Characters/Pairing: Ten/Rose with LOTS of others
Summary: Rose Tyler, a writer for Smash Hits magazine, gets the opportunity of her career when she's chosen to go on tour with the new teen sensation The Vortex Boys. What happens when appearances aren't really that deceiving after all?
Author's Notes: My first entry for trope_bingo. This will fill the "au:band" square. If you're at all curious about my card, you can click here! Not sure how long it's going to be, but there is a deadline so I'm going to work through it as quick as I can! MANY MANY MANY thanks to timelord1, kelkat9, who_in_whoville, callistawolf, and kahki for looking this chapter over and all of the ladies over in bad_wolf_rising who helped me plot! This is going to be a fun one, so I hope you enjoy it!
Here are youtube links to the songs they perform in the concert...
Mickey, ABC, The Jackson 5
Rory, I Want to Hold Your Hand, The Beatles
Adam, It's Not Unusual, Tom Jones
Jack, Be My Girl, New Kids on the Block
John, Falling, 'N Sync
Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 |
After a whirlwind two weeks of travel, Rose had to admit that her exposé was suffering. She had gradually come to the conclusion during her time spent with the group, their band, and the crew that it would have been impossible to fake these personas and the obviously tight bonds that they shared. In fact, she was toying with the idea of basically giving up on the story all together.
The group had done their best to make her feel welcome, and she truly did even after only two weeks traveling around Britain with them. She'd sat in on rehearsals, they'd all shared meals, and she'd spent more than a few nights on the road giggling with Amy, Martha, Donna, and drummer Melody, the only female member of the band. She always had her own hotel room when they stopped for concerts, courtesy of Smash Hits, but more often than not she either bunked with one of the other girls, lost track of time on the boys' bus, or even fell asleep with her head in John's lap and her feet in Jack's while everyone sat around, talking and trying to decompress from a performance.
Rose couldn't blame them for craving the quiet time among friends after their performances. Even she, just watching from the sidelines, had trouble coming down from the concert high and she had now seen the show no less than five times. She wondered how it was for the boys, to be on stage with blinding lights and screaming fans, giving 200% to each performance and they ever like it got old. She even asked John once, when they were lying frustratingly platonically across the bed in his room, what it was like to perform the way they did. He'd sighed and wrapped an arm around her, tucking her into his side, and told her it was never where he'd expected his life to end up. He'd left it at that and Rose, uncharacteristically, hadn't pushed him elaborate further.
John had taken to walking her back to her room after most of these evenings, leaving her with a tight hug or kiss on the cheek each time, and she was itching for him to take things further. It was intensely frustrating, these mixed signals. He held her hand constantly, was always aware of her even as they sat in comfortable silence with Rose making notes for her article or John composing his latest masterpiece. They snuggled like puppies and she'd even fallen asleep on their bus more than once, curled against him in his tiny bunk while they were supposed to be watching a movie. Despite all this, he hadn't made a move to kiss her anywhere other than her cheek or forehead.
And as badly as Rose wanted to kiss him, to feel his lips against hers, part of her was still unsure about moving forward. They were firmly in an "affectionate friends" zone, but every time Rose thought about taking things further, she felt a gnawing anxiety along with a deep-seated thrill. He was still a member of the most popular group of the moment, he had a million girls who would probably send her death threats should she ever dare and touch their John. There was also still the idea lingering in the back of her mind that she was using their friendship to gather information for an exposé, even though it had never felt that way. From the first time he shook her hand and she'd felt sparks, it hadn't felt that way.
Almost two weeks to the day after Rose had first met them in Cardiff, Donna had engineered a rare free day on their behalf. They were in Glasgow, and miraculously, there were no interviews, no performances, and other than a personal training session early in the morning, everyone had the day free. Rose was sitting on her bed, surrounded by hand-written notes that she was desperately trying to organize and send to Sarah Jane when John showed up unannounced at her door. Her breath caught at the sight of him dressed in jeans, a Beatles t-shirt, a brown and blue pinstripe blazer, and white Chuck Taylors. Before she could even say hello, he gave her a wide, mischievous grin and grabbed her hand, leaning in close to her ear to whisper "Run!" as he pulled her, giggling, out of the room.
They spent the entire day wandering through the city, John hiding his trademark hair beneath a battered baseball cap and sliding sunglasses over his nose despite the slightly overcast day. Rose teased him mercilessly about taking a leaf out of Adam's book and he groaned, tucking her into his side and starting in on a lecture about the architecture of the Glasgow Cathedral. Rose snuggled into him as they walked, perfectly content to let the smooth sound of his voice wash over her. They ate lunch on a bench overlooking the River Clyde, stealing bits of each other's fish and chips as they laughed and talked.
"Did you know," he began at one point, leaning in close so she could hear him over the bustle of the city. "That, back in the 1700s, the river was shallow enough to wade across?"
"You're kidding!" Rose exclaimed, turning towards him. Her eyes widened when their noses actually brushed at the movement. She hadn't realized how close they'd scooted towards each other, how when he'd leaned in to whisper the historical tidbit he'd brought their faces in such close proximity that it would take barely anything, merely a gentle gust of wind to push her forward and press their lips together.
Their gazes locked. He reached up ever-so-gently to cup her face and she couldn't keep her eyes from sliding shut, the sudden onslaught nearly overloading her system. She had to shut out something, even though the last thing she wanted to block from her view was his face.
"Rose," he murmured, his breath ghosting across her lips and making her shiver. His hand slid into her hair and she felt gentle pressure as he ever so tenderly coaxed her mouth closer to his.
A tinny version of ACDC coming from the vicinity of his pocket broke into their little idyll, and Rose jumped a bit, realizing just how close she'd come to actually kissing him. As badly as she wanted to, part of her still wasn't ready. A niggling in the back of her mind made her pull back and smile softly at his adorably confused expression.
"You better answer that," she said, putting a bit more space between them and picking up one of her now-tepid chips. She could feel his eyes on her as he did just that, confirming with Donna that he would indeed be at rehearsal the following morning at nine sharp.
As he clicked off the phone, Rose turned to him with a friendly smile. "Everything all right?"
"Oh, it's always all right," he offered, standing up from the bench and offering her hand. "Shall we continue our tour, Miss Tyler?"
"Please, Dr. Smith," she teased, relieved that they were able to return to their normal banter. Still, the feeling in the back of her mind remained, something that she couldn't identify but she was sure she didn't like.
He dropped her at her door with yet another hug and kiss on the cheek, and Rose sighed as she entered the room. Her eyes settled on the bed and she gasped as immediately, a realization overcame her.
She'd left so abruptly that morning that she hadn't had the time to clean up her work. There were pages of notes and strewn across the floral bedspread and her laptop was still open. It was then that she realized she had spent the entire day in John's presence without ever making a single note. Nothing mental to review later, no quick tidbit scribbled on a napkin. Rose hadn't thought about work the entire day, and she knew in that moment, without a doubt, that the feeling in the back of her mind when he'd tried to kiss her had been guilt. A gnawing, ugly guilt at the fact that he still didn't realize what she'd been planning, that she was somehow deceiving him. Her stomach churned unpleasantly at the thought, and she realized the last thing she wanted to do was to deceive John Smith.
She sighed, coming to the realization that her exposé was completely doomed.
Not only was there absolutely nothing to expose, but she found she didn't really want to anyway. Slowly and surely, she was falling head over heels for The Vortex Boys, and most importantly, with John.
Nearly a week had gone by since their "date", and Rose was itching to be alone with John again. She was finally ready to move forward or at least talk about moving forward, but the day off they'd shared ending up costing the group dearly. Even their usual quiet nightly rituals had been put on hold, as the group was literally on the run for fifteen hours per day, the only break being quick meals before they ended up collapsing on the bus at the end of the day.
She still had concerns, the fact that he was a world-wide pop star certainly was at the top of her list. She was mad for him, just holding his hand made her pulse race, and he certainly seemed interested in her, judging by the way he forgot the concept of personal space whenever they were together. Even the rest of the group seemed in on the conspiracy, always making their excuses and leaving the two of them alone. Adam tended to be a bit dense, but generally a whack on the back of the head from Jack or Mickey was enough to get him moving.
There was a concert at least every other night, if not more frequently, and by the third week on the road, Rose had seen the show no less than twelve times and knew it practically better than the boys did. There was a point in the show where they selected a seemingly random audience member and sang a sweet, soulful ballad to her. Sometimes they were told in advance who to choose, if they needed to please the right investor or politician, but more often than not they chose randomly and it was amazing. Each member took a verse or the bridge and Rose knew that the young girl would undoubtably be floating on air and remember this night for the rest of her life.
Rose's theory about the group's interference with her and John was proven correct during their thirteenth show. They had just finished performing one of their more upbeat songs, Shop Girl, and the screams of the crowd were deafening. The next part of the concert was their serenade, and Rory brought over the customary stool, put it in the center of their little semi-circle, and nodded to the others as Jack came forward.
"Thank you!" he told the crowd, once again eliciting an uproarious screech from the crowd. They all grinned at one another, still not used to these insane responses. "Now is the time in our show when we make a very special lady quite happy. Today, we've got the special lady hanging out backstage! Rose Tyler, could you please come out here?"
She froze at the sound of her name. John, too, had gone wide-eyed, glancing around at the rest of his bandmates like they were the cause of a massive conspiracy against them. Most likely, they were.
"Aw, come on, don't be shy!" Rory coaxed, jogging over and grabbing her arms with a smile.
"Rory, no no no..." she protested as he pulled her out onto the stage.
"Trust me, Rose..." he told her, gently guiding her onto the stool.
Her cheeks were flaming as they all gathered around her, and she hid her face in her hands as the crowd cheered deafeningly. It was difficult to see the thousands of fans with the lights practically blinding her, and that made the entire ordeal marginally easier to deal with.
"I'm so gonna kill you," she murmured, starting when she realized that someone had placed a microphone in front of her and her voice echoed through the stadium.
"Now, now, Rose," Mickey said, coming forward. "At least watch the performance first. Then you can kill us."
John shot her an apologetic look as the band started up a familiar tune. John groaned but joined Adam, Rory, and Jack on the choreography as Mickey began to ham it up, singing in an exaggerated falsetto that set her into fits of giggles.
"You went to school to learn girl, things you never never knew before!"
Jack stepped forward and belted out, "Like I before E except after C!"
Mickey turned back to her with a huge, cheesy grin on his face.
"And why two plus two makes four,
Now now now I'm gonna teach you,
All about love girl!"
The other four were singing perfect back up, and Rose knew they must have rehearsed this song at some point, whether just for fun or for another performance she wasn't sure. John still had the small smile on his face, as if resigning to just go along with the insanity that was happening before him.
"Sit yourself down, take a seat!" Jack sang. "All you gotta do is repeat after me!"
Rose turned behind her and watched Mickey step back with the rest of the group as they did some simple disco moves, singing the chorus with cheesy grins, and ending with "That's how easy love can be! That's how easy love can be!" to a massive, screaming cheer from the audience. Rose was laughing now, she couldn't help it. They were utterly adorable, and she was growing closer and closer to forgiving them for this horrible mishap with every note they sang.
Rory stepped up next as the band once more began playing out a familiar tune that had Rose grinning from ear to ear. He gave her a friendly smile and grabbed onto her hand before singing.
"Oh, yeah I will tell you something
I think you'll understand
When I say that something
I wanna hold your hand
I wanna hold your hand
I wanna hold your hand!"
Again singing in perfect back-up harmony, the boys bounced merrily and all sang with Rory's voice prominently in the foreground.
"And when I touch you I feel happy inside
It's such a feeling that my love
I can't hide
I can't hide
I can't hiiiiiiiiiide!"
They ended with another round of the chorus and Rose realized her cheeks hurt from smiling so much. Adam stepped forward and belted out a rousing version of Tom Jones' It's Not Unusual, complete with a cheesy dance routine that had everyone struggling to sing through their laughter. Jamie switched over to the synthesizer and Jack stood in front of her with completely serious, earnest expression as he began an homage to New Kids on the Block, belting out Be My Girl. When he finally stepped back, he physically shoved John forward with a grin and a wink, and John's answering look was murderous. A melody that Rose only vaguely recognized began playing, but John seemed to know it well if his wide-eyed accusing glance back at his bandmates and instrumentalists was any indication.
Still, Rose knew he couldn't exactly stop the concert in protest. He came around to stand next to her and took her hand, giving her a look that said plainly, "This was not my idea, please don't slap me."
Rose squeezed his hand and smiled. The grin he gave her in response caused a little thrill to shoot through her chest, one that spread throughout her entire body once he started singing.
"I don't know how,
I don't know why
But girl it seems
You've touched my life
You're in my dreams
You're in my heart
I'm not myself
When we're apart."
He knelt down as he sang, the entire world melting away as their eyes locked. Rose gasped at the intensity in his gaze. Her heart was pounding in her chest. Did he find some meaning in the song lyrics? He hadn't chosen them, that much was obvious, but it seemed like they were significant. Either that or he was very, very good at making a woman feel like she was the center of the universe.
Most likely, it was a bit of both.
"Something strange has come over me
A raging wind across my seas
And girl, you know that your eyes are to blame
And what am I supposed to do
If I can't get over you
I come to find that you don't feel the same."
His voice caught on the last word, and his eyes never strayed from hers. She felt tears welling up in her eyes at the emotion in his incredible voice.
"Cause I'm falling falling
Girl I'm falling for you
And I pray you're falling too
I've been falling falling
Ever since the moment, I laid eyes on you."
John made a motion to rise, but the music continued. He glanced over at his bandmates, who were grinning cheekily at him in return. They had each only sang a verse, chorus, and bridge at the most. It seemed like they were planning to give him an entire song. He shrugged and grinned, turning his attention back to Rose.
"I lose my step
I lose my ground
I lose myself
When you're around
I'm holding on for my life
To keep from drowning in your eyes
"Girl what have you done to me
To make me fall so desperately
'Cause girl, you know that your eyes are to blame..."
John winked at her and Rose laughed gently. It was obvious that he had changed the lyric. There was no doubt in her mind that this song had taken on a far more personal meaning than he had originally expected. There was no hiding it, so he simply ran with it, changing the words to more accurately describe them.
Rose could have swooned.
"And how am I supposed to live
If I can't get over this
You decide you don't feel the same."
There was a question in his eyes as he sang the last lyric. He wanted to make sure that she did, indeed, feel the same. Rose's eyes were misty as she gave him a small smile and a tiny nod. John's grin turned luminous and he sprang up from his position on one knee, grabbing her hand and dancing her across the stage joyously. Rose laughed as he spun and dipped her as the song came to a gradual close around them.
"Can't you see that I'm falling falling
Girl I'm falling for you
And I pray you're falling too
I've been falling falling
Ever since the moment
I laid eyes on you."
The cacophony of screams and applause was a rude interruption into their lovely little world. John was grinning that amazing smile that made her weak at the knees and she so badly wanted...no, needed to kiss him. Instead, he backed away with a significant look, as if to say "This isn't over." She shivered a bit at the promise in his eyes as he held her hand and encouraged her to take a bow. Rose laughed and curtseyed, earning hugs from the rest of the group as they all escorted her off stage and raced through their costume change.
John, however, glanced around and pulled her silently into the empty, shaded corner where he usually dressed. Before she could do or say anything, he took a deep breath and began to nervously babble as he stripped out of his clothes.
"Rose, I'm sorry, I had no idea they'd set us up like that..."
"John..." she croaked out, her mouth going dry at so much of his skin on display.
"I mean, it's completely something they would do, no doubt about it...in fact, I don't know why I'm surprised..."
"John..." she once again attempted to interrupt. He slid into a pair of well-fitting jeans and Rose thought she might die if she didn't touch him. She let her hands drift over the warm skin at his waist, both of them shuddering at the contact. He looked up at her, surprised, his eyes darkening as she pulled him closer.
"Rose," he replied, his voice dropping to a whisper.
"Shut up," she told him, standing up on her toes and pressing her mouth to his.
John's hands immediately moved to her shoulders and gripped them hard as Rose moved her mouth gently over his. She savored the sparks that shot through her body at the contact and pulled John closer, a tiny whimper escaping her throat as they came together, his warmth seeping through the thin material of her tank top. He groaned and plunged his hands into her hair, her mouth opening of its own accord as their kiss deepened.
"John!" Donna called out, causing them to break apart guiltily. "You have thirty seconds to put on a shirt and get out there! I will not have two members of the group risking hypothermia. Adam is bad enough!"
John groaned audibly as he pulled away and he ran a shaking hand through his hair. Rose felt a thrill run through her at the sight of him so affected from just a kiss. "Blimey," he muttered, turning back to the rack of clothes and pulling on his sporty slim tee and denim jacket combination. "We could have had better timing, couldn't we?"
Rose laughed and tugged at the lapels of his jacket, bringing their faces close once more. She brushed several chaste but lingering kisses against his lips, making them both shiver. She pressed her forehead against his and let out a shuddering breath. "My room after the show?"
He gasped, his eyes shooting up to search hers for a split second before he swept in for another breath-stealing kiss. "Rose Tyler," he growled, squeezing her once more before letting her go reluctantly and heading back out towards the stage. "Your room after every show."