Title: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
Fandom: Doctor Who
Characters: Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Romana II, Rose, the TARDIS, Amy, and Rory
Pairings: Eight/Romana II, Ten/Rose, slight Amy/Rory
Warnings: Nine feels guilt about the Time War.
Spoilers: For the ending of "The Doctor, The Widow, and the Wardrobe."
Summary: Four Christmases with the Doctor.
Notes: A little late for Christmas but it's still the holiday season.
He was pleasantly surprised to see her walk into the TARDIS; he hadn’t been sure that she would agree to take time off from being Lady President, as the war was unfortunately still on-going, but he had some faith in his abilities of persuasion.
She had changed out of her presidential robes and into a black trench-coat and jeans. He frowned as he observed that the limp in her left leg was not only still present but she still needed a cane; her face also still bore the cuts from the failed assassination attempt, though they had faded considerably.
When he failed to speak, she smiled grimly at him and said, “I hadn’t thought I’d be seeing you so soon after our last conversation, Doctor. You weren’t very pleased with me.”
He winced as the memory of that particular conversation resurfaced; Romana had admitted to him that she was considering regenerating in order to become the type of leader Gallifrey needed: someone cold and ruthless enough to wage a war against the Daleks and win. He had argued with her, said that they didn’t need a new Rassilon, and she retorted that if she did nothing Gallifrey would be getting Rassilon back anyway. Their debate had devolved into shouting and Leela had to escort him from Romana’s office by the end of it.
He had no desire to continue that argument now; it was Christmas after all. So he grinned and asked, “Have you ever been to New York at Christmas? There’s the tree at Rockefeller Center and ice skating, though,” he glanced down to look at her cane, “I suppose the ice skating will have to wait for another time. But there are also these elaborate decorations in shop windows, and The Nutcracker ballet is going on-“
She interrupted him then, “Doctor, I don’t think-“
“Romana, please, it’s Christmas. Just give me one night; I’ll have you back before you know it.”
For a long moment, she didn’t speak. He was afraid, suddenly, that she would refuse when she knew as well as he did that this could be their last moment of peace together with the way the war was going. But, then she nodded stiffly and he let out a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding.
He smiled again and said, “Believe me, there is almost nothing better than Christmas in New York. “
“Springtime in Paris is,” she said softly, so softly that he wasn’t sure if he had been meant to hear her.
He pretended he hadn’t; it was easier that way.
They landed in New York soon after and spent much of the night merely strolling arm in arm, observing the sights and people around them. Eventually, they stopped to eat at a restaurant that was fortunately open on Christmas Eve, more as an excuse for Romana to rest her leg than anything else.
Soon after, much to soon after for his liking, they headed back to the TARDIS. He stretched to retrieve the key, when her right arm snaked around his waist and she pulled him into a kiss. Startled, he didn’t respond right away, but soon enough he wrapped his arms around her and deepened the kiss. Neither cared that her cane had fallen out of her hand or that they were not acting in proper Time Lord manner.
Eventually, the two broke apart and he bent to retrieve her cane.
Her grim smile had returned and she muttered “Happy Christmas” before retreating into the TARDIS.
He wondered if she had meant those words to sound so much like goodbye.
Susan hadn’t made it.
He stood alone in the console room of the TARDIS; outside, he could make out the sounds of revelry. Once again it was Christmas on Earth, though he was not in such a celebratory mood now that he was the only Time Lord left alive.
Leela hadn’t made it.
He wasn’t sure if he wanted to go outside yet or not. He loved Christmas, especially Christmas on Earth, but he couldn’t will himself to leave. Every time he so much as thought about having a good time, he felt the guilt return. He shouldn’t be happy now that the Time Lords and Gallifrey were gone.
Drax hadn’t made it.
He knew he was being irrational. He couldn’t just stop living even though he was the last Time Lord in existence. He should be able to visit the Brigadier or Sarah-Jane or whomever he wanted on Christmas. He should be able to go out, have a little fun, and possibly even meet a new companion. He should be able to do all those things and more.
But that was the thing about irrationality. It couldn’t just be explained away.
Romana hadn’t made it.
He gave one last longing look at the TARDIS doors before shaking his head and putting in new coordinates. He ran a hand along the console and said, “Let’s skip Christmas this year, Old Girl.”
Hopefully, he’d be in somewhat better shape next Christmas.
No one besides him had made it.
“Doctor,” Rose said, not meeting his gaze, “I’m sorry.”
He blinked. “For what?”
She still wouldn’t look him in the eye. “I was being stupid before. I shouldn’t have been so angry with you after you…changed. I should have known you were still the Doctor and I’m sorry.”
He smiled. “You don’t have to apologize. I know regenerating can seem shocking, especially when you haven’t seen one before.”
“Rose, it’s Christmas. No arguing!” He grinned. “Especially, when I’m right.”
Despite herself, she laughed. His grin widened and he leaned down to whisper in her ear, “I see a smile.”
She stiffened and he realized suddenly how close their faces were to each other. He would only have to lean forward a few inches and their lips would be touching; it would be so simple, only a few inches, and he would be kissing her-
He stood straight up and pretended the moment hadn’t happened. Rose was his friend, the one who helped pull him out of his personal darkness, and he would not complicate that.
“We should head back to the TARDIS. There’s a whole universe out there for us to see.”
He completely missed the look of disappointment that flashed across her face.
A few seconds later, he felt rather than saw her hand reach out to grab his. He didn’t pull away this time; hand-holding was perfectly acceptable for him.
So they walked, hand in hand, back to the TARDIS.
All in all, it was a good end to the best Christmas he’d had in a long while.
“There’s a place set for you.”
A bit taken aback, he asked, “You set me a place? But you didn’t know I was coming.”
Amy and Rory exchanged a significant glance before Amy replied, “Because we always do. It’s Christmas, you moron.” She then pointed the water gun at him again for emphasis.
Rory entreated him one last time before he and Amy disappeared back inside their house.
He wanted to go in so badly, but he still wasn’t sure if this was the right thing to do. The Ponds were much better off without him in their lives to mess everything up. Madge had give him a compelling argument (well, compelling to him anyway) to reunite with Amy and Rory for Christmas, but he couldn’t make himself move past the threshold.
He turned to quietly head back to the TARDIS when he noticed that his eyes were tearing up.
He reached up to touch one and his fingers came away wet.
He was actually crying on Amy and Rory’s doorstep.
He was struck suddenly by how me he didn’t want to leave. The Ponds were his best friends and he hadn’t seen them in so long. He didn’t want to leave.
So why should he?
He shut the door and went to have dinner with his former companions.
It was Christmas after all and there was nothing cooler than spending Christmas with your best friends.
Well, nothing cooler except for bowties. And fezzes.