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=> untitled drabble: rod and rose
=> careful but not sure how it goes
=> in a quiet room
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"Pete."

Rose's voice surprises him; he's just come into the kitchen for a bowl of ice cream. 'S a bit weird to be talking to this girl, this stranger who is his biological daughter, in his kitchen, in his dressing-gown, in the middle of the night. She's a bit like Athena, he thinks, springing out fully formed, ready for anything-- not that he'd ever mention it, mind you, 'cos who would he tell? Jacks would just look at him funny. Course, he reckons Athena never lost.

Certainly didn't haunt his house like a ghost, sitting silent and pale, sometimes staring blankly into space, sometimes fidgeting with the key on a string 'round her neck. He hasn't asked.

"Yes, Rose?"

"How'd you know to come back for me? To the other Torchwood?"

Oh. Pete sits down at the table in the kitchen across from Rose, ice cream forgotten. "After you went back your mum went a bit spare. Carried on like mad, flailing, hitting me, blaming me. I was bracing myself against her. She somehow hit the button, and I went, and there you were. When I caught you, it activated again. Was an accident, really."

"An accident," Rose repeats, voice oddly hollow.

"A very lucky accident."

- - -

'S weird, livin' in a world where she wasn't meant to exist. And seein' her mum, rounded belly, always complainin'-- it makes Rose think. "Mum," she says, one night after work, after supper, after Bad Wolf Bay, after everything, "I'm not supposed to be here."

"What, you want to move out? Get your own flat? 'M sure Pete could arrange it, if you really want to leave your mum and this one." She rubs her belly.

"No, mum. I mean, before Torchwood an' all that. I did not exist in this world. You an' dad-- you never had me." Jackie's face closes off. She won't meet Rose's eyes, searching, earnest. "Mum. Mum?"

"Not everything's planned, Rose. Some things just... happen."

"Not like this one?"

"No. An accident. But an accident I'm very, very glad of." Jackie rests a hand on Rose's shoulder. "I love you, Rose. You know that."

Rose covers her mother's hand with her own. "I love you, too, Mum."

But all she's thinking is accident.

- - -

"You loved 'im," Mickey says, and it is and it isn't an accusation.

"I didn't mean to," Rose says. "You have to believe me. I didn't mean to. And it wasn't just 'cos he showed me things. Some of those things I could've lived without seein'. It's... 's just him, Mickey."

"I know," Mickey says. Puts his arm over her shoulder. She leans into his chest. He murmurs again, "I know. Was an accident. Just like meetin' 'im. All an accident."

When Rose's back starts shaking, he rubs it in comforting circles.

- - -

'S like she's mad, thinkin' she hears the Tardis everywhere, everywhen. She's gotten used to it, over the years. Keeps music on, the radio or a CD, somethin' so there's no silence. The silence is when she hears it most. It sounds different from the outside than the inside, and even though she heard it more from the inside, it's the outside way she hears it.

One day it's louder, even when she's got the music on, at Torchwood. But she's typin' a report, and it's important, and she will not look up an' have her heart broken again. Not even when she hears the door open, or a short and surprised inhalation of breath. An' when the door closes again, she turns up her music and types faster, resolute. An' she hears the door open again, and someone says "Blimey" an' it sounds so odd in that American accent.

That's when she looks up, and 's Jack an' her Doctor. Oh, God, she's really gone bonkers. She reaches for the phone to call her mum, Pete, someone to take her to a loony bin before she hurts herself or someone else, 'cos when they're gone 's gonna be ugly, uglier than the week after Bad Wolf Bay. But she can't stop staring, an' her arm won't quite get the phone, and when it finally does, a large, warm hand presses hers down so she can't lift it up.

"Rose." Jack snaps his fingers in front of her face. "What, forgotten me already?" A bark of laughter.

"Rose?" The Doctor asks, moving slowly, dreamlike, the way she feels.

"Wha-- how--"

"We were tryin' to fix the chameleon circuit, and we switched these breakers, and this section of console just lit up, like nothin' 've ever seen. The old girl, always surprisin' me."

Jack cuts the Doctor off. "Anyway, the upshot of it is, you really don't need more than one Time Lord to bridge the gap. They just didn't want everyone to be able to do it. We're thinking that all Tardises are capable, on their own. You just need to activate this one switch. So we did."

"And you're really-- and you can-- and we-- and..."

There it is, the Doctor's manic grin. "Yes, Rose. Yes."

"And you want me to... come with you?"

"Yes, Rose! God, yes. But first..." he comes around the back of her desk, takes her hand, pulls her out of her chair. Leans in and whispers, "Rose Tyler, I love you." And the hug is what she's missed the most, the Doctor, her most perfect friend.

And then Jack comes in, with his ridiculous hat and coat, and elbows the Doctor out of the way, wraps her up in an enormous bear hug.

"You're here. Oh, God. You're here." Everybody's crying now. "And it was just... an accident?"

"The perfect accident," Jack corrects.

"The accident we didn't know we were looking for." The Doctor grins, and Rose grins back. She's okay with that.
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