[identity profile] milieva.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] milieva_fics
Title: Grounded (2/?)
Series: Lessons on Nesting
Author: [livejournal.com profile] milieva
Rating: Teen
Characters: Nine/Rose, Jack
Beta: The fabulous [livejournal.com profile] glory_jean.

Summary Following the news of Rose’s pregnancy, the Doctor and Rose are attempting to settle into a new routine, living life day after day on planet Earth, with a bit of adventure in between.



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“Twins?” Jack asked as he collapsed on the sofa with a package of crisps. “Really?”

He’d barely made it into the flat before the news was sprung on him. Rose seemed nervous but a little excited about two for the price of one; the Doctor, on the other hand, looked downright terrified, as if someone had told him the world was going to end and he couldn’t stop it. That ornery part of his brain had already thought of one or two comments on the Doctor’s virility, but he figured the man didn’t want any reminding of his responsibility in the matter.

Instead he settled on what he thought was a safe topic.

“Hm.... You two are going to need a bigger flat.”

“Or any flat,” Rose corrected, bitterly. “The Doctor hasn’t even been willing to look yet.”

“We agreed it would be less confusing to look after Christmas,” the Doctor contested. “With all the shopping and cooking and general mayhem that goes along with the holiday.”

“But we could have at least come up with a list of features we’re looking for, so I could narrow down our options,” Rose argued.

Well, so much for the flat being a safe topic. Jack decided he’d have a little fun with it anyway, as it got the Doctor to stop worrying that Rose was going to drop dead or something because they suddenly knew she was carrying two babies instead of just the one that they had anticipated.

“You mean, you haven’t even talked about it?” he inquired, feigning incredulity.

He and Rose had already discussed the Doctor’s reluctance to start looking for a place to live over a fortnight ago, when he’d decided to take up Mickey’s offer of a spare room in exchange for a little housework. Jack and Rose already spent plenty of time at Mickey’s using his internet connection to look at flats. This way they had a key to get in when he wasn’t home. And it meant Jack didn’t have to stay on the TARDIS alone or sleep on Jackie’s sofa. Both were unappealing for a variety of reasons.

“Make the appointments, and we’ll go look,” the Doctor said gruffly.

Rose gave him a pained look.

“But that’s not going to accomplish much if you don’t even tell me what you want. I can make appointments, but you’ll probably hate them all because they aren’t the TARDIS.”

“A few bedrooms, a bathroom, and a nice little garden is all I need,” he said airily, obviously not interested in discussing flat hunting at all.

Rose’s eyes narrowed as the room fell into silence again.

The minutes crawled by as Jack sipped his tea, knowing any word from him could likely cause Rose to turn her annoyance on him, and he didn’t exactly feel like being snapped at.

“So what if it’s twins!” Rose finally shouted. “It’s not like it’s a death sentence or anything. I’m still just as pregnant as I was before.”

“The fact that you are carrying twins complicates things exponentially. Hybrid pregnancies are not easy. And a multiple pregnancy can be death sentence.”

“I’m fine. You’ve done blood work and run however many hundred tests this morning, all of which said I was perfectly healthy and so were they. So, would you stop? I can’t take this for a year.”

She rubbed her palms over her face in exasperation. With an aggravated sigh, Rose hoisted herself up off the chair and stormed off, declaring that she was going to lie down since she’d obviously drop dead if she didn’t. Her bedroom door slammed just as she called the Doctor a rather harsh name.

“You do need to lay off the hovering,” Jack agreed. “It’s not like the babies are going to be bursting out her chest or something.”

The idea of a truly Alien birth was more amusing than horrifying. Jack couldn’t help but prod at his friend by asking, “Or will they?”

If looks could kill, the Doctor’s narrow eyed stare would have easily shot him through the heart. Obviously, they would be born in a normal fashion.

“Well, that’s a bit boring,” Jack stated with feigned indifference. “But you do need to relax. What’s the worst thing that can happen?”

“She could die.”

“Well, that’s a given in any pregnancy. What’s the nearly worst could happen?”

“Her body would react poorly to the hybridisation, as the babies’ DNA will remain in flux throughout the entire pregnancy. One small shift and her body could reject them.”

“There are treatments for that, right?”

“Yes. There are a number of herbal remedies and medications that can--.”

“Good,” Jack interrupted.

He was not interested in the details. He just wanted the Doctor to think about the options if that event occurred. “I’m sure there are treatments for most of the complications? so let’s focus on more pressing matters. Like moving you two out of your mother-in-law’s flat.” Jumping up from the sofa, Jack hoisted the Doctor out of his chair. “Rose has a few places in mind. We’ve got the list saved on Mickey’s computer if you want to be proactive and make those appointments yourself.”

Linking his arm through the Doctor’s elbow, Jack marched him out of the flat.

*.*.*.*.*

The cup of tea was a peace offering. He might have gotten sweets or chocolate, even a few prize biscuits before returning to Jackie’s flat if he’d given any thought to it beforehand, but he didn’t, so he settled for a well made cup of tea before opening Rose’s bedroom door. The Doctor had expected to find her sleeping. Perhaps he’d even hoped that was the case, but instead she was reading through one of the books he’d given her about Gallifreyan biology. It was a Quorton volume, so it would translate, but he’d had to make a few notes and corrections to some of the more inaccurate information.

She turned to him as he walked into the little room. Her red, swollen eyes told him that she hadn’t been sleeping. The apologetic look in her gaze made the guilt knot up in his throat. Rose didn’t deserve to be treated that way. She was perfectly capable of doing what she needed without him nannying her.

“I’m sorry,” he told her. “I’m just--” He sighed. It was amazing how difficult some simple words are to say at times. “I’m scared.”

“Me too, you know,” she answered.

Sitting down on the edge of the bed, he held out the steaming mug, which she took carefully from his outstretched hand.

“Aside from the aging thing and one or two very strange allergies, are Gallifreyans really all that different from humans?”

“After birth, no. They aren’t all that different.”

“But there’s that whole gene elasticity problem while they’re still developing,” Rose amended, repeating the information he’d given her the first time they thought she was pregnant and had reiterated multiple times since. “The whole reason I shouldn’t be on the TARDIS until they’re born, yeah?”

It was heartbreaking to see how much she ached to be back out there with him, traveling the universe and having adventures. For some reason it had never occurred to him before that a companion could miss travelling as much as he did.

“It’s not so bad, you know,” the Doctor reassured her.

“What’s not?”

“Being trapped on Earth.”

“That’s not what it sounded like when you told me a little about the last time you were stuck on earth.”

“It’s different when it’s by choice.”

“So, given any thought to where we’re going to be trapped? ‘Cause Mum doesn’t want us living in my bedroom for the next twenty years.”

“I’ve given it a little thought,” he told her, reaching into his pocket for the printed descriptions of the flats he’d picked out from the list of flats Rose had saved on Mickey’s computer. They had appointments to see them the next day.

Rose looked at the printouts with interest. He watched the surprise filter through her expression as her eyes widened to take in which ones he’d chosen to look at. She gaped at him with her mouth open for more than a few short moments for she was finally able to piece together a sentence. “These were ones I was just looking at for fun. How much can we afford? You never did tell me what our budget is.”

“We can afford any one of those,” he assured her.

If they were going to be living in one of those places for the next two decades it ought to be considerably more comfortable than the tiny flat Jackie called home; though, he wouldn’t say that directly to his mother-in-law’s face. He did value his life a bit more than that.

“And after that? How much do we have to live on? Or will one of us have to find a job?”

“As long as we stay within a few hundred thousand each year we should be able to stretch the funds through the babies’ childhood easily. I always have a job with UNIT if we find the need to increase our income.”

“A few hundred? How much is a “few”?”

Quickly calculating their funds again he coyly answered, “Five?”

That had the reaction he assumed it would; Rose choked on her tea.

“Five hundred thousand pounds?”

“Yes.”

“A year?”

“That is enough, right?” he asked with an ornery grin. He knew that was nearly as much as Jackie had made since Rose was born and it would be perfectly adequate, if not more so. “You know I’m not good with money.”

“We have a fortune, and we’re still living with my mum?”

He laughed. She did have a point, but they were going to be changing that, very soon.

*.*.*.*.*

The first flat they looked at was nothing like the photographs. Not only did it have a fine view of a brick wall, the shared garden space was beyond tiny. When the Doctor remarked on the size, he was reminded of the little park just down the road. He didn’t find this an adequate solution, but didn’t push the matter. They simply moved on to the next showing they had scheduled that day, which just happened to be represented by the same agent.

“This one should be more to your liking, Mr. Smith,” she stated as they stepped through the door to a beautiful, bright, reception room. “You have access to a shared garden space nearly three times the size of the last flat.”

“It’s gorgeous, isn’t it,” Rose exclaimed as she looked out the window onto the small veranda.

“I do believe I should mention that the building requests no children or pets,” the estate agent stated casually.

At those words, Rose ripped her eyes away from the view to look at the Doctor. His eyes apologised for getting her hopes up on this one before he turned to the woman and said, “That’s unfortunate, as Rose and me are planning to start a family, quite soon.”

“Oh, very sorry.”

Crossing that one off their list, the Doctor and Rose moved on to the next appointment. That one was nice but the rooms were simply too small. The next had an awkward kitchen. After that was the one with a third bedroom that was nothing more than a glorified cupboard, making it the smallest third bedroom they’d seen.

That was how it continued for most of the week.

For a man who swore he didn’t “do domestic,” the doctor was amazingly particular about where he would and would not live. There were flats they visited that Rose adored, but the Doctor would find small little details that would have him declaring it unacceptable to him. One had too much condensation around the windows. Another one was too close to a busy road. Another was farther from public transportation than he thought it should be. Rose would like to have said that it was the Doctor who found problems with every flat, but there were a few she nixed straight off too.

There was a little flat over a series of takeaways that she didn’t even set foot in. The smell of them combined made her stomach turn before they’d even stepped off the bus. Needless to say, they turned around and sat back down, ringing the agent to let him know they wouldn’t be looking at the flat, which had been practically perfect according to its description. There was another with a musty odor that Rose didn’t think she could stand, even for the brief amount of time it should take them to repair the problem.

It was gardens on the other hand, that tended to be the Doctor’s main source of complaint. For some reason he was insistent that they have their own garden, which Rose couldn’t understand. She’d grown up just fine without her own private garden as did the rest of the kids on the estate. And he didn’t just want a patch of grass all their own; it seemed he wanted a full expanse of rolling green. The chances of finding that where they were currently looking was slim to none.

She’d wavered on saying it, as she wasn’t sure what the Doctor’s reaction to the idea of owning an actual house as opposed to a flat. Part of her had felt a flat seemed a little less permanent option than the ownership of an entire building, but how else was he supposed to get that great big garden of his?

One night later in the week, Rose decided to make her suggestion.

*.*.*.*.*

It wasn’t exactly convenient for Mickey having his friends making use of his internet connection. He’d protested once because he assumed with all the tech in the TARDIS the Doctor should be able to access the internet, but Rose was quick to explain that she couldn’t set foot on the TARDIS for nearly a week after it had been moved--which was more often than he thought it should be. Nonetheless, he didn’t speak another word of it when she would show up at his door.

Letting Jack move into his spare room in the meantime meant that he didn’t have to be home to let them in, and he got free housekeeping out of the deal, as their roommate agreement included Jack cleaning the flat in exchange for sleeping in the second bedroom.

One of the last evenings he had to give up his own internet browsing time, Mickey had been sitting at his computer when the flat door opened and he heard Jack greet both the Doctor and Rose. He closed his browser window and pulled up a few of the estate agent websites Rose had been using before getting up to say his own hello to his friends.

The four of them sat down to chat for a bit, discussing how flat hunting was going. To be more accurate, Rose complaining about how the Doctor seemed to be wanting something that didn’t exist. Finally, exasperated with the discussion, she told the Doctor, “It might be easier to get your garden if we get a house.”

The words that came out of the Doctor’s mouth were nothing that anyone expected, “Have something in mind?”

Rose gaped at him for a moment with the same amazed interest that Mickey himself was feeling. It didn’t seem like the Doctor at all to accept the idea of buying an actual house so easily.

“That’s okay?” she asked.

“Yes,” he assured her. “Did you have some you were interested in looking at?”

“Of course,” Rose answered, practically leaping out of her chair and sprinting for the bedroom.

By the time they’d all followed her in, she was already pulling up the page for a lovely four bedroom house she’d had her eyes on for the past week. Mickey was sure that was why she wanted to get him to agree to a house. She loved that one and all the remodeling that had been done on it.

The Doctor’s answer was a brisk, “No.”

Hurt at his cold response, Rose turned to the Doctor. “Why not?”

His answer was rather unexpected. “I was thrown out of a party there once. Horrible host. You’d think he wanted his guests eaten by the beast in the cupboard under the stairs..”

“Beast in the cupboard under the stairs?”

“Yes. And for all I know, it could still be there. So, no.”

“Well then,” Rose sighed. “Guess we should start over then.”

She returned to the main page of the website and pulled up a map of the city. “Is there a borough you are interested in living in? Or one that doesn’t have beasts living under staircases?”

“No. You choose one.”

“Oh! How about Ealing?” Jack suggested.

“Ealing?” Rose asked.. “Why Ealing?”

“Just like the sound of it,” Jack laughed.“You know, like....

There was a young man from Darjeeling,
Who got on a bus bound for Ealing.
It said at the door:
‘Don't spit on the floor.’
So he carefully spat on the ceiling
.”

“Right...” Rose said slowly. She seemed a little unsure, but chose Ealing on the map anyway.”How many bedrooms?”

“Six,” the Doctor answered matter-of-factly.

Mickey couldn’t help but wonder what their budget was, if the Doctor thought he could get six bedroom in London as easy as that. It was also a large jump from the two and three bedroom flats Rose had been looking at first.

“Why six?” Rose asked as she keyed in the selection.

“Our room, one for each of the children should they choose not to share, one for the TARDIS as she’d be more comfortable indoors when stationary for so long, and one for guests, should we have any.”

“Look at that one,” Jack reached over and pointed at the description of one. “It has a staff flat over the garage. I could be Weird Uncle Jack who lives out back.”

Rose giggled.

Though the leading photograph looked promising, the subsequent pictures and description told the story. It was more than a little run down and would need a lot of work before it was habitable, especially by Rose, since the Doctor feared anything that would jeopardize her health.

They looked at a few others in the area, most of which were remodeled and ready to be moved into, but more than once the Doctor had her going back to that first listing. He seemed drawn to it.

Mickey wished the Doctor and Rose would just make up their minds and find a place to live. The sooner they found a house, the sooner he would stop having to share his computer.

*.*.*.*.*

The very first house they looked at was the same one the Doctor had kept gravitating toward.

The front of the house was kept up well enough so not to upset the neighbors, but the vines growing up the walls and over the shrubs showed that the caretaker hadn’t been taking much care of the place in some time. The inside of the house, on the other hand, had hardly been touched since a few botched renovations nearly a decade before. It looked far worse than the photographs had led them to believe.

Rose expected the Doctor to declare his dislike, but he held his tongue. The filthy floorboards creaked as they made their way through the ground level of the house. There was a huge gaping hole in a kitchen wall as if someone had tried to open things up, but failed to realise there was plumbing between the braces. And that was only the beginning.

The stairs cried in agony as they climbed up to the first floor. The bedrooms were quite large and were laid out well. The bathtub was missing from one of the bathrooms, and there was moulding wallpaper near one of the broken windows. The Doctor assured her that was an easy fix. She wasn’t so sure. As they moved on, they found another wall destroyed. This one had been more brutally done and the ceiling above it was sagging.

“Stupid apes,” the Doctor muttered under his breath, leading Rose away from the room.

Moving on, they found more moulding wallpaper and sagging ceilings. This, however, did not look like such an easy fix as replacing a broken pane of glass. She wanted to say she didn’t think it was a good investment, that they were getting in over their heads, but it wasn’t as if they had jobs they needed to work. There was plenty of time that could be dedicated to fixing up the house. It was just that this house looked as if it should be condemned not lived in

Finally, having had enough of the horror show, Rose refused to go up the steps to the attic. The musty smell of the damp air coming down the stairs when the Doctor opened the door was more than enough to send her back downstairs and outside, but she held her ground and waited for him to return from his inspection.

She wondered what he was thinking about the place, but his expression was unreadable as he strode back down the staircase she’d refused to set foot on.

“Not bad,” the Doctor commented.

He couldn’t be serious. This was definitely horrible. "Not bad," was more than an understatement.

“The roof’s leaking,” Rose argued.

“I can fix that.”

“There are walls missing.”

“I can rebuild it.”

“It’s falling apart.”

“No, it’s not. The structure is still sound. Most of the damage is merely cosmetic. With a month or two of work, this can be back to its original glory, or I suppose... we could make it more modern, if you would like.”

It was filthy inside. Dust covered the floors. More than one wall had a large hole. There were one or two cracked windows. One had tendrils of a vine creeping in. But he seemed dead set on this house.

“You really like it, don’t you?”

“Is that alright?”

The look on his face when he realised she still wasn’t as convinced as he was that it could be lovely was more than enough to melt her heart. She couldn’t help but give him the chance to prove himself. They had until the next January or February to find another place to live if this one didn’t work out.

“Yeah.”

He was positively gleeful about the prospect of bringing the house back to its former glory. So long as it was finished before the babies arrived, Rose couldn’t care less if this was the one he chose. She just hoped he was right about it not taking too long. Number 48 Bucknall House was already more than a little crowded.

In a whirlwind of activity over the next few days, they had settled everything and signed the papers. It was hard to believe that they were owners of their very first house together.

Number 15 Bannerman Road.

Chapter 3 >>

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