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Dim blue light danced across the thick shag carpet in unpredictable patterns. A conversation, soft and muted, created a quiet hum in the background.
A cough echoed through the room, deep and painful even to hear; followed by a weak sob and a sniffle. The worn, brown plaid sofa creaked, and a hand reached over the slightly tatty arm to the box of tissues resting on a nearby table.
A button was pressed by accident and the volume increased suddenly, allowing the thick woolly blanket — and theoretically, the living creature bundled under it — to once again hear the sound from the programme. The opening theme of EastEnders began to play through the room, and the blanket shifted a bit to reveal a round face, devoid of cosmetics and desperately in need of them.
The tissue which had been so recently nabbed fulfilled its purpose — accompanied by a noise that would not have been unexpected from an angry goose — and joined the growing pile on the floor. Rose Tyler adjusted the warm wool around her shoulders and sat up, frowning blearily at the television. Another cough racked her body, and she reached frantically for the bucket that had appeared quite mystically on the table earlier that day. Her lower lip trembled as she held it against her chest, noting thankfully that the TARDIS was apparently, on occasion, self-cleaning.
She hated being sick.
A thin line of amber light sliced through the dark room, quickly shadowed by the tall form peering in. If the Doctor's reaction to her state was anything but delight at her company, he didn't show it. He grinned and stepped in, shutting the door behind him. He held a tray, which in turn held several steaming brews.
"Enoyin' your terrible telly?" He questioned, settling the tray on the coffee table in front of the sofa.
She tried to glare at him, but only managed a rather pathetic pout. A faint squeak escaped her as she tried to reply; she stopped short and tears began to well in her eyes. She finally just shook her head and pulled her knees up, still cradling the bucket.
He took it from her, placing it out of the way but within easy reach of either of them, then he sat next to her, laying his hand gently on her forehead. "Still runnin' a bit of fever," he muttered. "Trust you to walk into a hospital and get sick."
She frowned petulantly and batted his hand away. She shook her head again and sniffled unhappily.
"You're a terrible patient," he added, leaning forward to pick up a large stone bowl. "Drink your tea and eat your soup, watch your bad telly, in a few hours you'll be tolerable again."
She didn't move, still hugging the blanket around herself and looking up at him with wet eyes. He sighed, picking up a spoon and dipping it in the bowl.
"Domestics," he muttered, bringing the soup to her mouth. She accepted the soothing liquid and let out a little sigh, finally opening her cocoon enough to take the bowl as well. He handed it to her, suddenly smiling brightly again. "There you go, chicken noodle soup. Best thing for a cold, not even my frankly magnificent medlab can produce better."
She nodded, looking faintly irritated as she fished out tiny bites of meat.
"Oi, make sure you get the broth, that's the best bit."
There was a pause as she glanced at him, then she pushed the bowl at him and grabbed for the bucket, retching painfully. He set the soup aside quickly and pulled her hair from her face, rubbing her back gently. She slowly moved back against the sofa, now sobbing in earnest. He held a tissue in front of her face and she accepted it with shaky fingers. She wiped her eyes and nose, attempting to stem the flow from each, before adding it to the small mountain she'd already acquired.
"Tea now," he informed her firmly, wrapping her fingers around a warm mug. "Drink that up, get a bit more of that soup in you and I'll give you another dose of medicine." Her eyes widened a bit, her hazel gaze meeting his pleadingly. He shook his head. "Nope, not until you've got somethin' in that stomach of yours or else you won't keep it down anyway."
She sniffled again, but let out a pleased sigh after her first sip of the tea. She nodded at him appreciatively, and within a few minutes had drained half the cup. He made her put it down and resume eating the soup, until she had at least half the broth and a few of the noodles in her. Only then did he pull a small blue vial from his pocket and add approximately a quarter of its contents to her remaining tea.
She drank the concoction greedily, letting out a murmur of relief as the medicine worked its magic. Her expression softened a bit as the symptoms were temporarily suppressed. She still held the empty cup in her hands, her fingers attempting to soak up its residual warmth. She blinked sleepily, and wavered a bit as she looked up at the Doctor.
He rolled his eyes and grabbed her pillows from the arm of the sofa, piling them against his leg. "Well, lie down," he commanded, a bit gruffly. She frowned a little and he gestured to the pillows; she blushed but adjusted herself to rest her head on his lap. He brushed his cool fingers across her forehead again, nodding slightly to himself. "I'm sorry," he said after a moment. She turned her head to see him, her brow furrowing slightly. "My fault," he added, by way of explanation. "Coulda got you killed in that hospital because I wasn't payin' attention. Even still, you're sufferin' 'cause of me."
She was already shaking her head; she opened her mouth and scowled when all that emerged was a squeak. She pointed to the half-eaten soup and met his eyes earnestly.
"Of course I'm takin' care of you," his brows drew together. "That's nothin' to do with it."
She pointed at the tea, and then poked the pocket of his leather jacket where his vial of blue medicine had once again been stashed.
"Rose," he frowned at her.
She frowned back at him and reached up, pulling his hand to hers and lacing their fingers together. She wrapped her other hand around his and squeezed tight, holding his hand close to her chest. He softened, and his free hand brushed her damp hair from her face.
"You can still put up a good argument, even deeply medicated," he told her with a soft chuckle. "Maybe I should keep you without a voice more often. Nice change 'round here."
She scowled, and then shifted back to face the television. Her hands, still clasping his between them, moved a bit awkwardly until she'd fit them under her head for a pillow. It couldn't have been more than five minutes later when her eyes drifted shut and her grip on him loosened. His free hand adjusted the afghan around her, and a faint mumble of appreciation escaped the sleeping blonde.
When she woke, hours later, she found her voice had returned, her nausea had vanished and the Doctor was vehemently denying having enjoyed a single moment of his forced EastEnders marathon.
He was still holding her hand.
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