When the dark turns to night
And all the dreams sing their song
In the daylight forever
To you I belong
~To You I Belong, B*Witched
Lying in bed, Rose stares at the ceiling of her bedroom and the patterned circles the TARDIS weaves through it.
The Doctor determined she needed to sleep and sent her to bed when they were back in the time ship. She supposes he is right; she’s tired.
But she hoped they could stay up and talk, or have tea, or something... Not just go to sleep, like there isn’t anything unresolved between them, like everything is as usual. They’ve really had no time alone at all after the – after the regeneration. Aside from those horrible, awful few minutes before crash landing, when her world had crash landed on top of her.
Just how different is he?
He sounds different – not just in his accent, but in the things he says, in the way he babbles, in the way he words certain things. She noticed that rather quickly. But he also used the word ‘fantastic’ a few times, and still grins at her with that expression that is fast becoming familiar again, and still takes her hand as if walking side by side with her without holding hands is unnatural.
Every time she recognises something in him from before today, her body frees itself from toxins, releases tension. Every familiar action, gesture, word, leaves her heart leaping and a little piece of it regenerates, just like him.
She should really try to sleep, she thinks as she closes her eyes. Who knows what tomorrow can bring.
Then again, in the TARDIS, tomorrow is a relative term. If he wants, the Doctor can make a night last 24 hours, a week, a minute, a year. And she really can’t sleep right now. Her eyes just open again, the utter darkness scaring her a notch.
The room suddenly feels small, and her breath catches. It’s closing in on her, slowly in the dark. She’s never felt this way before in this room, this room that now feels as much personally hers as her room back home, in London. Suddenly it feels alien, as if it’s a prison. She can’t stay in it tonight, not alone.
She sits up resolutely and gets off the bed, throwing off the cover. Cool air hits her without the protection of the warm blanket, and she feels bereft and cold, pausing for a few seconds to wrap her hands around her and get used to the feeling. She’ll be fine. Not turning on the light, she examines some clothes strewn over and around a blue chair. She’s wearing nothing but a T-shirt. Of course, it’s big enough to reach her knees, but in sleep, these annoying T-shirts tend to ride up...
She leaves the room, in the end, not having put anything else on. In the hallway of the time ship, she’s colder than she thought she’d be, and she tries not to shiver. Could’ve at least put on some socks, she thinks, but no matter now.
She goes out into the console room, but it’s dark and silent.. He’s not always doing his jiggery-pokery when he’s out there at night, though. Sometimes - she knows, because she’s caught him at it - he sits there in the dark and thinks... brooding, reminiscing, torturing himself, simply not sleeping. “Doctor?” she asks quietly, tentatively.
She doesn’t think this new Doctor is the brooding type, but perhaps it’s too soon to tell. They still have the same past. Planet dying – her heart aches for him when she remembers. Wants to make it better. Many times she’d come so close to offering him a comforting hug, wanted to tell him it’s not his fault, that it wasn’t really a choice at all, that she’s there for him and he should let her comfort him... something had always stopped her, told her that he wouldn’t welcome it. He liked to keep his emotions in check.
He’s not in the room, though.
Would he be asleep? She knows he must sleep sometimes, but more sporadically than she. After his... regeneration... she should really get more used to the idea of it... she thought he wouldn’t need to sleep so soon.
But she goes to his bedroom.
She stands outside for a minute, hesitating, trying to gather her courage to come in while part of her brain is counting the reasons for her to just leave. The door isn’t shut – it’s open just a crack, but she can’t see anything for the darkness inside, much as her eyes are used to the black of this hour.
Will he be upset if she intrudes his room? She’s come into his room a few times before, but never like this. Never when he was sleeping. Never with what she had in mind. And she doesn’t know how he feels about his privacy now, anyway....
Will he send her back to her room? Or maybe he’s asleep. Will he be upset if she wakes him up?
She pushes the door further, her heart in her mouth, beating a million times per second. She wills it to hush up, as if she doesn’t want it to give her away. She expects the door to creak, but the TARDIS is being nice and staying quiet for her.
He’s asleep, she thinks, but can’t be sure. He’s in bed, anyway, on his back, and not showing signs of being awake... It’s a big bed, and he’s only taking up one side, so she climbs onto it and lies down beside him, careful not to touch. Facing him, she watches him sleep for a few long moments.
And then he hands her one side of the blanket, without turning. "Here. You’re cold."
She’s startled, and for a second she freezes, hoping, pleading with the TARDIS to, to teleport her to some other room or back to 2005 or 2006 or wherever she should go.
Then she relaxes. It’s only the Doctor, after all. Still her Doctor. She thinks.
He’s just trying to take care of her, and that thought makes her heart swell.
“Thanks,” she says quietly, taking the edge of the cover with almost trembling hands and hugs it to her chest after draping it over herself. Still leaves about a foot between them. “Jus’ can’t sleep.”
“Me either, honestly, not that I need it anyway. Didn’t want to stay up on my own.”
She doesn’t say anything. Tries to decide to behave with him as if he hasn’t changed, but can’t quite. Can’t bring herself to touch him, to make a joke... doesn’t want to make any mistakes.
“What’s bothering you?”
“Nothing,” she says, too quickly.
“Rose,” he says.
She likes the way he says it, even with that tone of voice. Loves how it sounds on his lips, how it twists in his mouth with his new accent.
She doesn’t say anything again, doesn’t know what to say. Why did she come here, if not to talk? She was just hoping she wouldn’t have to be completely honest with him. Ironic and self contradicting – and just a tad hypocritical – of you, Rose Tyler, she scolds herself.
“It’s still bothering you, isn’t it,” he says, more than asks.
She knows what he’s talking about without needing clarification. She wants to say no... she wants to say she’s fine with him, that his change doesn’t bother her anymore. She wants it so desperately to be true. But a bigger part of her knows he can still see right through her lies, and she doesn’t want to lie. “A little.”
He doesn’t answer. She must have hurt him, and for a moment she hates herself. He can’t help having changed, and he’s tried so hard to help her get used to it. He took her with him even after the way she treated him.
”Fat lot of good you were, you gave up on me!”
She closes her eyes, ashamed of herself. She did.
”The proper Doctor wouldn’t do this...”
Even aliens, even Time Lords with time ships and nine hundred years of experience and big heads who think they know everything, have the right to get sick sometimes. And she treated him like he should have just timed it better, like he was a burden in a way, even if she did refuse to leave him alone.
“Not so much that you changed your face, I mean…” she adds quickly. And that much is true. “Jus’… want to know how different you are.” She pauses. “On the inside.” She almost whispers the last bit, confidence faltering.
“Oh,” he replies, and there’s a few seconds’ silence again. “I thought you had fun at Christmas. Thought you wanted to stay.”
“I do want to stay!” she protests. “But that was with mum, and Mickey, and Harriet, and it’s not the same...” She swallows. “I want to know how you’re different... how we’re different... together.”
“We’re together now, like always.”
“Then why is it so different?” She waits for his answer with baited breath.
“Are you uncomfortable with me?” he asks, moments later, and his tone almost breaks her heart.
“Jus’ dunno how to behave with you.”
“Like you always do,” he pleads.
“But you’re not the same.”
“Feels the same.”
“Uh-huh.” He rolls over to face her on the wide pillow and suddenly that foot of space between them doesn’t seem like enough. “Still feels like always. Still want you around to get in trouble together.” He smiles and pauses. “I know you miss the way I was... but if you give me a chance, Rose, you’ll see it’s still just me.”
Her hand falls from her grip on the cover and grazes his chin with her knuckles. He clutches her hand in his and pulls it to his chest. It feels so familiar. “I’ve held your hand before, so many times. So many times that we ran together, walked together, even the very first time.”
“Yeah,” she manages to say, and it comes out all shaky, but not a whisper.
“Come here,” he pleads and pulls her hand.
She slides under the cover and finds him, and he wraps his arms around her, and it’s so good to lie together like that.
It feels so peaceful, like it could last forever, lying together in the dark and silence. Though, suddenly she’s aware that his chest is bare and that all that’s keeping her breasts from his skin is sheer fabric, and she doesn’t know if she wishes she were wearing more or less.
She feels his lips brush her hair and closes her eyes. She knows he’s still her Doctor, and she wishes she could be his Rose, she thinks as she begins to fall away into sleep, lulled by his heartbeats under her ear.
She’s so young, vibrant, full of optimism and love of life. And he brings disaster. He’s thought of this before many, many a time, and his conscience still torments him. What is he doing with her like this?
He’s promised himself he’d keep his distance from her, and he knows that’s the best choice for both of them. They don’t have forever, they only have now, and he doesn’t want to ruin her future, whatever it may bring. She’s young still, but youth is so evanescent.
He knows, with a certainty that almost kills him sometimes, that of all his companions come and gone, Rose is special. He’s too selfish to ever let her go willingly. Sooner or later she’ll leave on her own... they always do. Sooner or later she’ll return to her mum.
And part of him hopes it’ll happen soon so she’s safe and he can stop feeling guilty. The other part of him, that selfish part blessed with no conscience, tells him to shut up and savour the moment and that he won’t let her go even if she asks, it’ll be too hard.
Though he knows he won’t do that.
He hopes she knows he’s her Doctor still. Oh, he’s been hers always. But he doesn’t dare to call her his Rose. Loves her too much to claim her as his own.
There, he’s said it. He loves her. Loves her so much, and yet he shouldn’t, because what can he offer her even if she does return his feelings? He’s too alien and too old and has seen too much. Mickey, or a vast number of other human blokes, could give her more than he can.
The same goes the other way around, hints the TARDIS, or maybe he imagines her whisper because he needs someone to validate his selfish need for Rose. He wants her to himself.
She’s so sweet asleep, looks so innocent, and yet he has to convince himself that she’s only still a teenager. She’s smart and brave beyond her years, and right now, feels so much like a woman against him in that T-shirt.
Hard to tell himself that he has no claim to her when they’re together like that, and when she’s the one who climbed into his bed.
Oh, bollocks, and who is he kidding anyway? He can’t convince himself of that when they’re in different rooms, on different planets, in different years. He’s tried.
He’s glad, even if a little sorry, that Rose didn’t make a move at anything more tonight. He doesn’t think he could have denied her. He’s tried repeating the multiplication table to himself whenever she stood too close, and it never worked. Gallifreyan and human and Raxicoricofallipatorian maths, complicated maths from other galaxies on the edge of the universe, can’t keep his mind off her when she’s close.
He presses a light kiss tenderly to her hair, just because he can’t resist. With her sound asleep, he can do that.
He was surprised when she came to him, and even more surprised when she wordlessly climbed into his bed earlier, but it‘s also a relief that she trusts him again, that she feels close enough again. And he is so glad they’d both opened up, even if she’ll probably need a few days to get used to his new appearance.
The tear is somewhat mended, and they don’t have to pretend it’s not there anymore. He knows she tried to.
She mumbles something in her sleep and stirs a little, but stays asleep, and he smiles because she’s so adorable.
And so not his.
In the morning she wakes up and the room is lit. She soaks in sleepy dreams for a few moments more, postponing getting up. She’s dreaming of golden lights - Daleks? - and a kiss that’s quickly fading. And a familiar voice in her ears, gently getting closer. “I think you need a Doctor.”
He’s with her, the Doctor, he didn’t change and he’s still with her – didn’t leave her –
His voice is not the same one she heard, dreaming, when he senses she’s awake and greets her. “Morning,” he says, stroking her hair. “Sleep well?”
Disappointment stabs for just a moment, but then she remembers something else – remembers last night, how he held her, pleaded with her, reassured her, kissed her hair and rocked her to sleep. She turns her head to look at him, and sees him grinning broadly down at her, his new brown eyes lovely and warm and welcoming her home.
“Yeah,” she replies, smiling, and it suddenly feels like an awkward morning-after. It occurs to her that to kiss him now would not feel unnatural or unexpected. But she doesn’t, because she’s not sure how he’ll react.
And she hopes he doesn’t know that she’s just kissed him over and over in dreams – and that this dream was so much more real in comparison to any she’s had before, similar in content, that she’s dying to reach for him now.
She doesn’t want him to know, and doesn’t reach for him. Mostly, because she didn’t ask last night the question she wanted an answer to most of all.
“What’re we doing today?” she asks, sliding back down to lie against him again, her cheeks a little flushed.
“What do you want to do?” He drapes his arms around her again.
She smiles. “Dunno. Have breakfast.”
“Oh, breakfast, good idea. I’ll make pancakes.”
She bursts into laughter. “You? I thought you didn’t do domestic. I thought you didn’t cook!”
He feigns offence. “I can cook!”
“Do we even have ingredients? Flour? And don’t tell me you have a hundred-year-old bag somewhere.”
He thinks. “Not a hundred... forty, maybe.” She swats him. “Okay, okay, I’ll make scrambled eggs and toast, can I make that and not get teased for it?”
“You can make whatever you want, Mr. Domestic,” she says, grinning.
He rolls his eyes. “Oi. I have one dinner with your family and I’m Mr. Domestic now. Up, up, into the kitchen.” He pushes her gently off him and sits up. “Go get dressed and I’ll see you in a few.”
Regretfully leaving his bed, she trudges back to her own room. She can get used to him, definitely, she thinks...
When she emerges in the kitchen a few minutes later in a pair of jeans and pink top, ready for the day, he’s fussing around the counter, but tea is ready on the table.
She picks up a mug and sits down, waiting. He doesn’t say anything.
A few long seconds of silence pass, she wonders what he’s thinking. She has to break the silence or she’ll lose her mind. Say something, she beckons herself. Something simple and easy.
Something like good morning, although you’ve already said that and it’s stupid to say that twice, isn’t it? Even if it did turn into a sort of joke between you and Jack. Jack, wherever he is. She sighs.
Go on, say something. Ask him your question, if you don’t have any other way to break this deadly quiet.
She lifts her hand in a gesture to get his attention, though his back is to her, but then hesitates and puts it back in her lap. She grimaces at herself. Just do it.
“Doctor,” she says, without confidence.
“Yes?” he asks, turning around.
Doctor what? Doctor, do you love me? Doctor, will you kiss me senseless? Doctor, will you take me to a psychiatric ward back home because I’m going insane?
“I was jus’ wonderin’…” Wondering if you’re in love with me... “Last night, you said everything was still the same.”
“Yeah. I meant it.”
“I know. Jus’... I mean, well, does that mean...” She stops to clear her throat. “Does that mean you’re going to keep getting us into trouble?”
Stupid. Why’d you have to go and ask that instead? You’re a bloody coward, Rose Tyler.
“I do not get us in trouble all the time!”
She grins half heartedly, raising her eyebrow in a challenge, and his expression changes from indignant to amused as well. “Okay, maybe, sometimes. It’s in the job description, after all, Rose Tyler, and we’re working towards a promotion.”
“A promotion?” she laughs.
“Well, you know, for you. I’ve already climbed as high as I need to be. But you... let’s see. Rose Tyler, Super-Companion. No, wait, better – Rose Tyler, Super Time Traveler.”
“Oh, I think I like the sound of that.” She laughs again. “Like the first one better, though.”
“Yeah, means you’re not allowed to send me away home, ever. ‘Cause I’m your companion. It’s in the job description, see?”
She sees his expression sober, and realises that she knows what has always been unspoken between them. He can’t promise her never to do it, and even now that he has done it once, he can’t, and won’t, promise he won’t do it again.
But suddenly the pang of hurt she felt that day, so recently and yet so long ago, comes back.
She stops smiling, too. “I haven’t forgiven you for that yet, you know.”
He turns around to face the counter again and continues to fuss around their breakfast, not saying anything. Bastard.
“I’d rather stay with you and do what I can and die-“ She notices his back jerks at that word and he pauses, but then continues what he’s doing. “-rather than go back home, not knowing, just go back home. You know what they did, mum and Mickey, when they heard me come back? They took me out for chips and told me I’m worrying for nothing, way off, no need to worry about something so far into the future.”
He stops doing anything now, and just leans on the counter, not facing her.
“That’s what you sent me back to, to living with people who don’t understand the half of what we’ve been through, to people who couldn’t even offer comfort when I sat there, knowing you were dying!” Her voice is shaking when she’s done. She didn’t plan to say all that, even if she wanted to yell at him for that.
He turns around, still a distance away. “You would have died there, Rose, don’t you get it? I couldn’t save you otherwise, I – I couldn’t save Jack!”
Oh, God, Jack. She… she suspected that might have happened, but could live in denial until now, until he said it.
Jack, the intergalactic flirt who hit on everything, but knew when to be serious, Jack, who laughed with them and joked and teased and was there for them and died for the Doctor. He’s dead.
“Rose?” the Doctor asks, and sits down at the table next to her. She realises she’s been silent for at least a minute. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to say that.”
“He died? He’s really dead?” she asks, as if by questioning it, it can be undone, and her voice is still shaky.
His hand is on her shoulder, comforting. “No, Rose, he’s not dead. You brought him back to life.”
“M- me?” What? What the hell is that supposed to mean? “What the hell happened on the Game Station, Doctor?”
He doesn’t answer.
“Doctor,” she tries again. “The Daleks didn’t run away because you sang a song, did they?”
“No,” he says, then sighs.
“What happened? What happened, Doctor? All I remember is my mum and Mickey helping me pull apart the console and a light and a song... and nothing. Woke up in the TARDIS and then you exploded.”
“You saved us all,” he says in a loud whisper.
“It’s driving me crazy,” she whispers back.
“The Vortex was in your head, you could do anything. You destroyed all the Daleks, you ended the Time War.” Her hand shoots up to her mouth in shock. “You brought Jack back to life.”
“Where is he, then?”
“Couldn’t wait for him, I was about to regenerate any moment. It was lucky I had time to tell you about... I’m so sorry, Rose, we’ll find him. I was always going to go back and find him.”
She accepts the promise for now. Knowing Jack is alive ignites new hope in her.
“But don’t you see why I sent you back? You would’ve died, Rose. What if I was already dead when you got here? I couldn’t’ve have saved anyone if I activated the Delta Wave.”
He’s pleading with her to understand what he did and she knows why he did it, but she’s still angry, still hurt that he sent her away like he did. “You didn’t send Jack away!”
“How?” she challenges.
“I’m not – Jack’s trained, Jack knew what he was doing, Rose...” He trails off.
She looks down into her lap and ignored a tear running down her cheek. “Yeah, and I’m... what, useless? Stupid, useless Rose, tagging along as always.” He doesn’t think of her that way, she knows, but she wants to hurt him, she wants him to know how he made her feel.
“Never useless, Rose, not useless or stupid or tagging along. I-“ Pause. “I couldn’t carry on thinking you might die.”
“So instead you just lied to me. Without saying goodbye, sent me away-“
“I said goodbye!”
“Not that stupid hologram!”
He seemingly accepts quietly that the hologram wasn’t an adequate goodbye. A few moments of silence pass, and then he asks, “Would you have gone if I’d told you where you were going?”
Suddenly she looks up at him. He said she was the one with the Time Vortex in her head. She was the one who saved Jack and killed the Daleks and... He’s the one who died. How did that happen?
“Doctor, what happened to you? You said you absorbed the energy of the Time Vortex. But I was the one... I was the one who had it. You took it from me?”
“You died for me,” she says with wonder. And that realisation slams into her with such force that she can’t believe anyone would do that for her.
“Small sacrifice. I’m still here.” He smiles.
“How did you do it?” she asks, incredulous.
He looks straight into her eyes, so close. For a few seconds, he just looks at her. And for those brief moments, she believes he might actually dip his head forward... tilt his head...
He draws back and looks away. “There are ways.”
He almost told her. He was so close… he came so close to telling her the reason he didn’t send Jack away. Not in love with Jack. Barely stopped himself.
She’s still silent beside him, and he wants to know what she’s thinking. He could never really figure out how these female human brains worked, could he? He can fix a time ship with barely any spare parts, build a sonic screwdriver from scrap, but some systems are beyond even his understanding.
He almost kissed her, too. He’s so tempted to show her how he did it, how he took her Time Vortex out of her head. She looks so kissable, face still clean of make-up and smelling faintly of peppermint toothpaste and sweet-scented soap, lips so inviting, a little parted... He wonders if she knows just how adorable her pout is.
He stands up to put more space between them.
“I dreamed last night...”
He looks at her, curious.
“Dreamed about the Daleks.”
“You had a nightmare?” he asks, concerned. “You said you slept well-“
“Yeah, it wasn’t a bad dream. It was – I don’t know, it was strange,” she says, looking at him for a moment and turning to look at the table again. “And you said I destroyed them... I remember a golden light and Daleks, I remember not being afraid. I thought it was just a dream but it’s not, is it, Doctor?” She looks up at him again.
He doesn’t say anything right away.
“Is it?” she asks again.
Oh, he was afraid of that happening. He didn’t know if her memories were gone for good or not, and, well, now he knows.
Oh, blimey. What else does she remember about that day? Not the kiss, please, no. She’s not supposed to know he did that. He’s not supposed to have done it.
He grimaces a little. “I was afraid of that.”
“Afraid of what?” she asks, pressing now.
He starts pacing. “You weren’t supposed to dream, you weren’t supposed to remember... there’s a reason why you weren’t meant to remember.”
She shakes her head.
“Funny thing, the Time Vortex. I told you before, even I don’t know how powerful it is or what it can do. And I didn’t think you’d forget, but I was glad you did.”
He sees fury being written on her face now and realises how that must have sounded. “What the hell are you saying?”
He rakes a nervous hand through his hair and looks at her apologetically. “Sorry, Rose, I didn’t mean it the way it sounded-“
“Then what the hell did you mean?” she almost yells, standing up. “How can it be good in any way? Didn’t you see what forgetting did to Jack?”
He wills her to calm down. “Rose...”
But she doesn’t appear to be paying attention to him now, ploughing on. “Do you think it’s easy, do you think it’s been easy? That I don’t spend all my time wondering what the fuck made you die, why the fuck Jack’s not here, why the fuck we can’t go back for him, why-“
He catches her by the shoulders and crushes his lips to hers, hard and suddenly, cutting her off. She pushes at his chest and he lets her go, but then she looks at him, surprise and question written on her face as much as her anger, and she catches the front of his jacket and tugs him close to kiss him again. Furiously.
And as a thousand thoughts run through his mind, about how he’s not supposed to be kissing her – oh, but she feels so good – how she wasn’t supposed to kiss him back, just shut up a second – oh, but Rose, he’s so glad she did – he presses her into the wall of the kitchen and catches her by the waist, not accidentally making her shirt ride up. He beckons himself to concentrate...
Then she tears her mouth away from his and looks at him, shocked again, her lips swollen and still parted. “I remember...”
He forces himself to let her go, and leaves her leaning against the wall to make order in her new memories. “Yeah, I thought you would.”
Of course he knew she would. If she could dream about it, he knew all he had to do was reach deep enough into her mind. He’s trying not to regret it.
With a kiss he took her memory and with a kiss he gave it back, he realises.
“You did it?” she asks, confused.
“Should I not have?”
She shakes her head, disbelieving. “I wiped out the Daleks… I brought Jack back to life just so we could leave him on that empty satellite – and you – you kissed me, just like I dreamed – I remember.” Then she steps forward and pushes at his chest. “You fucker!”
“You stupid wanker, you kiss me to save my life and you kiss me to make me remember how you did it, does everything have to go through the mouth for you?” she yells, punching him in the chest. “Can you kiss me just once and ever mean it?”
Then, to his horror, he notices she’s sobbing and he collects the armful of a struggling Rose against his chest. “I meant it,” he says in her ear to make sure she hears him through her mumbles and cries.
“I’m sorry,” she sobs against his shoulder. “I saved the universe, saved Jack, couldn’t save you... My Doctor...”
He rubs her back and cradles the back of her head, trying to soothe. Her regret tugs at his heartstrings, his Rose, so upset. Stop crying, he conveys silently.
Eventually her sobs subside into tiny hiccups and her breathing evens. “I’m sorry,” she whispers again.
“Don’t be sorry, Rose. You did keep me safe.”
He feels her shaking her head.
“That’s why I didn’t want you to remember. Don’t you remember what it felt like to know everything? See everything?”
“Hurts,” she says.
“Hurts more not to know,” she protests. “So ‘s good.”
He just tightens his arms around her.
She can see Jack gasp and open his eyes as the Doctor begs her to let go of the power in her head. She sees the Daleks turn to golden powder and fall to dust as he commands her not to play with life and death.
And she sees him stand up, bring her closer, and touch her lips...
Sees the resolution in his eyes as he realises what sacrifice he’s going to make.
She’s not sure for a second if she ever wanted to see that particular sight, but the man holding her reminds her that everything’s okay, that the war is over and they’re alive.
She closes her eyes and hugs him inside his brown jacket. She loves him so much, and yet part of her tells her she should hate him.
Hate him for sending her away without asking, for kissing her without asking – twice – for dying without asking. Playing God with her mind, not wanting her to remember the events of what otherwise would probably be the most memorable day of her life so far.
“Okay?” he asks quietly, hesitantly.
“Yeah,” she answers, and steps away after smelling his neck just one more time. “How’s that breakfast?” Though she knows breakfast is probably the last thing on his mind right now. Just like hers.
He turns at the counter. “Well, getting cold now. I’ll warm it up.”
Like either of them will be able to stomach anything right now. “Don’t bother, not hungry. Unless you are,” she adds, and takes a seat at the table again.
“Not really. Do you believe me?”
She looks up. “That you’re not hungry?”
“That I meant it.”
“I dunno,” she manages to get out, and averts her eyes.
Did he really? She knows he cares about her, but there’d been so many opportunities for him that he didn’t take. Not when he hugged her and clung to her after the Dalek was no longer a threat. Not when he held her face in his palm and hugged her fiercely when she apologised for nearly destroying the world. Not when they were alone again, after depositing Adam back at home. Not when he held her close in that hospital in 1941, while they waited for Jack. Not even when they rescued her from becoming the Daleks’ prey when she was transported to their mother-ship.
And not when they woke up together, and not when she asked him earlier how he’d saved her. She was so sure for a moment that he was going to do it.
There were other hugs and personal moments they shared here and there, too, but he never closed the distance between them and she doesn’t remember when exactly it started, but she’d come close to making the move several times.
“You don’t believe me?” He touches her shoulder – she didn’t even notice him get so close – and she recognises hurt in his voice.
Yet she would have believed him if he hadn’t changed. Even despite his reassurances last night, it’s not the same anymore.
She could hear love in that Northern accent, see it in those blue eyes, feel it seep into her skin from inside that battered old black jacket when he enfolded her in his arms.
She can’t quite allow herself to read him the same way now. Feels a little bit like betrayal, even, although she feels guilty for feeling that way because she knows... she thought she knew... it’s still the Doctor.
She looks up at him to see his face. So different, yet she thinks she’s seen that expression there before. She examines him... different hair, nose, mouth, ears – she’s going to miss teasing him about them – different complexion, chin, forehead, eyebrows, eye colour...
The same eyes.
It’s a surprise when she finally sees it, but it shouldn’t be.
She watches him descend so he's eye level with her. And a breath escapes her mouth when he lifts his hand and strokes her cheek with his thumb. Then he gets closer, and this is it, he’s going to kiss her…
Finally he touches her lips in a torturously light caress, and she leans in to kiss him back properly. He becomes more demanding as they rise to get closer, her arms around his neck and his one hand on her face and the other her back.
Finally, somehow, she’s pressed up against the wall again, and he breaks the kiss gently. She takes a moment before opening her eyes and when she does, he’s looking straight into them and she thinks... she might believe him now.
“See, meant every word. No motive this time.”
She smiles in delight, the first genuine smile since the Game Station was brought up – was it only twenty minutes earlier? Surely more? – and he grins back. “Okay, I believe ya,” she says before tugging him down again.
There’s her answer.
A long time later, Rose notices there’s a wall-clock in the bedroom in the TARDIS – fancy that.
It shows 2:03 am. Is that early or late?
Again, she contemplates the concept of a night in this machine. Before she met the Doctor, when she lived a normal life back in London, if she went to sleep at 2:00 am that meant she only had five or six hours left to sleep.
But the Doctor is not an alarm clock or a job she has to go to. She wakes when she’s rested and it doesn’t matter what time it is, because in a heartbeat they’re in any time-zone in the galaxy that they feel like going to.
The clock ticks and behind her the Doctor’s hearts beat, and the TARDIS hums in that quiet, always-there way, soothing.
Jack is in another bedroom, asleep. They went back for him today, after finally having breakfast, and it was so good to see him again, alive. Where had he been? She knows he must have been through more than he let on at first. How long has it been for him since they parted? How long did he spend wondering about them just as they wondered about him?
Should’ve called my mobile, stupid. Tell them to get the hell back to that empty, battle-ridden piece of metal in space and that they’re not getting rid of him that easy. The Doctor insisted on not going back to the Game Station, said they had to let time play its course, but they found him easily enough.
Time is such a funny word anyway. It’s all happening all around her, everything happens now. Does that mean there are ten Doctors and a hundred TARDISes running around the universe?
Funny idea. Funny if he ever forgets and lands them somewhere near another TARDIS. A whole parking lot of police call boxes. A reunion.
She grins but she doesn’t like the idea of a reunion, hopes it won’t happen that way. The other companions, they have their place, but it’s just them now.
She and the Doctor, and Jack.
Jack can stay, she decided long ago – here is another one of those relative terms that her human brain, so used to linear time, can’t stop using. Jack always fit in with them. And, not jealous in the least, he made it clear that their romance won’t be a reason for uncomfortable air on board. In fact - she smiles just as she did then - his exact words were “It’s about time.”
Funny how he knew all along.
She glances at the clock again. 2:17. It beckons her to relax against her lover’s chest, to sink into his embrace and let slumber float over her.
Her human mind is so used to linear time that she can’t stop thinking, planning, living in concepts of years, days and nights, hours.
The Doctor’s not asleep, she knows without looking at him. She knows the way he breathes and the way he holds her when he sleeps, the way he doesn’t play with her hair when he sleeps. They’ve been silent for a long time together, but it’s a companionable, *loving* silence, the kind of silence they revel in and not run from.
She yawns. Maybe there’s a reason that her mind thinks in days and nights.
The Doctor kisses her neck tenderly and she smiles, turning to face him.
Maybe there’s another one, too.