"I could save the world but lose you."
The words echoed around in Rose's head. Words spoken by the Doctor. To her. Just a few hours ago, right before the start of World War Three.
Rose wasn't one to lie to herself. She knew she was nothing special, but when the Doctor had announced his reason for not taking necessary action, she had got to experience the thrill of truly meaning something to someone.
As they had braced themselves in the steel enforced cabinet, the Doctor had held Harriet Jones' hand, but he had wrapped his other arm around Rose's waist and secured her to his side. Minus a few bumps and bruises, they had come out of the ordeal just fine.
But right now, Rose was not fine.
After walking away from 10 Downing Street, the Doctor couldn't have gotten away from her fast enough. He had told her in short order if she wanted to come with him, she needed to "pack now and make it quick" because he was leaving in fifteen minutes with or without her.
So she had run to pack, forgetting half of the things she had wanted to bring. At the TARDIS he had been pleasant but she reckoned that had only been because Jackie and Mickey were present. The Oncoming Storm didn't want another Oncoming Slap. Since Rose had been on the receiving end of that slap once after getting too mouthy with her mum. She didn't blame him one bit.
But the easy conversation and joking came to an abrupt halt once the doors had been shut. He had sent the magnificent ship into the vortex without acknowledging that Rose was breathing air or occupying space.
That's when she'd figured out the problem. The Doctor was embarrassed by his words. He had obviously said them in the heat of the moment, thinking they were about to meet their end. He had said something he hadn't meant and now he didn't know how to make the words go away.
Rose had done that herself, plenty of times, speaking without thinking (it was how she had gotten slapped by her mum). If she wanted things to go back to normal between them, she'd have to give him an out: show him she wasn't going to hold him to his words and actions.
"'M filthy from all the dust. Gonna go hit the shower then bed. G'night, Doctor." With that, Rose disappeared down the corridor, counting her steps slowly in an attempt to make her retreat seem unhurried.
After a long, hotter-than-hot shower, Rose had made her way to the galley (God forbid you call it a kitchen) and made herself a cup of sleepy-time tea.
She sat, nursing her steaming cup of tea and working to heal her broken heart. It was her fault for getting her hopes up, ever thinking an all-powerful alien could have feelings for her.
So what if she had loved him since he held her hand and told her about the turn of the Earth? That fact didn't matter. What mattered was the Doctor would never slum it with an uneducated and unemployed teenager. Her little fantasies needed to stop so he wouldn't drop her back on the Estate.
Too bad she wasn't born a tree princess from the Forest of Cheem. She snorted a laugh at the thought, causing her hand to twitch and hot tea to spill on her hand. "Shit!"
She jumped up, rushing to put her hand under the cold water that had automatically started running. Blimey, did she love this ship! Hearing Rose's thoughts, the TARDIS flashed the lights and chuckled with the sound of tinkling bells.
Rose stared off into space as the water cooled the overheated patch of skin.
"What're you doin'?"
Rose yelped at the gruff Northern voice. "Jesus, Doctor! Don't do that!"
"'S my ship." He crossed his arms and leaned against the doorframe. Rose noticed he wasn't wearing his leather jacket and had even changed his jumper. "Thought you were goin' to bed."
Rose turned the water off and inspected her hand. "Yeah, well, I wanted some tea but then I spilled some and burned my hand." The redness had gone down and there was no sign of the skin blistering. "'M gonna make another cup, then I'll be out your way."
She started the motions of making more tea, trying to ignore the Doctor, who still remained in the doorway. She prepared her mug and turned to him. He was watching her with a pensive expression.
"You want one?" She held out an empty mug in offering.
"No." He caught her hand, stopping her movements. He ran his thumb over the minor burn. "Does it hurt?"
Rose had to work to catch her breath so she could actually form words. "Nah, 's not so bad. I've had worse. The one I got on Platform One... that burn hurt."
His head snapped up. "You got hurt?"
She removed her hand from his and finished making her tea, wanting to nip this conversation in the bud. "It wasn't anything big. When I was trapped in that room, a piece of the wall that was on fire fell and grazed my shoulder. Only had a few tiny blisters with it." She put the kettle and sugar away. "Now I'm off to bed. Night."
Rose made her way around the Doctor but he stopped her with a hand on her shoulder. She turned, wary of what he had to say.
"Why didn't you tell me you were hurt?" He looked angry and she couldn't understand why, then again, she understood nothing about him.
"You had more important things to do, yeah. Didn't wanna bother you. 'Sides, fixed myself right up."
Brows furrowed, he watched her. She used his silence as a chance to slip out. She gave a tiny wave of her hand and disappeared to her room.
Rose snuggled under the covers, pulling them to up under her nose. She wanted to muffle her already quiet sobs. She was crying tears of sadness over what could never be and of embarrassment over thinking what could have been.
Thinking she imagined the knock on her door, Rose closed her eyes, trying to push all thoughts of the Doctor from her mind.
knock knock knock
"Rose? Are you awake?"
She did not imagine that. Wiping her eyes with the cuff of her oversized, long-sleeved t shirt, Rose made her way over to the door.
"For someone who couldn't get away from me fast enough earlier, you think he'd leave me alone," she mumbled to herself.
"I heard that," he called through the door.
She sniffed. "Of course you did." She opened the door. "What is it, Doctor?"
"I, uh, I'd like to talk to you if that's alright." His voice was soft like the cashmere of his jumpers.
"Yeah, sure. What's up?"
"May I come in?"
She stood back to let him enter. She watched as he walked over to her bed and pulled his boots off, making himself comfortable on the neat side of her bed. She quirked an eyebrow at his audacity. He quirked his eyebrow right back until she gave him a small smile and joined him on the bed. She pulled her knees up then stretched the t-shirt over them, just realizing that she didn't have jimjam bottoms on.
"What ya wanna talk about?"
"A couple things, actually." He closed his mouth and looked down at his folded hands.
"Doctor, you may have super hearing, but I don't."
"Oi! Better not make a crack about me ears, Rose Tyler."
She gave him a shy smile. "Oh, I'd never do that. Love those ears, me."
Shit! Did she really just say that?
Surprising Rose, he reached over and grabbed her hand. "Do you mean that?"
She began to tremble. Should she tell him the truth? She sighed. Might as well get it all out there in the open. "Yeah, I do."
He smiled then his lips dropped into a frown. "About what I said today..."
Here it comes.
He seemed to be struggling so she decided to help him out. "It's okay, Doctor."
He turned to face her. "You sure about that?"
She could feel the tears creeping back up and did her best to hold them back. She couldn't meet his eyes as she spoke. "Yeah. People say things they don't mean when they're stressed. I understand."
"What? Is that what you think?" Her puzzled expression must have said it all. He sighed and ran his free hand over his face. "Rose, that's not what I'm trying to say."
"I don't get it."
"Rose, I meant what I said. I couldn't bring myself to do anything that would hurt you. You mean more to me than anything I've ever held dear."
She still didn't comprehend. "Sure didn't seem like it when you told me you'd leave me if I wasn't back in time. Then when I came back, you barely looked at me."
"Rose, I'm a coward. You're so young and innocent and I'm old and have done such terrible things in my long life, a life that will continue on long after you're gone. I was tryin' to fight what I was feelin' for you."
She met his eyes now, not wanting to hope but unable to stop herself. "And what were you feelin'?"
His grip tightened on her hand, causing the small burn to sting a bit. She ignored the sensation, instead focusing on his bright blue eyes.
"What I've been feelin' since bein' trapped in that basement with you in Cardiff. That moment, when you said we'd go down together, I knew I have never and would never love someone as much as I love you."
Rose sucked in a sharp breath as her heart picked up speed. Was she asleep and dreaming? Was this one of her fantasies? He seemed real enough. His hand felt warm and solid in hers.
"You love me? Why?"
His brows furrowed deep. "What do you mean 'why'?"
"I mean, I'm nothin' special. You're the most powerful being in the universe and I'm just... me."
"Rose Tyler." He pulled her until she was sitting cradled in his lap. "You, my precious girl, are everythin' special. You're the light that shines through my darkness. I had no intention of surviving that blast at Henrick's, but you gave me somethin' I never thought I'd have again. Hope."
Tears flowed freely down her cheeks. Fisting her hands in his jumper, she leaned her forehead against his. "Tell me I'm not dreamin'."
He let out a low chuckle, and fuck was that sexy. "No, love. You aren't dreamin'."
A sob escaped her lips. "I just can't believe it. You love me like I love you. I didn't think I was worth it."
The big, goofy grin she adored broke out across his handsome face. "You love me, too?"
She nodded. "Since 'forget me, Rose Tyler'."
"'M so glad you don't listen to me."
"Me too." She pulled back to meet his gaze. "I love you, my Doctor."
"My Rose, I love you."
He cradled her face in his large hands. She cherished the feeling of his calloused fingers grazing her skin. She gave him a tongue touched smile and laughed when he eyes dropped to her mouth.
"Minx," he growled before capturing her tongue with his lips. His kiss was gentle but firm and his tongue was smooth as it glided against hers. Before she could open up to him, to deepen their first kiss, he pulled back. "Before I forget, promise me you'll tell me when you're hurt. No matter what I'm doin' or what's goin' on, you will always be more important. Promise me, Rose."
"I promise, Doctor." She wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed a lingering kiss to his wet lips. The only reason she broke away was because of her jaw-popping yawn.
"Time for my little human to sleep."
"Time for my Time Lord to hold me while I sleep."
"Rose Tyler, your wish is my command."