A Teaspoon And An Open Mind: A Doctor Who Fan Fiction Archive
Tenth Doctor
To Have And Not To Hold by mtemplar [Reviews - 266] Printer Chapter or Story
Author's Notes:
Vingt-Cinq: In which there is a bath and some contemplation....

Right, Rose thought with false bravado. The quicker I get this over with, the better. After tucking the shivering Doctor under the soft bedding, she stripped off her robe and undergarments, grimaced at her tattered camisole, and picked up a sponge. As she immersed it in the heated, scented water, she kept a wary eye on the occupant of the bed, but the Doctor still hadn't stirred. She quickly scrubbed her face and body, getting the worst of the blood and grime off. After rinsing with a small amount of plain water from the second basin and toweling herself dry, she had to admit that she did feel much better now that she was clean. Deciding against putting on her jeans, she slipped into another set of undergarments and robe, feeling the orange-red silk glide sensuously over her skin. After putting on the embroidered slippers, she padded over to the bed, wondering how she should proceed. Should she try to wake him? She ended up deciding to just get it done, as the water would grow cold soon, and she didn't think that he would appreciate a cold bath. His lashes were dark against his pale cheek and she felt confident that he wouldn't wake anytime soon.

Rose grabbed a clean sponge and plunged it into the frothy water. After wringing out most of the moisture, she climbed up on the bed and began to dab at his face, having a sudden urge to eradicate all physical traces of what Melina had done to him. She gently swiped at his reddened lips a few extra times, wishing she could take away what may have happened to his psyche just as easily.

She continued to slowly cleanse his cheeks and chin, which were beginning to show signs of stubble growth. She realized she'd never seen him shave or style his hair, and suddenly wanted to, very much so. Moving to his throat, she encountered not only more stubble, but scattered reddish-purple marks marring the paleness of his skin. A sudden, quick anger suffused her as she remembered how Melina had nipped at him... just there. She hadn't realized she was pressing quite so hard at the marks until the Doctor shifted slightly in the bed, a grimace on his face. Rose guiltily went to rinse where she had washed, albeit much more gently this time.

She continued her ministrations, the water warm and comfortable to her hand, and she hoped it felt the same for him. The heady fragrance of lotus spiked with sandalwood and honey soothed her frazzled nerves and made her feel relaxed and safe. She was steadily lulled into an almost dreamlike state, with the flickering light of the fireplace adding to her reverie. Drawing aside the plush bedcovering, she felt her heart swell at the sight of him. He lay vulnerable before her, with his bruises, traces of green slime and dried trails of rusty blood. His hair was completely askew, his trousers were dirty and he was a mess, but he was, at the moment, the most precious thing she'd ever laid her eyes on. The reality of the situation was beginning to catch up to her as her dreams began to fade and she was left with the creature in front of her. She soon settled into a comfortable rhythm - wash, rinse, repeat.

Picking up his right hand, she carefully traced the sponge along each of his fingers, watching the bubbles run down his arm to his elbow to drip onto the towel below. He has such beautiful hands, she thought, suddenly wanting to feel them on her, ghosting lightly over her skin or pressed to her temples - she'd happily take either. She repeated the process with his left, finishing with a kiss to his palm after rinsing.

The light of the fireplace set the Doctor's skin aglow and Rose swallowed painfully as she looked at his unguarded form, his lips slightly parted in sleep. She desperately wanted to feel his body curved about hers, to feel the subtle press of his squared male hips against her own.

Rose just wanted.

She wished that she could keep her mind from straying to what had transpired not so very long ago, though it seemed like a lifetime away. When he had lain beside her in this bed, naked and willing, and they had danced.... A pang of longing hit her, of wanting to feel his cool weight pressing her into the mattress, even as her traitorous body insisted on recreating the sensation of him moving within her, filling and stretching her and making her feel gloriously alive.... The Doctor shivered again, snapping Rose out of her reverie, reminding her that the water would soon grow cold. The urge to lie down beside him and put her arm around him was almost overwhelming. She wanted so badly to curl up to him and warm him with her body, to hold him close while stroking her fingers through his hair, but she didn't think she had that right after what had happened. At least, not at the moment. She squeezed her eyes shut, feeling a familiar wetness there, and returned to her task.

She began to wash his chest, rubbing lightly over his pectorals, trying to remove the worst of the blood and slime before having to rinse. As she carefully stroked over his newly mended skin, she fought to keep the tears from blurring her vision. She had done this to him, and even though he had asked her to, she still felt the need to do right by him. Though she would hardly call him fragile, she would call him vulnerable, relying only on his wits, his wonderful TARDIS, and occasionally her to make his way in the universe. He needed her now, regardless of her feelings, and she wasn't about to let him down.

Rose hesitated, trying to remember how Lyra had rolled the Doctor over so easily earlier. Cross left foot over right, she thought as she did so, then pulled his left shoulder and hip toward herself. He rolled to her readily, exhaling softly as she propped him on his side against her knees and examined his back. Some traces of blood lingered from where they had run down his side to pool on the rock, and she gently eradicated them as she steadied his shoulder with her other hand. He twitched as the soapy water sluiced across the skin between his shoulder blades and she froze momentarily, peeking down to look at his face. He appeared to still be deeply asleep, and Rose relaxed, changing sponges to rinse, stroking gently down the slim cords of muscle to remove all traces of soap. Task completed, she gently eased him away from her and back onto the towels, dropping a light kiss to his forehead. Sliding off the bed, she hurried over to the fireplace, seeking the clean bedcovering that Lyra had told her about. She found it near the bottom, plush and soft against her questing hand, and quickly pulled the covering from the basket. It was a deep maroon in color, almost jewel-like in tone, and she unfolded it as she brought it back to the bed, shaking out the creases. The Doctor was still shivering; she quickly yanked the now damp towels from under his upper body, and draped the covering over him, tucking it in tightly around his arms.

She lifted up the bottom of the covering and frowned as she examined his feet. They were filthy from running around without his trainers, and he had several small cuts on them - most likely from the sharp rocks that seemed to be ubiquitous to Karn. They seemed to have been very recently healed, much like his chest wound, consisting mainly of dried, crusty blood with reddened but intact skin beneath. She began to cleanse his feet with the soapy, scented water, trying to press carefully around the where the numerous small wounds had been.

Rose had just begun to clean the arch of his left foot when the Doctor suddenly jerked it out out of her hand. She stood up quickly, thinking he must be awake, almost upsetting the twin basins on the bench at the foot of the bed. He wasn't awake, but he had drawn his knee up, and the grimace on his face was beginning to fade. Rose frowned and grabbed at his foot, trying to bring it back to her to finish cleaning the grime from it. Realization hit her as the Doctor again jerked his foot from her grasp - he was ticklish! Smiling softly, she climbed up onto the bed, sitting carefully on his thighs, her silken robe pooling beneath her. He jerked slightly as she again picked up his foot to resume her task. Carefully rubbing around the sensitive areas of his feet, she methodically got rid of the worst of the dirt, even as his legs continued to jerk beneath her. Satisfied that she'd done as good of a job as she could, she dried his feet with the towel beneath them when she was finished.

She slid the damp towel from the bed and discarded it on the floor with the others, dumping the used, soiled sponges on top. Only a small handful of clean ones remained, and she glanced at the sleeping Time Lord on the bed, huddled with the maroon plush bedding wrapped tightly around his upper body and still wearing his dirty trousers. Rose dipped a finger in the sudsy basin, finding that the water was quickly cooling. She sighed, deciding that his legs probably weren't that dirty, but she should really remove his trousers and the remaining towels from the bed in order to keep it clean for him.

She picked up the end of the bench, slowly dragging it away from the bed and nearer to the fireplace, trying to avoid spilling any of the water still contained within the basins. After warming her hands briefly in front of the now dying fire, she threw in two of the additional logs that had been brought by Sister Morgana and decided that she couldn't delay the inevitable any longer.

As the fire flared back to life, Rose climbed back up on the bed alongside the Doctor's still form, now curled up with his nose buried in the bedding. She gently pushed him onto his back and reached with shaking hands for the fastening of his trousers. She was fumbling with the closure when she heard a small squeak. Looking up, Rose froze in place as a pair of wide brown eyes stared back at her.
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