A/N: Ok, so this is the last chapter but not really the end. There will be a second story to continue from here so this will actually be a series.
Wordlessly, the Doctor followed Rose to her bedroom. The flat was much quieter than he was used to, mostly because of the late hour and Jackie being asleep. As they crossed the threshold of her room, his hearts started beating wildly. He looked at her much smaller bed in her much smaller room, seeing no other place for him to sit.
He stood near the door watching her as she rummaged through drawers, mumbling something about laundry before grabbing a pair of cotton shorts and a shirt. She looked back at him, "I'm just gonna go wash up and change, I'll be right back." She began to leave then stopped, "just make yourself at home," she made a gesture with her hand toward the bed, "or do whatever it is you do," then she left the room.
Rose closed the bathroom door behind her and let out a slow breath. "What are you doing," she scolded herself in her head. Talking to him tonight was a big enough step, but inviting him to stay with her was something completely different. She wasn't even sure what his intentions were. "That's ridiculous," Rose reminded herself, "the Doctor never tried anything before, obviously, he won't now."
Once she was changed, she slowly walked back to her bedroom. She opened the door and came upon a sight she never expected to see. The Doctor had removed his trainers and jacket, they were nicely put aside, along with his tie. His shirt was untucked with the sleeves rolled up and the top two buttons undone. It was the most relaxed she had ever seen him.
He was lying on her bed, flipping through a scrapbook she made while growing up. He glanced at her when she walked in but didn't move from his place. "You never told me you made a scrapbook, I love looking at scrapbooks."
"I didn't think you'd be too keen about looking at a bunch of old pictures, seeing that you can travel back and relive it." Rose crossed the room and came to the opposite side of the bed, sitting beside him.
"Nonsense," the Doctor's voice sounded chipper, "it's so much more than just pictures. It's the way you display them, the colors you accent them with, and the layout. You are really putting your feelings of that moment into a piece of art, letting others see that moment through your eyes. Time travel can't do that."
"I never thought of it that way," Rose scooted closer and leaned against his shoulder. She began telling him more about the photos as he went through the book, giving him a glimpse of her life growing up.
There was nothing more after the time she was around seventeen. The Doctor flipped around a second time, "is that it?"
"Yeah," Rose said with a sigh, "that was about the time I left school, I guess I just fell out of the habit."
"Why's that," the Doctor asked sincerely.
"I don't know," Rose sighed with a limp shrug, "there weren't many happy memories after that, then I just forgot I suppose."
The Doctor beamed a smile at her, "how about you start a new one?" He put the scrapbook down on the side table and rolled onto his side facing Rose. "All of the places we go, I'm sure you'd have plenty to work with."
Rose's eyes glanced away as she thought about it, but she was more distracted by the fact that his face was only inches from hers.
Since she was silent, he continued with growing enthusiasm, "we could start tomorrow. You go and buy whatever you need, then tell me where you want to go, anywhere at all, and I'll take you there."
Rose thought of how interesting that could be, having a book of memories from different planets and time periods. It definitely would be unique. A genuine smile spread across her face, "ok, that sound like fun."
The Doctor smiled back, "yeah?"
"Yeah," Rose said with a full smile, "I'd like that."
"Where should we start?" The Doctor asked, "backwards or forward in time? Or maybe some other planet, it's your choice."
Rose thought about it while settling back onto her pillow, "actually, I'd like to check out that festival of planets again. There were so many things I wanted to see but never got to."
"Ah, yes, great idea," the Doctor beamed, "that shouldn't be a problem, they happen often."
Rose yawned again, "I'll call Mickey in the morning and let him know."
"Mickey?" The Doctor tried hiding his disappointment, "…you're inviting Mickey?"
"Actually, it was you who invited him to begin with," Rose said, "it would be rude to leave him behind now."
"No, we wouldn't leave him behind," the Doctor said, "I just thought maybe we could just…"
"I just wanted to make it up to you," he said, "for everything I did."
"Well, in case you forgot, Mickey was with me too, so don't you owe it to both of us?"
"Yeah, I do and I have no problem bringing Mickey with," the Doctor said, "but first I wanted to…well, you and I…"
The Doctor stared at Rose who was looking at him confused. His mouth opened but no sound came out and in his head, he could almost hear Jack yelling at him to say something before it's too late.
"Alright, it's settled," Rose said before he could think of what to say, "Mickey is coming with."
Rose rolled over, not missing the Doctor's dropped jaw. A part of her knew what he was doing but she wasn't going to let him sneak his way back into her heart. She needed Mickey with her to keep her grounded. She reached for the bedside lamp and half turned to him, "goodnight Doctor."
"Goodnight," she heard him say in a whisper.
She closed her eyes and almost immediately fell asleep.
As Rose feared, her dreams came back and once again she was locked away and hidden. Every moment played through her head as if it were happening all over again, up until the struggle where it all went black. Her eyes snapped open and she jolted upright. The Doctor put a hand on her shoulder and she scattered across the room, not knowing who was touching her.
"Rose, it's me," the Doctor said gently. He approached her slowly, so not to startle her, and he took her hand in his and crouched down to meet her eye. "It was a dream, just a memory, you're home and safe."
Rose was still groggy and confused by everything. Her breathing became heavy, her hands clenched into fists and tears started to stream down her cheeks.
"Rose, look at me," the Doctor said while running a hand through her hair. She hesitated then slowly looked up. The sun was barely starting to rise so a soft glow entered through her window allowing her to see.
"How do I know this is real," Rose asked him through shaky breath. "How do I know that I'm not dreaming right now?" She closed her eyes and worried that when she opened them she would be in that room again. "Ow!" Her eyes snapped open to see the Doctor looking back at her. "Why the hell did you pinch me?"
"You wanted proof that this isn't a dream," he told her proudly. "You know the saying, "pinch me, I must be dreaming?" Well, there you go, not a dream."
Rose rubbed the sore spot on her arm, "you could have found a better way."
"Maybe, but this seemed the most effective," he said. "Do you need to talk about it? I can get the journal from the TARDIS, if you want."
Rose shook her head, "please don't go. Not yet anyway, I still feel like he's going to pop out from somewhere and take me away." Seeking comfort, she stepped closer to the Doctor and hugged him.
The Doctor took a few steps backward, not letting her go, and carefully pulled her down to the bed. He pulled the covers over them and squeezed her tightly against him, "you're safe now, Rose." She placed her head over his chest, listening to his hearts beating a steady rhythm, it was hypnotic. His hand began brushing her hair back from her face and his fingers caressed her scalp in a soothing manner, she could almost fall asleep again if it weren't for the fear of closing her eyes.
"I'm sorry," she spoke into his chest.
He stopped running his hand through her hair, that was the last thing he expected to hear. "For what? You can't blame yourself for his actions."
"You told me yourself, well your previous self did, that I'm setting a record for jeopardy friendly and if I didn't let him spend all that time with me, this wouldn't have happened."
"No, don't do that," the Doctor pressed his lips against the top of her head, "if I would have never brought Reinette in the first place, you wouldn't have been so eager to get away from me."
Rose made a shrugging gesture, still laying on his chest, "I suppose, but I guess if it wasn't for Reinette, we would have never gone there to begin with."
"Well, maybe not at the time," the Doctor said. "I was hoping to take you some day, once Mickey decided to move on."
She glanced up at him and shook her head before laying back down, "you're lying."
"No, I'm not," he said defensively, "I had all kinds of plans for us, and not just shopping and dining. I wanted to take you to the ancient caverns off the northern coast. It's a long trek to the center but when you get there you can hear the song of the ancient Lulivian people, centuries old but the sound still lingers within the walls."
"That sounds lovely," Rose said quietly.
"Yeah, plus there is a hot spring so you can relax while listening, I hear it's a very uplifting experience. Then there's whale watching…"
Rose lifted her head, "Lulivian whales?"
"Of course," the Doctor said matter-of-factly, "you think earth is the only planet with whales."
"No," Rose said while propping herself up with her arm, "I just never thought I would travel to a different planet to see them."
"Why not," he asked happily, "you haven't lived until you've heard the song of the three-hump whale. They make earth whales sound like rusty horns."
Rose giggled then laid back on her pillow, finally relaxed. She was happier than before but still needed time for her heart to heal, if that was ever possible. Still, she was glad that her friendship with the Doctor wasn't completely ruined. The room was quiet as he fell silent and she closed her eyes to relax then wondered if he dozed off for a change, she never saw him sleep before. She opened her eyes and glanced beside her to see him wide awake. He was propped up on his elbow and his head rested on his hand as he stared at her with a look she had never seen before, at least not from him. Well, maybe it's a look she has seen before, however brief, moments before he would change subjects or retreat. Now he was holding that look and it was more intense than ever.
This is not the time, Rose told herself and glanced away before she fell into a trance. She needed to protect herself from heartbreak. "Can I get one more hour of sleep," she asked without looking back at him. "My mind is so exhausted."
"Go on," he told her gently, "I'll be here when you wake up and if you have any more bad dreams, I'll be by your side."
Rose rolled to her side, facing away from him, "thanks, just an hour, ok?"
"One hour," he repeated as he scooted closer behind her and wrapped his arm around her waist, pulling her against him. She let out a squeak in surprise and he loosened his grip, "is this ok?"
"Yeah," Rose said without looking back, "you just surprised me. I guess I'm still a little jumpy from that nightmare."
The Doctor tightened his hold on her once again, "just rest, I'm right here," he mumbled almost sleepily. She felt his cool breath ghosting the back of her neck before she fell asleep.
Sunlight peeked through the curtains, waking Rose before the Doctor did. She slowly opened her eyes, seeing the clock ahead of her and realized that nearly three hours had passed. The Doctor's arm was still tightly around her and as Rose started to wonder why he didn't wake her. Then she heard a faint snore behind her and realized that he was sleeping.
She smiled to herself and opted not to wake him just yet. She often wondered what it would be like to wake with him like this and this might be her only chance so she remained in the same position and closed her eyes, listening to his breathing.
Slowly she rolled to her back to look at him. She looked at his relaxed features, each freckle, and his unusually messy hair. She's never seen the Doctor with bed head before and couldn't stop a small giggle from escaping.
His eyes slowly opened and he froze in shock to see her looking back at him, he didn't even remember falling asleep. He relaxed again and smiled, "hello."
"Hello," Rose smiled back, "you were supposed to wake me two hours ago."
"Like you would've woken up," he teased.
Rose could feel his fingers trailing the bare skin that was left exposed when her shirt slightly rode up in her sleep. She shifted away from him and began to sit up, "I think we should get up before mum walks in and kills us both."
"Right," the Doctor said while getting up. He tucked his shirt back in and grabbed his coat, tie, and shoes, "I'll just leave you to get dressed."
"Thanks," Rose said as she watched him back away toward the door.
The Doctor slipped out of the room and closed the door behind him.
Rose got out of bed and started pulling on a pair of jeans when she heard a shriek and the sound of glass breaking. "Oh no," she muttered before dashing out of the room to see Jackie chasing the Doctor with a broom.
"Mum," Rose cried out, "what are you doing?"
"What am I doing," Jackie said, "what the hell is he doing here? Honestly, I can't believe you two, you have the TARDIS out there, I don't need you bringing that in my house."
"Mum, we weren't doing anything," Rose said, stepping between her mum and the Doctor. "I had some bad dreams and he was there to comfort me, nothing more."
"Doubtful," Jackie countered, "alien or human, he's still a man."
Rose took the broom from her mum, "it's true, don't you trust me."
Jackie calmed herself while considering her daughter's eyes, "oh, all right." She glanced toward the Doctor, "but I still have my eye on you."
The Doctor nodded, grateful that he didn't get slapped again, or worse. "Right then," he said, "I'll just head back to the TARDIS and get things ready."
Rose walked him to the door, "all right, I'll call Mickey in a bit." She opened the door and they paused, "listen…thank you for staying last night and for saving me back on Luliv."
The Doctor smiled down at her, "anything for you Rose." His voice was barely a whisper between them and he hugged her, hoping she could feel what he felt.
Rose was the first to pull away, "all right, I'll just get my things together and I'll see you a bit, yeah?"
The Doctor nodded and began walking back to the TARDIS, the smile on his face evident although he knew he still had a lot of making up to do.
The TARDIS materialized near Jack's home. Jack stepped out, followed by the Doctor, Mickey, and Rose.
Jack took in a deep breath, "yep, smells like home." He turned and smiled at his friends, then held his arms out, inviting Rose in for a hug. She smiled and stepped closer into his embrace. He squeezed her tight and kissed the top of her head, "don't let him treat you any less than the amazing woman you are."
Rose sniffed, letting her tears soak his shirt then nodded.
"And if he does," Jack continued, "you come find me and I will."
Rose laughed and stepped back, seeing a hint of seriousness in his eyes.
Jack then looked at Mickey and stepped closer, Mickey smirked and eventually let Jack pull him into a tight, man-hug but he couldn't escape the kiss on his cheek. He peeled away from Jack as Jack winked at him, "we'll always have Luliv," he teased.
Mickey scowled and mumbled something under his breath before stomping back to the TARDIS. Rose laughed and gave Jack one last shake of her head before following her friend inside to calm him down.
The Doctor and Jack stood together silently, both standing tall with their hands in their pockets and neither of them feeling intimidated by the other.
"Do I need to tell you," Jack asked him.
"I think anything that can be said, has been said," the Doctor answered.
"Has it," Jack asked.
The Doctor glanced away and swallowed nervously.
"That's what I thought," Jack said while stepping closer to him. He held his hand out to the Doctor, "just remember that."
The Doctor nodded and took his hand, shaking it. Jack backed away and walked off into the distance, the Doctor watched for a moment then stepped into the TARDIS. Rose and Mickey were waiting inside and the smile Rose gave him was genuine. Things just might be ok, the Doctor thought to himself and he approached the console, grinning in return.
"Alright, next stop, festival of planets," he flipped the lever and they dissipated into vortex. Then the TARDIS rattled, sending the three stumbling around.
"What was that," Rose asked while bracing herself against the console.
"Ah, nothing," he said happily, "after all the work I've done, I forgot to calibrate her." He looked at Mickey across the console, "hey Mick, you see that button?"
Mickey pointed, "this one?"
"Yep," the Doctor said with a pop of the p, "can you press and hold it for me." He watched Mickey press it then on his end he made some adjustments of his own. While he made his final adjustments, he glanced over at Rose who was sitting in the jump seat. She was watching him and something about her smile sparked a memory, "hey Rose, remember that time…"