Rose lived for days like this. Sitting with The Doctor, Jack, and Ianto, all four roaring with laughter from some outlandish story Jack was telling that none of them (not even Jack) truly believed. They were getting judging glares from some of the other patrons, probably for the noise, but they didn’t care. It was like their little table was its own bubble, separated from the rest of the universe. Their server appeared and started clearing their table, promising to bring the bill. Jack leaned across the table towards his longtime friends.
“So Doc, what have you and the missus been up to lately? Did you finally try out the suggestions I gave you?” The Doctor and Rose both rolled their eyes, gaining a laugh from him. Jack had given them a list of, well, Jack-approved planets to put on their travel list. They had yet to actually take him up on his “advice.” Rose noticed that the couple at the table next to them was openly staring now. Rose figured it had to do with The Doctor’s clothes, although her fashion sense this time around was pretty tame compared to the tastes of her fourth and sixth bodies.
“It’s been a while since you and Ianto have come with us. We should go somewhere, have a couples’ vacation. I’m sure Gwen, Owen, and Tosh can hold the office down for a couple days. Isn’t your anniversary coming up?” The stares definitely increased as The Doctor spoke, but Rose couldn’t tell why. They weren’t being loud anymore, they were just two couples sitting together having a double lunch date. Rose was pulled out of her musing when their server came back. She smiled at them.
“So sorry, but I forgot to ask. How are we doing the bill today?”
“We’re splitting it between the couples. So, my boyfriend and myself and The Doctor and her wife.” Ianto said, proper as always. The server’s eyes widened and her smile dropped slightly, but she thanked him and left again.
“That was odd. What was up with her? And people have been staring. Did we miss something?” The Doctor shrugged at her wife’s question. She was so used to people staring at her she hardly noticed anymore. To Rose’s surprise, however, Jack and Ianto both raised an eyebrow at her. While The Doctor didn’t seem bothered by the server’s actions, the two men seemed to be surprised that Rose questioned it.
“Rose, you do remember where we are, right” Jack lowered his voice “Or rather, when?” After a few moments of confusion, Rose remembered the social standards of the early 21st century when it came to romantic relationships. She scoffed.
“Seriously? That’s what they’re going on about? They need to get over themselves. Give it a few decades, and they’ll be well on their way to the 51st century standards you have, Jack.” Rose wasn’t going to lie to herself. Centuries ago she might have been among those around them, judging people she didn’t know. She still felt bad for the words she’d said to her first Doctor on the roof of the Powell Estate. But centuries of traveling in this universe across all of time and space taught her that love transcends physical appearance. And while she used to care too much about what other people thought of her and how they might judge her, she hadn’t in a very long time. The only people whose opinions mattered to her were her family and friends.
Then Rose got an idea. Just because social standards don’t change for a few decades didn’t mean she couldn’t try to make a difference now. One glance next to her told her The Doctor was thinning the same thing. Rose was only half-surprised when her wife suddenly jumped up and stood on her chair.
“I have an announcement to make. I am hopelessly in love with this woman, my wife.” The Doctor pointed to Rose, who was torn between hiding her face, and standing on her own chair to support her wife. She chose the latter, grabbing The Doctor’s hand as she continued.
“We have been together for years and years, and no one knows me better than her. I know that some of you disagree with our relationship simply because we are both women. I can tell by the look in your eyes and the judgement in your faces. Well I have something to say to you. I’m sure I won’t convince all of you, or even any of you, but I’m going to damn well try.
“We have built a life together. We have a beautiful daughter who we both love immensely. I lost my family a long time ago, but with Rose I have gained a new one. She accepts me for who I am and wouldn’t ask me to change anything about myself. And isn’t that all anyone really wants? A family, a place where they belong. A place to call home. If you want to withhold that from another person when it has no effect on you, you have to take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself what kind of person you are. Thank you” The last sentence was directed at their server, who had returned with their bill. Jack and Rose grabbed cash out of their wallets and left it on the table. Then, they each grabbed their respective partner and gave them a good long snog, ignoring the scandalized gasps of a few of the older members of the crowd. Not even bothering to look at the reactions of the other patrons, the four of them left the diner.
As soon as they were outside, the four of them looked at each other and burst into laughter. They all knew that no one in that diner suddenly had an epiphany. They hadn’t suddenly changed everyone’s minds. This wasn’t a movie. But maybe, just maybe, they’d just planted the first seed of change in one of their heads. Maybe, years from now, one of the people in that diner will say The Doctor’s speech helped them realize the error in their ways.
They were well familiar with the history of Earth and humanity. They knew that change was a slow and laborious process that would take the work of people across the globe and throughout time, and that acceptance would never be 100% everywhere. But acceptance would grow and eventually overshadow the hate. And they would do what they could to help speed up the process.