Genre: Romance/Minor Angst
Word Count: 1353
Set as a missing scene at the end of Dalek.
Inside the Tardis, The Doctor was more solemn than usual. He worked his dials and studied his screens while Rose looked on. Feeling, much like that first day, somewhat out of place. No, nothing like that first day; that had been all laughter and excitement. Today she felt wretched.
“What is it,” she asked suddenly, “What’ve I done,” she stood staring but he remained engrossed in his work. “Come on, tell me. What’ve I done?” She moved to stand nearly on top of him, hand on her hip, glaring.
“What’re you twittering on about?”
“You tell me. You’ve been solemn and cross ever since we got back.”
“No I haven’t,” he frowned.
“Yeah, you ‘ave,” she replied, adamant. He sighed, conceding. Sank back into his chair.
“Look, it’s nothing. I’m sorry, Rose,” he looked tired.
“It’s not nothing,” she squatted down leaning back on her heels, “I’ve never seen you so—gloomy.” He smiled and patted her cheek.
“I was just worried about you, that’s all. Don’t fret, I’ll get over it.” He turned back to the dial, fidgeting with it.
“You were worried about me, why?”
“Adventures are dangerous, Rose. But sacrificing you wasn’t exactly part of the plan,” he didn’t look at her, but kept his eyes on his work.
“Well I’m alright, aren’t I?”
“Yeah,” he said, his voice sounded constricted and when he smiled his eyes were glassy. “You’re alright now.”
“Hey,” she sat up, taking his hand. He gripped it in his own, knuckles turning white. “Hey,” she said again, frowning. She laid her other arm across his shoulders, rising as she did so to lean against the controls.
“Keep this up and I’ll start to think you like me,” she gave a soft chuckle. The Doctor didn’t seem as if he heard. He got to his feet, her hand still in his and, in a single motion, pulled her into a tight embrace. His shoulder was solid against her chin, her hand still held tightly in his, now pressed against his chest where she could feel both hearts beating. First one and then the other—like a drum beat and its softer echo.
“I’m sorry, Rose,” he said. She could hear tears in his voice. “You don’t know how sorry.”
“Come one now, Doctor, you’re scaring me,” her voice was somewhat muffled. He pulled back a little so he could see her face. When he looked in her eyes she blinked, surprised at the emotion she saw there. She gave him a sympathetic smile and squeezed the hand that still held hers. Perhaps he thought she’d turn away, she was sure she couldn’t read his mind. Though he seemed surprised that she studied his face as intently as he had hers. Faced, unflinching, the clear gray eyes that she knew had seen so much. There was a part of her that envied those eyes, not their pain. And certainly not the solitude, but the sheer magnitude of the world and—the universe. She had thought, looking down from the observation deck as she watched the earth burning into oblivion, that perhaps she understood a microcosm of what it must be like for him. To know that your home was gone and everyone you’d ever known. And yet, logically she knew it wasn’t the same. She could go home and back to her old life any time she wanted.
She felt that difference as she looked at him. But there was something more that wasn’t jealousy or grief or anything so mundane that she could see reflected back at her. From his face, from his eyes. Something that she thought, could stop your heart beating if you let it.
When he spoke again she almost stepped backward from the jarring shock of non-silence. Somehow she remained immobile, as though she were patiently listening and the floor had not just fallen out from under her.
“When I invited you along with me, it was meant for a lark. I didn’t know how much I’d come to care for you,” he spoke quietly as though his words held too much to speak them aloud. Too much meaning. Too much—of everything.
“Me, who’m I?” she wanted to cover her face she felt so small. “You’ve seen the whole universe, what could possibly be so special ‘bout me?”
“You’re Rose,” his said simply. “You’ve a heart brimming with kindness and compassion for even the most wretched of creatures. Not if I searched every inhabitable lump of rock in all the billions of galaxies would I find someone who could replace you,” he reached out to take her other hand so that he could encompass both in his. “When I thought I’d lost you—even in my darkest moments I never felt so alone. Or such sorrow,” he raised her hands to his lips, “I didn’t even know I had been lonely, until I met you.”
Rose felt tears on her face and felt torn between holding his hand and brushing them away. She hadn’t realized—or maybe she had realized from the beginning—just how heartbroken he really was. Just how much his losses grieved him.
She released his hands only to fling her arms around his neck and press her cheek to his.
“I’m right 'ere, I’m not leavin you. I’m right 'ere.” He returned her embrace, his hand reaching ‘round her waist to the small of her back. And she thought for a moment that if this ever ended. That if he ever took her home. Or went off somewhere without her. Just how very much she would miss him.
He turned to kiss her hair as she moved to press her lips to his cheek and they met in the middle—his fine line of a mouth just barely grazing her full one.
She heard his sudden intake of breath and he took a step back so that his heel hit the wall behind him, though he was still only a hand’s-breadth from where she was.
She raised a hand and lay her palm gently against his cheek. He immediately froze, eyes veiled, face immobile. She thought he barely breathed as she stood on tiptoe to match his height.
She brushed her round nose across his pointed one and then her lips met his; butterfly soft. The mouth that had bellowed, and grinned manically in almost the same instant, yielded—soft under hers. Surprisingly hesitant. Sublimely gentle. His frosty exterior, so quick to form, melted like snow.
His lips moved against hers gingerly, as though he himself might shatter. He trembled, fingers catching in her hair. She could hear a tidal wave of feeling roar within his silence.
She pressed closer to him so that she could feel the length of his body against her; lifting his shirt so that her palms slid against the hollow of his back, gliding against smooth skin.
He pulled away, covering her protesting mouth with his thumb.
“Rose—” he began a quiet diatribe of excuses. I’m too old for you. You’re just a kid. What would your mother say.
She didn’t argue when he slipped away. Not when he fixated upon his dials. And not when he fled to his chamber that he seemed to use for everything but sleeping.
When the lights of the Tardis dimmed, and all was quiet, Rose crept from her bed to stand at the Doctor’s door. She rested her hand against the metal plate that served as a doorknob. Its latch clicked and opened.
The Doctor half-rose as she crossed the short distance from his door to where he lay. She set her finger to his mouth before he could speak. He frowned, but didn’t protest, as she slid in beside him; the silvery fabric of the blanket glistening in the semi-darkness matched eyes that held nothing but unarticulated questions and unmet desires.
She brushed her nose against his again and kissed his cheek.
“Just sleep,” she whispered—reclining beside him. He brushed a tangle of hair from her face before mirroring his form to hers.
Rose lay her head against his chest, the echo of his twin heartbeat singing her to sleep.
Oh and yes, I am fully aware of the fact that no one has ever seen The Doctor's bedroom and that there's some contention about whether he sleeps or not. I don't do ZERO research ;)