He loves how young she is, how joyously she tilts her face up to the thin patch of grey sky above them – as if it isn’t even raining, as if the skies are the bluest of blues and her mascara isn’t puddling beneath her eyes like an errant racoon. 1175 words.
He would do anything for her.
And when he says anything, he really means it too. From the balcony seats at the ballet where they watch Swan Lake every year for her birthday (just because it’s her favourite) to the long hours spent trailing after her when she has a craving to wander that cannot be tamed by doors and carpets and walls.
He understands her need, her curiosity to explore and discover. Together they become masters at navigating their way through the hidden backstreets of London. She loves that rabbit-warren world where curiosities are sold from tiny stores with even tinier living quarters above them. Every expedition is an adventure, every piece of half-broken rubbish an object of wonder.
One day a downpour forces them under cover in a dingy little side alley where a quiet man in a fez sells religious iconography from a corner shop so tiny he can barely fit his skinny self inside, let alone two soggy reprobates who got caught out without an umbrella.
Fez man offers them the relative safety of the awning outside his shop but before long she’s bored of the saints and apostles in the window and she gives up on stopping the rain from sliding down the back of her neck, lets her jacket fall back onto her shoulders.
In a fit of whimsy she skips out to dance in the rain and her faded denim jacket instantly turns navy blue, like a magic trick. She favours Union Jacks – has been wearing this jacket for years because of the flag plastered across the back and it always makes him smile with fond nostalgia to see her wear it.
Today is no exception. She kicks at puddles, singing at the top of her voice and then invites him to join her with a joyous call, a whoop of unrestrained delight.
He takes her hands of course, cold and wet, and steps out with her into the rain because how could he not? He feels impossibly old as he shuffles his feet and twirls her glorious laughing self around the courtyard.
He loves how young she is, how joyously she tilts her face up to the thin patch of grey sky above them – as if it isn’t even raining, as if the skies are the bluest of blues and her mascara isn’t puddling beneath her eyes like an errant racoon.
When they arrive home soaked to the bone her mother just rolls her eyes and hunts up towels and dry socks for them both. They grin at each other foolishly, some shared conspiracy over hot chocolate and he can’t imagine loving her anymore than he does right now.
He’s a bit daft, you see. And she tells him so routinely but always with such tenderness and fondness...well he doesn’t really mind does he?
It’s part of the reason he goes out of his way to find her a pair of ruby slippers. She hunts for a pair of them for months in the lead up to a costume party and when she bemoans the fact that she just can’t find a decent substitute anywhere he laments his lack of a TARDIS and promises that if he still had it he’d go back and steal Judy Garland’s – just for her.
She laughs off the offer to try and disguise how touched she is, but he is determined now and quickly makes it his mission – dubbed Operation Dorothy Shoes – to find her a decent substitute.
ODS does not turn up anything that is anywhere near good enough however. And so, in a fit of creativity (or possible madness) he orders a ridiculously expensive pair of plain red heels over the internet and paints them with glue and sparkly red stars (because imitation Dorothy shoes and red glitter are apparently sold out everywhere and he doesn’t have a setting on his sonic for sewing on sequins).
The shoes are atrociously ugly and half the sparkles have come off by the time he sheepishly presents them to her – a layer of red giants collecting in the far corners of the shoebox. But she is so enchanted by them, by the fact that he worked so hard to find the right ones that she wears them regardless, leaving a trail of stars in her wake everywhere she goes.
She brings them to France too, when they visit Normandy and she insists on finding real live poppies even though it’s coming out of the season for them.
In her summer frock and the sparkly shoes he made sinking into the dirt with every step, with one of the only remaining poppies of the season pressed in between spun gold locks, he doesn’t think he’s ever seen anything so beautiful.
And then Rose crests the hill, resplendent in a wide brimmed panama and a frock to rival her daughters and he has to pause.
Well, he corrects himself. It’s certainly a close competition.
“Our daughter,” he mentions glibly that night in their château. “Is amazing.”
Rose’s lips quirk at that and she rolls towards him on the bed. “It took you nineteen years to figure that out?”
“Yes. No. I mean I think I’ve figured out what it is that makes her...you know, so...”
“Amazing?” Rose drawls, clearly teasing him as she lolls on her back. He responds by rolling towards her and effectively pinning her, an arm on either side. She’s always had beautiful eyes, his Rose.
“Mmmn,” he agrees and dips his head to kiss her neck. Rose sighs as he mumbles against her skin, pausing to nibble a little but not enough to mark. “It’s because she’s like you...”
Rose goes still, then gently removes his mouth from her collarbone and pushes him back enough that she can meet his gaze with one of utter incredulity.
“Wait. Are we talking about the same kid here?”
The Doctor chews this over. “...we only have one daughter right?”
“As far as I’m aware,” Rose says and then adds, glibly. “Unless there’s something you’re not telling me.”
“Right.” The Doctor says. Then, “You really don’t think that you and her and alike?”
Rose pulls a face. “Pfft. No.”
“But she’s so much like you! Like you were back when I first met you. Same smile, same eyes...”
“She’s her father’s daughter,” Rose corrects him gently with a smile. “Same daft schemes and wanderlust. Same...crazy inventions. She loves reading – I never liked reading at that age. And she’s clever.”
“You were clever.”
“Not like you are.”
They fall into silence, the Doctor easing back down onto the pillow until they are lying side by side, Rose’s fingers walking idly up and down his unbuttoned collar.
“Its part of the reason I love her you know.”
The Doctor turns his head and is awarded a close up view of Rose’s cheek, lightly sunburned despite her hat that day, and the curve of her nose against the background of floral wallpaper.
Smiling, Rose speaks before turning to meet his gaze.
“Because she’s like you.”