Title: In the Nick of Time

Author: Zeke

Summary: Facing imminent death, Rose and the Doctor get to know each other a little better (and then escape!)

Rating: T / PG13

Disclaimer: I don't own the rights to Doctor Who, or any of the characters within it. So there!

As seemed to be usual, Rose found herself running for her life down a dingy corridor, with the Doctor close at her heels. He was pushing her forward while busily attempting to dodge some laser fire that looked suspiciously like a cheap 60s-TV special effect. Every now and then, they ran through a doorway and the Doctor paused to slap the door-close mechanism to try to slow their pursuers down. It wasn't doing much good. Plus there was the fact that the whole place was going to explode within about the next ten minutes.

"Move it Rose!" the Doctor shouted, while shoving her in the small of the back. "That last shot almost singed my ear off!" They encountered another doorway, and the Doctor pressed the lock mechanism again before pushing his companion through.

"It could only be an improvement you know," Rose replied. Attempting to evade certain death always made her feel a bit narky. The Doctor wasn't listening however; he had just realised the mistake that he'd made. Instead of running into another corridor, they had run into a small room, with the only exit being the way they had come in. Not a nice thought. He turned to peer through the small window in the door to see how close the pursuers were, and found a pair of red beady eyes staring at him in amusement. Rose grabbed the Doctor and pulled him back away from the door, waiting for their attackers to follow them inside.

They didn't. Instead, they departed back up the corridor, apparently leaving the two hapless companions to escape.

"No way is it that easy," Rose said, tugging the Doctor back as he tried to move back towards the door.

"Don't be so pessimistic Rose," the Doctor replied, moving forward regardless. "I got the impression they rather liked us." He peered through the door-window again, and then at the door itself. "Fantastic."

"What is it?" Rose asked, walking forward to meet him. "Do you think they remembered that they left the kettle on, or something?"

"Fraid not," he said. "But you were right about something. It's not that easy. This door only opens from the outside."

Rose stumbled forward against the Doctor in her attempt to view the horror for herself. The doorframe was an expanse of smooth and perfectly plain metal, without a door lock or control panel in sight. "There must be another way out of here!" she said, examining the rest of their rather small and dingy cell. The whole of the room was made out of the same smooth metal, the floor and ceiling included. The only interruption was a panel in the ceiling that gave off a soft glow of light, about 2 feet square in size. She felt around anyway, refusing to believe that they could finally be done in by a door.

The Doctor rummaged through his pockets and found his trusty sonic screwdriver, and proceeded to poke around for a minute or so. However, there wasn't really anything to poke around with.

"Do you think we could bash it down?" Rose asked hopefully.

"I'm an alien, Rose," the Doctor replied. "But I'm the type that comes without super powers; I don't think we'd shift it. Unless of course you've been eating your spinach while you were growing up?"

Rose sneered. "There's nothing you can do with the screwdriver then?"

"No," the Doctor replied darkly.

"Not even if you have the little blue light on?" she asked, and he shook his head. "Fantastic," she echoed the Doctor's favourite word. The possibility that they might not actually be able to open the door was starting to sink in, but she wasn't quite ready to give up yet. She squared off against the door, and then threw her body weight against it as hard as she could.

The door laughed. Or at least, it would have done if it had a mouth (but there were no seams or openings anywhere near this door, remember). Rose, on the other hand, yelped as she bounced away from the door and fell onto her backside. She could feel herself filling with panic and anger, and scrambled back to her feet for another go, holding on to the Doctor's outstretched hand.

The second time that she fell to the floor, the panic started to take over, and she had to sniff back tears as she tried to get back up. The Doctor put a hand on her shoulder and held her down, sat down beside her.

"Come on," he said softly. "Stop it, eh?" He slid an arm around her and pulled her against him, and she leaned her head into the comforting scent of his jacket. "I'm sorry Rose," he whispered, sliding his hand into her hair. She slid a hand against his chest and snuggled, sniffing softly. She would have lived longer serving chips.

They sat for a couple of moments in silence. There could only be about another 5 minutes before the whole place blew up, by the Doctor's reckoning. There must be a way out; for a Timelord to be bested by a little square room was, well, ridiculous, but he just couldn't think. He looked down at his companion and wondered if she wished that she had chosen the Mum, Mickey and chips option; he hoped not. She lifted her head and looked up at him, seemed to wonder if she should try to strike up a conversation to pass the last few moments of imminent death.

"You're wondering if I'm regretting this, aren't you?" Rose asked, and the Doctor frowned, and then nodded, looking quite sorry for himself. "I'm not," she went on, and he stared at her with that look of intensity that seemed to demonstrate his "alien-ness". She wasn't sure how to interpret it this time, so she decided to wait and see what he did.

He kissed her. Just lightly, and then he stopped and looked a bit surprised with himself. He wasn't used to having to deal with these sorts of feelings, after all. Rose had closed her eyes and now tilted her head back, licked her lips slowly as if wondering how to interpret the kiss. When she finally opened her eyes again, she smiled and lifted her face closer to him.

The Doctor took the hint and kissed her again, using the hand in her hair to pull her closer. She moaned softly as she opened her mouth and let him explore, her hands rubbing against his chest. He always seemed so normal, but he was making her tingle in a way that she'd never felt before. Maybe it was the two-heart-heartbeat doing it… whatever it was, she didn't want it to end. She slid her hands higher, around his neck, and pulled even closer, kissing him back now. He groaned softly, and eventually came up for air.

"I think we might be better off continuing this back in the TARDIS," the Doctor said softly. "Fancy getting out of here?"

"Finally had an idea for once, have you?" Rose asked. "And here I was thinking that I'd have to bail us out as usual."

"I'll have you know that I'm full of good ideas, me," he huffed. "And I'm not late. It's stylish, you know. Saving us in the nick of time."

"So what's the wonderful idea then?"

"I've seen the light."

"You think God's going to save us?"

"Don't be daft. The light fitting, let's bash it!"

They did. And low and behold, there was a crawl space above the light fitting that seemed to connect through to the next light back in the corridor. Of course, Rose being the smallest, she got the job of scrabbling through, dropping down and opening the door from the other side. If it hadn't been for the fact that they had to save their breath for the sprint back to the TARDIS, there would have been an argument about who had actually saved the day. As it happened, they had to save that particular argument for another Time.