(post-gitf-ish, title via cold war kids, 'hang me up to dry.')
A museum and a hotdog cart and three different bowling alleys, his hand
in hers as she tugs him breathlessly to the next mundane adventure., 926
If his brain were full of boxes or files or little compartments, this would be the one called, "Party Tricks."
Or perhaps, "Gimmicks for Getting the Girl."
Or maybe even, "Routines to Rope a Rose."
He always did like a good alliteration.
But his brain is not like that, not quite a thing humans can fathom at all, really, and so it is that he's got no arsenal, no weapons store to arm himself, just a thin thread of hope wrapped around something he has a million words for, or none at all.
There are suitcases and passports, little lists to check off, and Mickey sent packing to a gaming convention in the 33rd century. A virtual reality that means he won't know, won't resurface for days, won't miss them when they hop away a few thousand light years.
Because the Doctor needs to apologize, but he'll be damned if he's going to call it that.
The hotel is a modern thing, as close to Earth as it can be without some echo of Jackie Tyler lurking around every corner, ready to pounce on any inkling that he'd left her daughter on a spaceship for another woman.
A French woman.
Mums know that sort of thing, he's sure of it, and he's not tempted fate, not put them on a planet with humans and their slap-happy hands.
It's a near match though, Nupletchia, really it is, all the trappings of luxury that Rose would recognize, all the things she's internalized to mean, "This is important, this is special."
He can't tell her, not yet, that the most special place he's ever taken her is a small room in the TARDIS, the one with a single, silver-leafed tree.
Of course, they don't really need anything, not at a place like this, so he'd filled the suitcases with cotton, and loaded a small credit stick with enough money to purchase the Nupletchian government itself.
If she wants it, she can have it, but they'll probably just buy a few meals.
They start small and slow and so carefree that his face begins to hurt from smiling.
A museum and a hotdog cart and three different bowling alleys, his hand in hers as she tugs him breathlessly to the next mundane adventure.
She buys a soda and offers him a drink, and his lips fit deliberately around the mouth of the straw.
All these senses he's got and all of them firing, a bit like kissing her, except he's not and he hasn't and he wants to very much.
Not like this, she tells him, when he tries it later. Not to erase her from your lips.
He bargains then, light and joking, but so, so serious, tells her all things that have wiped the other taste away, all the things she'd get in its place, starting with the soda and ending with at least three varieties of complimentary grooming product, but she laughs and defers.
They sleep instead, her head on his shoulder and his hand on her hip and everything between them like the stuff between stars.
Space, she'd call it, and he'd itch to tell her it was so much more.
They talk at dinner the next night, really talk, quantifications and qualifications and things he'd prefer had remained unsaid.
What she means to him, what he means to her, a monologue that fits so foreign around his tongue that all the sorbet in the world can't cleanse it away.
It's going to stick with him, this conversation, and it's going to stick with the universe, too, an ace in its sleeve and a rulebook turned to ash.
This new taste though, clumsy words and stilted movements, it's enough for her, and it's her that kisses him that night.
Chastely at a doorway that they're both going through, she rises up to her toes and drops a kiss on his lips, and, oh, his palate now, full on the taste of her, waxy lip balm and baked ziti and wine she picked for the name of the vineyard.
This, too, is a party trick, a way of getting the girl and keeping her close, hormones and pheromones and innate comparability. Her hand brushes the front of his trousers and she falls for it all.
There are things he can do that no one else can, the steady beat of his tongue on her clit set right to the rhythm of her heart, so loud that he can't hear anything else, will never hear anything else.
A brush of his fingers at her temple and there's more still, more ways to press his advantage, things to say and names not to use, and what simple words for such complicated pleasure.
He matches them in human ways, a maze he follows like she did at breakfast, a children's place-mat traced in crayon, a woman's fingers wrapped around it.
Her fingers are wrapped around him now, a grip with an adult purpose for an adult act, and:
Cock, he decides, he likes that one.
She comes on a noise and a snap of tension, hips off the bed, and nails in his shoulder, something like a giggle as she twists beneath him.
He comes on a word, an apology for all of it, and she wraps it up and hands it back.
It's okay, she tells him. I love you.
And if his brain were full of boxes or files or little compartments, this would be the one called, "Things He Believes."