Disclaimer: If I were RTD, I wouldn't need to write fic. I could put it on the telly every week instead.
Amidst all the injuries and drama and general end-of-the-world panic, it's the first time they've been alone since he found her again.
His hands in hers, then, and his lips ghosting across her face as though he's trying to re-memorise each and every centimetre of her skin. He meets her nose, cheeks, eyelids; and when they flutter closed it's the first time she's looked away from him. The tip of his nose is cold as it nudges hers.
"I missed you," she whispers, so close that he can't tell if it's her breath or her lips he can feel against his own. She pushes herself up on her tiptoes, traces her fingers up the curve of his neck to the side of his face, and he knows what's coming but he can't close his eyes because he doesn't want to miss a single second. The tear-tracks on her cheeks double and blur.
"Oh my God, I remember!" a female voice exclaims from the other end of the room, and all of a sudden their world is full of noisy companions and drama and interruptions once more. The two of them spring apart as though they've been given an electric shock, but Donna doesn't seem to notice.
"I told you about my car keys! Am I right? I'm right, aren't I? That's where I've seen you before. Oh, I knew it, as soon as I saw you, I thought, I know I've spoken to her! And then I thought, don't be thick Donna, how can you have seen her? He's always bangin' on about how "lost" you are. And then I remembered. I put 'em in that bin and you promised you'd tell my mum where they were and you never did; it took her six hours to find them and then she said it was all my fault."
Rose stares, wondering if the Doctor has possibly finally met his match. The Doctor looks mildly affronted, frowning like he's not entirely sure which part of what's just happened he should be offended about. Martha stands there with her arms folded, unable to decide whether or not she's actually finding this funny. She may have moved on from the Doctor, but that doesn't mean it's easy to see him with someone else – not least the invisible someone else with whom she'd had to compete for a whole year.
"And – " Donna finally seems to notice that she's still the only one talking. "Oh! Right. We'll just go back out, then," she suggests after a long silence, taking exaggerated steps backwards to illustrate her point. "I was never here, yeah?"
Jack sniggers. "As if we didn't already know."
Rose tugs nervously on the hem of her top and the Doctor rubs the back of his neck to distract attention from his too-red ears. Neither of them had even heard the door opening. The Doctor makes a mental note to set up some sort of alarm system. Maybe one with bells.
"Those two never change," Jack continues, and the Doctor adds angry bears to his rapidly forming alarm system. "First time I met them, I transported them from a World War II hospital basement to the corridor of a Chula warship and they just kept on dancing. Didn't notice a thing."
"Sounds like the Doctor alright," Martha mumbles, smiling despite herself.
"Oh yes," the Doctor manages eventually after a long and awkward pause, walking back over to Rose and pretending to examine her eye. "That was definitely an eyelash."
Even Rose laughs.
They're practically on top of each other when Martha, feeling a little guilty for her initial frosty reception of Rose, walks in an hour later. She drops her peace-offering mug of hot chocolate in shock, squealing when it hits the floor and splashes all over her toes.
They both jump. Rose is unceremoniously thrown over to the other side of the bed while the Doctor, in plain sight and probably knowing full well that he's been spotted, grabs a pillow at random and covers his face with it, trying to blend in with the duvet cover.
So that's what he'd meant by, "I'm off to do some repair work."
The duvet is breathing. Martha raises an eyebrow. "Doctor?"
There is no answer, but she can very clearly see his cream shoes and the brown edges of his suit around his ankles poking up out of the end of the cover. Rose stares at him in amused bewilderment, rubbing her elbow where she'd landed on it too sharply.
"Doctor, you wouldn't happen to be in Rose's bed, would you?"
"Absolutely not," a muffled voice informs her, and the pillow moves ever so slightly. "I'm fixing the internal gravitical anomaly stabiliser in the kitchen."
Martha smirks. "That's what I thought it looked like."
This time, she's as good as told him she loves him and he's begun to reply in the only way he knows how when there's a noise like someone falling over right outside the door.
"I don't care," Rose tells him, "Seriously." But he's already half way across the room and they still haven't as much as kissed. She sighs and flops down into a chair, resignedly realising that if they ever want to get any time to themselves, they're going to have to go to the other end of the world. In a boat.
There's a frantic shushing noise as the Doctor's footsteps get closer to the door, and when he pulls it open, a shocked, slightly disgruntled mass of ginger and greatcoat falls through and lands in a heap on the floor.
Jack stands and dusts himself off, apparently unconcerned, then helps Donna up as though they hadn't just been caught eavesdropping on a very personal conversation. He looks between Rose and the Doctor.
"Are we interrupting?"
Rose thinks it's a good job Jack really can't die, because the look the Doctor is giving him would be enough to send anyone else into a coma.
Clearly unable to leave Rose alone for more than five minutes, he's sprawled on the corridor floor and leaning back against the door to the bathroom, tapping out a tune on his raised knees that almost matches the rhythm of the water. He's not sure what dangers might await her in the shower – death by drowning, perhaps, or she could come across a Haemovore. They'd always liked water. Sort of. You never know; one could appear in his bathroom. He's pretty sure vampires do shower, after all. They have to find some way to wash off the smell of all that garlic people are constantly throwing at them.
The Doctor listens carefully, squinting at the door. She doesn't sound like she's sharing a shower with a blood-sucking menace. Better to be safe than sorry, though, he decides, and, instead of getting up and moving away, begins counting the holes in the metal grating and settles himself in for the long run. Why do women always take so long to get ready?
When she screams approximately six and a half minutes later, he knows he was right to stay outside. He leaps to his feet, so worried that he forgets to turn around and ends up opening the door to the library instead. When he finally does get the right room, he wrenches the door open to find a mass of wet blonde hair and pink towel flying out and straight into him.
He tumbles backwards, just about managing to keep hold of her as they hit the floor. Wincing, he clutches her arms as she straightens herself, then raises his head to peer frantically past her into the bathroom, expecting to see a Silurian come lumbering out of the shower covered in bubbles.
"What is it?! What happened? Rose?"
Rose wriggles awkwardly, her cheeks as pink as her towel. Every part of him that's in contact with her is drenched through and her hair's dripping water across his shirt and down his collar, but he doesn't seem to have noticed. "Um," she says, and promptly shuts up.
"…There was a spider," she admits, the skin across her shoulders flushing pink now too. "A really big one," she adds hastily, as his head flops back to the floor in defeat. "With hair and legs and everything."
He's shaking, and it's a long moment before she realises it's with laughter. She whacks his arm. "It's not funny! It was really huge, and just crawling up the wall like some sort of – ugh!" She shudders.
"I thought you'd been kidnapped by Captain Pugwash," he tells her, completely serious, and she drops her head to his shoulder, suppressing a sudden fit of giggles. "And there you come, running out of the shower at a hundred miles an hour and screaming blue murder about an arachnid. Rose Tyler, destroyer of Daleks, sent screaming from the bathroom by a spider."
"Yeah, well." Rose straightens up, the blush returning to her cheeks as she finally seems to realise that she's sitting on top of him in nothing but a towel. "Daleks don't have eight legs, do they?"
The Doctor grins up at her, raising his head again, and Rose tilts her own to the side. "I missed this," she says, softly. "Not the spiders and the showers and the floor always being cold – though I dunno, maybe I missed all that a bit too. But just…this. Just sittin' here talking to you like this."
"Me too," he admits, ignoring the fact that they'd never actually had a conversation on the floor in wet towels. "The bathroom was always free. I didn't know what to do with myself."
She shifts down a little, helping him into a sitting position. Their legs are still tangled but neither of them bother to do anything to remedy the situation. Though Rose is approaching dry by this point, the Doctor's suit has started to stick to him. He plucks at it, grimacing, until her hands find their way to his and still his movement. She pushes her fingers through his and he finds himself staring at their joined hands, so fascinated with the way they still fit that he doesn't even notice he's about to be kissed until Martha walks into the corridor and Rose is suddenly a lot further away.
Martha shakes her head, despairing. "Don't you two ever stop?"
They've almost managed a whole minute alone together when Jackie Tyler's dulcet tones begin to echo through the ship. The Doctor cuts off mid-sentence and stares at Rose in horror.
"Quick, where can we hide?"
Rose rolls her eyes. "Honestly, Doctor. It's only my mum. She probably just wants to check we're OK."
"That's what worries me," he mumbles, pulling open wardrobes, cupboards and deceptively small chests on the floor at random. Rose remains over by the door, trying to remember if he'd always been this mad as he gets down on his hands and knees and wriggles under the bed only to find he hasn't got enough room to turn around and talk to her. "If she finds you in my bedroom, wearing my pyjamas," he tells her, voice slightly muffled as his head is still stuck under the bed, "She will cut out every one of my internal organs and feed them to Howard for breakfast."
"Oh, come on." Rose admits he may have a point about the pyjamas (she'd simply been unwilling to return to the bathroom after the spider incident and thought they'd looked comfy, though her mum might not see it that way), but Jackie wouldn't kill him. She doesn't even like liver. "She's not that – "
But it's this moment when Jackie chooses to come bursting into the room like a hurricane with all the force of a mother left in the dark over her daughter's safety. The Doctor cowers further under the bed, his feet sticking out comically. Rose, however, is still three inches away from the heavy wooden door, and promptly gets hit in the head with it.
"Good job I didn't stop for that cuppa or God only knows what I would've walked in on," Jackie's voice springs up from the other end of the room. They are in the TARDIS' medical bay, Rose and the Doctor curled up together on one of the many beds after she'd finally woken up from a mild bout of unconsciousness brought about by the door.
This time, neither of them bother to jump apart or deny what they were about to do. Rose simply sighs and drops her head to the Doctor's shoulder, resigned and exhausted.
"This is never gonna happen, is it?"
"I'm considering becoming a hermit in Timbuktu," he mumbles, careful not to let her swiftly approaching mother hear. "We could eat mung beans and live in a cave by the sea. Care to join me?"
Rose raises her head a couple of inches and laughs. "Love to. Where's the plane?"
"We've had the same problem all day," they hear Jack inform Jackie as she flops down on the end of the bed. "Can't keep their hands off of each other."
"It's disgusting," Donna puts in cheerfully, following Martha (who is in full doctor mode, sporting a lab coat and a stethoscope) into the room.
Martha pulls a small torch out of her pocket. "I'm just gonna check you for concussion," she informs Rose, grabbing her head and shining the torch beam in her eye before she can protest. The Doctor scrambles backwards to avoid the rather unhealthy situation that might arise should Martha step back another centimetre and end up sitting on top of him.
"Looks fine to me. What were you even doing, anyway, to get yourself knocked out?"
Jack raises an eyebrow and Martha hurriedly retracts her question. "No, don't answer that. I don't think I want to know."
"Chance'd be a fine thing," mumbles the Doctor. Jackie glares.
Here they are, all of them, and it looks like this is the end.
They're safe in the TARDIS, for now, but they're the only ones who can stop this and in a few seconds they're going to have to face the world.
The scanner displays an image Doctor's pulled up of the street outside. Row upon row of Daleks – almost a joke now, they way they just won't die – amidst piles of wreckage and stacked corpses, extermination beams raised and ready, their voices stilled in a dead silence. Waiting.
"This is it," he says quietly. "We go out there and we…"
"Save the world," Donna finishes, but it's too late for optimism now.
"If I'm gonna die," Rose announces suddenly, her voice too loud in the dreadful silence, "Then I'm damn well gonna do this first."
And she pulls the Doctor down by the tie and snogs him.
It takes a moment for him to find his voice, one hand still hovering over the button that will unlock the door. "End of the world be damned," he agrees, finally, and kisses her back.