This is the 3rd installment in the 'Care For You' series. It can be read alone. Feedback is lovely, and so are you! (There, I buttered you all up).
This one is dedicated to A_Who_in_Whoville for being so kind to me and welcoming me into the Whovian fic world.
He walks in on her sniffling in the rocking chair they'd set up in the nursery. Unlike most men, he didn't hesitate because of this emotional display. Instead he forged on, draping his coat on the crib and falling to his knees in front of her. His fingers crept onto her, one pulling her hand away from her face while the other rested on her thigh.
"What's wrong, Rose?"
She snuffled adorably before taking a few tissues from her dressing gown pocket (she'd taken to keeping them on her person in case of moments like these) and dabbing her face. "I was cleaning up the baby's things, putting them in order and all that, when I remembered this blanket I used to have. Mum said that dad had picked it out for me. It was all beige and gold and dark purple and I adored it. Even when I was seven, I would carry it around or wrap dolls in it and sleep with it. I loved that blanket so much." Another tear escaped from her eyes and she hastily wiped it away. "I was just thinking how much I'd have loved to be able to wrap our baby up in it."
The Doctor blinked. Sometimes he forgot that Rose had things she'd left behind in the other Universe. She'd never cared before now.
"I'm sorry, sweetheart."
What else can he say? 'I'm sorry you had to leave behind all the possessions that had meant something to you and were connected to you, but there's nothing I can do?'
No… Wait… There was something he could do. He'd just need to make sure Rose didn't find out about it.
The Doctor helped Rose up and sent her off to bed with a cup of tea (decaffeinated) for a kip. He had something to get.
"Jackie, y'home?" The Doctor knocked about Rose's parent's house, looking for Jackie.
"Coming, coming, ya plum. Keep your trousers on!" Jackie came in, looking impeccable which wasn't all that unusual now that she had money to spend on herself. Little Tony was clinging to her leg, his feet on top of his mum's so that he was taking each step with her. Jackie ruffled the boy's hair. "Say hello to the Doctor, Tony."
The boy darted off her leg and latched onto his instead.
"Hello, Doctor." Tony looked up shyly. "How's Rose? Is she getting bigger?"
Jackie snorted as she moved about, making tea. "You better not say that near her, love."
"Why not?" The boy looked genuinely curious and confused, his brown eyes wide and questioning, just like Rose's.
"Because it will hurt her feelings. And you don't want to make her cry, do you?" The Doctor settled his hand on Tony's head, ruffling about his already messy ginger locks.
"Rose is a'ways cry'n now." Tony grumbled.
"It's just because of the baby." The Doctor explained then grimaced when he caught the horrified look on Tony's face. The boy was fiercely protective of his older sister.
"The baby's makin' 'er sad? Then get it out of her! Rose can' be sad!" Righteous fury bloomed on the boy's face in the form of an adorable and not-all-that-intimidating frown.
"No, no. Rose loves the baby. But…" How could he explain this to a six year old? "It isn't the baby's fault, but sometimes he plays with the butterflies in her stomach. And when that happens, Rose gets sad. Just like when the butterflies inside your stomach dance around, you get nervous."
"Oh…" The frown disappeared and was replaced with a smile nearly identical to Rose's, all tongue and teeth. "Tha's good, 'cause I like the baby, too."
The Doctor grinned and sent Tony off to play with his toys, leaving him and Jackie alone.
"Now you… What're ya doing here at this time of night?" Jackie turned, handing him a steaming cup of tea (caffeinated and thank Rassilon. He'd gotten rid of all the caffeinated stuff at his and Rose's place because if she couldn't have it, then neither would he).
"Rose told me about this blanket her dad had given her… she said it was beige and gold and purple… She got worked up about it, wanted to share it with the baby. I was wondering if you could tell me what it looked like."
Jackie gave him a knowing look. "Oh, she loved that blanket. Absolutely adored it. She carried it with her everywhere from the moment she could move until she was seven." She took a long sip of her tea and eyed him appreciatively. "Are you planning on having one made? Because I can ask one of my maids to knit one up just like it."
The Doctor shook his head. "No, I just want to know what it looked like. I'm going to make it out of an alien material."
Jackie's eyes darted to his. "You're going to let alien… things… around my grandbaby?"
His jaw clenched. Jackie seemed to retrace her words and tried to fix it, but he spoke before she could. "I can't believe you think I'd put my child in danger. I love it… he… she… whatever! The point is I'd never do anything to harm my child. And in case you didn't notice, Jackie, I'm still a bit alien. Do you not want me to hold my own baby?"
Jackie shook her head. "Of course not. I'm sorry, Doctor… I just don't want anything to happen to the baby."
The Doctor took a few deep breathes and nodded, cooling down quickly. "Could you just tell me what it looks like, the exact colors, approximate size, and feel of it?"
Jackie nodded, heading for the table filled with art supplies Tony had littered about. She took a piece of paper and drew a square, filling in the colors in the correct pattern and adding the dimensions as a side note. "It felt a bit like fleece, really. Not much, but Rose loved it."
The Doctor nodded gratefully, stuck the paper in his pocket, and made to leave. He turned unsurely and pressed a swift kiss to Jackie's cheek before walking out.
He had a project to take care of.
The Doctor finished off the last stitch of fabric and tied off the end of the alien thread.
Yes, he could sew and knit. Quite well, too. He had shown Jackie the blanket while it was in progress and she'd said the color was spot on.
And now it was complete.
The sound of the door opening down the hall had him scrambling to hide the blanket. He looked around frantically, unsure of where to put it. His eyes fell on the crib. That would have to do. They (being people with too much time on their hands a pseudo-wisdom) always said that hiding things in plain sight kept things from being seen.
The Doctor folded the blanket quickly and stuffed it under the giant teddy bear Rose had bought months ago.
There, that would do it.
"Doctor?" Rose called. The Doctor could hear her stockinged feet padding down the hallway.
"In here." He leaned casually against the crib, angling his body so that the blanket would be invisible from the doorway.
"What're you doing in 'ere?" She was propped against the doorway, a small smile on her lips and at the very corner of her eyes. His own eyes trailed from her feet and upwards, taking in the sight of her.
It was a Tuesday, so she'd had work and her outfit told him it had been a pretty decent day. Because when she'd had a bad day, he could always tell by the wrinkles in her shirt and her makeup. Instead of wrinkles, her dark green blouse was carefully rolled up just below her elbow and the smoky shadows she'd applied that morning were still in place.
The Doctor took a proverbial step back to take in the whole picture Rose made. Because he loved looking at her, now more than ever.
Her hair was in an artfully messy coiffure, the color a bit darker due to pregnancy changes. The suit she wore hid the slight baby bump that was just beginning to show. The dark grey skirt was high-waisted and hinted demurely at the curve of her hips. Buttons of an opal white adorned the deep jade shaded top. The matching suit jacket was left undone; letting him see the few buttons she'd unfastened which modestly showed a bit of her cleavage.
"You look lovely." The words slid out of his mouth and the Doctor delighted in the flush that settled on her cheeks and that little area of breast.
"Thanks." Rose stepped forward and the Doctor met her halfway, partly because he didn't want her to see the blanket, and partly because he just wanted to touch her. "I had a meeting today instead of fieldwork." She frowned and he smiled to himself. It would do him no good to tell her that he'd asked Pete to keep her out of the field as much as possible. She'd probably hit him for being overprotective or sexist or something of the like.
"That's a shame." No, it really wasn't.
The Doctor reached forward and tugged off her suit jacket, casting it to the side. His hands settled on her shoulders and slid downward until they were clasped with hers. Rose nudged her fingers between his and stood on her toes to kiss him. He stepped forward and felt the warm firmness of her baby bump against him. It caused an inexplicable smile to bloom on his face. One of his hands untangled from hers and settled on her abdomen, stroking the unyielding expanse of her abdomen. His child was so safe inside there, warm and protected by Rose and himself. "What's the link feel like?"
Rose looked at him, surprised. She hadn't really told him about the link she felt between herself and the baby. "It's sorta warm and soft… like feathers and a hug, a really nice, comforting hug."
"Like this?" With that, he pulled her closer, his arms wrapped around her waist and his lips nuzzling at her temple.
Rose laughed into his neck and tightened her own arms around him. "Yeah, just like this." Her eyes fell closed as she basked in the physical warmth from the Doctor and the mental warmth she was receiving from the baby. The child seemed to sense her happiness and was sending little surges of gold that felt like a small child giggling. Rose nestled into his embrace, kissing his neck before looking out into the window behind her where the sun was just beginning to set. Her gaze strayed to the mobile she'd bought. It was hand made by an artisan at a market stand and was beautifully carved out of a light colored wood and stained a soft honey. Little stars and moons hung from the base along with beads of purple and yellow.
The crib, also a handcrafted piece of furniture, was stained the same honey color and adorned with sheets to match the mobile. The giant teddy bear was a bit of overkill, but she hadn't been able to resist it when she saw it in the shop. Her eyes caught on a piece of cloth peeking out from under the bear and Rose gasped as she noticed what it was.
"Doctor!" She pulled away so that she could see his face. "Is that wha' I think it is?"
The Doctor winced and rubbed the back of his neck. He knew exactly what she was talking about. "Possibly."
"Can I?" She motioned towards the blanket and he nodded. Rose stepped closer to the crib and reached into, her fingers gripping the blanket tightly. She held it out in front of her and gasped as she took in the whole thing. "Oh." Tears filled her eyes and she sniffed so that she could speak. "How did you know?" Warm hands settled on her shoulders and the Doctor rested his chin on her shoulder.
"I asked Jackie what it looked like."
Rose ran her thumb over the material and reached up to wipe away her tears. "It looks exactly like it. It jus' feels softer…" Her voice faded as she hugged the blanket to her chest. "Did mum have someone make it?"
"Ah…no." She frowned and turned around so she could see the Doctor's face. "I made it."
Rose felt fresh tears of happiness prick at her eyes. "You made this?" He nodded and she reached behind her, placing the blanket on the bar of the crib. "That's so sweet." She murmured, her hands moved up to cup his face before she leaned up for a kiss. The Doctor returned it softly, his lips teasingly pressing against hers before his tongue darted out to sample her plush lower lip. Rose pulled away, her breathing heavy. "And that was sweet, too." She pressed a peck to his chin.
"What's it made of? I've never felt a cloth like it before." Rose once again reached for the blanket, stroking it fondly.
"It's a thread mix Torchwood detained from the Partaloosians a few months back. They asked me to try to replicate it, and I did." His fingers settled over hers, turning the blanket so she could see how it caught light. "The thread is stronger than steel when sewed in the proper pattern and insulates heat better than a thick fur coat." His hand moved downwards to settle on her baby bump once more. "It'll keep the little one nice and cozy and safe."
Rose couldn't resist it; she wrapped one arm about his neck and pulled his down for a quick, adoring kiss. "You are the sweetest man in existence." She whispered once she pulled away. He flushed and tugged at his ear in that way she loved so much.
"I'm glad you like it." The Doctor touched her cheek.
"I love it." She kissed his palm. "And I love you."
"If you are cold at night, let the promise of my love cover you like a warm blanket." – Matthew White