Title: To Be With You
Disclaimer: I don't own it.
Summary: There are pillows in the corner and light from the small window and the small breathy sighs coming from her throat are music enough. Post-reunion but no specific spoilers.
Rating: T, this chapter. Next will go up to M.
A/N: This was written for the Spring Hopes Eternal Ficathon on the LJ community songs-in-time. My prompt song was 'To Be With You' by Hoobastank, hence the title. Prompt and lyrics will be at the end of the story. Enjoy!
One hundred arrows let loose behind them and the Doctor reaches out instinctively to grab his companion's hand, gripping as tightly as he can as he propels her at top speed back towards the TARDIS. He will not lose her again. Especially not over something as stupid as this. Really, it wasn't his fault that… "Oof!"
He trips, stumbling into Rose and knocking her sideways. He has just enough presence of mind to jerk on her hand to keep her upright, dragging her onwards even as he struggles to right himself. A sharp burst of pain erupts in his right shoulder, but he isn't quite sure what it should be attributed to. Pain doesn't matter at the moment. All that matters is getting to safety, but the TARDIS is still so far away and he's not sure they can make it that far without getting hit by a plethora of arrows. He might be able to take it but he knows that Rose certainly can't (and he'd never ask her to even if she could); he needs to get her away from the men pursuing them. She didn't find her way back to him from a parallel universe just so he could get her killed within a week of her return. He'd promised he'd take care of her.
Making decisions and calculating distances at the speed of light, he darts to the left instead of carrying straight on to the TARDIS. He hopes that the men with the arrows will lose their bearings once they disappear out of sight, and hopefully give up chasing them. The Doctor decides never again to touch a dead body without first checking that there is no one there to see and accuse him and his companion of murder before picking up their weapons and chasing after them for miles, not caring for his explanations that they only wanted to help; they hadn't killed the poor little girl who was now lying dead at the bottom of a ditch.
"Doctor!" Rose's breath is getting laboured; he knows that she must be tiring after their long day of two revolutions and a barn dance followed by what was meant to be a quiet dinner in the company of this fascinating people.
He glances across at her as they run. Her free hand is gripping her side and she is bent over slightly, a look of discomfort on her face. She probably has chronic indigestion from their inconveniently timed post-dinner sprint. "Not far," he promises. A quick glance over his shoulder tells him that most of the men have in fact given up chasing them; only a diligent few remain and one fires an arrow, which sails in a perfect arc before coming back down to earth and landing in the dirt about a foot in front of them. The Doctor decides not to take any chances and turns another corner, taking Rose down a twisty little street that heads further into the mostly-abandoned shanty town.
Three minutes later and they're alone, only a few angry shouts in the distance letting them know that their hosts aren't happy at their escape. The Doctor doesn't think he could care less right now. He slows their pace to a jog, and looks around their new surroundings until a small building up ahead catches his eye. He leads Rose there and then stops outside. He knocks on the door and waits in case anyone still happens to be living there. There's no reply and so he works his magic with the sonic screwdriver, opening the door.
He lets Rose go in ahead of him while he shuts and locks the door behind them; he wants to make sure they're not going to be disturbed while they catch their breath. When he turns back, Rose is standing in the middle of the room, taking in their surroundings.
"'s nice," she says. " Empty, bit dusty, but… cosy." She smiles at him a little shyly. She has been this way since they were reunited, as though she is slightly unsure of her place with him now. He only wishes he possessed the courage to tell her what she truly means to him.
The Doctor hardly registers the room they are in, only taking in enough to notice the abandoned nature of the place: cooking implements are everywhere and pillows have been left in one corner next to a few rolled-up straw mats. Someone had obviously left in a hurry.
Under normal circumstances, his first thought would be to find out what had happened here, what exactly had caused the people to abandon this town while the people in the more rural settlements remained. But that doesn't matter now. This has been the first close brush with death since Rose returned to him, and he can think of nothing else but striding across the floor to gather her in his arms and holding her tight against his chest.
Her arms are around him in an instant, wrapping tightly around his waist as he buries his lips in her hair. He presses kisses to the top of her head, her temples, her forehead. He doesn't care if she thinks he's crazy (he's pretty sure she's always thought that, after all) when he inhales loudly, drawing her scent into himself and locking it away deep down inside him so he will always have a little piece of her there.
Her hands slide up his back, and then suddenly she is pulling away from him, trying to draw back from his embrace. He isn't ready to let go of her just yet. Doesn't she realise that the only way he can convince himself that she is safe is when she's pressed up against him, heart beating against his? He pulls her back to him.
"Doctor." Her voice is muffled against his suit jacket.
"Shh," he tries to calm her with one hand on the back of her head, stroking her hair. "Not yet."
"But you're bleeding."
What? He frowns, this time letting her go when she moves out of his arms. He didn't know that he was bleeding. When had that happened? He tries to think it through but then Rose's hands are pulling at his jacket, trying to drag it away from his body and he thinks for a moment that his wonderful little human must be talking in metaphors he doesn't understand and that she means something else entirely. But then his jacket tugs against his right shoulder, and he remembers the shock of pain when they were running from the men who thought they were murderers.
"Think you got hit by an arrow," she says.
His jacket hits the floor, followed quickly by his tie before he even knows what's happening. His jacket is stained with blood. "Rose, are you undressing me?" is the 'clever' sentence that comes out of his mouth.
She gives him a soft smile, clearly thinking that he's going mad from the shock. "Need to see the wound," she tells him.
Oh, yes. That would help, wouldn't it? "I'm perfectly fine until we get back to the TARDIS."
"And when are we going back there?"
He thinks about it, works out their relative safety if they were to leave right now compared with if they waited until the small hours of the morning when their pursuers would be least likely to notice the two strangers hot-footing it away from them. "Six hours?" he guesses. "Seven?"
She is deadly serious when she looks him in the eye and says, "You can't wait that long."
He doesn't argue. In fact, he's beginning to think that she's right: he'll never be able to hold out for six or seven hours alone with her in a small room, not when she's gorgeously flushed from running (although he likes to think that it's his hug that made her look like that) and she's unbuttoning his shirt slowly and he can feel her breath on his neck… Memories rise unbidden to the front of his mind, memories of him and Rose from… before. He quashes them down; now is not an appropriate time to be reminding of her of what they once were – of what they once did. Danger and adrenaline is still too prevalent in the room with them, and he doesn't want to frighten her.
The pain is beginning to make itself known now, although he has already started to heal. He can feel it – the healing process – starting to take effect, blood clotting and his skin tingling as scar tissue begins to form. "You okay?" he asks her, remembering that she was in pain before.
"Yeah," she replies distractedly while she works at getting his shirt off without hurting him further. He can tell she's lying. He knows that she doesn't want to be a burden to him, knows that she's scared he'll get fed up of her and leave her alone somewhere in this universe where she no longer has anywhere to go back to. He wishes he could think of a way to tell her he'll never do that, that he'll never get fed up of her – he thinks that it might even be impossible – but words elude him. It never seems to be the right moment.
She looks up from her task of working his elbow from his sleeve. "I'm fine. Promise," she says, placing one hand on his cheek to let him know that she means it. She has been doing that more since she came back – touching him on his arm or his face, as though she wants to make sure he's really real. She has yet to tell him much of what she went through on the parallel Earth, but the look in her eyes suggests to him that it must have been hard, and more than likely lonely. She looks older than she should. "There you go."
His shirt is on the floor now, and he is slightly surprised to see so much blood staining the right side. "Oh." He sways slightly, his head feeling light. He tries to hide it, doesn't want Rose to think he's a wimp for feeling faint at the sight of a bit of blood.
He should have known he can't fool her, though. Her hands find his immediately, leading him over to a stone bench set near a small, wood-burning stove. She sits him down, running one hand through his hair as he looks up at her. "I'm just going to see if that pump is working, okay?" she asks, pointing over at the water pump in the opposite corner.
He watches as she heads to the pump, picking up a discarded bowl on the way. Her movements are enticing; he loves the play of muscles in her arms and back as she bends to the pump, lifting the lever and pushing back down to see if there is any water left. Her hair – slightly darker than before, more natural – falls across her face and she lifts a hand to push it back. Her hand leaves a small smudge of dirt on her cheek and the Doctor finds himself wanting to go to her to brush it off. Then maybe once the dirt was gone he could trail his fingers down her face, into the hollow of her throat, like he did that one time when they…
"Yes!" Rose exclaims in triumph as water begins to spill from the pump. She lets it run for a while before filling the bowl and bringing it back to him. She sets the bowl on the seat beside him and then goes to his jacket, picking it up and rooting around in the pockets until she finds a large square handkerchief. It makes him smile that she knows where he keeps such things and has no qualms about rifling through his clothes to find them.
She is back at his side within moments, helping him to lift his undershirt up and over his head. He hears her breath hitch as she discards it somewhere behind him, and he can smell the sharp tang of blood in the air. "How's it look?" he dares to ask.
"Looks worse than it is," she replies, and he lets out a sigh of relief. Not that he was worried, of course; he knew he would be fine but he didn't want to worry Rose. "Do you think those men will find us?" she questions him as she dips the square of cloth into the water.
He shakes his head. "Nah. I set a jamming signal on the sonic screwdriver as soon as we arrived. It'll be fine."
"Of course." That's something new as well, something she never really did before. She's been questioning him a lot more, has probably questioned his actions more in the week she has been back than she ever did in the whole of their previous two year relationship. She's changed since being away, he decides, but she's still the same. She's still Rose. Just… more mature. He guesses that she's lived through a lot in their time apart, just as he has had to.
He turns his attention back to her cleaning his wound, carefully dabbing the cloth against his shoulder to remove the blood before rinsing it out and starting again. Her movements are careful and tender, and he realises that it's been a while since he's had someone to take care of him like this. He's missed it. Actually, he corrects himself, that's not quite right. More accurately, he's missed her.
She's finished cleaning him up before long, and presses the handkerchief firmly against his shoulder for a minute to make sure the bleeding has stopped. "It's just a graze," she informs him, although he'd already worked that one out. "It's not bad but there was quite a bit of blood."
"Right," he says.
"You should probably leave your shirt off for a bit, let the air get to it," she continues.
"Right," he says again, suddenly very aware that he's sitting topless while Rose rests her hands on his shoulders, massaging lightly while carefully avoiding his war wound. Her touch feels incredible after spending so long without it. He feels those beautiful memories surface again, the events that occurred after their time on Krop Tor at their joy of being reunited once more, of having made it out of yet another impossible situation. He remembers how she had felt against him, beneath him, how empty he had felt when she had finally been ripped from him and he couldn't hold her any more. He feels his skin flush in response to the memory.
It takes him several moments to notice that Rose's hands have moved up into his hair and are now alternating between gently teasing the wayward strands and rubbing her fingers across his scalp. He can barely begin to imagine what his hair must look like as a result of her ministrations. He doesn't care. Her touch feels too good. He wonders if she knows what she does to him, if she knows how much he missed her while she was away.
"Rose," escapes his mouth in the form of a semi-moan as her clever fingers do something particularly wonderful.
She giggles. The sound warms him and he tilts his head back to rest against her abdomen as she stands behind him, hands still in his hair.
His eyes slide shut in contentment despite the relative danger of their situation. "Oh, I missed this," he says.
She quirks an eyebrow at him. "What, getting accused of murder before being shot by an arrow?"
He smiles. "Well, that is a particular favourite of mine, but no. I meant I missed this. I missed you." He says this last bit hesitantly, still somewhat unsure of her feelings for him since returning from the parallel world. Oh, he knows that she was ecstatic to see him again, if her smile and bone crushing hug were anything to go by, and he's pretty sure she still loves him judging by the way she looks at him, but he's as yet been unable to work out what she wants from him, if anything. He gets the feeling she doesn't want to presume, or appear too pushy.
And then, it strikes him: she's leaving it up to him. She's the one that found her way back to him even though he had said it to be impossible, she's the one that achieved beyond all the odds and managed to keep the universes intact in the process. She came to him, and now it's his decision over where to take it next.
She's been hinting, he realises, with her little looks and touches and her tender care of him, hinting at what she wants, but apparently he's been too blind to notice, too caught up in the joy of finding her and the worry of losing her once more to think too much about taking their relationship back to where it had been before.
"I mean it," he says more softly. "I really missed you, Rose." He opens his eyes, lets her see the moisture there even as he keeps his gaze straight ahead. It makes it easier that he can't see her properly. "There were times when I'd reach for your hand out of instinct but you wouldn't be there, or I'd think I saw you in a crowd and my hearts would skip a beat but then it wasn't you and it would hurt. I spent so long trying to find a way to get you back."
Her breath is coming faster now, and he thinks that there are tears in her voice as she speaks. "Doctor," she breathes. She bends to press a kiss to his forehead. Her lips are warm and soft, exactly how he remembers them. "I missed you too."
He tilts his head back further where it is supported against her body, his nose brushing past hers in a butterfly kiss. He reaches his left arm up to draw her round to him until she is kneeling on the stone bench. His hand cradles her head gently. She leaves one arm around his back, supporting him, mindful of his right shoulder, and moves her other hand to press lightly against his bare chest. He knows that she will be able to feel his hearts beating madly. He smiles at her, the smile he saves just for her, and says, "Rose."
She opens her mouth as though she is going to reply but then he is reaching up and pulling her down to him, meeting her halfway as his lips part and press against hers, relishing her warmth and sweetness after so long apart. The heat grows around them as the kiss goes on and it's better than he ever thought it would be, better even than it was before. Everything about them now is so much more than it was, each experience so much more intense, so much more powerful. He refuses to waste even the smallest moment of her this time around.
Suddenly he doesn't care about the danger outside or the dull ache in his shoulder or the fact that maybe they should be somewhere that has beds with sheets and soft candlelight and music for this. There are pillows in the corner and light from the small window and the small breathy sighs coming from her throat are music enough. He wants her; he needs her. He suspects that she needs him too; she is clutching at his body as though she never wants to let go.
He pulls back for just a moment to look into her eyes; he sees the want there, her lust and love and slight fear, as well as her consent and trust of him. He smiles and presses a kiss to the corner of her mouth. "Rose," he whispers as his hands move to coast over her body. "I missed you."