Rating: M overall, Teen this chapter
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!
This is the last chapter, but I'll be posting an epilogue some time soon! Sorry this took so long, I was preparing for my next level in Tae Kwon Do for the last bunch of weeks, so there wasn't much time for anything other than work, family, and Tae Kwon Do class :-) I hope this chapter makes up for the wait!
Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 |
The day her article was printed, Rose sat at her desk with a small smile on her face as she read through it for what felt like the millionth time. It had been a huge catharsis, helping her come to terms with her experiences and be glad for them, rather than mourning what she no longer had. She still missed John every day, but it was getting easier and easier to exist without his hand to hold.
At Sarah Jane's request, very little had been cut from her original piece, and she was grateful. For the first time since starting at Smash Hits, Rose actually felt a sense of pride in her work. She had put all of her emotion for the boys and for John into her writing and it truly showed. She felt good about the article, and that was something she'd been missing a great deal over the last six months.
Sarah Jane breezed by her desk and broke her out of her reverie. Rose was about to call out a greeting, but Sarah Jane simply winked and pointed to the phone before entering into her office. A few moments later, Rose's desk phone rang. Assuming it was Sarah Jane, she picked up the receiver and pressed a button without looking at the keypad.
She was about to answer with her standard "Rose Tyler," but stopped herself once she heard Reinette's voice, seemingly in the middle of a conversation. She realized quickly that she must have pressed the conference button by mistake, and opened her mouth to stammer out an apology. However, she was so shocked at what she overheard that she was rendered completely speechless.
"Well, the doctor said that the itching and burning is perfectly normal," Reinette said casually. "I just need to continue the course of antibiotics and it should clear up in no time."
A voice that Rose didn't recognize replied. "I can't believe you didn't make him wear a condom. What's the matter with you? Are you going to call him?"
Reinette scoffed. "And say what, Christine? 'Oh, Adam, remember that fantastic night a few weeks back? Well, you may or may not have given me trich. Or I gave it to you. Nice talking, 'ta!"
Rose nearly choked but instead set the phone down gently in its cradle, trying hard not to laugh. Instead of calling Sarah Jane back, Rose stood and made her way into her editor's office.
"Is your phone not working?" Sarah Jane asked as Rose entered the room.
"Oh, no, I just pushed the conference button by mistake. Best thing that's happened to me all day," Rose quipped with a smile. She was about to tell Sarah Jane what she overheard when something occurred to her. If she had been a cartoon character, a light bulb would have illuminated just over her head, and she had to grin at the mental image that offered. "Though I think I know how Reinette has found out all of these things she's not supposed to..."
Sarah Jane raised an eyebrow. "You think she's been listening in on my phone calls?"
"I don't know, but it would explain a lot," Rose said, sitting down in one of the chairs opposite her boss.
"Well, it would certainly add to her list of offenses," she replied, handing Rose a copy of the Enquirer. "Now, you didn't hear it from me, but she may or may not be reprimanded today for conduct unbecoming of a Smash Hits employee."
Rose felt her hands clench into fists as she read the headline Reinette apparently sold to the tabloid. She took comfort in knowing that no one took the paper seriously, but Adam would certainly not be happy knowing that his personal life was broadcast across Britain for a profit. In fact, she made a mental note to call and check on him, not forgetting to mention Reinette's STD as well.
"Not to be a tattle tale," Rose said, the words spilling uncontrolled out of her mouth as her anger at the woman flared. "But she may or may not have been making personal calls on the office line. Not that you heard it from me."
Sarah Jane smiled. "I will let our senior editor, Mr. Stewart, know. Now, I wanted to tell you something..."
A knock on the doorframe interrupted Sarah Jane, and Rose turned to see Lynda standing there, her cheeks flushed and a huge smile on her face. "Rose," she began breathlessly. "Someone's here to see you, but you need to go sign them in at reception."
"What?" Rose asked, confused. "Since when do I have to sign in guests? I've never signed Jack in."
"Yeah, but Chantho's got a huge crush on him so she always let him through," Lynda answered. "This one isn't so lucky."
Rose sighed and turned back to her editor. "I'll be back...soon I guess."
Sarah Jane had a wide grin on her face. "Take all the time you need."
Rose raised an eyebrow but shrugged, following Lynda out of the office and towards the reception desk. It took her a moment to register the familiar face waiting there, the face that had been the cause of sleepless nights, tears, and actual physical heartache for the last three weeks. The face that she missed so badly that she almost couldn't breathe from it. Her heart sped up and she was sure her mouth was hanging open as she took in the rumpled, unkempt appearance of the man she thought she'd never see again outside of magazines, billboards, and television. He was pacing in front of the desk, clearly agitated, muttering about bloody bureaucracies as Chantho tried to suppress her smile.
"John," she managed to breathe out. He glanced up and finally noticed her standing there, the expression on his scruffy face an impossible mix between relief, joy, and pure anxiety. He was still for only a split second before he was striding across the room, his eyes intense and completely fixed on her.
When he was finally in front of her, Rose swore he was going to take her in his arms and kiss her. Instead, he forcibly shoved his hands in his pocket, his shoulders tense, but his gaze never breaking from hers. John opened and closed his mouth several times, running his hand through his hair agitatedly before rubbing at the back of his neck. Rose had to fight back the radiant smile she could feel building at seeing these familiar tics she'd missed so badly and had convinced herself she'd never see again.
Finally, he broke the tension, his pale face stretching into a small smile at her assuredly amused expression. "Hello," he said quietly.
"Hello," she replied. "What are you doing here?"
He huffed, clearly frustrated. "I..." he began. "Rose, I..."
Muscle memory seemed to take over at that point and, practically on instinct, Rose reached out and grasped his hand, lacing their fingers together and squeezing gently. It took a second for her brain to catch up with her actions, actions she realized a bit late that she wasn't entitled to anymore. She glanced down at their joined hands and flushed with embarrassment, despite feeling nearly whole for the first time since they parted ways. Rose raised her eyes and met his gaze, an apology already forming on her lips as she motioned to pull out of his grasp.
In a split second, she heard a heart-wrenchingly familiar whimper of need escape John's throat before he pulled her into his arms and was kissing her. Rose gasped in surprise as John pulled their joined hands to his chest, wrapping his free arm around her waist and dipping his tongue into her mouth. He explored her with a combination of reverence and hunger, the hand gripping her waist pulling her as tight against him as he could. Rose sagged and relaxed into him, kissing him back and trying to infuse the embrace with the maelstrom of emotions she felt in that moment. Every apology she wished she could have given him, all that she felt for him, she poured into the kiss even as she grew dizzy from lack of oxygen.
"Oh, honestly!" A snide voice broke into their perfect reverie. "Have you no integrity? Blatantly kissing in the middle of the lobby. You're embarrassing the magazine."
Rose pulled out of the kiss, breathing hard but unable to suppress her grin as she took in John's dazed expression. His eyes opened and the smile he gave her was so soft and tender that it made her knees weak.
It took a great deal of effort to pull her eyes away from John's face, his brown eyes sparkling and already looking more alive than when she'd first seen him, less than two minutes before. She turned to Reinette, who was glaring at them, Gucci bag on her shoulder and one hand on her hip. Her expression was murderous, and that would have been satisfaction enough, but Rose couldn't stop herself from making a comment.
"Yeah? Well, at least I don't kiss-and-tell-the-rags. You and I will have to have a talk about journalistic integrity later. Could you please let Sarah Jane know I'm taking a personal day?"
Reinette's eyes narrowed, but before she could comment, John's grip on Rose's waist tightened. She glanced back and him and he gave her a brilliant smile. "Yes, something suddenly...sprang up."
Rose laughed and smacked him on the shoulder. "You're horrible."
It was incredibly easy to fall into their usual banter, and the satisfaction of Reinette's indignant huffs before stumbling over her too-high heels on the way out just added to her good mood. But she knew they had to talk, and meeting John's heated gaze, she wanted to clear the air as quickly as possible.
"Lunch?" she asked him quietly.
"Yeah," he said, blowing out a breath and shifting, letting their joined hands fall between them. "Oh, Rose...there's so much I need to tell you."
"Me, too..." Rose told him, unable to stop her free hand from reaching to touch his face, tracing her her fingertips over his stubble. He sighed and his eyes slid shut as she caressed the dark purple shadows beneath them. "Come on, I know just the place..."
It wasn't much later that they were sitting in the shade of a giant tree, steaming containers of fish and chips on their laps. They weren't saying anything, they weren't even really eating, just pushing the fried bits around on their plates while they waited for the other to start talking.
They chuckled. John reaching up to rub at the back of his neck before turning so he could more fully face her. He lifted the plate of fish and chips from her lap and set it on the ground next to his own, taking her hands in his and blowing out a long, noisy breath.
"I need to go first," he said. "Rose...I don't know how you could ever forgive me for doubting you."
Rose started, shaking her head a bit. "I'm sorry...you think I should be forgiving you?"
"Oh, yes," he breathed out, reaching up to cup her cheek. "I know we haven't known each other that long, not really long at all in fact. But we have this...connection and I should have known better. When a woman who you clearly don't think much of tells me something and I jump to conclusions...well, that was unforgivable..."
"John, I don't blame you for it-"
"I know," he continued, stroking his thumb tenderly along her cheekbone. "And that, Rose Tyler, is what makes you extraordinary."
"I should have told you," she replied. "I know I should have...but things were so intense and so good...I guess part of me didn't want to do anything to muck it up."
"Yes, well, not exactly something you can easily work into the conversation," he said. "'John, do you fancy coffee or tea? Oh, I was planning on writing a scathing exposé about you and your friends but I thought better of it once I started to like you and all.' I honestly am not sure that would have been much better."
Rose giggled a bit and nuzzled into his palm. "It would have gone over well, let me tell you."
He chuckled. "Well, we're quite a pair aren't we?"
Rose grinned, her tongue coming out to tuck between her teeth playfully. "So we're still a pair then?"
"Oh, I hope so," he breathed out, leaning in to brush his lips against hers. Rose smiled into the kiss and returned the gentle pressure. It felt like mere moments before he let out a low groan and deepened the kiss, cupping her other cheek and pressing her back against the tree trunk. Any lingering self-awareness was swept away with the first stroke of his tongue against hers and she quickly pushed up on her knees to switch their positions.
"Ewwww, Mummy, they're snogging!" a tiny voice called out, causing Rose to pull away and flush brilliantly. "Why're they snogging there, Mummy? Stop telling me to hush, I want to know!"
Rose chuckled and ducked her head into John's chest. "Maybe...slowing it down a bit is a good idea. I don't fancy the idea of shagging you in the middle of a park."
His eyes turned dark, something that didn't help Rose's self-control in the least. "Oh, I dunno...I seem to remember you being quite fond of the outdoors before..."
Rose flushed again and swallowed, her throat suddenly very dry. "Very different in the middle of the day, John. Come on, distract me, talk to me. What have you been doing? And what on Earth made you show up at my office?"
"Weeeelll," he said, once again reaching up to rub at the back of his neck. "Jack, I suppose. That was the answer to the second question, not the first. Just to keep it clear." He grinned at her teasingly before his smile softened. "He told me that you, impossible woman that you are, managed to discover that Saxon has been mucking us up since we signed his stupid contract. My brilliant Rose," he murmured, tucking a lock of hair behind her ear.
Rose ducked her gaze from his, staring at their entwined hands. "He wasn't supposed to tell you that."
"He did, though," John continued tenderly. "Rose...what you did for us, what you risked..."
Rose shrugged, still unable to meet his eyes. "Nothing you wouldn't have done for me."
"And yet, I believed the worst without even talking to you," he said, placing his finger under her chin and gently coaxing her head up, his brown eyes filled with apologies. "Can you ever forgive me?"
Rose didn't answer. Instead, she enfolded him in her arms, pulling him down with her to lean against the tree trunk. He wrapped his arms around her middle and sighed contentedly as he rested his head against her chest, his ear over her heart, her fingers running leisurely through his hair.
"There's nothing to forgive," she whispered, pressing her lips to his hair.
John's shuddering breath whooshed over her skin. He tightened his grip on her waist and held her as close as he could. "I missed you so much," he murmured, hesitating a bit before he continued. "And, I realized something, in missing you and writing songs and being a general prat. It was a very difficult realization to come to, you see, and even harder to decide to share with you, as I haven't had much luck with it in the past. But you're...different and you've shown me over and over again how different and did I mention how much I missed this particular spot right here?" He snugged a bit closer, nuzzling the skin above her breasts. "This is the nicest spot in the universe. It functions as a cushion and a pillow and it just smells lovely..."
Rose giggled. "Did you have a point in there somewhere?"
"Hmm? Oh, yes, the point of all of this. Well, during our time apart, I happened to realize that..." He paused and looked up at her, the emotion in his eyes causing her heart to start pounding out an erratic rhythm. "Well...I love you, Rose," he finished softly, pressing a kiss to the skin just over her heart.
Rose sucked in a breath, the words instantly ready to burst from her lips but he pressed on. He pulled away so that they were once again sitting opposite one another and kept up his babbling. "You don't need to say it back. I know, it really hasn't been long enough. For other people, anyway. Not for us, not you and me. Because I know it, I've known it for a long time in fact but I'm not saying you need to know it..."
Rose had learned early on in their relationship that a truly fantastic way to cut him off mid-ramble was to ensure his mouth was busy with...other things. She grasped him by his lapels and sealed her mouth to his, causing a surprised noise to escape his throat before he was enthusiastically returning the kiss.
He hummed contentedly as she pulled away, pressing her forehead against his and dancing her fingertips through the short hairs on the back of his neck. He shuddered a bit and Rose grinned.
"Well, everyone does have their favorite Vortex Boy," she said teasingly.
"Is that right?" he replied, pulling back to return her grin. "And who might yours be, Miss Tyler? Inquiring minds want to know."
"Oh, it's so hard to choose. I do love Jack. He's just so charming and handsome...and then there's Rory..."
John huffed, his lip jutting out in an adorable pout that Rose smoothed over with her thumb. "Though I have to say, that John Smith is so dreamy..." She leaned in a pressed her lips to his in a feather-light caress. "And I think I might love him."
His grin was enough to make the gorgeous, late summer afternoon just a bit brighter. "Yeah?"