Title: Father Christmas

Title: TARDIS Lullabye

Author: Gail R. Delaney

Genre: Doctor9/Rose – episode tag

Setting: Post-Dalek

Summary: The TARDIS rocks her to sleep, but tonight... she needs to go to him.

Rating: Mature

Disclaimer: Not mine. If I owned Doctor Who, Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant would be my own private little playmates.

The hum of the TARDIS, floating free in the swirling vortex of time somewhere between corporeal space, usually acted like a lull-a-bye to Rose. It eased her into sleep; confident in the knowledge that she was safe and no one could hurt her. She wasn't alone.

Not alone.

She stared at her ceiling, holding her breath as she counted silently in her head. Twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine…

Ka-thunk!

Rose smiled and turned onto her side, folding her hands beneath her cheek. The sounds were so familiar now. She had no idea how to tell the time that had passed within the TARDIS. . . how long she had really been with him. . . only that she fell asleep in peace, and awoke anxious to find him and find out what the day held. Danger? Fun?

Didn't matter.

She closed her eyes, letting her mind drift on the rhythm and the sway of the TARDIS, welcoming sleep. But tonight. . . tonight her thoughts kept going back to the bunker in Utah. The Doctor's face when he let the gun drop to his side, the devastation that shadowed his blue eyes. He honestly thought he was alone. . . he believed it…he felt it…

And she felt it, too. Felt it in him.

Felt it when he held her. His arms wrapped around her so hard she thought he'd squeeze the air right out of her. He'd pressed his face into her throat, and although she couldn't hear what he said, his breath on her skin was enough.

Rose sighed and sat up, pushing her hair out of her face. And what had she done? She dragged that twit Adam onto the TARDIS with them. They didn't need anyone else, let alone a 'genius'. If she heard one more time what kind of genius he was, she was going to toss. Some genius…he was absolutely blinkered, spending the first three hours arguing how everything he saw was impossible.

She threw back her blankets, and slipped from the giant bed. The floor was warm beneath her feet, another way the TARDIS — and the Doctor — took care of her. Pulling her robe over her jim-jams, she pulled her hair back in a clip and opened the bedroom door.

The only sounds she heard were the echoes and thumps of the TARDIS, echoing through the wide-open spaces. She forgot, sometimes, the vastness of the blue box and often promised herself that someday she would find the other side and peek out the windows on the back of the booth. Rose followed the familiar path to the TARDIS control room, the sound of the central engine growing louder as she neared.

"I can't sleep," she said, stepping through the door. "How's about a game of—"

But the room was empty.

"Oh," she said, her shoulders dropping. Rose walked the grating that surrounded the center console, letting her fingertips run along the surface of the material. She smiled at the wheels, bobs and bells that somehow made the great machine work. Most of the time, she figured all the jumping, twirling and slapping was just for her benefit. Just to get a grin out of her.

She smiled just thinking about it.

After walking the full circle, she stepped back through the door that led to the rest of the TARDIS interior. If stepping into the control room that first time had been a shock, stepping beyond the room to the massive structure beyond had blown her away. Running her hands along the smooth metal railing, she started back towards her room. But when she reached her doorway, she glanced at the empty room and kept walking. There had never been much time for exploring; she knew where her room was, the massive room he called the 'kitchen' and the marble and gold bath, but beyond that the TARDIS was a mystery. A universe within a blue box.

The staircases wound downward into the heart of the TARDIS, and she followed aimlessly, knowing in her heart that she wouldn't get lost. If she did, he would find her.

He always did.

The deeper she walked, the stronger the vibration grew against the soles of her feet. She decided she probably should have put at least slippers on, but the sensation helped her feel connected. And if she was connected to the TARDIS, she was connected to him.

The stairs stopped their descent, and she took the last step down onto a polished wooden floor. The feel of this part of the ship was different; less industrial. Rose looked up, seeing the stories of balconies and staircases that led back to the control room.

"Fantastic. . ." she said on a whisper, and smiled again.

She padded across the wooden floor, looking down when her bare soles touched on the soft woven surface of the most beautiful Turkish carpet she had ever seen. Intricate designs of burgundy, gold and teal wrapped around the edges and she crouched down to run her fingers over the yarn. The warm scent of burning apple wood reached her and she stood again, following the aroma.

She stepped beneath a carved archway and the cavern opened up again. "Blow me," she whispered in awe.

Shelves lined the walls from floor to ceiling and corner-to-corner, and books filled every available inch. Leather bound tomes four inches thick to thin paperback novels, stacked back to back. A fireplace sat on the far wall, the front face spreading at least eight feet across, with a fire glowing behind blackened metal mesh. The aroma filled the air, and wrapped around her.

A tall-backed leather chair sat facing the fire, and if it weren't for his leg hanging over the arm, she wouldn't have known he was there.

"You should be sleeping, Rose."

His voice was heavy, wrapping around her, drawing her to him. Rose crossed the space and rounded the chair to look down at him. The Doctor slouched down in the chair, his elbows on the chair arms with his fingers steepled in front of his lips. His eyes darted up, and she saw the flames of the fire reflect in them as his gaze quickly shifted over her. His leather jacket was gone, and his jumper was the beautiful dark blue one she liked on him. It brought out the color of his eyes.

"So should you, don't you think?"

His eyes lowered again and he stared past her to the fire. "I don't sleep. Much."

Rose sat down on the wide leather ottoman in front of his chair, tucking her hands between her knees. They sat silent, listening to the crackle of the fire behind her, and Rose watched the shadow of the flames dance across his face. The Doctor lowered his arm and extended it to her, hand open and palm up. She scooted to the edge of the ottoman and covered his hand with hers, squeezing gently.

"Tell me about them?"

He drew a slow breath and looked off towards the stacks of books. "It would take a lifetime, Rose."

She smiled, squeezing his hand again. "Last I checked we have a time machine. I've got a bi'of time."

He let his head rest on the back of the chair, smiling even though the spark never quite reached his eyes. "They lived. They loved. They fought. They died. Everything else is…They're gone. That's all."

"Did you have a family?"

The Doctor nodded. "Doesn't everybody somewhere?"

"That's not really what I meant."

His blue gaze connected with hers. Rose's heart pounded hard, and she held her breath. It was the first time she had thought to ask. The Doctor shook his head first, looking down at their joined hands before saying quietly "No."

Rose took a deep breath and looked around. "Hell of a library you've got here. This where you hang out when we're not planet hoppin' and fightin' cosmic baddies?"

When she looked at him again, the intensity in his eyes held her firm in her spot. He stared, and she thought he must be able to see straight into her soul. She covered his hand with her free one, sandwiching it between her two palms. His hands were so large compared to hers, but she held them just the same. His eyes shined too brightly in the reflection of the flames, and Rose swallowed hard.

"What is it?"

"I thought I lost you, too."

She smiled, shaking her head. Some of the haphazardly clipped hair fell into her eyes but she didn't want to let go of his hand to push it back. "You didn't."

The Doctor pulled his hand free and laid it against her cheek. She felt the sadness humming in him just beneath the surface of his skin, carefully guarded behind his handsome features. Staring into his face, Rose slid from the ottoman and into his lap. His eyes shifted, pulling in the center to form deep thought lines, and his lips parted. Before he could ask, before he could say or do anything that made her think, Rose took his face in her hands and kissed him.

His arms wrapped around her, sliding up her back to pull her closer. Rose opened her mouth, not quite knowing what to do but letting her body take the lead. And he followed. Her heart pounded frantically in her chest, her breath catching, when his tongue slid along hers and ignited her.

With one shift of his arms, she was pulled deeper into his lap, bringing her head lower than his and he cradled it with his hand. The kiss broke and their ragged breaths mingled in the space between them as he rested his forehead against hers.

"Rose," he whispered, and her pulse raced at the weight and depth of her name on his lips. "I can't—"

"Why not?" She stroked his neck and rubbed her cheek against his, loving the rough feel of his whiskers and the heat of his skin. "Is it against some great rule somewhere that you can't?"

His mouth covered hers again, and she hummed at the rush of her blood and the need that tickled through her. He held her there, cradled in his lap, his arms holding her and his hands shifting her robe. Long fingers massaged the back of her head and she squirmed to get closer to him. She wanted to crawl inside him if she could.

The Doctor jerked back, his chest heaving as his gaze shifted sharply over her face, pausing on her lips and then to look into her eyes. "In all the years I've done this, and all the companions I've traveled with, I've never, ever —"

She cut him off with another kiss, smiling against his lips.

His expression softened, and his touch less demanding. The Doctor stroked her chin and her lips with his thumbs. "You don't want to be with me," he said, his voice heavy again.

"You're wrong." She ran her lips against his tough, kissing the pad of his thumb. "And don't tell me you don't want it," she said with a grin, shifting again. His eyelids slid down slowly, and a low rumble vibrated through his chest. "Yeah, see?"

He swallowed hard, opening his eyes again. "Rose Tyler, you are magic."

"Please, Doctor," she whispered before sliding her arms around his neck and kissing him again.

He slid his arm beneath her knees, the other behind her shoulders, and levered her against his chest as he stood from the chair. Rose nuzzled her face against the side of his neck, kissing and tasting as he carried her towards the fireplace. When she felt the heat of the fire warming her, he carefully set her feet on the floor and pulled her against him for a kiss that stole her breath and made her ache.

With hands that had held hers, helped her and touched her in ways she could never explain, he untied the knot at her waist and eased the robe from her shoulders. Her clothes smothered her, and she desperately wanted to tear them away — to get through his and feel his skin. She yanked at the bottom of his jumper, moaning in unadulterated pleasure when her palms skimmed his back and felt the tight bunch of each muscle beneath her touch. He reached behind his neck and gripped the collar of the jumper, pulling it over his head and tossing it aside.

Rose leaned into him, laying her hands on his chest and holding her cheek against his skin. His ribcage rose and fell, and his two hearts beat in a thundering rhythm against her palms. She kissed him, and he pulled her hard against him, his hands at her waist.

"Rose…"

She loved the way he said her name, the way he had always said her name. It was as if no one else had ever spoken it until he did. Her body trembled as he pulled her tank top off, exposing her to the heat of the fire and of his gaze. Rose looked up at him, fighting the urge to cover herself. But when she saw the adoring glimmer in his eyes, she only reached for him and pulled him close.

Skin against skin, she sighed and dug her fingers into his back as he kissed her neck and shoulders. She wanted to burn. To light up in flames. To be consumed.

"There's nothing I should know, is there?" she managed to gasp between ragged breaths. "Nothing… unusual…'cos you're a Time Lord and all?"

The Doctor pushed his fingers into her hair and looked down at her, his familiar wide smile spreading his lips. "No, Rose."

"Good."

He kissed her and she had to hang on to keep from flying away. Her senses reeled, her equilibrium tilted and her whole body ached. Ached for him. Ached for more.

She didn't remember lowering to the floor, or how they did it without losing contact, but they did and she looked up at him as he braced himself over her. The soft weave of the carpet cushioned her back, and she relished in the delicious sensation of his weight settling against her.

Rose tipped her head back into the makeshift pillow he had made from her robe, pressing her fingers into his short hair as he kissed his way down her body between her breasts and along her stomach. His fingers eased her flannel bottoms down her hips and thighs.

"Doctor!" she gasped out, barely able to think beyond the assault on her senses.

She pulled at him, desperately urging him to return and kiss her, cover her with his heat and his weight, to kill the painful ache. Rose squirmed beneath him, her moans rough and ragged in her throat. In the space between them, she found the buckle of his belt and managed to fumble with it enough, despite her dizzying need, to unto it and push her hands into the heat trapped against his body.

He threw his head back, hissing sharply through his clenched teeth when she dug her nails into his bottom. The buckle scraped across the wooden floor at the edge of the carpet when he kicked it away, trousers, shoes and all.

She pulled him close, burying her face against his shoulder as she fought the urge to sink her teeth into the tight muscles, her need so overwhelming. All she could do was rasp his name again and again.

"Rose…" he said again, and she cried out as he entered her, filled her, completed her.

Sleep was an elusive thing to the last Time Lord. Sleep meant dreams, and in a mind that lived and relived every moment in time and space, dreams could be beautiful or they could be terrifying.

Since the Time War, his dreams had leaned towards the terrifying.

He couldn't remember the last time he stared at this particular ceiling. More often than not, his brief stints of sleep were in his chair by the fire when his exhaustion was stronger than his need to avoid the darkness. He did almost anything to stave off the need to rest; from thumbing through the books in his library to wandering through the quiet halls and chambers of the TARDIS.

Tonight, sleep was a distant thought for other reasons.

He rolled his head on the pillows that supported his back and shoulders, pressing his lips to the top of Rose's head. Her blonde hair was silk against his cheeks, tickling his chest when she shifted closer to him. He tightened his arm around her shoulders and she hummed softly, stirring his body again.

In nine-hundred years, he had done many things he lived to regret. Things that dug at him, things that he wished he could have done differently. Things he wished he could go back and change.

Finding pleasure…and peace… in Rose Tyler had to be one of his greatest regrets. But unlike the others, he knew he wouldn't change it even if it were in his power. And for that reason, not the act itself, he hated himself.

He hated himself as much as he loved her.

The Dalek had been right. What good were emotions if he couldn't save the woman he loved? The choking, smothering panic that had sucked his lungs dry and stopped his hearts in his chest when he thought she was dead had been drowned by the rush of adrenaline and euphoria when he saw her alive again. It had been hundreds of years since he let himself feel…did he let himself?

Rose wasn't completely to blame. He had known after his last regeneration that something was different in him. Maybe it had been the choking sorrow that had followed him after the War, maybe it awakened something more in him than he had been allowed in the last seven changes.

Whatever it was, whatever twisted sense of justice the Universe had reaped on him, he had known the moment he took her hand in London that she would change his life. He never imagined this.

Rose drew a long breath, her hand sliding over his torso as she woke from her deep, peaceful sleep. She brushed her hair back from her face before looking up at him, a slow, beautiful smile bowing her lips. He stroked her hair, smiling at the spark in her eyes. Life.

He rolled her onto her back, moving with her to brace his weight on his elbows and hold her head in his hands. The sheets rustled around them as she looked up at him.

"Rose, you are fantastic," he said, trying to keep his voice steady.

"You weren't so bad, yourself." She winked, and ran the tip of her tongue across her lip.

He kissed her before she could close her lips, and rolled them back so his shoulders were once again resting on the pillows and she was curled against his side. She shifted up, using his chest as a pillow. He closed his eyes, focusing on the small designs she traced on his stomach as he ran his fingers over her hair.

"Where are we off to?" she asked.

"Oh, I don't know. Try for a bit of fun, I think. A holiday."

He felt her smile, and smiled himself, kissing the top of her head. The tracing slowed and she pushed up to look at him, her eyes shadowed. "Did this mess things up? Be serious."

He shook his head. "No, Rose."

"You don't have to take me back, or nothin', right? We didn't really break some big rule, did we?"

"No, Rose."

She sighed and smiled. "Good."

"Come on, then. Let's get some food in you, and we'll see where we land."

Tossing the blanket back, he slid from the warmth of the bed and picked up his pants from the pile of clothes he had tossed down when they came back to his room. He paused, trousers in hand, remembering for a moment the euphoria that had overtaken him. Let him forget.

Snapping out of the past, he sat on the edge of the bed and pulled on the trousers. He heard the sheets whisper around her and felt the bed move as she scooted behind him, wrapping her arm over his shoulder to lay her palm on his chest between his hearts. Rose kissed his shoulder and rested her chin.

"Come on," he said again and stood, buttoning his pants but leaving the belt undone. He held his hand out to her, waiting for her to take it.

"I need to get dressed," she said, holding the sheet over her breasts.

"You're beautiful."

With a smile that lit up the room, and lightened his hearts, she took his hand and slid from the bed. Together, they walked, side-by-side and hand-in-hand from the bedroom.

"Your bed is much more comfortable than mine."

"Well, then… you'll just have to sleep down here, won't you?"

Rose smiled up at him. "Well, then… I guess I will."