Chapter Three

"Sorry," the Doctor said as he and Amy sat back down. "Slight emergency, my friend needed to tell me something."

"S'alright, I've been chatting with Rory while you had your emergency," Rose said.

A silence fell over the table and Rose frowned when she noticed the Doctor looked like he wanted to say something to her.

"You alright?" Rose finally said to him.

The Doctor opened his mouth and then closed it again. He glanced at Amy and Amy gave him a pointed look and nodded.

"Blimey, how do I let myself get talked into these things?" the Doctor muttered while Rose gave him a confused look.

He reached into his jacket pocket, pulled out his screwdriver and sat it in the middle of the table. Rose stared at it for a few seconds before comprehension dawned on her face. The Doctor winced when she bolted out of her seat.

"I gotta go, sorry," she muttered as she started to walk past them.

"Rose, wait!" the Doctor said, leaping up.

"Doctor, no, please don't do this to me again," Rose said in a choked voice as she turned to him.

"Rose, I came here because Rory and Amy wanted to meet you," the Doctor said, pointing to them.

Rose looked at them and they smiled and nodded.

"Nice to meet you," Rose said before trying to go inside.

The Doctor slammed his body against the door.

"Just hear me out, yeah?" he said, holding up his hands.

"Your clone will be here soon and if he finds out who you are…"

"He'll what? Kick my arse?" the Doctor said. "I'm not afraid of him. I am afraid of you walking away from me before I explain myself so could you please sit back down and hear me out?"

Rose sighed and nodded. She walked back to her seat while the Doctor took his sonic off the table and put it back in his pocket while he sat down. He looked at Rose who was now sitting with her arms folded over her chest, a glare on her face.

"Well, that's not very inviting," the Doctor said.

"Well, sorry if my demeanor is a little frosty but you left me here and ran back to your TARDIS before I could say anything soppy or sentimental to you," Rose said. "After that, it shocks me that you did decide to come back and face me again."

"I didn't decide it, the TARDIS brought us back here," the Doctor said.

Rose raised her eyebrow but said nothing.

"Look, I'm sorry. I did what I thought was best for everyone," the Doctor said. "I tried to go on with my life just as you did and I did but my friends here wanted to meet you."

"And they're traveling with you now?" Rose said, nodding at them.

"Yes, they are."

"Are you gonna chuck them out the door when they become an inconvenience as well?"

The Doctor coughed nervously and Rose gave him a pointed look.

"I…um…tried to…briefly," he said sheepishly.

"Look, you're nice people but you gotta be careful traveling with him because he leaves people behind when he deems it necessary. He did to me, he did it to another woman called Sarah Jane and now he's apparently done it to you."

"He tried to leave us behind because I nearly ended up being killed," Amy said. "He was worried about us so he brought us a house and a car so we'd be safe."

"And I did the same for you," the Doctor said to Rose. "I care about the people I travel with. I've had people die in the past and it kills me inside."

"And we have no say in the decision, they had no say," Rose said, nodding to Amy and Rory. "It's your decision entirely."

"I allowed you to make the decision to stay once and you nearly were sucked into the void and killed," the Doctor said angrily.

"I nearly died a thousand times traveling with you," Rose said. "I risked my life every bleedin' day and you said nothing. I…"

She trailed off when her emotions overwhelmed her. The Doctor wanted to take her hand to comfort her but she still had her arms folded over her chest.

"I'm sorry," the Doctor said. "I told Amy before I took her and Rory back home that I do take people with me for selfish reasons."

"And what reasons were those?" Rose said to Amy.

"He's vain and he wants to be adored by us," Amy said.

Rose let out a ruthful laugh.

"I can bloody well believe that," she said, wiping a tear off her cheek. "He makes people adore him to the point that they'll do anything for him and then he kicks us to the curb if we get too close to him and says it's some stupid, fucking curse of his. Sorry, didn't mean to swear just then," she said to Amy and Rory. "I just get tired of having my emotions played with."

"I'm sorry," the Doctor said gently. "I never should have revealed who I was. I wasn't going to do it but Amy thought I should because you deserved to know who I was. And seeing you again, I did want to tell you. I just wanted to know that you were alright. I do worry about you, even if you don't want to believe that. When I kick you to the curb as you say, I do it out of love, not because you're disposable. I thought it would hurt you to see me stay young while you grew old and infirm. I thought perhaps having a version of me that would grow old with you was best. I just want you to be happy, Rose, that's all I've ever wanted."

"What if I was happy with you then?" Rose said. "I do love Jonathon, your clone, but it's not the same. And now it's really not the same," she said managing a weak laugh. "Now he's no longer your clone. I mean he is but…blimey, this is bizarre," Rose said. "You turn people's worlds upside down when you enter their lives, you know that?"

"I do," the Doctor said. "But I'd rather see you as you are now rather than be a shopgirl at Henrick's."

"Yeah, that's true," Rose said, managing a small smile. "So, what happens now? You gonna introduce yourself to Jonathon when he comes?"

"Well…" the Doctor said, glancing at Amy and Rory, "we had a plan in mind. Or rather, Amy does."

"I was thinking, if you want to come back with us, you and Jonathon, we have that house I mentioned that the Doctor purchased for us. You could stay there while you find somewhere else to live. It's in Leadworth which is boring but at least you'd have shelter while you found a job and somewhere to live."

"I don't know, I'd have to talk it over with Jonathon," Rose said. "How long have you got here?"

"Less than twelve hours," the Doctor said.

"Where's the TARDIS?"

The Doctor explained where they were and Rose nodded.

"I know where that is. Listen, let me speak to Jonathon privately and I'll come and tell you what our decision is. That way, there won't be a confrontation if Jonathon isn't thrilled to see you here with me."

"Fair enough," the Doctor said.

He nodded to Amy and Rory and they stood up. The Doctor asked if he could have a moment alone with Rose and Amy took Rory's hand and they walked back inside the café.

"Rose, please don't hate me, I couldn't bear that," the Doctor said, sitting back down. "I've always looked out for you and did what I thought was best. I wasn't meaning to be cruel and I'm not trying to be cruel now. I love you. And now I've finally said it…belatedly, I admit, and Jonathon has already gotten there before me but there it is, the words that needed to be said. And I'm not saying them to play with your emotions, just to let you know the truth. Now I'll leave as you requested and I'll wait for your reply. Just don't hate me."

"I don't hate you, Doctor. I couldn't do that even if I tried," Rose said. "I just want things to work out between all of us."

"I want that as well," the Doctor said.

He held out his hand and Rose stared at it for a moment before she unfolded her arms and put her hand in his. The Doctor gave it a gentle squeeze and congratulated her on her pregnancy before letting go and standing up. He smiled lovingly at her before turning and going back inside. Rose watched him go in before she let out a ragged sigh and put her head in her hands.

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