Series Title: Cravings
Series Summary: The Doctor and Rose crave many things...

Title: WorryAuthor: Rambling Rose
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Doctor Who and all affiliated characters are trademarks of the BBC. No profit is made to the author with use of these trademarked entities. No part of the plot or story, herein, is not to be republished without consent of the author.

Part Thirteen - Worry
Sarah Jane had only been a revelation. And thinking back, Rose could remember on several occasions in which the Doctor had hinted other people had traveled with him. Though, in her defense, he had never said they were humans that she could have bumped into on a normal day in London. She had been jealous for a bit, yes, but things had worked out in the end.

Besides, now Rose had someone back home she could ring up and giggle about the Doctor with... earning her a few rolled eyes in the process from the source of their amusement.

It wasn't until the space station that the Doctor became a little distant. He figuratively started pushing her more towards Mickey than himself. When Rose had her fill of it and told him off, she learned out his own personal guilt.

He felt guilty that Sarah Jane spent so long waiting for him to come back. He felt guilty that Reinette had spent the last years of her life waiting for him to return and take her to see her favourite star. That conversation ended up leading to the idea that he didn't want that to happen to Rose 'just in case' she was left somewhere he couldn't get her back. He didn't want her wasting her life waiting for him...

That night Rose had dreamt of metal men and Daleks flying past her and a bright white light. It must have been some sort of nightmare because she awoke to the Doctor shaking her and calling out her name. She had jerked awake, the Doctor's hands on her shoulders and eyes wide with panic.

"I heard you screaming for me all the way in the console room," he said, his voice up in pitch slightly. "What is it? What's wrong?"

Rose waved her hand dismissively and managed a laugh. "I'm fine... really." She suddenly realized she was trembling. She heard more footsteps and suddenly Mickey was also at her bedside, hounding her, asking her if she was all right. Rose felt her face grow warm and she lashed out, "I'm FINE! Okay?! Just back off, yeah?"

Both men stepped back in shock and looked at each other as if the other one had the answer. Rose ordered both of them out of her room.

As soon as they were both out of the room, she rolled onto her side, facing the wall. She reached out and trailed her fingers along the wall. A smile tugged at her lips as the TARDIS gave a content hum. "Thanks," she murmured. "I wish you could make the thoughts go away. I wish I didn't know... But I do, so there's no changing that is there?"

With a sigh, Rose let her mind wander to the thoughts fluttering through her brain. She didn't hear the door open, but she could feel the presence of another person in her doorway.

"I don't need a hug or anything, Mickey," Rose assured him gently.

"How'd you know it was me?" Mickey asked.

"TARDIS told me."

She felt him sit on the side of her bed and he sighed. "Do you want to talk about it, Rose? Do you get nightmares often?"

Rose bit her bottom lip. She didn't roll over to face Mickey, just continued to gently stroke the wall. "No," she said with a slight shrug, "On both counts." She was quiet a long moment then frowned. "Come on, out with it Mickey."

Mickey wasted no time in pouring out his displeasure at his travels so far.

"Does he make a habit of leaving you alone and going off with other women? 'Cause that's just not right. I'd never do something like that."

Rose rolled her eyes. She didn't feel like getting into Mickey's schemes to try and get her to leave the Doctor and go home. It was the primary reason she hadn't wanted him to come along in the first place.

"If you're referring to the fact he did it to make sure those clock men didn't muck about with history then yes. He does make a habit of it. It's what he does. He makes sure people don't get killed by psychotic robots a few years early..."

She turned to face Mickey and sat up. It got his attention and made him look at her. "He saves the world from being overtaken by subatomic robots that wanna turn humanity into gas masked zombies because they don't know any better... He's literally killed himself twice to save my life. He may have left me on my own, but he has always come back. I have no reason to doubt him. Besides, he promised to always come back if he could."

Mickey looked down, shamed by the strength of her argument. "But what if there's a day he can't come back? What do you do then?"

Rose blinked a few times. "Then I go on with my life until he can."

Mickey smiled faintly and gave her a hug. When his arm brushed the mark between her shoulders she felt an intense burning. Both of them jumped slightly. Mickey looked at his arm and Rose tried to rub the mark. "What the hell was that?" he yelp, scratching at the faint burn mark on his arm.

He gently took Rose's shoulders in his hands and turned her enough to what the Doctor had put there so long ago.

"It's nothing really, Mickey. The Doctor put it there ages ago," Rose sighed. "And yes, Mum knows I got it. She saw it over Christmas. She was a bit furious until I told her what it was for."

"Well, what's it say? What's it for?" Mickey asked.

After a moment's hesitation, Rose settled on telling Mickey the same lie she told her mother. "The Doctor put it there because I have a habit of wandering off and getting caught by the baddies. It acts as a sort of connection between us. If I'm in trouble or something it helps him find me easier without them knowing."

"Does it say anything or ---"

Rose chuckled. "Basically, it says 'If you so much as harm one particle of Rose Tyler, in any manner, the Doctor will not be held accountable for what he does to you.' It's actually a lot more drawn out and detailed but I figured it would be easier to give you the gist of it." She looked shiftily for a moment. "But, don't bring up that I know what it says all right? He doesn't know that I know."

He raised a questioning eyebrow.

"Don't ask," Rose assured. "Just don't tell him I know."

"I won't," Mickey promised, and Rose knew he wouldn't. "Even though it's just an elaborate child safety lock, it still looks nice."

Rose smiled and looked down at her hands, folding in her lap. Though she was fairly sure Mickey knew about whatever it was her and the Doctor had together, she knew she didn't think he needed to hear his suspicions confirmed by knowing the full context of what the mark on her back meant.

"I hope the two of you work things out then," Mickey said quietly, with a slight smile. He put a hand over Rose's and gave them a slight squeeze. "Maybe I'll just go home or something so I won't get in the way..."

"No," Rose said soothingly. "Stay, it's nice to have someone else along for the ride. Gets sort of batty when it's just me and him... No one but each other to look at. I mean, when Jack was 'ere it was always fun. You saw us. 'Into time and space!' The three of us could be like that yeah?"

After a moment of hesitant murmuring, Mickey smiled brightly. "Yeah. We can be like that. Though I won't be going about flirting with everything like Captain Jack Flash."

Rose thought for a moment. She remembered when she and the Doctor had been in Rome, the only thing that had given her hope once Ursus had started turning her into stone was the fact she had recalled all the different time and places she would still exist. Though she thought it best the Doctor not know she remembered it all, she did. She remembered wiping out all the Daleks and she remembered bringing Jack back to life.

Then again, another Jack had shown her things that confirmed Harkness was still alive and doing very well indeed.

"He died protecting the Doctor from Daleks," Rose finally said with great affection. "But he came back to life and went on to better things."

Mickey gave her another hug, taking care to not brush against the mark between her shoulders. He placed a chaste kiss on her cheek and left the room without another word.

Rose smiled to herself and laid back down, facing the wall. She tossed her duvet to the foot of the bed and only let the cotton sheet come up to her waist. Feeling content, she let her eyes drift closed.


No sooner than Rose had made herself comfortable and closed her eyes she felt another presence behind her. She pretended to be asleep so that maybe the intruder would go away and let her sleep. Her door silently shut but she could hear the gentle sound of footsteps across the carpeting.

He wasn't wanting to disturb her, she could tell. Usually he would find reasons to be loud and obnoxious if he was trying to wake her up. The bed dipped slightly, indicating that he had sat down on the bed.

The moment a cool finger touched her arm, Rose felt glad she had decided to wear the flimsy little camisole pajama set. The Doctor's finger trailed up her arm, along her shoulder, then traced the lines of the mark on her back. She felt a faint warmth for the duration of his finger lazily tracing each line of the brand.

It caused Rose to softly gasp. But, unlike when Mickey had touched it, it didn't burn. In fact, it felt rather nice, like slowly submerging herself into a hot bubble bath. It released pleasure and contentment.

"I should remove it," the Doctor softly murmured. "Mickey came and complained that it burnt him when he gave you a friendly hug. Had to patch up the burn mark on his arm. It could prove disastrous if we ever get separated for a long period of time and you try to move on with your life."

"You promised you wouldn't leave me behind," Rose purred. "So I see no reason for you to remove it."

The Doctor's hand jerked away suddenly. Rose rolled onto her back and gave the Doctor a gentle smile. He didn't see it however, because he had his face in his hands. He sighed heavily and let his hands drop as he looked at her. "I can't always be sure of that Rose. Look at what happened on that space station. I had no way of getting back to you and you had no way of getting home."

Rose shrugged. "But you came back. I mean, yeah we had no choice but to wait... not like I had many options for larking off and having a fantastic life." She gave him cheeky smile. "Though the TARDIS was still lovely and alive so Mickey and I would have been able to survive fine until you found a way back."

The Doctor gave a sad smile. "See? That situation could have easily turned out badly."

"But... it... didn't..." Rose said slowly, poking his leg with each of the three words. "So why worry about it?" She sat up and cradled his face in her hands. "You're here, I'm here, Mickey's here, the TARDIS is here... We're all alive and happy." She looked at the ceiling then back at him with a wrinkled-nose grin. "Well, except for you. You're miserable for some odd reason that doesn't matter."

There was a tiny glimmer of light in the Doctor's eyes as a smile spread across his features. He took her wrists gingerly in his hands and kissed each of her palms. "You don't play fair," he scolded weakly. "Why do you have to make so much sense at times?"

"Because, sometimes you don't. So someone has to make you sort it all out, yeah?" Rose teased. "Besides, that's what people like us do when they l--" she stopped, the Doctor looked almost hopeful for a moment. "When they worry over each other. And I do... I worry about you."

The look on the Doctor's face seemed to sadden a little. He lifted a hand to gently stroke Rose's cheek. "I worry about you too," he said softly, his tone laced with something Rose thought she had heard in his voice before. He brushed her hands off his face before leaning in to gently kiss her.

Rose kept him close by clasping her fingers behind his neck and slowly leaning back in her bed until she was laying down with him somewhat on top of her. She had the vague feeling that the words they had just said went way beyond what they literally were. At least, she knew hers did... she had almost let the words she really wanted to say slip.

The Doctor's mouth became more urgent and demanding against hers. It quickly became apparently that it would take more than a kiss to reassure him this time. He needed to know without a doubt that he was forgiven and that everything would be okay...

She slipped her fingers from behind his neck and settled for grasping his tie instead. Tilting her head just enough to break the kiss, Rose whispered, "I need you Doctor. I need you right here... right now..." She felt him try to pull away both physically and mentally. "Don't... Please... Here..."

It didn't take much of a tug at his tie to have the Doctor exactly where she needed him to be. She could feel the moment his resolve melt away and he accepted the forgiveness she was offering to him. She spent the rest of the night offering the Doctor freedom from the guilt he had let build up inside of him throughout his multitudes of years.

The next "morning" Rose could hardly walk without feeling a twinge of pain between her legs. The Doctor leapt around the console like a madman and let Mickey help pilot the TARDIS since Rose wasn't feeling too well. He had been energetic before, but it was the first time Rose could say she looked at him and truly saw a whole new person that didn't have the weight of the universe on his shoulders.


They visited wonderous places and, for once, didn't have to run for their lives... Unless they counted when Mickey ate something the Doctor had warned him not to eat in the first place. The moment had resulted in Mickey becoming rather sick at his stomach and having to occasionally make a mad dash for restrooms.

And true to his word, Mickey was almost just like having Jack on board again -- including a few well placed innuendos toward the Doctor which led to more jokes and laughter between the three of them. Rose delighted in having her two favourite people on either side of her, holding her hand as they leisurely walked along or dashed off together to investigate some sort of attraction that could have had some sort of hostile alien plot behind it.

While investigating and goofing off in the console room, they were three. "The Magic Number" the Doctor insisted more than once. When Rose was in her room it was just her and the Doctor -- one seeking salvation, the other offering it with no questions asked.

Each morning the Doctor seemed to have a little less weight on his shoulders. It became rare to see him without a smile on his face, even when they had to overthrow vicious overlords that needed to be taken down a notch. They went near and far looking for adventure and found it. They stopped in to see Jackie and found some more dangerous adventures then were off again "Into Time and Space!"

They met famous faces the whole world knew, and ones that hadn't been born yet. They even met the real Arthur Dent, who was oddly enough an author from the 57th century and was about as human as the TARDIS. Even odder was the fact he turned out to be a she, which perplexed Mickey to no end.

The Doctor had even taken to playing dastardly tricks on Rose and Mickey. Including a moment that Mickey didn't get to witness due to sleeping, which had Rose standing at the console holding down a useless button for nearly two hours while the Doctor casually talked about some past adventures. In the end, Rose found it funny so the Doctor schemed to play the same trick on Mickey sometime soon.

The trick went off without a hitch, it helped that Rose had been in on the cleverness. It wasn't until shortly after Mickey let go of the button that all the jokes and fun came to an abrupt end and it was once again just the Doctor and Rose once again.

The Doctor admitted to actually being rather fond of Mickey from the travels. Rose admitted that things just seemed to go wrong when they found a third person. The Doctor agreed and they vowed to try and keep it just the two of them, with only temporary third persons so they wouldn't become too attached again.

It took some time to get over losing Mickey but the Doctor and Rose kept to their 'No Third's rule. Upon the "No Thirds" rule being mentioned, the Doctor took Rose to meet Orson Scott Card. The three of them laughed over various things and then the Doctor and his Rose went on to their next adventure.

Of course, everything was fine because the Doctor and Rose worried about each other too much to let anything bad happen to the other.