Title: I Believe in You

Author: Gail R. Delaney

Series: The Unseen and In Between

Setting: During and after The Impossible Planet and Satan's Pit

Genre: Romance

Rating: PG-13 for a bit of dirty innuendo

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

Summary: Four words… four words gave him the courage, the strength and the faith to do what had to be done.

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

"I've trapped you here."

"No. Don't worry about me."

Another mild quake rumbled through the base, vibrating through their feet. Rose looked up at the black hole looming over them, and her shoulder brushed against him as she leaned a little closer.

"Okay, we're on a planet that shouldn't exist, under a black hole… and no way out."

He looked at her, attempting a smile.

"Yeah, I've changed my mind. Start worrying about me."

Her laugh was tinged with a nervous lilt, and he half expected her to habitually chew on her thumbnail cuticles. Before she could, he pulled her against him and wrapped her in his arms. She turned her face away from the gaping black maw over them, but he couldn't look away. Impossible planets and hungry black holes… couldn't get much worse than this.

No, it was worse because he'd brought Rose here.

Open Door One.

With a clank and a creak, the door opened again and Ida Scott returned. Rose didn't move from his arms, just turning her head so her cheek rested against his shoulder and she could see Ida.

"I forgot to ask," Ida said, looking apologetic. "We'll need to assign you quarters and I didn't want to assume. Do you want together or separate?"

"Together," they said in unison.

"Oh, good." Ida's smile was more genuine. "I thought maybe, but like I said, I didn't want to assume. Follow me."

Ida talked as she led them through the base, but the Doctor only listened enough to register her words in the back of his brain. He'd review the conversation later, but right now, he couldn't think past the empty weight in his chest. He'd reached out several times since realizing the TARDIS had fallen, and felt nothing.

They stopped at a dirty yellow door with chipped paint, and Ida punched a code into the keypad to the left of the door. "The temporary security code is 6-8-9-5-8. You can update it to whatever you like."

With a hiss and a pop, the door seal released and she pulled it open. Stale air, probably because this unit either hadn't ever been used or hadn't been opened in a long time, wafted into the passageway. Rose wrinkled her nose, but followed Ida inside.

The space was half the size of the console room, and utilized every inch. The bed protruded directly from the wall at about shoulder height with a meager mattress and simple blanket. A five-step ladder leaned against the foot, the only means in and out of the bed. Tucked beneath the bed was a desk and chair, and another hard, uncomfortable looking chair sat in the corner. Drawers were built into the walls, and a narrow, tall door remained closed to their left.

"The facilities are there," Ida explained, pointing toward the door. "It's a water recycle system. Showers are limited to two minutes every other day. You know where the eating area is. We don't have much in the way of recreation, but there are books and movies in the computer library. I'll have your duty schedule later today."

Rose kept nodding her head, looking around the quarters with her hands pushed into the small back pockets of her jeans.

"Thank you, Ida," the Doctor said, stepping out of the way so she could leave them alone in the small space.

The door closed behind her with a hollow echo, and the lock engaged with a series of three beeps. Rose gave the ladder a quick shake, and seemed satisfied when it didn't budge. She climbed into the bunk, ducking her head to keep from hitting it on the low ceiling, and flopped down on her stomach with her chin resting on the heel of one hand.

"It's like Harry Potter's cupboard under the stairs," she said with a laugh. "Although, I once went to visit Shireen when she was at University, and her dormitory room wasn't much bigger than this."

The Doctor crossing the space in four steps, leaning against the edge of the bed platform. He crossed his arms on the mattress, looking her level in the eyes.

"At Academy, our living areas were pretty large. The dormitories were like the TARDIS..." He ticked his head to the side. "Well, without the T and A."

Rose snorted.

"What?"

She laughed harder.

"What?"

Rose rolled onto her back, pressing her hands to her stomach. "If I have to explain it, it won't be nearly as funny. Let's just say that if Jack were here, he'd be doubled over."

"Well, that's nothing unusual," the Doctor mumbled, and her ensuing bout of laughter echoed off the walls.

She eventually managed to control the loud bursts of laughter down to giggles that shook her entire body as she tried to suppress them, wiping tears from her eyes. The Doctor loved to hear her laugh, loved to see her laugh. Which is why he played the thick card, knowing that would make her laugh harder than any subtle innuendo he attempted. He laid his arms on the mattress, hands on top of each other, his chin resting on his hands, watching her with what he suspected was a ridiculously large grin... but he didn't really care.

Rose rolled her head on the meager pillow, wiping away a final tear. She patted the mattress beside her. "Gonna come up?"

In a feat of grace and finesse that he was quite sure he would never be able to repeat, the Doctor levered his weight on the edge of the platform and flipped his body over the edge, rolling onto his side to lie parallel to Rose. The bulkhead was no more than three feet above his face, and he stretched out his arm, laying his palm against the cold metal. "Well, this is going to make things... complicated."

He had visions of banging his head on the bulkhead, either because he leaped from the bed without recalling where he was, or from attempting various angles of... he cleared his throat. Best not to go there right now. Other things to be dealt with... to focus on.

Rose rolled into him, and he wrapped his arm around her shoulder. They both shifted further into the center of the narrow cot, and Rose sighed, her fingers toying with one of the buttons of his suit. Minutes past that neither of them said anything, not needing to. The Doctor shifted after awhile, and mumbled a squeaked 'ow' and Rose lifted her head off his chest, looking at him.

"Not very comfortable, is it?"

"Well, when one is accustomed to a bed nearly the size of this room and a mattress that is always just as soft as you need it to be, no... it's not." He loved looking at her from this angle, since the only time he saw her from this particular view was when they were lying beside each other. And since he was rather fond of lying in bed with Rose Tyler, it made sense that one favorite should be so intricately involved with the other.

"'S'alright. Won't be for long."

The Doctor shifted his head to see her better. "Mind you, this is not a question I ask frequently, but do you know something I don't, Miss Tyler?"

Rose smiled, curling her hair behind her ear. She folded her hands on his chest and rested her chin on her hands, just as he had on the mattress minutes before. "No. Just saying I'm not worried."

"You just told me not half an hour ago to worry about you."

"You're going to do that, whether I tell you to, or not." To that, the Doctor had to nod in agreement, garnering another giggled from Rose. "I'm just not worried about us being here very long. You'll get the TARDIS, we'll leave, that's it. Simple."

"It's not that simple."

"You thought she was dead once, remember?" She pointed her finger at him, wagging it in a gentle scold and he had the passing thought of kissing the tip. "You thought she was dead and gone forever, and she wasn't. She hung on until you found the part and brought her back. She's not dead, she's just misplaced."

"She fell into the core of the planet."

"She travels through time and space," Rose declared, stating it as if he were daft not to know it already. "She survived a Dalek attack. How much has she done and survived through being your ship? She's how old now?"

The Doctor smiled. "You told me it was impolite to ask the TARDIS her age."

"S'good you're paying attention."

"Oh, I pay attention to everything." The same lock of hair that she'd been curling behind her ear since lying down was once again across her cheek, and he brushed it back for her. "Although, I guess I should have paid more attention to where I parked."

"I mean it, Doctor. It's fine. It'll all be fine. I have faith."

"Faith?" he said with a soft chuckle. "Firm belief in something for which there is no proven truth. Bit of an archaic concept, isn't it?"

She shook her head again, which wasn't easy at the angle she curled against him. "Then maybe it's not faith. You're a proven fact." He must have looked perplexed, because she smiled and scooted further up his body, raising herself over him so she looked down and he had to press his head back into the pillow to keep eye contact. "How many times have you said there was no way out, said you had no plan and no escape, and said nothing in the universe could save us?"

The Doctor squinted, finding a pleasant spot just above the waist of her jeans to rest his hand. A bit of skin was bare, and he laid his palm against the warmth. "Apparently enough times for you to see a trend."

"And every time, you've brought us home. You've found a way." She leaned in closer, her breath whispering across his lips when she spoke. "I think you do it just so you can look even more brilliant and clever when you pull it all off in the end." There was a teasing glint in her eyes and she pulled her lower lip through her teeth.

"You've figured me out," he said with a grin, but he didn't hold it for long. "Honestly, Rose. I don't--"

She shifted forward, stopping his words with her lips. She just held him there, not parting her lips, not probing in seduction... just held her mouth against his, and the tension in his muscles as he inhaled, drawing in the scent of her hair and skin.

Rose pulled back slowly, and his lips wanted to follow. His head came off the pillow, and she obliged him with one more brief touch of lips to lips. She held his jaw in her hands, letting the side of her nose brush his. "I believe in you."

He had to swallow before speaking, curling his fingers into the denim that wrapped her hips. "That's a great deal of trust to put in one man, Rose."

She just grinned and shrugged one shoulder, as if that explained it all. Add odd mix of emotions battled for superiority; pride that she would put so much faith and trust in him to always fix things in the end, and panic that someday he might let her down.

Rose slid her weight over him, not fully covering him with her body but her leg bent and settled across his hips. He nudged against her, doing his best to just enjoy being near her without getting to the point that clothing was no longer an option. Something within him just didn't want to be with her here. It was too depressing, and too dark, and too cold. Maybe she was right... maybe part of him knew they wouldn't be here long. And there would be time later for making love to her.

"So, tell me. What brilliant plan will I come up with to save the day?"

She shook her head, her hand sliding along his throat and behind his head so her fingers could lace through the shorter hair along the nape of his neck. "That's the brilliance of it, Doctor. There's no plan. There never is a plan. You just… do what you do."

"You don't know what this brilliant plan is, and you just trust me."

Rose smiled, and it was bright and genuine and he smiled, too. A wave of happiness rolled off her, enveloping him, wrapping him in her. She tilted her head back and laughed, and he held her closer, wanting to feel more of the joy. He wanted it to push away the stark reality of the small room, and the stale, cold century base.

"I think I answered that question once." Her fingers stroked his hair, smoothing it back from his forehead and brushing his brow. "Answer's still the same. What are you waitin' for?"

"For the Universe to tell me what's next, I suppose."

"Well…" She tipped her face to him, her chin brushing his as her lips teased his with a touch. "Just make sure you're listening, 'kay?"

The chamber rumbled and the chairs rattled against the floor as another tremor shifted through the base. The Doctor looked toward the ceiling, then back to Rose. "If it's all the same, I'd rather not listen to that."

"I'm with you there."

Rose slid away from him to settle on the bed, lying on her side, her hands folded beneath her cheek. The Doctor shifted and rolled until they faced each other, their noses just inches apart, their breath mingling in the space between.

Her gaze was focused down, perhaps on the pattern of his tie or a button of his shirt, avoiding his eyes. "I am, you know." She only glanced back for a moment before looking away again. "With you."

The Doctor scowled, this time actually not understanding what she meant. "Of course you are. You're right beside me."

Her eyes shifted up, meeting his now with a slight wariness that crept off her like a slow breeze... cold and worried, and he instinctively reached out, draping his arm across her waist to pull her against him. She let her body move into his, aligning from chest to toes.

"You said the TARDIS was the only thing you've got. You've got me."

"Oh, no... nonono..." He laid his hand against her cheek, stroking her skin. "No, Rose. I meant..." He closed his eyes for a moment, touching his forehead to hers before opening his eyes again. Her brown eyes were open, watching him. "I meant she's all I have left."

Rose tipped her chin and touched her lips to his, parting them just enough to send a sharp jolt through him. "Of Gallifrey and the Time Lords, I know," she said, pulling back. " I just wanted to make sure you knew that I'm here, too."

"I do. I know."

She smiled, and settled again into the pillow. One hand reached between them to smooth over his tie, a simple contact but one that made his senses tingle and made him forget about the current dire circumstances.

After all, she believed in him.

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

"If I destroy your prison, your body is destroyed. Your mind with it." The Doctor lifted the rock in his hands over his head, prepared to crash the vase and kill the beast.

I believe in you.

He stopped, stared at the vase, and dropped the rock. The Doctor looked up at the darkness and evil and hate manifested in the chained beast.

"But then you're clever enough to use this whole system against me. If I destroy this planet, I destroy the gravity field. The rocket. The rocket loses protection and falls into the black hole. I'll have to sacrifice Rose."

The Beast's laughter echoed hollow and dark through the cavern.

I believe in you.

He couldn't remember the last time anyone had said that to him.

No, he did... he did remember. And probably more clearly now that he had in years, because just days before the TARDIS had forced him to remember.

Her face was blurred with time, but he remembered other things. More important things. He remembered a gentle touch that ruffled his hair. It had been pale then. So blonde it was nearly white. And he remembered the scent of citrus and flowers that followed her everywhere. He remembered the single heartbeat that lulled him to sleep. He remembered songs and smiles.

"You're going to be amazing some day. I believe in you. Don't let anyone ever make you believe anything different. Promise me."

The power of a word... a thought... an emotion. A touch. Belief.

The belief of one person had pushed him, made him go further than anyone expected, demand more than anyone was willing to give, and thrust him into a life he swore was his birthright even if no one else saw it that way. He'd seen terror and hell, death and destruction, but he'd seen beauty and life and faith blooming in the most likely of places. He'd felt life.

He'd found life... the purpose and meaning of it. Something he thought he'd lost so very long ago.

I believe in you.

Rose started as a hand in his and someone to pull along behind him. Someone to impress. But then she impressed him, and she didn't run behind him anymore. She ran beside him. And sometimes, she ran ahead, pulling him along with a smile.

I believe in you.

Things didn't happen to Rose Tyler. Rose Tyler happened. The first time she faced down anything outside her comfortable world - staring into the bubbling mass of the Nestene Consciousness - she didn't run. She didn't seek safety. Not even when he told her to go.

No...she saved him.

"So, that's the trap. Or the test or the final judgment, I don't know. But if I kill you, I kill her."

The Beast was quite pleased with himself, throwing his horned head back with more tormenting laughter.

I believe in you.

She saw the Universe like he no longer could. She asked the right questions. She learned... oh, how she learned. Rose Tyler was brilliant... the most brilliant human being he had ever known. Not because of some exam she took, or piece of paper she'd supposedly earned. But because she believed in the possibilities.

I believe in you.

She believed that he would fix everything, and she believed he would take care of her. And he did... he promised her mother - which was something he'd never done before. Never promised anyone anything since he left Susan on Earth. His life was dangerous, and they all knew that going in. If they couldn't handle it, they didn't stay... and they didn't go home for visits.

But, Rose did. And he did. And he always would take care of her.

Even if he didn't come out the other side. As long as she did.

I believe in you.

"Except that implies - in this big grand scheme of Gods and Devils - that she's just a victim. But I've seen a lot of this universe. I've seen fake gods and bad gods and demi gods and would-be gods — out of all that — out of that whole pantheon - if I believe in one thing... just one thing...I believe in her."

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

"You gonna put me down?"

"Not just yet, no."

Rose laughed softly against his ear, her arms sliding over his shoulders and he suddenly wished he'd shucked the bright orange space suit before she came on board. Her fingers curled into the collar and she kissed his cheek.

"Put me down and we can say hello properly."

"Oh, well…" The Doctor finally conceded and set Rose on her feet, but he didn't want to relinquish his hold. She leaned up to kiss him, but they quickly discovered that with swinging her about in his arms was accomplished easy enough, the simple act of a snog was nearly impossible between the buckles, metal collars and thick gloves that made up the suit. "Help me out of this bloody thing."

"Thought you'd never ask."

With his hands still trapped in the thick gloves, Rose went to work removing the buckles and straps, finally yanking down the thick-toothed zipper that went down his back. With a gleeful "Aha!" he pulled the collar over his head and let it drop to the steel grating with a clatter. Two shimmies and a kick later and the suit was off, leaving him barefoot but still in his suit.

"Come here."

Then she was in his arms again, and he held her so tight she groaned, but she didn't pull away and she held on as tightly as he did. "I told you," she whispered against his cheek, and he thought he felt the slick of moisture where their skin met. "No worries."

The Doctor pulled back enough to see her face, but held her close with his hands still pressed to her back. Her face was damp, but she wasn't crying now. Perhaps just a few tears of relief. The Doctor understood because he had felt the same release of panic when he'd found the TARDIS waiting for him in the pit of hell. Waiting to bring him back to Rose.

"You believed in me."

Rose nodded and wrapped her arms around his shoulders again, burying her face into the side of his neck. "I never, ever stopped."

"I heard you." He wrapped his arms tighter, holding on because he needed to. Holding on because he could. "Down in that pit, facing the Beast. He wanted me to set him free." The Doctor chuckled softly. "He didn't plan on Rose Tyler."

"I didn't do anything."

"Oh, yes. You did, Rose. You did." The Doctor eased back and touched her face. He held his palms against her cheeks and looked into her eyes. "And Rose… I believe in you."

She smiled, and her eyes glistened again. Rose sucked in a sharp, ragged breath but before she could let another tear fall, he laid his lips against hers in the same simple, undemanding kind of kiss that she'd given him in what had been intended to be their 'home' on the base. A kiss that existed for the sake of contact, and to say more than words could.

I believe in you.