Just because the Doctor didn’t like domestic didn’t mean that he couldn’t pull it off, if forced.
And by ‘forced,’ he meant threatened with death by slow, painful torture, possibly with an added bonus of the potential destruction of the world thrown in.
Much to his displeasure, the Doctor was currently being forced into domesticity by one Jackie Tyler, and if any of the apes that inhabited the planet was capable of single-handedly bringing about it’s doom, it was that woman.
The Doctor knew better than to risk invoking her wrath, for the good of all mankind.
It wasn’t that he was worried. Wasn’t that he wanted to keep an eye on Rose, make sure that she wasn’t in a condition too severe to recover from. No, the only reason the Doctor hadn’t left Rose Tyler’s bedside was because he knew that her harpy of a mother would begin her rampage of devastation the instant that he left, a rage from which no one would be safe.
Except for him, of course. One of the many benefits of being a proud owner of the TARDIS was the ability to outrun angry mothers. But that would leave the rest of humanity at her mercy, and the Doctor liked the crazy species too much to subject them to that horror without a defender.
So, instead of running off to some other adventure in space and time while his companion rested up, the Doctor was watching the shivering form of Rose Tyler on the bed, cataloguing the rise and fall of her chest mentally with the utmost diligence, forcing himself to internally acknowledge that there was a very large possibility (96%, in fact, given Rose’s current vitals and overall health) that she would be just fine.
But he still couldn’t have torn his gaze away from her if he had tried.
That was the trouble with swanning off with another species in tow; they were so fragile and often (Rose in particular), too stubborn to admit such frailty.
So he had forgotten that humans weren’t quite as apt at controlling their body temperature when he had taken Rose to visit the ice world of Zelicon, but she hadn’t bothered to remind him of this fact either. It was only when they were back on the TARDIS after saving said planet from an evil dictator that she had the decency to collapse and calmly inform him that she was freezing. And it was only after he had landed the TARDIS outside of Powell Estate that she decided to admit to, possibly, having a fever before promptly passing out.
Suffice to say, when the Doctor had appeared at Jackie’s door with her unconscious daughter in his arms, the reaction hadn’t exactly been… pleasant.
He gave his still-tender cheek a rub, annoyed that he had now been slapped twice by someone’s mother, before running the hand through his wild hair, letting out a loud sigh as Rose shifted in her sleep, muttering incoherently as she twisted the sheets around herself.
Frowning, the Doctor stood up from his chair, walking closer to the bed, kneeling on the floor and carefully detangling Rose from the cloth. He gently grasped onto ankles and wrists as he battled with the sheets, trying not to allow his mind to linger on the feel of her smooth skin against his fingers.
He was only allowing his touch to delay leaving the delicate skin of her wrist so that he could check her pulse, not so that he maintain his contact with her. He only brought his hand to her forehead to check her temperature, not to trace the contours of her face. He only brushed her hair out of her eyes to make her more comfortable, not to run his fingers through the locks.
Really, the Doctor was a more logical being than to succumb to that nonsense.
It was his need to preserve this belief that made him refuse to admit that in the three days since she had fallen into this delirium he had felt her absence wearing on him. That he already missed her smile, the way she constantly challenged him, her spirit and life and all the little things that made her so… fantastic.
He stroked her cheek with his thumb without conscious thought of doing so, trying to bring relief to her hot skin. To bring her reprieve from what he had caused, this minor sickness just the latest in the long list of injustices she had been served.
It wasn’t right, what he did to her. Putting her in danger, taking her away from her family, her home, everyone she cared about. He placed her in situations he knew were perilous, risked her life daily (hourly, if he was being honest with himself) and stole her away from the people who loved her because when she wasn’t there, wasn’t near him, he found himself incapable of functioning. Found himself missing her, this human girl, more than he should have.
Rose Tyler turned the Doctor into a selfish man, made him forget the title, obligation and burden of being the last of the Timelords. She, in her innocence, made him human. And the Doctor could not afford to be human. Not anymore.
He was pulled from his thoughts when he felt her instinctively lean into his cool touch, nuzzling the palm of his hand as she let out a sound of contentment.
The Doctor allowed himself a small smile at her movement.
She was just child, barely twenty, had but one lifetime ahead of her and could offer him nothing save for her companionship. He should have been able to leave her at any time. He should have been capable of giving her back her life without the remotest sense of loss.
He shouldn’t have needed her so much.
It was ironic. Months after his regeneration and there he was, stroking Rose’s fevered brow and hoping that she would wake up, if only so he could escape from his own thoughts, so he could stop thinking of a life without her.
He needed saving from himself.
And Jackie. She had popped her head in minutes earlier and sent him a look that clearly foretold his fast-approaching death.
He leaned forward over the bed, one hand still on her brow, the other finding and grasping her hand in his. Bringing his mouth close to her ear, he whispered a desperate, “Help me.”
His plea was met with nothing save for Rose’s prone figure and silence.
Letting out a self-ridiculing snort, the Doctor began to pull his hands away, annoyed at his foolishness.
Until he felt Rose’s fingers tighten around his own, saw her eyes slowly flutter open and was graced the image of her tired smile.
“Hello,” she said with a voice hoarse from lack of use. “Did you miss me?"
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