting on Rose Tyler.  Okay, I'll leave you alone, for now but you can't blame any woman for trying.''

He thought he'd just had a very lucky escape.  He finally drove home to find Rose looking pretty much the same as last night, keen for him to take his jacket off and snog her into the middle of next week, things were looking up.  He was now glad he'd fended off his boss.

''Mmm, Rose, this is nice, any special occasion?''

''No, does there need to be?  I thought we'd agreed this is how I'm gonna greet you when you come home?''

''Really?  Oh yeah, we did, didn't we?  Maybe we could take this to the sofa?''

''Only after I've checked on dinner and you take off that stuffy shirt and tie and put your sexy striped one on again and your jeans and don't bother fastening your shirt buttons either, I'll only undo them for you.''

''Maybe I like you to undo them for me Rose?  So how did you get on today at the scene where that boy went missing?''

''I think you over-estimated how much help Alec Hardy was actually looking for John. He didn't exactly welcome me, he didn't even know who I was when I arrived. Is he the only man in Scotland who doesn't know me?''

John leaned down for another kiss.  

''Well that's his loss, isn't it?  So are you sending a team in?''  

He carried on kissing just below her ear, making her shiver when he breathed into her neck.

''Mmm, that's nice, do that some more.  Jake's got a team ready, they'll be here in the morning, I'll meet them at the command post.  Jake was going to join them but decided to wait.  There is one thing though.''

''What's that my love?''

He nibbled her ear again, making her smile and snuggle into his neck.

''That Alec Hardy is a real pain.  He even had the nerve to ask me out before I left.''

John stopped what he was doing. She was going to find out, he was sure of it.  He pretended to be offended.  

''He didn't, did he?  Huh, I'll be telling him off in the morning to stop trying to lure my girlfriend away, the cheek of the man.  Hang on, you weren't tempted were you love?''

Rose looked up at his gorgeous brown eyes she always got lost in and smiled, pulling his tie off and over his head then unbuttoning a few more buttons, the top one he never bothered fastening and he was glad that as Alec Hardy, he'd remembered that.

''Worried John?'' she teased, putting her finger on his chest.

He was glad now he'd not let Maureen touch him, having Rose put her finger on his chest was one of the most exciting things to happen to him.

''Should I be love?''

She pulled him down for a kiss.  

''Nope but he did look like he was going to snog me, in front of everyone.''

''Well I hope you stopped him?''

''Mmm, I certainly did, no-one else snogs the way you do.''

''Well I'm glad to hear that Rose.  What about the other me though?  You snogged him once.''

''That wasn't quite me, remember.  Why have you dragged that up again?  I thought we were actually getting somewhere after last night?''

''We are, or rather I hope we are but it's you Rose, can't you get past the fact I happen to look like him? I'm not him, you have to see that now, surely?  Please Rose, don't let the fact I looked like him get in the way, that's why I've changed my appearance for you, so you won't think of us both being the same.  Didn't you realise I was doing all this for you, changing who I was to make you realise I didn't want to be the same as him? So what do you think Rose, do I still remind you of him?''

Rose decided now was not the time and pulled away, John went off to get changed and they ate dinner in silence, John staring where Rose hadn't fastened all the buttons of the shirt he was sure was his.  When Rose had cleared everything away, he stood in the doorway, pointing the toe of his converse trainers on the door frame. Rose silently approached him and he held his arms out, kissing the top of her head. Why were they still both pretending? John was certain she knew how he felt about her and she had suspicions who he was pretending to be, why didn't he just admit it to her?

He led her over to the sofa and lay back against the cushion since she had almost reached the last button without either of them realising.  John was about to unfasten the last button on the shirt of his she had taken from his side of the wardrobe.  Rose looked up from kissing her way across his chest, tempted to take a bite out of him in a sensitive spot but thought she was getting too carried away with herself considering he had avoided the same with her, for now after he had unfastened her bra strap again successfully.

''No John, I know you're not him, not any more.  It's just that detective threw me off, he looks so much like you, how's that even possible?  I know that actor looks like you, I got over that ages ago, he's married now anyway but three of you looking alike?''

''Don't worry about it Rose, this is me and in case you've not noticed my love, I'm not Scottish and I don't look like I'm about to snap everyone's heads off.''

''Hang on, I thought you'd not been following the case on TV?  So how do you know he looks like he's mad at everyone and how do you know he's Scottish?  You have some explaining to do mister so out with it.  I never said he was snapping everyone's heads off, just he was a bit off with me.''

''I may have caught the end of the press conference you were talking about the other day,'' he tried to explain, reaching over to kiss her breast again, Rose trying to hold him off but unsuccessfully.

''Oh that's not gonna work, John Smith or should I say Detective Inspector Alec Hardy, it's you, isn't it?  You saying you're going out because you're climbing the walls with boredom in your office and wanting to go join the investigation.  How long before you were gonna tell me?''

''Okay, you caught me, you're just too clever for me Rose Tyler, you always were, that's what I love so much about you but I did it for you my love, for us.  I did it because you couldn't get over him, because you couldn't give yourself to me and I had to have you, I've always loved you and now, we've been given another chance to be together and I didn't think you wanted me, you wanted him.''

''You daft thing, you didn't have to re-invent yourself because of it, I would have come round eventually.  What makes you think I wouldn't?''

''I'm on limited time now Rose, I couldn't risk it was never going to happen.  So, what do you think?  I slip away as John Smith and become Alec Hardy?''

''I was just getting used to you as John Smith, am I gonna have to start all over again?''

''No, why?  It's taken me over six weeks to get your bra off Rose, don't make it another six weeks for me to get the rest of your underwear off.''

''I should be mad at you but I'm not.  Go on then, how did you re-invent yourself as Alec Hardy?''

''It just came to me, I'm good at pretending to be the police in case you'd not noticed. I think the fobwatch had something to do with it though, I think that's why he gave me it, there's just enough contained within it to help me re-invent myself, not to change me fully, I don't need to do that.''

''Oh, so it did help?  Thought you said it was useless and you didn't know why he'd given you it?''

''Well I didn't at first.  Then slowly, I've been changing into Alec Hardy.  Do you like my Scottish accent then?''

He pulled her down for another long, lingering kiss.

''Mmm, it's a bit gruff compared to the one you put on for Queen Victoria's benefit and you seem to mumble a bit.''

''Thanks but if I'd have spoken like before, you'd have guessed it was me.''

''No, I would have thought you were the actor, you sounded just like him back then.''

''Did I?  I hadn't noticed.''

''Well I hope you're not the actor.''

''Don't be daft Rose, would I be here now if I was?''

''Well I've only just accepted you're a gruff Scottish detective.  Now you've been discovered, how are you going to explain you're suddenly seen going around with the famous Rose Tyler?''

''I'll say I broke up with my other girlfriend and I successfully lured you away from your jealous boyfriend.  You do know I invented a whole past life, complete with ex wife and teenage daughter?''

''Oh, so you come with baggage then?  Charming!''

She leaned down to kiss his chest again, this time unable to resist the temptation to nip at him, making him say ''ouch.''

''Right, you're gonna get payback for that Rose Tyler.''

He flipped her over and dove down, nipping both sides and making her squeal with delight as she tried to struggle away but he wouldn't let her.

''Oh no you don't Rose, you're not getting away that easily, I've waited a very long time to get to do that to you.''

''Really?  Then don't let me stop you but just to make things clear, are you gonna carry on with that investigation?''

''I don't know Rose, the female DCI has got her eye on me, you might have some competition.''

''Huh, that's what she thinks.  Why don't I get Pete to get you a transfer to our London branch of Torchwood?''

''Rose, I want to be a detective love and yes, I did let your stepfather and Jake in on it, they got me in at Glasgow west police station, got me all the necessary paperwork.  Maybe I can get a transfer to another station?''

''Yeah, okay, you can be a detective then if you really want but let's find that missing boy first, me and you?''

''Yeah, tomorrow, your team arrives, I'll snog you in front of everyone and I'll ditch my young blonde girlfriend and once we've found the boy, we'll move, maybe down south somewhere though not we're my fake ex wife and daughter are but close by, you know, as a cover story.''

''Oh, so I'm involved with a divorced detective, you'll have to explain that to my mother then.''

''Oh it will be better if you do that, I'm keeping my distance and it's only for show, we know that.''

''My mother might not, you know what she's like.  Do I have to start calling you Alec?''

''Weeell, let me take the rest of your underwear off then you can call me anything you like.''

''Hey, I want my first time with you as John Smith.''

''I love you, Rose Tyler.''

She pulled him down for another kiss.  

''I love you too, John Smith.''

With that, he got her off him and pulled her into the bedroom.  They woke the next morning, Rose sprawled across him with a big smile on her face and John, now becoming Alec to everyone else but to Rose her lover and her calling him an unrepeatable name, with an even bigger grin on his face.


After Rose and the Glasgow branch of Torchwood were joined by the team from London, the boy was found two days later in a basement of an empty house on the far edge of the woods, after being taken by a woman who'd got scared and left the day before when she'd heard Torchwood were now involved in the search, Alec suddenly received a commendation and the offer of a transfer to run a small police station on the south coast of Britain, in a coastal town called Broadchurch.
On the day before their move, everything was packed, Rose just had to gather their personal belongings the next morning, Alec had given his rental car back and she was waiting for him to come home, they were going out to celebrate the move but he had something else on his mind.  They had been together for two months and been lovers for two weeks but he thought they'd already wasted enough time before they both arrived on this version of the earth so getting a ride home from a tearful DC Amy Pond and the 'we'll all miss you' speech from a dejected DCI Maureen Chambers, he had a small dark blue box containing a diamond ring in his pocket to ask his love to marry him.

''Rose, I'm home Sweetheart, are you almost ready to go out?''

He'd quite taken to his 'gruff' Scottish accent and Rose had decided he should keep it even at home.

''Yeah, come and help me with this dress zip will ya?''

''With the greatest of pleasure my love.''

He whistled at the sight of Rose, who had not even put her blue dress on to go out and was wearing the black lacy underwear as she'd done the night they had made love for the first time, the night John Smith revealed he was pretending to be Alec Hardy.  He already knew her answer when he asked her on the spot to marry him.

The End!