Rose cast a sidelong glance at the Doctor. It was so strange to call him the Doctor, to see him at the controls of the TARDIS. She realized he was the same Doctor in a different body, but it was just...awkward. She examined from afar; taking note of his new look. He was certainly younger-looking and more attractive, in the general sense. His facial features seemed softer, gentler, sort of...pretty. This odd new Doctor was pretty, whereas the old Doctor, her Doctor, had been rugged, attractive in a way that only someone who knew him would find.
He was younger, prettier, and most certainly not her Doctor. He spoke to her as though he were still the same old Doctor, which, she supposed, he was. Yet he seemed more easy-going, and had even gone a bit “domestic,” finally staying for dinner after the Sycorax adventure. It was just downright odd.
“Ro-ose,” the Doctor said, snapping her back to reality.
She realized she'd been staring, and blushed profusely, immediately drawing her eyes away from him. “Sorry,” she said. “Must have spaced out for a bit.”
The Doctor frowned. “Are you alright? You've seemed a bit distant lately.”
“Yeah sure. I'm fine.” She smiled, but it didn't reach her eyes.
One thing that hadn't changed one bit was his penetrating gaze. His eyes were locked onto hers, and he could tell that something was troubling her. Not wanting to push the subject, he shrugged and continued tinkering with the TARDIS.
Rose stood up abruptly and announced that she was going to get to sleep a bit early. The Doctor lifted his head and watched her leave over the top of his spectacles. He shook his head, frowning, and looked down.
Rose sat on the bed she had claimed in one of the TARDIS' many rooms, her head in her hands. She was crying, though she wasn't quite sure why. The past few days had been some of the most confusing days she'd ever endured. She had walked into the control room of the TARDIS the morning after Christmas, and instead of being greeted by her Doctor, she looked into the disturbingly handsome face of the new Doctor.
He's not new, she told herself. Just...different.
She had told herself that since he had regenerated before her eyes, that he was the same Doctor she'd spent the past year with, that he hadn't changed anything but his look. But she just couldn't force herself to believe it.
The door silently opened, and the Doctor poked his head in, looking rather worried. “Rose? Are you alright, I heard--”
Rose sniffled and said, “Yeah, I'm fine,” her voice cracking slightly. She kept her head down so that he wouldn't see her tears.
The Doctor didn't have to see her tears to realize something was wrong, and he quickly swept across the room to sit next to her. He reached for her hand, but stopped. She had seemed so distant lately...
“Rose...are you...alright? With me?” he asked hesitantly.
She sniffled again and shrugged. “I don't-I don't know. I'm so confused, and-and, I just don't know.” She sobbed once into her sleeve, roughly wiping her tears away with it.
The Doctor gave in to his temptation and put his arm around her shoulders, pulling her against his chest. She sobbed again and buried her face in his shoulder. He rubbed her back with his hand, his chin resting on her head.
“I know, it's probably really weird; me being this old man but looking absolutely fantastic in this attractive young body, but you'll get used to it. I may look different and sound different, but I'm still the same old boring Time Lord you've been traveling with for almost a year,” he said lightheartedly.
Despite her tears, she chuckled gently into his chest and looked up. “Yeah,” she replied, her voice hoarse, “I guess. You're just. I don't know, you just seem like a different man, and I don't just mean physically. It's-I don't know, it's just weird. I'll get over it sometime, I s'pose.”
He grinned, his teeth bright white and straight, and said, “You won't get rid of grouchy old me so easily, Rose Tyler.”
She finally grinned a bit, and said, “One thing didn't change, though.” She became serious in an instant. She raised a hand to his face and cupped his cheek in her palm, looking into his eyes. “You've still got those eyes. They're different, sure, but you've still...I don't know. It's like, like you're seeing everythin', everythin' in my head. Like you know everything I know.”
The Doctor had stopped grinning and raised his hand to hers. Her touch had sent chills down his spine, and though she felt his penetrating gaze, he had never been more dumbfounded by her than he was right then.
Rose blushed as his hand touched hers, and she drew away from him. He held onto her hand, though, and brushed away a tear from Rose's face. He felt her lean slightly into his touch, and let his hand linger on her cheek.
“I know you feel very confused right now, Rose, but I think in time, you'll find that I'm the same man I've been since we met that night in the shop.” He smiled slightly, remembering that fateful night.
She nodded gently, and he withdrew his hand from her face, lingering for a moment over her lips. He stood and slowly walked out of the room, gently pulling the door shut behind him.
Rose fell back onto the bed, raising her hand to her lips, where the sensation of the Doctor's fingertips touching her still tingled warmly. He has very smooth hands, she thought, smiling slightly.
In the hall outside of Rose's room, the Doctor leaned against the wall, his hand on the spot where Rose had touched his face. His hearts were beating rapidly, and his thoughts had no order to them whatsoever.
“Doctor?” Rose called, standing outside his door. “Doctor, are you in here?” She thought she heard him on the other side of the door; why wasn't he answering? She cracked the door open and peeked in. Not seeing him, she frowned slightly and opened the door fully. There, at the opposite end of the room, was the Doctor. In bed. In a deep, seemingly content slumber. Rose bit her lip and blushed, and started to leave when she heard him speak.
“Rose...” he mumbled. “Rose, I already tol' you, I don't do domestic.” His face turned into a slight frown as he mumbled in his sleep. Rose covered her mouth with her hand and giggled silently. She tiptoed to his bedside and knelt on the floor.
The Doctor shifted and rolled over to face her. “Oh, I'm not scared of your mum,” he said. “That smack did hurt, though!” His hand moved to his cheek, as if he were feeling that smack from Rose's mum so long ago.
Rose grinned again, and leaned against the side of the bed, watching him sleep. He fell silent for a while, and his hand fell to rest on the edge of the bed. He had delicate-looking hands, Rose noticed. She traced the outline of his fingers, barely touching his skin. A small smile crossed his face as their hands brushed against each other. Rose held her breath, afraid he might wake and wonder what in the world she was kneeling next to him for. He slept on, though, a silly smile on his face.
His hair was tousled from sleep, and fell across his extremely handsome face. Rose gently brushed his hair away from his face and watched the rapid movements of his eyes beneath their lids. He was dreaming about something, and it appeared to be very vivid. The smile abruptly left his face, to be replaced with fear, a bit of anger, and some unreadable emotion Rose couldn't think of. She slowly drew her hand away from his face, wondering if she should leave.
“What are you doing?!” for sleep talking, this was more of a yell. Rose flinched. “I sent you back for a reason! Oh Rose, what've ya done?! You'll burn!”
Rose gasped. He was dreaming of Satellite Five. Flashes of the regeneration passed through her mind. She did not remember anything past looking into the TARDIS, the warm feeling she experienced before all went dark. She watched the Doctor intently, listening to his mumbles. His eyes were moving so quickly, Rose was surprised he didn't wake up.
“Bit dodgy,” he mumbled. “This process...”
Rose smiled, and whispered “You might end up with two 'eads.”
“Might end up with no 'ead. Imagine me with no 'ead.”
She closed her eyes, remembering his face, his hands, everything.
“Rose Tyler,” he mumbled.
She opened her eyes to find his dark, piercing brown eyes gazing back at her. She froze, unsure of what to do.
He grinned sleepily. “You were fantastic,” he said. “Absolutely fantastic...”
A tear rolled down Rose's face, unexpected. She was smiling, and the Doctor thought she'd never been more beautiful. He touched her face, and she placed her trembling hand over his.
“I'm sorry, Doctor. I was just, lookin' for you, and you were talkin' in your sleep, and I just-I was about to leave,” she stood up, but the Doctor took her hand in his and pulled her back towards him to sit on the edge of his bed. He sat up and seemed unsure of what he should do next. He looked down and rubbed the back of his neck.
“I uh, I didn't say anything, ah, odd? Did I?” He asked awkwardly.
Rose chuckled. “No. It was--” She stopped and looked away quickly.
“What?” The Doctor watched her, worried. “What did I say, Rose?”
She continued looking at her hand in her lap. “It- it was that day, at Satellite Five,” her voice cracked. “And y' told me I'd burn. And, you, y' left me, and--” She was sobbing uncontrollably.
“Oh...Rose. That's over now. That's all over,” he said and pulled her to him in a close embrace. She hesitated for a moment, then wrapped her arms around his unfamiliar neck and cried.
“I was so afraid for you, Doctor!” she cried. “You went away, and I thought I'd never see you again!” Her shoulders shook with her sobs.
The Doctor stroked her hair and whispered. “I'm here, Rose. Right here. That's all over, and we're both here, and I've honestly never felt better in my life.”
She looked up at him, tears staining her cheeks, and smiled hesitantly at him. “You are him, right? You're still my Doctor?” She hugged him closer to her as if she never wanted to let go.
He simply nodded, kissing the top of her head softly.