“You’re alright, though? Seriously?” Rose frowned, allowing her eyes to scour over the Doctor. Ida had told her that the Doctor had fallen into the pit. A fall that should have killed him, were he an ordinary man.
The Doctor was no ordinary man.
“I’m fine, I’m fine,” the Doctor insisted, waving her away with his gloved hands. He hadn’t yet changed out of the orange space suit he’d donned to venture down below the surface of Krop Tor.
Normally, Rose couldn’t get enough of it when he wore something other than pinstripes and chucks. She ate it up! That tux the Doctor wore in the parallel universe? Ravishing. Aviator shades in London, 1953? Yes, please!
The space suit? Rose wanted it gone. Thrown into the fire. Ripped to shreds, never to be seen again. She’d tear it off of him herself if he’d let her. It reeked of smoke and dust and filled her with pure dread.
“You should get out of that thing,” Rose sniffed in disdain. “Change into something more comfortable. Meet me in the library, I’ll have a cuppa waiting for you. Blankets, too.”
The Doctor rolled his eyes, but he couldn’t hide his fond smile. “Alright then, Rose Tyler. I’ll see you in ten minutes.” He clicked his tongue and winked at her before setting off down the hall.
Rose watched him go, aching to follow after him. She’d felt every millisecond of their separation. Tears had burned behind her eyes but Rose forced them away. She was too busy running from the Ood to deal with the grief that threatened to drag her right down into the pit with her Doctor.
He was hers, and she was his. Forever.
Rose remembered what he’d told her, when she confronted the Doctor about Sarah Jane. He’d told her that she could spend the rest of her life with him, but he couldn’t spend the rest of his life with her. Just today, the Beast had said that she would die in battle.
The Doctor said it was a lie. A lie to play on her fears. He had insisted.
What if he was wrong? What if the Doctor was wrong, and Rose died? What if he was left all alone, without a hand to hold? The Curse of the Timelords , he’d called it. Rose felt sick just thinking about it. She squeezed her eyes shut tightly to fight off the nausea and vivid images of her own death bombarding her.
“He’s here. I’m here. We’re fine,” she told herself. She had to believe that the Doctor was right.
Wishing not to dwell on it any longer, Rose fended off the last vestiges of nausea and made for the kitchen. She’d promised the Doctor a cuppa and a cuddle and she intended to follow through.
After a quick pit stop to change out of her clothes and into a cozier set of pajamas, Rose entered the kitchen. The TARDIS greeted her with a delighted hum, illuminating a pair of steaming mugs. She’d prepared the tea for them all on her own.
“Thanks, love,” Rose grinned as she stroked a bit of the coral. She grabbed the two mugs and crossed the hall into the library. Not even a moment later, the Doctor bounded in after her.
“Oh, marvelous! Just how I like it,” the Doctor grinned, eagerly scooping his chipped blue mug out of her hands. Rose choked on air. Wearing his pinstripes and chucks once more, she could almost pretend they hadn’t nearly died not even an hour ago. That horrid orange suit was gone at last.
She realized the Doctor was looking at her. His eyebrow was raised curiously. “Well, aren’t you going to have any?”
“O-oh!” Rose realized. She blew a few quick breaths over the surface of her mug before taking a sip. The warm, familiar flavor hit her instantly and took some of the tension out of her shoulders.
“It’s good!” Rose grinned. The Doctor rocked back and forth on his heels in front of her, an equally bright smile on his face.
“A cup of tea is just what you need to get you going, haven’t I always said? We should do this more often. Weeell, not the falling into impossible pits thing. The tea thing. I’d quite like to avoid impossible planets and pits and demons for the time being. Oh, and Ood. I could do without the Ood for awhile too. All those red eyes…” The Doctor stuck his tongue out. His body trembled with a disgusted shiver. “Tea though… tea’s nice. I like tea.”
Rose chuckled as he unflinchingly downed the rest of his steaming mug. Temperature never seemed to bother him.
“So much for sharing a cuppa. We haven’t even sat down yet and you’ve already gone and finished yours!”
The Doctor knew Rose was teasing him. Nevertheless he gasped, setting his mug down and taking her free hand in his. “This must be rectified. Immediately.”
“Oi!” Rose shrieked as he tugged on her, pulling her towards the soft leather couch. With another tug and a flash of a coy grin from the Doctor they were seated.
“There we are. Seated. Now drink up.”
Rose did as he ordered, taking a sip from her sparkling nebula mug. She peered over her drink to watch him, inwardly smiling at his all too pleased look. She loved that look. His eyes met hers in an instant, his grin softening into something gentler. Rose looked away, taking another sip.
“Mmm, feels good to be warm again. Felt like that bloody cold would never leave me,” Rose scrunched her nose. Space travel outside of the TARDIS always chilled her to the bone.
“Was it cold? I didn’t notice,” the Doctor frowned. “I don’t get cold. Superior-”
“Superior Time Lord biology, I know,” Rose snorted. “Meanwhile we subspecies are fated to freeze. How fun.”
“Oh, don’t say that! I’d share my body heat with you anyday, Rose Tyler.”
“You would, would you?”
“‘Course I would! C’mere,” the Doctor insisted, tugging her into his side. Rose squeaked in surprise at the movement, splashes of hot tea falling into her lap. She should’ve been aggravated that he’d made her spill her favorite blend, but Rose found very quickly that in his arms, she didn’t particularly care.
This new Doctor had always been tactile, little touches here and there, hugs and hand holding, but never quite like this. Never had he been so eager to hold her to him, his arms wrapping around her tightly and allowing her to lay her head in the crook of his neck. His scent washed over her, a blend of something clean and metallic. It made her want to burrow herself further.
“Comfy, are we?”
“Very.” Rose hummed. “I’m glad you’re safe, Doctor.”
The Doctor didn’t reply. Instead he leaned into her, resting his cheek against her head. Rose could get used to that feeling. That simple intimacy. He shifted against her, strands of his hair tickling his face.
“Glad that hair of yours is safe, too. ‘S so soft. Would’ve been a travesty to lose it,” Rose giggled, peering up at him. The Doctor shook his head at her.
“Should’ve known. All of time and space, you really just stuck around for the hair. How shallow of you, Miss Tyler,” the Doctor sighed. Rose could hear the amusement behind his words and played along.
“Yep. Very shallow,” Rose agreed, tongue between her teeth. Using the hand free from his tight embrace, she set her cup of tea down on the side table and ran her fingers through his hair. It was just as impossibly soft as she remembered, easy to ruffle and restyle. Rose briefly considered asking him for his hair care secrets before something warm and sticky caught her attention.
“Oh, hang on. Is that blood?” Rose frowned, pulling her hand away to get a closer look at what now coated her fingertips. “Doctor, that’s blood.”
“Blimey,” the Doctor grimaced. “I hadn’t noticed. The visor glass must’ve cut me when it shattered.”
“How do you not notice something like that?!”
“I was busy!” The Doctor defended with a pout. “Besides, it’s not that bad. Certainly wasn’t bleeding profusely enough for me to notice. The sonic’ll fix me right up.”
Rose huffed. She’d asked him if he was injured. He’d told her he was fine and he didn’t even realize. The Doctor was lucky his reckless jump hadn’t gotten him killed. Surely with all of that Superior Time Lord biology he went on about he could tell when he was injured?
The Doctor changed the setting on his sonic screwdriver and patched himself up while Rose watched silently. He turned to look at her once he’d finished.
“See? All better.”
What if next time the solution wasn’t so simple? Rose had already seen him regenerate once. She wasn’t eager to see him die again so soon.
“Doctor,” Rose started, her voice thick with emotion. “Promise me you won’t do something so reckless again. Or at least, don’t do it without me, yeah? Please.”
“Rose…” The Doctor frowned.
“Promise me, Doctor,” Rose insisted, biting down on her lip.
The Doctor sighed and gestured for her to settle in his arms once more. Rose resumed their cuddle immediately, resting her head against him as she waited on his reply. He took her hand and laced their fingers together, tracing slow circles against her skin.
“I promise, Rose.”
The Doctor sounded so tired. Rose wondered if he would be able to keep that promise. Their lives, fantastic as they were, were filled with so much danger. She couldn’t know if he would survive it. If she would.
But she hoped.
In that moment, entangled in his arms, hope had to be enough.