Claustrophobic

A/N: Ok, thank you to Shrink to be for the idea for this story (and for checking it for me). This story is set after fear her, but before doomsday.

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I don't care what you say, we are goin' to visit mum. Last time I rang her, she was adamant that we both had to some and see her new flat. I think she likes this new you better than the last one." Rose teased, grinning.

"Well, If she's not going to be as quick to slap me as she was before, I'm not complaining," the Doctor grinned back.

Rose and the Doctor were standing waiting for the lift on the ground floor of the very tall block of flats; where Jackie's flat was near the top.

"God, how long is this lift goin' to take?" Rose asked impatiently.

"You know, we could just use the stairs," The Doctor suggested, sounding hopeful.

"Pfft, no way! There's gotta be about 20 flights! There is no way I'm climbin' that many stairs when there's a working lift right here," Rose replied, not even suspecting that the Doctor might have an ulterior motive for wanting to take the stairs.

The lift finally arrived and Rose walked in, still talking. The Doctor hesitated, looking round at the stairs.

"You comin'?" Rose prompted.

The Doctor didn't answer, but took a deep breath and stepped into the lift.

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Inside the lift, they had just started to move slowly upwards (Rose now knew why it had taken so long to arrive), when Rose noticed that the Doctor seemed very tense. He was standing, arms crossed staring at the numbers tick very slowly up as to what floor they were on. Rose wouldn't have been worried if that was all, but he was also starting to breathe in shorter shallower breaths. But she knew that he would hate for her to point any of this out, so she said nothing, and hoped that they would arrive at their destination soon.

All of a sudden, the lift ground to a juddering halt – and it wasn't because they had got to Jackie's flat. They were a few floors off their destination… and they were between floors.

By now, the doctor had uncrossed his arms – which allowed Rose to see just how badly his hands were shaking, and had spoken in a voice which had more than a slight tremble in it. "Rose, w-why have we stopped? Please tell me that the lift hasn't broken down. The lift CAN'T be broken down!" Then he started ranting frantically in another language. She didn't understand a word of what he was saying. But from the tone of his voice she hazarded a guess that he was using ever swear word known across the galaxy, let alone just to mankind.

Rose was taken aback by the radical change in the Doctor from his usual demeanour. Generally, he was confident and fearless in the face of almost anything, but now… He seemed terrified -- of a lift. Then it dawned on her, he must be claustrophobic!

Looking at the Doctor's pale and somewhat frightened face, and his shaking hands, Rose also realised that it was up to her to get them out of there.

She tried pressing the help button-- but it was broken. Frustrated, she tried to think of another way to get out. Then it came to her, just as if someone had just flicked on a light bulb in her head.

Turning to the ashen faced Doctor she said, "Doctor, your sonic screwdriver! You can fix the lift! An' then we'll be out of here in no time!"

The Doctor swallowed, nodded and muttered distractedly, "Yeah, good idea. That's a good idea. You can't get a better idea than that," and reached into his pocket for his sonic screwdriver.

As Rose watched, the Doctor frowned, and reached into a different pocket, and then another, and another. As he went from pocket to pocket his search grew more and more frantic. When he'd found his last pocket was empty, the doctor stammered out, "I- I- I don't--- It's not---. I don't h-have it."

No sooner had he said this, the doctor started to hyperventilate, panicking.

Rose, sure that he was going to make himself pass out, laid a hand on his arm and said, "Doctor? Doctor look at me. Look at me, ok? Don't think about this, just focus on me ok? Now calm down and breathe deep breaths yeah? C'mon, breathe like me. Breathe in. Breathe out."

She continued this until the Doctor seemed like he had calmed down a bit. Then they both sat down against the wall of the lift. Rose glanced at the trembling man beside her, and thought that no one would ever guess that he was in fact a 900 year old time travelling alien.

Rose glanced again at the doctor, who was now sitting with his knees up against his chest and his head leaning against the wall. His eyes were closed and he was still pale, but he looked a lot calmer than he was before. She asked, "So, 'ave you always been claustrophobic? I mean, were all the previous you's claustrophobic as well, or does it change?"

For a moment the doctor didn't say anything, and Rose was starting to think that he wasn't going to answer, when he said shakily, "No, I haven't always been claustrophobic. In fact, none of my previous incarnations were. Several of them hated heights though, and one of them was afraid of spiders!

"Really!" Rose laughed, "Well I don' like spiders, they creep me out, and I used to be afraid of the dark when I was a kid!"

At this, the doctor smiled sadly and said, "Yes, lots of children are afraid of the dark."

Seeing the reminiscent look on the Doctor's face, Rose remembered what he had said when they'd gone to see the 2012 Olympics. The Doctor was a dad, he had children… or had used to have children, before the Time war. She took a deep breath, gathered her courage and asked softly, "What about your kids… were they scared of the dark?"

This time when the Doctor didn't reply, Rose was sure that she'd gone too far, and that this time he really wasn't going to answer. But to her surprise (and slight relief), he did. The doctor leant his head back against the wall, closed his eyes and said, "No, only one of my daughters was. The others were all fine." He offered Rose a small smile, "Which was quite fortunate really, it would've got awfully crowded if they'd all come to my bed every night because they were scared."

Rose smiled back, and didn't say anything else on the subject. She didn't want to push her luck and annoy or upset the Doctor. So she stayed silent.

After a while of sitting in silence, Rose realised that she still had her phone and she could ring her mum to tell her that they'd be late -- and that they were stuck in a lift. So, she rummaged around in her pocket, and couldn't find it. Frowning slightly she checked her other pocket – no phone. Then she checked her jean pockets, and found - not her phone, but the doctor's sonic screwdriver.

Rose glanced nervously at the instrument in her hand, and then back at the doctor, who wasn't paying any attention to her discovery, his head on his knees.

"Er, doctor?" she began, nervously, "I- I, um, I have your…"

Not understanding what Rose was trying to say, the Doctor lifted his head to look at her, and his eyes fell on the object in her hand. "How did you get a hold of that?" he asked, a little annoyed, but very relieved to see it. He took it from her offering hand and fixed the lift within seconds.

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"Where 'ave you BEEN!" Jackie Tyler screeched when they finally arrived at her door. "I was sure that you'd been kidnapped, or stranded on some godforsaken planet or… killed! Why didn't you ring me to tell me you'd be late?"

It was then that Jackie noticed how pale and shaky the doctor was. Her voice softened a little as she asked, "What 'appened?"

Knowing that there was no way the doctor was going to explain about his ordeal, Rose explained, "It's stupid really Mum, we were on our way over 'ere and we got stuck in the lift." Then, seeing that Jackie was still confused as to the Doctor's state, she continued, "and the Doctor's claustrophobic."

"Oh I see. Beth's claustrophobic you know, she 'as the most terrible time every time she has to use a lift, or stand in a crowded room even," she said sympathetically. "But you're ok now, aren't you?" She continued, a worried look on her face.

"I'm fine Jackie," the Doctor assured her. Then seeing that she didn't seem to believe him, he grinned. It was only a shadow of his usual slightly manic grin, but it seemed to reassure Jackie that he was going to live.

"Well, come on in then, and I'll make us all a nice cup a' tea, " Jackie invited.

Rose and the Doctor went into Jackie's new living room while she went to get the tea.

After having a quick look around, Rose turned back to the Doctor who was looking at all of her mum's knick knacks on the mantel piece.

"So, are you sure that you're ok now Doctor?" she asked apprehensively.

The Doctor turned to face her, and smiled. "Yes I'm sure Rose." Then he grinned, "But when we leave, I'm using the stairs!"

THE END

A/N: Ok, before anyone says anything, I just wanna say that this story is slightly AU, because I know the doctor has used lifts other times (like in new earth and the satan pit). So, anyone who has read this, please review! Even if it's months, or even years after it was published, please review!