Title: somewhere i have never traveled
Pairing: Ten/Rose
Word Count: 1,100
Rating: G
Spoilers: pretty general season two; little references to "New Earth," "Rise of the Cybermen," and "The Satan Pit"
Summary: His fingers fit with hers just right.
Author's Note: I . . . don't really know where this came from. I never even contemplated writing fic for this show, just because -- there are aliens! And incredibly complicated backstory and canon that you have to master! And how on earth are you supposed to capture the magic of Doctor/Rose in writing, anyway? But the first line just popped into my head, and now, here it is. It may have something to do with the fact that I have a paper to write on Wordsworth that I am avoiding like hell. Oops?

Also, titles are the devil, and therefore I just stole an e.e. cummings line. But that poem suddenly seems infinitely Doctor/Rose-ish to me, so . . . it works? Right!

--

The Doctor breaks a fingernail saving the human race from being made the slaves of an army of twenty-foot-long super-intelligent slugs in the year 2159. It's quite nasty, really – bruised bright purple, and it bleeds a bit. Doesn't change the fact that he's broken a fingernail. He moans and groans about it, his voice swooping high and low in good-natured agony, fishing for a smile from her, then a laugh; she obliges, 'cause it's what they do, him and her, and besides, he's cute when he's pathetic.

"What d'you want me to do?" she demands, glints of smile canceling out the sternness she's trying for. "Get an emery board?"

He feigns mortal offense, a hand to his (left) heart; she chokes on giggles.

"Rose Tyler," he intones, woefully, "I believe you've cut me to the core."

"Baby," she retorts. He pulls a face at her. "Oh, c'mere, then."

He sits himself down in front of her, surrendering his 'wounded' hand into her outstretched one. Sure enough, there it is, that home feeling she gets from touching him, and she wonders in the back of her head if the day'll come when she knows him with a different face, different hands. She'll love him all the same, of course – he'll always be her Doctor – but she does like him like this, wiry and boyish, gleeful in a way that makes her brighten too. His fingers fit with hers just right.

"I like your hands," she says unthinkingly. The words are out of her mouth all of a sudden – just there, floating, said – and she wants to kick herself.

"I'm a fan myself," he answers, chipper – not missing a beat, not beating an eyelash. "Don't know where I'd be without them. Imagine – a life with no hands. S'probably what was bothering our gigantic slug friends back there, come to think of it. Imagine trying to take over a planet without any hands to help you along. Not saying it hasn't been done, of course, but damned if it's not tricky."

"Right," she says, smiling a little bigger than she needs to. She feels a bit like she's stumbled and he's caught her at the last second without even noticing he's got her in his arms. Just graceful enough to be suspect, and she's comforted, in a way, that maybe he dances around this sometimes just like she does.

His hand's in hers, all the same.

"Yours aren't bad either," he says then, surprising her. She tilts her head a little as she meets his eyes – his gaze immediately shifts to the right, casually contemplating a patch of nothing a few feet from her head.

"Don't know if I'll be taking over any planets with them," she answers.

He shrugs, nose wrinkling dismissively, and his eyes come back to her. "Overrated, anyhow."

Another smile blooms on her face; seems like she can't help it, when he's around. His pinkie finger twitches against hers, an affectionate gesture that's as small and thoughtless as a blink, a breath. His eyes are warm and bright.

And here's the thing: she knows that they can't – that it's not even an option, that she shouldn't even think about it. And she doesn't, most of the time.

Part of the time.

She's traveled to the farthest reaches of space – seen cats in wimples and a dog who got her name instead and a man eaten up inside by the oldest evil there is, wearing Satan on his face like tribal markings – and here, here's what's impossible. Noticing when she stands too close to him. More than once (or twice, or three times – you get the pattern) she's taken out the blurred, backseat memory – flinging (not) herself at him with reckless abandon, her fingers in his hair, her mouth and his. It's only that she wonders what it might be like if they did it properly, just the once. She's curious by nature.

"Enough pissing and moaning, then," he says, cheerfully brisk, like he'd been reading her mind and recognized the immediate need for a change of topic. He pulls his hand away, stands up, claps once. "Where are we off to next? Say, have I ever told you about that time I ran into Elizabeth Bathory?"

"No," she says, trying to place the name. Her empty hands curl into absent fists.

"Feisty, that one," he reflects, shaking his head at the memory. "Maybe a little off-putting, but I liked her fire."

"Wait a minute," she says, frowning, "wasn't she the one who used to take baths in her servant girls' blood?"

"It kept her skin silky-smooth," he replies mildly.

"You weren't friends with Elizabeth Bathory," she declares, coming up to join him by the console.

"All right," he admits with a shrug, the corner of his mouth twitching in a poorly-concealed smile. "Maybe I saved a few dozen servant girls from filling up her bathtub."

"That's more like it," she says, nudging him. "Don't scare me like that. Next you'll be going on about the good old times you used to have with Jack the Ripper."

"Now, you want to talk about feisty," he replies, teasing her on purpose now. "Not to mention quite artistic as well."

She rolls her eyes.

"How 'bout – hmm – Beethoven?" He looks to her for approval. "Loads of fun, that one. No bloodshed."

"Surprise me," she replies.

His grin widens. "Will do."

His hands fly across the panel for a moment; he hits his injured finger on something and swears under his breath, shaking his hand impatiently like he's trying to drive the pain out of it. A flutter of pity goes through her.

"Hold on a sec," she orders, and hurries to her room. She digs around in her bag for a couple of seconds before finding what she's after at the bottom. When she comes back out into the console room, he's looking in her direction, like he's been waiting for her to reappear.

"Hand," she orders as she nears him. He provides it obediently. She performs her task with careful fingers.

"There," she announces, pleased, when she's done. "All better."

"Ahh," he says, grinning down at the bandaid on his finger. It's covered in bright yellow smiley faces. "What would I do without you?"

'Let's not find out, shall we?', she means to say, but there's something a bit sad about it somehow. Instead, she lifts his hand to her mouth and presses a tiny kiss to the bandaid. Her lower lip brushes his skin for a second, but only barely.

"Good as new," she says.

He grins at her. "Better."