I don't want to know, Rose repeated to herself, a quiet mantra that she'd kept up ever since she'd heard the ominous thuds coming from the control room. She had been buried deep in the TARDIS wardrobe, playing dress-up with the 19th century ballgowns, when the noise started. Reluctantly, she had put on her own clothes and left the wardrobe.
And she was right, she thought as she entered the console room. She didn't want to know.
The Doctor was flying from one side of the console to the other, making adjustments with the sonic screwdriver, fiddling with wires and levers, climbing into the jump seat, and jumping off in a wild, Superman dive.
Then he hit the floor, spread-eagled, only to jump up and start the process again.
"Oi!" Rose remarked as he climbed into the jump seat for the third time. "You're going to hurt yourself. What are you doing?"
"Rose!" the Doctor cried, beaming at her and launching himself off the jump seat. He landed at her feet this time, and after a brief pause to recover his breath, propped himself up on his elbows.
"Anti-gravity!" he exclaimed.
"When I'm done with this project, Rose, you'll be able to fly. Fly, fly, fly, like a little birdy, all twittery and fluffy. Except you're not. Not twittery, which is good, elseways I'd not like hearing you talk, and you say the most brilliant things, so that would be a bad waste of good rubbish or...something... And you're not fluffy, either, at least not in an avifauna sort of way. You might be a little fluffy round the head when the humidity's up, but I don't mind that at all. If we stretch the definition, you might be a little fluffy in a teddy-ish sort of way. I'll hug you and find out, shall I?"
He leapt up and hugged Rose tightly, then pulled away.
"Yes, yes, very fluffy indeed. There should be a Rose teddy. I should have a Rose teddy. Little Rose teddy with blonde fur that's a little dark at the roots. Ah, that would be nice. Still, why hug an imitation when the real thing is right here, eh?"
He hugged her again with a giggle. Rose did a double-take.
Stark, raving mad? Yes. A bit more touchy-feely than his last incarnation? Yes. ADD? To an extreme.
But giggling? That went beyond your normal levels of Time Lord insanity. The old him would have been sick immediately; she was fairly certain that giggling would have been toxic in his old body. And even though this regeneration was a little less brooding and a little more manic, Rose was equally certain that giggling should have at least left a sour taste in his mouth. But there he was, hugging her and giggling.
And flinging himself in wild abandon off the jump seat again. And giggling when he landed.
It was the most terrifying thing Rose had ever seen.
"Are you sick?" she asked anxiously, gently wrapping an arm around his shoulders and helping him off the floor.
"Of course not! Me? Get sick? I've got the immune system of a...a...well, a Time Lord, but that's hardly ironic, since I am one. What else has a good immune system, Rose? I need comparison material. Ooh, look! You're wearing some sparkly makeup today! I couldn't tell until you got close, it's a very subtle sheen, but it's definitely shiny. I like shiny."
He grinned, his head lolling a bit.
"Shiny, shiny, shiny...Rose is shiny, Rose is tiny, Rose is..." he trailed off, looking vaguely disappointed. "No more words. Ran out, just like that. Ought to fix that, shouldn't have a word shortage. Then we'd have to say things like 'ugh' and 'ooo' and be generally monosyllabic. Ick. Too much like Mickey for my tastes."
Rose ignored the jibe. "Are you drunk?"
"Absolutely not! I never get drunk on Tuesdays! Is today Thursday? Who cares! We're on a TARDIS, you silly girl. You want to get drunk, I'll take you all the way back to last weekend and show you how much vodka is improved by bananas. Not much that can't be improved by a banana. Or a coconut, really, but they're harder to crack. Vodka's pretty improvable, though, due to its already impeccable nature. Makes your brain go wheee!"
"You've lost it. Something's gone horribly wrong, and you've lost your mind," Rose said, feeling panicky and a little disoriented by the Doctor's incessant chatter. She cast about desperately for some alternative to her conclusions, but alcohol had been her best bet. Wrapping an arm around the Doctor's waist, she turned to pull him to the first bedroom she came to. Tea and bedrest were Jackie's cures for almost anything, and since it usually worked, Rose wasn't going to mess with the formula. Dragging the still chattering Doctor with her, she slowly made her way to the door.
That's when she saw it. The syrup bottle lay by the door, empty and forgotten.
"...And that's when I knew that you should never carry matches in your back pocket."
"You drank it."
"Hardly. How would you drink matches, Rose, that's positively ridiculous."
She stared at the bottle, realization kicking in. "You drank pancake syrup straight from the bottle."
"Ooooooohhhhh. That. Thought it might come to that." He bit his lip and looked at her seriously. "I like sugar."
"So I've noticed. Was that the almost empty bottle?"
The Doctor shook his head slowly, looking for all the world like a toddler caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
"It was the new one I bought when we stopped off in London?"
A nod, this time, complete with puppy dog eyes.
"I didn't know how to make pancakes to go with it," he said quietly. Rose slapped her forehead into her palm.
"You...drank...an entire bottle...of pancake syrup."
The Doctor paused, considering this statement.
Tea and bedrest, Rose repeated under her breath. Tea and bedrest. Time Lord on a sugar high, and she was giving him tea and bedrest. She needed a stiff drink.
"Why are we going to your bedroom, Rose?" the Doctor asked cheerily. She didn't answer. Instead, she guided him to the bed and knelt to take off his trainers.
"Not the shoes!" he cried in alarm. "I'll never fly without my shoes! Aww, Rose, you've ruined it!"
"I'm so sorry," she told him politely, pushing his shoulders until he was forced to lie down. Her teenage babysitting days had not gone to waste, after all. Her mum would be proud.
"You have some jelly babies in here, don't you?"
"Absolutely not. I'm going to get some tea, and then you're going to take a nap. No more sugar," she said firmly. He pouted up at her.
"I'm nine hundred years old. I don't take naps," he told her in a huff.
"Should have thought about that before you drank a brand new bottle of pancake syrup," she replied calmly. "Nap."
His hand snaked out and grabbed her wrist, pulling her on top of him in an undignified heap.
"If I have to nap, you have to nap with me," he said. Normally, a statement like that would have pushed Rose into hot-and-bothered territory. Today, though, was more like dealing with a six-year-old, which kind of killed any sort of hot-and-bothered mood. She sighed and snuggled down beside him.
"Here I am," she said, patting his hair. "Now nap."
He flipped with alarming speed, his face only centimeters away from hers, and opened his eyes wide.
"Sugar high. It'll wear off. Close your eyes and think about something happy."
"I am." Rose opened her own eyes to see him still staring at her.
"Your eyes aren't closed."
"You're my something happy. I don't want to imagine you, you're right here. That's a daft thing to do. 'Sides, I'm not tired. Are you sure there aren't jelly babies in here?"
"Doctor," Rose said, letting a hint of her mother slip into her voice. "No more sugar. Now close your eyes."
He sighed and did as he was told.
"You're no fun," he told her on no uncertain terms.
"You drank pancake syrup," she rejoined.
"I say it's a crime you have to have pancakes in order to enjoy pancake syrup. It's delicious stuff, if a little hard to get out of the bottle. Rose?"
"My head hurts."
"It'll go away." Despite her general irritation, Rose entwined her fingers in his. "Just go to sleep."
"M dwanna," he mumbled.
"Shhh..." Rose whispered. He muttered a few more phrases under his breath, then, like a light switch being flicked off, he sagged into the bed, completely unconscious.
"Sugar low," Rose remarked. He didn't stir. She smiled and ruffled his hair. Sugar coma and all, he was still her Doctor. Still...it was probably time for a new mantra. Extracting herself from the bed, she crept to the TARDIS kitchen and began filling a bowl with every sugary foodstuff she could find.
Hide the sugar from the Doctor, she repeated to herself, hurrying down the corridors to find a place to do just that.
Blissfully unaware that his favorite snacks were being stuffed into a locked cupboard, the Doctor slept on.