Vingt-Sept: "J-just to make sure I'm understanding correctly - sorry, still a bit fuzzy," he stammered, shyly looking up into her eyes. "You're to be the designated driver, then?"
"What... what do you mean, your barriers are down?" Rose didn't even try to keep the tremor out of her voice.
"Told you I just needed to relax, didn't I?" The Doctor's tone was light, but Rose could hear a tinge of uncertainty beneath.
"Oh," Rose said softly, trying desperately to clamp down on her suddenly scattered thoughts and the swell of longing in her chest. "But... you nearly died back there - you're supposed to be recovering! You can't possibly want to... to - "
"You... you don't want...." the Doctor's voice had dropped to a mumble, and he collapsed back down to the bed, closing his eyes and visibly swallowing. "Sorry, I'm sorry. Was silly of me, really. I misunderstood. Just give me a minute - "
Rose reached out her hand, tracing around the reddened stripe of skin on his chest as the Doctor visibly shivered. "No, that's not it at all," she murmured, moving her hand up to press it to his chest. Twin heartbeats thundered against her palm and Rose fought the urge to shake him. "I love you and I do want you, don't get me wrong - but I nearly killed you. It can wait... until you're feeling better."
He grimaced, shifting in the bed. "Touching me isn't helping," he growled. "I'm doing my best to get my barriers back up and flooding my system isn't making it any easier."
How could he be like that, Rose wondered as she snatched her hand back. How much was one small human being supposed to be able to endure? She really wished she knew the answer, because she was pretty damn sure she'd reached her limit. Alarmed, she watched the Doctor turn from her to curl into a tight ball, struggling to control himself. Did he think she was rejecting him? Her chest began to tighten painfully and she made a soft keening noise. The Doctor made a questioning sound in response and Rose hung her head.
You're alive - you've come back to me.
I almost killed you and there's no way I can ever pay whoever I need to pay back.
I'm not rejecting you, but you nearly died and now you drop your barriers?
Rose couldn't help it - waves of pent-up emotion crashed over her, and her breath began to hitch; her eyes welled up and blurred her vision as the tears began to fall. She swiped at her eyes in embarrassment, but then she felt a cool hand clutching her shoulder, sliding to her neck and trying to pull her forward.
"Please don't cry, Rose. Please - I'm such an idiot," his voice implored. "Please don't cry like that. I'm sorry, Rose - I'm so sorry. Please, I'll do anything," the Doctor pleaded, his eyes wide.
Now that the floodgate had been opened, Rose couldn't seem to stop the tears. "I'm saying all the wrong things," she wailed. "I would have done anything to have kept you from being hurt," she said, her voice cracking and chest heaving. "I nearly lost you back there - " She suddenly couldn't breathe and the Doctor pulled her into his arms. She grabbed onto his shoulders and clung to him wretchedly until her sobs began to subside some time later.
"It's ok, Rose - I'm fine. Just fine," a soft voice murmured against her cheek. The lips that moved across her forehead were softer.
"I know," she hiccuped as she wiped her nose with the sleeve of her robe.
"I didn't mean to upset you," he said quietly. "I wasn't thinking. I shouldn't have snapped at you."
"Don't worry about it," she sniffed, tilting her head back a bit to look at him. "I thought dropping your barriers was supposed to be hard to do." The Doctor was silent, and Rose watched as he ran a hand through his now dry and strangely flat hair. "Doctor?"
He smiled at her sheepishly. "I guess I find your fingers in my hair extremely relaxing?"
Rose laughed despite herself. "I'll have to remember that. Were you able to fix your barriers?"
"No," he admitted. "It seems once the process is set in motion, it's very difficult to stop. Don't worry about it, though. I'll be ok, I can handle it."
She skated her fingertips experimentally across his bare chest, feeling and hearing his sharp intake of breath.
"Unless you are intent on teasing," he hissed. Rose tried to withdraw her hand, but he caught it in his and brought it to his lips, licking at the tips of her digits. His warm tongue curled around her fingers and pleasurable sensations began to register in her belly.
"If you're sure you're feeling better," Rose murmured, her resolve to give him more time to recover beginning to crumble, "I do want you. I want to make love to you. Very much."
The Doctor brought her hand to his chest with a sigh. "I know that I made you cry before," he said in a low voice, not meeting her gaze. "But I promise... I'll do whatever you ask me to do. I'll learn what you like and how to please you - I'll do my best to make it good. I'll even try not to talk too much."
The Doctor's words hurt, and Rose stared into the weary eyes of the man who lay before her in disbelief. It wasn't supposed to be like this. It felt as though he was sacrificing himself again for her sake and her guts churned uncomfortably. "But that's... that's not what I want," she murmured. She pressed her hand over his hearts and leaned in close, her lips centimeters from his. "I want it to be good for you, too - for both of us."
He inhaled sharply, his breath catching in his throat, and she turned her head to whisper close to his ear. "And for the record, you're not rubbish at it. Not at all," she said, watching as his eyes widened in surprise.
"What? But... you - " he sputtered indignantly.
"Shhhhhh," she crooned to him. "It was... really," she paused to lean in closer yet, her lips brushing the shell of his ear. "Really good."
"Oh," he said in a small voice, shuddering beneath her hand.
He was so tantalizingly close, and she could see that he was responding to her. Desire began to stir low in her belly, spreading tendrils of warmth through her. Her hand was suddenly lifted from his chest and she felt the softness of his lips pressed to the back of her hand in a lingering kiss. A shiver ran through her body, and her mind momentarily went blank, transfixed by the feel of his mouth on her skin. She looked up to see his gaze fixated on her, the pupils of his eyes beginning to dilate, and the room seemed to grow quite warm as he released her hand.
"What do you want?"
He blinked, seemingly surprised by her question. "What do you mean?"
Indecision gripped her as she tried to work up her nerve to clarify what she had asked. "I... I mean, what should I do?"
"I think you should do whatever you like," the Doctor said, shyly reaching out his hand to her. A faint blush began to spread across his cheeks, and Rose's heart fluttered in her chest. His obvious embarrassment at even discussing the subject of sex was endearing, and she felt a swell of affection toward him.
"I know what I would like," Rose said as he suddenly fidgeted in the bed. "As long as you're sure you're ok, and are... up for it," she grinned and continued in a low tone, trying to make her voice sound as seductive as she could manage while her eyes roved over what little of his skin she could see above the maroon covering. "I think you should let me make you feel good, since you're still recovering and all that. I promise I'll be very, very gentle. Are your barriers still down?"
"Yes," he hissed between gritted teeth.
"Good," she said quietly as she moved down to kiss him softly, her lips brushing against his. The Doctor tried to sit up to deepen the kiss, but Rose pressed her hand hard against his chest, pushing him into the mattress.
"J-just to make sure I'm understanding correctly - sorry, still a bit fuzzy," he stammered, shyly looking up into her eyes. "You're to be the designated driver, then?"
"Yep," she responded, popping the 'p'. "You're supposed to be resting."
"I see," he said dubiously. "And you're sure it's not because I'm rubbish at it?"
Rose grinned. "Very sure."
"Ok," he squeaked, as she traced her fingers along the edge of the maroon covering.
"There's something I did want to ask you, though," Rose said, her voice low. "You're telepathic, yeah? Is that something you'd be able to teach me to do? To make you feel good?"
"I... I don't know if it's something you can learn to do," the Doctor said, his voice unsteady. "I can assess your capability when we get back to the TARDIS, but - " He swallowed hard, closing his eyes. "In all fairness, I really don't think you'll be needing that particular skill right now."
"I just want to be able to please you - "
"Rose, believe me, that won't be a problem," he said as he propped himself up on his elbows and toyed nervously with the hem of her robe. "And do we really have to talk about this now? And when I say now, I mean, right now?"
"All right," Rose said, smiling. "Have it your way. I'm sure we can find something else to talk about. Or not." She bent to kiss him, shifting her body over at the same time in an attempt to sit astride him. Unfortunately for Rose, the Doctor had drawn up one leg under the bedding, and her hand came down on his knee as they both shifted, causing the Doctor to jerk violently and Rose's hand to slip, making her pitch face-forward to the bedding between the Doctor's legs.
The Doctor's eyebrows arched into his hairline, and his mouth dropped open in a rounded 'o' of surprise. Rose didn't move for a moment, then she pushed herself up, her hands on either side of his hips while he stared at her, his eyes darkening. She sat up on her knees, and watched him intently as she slowly crawled up his front, pushing him again into the bedding. He was panting wildly as she lowered herself down to kiss him, a lovely moan escaping him at the contact.
He reached for her as she broke the kiss, and she shifted back, using both hands to grab his wrists and press them down to the mattress below. "Promise me you'll let me take care of you," she insisted.
"I'll try," he gasped, his arms twitching in Rose's grasp. "But no promises. Do your worst, Rose Tyler."
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