Summary: Rose and the Doctor talk, almost directly after The Satan Pit. How much is he going to keep giving up for her? How long will he have to keep sacrificing her to save the world? Oneshot
Characters: Tenth Doctor, Rose Tyler
Rating: T, just in case.
Genre: Romance, Drama, Angst
Spoilers: "The Impossible Planet" and "The Satan Pit"
Setting: Rose and the Doctor in the TARDIS after the events in TSP.
Disclaimer: Doctor Who is nothing of mine. All the BBC's creation and ownership. Believe me, it's something I cry about on a daily basis. But it's probably just as well, because I couldn't come up with the fantastic storylines anyway.
I don't often do episode afters; but lately they've been growing
on me as ways to explain emotions. Probably something to do with the
fact I don't have a big project on at the moment. This is an
episode for all you folks out there who were unsatisfied with the
line, "Tell her... Oh, she already knows." Stupid idiot. Anyway,
it's gold for us fanficers, so there's thanks in that at least.
The Doctor was on his own in the console room. He wasn't doing anything. He was just standing there, with his hands in his pockets, staring into metaphorical space. His breathing was slow and thoughtful, his mouth closed. The TARDIS controls lay untouched by his side; he wasn't sure if he had the heart to go anywhere else. Not yet. Not after everything that had happened.
A broom cupboard, it had started out as. A storage space in the middle of nowhere because he'd felt like a bit of fun. Of course, then he had lost the TARDIS and met the supposed devil. He put his hands out in front of him, weighing up the situation like scales. Storage cupboard... Devil... Storage cupboard... Devil...
His hands moved to run through his hair instead, his frustrated mind too reeling to really make a connection. He'd put Rose in danger. He'd had to kill her to save the world, the universe, again. How many times would he end up doing that? How many times had he done it already? Did she understand his choice? Why, oh why, had he jumped? Hanging off the edge of that rope, the only way had been down. He'd known it as soon as the pit had opened.
It was that voice, he told himself. That irrational, stupid, I'm-going-to-save-the-world-and-there's-nothing-you-can-do voice, that seemed to very easily take a hold of him in this incarnation. He would have jumped from there in an instant, usually. But he hadn't. He had hesitated. All because of Rose. It had been a selfish thing to do, he realised. If he'd died down there, he wouldn't have been able to protect her. The fact that she was probably dead anyway had nothing to do with it. He had promised to be by her side and protect her. Instead he'd left. He always left.
Rose's small, sad voice pierced his empty thoughts and he turned to her with a feigned grin.
"Hello!" he chirped merrily, bouncing on his feet and slapping his hands together. "Did you have a good shower? Where do you want to go next?"
But she blinked back at him slowly, obviously not ready to head anywhere else yet. Just as well; he wasn't either.
"That was..." she said instead, giving a small motion with her hand. She was talking about what they had just been through.
The Doctor swallowed and looked back at her, his ecstatic grin and mood fading.
"How close d'you think we came this time?"
He coughed and turned away, taking in a breath before he answered.
"Oh, I dunno. Does it really matter?"
She shrugged and sauntered over to him, coming to a stop just behind him.
"I... I thought I'd lost you," she admitted quietly after a moment, watching the rise and fall of his shoulders. His head turned around to her and his face was so sombre, it almost made her cry. He wanted to tell her that she hadn't lost him, that he'd never leave her, that it was all a part of his 'plan'. But it would be a lie. He had thought he was going to die, regeneration or no. So he settled with the truth instead, hoping that it would hurt less.
"I thought I'd lost you, too. That's why I... jumped."
All right, so maybe not entirely truthful. But it wasn't exactly a lie either.
She didn't understand. He could see it across her face, confused, blinking back at him, and now she was going to ask. He braced himself.
However, she just shrugged and looked thoughtfully at the controls instead.
"Spoke to Ida before we left 'em. She said you went down there to have a look, but ended up saving us all instead."
At this, the Doctor couldn't help chuckling softly and giving Rose a gentle grin.
"Sounds just like me, doesn't it?" he smiled affectionately. "Jump to my death, save the world."
He wished he'd thought before he had spoken. Rose's head looked up to him and there were unshed tears in her eyes.
"So... you knew you were gonna...?"
He leant forwards onto the control unit, his hands covering the cold metal. He couldn't go back now.
"I thought it was a probable consequence, yes," he confirmed quietly, his head bowed between his arms. He felt her shuffle to the side of him, felt the heat of her body radiate his arm. He didn't look up.
"But you still..."
He closed his eyes. Was there accusation in her voice? Questioning? Pleading? He couldn't tell. His body shook with the sigh that rattled through him.
"Yes, Rose. I still jumped; knowing full well that I might not make it to the bottom."
"Right," she choked sadly, folding her arms and looking to the ceiling; crying now would not be good, she reminded herself. She could cry later, when he wasn't around. Fighting back the overwhelming urge for now, she asked the only thing that came into her mind. "Did you think about me?"
The question was heavily weighted, he could hear. His body straightened instantly and he turned to face her, his brown eyes intense and searching her desperately with a new wave of feeling that sprung up in him...
"Yes," he said defiantly, taking her by the shoulders gently and staring at her with more force than he meant to. "Every single second I was down there, I thought about you. Thought about how I'd dragged you there; trapped you there. Thought about how I let you down, how I couldn't take you home. How much I'd failed you. I thought about what I would say to your mother if I had the chance. I thought about what you'd be doing if you were down there with me. I thought about what you'd do if we were in each other's places. I thought about how I'd feel if I was standing there, waiting for you, and you let go. I thought about what I'd say to you if you were with me, or if I ever saw you again. I thought about what to tell you. I thought about everything we'd been through and how I never regretted it for one minute. How I never regretted meeting you, not one second, and how good a mortgage and a house with carpets was beginning to sound. I thought about how much I loved you and how much I never wanted to let you go. And then I jumped."
He stared at her for a minute, seeing the tears in her red eyes. She raised a hand to his cheek and he closed his eyes at her touch. He never thought he'd feel her like that again. He pulled her into his arms, his palms splayed over her back, their foreheads touching, his breath on her face. He inhaled her scent, a smell he thought he'd never enjoy again. He knew he shouldn't. He knew he should let her go and go back to his TARDIS. But having her this close when he had been that close to losing her... how was he supposed to let go now? He couldn't and he wouldn't. Never again.
"You did what you had to," Rose whispered from in front of him, her breath playing at the skin on his face. He opened his eyes again to find her looking at him wisely, intensely. The hands that were on the back of his shoulders burned through his shirt.
"I killed you," he countered quietly, fighting the temptation to close his eyes and lose himself in her touch.
"Still here, aren't I?" she smiled gently, squeezing his shoulders.
"But it so easily could have been the end. For me and for you. You were safe on that ship, and I had to tear you away from your escape to save the world. The universe. How can you ever forgive me for that?"
"'Cause," Rose sniffed, almost laughing with misery, feeling the closeness of his skin. "I'd never want to be anywhere else or have it any other way. You do what you have to do to save the world, and I'm not gonna run away just 'cause it might mean I have to die too. That's life, isn't it?"
The Doctor almost laughed at how wise his Rose had become. She barely seemed like the same person he'd invited on board nearly a year ago. He couldn't stop the smile that spread over his face and he closed his eyes again, happy to bask her in presence.
"It's my life," he replied softly, his grip on her back tightening. He didn't want to let her go. "It doesn't have to be yours too."
"But Doctor," Rose reasoned, her throat dry with her mountain of tears, "It does. My life is with you, and that's the only thing I want."
"Oh, Rose..." he groaned gently, his hearts breaking. He didn't deserve her.
He felt her head tilt, ever so slightly, beneath his and felt her lips just millimetres from his. He hadn't really taken in how close they actually were, but realising it now, he wouldn't have it any other way. He pulled her that little bit closer to him and closed the gap, touching his lips tenderly with his own. They stood for a moment, their arms around each other, their lips together in a longing, platonic embrace, their kiss merely another extension of the feelings they shared for one another. But then the Doctor felt himself apply more pressure than he meant to, felt Rose's mouth part willingly beneath his and tasted her ragged breath inside his own mouth. He wasn't quite sure how it had happened, but he was bloody pleased that it had.
They pulled back slightly, breathing in the needed air. He wanted to kiss her again and again, tasting her in his mouth, feeling her beside him, hearing her thoughts and feelings in himself. But instead he let out a small laugh and nuzzled their foreheads gently together, opening his eyes. Hers were already on his, and he felt her arms link behind his head.
He swallowed loudly, his Adam's apple quivering with the feel of the woman in his arms. His eyes searched hers softly and passionately as his hands caressed her back through her clothes.
"For the record," he said quietly, her warm breath tickling his chin, "You know how I feel about you, don't you?"
"I could guess..."
Their gaze locked for a minute and the universe fell away around them.
"I love you," he replied earnestly, lowering his head for another, gentle kiss. "God Rose, I love you so very much."
She grinned and rose up to meet his lips again, tender, soft, butterfly kisses to caress his skin.
"Love you too, Doctor," she murmured, and he pulled her closer to him, quelling any air between their bodies as he buried his face in the crook of her neck in a hug.
"But, see, now we're in trouble," he commented as he held her, feeling her warmth radiation through him. "Because now, I can't ever let you go."
She drew back slightly, enough to look him in the eye.
"Yeah you can," she replied, but she was smiling. "And you will. It just won't be soon, yeah?"
"It won't be ever, if I can help it," the Doctor growled, before sweeping her into a kiss again.
The Doctor blinked and looked down at her, aware that he hadn't answered her question.
"Yes," he replied quietly, before taking in a breath. "I did."
She gave a small cough and looked up to him with serene innocence that he could almost feel one of his hearts breaking as he watched her. The scene he saw in his head began to fade.
"Thought about you, too. They said you were... but I didn't believe it. I knew you'd come back."
"Oh, Rose," he said softly, stepping forward and pulling her into a hug, his strong fingers encasing her shoulders. He leant his chin on her shoulder and felt her bury her head for comfort in his neck. His eyes darkened with an intense glare as he stared imagined danger in the face, a danger that he would always be facing and would always be trying to take her away from him. But he wouldn't let it. She was his mind, body and soul. She kept the demons away. She was his one and only faith.
When he spoke, his voice was as sombre as the grave he'd built for himself. "I always come back."