Disclaimer: If I owned them, do you think I'd be spending my time online?

Spoilers: Through tGitF.

A/N: Just a harmless little flufftastic oneshot. Beta services by le-merle-noir.

A/N 2: I hope to have more of Battle for Earth up later this weekend.


Hours pass, and she still counts the minutes
That I am not there, I swear I didn't mean
For it to feel like this
Like every inch of me is bruised, bruised

Bruised, Jack's Mannequin

Bruised

Why did he feel guilty? They weren't attached. There was absolutely no romantic attachment between them, none.

…Right?

There was that kiss on the Game Station. And he'd kissed her again, when she'd saved him from being permanently petrified.

Okay, so maybe he was kinda grabby in this incarnation. But grabby did not romantic attachment make.

There was the time she'd been inhabited by Cassandra, but of course that didn't count.

Even if he thought about it sometimes, when he watched her lips as she talked, or if she did that little thing with her tongue…

…but he didn't have thoughts like that because they were best mates. Yep. Best mates.

He fiddled with the rather complicated looking bit of the console he held in his lap, glancing at Rose every so often out of the corner of his eye, but never for very long.

Wouldn't do for her to catch him.

Although, hang on. She was his best mate, so what was wrong with looking at her?

But maybe looking too long wasn't good? Or was it? Or would she read into it? Because there was definitely no romantic attachment, none. Not at all. Nope.

"What?"

He blinked when he realised she'd spoken.

"What?"

"You're…glaring at me. What did I do?" Eyebrows raised, she had that exasperated, slightly pissed off look he seemed to incite in females. Especially female Tylers. He felt the tips of his ears turn red as he turned back to the jumble of circuitry and bits of metal in front of him.

"Doctor? You all right?"

"Yep, I'm great. Fab-fabbity-fabtastic." He winced. Apparently this incarnation didn't know when to shut its gob, either. "Sorry. I'm fine."

"If you're sure." Her voice was most definitely amused now and he glared at his sonic screwdriver as it buzzed to life. Stupid, bloody piece of… "I'm going to have a shower, all right?"

His gaze shot up to her and now he knew his ears were red. Stupid things.

"What?" He squeaked. He cleared his throat.

"A shower. It's been a long day. Gonna have a shower." She turned to leave but stopped at the door to the corridor. "Sure you're all right?"

"Uh huh. Yep. Long day, like you said." He looked back down at the thermostagnation regulator. "You go on. See you later."

He heard the door to the corridor swing shut and he glared at the machinery in front of him.

Great. Now was he not only so obviously not-romantically-attached to Rose in the slightest, he had to have not-romantically-inclined mental pictures of her in the…

No.

None of that.

He sighed and set the jumble of broken circuits on the console.

He shouldn't feel guilty. He didn't cheat on Rose. He didn't have something as domestically horrifying as an affair, for Rassilon's sake. You had to be in a relationship with someone in order to cheat on them and they weren't, so he didn't.

Right?

But why did he feel guilty, then?

Okay, yes, there was the abandoning-on-the-spaceship thing. He could understand why Rose would be upset about that.

But no. She hadn't been, at least not to his face. She'd been…almost disgustingly nice to him. What the hell? He abandoned her and she was asking if he was okay?

He sought her out after a couple of hours, asking for her company and she'd said yes without complaint. She sat with him while he was mostly quiet, which even he was willing to admit was unusual, tinkering with bits of the TARDIS as she read a magazine.

In fact, he would almost be confident that she had absolutely no romantic feelings toward him, given the rather…unjealous way she'd been acting all night. Which, quite frankly, surprised him. Rose wasn't really known for her unjealousy.

And now he was making up words? On a regular basis?

He sighed and flicked a switch on the console, music filtering quietly through the room as he sat back down on the jump seat, picking up Rose's magazine.

"Seven Sex Secrets He Wants You to Know?" He read. He raised his eyebrows and made a mental note to avoid that article. He came across a perfume ad and looked furtively around before lifting the magazine and licking it carefully. He made a face and a bleching noise before hurriedly dropping the glossy in his lap again and flipping the page.

He noticed writing on the page and paused, glancing at the title.

"Is He the One?" He read aloud, frowning.

When you fight does he:

- Pull out all the stops, reduce you to tears, and leave you an emotional wreck for days?

x Explode, then calm down and reason with you until the issue is resolved?

- Avoid, avoid, avoid. You never really fight because, frustratingly, you can't get a rise out of him.

How do you handle his annoying little habits?

x Calmly. You know that while he might leave his freshly cut toenail remnants all over the carpet, you snore when you're drunk and can't read a map to save yourself.

- Vocally. You scream, shout and swear whenever he forgets to pick his sweaty socks up off the bathroom floor.

- Bluntly. He knows that in order for this relationship to work out, he needs to shape up or ship out.

How often has he seen you at your worst?

- Never. You make sure that you're immaculately made up and in a pleasant mood whenever you see him.

- Once or twice. You've thrown a tantrum in front of him, complained loudly about your parents, and given him no choice but to snog you when you've got foul morning breath.

x Plenty. He's loved you through your lowest lows and highest highs. You've thrown up on him, wept mascara all over his white shirt, and he's survived some of your cattiest bitchfests.

How does he react when you're sick?

x He makes up the sofa bed for you, wipes your brow, and calls you from work on the hour to make sure you're still alive.

- He tells you to stop snivelling and go to work… and starts wearing a gas mask around the house to prevent himself from catching whatever nasty bug you've got.

- He doesn't notice.

How often do you laugh at each other's jokes?

- Not often. I don't really find his sense of humour appealing, but I do laugh at him from time to time.

- Often. If he's not making me laugh out loud, he often makes me smile.

x Always. We both love to laugh and find plenty of things to laugh at together.

He skimmed through the rest of the questions and her answers and then flipped to the last page of the quiz to see the result.

You've met The One. You are both realistic about the trials and tribulations of a committed partnership - he's seen you with PMT, you've washed his dirty underwear, and you've both survived it. You laugh together, cry together, and have chosen each other as the one you confide in first when things go wrong. Your relationship shows all the signs of being a permanent one.

The One? The one? No. Because there were no romantic feelings between them. None at all. So obviously this magazine was mistaken. It was obviously a friendship quiz because…well. He did love her. But not like that. Not at all. They were just friends.

Best mates. Best friends. Super great friends. No romance, nope. Just friends. Besides, she was dating Ri…err. Mickey.

"Whatcha reading?"

He jumped and looked up. Rose stood in the doorway, running a comb through her wet hair, clad in a baggy t-shirt and a loose pair of flannel pants.

"N-nothing," he stammered. He tossed the magazine on the seat and jumped to his feet, stuffing his hands in his trouser pockets. He stared at her.

She…well. She didn't feel that way about him…right? Because, well. It wouldn't be fair to her because he most definitely did not feel that way toward—

"You all right?"

She had moved closer and he felt a strange tightening in his gut as her scent wafted over to him, the heady mix of vanilla and passion fruit and mango invading and overwhelming his senses. He felt his body jerk in response.

"Doctor?" She stepped closer, her slipper scuffing over the grating of the floor and jarring him to attention.

"Ye--." He cleared his throat, tried again. "Yeah, I'm fine. Just tired, I think. Have a nice shower?"

Yeah, bring up the shower. Moron.

He turned toward the console, desperately ignoring the effect her closeness, her body, her heat was having on his body.

"I want…" he looked up at her, saw her face devoid of the layers of makeup and eyeliner and shadows and lipstick she wore, just her plain, unlined face. Staring up at him, glowing and beautiful and trusting and oh god, he wanted her.

"Doctor?"

"I wanted to apologise," he blurted out. He flushed a bit and turned back to the console.

There was no reason for him to feel all…twitchy, all of a sudden. She was just his friend, after all.

"Apologise? For what?"

"For earlier. Y'know. Leaving you on the ship like that. Wasn't thinking."

"You love her, Doctor. I can see why. You said she was really smart and accomplished. And she's beautiful."

"Was." He turned away, confused. She wasn't jealous. At all. Why not?

Really, it was a good thing… no hard feelings, but why would there be? It wasn't as if he had cheated on her…

… but then why did it feel like it?

"Was?" She questioned, leaning against the edge of the console, arms crossed, looking up at him.

"She…died. I was too late, the last time I went through the fireplace."

"Oh." He risked a glance up at her eyes and saw nothing but sympathy and understanding. "I'm sorry."

"It's for the best, really." He pulled in a deep breath and decided to take a risk.

After all, when didn't he?

And besides, they were just friends, so it would be a friendly gesture…

He skimmed his fingertips across her cheek, tucked a lock of her damp, silky hair behind her ear.

"It wasn't fair to you," he said softly.

"Oh, we would've figured something out—"

"It doesn't matter. It wasn't fair. I promised your mother, you, I'd keep you safe. And I broke that promise."

"Doctor, that promise gets broken on a daily basis."

And then he had that gut-roiling thought again. Keep her safe, send her home, protect Rose, save Rose. And he fought a war within himself as all his different emotions clashed heads. And he sighed.

Love Rose.

"You all right?" Her voice was quiet, gentle, barely audible over the soft music. His thumb brushed over her cheek and his gaze flicked down to her lips and…when had she gotten so close?

"I'm fine," he replied, just as quietly. "Great, even."

Her glanced flicked to the side before she looked up at him again. A smile spread across her lips and she licked them before biting her bottom lip.

"Doctor?" He felt her breath puff against his lips and swallowed hard against his quickening pulse.

"Yes, Rose?"

"Did you read my magazine?" Her lips quirked in a grin and he gave a mock-affronted look, eyebrows nearly reaching his hairline.

"I would never. Besides, it's a girl-magazine. Rubbish quizzes like "is he the one?" as if a couple of pages in a magazine can tell you about a partner you'll have for the rest of your life and did you know that those perfume ads don't taste nearly as good as they…" He trailed off, wincing when he realised he'd stuck his foot in it. She smirked at him.

"I can't believe you read my magazine!"

"You left it there!" He defended. "Besides, like I said, load of rubbish…that one quiz—"

"I dunno," she said. She glanced away before looking up at him again. "I thought that one quiz was pretty accurate." His hearts gave a slow, hopeful twirl in his chest and he raised his eyebrows again.

"Yeah?" She nodded.

"Yeah. And Doctor?"

"Yes, Rose?" She leaned forward and up, rising on her toes to gently brush her lips over his. She fell against him as she deepened the kiss, his hand coming to her waist to steady her. Her tongue flicked against his a fleeting second before her teeth tugged at his lower lip, or did he imagine that?, and he leaned toward her as she leaned away again.

"That quiz wasn't a load of rubbish." She moved away from him and headed toward the door to the corridor again. She glanced at him over her shoulder, giving him a smile before she disappeared through the doorway.

After all, he thought to himself. He grinned and headed over to follow her.

He should feel guilty for abandoning Rose like he had.

What with all that romantic attachment between them.


Hope you liked! Thanks for reading; please review if you've got the time!