It’s not something they want to do; it’s something they must.
They try to reach the press before rumors sneak their way through London, between the lines of newsprint and in the corners of rich mouths, but the paparazzi are too quick. It is not long after they bring this new Doctor back to the Tyler mansion that the media files out photographs of Rose Tyler and her new beau.
They call him the Doctor (“Those idiots,” says Rose one night, “think he’s a proper doctor. A medical doctor.”) and they don’t correct them.
Soon, there are men on their lawn with flashing cameras and chattering questions, men following Jackie and Pete on the streets, men climbing lattices to bedroom windows, hoping to catch them in the act.
But the Doctor is not in Rose Tyler’s bedroom. He is in the guest room, the kitchen, in front of the fireplace, anywhere she is not. Because what the media does not know is that they are not sleeping together, they are barely speaking. They see each other with stunned, frightened eyes and move on.
They are back to where they began, all those years ago, the time that smells of crinkled leather and sounds like a Northern accent. He thinks, does she—can she love me? He fears he is not enough. He has no stars to offer her, not this time.
And she is afraid. He is the same man, she knows, but that is what frightens her. All those lives he lost, and he only has one now. She knows he is reckless and self-sacrificing and can she give herself to a man—a man— who she could so easily lose?
But what scares her the most is to know that she will.
And there they are now, doing what must be done. It is the first time they have spent so many hours together since Bad Wolf bay.
An official statement.
A label, binding them together.
He is Doctor John Smith to the public now, currently not practicing medicine.
He is only living in the Tyler mansion until Rose settles back into her apartment, where she will bring him along (it is this information that makes them both tense).
They met while travelling.
Then they are asked questions, like What was your first kiss like, What city did you meet in, Can we expect wedding bells any time soon?
And their answers come strangely easily: over chips, in Barcelona, maybe with a cheeky wink of the eye and curl of a tongue over some teeth.
Suddenly, among these paparazzi, this media, these newsmen and women with their footage rolling and white lights blinking and incessant talking, it feels like a foreign land. And they are only vistors, making up a path of lies as they go, paving their way, surviving.
It is only a foreign land and they are only the same tourists they ever were any where else.
The Doctor reaches for Rose’s hand, and she grips it.
And it feels invigorating, clever, right.