“Rose, you have to be more specific.”
“I am specific. Ugh.”
“Okay, I give up. What is it?”
“Doctor…,” moaned Rose .
The Time Lord rolled his eyes. “Oh, perfect. The whining tone. What is it now, Rose?” his tone, although not unkind, hid a barely-there touch of exasperation.
“Do we have to go there? Do we absolutely have to take part in the challenge? Won’t it end up with me seeing things only in black and white again for two weeks, won’t it lead to me being endlessly hungry for three days, won’t it make my legs dance without my own wish if we go there?” listed Rose tiredly while rubbing her eyes with her fists.
The Doctor found the action oddly adorable. Rose continued lamenting.
“But it will! Or we’ll end up in a prison with no loo like the last time it happened on MarooniaV, or we’ll have to take part in the International Olympics and I would be shamed publicly for not keeping up with the species who have 5 legs, or knock me and make me see erotic dreams to test the new porno-platform they’re launching in the five nearest planets. Eugh!” Rose puts out her tongue and makes a gag sound, remembering the particularly unpleasant pornographic experience.
The Doctor is truly sorry about Rose witnessing that and doing so without her explicit consent, that’s why he might have gone a little berserk when he barged into the research laboratory where experiments on different species were run. He knew what Rose had seen was distasteful enough when she lost her breakfast in the nearest bathroom, and he summoned the intergalactic police right after he locked all the crazy pornography-creating scientists in one room while zapping all electronic memory-holders with his sonic to destroy all the illegally obtained data.
And all the adult content videos, too.
Rose is still talking. He is trying to concentrate on what Rose is complaining about, again.
“And then you’ll land us in some backwards planet with no structures to hide from the freezing wind, and my nose will be running non-stop afterwards, and the skin around it will get chipped and flaky, and then I’ll catch an alien cold or something, and I won’t be able to sleep because of it…” Rose’s voice grows high and irritated while also making the Doctor pity her. Just a little. A tiny smidge. Humans and their sleep patterns. They weren’t to blame for being created to sleep a third of their life now, were they...silly sleeping apes…
The Doctor’s eyes widen as he recognises what Rose’s sudden snit is all about.
Sleep! Rose hasn’t had a proper sleep cycle for about a week now! Rassilon, he’s been running her too hard.
The Doctor shakes his head accusingly at himself and tsks at his amateur behaviour. He should have known better than pushing Rose to a limit of sleepless days. He, the Time Lord with impressive superior biology, could take weeks and weeks of sleeping an hour here and there and still enjoying life; Rose, however, was endearingly human and couldn’t. He knew people tended to lose interest and pleasure in life if they were running low on sleep, and that’s what happened to his plucky companion. Of course she was feeling down. Of course she found upcoming adventures tasteless and tedious. Of course she refused to eat chips the last time they stopped for a meal in the 1980s, picking at her food instead with disinterest.
Rose is exhausted and it is the Doctor’s fault.
Surprisingly, he doesn’t feel held up by her diurnal habits. Astonishingly, the Doctor starts to think about what he can personally do to ensure his companion feels like her usual cheery self in no time.
He turns to face Rose and notices that the girl is sitting on the jumpseat with her shoulders slumped. He smiles gently and sighs before walking, his steps echoing loudly on the metal grating.
Rose doesn’t raise her head when she sees the tips of his boots appear in her sight.
The Doctor takes her hand and tugs her up gently.
“Come on then, Rose Tyler. Up and at’em. Let’s go get you some much-needed sleep.”
Rose’s brow furrows. “I don’t wanna sleep, Doctor, I just wanna…,” she stops her train of thought the moment his index finger lands on her lips gingerly.
“Rose, you haven’t slept properly in about a week. A nap at the laboratory and three hours the day before yesterday don’t count. I’m sorry I haven’t noticed before. Come on,” urges the Doctor while leading Rose in the direction of her room, “let’s get you caught up on your beauty sleep and you’ll turn into Belle after being a cranky Beast for the last couple of days.” The Doctor jokes, expecting an indignant objection from Rose.
It doesn’t come and the Doctor is crushed under the weight of his guilt. He should’ve taken better care of Rose, Rassilon knows she trusted him with so much, her well-being, her life, her emotions…
Anyway, thinks the Doctor while steering Rose to her bedroom, it’s time to amend his oversight and offer some rest and recuperation for his best mate. For his companion. For his travelling buddy. For the girl that brings so much joy to his hardened, ice-covered hearts.
(Rose Tyler would surely argue with that statement. A true believer in the best in people, she was.)
They step into Rose’s bedroom and the Doctor is once again amazed by the way the Tardis’s love for Rose shines through every detail in the bedroom. It’s spacious and filled with light that doesn’t seem to be too unnatural, the walls are covered in light pink wallpaper with flower patterns that are a shade darker than the wallpaper themselves. The bed is a queen bed with the arrangement of throw pillows scattered here and there on the cover that is, unsurprisingly, fuchsia-coloured. The vanity is a white-coloured one with additional lights that must provide the much-needed illumination for when Rose paints her eyelashes sooty-black and slathers clear lip gloss on her lips, smacking them deliciously, tantalising him with the artificial smell of strawberries and bubble gum.
The Doctor shakes his head vigorously, cleaning the webs of the growing infatuation for his travelling companion. It’s getting ridiculous, the way he can’t seem to control his musings and daydreams every time he thinks of Rose.
It happens frequently. Him thinking of Rose, that is.
The abundance of the colour pink and the sheer girliness of the room should bother him by all means but it doesn’t.
“Well, then,” the Doctor offers awkwardly when they both stop just shy of her bed.
“Well, then what?” inquiries Rose indifferently.
He wants to roll his eyes and to simply throw her into the bed but he knows how important rituals before bed are for humans.
Time to take matters into his own Time Lord hands.
“Off you go to the shower, of course! And try not to fall asleep there, yeah, I don’t fancy rescuing you if you start drowning,” quips the Doctor, nudging Rose’s shoulder playfully with his own.
Rose scoffs, “You can’t drown in the shower.”
The Doctor smirks. “Oh, you, Rose Tyler, certainly can. Jeopardy-friendly, you are. Won’t put it past you to drown in the empty bath.”
Rose rolls her eyes but complies when he pushes her towards the wardrobe gently, picking out a pair of pajamas from the second drawer to the left. Huh. Interesting. The underwear must be in the drawer above the pajamas, at least that’s what a research from the year 2045 says about humans and their belongings storing habits.
The Doctor wants to smack himself when he understands that he’s thinking about Rose and her underwear preferences (but not before wondering if she likes the lacy stuff from some woman’s secret shop he once saw in the magazine Rose so enjoys reading or if she’s a cotton-comfort-gal type who tolerates no nonsense when it comes to the undergarments and decent support).
The Doctor groans and bangs his head on the wall before turning around to go to the galley in hopes of finding something soothing for Rose to have before turning into the Sleeping Beauty and falling into the enchanted sleep. He ponders what he’s going to do while she sleeps her life away, unaware of the passage of time in the dreamstate.
He opens the fridge and his eyes focus on a carton of milk. Fantastic! A little honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon to add flavour will surely soothe Rose after a scaldingly hot shower she so favours.
The Doctor prepares the hot beverage hurriedly, wishing to appear in Rose’s bedroom before she steps out of shower. He knows Rose will never expect him to stay with her and to witness her getting ready for bed but he feels the overwhelming urge to bring some comfort to his dearest friend, to atone for ignoring the red flags her human mind and body threw his way while they were travelling without much-needed respite.
The Doctor ponders if he should add something sweet as a treat and puffs his cheeks before exhaling slowly. Yes. A couple of jaffa cakes with cherry filling will surely lure out the kindness and buoyancy in Rose.
He walks into her bedroom and notices that there is no sound of water running. However, there is a gentle sound of fabric whispering over skin. Rose’s probably dressing into pajamas behind those doors. He can’t quite remember if the colour of her pajamas is baby blue or pale lavender but it absolutely doesn’t matter because he’ll learn the colour in a minute - Rose’s finishing brushing her hair and it won’t be a minute before she comes out of the ensuite.
The Doctor hears the quiet ‘snick’ of the lock. Here she is in all her after-shower glory. Clear-faced, make-up-less, pale blush dotting her round cheeks, hair wavy from humidity.
Pale lavender looks lovely on her pinkened skin.
Rose, however, stops, frozen, when she notices the Doctor sitting on the edge of her bed, looking out of place in his dark leather jacket. She gapes a little before stepping to her bed and crawling under the covers clumsily. He jumps immediately and takes the glass with warmed, spiced milk before offering it to Rose.
She blinks stupidly, shocked at the gesture, but accepts the glass with a tentative smile. The Doctor watches her sip the beverage cautiously, then remembers the biscuits and holds out a small patterned plate with treats to Rose. Her eyes widen like they do in children’s cartoons - big as saucers - and she stares up at him suspiciously.
“Doctor? What’s gotten into you?” Rose asks and then relents and takes one biscuit after he repeatedly waves the plate in front of her pretty face.
“What?” he exclaims, mock-offended. “Can’t I tuck my favourite companion in when she’s so clearly suffering from exhaustion?”
Rose hesitates. “Er…”
The Doctor sighs dramatically.
“I treat her to a ‘tucking-in’ session complete with the super secret formula drink before bed and she acts suspicious,” grouches the Doctor, gesturing wildly, “Rose Tyler, I rest my case!”
Rose giggles and he smiles in reply. It’s a silly smile, the Doctor knows, the kind of fools in love wear on their faces upon seeing the person of their infatuation. Oh, the Doctor knows he’s in trouble, he’s in too deep but he can’t help but act oblivious to it. So what if he experiences more than simple friendly fondness for Rose, what will happen if he doesn’t reject the possibility of fancying Rose Tyler?
The Universe won’t end, for sure. The Universe knows already. The Tardis knows, too. Rassilon, the flamingo-like creatures from planet Allona know that the Doctor sees Rose Tyler as his beloved one (it’s an exciting story for another time.)
The Doctor is brought back to reality by a jaw-cracking yawn from Rose. He smiles again, gently extricating the empty glass from her sluggish grip, and fluffs the pillows while Rose’s sitting on the bed, staring into space, eyes unfocused. She must feel properly ready to sleep now, the Doctor muses affectionately.
He guides Rose into a lying position, tucking the blanket around her snugly. He hums in question when she slurs something. Rose tries to repeat.
“Are you tucking me in, Doctor?”
He snorts quietly and strokes her hair lovingly. She’s halfway asleep, she won’t remember much of this night tomorrow.
“There you go, Rose. Snug as a bug,” whispers the Doctor to his nearly unconscious companion. “But if you ever breathe a word of it to anyone else, Rose, I’ll deny it mightily.”
Rose mewls instead of replying and the Doctor crouches in front of her bed, kissing her cheek. He can’t remember the last time his soul felt so warm ever since the Time War.
But he feels the gentle glow now settling deep into his frosty hearts. He looks at Rose one more time, whispers “Sweet Dreams, Rose Tyler” and lowers the lights in her bedroom.
The Doctor closes the door to Rose’s room, leans on it and rests the back of his head on the wooden surface. The Tardis is singing sweetly in his mind, content at the state of the two travellers that live with her, complacent at the steady peace and loving atmosphere on board.
The Doctor sighs and shucks off his jacket to go and enjoy reading a quantum physics book from the 43rd century. He favours the 43rd century a lot, great culture, the return of the Earthborn 2000s fashion, the discovery of a new source of chocolate on Space Colony 67. He ought to take Rose there to sample the chocolate. Yes.
The Doctor plans their next adventure while strolling through the Tardis corridors, whistling happily.