Title: Keep Calm and Put the Kettle On
Pairings/Characters: 10th Doctor Duplicate/Rose
Summary: How the Human Doctor helps Rose come to terms with who he is.
This is my first venture into a Doctor Who piece. I hope it turned out all right. Also, I am American, so if there are any misnomers dialect-wise, I apologize.
Rose sat cross-legged on the sofa, staring at the man across from her. A man, she emphasized in her mind. Not a Time Lord. A man. One heart. No Tardis. No sonic screw driver. No regeneration or living thousands of years after me. Just a man. Without taking her eyes off of him, she raised the mug of tea in her hands to her lips and blew on it before taking a sip.
She was staring at him. And admittedly, it was freaking him out a little bit. He'd already determined she was in shock. Hours ago the Doctor–the one she wanted–had left her again, without even saying goodbye. The difference was that this time it had been deliberate, and the Doctor–the other one–had claimed it was because she need to look after him–the one she didn't want. On the beach she had sobbed desperately, unable to believe that after everything, after all that she had done, he had left her just like that, hadn't even been able to say that he loved her. He'd tried to comfort her, placing a hand on her shoulder, but she'd lashed out at him, trying to push him away even as he insisted on folding her into his arms. After a moment she'd given in and melted into his arms, and he had wondered how she would ever cope. He wondered how he would ever convince her.
Jackie had helped bring her home, Rose crying herself asleep on the drive. When they'd arrived, rather than taking Rose to the apartment that she had barely even acknowledged as a residence since being trapped in this universe, they brought her back to her father's house–a veritable mansion–and Jackie had begun making tea. That was her way: Keep Calm and Put the Kettle On
He, meanwhile, had kept himself as out of the way as possible, seating himself on a plush chair in the foyer, debating the complexities of his existence: a human Time Lord. But after receiving her cup of tea, Rose–silent and frighteningly calm–had entered the room, sat down on the sofa across from him with a coffee table between them and proceeded to stare at him like one stares at an exotic zoo animal: wondering if it will do anything interesting, but not really fussed about it one way or the other.
He wasn't sure what to do. Was he supposed to say something? Would she be angry if he spoke? But maybe she wasn't talking because she was waiting on him to talk. He'd never dealt with anything like this before. But then again, maybe he should start getting used to that idea. He was going to have to deal with a lot of things he'd never dealt with before, things other people considered ordinary, like mortgages and house guests and family pets. And not being able to jump in a time machine when he was having woman troubles.
"So one heart, huh?" Rose asked so abruptly it made him jump a little. "How does that feel?"
He adjusted his glasses slightly, mouth opening and closing a couple of times before he answered. Rose was reminded of a goldfish, just as she always had been when her Doctor had done that.
"It's different." He said awkwardly.
"Uh huh," she said, not really listening. She took another sip of tea and didn't say anything.
No longer able to bear the silence, the Doctor continued talking.
"It's fascinating, really. I always wondered how you humans could function on just the one heart, how you even had the energy to keep going all the time. Everything feels more still now, more enunciated, because I've only got the one pulse going through my body. It's doing an excellent job, bless the little organ. I thought for sure it would feel less lively or something, but you know I suppose it really is sufficient for getting oxygen to the brain and all, although I–"
"Well you certainly ramble as much as him."
He paused awkwardly. They looked at each other. "You know I'm the same as him, Rose. We're the same person."
"No your not."
"We are. I remember everything he does. We're the same through and through."
"Except where you've got some human in you."
"Not details," she glared. "Everythin'. He was a Time Lord. You're a human. You're an entirely different species, so you're not the same," she emphasized the last three words slowly for him, her eyes daring him to contradict her.
"But isn't that better?" he pointed out. "Even if you want to argue it that way, you want to say we're not the same, aren't the changes for the best?" He wanted to point out what Donna had said on the beach, what he had said, that he only had one heart and he wanted to use it loving her, but he knew bringing up the romantic aspect of their relationship would only send everything to hell in a hand basket. Let her get her mind around the basics first.
"It's not better. It's different."
"But it's not worse, either," he said confidently.
She bit her lip, and he could tell she wanted to argue but couldn't, or wouldn't, anyway. She glanced away and he could see emotion starting to take over and he braced himself. "How can you even claim to be the same when you weren't the one who was there? You weren't…it wasn't you."
"But it was. You can ask me about anything, Rose. I'll prove it."
"Having the same memories doesn't make you him."
He started to argue but stopped himself, pausing to think of a more logical argument, something that would actually help her. He leaned forward, removing his glasses to pinch the bridge of his nose, his face scrunched up in frustration. "It's not just the same memories, Rose. It's…we share the same life force, the same genetic makeup–and before you say it, yes I ended up with a couple of mutations to that DNA, but it's still the same." Finally he figured out the right way to make her see it. "Rose, you love your father here, don't you?"
"Well, yeah, but–"
"So you can love and accept that he's your father, even though he's a completely separate being from the man who by all technical accounts physically helped to create you."
"Different how?" he asked, his frustration growing into irritation. He knew it wouldn't help his case to get angry with her but he just wanted to shake it into her to accept him. "Different because I actually originated in the same universe as my counterpart? Because I actually physically originated from him? When he grew back a new hand you didn't say it wasn't his hand. I'm the same idea in reverse. Why is that so hard to understand?" he demanded, and he realized his voice had risen just slightly. Rose was looking at him with absolute loathing in her eyes.
She stood, glaring at him, the tea forgotten in her hands. "Do you know why it's different? Because that was a hand. You're a person. I wasn't expected to have feelings about a hand one way or the other! And do you know why it's different from my father? Because I'm not in love with him! You always were just a thick-headed alien, you know!" she said harshly. "You never got what that meant!" she spat, storming out of the room.
Well, at least he'd snapped her out of her state of shock, he thought ruefully as he dashed after her. He caught her elbow just as she was reaching the stairs. When she turned her eyes to meet him defiantly, he felt his temper dissipate. There were tears in her eyes. He sighed, taking the cup of tea from her hands and setting it gently on the step behind her. He started to reach for her face, wanting to comfort her, but somehow he knew she would resent the familiarity, so he resisted. "Rose…I did understand what it meant. I always did. Even in the moments where you thought my mind was in a completely different galaxy from yours, I understood." He took a deep breath and raked a hand through his hair. "I just wanted to fight it. I had to because what could I possibly give you? You deserved a normal life with someone who you could grow old with instead of next to. And I always would have fought it. You saw that today. We both know what he wanted to say to you. But he wouldn't. He never would because he would never give up hope that you were going to get the picket fence."
"I don't want a picket fence," Rose argued.
He laughed weakly, finally unable to resist touching her to brush away the tear that had just brimmed over. "Of course you do. And even if you don't think you want it, you still deserve it. Rose, he couldn't give you that, but I can. I can tell you I love you."
At the words, she seemed to break, choking slightly as several more tears splashed down her face. He dragged her to him and and held her tightly, rocking her gently and soothing her as best as he could. These tears were good. Unlike the uncontrollable grief she had experienced at the bay, these tears were tears of healing. Placing a gentle kiss on top of her head he rubbed her back and whispered, "Let's go warm up your tea."