Character/Pairing: Ten/Rose
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: The BBC owns all, I am merely borrowing.
Spoilers: Set During Season Two

In an amazing feat of perfect navigation, the Doctor somehow managed to land the TARDIS right beside a sparkling oasis on a desert planet. His smug grin immediately disappeared when Rose reminded him why he'd been avoiding beaches for the past several weeks. During their last visit to the Tripletci Galactic Market, Rose had purchased a bikini and had been pestering him for an opportunity it test it out. The Doctor was of the immediate opinion that there was far too much bare skin on display. Specifically, Rose's skin.

He wasn't the only one of that opinion.

A tribe of nomads appeared on the horizon soon after they'd settled in front of the water. Apparently the oasis was the final destination in their holy pilgrimage and frivolously enjoying it was considered sacrilege.

They ran back to the TARDIS, but not quite fast enough. The natives were armed and a well aimed dart sliced through the air. The Doctor pushed Rose out of the way, but the dart still claimed a victim. Him.

As the pain lanced through his shoulder, he swore loudly in his native tongue.

"Doctor, what...?" Rose began, pulling the door firmly shut behind them.

"Fine! I'm fine," he said hurriedly, dashing around the console to set his ship in motion. The poison from the dart was already beginning to affect him, clouding his judgement. He would be able to metabolize the substance, but not as quickly as he would like. He heard Rose gasp as she spotted the clear evidence of his injury.

"They hit you!"

"Umm...did they?" he asked, suddenly feeling very light headed. He rested his weight against the console, tilting his head to consider the dart in question. "That may have to come out."

Rose rolled her eyes and strode toward him purposefully. He scrambled to evade her, but found his limbs not nearly as responsive as usual. He sucked in a deep breath as she tentatively took hold of the feathered end of the dart.

"For a high an' mighty Time Lord, you're really squeamish 'bout things like this."

The Doctor opened his mouth to protest and Rose took the opportunity to pull the dart out in one swift motion. He didn't even have a chance to respond before it was over.

"There. Not so bad, was it?" She squinted, inspecting the dart more closely. "I mean, it's not even a very big..."

"Tea!" the Doctor interrupted, spinning around to finish setting landing coordinates. "That's what I need. Ginger, specifically would help."

"What?" Rose asked as the Doctor plucked the dart from her grasp and placed it somewhere far less dangerous. "I don't think we have any..."

"Have to find some then," he observed solemnly. "Welllll....we don't have to. I mean, I'll be fine without it. Eventually."

"What do you mean eventually?"

Always quick on the uptake, his Rose. "Poison," he explained, inclining his head toward where the dart rested on the console.

"Poison?!" Rose exclaimed, blanching at the idea. "You're not going to..."

"Oh, I'll be fine. You, on the other hand, would have been in quite a bit of trouble." With one last violent shake, his ship settled and he reached to engage the parking brake. "Right. Here we are. I just need a rest. And tea. Any kind. But ginger is best for this sort of thing. It really is too bad I didn't end up ginger. I think that would of helped." He sagged against the console and Rose hurried to catch him, looping his arm about her shoulder.

"Come on," she encouraged, watching him worriedly as she helped him to the door. "Let's see where you've landed us."

It turned out that he'd parked the TARDIS in her mum's living room right in front of the fireplace. Rose was relieved that it only took a few steps to maneuver him to the sofa. For an alien with such a slim frame, he was considerably heavier than he appeared. He grumbled about being told to stay put, but collapsed quite willingly on the sofa. Finding her mum not around, Rose set the kettle to boil and began searching the cabinets for tea. Her search had become frantic by the time Jackie made her entrance.

"Rose! Didn't think you'd be stopping by so soon!" Jackie exclaimed, but her smile faded as she noticed Rose's current state of panic and how the entire contents of the cabinets were now spread across the counter. "What happened? What's wrong?"

"Some sort of poison. The Doctor's..." Rose sighed, eyes sweeping over all of the items she'd taken out. "Where's the tea?"

"We're out."

"How can we be out of tea?"

"Well, I planned to get some today, sweetheart," Jackie explained, clearing a space on the counter for her purse. "If I'd known you were coming by I would've picked it up yesterday."

"Right. Tesco's it is, then," Rose determined, glancing at the sofa and its feverish occupant. "Watch over him, will you? 'Til I get back."

"'Course, sweetheart."

Rose was gasping for breath by the time she returned to the estate, running as fast as she could across the pavement and dashing up the stairs two at a time. She threw open the door to the flat and careened into the kitchen. "Success! Tea," Rose proclaimed, tossing several boxes onto the counter.

Jackie's eyebrows rose as she studied the boxes. "How many types did you get?"

"A handful." Rose grabbed the kettle and set it back on the stove. "Didn't know what kind would be most effective. The Doctor said ginger, but I thought...just in case, you know."

"Don't know what all this fuss about tea is." Jackie shook her head. "You needn't have gone. I found some aspirin in that cabinet above the stove."

Rose dropped the box of ginger tea she'd been opening. "What?"

"He was barely respondin', but I got 'im to take it. His fever should be goin' down already."

Rose pushed past her mum and dashed into the living room. She knelt beside the Doctor and gently placed her palm against his forehead. Despite her mum's good intentions, he was burning with fever. "How many did you give 'im?"

"Just two. Why do you think he needs more?"

"No!" Rose exclaimed, eyes worriedly sweeping over the Doctor. "Mum, he's allergic to aspirin!"

"What? How allergic?"

Before Rose could reply, the Doctor interrupted, mumbling something indistinct about bananas and hats. Carefully, Rose brushed his fringe away from his forehead. "Doctor? I've got the tea."

The Doctor opened his eyes slowly, finding it difficult to focus on the lovely pink and yellow of his companion. "With muffins?" he asked groggily. "I once had muffins with Oscar Wilde. Nice chap. Came onto me though. Ate all the muffins. Hardly left me a crumb."

"No muffins. Ginger tea like you said." She reached for his wrist to check his pulse. "An' everyone flirts with you."

"If you'd seen my scarf you'd have second thoughts 'bout that, Rose Tyler. Though, I'm sure I'd still've liked you just as much."

"Good to know," she replied absently, frowning as she discovered how very fast his hearts were pounding.

"Not really. No plans on ever runnin' into myself. I never plan that. Always a surprise." His voice suddenly went very quiet as he asked, "Do you'd still like me?"

"If you wore a scarf?"

He snorted and shook his head fervently. "No! Although I might be partial to scarves again. It's certainly possible. I meant, if I was different."

"Haven't we already been through that?" Rose asked softly. "New new Doctor?"

"That's me!" He beamed at her impeccable logic and then abruptly his smile disappeared. "Still, right?"

"Why?" Rose asked, sitting up straight with a sudden burst of panic. "You're not going to...change, are you?"

"Oh, no. No no no no no no no." He studied the ceiling, noting several cracks that really should be looked at by a professional. "Shouldn't think so. Hope not. Cross my fingers and hope to d..." He clamped his mouth shut at that thought, glancing at her aside. "Um, let's forget that last one, shall we?"

"All right." Rose took a deep breath. "Mum gave you aspirin."

There was a long pause, during which the Doctor appeared to be considering the validity of this statement. "Why would she do that?"

"You have a fever."

"I'm allergic."

"I know. She didn't though, an' you took it."

The Doctor looked even more confused. "Why would I do that? I'm allergic."

"Yeah. I know." Rose repeated patiently. "But you're a bit out of sorts."

"I would have to be to accept anythin' from your mum."

"You drink her tea all the time!" Rose protested. "An' she's cooked for you."

"Why would she put aspirin in tea?"

"She wouldn't, but..." Rose sighed. "What would happen if you did take it?"

"I'm allergic."

"I know!" she yelled, surprising the Doctor with her frustrated outburst. "Symptoms? Cures? Anythin'?"

"It wouldn't be good," the Doctor stated resolutely.

"Right. Thanks. That helps."

Completely missing her sarcasm, the Doctor cheerily remarked, "Lovely! I like helping." He shivered. "Rose, I don't feel very well."

His discomfort instantly cooled her anger. "I know."

The kettle whistled and a moment later Jackie appeared with a steaming mug.

"Oh, no. You're not tricking me now. I'm onto you lot!" the Doctor proclaimed, folding his arms across his chest. Lowering his head, he whispered to Rose, "She's put aspirin in it, hasn't she?"

"No, she hasn't," Rose reassured him, taking the mug from her mum and offering it to him. "An' you'd better drink it right away. It's ginger."

He studied the brown liquid skeptically for a moment before taking a tentative sip. He grimaced. "Bleh. Don't think I'm fond of ginger tea."

"You're the one that suggested it."

"Did I?" He drank the rest without complaint, although he appeared thoroughly disgusted at having to do so. "Funny thing to suggest. Ginger tea."

He handed her the mug and she set it aside. "Maybe you should get some rest, yeah?"

"I don't need to rest. Time Lord, remember?" he stated, petulantly, watching her hand as she tested his forehead. "Your hand's cool. That's not right."

"Yeah. Just...close your eyes." She found his hand and slipped her fingers through his. "I'll be here."

"Rose Tyler." He smiled, squeezing her hand. "Always knew your mum was going to kill me," he mumbled as his eyes shut.

It was a long night of which the Doctor remembered very little. The fever burned through him with such ferocity that he was certain several times that he'd actually regenerated. When he finally came to real awareness the first thing he did was run his tongue carefully over his teeth. Same teeth. Still lucky, then. He shifted, stretching muscles cramped from sleeping on the sofa. Nineteen hours at least and it hadn't been particularly restful.

He attempted to raise himself, but found one of his hands effectively trapped. Looking down, he discovered the culprit. Rose. She was fast asleep, sitting in front of the sofa with her head resting against the cushion, hand still holding his. She must have watched over him all night.

As if she could sense his state of wakefulness, Rose stirred, bolting upright when she saw him watching her. "You're awake!" Her eyes flicked rapidly over him, worriedly checking his condition. "Are you..."

"Better? Yes."

"Thought I was gonna lose you." She studied their hands.

"Nah. You're stuck with me, Rose Tyler," he teased, grinning to help put her at ease. "Gotta keep a closer eye on your mum though."

"She didn't mean to."

The Doctor raised his eyebrows skeptically.

"Well, she did. But she thought two aspirin would help," Rose explained.

"Lucky it was only two," he commented, so softly Rose didn't hear him.

"She felt horrible 'bout it. Kept supplyin' tea all night."

The Doctor followed her gaze to find Jackie Tyler comatose and snoring in a chair on the other side of the room. "Good thing." He let go of Rose's hand and patted the sofa. "C'mere. You look exhausted."

She climbed onto the sofa, yawning as she settled her head against his chest. "What about you?"

"Nah. Won't need sleep for years now. Fortified by Tyler tea," he declared. "Tyler Tea. Tyler Tea. Sounds like a proper brand, doesn't it? Patent pending. I could be your spokesperson."

"Doctor recommended," Rose murmured, already half asleep.

"See? Perfect," he whispered, brushing a kiss against her hair and thanking the universe that this body had turned out so very lucky.