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Sorry for the cheesiness.
Five hours, they'd been stuck there. Rose and the Doctor had pitched up in Cardiff with the TARDIS, its heart in need of a bit of refuelling from the Rift. Although he'd carried out this chore a thousand times, the Doctor still seemed to get caught by the same hitches and glitches as always – he could never time the journey just right so that they'd be able to refuel and leave in a matter of minutes – timings always (ironically) failed him in this case and they'd been waiting without success for the required conditions – temperature, humidity; things needed to be perfect before the TARDIS could be back on form. And after so many trips, they'd found that they had long ago exhausted the distractions that Cardiff had to offer; besides, it was far too rainy to take a walk or visit a café, not to mention the fact that the two of them often enjoyed these quiet moments when they could just relax and talk, the ever present threat of danger kept safely at bay.
Last time the Doctor had checked, the sky had been that little bit too moist for any fuel action. The sun was glistening through the sombre clouds, staining the streets with its sodden glow. Aside from the splashing of puddles, the town was peaceful and hushed, the frenecity of the day muted by the weather. He thought he'd leave it another half hour and then see how things were fairing. Rose had been lounging on the plush couch of the downstairs living room (her face had been a picture when she discovered the TARDIS had multiple storeys), playing with a cosmic yoyo from the Doctor's box of harmless articles acquired on his travels. He walked in and leaned against the doorframe, smiling at her. Her golden hair dangled in front of her eyes and he suddenly found that he had the urge to lean over and tuck it behind her ear. Looking up she saw him and grinned – the epitome of an ear-splitting grin that lit up her whole face (as well as his) - and he smiled back saying, "Sorry about the wait … shouldn't be long now."
"Nah, it's fine. Fancy a cup of tea?" She got up and sauntered into the next room, letting out a puff of air that gave a hint of her mild weariness at having had so little to do. The Doctor stole her place on the couch and noted a novel on the floor next to it, lying face down and abandoned. He could hear her as she busied herself in the kitchen, bustling with the kettle and filling two mugs with a strong, sweet brew. She trundled back in and perched on the arm of the chintz chair opposite, passing him his cup of tea. He had begun to fiddle with his sonic screwdriver; he sometimes had a bad habit of using it when not entirely necessary and right now he was experimenting with singing the ends of the (less than tasteful) fringing of the sofa. Rose grinned in mock exasperation, before asking, "Is that your favourite gadget, then?"
"But what about your psychic paper? Surely that's been at least a little useful …?"
"Yeah, I guess it has. Funny, I almost forgot about it!"
He fished the leather-bound card out of his breast pocket and gave it a fleeting examination, smiling lopsidedly before moving to put it back.
"So, what is it that it actually does?" She cut him off before he could move much further.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, I know it's saved us a few times, but how do you make it show what you want it to show? How does it work?"
"Well, basically, it just shows whatever I want to tell someone, or what I want them most to know about me. For example, if I were to need to pass a guard to get into a room, it would tell him I had the authority to do so, or …"
"No, no – I get it. But, when Jack showed me his, it told me that he was single and worked out. That's hardly as official as all the things we've used it for …"
"Well," he drew out the word, "I suppose you just need to have pretty good control of your emotions. You know, try and make that the thing that isn't the most important."
"So – what would happen if you showed me the psychic paper?" Rose laughed mischievously, her eyes sparkling wickedly.
The Doctor froze momentarily, before saying, a little too quickly, "Nothing. You know everything! It's all on the table. You'd just be staring at a blank piece of paper; we don't have any secrets."
"Oh, come on. There must be something!"
"Nope – would I hide anything from you?"
"It's not a matter of hiding something, I just want to see what would happen!"
"It would be pointless! A complete waste of time!"
"Then it would hurt to look! We've got plenty of time to waste! Please?" She feigned puppy dog eyes and he caved, resignedly handing over the psychic paper.
Smirking with the satisfaction of one who has just won the petty victory of getting their own way, Rose retrieved the psychic paper and opened it. Although she hoped there might be some fantastic revelation marking its creamy pages, she knew she had merely been teasing the Doctor. She opened it up, ready to fake shock at some hidden message. But on reading it, her eyes perceived something that made her lose her breath.
I love you so much it scares me.
Rose looked at the paper, and felt her heart had skipped a beat. Time seemed to have slowed down, her face was being drained of all colour and she felt like she was sinking with an elusive feeling. She was a balloon about to burst, a bubble coming to the surface, an igniting flame …
The Doctor's voice brought her back to Earth. What should she do? Should she admit what she had seen, what he had felt … or should she let it slide? Clearly, if it showed here, he must want her to have seen it! He must want her to know! But not enough to actually say it … he had never wanted her to see the paper; she should have understood his defensiveness about her looking at it. Besides ... he was scared and she didn't think she'd be able to handle finding out why.
"Uh … it's blank. Just like you said."
Did he breathe a sigh of relief? What does his face say? Does he know she knows?
"I told you! Rose Tyler … will you ever listen?"
She grimaced and forged amusement, while he jumped up from the arm of the sofa, exiting the room without a backward glance. She heard his voice down the hallway, calling, "Fuel should be ready by now!"
It was a shame he didn't look back, as he would have seen her staring wistfully behind him, longing that he could have asked her to pass him the psyching paper back, for maybe he would have seen something that would have fuelled his own hearts far stronger than the power of the Rift.